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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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not at all open.

Postby Caelum on July 21st, 2017, 12:41 am


As in nature, all is ebb and tide, all is wave motion,
so it seems that in all branches of industry,
alternating currents - electric wave motion - will have the sway.
- Nikola Tesla.





Timestamp: 71 Summer 517 AV


Alements was not open.

Caelum repeated that to himself all morning. It was still closed. It was not open. Yes, he was opening it. But it was not open yet. He had work to do first. He had to clean up the gathered dust and shake down the old cobwebs and shine every single hand crafted glass until it shone in Syna's light from the stained glass windows. It had to be perfect. It had to glow.

Therefore, Alements was not open.

Only there was wine. And his wine did not go bad. It only improved with age, as immortal as the proprietor who had not aged a day since he had said his farewells to Riverfall over two years gone. Honestly, he had not aged since he had first stumbled into the Akalak's city some seven years ago; and the gods seemed to love him for it.

If Alements was open, then Caelum would have to worry about whether or not any of his old patrons still loved him. He would have to fret over business and patients versus patrons and trying to split his time. He needed to make sure his daughter settled in first, and that Elise had had a chance to rest up from the journey. He needed to sweep out the dry goods storage and listen to the siren call of the saltwater tide and check the docks for cracks and call upon Kavala and sleep for a week and order fresh supplies and reintroduce himself as a returned citizen and.. and.. and breathe.

It was in that vein that the ethaefal sat on the edge of his dock, legs dangling down and trousers rolled up. His shoes were missing and his shirt was untucked. Summer had stunned his hair back to raivel leaf gold and his horns could have been crafted from emerald and ivory. It was a brilliant season, for him, and that had nothing to do with why his mouth was in a worried frown and why, despite the long, long, long list of Things To Do, he was fishing.

From inside the (definitely not open) tavern, the sound of pots being angrily banged about and running water echoed.
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not at all open.

Postby Orin Fenix on July 21st, 2017, 2:57 am

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A whisper was making its way through the bars and restaurants in Riverfall: ‘Alements is reopening.’ Orin didn't know who started it or how it was spreading but it certainly seemed that any establishment remotely related to food or entertainment was buzzing with the news. The culinary world had its ways of passing information. An unfair person would call it spying, and Orin supposed that technically it was, but that wasn't exactly right. Instead, it simply made sense for businesses in similar or related lines of work to keep tabs on anyone who could be a competitor or an ally, depending on the situation. In fact, just yesterday Orin had been summoned to help out on Laviku’s Secret through the network of interrelated owners who frequently exchanged information pertinent to them all.

So when Orin overheard Korana and Dolnar discussing it, the human was reasonably certain the rumor was true. Orin felt something stir in his chest. He remembered Caelum, the proprietor of Alements from long ago, when Orin had been lost and afraid, cast adrift, and way from his home for the first time. Their interaction had been brief and Orin seriously doubted Caelum remembered him, but the chef felt he owed a debt. Perhaps now would be a good time to repay it. “Uh, excuse me. But, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to bring Caelum a little treat, a sort of welcome home and congratulations on reopening.”

Korana and Dolmar looked at east other before she grinned. “I think that's a great idea. I know many friends Caelum has helped over the years.” The blonde-haired owner of the Almond Blossom smiled, in a way that was slightly predatory. “And you can find out if this rumor is true and whether Alements has any plans to expand while you're at it. Why don't you go whip something up?”

Orin had signed internally at Korana’s mission, but at least she's given the chef permission to use The Almond Blossom’s supplies. He knew she meant well and it wasn't as if Orin wouldn't be asking the questions anyway, but it did bother him slightly that his goodwill mission now had an ulterior motive. Still it was only natural for Korana to be worried about The Almond Blossom losing some customers although Alements and the tea house did not typically attract the same patrons, from what Orin understood.

Still, he set to work. Gathering together the ingredients, Orin had first made a dough out of eggs, flour, water, and butter. He rolled that into a crust, then mixed a sweet cheese and the remaining eggs. When that was sufficiently beaten, Orin added more butter as well as milk, all of which went into a tin that contained a crust. The other crust went on top and Orin slid it into the oven. During the bell it took to bake, Orin busied himself with other tasks, mainky helping Dolmar with the inventory. Still, it was eventually finished and Orin slid the cheesecake onto a plate, which went into a basket. Orin covered the basket with a cloth to keep the cake fresh, put a few forks and knives in the folds of the cloth, then set off on the long walk.

Finally, Orin arrived at Alements. There were sounds coming from within and Orin was pleased to see that the rumor mill was true. Entering into the tavern proper, the chef took a moment to let his eyes adjust. It was dark in there, but what Orin could see didn't fill him with confidence. Dressed in his own white shirt, black pants, and black shoes Orin looked oddly formal for the slightly dirty and dingy looking bar, which was nothing like what Orin remembered, although his blades strapped to either hip wouldn’t look out of place in any tavern, no matter how classy. They’ve got a lot of work to do. Following the sounds of cleaning, Orin eventually emerged into the kitchen where the chef found a woman working. “Ah, excuse me I'm looking for Caelum.”

The woman glanced up, clearly peeved at the interruption. “Boss is out on the dock, leaving me with all the hard work. Surprised you didn't see him on the way in. Go out and around until you find the water.” With that she resumed scrubbing the pot with more vigor than Orin thought was necessary.

The chef, though, wisely stayed silent about this fact, saying only a simply “Thank you,” before departing. Following the woman’s directions Orin quickly found the dock and Caelum with it. The Ethaefal looked much the same as Orin remembered although the race was so incredible looking it was hard to tell. What was strange though, apart from Caelum’s unkempt appearance was that the other man appeared to be fishing.

Orin slowed, frowning. If the chef was having a grand reopening he thought he would spend a little more time making sure the job was getting done. Still, fishing could be relaxing, as Orin knew and maybe Caelum was on a break. The chef approached the dock but didn't walk on it quite yet, not wanting to intrude. Cleansing his threat, Orin tried to come up with something appropriate. “Um...hello? Caelum.” Sounding uncertain already, Orin cursed his shyness. “I don't know if you remember me, at all, but my name is Orin Fenix. I stopped here and found your place a long time ago and you provided me with a bit of comfort. I was hoping that I could repay you, well not in kind, but at least with something.” Orin hoped it was the thought that counted in this because he was certainly botching the explanation. “Anyway, I brought you a cheesecake. Well, actually it's from all of us over at The Almond Blossom because we wanted to thank you for all your kindness over the years.” Orin ventured a smile. “You know sweet for the sweet?” It was corny but this was the sort of situation that called for it.

Orin held out the basket, waiting for Caelum to take it. As he did the chef glanced back at the building. “I couldn't ah, I couldn't help but notice that you, well, have a bit of work left to do.” Orin bit his lip but still decided to ask the question burning in his mind. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
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not at all open.

Postby Caelum on July 23rd, 2017, 9:12 pm

Desire left footprints on Caelum's soul in it's approach. Orin Fenix did not have any especially pressing needs and requirements, but he was a person and therefore the healer felt him coming. The fishing pole was reeled in, hook empty, and sat down on the stone floor of the dock as he climbed to his feet to turn to greet the newcomer. Caelum already knew that it was not someone he knew well because the map of their needs, while as deeply personal as the next person's, failed to immediately trigger recognition.

"Orin." The ethaefal blinked sun-struck eyes. A hand rose, shoving back through summer pale hair as he rolled forward on an easy stride, crooked smile already rising. "Hey. I remember. How have you been?"

The basket was considered with clear surprise as he listened to the chef's explanation. Accepting it, Calum promptly peeled back the cloth covering to poke his nose inside and see what he had been brought. Curiosity and pleasure all but emanated from him. Gifts were incredibly rare. So rare, in fact, that Caelum could name each one he had received in fourteen years on Mizahar, who they had come from, when, why, and how. They were treasured.

By the time Orin finished, Caelum was grinning. It was disconcertingly brilliant. This was his season and the sun his lover. "Holy crap. You brought me a cheesecake. Lillis is going to flip out. It's her favorite treat. I hope you're prepared to be best friends with a six year old. C'mon. Fish aren't biting."

He jerked his chin toward the taven door in invitation and led the way, backing into the door to allow Orin to proceed him within.

"Thank you. And send my thanks to Korana and Doimar too, please. I don't know how helpful I've ever been --" A soundless chuckle echoed through his shoulders as he slid the basket onto the bar and ducked down to dig through the row of freshly washed eating utensils left out to dry. "But I won't turn down your offer of assistance. Elise is going to mount my horns on the wall if I don't do something about this mess soon. I told her not to bother, to go pay a call on some old friends, get settled back in. But... Well."

A mock painful wince was shot the kitchen door where the clattering of pots and pans and running water continued to echo.

"I guess she wants to open sooner rather than later." He rocked back on his heels and cast his eyes over the tavern, the dust. He knew everything it needed, from scouring to airing to new paths of egress formed. How the stole walls ached to be filled up, to murmur with life and flash with light again.

It was just an awful lot, and he had been traveling an awful long while.

"You sure you're up to this? I can open a bottle of wine and we can try out this cheesecake instead..."

Had Caelum gotten lazy? Impossible. The man was nonstop. Maybe he had just finally learned how to take a deep breath every now and again.
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not at all open.

Postby Orin Fenix on July 24th, 2017, 2:18 am

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Orin was quite pleased that Caelum actually remembered who the chef was. They had only met for a brief time, and Orin hadn’t really expected Caelum to actually know who he was. The chef had probably made such a small impact that it seemed remarkable that the Ethaefal had paid attention to him in the first place. Orin considered the best way to respond to the other man’s question. The truth was, Orin had been feeling fairly terrible. Since he’d left Syliras he’d been struggling with depression and apathy, but this season had been particularly stressful on several levels. Orin had been put through quite a few emotional ordeals this summer, but the chef didn’t want to get into all that now. Mostly, he felt drained, as if all his feelings had been so strong for so long that he’d started to run out.“I’ve been...busy. How about you? Where’d you end up?” Orin had tried to come to Alements when he moved to Riverfall proper, but it had been closed.

Caelum seemed to light up as Orin explained the reason behind his visit. The cook was honestly a little surprised at how happy the Ethaefal was about the present. It wasn’t really that great a gift in Orin’s mind, especially since it wasn’t as if he had used especially expensive ingredients. It mostly had taken time, which was something Orin had in abundance. It was just a little dessert, after all. “It’s really not a big deal, truly. I’m sure that if you felt a debt to someone you’d feel obligated to repay it as well.” Though Orin didn’t know Caelum well, the other man seemed incredibly kind, willing to take in a complete stranger who was a complete mess and provide some comfort. The chef decided to break some of the awkward tension he was feeling with a joke, hoping to actually maybe befriend Caelum. “Besides, of course this is a bit of espionage too. Gotta scope out the competition and all that.” The chef accompanied this with a smile, although it was technically the truth. Still, The Almond Blossom was far enough from a regular tavern like Alements that Orin doubted there’d be many patrons that went to both for the same reasons.

As Caelum grew even more thrilled to discover the present was a cheesecake, Orin found himself swept along in the other man’s enthusiasm. “Well. Yes. I mean, it wasn’t that hard. I can show you the recipe if you’d like.” As long as Alements had an oven, then Caelum could make it. At the mention of a six year old, Orin blinked in surprise. “Lillis? I don’t think I met her. Is she your daughter?” If Orin had known Caelum had a family the chef would’ve brought more food. Still, it seemed that the girl would be happy enough with the treat. “And yes, of course I’d love to meet her! I assume you don’t want me to bring her more treats though?” It wouldn’t do to spoil her, but frankly Orin prefered the company of children. It was less complicated than dealing with adults by far. So the chef was pleased to meet someone younger than him.

Orin followed Caelum back into the tavern and clinic, using a different door than Orin had used before. “You’re welcome. And I’ll pass along the message. But the biggest thank you would be to get this place up and running again. Clearly, you’ve been missed.” The Gilia Medical Center was nice enough but it didn’t have the same charm and personal touch that Caelum used. At least, that’s what Orin had heard about it. The chef inspected the tavern proper as Caelum poked around the bar, which he hadn’t taken the time to really examine earlier. It had been cleaned, but there was still some dirt visible in the corners, and Orin’s fingers twitched at the signs of disarray. An unclean room and place of work was an affront to his sensibilities. At Caelum’s comment that his assistant, whose name was apparently Elise, was spitting mad at the healer, Orin laughed. “Well we can’t have that, can we! They look much better on your head. Sounds like she and I might have a few things in common!” Glancing at Caelum, Orin grinned. “Which might not be the best news for you.”

An especially loud clatter drew both their attention to the kitchen, and Orin swayed a little in that direction, before looking back over at Caelum. “Don’t you? Want to open sooner, rather than later?” If Orin had his own business, he couldn’t imagine wanting to be closed down, or even away from it more than necessary. So Orin was curious why Caelum seemed so reluctant. “I know it seems like a lot right now, but you’ll look back at this moment this time tomorrow and it’ll all feel worth it.”

The chef smiled and shook his head at the offer of wine. “Thanks, but no. I...try not to drink.” Orin couldn’t help flashing back to the incident regarding his father earlier in the season. He still had no explanation for all of that and it bothered him. The fear of turning into his father was still palpable, and he shivered involuntarily at the memory of his father’s drunken fist as they swung towards him. Orin banished that particular thought, although there was still an uncomfortable twist in his gut. Despite his efforts to improve, Orin didn’t know if he’d ever be able to remember his past at all. It was better just not to think at all, to lose himself in his work. Or he could help others, to reassure him that he was a good person. “The cheesecake will keep a little longer. Let’s put poor Elise out of her misery, so to speak. After all, three pairs of hands are better than one. We’ll have this place looking spotless in no time.” With that, Orin started making his way towards the sounds of splashing water and clanging pots, not realizing that he had no idea where any of the cleaning supplies were.
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Postby Caelum on August 3rd, 2017, 12:45 am

"Ah." Caelum winced, realizing his error. "Lillian," he corrected himself. "My daughter is Lillian. Sorry, slip of the tongue. Her mother was Lillis." There was a moment of silence, perhaps a little longer than was strictly polite, before he cleared his throat and his smile tripped back up into place. "Why wouldn't I want you to bring her any more treats? Bring her treats. Bring us all the treats. I freaking love sugar."

It was, after all, one of the only things he ever even bothered to eat. His eating habits, or rather his lack of them, bothered Elise to no end. It did not seem to matter how many times and how many different ways he explained to her that he did not actually have to eat. Of course, the hungers he most often held were those of others, catching them unaware, and he had the strangest cravings now. A whole collection of them. Sweets were high on the list because it was such a common desire of the populace. The only way to really get rid of the twitch was to feed it.

"I was a little bit everywhere." It was intentionally vague, but not due to a lack of friendliness. The shrug that spilled through strong shoulders bespoke of a very long and complicated tale that he imagined would bore the chef. "On the sea a great deal, actually. If I recall things right, weren't you only here temporarily last we spoke? The tides will take you in as much as they haul you out, eh?"

Curiosity was a constant current. The healer seemed at ease in conversation with Orin, within these walls, his attitude one of interest and his manner easy going. As Orin's interest in assisting in the cleaning and reopening of Alements buoyed, Caelum felt it float through him and allowed his arms to unwind so he could pace out from behind the bar. With an inviting tilt of his head, he ducked his way into the kitchen. It would be familiar to Orin, of course. It was a fully stocked, well lit rectangle, far cleaner already than the rest of the tavern due to Elise's industry. The far door was open to the side-dockage and the waters beyond, letting daylight in upon the magic.

"Espionage." Caelum smirked while making his way to the sink. Freshly scrubbed pots were stacked high and Elise was nowhere to be seen. Doubtless she had overheard Orin and smartly predicted the likelihood of Caelum being overtaken by the man's enthusiasm, and so had made her escape while she still could. "I don't think there's a restauranteur in Riverfall who wouldn't give their right arm for more of the in-the-know. Do you dabble in that sort of thing much?"

He looked around while rolling up his shirtsleeves. The twin, serpentine marks of Rak'keli twining over the backs of his hands glimmered in the light. "Right, right. I do want to open sooner rather than later."

That was muttered, the last bit, with an amused sigh. He sure did. Now.
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Postby Orin Fenix on August 6th, 2017, 4:09 pm

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Apparently the subject of his daughter’s mother wasn’t exactly a pleasant or easy one, at least based off of Caelum’s reaction to Orin’s question about the name. They stood there in an awkward silence, which gave Orin too much time to consider his own mother and family. Shockingly, Orin had never given all that much though to the woman who had died giving birth to him, although that had changed this season. He’d always been far too afraid to dig into his family’s past for fear of what he might find buried there. Still, though, seeing the apparition of his father had thrown Orin for a loop and made him realize just how little he actually knew about his family. So he was on a quest, of sorts, to discover what, if anything, he could about his history. For now, though, he had to save something to fill the air between him and Caelum, if only to prevent him from getting too lost in memories that were better left unexplored. “Lillian is a beautiful name. I can’t wait to meet her.” They both seemed to have the same idea, as Caelum also decided it was best to put that moment behind them. “Well, I guess that I’ve seen people get weird when it comes to sweets. Especially Akalaks. They don’t want to put too much in their bodies that don’t seem to serve a purpose. And with kids, well, parents don’t want to spoil them.” Orin realized that statement could be seen as critical of Caelum’s parenting and he rushed to correct his faux pas. “Not that I personally think there’s anything wrong with it I’m just saying that I’ve heard other people say that, I’m sure Liliian isn’t spoiled at all!” Realizing that he was probably just digging himself a deeper hole, Orin took a deep breath. “Anyway, Im sure more sweets can be arranged if you so choose. I can show you a few simple recipes if you think you might like that?” It really wouldn’t be a problem for Orin; he rather enjoyed sharing his knowledge, actually.

He’d found, over the years, that people tended to be oddly receptive to learning how to cook. It shocked him, a little bit, how few people knew more than the very basics of the skill, but at least it meant he had no shortage of helpers and students if he so chose. He figured that if he ever wanted to start a school of sorts, he’d actually be quite busy. While he didn’t like to admit it, as he didn’t do it for the fame, but rather the pleasure of the act, he was quite skilled in the culinary arts – perhaps even the best at what he did – and so he’d slowly come to realize that people were aware of his abilities. Perhaps he could cash in on that, somehow, to make a better living for himself. He was already planning to open his own restaurant, hopefully in the fall, though it pained him to think of leaving the Almond Blossom.

Caelum’s answer didn’t actually answer anything but Orin of all people could understand not wanting to dredge up the past. So he respected the other man’s choice not to divulge his secrets. If Caelum wanted to share with Orin he would, although Orin doubted it, seeing as the chef was basically a stranger, albeit a kind one. “I’m sure you made lots of good memories out there,” Orin offered neutrally, trying to remind Caelum more of the pleasant experiences he may have had over whatever may or may not be haunting him. “Yes, that’s correct. And they do at that. Never really know what the sea’s going to come dragging out or back. It tosses all sorts of flotsam onto these shores.” The chef smiled to show it was his feeble attempt at a joke, as he was the debris in question, at least in his mind. In terms of his travels, Orin wouldn’t say his adventures were thrilling, but they were over now and he was more content in Riverfall than he’d been in a long time. That’s all that mattered, even if he couldn’t say he was happy.

Following Caelum into the significantly cleaner looking kitchen, which seemed similar to how Orin remembered although the visit had been so brief and long ago that frankly he couldn’t say that for certain. The woman from earlier was gone, no doubt to work on other parts of Alements or to run errands. As they surveyed the kitchen, Caelum seemed to grow much more excited for reasons that weren’t entirely clear to Orin. Then the conversation took an odd turn, although Orin supposed it made sense given context. It was also quite odd that Caelum would bring that up given a recent visitor to The Almond Blossom who had asked him much the same question. Orin shot the other man a sharp glance, suspicious but not worried about the other man’s motives. “We tend to keep an eye on anything that might be relevant to us,” the chef responded carefully. “I wouldn’t say that I do much work on that front but, well, you know how it is. People are eating, and drinking especially, and they’re in a good mood and they start to wag their tongues when otherwise they might not. And well, nobody ever looks at a cook or a server. It’s like we’re a part of the scenery. So, as I’m sure you know, it’s pretty amazing what you can pick up as long as you pay just a little bit of attention.” Hopefully that would answer Caelum’s unasked question even if the chef’s words were a rather indirect response.

As Caelum rolled up his sleeves Orin noticed the marks on his hands more clearly, but the chef didn’t ask. If it came up, it came up; otherwise Orin figured it was none of his business. Caelum still seemed to be reacting rather oddly to this situation. “You sure about that? I can clean up a bit in here if you have other tasks you need to attend to. I don’t mind really.” Orin wanted to give Caelum an out if the other man wanted it. “Alternatively, if you’d rather handle it on your own I’ve delivered my present and my message and would be happy to leave you to it.” He hoped he could stay though; being in Caelum’s presence was oddly relaxing and the chef was enjoying himself outside of the context of cooking for once, which was a rare enough occurrence that he wasn’t quite ready for it to end.
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