Story for the Day: The Marridon Grains Company Pt 2
Rautu entered the kitchen and stopped as he passed the threshold, disturbed by his brother's grieved aspect and by the room's fulmination of silence. A glance at the box in his brother's hand made him acquainted with the whole, and the concurrent glare he shared with Unghaahi betrayed the giants' unspoken feelings.
"I am prepared, brother," said Rautu.
A protracted exhale escaped from Unghaahi, whether from disappointment or
distress no one would distinguish, and with spirits revived, he declared "We must go to Marridon," and without another word, the giants hastened out of the kitchen. leaving everyone to cherish uneasy feelings and to pity those who would prize availing someone's person without permission.
A few hours saw Unghaahi and Rautu in the ports of Marridon, and after a few questions were asked and answers given, they made their way to the headquarters of the Marridon Grains Company near the border of Bannantyne. The brontide of their arrival, the frumescent steps, the determined flouts, the crepitation of tightening fists, struck terror into those who marked their coming. Sussitation of what was to be done, who was to greet them, what was to be said pervaded the offices, and as Unghaahi bellowed "I will speak with your supervisor" from outside, it was decided that the head of the Marridon Grains Company was to gradulate the two giants.
Mr Abbeymill was a man known for his business principles: he talked no nonsense, believed in every product that his company could produce, and felt that by improving Marridon's health and promoting its farms, he was the shining example of ingenuous affairs. Everyone must follow in his train, everyone must understand that to make an exemplary product was to excel as a Marridonian, and everyone must either create competition by doing better than himself or stand aside for those who would at least effect to compare. He greeted the giants in the true Marridon style, snurling and complacent, with grandiose bows and profuse ostentation, his striped suit tight and tailored, his pockets lined with draping gold chains, his shoes polished, his gloves buttoned, his spats pristine, his moustachios curled, his coif combed, his features stained with the erubescence of a hale and hearty constitution. "Good afternoon, gentlemen," said Mr Abbeymill, with a grand flourish. "Glad am I to see you here, Mr. Den Amhadhri-- and Mr Den Asaan, you as well. I trust you found our product satisfactory? We worked tirelessly to make it the very best cereal of its kind. No expense was spared, I can assure you. Every ingredient is Marridon grown, the process by which we make it natural, and all of the added vitamins and minerals have been carefully inspected by Marridon's chemists. Nothing unwholesome about them. We are considering adding sun-dried berries for the following product. Will this meet your approval?"
All this languishing exaltation was thrown away on two giants who only came to admonish. Mr Abbeymill had just done his dissertation on the greatest of his company when Unghaahi stepped forward, made his civil bows, and said, his voice rumbling with displeasure,"I do not approve what you have done. I have tasted your product, I have seen its ingredients, and I would never endorse it as something wholesome. You did not ask for my sanction, and now I will challenge you for the right to have my image removed from your product." A crack of his knuckles, a few flinching contractions of his gargantuan muscles, and Unghaahi was prepared to destroy the man who had injured his character.
Mr Abbeymill was wracked with surprise. "What can be the meaning of this?" he sputtered. "Not approve? Well, something was not amiss with the box you received, I take it? The article had not staled, had it? Had it got wet during its journey? Perhaps it was effected by the sea breezes and the sugar began to deliquese?"
"There was sugar in your product," was all Unghaahi's reply.
Here was a pause, and Mr Abbeymill was somewhat confounded. "I should hope there was, Mr Den Amhadhri. We choose the very finest sugar beet for the purpose--"
"Why did you add sugar to a wholesome product?"
Mr Abbeymill's moustache bristled and began to uncurl. "Perhaps I'm not understanding you," he hemmed. "Sugar beet wheats are meant to have sugar in them. Do you mean to tell me, Mr Den Amhadhri, that you prefer them without sugar?"
"I do," Unghaahi's voice thrummed.
"Well," Mr Abbeymill exclaimed, adjusting his suit, "this is highly irregular that someone should dislike a product we manufacture. I do not mean to say that your opinion does not have weight. However, if you disapprove the product, something can be done to rectify it without resorting to removing the sugar beet. We cannot have sugar beet wheats with out the--" A sudden thunderous sound silenced him. He shirked under the force of the sound, a shadow melted over him, and when he looked up again, he was met with Unghaahi's violent stares of raging and tranquil disapprobation.
"Hear me," said he, in a tone of forced calmness. "You will remove my likeness from your product and you will never send it to Frewyn again."
"Never send it to-- but Frewyn is our intended market-- we cannot simply just--- there was time and money put into---" A capitulating sigh, and under the influence of Unghaahi's enormous fists, Mr Abbeymill was forced to resign his remonstrances; he had done a hasty thing in thinking the giant would approve their product, and if he wished to keep his newly tailored suit in the same condition with which he entered the conversation, he must concede to the giant's demands. "If that is your particular desire," said he, loosening his starched collar, "then I will oblige. We will make a new product, one suitable for Frewyn, and then perhaps we might negotiate your terms..."
"If you wish to send your products to Frewyn, I will negotiate the terms."
Mr Abbeymill raised a brow. "And what terms, might I ask, are these?"
A small smile garnished Unghaahi's lips, and as Mr Abbeymill was suddenly willing to listen, he would delineate the terms on which his company would be allowed to trade with Frewyn.
A week after the visit to Marridon, Unghaahi received a parcel from the Marridon Grains Company. He took the package into the kitchen and invited everyone to join him thither, that they might see the result of his meeting and judge for themselves whether the new product was acceptable for Frewyn consumption. Alasdair was applied to and entreated for his opinion, and once he was come in from court, the package was opened and the new product was revealed.
"Sindhaar-os?" said Alasdair, remarking the box with some confusion.
Unghaahi was all smiles. "They are small representations of Sindhaas," said he, opening the box and offering it to Alasdair.
He took the tiny Sindhaas with a very good grace and contemplated as he ate. "It certainly is palatable," was Alasdair's review. "I don't think we could have them with milk, but perhaps a glass on the side would do."
"You do not enjoy them?"
"I think I'm the wrong person to ask, Unghaahi. I've never been one for cereals in general, but maybe Kai Linaa would like to try, as she is the best judge of anything belonging to the islands."
Kai Linaa did try them and gave them their due praise. "They do taste like Sindhaas, but I think I'd have them in the afternoon. For breakfast, I'd prefer something--" sweet was what she meant to say, but Unghaahi's inquiring looks checked her and compelled her to say a terse and beaming, "I like them."
The product was deemed a tolerable success, and as such might now be sanctioned by everyone in the royal party as acceptable for fair trade between kingdoms.
"Poor Marridon," the commander laughed. "And what is to become of their mountains of sugar beets?"
Alasdair leaned down and said in a whisper, "Knowing them, they will made a sweetener to dulcify bland cereals."
This could not be denied, and as sweetener might be banned from Frewyn, when that article should come to the trade ports, Alasdair would remember to have it sent back to Marridon as something that no Frewyn could ever want regardless of whose likeness was used to endorse it.