Arc 721, 21 Ashan
Balthazar’s Birthtrial. Elisabeth had been thinking about it since arriving on the island. Part of her considered perhaps something very low-key in light of the situation they had just escaped. As time went on in Haven, however, she decided that she very much wanted to show him how special that trial was to her. The man she loved coveted action above words…so she would show him how much he meant to her this time.
She considered making it a settlement-wide event but thought better of it. This was the first birthtrial of his that they would spend together, so she wanted it to be something more intimate between them. As well, Scalvorians had some interesting thoughts on birthtrials. Neither Balthazar nor herself were native-Scalvorian so what she had planned, she wanted to keep between the two of them. With that settled, her mind went to work on ideas that would span the entire trial. A little investigation and treasure hunt to make him smile.
He was an early riser – often earlier than herself. The trial was special and as such, it required a bit more of the extraordinary in terms of effort. Rising well before the suns, she gently rolled away from his sleeping form, resisting the urge to kiss his forehead. The mission was not to wake him although Elisabeth knew him to be a light sleeper. Grabbing her cloak, she slipped it on and past Trean, the Element on guard for the overnight watch. He watched her curiously, not saying a word.
Stepping out of their tent, her destination wasn’t too far away. A small patch of Tempest Lilies – a name found in the Baron Books – beckoned to her. The pristine white flowers glowed during the nighttime hours and had enchanted Elisabeth ever since she discovered them at the water’s edge. She had forgotten to mention to Balthazar that he should give a sample to the research team at the station but would remind him in the morning because her quest was more important.
Picking a small handful of the flowers, she smiled, noting that they lost none of their bioluminescence when cut. That done, she made her way back to the tent and arranged the flowers carefully on Balthazar’s desk, where he would be sure to see them when he woke. With them would be a note she had written earlier the trial before, but she felt the need to show Trean the note before she placed it, quickly explaining to him about Balthazar’s birthtrial.
Happy Birthtrial, my love.
It’s your birthtrial, but I’m the one who should be celebrating the most. The person I love most in this world was born on this trial. May your experiences totrial show you the depth of that love.
I love you…
Placing the note, she had one more thing left to do at that moment. Walking over to their campfire, she quickly gathered some wood and placed it within the ring of stone, arranging it like one of the settlers had shown her to maximize efficiency once the fire was lit. Placing kindling around and such, she called upon fire, letting it manifest in her hand, and slowly allowed the fire to take off. Balthazar normally started their campfire in the morning, but she wanted to gift him a bit of extra time to enjoy his tea by having the fire already going. It wouldn’t be long before he was up, and the guard was there just in case. Putting the cast-iron kettle of water in place, she got everything out for his tea, setting his cup on the large flat rock next to the firepit, leaving another note – again, one she had already shown the Element guard. In fact, all the notes she left for Balthazar that trial were shown to one of the three shadows.
Did you think I was just going to stop at leaving you flowers?
I’m so glad you came into the world, and I’m even more glad you came into my world.
That done, all that was left to do is resume her place next to him in bed – something she was more than happy to do, snuggling up against his side and falling back to sleep with a smile on her face.
He would wake to the flowers, campfire, tea, and notes…but Elisabeth wasn’t done. There was more mischief to be had.
The wells of creativity she tapped to show Balthazar what he meant to her on his birthtrial were deep. When he met up with Balder that morning, the guard had an odd look on his face as his handed the settlement leader a note with Balthazar’s name on the outside of it. “She told me not to read it, and I didn’t, I swear!”
One trial an arc isn’t enough to celebrate someone as special as you.
Everywhere Balthazar went to that trial, something greeted him. Small reminders of their lives together thus far. At the research station, one of the students there handed him a small package. Inside, a flyer for the original brawling tournament in Rharne and another note.
Your life began on this trial. My life began the trial I met you. I’m so thankful for both.
Munny Farm, Delilah greeted him with a smile, handing him another package. Contained inside was something he would recognize – his steak knife from the Mummer’s Ball. Of course, another note.
First dance, and the night I realized I had feelings for you, and wished to dance all my dances with you…
As midtrial mealtime approached, the settlement guards and Balthazar were invited, by special notes of course, to lunch at Balthazar’s tent. When they arrived, they would find a fresh pot of clam chowder & bread waiting for them. The note laying on the log next to the fire pit was again addressed to Balthazar.
For a man that appreciates actions over words, how am I doing?
As the trial continued, more things appeared in his path. Upon his desk, the box Elisabeth had presented him containing the dagger she bought him. Within, a piece of the charred wood from her initiation pyre and the small sack of sand that he had offered her at Cylus Dusk. So many little pieces of their combined life – all given to him as gifts.
And somehow, Elisabeth managed to stay out of sight all trial long. At least until she wanted to be found.
As twilight approached, Balder found Balthazar, handing him the last note. “She asked that evening training be canceled. Apparently, the note will explain it?”
All your questions will be answered within the Garden.
P.S. Do you know how hard it is to hide from you all trial?
It had taken a long time and help from several different people to arrange the surprise for him, but in her mind, it was all worth the trouble. Spreading out a blanket beneath the pink tree in the garden, Elisabeth began to unpack all the things she had brought with her. The thing was, she was planning a bigger surprise dinner when she returned from the mainland later in Ashan, but there was no way she was letting his actual birthtrial pass without something, so in addition to all the things that had already occurred, she had made him a special dinner for them to share in undoubtedly the most beautiful place on the island.
Fussing about everything, she got the pot of beef stew out, finding a flat rock to set in on in the middle of the blanket. Bread, check. Bowls, check. Going over her mental checklist, she finished setting the food out and then began the decorations.
A few more Tempest Lilies scattered about the blanket, giving off a soft light in place of fire. It seemed somehow wrong to have fire in the Serenity Garden so instead, lilies. They still had plenty of time before the suns set completely so she wasn’t worried.
To complete the dinner, a few vanilla and orange sweet cakes that one of the settlers had made especially for her in exchange for a few baking supplies she would bring back from the mainland.
Elisabeth’s mind was whirling with excitement although she had to admit curiosity at how much of his birthtrial surprise she had actually surprised him with. Balthazar was a keen investigator so there was always a concern that he would figure out what she was doing ahead of time…but no matter. It was the effort and thought that counted.
Stepping back, Elisabeth smiled as she realized that everything she had wanted to do for Balthazar’s birthtrial was finished. All she had to do now is relax and enjoy the evening with him. Clad in the sapphire dress she wore the night of Cylus Dusk, she lowered to the blanket and waited, knowing that it wouldn’t be long.