Story for the Day: Staying in Bed
Suffering from a hideous head cold and still not over Sir Terry's passing, I can understand Alasdair's desire to never leave is bed if he can help it. Unfortunately, he cannot help it.
It was Ailneighdaeth morning, and while Breigh and Cabhrin were on their way to Tyfferim, and Aiden and Adaoire were taking their children to Lochan’s farm in Farriage, everyone at the castle in Diras was rousing from a peaceful and much needed rest. The demands of yesterday andall its subsequent enjoyments had been just as agreeable as they had been fatiguing, and after propinating and accubating, delighting in good company and excellent music, and enjoying all the usual regalia of the holiday, after a few postprandial drinks and an hour or two spent under the dominion of the bonfire, everyone was glad to find their beds and just as glad to remain in them well after sunrise. An hour after dawn, when the sun had mounted the horizon, illuminating the warp and weft of mares tales whipping across a celestial loom, Alasdair and Carrigh gently roused, rapt in one another’s quiet convenience, the felth of one another’s flesh as their arms rest in a languid mesh, their eyes opening and focusing to the sight of Gaumhin’s osprey circling over the keep, their ears attuning to the sound of the children in the main room of the royal quarters beyond the door, clamouring over who was to be down to the kitchen first. The scent of Martje’s apple tarts pervaded the keep, the fading scent of cinders clinging to the last glow of life lingered in the stones, the clank of pans and pots resounding in joyous reboation from somewhere in the kitchen; the psithurism of Aghatha’s skirts, complementing the rustling from the copse of RoeGaumhin lining the nearby field whispered in silken secrets as she swept in and out of the room; Harrigh’s gentle hullos drifted in guffawing tones and echoed across the garden, amusing every ear within hearing, rising against the purl and pobble of the melting water in the courtyard fountain; the clarisonous clangs emanating from Tomas’ anvil grew louder as they progressed, resonating from the smithy in rhythmic stentoration, complementing the plangent peal of the bells emanating from the church: a symphonial sundry of sounds and voices impelling the castle into gradual animation and out of its immaculate tranquility. A cry from Gaumhin’s osprey caromed through the halls, the raptor banked and dove for its prey, Gaumhin’s broad brogue carried through the far field in praise of his companion, and Alasdair turned over, croosling and draping his limbs ponderously over his wife.
“Mornmmn,” he miffled, nestling his nose in his wife’s nape.
Carrigh simpered and her shoulder curled unconsciously toward her ear to defend her neck. “Good morning, sire,” said she laughingly. “And you’re tickling me.”
Alasdair managed a unintelligible “mmmff” and tried-- or rather pretended-- to fall back asleep, caring little for whether he was titillating his wife and thinking only of how much he loved her. Slumbering in the crib of her shoulder, his mouth grazing her complexion, her warmth rising against his cheek was all his rapturous infatuation, and he would rather be lying with her, rapt in the throes of conjugal felicity, than be anywhere else at present. The blissful confusion of wakefulness soon waned, a pleasance loomed, his wife’s mellifluous scent leading him to the space between conscious and somnolent musings, his thoughts drifting toward her generous vale, her timbre frame, her exquisite aspect, her obliging manner. Carrigh: here was all his wistful exultation, and the image of her soon drew him into a gentle doze, his conscience beginning to sloom, his mind roving and drifting, petering out into the expanse of joyous oblivion. Carrigh, he breathed. An insensible smile wreathed his lips, and Alasdair felt himself being drawn down into the chasm which divides all reverie and all reason. The sun illuminated the dark corners of his waking mind, lighting conjurations of his wife lying in a cradle of pearls and petals, her skin shimmering opalescent, her slender form languishing under a raised arm. Carrigh, he exhaled, and he slipped silently into the conjuration, drowning himself in all her charms and all her pleasures.
Sleep, however, and the pleasant invocations that accompanied it were soon thwarted by the sounds of Dorrin and his cousins, asking whether their Uncle Alasdair and Aunt Carrigh were awake. A few reluctant nications, and Alasdair was shaken from his reverie. The image of Carrigh drifting gloriously in nacreous triumph, faded into the mire of reluctant restiveness, and while Alasdair must admit himself to be awake, he decided to keep his eyes closed, desperately clinging to the last intimations of his wife whilst holding tight against her.
“…Why?” was all he could mumble, his voice muted as his lips pressed against Carrigh’s neck.
“Because they’re children, sire,” was Carrigh’s smiling answer.
“Because they’re children,” Alasdair repeated, in a monotonous drone.
“And we love them.”
“…And we love them.”
“And they need our attention.”
“...But not so early on Ailineighdaeth morning.”
“Especially then, sire.”
“Especially then.” Alasdair groaned and raised his head, and then, after moping at his wife, he flouted and buried his face against her chest. “But not just yet.”
Carrigh smiled and browsed her husband’s features with her fingertips. He was not serious in his professions of wanting to spend the morning without the children; she knew him to well as a husband and a father to question his powers of paternal kindness, and the instant that the children were desirous of his attention, he would give it with all the eagerness and a good grace that his sense of devotedness and responsibility could admit, but he was so elated, so composed and undisturbed, that Carrigh felt herself evil in having him surrender his right to marital felicity in favour of humouring the children. She leaned and whispered in his ear, “You have about ten seconds before they knock on the door.”
Alasdair folded himself over his wife and kissed her cheek. “Ten seconds of splendid ecstasy.”
It was actually five seconds before there was a knock at the door. Alasdair jolted, and the question of whether Uncle and Aunt Majesty were awake out rang out in conclamant voices from the main room.
A decided negative was all Alasdair could consider, though it was given with half-hearted conviction.
There was a momentary silence. The children discussed how it was that their uncle was asleep if he could answer them, Alasdair groaned into his pillow, and Carrigh smiled and sat up in bed.
“It’s still the holiday, Alasdair,” was her soft reminder. “We get to spend time with Dorrin, and you don’t have to go to court.”
Alasdair suddenly looked all the serenity he felt. “I know,” he whispered, grinning to himself in high glee. No court, no Rosse, no vile outfits to pine over, no polite aspersions to combat, no snoaching voices to listen to or diatribes to deflect; he had only to hold his darling wife, look forward to a day being spent in the company of family and friends, and revel in the apricity of the morning light shining numinous through the window.