(1874-08-30) Dinner Invitation
Dinner Invitation
Summary: Mattias and his aged Notary are invited by Myrana for dinner at the 4C Armaz manse
Date: OOC Date
Related: Teleko threads
NPCs: None
Players:
Mattias  Myrana  

Room Name
Room description
IC date of RP

A letter is delivered to the Chancellor's offices by a young Armaz man with a nicely curled beard decorated by a single ruby bead, which glitters like a drop of blood just below his chin. The letter is clearly from Myrana D'Armaz's desk; the stationary is of a soft pink paper, written in green ink and sealed with white wax flecked with shimmery mica powder. It smells very very faintly of juniper and dogrose.

Girl likes her pretty stationary.

Chancellor Thynne, if you are free this evening I would like to invite you to dinner. My cousin Ravio and his husband Samuel will be there since my lord father is occupied in Fiorello. Please feel free to bring your stuffy crow.
Myrana D'Armaz

It can only be assumed that by 'stuffy crow', the young Armaz must mean Mattias' long-suffering clerk, that dour fuss occasionally seen to appear without the aid of probable physics, at an elbow when needed regardless of space/time.

This assumption would be correct: Myrana has often wondered JUST HOW HE DOES IT, as it is almost certainly a skill desirable in one's assistants and poisoners alike. Just conjecturing on it has passed a dozen hours of waiting for other councillors to finish arguing.

"I believe he'd give you a challenge, cousin," Myrana teeters, totters, tips back and stumbles a few steps in reverse, then with a grunt of herculean effort pitches her weight forward and at last gets the hook in over the embers, succeeding in scorching her skirts. This is ignored beyond the immediate slap of a hand and a muttered warning against repeat offenses.

Ravio lowered the ladle in his hands to give his smaller cousin a sere look. It was also ignored.

"I just hope he does bring him," Myra prattles on in pointed and willful ignorance. On the shining copper dish, the end of porkfat gives tiny frenetic hops. "So uptight, Ravio."

At the cook's table, Samuel snorts. Staying obediently out of the way.

The kitchen of the Armaz estate in Four Corners is wide and open to the kitchen gardens outside, accessible by a gravel path through rows of herbs and vegetables and fruit trees heavy with pomegranites and oranges. Those five doors are swung wide today, and there are no cooks present to conceal the floor with its mosiac of bright red and orange crabs with blue-tipped pincers among the cream geometry of marble. Undulatimg weeds in many beautiful green and teal hues and white bubbles are depicted underfoot, while the workstations and countertops and massive ovens and brick-fronted hearths are like little islands atop this unmoving surf.

Pots, utensils, herbs, salamis, prosciuttos, spices and dried icepeppers hang from the cieling, accessible one must assume primarily by hooks on staves.

There are some older Armaz servants in the garden outside, tending the beds in the cool evening breeze. Other than them, it seems to be Myrana and her two attendants. Perhaps she's given them the day off. Or maybe they're just not visible. Adriono isn't much of one to leave his heir completely to her own devices.

Nevertheless, one of the three large hearths contains a fire, and this dry warmth radiates out to the table set nearby in view of the garden entrance, perfectly located to bathe in the fire's warmth and feel the cold breezes outside. The sun is setting over the harbor, and the sound of gulls and dovecotes is mixed with the distant tolling of the cathedral bells some miles away in the city center. More bells follow suit from various corners of the city as every church, chapel, ship, library, gate and guild academy tolls the dinner hour.
- - -

"Stuffy Crow." Mattias murmured with the faintest of lopsided smirks as he cast his gaze towards the ancient functionary, the notary of long standing, the servant and be-wigged elder who certainly gathered dust given his doddering pace, and yet somehow, he could always be promised to be just where he needed to be. That likely involved a whole lot of forward planning.

The 'Stuffy Crow' arched a brow faintly, wrinkles upon winkles formed, old wrinkles vanished. Those hunched shoulders shrugged almost faintly, and Mattias just grinned a little wider, "A term of endearment, the yearly procession would be nothing without you my dear friend."

At the appointed hour, the black-clad Banker and his equally dour shadow arrived at the d'Armaz manse, a knock upon the door is given by Mattias who seems to take great pleasure in striding ahead of his functionary to perform that simple act. An act that warrants a narrowing of the eyes from the Notary, gentle as such a faint scowl is. Mattias however just smiles, eyes a gleam with mischief and warmth as he regards his ancient retainer.

"Are you sure you do not wish me to carry those bottles?" Mattias asks simply, a brow quirked.

The fact that the dour shadow doesn't move or even glance to Mattias says it all, three bottles of Ghost Hills Apple Brandy remain within the man's grasp. What else is there to say?

Mattias knocks but once more and steps back to stand beside his delightful functionary. To all intents and purposes, not a guard to be seen. But then appearances are often not as they seem.

Myrana is delighted when Mattias produces both himself and his Notary, who upon being noticed is the recipient of a huge, surprised grin. They have been led in by Samuel and taken through the gardens to the kitchen and offered seats with gracious cheer and a chittering scrape of wood legs over mosiac tile.

She does, however, contain it. The old are easily startled, she's been informed, and prone to coronary events. The chancellor might take it personally.

"Thank you for coming," she says, once the proper welcome is out of the way, wiping her hands on her aproned sides. She's dressed quite simply, in a flamboyant cavalier-style red linen blouse with tremendous sleeves all rolled up and tied with ribbons above her soft elbows and a belted skirt, embroidered with orange river poppies in the traditional Fiorello style. There's a mustard yellow apron tied over her skirts. Ravio, her tall sere cousin, has wound his thin black braid into a bun and stands unsmilingly with his back to the guests, glowering into a small wooden mill.

"I hope you don't mind indulging me," Myra goes on to say. "My friend Eskendar sent me a care package, and I'm eager to experiment on someone who won't flatter me." A pause. "Samuel will just eat anything."

"It's true," says Sam, taking his seat at the shiningly polished cook's table.

There is something sizzling on the large copper dish suspended over the cookfire by hanging chains. Now that Mattias and his Notary are in the kitchen itself, the smell of turmeric, ginger, and cumin is almost overpowering when the breeze from the garden dies down.

"Will you have kaffe?"

- - -

It is with a certain ease that Mattias settles, watching his bottle bearing notary move with a distinctly lurching grace. Feet shuffling and the gentle swish, swish, swish of the feet upon the floor announce his gradual approach to the chair.

"I did offer to…"

"Hmm."

The brief conversation between the two is partly Mattias' warmth for the old fellow, and partly the old man's apparent ability to growl beneath his breath, making his lungs sound like rattling twigs.

And yet, soon both are settles and three bottles of Ghost Hills Brandy are placed upon the table. A rare enough bottle, bottled as it is but once a year.

"My dear friend here said that a bottle for the good Ravio, the fine Samuel, and your generous self was the least we could bring." Mattias offers, gesturing to the gift with his gloved hand, "Been resting in one of my vaults for much too long."

The old crow turns his milky eyes towards the kitchen, inhaling the aroma, though little is said except for the faintest twitch upon his features. Though he nods towards the bottles, as if agreeable to the gift. Ones social contract fulfilled. Mattias for his part grins broadly, "The scent from the kitchen reminds me of my travels a good many years before I began counting coin, it is a delight… brings back so many memories. Hmm. Oh the things we do in our youth. The places we see if we're fortunate." Another deep and appreciative breath is taken, and a smile offered Samuel.

"Kaffe would be a delight, would it not old friend?"

"Hmm."

"Indeed it would, stronger the better if you would indulge us, and truly, thank you one and all for the invitation. It is not often I find myself in such fine company, and drinking in such wonderful aromas."
——
A black bottomed copper ibrik is brought to the table and set atop the little clay brazier there. Myrana pours grounds like black powder, grains of sugar and water in, then gently stirs it till the crema froth rises up the colour of cocoa. She pours it into small silver-and-porcelain cups painted with a winding floral pattern. Setting these before Sam, Mattias, and the bewigged notary, she glances up at Ravio. But her cousin is looking with interest at the gift and doesn't notice. She sets a cup down nonetheless.

"That is VERY nice." Samuel picks up one of the bottles in a hairy blonde mitt and turns it appreciatively. An index finger has recently gone missing from the first knuckle down, with new pink skin shiny at the stub. "Thank you very much."

"Did you do trade with my father in Partharia?" Myrana steps back from the table to the nearby copper dish suspended over the cookies. "He rarely talks about his years there, before he came back to Four Corners."

"B'cause of this," Sam drags a finger across his throat and reaches out to pick up the cream, pouring the condensed sweet ooze liberally over his cup so that it disappears, a little golden-white worm into the brew. The gesture is unnoticed by Myrana, but not by Ravio. Sam puts the cream pot down within easy reach and exxagerated care and clears his throat apologetically.

A ravine of rabbit in cherries is set on the table by Myra, steaming and heady with hot curry spices , while Ravio uncovers a platter of saffron scented rice. A third dish is set down, containing a flaky chicken pie of sorts, usually heavily spiced with cinnamon, clove and full of almonds. Partharian dishes, and judging by the turmeric stains dyeing the tips of the young Armaz fingers yellow, cooked by her and her cousin. That might be why the kitchen is empty.

"I'd like to search a certain residence," says Myra as she sets a napkin on her lap. Ravio pauses, and brings from someplace a set of tiny crystal sherry glasses. "And I'd like to bring men with me."

- - -

"I attended the festival they hold when they gather the apples a few years back, a delightful show." Mattias offers as he gestures to the bottle within Samuel's grasp, "Though these were presented by the Lady of the Lands themselves, a gift, a very kind gift."

The be-wigged Notary sits still as ever, the milky eyes almost blind in their apparent discolouration and yet he sees well enough it seems as he half-watches Myrana, half-stares through her, while she pours the lightly sweetened blend and deposits the cups just so before her guests.

Mattias' gloved hand settles against the table for a moment, fingers splayed and forced against the surface. A slow intake of breath follows, and but a moment passes before he claims the placed cream to drizzle within his own cup, before depositing a drop or two within the cup of his wrinkled shadow.

The vision of the food so displayed and shown off, the scents and the steam, the visual feast alone has Mattias pleasantly stunned into rapturous silence. Even his ancient retainer seems suitably impressed given the manner in which he leans forward, the fact he stops mid way proves it is enjoyment, for slumping against the table would be proof of something else entirely.

"This is truly a delight. The feast before us is simply divine, I feel spoilt. Do you feel so my dear friend?" Mattias asks of his be-wigged neighbour. Samuel's dragging of a finger across his throat is barely noticed, or at least politely ignored. Mattias' features remaining inscrutable, as he offers Samuel a gentle nod, before looking to Myrana, falling silent to allow the ancient worthy to… croak?

The reply is a simply nod, one gnarled hand resting against his chest as a faint whisper of something escapes the elderly retainer's lips. A croak, a creak, a huff of dust even? The noise is all but faint. But the manner in which those eyes gaze across the dishes is proof enough.

"I was but an adventurer-Merchant of sorts… or perhaps a really bad student of the mercantile ways given my fondness for kaffe and foreign pastries." Mattias starts, "I learnt the trade routes, I explored the realms into which we passed, I learnt of their ways and their food and this brings back such memories. Though as to those we dealt with, perhaps in time had things gone differently, I might well have met your father in a different role entirely. Speaking of, I do trust that fine fellow is well? I've never known a man more healthy or vigorous. A delight! But tragedy struck and my path diverged and the business moved from gathering coin from deals to counting it and storing it. Safer. Much safer."

Mattias' words drift easily enough, the kaffe claimed and sipped, his shadow following suit and evidently relishing the pleasant luxury that service to the Chancellor affords. That and a mutual dinner invitation.

"A certain residence? Searched? I can't see any reason to deny you. A Councillor of good standing, a stalwart member of the Senate, and I am sure those who protect you are discreet and skillful." Mattias murmurs between sips of creamed kaffe, nodding once to Samuel, and once more to Ravio, "Would it be frightfully rude of me to ask which residence? Though if discretion is the key, you can buy my silence with the recipe for the rabbit resting before me… a blank warrant or two is easily procured for such a price. All the necessary seals and stamps, the rest easily filled in by a Councillor of good standing. A Councillor I am always happy to assist." The smile upon Mattias' features though crooked, is certainly a hint mischievous, "Likewise the details of how you cooked that rice, and I shall even forget the very question ever arose."

"They're from my friend Eskendar," Myrana replies. The flattery of her cooking, spoken and unspoken, is very well-received; her blue eyes lighten with pleasure at how the crow leans towards the tagine, and in the relatively safe-seeming space of her own manor's kitchen, she is quite at home enough to dispense with guardedness.

There is no real reason for anyone as wealthy as Mattias Thynne or Myrana D'Armaz should learn to cook. Indeed, the ultra-rich rarely take up the craft, with its struggles and dangers of burns and food poisoning and the unseemly sweating and failures. Not when there are so many academies just waiting for same-day adoptions by rich patrons, and certainly not when restaurants are just so terribly flammable, you know. The inconveniently housed patissier would surely be more comfortable cooking just for YOU and living in your servant's quarters! Fuedalism is very easy in this way.

Myrana serves everyone simply but with pride colouring her cheeks a little and a helpless little clearing of her throat as her heart tries to do unseemly pumping actions at the suggestion of this favor for that.

"My friend Eskendar sent me a copy of his father's cook's collection," she says. "If you can help me, uh, translate some of the harder ones?" She reaches into the pocket of her apron without getting up and fishes out a flier, printed on the rough chippy paper used for public postings. It is a warning against trespassing,of the sort posted on houses suspected of sickness or currently containing crimescenes.

The address is not far from where they eat now. The city estate of the recently disavowed Cardinal Varyth Teleko.

Ravio and Samuel eat with their fingers in the old style, common across most of Aequor still despite the mode for silverware. Myrana follows suit, neat and clean and occasionally cleaning her white fingers on her napkin.

"I would like to take some men in, and burn out anything that moves," she says, dabbing neatly at her lips with the turmeric-dotted napkin. The rabbit is divine; the plums and apricots melt upon contact with the tongue, the delicate skins giving way and coating the spiced rabbit with each bite. Little strands of saffron and pine-nuts and medallions of some achingly sour citrus fruit striate the rice. It really is a good recipe.

She does not say his name, and she cuts a look at Mattias over the prim folded corner of her napkin and through the fluff of her bangs. Tense.

"There might be something in there, that…. that wouldn't do." she goes on, a little quietly. Ravio next to her is like a coiled spring. Samuel is blithely sucking his fingers. "I was there once before. The reason a warrant was issued for me; I broke into the creature's home while I knew he was in Kentaire. I can get in again, however well it's locked, but I do not want anyone to know I'm coming. Once it's done, there is no need for secrecy, only I would not like to have the foyer creak open, if you understand me."

—-

"I would be delighted." Mattias replies with a certain ease, and a dab or two at his lips with a cloth, "All that and more can certainly be arranged, I'm certain that once you've done all is required, to see the entire estate put to flame would be easily arranged, why stop at rooting out? Root out, burn, destroy, and then set the entire estate ablaze. Leave nothing but ash and smoke."

Another mouthful or two is enjoyed, Mattias even glances across to the ancient worthy beside him, the man happily consuming all before him, though there's not a smile upon his face, nor a single hint of happiness. The hearty appetite however is all one needs to witness to know the be-wigged old crow is content.

"When I raided Frederick's estate, with the aid of a dear friend whose name I shan't divulge for decencies sake, it was certainly an experience." Mattias states, all too knowing of the look the be-wigged Notary, unapproving as it is, is giving him.

Yet the sideways glance of the quiet and mumbling functionary does not deter Mattias at all, if anything he continues regardless, though his features are adorned with a faintly lopsided smile of sorts, "His guards were certainly more loyal than I expected, I dread even to think what may remain in that estate. You will be careful of course, all of you." The question asked ending up as more of a demand as to their safety.

"I'll see that you've the oil you need to turn that place to ash, no questions, no trails, no whispers. If there is anything else I can do to aid you, you need only ask. I can of course utilise the guards of my Guild to seal the street from any sort of interruption, you'll have free reign to do as you please." The words tumbling warmly from the banker's lips as he helps himself to a sip of kaffe, before continuing with the fine meal, "The rabbit is truly succulent, I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a finer cooked rabbit. Truly! Delicious! You are a delight and a wonder of the kitchen!"

Every nuance of flavour relished, enjoyed and experienced, not only by Mattias, but by the old Stuffy Crow seated at the table. A nibble of pine nuts, rabbit, and all those flavours so infused issue for a veritable sigh, a sigh of someone in Church and finding all they had sought. A divine sigh, and then another mouthful. And another. Rice and all.

And to see the old Stuffy Crow so content does indeed please Mattias, for a moment the banker just watches the man eat. Appreciative of the man's appetite, given the dreary selection of food he normally consumes all too willingly at the banking house.

"I fear I'll need to leave my dear Notary in your service, I doubt he shall wish to return to the offerings of my establishment." The smirk says it all, a raised eyebrow from the Notary says much more. And then another mouthful.

That is more than Myrana really hoped for, and its clear to read in the softened line of her shoulders, and the return of blood to those too-translucent knuckles. She exhales, and takes a sip of her coffee, sweating a little. Spices, or nerves? She shakes her head with a rueful little smile.

"There are few things that scare me more than walking back inside that house. I felt sure something was watching me."

"There was no-one," Ravio asserts in his clipped voice. "I would have seen them."

"Maybe," Myra relents, maybe a little eager for reassurance. "Normally I would take Ramius there with me- uh, n-normally, that is to say, for dangerous places haha- b-but it is possible that he will not be able to leave the front. And he may want me to wait for him to be able to come with me." A pause. "It would be wise. But it is also true that my husband is…" She falters.

"A barbarian," says Ravio, not even behind his napkin.

"Loud, haha!" Sam lives in the same Syndicate world as his husband, but has the beneft of not being an Armaz; Myrana and Ravio both look at him with the same expression. They don't say it, but it WAS Sam who led Ramius straight to the fucking safehouse. Arrani don't belong in safehouses. They are the least safe thing to have in one. Only think of the furniture, and how difficult it was to get to the safehouse!

Myrana dabs the sheen of sweat from her face wth her napkin and slaps a hand on the table before dropping her napkin and reaching across to pap-pap-PAT her cousin-in-law on the cheek, elicting a huge cheerful grin. Ravio makes a sound in the back of his throat.

"Thank you, Chancellor," she says. "Burning it down will make the city cleaner, and rest the conscience…" a bit of a smile tugs at her lips. "Though those residents downwind of the blaze may need a deal of vinegar for their windows. Ah! TYRES." The name growls out of the little Armaz. She must have swallowed a tiger; it flushes her cheeks and blackens her blue eyes. She drops her add back into her21 chair, whump! "Hrrr…. I hope he has Piles in Hell! Ordering me to seduce Tarris." She crosses her arms and growls, tossing her head a little to get the bangs out of her face. "Ooh…."

"Sam, would you get the book for the Chancellor? Thank you."

Radio's request stirs Myrana from her thwarted vengeance on the fat old bastard, and she picks her napkin off the floor where it slipped from her lap. A little contritely. Wishing piles on a man's soul, let alone conjecturijg on its final destination, are not really very nice.

"You are welcome to come to my home when Mattias is invited, grandfather," she says to the old notary, using the honorific quite politely now that her temper is cooled. Just mentioning that man got her blood up, and she knows it. "My father's cooks really are very skilled people, though the head of them is regrettably reluctant to cook Partharian tangine. Still, his creme brulee is wonderful."

The stuffy Crow gently inclines his head to Myrana, any words silenced by a mouthful of delicious rice. The promise of crème brulee at another visit though, well, one can almost see the prospect of the ancient worthy coming a knocking at some point in the future. Mattias can see it to and a half-smirk flits across his lips. It's good for the old fellow to get out and about.

"I promise he feared for his life and pleaded for it till the very end, he did not die well." Mattias offers as if trying to soothe Myrana's own anger, "My dear friend was most effective in eliciting fear."

"But yes, I could well imagine, there are many things we do not understand. These are new days for us all, so much to fathom, to understand, and to defend against. And to stand as one of course, book?" The question appended to the end of his little speech, kaffe cup held neatly and poised to whet his lips the moment he is done, "Whatever you need, it shall be given freely. It is a service you give this city, and one I thank you for."

"As for your dear husband, I do hope he fares well. There are one too many fronts adorning the Kingdoms of late. Why one shall soon forget there was ever a peace in the first place, tentative as it ever is." War. Always war. Both Mattias and the Notary exchange glances, oh these warmongering Kingdoms.

—-

Soon a slim blue book in the Partharian script, lovingly hand-written and illuminated at each recipe (there are 6 in total) is lent to Mattias. Myrana has taken notes in the margins in a neat hand, with most of them being translation reminders for such words as 'seethe' and 'braise' and notes reminding herself to ask Eskendar what this word is or that. This was a kingly little gift.

At the very back is what looks like a poem in a third hand, but the script is much too elegant and entwined; its clear Myrana has never quite translated it, as all her notes are towards the beginning of the book. Those last four recipes seem to have likewise thwarted her attempts. The recipe for the tagine of rabbit and plums is the second recipe, with the first being for kaffe.

After a dessert of almond gelato (over which Myrana adds a splash of the apple liqour, declaring it afterwards to be a fine gift), Mattias and the bewigged Notary are bid goodnight by the Armaz, and escorted out through the sunset garden by a cheerful Samuel.

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