[Story] Winter Veil Gifts

[[ I did some of these last year, little mini Winter Veil stories about some of my characters. I was short on time today, but here are two! I will try to finish more tomorrow. ]]

“How does it look from down there?” Terellion called down to Tik, who was holding the ladder steady. They’d already hung evergreen boughs on the school’s exterior, and put the little lit trees in pots in the practice rooms and bedrooms. All that remained to be finished was the ballroom, but it had to be perfect.

“It looks fine,” sighed Tik, impatient to return to the kitchen. In addition to the evening’s regular meal, he still had preparations for the ball to finish.

Terellion frowned, and adjusted one of the velvet banners again. He didn’t want it to look fine, he wanted it to look perfect. Still, fussing with it wouldn’t make it look any better at this point, and he didn’t want to test Tik’s patience much further. Besides, he had to wrap his gifts. It felt a little strange, taking money from the drawer, though Hethurin had said many times that he could take as much as he wanted. He had only once before, but that was to buy the supplies for decorating. This time, he’d taken a bit more and bought two fine velvet dresses for his younger sisters. For his mother he’d found a bracelet set with beautiful red stones — he’d hoped it would be enough to distract her from the news he’d bring with him. Hethurin had proven a bit more difficult to shop for; everything he could possibly want, he already had. He had at least one wardrobe full of robes, each more elaborate and expensive than the last, and an entire wall full of books. Terellion didn’t want to buy him something he already had that many of. In the market he wandered past the shops, hoping to find inspiration in one of the windows — and he did. One of the shoe shops featured a pair of boots like he’d never seen, of fine thin leather dyed a vibrant blue, and embroidered with beads and gold thread. He thought that Hethurin would surely like those. If he liked them enough, maybe he could ask the shoemaker to make them in other colors too, to match all of his robes.

And there was another surprise too, one that Tik was helping to keep hidden in the kitchen. Months ago, Hethurin had seen a fancy cake in the shape of a dragonhawk, but Terellion hadn’t the first clue how to make something like that. But with the help of some more experience, and reading several books on cake techniques, he was close to finishing. The body was built of cake, the wings and tail sculpted of marzipan. All that was left was the final layer of icing and the final details. Terellion had to admit that it probably wasn’t quite as good as the ones in the books, but he felt it would still make a stunning entrance at the ball.

Though he wasn’t exactly certain where things stood, the Confessor believed a gift would be appropriate. Of course, finding the right gift was proving difficult. It had been a great many years since he’d had occasion to go searching for one, and in spite of all their time spent together, he didn’t feel that he knew Lani very well. This was largely because the conversation always drifted back to work, no matter how it started. He was just as guilty of this as she was, but during their last visit he’d made an effort. It was supposed to be a social visit, after all, but they ended up discussing the new office that Lani planned to build in town. He’d suggested that she build a small room where she could stay with overnight patients, or if the hour grew too late to travel home. And then she’d suggested that she could add a small office for him to see clients. Normally he went to visit them at their home, but maybe if he had a proper office in a new, fancy building, they would be more likely to come to town.

A dress would be too much; besides, she’d only just bought one for the ball. He wasn’t sure what size she would wear either, and it would be awfully embarrassing to give one too large or too small. He thought perhaps a decorative mirror would be nice, but he thought it might give the wrong idea — implying that she was vain, or didn’t look after her appearance well enough. He thought a book would be useful, but she already had so many and he didn’t want to buy one that she already owned. Jewelry was out too, at this early and uncertain stage. At last he came upon a solution, at one of the jewelry shops — a fine silver hair clasp, set with deep purple stones. It would — he hoped —  match the dress that she’d bought for the ball, and she would be able to wear it that night. It was both beautiful and practical. He thought that Lani would be suitably impressed.



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