Story for the Day: Rautu's Birthday P3
He raced down the main hall, silently begging for his cake to be unsoiled by her hands. Thrusting aside the scullery maids and yeomen about who were clearing away the accoutrements yet lingering in the great hall, Rautu hastened to the kitchen, and there, upon the table was a chocolate cake, the perfect rotunda of icing unblemished, its top sprinkled with chocolate shavings and its bottom a delicate chocolate crust. It was here, it was safe, and the giant must be satisfied. His chest surged with consoling breaths but his distress soon returned when he observed Martje standing at the entrance to the larder with a knife in her hands and wry grin on her round face.
“Did you take that cake out of its box?” was Rautu’s furious and terrified inquiry.
“Aye,” said Martje, sauntering complacently toward him, “and I breathed on it too.”
He quickly inspected the cake for any imperfections: there were no finger marks, no depressions, and no condensation prints of any kind. He huffed and stabbed his finger at her button nose. “You are lying,” he roared.
“Sure, I’m lyin’. I only wanted to see you panic a bit.” She beamed with insidious glee. “The commander took it from the box and said it was for your birthday so I thought I’ll be nice and not lick it.”
“Away from what is mine, Mhojhudenri,” he said, waving her away from the cake with a look of disgust.
Martje shooed him off, gesturing with her knife. “Don’t worry, monster. I don’t like those Marridon cakes. They don’t even make ‘em with lard or nothin’. Can’t taste as good as one I could make.”
The giant humphed.
“Aye, you can have your lesser cake,” she said, placing the knife on the rack, and reaching down to open the oven door added, “and I’ll bake this one here for me and my Shayne.”
He would not have looked, as he knew the cake was certain to be vanilla or laden with fruit to spite him, but the warm scent of rich chocolate that wafted from the warmed oven when the door was opened obliged him to turn around and remark the double tiered, dense and chocolate encrusted cake sitting within the auspices of the masonry oven. His eyes blazed, his mouth watered, and though the cake in the oven had less garnishings, he was forced to admit that it had excited his interests just as much as the one the table had done. He gave her a disenchanted and angry look, he deliberated, and he began to consider sharing his birthday cake, perhaps giving her a sliver in exchange for half of the one she was currently baking. A sliver of such an exquisitely made cake was worth more than half of the bilge that a baker of her humble consequence could produce. He did not care how much Alasdair professed of her great talents. He saw nothing in her to admire; her plumpness, her perspiring forehead, and dour person proved his internal assertions. She was mocking him, he knew she was, for she would never make a cake so decadent and so unexceptionable were it not to torment him. It was a cake that she made, with her corpulence and perspiration infused within every pore. He could not eat it, he would not, and no matter what protestations she could make toward her cake being the better, he should not scruple to acknowledge which one was more worthy of his delectation. He brooded in silence until he had reached the conclusion of, “This cake was given to me as a gift, and it is therefore superior to yours, Mhojhudenri,” and he sat down to eat it directly while Martje said something about the ingratitude of her japes and left the kitchen, allowing the giant his solitude.
Rautu lifted the cake from its base and began examining it from every side. How he should eat it and where he should bite first soon be became his only concern. He smiled and cooed at it in anticipation, his feet tapped mirthfully at the ground, and as he was about to bite into the bottom of his treat, a sudden notion inundated his mind: it was his birthday. He stopped his bite mid-descent to consider the consequence of such a day. He had never regarded his birthday as anything, as no Haanta had done, for what was it but a baseless commemoration, signifying nothing but another year passed in a life that must have hundreds of subsequent years? To celebrate a rite of passage this Rautu could comprehend, but to make such a ridiculous exhibition of a feast and games and felicitations and song for one inconsequence year was unreasonable. He did well to remember, however, that certain allowances were made on this day in Frewyn: gratuitous gifts were accepted, more cake and chocolate than is advisable for one’s health was permitted to be eaten without remonstration from anyone- here he stopped and ruminated for some time. He thought of allowances and acquittals when the scent of the baking cake confirmed his ideas of mischief.