[Story] Valentine Hearts

[[ Some short Valentine stories based on the little candy hearts in-game. This got longer than I planned so there will be more of these tomorrow! ]]

Sath’alor had come to the city with Gaelardrim, to find him a more suitable bow. The new one wasn’t especially fancy, but it was well-made and the proper size and weight. He’d paid for it, in spite of Gaelardrim’s reluctance, because it was official equipment. He’d have to remember to have some more armor made soon as well. It wouldn’t do to have the new recruits stomping around the forest in heavy plate. Gaelardrim had headed off to the market with his list of building supplies, and promised to meet back at the house later. Sath’alor would have the shooting targets set up by then.

The buildings and stalls of the market were hung with bright pink banners, ribbons and bunches of flowers tied around every post. In the center square, enterprising goblins had set up a stand to sell their wares for the holiday, and it was already drawing a crowd. Sath’alor looked over for a few moments, considering. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to just have a look.

There were two goblins working the stall, one retrieving and wrapping things behind the counter, the other taking money up front. It was the one up front who noticed Sath’alor, flashing him a broad grin that contained a few gold teeth. He had a large gold earring in one of his ears as well, and a ridiculous floppy hat with a zhevra-hide band around it.

“Hey there, friend,” the goblin greeted Sath’alor as he approached the stall. “Looking for something for that special lady in your life?”

“Oh,” Sath’alor said, hesitating. “Well–”

The goblin scurried to the other end of the stall, where piles of satin suits were neatly folded for display. “Special guy?”

Sath’alor shook his head. “No no, it’s a lady, it’s just — we’re not exactly–”

The goblin nodded knowingly. “You need something that’ll impress her, right? Make her notice.”

“That’s it,” said Sath’alor, relieved. Similar to the suits, there were rows of neatly folded silk gowns hung for display behind the counter. From what he could see, there was hardly any fabric to them. He definitely couldn’t get her something like that — not that he’d ever expect to see Nessna in a gown in the first place. There were earrings and rings and necklaces, already nestled in tiny red boxes. He didn’t think those would do either — she couldn’t exactly wear them while on patrol. Besides, they might be a bit much — he didn’t even know if she was interested at all.

“I’ve got just the thing,” said the goblin, ducking back behind the counter. He emerged a moment later with a bouquet of fresh rosebuds. “I got red, pink, yellow and white. Oh, and black. But I don’t recommend the black if yer tryin’ to impress her.”

Would Nessna like flowers? He tapped his chin thoughtfully. The goblin seemed to sense his hesitation, and gestured toward a stack of red heart-shaped boxes. “Tell you what, I’ll throw in a box of these here chocolates for free. Guarantee she’ll like those. Nobody don’t like chocolate.” Sath’alor had to admit that the goblin was probably right about that. But what color would she want? Probably not pink. One of the bouquets stood out from the others; the roses were bright, deep red but the edges were laced with yellow, looking as if they’d been dipped in gold.

“Those ones,” he said, and the goblin gave him the little card to write on. He didn’t know what to write on it, he’d realized that he’d never bought flowers before. He couldn’t just leave it blank, otherwise she might not know who they were from. But he couldn’t write anything -too- forward, because she might not even be interested. And, he realized, Lani was sure to see it.

Dear Nessna, I think you’re perfect and I wanted you to know.  –Sath’alor

“Can you have these delivered?” he asked the goblin. “Sometime in the evening. Around suppertime.” He wrote the address on the back of the card.

“Sure thing,” said the goblin, with a tip of his zhevra hat.

Terellion set the knife down on the counter to look over his work. He’d just finished frosting all of the little cakes he’d made special for the holiday. They had actually been Des’s idea, but she’d only asked for one. Terellion might have gone a little overboard, and made one for everyone at the school, Tik and the new stable lady included. There was also a special one for Hethurin, about four times the size of the others. People were supposed to give gifts for this holiday, though he really didn’t know what he could possibly buy for the Magister. It had just been Winter Veil, and he was reluctant to take any more money out of the drawer so soon. He had to hope the cake would be enough, and the little card he had made with the poem inside. It wasn’t one that he’d written, but he’d found it in one of the books in the library and liked it a lot. Hopefully Hethurin would like it as much.

His technique had got better with all of the practice, and the little cakes were covered in a smooth, even layer of frosting. He’d tried to make them look like the little candies that the goblins sold, a small bag of them was on the bench so that he could refer back. First he’d mixed up a buttercream frosting, then separated it into small batches, each of which he dyed a different pastel hue. There were some pink, some yellow, pale green, and lavender. Then he mixed up a clear glaze with sugar and starch, to make them look shiny. Now he had to pipe the letters on with an icing bag — the little candies all had messages written on them. Some of these were innocent — like “Hug Me” and others were enough to make Terellion’s ears warm. He didn’t want any students to get the wrong idea, so he put ordinary messages on those. His piping work wasn’t the best, but he took his time and was careful, and triple checked to make sure he hadn’t spelled anything wrong. Des had wanted one for her friend Perothis, this one he put “Kiss Me” on, and hoped Des wouldn’t be too scandalized. After all, he was pretty sure that’s what she wanted him to do.

Terellion saved Hethurin’s cake for last, and poked through the candies, trying to think of a good phrase to put on top of it. The students — and definitely Tik — would probably see whatever he wrote, so it couldn’t be too embarrassing. He didn’t think Hethurin would have liked anything dirty, anyway, it was something he liked about the Magister. In the end he decided that the simplest phrase was the best, and the most accurate. Carefully, he wrote “I Love You” on Hethurin’s cake with the red icing.

 

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