(2018-04-10) PrP: Tastes Like Trade - The Feast
Tastes Like Trade - The Feast
Summary: Bea presents her feast to the hobs of the town of Baksi, as per the contract to gain Amaranthine.
Date: IC Date (2018-04-10)
Related: Tastes Like Trade - Picky Eaters
Player Characters: Bea, Oribak (NPCed by Audgrim)

Baksi - Court Room

The court room has been left much in Bea's hands - some servants have been left in her charge, to move furiture around, carry foods here and there, or just set up things the way she wants it. This doesn't seem to be a breach of the contract at all, long as Bea does all the cooking herself.

There's a sizeable group of warriors, female and male both, waiting around for the whole thing to kick off - Warchief Oribak is looking particularly expectant. There's a buzz of excitement in the air - like this is truly something special for them.

Bea has been in and out of the village several times over the past few days, a couple times worse for wear after a run-in with the everworms in the swamp, but always carrying as much as she can manage, leaving mysterious boxes, bags and ingredients behind, leading up to the event. And now, the table has been laid for a feast, with several different glasses, silverware and plates, decoratively oragami'd cloth napkins, and light music that plays from a wind-up music box.

Bea is busy in the cooking area, which she's set up like an open kitchen, so she can talk to the guests while she works on the next piece of the meal.

When it's all ready Bea, dressed in her chef's coat, wearing a toolbelt full of kitchen utelsils, and wearing her fanciest, most colorful clothing and accessories, opens the doors and welcomes everyone in with a flourish. "Come in! Come in. Take a seat." She takes special care to lead Oribak to his seat at the head of the table, making sure he is comfortable before offering a quick, "We'll begin with a bit of refreshment." As she speaks, the servants deliver a drink to start the evening; dry, apple flavored mead, not nearly as sweet as most would assume from the type of drink it is. Bea offers the detail, "This I made myself. The apples that flavor it are from a tree I grew just from a tiny seed, that was from a truly perfect apple, which a friend got after an epic adventure, and gave to me as a gift for helping them. And the honey is from my hives, and honey is good for everything, but is best in a drink sometimes, I think. I hope you enjoy it. Your first course will be out in a moment." With that, she hurries back to the kitchen, and starts to quickly put the finishing touches on the first course.

The guests are quick to fill up the courtroom and take seats, but they all wayt for Oribak to sit first. Oribak is grinning at Bea and treats her with utmost respect; he's been over asking her questions about her cooking, like many other guests - some are nosy enough to try to glean the ingredients and the story behind in advance, until Oribak told them to be patient and they backed off.

The drinks are accepted with a loud buzz of voices as they sniff, taste and comment on it - but all grow quiet as she explains where it comes from. Approving nods, at that - a good drink with a good story. There's some murmurs about the 'epic adventure' - as if they'd love to hear about that too - but /that/ isn't in the contract.

The first course begins to come out a few minutes after everyone has had a chance to settle in. The dish is delivered in bamboo steaming baskets, one in front of each guest, containing 1 extra large, perfect dumpling package, with a trio of garnishes arched along the edge in decreasing amounts- a mound of spicy orange kimchi, a smaller pile of tart pink pickled ginger, and a little pea sized ball of green wasabi. Along with this, a silver straw and a clearly hand-made, deep Chinese-style soup spoon for consuming.

The taste is light, but delicious- ground pork, bits with wild mushroom, chives, vegetables, a hint of crab and shrimp all in a slightly soy-tasting pork broth package /inside/ the dumpling. The garnishes cleanse the palette between bites or add a little zing, depending on how the eater chooses to use them.

As they are delivered, Bea explains, still busy at work on whatever is coming next, most of the work hidden behind the high counter, leaving only her face visible, and her words flowing easily to the guests.

"This is just some "Xiao Long Bao" which is just called a soup dumpling, in English. These kind of dumplings are extra special, and lucky. They are folded 14 times, which is a lucky number to the people who invented them, and make whoever eats them a little lucky too."

She takes a breath and begins what is clearly the main story, "It is made with a most pampered wild boar, which I raised with my own two hands, feeding it nothing but fresh milk from a cow and honey from my own bees. And it was like my own baby, that pi…wild boar, and I loved it so, but one day it was lured off into the woods, probably by some fox or the Man in the woods, who is like a Gentry, and real annoying. And so my sweet boar became wild and fierce, but it was so used to the special things that it ate only truffles, which are pretty much the most expensive food in the world, and acorns, which are what give it the best flavor, just fattening up on the most delicacy..ed things in the world, and the meat so nice and tender and delicious I could almost taste it, even though he was still alive, and so wild I only caught a glimpse of him now and then.

And then one day, he attacked one of the kids in my town, and one that I love and have watched grow since it was just a baby, like that boar itself, and I had to break my own heart, hunting him down. I chased him all through the woods, and finally, I had to just sit and cry, because I couldn't take the chase anymore, and thinking of killing my favorite pig, even though he'd hurt my friend. But he came right up to me, and I knew he would think it was okay, so I just gave him a hug and cut out his heart right there, and put it in a pickle jar so he would be with me forever. But his meat was so good, so fine, that I could think of no more fitting way to honor its life than to serve it to you all, who are such strong warriors, like he was.

She pauses to wipe a little tear from her eye, and whispers, "I hope you all enjoy it."

That buzz of voices quiets down as the meal is brought out to all the guests. This isn't just a meal, to them - it's a whole ritual. It has a deeper meaning, perhaps some sort of solidifying of their pact, of their community. Oribak might do this as a political game play too - if he can show he can bring in such exotic wares and food to the table, he also shows he's got clout and influence - and riches.

The wolverine-hobs sniff their foods and look like they can hardly wait, but they don't begin eating until Bea's told the story. It tugs at their warrior hearts; some show grim faces, reminiscing of losing a friend. Perhaps some had to mercifully kill a wounded warrior amongst them. And there's a collective deep inhale as she says the boar came to her and knew it was time. They're not prone to cry, but some look quite taken.

"An /excellent/ story, Bea. The course shall taste better for it - we shall honor this boar with every bite."

And with that, the hobs begin eating. They might not have the tabel manners of human society, and using knives and forks seem optional - but they don't spill, and they taste everything carefully and chew properly. There's some surprised sounds then and now - 'Did you try this bit, it's strong - but goes so well with everything else!' or 'How did she /do/ this? I have never had anything like it!'

Oribak eats carefully and thoughtfully, but he makes happy noises too now and then. When he is finished, he stands up and announces: "Your first course meets with our approval! You have gained one amarinthe, as we promised. Excellent work."

Bea grins when Oribak announces she's 'won' the first round of the meal, beaming with delight and doing a little rhythmless dance with happiness. "Oh, I'm just so glad you liked it." As the first course is cleared, more drinks come out between, this one a layered green 'drink'. It is served in a strange test-tube looking contraption, with a built in straw at the bottom, so the drink is sucked from bottom to top. The flavors are layered as well, a strange mix that goes well together, but is clearly designed as just a novelty…Bea playing a bit. The green color is consistent all the way through, but the flavors change after every sip…toffee, hot buttered toast, turkey, cherry pie, pineapple and custard. Bea explains, as she gets to work on the finishing touches of the second course, scrambling a bit to add the last bits of flare and seasoning.. "Green drinks are what the strongest, healthiest, richest people drink. It's a magical concotion that just cures everything that ails you. This one is super special though, made just with you all in mind, to taste as much as we can get in."

The drinks weren't expected or part of the deal, but Oribak nods over at Bea and raises his glass in a little toast; he appreciates the gesture. In fact, he looks very king-like there on the head seat - glancing around at the guests to see what they all think. He tastes the drink, looking a bit funny when he drinks from the straw; they got big teeth and small lips, but they can manage drinking like that. Like the rest, his expression remain amazed at each new taste, many of them which they have never had before. There's some whispers around, as the warriors try to remember if they've had anything like it before, but the collective consensus is that they've never actually tasted anything like it - pineapple being the closest, as there's some hedge fruit that has similarities. One of the warriors even claim that he's no longer hurting in his hip (an old grizzled one).

"An astonishing drink, and clearly magical," Oribak booms, very pleased.

The second course soon follows: Exotic meat sliders. Several plates piled high with different burgers, each one with an image of the animal it has come from: kangaroo, alligator, ostrich, bear, snake. Along with this, big bowls of thick-cut fries and homemade dipping sauces, and, in an elaborate centerpiece, deep fried squid on a stick, the stick decoratively be-ribboned with the colors she has seen most in the town.

Burgers are the life blood of America, which is the territory of the Port of Angeles. It's a matter of pride, to make a good burger, and just what everyone in the whole world knows America for. These are made with the most exotic meats in the world, the animals known for their strength, their cunning, their speed. I went to the deepest, darkest corners of the city and made a deal with only the shadiest meat-smuggler in town to get these here and bring them to you."

A breath and she adds, "And another tradition of the humans, is just to fry things on a stick. There are stories that go all the way around the world about the best stick-foods, and even things like butter, or drinks…But I have given you squid, which is a beast that lives deep in the darkest waters, and this is just baby ones, but the biggest ones will sink a ship, some people can say, and anyway, they are like a real delicacy since everyone knows seafood is just for the rich people. And for this, I had to sit and sing to the moon all the night, and sneak out from under the eyes of the birds who are evil and watching us to cause us all trouble, in order to bring this to your table."

She takes a deep breath and brushes back her hair, looking a little worried. She knows the 'story' to go with this isn't nearly as strong as the last course, but she's clearly hoping it's enough, waiting with wings abuzz to get the first sense of how both meal and story have gone over.

Some stand up to look at the meals being carried inside, and some tails swich excitedly - they sniff the air, their sense of smell one of their many assets. There's a collective murmur of approval. They /do/ like their meat - and this is a LOT of meat. Burgers are piled up on plates but every image is also studied closely. Some of them look similar to animals found in the hedge, but enough of a difference to be exotic. The kangaroo one especially have them agape and that image is passed around as they try to figure out what sort of animal it even is. The ostrich has them baffled - they've never seen a bird like that.

Bea's story isn't quite as good, but they look at her with wide eyes at the mention of the squid - they don't live anywhere near deep waters and only have the faintest idea of this, heard in stories. So, they eat that with extra reverency.

If the first meal was met with approval and liked a lot - they just /love/ this. They gorge on burgers and frieds. They are eating more messily and talking more loudly now. One has to wonder if they can even fit a third meal in, as much as they eat - in fact, they don't stop until every crumb is gone, there's even a bit of an alteration about the last burger as two big warriors both want it. Oribak settles that dispute with having them split it in half.

The warchief falls back on his chair, hands on his belly. "America must be a wondrous place," he muses, "with such food." He'd be so disappointed if he went to a Mcdonalds…

He stands up with a groan - he mightve eaten too much - and says: "There can be no doubt. You have gained another Amaranthine from your skill. Well done."

Bea beams. She's taken the time during the meal and the examination of the different animals images to explain some small details about them. The jumping/fighting skills of the kangaroo, the speed of the ostrich, the might of the bear, etc. She seems relieved when it all pans out, and she's earned herself a second fruit. With a nod, she beams and says, "I'm glad that it met your approval," said in a tone that suggests it's a turn of phrase she's been given to say, rather than one that comes naturally to her.

And then she's hurrying back to the kitchen! The last course, it seems, is a bit lighter, perhaps for the best. A long wooden plate, hand-carved, with 8 different delightful concoctions in colorful, hand-blown shot glasses. Some are liquid, some like creay pudding, others a tasty bite. It's a bit backward, as if the appetiser is being served last, but it's clear she's got a method to the madness. Each one is designed to evoke a particular experience- one tastes of truffles, earthy smoke and pine labled 'evergreen forest', another has a foamy consistency and has the light taste of oyster, seasalt, popcorn and cotton candy labled 'seaside boardwalk'. On and on it goes, each one representing the distinct flavor of a different, purely human-side experience- some managing to stretch the imagination a bit like the one labled 'doctor's visit' that tastes slightly antiseptic and has the faint tinge of iron-y blood on the finish.

Bea explains, "When you said that what you wanted was to have some taste of the other world, to know the stories from it, then to make you a meal of that, I had to end like this. Because you see, these are the experiences of mine, in these three days since we have last met. They are the flavor of all the places that I have been, and made into a taste of the other world for you, so that you can see…/taste/ that world through my eyes…mouth." She pauses, clearly having lost herself in trying to keep up the metaphor, but with a buzz of her wings and a little laugh she gets back on track. "They are the tastes of the woods near my home, and the seaside where I drive my ice cream truck to give the kids all some treats, and even some of the less fun stuff, like I had to take a friend to the doctor, since they were real sick, and even those bad things can have a nice flavor to them, if you think about it right. And so, for you, the best I can do to bring you a taste of the human world." She gives a little bow, and sets down her tools, a sign she's finished her meal and her story.

It's probably a good thing the last course is lighter - some are showing signs of being quite full. Not that they'd miss eating it for anything, however. They all have a few minutes to talk and share their experiences and discuss the meals so far before the last meal is brought out; they all sit up straight again and look down at the wooden plates. They lift up the glasses and peer at them from beneath - they seem to find the glasses as much of a treat as the treats inside - then put them back down to listen to Bea. They all turn more serious and they nod to each other and murmur their appreciation at this idea. To get a real taste of 'human' life.

Like in any group, some favor onte taste over the other - some table neighbors even switch some of the treats after sampling, even if none of them are disliked. But they've become more like a huge family gathering now, that joke and laugh and share food.

Oribak watches all this with a keen eye. But he, especially, enjoys Bea's explanation of the last course. "Perhaps one day," he offers, "we can invite you for a meal that we have prepared - to give us a chance to return the honor you have shown us. This will be a day that we shall note down in our chronicles - the day Bea the Human from Port of Angels stunned the town Baksi with her cooking skills. And not only did you cook - you prepared some remarkable drinks too, which we did not ask for. As such, I shall return your generosity with gifting you one more amaranthine, in addition to the three you earned from the contract. This is beyond anything we expected - and if I thought it possible, I'd invite you to stay here and get our own house and with every item you need to cook whatever you want. But - I have a feeling you did not come here to barter for Amaranthine just to stay here afterwards. People, somewhere, need you, don't they?"

Bea looks, for just a moment, like she is quite tempted by the half-offered resetlement suggestion. She laughs a little and nods, "Oh, for sure, I have some friends who will really be happy to know that I have these fruits, and can grow some more to make sure no one dies, since these are some pretty rough times we're in. And your generousity, to give me an extra fruit, is really just super nice, and I could just..hug you for it." She does, however, manage to refrain from said demonstrations of her joy, though it's clearly an effort for the affectionate Beast. "But still, it is a great honor for me to be able to cook for you, and as a Knight, I am always happy to do it. So for sure, I can promise I will come back, and make you a meal again some time, and visit you when I can, since I hope we can all be good friends."

Oribak does look like he'd find a hug to be a bit much, but he snorts amusedly. There's a collective laughter from the crowd at it - like they think the warchief deserves a bit of ribbing. "You're welcome back, anytime - just be careful, we get regularly attacked here. It is the calmer season now though, before summer - so this is the best time to visit. Bring some friends - that warrior woman you brought with you last time - perhaps she would appreciate sparring with some of us?" He considers it. "sometimes, we require aid from… mercenaries too. In case you know of such types. We have other things to trade, than fruit."

Bea grins, seeming pleased at that, "Oh sure! I am certain Denver would like to come back and do some sparring, and maybe will even help during some big fight. And me too, since I may not look it, but I am pretty good with an axe, even if I am better with my chef's knife." She beams at that, and waves a hand vaguely in the direction of Port Angeles, "You can always find me, or just pass a message to some bug, and I will get it, if you need me. And I would be real…honored, to be helping you, and being in trade with you like a regular thing."

Some of the hobs are literally licking out the last from their glasses, not wasting anything. They've even started some bartering about the glasses - they're excellent mementos, and will be treasures of their own.

"Excellent. It is more diffucult to send messages to us - but there is a hob living on the other side of the swamp that regularly comes here. He lives near where you came out on the other side of the bridge, his name is Kirik." Oribak leaves the table now and wanders over to Bea. "Now we shall give Bea her earnings. Come with me," he says, and he will lead Bea out to the garden that is in the middle of the castle - where there's a nice little hedge fruit garden and one tree in particular, extremely well guarded - will gift her with the fruit. He will allow her to pick them herselves, under supervision. Afterwards, she will be offered to stay the night if she so wishes and given free roam of the castle (except the garden - they might like her, but they're extremely careful about the fruit).

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