• 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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Kyreen
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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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