Story of the Day: Coming Home
While coming home through Marridon's mountains for Damson is an unspeakable pleasure, for others it is an absolute tragedy:
Clouds careened across the azurine expanse, painting the sky in feathered brushstrokes, and the trees triumphed in evergreen, their canopies tinged with the blush of amber light, their bare boughs dusting the forest below with a fuscous blaze. Spruce and cypress stood together in defiance of the rambling mountains, their numbers a calamity on the cascading downs, offending the oak and elder, the white birch peeling in regret of the season, the beech and walnut bidding fond farewell to their legacy lining the ground. Smoke billowed in a wealth of curls from the chimneys of distant cabins, the scent of hickory rising from their flues, the nidor of meats and buteraceous pies wafting across the hills, which bore signs of woodsmen pollarding and coppicing the thick wood. The delicate brume of rime rising caromed off the canvas of the mountains, stumbling down stone and stile. The Marridonian verdure flushede in the height of its alteration, boasting varying hues, dancing in full animation under the power of a gentle wind and setting sun, the vales and valleys blanketed with a crowning iridescence, the last glimmer of day glancing off the surface of nearby streams. The glow of afternoon was giving way to the shades of gloaming, intimating autumn and nature’s great sloom, the petrichor of dampened soil hiding under decaying leaves and clinging to recent rains, the warmth resgining itself to the ascendency of coming frost. All this, seen under a brilliant sky, with the castle in the far distance a mere fragment looming on the horizon, the gentle crepitation of branches creaking in the wind, the gleam of the nacrous guttation on the trodden grass, the sculsh of sillage, the sight of swallows skimming the skies, worked its powers on Damson’s heart, and the knight was silent and his sensibilities quite surmounted.
“…I am home..” was all he could offer, his voice oppressed by a wealth of sensations he could not govern. He would suffer to say more, but he was feeling too much, his mind in a flurry of limerance. It was too much sublimity, too much splendour, too much of everything he had been used to covet as a proud Marridonian: the nation under its hour of grandeur, the mountains making a glorious display of a Marridon autumn’s opulence, a season that had always bid favourable for the young knight, and Damson could only gape and and welter in his aching reverie, his lip quivering, his eyes misting over with tears.
“A prospect to fill volumes indeed,” Danaco announced, wholly gratified. He took a deep inhale, relishing in the sweet gales, the delicate scent of heather, the view of the rowans being weighed down by birds. “How unconquerable it is. I am absolutely overpowered. Do glory in it while the sun is out.”
Danaco exhaled and stood with a defiant aspect, his hands on his hips, his features proud, his stature tall, Rannig raised his features to the sky and allowed the gentle breeze to pour over him, and Bartleby cowered behind the giant, holding his hat to his head.
“Why must there be all this wind?” he lamented.
“We are in the mountains, Bartleby,” said Rannig.
“Here is testimony enough to Marridon’s glory and all you can think of is wind. My friend, you are ungracious. Do look at it, Bartleby,” Danaco entreated, his aspect all devotion and fondness. “Is not she beautiful? Is not Marridon loveliness itself?”
A midge had found its way into Bartleby’s nose, and the old man was whirling about, with his forefinger up one nostril while he was desperately trying to blow out of the other. “Confounded disease-carrying parasite—I am not a swallow! You have no business being trapping in my nose.” He snuffed. “No business at all!”
“Well, you are rather caprine betimes, with your nasal awns bristling out. I did tell you to trim some months ago when the hair began to flutter in the wind. You are grown a mighty forest since then.”
“I’m not very well sticking a razor up my nose.”
“You should have commissioned Rannig to do it. He is an exemplary barber. Only look how he has carried away my whiskers.”
“I have no interest in pogonotrophy. I only want this midge out of my nose.”
“You might crush it, I think, if it is stuck, and then you might clean it out later.”
“What vagary, crushing a thing inside my nose by—Ah!” the old man cried, pressing his finger against the side of his nose.
“Did it start crawlin’ toward yer brain, Bartleby?” asked Rannig caustiously. “I had that once. A midge was so comfortable bein’ in there and all it decided to go further.”
Bartelby took his hand away from his face and examined it. “I think I’ve killed it.”
“You gotta blow yer nose, Bartleby, or its insides will stay in there.”
“Only do not use your handkerchief, Bartleby. It was grown tattered the last time you brandished it.”
“I left it on the ship. It will have to stay where it is until another can be found—and don’t you dare recommend my putting my finger up my nose and shoveling it out, because I know you were going to,” stabbing a finger at Rannig.
“I got a nose pick if you want it, Bartleby-“
“One that you’ve used to excavate your own caverns, no doubt. And if you mean finger when you say nose pick, I have ten of those myself and will be using none.”
“Don’t think even my little finger would fit up there, Bartleby—“
“And you see, Captain? Had I taken your advice and dehedged myself, the infernal midge would have flown up my nose and into my cavities with nary a hitch.”
“Oh, very well. I shall grant you that at least,” was Danaco’s smirking consession. “Your stubbornness has saved you from being infested. Will that do?”
“You might benefit from the same, if you could but be bothered to grow hair in general.”
“I cannot help my glabrous inheritance. There your quarrel is with my anscestors. I did try cultivating a caprine look in my formative years, and I did look famously with a generous tuft at the end of my chin, but all the women in the pleasure houses complained of it. It did chafe apparently, and I keep myself well-groomed and glabrous to show my sensitivity toward the fairer sex. You are far better suited to the look than I am. How you tug on your hairs while you read without injuring yourself astounds me.”
“Once Bartleby was readin’ so intently,” Rannig whispered to Damson, “he pulled on his beard so hard he pulled out his whiskers and fell off his chair.”
He giggled, but Damson could say or do nothing by way of reply, for under the glamour of so fine a prospect, Damson’s consciousness was all for his homeland. In his state of catatonic wonder, he lapsed into musings of a lyrical hue, and surveyed the mountains and issuing countryside as though he had not seen them in many years.