Story for the Day: Definitions
We had a long debate about this word. Here is the result.
Definitions were of great consequence to King Alasdair. In drawing up a treaty or in the fashioning of a trade agreement, the meaning and clarity of words was eminent to the detailed document he must produce. He was always careful with the terms and phrases employed, but as the herald could not be applied to for a reading of his documents without the usual ingratiating commentary, Alasdair always chose to hand the given article to the commander for her assessment. They had been educated together, and while his writing was more graced with diplomacy and formality, her command of the Frewyn common language in its verbal sense was far superior to his own. He often asked her to read his proclamations allowed, for her standard modes of address was confident and any strange word would easily stand out when announced by her.
|The definition of 'bilious'|
He sat in the keep library one morning renewing the trade agreement between Frewyn and Balletrim. It was a small document, one that had been in little use since Marridon’s reign over the Triumvirate, and it was Alasdair’s duty to convey that the trade routes between their two nations were no longer relevant now that Marridon governed Balletrim’s ports. It was a sorry task and Alasdair never enjoyed severing connections but the treaty was from his grandfather’s time and must now be amended.
He inscribed a gentle passage, signed his name, and before stamping the insignia of the kingdom called the commander to obtain her good opinion. “What do you think?” Alasdair said, pacing back and forth as she read the statement.
The commander made a pensive look and nodded, humming in approval for each line until she came to a strange word. “Bilious?” she repeated in confusion.
“Yes. You don’t think it’s right?”
“I don’t believe it can be used in that context.”
Alasdair looked at the document again. “I thought it meant brashness.”
“I was made to understand it as foul-tempered.”
They could not agree on this point, and there was so much general bemusement around the word that Alasdair thought it advisable to choose something else, but the commander’s curiosity had been piqued and she would not so easily concede to such measures. They must ask for a second opinion before Alasdair was to change anything, and as there were many visitors in the keep at present, there was a grand wealth of mind to choose from for an answer to this challenge.
The commander took the agreement to the kitchen were Jaicobh was just sitting down to breakfast: eggs and bacon were on his plate, coffee was in his hand, and he was in the prime humour for inquiries. She neared, kissed him good morning and thrust the document between his features and his assenting forkful of breakfast. “Father?”
“Yes, darlin?” Jaicobh asked with chariness.
“What do you think the word bilious means?” She pointed to the word and watched her father’s brow bend in uncertainty.
“You got me, Bou,” he shrugged. “I think that word is for more official and formal folk, not for farmers.” Jaicobh paused and then grinned. “I think you should ask the Donnegals,” he said archly. “They experts on bein’ formal.”
The commander smirked. “I believe you’re right.”
She bounded away toward the stables were she found Aiden and Adaoire in the midst of baling hay for Maeve to eat during the winter season.
“Gentlemen,” she said, leaning over the baling pen.
“Aye?” they replied, looking up at her with hearty smiles.
“I have a question for both of you.”
“We got an answer, girl,” said Aiden
“Sure, if you came to ask us to roll in the hay, we ain’t gonna say no,” Adaoire said with a deviant grin.
“Perhaps another time,” the commander laughed, “when you shall be more prepared to challenge my mate for that right.
The twins groaned and gave the commander equally dour expressions.
“May I remind you that both of you have wives?”
“So?” Adaoire huffed. “My girl’s one of those experimental ones. She likes tryin’ new things.”
“And I daresay you want your next venture to be with me in a haystack touching your Dealenna.”
Adaoire gave the commander a wide grin. “Aye. And me and Aiden get to watch.”
“Aye, while smokin’ our pipes and all.”
The commander sighed and shook her head for the intimation, considering how impossible the twins were even when being posed a simple inquiry. Her blushing features garner a laugh from both farmers and she decided to silence them by showing them Alasdair’s agreement. “I know you gentlemen can read,” she said, handing it over.
“Sure, we can read well enough,” Aiden warily said. “Doesn’t mean we like to, though.”
She pointed to the appropriate word and the twins scoffed at the sight of it.
“Aye, that ain’t word,” Adaoire chuffed, waving dismissively at her.
“Sure, you’re makin’ it up and makin’ it look official and all so we look foolish,” said Aiden.
The commander laughed to herself and thanked the twins for their glorious assessment as she went in search of Unghaahi, who was certain to be in the training yard at this time in the morning. She found him in the midst of Hophsaas training with her mate. She excused herself but Unghaahi must be applied to for his diplomatic prowess on the wording a statement. “Your command of Modern Frewyn is superb, Unghaahi. Would you care to guess?” she said, pointing to the phrase that needed his opinion.
“I apologize, Amhadhri Anonnaa,” Unghaahi said in his purring voice. “I do not know this word. My brother’s understanding of your terms is greater than mine.” He gestured for Rautu to come forward and given his ideas on the document.
The Den Asaan observed Alasdair’s signature at the bottom of the page and sighed. “Your king should not have signed this without understanding the words he has used.”
“He does understand them, Iimon Ghaala. I merely refuted them.” The commander pointed to the word one last time and received the answer to end her search.
“This word is meant as a modifier. It means irritable or tasteless.”
The commander raised her brows. “We were both correct, it seems.”
She took the document from her mate but Rautu’s tirade on the subject of mainland languages had only just begun.
“In our language, each word has one meaning,” the Den Asaan contended. “You people make learning languages difficult by giving more definitions to one word instead of creating a new word to use. Your own king is uncertain if his words are correct.”
The commander smiled and tenderly said, “Have you quite done?”
“I suppose you have,” she laughed.
She thanked her mate for the resounding approval of Alasdair’s terms and returned to the library where she told Alasdair that the word he used in the specific context was correct after all.