Midsummer is a special time at the Academy. The longest day is the one day of the calendar devoted to celebration of the pure joy of being alive. Classes are canceled, and all non-essential chores. The temple is closed, and Formal uniforms stay shut up in their closets. Activities that all other days are frowned upon are encouraged. Fasting is forbidden; the afternoon supper is the largest, most elaborate feast served all year. Gifts are exchanged. It is not a day to make sacrifices, but a day to relax and enjoy life, to live and let live.
In the gardens and green spaces in the center of the campus, there is music and laughter, dancing and games. A bonfire is burning warmly and food is freely available to any who want it, as much as they may want. Flowers abound, arranged in bouquets on the tables, hanging over doorways, draped in garlands around the necks of livestock, and adorning the brow of every devotee.
But out in the far meadows where the wildflowers thrive, there is only the buzzing of the shimmering beetles erupting into the evening air as best friends Jev and Clover wade through the long grass hand-in-hand. The floral crowns and garlands they wove for each other are bold and bright against the characteristic simplicity of their Informal uniforms.
At the edge of the meadow they come to a stop, watching the heavy orange disk of the sun sink towards the western hills.
Clover sighs contentedly as the cool evening breeze brushes the black fur of her face; it would be impossible to imagine a more beautiful moment. She gently squeezes Jev’s hand, standing to her left. “Jev…” she whispers, watching her friend’s large ears swivel to face her.
“I’m… I’m glad we’re here. Choosing… coming to the Academy was the best Choice I ever made. Because… because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t’ve ever met you… And, well… I love you.”
Jev smiles shyly, “Thank you. I… I love you, too.”
Clover turns her head to glance at her lapine friend. Jev is holding a single white blossom in her left hand, looking at it pensively. Her stockinged paw scuffs at the ground absently.
“What’s on your mind, Jev?”
“I… I got something… found this… for you.” Jev takes a deep breath, “Hanna of Taashia wrote about a tradition in some nations on Midsummer's Night...That, if you put a white flower under your pillow tonight, you'll dream of your future husband."
The wolf turns fully to face Jev. The rabbit turns and looks up at Clover, her ears folded back timidly, offering the flower in her hand.
"I don't need that," Clover says.
Jev starts to wilt, but then she feels the warm touch of her friend's right hand on her cheek.
Somewhale has such a beautiful style, and I am ecstatic I was able to get a commission from her. I knew she would do a wonderful job with these characters; Jev and Clover are so soft, warm, and delicate here. Go give somewhale faves, watches, and commissions!