The morning after the celebration, the commander roused from a short sleep by an odd sensation in her abdomen. At first, thinking it was only her mate making his less than subtle morning demands, she was inclined to ignore the discomfort, but after a few moments of closed-eyed disregard and the failure of being able to drift into a prolonged sleep, she realized what the odd discomfort was and sighed that she must fully awaken to rid of it. She made a few sounds of discontent, bitter that a slumber so pleasant and therefore so rare should be interrupted, and chided herself for drinking too much tea the evening before, compensating for the lack of her involvement in drinking games, for now she must relinquish all hope of gaining a few hours on the sun. Where she might have had another hour or two of uninterrupted rest, now she must awaken with the improbable aspiration of replacing those rare hours later in the evening.
She shifted out from beneath her mate's crushing arm and felt some instant relief when the pressure against her abdomen subsided. She exhaled in momentary appeasement but knew that any further delay should increase the remaining discomfort. She hastened to reach for her tunic and leggings to make her requisite journey to the latrine tower when she was suddenly seized from behind by a firm grip and pulled back down to her place between the giant's arms. That he was never fully asleep was a matter of course, but she had hoped that a skulking away for necessity should be allowed even though the sun had not yet gained any power over the capital skies, but the eager press of his nose against her nape, the legs wrapping about her thighs, and the immense proportions finding their way in between the vale of her backside proved otherwise.
"It is morning, Traala," Rautu purred in her ear, his mouth grazing her neck.
"And the rising of the sun denotes the arousal of other masses of certain distinction?" the commander smirked.
Rautu growled and inhaled the faint scent of his mate's hair. He was incited instantly, and turning her over onto her back, pinning her beneath him with a suggestive thrust of his lower body, said, "Oblige me, woman. I am hungry."
The commander laughed at his early fervency and shook her head. "I would, Iimon Ghaala, but such a pleasant endeavour now should not be so very pleasant for me." She raised a brow and gave him a conscious look, holding her hand to her abdomen.
He was inclined to give his decided answer of "And?" to impress the ardency of his desire, but instead he grumped and placed his hands on his hips. "That tower is too far from our home," he asserted, stabbing a finger toward the commons' door. "You will do what you must here."
"I daresay I won't," the commander exclaimed. "I cannot 'do what I must' anywhere I please as you might do, Iimon Ghaala. I may be a commander, but I'm still a woman, and we demand our privacy when doing such things."
"You were trained in your regiment with thirty men."
"That does not mean I didn't have a corner in the Tyfferim Company barracks to myself. Dobhin wouldn't allow anyone near me while I was washing myself or performing other requisite cleansings." She spied her mate hovering over her with a sharp eye and she was at last free to stand and begin dressing.
Rautu moaned and harrumphed and blocked the door in hopes that she should remain and exchange her necessities for his, but stay she would not. Not with all his exposure, avaricious and narrowed looks, contracting muscles and handsomely fierce countenance would she stay. She must go and he must learn to brook her feminine requirements.
"I am certain you shall be just as ready in ten minutes from now," she said, adjusting her leggings.
Rautu folded his arms. "It is never ten minutes," he humphed, looking away.
"This time it shall be."
A novel pressure rushed on her, a headache began forming, and with this new sense of urgency the commander brushed her mate aside from the door. Before she could hurry through the door of the main room and down the winding stair, Rautu leapt in front of her and pointed the tip of his forefinger directly at her nose.
"I will count, Traala," he said in a threatening accent. "If you have not returned in the time you have marked, I will go to the tower in search of you."
"How endearing," the commander simpered. "The only manner in which you shall ever visit the facilities instead of using the forest is to either plague Alasdair or to interrupt me."
The commander pushed past the giant and scampered down the steps, moving as quickly as the overfull feeling in her abdomen would allow. When she reached the entrance to the kitchen, a flurry of bustle and motion forced her to measure her pace. The cleaning had not been finished from the night previous, and to add to the commotion were all the duties of the morning being carried out: dishes were being conveyed from the great hall to the scullery, maids were hopping in and out of the oven room with plates to be taken to the soldier's mess for the regiments' breakfast, and the children from the servants quarter were running long the main hall, endeavoring to glean a few glances at the armoury in the barracks. The commander had successfully past the chief of the uproar only to be stopped by Martje, who would shout her orders to the kitchen staff and direct the general ebb and flow of movement from the midst of the bustling crowds. Though Martje was a rather large women, she was not insurmountable, but when surrounded by the skittering of young boys and pretty maids who must stop to say the requisite and flirtatious goodmornings to every handsome soldier who passed by, there was no escaping the plump cook. Every which way the commander attempted to pass her, she was impeded by a wave of a hand or Martje's round rump jutting out in her direction. She was nearly on the point of demanding that Martje remove herself from the main hall when Sheamas came from the larder to make his deliveries and drew Martje away, freeing the path once more.
With a commanding strides did the commander continue, but no sooner had she passed the soldier's mess when Connors emerged from within, saying his gallant hellos to the maids who were desirous of his favour as he approached. "Commander," said he, matching her strides and saluting to gain her attention.
The commander was prevailed upon to stop, and answered, "Yes, Connors?" while trying to be composed.
"The fletcher is here to ask you about where you want the consignments of arrows placed."
"I should think against the wall of the garrison between the racks with the blunted weapons would be a prime location." She thought she had done, nodded to Connors and began taking her leave of him when another question burst forth to try her forbearance for a few moments longer.
"The blacksmith has just asked me about the molding for the new pauldrons-"
"Connors," the commander said heatedly, forcing a smile. "Is it possible that this can wait just a few moments longer?" She paused, and he made her no answer other than a bemused look. "There is some business to which I must attend before I very well die."
"Oh," Connors said with a polite laugh. "Excuse me, Commander. I'll leave you to your . . ." He gave her a sagacious look, and with a bow he was off to delay the fletcher and blacksmith for as long as was decent.
At last, the commander was free to make the remainder of the journey unaccosted, or so she had conceived, for when she reached the end of the hall where the peristyle led toward the stables, a familiar voice cried out to her in a fever of exigency:
She turned to find Bilar hastening after her, approaching with a fettered appearance and his hand outstretched. Though his arrival might have been important, it could not have borne the same significance as a visit to the latrine tower could have done for her at present. She therefore rejoined in a sibilating tone, "What is it, Bilar?"
Bilar gave a small start. Never had he seen the jovial and wry commander bear such a vicious countenance. He attributed her morning anger to a certain disagreeable giant and was disposed to excuse her hissing reproach in favour of a later meeting. "Oh, nothing," he said, smiling timorously. "I received a few things from the Haven that might interest you. I can show you later if you like."
All the ferocity in the commander's expression quickly subsided, and she sighed with an amorous, "Thank you, Bilar, I'll visit you in the infirmary shortly," and continued into the peristyle, past the stables, and toward the latrine tower, where she might finally find her peace.
She mounted the stairs to the top of the tower, feeling the exhilaration of freedom and relief begin rush on her whereupon reaching the door that led to the desired seat, she observed Alasdair just entering with his morning reports in his hand and a complacent smile on his face. To allow the King of Frewyn his time was the usual standard in the mornings, but a further delay on her side could not be endured. With one lunging motion, she grasped Alasdair's arm, heaved him aside, raced into the latrine, and locked the door behind her that she might have a few seconds of reprieve before Alasdair's remonstrations should avail her. She sighed in agonized liberation for the three seconds of peace she was granted, but she had only begun to concentrate on other more imminent sensations when Alasdair suddenly shouted from behind the door:
"I would have been done in five minutes had I known that you were so desperate."
"You have the morning reports from the herald in your hand, Alasdair," said the commander in a restrained voice, desperately wishing that Alasdair would not stand so very near to the door; he would hear everything the situation could impart. "Those papers alone signify your being in here for at least an hour."
"Well," he scoffed, "this is the only place in the whole kingdom where I can sit in peace for an hour together and have nothing to bother me but the sound of my own-" His voice suddenly quieted, and the commander thought she was free at last until she heard him begin again with, "What are you doing in here?"
The commander sighed to herself. Alasdair's astonished inquiry could only mean one thing, and the heavy rap at the latrine door soon confirmed all her suspicions.
"Woman," the giant's voice rumbled from beyond the door, "you have been gone for ten minutes."
Surely it had not been that long since she left the commons. A few pauses and delays were suffered, but nothing to make her so late as that, and then, she realized, "You were supposed to start counting after ten minutes were spent, not during. It should have taken you a whole two minutes to get here- three, I daresay, if you had the occasion to enjoy a chat with Martje. By the regulations I have laid out, I yet have another two minutes to myself."
There was a silence and then, "You are finished, woman."
The commander fleered to think of her mate holding his ear to the door. "You hear nothing because I am waiting for both of you to remove yourselves from this tower." There was a pause and a perfect silence. "You being quiet does not mean that you're gone away," she shouted.
"Faster, woman," Rautu demanded. "You must begin your morning training and I am hungry."
"By the Gods, then eat something and leave her alone for two seconds," said Alasdair. "I'm here for a reason. You're here because you want her to make you breakfast when you have hands enough to do so yourself."
"That's not what he means, Alasdair."
"Oh. Then, what-?" There was silence on the other side of the door, and the commander snickered to herself at Alasdair's misconstruction. Another moment, however, brought on Alasdair's full understanding. "Gods, Boudicca," he exclaimed, knocking on the door, "let me in please."
She could have no peace while the two men were mere feet away and she resigned herself to the consolation of at least the more pressing means of her distress having been placated. She pulled up her leggings and threw the door open. "There, Alasdair. You may have your throne."
"Thank you," Alasdair chimed, exchanging places with her.
"I'm using the facilities in the hunting grounds."
"What facilities?" But the realization had come to him too late; the door to the latrine was already closing, the commander was already making her way down the steps and the giant was already following. "No, Boudicca," he called after her in a complaining tone. "The grounds were just restocked!"
"Excellent," said she, inaudibly by Alasdair, bounding down the steps with renewed lightness. "Then your task, Iimon Ghaala, shall be to defend me against predators and make barbarous sounds while I attempt to 'do what I must' in some semblance of peace."
If the result of their newest venture should mean his satiation, then the giant would happily comply. He took his mate into his arms and bounded across the keep with great alacrity, reaching the edge of the hunting grounds before the end of another few moments. Rautu let his mate down by one of the large trees and vanished into the copses to hunt for his breakfast, leaving his trappings, his kilt and his cloth behind him.
Read the rest of the story on the official website: http://thehaanta.blogspot.com/2011/10/story-for-day-emergencies.html