It's been quite a while since you've had the opportunity to do that -- and even the Gods know there's enough going on in the intervening time to justify getting drunk. Somehow, it's always been pushed aside -- what with the court intrigues, the occasional innovation, and fleeing into the night with the intended Heir and his entourage.
Each and every one of these events generates enough of a potential act of irritation and erosion on spirit and carcass to justify a little bit of lubrication. Now, with the Imperial wine cellar an increasingly dry and distant memory, we are reduced to savoring the local, the extremely local vintages fresh from the barrel.
You see said Heir, giggling shamelessly into his cup and you may wave your own at him without fear of censure, after all, ahem… It is Jitzmitthra. And you are drunk.
"Minis, you say you only wish one glass! One glass! Oh listen to me then, oh my student!
“Amidst the mayhem we find this disenthroned carnival, skulking from forests and caves to abandoned mansions, carting along enough of the trappings of statecraft and the pompous ornaments that decorated such a life, and only now do we celebrate the Feast of Fools? Yes, as some ancient sage once said – what a long strange trip it has been.
“Now as we sit, encamped in some remote and rustic backwater, often partaking our informal fodder on the most majestic of tableware with the most delicate etiquette, do we find ourselves seated close to our young and glorified Angel of Being, this Spark of the Sun’s Ray… and we often play out the madness of venison and mustard as High Dinner under blank and Onyxine eyes. You giggle, oh Spark? And you, oh revered nurse of the Sun? You mock a sk—scholar most wise in feasting on foolishness.
“Only now does the young man sitting beside me shy away from his wine as if it were some blatantly proffered poison, claiming to one and all 'that it will make his head travel in a manner he would not prefer it to.' Such idiocy I expect to hear from a shrivelled up Tobias -- no, even he had a certain sense of flavor. This is the moping of some joyless, flavorless, lifeless slave. Gods save a prince if he realizes he is in such a role at this early age…
“I see the young man in question, rolling upon the ground now and wonder… why such mirth at such solemn words?"
You, are, VERY Drunk.
“When, during the puppet dance parody of the High meal, he pushes away his glass, and a Mahid is there to remove it in an instant, I find myself wishing to clamp my withered hand over the brim of the glass, pinning it to the table. The entire assembled mass of attending black-guards would look at me as I would stare down at the young Master of All He Surveys and scowl forth at him a piercing and unshielded “How dare you refute such a grape, my lord?!”
You feel your bushy old eyebrows wave in the sunshine, exaggerate and overblown, professing shock at the heedless laughter all around.
“A fantasy. A thought outside Jitzmitthra. The young man currently rolling in the grass would surely… sitting in state surrounded by his shadows… would surely look at me with total surprise… the young and beautiful ladies, giggling so genteelly! I imagine the looks upon the faces of the Mahid who would play courtiers and I see several at the table would likely grasp their cutlery, as always, ready for mayhem for the sake of the Chip of the Ineffable Light.
“In my fantasy I let my hand caress the bulb of the goblet, and raise it slowly, and the eyes follow it… expecting some madness.” You poke the boy’s shoulder with your drunken toe as he lies on the grass, scarlet with mirth. “Oh my student, can you not see it? The goggling flat eyes completely baffled should I say such things, should I ever open this ancient, quiet, well-trained – ahem – mouth?
“This wine, this humble effort of simple grapes, fed by the most provincial of rains and raised on simple vines rooted in the common clay, has in it more power and majesty than any throne of this…or dare I say it, any other world Selestialis recognizes?” I tap the cup, and it adds a ring to my punctuation. “I say such truths as a madman too close to Minis, Jitzmitthra mad should any iron souls hear such loose and liquid words from me.
“Without the comfort of such a liquid, even the Gods themselves would struggle… and better it be that we would struggle in vine rather than in vain. I see the academically inclined young ser titters at the pun."
“Could the Gods even tolerate the existence of One Another without such a beverage? Could Muunas pass his solemn and wise judgments upon the whole of the selestial realm in a somber and sober fashion without his all-knowing that at the end of his court, Selinae Herself, would ease His spirits with a soothing decanter of ambrosia, for is She not the True Source of All that Heals?”
There... a bit of inspired blasphemy, and it even got a hint of a laugh from the elder lady upon her chaise. Well, if I am to burn one temple, I might as well burn the lot of them.
You, are, very very, drunk.
“When Aras plots for war, or pains for His true solas’s deaths and agonies, when He revels in the stories of former conquests, or gnashes His teeth and discusses the terms of truce, are not all of the sovereign states made all the more cunning, all the more comforted, all the more glorious and all the more bearable, by the application of the fruits of this pressed wonder? No Great Battle was ever fought in a vineyard!”
“When Dimae returns from the hunt, and opens Her quarry-bag, revealing little more in the way of meat than a few braces of squirrels and marmots, does not the immersion in this simple fluid turn the scrawny and inedible flesh into a marinated banquet feast suitable for a Goddess’s Blessing?”
"There – let’s see how long before they try serving squirrel meat at dinner after that, without raising laughter from the entrapped diners! Oh, the youngest man’s nurse laughs? She must like squirrel."
You are very, very drunk.
“As Oas and Mella ensure the turning of the millwheels, the flow of the irrigators, the dragging of plows and the clearing of roads, for all these things are Their charter and responsibility. Their labors are long, and They know in Their hearts Their thanks are often diminished among the Gods… but They are certainly no less Divine in Their thirsts. In Them, the wine serves its greatest gift – a simple reward for simple labors.”
“When Risae first invented wine, she tried to find a use for garbage. She who was incensed at the thought of poetry and art and music and anything not rational, – especially Mikas, whom She thought of as worse than waste, a wastrel -- so pressed the withered, wasted grape to save its fluids. It was undrinkable. She thought She had erred. And yet, the wild God cured the drippings with a touch of time, and offered it back to the stern Goddess’s lips. Thus it is how They became sublime opposites paired together, creative forces whose tumults are both spirited and soothed by these same spirits.”
“Lastly, but in honor, we come to Imbas and Anae – and for Them, as for all slaves, wine is the unexpected joy in life, the simple proof is that when they partake of enough, when given the gift of enough, They feel they are equals among the Gods.“
“Now, if this is deemed blasphemy, I can only say that my faith in the overall goodness of the Gods is made proof by this noble vintage. I know of no proper deity who has not been known to make some on occasion, and by not hoarding it to Themselves, They show us benevolence and generosity. It would indeed be folly to discredit Their gift, and I will partake in all that the world should offer me in Their name.”
“If my actions are blasphemous, my only request is that the Gods Themselves should cast the chastising thunderbolt before the morning brings a fresh slice of Hayel to rest behind my eyes. And if They have indeed partaken of more than enough wine, and since Their aim is always perfect, I might not be the victim of Their wrathful lightning, but one of my nearby black souled critics may be duly incinerated. If such is the case, do not add it to my offences, but merely keep in mind, as I am certain the Gods will…that it is Jitzmitthra, and I am, indeed, very, very, very drunk.”