Dinner with an Archlector
Sept. 22, 2021, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Crown - Modest Townhouse
Comments and Log
a blue and gold macaw, Renard arrive, following Vitalis.
It's later in the afternoon but the windows are open which let a very pretty showcase of the blue and fiery colours of the sun starting to set. Finally, some warmth too has come with the floral breeze that gently sweeps in and mixes with all sorts of rather delicious smells as Roran is busy setting up the table with food and drinks. Arranging a plate of buns this way or that, restacking and then just going with how they looked originally as he's expecting guests.
There's a multitude of cats as well that come and go it seems as they please.
Grady's voice is muffled through the door: "I don't suppose there's some sort of knocker? Only the door seems frightfully thick. Can a person really knock hard enough, do you think, without bruising their knuckles?"
Meanwhile, Mathis just opens the door and steps on in, bearing what, from smell and appearance, seems to be a roast in a large cast iron skillet, along with roasted beets, carrots, and potatoes. Yes, it said there would be dinner here. No, that did not stop the Archlector of Petrichor from bringing more food. "Hey, Roran," he calls, putting the roast and the apron he was using to carry it with down on the table, and picking up a scrawny teenage tabby cat instead. "I brought food. Had it on the fire all day, should be nice and tender. And the leftovers are good if there's too much to eat. Sandwiches - can use the bone for broth. Hey, your house has one more room than mine!"
Roran smells that amazing roast and he gestures to help Mathis to set it on the table. "That smells absolutely delicious, Mathis. You read my mind, I was thinking maybe there wasn't enough food. I haven't had a dinner party here since" and he tries to think of when but comes up empty with a shrug! "Forever. And hello lord Grady! Wonderful to see you. Come in, come in. Make yourselves at home and claim a chair before all of them are taken."
2 House Deepwood Guards have been dismissed.
Mortimer Ridgewattle the Third have been dismissed.
Vitalis slips in past Mathis, holding the door for him as they move into the space. He peeks around it for Grady and holds it for him, too. The Clement lord has a small cask under his arm and smiles to those present, affably waiting a moment for introductions. "Lord Clement, Archlector. Thank you for opening your home. Here," he shifts and moves the keg into outstretched hands and - if the host is occupied with hosting - will put it on a sideboard or other out-of-the-way place. "A cask of Third Wall, a cherry brandy from Ostria." He looks at the spread, the buffet of felines, "Quite cozy on the coattails of winter."
a blue and gold macaw have been dismissed.
Renard have been dismissed.
Mathis feels like a genius now. He grins at Roran, while the cat struggles in his arms, reaching out to try and grab a piece of the roast. As the door opens again and Vitalis introduces himself, a light dawns in his eyes. "Oh, Lord Clement. Vitalis Clement? Mathis Leroux, Archlector of Petrichor. Nice to meet you! Roran - Archlector Roran, I mean - and I go way back. Do we have enough forks and plates and everything? I have ... two."
a blue and gold macaw have been dismissed.
Roran greets Vitalis as well as he comes in,"Lord Clement, I hope you're hungry and brought an appetite. I hate folks going hungry, never seems to be a good sign leaving a dinner party hungry does it." as he's semi-talking to himself on that last part. He pulls a chair out for Vitalis, gesturing for him to sit although a cat already jumps up on the cushioned seat.
"I think we have enough forks and plates, and positive I have enough tea cups for twenty. You can't ever have enough cups can you." None of the cups though will look as though they're part of a set, in fact, all of the plates and dishes seem to be odds and ends, mismatched.
The General arrives only a few minutes late this time.
She looks quiet and introspective tonight. She //usually// looks quiet and introspective. That's why she brings all those weapons with her: it's her way of suggesting to would-be-suitors that perhaps one had better let //this// particular lady remain unattached. The scorpions, right? Just leave them alone. Some creatures? Best left to their own devices. So, Gods bless her for showing up in public tonight, even if it is at a planned soiree.
At the door, she begins the process of disarming; it should take a few minutes.
"Ah, Archlector Mathis, a pleasant happenstance. It's good to meet you." Vitalis moves up to claim a seat, tipping forward to see if there is a prior claimant. There is hair on the seat, evidence of a ghostly occupant. From under the table he sees a set of luminous eyes... watching. He drags his eyes from the luminous stare to Mathis, "If I wasn't hungry before, I could scarcely remain so. It all smells delicious." He looks up at Piccola as she enters, brow knitting. "General, good evening."
Mismatched is still better than Mathis, who just said he had two forks and two plates, and actually had two forks and zero plates until very recently. "That's a lot of teacups," he says. "You expecting to hold a tea party for twenty in here? Lot of Lagomans on the hunt for tea? Could you even fit twenty people in here? You couldn't in my house, I think they built it in an alley." He settles into a seat, cat on lap, and greets Piccola with a, "Good evening, General!" as she enters the townhouse. Status: Roran - lots of cats. Normal. Piccola: Pointy. Also normal. "A lot of Godsworn of Petrichor do at least a spate of time cooking for the Templars or other Godsworn," he explains to Vitalis, gesturing to the roast. "That, and I have to cook for myself when I'm afield, so I ought to make it palatable, right? No sense in being cold, dirty, hungry, sore, and tired, /and/ eating shit food." A wide grin.
Roran says, "I find when I'm out and about beyond the cities and in the wilderness, nothing beats good food on a skillet over an open campfire and sharing a story with a passerby. Something to be said about a full belly doing wonders for the spirit." As Piccola comes in, he welcomes her with a happy smile too and gestures "Take a seat, please and we'll start the dinner." And so he moves to the table, scooting a cat off a chair that meows away while another is picked up and put in his robe pocket. "I'm very happy to see spring here, I thought for a bit that winter wasn't wanting to leave us and while snow is pretty, I do love spring a bit more. Thank you for all coming! We probably should introduce ourselves, so if you all will have a seat and.." he forgets something that he thought of earlier and stands back up, walking to take an old floppy hat that's been on many journeys it seems. Rummaging his hand in the hat, there's little slips of paper in there. "To introduce ourselves, I thought we might have a little game. Pull a slip out of the hat and there'll be a question you read out and then we all answer. Make sense? Don't answer your question, let us answer it! We'll take turns drawing from the hat.""
Mathis has rolled 1 24-sided dice: 13
Her voice is more distant than usual, like a woman with her head in the clouds or in darkness. That is, not her black clothes, but some sort of metaphysical, mental -- well, never mind. The point is she seems a little distracted, based on her voice. "It does smell -- " The General looks at the cat on the ground, and then stares at it for a few seconds in silence. Then she takes her dagger off her belt and lays it on the ground before joining the men at the table. " -- it smells nice in here." Piccola reaches out a hand to a cat, inviting it to come closer, so that she may put it in her lap.
The cat that complies is going to get so much attention.
Piccola has rolled 1 24-sided dice: 18
Vitalis has rolled 1 24-sided dice: 10
Roran has rolled 1 24-sided dice: 3
"I am with you. I just threw an archery challenge because cooking for the rest of the expedition was the stakes. I'd take cooking over other camp chores any day." Vitalis grins and scoots his chair back, settling and scooting in, mindful of the cat at his feet, a hand reached down to sniff, head-and-jaw scritches offered. He looks with interest at the floppy hat, "That could tell some stories, mmh?" He grins and fishes blind, pulling out a slip and unfolding it to read: "'If you could have dinner with just three people that ever existed, who would they be and why?'" He will be party to dishing roast and veggies.
Roran thinks on this question. "Three people for dinner and why. Well I have three people right now for dinner so I think I'm pretty fortunate." Hmmmm, as he scratches the head of a kitten that pokes her head out of his pocket. "Lilah Shay, the first knight of solace, Silver. Archscholar Py. I'd absolutely love an opportunity to share a cup of tea with Dominus Orazio. Lilah Shay would be wonderful to speak with and learn from, hearing her reasonings for sacrifice and duty for so many. Archscholar Py I think would have just every single topic you could ever think of and some witty and charming way to talk about it so we'd learn. And Dominus Orazio, because I very much miss my friend and I wish I had him here for a cup of tea. He and I would talk a lot on changes, and while he was never Archlector of Lagoma, I think he understood her so well, was a beautiful soul in a man."
The General waits for her turn patiently, her response coming to her easily.
She smiles at the feline who comes into her lap for petting. She even takes off her heavy leather gloves, to make sure that she can feel the soft fur on her fingertips. Hers is neither a vigorous scratch nor slow rub; it is, instead, the firm, open-fingered stroke from tip to tail, steady and even. Her jaw tightens for a moment, and then releases so that she can speak. "I would have my cousins Nurie and Sabine with me, and Sabine's daughter, Ginevra, so that we could have a final meal together before they must return to the Queen of Endings."
There is a note of wistfulness in her voice, but it is otherwise a quiet, serene, and painful answer.
Roran is overheard praising Piccola: So touching and a beautiful sentiment shared.
Vitalis is overheard praising Roran: A find repast.
"How are we supposed to know if we'd want to have dinner with them if we've never met them?" Mathis asks, serving himself up a plate of food. "Well, I was going to say Archscholar Py too, so Roran stole my first answer. Second, hmm. How harshly am I likely to get judged if I say, presuming he was real at all, the Prodigal? And presuming I'm not gonna end up demon food, or whatever. Seems like he'd have a hell of a story to tell. Or a hell of a lot of stories. Maybe a cautionary tale or two. Third - there's this cook named Old Mab I've been told about recently and the best wine I've ever drank was recommended by her. So, her. I want to have dinner with her. Preferably cooked by the two of us, so she can show me all her tricks."
As they often do, duties press. Vitalis' new attache arrives with a missive that summons Vitalis away. "With luck I'll be back for a drink and a smoke later." It's hopeful. "Please do this another time. And, General," he looks with some concern to Piccola, "We've some catching up to do. Archlector. Archlectors," plural, he corrects himself, "It was good to meet you. Good evening all." With a plate packed to go and a scritch to his friend on the floor, he bids all and sundry farewell.
Roran likes what Piccola says, touched by her answer. "You're a very deeply emotional person, lady general." Listening to Mathis, he smiles as he took already Pyr but hearing the prodigal he says "Oh, yes. Him! Now that'd be a conversation as long as you don't get tricked into his mischief unknowingly. Just to hear the love story of him and oh, what's her name from the Velenosans." He snaps his finger but can't remember the specific name. "It'd be I think a rather tragic but amazing story to hear his side of things, don't you think?" As Vitalis needs to go, he stands up and helps stack a few buns and treats on the plate to go before giving the lord a goodbye. Then back to his chair he goes. "Mathis, your question!"
"My question is uh," Mathis says. "If you could travel back in time, what event would you like to witness?" Mathis is terrible at this game. He spears a carrot and eats it slowly, wrinkling his nose. "I don't know if I would. I like this time just fine. All the big events I know about are wars or something terrible happening, mostly. Somebody else better go so I can think; I'll see if I can come up with a better answer."
"They perished in a fire, Archlector."
The General says this as a matter of fact. "I spoke with Nurie within the week; now she is dead." Again, matters of fact. Not opinion; fact. She has not yet reached out for any food yet, but she remains grounded in her attention to the cat. Terrible as she might sound, there is no doubt that Piccola's fingers are magical to cats. "As for what I would want to witness?" This one is easy. "I would want to see how she was killed and who did it." She looks at Mathis. "Forgive me, Archlector, that I speak of terrible things now, but terrible things have happened and my mind is fraught with the terrible things to come."
She continues to attend to the cat-mistress avidly.
Mathis swallows his carrot and doesn't take another bite. "Wait, you just found this out?" he asks. "And you're here putting up with our goofy games?" Is there wine or liquor of some kind around here? It seems like a moment for wine, at least to Mathis. "And you're sure the fire was set deliberately? Gods, I can't imagine how much - you must want to be there right now, General. For a woman of action like yourself? This must be unbearable."
Roran thinks on the question. "This is a really hard one to answer. I'd of course love to see the first day of all creation, just to stand back and marvel at it's infancy. To see how different it was, and how much it's changed. You'd be the person to do so many firsts. The first to taste an apple. The first to smell freshly cut grass. To witness a sunrise and sunset. To get a sliver in the finger. It would be amazing. But there's another day, a particular summery day when I was fifteen and my mother and I sang for our meals at this one particularly large inn that was on the edge of a lake in the middle of a deep forest. Just to spend that one day again with her, tell her how much she meant to me, give her a hug and sing one more song together." He has to take a drink of tea though to quieten his voice, and needs to clear it afterwards. He goes to thinking about what Piccola shares. Something there has him pondering.
"And what would I do, Archlector?"
The composure in the woman must be unimaginable. "She gave me the keys to her house not a few days ago. She told me to keep it safe and secure for her return." Beat. "No, Archlector, I should stay here. This is where I should be. I have already written in the White Journals that I will find who did this to my family. Those who wish us dead have been warned." The General looks to Mathis, as grave and as serious as any viper. "To stay here and to plan is best. If I go home, they will know I am coming and what I will do. If I stay here, they will wonder and they will know fear." She then looks to Roran. "I wish I knew her, for she sounds like someone to know; and I wish I would here her sing, that you would wish her to return to you."
Deeply emotional, she is.
"My question." It is her turn, after all. "If you could create a holiday, what would it be and how would it be celebrated?" She presses her lips together, and then lets out a breath. As the Godsworn answer, she then gets herself something to eat. Actually, she gets herself one thing -- meat -- and puts as much as she can on a plate as etiquette would allow.
Like, she's daring gout to get her, seriously.
Mathis blinks. "Ah," he says. "Yeah, that makes sense. I confess I haven't been reading those as much as I should, and I was -" busy cooking, obviously. "Set the snare. Wait for them to walk into it. Better plan, you're right. I'm sorry for your family, General. The Faith is here for you, if you need us. For whatever you need, even if it's to go out in the woods and kick some trees really hard." It sounds like he may have experience in this. And, after a moment's thought, he adds, "A stewards' day. I know there's sort of days like it already, but a day to celebrate the folks who do all the little things that make everyone's lives easier. Celebrated by serving the servants. It would be incredibly unpopular."
Roran says, "She was a beautiful woman, a caring Devotion of Limerance who had a gift of song and verse. I'm thankful I was able to call her mother and know her."
But now they're on to holidays. "Pilgrim's Day. A holy day in which all peoples return to the place of their forbears no matter where they currently are at. To then gather together and recognise that we share many close bonds that have stretched across time and place, and perhaps we have a bit more in common. To learn about our history, celebrate the growth and change and where there's hurt experienced by one of our greater family, the others come together protectively and help with the fidelity of Limerance, the healing of Lagoma and the rest of the gods. That journey back to their ancestral beginning could open their eyes that the world is a vast and large place, still full of wonder and amazingly new things to see and do. And in that journey back to their roots, they can protect a foundation on which their faith and character is built on."
There's a meow and Roran says after taking a bite of food, "Or Cat's Day. They'd like Cat's Day as a priority.""
Roran is overheard praising Mathis: Day of Service is an amazing idea for a holy day!
"I like the Day of Service."
The General murmurs this with an honest heart. "I would suggest a children's day. It is a day when children of all ages are permitted to go wherever they wish and play with whomever they wish. The Lowers and the Uppers and the Wards would be open, and there would be food and music and laughter." Beat. "This way our children will see one another and appreciate one another as children do: no prejudice; no classes; just youth and fun." She picks up a fork to start eating, but her fingers are apparently struck numb or by palsy, and the implement slips from her hand. "Shit."
She sheds her cat, and slides under the table to get her fork -- which is easy when you're pocket-sized.
"Roran, you're a lot more loquacious than me, and I mean that as a compliment," Mathis says. "You should have been there to do the call to prayer at the last Assembly. I did all right, but you would have said it much more beautifully than I did." He wonders, "What about orphans? Folks who don't know their ancestral homes? Just back to their birthplaces? S'pose that's simple enough." He nods along to Piccola's idea in agreement - it sort of dovetails into his question for Roran, after all - and doesn't ask her if she's okay when she drops her fork. Sometimes when your family dies, you drop your fork. It's just a thing that happens.
1 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.
Roran says "Orphans? If they're a ward of the Crown, then off to the Graysons they go I could imagine. You're ultimately connected to one great house somewhere, none of us are truly alone even when we feel like it. It's one reason why I love the Faith so very much and have all the time in the world to help those in and out of the Faith when they're needing a little nudge." He's talking, but he's also getting a clean fork for Piccola and says "Don't worry about the one on the floor, have a new one." It absolutely doesn't go with the set unless mixed bag is the look. "You know, I knew a gentleman who could play the spoons. I kid you not! He'd tap a tap a rhythm out as I sang and played the lute and another would play a recorder. Not a bad way to spend a weekend on the roadside as pilgrims passed on by or merchants or knights. I bet a very creative person could find a way to play the fork."
Pouring teas for them all, Roran asks Piccola, "And now, lady general. What could Mathis and I do for you? You have two archlectors here who very much want to be helpful, and you have us all to yourself. I know you'd like to get that score settled."
Piccola gets her fork nonetheless, rising from under the table with it.
"Someone still must retrieve it, and I let it drop." So, she has to get it, even if another is available. This is the way. "And I would think it unseemly to ask the Faith to help settle a score." She does, however, trade forks. "But this is what I came for: to sit with two Archlectors and listen to them. And, frankly, listening to you two -- " The thought is left there, as, well, the last encounter was a very chatty one. And she's a listener. "That said, perhaps you could entreat the Archlector of Mangata to say something about my cousin, Nurie. I believe she was once on the Commoner's Council with him. I know she was part of the Crafters' Guild. I am sure that she would smile from the Queen's side if Archlector Felix were to say something of her."
"Maybe even name on the Day of Service after her," she suggests, starting to eat her pile of cooked flesh (monster that she is).
Mathis glances at Roran. "Yeah, I'd be happy to ask Felix about that. You happen to know of anyone who was in the Crafter's Guild at the same time as her? The current Guildmaster seems like a lovely lady - she let me stay in her office for a while before the whole house business was settled." He takes another bite of food and muses, "I wonder how much money the Faith has in its coffers. Plenty for holding some kind of Day of Service feast, I'm positive. If you think that'd be a fitting way of paying tribute to her, General, I'll put my mind to it, such as it is."
Roran nods on what she says and Mathis too. "I'm happy to put my weight behind it. Service Day. Day of Service, whatever it's called I think then a council member who tragically was taken away would be good. It also helps heal the wounds caused by your loss. Mathis my amazing friend and bringer of scrumptious roasted meat? Let's talk with Felix. Oh, and Giada too. She'd love the idea I think."
"I'm pretty sure every crafter and merchant in Arx knows Nurie Baseborn, Archlector."
Piccola does seem certain of this. "She cared about everyone and everything. She even cared about me." She says this as if it were important to know. "She understood better than most what it meant to bridge the gap, for she was a commoner yet half-sister to the Marquessa of House Tessere." The General looks from Mathis to Roran. "If the Faith is willing to declare such a feast, I can assure you of the funding for it. If not from House Tessere itself, then from House Velenosa and any of the number of Houses who knew and respected Marquessa Sabine." She then starts to eat.
No one can resist Mathis' Meat.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Mathis before departing.
"I'm just an Oathlands country fella, General," Mathis answers back, easy as you please. "I don't know much about the goings on here in the city. Not until very recently, anyway. "Maybe we need to talk to the Dominus beforehand - after that whole thing at the Assembly before last I'm a little scared of him - but we'll take care of it regardless. And be in touch." He's pleased to see the two of him eating his roast, too; it's the simple things in life, like seeing people well fed, that Mathis enjoys most, which really begs the question how he ended up fielding questions about demon centipedes and in charge of a whole Discipleship.
There's a rap at the door, and a messenger slips in to deliver a missive. It's short, but Mathis raises his eyebrows. "As much as I want to stay and keep distracting you both with my chattering, this is something I have to take care of. Roran, nice to see you again, as always. General... you have my condolences. The offer to go kick trees will remain open."
Roran stands up and grabs a plate, putting biscuits and cookies, sweets and other things on it. "You're thinner than last time I saw you. Take one of these to go, keep the plate and next time I come over perhaps we'll have tea then. Thanks for coming, and for the roast. The meal was delicious, but your company is the best."
"I was sick," Mathis counters. "Lost a bit of my -" he curls a bicep. He probably could put on about ten pounds of muscle and look a little less Daddy Long Legs-y, but he takes the plate. Thanks, Gramma Roran.
The General also rises.
"I should probably depart as well." She already has a plate. The cat that she so skillfully mesmerized meows plaintively, and she pauses to crouch and pet the feline a few more times in parting. "I am certain that there are messages to answer when I get back home, for I told no one where I went and I have been getting better at moving through the City unseen." With all of those weapons? That's a terrifying skill for her to have, actually. "Archlectors."
She puts her plate down to re-arm herself, but when she's prepared, she lifts the plate again and departs.
Nonsense, a hunting dog leaves, following Mathis.
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