#Nanowrimo : The Rat Pt7
Martje soon recognized her error and recollected herself. How could she smile at the monster who had forever haunted her kitchen? And with such blithesomeness and good fellowship too- she reproached herself. In her moment of splendor, she had forgotten to be malicious, and now the giant would think her unserious with regard to her abhorrence of him. She frowned, and lifting her chest huffed, “So much for your doin’ anythin’, monster.”
His fists tightened around the hilt of his weapon, his nostrils flared, and his arms shook with growing rage. “Very well,” he snarled. “Since you claim responsibility for this kill, then you will do the same for the mess that created it.”
Martje spied the overturned dish rack and besides the rat and severed tail, there was nothing else that required her attention. She had cleaned the chief of the confusion before the trapper had arrived. “What mess?” she scoffed, but the moment she said it, the grin on the giant’s face told her of her blunder in asking.
A flick of his blade, and the rope tied to the wall holding the pan rack along the ceiling was cut. The various iron implements fell to the ground with a clatter. He willing to allow the cook her small conquest, though it had been partially his, but she had been ungrateful where at least some gratitude was due. Had she said her thanks as she ought to have done, he might have considered a fellowship with her, thinking her finally capable of esteeming him as everyone else in the keep did, but she had proven herself unworthy of his association, and his plaguing of her was to begin afresh. He went into the larder, ignoring Martje’s swearing assertions, took a large slice of chocolate cake from his shelf, and trailed its crumbs from the larder to the oven room and out into the main hall, leaving her to clean up after him as she always had done.
Shayne had seen the whole affair from his place at the entrance to the yeoman’s quarter. He had been astonished- and pleasantly- to see his wife submit to the giant. He had hoped such a day would come when Martje would forget her petty squabbles and admit to the giant’s being worthy of some veneration, if not as a celebrated hunter, warrior, scout, and hero of Frewyn then as Boudicca’s mate. Families, especially one as large as the Donnegal clan, must have their disagreements, but Martje had forever quarreled with everyone who was not one of her younger brothers: Shirse was too serious, Breigh and Cabhrin had moved too far away, Aiden and Adaoire were too much of themselves, and no one who was not Lochan or Sheamas was deserving of a remonstrance. He owned himself happy that someone other than her two eldest brothers had the audacity to confront her, and though he was able to reproach her with his own calm arguments, it was never enough to silence her on any account. She must be astounded into stillness, and after a chuckle to himself at seeing the giant purposely crumble some cake over the kitchen entrance, Shayne approached the shouting cook and said, “Dhobheal,thu bhean hashiff.”
Had the slight come from anyone else, Martje should have battered them with her skillet, but as it had come from Shayne and with such smiling assurance, she could only be silent and stare at him, half in anger and half in amazement.
“Aye, I like it when you’re angry,” said Shayne, pinching her round cheek. “Let’s clean this up and have a supper out. I’m dyin’ of hunger somethin’ terrible here.”
It had been a most wretched day of trials for her that upon hearing her husband’s offer, Martje relinquished all her lingering contention and began to cry. It was a soft sob, one that Shayne allowed to endure for a few minutes, but once the rat and its tail were buried outside, the pots and pans replaced, and the rope to the rack restored, Shayne came to embrace his wife and wipe away the few remaining tears. Her excellence in housekeeping had been destroyed, she had been humbled, and she fell into her husband’s open arms, declaring that she should never again request the giant’s assistance and call the trapper every week that she might never have cause to renege her avowal.