(( This week’s prompt is to write a story about summer solstice, so here is another Name Day story set in Naren. ))
Orledin placed another tray of cookies in the oven. The bakery was always busy on Name Days even in his small elven village. He remembered as a child when his mother traveled with him and his brothers to go to the celebrations in the city. He couldn’t imagine how busy the bakers there were during the celebrations. It seemed everyone wanted sweets, even the adults. Orledin had come up with a special recipe for filled cupcakes that he made especially for Name Day. He had just finished making a few batches of those before deciding he needed to make more cookies. He wanted to be able to have fun as well, and was eager to finish his work so that he could join in the celebrations.
“Orledin!” his father called from the front of the bakery, “Do we have anymore full-sized cakes ready?”
“There’s a couple chocolate cakes cooling. If someone wants one, tell them to come back in half an hour. It’ll be ready then.” Orledin called back. His father used to do all the baking, until Orledin was old enough to start doing it without supervision. His brothers had no interest in baking, so it was Orledin who was being trained to take over the family business. Most days were quieter than the holidays. Today’s Name Day was one of the busiest as it was the one held at summer solstice. The weather was almost always agreeable for people to come into town to celebrate from the surrounding area.
A special dedication to the sun was given at summer Solstice. The elves had added that part when they started celebrating the holiday. To them, each of the seasons was also significant, and each season brought a dedication to a different element of nature. In summer, it was the sun. In fall, it was the trees. In winter, it was the snow, and in the spring, it was the earth. For the summer occasion, a large round dot with rays out around it decorated the top of each of his Name Day cupcakes. He quickly checked the cakes he had set out to cool. They weren’t ready yet. He turned his attention back to decorating the cupcakes while waiting for the cookies in the oven.
He frosted and decorated and let his mind wander as he worked. Two babies would be named today. In larger towns, there were many more, and less celebration was given to each one. In his town, the babies would be showered with gifts, and their names would be first spoken by their parents in front of the entire town. Then, if the mages from Thril Gandir had shown up, they would be tested for magical ability. Thril Gandir usually sent out at least two mages to each town in Naren for testing of the newly named, but they usually arrived a day in advance. Orledin hadn’t heard of any arriving yet, but it had happened on rare occasions before that they didn’t arrive until just before the naming. Once in a while they only sent one. He heard that some towns had mages that stayed in them permanently, though his never had one stay. The mages came, they tested the infants and they left. Orledin couldn’t even remember a time they found a child with magical ability. Maybe only towns that produced mages got to have a mage, but Orledin thought it was more likely that his town, Tithania, was too small to need a mage.
He was eager to join the celebrations today. One of the elves who lived on the outskirts of the town had promised to join him at the pole where couples would take hold of a ribbon tied to the top and walk around the pole until the ribbon was wrapped entirely around it. It signified wanting to make the journey of life together. Darcassan was cute, but he was a farmer’s son. Orledin’s father didn’t exactly approve of it, and Orledin hadn’t told him of his plans at the pole later today. Luckily, he couldn’t say too much as Orledin’s brothers hadn’t become anything he approved of either. They worked in the forest, harvesting large tree branches to use in construction. It was less destructive than the human way of chopping down the entire tree, but it was still dangerous work. Certainly worse than having a nice job in the town. At least that was the way Orledin’s father looked at it. Orledin was sure Darcassan could eventually learn how to help in the bakery, the same way Orledin’s mother used to. Maybe then, his father would approve.
Orledin looked up from his cupcake decorating at the clock. He had five more minutes before he had to take the cookies out. He glanced out the door to the front of the bakery where the cakes and pastries were sold. One of his brothers was there now, speaking to his father. His ax was strapped onto his belt. He must have gotten off from work early so that he could come celebrate with the rest of the town. Orledin wished he could stop baking and go see Darcassan now. He smiled as he continued frosting the cupcakes. It would be soon enough.