The BiMoon Solstifest of Light and Love Groom


The BiMoon Solstifest of Light and Love Groom

“Papa,” little Arabesque said, “tell me the stowy of the BiMoon Solstifest of Wight and Wove again?”

Sir Marzipan Carbonatus smiled fondly down at his infant daughter, who was gazing up at him with eyes as innocent and blue as he imagined a summer day might be on a world that had a yellow sun instead of a red one. “Of course, my darling,” he said. “But I shall have to make it quick – I need to get back to the Red Raptor and put in some more time on repairing Adventurer Mercenary Captain Mica’elle’s holo-view-holo-screen. It’s a very important tool that allows the crew to –”

“The stowy, Papa!” the sweet poppet reminded her father.

Sir Marzipan’s eyes creased as his paternal smile grew ever fonder. “Of course, sweetums. Now, as you know, once upon a time there were only two moons in Riadorf’s star-spattered skies…”

In almost no time at all – merely the time it takes to tell a familiar story to a little girl – Sir Marzipan had explained the origins of Riadorf’s proudest and oldest holiday, the BiMoon Solstifest of Light and Love, which took its origins from a dark time when Riadorf had but two lonely moons, their midnight-blue and pinkish-purple unleavened with the soft light of the silvery-grey orb that joined them later. The people of Riadorf, not knowing the joys that could come of three moons in one sky, celebrated their doubled moons every year with a planetwide BiMoon Solstifest of Light and Love, during which they celebrated their two moons and the principles of light and love, which the adults did mostly by making love under the light of the moons, or else indoors with their lights on if they had allergies or something, and the children did with glowsticks, which have been a favorite toy of children across the Dorgian Galaxy since before the advent of recorded history.

One year, as the whole of Riadorf was immersed in an ecstatic – indeed, almost orgiastic – celebration of the BiMoon Solstifest, it happened! A third moon appeared, suddenly and without explanation! And thus, the people of Riadorf knew that their BiMoon Solstifest of Light and Love was truly blessed, for they had been gifted with a third moon, but everyone still called it the BiMoon Solstifest instead of the TriMoon Solstifest because old habits can be as hard to break as the unbreakable web of the Glartanzanion Web-Spider.

“Ah,” Sir Marzipan exclaimed, as he finished up the story! “Here is your nanny, now. I’ve got to go, my little sparklesnot, so mind that you’re a good girl now and when I come back tonight I’ll tuck you in and tell you another story, all right?”

“All wight, Papa!” tiny Arabesque assented.

Sir Marzipan swept his diminutive offspring into an exuberant hug before departing, tossing a friendly smile and wave in the nanny’s direction as he went.

Milquetoast Rogers took the friendly smile and wave in the manner in which it was intended – that is, with entirely non-romantic and remote though sincere friendliness as appropriate from an employer to his employee – and sighed, a wistful gust of breath escaping regretfully from between his full bronze lips. While he admired Sir Marzipan’s careful adherence to the Riadorfan Employer-Employee Relationship Appropriateness Policy, he could not but regret that Sir Marzipan could not turn his otherwise keen insight upon the plight of his nanny – for Milquetoast had given his heart to his employer in the instant of their first meeting, much as a Frgui bison of Gwrrk tenderly deposits an offering of saliva into the mouth of its mate.

“O,” he whispered, pausing in front of a mirror. “As I gaze upon myself I see that I am not unfair to look upon – what with my smooth, rich skin which is the exact shade of bittersweet organic free trade chocolate, my hair, which is like the halo of an angel, only black, and my dark eyes like the black holes at the centres of galaxies, but sparkling a little, as black holes do not because they cannot allow the escape of light – and yet Sir Milquetoast does not see!”

“Nanny Wogers,” Arabesque cried, rushing in on her adorably dimpled little legs. Though only five, she had such grace that many a member of the Riadorfan Royal Ballet company had envied her twinkling footsteps. “Huwway! You are my vewy favowitest nanny of all!”

“You little scampersnake,” Milquetoast laughed happily. “I am your only nanny! You have driven off the rest of your nannies!”

Arabesque nodded, hair bobbing adorably. “Daddy says it’s because I’m so spiwited! He says I am so wambunctious that only a vewy gweat nanny could possibly cope with my pwecocious intellect and pwopensity to pwanks.”

Milquetoast nearly swooned at the compliment, as passed through the lips of this most loveable popsy. “Your father said that?” he exclaimed with a heated exhalation.

Arabesque performed a lovely little dance about his well-shaped feet. “Yes! Nanny Wogers, I have a weally tewwific idea! Why don’t you mawwy my daddy? Then we will be a family, like the unbweakable welationship between the Waging Wedcocks of Wapsia! Or like the thiwd moon in the wed skies of Wiadowf! I do so want you to be my daddy, vewy vewy much.”

Forgetting for a moment that the tiny child was only a small young person, Milquetoast clutched his heart and replied, with full sincerity: “Arabesque… there is nothing more that I would love than to become your other father. But how can it be done?” he asked, sincerely.

“That’s easy!” Arabesque declared. “We will pewfowm a makeover!”

“Why you charming little buttonfingers!” Milquetoast exclaimed. “A makeover? Whatever can you mean?”

“We must begin wiv youw wawdwobe,” the bitty miss replied. “You weaw entiwely too many sweatew vests.”

“What’s wrong with my sweater vests?” Milquetoast queried, slightly insulted even though he knew that his pint-sized charge was only being helpful in her own enormously unique and special way, just as a Blortangioi Rapplebob bird so often attempts to repair the nests of its nearest neighbors in a true and earnest spirit of assistance, only to tip the structures over the edges of cliffs, dooming the young of other Rapplebobs to a sudden and plumetous death. Only with sweater vests instead of nests, and feelings instead of fledglings.

“Nothing!” sweet little Arabesque was quick to declaim. “Thew’es nothing wwong wiv them! Onwy you’d wook bwettew in twuwtlenwecks, dwon’t you thwink?”

Perhaps the darling little fartfairy had a point, Milquetoast mused. He did indeed cut a dashing figure in a turtleneck, with his rippling, rock-hard abs displayed nicely by clinging fabric in a way that simply could not be matched by the visual trickery of sweater-vestery softness, no matter how comfortable and practical.

“All right,” he acceded. “A turtleneck. Blue, do you think?”

“Ow pwink, mwaybe. And dwo you hwave wany lweathwer pwants?”

Milquetoast frowned. “I’m so sorry my sweet cinnamonears, but I’m afraid your charming lisp is getting slightly out of control. I can barely make you out.”

Arabesque daintily cleared her miniscule throat. “I asked if you own any leather pants,” she clarified. “Spayswurm-hide would really set off your physique, don’t you think?”

The lovesick nanny ruffled her cute little curls. “Oh, my dear, darling donutnose. You really are wise beyond your years! But your interest in my admittedly well-toned form is making me slightly uncomfortable, so perhaps we’d better move on from the issue of clothes.”

“Okay!” the tiny tot caroled. “Can we play with my dollies now? We can have a tea-pawty!”

Milquetoast readily agreed to the proposed change in activity, and amused his charge for some time thereafter by pretending to converse with her dolls as he served them all tea, much the way a skilled ventriloquist might converse with a puppet, except that dolls don’t usually move their mouths the way puppets do, and ventriloquists don’t usually move their lips when they’re ventriloquating, and Milquetoast did. It was a good thing he was a nanny, and not a ventriloquist.

But even as he exchanged pleasantries with Lady Clothface Yarnhair and her daughter and discussed the weather with the dowager Duchess Stuffingbottom, Milquetoast’s thoughts lingered on the wisdom imparted to him by Arabesque. A makeover certainly couldn’t hurt anything – unless his special going-out pair of spayswurm-hide pants was a lot tighter than he remembered – and it might just help Sir Marzipan to realize that he, Milquetoast, had much more to offer than child-minding skills at reasonable rates.

It was decided. He would ask the housekeeper to check in on Arabesque after he put her down for her afternoon nap, and he would dash off home to change his clothes. The only thing left to determine was the color of his turtleneck. Blue, or pwink? Er, pink.


Sir Marzipan returned from his work on the Former Pirate and now Adventurer Mercenary vessel, the Red Raptor with a spring in his step and a smile in his eye, if eyes could be said to smile, which is rather difficult unless one uses one’s fingers to push them up at both corners. Also, a smile on his lips.

The source of all three smiles would be easy to discern, particularly if you had telepathic powers. Had he not that very day bespraggled the corniflating gumpiator of the com holo-view-holo-screen? Had he not hujassened the Gautier beaminatron and fullumpated the Houx 457 (a task of which he had been somewhat wary, being hitherto familiar only with the more common but less decoratative Joux 129)? Had he not, furthermore, been congratulated on his keen grip on the principles of communicative science by none other than Chief Science and Medical Officer Chairite herself?


He had.

And thus, he smiled – and smiled even more when he stepped inside the threshold of a home so far from humble that it was number nineteen on the Most Ludicrously Lavish list to discern that in the foyer was a beguiling vision of tender manhood, dressed in a tight pair of spayswurm hide trousers that clung to every dimple of his behind and a pink-and-blue vertically striped turtleneck, which displayed the stranger’s back muscles to perfection.

“Why, hello,” Sir Marzipan said, in the traditional manner of his people. “What can I do for you?”

The stranger turned, and Sir Marzipan realized, with a jolt of delicious horror, such as one might receive from the Electrified Cookie-Snake of Gelba Seven, that the stranger was no stranger at all! It was his nanny, Milquetoast Rogers! And he looked totally fine!

In an instant Sir Marzipan plumbed the hitherto unfathomed depths of his own depravity, for, while he reached for the hallowed principles of the Riadorfan Employer-Employee Relationship Approriateness Policy, as one might stand upon the edge of the bath to reach for something on top of the bathroom cabinet instead of sensibly going to fetch a stool, he felt his metaphorical footing slip, and metaphorically sprawled on the cold tiled floor surrounded by nail polish remover and half-used moisturiser samples.

“Alas!” he cried, reeling against the wall and dislodging a rather indifferent holo-portrait of a distant ancestor. “I must resist this ignominy! Nanny Rogers, with my utmost regret, you are summarily dismissed, with full pay and references!”

And he rushed past the stunned and gorgeous young nanny to unburden his heart to the one person he was sure would comprehend the horrible mourning these noble words had unleashed within his spirit.

Fortunately, his darling daughter was already sitting up in bed, charmingly rubbing her eyes after awakening from her nap, and he did not disturb her repose when he burst into her room with the cry, “O, my little giblet, I am most grieved to impart to you the news that I have done something terrible!”

Arabesque blinked the suspicious blink of an unusually perspicacious youngster. “Does this have something to do with Nanny Wogers?”

Sir Marzipan reeled as if struck. Sweet Proet, that name! That name which had once stirred in him feelings similar to those caused by phrases such as “this convenient and comfortable sitting room chair” and “the usual sandwich for lunch” – feelings of solid dependability and a vague sense of distant, patronizing affection – suddenly moved his heart with a violent passion, as if the eggs of a parasitic Gnitsugsid wasp had hatched within that organ, only more metaphorical, though only slightly less excruciating.

“Yes!” he wailed. “I have…had to let him go!”

Arabesque bounced smartly out of bed and stamped her dainty foot in an adorable display of irritation. “Why?” she demanded!

“O, little dumplingdimples. I fear that you will not understand my reasons fully until you are old enough to appreciate the vast wisdom of the Riadorfan Employer-Employee Relationship Approriateness Policy, particularly subsections a-j of chapter thirteen, but, in short, I am ashamed to report that I have developed inappropriate feelings for…for…Milquetoast!” As he spoke this last, Sir Marzipan nearly swooned.

“O, for fu—” Arabesque bit her tiny little tongue and took a deep breath, striving for calm. “O,” she began again, “Papa! That is tewwible! Fow, you see, Nanny Wogers is in love with you! And I love him and want him to be my other Papa! Wouldn’t it be evew so wondewful?”

Sir Marzipan allowed himself a brief, longing smile. “It would, my little tortoisetoes. But such relationships are clearly counter indicated by the Riadorfan Employer-Employee Relationship—”

“But you’ve sacked him,” Arabesque pointed out adroitly. “He’s not youw employee anymowe!”

“Proet! You’re right!” Sir Marzipan leapt to his feet and lifted his daughter into his arms for an ecstatic twirl around the room. “And only think! If you hadn’t said that just then, you clever little brainybooger, it might have taken ages to resolve this sort of misunderstanding! Why, if we had been characters in a tale of romance, it could have been the difference between a short story and a novella! But enough of such musings – now we must race down to the foyer and see if we can catch Milquetoast before he gets all the way out the door. I have a proposal for him!”


Milquetoast made up his mind yet again to take those final, fatal steps outside Sir Marzipan’s grejjian crystal door intricately carved with koiti relief figures, and yet…. And yet, he could not!

“There there lovvy,” said the housekeeper, whose tender grey-green eyes had seen many a young man overcome by Sir Marzipan’s rigid honesty. “I daresay Master Marzipan will regret this come the day, seein’ if he won’t!” He offered Milquetoast another capacious handkerchief, into which Milquetoast discharged the contents of his nostrils in a manner both despairing and delicate.

“But Carpetman (that being your name),” sobbed Milquetoast expressively. “How could I have been so foolish? I allowed that darling twinklebritches Arabesque to talk me into this frippery when I knew quite well that her father would never so dishonour himself as to lay loving hands upon an employee! Even though it is clear that he adores me!”

“‘ang on, my loverly,” said Carpetmen thoughtfully. “I ‘ave ‘ad a thought! The difficulty ‘as been that you are an employee to Sir Marzipan, is it ain’t?”

“Er, I think so,” Milquetoast said tremulously. “I’m finding your accent, while historically accurate and extensively researched, a trifle difficult to comprehend.”

“Bah, shizzens to the oafle,” Carpetman expressed. “My point is being ain’t it that you ain’t no employee no more. Yes?”

“That’s why I’m crying,” Milquetoast exasperated. “Look, maybe it’s the dehydration that’s affecting my usually very competent translation skills, but perhaps you could say whatever it is you have to say in plain Riadorfan?”

Carpetman took both of the younger man’s hands very firmly in his own rough palms. “Go. And. Propose,” he said.

Milquetoast sprang to his feet, eyes and nose red no more through the miraculous power of love, and also through the hasty application of cosmetics. “But of course!” he exclaimed, and bounded back through the hall, where he ecstatically tumbled into the pair he loved most.

“My heartcushion!” cried Sir Marzipan.

“My soulfiddler!” cried Milquetoast.

“Marry me!” they shouted in unison, and then fell upon each other for a deep and loving kiss. With tongue!

“We must marry at once!” Sir Marzipan decided. “Tomorrow, if possible!”

“But there are so many weddings tomorrow,” Milquetoast worried. “How can we possibly engage, with no notice at all, an officiant for a wedding to be held on the BiMoon SolstiFest of Light and Love?”

“This is terrible!” Sir Marzipan shouted. “If only I knew someone to whom I could turn in this hour of need! A wandering priest of Proet, say, or a Justice of the Royal Peace, or a ship’s captain, for all of these people can perform weddings!”

“If only you could!” Milquetoast mourned, and felt it incumbent upon him to cheer his true love up by tenderly licking his outer ear, which was remarkably efficacious.

Arabesque and Carpetman exchanged a speaking look, and Arabesque coughed. “But Daddy, Darling,” she mentioned. “You do know a ship’s captain. Wemember? The Adventuwew Mewcenawy Mica’elle of the Wed Waptor?”

“My darling dirtyknees!” Sir Marzipan exulted. “I am exultant! So it shall be!”

And indeed, the very next morning, so shall it was! All the bells of the Red Raptor rang out, as Sir Marzipan Carbonatus wed Milquetoast Rogers, under the capable and audacious hands of Mica’elle Gallo. And everyone watching agreed that this was a beginning as auspicious to another beautiful Riadorfan BiMoon SolstiFest as an excellently-written and romantic story would be in a holiday season collection!

The Momentary End

Onward to Part Two: A Gift of Love (in Both the Emotional and the Physical Sense)

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