• Closed • Looking forward, Looking back

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Wed May 01, 2019 11:14 pm


"Right," Ky agreed when Ari'sora grasped that measurements were fractions. "And multiplying to scale up for a bigger cake, and dividing to cut enough slices that everyone gets one." She grinned wryly, knowing how much Ari'sora liked cake. Her grin dropped away, leaving her broad face plainer and flatter than ever, as she heard what the other woman had grown up with, though her hands kept working on autopilot to cook the flatbreads.

Listening to that made her own hurts from growing up seem smaller and less worthy, like a candle beside a bonfire, but even then the candle shed enough light on it to let her absorb the knowledge without immediately reacting. She should say something, she knew, but the words wouldn't come. What did you say to something like that? Her heart ached for Ari'sora, but even her lesser experience told her that pity wasn't the right response. "It doesn't," she said at last, with a great deal of careful understatement, "sound like the most fun way to grow up." She drew a long breath, and added equally carefully, "I won't say mine matches it, because it doesn't, but I know something about not being worth things. I think I was three the first time I was told I wasn't worth saving a dowry for because I was too stupid, useless, and ugly for anyone to ever want me. And yes, I would very much like to share your birth trial celebration."

She flipped the last of the flatbreads and took a moment to answer Ari'sora's questions about them. It seemed like a safer topic to retreat to. "They take a bit each side, the way I like them. Less than that and they're still doughy in the middle. Longer, and they stiffen and harden. Good for teething babies, not so much for wrapping around a filling. Talking of fillings..." She set out soft cheese, honey, lemon, butter, and a tiny stub of cinnamon stick on the table. "I suggest you put whatever you want on yours and I put whatever I want on mine, if that suits?" She added the flatbreads and plates and slid into a seat. She snagged the top flatbread, one that Ari'sora had rolled out judging by the roughness of the circle, and had to blow on her fingers to cool them from the heat of the fresh flatbread. "We'll need some of that butter for the cake, of course, but we can eat first. How are you for cider? Do you want any more?"

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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Thu May 09, 2019 3:25 am





Ari'sora made note of the fact that multiplication and division were used in baking as well as fractions, and subtraction. Addition too, really. It seemed as though she would need to consider how she felt about math, and perhaps try to improve her skills with the subject. Or lack of skills, really, given as how little math she actually knew. Ari'sora wasn't sure how she felt about that.

But she was quickly distracted by the mention of a dowry. She had heard the word before, but she wasn't entirely certain what it meant.

"What is a dowry?" she asked curiously.

"And if it's okay to ask...what does it have to do with someone wanting you? Wanting you for what? I'm sorry if I'm asking too many questions. You can tell me to shut up if you want."

She hoped that Ky would explain, though. Maybe it was another thing where traditions were different for different people?

The topic of conversation changed again, and Ari'sora took careful note on the comments Ky made about what happened if the dough was cooked for too long, or not long enough. Soon enough, it was time to pick out the fillings they wanted to use. Ari'sora nodded when Ky suggested that they each picked out what they wanted for their own flatbreads. There were eight in all, which meant four for each of them.

Division again... Ari'sora thought ruefully.

Everything looked good, but after some thought, she decided to put some soft cheese on two of hers. She liked the idea of half savory, and half sweet, so she put honey and lemon on the third, and she tried honey and cinnamon on the final one. Ari'sora was careful not to take too much cinnamon. Ky had mentioned liking it, after all, and she didn't want to risk not leaving Ky enough for her flatbreads.

When Ky mentioned that they would need some of the butter for the cake, Ari'sora's eyes lit up with delight.

"What kind of cake? Can I help you make that, too?" she asked eagerly.



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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Sat May 11, 2019 2:41 pm

Ky took a moment to spread soft cheese on her flatbread and roll it up. "A dowry is a gift from parent to child when the child gets married. Usually something valuable like money or jewelry." She bit off the end of the rolled flatbread rather sharply and hoped that that would answer the question about someone wanting her too. It wasn't even as if she wanted to get married - she liked books far more than people as a rule - but it still hurt to be considered so worthless. She swallowed against both the bread and the ache. "It's so the new couple can set up their own home or business together more easily. And some people judge how much you're worth by the size of the dowry you bring to the marriage."

She finished off the cheese flatbread and tried one with honey and lemon. It was nice enough, but she thought she liked honey and cinnamon better. She also cut herself a slice of the lemon blueberry bread that Ari'sora had brought, spread it with a little butter, and tried it. "Nice," she said after a moment, smiling, and licked a stray smear of butter off her thumb. "Want some?"

When she had an answer, she went on, "I was planning a simple sponge cake with a lemon drizzle topping. I've had more experience with bread and pies than with cake." She wiped her hands clean on a bit of cloth, found the recipe, and passed it over.
Sponge cake.

Take the weight of your eggs in butter, flour, and ground sugar.

Cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour.

Bake in a moderate oven until risen and springy
"I borrowed some balance scales. I'll put the eggs on one side, and use them as the weights to measure the other ingredients out. Less math involved that way," she teased very gently. "And yes, I'd love to have your help... Do you have any questions?"

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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:04 am





Ari'sora frowned in confusion as she tried to put it together in her head. A dowry was a gift from parent to child when they got married...something to help a new family get started in life. So why would someone tell Ky that she wasn't worth saving up a dowry for? Unless...maybe it meant that Ky didn't want to get married, so it was useless to set aside a gift for an event that wasn't going to happen? Ari'sora could understand that easily enough. She didn't think that she ever wanted to get married either. The books she had read all said it was a wonderful thing, that you would spend the rest of your life with the perfect partner...someone who completed you, and was your other half. Ari'sora felt as if she was complete as she was. She didn't need someone else to make her complete.

"I think it's wrong for someone to say you're not worth a dowry if you want one...but I don't know why anyone would need one." she said slowly.

"If someone loves you, and you love them enough to want to get married...then shouldn't they love you with or without a dowry? If not, then maybe they aren't the right person to marry? I don't...I can't say that I understand it much, because until I met Shadow, no one has ever really loved me. But it seems to me...from what I've read in books, at least...that if someone loves someone else, they love that person for who they are, not what they can give them. So I really don't understand why someone would judge others by the size of their dowry. A dowry is just things, after all. Not...not who a person is. Not what they have done, or are capable of doing, either. But I could be missing something. I don't really understand..."

Ari'sora fell silent as she tried to sort out her thoughts and put them in some form that made sense. It didn't help.

"I'm sorry. I probably said that all wrong. I'm sorry that someone said that to you, though." she said softly.

Ari'sora smiled at the compliment to the blueberry lemon bread she had made. Then she nodded when Ky asked if she wanted some. She cut a small slice for herself, and spread a thin pat of butter over it. When she took a bite, she closed her eyes in delight, and chewed slowly so she could savor the taste. It was very good, and Ari'sora quickly made a mental note to make it again sometime soon.

"That is really good." she said with a contented smile.

She had tasted it as she was making it, of course, but that didn't really give her the full impression of what the final product would taste like. Instead, it was more a measure of whether she had done something wrong as she was making it. After they had eaten, Ky told her that she wanted to try making a simple sponge cake with a lemon drizzle. She also explained that she had more experience in making breads and pies than she had in making cakes. Then she handed Ari'sora a recipe she had picked out.

Ari'sora studied the recipe carefully, rereading it a few times so she was certain on what to do. It did seem like a simple enough recipe except for one thing. Ky teased her a little about her issues with math, then asked if she had any questions. Ari'sora grinned at the gentle teasing, and nodded.

"It says here that you need to cream the butter and sugar together before you beat the eggs into the mixture. How do you do that? Is it the same thing as stirring them, or mixing them together?" she asked, wanting clarification on exactly what the recipe called for.



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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:01 pm


"A lot of people getting married want to buy their own house together, or start their own business," Ky explained again. "Both of which cost money. The dowry helps them make the start they want. So some marry for love and others for more practical reasons. My hometown tends to be very focused on 'practical'." She sighed, and spelled it out, her voice flat. "It isn't as if they asked whether I wanted to marry. I don't much. But they were saying, in a backhanded way, that I was big and ugly and stupid, and because I was big, ugly and stupid, no one was ever going to fall in love with me." She gestured at her wide body, and arms muscled from hauling flour and kneading bread, and at her round, plain face. All the books on it that she had read, had been slim, pretty,girls spending their time adoring their beloveds. Ky hadn't ever really grasped the attraction of spending breaks gazing into someone's eyes when you could spend them gazing into a book instead.

She finished her slice and cut another, glad of the change of subject. "Creaming is squashing the butter and sugar into each other until they get softer, and lighter. Usually you press them between the back of the spoon and the side of the bowl. It's called creaming because the end result looks a bit like very thick cream. Does that make sense?"

She waited for Ari'sora's answer, and if it did make sense, she fetched the mixing bowl and the scale. The scale had a balance beam on an upright stand, and a bowl hanging at each end to put whatever you were weighing in. Ky placed an egg, still in its shell, in one bowl and the beam tipped, pulling the central pointer away from the mark that said it was evenly balanced, with equal weights on each end. "Sugar first, then butter, then flour. We can leave the flour and eggs in the scale bowls until we need them, I think. Would you like to add, or to watch for the pointer coming level? Or one and then the other? I don't mind either way."

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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:15 pm





Ky's explanation of the dowry helped in one way...and raised a thousand other questions in the next. Ari'sora knew that starting over was expensive. You needed a house, and a way to support yourself...the list of things you absolutely needed to live on your own was endless. And yet...

"Wouldn't it be easier for everyone if it was a coming of age gift, then, rather than a gift for when you get married? Not everyone wants to get married, like you said. But whether they want to get married or not, they still need the nels to help them get started in a new life of their own. It would be more...practical that way, right? Marriage is...marriage should be for love. If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone, then it would be miserable if you didn't like them enough to spend so much time with them...or worse, didn't like them at all, but had to marry them just to get a dowry." she said at last, her tone filled with a mixture of confusion, and conviction.

Everything she had ever read suggested that you were supposed to marry the person you loved, and live happily ever after. That, or you were forced to marry someone, and ended up as their slave, or in some cases, you killed them. Or they killed you. Either way, it seemed to Ari'sora that marrying for love was better.

The next part was harder, and she hesitated before speaking again.

"I'm sorry that I upset you. I didn't mean to." she said softly.

"They were wrong to say that you're ugly and stupid, though. You aren't either of those things. You're really good at baking, and you know that you use math in baking...I didn't know that. Not really, at least. And beauty is..."

Ari'sora hesitated again, struggling to put her thoughts into words. It wasn't a language issue so much as it was the fact that she had never really discussed such things before, and she didn't know how to explain how she felt. Or how to explain it in a way that wouldn't upset her friend even more.

"A flower is beautiful. A song is beautiful. Or a painting. But people...aren't that simple. People are so much more that the way they look on the outside, and it is who they are, and what they do that makes them beautiful...or not. At least that's how I see it. And you...you are a very kind person, Ky. You helped me when that bookcase fell on me in the library. Not everyone would help a stranger like that. Ren'zar, the man who was my mas...my guardian before he was arrested would never help anyone unless there was something in it for him. He would have laughed at me if he had seen me trapped like that. And my sister...I don't know if she would help a stranger who needed help, or not. She would help a friend who needed help without question. But a stranger? I think it would depend on what kind of mood she was in at the time, and if it would be easy for her to help out or not."

Ari'sora paused to gather her thoughts again.

"You've taught me a lot, too. I've learned a lot of Common because of the lesson you gave me in it. And I learn a lot when we bake together. You don't even make fun of me or yell at me when I don't know stuff, like about the gifts earlier totrial, or about dowries."

Ari'sora's grateful but bewildered tone suggested that that was a very rare thing in her experience.

"I think you are very beautiful. Your kindness makes you beautiful...just like a cruel person's cruelty would make them ugly, even if their surface appearance was perfect. People are too complicated to judge as beautiful or ugly just by what can be seen on the surface. At least...that's the way I see it. The people who told you that you are ugly and stupid are wrong. Or lying. And if someone only falls in love with another person based on what they can see on the surface...well, that's wrong, too."

The last few sentences were spoken with a deep conviction that was born of absolute certainty.

Ari'sora paid close attention to Ky's explanation of creaming the butter and eggs together. When asked if it made sense, she nodded.

"Yes, it does. Thank you." she said softly.

Ari'sora also paid close attention when Ky used the scales. They looked like something that would make measuring out ingredients a lot easier, and she wanted to learn how to use them properly.

"I'd like to do both, please. One first, and then the other. I could try to balance the next ingredient?" she asked hopefully.

"And should we wash the scale after we measure the butter? Otherwise, the flour might stick to the grease it leaves behind, right?"



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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:13 pm


"Making it a coming of age gift might be easier for the child in question," Ky admitted, "although keep in mind that over there we're considered adults from about 14 or 15 arcs, and mostly we stay in our parents' house until we marry or get a job elsewhere. I did the latter." She shrugged. "But it wouldn't be tradition, if they did that, so it probably won't change." She decided against pointing out that the parents keeping hold of the money meant that the parents could keep control over the younger person for longer and try to force or bribe them into making a life that the parents approved of, rather than one the child actually dreamed of. It was too complicated and likely to raise too many more questions about things she'd rather not discuss.

Instead she focused on measuring out the sugar. She put a little in the bowl of the scales, waited until the pointer stopped moving, then added a bit more. "The flour will stick to any damp patches left by water too, and at least the butter's supposed to be in the recipe. Unless you know a way to get the bowl quickly, totally dry without so much as a smear?" She kept up the pattern of measuring until the pointer finally hit the balance point, at which time, Ky lifted the bowl off the scale and tipped the sugar into the mixing bowl. She offered Ari'sora the block of butter and a blunt knife to cut pieces off the block for weighing. "Apology accepted."

She wasn't quite sure what to say about the rest of Ari'sora's speech. It stirred up too many feelings, both old and new. "Kind" she could cope with, even "helpful" but nobody ever called her "beautiful" unless they were making a mockery of her. It hurt. She didn't think Ari'sora meant it that way, but it hurt all the same as it rasped over barely healed wounds. "I've been the one mocked for not knowing too often to want to inflict it on anyone else," she said after a long moment, sounding almost as bewildered by everything as Ari'sora. She picked up the spoon, turning it over and over in her fingers, and then shook herself as the last of the butter tumbled into the mixing bowl. Once the flour was measured out too, she wielded the spoon against the butter and sugar, pushing them against the side of the bowl in an attempt to push away her own confusion. She went round the bowl once, then scraped the partly creamed sugar and butter back into the middle and moved clear to let Ari'sora have a go.
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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:27 am




Tradition. Now that was something that she understood. So many of the stories that Ari'sora had read over the arcs had mentioned...or even been based on the importance of tradition that she had had that drummed into her for as long as she could remember. There had been plenty of traditions when she had been growing up, too. She just preferred to forget about those traditions; most of them, anyway. There were a few private ones that she cherished even now.

Ari'sora nodded.

"Traditions can be very important...and very hard to change." she agreed.

Ari'sora watched closely while Ky measured the sugar. But when the other girl asked if she knew a way to get something completely dry quickly, she stiffened, and drew back slightly. Her eyes glazed slightly as her mind drifted into some particularly painful lessons. When she returned to the present a few bits later, she nodded sharply once.

Oh, yes. She knew how to dry something completely, and to be quick about it. She also knew the consequences of failing to dry the dishes quickly enough after washing them.

"Use a separate cloth for each thing you want to dry. You'll have more laundry to do afterwards, but it's easier to make sure something is completely dry when you start with a dry cloth. Even the slightest bit of dampness in the cloth can cause you to fail to dry the dish completely. With a bowl, or something like this, wipe out the inside of the bowl first. That way, the water clinging to the outside can't dampen the cloth before you ever even get to the inside of the bowl. If it's big enough, you might need to use two cloths, but for something this size, one should be good enough. After you finish drying out the inside of the bowl, take a trill to check that it is completely dry with your hand. If you miss a spot and don't check before moving to the outside of the bowl, you will need a new dry cloth. After you dry the outside, check that with your hand, too. Any smudges you make while testing to see if it's dry can be cleaned when you polish the bowl. It's easiest if you have two cloths, one for the inside, and one for the outside, but if you have a lot of dishes, that won't be possible." she said flatly.

Her tone suggested that she had had a lot of experience doing the task she was explaining.

"For something like this, it might not matter if the outside of the bowl is slightly damp as long as the inside is perfectly dry. Or would it?" she asked.

The emotions that had been stirred up by Ky's seemingly simple question had left Ari'sora feeling tense, and shaky, so she was glad for a task to do to calm her nerves. When Ky offered her the block of butter and a knife, she focused on the task at hand completely. It was easier to add more than to waste perfectly good butter if she cut too much, so she cut thin pats of butter, and added them to the scale one at a time until she had added enough to balance the eggs. By the time she was finished, she was feeling calmer, and she watched closely as Ky measured the flour.

Something in the Ky's bewildered tone made Ari'sora worry that she had hurt her, so she apologized again.

"I think I might have said something stupid, and hurt you. If I did, I'm sorry. I'm not..."

She fidgeted awkwardly for a few trills before continuing.

"I've read a lot, so I know things...but knowing and understanding are two very different things from what I am starting to learn. Especially when it comes to people. And I don't...I don't really understand people. I want to learn, so I ask questions...probably too many, really. And I say stupid stuff that probably only makes sense to me. Only I don't know its stupid until after I say it, and people get upset, or angry. You're only the third friend I've ever had...and the only one that is a person, and I really don't want to mess this up. So will you tell me if I am asking too many questions, or if I say stupid stuff?" she asked quietly as she stared at the floor.

After a few trills, she realized that it was her turn to cream the ingredients, so she took the offered spoon tentatively, and did her best to not mess things up even worse that she already had.



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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:35 pm


"You didn't say anything stupid," Ky said, as reassuringly as she could manage. "It's just - me. You're kind. I'm - I'm not used - to people being kind." That was an understatement, but she hadn't missed the impact of her earlier casual question. "Not to me, anyway. And, well, I'm sorry if I said something wrong. Didn't mean to call up bad memories..." She reached over, picked up the book and checked the recipe for something neutral to do. She probably didn't need to, but she tried to make frequent checking a habit when she was trying out something new.

Once the butter and sugar were creamed together, she picked up the egg, took a long nervous breath, and cracked it against the edge of the bowl with a practised flick of her wrist. She sniffed the crack absently to check that the egg hadn't gone off, and then dug her thumbs into the broken shell, prised the halves of the shell apart and let the egg splat down into the bowl. As always, the process left a faintly slimy layer of egg white on her hands and she traded the empty shell for a clean cloth and wiped her hands down before she went on.

"I can certainly try to tell you, but I can't promise. I don't know everything myself, and it isn't like I have much more experience friendwise than you do. I need you to let me know if I-" she took a breath and walked out onto the shaky bridge of the friendship they were building. "If I do something wrong that hurts you too. We're going to have to learn friendship by practising on each other, I think. If that's ok with you, I mean?"
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Re: Looking forward, Looking back

Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:38 pm




Ari'sora watched while Ky checked the recipe again. She wondered if Ky actually needed to check it now, or if she was looking for something to distract herself from the awkward turn the conversation had taken. While she probably would have asked under normal circumstances, Ari'sora was grateful for the few trills Ky's action gave her to try and calm herself down, so she didn't ask. She did make a mental note of the wisdom of checking the recipe frequently, though. When learning a new recipe, it only made sense to check and double check everything you did. And even with one you knew well, it never hurt to check if you were uncertain of something, or if you were distracted by something else while cooking.

"You didn't say anything wrong, really. But it's awfully easy for me to get caught up in bad memories like that. I have more bad memories than good ones, so there really isn't any way around that. But it is something I am trying to change. The more good memories I can make now, the less likely it will be for me to get caught up in the bad ones from the past." she said when Ky apologized.

Ari'sora watched closely as Ky cracked the egg. She knew how to do it herself, of course, she Ky was a baker, and even she knew that bakers used a lot of eggs to make the goods that they baked. If her friend had some special technique that made it less likely that bits of the shell would break off and get into the food, she wanted to learn how to do it, too.

Ky reassured her that she would tell her if she said anything stupid when she was with her, and explained that she wasn't really good with this whole friend thing either. Then she suggested that they learn together by practicing on each other, and Ari'sora grinned.

"Learning together...I like that." she said with a shy smile.

Then she glanced at the bowl of ingredients.

"What do we do next?" she asked eagerly.


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