[Story] Winter Veil Postcards – Terellion

Terellion was close to being finished with the decorations for the winter ball. He could see why Hethurin liked going to other times to fish, it really was amazing for getting work done. Every trip, he’d pack his supplies into his basket with the lid and work on them while Hethurin caught fish. It was a lot more fun than simply making them alone in the ballroom, or with Tik. Terellion knew it wasn’t easy for mages to bring other people along with those kinds of portals, Hethurin had explained it before. He’d made paper snowflakes for the ballroom, so delicate they looked like lace, and little placeholders for the table with everyone’s name on them. He couldn’t make the sugar snowflakes and icicles while fishing, they needed a cool flat surface. But nearly everything else had been made or put together on the banks of a river.

Terellion didn’t know what he wanted for a gift. He’d suggested baking pans, and a pair of pajamas when Hethurin had asked. New baking bans would help him make more cakes, which everyone would enjoy, and he said the pajamas because he couldn’t really think of anything else. He knew what Hethurin wanted, he was still dropping vague hints, but Terellion still wasn’t sure it was the right time yet. Besides, if he just bought a ring with Hethurin’s own money, it would be like he’d bought it for himself. The time had to be just right. He’d asked a few people about it, Mae probably wasn’t the best example because she’d had to rush things. Tik said he didn’t know and wouldn’t talk about it anymore. Terellion had asked his mother about it, when he’d brought the invitation and the little envelope with the receipt for her rent. Hethurin had paid it for the whole year again, and cried and said it was too much.

While Terellion drank hot chocolate, his mother told him about how she’d met his father. He was a young guard still in training, and she worked at a dress shop in the market. She noticed him walking past every day on his patrol and would start to make excuses to be out front when he’d pass by. She’d ask for help finding her hair ribbon or say that a cat had got stuck in the store and couldn’t get out. That reminded Terellion of Des and Perothis and he couldn’t help but grin at that. Terellion’s mother said it took him a while to finally get the hint, but then he’d bring her flowers — well, one flower and it had been crumpled from being hidden inside his armor, but she loved it all the same. He’d wanted to get married as soon as he became a full-time guard, but Terellion’s mother said she thought it wasn’t quite the right time yet. She said it needed time to mature, like good wine did. It would taste all the better for having waited. Terellion didn’t think that Hethurin was like a bottle of wine, but he understood the point she was trying to make.

Still, he needed a gift for Hethurin, one that wasn’t bought with his own money but would still be nice. Terellion’s mother went into her room and came back with a little box. When she opened it, Terellion recognized what was inside — it was a medal that his father had earned for bravery when the city had been attacked. The face had a stylized phoenix, its wings and claws outspread, fire pouring from its beak. On the reverse was engraved the date and Terellion’s father’s name. He touched it carefully, feeling the coolness of the metal and the weight of it. Part of him wanted to keep it for himself and yet he knew it would be proof enough of his intentions to stay. Why else would he give away something so important? He let his mother put it back in the box, while he got another mug of hot chocolate before he left.

 

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