Closed [Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Jay helps out Orin in the kitchen

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Orin Fenix on September 10th, 2016, 8:06 pm

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8th Bell, 4th of Fall, 516AV


The summer heat was still lingering, and today the sky was overcast. The combination of heat, humidity, and likely rainfall made Orin drag his feet on his way to work. So he arrived at The Almond Blossom slightly later than he usually did. Which is why he was shocked to discover that he was the first one in the building. Sure, he’d been getting there relatively early in the day as was his custom, but even so, either Dolmar or Korana had always been there before. It wasn’t that they didn’t trust Orin to do his job. In fact, they seemed quite pleased with the human chef’s skills, and he’d been given more and more independent and important work. Still, The Almond Blossom was their labor of love and they were both slaves to the job.

Making his way to the back of the kitchen, he stopped by the area where Dolmar had his desk and makeshift office. It was here that the Akalak usually left notes and recipes for Orin to follow. On the top of the stack of papers was a letter, written in Dolmar’s distinct handwriting. Frowning, Orin picked it up and scanned it. Thankfully, the Akalak had remembered that Orin didn’t speak Tukant.

Orin,

Korana is feeling under the weather and I’ve decided to take care of her. I’ve left you your instructions for the day. I’ll be in later today, but you’ll need to handle the first rush of people.

Warmly,
Dolmar


Sighing, Orin set aside the note to start looking for the recipes Dolmar had no doubt left him. It didn’t surprise him in the slightest that Dolmar would drop everything for Korana. The Akalak was carrying a huge torch for the Konti proprietress. Everyone could see it, except for Korana. The whole city, Orin had gathered, was waiting for the day when Korana finally noticed Dolmar’s affections and either accepted or rejected the Akalak. For both their sakes, Orin hoped that Korana eventually returned Dolmar’s love. Not least of which was because it would make Orin’s life extremely difficult if his employers started to fight.

Mostly, though, Orin was a romantic and an optimist. While recently he’d been struggling with some pretty dark thoughts, at his core he tried to believe that everything would turn out just fine in the end. While he didn’t foresee a romance for himself in the future, he could appreciate it for others. Still, until that day Dolmar would just have to pine for Korana.

Pushing thoughts of his employers and their romantic prospects out of his mind for now, Orin finally located today’s set of recipes. Usually The Almond Blossom had a strict set of cuisine they were following and while it chafed Orin a bit not to be making his own menus, he also recognized that the tea house had a reputation to uphold. So he didn’t complain about his current situation. Besides, the kitchen was much better than anything Orin had ever been able to work with before, and he was getting a lot of valuable experience with fine dining.

Scanning the recipes, Orin was pleased to see they didn’t look all too difficult. Although the food they used was fresh and of they prepared it exquisitely, that didn’t always mean that the offerings were necessarily all that complicated. In fact, The Almond Blossom prided itself on making the simplest of dishes to perfection, turning them into something beyond mere food.

Deciding to get started on the fritters first, Orin pulled out flour and oil from the pantry and put them on one of the many generous counters scattered throughout the kitchen. Heading back to the pantry, Orin grabbed the yeast, and placed it by the flour and oil. Next, he went over to the many bunches of herbs hanging by one of the windows. He grabbed some marjoram and savory. After that, he went to the window ledge, where they kept most of their live herbs. Looking at the parsley plant, Orin started to pinch off some of the leaves that had three portions, leaving the still forming leaves untouched. While he was there, he also took up the nearby knife and cut a few of the chive leaves as well.

Herbs gathered and placed by the flour and oil, Orin moved to fill a pan with water from the water barrel in the corner. The Almond Blossom had several rain barrels that they rotated through, since the kitchen required quite a bit of water for cooking and cleaning. Dolmar mostly handled that, since the Akalak was stronger than Orin, who didn't even know if he could lift one of the full barrels. Lighting the stove, Orin placed the pan of water on it, but took it off after only about half a chime. He just wanted to water to be slightly hotter than it usually was.

All that done, Orin first poured some of the water into a small bowl, then carefully measured out some of the yeast then dumped it into the water. Taking up a knife, he chopped up the herbs finely. After, in a larger mixing bowl, he mixed them all together along with the flour, before dumping in the water and yeast mixture and stirred it all together.. The consistency wasn't thick enough, yet, so Orin poured water in, until his instincts told him to stop. Picking his mixing spoon back up, Orin beat the mixture until it had reached the batter-like texture he'd be going for. Taking a cloth, Orin covered the bowl, then took it over to a sunlit corner to rise.

Orin was just about to go and grab the remaining ingredients for that dish as well as the ingredients for the next one when a sound from the backdoor startled him. Shoulders stiffening, he turned around, not sure if Dolmar or Korana was there or if someone else had entered. “Hello?” he called out, tentatively.
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Last edited by Orin Fenix on July 8th, 2017, 11:48 am, edited 5 times in total.
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Jay Darkcrest on September 11th, 2016, 2:01 pm

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As a Kelvic and a fairly young one, Jay tended to get up with the sun and keep moving until he was half asleep. The city was a different place on early mornings, the streets emptier, less noise and fewer exotic scents. The amount of sensations he picked up was manageable instead of overwhelming. True, Jay had learned to cope, but that didn’t mean he liked it. Sometimes he got away, to the beach, even to the Sea of Grass (the vicinity seemed fairly safe), but the thing was, he needed the city. He needed some sort of regular income.

So he was poking around inns and restaurants. The Kulkukan, biggest and most popular, he’d already investigated. However, Riverfall was a huge cultural hub and Jay didn’t want to decide before seeing everything it had to offer. So explore he did, avoiding crowds whenever possible.

That morning, he was dressed in his usual tunic and tattered pants, barefoot with hardened soles, reddish brown locks barely combed and single gold ring in his ear. As he walked towards the bridge that connected the south and north side across the Bluevein, he put a hand in his pocket and produced a red apple he’d nicked the evening before. He had a feeling he wasn’t getting enough meat, he wanted to go hunting, but the wilderness was unfamiliar and thus dangerous. Fish, aye, he should catch one or two in the bay soon. They could have another campfire on the beach.

After the bridge he simply followed the street and wandered around Knirin Gardens for a bit, following different scents just for the sake of it. Mice, squirrels, possibly an owl. Soon he came to the back of a house with a cozy look, wedged between bigger buildings. Faint clattering could be heard out the back windows, someone already at work. Jay inched closer and tried to peer inside. He’d finished the apple ages ago and wouldn’t mind more food. His nose detected several herbs growing in pots on the windowsill. The place smelled like a kitchen, big one too.

Jay jumped when a male voice called out. He’d been eyeing the garbage sacks lying in a corner (leftover food?) and suddenly felt guilty. What to say? He hadn’t done anything wrong, had he? Maybe he should apologize (Karin would), but what for? So he simply stood there, head between shoulders, until the door opened.

Then he talked, nervously. “Oh, ah, I was just on a morning stroll, you know, and smelled the herbs… I was curious, so I looked a little… Is this a tavern? With food? Lots of them around here, no?” Shrugging, he put on his best I’m totally harmless smile. It seemed to work with girls at least. Since he was talking to a guy, he should probably add more though. “I used to work at a bar. Drinks and snacks and all that.”
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Orin Fenix on September 11th, 2016, 9:59 pm

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Orin’s instincts were screaming at him that someone was nearby. Even though no one was obviously lurking around, he couldn’t shake the feeling. Maybe someone had made a sound outside that his subconscious was reacting to. So while it seemed a bit silly at the time, he decided to investigate. Making his way to the backdoor, he opened it and peered outside.

Sure enough, his caution was rewarded when he discovered someone lurking in the back of The Almond Blossom. The man froze, looking shockingly guilty as he did so. It gave Orin a chance to examine him without shame. Normally, the chef would be embarrassed to be caught in such an open regard of another person, but this time the individual clearly merited a closer look. The man seemed of average height and was dressed in a tunic and trousers that had seen better days. Slightly unusually, he was barefoot, but it was only a small detail. His body was built along lean lines as opposed to bulk, similar to Orin. The other man’s face continued the trend, with a long face that contained dark eyes and was topped by rust-colored hair streaked by the sun, cropped relatively short. The man was slightly tanned, speaking to a lifestyle spent at least partially outdoors. Nothing about him was all that remarkable.

Orin frowned and glanced around the alley. All that was there was the minimal amount of waste that The Almond Blossom produced. The establishment prided itself on its ability to use almost every part of the ingredient, and therefore they had only a minimal amount of trash. Therefore, Orin couldn’t imagine what someone was hoping to find out there.

The other man started speaking, and Orin focused his full attention on the stranger. The stranger, for his part, tried to exercise a winning smile on Orin. Unfortunately for the other man, it didn’t do anything to alleviate Orin’s suspicions. Still, there was no reason not to answer questions. “This is The Almond Blossom. It’s a teahouse and eatery.” Narrowing his eyes at the stranger, Orin continued, “And yes, there are quite a few similar establishments around.” Letting just a hint of pride of enter his voice, Orin added, “But The Almond Blossom caters to a fairly upscale clientele.” Still, the man hadn’t actually done anything wrong, and Orin wasn’t a smug person at all. So the cook felt a little bad at his treatment of the stranger.

He felt especially bad when the other man mentioned that he worked at bars. Softening his demeanor a bit, Orin stepped towards the other man so that he wasn’t awkwardly blocking the door to kitchen. “I started out working in a kitchen myself,” Orin admitted. “Only been working at this fancy place recently.” Indeed, The Almond Blossom was a far cry from The Rearing Stallion. Still, Orin would be forever indebted to Remi and even Rondo, for giving him a place to both hone his skills and turn into a home.

Remembering how lost he had felt when he was first starting out, Orin felt a hint of sympathy enter his voice. “Are you new in the city?” Perhaps the other man had been looking for work, which would explain the lurking behavior. Orin also hadn’t missed how the stranger had used the past tense to refer to his employment. “My name is Orin Fenix, and I’m one of the chefs here.” Thinking about it, Orin might actually have been sent a divine gift in the form of this stranger. With Dolmar and Korana out, he’d have been hard pressed to keep up with his tasks. With some help, though, he might be able to get it all done without killing himself. ’Thank you, Priskil, he prayed quickly. In Orin’s mind, it never hurt to thank the gods, just in case.

Nodding decisively, Orin gestured at the door to the kitchen. “Tell you what. I find myself in need of some assistance. If it’s not too much trouble, perhaps you’d be able to lend me a hand?” Honestly, if the other man had even a modicum of skill around food and serving, he’d be invaluable to Orin.
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Jay Darkcrest on September 17th, 2016, 8:03 pm

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Jay blinked. Teahouse sounded like old ladies coming together for snacks and gossip, the man clearly didn’t fit that picture. Then again, he might be cooking for or serving the old ladies. Jay could imagine that employing young men would be hugely popular. But the women he’d seen around had all been fairly young, so perhaps it was a different kind of teahouse after all.

The man talked about the Almond Blossom with pride (and used several words Jay didn’t understand). Soon he took a step out the door, however, and Jay mirrored him by stepping away from the trash corner. He sensed how the other man relaxed with every spoken word. Apparently he’d done nothing wrong, just appeared unexpectedly.

“So you’re a cook? That’s great. Very useful.” For humans, he thought. Wait, Karin was human. If he asked, would the man teach him about cooking? His dark eyes adopted a subtle shine as gears churned in his mind. Surely Karin would like it if he cooked fish like humans did? Campfires on the beach were nice, but that was just fire, after all. No spices. Jay couldn’t help but grin a little, pushing a hand through his hair to hide growing excitement.

Right, introductions. Step forward, offer hand for shaking. “Hey, I’m Jay Darkcrest. Came here with the Mischief last season. My companion wants to stay a while, so I think, why not?” Still excited, he forgot to watch his Common and his choppy Fratava accent became more pronounced. For once, Jay didn’t care much though.

Then his features brightened further, he could hardly believe his ears. Thank you, Zulrav, by wind and water! A perfect opportunity like that just had to be orchestrated by the Gods. Of course it didn’t mean he was hired, not technically, but Jay was optimistic. He shot Orin a genuine smile. “Really? I mean, I prepared simple meals before, salad and such, but that kitchen was tiny. Just a pantry. I’m not a cook… but I can chop and peel stuff. If you show me what to do, I’ll help, sure!”
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Orin Fenix on September 19th, 2016, 12:52 am

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The other man didn’t respond for a while, although Orin didn’t miss that the stranger mirrored his own movements. Still the man hadn’t run off or attacked or done anything untoward, and Orin knew what it was like to feel awkward in social situations. So he didn’t push for a conversation, simply chattered on about The Almond Blossom and its accomplishments. While the cook did want to know why the other man had apparently been rifling through their trash, Orin wasn’t going to force the issue.

When the stranger finally did reply, it was more to clarify what Orin was talking about. The chef narrowed his eyes slightly, trying to detect a hint of sarcasm in the stranger’s words, but answered easily enough. “I’m a cook. And yes, I think it’s very useful.” Letting a bit of the glee he still felt at being able to do a job he was passionate about slip out, Orin grinned. “And it’s fun too. Wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Finally, Orin received an introduction. Taking the other man’s hand in a firm grip, Orin responded, “Pleased to meet you Jay.” Jay’s words contained a bit of an accent but Orin wasn’t able to place it. The cook was still learning about the various other languages that existed in Riverfall. Although the accent was coming out, the words Jay was speaking were intelligible.

Their meaning, however, was lost on Orin. “What mischief? There was mischief in the city this Summer?” Scratching his head, Orin grinned at Jay. “I mean, there’s probably always mischief of some kind in a city.” However, if there had been disturbances, Orin had missed all of it. Going back over what Jay had mentioned, Orin asked, “Also, who is your companion?” It sounded like both Jay and his friend were in Riverfall for more than a brief stay.

If this business with Jay worked out, perhaps the other man would be willing to introduce Orin to this companion. Frankly, Orin just wanted to know more people in his new home. He was still lonely, and had trouble navigating the culture of the Akalaks. So Orin was actively on the lookout for new friendships. It had never really been easy for the cook to open up to people and he thought that they sensed that reluctance. Orin had been working on that particular problem but it was a slow process.
At the news that Jay had at least some culinary experience, though, Orin’s attention snapped to the other man. “You’ve worked in a kitchen before?” Giving the man a once over, Orin smiled. “Well, then, if you wouldn’t mind, perhaps you’d like to give me a hand over here.” Gesturing at the kitchen, Orin sighed. “The owner of this place, Korana Livantar, is sick and the head chef, Dolmar, decided to take care of her. Without telling me.” Running a hand through his hair, Orin quirked one corner of his mouth in a half smile. “Just my luck.” Although the situation in Riverfall was much better than in Syliras, in terms of Orin’s co-workers, he still seemed to end up in far too many unfortunate places in his work places.

“Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that, if you’re willing to help, I’d love to have you.” Chuckling, Orin admitted to Jay, “Let’s be honest, you can never have too many hands in a kitchen.” Pulling open the door, Orin finally asked, “So, are you in?” He bit his lip as he awaited Jay’s response.
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Jay Darkcrest on September 25th, 2016, 2:21 pm

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Of course, Jay understood that humans preferred their food cooked. He’d grown up among them, after all, had learned how every ship had a cook or reasonably skilled substitute on board, had tasted different meals and knew the magic of roasting fish over a campfire. It was fun, how herbs and spices could turn a simple meal into something else. Before speaking to Orin, however, he’d never noticed that people could be passionate about cooking. As the other man expressed his love for the occupation, Jay was reminded of his own love for open spaces and the sea.

The firm grip impressed him too. As a Kelvic, he tended to work well with people who knew what they wanted, he followed instructions happily and often without thinking. Now he laughed at Orin’s confusion. “No no, it’s a ship! The name, it’s called the Mischief. From Alvadas, you know. And my companion is Karin Ironyach, a Svefra. I met her in Alvadas, but I guess both of us were curious about that ship. It looks different every day. They say it’s blessed by the God of Illusions.”

Jay shrugged, he didn’t know much of gods other than Zulrav or Laviku. Similarly, he wasn’t one to look out for hidden messages in conversations. If Orin hinted at something without saying it out loud, it was likely lost on the Kelvic.

Kitchen? Well. He hoped the cook didn’t have high expectations. “Like I said, it was tiny and really simple. Three meals.” Orin seemed quite excited about a helping hand, Jay didn’t want to disappoint him after getting his hopes up. So he accepted the invitation and stepped into the kitchen, looking around curiously. First thought: it was big, a real workplace. He’d manage though, like he always managed to adjust. “If your boss is absent without telling you, it seems fair that you hire me for today without telling him. So aye, I’m in. What do we do first?”

Rubbing his hands, he turned back to Orin. Such a large space with its shiny tables, herbs on the windowsills and utensils neatly stored away, he already liked the kitchen. To the cook it might be work, but Jay intended to have fun too. And why shouldn’t he, with a new friend, trying out new things? It was intriguing, to say the least.
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Orin Fenix on July 8th, 2017, 12:18 pm

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Orin felt fairly embarrassed. Of course it made much more sense that the Mischief was a ship. They often had very unusual names, chosen at the owner’s whimsy. So it was a fairly obvious guess that when Jay said that he and his companion had arrived in on the mischief, that it was a ship. Jay didn’t seem to mind the mix-up all that much, at least, so there was that. Orin could get flustered rather easily when folks decided to tease or make fun of him for his limited understanding or his tendency to speak the first thought to come to his mind. Thankfully, Jay didn’t seem to be one of those cruel people. Orin felt himself warming to the man. “I don’t think I’ve met Karin, although that makes sense. It’s a big city,” Orin commented idly, trying to figure out something Jay had said that was puzzling him. “The God of Illusions, huh? That’s a new one. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.” Orin didn’t really understand how a ship could look different every day. Surely that became disorienting for the poor crew forced to sail her.

Still, now that he had Jay to use as an asset, Orin sprang into motion. “Why don’t you start by washing your hands?” While it was typically surprisingly to people, Orin, and most cooks he knew of, was a stickler for cleanliness in their kitchens. Moving into the backroom, Orin picked up a few onions, and brought them over to the chopping block next to the sink. “When you’re done washing your hands – and use soap, mind you – you should wash and peel these, then we can both chop them up.” Pulling out a bucket that was under a nearby table, Orin pointed at it. “Use these to dispose of any food waste.” Jay safely disposed of for now, Orin went on to start preparations for his next dish.

One of their fisherman suppliers had brought in a freshly caught batch of haddock, already cleaned and gutted. The main dish today was the fish, covered in a sweet and sour onion sauce. First, Orin sliced fillet cuts from several of the fish, making sure to cut parallel to the spine. That done, Orin filled a baking pan with the fillets, after which he covered them with water until the tops were poking out but a majority of the fillets were underneath the surface. Thankfully, Dolmar must’ve lit the oven when he was here to leave the note, as Orin discovered when he went to check on it. Placing cloths around his hand, Orin opened the oven, allowing a blast of warmer air to wash over him, before sliding the baking pan with the fish inside. Realizing that he should probably be informing Jay what was going on, Orin called out to the other man, “So you see, I’ve just cut fillets of the fish out, er, I mean, fish meat cut parallel to the spine,” having forgotten that many people didn’t know where fillets actually came from, “then covered it in water. Now I’m setting it to bake. While that’s done, I’m going to check on the fritter I made earlier.”

Moving to his covered bowl, Orin was pleased to see that it was almost double the size of when he left it. Bringing the bowl over to Jay, Orin set it down. “So, this ah, is a little well, test that you can use to see if your dough is fully risen.” The chef was stammering more than usual. While he wasn’t a bad teacher, per se, he wasn’t exactly a confident one either, and even though he knew that, he couldn’t always control his nerves. Orin poked two fingers into the dough, then, when he removed them, the indents they left behind didn’t refill. “See? That, the dough staying like that, I mean, is a sign it has finished rising.” Realizing Jay hadn’t been here when the cook had prepared the fritter, Orin added, “Oh, this is a very simple recipe. Just take whatever herbs you have on hand, mix them together with flour, water and yeast until they are a thick batter, and set aside to rise. Once it’s done rising, which is about three-quarters of a bell, fry them in oil, which is what I’m about to do.

Now that his fritter dough was done, Orin brought it over to the stove. He could kill two birds with one stone here. Walking back over to Jay, Orin picked up an onion, began peeling it himself in quick, efficient motions, and then mincing it finally, his blade almost a blur. Scraping the onion bits into a medium sized mixing bowl, Orin took several trips to their stocks and got out the sugar, red wine vinegar, mace, clove powder, and black pepper. First, Orin added the sugar and vinegar, keeping a strict ratio of one part sugar to three parts vinegar. “Alright, as you can see, I’ve just finished making the sauce, and vinegar and sugar mix, with onions, and will now start it cooking.” After that, Orin mixed in the spices. All of this went into a pot, which in turn went onto a stove. Waiting for a bit, Orin saw that the liquid had come to a boil, and moved it to a slightly cooler spot on the stove, brining it down to a simmer.

Taking a pan, Orin coated it liberally with olive oil and placed it on the stove. Taking a spoon, Orin starting scooping out batches of his fritter dough and putting them into the pan. Once they were all inside, Orin made sure to turn them periodically, until their outsides were a fine golden brown. Taking the pan off the stove, Orin scraped the fritter onto a plate. Setting the pan aside for now, Orin rewrapped his hands in cloth, then opened the oven and pulled out the baked fish.

Setting the baking pan down next to the stove, Orin recoated the frying pan with oil, and then transferred the fillets into the already heated pan. He only kept them in for a few chimes, flipping them, until the outsides of the fish were crispy. Placing the fried fish on a different plate, Orin straightened up. He could hear the sounds of customers in the front room, and the first orders had already come in while Orin had been preoccupied. The sauce was almost ready. Orin turned to go back in the pantry, and spotted Jay, who had been abandoned. “Oh. Ah. Sorry. I got caught up. When the sauce is finished, we will pour it over the fish. In the meantime, why don’t you help me mix a salad? You said you could do that. Then we’ll start putting everything on plate.” Regardless, Orin didn’t have time to supervise the other man, and disappeared into the back room. Despite being the only chef there today, Orin couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. He’d thought he’d managed to handle himself well enough.
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[Almond Blossom] Cooking with a Kelvic (Jay)

Postby Shaqira on July 12th, 2017, 9:07 am

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G R A D E



O R I N

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xp

Cooking +1
Detection +1
Investigation +1
Interrogation +1
Leadership +1
Butchering +1
Teaching +1
Rhetoric +1


lores

Dolmar: Pines for Korana
Master Chef: Cooking by instinct!
Cooking: Recipe for fritters
Jay Darkcrest: Used to work in a bar
Jay Darkcrest: Kind-hearted foreigner
Karin Ironyach: Companion of Jay Darkcrest
Interrogation: Picking out the subtle leads to follow
Mischief: A ship from Alvadas blessed by the god of illusions
Mischief: Looks different everyday due to divine blessing
Leadership: Delegating simple tasks
Butchering: Cutting fish fillets by slicing parallel to the spine
Teaching: Explaining as you go
Cooking: Poke indents into dough to check if it has risen fully


notes

Whew, I love watching Orin in action when he gets into the full swing of a dish, it's quite captivating. Yay for Master Chef, well done!



J A Y

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If you return to Mizahar and deduct living expenses for Fall 516AV, feel free to PM me or re-submit this thread to the grade queue for your grades!



  
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