It was known throughout the Diras castle keep that the Den Asaan was a great supervisor of small tasks. It was clear that he enjoyed his usual perch beside his mate while she was cooking, as he took to it every evening while she prepared his supper and he loomed over her pointing and asserting, but since he had made the keep his permanent home, it seemed to many that much of what needed to be done on a daily basis within the keep was done faster than was perceived possible. Pots were scoured and laundry was folded in the scullery, the stables and latrine tower were tidied, carpets and tapestries were beaten, halls and battlements were scrubbed, the infirmary was restocked, and everything worked in proper order while the threat of the Den Asaan's condemnatory gaze was imminent. He stabbed his finger, he shouted inadequacies, and he became the great smoother of every wrinkle in the frivolities in the castle keep.
Martje, however, was rather immune to his prowling remonstrances. For every accusatory finger and contemptible word, she had one in return for the giant. The endless debate of whose kitchen it was and who had a right to stand in it at which appointed time provided a source of entertainment to those who knew better than to rile the beast. Their arguments never lasted long: it was a battle between obstinance and the general sense of women always needing to be right, and as Rautu had little patience for the plump cook, and was forbidden from challenging her by Alasdair and his mate, Martje was always the victor, just as she supposed a woman of such correctness should be. Having grown up with seven brothers, Martje had the fortitude necessary to ward off the contentions of an entire house of men and the Den Asaan if not equal to at least all seven of them might have been compare to her two eldest and most obdurate brothers of them all. The waving of her ladle, the threat of making him eat her meals, and the beast was gone from her kitchen.
The Den Asaan had other pursuits in scouting besides the happenings of the kitchen, and the large crenels of the battlements were shelter enough whence to carry them out. There, he was the master of all he surveyed and his encompassing watchfulness paired with the detailed reports of his sentinel made him a faultless administrator for every action in and around the keep. Even when Rautu was occupied with his daily training, the notion that the giant could be skulking somewhere in the shadows of the keep was enough to instill the fear of workmanship within the heart of every creature in the yeoman and servants' quarters of the keep.
The one person, however, who asked for such unwavering supervision was Kai Linaa. She found she drew and practiced her sketching more when someone was near her than not. When alone, her mind wandered and conjured questions that must be answered before she could put her implements to paper. Her mental frustrations were observed by the Den Asaan, who watched her struggle at the kitchen table each day to finish a portrait in one sitting. She was diffident to show anyone her work before it was finished, but she realized she required a harsh supervisor to examine and adjudicate her work, and who more apt to judge her advancements than Frewyn's strictest arbitrator.
"You realize," the commander said when being applied to for advice, "that should you ask my mate to assist you in your quest for concentration, you shall have to perform accordingly. He is a cruel and ruthless master, Kai Linaa, and while I know you may believe you are able to withstand his musings, you also have the incredible ability to cry about everything."
Kai Linaa laughed and blushed when hearing how her talent to weep over the small and large alike was described. "I think his finger pointing and shouting is amusing," she said. "Don't worry. He won't make me cry."
The commander sighed, shook her head and fetched her mate from the training yard.
Kai Linaa began her portrait for the evening, planning the composition and subject matter in her mind, when she suddenly felt a presence beside her. She turned to see Rautu sitting there with a large slice of chocolate cake in his hand. She started and greeted him with a nervous laugh. "I didn't hear you come in, Den Asaan."
Rautu looked at her blank paper and pointed to it as he ate his cake. "I will watch you. You have one hour to make the preliminary lines and then you will show me."
She laughed at his instant need to administrate and was about to continue with the usual greetings when she received a vicious glare.
"What are you doing, elf?" the giant demanded. "You are wasting time."
Kai Linaa made an astonished face and set to work lest she incur any other commands from her master. She made the necessary sticks and circles for the two figure she had in mind for the sketch, but as she was creating the slender outlines, she grew parched and wished to find a drink. She stood and was instantly pushed back down onto the chair by a firm and colossal hand.
"You will remain there until the hour has done," the giant growled, stuffing his mouth with cake.
"But I'm thirsty," she simpered.
"What do you mean 'and'? Getting a glass of water won't make me not finish the portrait."
"Any interruption from your duties will cause you to lose focus," he bellowed.
Kai Linaa pressed her lips together and attempted not to laugh. She observed large cake crumbs lining his lips was forced to acquiesce to his instruction if she wished to snicker in peace. While he went to find some water for her, she laughed into the bend of her arm and tried not to burst forth in blithesome tears while continuing her illustration with her drawing hand. She was given water and was about to say her thanks when she noted the glass was half empty with flakes of cake floating in what was left of her drink. "You had some, I see," she groaned.
"You have less than one hour," was his reply.
Kai Linaa sighed and spent the next little while imprisoned in her chair, drawing the remainder of the outline.
When the hour had passed, Rautu demanded to see her work. He was shown the recognizable images of her and Unghaahi standing on what appeared to be the sketch of a ship. He nodded and humphed, and summed his whole assessment with, "You have ten minutes to make the next lines. I will judge your progress."
"Ten minutes?" Kai Linaa cried. "It will take me at least thirty to finish the end of the ship."
"Very well. I will be generous." Rautu considered the means of the deals and decided, "You may have twelve minutes."
"Fifteen," Kai Linaa shouted.
"You are arguing and not drawing, elf."
Kai Linaa scoffed and began to regret every having sought Rautu's assistance. She worked diligently for the next twelve minutes until the commander returned to the kitchen to begin making supper. She gave her pleading eyes and passed fleeting looks to the giant hovering over her shoulder.
"Well, I commend you for not crying," the commander laughed. "You are giving him over to me, however."
"Please, take him," Kai Linaa begged in dread. "I'm going to crush my charcoal if I have to stand it anymore."
"Very well. Come, Iimon Ghaala. You need to hover over me while I cook."
Rautu leapt to his usual position beside the iron stove still pointing at Kai Linaa, warning her that thought he was beside his mate he was still watching her.