Describe a tradition of gift-giving in your world — #WorldEmberGift


The most common holiday gift to a couple who are newly Herevallin is a pet. Depending on the personality/wants of the couple, it can be a pup, kitten, or some other small companion. In this example, we'll see an example where the gift giver is itself a pet, a rare, but not unheard of occurrence.

The symbolism is that they are starting a family, and are getting a 'starter kit'. Families who are already openly wanting children sometimes let their friends know they'd rather not have a pet added, if they feel it's too much at once, but it's not unknown to have a pet grow up with a child, and considered a good omen/sign of a warm home.


"What's that, Bihar?" Her redheaded toiddler's hair was capped by a grey ball of fuzz, squirming.


"Mommy, it climbed on ma head! Get it off, please, it scratchy."


"Come here you."


"Mew" The kitten was only a few weeks old, just old enough to be out of its parent's sight. Which parent immediately corrected.


"Mrroooooooooww. Mrnow?" And said mother picked up the tiny kit by the scruff of the neck.


"Mew." It said, pitiously.


"Aw, Raven, is it yours? It's so pretty." Like all the pale shadows, otherwise called cats that Linnaeus Van Pelt had asked Amarat and her to keep safe while he was out of town, couldn't resist flattery, and stopped. letting Flora see her and her baby. "Is it your only one?" She didn't reply, but didn't run away either, letting herself be followed, as she carried the tiny kit back to her nest, behind the broadcast screen, in the den.


"Well, that's a pun and a half, hiding a nest inside the den. And stealing Amarat's holiday shirt!"


"Mew." Opinied a feline, inside the box.


"Mew." Assured another, in the same box, but covered by a sleeve of the shirt, its mouth and eyes protruding from under the fabric..


"Mew." Countered a third, while their sister was still hanging from mom's mouth, who joined in. "Mew."


"Well, that's quite the show, let me make a call. Jade, call Linni and Shibué and conference us with Amarat."


"Hey Flora, everything ok?" Linnaeus asked.


"Whats up?" Amarat called in, noticing the three-people conference call, and Shibué's image joining Floras, then he saw..."




"Four of them Hérévallin mine, Raven thought we could use some company." Linni directed at Shibué that last comment.


How sure are you of that, thats my den they're purring up." Amarat quipped back.


"I'm sure Raven has two nests at this point, since we keep shifting her around. Good thing you've been on your honeymoon while she gave birth though, or she'd have to have let us know of the babies while they were at the blind and helpless stage." Flora countered, and the others seemed to agree.


"Hmm, good point, and I bet it's behind the broadcast screen too, warm back there."


"No bet. Well, can you handle eight kits, Linni?"


"Hmm, I want to say yes, but I should come back from honeymoon, try it for a while before I commit. It's a lot."


"You got room for it?"


"Room's not the problem, I can give them a room each and still sleep with just my herevallin here..."


"I appreciate that." She quipped, and gave him a look that meant trouble, he was sure. But then, they were newlyweds, not at the relationship stage yet where they'd just snore together across a bunch of equally-snoring cats. Or so he wanted to convince himself.


"So, she's yours, Linni, so you get to name them..."

"Hmm, so the first one you saw, the one outside of the box? Pretty. The one under the sleeve, Sensible. The one still sipping mother's milk? Wise. And Shy is the last one, who's hiding behind her sister now." Each Kit had mewed when her name was called, making it a perfect Kagomine naming day.


"Bronwyn is an Aquamod, like her sisters, any of them born male would have orange eyes."

"So all four are girls?"

"The Palace hasn't had an Aquamod male born to it since Rembrandt, the original."

"I'll take your word for it..."

"I'd have thought you'd remember, he did save your grandmother, without him, no little Amarats."

"I'm remembering, sorry, just not doing too well with too many surprises at once..."

"Granted, four kits, that's a lot. We followed Kagomine naming tradition, are we following Bresciani or Alessian adoption rules?"

"No, I'm not your Compari, nor your Godbrother, Linni."

"You're my cousin, close enough for government work, anyways."

"If anything he's almost your brother, like you have anyone else as close?"

"Sriracha but that's by blood, not by deed."

"Sriracha? Who's that?"

"My father's next oldest child, by about two months."

"Oh, so she's a Ma?"

"She's a Ma, if you're counting."

"I'm in exalted company, she's third circle."

"Likely second. But she's not the most powerful priestess you know..."

"Well, no, I know your Mother, and Father."

"Someone got scanned, finally."

"Oh, someone I know?"

"Someone in this call... Flora, she's second circle, official now."

"Congradulations, Aumhava."

"Thank you."

"No, seriously, Aumhava Meihomei Domei has not been this high for maybe three hundred years."

"Not this high in many ways..."

"What do you mean?"

"Flora's the richest Aumhava, the highest priestly-power Aumhava and the most military-powerful Aumhava Meihomei Domei's ever had."

"Oh, should I be letting her pick up the check more often? I'm a Gold of lifeguards."

"She's two grades past you."

"FFOF-09 Eagle? Before she's 45?"

"She's made it at 34, a Merit will help."

"What, you're only 34? I mean, I don't intend disrespect, but you don't look younger than I am... And what did he mean, you're richer?"

"He kinda... donated me stock of Sirius Technologies, majority-shareholder amounts of it."

"Wait, isn't Sirius... major-share of GDP-big?"

"Kagomei's only part of Sirius's GDP-ness, I guess..."

"By the Elements, just how much money did she get from you?"

"Stop, Amarat, you're scaring me, just how much money did you transfer over?"

"I transferred majority-shareholding and tie-breaker power. Tens of Billions, in Kagomine Sums."

"But you had that much, over at Sirius, and have that much at Marquarry. right?"

"And Fincanto, now."

"What? How?"

"The rules say I can't hold more of Sirius than Meihomei, nor can I hold more in any company, in which they hold stock... They don't hold any Marquarry or Fincanto, so I'm not in violation..."

"I meant how did you get the money?"

"I used some of my slush fund..."

"Yeah, right, like regular people have billion-dollar slush funds, that let them bypass foreign-possession poison pills..."

"I've lived for five arnds in Alessia, I'm not considered a foreigner there."

"Wait, so you're almost thirty-six arnds old, how long have you actually resided in Kagomei, your birthplace?"

"Seven arnds."

"And where else?"

"By total duration, not consecutive, six in Brescia, five each in Alessia, Sarn, Sarnath, Ralt and Luxem and New Etrusca, two in Goguryeo, one in Brunswick, one in Lolland, the four left are stays in Pinay, Abendeen, Lai Dang, NuovaFirenze, Loronar, Aegypsom, Nami, Loro, Nisei, Moniq, Imperio Sardé and Rhuthen."


"Holy Elements, that's a lot of traveling."


"Some of those places are right lovely though."


"You're also related or a close friend of the ruler of all the places you've stayed at longest."


"Except for Nisei, I've never been, but he's probably the best friend I have who's a ruler."


"Of a full state, perhaps, but Luci?"


"She's how high in Sarn again?"


"Electoral Princess of Saer-Natthingham, that's number two, or three? I forget."


"D'oh. I keep forgetting. I have to be nice next time, maybe bring a nice gift."


"Maybe bring her a kitten?"


"She never liked my cats."


"I know Lunqui's cat passed away half an arnd ago, he might change her mind."


"Before we talk about that, I had an announcement..."


"Sure Shibué, what's up?"


"I was going to tell Linni first, but I've decided to adopt Jor-Jie as my pet."


"Oh, and Jor-Jie is?"


"A green-footed ferret."


"Do they eat cats?"


"No silly, cats might eat them, but only in extreme circumstances. They don't even really compete for food, well a little..."


"Well, if Jor-Jie can get along with my four prior kittens, he's staying. If he can get along with Shy."






"And Wise."

"Mewwww. Purr-purr-purr."

"They can stay."

"Did they all reply to their names? I've never seen a cat do that."

"I have, Robyn will only reply to her name with a title, even if it's great banana, it's never just 'Robyn', but she will acknowledge 'banana-stealer Robyn'."

"What, this story I gotta hear."

"Meihomei had a bunny, a Shadowbun, before she had Robyn, called Shadowgrace, and the Nameita used to routinely steal bananas from her heavier sister."

"Wait, heavier? Aren't shadowbuns among the lithest of bunnies?"

"Yeah, but you couldn't have told from looking at Shadowgrace, she was just under fifteen kilos when she passed."

"And how heavy is Robyn?"

"She's a barely-healthy twelve kilos."

"And Bronwyn here?"

"She's barely six now, pregnancy takes a bit out of you. Also, a pretty solid excuse for gaining weight, when you carry passengers..."

"Oh, quite."

"Although, and Linni will hate me for saying so, but only four is not a lot, for Rembrandt's get."

"Bronwyn had six litter-mates, so did Robyn. And Graînea had eight, but Rembrandt hisself had ten..."

"Back to Luci, you don't think she'd accept one?"

"No, and I'm not for splitting families, at least, not undersized ones. Raven here is probably going to try to get pregant again soon, since that's not that many..."

"She and her three sisters are freeloaders though."

"Yeah, and their mooching is highly successful, so they want to have kittens..."


"Seen any of them do any work? Have people hassling them or giving them a hard time?"

"No, I mean, a harsh day is one where one naps in the bookshelves, falls off, and has to resume her nap once the surprise wears off.."

"Well Jor-Jie should help with that, he's full of mischief and pranks and practical jokes..." Said Ferret was hiding in the hood of her exercise jacket.

"He's been hiding on you the whole time?"

"Best part of today, yeah. He's very snuggly."

"Where is he gonna sleep?"

"He has a nest, I spotted a pair of drains that weren't used except in emergency flooding. I had a third one dug next to it, and gave the middle one to Jor-Jie, unless it floods, he'll be fine, and being he needs to live underground, any place isn't nice if it floods."

"Can he swim?"

"Yeah, greenfoots are related to otters as well as shrews, Jor-Jie loves the water, and I've already signed up for swimming classes that he's going to help me with."


"Yeah, book-boy, swimming."

"Could.. could I come with you?"

"You like to swim, book-boy?"

"Yeah, well I used to, haven't done any of that in ages. Amarat reminded me we used to swim together when we were little, I kinda miss it."

"Well, if it's been that long, you'll need a refresher course, especially before you try to keep up with him. Amarat's teaching sailors how to swim these days, as part of his duties. And apparently, Flora's an even better swimmer."

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"I'm a bodyguard, bad idea to let your principal be better at anything than you, especially if it's movement. I don't want to let them get out of my sight, only to find they found trouble I should have helped them with." She was deadly earnest, but then, Linni had never seen her anything but. The smooth muscles rippling under her skin, he knew, were in a constant spiral of seeking perfection, perfection unattainable. But, for his money, he didn't think Amarat or Flora could outpace her. They could, he was wrong in that, but they also knew better than to do so lightly... Which put them in the top .01% of principals in Shibué's book.


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