My Birthday Story
Today is my birthday. Here is a story in consequence.
|A WIP of Bou and Rautu|
A very few days after Ailineighdaeth was the commander’s birthday, and though it was a event that must occur every year at the same time, she was always inclined to forget it. Time and exertion might then be saved, gifts might go unpurchased, and everything might go on as it ought to do, her birthday unnoticed and everyone unbothered by her commemorating something as unnecessary as growing one year older. Considering how many years there were left for her to celebrate with her assorted lineage, the celebration of a mere one year seemed so supernumerary as to make the enforced observance a travesty. Her father had done well to escape the throes of superfluous commemoration, and she had endeavored to do the same. The birth of Dorrin and the animation and bustle thereof permitted a disregard of her birthday last year. A few had said their approbations of the day, but a large celebration as there had been the year before was superseded by a celebration for the birth of Frewyn’s prince. Remiss attentions were all her relief, and she had nearly escaped the day unscathed by tidings whereupon entering the kitchen the morning of her birthday she discovered the whole party gathered around the table. Those from Tyfferim were discussing the thaw and frosts in the fields, those from Diras were engaged in talk of Dobhin’s being away in Gallei until the end of the month, and the Haanta of the party were together with the children, allowing them to ramble about wanting to be the first to give the commander her presents. It was a prospect that warmed the commander’s heart, to see everyone, king and countrymen alike, sitting amongst themselves, conferring on small matters in an amiable way, and not one of them noticing her presence. It was a prospect which once seen could not be instantly recovered from: there was joyous quietude, there was a kingdom in the height of serenity, there was all her glory; and she therefore surmised that even if Frewyn must suffer a few more pains to reach the apex of its pleasures, she should never again lament or complain. Here was gift enough for a lifetime regardless how long she should live, and it was only ruined by Martje’s turning around from the oven and shouting a “there she is!” upon seeing her in the doorway.
The commander made a pained sigh and closed her eyes: being rapt with the view she had forgotten to escape. She had been given time enough to abscond into the mess hall or the barracks, but she had been too captivated by her father speaking to her brother and Shayne, by the twins sharing their “oh, ayes” and depraved guffaws, by the children hopping up and down and tugging at Hathanta’s robes, by Tomas and Aghneis nodding to Alasdair and Carrigh, by Calleen and Mrs Cuineill choosing husbands and wives for the children. Everything that was once tranquil and sanguine was now jovial uproar, and she pined that she could not flee without offending the party. She stood at the door as everyone sang out their felicitations, some in Old Frewyn and some in Common, and she waited there as though hoping that they were hallooing at someone behind her, someone else who was a commander or named Boudicca. Her father’s coming toward her and contriving to escort her to the table secured her fears: she would be forced to join them and be stared at and spoken to for the remainder of the morning, and though this might not have been a horrid office to many, for one who disliked her family doing so much on her account when they did so little for themselves was wretchedness. The copious amounts of biscuits and eggs and meat that had been prepared in her honour, the confounded cake resting on the range, everyone’s bright eyes and smiling faces: it was all done with the readiest good humour, as though they had been waiting make such a celebration the entire year. Their exultation was her compunction, and the only hope she had of this morning ending in a less embarrassing light is if they should forego singing the Old Frewyn hymn in honour of the day. They made the allowance for her, but that did not save her from being dragged to the table by her father.
“This is all rather unnecessary,” she protested in a fevered hush as Jaicobh neared.
Jaicobh stood before her, screening the commander’s view of the table. “Aye, darlin’. It maybe unnecessary for you, but I think celebratin’ your birthday is more for them than for anyone else. You know Martje’s gotta make somethin’, everyone’s gotta fuss, and most important: everyone wants some of that cake.” Jaicobh eyed the large cake on the range. “It’s chocolate too,” he said with mock solemnity. “You know how we feel about chocolate in this family, darlin’.”
The commander peered around her father to descry Rautu hovering dangerously near the range, spying the creases in the chocolate icing with stern conviction. “I daresay my mate doesn’t need a reason to eat that cake,” she smirked.
“No, but we need someone to cut it.” Jaicobh gave her a sagacious smile. “C’mon to the table, Bou. I think you know how to use a knife pretty well.”Her father’s kindness and easy manner had dissipated her resolve. Had he been any less convincing or obliging, she might have made the usual feminine excuses of headache or mild fatigue, but as the toast and butter was growing cold, the cake must be ate, and gifts must be given, she followed her father to the table before he should be compelled to use any more machinations in his repertoire