Jisalda, Annaka’s mother, was owner of one of the more elaborate homes in the village of the Houndasa. Annaka returned to her sitting position on her chair, the chair that stood in the middle of the receiving room. From her chair, Annaka was being constantly pampered, with her every need being tended to. The receiving room, one of ten rooms in the home, specially decorated for this occasion, with Annaka as its centerpiece. Added to the decorativeness of the room were the many handmaidens, there exclusively to provide for Annaka’s needs.

The hallways of the home’s main floor had become highways of workers. A steady flow of servants moved from the receiving room with trays of empty drinking goblets. A smaller number of servants were leaving the same rooms, carrying stacks of empty food trays. The visible remains of the partially eaten food easily identified the food trays. Other servants, having previously completed that part of their task, were on the return trip to the receiving room. Those returning along the very busy hallways carried fully laden trays containing fancy fruit drinks and baked treats.

A much smaller group of servants traveled with trays of hot fermented beverages. Their travels took them to a room adjoining that of the receiving room. With each new arrival of hot beverages, a loud and boisterous applause erupted at the placement of each tray on the tables. Upon first entering the room, the cloud of hot steam simmering in the air just above the tables, made the many faces of those sitting at the tables unrecognizable. The smell in the room was a mixture of mint, cherry and wild yellow berries. Within the smallest quadra of an adjustment to ones’ eyes, the newcomer to the room would begin to see more clearly the faces of the females at the tables.

The table that seated the most rambunctious of patrons was that of the young Houndasa female hunters. These females were all born under the time of the long sun.

Those celebrating in the courtyard could hear the sounds emanating from inside the home, caused by the constant clanging of the young females’ metal bracelets against the top of the table.

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