Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.5
Morning came, and with it bore the general arousal of the islands. Hymns thrummed from the temple, the collective emerged from their homes, general pleasantries of the morning were paid with civil decorum, stations at workplaces and workbenches were claimed, and the island capital was roused with the bustle of morning animation once again. The small family of mice stirred from their burrow beneath the pelts and awakened just in time to receive their first meal of the day. One Sindhaas should be enough between them to furnish their stomachs for their daily exertion, and after they had ate and listened to the morning hymns, they were prepared to venture to the wheat fields to begin their task.
Sifting and sorting in general was of little difficulty to those whose hands fidgeted and twitched all day long, but the assessment and constant reexamination of each grain was taxing to a mind that had been so much used to worrying about more pressing matters. The fatigue and suffering of many a year’s penance was now over, leaving them with some vexation to feel, as they has spent much of their lives under the scrutiny of an unforgiving sun. The shade of the thick Sanhedhran capital canopy, however, soon cooled their agitations and unquietness, and though they sniffed and smiled through their work, they were exahusted by midday. The first day of being in a new society, especially one as obliging as the Haanta, supplied them with all the tranquility they required. The fatigue of exertion was ever pleasanter than the one of sufferance, and the small family of mice sat down together to rest and be indulgent of one another's happy complaints.
Leraa, ever concerned for the small creatures of the world, went from his morning visit at the temple to the granary to see how the addition to his circle was getting on. He found them in the midst of a small huddle when he arrived, sharing a few drops of water between them. He bowed and welcomed them with open arms and demanded to know if there were anything required to make them more satisfied than they already were. Some more water might be got for them, but there could be nothing else. Every comfort of life was theirs, and they had only to praise and thank for the attention. His only entreaty was that they should accompany him to the shore where they might have a more encompassing view of the splendor and extent the islands possessed. They agreed to go with him, gathering onto his palm, and were prepared for a viewing of the looming sea mists, training Amghari, and bustling roads when they suddenly descried Khantara approaching from the mill. He bowed and begged their pardon for the intrusion but hoped they could be prevailed upon to join their tour. He had a very particular place he wished them to see and would be their guide if Leraa should agree to be their means of conveyance thither. If they were to go to the shore anyway, they would go by way of Khantara's leading and everything was acquiesced and in motion with a few assenting sniffs.
The southern shore was in a glitter of raiment: the clear waters and white sands complemented one another beneath the brilliancy of the arching sun, the two skin canvasses that Khantara and Kai Linaa had been using for their art stood at the edge of the training grounds depicting scenes of the various Amghari practices, the warriors sat in their assemblies enjoying and despising their Phoraas as their tastes could warrant, and everything was as vibrant and ideal as could be hoped. They turned north and soon came to the settlement of the capital where Unghaahi and Kai Linaa and Otenohi and Ashta Hira had their adjacent homes. They observed Unghaahi coming toward them from the barracks and Kai Linaa hopping in and out of her home with ready excitement as though she had been looking for them every moment and not wishing to be suspected of doing something she ought not to have done. The family looked to Khantara for explanation but the immense giant only smiled and bowed and said, "Come." He lead the way to a small tree stump beside Kai Linaa and Unghaahi's home. It had the air of just being dug up and replanted with its roots damp and dark and half covered and its boughs pruned and leaves trimmed. There seemed to be a small gathering assembling about them as though everyone were prepared to present something to them, and upon looking down and remarking the tree at close convenience, the family soon came to understand what it was.
A small door at the bottom of the tree hiding between the tangle of large roots, large enough for a mouse to pass through but small enough to guard against any predator of consequence became all their wonderment. Even more curious was the small sign nailed into the post that said "Family Sniffles" with a collection of bewhiskered faces lining the bottom. The family was let down and was entreated by Khantara to enter, and when they pushed open the small door, their tiny brown eyes were aglow with surprise: outfittings of tiny tables and chairs, furnishings of handmade carpets and furs trimmed the large hollow tree; a window was cut to permit the sunlight and stairs were carved to lead into a second room, filled with tiny blankets and miniscule heating stones to replace a hearth and fire. They confessed themselves quite oppressed and had little idea of what to say or whom to thank for such an unexceptionable residence, but when seeing the tears of joy form around the edges of their bulging eyes, Kai Linaa's worried exclamation of "Do you like it?" betrayed the benefactor. They gathered onto her feet and nestled against her legs, squeaking their praises and approbation beyond measures they could express.
However oppressed they might have felt by kindness, Kai Linaa had still more to feel on the occasion. The memory of her receipt of their cottage in Sethshire burst on her, and she cried in the complete exultation of their equal gratitude. She gathered them onto her hand and kissed their little faces. "Oh, I'm so glad you like it," she cried in an ecstasy. "Varthrasta did all the carving before he left with Hathanta this morning to see Hebhiitsu. I worried it wouldn’t be finished by the time you came. Do you really like it? Will you live in it? We could be neighbors and I would make you dinner every night."
Such an offer must be refused for its kindness, but Kai Linaa was so insistent with her attentive entreaties that their apprehensions were soon done away and only sniffs of gratitude remained. She leapt with them in her hands, revelrous at her success, and though she would have to bring them to the temple each morning for their lessons, this was a small encumbrance for the joy she was given. she would wait at the temple for her Odaibha instead of at the shore and all was well again and decided.
Nothing gave Khantara such pleasure as to see his student so beset by happiness, nothing gave Leraa more joy than to see his sister's aspirations founded, and nothing gave Unghaahi more pride to see his mate rejoined with the family she once lost, for though a family of mice could not be mistaken for an association of blood, but where Kai Linaa and her friend in Frewyn were once bound to one another and separated by circumstance, the legacy left was now one reclaimed, and all rejoiced at the prospect of small wishes granted and hearts full of happiness.
Enjoy the story? Enjoy the series!