Closed [Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Aoren helps Orin learn about potions

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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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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Orin Fenix on July 17th, 2017, 2:50 am

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9th of Summer, 517AV


When Orin woke up that morning, he'd been incredibly pleased to discover that while there was still pain, he had a full range of motion in his wrist. His injuries from the Kuvan test were healing, slowly but surely. Still, he'd been instructed by his co-workers not to come back until he was fully healed and his ribs and wrist were still aching. His ribs in particular were a rather colorful spectrum of blue and black with some ugly red and yellow here and there to add variety. Still, Orin fancied that they were smaller than the day before, and might even hurt a little less. However, the chef remained careful as he dressed, not wanting to re-aggravate anything as that would severely slow down the recovery process. Still, having two hands felt so much better to the chef, and made his various morning tasks easier.

Orin’s destination was the Valkalah Library. He'd discovered how much he loved the place yesterday, and was eager to go back, especially because learning was one of the few activities the chef could do without risk of pain or further injury. Besides, Orin wasn't quite over the wonder of libraries. In fact, the chef was pretty certain that he'd never get over it. After spending most of his life in Syliras, where knowledge was hoarded by the Order and only doled out to its members, having access to a public library still felt like a privilege and a joy to Orin.

His trip yesterday, while certainly very interesting, hadn't exactly yielded the results that Orin had been looking for. In fact, his search for knowledge has been sidelined by an encounter with a man that Orin had incredibly mixed feelings about. So the chef was incredibly determined that today he would actually learn more about the art of philtering. It was a subject that fascinated Orin and not just because of its uses in the culinary world. It seemed like an excellent skill for a variety of different fields and while Orin had no intention of switching professions, he'd found over the years that more knowledge was never bad.

Luckily, the library was only a short walk from his apartments. Entering, Orin was struck again by the majesty of the place. Perhaps it was simply the sheer number of books, but Orin felt the building itself was actually incredibly beautiful. Its decorated wood, large windows, and, of course the rows up rows of books, combined with the scent of parchment and the incredibly quiet sounds of people studying all worked a sort of magic that made Orin feel tranquil inside. That was no mean feat, considering the amount of baggage the chef carried around on his soul. Today, though, Orin was determined not to let his melancholy take over as it so often did.

Approaching the desk, Orin smiled. “Hello Zandar! Hope all is well!” Orin also hoped it was Zandar. The chef was still getting used to the idea of each Akalak housing twin souls and until it was otherwise pointed out, Orin was just going to assume the light personality was in charge unless the Akalak told him differently.” I was just hoping you could point me in the direction of the philtering books?” While Orin had studied philtering before here, the books had already been out or had been brought to him, but Orin didn't want to unduly burden the helpful librarian.

Zandar looked a bit surprised to see Orin. “Orin! Long time no see.” They both grinned at that, as Orin had been there just yesterday, and it was a memorable visit at that. “And sure, it’s at the end of the row and around the corner. Let us know if you need anything else!” Apparently now that the secret was out, the two of them were an us now, which Orin didn't mind. The chef nodded in thanks and then set off in the direction that Zandar had indicated.

Not too long after that, Orin actually located the section he was looking for. Shocked at his success, he started scanning the titles. He didn't see the book he'd read yesterday, but he did spot something called ‘Philtering for Fun.’ Figuring that it was as good a place as any, Orin pulled it off the shelf and started scanning the introduction. ‘Philtering is a great way to supplement a variety of professions or to simply have fun! There are a variety of potions that you can make, ranging from the mundane to the magical. The beginner may not be able to do much but experts can create wondrous effects with a single drop. Whether you're hoping to create a sauce for a meal or channel the power of a God into a bottle, philtering can do it all!’ Orin frowned. This was not the first mention of philtering and magic that he'd come across in his studies, but this was the most explicit that philtering went a great deal beyond sauces and medicines. Already intrigued, Orin found himself fully engrossed by the book the more he read.
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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Aoren on July 17th, 2017, 11:56 pm

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Aoren stood quietly observing the façade of the Valkalah Library. It had been quite some time since he’d set eyes upon the building and the last time that he had been within its halls it had not ended altogether pleasantly. Absently he reached up to brush the tips of his fingers over his clavicle bones. The seething wrath of a very dark individual had seen one of them broken and he’d been left sprawled out upon the floor. Gingerly he rubbed at the back of his right hand where rest the Lily of his patron goddess. An unexpected glance into the past had brought about that encounter but he was made stronger for it. The warmth of the season was pleasant enough to him, the breeze of the sea helped to cool what could have otherwise been a hot day.

Leaning against a stone wall, Aoren reflected on what had brought him to the library that day. He was searching for a means of beginning his own life in the city of Riverfall. For several years he had been wandering from place to place. It had begun in Syliras, the city where he’d grown up but not where he’d been born. From Syliras he had traveled to Zeltiva and in time he had eventually come to Riverfall where some of the best things he’d ever known had happened to him. That chapter of his life had been placed on hold however when wanderlust had struck him and the intense curiosity that lead him down most paths in his life compelled him to explore the Drykas. It had been an eye opening experience. As traveled as Aoren was, he was not prepared to embrace the life of the Sea of Grass. It had been a harsh realization to come to. For so long he’d thought that was what he wanted, to be with and build a life among the people he’d never had the chance to know. When faced with the reality however, the fates had seen a different course set for him.

Aoren had fought against it. He’d been stubborn, bullheaded, far too prideful in the face of the truth that he simply didn’t belong but in time he’d accepted it. In the end he had walked away, with no true ties to anyone there and with nothing really waiting for him among the Drykas, he’d chosen to return to Riverfall when the opportunity arose. So there he stood; staring at the front of the library where perhaps rest the answers to his future. He simply needed to find them and if there was one thing that Aoren had learned over the years, the answers would only arise if he sought them tenaciously. Pushing himself up off the wall, he strode through the entrance with hands clasped lightly behind his back. Dressed simply in a pair of brown cotton pants and a worn leather vest with knee high boots, had it been any other city in the world, Aoren might have seemed out of place in the hall of knowledge. Standing tall with broad shoulders and the toned, muscular build of a disciplined fighter with a sprawling tattoo covering the right half of his torso at a glance it might have appeared that any written text was far beyond him.

“Good day to you, sir. Is there anything you need assistance with?” Bright blue eyes came to meet the librarian. Offering a smile and a nod in greeting, Aoren glanced around the library.

Thank you for the offer but I am just here to find a place to quiet my mind and focus.” An almost knowing smile touched the face of the librarian.

“That is understandable. May your search be a good one.” Giving a half-bow at the waist, Aoren proceeded to enter the library doing little more than perusing the spines of the books that he passed. His thoughts wandered toward the road ahead of him. There was unresolved business here in Riverfall, most of it of a more personal nature and he found himself hesitant to face those specters. In time he found himself in a section, judging by the content of the books that he picked up, was dedicated to more culinary endeavors and those matters that supported such things. Being nothing close to resembling a capable chef, Aoren thought that perhaps he could glean some insight into bettering his rudimentary kitchen skills.

Picking up a book dedicated to various herbs and spices that dotted the immediate area around Riverfall, Aoren contented himself with leaning against a wall and losing himself in what the book had to offer. He didn’t know how much time passed as he flipped through the pages when he was joined by another person. Looking up from his book, Aoren eyed the man for a moment before the tome in his hands caught his eye. Philtering was a subject that the Healer knew quite a bit about. He was by no means a master but for many years he had practiced the art of philtering under the tutelage of perhaps one of the finest teachers he’d ever known. The lessons of Safri Blackleaf stayed with him even to this day. A nostalgic smile touched his lips moving him to interject on the man’s thoughts.

It takes time but if you’re patient enough, you can learn a great deal from its practice.” He nodded to the book in the man’s hands.

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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Orin Fenix on July 18th, 2017, 3:17 am

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Usually, Orin wasn't quite so single-minded that he ignored his surroundings completely. However, the events of yesterday, which had involved much less actually studying and much more verbal sparring than Orin was used to, or comfortable with. So, since his visit to the library had been marred by the shadows of Orin’s encounter with Casanova, perhaps the chef had been a bit too focused on actually gleaning the knowledge he'd set out to find yesterday. Orin could be fairly persistent when he set his mind to a goal and exploring the library and its secrets as well as training himself in philtering were two new and exciting endeavors.

Regardless of the reason, somehow Orin had completely failed to notice that he wasn't alone in this hidden corner of the library. “Oh! I'm so sorry, I had no idea anyone else was out here.” The words were out of his mouth before Orin realized that there wasn't really anything to apologize for. It was a public library, after all, and Orin supposedly had as much a right to be here as anyone else. Of course, his slip in social skills might be due to his subconscious processing the sight of the man standing there before his conscious mind had time to register it. The other man was significantly taller, with a strong muscular build, short and sandy hair, and piercing blue eyes that reminded Orin achingly of Crest’s.

Here’s a man who could give the Akalaks a run for their money. The man was incredibly handsome -- beautiful really -- and Orin suddenly felt inadequate. His own spare frame hid a lean strength but it wasn't the same. The other man was dressed similarly to Orin, in brown pants, boots, and a leather vest, but Orin felt that his own drab brown shirt, pants and boots looked shabby next to this specimen. After all, where the other man filled out his clothes, Orin’s instead draped on him. Orin didn't even have the comforting presence of his blades on him, as he was still too injured to fight properly and he'd thoughtlessly left them behind. So, needless to say the chef was flustered, to be surprised this way. Orin got stressed in front of attractive people of any kind, and this man was no exception.

Still, whoever this was, he didn't seem mad at Orin. In fact, all that had happened was that he'd made a friendly remark. Focus. Orin could and would make it through this encounter without making even more of a fool of himself. Realizing that he had yet to respond to the other man, Orin tried to come up with something reasonable to reply with. “I have discovered a few uses, but I'm looking to find a few more. It's a pretty complicated subject,” Orin admitted. “I take it you know a thing or two about philtering?” It certainly sounded that way, but Orin didn't want to get his hopes up. He'd thought he'd discovered a philterer here yesterday, but it had turned out to be something and someone else entirely. So Orin would proceed more cautiously this time.

Noticing the other man was holding a book of his own, Orin peered at the title. It was only fair if the other man was going to snoop that Orin do so as well. Besides it was a nice, safe, and neutral topic of conversation. The chef was surprised to see that the other man was actually holding a book that pertained to cooking in some way, shape, or form. This is too good to be true. But as Orin glanced at the bookshelves around him, he could see that some, at least, were dedicated to the culinary arts. Now on much familiar ground, Orin double checked the title that the other man was reading to see what level of cooking he might be interested in. It didn't seem too advanced, so Orin returned his attention to the shelves. Eyes darting across their spines, Orin finally found a book that he'd heard Dolmar talking about.

Pulling it down from the shelves, Orin handed it over. It was titled ‘All Kinds of Cooking’ and according to Orin’s co-worker it covered, well, cooking of all kinds. “This might be a better read. I've never read it, myself, but supposedly it's great for beginning and intermediate cooks alike.” At that point, Orin remembered that this man had no idea who Orin was, and probably wouldn't take advice from a stranger. “Oh, right, I'm Orin Fenix. I work as a chef.” Grinning at the other man, Orin shrugged. “I guess that means I'm supposed to know what I'm talking about but seriously, I learned on the job, and mostly not from books so I'm probably just as clueless as you are. Not that you're, well, I don't know if you're clueless, I just...it's a figure of speech.” Orin shut his mouth, well aware that he had likely just failed in his goal of not looking foolish. He just had to hope that being helpful and friendly would overrule any social awkwardness on his part.
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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Aoren on July 18th, 2017, 10:28 pm

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Tugging at the strings of his djed, Aoren pushed it to the forefront of his vision aligning his inner sight with that of his actual sight. With but a blink of his eyes a spectrum of color came into view. Without much effort, Aoren extended his awareness to brush upon that of the man in front of him. Immediately he was left with the bitter and halting taste of stress, nervousness and the barest hint of what Aoren could only glean as some dissonant essence of sorrow. The fact that the man was uncomfortable became immediately evident beneath the lens of his Auristic aided senses. Aoren watched as a smattering of several negative emotions flittered across the man’s aura until finally everything seemed to reach some semblance of calm. Looking down at the book that was offered him, Aoren took it from the man’s hands and read over the title.

All Kinds of Cooking? Well, I hope it’s not too complicated.” Upon hearing that the man in front of him, Orin as he introduced himself, was a chef, Aoren’s face broke out into a smile. He gave a good hearted chuckle at Orin’s apparent stumbling over his sentences. Drawing upon a different form of his own djed, Aoren brought his gifts forward to line his vocal chords in an attempt to soothe a bit of the discomfort emanating from the man in front of him.

Oh, I’m quite clueless when it comes to working the kitchen. Luck seems to have smiled on me and lead me to a real cook it seems.” Aoren laced his words with the suggestions of peace, comfort and acceptance. Given his decided lack of skill in the art of hypnotism he was far more dependent upon his own natural charisma than the magic itself but it would perhaps help put Orin at ease. That done, he released his hold on both his hypnotic and auristic gifts.

To answer you, I know a thing or two about philtering. At least, I would hope so. I worked under the guidance of Mistress Safri Blackleaf of Syliras herself for a number of years.” Placing the book about spices and herbs back upon the shelf where he retrieved it from, Aoren opened the cover of the book he’d been given. As he perused it he glanced up at Orin after a few moments.

Do you think you would be able to help me?” Closing the book with a thud he held it close as he folded his arms loosely across his chest. “I have always been more of a hands-on person. I can only glean so much from a book. If you would be willing to give me a few lessons on how not to ruin food, I would be more than happy to offer you a few lessons on philtering in return.

It was worth a shot. Aoren wasn’t going to stare a gift-horse in the mouth. He had found himself in the library and had peered into the prospect of improving his own cooking ability. The appearance of a genuine chef had to be a sign from the gods that he needed help. Avalis above, he did not want to go through the experience of having to practically gnaw on his food in order to swallow it again. Extending a hand to the chef, Aoren gave him a smile.

You may call me, Aoren. Does that sound like a deal to you?

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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Orin Fenix on July 19th, 2017, 12:48 am

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The other man seemed to take Orin’s book suggestion under consideration. “It’s not,” Orin answered, although the other man hadn’t actually asked a question, exactly. “At least, I don’t think it is. Like I mentioned, never read it.” Orin mentally cursed, which only grew worse once his new acquaintance chuckled at Orin’s babble. He really was rusty when it came to his conversational skill. He was never smooth, not by any means, unless he was really making an effort, and today seemed to be one of his off days. His encounter here yesterday had thrown off his social perceptions, and Orin realized that he was probably overcompensating for what he thought of as a complete failure to read the situation. Just relax. Orin took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. He’d come a long way since his complete social incompetence and he shouldn’t let one person shatter his admittedly fragile confidence.

This man at least didn’t seem to hold Orin’s lack of proficiency with words against the chef. In fact, this stranger was acting kinder to Orin than anyone had been in a long while. Dolmar and Korana were nice enough, but Orin always felt excluded when he was with them, considering the special bond the two of them had, even if it wasn’t the romance Dolmar hoped for. Beyond that, Orin didn’t know anyone in the city well enough to consider them a friend. It was partially due to his inherent shyness and partially due to the depression that loomed like a cloud, which kept him in most days when he wasn’t actively working.

Still, it was too soon for Orin to actually trust the other man. Orin had been burned too many times in the past by people he trusted, and so he gave it seldomly these days. So despite wanting to hope for the best in this situation, Orin was, as always, prepared for the worst. However, the chef was feeling at least slightly calmer. “Well, I don’t know if it’s luck. Luck doesn’t seem to think all that highly of me.” These words Orin spoke with a wry tone, but that drifted too close to a personal history Orin didn’t wish to disclose. “I doubt you’re that bad and even if you are, everyone has to start somewhere! Everyone can learn to cook” It was true. Orin had trained people at all stages in their culinary career and even people who started out completely incompetent in the kitchen could eventually pick up rudimentary skills, if not actually become experts themselves.

At the mention of Orin’s home, the chef glanced at the other man sharply. “Did you say Syliras?” Orin asked suspiciously. He had a mixed relationship with his old home. On the one hand, he was grateful for the experiences he’d had. On the other hand, Orin hadn’t exactly had a happy childhood, and it was because people in Syliras often cared more about appearances than they did about kindness. It wasn’t a happy place, unless you were a member of the Order, which Orin hadn’t been. Still, this man was not to blame for Orin’s past, so the chef relented slightly. “I’ve never heard of her, to be honest. But are you from Syliras? I actually come from the Mithryn Outpost, originally.” The memories of that place came flashing back, and Orin carefully stamped them down, not wanting to get lost on a dark trip down that particular avenue of thought. The less he thought of his time before Riverfall, the better.

It always comes back to this. Apparently, Orin’s services were in quite high demand. “Again?” the chef asked, slightly incredulously even though he wasn’t all that surprised. “I’m sorry, it’s just, well, someone made the exact same offer yesterday.” That hadn’t turned out how Orin had expected, either, and so the chef was a bit wary of agreeing right off the bat. Besides, he wanted to confirm that it would be worth his time. After all, Orin had just arrived at the library, and he wasn’t going to leave without some assurance that he’d actually learn about philtering this time around. “I’m more than happy to share my knowledge, but…” Orin hesitated. “Well, in light of yesterday, I’d just like to confirm that we both can help each other.” The corner of his mouth quirked up. “After all, I’m sure you’d like some assurance that I know what I’m talking about.” Orin hoped that phrasing it that way would downplay the chef’s reluctance.

When the man finally introduced himself, Orin’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Well. That is...quite a coincidence, isn’t it? Us having the same names.” The chef couldn’t help but chuckle. “This could get confusing rather quickly, couldn’t it? Perhaps we should go by last names or nicknames or something?” Orin didn’t really have any nicknames, unfortunately, but he could always think of something. Tilting his head to the side, Orin smiled. “As I said, I’d like to just chat for a bit, first if it’s acceptable to you. It’ll help me assess your cooking skills, and presumably you’d like to asses my knowledge in philtering.” It was fairly limited, to be honest, and hopefully Aoren wouldn’t mind that. “If we’re both satisfied, we can relocate to the kitchen where I work. Do we still have a deal?” Orin held his breath, hoping that Aoren would accept.
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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Aoren on July 19th, 2017, 1:48 am

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There was no judgement in Aoren’s gaze as Orin explained himself. If anything, he could see that the man in front of him was weighed down by something. The subtle shift in his posture, the way his gaze didn’t linger in one place for very long. It was all telling of someone who had been through enough to make him nervous in the company of others. For a moment, Aoren felt compelled to reach out to the man and assure him that he was in pleasant company but he held his tongue. As much as it troubled him to see others suffering, there was something to be gained by being patient and letting the natural course of social interaction play out. Prying into a person’s deepest secrets immediately after meeting them didn’t tend to go well. Aoren would know, he’d suffered the fallout of such encounters numerous times.

You say that now. You’ve yet to try my road stew though…which is more some awful concoction of random things thrown into a pot than actually edible food.” He smiled, hoping his attempt at humor would further ease the mood. The reaction at speaking on Syliras however, had Aoren curious. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that the Jewel of Civilization wasn’t exactly a place that those who left it smiled upon fondly. Unless one was a member of the Knights of Sylir, it was more common to be relieved to be away from the city.

Aye. I grew up there. I don’t think I ever really made my way to the outpost however. Most of my life there was spent taking it day by day, a kid just trying to make it in the world. I left a few years back.” Quirking his head, curiosity took hold in Aoren. He peered through the veil of what was immediately in front of him and willed the shape and substance of Orin’s aura to come into view. Peppering the aura were a multitude of emotions that were easy to pick up on at a glance. The most pressing emotion however was hesitation. That was most certainly understandable. A chance meeting with a man in a library from a place that he’d obviously left for one reason or another, hesitation was natural. Aoren peered closer, sifting through what was drifting up to the surface, he watched the shape of Orin’s aura shift. The hollow echo of other emotions curled their way into his vision. The feel of them trickled through Aoren’s senses bringing what he could only surmise as feelings of regret and discomfort. Those emotions were brushed aside however at the surprise that sprinkled across Orin’s aura and face. Prompting the Healer to arch an eyebrow but he soon had an explanation.

Ah. Yes, of course. Proof of skill to know you’re not wasting your time.” Considering Orin’s hesitation, he could only assume that something irritating had happened the day prior. He could take a guess that it had been something of a case of being offered something from someone and that someone not being what they said they were. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to assume too much.

The vast majority of my experience with philtering has been to work as a Healer. Over the years that I worked with her, Mistress Blackleaf taught me how to create a number of tinctures, tonics, salves and mixtures meant to assist in the mending of ailments of all sorts.The memories of his first few seasons as her apprentice came back to him. The unfamiliarity of the equipment, the endless hours he’d spent pouring over the books that she’d had in her shop to help with recipes and mixtures. “I don’t have much experience working as a cook with it but the techniques and practices I imagine aren’t much different.

Shrugging his shoulders, Aoren began going through a mental checklist of the things he’d need in order to present a proper philtering lesson. Internally he sighed. The first thing he would need would be to secure a workspace with the equipment or he’d need to find some means of acquiring his own. That was going to be expensive and he was only just beginning to get situated in Riverfall again.

Before I left Syliras, I had just gotten a handle on how to infuse my philters with magic. It’s a much more delicate process that some of the more base methods and far more time consuming but it can yield very potent result.” Giving Orin a smile he adjusted his arms and made himself more comfortable as he leaned against the nearby wall. It wasn’t often that he got the chance to engage in a conversation about the practice of philtering. The focus that it took to produce an adequate one, while time consuming, was rather therapeutic in its single-mindedness.

If it helps, you can call me Sky.” His clan name was Skycrown. Aoren saw no harm in shortening it to provide the man in front of him with a nickname so as not to get confused.

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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Orin Fenix on July 19th, 2017, 12:39 pm

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Orin was starting to actually warm up to his conversation with Aoren. First, Aoren seemed kind, or at least polite enough not to ridicule Orin for the chef’s shortcomings. Beyond that, it was rare for the chef to meet someone who actually seemed to have great knowledge and passion of their chosen path. While Orin wasn't totally sure, it sounded as if Aoren was a healer that really cared about improving his skills. Finally, the man was trying to joke with Orin presumably to help put the chef at ease. Still, this road stew didn't sound all that terrible. “I don't know how bad that sounds. Believe me I've thrown all the leftovers into a pot at the end of the day to make a similar concoction. As long as you throw enough and the right kinds of seasoning you can make almost everything palatable.” That much was true although Orin imagined that without a strong knowledge of what spices went with what foods it might not turn out the way it did when the chef cooked it. Still, Aoren seemed genuinely interested in improvising his skills and Orin could appreciate that.

Talking about Syliras was always bound to make Orin feel bittersweet. On the one hand, people tended to love their home no matter what. On the other hand, his life there had been anything but positive. “Yeah. The fortress folk never really made it down. Or appreciated us. Never mind that they only survived because of us.” Orin realized that his words were bordering on true anger and he scaled it back. After all, it sounded as if Aoren was simply a child at the time. Can’t let it show, or alienate him. His emotions were all over the place, and frankly, they had been for a while. He tended to blame the severing of his bond, and that was a huge part of the current extremes Orin felt driven to. But the truth was the cracks in his psyche had appeared long before that. Or perhaps they'd always been there and he'd just been ignoring them before now. Distracting himself by talking f to Aoren seemed like the best of action, as it meant the chef wouldn't really need to think. “I know what it's like to grow up there without support.” Despite the supposed civilization there, not many people could afford or wanted to take a child that wasn't related to them. On that alone Orin felt a kinship with Aoren. “How many years is a few?” Orin hadn't been in the fortress city for a while either, and maybe they'd left at a similar time.

Aoren didn't seem to mind Orin’s request that they take some time to confirm each other’s credentials, which Orin was grateful for. Finally, someone reasonable. It was remarkable how many people in this city seemed irrational in some way or another. Orin included himself in that group, of course, but at least he was aware that he was troubled. “Thanks,” Orin responded, not that he needed to, but wanting to show his appreciation for Aoren’s calm and reasonable manner. Perhaps it was their shared Syliras upbringing.

Orin again hadn’t heard of this Mistress Blackleaf, which was surprising, as the chef thought he’d been fairly well versed in the various people who were in similar lines of work to his own. Still, Syliras was a big city, and it was entirely possible that Orin hadn’t ever had the opportunity to encounter this woman. “She seems to have been good at what she did,” the chef responded. “Was she primarily a healer, like yourself, or did she specialize in philtering?” Orin was still trying to place this random woman. “Anyway, it sounds like you have a solid foundation in the craft.” Finally, Orin might have actually stumbled onto a bit of luck. Fate hadn’t always been kind to him, and perhaps this was its way of throwing him a bone. At Aoren’s comment on the similarities between cooking and philtering, Orin broke into a broad smile. “That’s what I’ve always said! I mean, heating things up, or cooling them down, and mixing exact quantities together to produce the result you want? They’re definitely related fields, at the very least, and since I’m always looking to improve my craft, I figured branching out into philtering was a natural progression. I’m hoping it can help me get to the next level in my cooking, among other uses, of course.” Orin realized that he’d gotten excited, and stopped paying attention to the words coming out of his mouth. He clammed up, hoping that Aoren didn’t mind the occasional enthusiasm from a hopefully soon-to-be pupil.

Realizing that Aoren would probably want to hear Orin’s own history with cooking, the chef scrambled to come up with a coherent explanation. “Well, early on mostly I would sneak into various kitchens around the Outpost, mostly when I was supposed to be doing other work.” Something about the warmth of the kitchens and their promise of bringing people together in one of the fundamental acts of life had drawn the young Orin in. Priskil knew he didn’t get warmth anywhere else in his life. “Once I moved into Syliras proper I worked in The Rearing Stallion under Master Rondo Vustakoff. After I left Syliras, I eventually ended up here, in Riverfall. Currently I work at The Almond Blossom with Chef Dolmar.” There were a few intervening stops between Syliras and Riverfall but they weren’t important. Orin doubted that Aoren would actually have heard of any of these people, but hopefully it would establish Orin as legitimate. “I can cook, well, pretty much anything,” he admitted, although it made him sound boastful, which Orin wasn’t. He just loved what he did. “Was there anything in particular you were hoping to learn?”

At Aoren’s admission that the other man had begun to infuse his creations with magic, Orin’s eyes widened. He’d read that it was possible to do such a feat, yesterday in fact, but hadn’t really understood how it worked. “Magic?” the chef breathed, shocked at Aoren’s easy admission. The chef had a healthy respect – and a healthy fear – of mages. It was actually surprising, given the number of magic Orin had encountered over the years, that he didn’t know more about it. It had just never seemed to work out. Realizing that this could be an opportunity to learn about more than just philtering, if he played his cards right, Orin began carefully formatting his own questions to gather the most information without raising Aoren’s suspicions. It was innocent, but Orin had found that mages were often reluctant to discuss their work. “How does that process work, exactly? What kind of magic can you infuse?” Luckily, Orin was genuinely curious about those questions, and if it got Aoren to open up more about magic in general, so much the better.

“Sky. I can get behind that. I guess you can call me Fen?” Orin frowned. That wasn’t exactly the most flattering nickname. “Or Fenix, probably that’s better. After all, who would want to hang out with a Fen?” Orin hoped that a little humor might make Aoren –Sky, Orin reminded himself firmly – more endeared to the chef.
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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Aoren on July 20th, 2017, 2:33 am

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I believe it’s been…three years now?” Aoren had to think on how many years it had been since he had left the Fortress City of Peace. It seemed like a lifetime ago but the reality of it was that it truly hadn’t been all that long. He had done so much and experienced so much in that short span of time that it felt as though he were an entirely different person than when he’d set out from the Gates of Syliras with nothing but the possessions he could carry and a puppy in his arms. He quirked his head thinking on some the things that had transpired since that time. He didn’t have long to linger on those thoughts however.

She was the proprietor of Stormhold Salves. She specialized mostly in the making of the philters themselves. When it came to the more mystical creations she worked together with either myself or someone possessing the skills she needed to create the philter in question.” When Orin broke out into a grin and began speaking animatedly about the concept of mixing different substances to create layering effects, Aoren nodded in agreeance. He could remember hours of work put into creating just the right balance of ingredients to bring about his desired philter. He could only smile at Orin’s enthusiasm. It was refreshing in a way to find someone who was passionate about the idea of learning something new.

You can cook anything, eh?” Aoren arched an eyebrow giving the man in front of him a once-over from head to toe. He was vaguely reminded of the time when he’d embarked upon a rather disastrous errand where a wealthy resident of Syliras had wanted to introduce the guests of a party he’d been arranging to the taste of Yukmen meat. The effort to capture one hadn’t gone well. It was experience that, thankfully, Aoren didn’t have to recollect very often. “Well, Master Chef, if you will be so inclined I have always wanted to cook a proper wholesome meal that isn’t just a jumbling things thrown together. Teach me how to create an actual meal. Let’s start with breakfast, shall we? I’ve always liked breakfast.

Given that Aoren was an early riser on most day, he always looked forward to the first meal of the day. He did not eat in small quantities either. He was a big man and he tried to maintain as filling a diet as he could. He found himself thinking on a proper breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages and fruits that almost made his stomach rumble. He was drawn back to the conversation when he heard the subtle shift in Orin’s voice when the subject of magic was brought into play. Cobalt blue eyes zeroed in on Orin then. Drawing on his djed, Aoren examined the chef’s aura carefully. He sifted through the emotions that made themselves plainly evident at first. Aoren felt the flutter of wonder, the bitter tang of fear, and a mixing of other more subtle emotions that swirled together making it difficult to discern Orin’s motives without more serious concentration. For a long stretch of silence, Aoren simply examined the man before him. It was well known to the Healer that mages were not always smiled upon. Plenty of people were terrified of the feats that wizards could do, with good reason. It was a very valid fear considering that Aoren alone could hurl bolts of lightning with a flick of his wrist or with a single punch shatter bones with barely any effort.

Then there were the people who sought to manipulate mages. They were less commonly encountered but they still existed. While he had never been one to shy away from the subject of magic, Aoren was careful about revealing the full extent of just what he could do. There were choice few people who knew that and when he’d both shown and told them the things he could do, often their attitude changed. Where once there was openness and acceptance, interactions moving forward were often colored with a measure of fear.

Yes. Magic. Does that surprise you?” Aoren was well aware that he did not fit the typical image that most had when it came to a learned wizard. While he wasn’t the most educated scholar in the ways of the arcane, he had received a decent education on the subject and a decent education in general. Tall, muscular, tattooed with the markings of gods upon his body, most he encountered assumed he was either muscle for hire or a studious warrior in some regard. For the most part, he never tried to sway people from that perception.

If you’ve the skill, there is no known type of magic that cannot be infused into a philter. It’s simply a matter of figuring out how. You could bottle lightning, brew potions of healing or potions that give those who drink it visions of the past, or even glimpse into the folds of a person’s true nature and intentions.” While he hadn’t created all of the potions that he’d mentioned, it was certainly within his ability to do so. For some time, Aoren had been thinking on the different potions he could create he simply hadn’t found the time or the resources to do them. Slowly he was beginning to consider changing that.

I like Fen. He sounds like an okay guy.” Aoren smiled at Fen pointedly.

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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Orin Fenix on July 20th, 2017, 11:19 am

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If Aoren had left a full year before Orin had, then they hadn't overlapped at all, most likely. “I must've just missed you then. I moved from the Outpost about two and a half years ago now.” The circumstances of his move were simple enough; he’d finally been old enough and managed to save up enough money to feel that he could be self sufficient. So Orin had gotten out of Mithryn, which held nothing but the ghosts of his past, and gone to Syliras hoping that everything would change when he got to the fortress. While his life had certainly been different there, what Orin hadn't realized until much later was that he carried the wounds of his childhood on his soul, and those were the types of wounds that might never heal. “I left about two years ago. It feels like a lifetime.” Ever since Orin had severed his bond, time had seemed to crawl by, his days blurring together in an endless routine.

“Ah. Well, seeing as I was rarely sick or injured I guess it would make sense that I never interacted with her. But she certainly seems to have known what she was talking about and it sounds as if she taught you well.” Orin was willing to bet that Aoren was the real deal. The other man also seemed pleased with Orin’s enthusiasm, and not put off by it as more than a few others had been. Something about how deeply the chef cared about topics he was passionate about and how hard Orin threw himself at his work made other people uncomfortable. Maybe the intensity of it was what bothered them. Orin typically didn't try to befriend those individuals, since he was done with the days of modifying his behavior to make other people happy. It was too much of a mental strain.

At Aoren’s questioning of Orin’s skill, the chef raised his own eyebrow. “Yes, I can.” Orin considered for a moment, then decided his previous statement probably needed an amendment. “Well, just because I can cook it doesn't mean it'll be edible. I can't work miracles. If it's not something meant to be consumed by someone I'm not going to be able to turn it into something that can be eaten.” Grinning at Aoren, Orin continued in a slightly cocky, but clearly over the top tone of voice, hoping to get a laugh from the other man. “But other than that, yes, I can cook anything.” Orin wasn't superhuman, after all, but he could make pretty much any ingredient into a masterpiece. He didn't really like to talk about it all that much, since he worked for the craft, not for the prestige, but truth was he was probably the best cook in Riverfall. And he had been the best cook in the other cities he had visited as well.

“Starting at the top? Sounds like a plan.” Giving Aoren his own once-over, Orin ran through lists of possible breakfasts. The other man obviously did a lot of hard work, so Orin guessed that Aoren wouldn't be a dainty eater. So Orin would have to go for maximum impact with minimum effort, which was probably an omelette with a side of meat. “I'm assuming you need to consume quite a lot of food to maintain that frame. One breakfast of champions coming right up.” Orin wasn't jealous, but it was a simple fact that unlike the chef, who could probably survive simply off the small amounts he consumed in preparing his meals, Aoren needed much more food.

Clearly Orin’s attempt at subtly trying to pry more information about magic out of Aoren had failed. The chef wasn't exactly a sneaky person so perhaps his attempt had been doomed from the start. Orin considered his options moving forward. Aoren hadn't seemed to be shifty, or to hide anything from Orin and the chef’s instincts, which he tried not to rely on as they were notoriously flaky and had let him down in the past, were indicating that Aoren could be trusted and was a fairly direct person. So Orin decided to go with honesty. “Am I surprised? Yes. I think it's always surprising to meet people with extraordinary abilities. It's not like mages are a common occurrence.”

Orin narrowed his eyes at Aoren. “But I don't think that's what your wanted to ask me. I think you wanted to know ‘am I afraid?’” Orin paused here, hoping he hadn't overstepped any boundaries, before deciding just to forge ahead. “The answer to that is also yes, but frankly, I think you'd have to be an idiot to not be slightly afraid of mages. Even the best ones are vulnerable. And that's something that even mages, I think, should be afraid of.” That much was true, and Orin knew that even the most careful of individuals were liable to sucuumb to the lure of magic. “But I've found,” Orin added carefully, “That the best way to conquer fear is through knowledge. The more you know, the less likely you are to make a mistake.” Having gone through all the logical points he had about mages, Orin decided to add a more personal note. “However, some of my very good friends have been mages, usually the mage squires. So I'm not going to avoid someone simply because of their magic. I'm going to get to know them first, and keep an eye out for any signs of trouble, but that doesn't preclude me from befriending them.” Orin hoped he hadn't offended Aoren in any way, but if he had, so be it. It was how Orin felt and that's what was important.

As Aoren listed the variety of incredible effects that could be stored in a bottle for anyone to use, Orin felt his eyes widen. It was an incredible idea, to store lightning in a liquid, and Orin could imagine both good and terrible uses for such a skill to be put to. What Orin still didn't know, though, was how any of it work. “All that sounds amazing, it truly does, but, I guess my question is….how does it actually get put into the philter?” Maybe Orin had to be a mage himself to understand how it all worked, which would be a bummer, but one he could live with. Still, everyone kept saying it was possible and no one would explain the process, a turn of events that was maddeningly frustrating to the chef. At this rate, Orin would never unlock the deeper secrets of philtering.

Orin raised his hands in defeat. “Fine, fine, Fen it is, Sky.” Truth was, Orin didn't mind the nickname. It was certainly kinder than many of the names he'd been called over the years.
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[Valkalah Library] People Pondering Potions (Aoren)

Postby Aoren on July 20th, 2017, 11:16 pm

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The shortest road can sometimes end up being the longest journey.” Quirking his head, again he watched as the ripple of more troubling emotions drifted across the surface of Orin’s aura. There was a reason that the man had left Syliras and judging by what he was seeing, Aoren suspected it wasn’t a happy one. While his own reasons had been fueled by a need for self-discovery, a road he was still walking, it seemed that Orin had been pushed away from the Fortress City of Peace to some degree. Part of him wanted to bring up the subject further but seeing the shift in the chef’s aura told him that it was obviously a sensitive matter that troubled his thoughts and feelings. The conversation shifted back to cooking however at Orin’s inquiry about the amount of food the Drykas ate. Where thus far Orin had seen Aoren act with some confidence and composure, the Healer suddenly grew bashful. Reaching up he rubbed at the back of his head and gave a shy smile.

Well…I have a weakness for good food.” That brief moment past he cleared his throat. “Well, it sounds like I have found the perfect man to teach me how to navigate the kitchen. Gods know I need the help. And since I have been graced with the presence of a Master Chef who can cook anything, well, I would be a fool to pass up this opportunity.

The conversation grew a bit more serious as the subject of magic was brought up. Aoren patiently listened to what the chef had to say in regards to his impression of magic. The whole while, the Drykas was carefully observing the man’s aura. Auristics couldn’t impart upon Aoren any manner of mind reading but he was practiced enough to get a general idea of where a person’s thoughts were headed based on the things that flicked and flittered across the ripples in the world around them. However, what he might have gleaned he felt he already knew. With a blink of his eyes, Aoren dismissed his hold on the djed fueling his powers of Auristics and simply listened.

Your patience and openness is more of a balm than you perhaps know.” Nodding to Orin, the Seer considered the things that the man in front of him had said. Part of him suspected that the chef was at least in part intensely curious about magic itself. As they came to the actual process of how magic was infused into the philters, Aoren opened his mouth as if he were about to speak. He then considered everything that was involved.

I think, perhaps, it would be easier to show you. I don’t have the tools to do that here however. If you want, we could meet up again at the Almond Blossom. I could bring a few of my tools to show you a little bit of an idea of how the process works and I can also sample some of this glorious cooking of yours.” He gave Orin a wink. While he pondered what he would bring with him, it was immediately decided that he wouldn’t actually be bringing a philter with him. However, all he needed to get the basic concept across was a piece of parchment, some ink, and himself. The fundamentals of a sigil and a glyph formed in Aoren’s mind as he contemplated exactly what he would show the chef.

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