Page 597: Kitchen Invasion
Kitchen Invasion
Summary: A sudden downpour causes people to take refuge by the cook fires in Four Eagles Tower
Date: 12/Mar/2013
Related Logs: Nothing Specific
Mortimer Nedra Nathaniel 
KItchens, Four Eagles' Tower
The kitchen is usually alive with activity but for the latest hours of the night. Stone counters with wooden tops line the interior except nearest the large brick ovens. Open fire pits in the center have iron bars across them for grilling as well, the hot surfaces on the other side of the room from the tables in the center used for final food preparation. Huge cabinets have been carved out of the walls to store the dishes and utensils for serving the meals to the House Lords and Ladies. The few exits lead towards the Servant's Quarters as well as the Throne Room and Entrance Hall.
Tue Mar 12, 290

It's early-to-mid afternoon, after the lunchtime rush but before the preparations for dinner begin in earnest and so those kitchen staff not finishing with the tidying away after the midday meal are mostly taking the opportunity to rest their feet in the servant's quarters. On other days they might have taken their brief leisure outside but today there is a coastal storm blowing through and the weather can best be described as inclement. The rain probably isn't actually horizontal but it certainly feels like it is and the swirling winds aren't exactly helping.
As is so often the case along the shore, the storm had struck with little warning, meaning the patrol out along Orchard Road was hit with no shelter and no time to get to any. With the likelihood of there being any bandit activity to spot decreasing as rapidly as the visibility they'd hastily turned back, although to be fair, if they would likely not have been able to get any wetter if they'd dallied. With the lads from the garrison opting to their barracks, Mortimer had been planning on heading down into town to find a fire and dry clothes at home but had instead been practically ordered to the kitchens by one of the cooks who was trying to wait out the worst of it in the stables. And so here his is, sat on a stool, in his very own puddle close to the large cookfire with a mug of something indeterminate but hot in one hand and and empty stew bowl on the table in front of him.

The midday storm that swept in from the coast sent more than one person rushing to try to beat the rain, and not all were as able to do so. A gust of wind accompanied by rain had announced Nedra's arrival in the entrance hall and, while dripping water, she and Shalla had set their shoulders to the task and shut the door against the wind before making their way to the kitchen to dry off.

That same sudden storm caught others by surprise. Nathaniel was halfway between the town and the tower when the floodgates opened overhead. He rode swiftly through the downpour to arrive, as drenched as a drowning rat, but with the messages intact. He arrived only a few minutes after Nedra and her handmaiden, and pauses in the doorway to heave a sigh before stepping into the welcome warmth that cooking often create. When the portly head cook scolds him for dripping on the floor, he smiles and shakes his head. "Mistress, that's no way to treat welcome the herbs that you asked me to fetch," he answers cheerily. If you have a bowl of stew or even a cup of tea, I'd be grateful." While saying this, he removes from his leather courier's bag a small green pouch which he offers to the cook.

Mortimer seems to be simply staring at the flame in the fireplace as they dance hypnotically before him, that and just soaking in the warmth from both that and the mug clasped protectively in his hand. He still seems to be dripping somewhat but it's fair to say that his cloak, which he has removed, is creating a greater portion of the puddle than he himself is. Hearing Nathaniel's familiar voice is enough to turn his head away though and he gives the courier a brief nod before spotting Nedra as well. THat sight has him rising to his feet to offer a respectful bow and an "afternoon m'Lady."

Nedra shoves one hand through her rain soaked hair, laughing, as she and Shalla drip their way into the kitchen, all youthful energy and dripping hems and cloaks. "Master Trevelyan, Master Corbitt," she says as she greets both, unwinding her cloak as she and Shalla hurry over to the fire - trying to avoid dripping too much rain water across the floor.

Nathaniel turns from the delivering his parcel to the cook when Nedra greets him. He bows deeply to her, and inclines his head more distinctly than usual to Shalla, due to her status as handmaiden. Finally, he nods respectfully to Mortimer. "Lady, mistress, master, I'm glad to see all of you," he greets. "I see that the clouds have conspired against lady and commoners alike," he observes. He hangs his cloak on a peg by the door, and then glances to the cook again. "Would you bring something for the lady and her handmaiden, please?" he requests. "I will serve them so that you can prepare dinner."

The place it seems, is not made of stools, there in fact seems to be only the one that was borrowed from the servant's quarters only shortly before. With there now being a lady present Mortimer makes no move to reclaim his but instead takes a few paces away before gesturing to it to indicate that Nedra should take the weight off her feet. Nodding in agreement to Nathaniel's words he notes, "It should blow through soon, lest it'll be keeping the ne'er-do-wells indoors as well as the honest folk." Then to Nedra, "did you enjoy the festivities at Kingsgrove m'Lady? I've heard a few stories from those making their ways home again and it sounds like it went well enough."

"Please, keep your seat, Master Trevelyan," Nedra says as she edges as close to the fire as she can, steam actually rising from her cloak and hem as she gives a rueful smile and squeezes the rain water out of the long braid draped over her left shoulder. "If I sit now I'm never going to dry," she adds, earning a laugh from Shalla, "and you won't either," she says to her maid with a sidelong grin. The thought of tea though makes her perk up, "I'd be happy to start some tea, I've made it before," she says, after all - when she'd offered her help to Anais, Anais had sent her to the kitchen. She's no stranger here. "And it did, it was rather lovely. The bard tournament was entertaining but the joust was - as always - a spectacle."

Nathaniel looks to the cook once more, and encourages gently, "Don't worry. It's fine. You honor the lady by welcoming her offer." Then he nods to Mortimer. "They'll stay clear for a good while if they know what's best," he agrees. Then he looks to Nedra before going to the cupboard. "You'll have a kettle soon, lady," he assures.

Mortimer is not about to sit while a noblewoman stands, not a chance, and so he remains stood where he is and leaves the stool to either remain empty or be used by one of the others. Both hands still clasped round his mug he lifts it and takes a drink as he listens to her answer. There's a brief glance towards Nathaniel as the Bardic contest is mention but he then quickly turns back to Nedra to reply "Did Lord Ozric enter?"

Nedra hangs her cloak on a hook nearest one of the fire pits and moves about the room to clean her hands and fetched the tin where the tea leaves are stored, setting to the task with the ease of one who knows her way about a kitchen. The kettle is soon heating near one of the fire pits and she's fetched enough mugs to pour tea into when it's ready. "He did not, no," she replies as she moves about the kitchen. "It would have been imprudent, and not fiscally wise, to risk the ransom of his horse and the rest, on something that is akin to folly."

Nathaniel frowns, recalling vividly Justin's own experience of that folly and the small part that the courier played in its execution. If a lady has serf herself to steep the tea, he certainly will not shirk his part. He steps to a counter where several loaves of fresh bread await in a row. He selects a small loaf, and slices it deftly before transferring the slices to a board with a small bowl of butter and another of honey. "Lord Stafford is fortunate," he comments while he works. "This storm could have come during the festivities." He carries the breadboard to Nedra first, then to Slalla, and finally to Mortimer so that each can have some.

Mortimer watches Nedra as she makes the tea, then as she answers, silently debating if he should bring up the cash that both Justin and Jarod brought in after their victories at Seagard. In the end he decides not to, having not been involved in the discussions or decision making he's not going to risk sounding like he's criticising the Young Lord, or calling him a coward. Instead he simply gives a brief nod to her answer before turning to Nathaniel, "Aye, that would have ruined the joust and no mistake. An' thankfully most of the guests are passed already and returned to their homes." Having eaten just before he shakes his head slightly as the bread is offered then adds, "there's been no sign yet of that bard by the way."

"She might stay away for a bit," Nathaniel speculates to Mortimer. "I hear that heralds have repeated the banns for the wedding at Highfield. So it's likely that she'll go there next." He takes the board back to the counter, and then returns to stand by the fire and dry himself. Looking to Nedra, he worries, "I hope that you were only out for a short time, lady, and did not need to ride far to find shelter."

"We had ventured only as far as the coast," Nedra replies as she returns again to stand near one of the fires, hands held out to let the heat soak inward. "That last bard, the.. merchant's daughter, Catryn? She was quite witty, and it would've been worth a good laugh. save for it not being the sort of wit that earns patronage, at least, not patronage in a venue like the one presented by Lord and Lady Groves," she adds with a slow shake of her head, wry amusement evident in her tone of voice.

"She'd have to pass through," Mortimer replies to Nathaniel, "or take the very long way round to the south, but aye, Highfield is as likely a destination as any other 'cept maybe Stonebridge." Then to Nedra he replies, "Aye m'Lady, thats the lass, Master Corbitt here filled me in a little on her, performance." Given what he was told he seems faintly surprised that Nedra is amused by it, but just pass it off as one of those things. "I'm glad you were not far out," he offers, "although I suppose you're as used to these storms in Seagard as we are here."

Nathaniel smiles and nods to Mortimer. "Lady Nedra doesn't shy from a storm," he assures. "As for Mistress Taken, I'd not be surprised if she’d skirted from Kingsgrove to Stonebridge, barely touching The Roost." He looks into the fire for a moment, and then adds, "I should check on things at the stables once more for the evening." He bows to Nedra, and then inclines his head to Shalla and Mortimer. "Be well, all of you," he says before retreating toward the entrance hall.