Dozens of balloons -- red, green, violet, blue, yellow -- hung outside the castle, glowing like jewels. Inside lay the spread of delicacies, candies in glowing heaps of gold, cakes with delicate sugar fantasies, jellies and jams, peaches like the dawn and grapes like the twilight hour. All untouched as the guests milled about, awaiting the party.
"Greetings first," murmured Princess Casilda. "For all who have come to celebrate my birthday."
Her mouth twisted. "I hope they show some sense on presents."
"I think the dirigible crew hopes even more."
She laughed, shortly, as if surprised into it.
Outside the window, the military balloons hung on the air. They always did, except during foul weather, and her brother Richard had admitted to her that it found threatening storm clouds far more often than giants. Which would entirely deflate the adventures Miss Garden was secretly expecting for one of her flowers, having sent her out to the wilderness and the desert.
Well, she could write of how they made up cakes for birthdays in big batches -- rich fruitcakes that would safely last all year -- so they did not have bake in the heat. And how she was already using the embroidery lessons to make up delicate flowery embroidery to give for birthday presents.
She took up the pen, and wrote, "Greetings."
A group of fae no higher than her knees were having a party about the roots of an oak. Birthday, Halley guessed, from the way one tiny girl had a garland of flowers set up as a hoop at the back of her chair. No balloons, which did not surprise her, but presents wrapped in brightly colored petals, a small cake, and passers-by offering greetings.