The Den Asaan and the Cook
Rautu and Martje are mortal enemies. His hatred of cooks, however, began at an earlier time, as we see from book one of the series.
On his way to the garden, the Den Asaan stopped to send his correspondence by way of one of the messengers in the Haven. He gave the direction of the letters but the hint of a familiar scent made him hurry through the address. The lingering aroma of chocolate tarts grew stronger and he was unable to concentrate on anything other than discovering their origin. He prowled toward the kitchen, believing it to be the source of the fragrance, and upon arriving at the doorway, he saw one of the fatter cooks- presumably the one who had eaten the almond paste- removing the trey of tarts from the oven.
As they had already been baked last night, she was merely warming them up and preparing to disperse them. She must have believed they were for her and the remainder of the kitchen staff since they had been left untouched throughout the night, but the giant would prove all such assumptions mistaken.
The cook placed the trey onto the counter and went to the basin to wash her hands. She scrubbed and hummed, imagining to herself how many tarts she would eat before sharing them with others, but when she turned to dry her hands on the rag beside the basin, she observed a most terrifying sight: a mauve-grey, enormous beast was standing over her precious tarts and devouring them one by one. His loud and hungry snarls and voracious movements suggested his unfriendliness. He turned, her looked at her, she drew back. She saw he had gathered the chief of the tarts into his arms. She wished to salvage them even if it meant danger to herself. She sought to lure him carefully away from his object with one of the muffins she had just prepared, and when she took one from the pan near the oven, his eyes blazed in wild and ferocious hunger. She waved the muffin back and forth, watching his eyes follow it, but when she tossed it out of the kitchen, the beast did not chase it. He took the gesture as an offense and roared at her, causing her to flee the room in horror. She knew not how the mountainous beast came to her kitchen, she only knew she wanted him gone, and Rithea as head cleric would certainly know how to expel him.
She raced into the assembly hall and nearly tripped over herself when hurrying toward the lectern where Rithea stood speaking with her two guests. ”Pardon me, Rithea,” said the cook, gasping for breath, “But there’s a monster in the kitchen.”
The commander and Rithea exchanged a doubtful expression.
“Aye, and it’s hungry somethin’ terrible. It’s eatin’ all those tarts. I tried to give it somethin’ else to get it away but it wouldn’t take nothin’.”
The commander pursed her lips to suppress her laughter. “Did it look at you?” she said, feigning astonishment.
“It did, kin! It had eyes wide and fierce and all. I thought it was gonna eat me.”
The commander laughed and placed a hand on the cook’s shoulder. “I assure you, it wasn’t. Excuse me, I will tend to this.” She snickered into her hand and went toward the kitchen.
“What was I saw a demon, kin?” the cook asked Rithea.
“No, dear,” Rithea replied coolly. “What you saw was what happens when a very large man hasn’t eaten for some time. Nothing to worry about, Lettigh.”
The cook thought otherwise but remained with Rithea and Ghelbhi until her kitchen was secured.
Upon entering the kitchen, the commander found little evidence to support the cook’s claims: there was certainly no creature in the room whether wild beast or famished Den Asaan. There was, however, a trey of muffins with one missing and the trey of chocolate tarts with only those the commander had fashioned herself absconded. She looked about for evidence of the giant’s presence and found a trail of crumbs along the floor leading out of the kitchen and toward the garden. She followed them and the path lead her to the Den Asaan, who was standing in the center of the garden performing his rigorous kaatas. There were no tarts in his hands, near the flower beds or on his trappings he had left aside but there were a few crumbs delicately blanketing the furs along the shoulder pelts. She smiled, pleased that he would take so seriously the matter of her confectionary endeavors, and went to inform Rithea and the cook that the beast had been sedated for now.