[Hopetoun] Feeding the masses

1st of Ashan 721

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Vega
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[Hopetoun] Feeding the masses

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1st Ashan, 721
Vega was making sure that their horses were tended and cared for. She'd asked where they could tether them when they arrived some trials ago, and she was making sure that Storm and Peg both had sufficient food and water. She'd brushed them both, checked their hooves, and had covered them both over with the blankets he had for them. Looking up as he approached, Vega smiled at Arlo. "Wotcha," she said, resting her head against Storm's neck briefly. "Typical of him, Storm, have you noticed?" She put the brushes and other accoutrements away as she spoke. "I jus' finish, an' he rocks up." She was teasing, of course, but then that was how she had been the last few trials.

Teasing and joking as a default. Smiling slightly too brightly. Talking in a manner which was too surface and shallow for her. Vega was working something through in her mind, mulling something over. He knew she was, she knew he knew. She didn't want to talk about it, so she hadn't. When she wanted to, she would. Ever had it been this way between them. It was strange, she supposed, but she'd grown rather used to being by herself in the last arc - in dealing with her own issues and sorting herself out. She didn't say that because she knew he felt bad and as much as she didn't think he needed to feel bad, she also didn't see the point in rubbing his face in it. So, she was working things out in her head, and when she was ready, she'd talk.

"You goin' to make us good food?" Vega asked, looking at him with a level expression. Her eyes were swirling a range of colours, and that too was telling. Black and purple and pink and yellow. They were contrary colours for her - and frankly they matched her mood. "I might come with you, if that's a'right?" She gave a friendly grin, "I promise not to help too much." Or, in fairness, at all. She knew her own limitations and when it came to cooking, limitations were abounding.

The cook for the camp, Serena, was already there and Vega grinned at her. "Hey, Serena," she said. "Don't worry, I'm jus' helpin'." Serena smiled, very well aware after just a few trials of both Arlo's cooking skill - and Vega's complete lack of the same. Serena nodded. "Help's always welcome," she said and moved over to the pot where a stew was already bubbling away.

Vega was, as she had said, more than happy to help. She chopped vegetables, washed pots and pans. All in all she was like she always ways ~ she threw herself into it with full enthusiasm. Arlo was an excellent cook and he and Serena worked well together, so she was happy to play her part. She let them work, she assisted and then she helped with the heavy lifting of things, the pots getting transferred into the bowls, things like that. She did it, but in a most unlike-Vega way, she was quiet. Serena chatted with Arlo, chatted and worked. As she did that, Serena noticed how quiet Vega was and more than once Serena glanced at Arlo, as though asking a question - but she didn't say anything.

As they got ready to serve the food, Vega put her hand on Arlo's arm. He knew, she thought. He knew already. They'd danced this dance before the two of them. Mortalborn of children, unable to conceive. But every time - every single time - she hoped. And every time, the disappointment was bitter. Serena left the tent, and Vega clutched at his arm. Then, she waited. Waited until she knew it was just them. "Arlo," she said, her voice shaking slightly. "I.. " Outside was the sound of people receiving food and tucking in. "I'm really late, Arlo. Like. Later than ever before, an' I keep thinkin' that it's jus' like every other time an' it's a false alarm, but I really think it might not be." She gave him a slight, shaky smile. "I think I'm pregnant, Arlo." Tears stood in her eyes and the frown on her face belied every emotion she was feeling. "An' I'm terrified that I'm not, but I really think I am." Looking at him, she spoke it as she saw it. "An' I need to keep hopeful, an' I need to be hopeful, an' I need you to be hopeful, an'" shaking her head, she took his hand. "Arlo?"
Last edited by Vega on Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 778
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Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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Arlo Creede
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Re: Feeding the masses

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There was something on Vega's mind. That much was clear so far as Arlo was concerned, even if her shifting eye color wasn't a dead giveaway already. She wasn't the type to indulge in superfluous, overly cheery small talk. He knew her too well. But he also knew that he'd only really know, once she was ready to talk about it. She had to work her way up to it.

Asking was pointless until such a time as it happened. So instead of asking, he simply grinned and shrugged when she expanded on the frustrations of horse grooming. Peg's no different. There's no better time to roll in the nearest mud puddle, than half a break after she's gotten a wash down."[/b] As for something good to feed the masses, such as they were, Arlo bumped her shoulder gently as they walked towards the tent. "Is it ever not?" he teased. Sure, there were probably some dishes that Vega enjoyed more than others, personal taste being what it was. But he prided himself in being a very good cook.

Smiling and nodding at Serena when they arrived in the tent, the smile turned into a knowing grin when Vega promised to just help, but not meddle too deeply in the recipe. "It coming along well?" he asked Serena. "Low and slow is the key." Feeding a crowd was a challenge, even for a master at cooking. This time it was a lamb stew with a thick, gravy like broth. No small bits but big chunks of lamb, potato, carrot and onion. A splash of red cooking wine and a thick broth, and some fresh mint to finish it off.

"I'll speak to those manning the fishing boats about getting us some large shrimp or lobster, crab and clams next trial. We'll do a seafood boil and do away with the bowls. Save on washing dishes," he added. The best and most traditional way was to drain the water after a good seafood and vegetable boil, then dump and spread out the finished contents onto a long roll of butcher paper, stretched along the table top. Best not to do that with stew, however.

As for Serena's questioning glances now and then, Arlo simply smiled and shrugged in response. He sensed that whatever was on Vega's mind, it wasn't something involving impending doom and gloom. She'd spill it eventually. It appeared that Serena leaving the tent was finally the thing that was needed. When Vega spoke up, Arlo took a rag from his pocket and wiped his forehead, then his hands, and tossed the rag aside as he stepped back from the finished meal.

"Late? What do you mean?" he asked with a curious frown, before she explained, all with a single word. It definitely wasn't what he'd been expecting her to say. Though they'd had the conversation before, more than a few times and he'd thought about it more times between, it was never quite the thing he anticipated coming up. Particularly since as he understood it, the chances for it happening were slim ones. "Pregnant? How sure are you?" he asked, reaching out to take her hands. It seemed to him that they were shaking just a little, and it was an effort to lend her what support he could.

Could it really be, this time? They'd been disappointed before, even though they'd told each other, and told themselves that it wasn't as likely to happen for them as for others. Still, one wanted to hope. "It would be wonderful," he said, smiling and stepping closer, placing his forehead gently against hers. "The best kind of wonderful." And of course, he guessed she couldn't be absolutely sure. But as intimately close as they were, there were only things that women could know. That Vega could know.

"Sometimes, Vega, the best things are the scary ones. Even terrifying. If you're not? Then we keep going and we keep hoping, while knowing that whatever happens, you and I are enough. If you are? Nothing could make me happier. Of course I'm hopeful. You don't need to wonder about that. Have you been feeling alright?" he asked.
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Vega
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Re: Feeding the masses

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The food he prepared and produced was, to Vega's mind, the best food on all of Idalos. It wasn't just the technique he used, it was the passion he put into what he did and, as much as anything, that was what made him a great chef, she believed. "No. qau''ma," she said softly ~ a name she hadn't called him for some time ~ "it's never not good." Serena and he worked together and Vega was more than pleased to see it. She thought that, in all probability Arlo had improved the cooking in Hopetoun by a lot and, what was even better was that he was going out of his way to help Serena improve too. He was good at that, she considered, and she believed that Arlo cooking here would genuinely make a difference to the place - long term.

"Yeah, I meant to say, Papa said he's happy to take the Dreamer or the Wanderlust out fishin'," she said. "He's hankerin' for me to go with him. I thought I might do, in the mornin'." She gestured to the pot, in which something delicious-smelling was cooking. Apparently "low and slow" - which she didn't understand since it seemed to be at the right height, not low at all. Come to that, it didn't seem to be moving at all - not even slowly. Dismissing it as the strange way Arlo spoke sometimes, Vega considered that it would be nice to go out with her father. She wasn't going to tell him about her news yet, because she really didn't need that level of emotion in her life, but it would be nice to spend time with him. Nice to spend time with all the family, come to that. She'd been avoiding her cousins, largely, because they came pre-attached to those idiots they'd married and Vega had no time for them.

If she was pregnant, she thought, her cousin's wives -aka the useless twins - were going to be screechy and whole new levels of irksome.

But, that notwithstanding, she had to tell him and so, she waited until Serena had left with the food and then the two of them were on their own. How sure was she? "I'm sure, Arlo," she said quietly. He took hold of her hands and Vega didn't know which one of them was shaking. Maybe it was both of them. "I mean. Pretty sure. I .." He stepped forward and rested his forehead against hers, and Vega felt herself relax. Her arms wrapped around his waist and she just listened to him as he spoke. He told her what she needed to hear, of course, that - no matter what - they were enough, the two of them. But that, equally, they both hoped for and wanted this.

She breathed out and held on to him. How had she been feeling? "I'm a mess," she said, honestly. "I mean. I hate not knowin', but every trial I jus' get more an' more sure." Lifting her head slightly, she held herself so close to him that their noses were touching. "I'm tired, an' I feel sick as a dog," she admitted. "But I don't mind that. I mind that I have all the feelin's, an' I don't like them." Gesturing out to the rest of the camp, she confessed. "This mornin', I cried. " She didn't like admitting this, he knew her too well to think differently. "Cos there were a mouse bein' mauled by a cat. I mean, it was small an' tremblin', an' normally I'd just get the cat off it, but no, I sobbed." She glared at him, or tried to. "Don't you laugh, Arlo Creede." If he laughed at her, she thought, she'd cry right in his face. That'd teach him.

"I don't want to tell no-one, Arlo," she said, holding tightly to him. "Jus' me an' you, for a while. Is that a'righ'?" Immediately, she shook her head. "I know it is, I don't know why I ask such stupid questions." She didn't need to ask them, after all. She knew the answer, whatever she wanted and needed was fine - he'd work as hard as he needed to in order to make sure she was happy, and she would do the same for him. She knew that about him just as he did about her. "I tell you what, though." Vega rubbed her nose against his, briefly. "You keep cookin', would you? I mean, I'm used to your cookin', an' I can say to you if I feel squiffy an' want somethin' specific, yeah?" Tears stood out in her eyes and she leaned forward suddenly kissing him. "I really think we did it, Arlo," she whispered, tears on her cheeks as she mumbled the words against his lips. "I think we're havin' a baby, an' I keep cryin', an' if you tell anyone I cried, I'm gonna pound you." She didn't, of course. She just clung on to him and kissed him again.
word count: 865
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Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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Arlo Creede
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Re: Feeding the masses

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"The motion on the water not giving you any trouble lately?" Arlo wondered aloud, once Vega had told him what had been weighing so heavily on her mind. He guessed he'd have known it by now, considering they'd been aboard ship for some time now, ever since they'd left Rharne. At any rate, if he was needing a good haul of seafood for the next trial's meal, or any meal for that matter, better her father to do it than strangers. Her father would make sure that the bounty was good quality, rather than the stuff best tossed back into the deep.

Still, so far as her condition, Vega was as sure as she could be. And that was enough for him. She'd be the best sort of mother, and this would be the luckiest child on Idalos. Nothing could have made him happier. And yet they'd been disappointed before. More than once. This time? It was different, he thought. "Nothing in life is a sure thing, Vega. Good or bad. You know that. So do I," he told her. "But if this has got you weeping for no reason, and I have noticed you've been a little bit prickly once or twice lately, out of the blue and for no reason...Well, more than usual," he added and grinned, in order to tease her. "I guess that's about as sure as sure gets."

He'd keep the secret, just between them, as long as she wanted him to. As long as it took, although eventually there wouldn't be any hiding it. "I think people will guess anyway," he told her though, 'even before it starts showing, maybe." He kissed her again and wrapped his arms snug around her, smiling over her head as she threatened to pound him. Some things never changed. "Yeah, I think we did it, and no expecting mother will have ever been fed better than you. As I understand it, women in your condition are prone to all sorts of unusual cravings. Any special requests?" he asked.

"Smoked kippers with a drizzle of chocolate sauce?" he teased her while pulling several loaves of fresh bread out of a makeshift oven, in order to slice them up for serving. "Spiced pear pie with thin shaved sharp cheese melted across the top?" Actually, that last one didn't sound nearly as outlandish as he'd first thought it might. He might even give it a try.
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"Nope, none," Vega shrugged slightly. Then, said what she'd known for some time. "I think I were a seasick biqaj because I enjoy bein' difficult, an' determined to show the world how different I am." She didn't mind admitting that to him. "You know what I'm like," she said, with a slight smile. Cantankerous. Difficult. Currently terrified. Obnoxious. Hopeful. "A conundrum wrapped in an enigma, that's me." Leaning against him, she rested her head on his shoulder for a moment and spoke, quietly. "You remember, that time we took a trip to Immortals Tongue?" Her voice was filled with emotions and memories. "Jus' after Mrs Creede died, an' you bought me my armour, an' when we got there you told me there was no girl in the University, there were jus' me?" She smiled against him, the memory a clear one for her. Vivid, in fact.

Lifting her head, she looked at him with a serious expression. "I felt sick as a dog, Arlo. All the way there, on the boat. As seasick as I've ever felt." She hadn't said anything, or shown him it. And, as much as Vega could keep a secret or two if she felt like, why she'd done that then was because of him. "An' I knew I felt that way because I were so worried about you." Shrugging slightly, her smile was a little sad. "I jus' wanted you to stop hurtin', but I knew that you were the only one who could deal with what you were feelin', an' that you shouldn't stop hurtin' either." She shrugged slightly. "I knew then, without a doubt, that my gettin' seasick was about my heart, an' my feelin's." She'd have mentioned something at the time, Vega thought, but even then she'd known that if she'd said that to either him or her father - then they'd have both already known.

He wrapped his arms around her and she closed her eyes, just allowing herself to feel it, to be quietly with him. "I don't want to keep it secret long, Arlo, it's jus'," She paused, trying to make sense of what she was feeling and thinking. "As soon as the Papas know, an' the boys an' their useless limpets, it's gonna belong to them, too."That sounded contrary, Vega knew. "An' I'm not against that. It's family an' it'll be right that it does, an' they'll be happy for us, I know. But jus' for a while, I'd like it to be jus' ours."

Just theirs. She snuggled against him and listened to his description of what he'd cook her and then looked at him with a wicked grin. "That pear with cheese sounds righ' nice." Thinking about it, she shook her head. "Not really cravin' anythin' other than food you've cooked. An', Arlo?" She gestured around. "If we can, I want to stay here. My mama died on a boat, because somethin' went wrong an' there were no one there. I don't want to get on a boat again, if I can help it, until we have the baby here in our arms. It's nice here, an' it's hope, too. I think Xiur was watchin' us, when he nudged us here." Shedid believe that, completely. But then, Vega was a superstitious soul. "The biqaj way is that a woman who's with child is surrounded by family, an' the clan raise a child." She grinned. "Once we tell them, the useless twins are goin' to start askin' about names, an' clothes, an' practical things what'll scare me senseless, because I haven't thought of them." She chuckled then. "An' the papas are goin' to get all misty eyed an', jus' a while longer, Arlo. Jus' us."

He thought he was prepared, she considered. Not for being a father, but for how her side of their family would react. But in truth, she thought, he had no idea. "They're gonna be all over us like a swarm of bees," she said. "An' I'd like to make this place home awhile, if we can. You cookin' will help us fit in, I think?" Vega shrugged. "Be useful, an' all that."

Then, with a gentle thump of his shoulder, she smiled. "So, tell me about that pear an' sharp cheese? It sounds well nice. Maybe some salted chocolate, too? You know, bitter an' sweet an' sharp, all in one. Oh, that sounds nice." Strange cravings, Vega thought to herself. "Limes. Limes an' lemons an' sweet pastry," odd or unusual tastes? "Maybe on a chicken, too."

Nope. Not her.
word count: 788
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Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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Arlo Creede
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Re: [Hopetoun] Feeding the masses

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"So your seasickness was in your head, not in your belly," Arlo said, grinning a little once Vega explained the thought process behind the fact that, for whatever reason, the prospect of her being with child had not brought on a new wave of the malady. "I'd say you're probably right about that. If it wasn't the case, I can't imagine that being pregnant would be the cure for that sort of thing." In fact, so far as he could tell, she hadn't been experiencing many of the ill effects that pregnant women were said to experience throughout the process. Unless she'd just been especially sneaky about it and he'd failed to notice. Highly unlikely, Arlo thought.

As for keeping their secret for a little while longer? He had no objections to that. "I suspect though that wherever my mother is now, and I like to think she's got a way to look in now and then, she'd know. And would be as pleased and proud as a peacock." Of course, it would be better, was his mother still here in the flesh. There'd have been nothing she'd like better than the thought of being a grandmother. Jonas though, Arlo thought, would enjoy it plenty for both of them.

Still, he liked the idea of having their secret remain just between the two them, at least for a while. Of course, he really had no idea of the extent of what might come, as soon as her family found out. He'd only had his mother, and Jonas growing up, and no siblings. No frame of reference, really, and they weren't Biqaj either. "Jonas will understand either way," he concluded, his arms still draped round Vega's waist. As for making a home, Arlo smiled. "Home is wherever we're together," he said. "But we'll make it the best possible one. And if nothing else, I'll keep the masses fed. Content bellies, better friends?" he added. Or at least better allies, unless they'd rather go back to eating whatever washed in on the tide.

"Then I'll make you a pear pie topped off with a nice, sharp yellow cheese," he said, "and we'll stay off the boat for as long as you like. The sweetness of the pears, sugar and cinnamon will contrast with the savory nature of the crust and the bit of saltiness of the cheese. The appeal is similar to a taste for salted chocolate or salted caramel. Savory, sweet. Salty, sweet. Complex flavors. Citrus too, like limes, the tartness and sweetness of a lime pie, or tart on savory in the case of chicken. We'll make sure this little one, by the time it's born, has a palate well on it's way to being fully developed."
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Re: [Hopetoun] Feeding the masses

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Arlo

Overview

Thank you for the chance to review this thread. I appreciated the way this story was so well balanced between the cooking part of the story and the news part. His concern and love for Vega shone through so well in the way he supported, encouraged and even tried to protect her.

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XP: 15 (may not be used for magic)
Renown: 10 (people always like a cook)

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Caregiving: Not asking until they're ready to talk
Caregiving: Reassuring someone that, whatever happens, it'll be ok.
Cooking: Lamb stew for the masses
Fieldcraft: Settlement cooking setups
Fieldcraft: Working in a large camp
Fieldcraft: Using locally fished produce
FIeldcraft: Minimise the number of dishes used!
Fieldcraft: Feeding a crowd


Vega

Overview

I have read a number of Vega threads but it was nice to get the chance to read one between just her and Arlo. And such a one. I needed a tissue when I read her her first hesitant announcement. I appreciated the very real emotions shared and felt as the two talked about their great hope. Thank you for this thread.

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XP: 15 (may not be used for Magic
Renown: 5 (the cooks assistant is also appreciated)

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IC: No e

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None Requested



If you have any questions or concerns regarding this review - drop me a PM.
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