The author of "Tales of Frewyn" is here to share a excerpt of her book with us on her Blog Tour today. I recently reviewed her other book "The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu", and enjoyed it.
The Party Straw
While the chief of the keep was in raptures over their new prince, Kai Linaa was searching for a manner in which to express her artist prowess in the way of a celebration commemorating the birth of a new Brennin. She was sensible of Alasdair’s moderate taste with regard to ceremony and would therefore contrive to keep any commemoration on his family’s account a small one, but in her questioning Martje on the use of the large kitchen, she had discovered that this very day was Shayne’s birthday.
“Aye, I’m doin’ well by my man,” Martje proudly professed. “Makin’ him a cake and a nice dinner and all.”
A birthday party was a prospect Kai Linaa could not look upon with ill-favour, for there was everything to be enjoyed in celebrating a birthday: gifts must be procured and wrapped in fine paper, a theme must be chosen for the celebration itself, accoutrements and ornaments must be made, and there was everything to give Kai Linaa delight in the business. Employing her abilities to titivate the kitchen and make it a haven for festivity became her first object.
She requested that she be permitted to make the celebration on both a accounts a joint one, and Martje enjoying the office of baker wherever she had opportunity to do so thought the scheme more than advisable. She set to work on creating something for everyone to eat while Kai Linaa fluttered away in search of gold paper and fasteners. Party hats must be constructed, decorations must be strewn, and while everyone was otherwise engaged with cooing over the newborn child, she became busy with putting her craftsmanship to use. In a short while, she had made enough curled ribbons and hats for everyone expected at the party, fashioned streamers and animal-shaped garnishings on Dorrin’s account, and brought every item to the kitchen to begin the room’s decoration.
She had just left the kitchen, however, in quest of string with which to tie up the paper patterns along the windows when the Den Asaan entered the oven room to inspect his cake in the larder. He went to the storeroom, ogled his prize for a moment in rapacious reflection, and was to enter the training yard when the site of a strange article he had never before seen stopped him: a violet straw fashioned in the shape of a butterfly lay aside on the table. There was a small pile of similar items beside the object, but this one, larger and better made than the rest, seemed to be beckoning his attention. He regarded it with circumspection at first, remarking its pleasant shape and obnoxious colours, and was inclined to leave it alone but something in the craftsmen ship drew him to scrutinize it further. The likeness of the butterfly was well-contrived, the straw did not lose its use from being bent in various directions, and upon the whole there seemed to be great care taken in the item’s creation. He could not wonder at who had made it, as no one else in the world but Kai Linaa would think to make everything adorable and vibrant, but as he examined it, he found himself drawing closer to it quite against his will. It was there on the table mocking his sensibilities with its disgusting shape and offensive colour, lying still as though it were begging to be taken up and coddled for its attractiveness. A hand unconsciously reached out to touch it but was instantly retracted. He must not venture to hold something so charming. A ruthless Den Asaan should never be mistaken as one who is easily charmed, but beauty in any form would have its way and must be admired. It lay there, its colourful and motionless existence paining him; such a well-crafted item going unnoticed but by him. This was not to be endured; attention must be paid. Lift me, it called to him, lift me and caress me.
And lift it he did.
“That one was made for you, Den Asaan,” said Kai Linaa as she entered the kitchen from the main hall. She had seen the entire performance of feigning neglect from her place at the doorway and had waited until the giant had succumbed to catch the end of the spectacle.
Rautu instantly denied all claim to the object. He thought to toss it onto the pile of decorations but soon found himself unable to part with it. He twirled momentarily between his fingers to observe the full shape it made in the bending of the light. It was exceptionally made, and he now considered it a shame to use it and waste its magnificence when it could otherwise remain untouched.
“I know you like your party straw, Den Asaan,” Kai Linaa giggled into her hands, watching the giant marvel at so small a thing.
He ignored her laughter and went to the commons to place the artwork in the commons where it should be otherwise safe from others and he would be spared the derision of his admiration when the commander entered the kitchen in time to see the sense of wonderment prevailing Kai Linaa’s countenance.
“I am aware that many consider him to be a ruthless beast incapable of deep considerations or profound feelings,” the commander said to Kai Linaa, “but any who should accuse him of such could not be more mistaken. He is a great admirer of ability in any form it might take, should it express itself on the battlefield or in the intricacies of a well-made straw. It is all art to him, and he must appreciate it wherever it is to be found.” The commander smiled at her mate’s thoughtful consideration of the item, watching him hold it up to the sunlight and twirling it about as he walked through the yard with a slow gait and mesmerized expression.Kai Linaa said nothing of the event but accepted it as the highest compliment accorded: that something she had made to be a trivial travesty of the Den Asaan’s harsh sensibilities should have impressed him so much.