Maith Ailineighdaeth: Happy Holidays
Maith Ailineighdaeth (Mayh-Al-i-nei-deh-) and happy holidays! Today is the beginning of the Frewyn new year! Ailineighdaeth (Old Frewyn for rebirth) is the day that celebrates the Gods' return to the kingdom. They left their children in order for them to learn about themselves, and after First King Allun succeeded in uniting all the disjointed clans to make one nation, the Gods reappeared in the form of the constellations. Frewyns began their new calendar and called the year 01 Clans Unitied. 1000 years later, Frewyn still celebrates the return of their Gods, and from sunset on the 24th of the 12th month to sunset the following day, they revel in all the gaeities that their biggest celebration of the year supplies.
One tradition of the holiday which everyone looks forward to is receiving the king's blessing. Good King Dorrin's blessing was excessively sought after during his long reign, and everyone, even his servants and sons, received a blessing tailored just for them. Here is Vyrdin's first blessing from Frewyn's lauded king. Enjoy!
The music in the hall soon diminished and the light from the surrounding sconces began to dim. The early dinner ate- principally by Draeden- the wine drunk, the dancing over, and everyone looking their merriest, the celebration in the Grand Hall was thus concluded, and everyone was left to celebrate the remainder of the holiday as they would. Many lumbered toward the servants’ quarter, where the celebration was to continue with shameless carousing and high revel; some returned to the Royal Parlour, where the late dinner for Frewyn’s gentry was to be held; and others returned to their homes, where private celebrations of a calmer hue to were to succeed, to be spent with friends and family, all sat round a wide table and before a warm fire, playing traditional games of Boghans and Ailimentau, recanting the Frewyn fables and legends, and delighting in a few sips of homemade ales and fine wines. Everyone was welcome to remain in the Great Hall until the early morning hours, to enjoy a sobering night under the auspices of honeyed wheat and mulled cider, and all were invited to return the following morning, where everyone might indulge in a traditional holiday breakfast of poached eggs, smoked bacon, Westren blue potatoes, and cream teas before enjoying the last hours of the holiday by sunlight in the square. All this and more the king promised as he stood on the threshold and said his goodevenings to his subjects, thanking them for their attendance and wishing earnestly to see them again on the morrow. He would have ordered the celebration to continue well into the late evening, but he was tired and wanting to be alone with his family as much as his subjects wished to be with theirs. Would that all of Frewyn celebrate together with him and his son for the entirety of the holiday, but it was a selfish ambition, one that granted him boundless jubilation as he imparted his parting benediction to all those who honoured him with their good company.
Vyrdin had resolved on returning to his room for the remainder of the evening. It was still well before midnight, but he had outdone himself with felicity and merriment, and he was well settled to resign himself to his ebbing somnolence, granted by the irregular pleasures of good wine and an excellent meal. He had maintained designs on venturing toward the square for a few minutes, eager to see the lights and all the gaieties which belonged to Frewyn’s new year, but he felt that he had endured his share of happiness for one evening and should not try for more. It would be wrong to be too expectant; he had already been supplied with more generosity and elation than he felt was merited. He was in danger of being too happy, and he checked his smiles and his desire to visit the square lest his shameless exultation appear a something like impropriety before his benefactor. He came to the entrance of the Great Hall, one of the last to quit the room with Draeden and Bryeison behind him, and said his humble thanks to the king for convincing him to come and for hosting the most wondrous event in his recent remembrance, one that had made its way to his heart and must make its way into his memory thereafter.
“Join everyone in the servants’ hall,” said the king, with friendly smiles. “There will be another meal prepared, and I have it on the best authority that theirs is the most revelrous of all the celebrations in the keep.”
“My father means that he has seen their carousing himself and prefers it to any other celebration in the kingdom, though he doesn’t always have occasion to visit,” said Draeden.
The king was all abashed pride. “I enjoy seeing my people at their happiest. Go, Vyrdin, if you will. You need not join them if you had designs on going to the square, but theirs is a celebration worth attending even if only to watch for a few moments.”
“We’ll go with you, I think,” Draeden declared. He made a short pandiculations and then rubbed his stomach. “I have more than enough room for another desert.”
“You will eat the desert and then eat all the deserts left behind by everyone dancing,” Bryeison simpered.
“Which reminds me,” said Dorrin, eyeing his son. “I will have to order another three dozen pasties when Ruta returns tomorrow morning.” Dorrin raised a brow, his trim beard bristled, and with a slight hem gave Draeden a poignant glare.
Draeden curled into himself under his father’s reproachful gaze, and with his hands behind his back and head low, he murmured a quiet, “I am very sorry, father. I don’t mean to be so famished, but captaincy training has absolutely ruined me for manners and has only made me even more ravenous than before.”
A shake of the head, a wistful sigh, and the king acquitted his son all his faults of manners and propriety. He felt for him, felt for his inability to govern his insatiable appetite, and worried for him, thinking that the more arduous his training should become, the more his uncontrollable appetence should command him. He caressed his son’s features and mussed his hair with true paternal affection. “I must attend the Baronet to his carriage,” said he, addressing all three of them, and the turning to Vyrdin, he added, “I leave you to enjoy the rest of the keep.” With one fluid and kindly gesture, he drew Vyrdin close to him, kissed his forehead through the wreck of his curls, and with a most heartfelt embrace said, ”Mho Bhennacht, the season’s many blessings, child.”
A wealth of sensations burst upon Vyrdin the moment the king drew his arms about his timbre frame. His heart seized, his eyes flared, his shoulders tensed, and though he was not alarmed by the king’s displays of kindness, he was not yet inured to his public displays of parental affection. That the king of Frewyn should suffer to take an urchin into his arms and kiss him and grant his personal benediction without reserve- it was a terrific delight to him. He froze under the throes of his own tribulations, wondering whether it were prudent for him to return the gesture, but before he could contrive what to say or what to do in reply, the king withdrew and released him from his hold. “Thank you, Your Majesty,” he said softly, half amazement, half mortification, and as Dorrin moved to grant his benediction to his son, Vyrdin inclined his head in solemn reverence, his nest of unkempt curls tumbling over his features to screen the tears in his eyes, and was silent from sanguine humiliation.