Monday, February 7, 2011

432 - In the Kitchen

“You there… Kafiris?  Lovely.  Would that one see that Porellepa gets more alcohol for her flat-top?  Not surprising, she is very popular.”  Skorsas called as he stepped into the main kitchen at the Liren Manor.
It was about half the size as the main Marble Palace kitchen, which was good since it was full of diligently toiling bodies.
“Certainly, sar.”  He finished tapping the wine cask just set up to replace an empty one, and waved the skaterwaiters over to pick up trays of clean glasses just set up by one of the dishwashers.
“Has anyone seen the juggler?”  The bellow came from across the kitchen.  “His break is OVER!”
“Where do you think?  Like half the party he’s watching Porellepa!  He says he wants to learn her technique!”
“Yeah, right.  Which one?” – “Don’t speculate in HER hearing or she’ll need to sharpen her knives again when she’s done cutting you up!”
If heated bodies could produce steam there would have been a thin fog of it hovering near the ceiling.  The bulk of the hot foods, things that simply must be cooked, were being done mostly outside, at stations around the garden.  In here, there was the one line simply preparing the tiny salads on rice paper, rolled up and popped into the mouth so no one’s gloves got messy.  One line slicing and preparing the fresh fish expressed up from Fispur on ice.  Everything that might be made cold and all of it either wrapped or skewered to avoid besmirching some fine Aitzan gloves.
“Hey, Erl!”
“Ever thought you’d be working for Sparky again?”
“Nope!  Never thought I’d be likin’ it neither!  Take this box of dirty glasses back to the dish pit.  No time to talk.”
“The Imperator’s comin’ later I heard.”
“Yes and there’s a whole line set up over there that kicks in when He does!  Antras and Skorsas and a dozen others set it all up earlier.  See it’s all sealed up?  And his taster ‘ll show up a bead before he does!”
“Smart thinkin’.”
“Less talk, sers, please,” Skorsas said, on the way by with a list in one of this gloves and an assistant trailing him.  “Less talk and more motion!”
“KAFIRIS!  Ienas says get another sealed cask of Tatzian out to the Baths…right NOW!”
“What? Why? I just did…”
“Some idiot emptied it into the little fountain out there before Ienas could stop him and there’s a bunch of other idiots playing ‘I’m drowning, don’t save me, in it!”
“Aw shen… it was a ’74… too.”
“Grotto grill is out of sliced onions!”
“On it. Here take a pan of flat-breads too.”
“Fireworks have been moved back a tenth… says the Thunder Master…”
“Who in Hayel moved my melted chocolate off that burner!!!!!?”
“Hot, behind you… behind you… hot comin’ through.”
“Boiled eggs off the burner… hey, sandwich bitch! Peel these now!”
“Not good enough! Re-wash this set of glasses… I’m not serving a pig in those greasy glasses…”
Kafiris wheeled another wine cask out of the service corridor behind the kitchen, the organized noise cutting of behind him as the door sighed shut.  The service corridor snaked around the ballroom and out to a door concealed behind a carefully pruned stand of hibiscus bushes.
The path had been found under the sod when the baths had been fixed and now he merely trundled the wheeled caddy along between the screening bushes till he was at the old/new Bath’s service door.  “He’s putting on a good show, then, isn’t he.” The voice was smooth, the tone poisonous.  One of the Yeoli Hawks, Inatallas Shaeas-Krias.
Kafiris stopped in the act of reaching to open the door, standing completely still.  “I think I have the perfect springald bolt with which to shoot down this young Phoenix,” another voice answered.  Female.  Another of the Hawks.
“Really?  Why don’t you tell me all about it?”  They walked away from the hedge and their voices faded. Kafiris peeked through the leaves to see it was indeed two of the Yeoli Hawks, who would make themselves higher Aitzas if they could.
“Shen,” Kaf said to himself.  “And couldn’t you two just conveniently talk about that conspiracy in my hearing like this was a bad play?”  He shrugged, tucked it away to report later.  Every one of the candidates had things they were planning on pulling on each other.  As long as it was within the bounds of Serenity then they could do as they liked.
The flow of guests died down to a trickle and I could hand off the receiving duties to Atzana.  Let the late comers, who had decided to go to Kazien’s party first deal with having to cross comb with a fan.  My feet hurt and I wanted to sit down.  Preferably near Kyriala.
I accepted a glass of wine from a waiter and dropped a link in his tip glass.  He grinned at me and zoomed away, weaving around groups of strolling guests, tray perfectly balanced on the tips of his fingers as if it were glued there.  I stopped to speak a moment or two to everyone, being pleasant, so it took me some time to make my way all the way round the gardens.
Antras had let me know that he’d inform me when the Imperator’s food taster showed up. That way I had a bead’s warning so I could be there immediately as he came in.

I caught Kall's eye as I skirted the group he was in, and didn't disturb the lively political conversation he had going with Ser Reniren and Serin Utzanien. He flashed a smile at me to let me know I didn't need to save him.
Beyond them, I skirted around the crowd watching the woman drummer in her amazing cage-work of drums.  She was set up on the edge of earshot, just on the other side of the Fragrant Walk.  I came up the walk, politely ignoring whispering lovers in the shadows.  Then I looped back around to come in to the back gates of the Baths.
The bathing pools where full of guests.  It seemed that the idea of a ‘bathing costume’ though scandalous… was popular.  I saw that a number of girls had taken their fancy hair weavings out or had found a way to tie them tightly.  On girl had a hood that was part of her shift, to contain her hair.  Kyriala’s elaborate hairstyle had apparently clipped over smoothly combed hair because it was hooked over the horn of one of the bulls and she was combing out her wet hair.
I went over to sit down beside her, nodding to the people around her moving a bit to give me space on one of the built in seats. “Hello, Serina Liren.  Might I sit a moment?”
“Of course, Serin Aan.  Have you met Ser Monnen?”  She nodded at the young man on her other side from me.  “Serin Minis Aan, meet Ser Benthasas Monnen.”


  1. We've not heard from Ser Monnen before. Another real-people insert?

  2. Post 348... a while ago I admit. Ser Monnen was at one of Serina Liren's salons. Almost every one to be sure. And he offered to take her driving, though she very properly refused. [Kaf and Music and Creme Cakes] It was whispered about that he actually was working up to propose! Can you imagine?

  3. "The bulk of the hot foods, things that simply must be cooked, were being down mostly outside" Did you mean done rather than down?

    Yeoli Hawks and the plot thickens ? :)

  4. Thanks oakwind. Yes... I'm still having eyesight trouble so if I let stuff like this through, thank you in advance for catching it!