Story for the Day: Rautu's Birthday P4
|An awesome picture from The Rat story that Twisk just finished|
Anxious that the cake had never arrived, Kai Linaa paced the length of the main hall, ever spying the entrance with a vexed look and a craned neck while keeping within sight of her door in the guest quarter. She wished to remain tolerably close to keep Unghaahi’s suspicions from impeding the delivery, but when two hours had gone and no delivery was made, she began to agonize in a frantic fit, proclaiming her ill-luck, reproaching herself for having ordered from the same bakery that had so slighted her before. Why had she done it when she knew she ought to have asked Martje to bake and dress the cake for her? He would have eaten it if she had made a point of its being a gift, and now he would have nothing for his birthday. Surely the commander had something planned, but that was always a private celebration between them, and here she wanted to do something more for him. She was growing too nervous and aggrieved, she would have to visit the latrine tower for the fourth time, and just as she conceded to run across the peristyle to relieve herself again, she stopped and thought that perhaps the delivery had been made during one of her various journeys.
She went instead toward the gallery in hopes of finding the commander in the adjacent training yard. She found her about to enter the library, and rushed toward her with all the alacrity her full feeling could provide, shouted, “Commander! Wait!”
Descrying her approach from the corner of her eye, the commander had stopped well before Kai Linaa’s had begun her hailing. She had an idea of what this attack might be concerning and therefore only smirked and turned to her friend, waiting for her to blurt the whole of business at once.
“Commander,” Kai Linaa panted, dancing about on her toes, “have there been any deliveries made to the keep?”
“There have been a few since the afternoon feast has done,” the commander said, raising her brows. She would have revealed her part in the particular delivery, but to see Kai Linaa hop about in small sideways strides was endearing, and she would not soon lose such an amusement. “Are you waiting for a particular parcel?”
“Shall I ask why you’re so industriously hopping about?”
“Oh, no reason,” said Kai Linaa, laughing affectedly.
The commander would torment her no longer, and simpering, said, “If you’re awaiting the cake, I brought it to the kitchen while you were walking cross-legged to the latrine.”
The instant that Kai Linaa heard the word kitchen pronounced, she started and ran across the training yard to the kitchen. I hope Martje didn’t touch it, was all her worry, but when she came to the window and saw the giant sitting at the table with large chocolate crumbs blanketing his lips, she sighed in partial relief. Her gift had been given, and he was now triumphing in her efforts. When she observed, however, that there were two different cakes, one in each hand, which he was so pleasurably delighting in, she began to think that there must have been some mistake. I only paid for one. She shrugged and resigned herself to feeling that Rautu had received his due gifts for the day and entered the kitchen to inquire if he were enjoying his presents. She beamed and oscillated on her toes with her hands behind her back, and greeted him with an innocent and melodious, “Happy Birthday, Den Asaan.”
Rautu stopped eating and gave her a slow and penetrating look.
“I know that your birthday is tomorrow,” she continued, dancing toward him, “but since Frewyns begin celebrating holidays and birthdays the night before, I thought you should have cake now.”
“Our people do not celebrate the days of our birth,” he rejoined callously, and then, as though softened by his appeased voracity, said in a more feeling hue, “but I am honored that you considered it and gave me a suitable gift.” With a moment’s reflection, he remarked to two different cakes, each of them half eaten, and held out the more malleable one for her take.
Astonished by his generosity- though it was a half-eaten cake- and struck by his compliment, Kai Linaa forgot her base needs and took the cake from his hand with a bow upon receipt. “Thank you, Den Asaan,” she said in a tone of wonder.
The giant made a curt hum.
As Kai Linaa was about to join him at the table, Martje trundled in from the yeoman’s quarter. She had just been to see Shayne and arrange about their evening visit to Tyfferim with the whole of the MacDaede and Donnegal family and had come to dress the cake before leaving for the countryside. Martje said her hellos to Kai Linaa, but they were halfhearted and confused as she noted what Kai Linaa was holding in her hands. It was impossible that she had taken it from the oven and had misconstrued its being for her, but the giant had made no sounds or looks in her direction where he usually would have scowled and harrumphed, suggesting his satiation at having ate the chief of the cake.
“Where’s my cake gone, monster?” Martje said in an accusatory manner.
Rautu made her no answer. He only regarded the last morsel of his cake and pointed to Kai Linaa.
“Sure, you’re not foolin’ no one. I know she didn’t take that from the oven.”
“It is my birthday,” he declared, licking his fingertips. “You owed me tribute and I have shared it.”
Kai Linaa was about to assert that birthdays did not command acknowledgment when Martje cried out with, “You can’t just go about eatin’ other people’s-“
Rautu silenced her with a raised hand. “You will forgive me and I will consider your khostaas as a gift.”
The giant thought himself the victor of the argument by Martje’s silence, but her marching away with a broad grin gave Kai Linaa the feeling that the cake had been baked and strategically placed to be stolen. She returned it, therefore, to the Den Asaan, claiming that as it was his birthday he must have all the cake he could, and when it was taken from her with a nod of thanks and happy eyes, she went to the latrine tower with the odd feeling that Rautu might be joining her there ere long.