Story for the Day: Rautu's Birthday P1
While the Great Hall was being cleared of the day’s festive remnants, Kai Linaa was secretly conniving at continuing the celebration later in the evening. Though the Haanta did not celebrate birthdays with all the gaiety, the gifts, and the bustle that such a commemoration usually required, she, with all her powers of merriment, decided that Rautu must have a cake. He might deny an acknowledgement of his birthday in the ways of supernumerary knitted socks and sweaters, might dislike a public feast though he could not decline a handsomely roasted boar, but cake and certainly chocolate cake, one carefully tailored to his tastes with dark chocolate icing and teeming fondant within, could never be refused. Here would be Kai Linaa’s triumph: a fresh cake from Diras Delights, all made for Rautu’s delectation, delivered personally and done in quiet manner, to secure his approbation.
Her schemes, however, were a little thwarted whereupon arriving at the door to the Den Asaan’s favourite establishment she discovered the door locked. She held her hand to her brow and peered through the darkened window with a narrow looked: there was no one about. The usual condensation in the corner of the window was missing, the warmth from the ovens billowing from the cracks in the threshold was gone, and all the animation of the hastening baker’s maid was nowhere. She was bemused for a moment and looked about for some explanation of this absence. How can they be gone for the holiday? she thought, her eyes busily roaming the front window, and there, in the midst of her confounded musings, she observed a small sign that said: Will be open again on Gods Day. Kai Linaa chided the sign. What a horror, what an overthrow of her plan. It was nonsense to be closed at what must be their most rewarding time of year, but she resigned herself to the notion that they had probably made enough to close for a few days and all their reward must be in spending time with their respective families for the holiday.
She scoffed and stamped her foot. If she was to have her designs fulfilled, she must go to the other bakery across the district, the one she had so much maligned since her incident involving a cupcake and a Hakriyaa of certain distinction. She knew they would be open and must hope that they would remember her enough not to make the same mistake twice, for though Otenohi’s character was wily and viciously cunning, the Den Asaan was rarely in a humour to be making visits for poor service. She marched across the capital with high strides and clenched fists, humming the melody to the Sending of the Amghari, determined to have them conform to her machinations.
The Marridon bakery was open, as she had conceived, and though their staff was diminished due to the holiday, the Marridon tradition of faithlessness had done well for them in having all the last minute sales made by devout Frewyns clearing their shelves. She entered, still storming in the same style, and when she came to the counter, and regarded the owner with a resolute pout and declared, “I would like one large chocolate cake to be delivered to the castle commons tonight.” Her voice decreased in ferocity as she spoke, and was so small by the end of her phrase that she said the last few words in barely a whisper. She grew shy in the midst of her pronouncement when she realized that the owner had not remembered her: his smiling eye and beaming countenance expressed his ingenuous delight at seeing her rather than his consternation, and to save herself from the humiliation of her initial indictment, she added a small, “please?” at the end of her order, gave the direction to the owner, paid him, and scurried away directly, enjoying a few consoling inhalations once she was beyond the door. She hurried back to the keep, hoping that no one should question her brief absence- least of all Unghaahi, who should scorn the notion of cake for anyone on any occasion- and when she returned to be met with only a smirk and a raised brow on the commander’s side, she owned her secret designs safe from discovery.
She was wrong, however, in thinking that no one had seen her: from his perch in the crenel of the front battlements, the Den Asaan had observed her entire journey from the front of the keep to the market district and back again. When she left without her mate, he conjectured the reason for her errand: she would not be deterred from buying cake, and Unghaahi’s pleading entreaties for everyone’s health should hinder her in that regard. He had watched her with a tapered gaze and tensed mouth, prepared to stalk her movements if she walked far enough out of his range of sight, but as she had only crossed Diras Bridge and walked from one end to the other, he was able to see the entire mission from beginning to end. He humphed to himself and almost smiled, permitting himself the fortuitous quirk of the lip when considering what he was soon to be in his possession. His mind conjured the image of a perfect cake, and he hummed in delightful expectation of its arrival. He leapt down from his perch and returned to the commons to sit at the door and await his gift.