Story for the Day: The Anniversary Cake

The Anniversary Cake

                Anniversaries in Frewyn were regarded by some to be somewhat of an absurdity, not due to any evil the day or the commanded celebration might produce, but to the enforced nature of such a day when it was completely undue. It was a day men that men were ever being urged to remember and a day that women were never allowing them to forget. It was not by any default of character that women and men had differing opinions on this subject, but it was on principle that in the finding of this day ridiculous, as Frewyn men often had done, they must be inclined to disregard it. Its farce lay in its expected frequency whereas an anniversary would have proposed an yearly commemoration, an anniversary was anticipate to be celebrated with more regularity than was tolerable. Weeks must be commemorated, then months much be observed, and on which days were expected to be exchanged gifts and promises accordingly. Here was the masculine confusion: to celebrate a day so exceptional with such constancy as to make it arbitrary was irrational, and women in all their powers of illogicality must have their way.
                Although the Haanta were used to celebrate their holidays with regularity, the concept of anniversaries was foreign to them. For a nation that did not celebrate a birthday, commemorating a union could be no more important than a birth. Many of those who were mates were content to be allowed their privileges of living together, honouring one another with Khopra in the home, and of sharing open attachment for each other, but there were instances in which mates recalled their anniversaries and made a private celebration to be shared with no one other than the pair themselves.
                The notion that children or family and friends must be induced to give their congratulations for the day was a mainland contrivance done to that vendors might carry specific items necessary for observing a day that may or may not be a happy one. Many an old couple in Frewyn honoured the day merely as a enforcement, and gifts and cake were procured without any of the flourishing sentiment to accompany them.
                Those young and unaffected couple in Frewyn with sense would never transform this day into one of arbitrary nature. Those conscious of the beauties of prolonged and abiding affections revered their anniversary with blissful veneration where no gift or word of false adulation were needed to express the amorous sentiments each was suffering. Their love was of a perpetual nature, and though the many in the Diras castle keep had an anniversary to esteem, it was all done with discernment and confidentiality. Some knew that the commander and Den Asaan celebrated their anniversary some time at the end of winter- usually marked by joyous screams of pleasance during the evening hours-, some were aware that Alasdair and Carrigh celebrated their union before the day they were actually married, but upon the whole, anniversaries in the keep were a reticent business.
                However, when the commander learned that the following Gods’ Day was the day that Kai Linaa had arrived on Sanhedhran’s white shores and thus ending Unghaahi’s twenty years of loneliness, she decided that there must be a small celebration in their honour. She knew the Haanta did not recognize such a day due to the indifferent manners of her mate on the subject, as he believed that every day of the bond should be commemorated, but she reckoned that the ordering of a cake for the occasion might change his mind.
                “It shall have to be a chocolate cake, of course,” the commander said to her mate when consulting him on the matter. “I daresay it cannot have fruit or be the abominable vanilla.”
                “No, it cannot,” Rautu grunted.
                Once Alasdair and Martje were told of the scheme when the commander went down to the kitchen for breakfast, Martje instantly offered her services in making the cake and Alasdair insisted on funding the excursion.
                “You are well aware, Martje, that my mate will refuse to eat a cake made by you,” the commander simpered.
                “So? It’s not for him,” the cook asserted. “He’s lucky I let him in this kitchen.” Martje suddenly felt the coldness of a shadow lurking over her from behind and turned to find the Den Asaan’s scowling countenance glaring down at her. “Aye. And what of it, monster?” Martje said with complacence, waving her fat finger in his face.
                Rautu passed away into the larder and said nothing beyond a grumble of how hateful Martje was.   
                “If you insist on making it, Martje,” the commander said with an arch smile, “you can order all the necessary items from Diras Delights and have them conveyed here by-“
                “No,” Rautu bellowed from his place in the larder.
                The commander hid her grin behind a raised hand as the giant thundered into the main room of the kitchen to join their conversation.
                Rautu stabbed a finger at Martje’s button nose and growled, “I own that bakery.”
                “Yes, he paid for it with what was left from the dark chocolate fund, I assure you,” the commander murmured to Alasdair.
                Alasdair turned away and pretended not to laugh while still listening to the heated discussion.
                “You will not use anything that belongs to that business,” Rautu added.
                “Aye, not even for your brother’s anniversary, you selfish bastard,” Martje shouted, slapping the giant’s finger out of her face.
                Rautu roared in growing resentment and his eyes tapered in fury. “My brother would not approve of this.”
                “He would if I gave the cake as a gift.”
                Rautu opened his mouth to remonstrate but was astonished to find that the odious and corpulent cook was right. The only issue now was to convince her that the use of vanilla and fruit was against the Haanta faith to make eating the cake made by her hand barely tolerable. “Vanilla is used for medicinal purposes and is therefore forbidden for us to eat.”
                The commander had done. Her laughter could not be checked and she must excuse herself to the training yard where there was certain to be something that required her attention.
                “Sure, and I suppose you’re gonna tell me that fruit is used in your temples for special ceremonies and all,” Martje huffed.
                “Many fruits on the islands are poisonous and can only be eaten in small quantities.”
                “Well, I’ve eaten plenty of berries and I ain’t never been ill from ‘em.”
                “Your form suggests you have eaten plenty of everything. Perhaps illness would make you healthier.”
                Alasdair was now obliged to interrupt the conversation by keeping Martje’s fists from reaching the giant’s grinning features and ended the discourse by telling Martje that she could make whatever sort of cake she desired.    
                The day of the anniversary came, and when the keep was quiet with many of its occupant gone to attend services, those intimate with Unghaahi and Kai Linaa were brought to the kitchen table to celebrate: Sheamas, Shayne and Tomas were prevailed upon to leave their places of business for a few moments and were entreated to bring their respective mates while the commander and Den Asaan brought with them Connors, Nerri, Mureadh and Teague. Tomas brought Mrs Cuineill from her apartment in the servants quarter, Alasdair made certain to attend with his queen, and when everyone was gathered around the table with the two guests of honour, Martje unveiled the cake: a large cake, chocolate center and vanilla frosted with a depiction of Unghaahi and Kai Linaa’s very first meeting as the decoration.
                Upon seeing such a masterpiece, Kai Linaa burst into a fit of tears and leaned on Martje to cry upon her shoulder in thanks. “It’s so beautiful,” she wept aloud.
                Martje patted Kai Linaa’s back and place a long knife into her tremulous hands. “Aye, girl. And you’re gonna be the one who cuts it.”
                “I can’t cut this,” Kai Linaa implored her. “I will ruin it.”
                “That’s nice of you, girl, but it’s gotta be ate sometime. Cut the ends and the edges around the picture.”
                Kai Linaa placed the edge of the knife against the surface of the cake but could not garner enough brazenness to push down. She looked away and gave the knife to Unghaahi, who seemed just as apprehensive to tarnish it.
                “This is a most honourable gift,” Unghaahi said to Martje with a bow. “Are you certain you would wish me to cut it?”
                “Aye, if you don’t, it’ll be stale the morrow.”
                Unghaahi sighed and sectioned the edges of the cake into small pieces, ones enough that he deemed could be secreted away by a few hours of training and exertion afterward.
                The cake may have been lauded as a great achievement by most, but it was a monstrosity to the Den Asaan. To mar chocolate with so vile a flavour as vanilla was inexcusable. He knew that she had done it to make the image on the cake visible, but he was induced to believe that Martje had chosen such an objectionable savor to spite him. He moaned in agony watching the cake being passed around the table, and when he was given a piece, he took it with a pout and sulked as he began scraping off the copious layers of icing. Once he had succeeded in making his slice edible, a fresh horror presented itself: he had thought perhaps merely a abrading would do to salvage the more tolerable portions of the cake, but when he observed that a layer of strawberries was hidden between the layers of chocolate, Rautu surrendered and gave his piece to his mate.
                “You will eat the fruit and give me the cake portions, woman,” the giant groaned in the commander’s eat.
                “I should like such an office, Iimon Ghaala,” she smiled. “However, the cake has strawberry liqueur in it. I believe that no matter how many strawberries I pick out of this, it will still taste of fruit.”
                Rautu held his head in his hand and conceded to a most bitter defeat. He must now suffer the agony of the praise with which Martje’s culinary prowess was repeated. Every laudation was a trial to him, and were it not for his need to show his brother and Kai Linaa the respect they deserved for the occasion, he would have quitted the kitchen and went to the training yard to expel his frustrations on the khol-bhisaas stumps in the yard.
                Half an hour had brought the celebration to its close. It was enough to remark what was requited and no more. Kai Linaa was permitted to keep the remainder of the cake, though Unghaahi had warned against eating the chief of it, and everyone gave their heartiest congratulations to the couple and their thanks for being included in their joy as they returned to their stations.
                The commander and Martje remained behind to assist Kai Linaa in the packaging of the cake and both agreed it would be best for her to leave it in the larder overnight.
                “Were it not for the strawberry, I should have no doubt of this being hollowed out and left as a shell of icing by morning,” the commander laughed, but no sooner had it been said than Kai Linaa began to dread it being so. The commander assured her that the Den Asaan would not touch so disgraceful an object, but when she returned to the larder later, she noted that a small sliver had been cut from the edge of Unghaahi’s kilt. Due to the precision of such a cut and the manner in which it slinked around the berries, the commander could have no doubt of who dared to try a cake he deemed so insupportable a few hours before.


  1. 'He moaned in agony watching the cake being passed around the table'. Ha! This guy and his chocolate fixation has me laughing so hard. Poor Rau!


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