They spoke of it as an unusual thing, this day of remembrance for Faorie.
How many days has passed for her until this day?
Does she reckon the passing of each year, or only once an Age?
I did not think to ask.
I suppose it is important to take pause and look around, every once in a while. These are busy times, after all, and such gloominess hung over the House, since Themodir’s passing, that I was right glad for an excuse to eat and drink in company.
The day began like any other day: I arose, broke my fast, and saw to business of my Lord Anglachelm, until the appointed hour came. Then I got up from my writing table, and made my way to the place of celebration. There on the path, in a ray of sunlight, lay a dazzling white feather. I stooped and put it in my pocket: such things are lucky.
I was the first guest to arrive. The maiden Nelnardis greeted me, and she wore a pale blue dress with spangles of very fine make. A few more folk arrived as we chatted pleasantly. As I listened to the talk, and watched the sun move its way across the sky to the west, I realized with a start that I forgot to bring a gift for Faorie!
I consoled myself with the thought that perhaps I was not the only guest who arrived empty-handed. But more folk arrived carrying baskets or gilt boxes which, no doubt, concealed costly gifts, if I am any judge of fancy gilt boxes.
We were shown inside the house, and guided to a table heaped with food and drink. Decanters were sent around, and each person filled his glass, and all ate and drank to their contentment and great delight, some more than others. I was sure not to take too much of one thing, because that is what causes the stomach-ache.
And then the gift opening began. I frowned as I saw gift after gift opened amongst choruses of delight. I had to find something quick! Then I remembered my lucky white feather I held in my pocket, and so I held it out to Faorie.
"This feather is a symbol of Bar-en-Vanimar's friendship. And it could also make a very good quill." I said this last part to make it seem more valuable, although now that I think upon it, I think it had the opposite effect, and I am unsure if Faorie esteemed it at all.
I had no time to dwell on any awkwardness of my trifling gift, however. Not long after the gifts were opened, the signal was given to leave the table. They said there would be fun outside. Outside we went. There a few folk paired off, and began to utter challenges, slinging their swords around, and charging at one another in a reckless manner. I stood watching, near asleep on my feet from wine and heavy food, wondering if I could crawl into one of the flower beds for a nap without anyone noticing, until Khalis coming up asked to speak with me.
We talked of business matters betwixt our folk, and he spoke of Men, and how some of our people looked down their noses at the Second-comers. While he was saying this, I heard a great clashing of metal on metal, and a ragged voice shouting in the common tongue. Turning round, I saw how Curundar, one of Khalis’s fresh recruits, had brought the tall Man in black, Thendryt, to his knees.
Later in the evening, I approached Thendryt, and expressed hearty surprise at his defeat. It took mere moments for Curundar to defeat him. Everyone else that saw him spar was surprised, too, because Thendryt had lost to no one - until he fought against Curundar. Methinks he was surprised and a little vexed that he lost, but Thendryt gamely turned the tables, and asked why I had not taken part in the sparring myself.
I know not why this Man would think I would choose to get beaten to a pulp, only that I am glad that I am such a disappointment. And, at the end of the evening, before I said my good-byes, I made sure to congratulate Curundar on his victory.