Xanadu Weyr - Rustic Treetop Café
Perched on the cliff overlooking Xanadu's beach is a gnarled and massive skybroom tree. The bark and outer layers are sturdy enough to support the thriving, brushy top, but the interior, which is hollow, contains a spiral staircase that leads to a cafe built on a high platform amongst the branches. With a panoramic view of lake, sky, Weyr and the mountains beyond, the treetop eatery offers both sheltered seating just inside the trunk and tables on the wide deck that encircles the old tree.
The cafe's decor is comfortable and rustic, but closer inspection shows the smallest embellishments to be artfully combined into one detailed masterpiece. The wood of the doors, floor and walls of the trunk have been stained a dark mahogany that lends the space a sense of intimacy. Tables in various sizes have been carved to mimic driftwood, the chairs and benches padded with oiled sailcloth cushions to provide weather-proof comfort. Each table has an aged brass lantern filled with shells and agates gathered from Xanadu's shores, the sparkling natural mosaics holding tapered candles upright in their embrace. Lamps hang from the ceiling on silver poles, the thick frosted glass carved into intricate pastel shells or swirling white-capped waves. At night the colored glass softens the glowlight to enhance the ambience.
During the day, the retractable doors allow leaf-spattered sunlight to fill both the outer deck and the smaller interior with green and gold light, as well as allowing pleasant breezes to cool the interior. On clear nights, farviewers perch on the elaborately carved railing are free for use to enhance the gorgeous view of the stars over the Caspian Lake, the Sea of Azov beyond and the rock formations of the Weyr.
So the Weyrlings have all received a lovely invitation card hand-painted with colorful tropical flowers and precise, scroll-worked gilt handwriting that reads:
"You are cordially invited to dine at the Treetop Cafe with Darsce on this third day of week three in month seven of Turn 2696. Formal attire is required."
Invited, it says, but the AWLMs have already told the Weyrlings that this is a required class. When they arrive, they'll see that Miss Darsce has commandeered the Treetop Cafe and they are the Special Guest of Honor for the evening. Gone is the casual atmosphere of the place, the small tables have been pushed together to create one large dining table, which has been covered in a heavy white linen cloth, sparkling china, silver and crystal goblets. Lit candles and an elaborate arrangement of flowers adorns the center of the table. Atop each plate is a folded linen napkin and each plate has several forks and spoons in a confusing array of sizes. And standing beside the table, waiting for them is Darsce, wearing a formal calf-length, dress the predominant olive green tapestry bearing touches of russet, gold and teal. Though form-fitting, it is modest by her standards, her one concession to her usual attire being a slit in the skirt that reaches just above the back of her knees.
Of course his sister would send a formal invitation to have dinner with her. Still, the young brownling can't very well ignore her summons, can he? So Mur'dah gets on his nicest pair of clothes (which aren't bad considering his recently given up title of Hold Heir, if they are a little tight and the hem of his pants and jacket a little short) and makes his way into the cafe. Stopping just inside the threshold, the boy pushes his hair away from his face and clears his throat, looking at the table with slightly widening eyes. Then he snorts. "Joy. All my favorite things," he says, but when his brown eyes settle on Darsce there's at least a genuine look for her.
M'kal shuffles in with some of the others, J'myn in front of him. Cautiously M'kal peeks from around his friend to peer towards Darsce briefly before looking to see where the others sit. He's wearing a nice pair of pants and a hastily tucked in tunic bears a vest of dark brown to help bring out the green of his eyes. So far he doesn't make a move to sit down yet and eyes the tables with a worried eye.
Formal … attire? .. What does that even mean? Ka'el hasn't a formal suit to his name, and for a bit this was a source of stress. And his usual supplier of all things fashion? Is off back to whatever weyr he moved to for his fabrics craft duties! And so the bronzer has resorted to wearing clothes that are just a bit nicer than his usual wear. Fitted dark black slacks are belted with a black belt, and a long-sleeved crisp white button-up dress shirt is tucked into it. He has no tie, but he's at least made an effort with his hair, having raked a comb and even brush through the shortened locks with a touch of some sort of product that has the front a bit spiked. No boots today, instead having borrowed a pair of dress shoes. And.. yes, this is Ka'el who steps up into the cafe, eyes widening a bit as he takes a look around the pristine place. nd all that stuff on the table. And then Darsce. And the other boys. He moves over to them. "Hey," he greets with a light grin, looking to Darsce again. "Hello. Y'look nice."
It's an offer they can't refuse! …okay, yes, they could, but not without consequences, so practically speaking… oh, but the occasion is anything but practical, isn't it? It's a formal occasion, and formal attire is required. Soriana… well, she's made an attempt. The hair she cut short by herself for practical reasons has been brushed into what (if she's lucky) will appear to be an artless tumble instead of a tangle waiting to happen. She's even wearing… wait for it… a dress. Yes, an actual dress. The sort that girls wear. It's dark brown and laces up in back, which is good because otherwise it probably wouldn't fit. As it is, it's about two inches shorter than it's supposed to be, and it certainly doesn't fit right. That's what the reddish shawl's there for, isn't it? To cover up anything that looks weird? …that, or it's to give her hands something to toy with, because there's absolutely no place to put them. What does one do without pockets? Seriously. She makes her way up the stares, and looks around at the fancy formal tables. Hrmph. Well, no escaping it now, so she inhales, squares her shoulders, and heads across the room to join the rest.
Formal attire?… That suggestion to someone like Idrissa is a strange one indeed. It took her a few long moments to figure out if she was truly going to whatever this way but here she is slowly making her way on into the caf. As for what she is wearing it is a simple dress, a light blue in color with white trim across her neck and sleeves, the sleeves are short and there is a white shawl across her shoulders. The dress is almost ankle length, and fits her nicely, maybe she got lucky and found something her size as there was no way that she had the time to go out and get something. Her hair is pulled up neatly in a lose braid, a bit of blue ribbon running through it. She flicks a glance around before she is moving on over to a chair and sits down quietly. Yup, she's here, in a dress, no one forget this moment.
They certainly do get formal invitations because it's Etiquette Class! Rule Number One: Teach by example! They all get a sunny smile from tinted lips (the color is muted for this evening), but Darcse is behaving tonight - this is important stuff she's demonstrating here! She does acknowledge her friends though, giving Idrissa a barely-there wink and Soriana a warm smile that says both 'It's been too long' and 'It's all my fault'. Her half-brother gets a smirk and a lift of one perfectly-shaped brow, subtly daring him to groan further. "Thank you, Ka'el," she says for the compliment and even returns one, "So do you." Lifting her voice a little, "Please be seated," she says with a graceful gesture to the table. "Anywhere you'd like," she adds helpfully. And while they're doing that, she moves to stand behind her chair at the head of the table, "So as Riders you will be representing Xanadu and will at times find yourself in formal situations - sometimes with Lord Holders or Craftmasters. Tonight I'll go over some of the unspoken social rules that should govern your behavior at those times."
Mur'dah steps forward and, glancing around, pulls out a chair. For one of the ladies. He doesn't even care which one, he just knows he needs to pull out a chair for /some/ female before he takes his own seat. And then he'll sit down too, sitting upright with his hands in his lap, glancing around at his wingmates and then back to his sister.
Pulling out a chair? Meep? M'kal watches Mur'dah but doesn't copy him. Instead he simply takes a seat of his own and turns full attention to Darsce. Awkwardly he rests his hands on the table before him.
Woah. … Woah, is that Soriana? But what in world is she wearing? Ka'el has seen such girlish contraptions on … y'know. Other girls. But he can count on one hand the amount of times he's seen her wearing a dress in all the turns he's known her. … That'd be zero. Not counting now. So the bout of staring that she receives possibly isn't too surprising, and he's only brought out of his stupor by Darsce's words. Huh? He blinks once, looking back to her. "Oh, er thanks." Grin. Following directions, he heads to the table to sit, but pauses, half seated, eyeing Mur'dah. Oh…yeah. Chivalry and manners and … all that that the heir likely already knows. But Idrissa is already sitting. Mur'dah's pulled out chair is already pulled out for the only other female left. And so, he plops down across from M'kal to listen. Representatives of Xanadu huh? That's … a scary thought!
Yeah, that's right. Soriana. In a dress. She raises an eyebrow at Ka'el, with a hint of a smirk. Care to make something of it? No? …good. The smirk softens to a smile as she sees the one from Darsce and returns it - along with the slight rise of her shoulder and tilt of her head that says 'there's no point worrying about the past' and (on account of the continued smile) 'it's good to see you'. That accomplished, she moves with a bit more confidence. Lesson one: having friends makes dealing with unfamiliar situations easier. She's learning already! Lesson two comes from Mur'dah, with the pulling out a chair thing. Soriana could get her own chair perfectly well, and she regards that extended seat for a moment before looking back to Darsce. "What if we don't agree with some of those rules?" she asks with a sideways quirk of her lips. "I mean… I'm not trying to get out of learning it, but…" For a moment, she trails off, taking the seat so she doesn't delay things by just standing around, but once she's settled herself, the quirk of her lips increases and she decides to just ask outright. "How should we break the rules?"
Idrissa is quiet as she listens, seeming as if she doesn't want to be here while her gaze flicks towards Soriana, tilting her head, and then yes her gaze drifts towards Ka'el peering at him a few moments. Though her attention is sent back to Darsce once the talking starts. Rules, huh? Well this should be just a swell class of rules and so forth and on. She lets her fingers pick at the tablecloth. Hearing Soriana she smirks a bit at the idea of breaking rules.
Two points for Mur'dah! He gets an approving smile from his sister. With a little wrinkle of her nose, Darsce answers Soriana with a pert, "You don't break them. At least not in certain situations. Rule number one is: Be yourself - within reason. Manners are great, but you don't want to be so stiff and starched your host smells a fake." Good luck? "Rule number two: Don't get caught making out with the host’s son-" a quick glance around the room and she adds, "-or daughter - after dinner." Is she speaking from personal experience? She could be! She doesn't say, but she does snicker. So she's probably joking to get them all to relax a touch, right? "Okay, so after you greet your host and give them some sort of compliment," a glance is tilted to Ka'el along with another of those approving smiles, "and after the ladies have been seated - Mur'dah gets The Smile(tm) next – “the gentlemen will sit." And Darsce lowers herself into hers.
From the cafe's kitchen a couple of servers enter, one pours a white wine in the goblets and the other places small dishes on each plate. The dishes are shallow bowls filled with crushed ice. Atop the bed of ice sit three open shellfish. Raw oysters, to be exact. Beside them is a wedge of lemon. Darsce notes their reactions to the fare unobtrusively, curbing her natural impulse to tease or comment save to say, "You will be served all sorts of new things when on hold visitation. It's important to be able to react with as much grace as you can manage. It's considered rude to turn down food, so tonight we'll be exposing you to some of the more… unique things you might encounter." Oh… joy? "So the proper way to eat these is like so:" And she demonstrates by squeezing the lemon wedge over the shellfish, taking her outermost spoon, pinching the shell between thumb and forefinger and uses the spoon to loosen meat from shell. Then she takes the tiny fork that has been placed at the top of her setting, pierces the body and pops it neatly into her mouth. Her iceblue gaze sweeps round the table, clearly she expects them to follow suit.
Mur'dah coughs into his fist, trying to hide a laugh at Rule Two. Sitting back as the first plate is served, he nods a polite thanks to the waiter and then stares at the oysters on his plate. And grimaces. "Is there a nice way to refuse?" he asks, eying the slimy critters with distaste. Xanadu born and bred, he's never developed a liking for these slippery things.
Why yes, M'kal did notice Soriana in a dress but honestly he was too busy contemplating the horrors of representing Xanadu in formal situations with Lord Holders or Craftmasters. Really??! is what his expression seems to say once those words actually sink on. Oh Farnath what did Xeosoth get him into? Cause natually it's all the fault of the blue who found him on the Sands. Sparing a glance again to Soriana he focuses all his attention forward. Must make mental notes of all this. CErtainly it would be bad to burp in front of a Lord Holder, right?So far though he's leaving the questions to the others!
Ka'el faintly smirks at Soriana's question. But.. oh wait. He's supposed to wait til the ladies are all seated? Ok! Where's…his notebook? Notes should be taken, right. Will there be handouts later? His eyes meet Idrissa's for what could be a second. Maybe two. And there's what is nearly a hopeful look before he looks back to Darsce. No breaking the rules. Got it. No making out with the host's daughter? He lifts a brow and glances to Mur'dah and M'kal with a snicker, noting that as well. "Good to know." A smirk. But then…here comes the food. Yum! This ought to be good, right? He sits forward a little as the dishes are brought and set before them, revealing… uh, ew. What's that? His brows furrow faitly as he eeeyes those shellfish on ice. He glances to the others, then watches Darsce eat. "But…what if it's something you're allergic to?" Not that he's allergic to this. Or has ever tried these, particularly. Aaand it looks like he's a bit reluctat to start trying, although he does at least squeeze the lemon on it.
Okay, so, Soriana definitely hears the answer about rule-breaking, but the part she actually nods on is 'certain situations', sooooo hopefully she'll figure out which those are. This one, apparently, qualifies, because she doesn't protest further. She glances to Mur'dah and mouths a 'thanks' - because, hey, he did pull out the chair for her - and gives what she hopes is a perfectly ordinary smile to M'kal when she catches him looking at her. Dress what dress? Pay no mind to that. She's not, because she's looking back to Darsce for the continuation of this lesson. Rule one receives a thoughtful look, because, well, uh… maybe she just has to be a certain herself. In certain situations. Rule two makes her smirk. Don't get caught. Got it. And then it's food time, and she leans back a little as the server places her plate, eyes on Darsce - okay, so they glance down to the oysters, but only briefly. She doesn't even frown. She's seen worse. Mostly while assisting with medical procedures, admittedly, but… lemon wedge, squeezed. Lemon pip, carefully nudged off the oyster onto the ice. Spoon (it was this one, right?) used to pry up the slimy thing, and then… into her mouth it goes, with a face that's trying for a smile but mostly only manages neutral.
Idrissa is quiet as she hears these rules, oh sure that second is such a hard decision for her, not! She eyes the oysters and tilts her head, is she suppose to be grossed out by these? Her father was a fisherman after all, and she goes about following what Darsce as showed them, pausing while she eyes the forks and spoons. "So not how we ate them back home." It didn't much matter which fork or spoon was used after all, she picks up the spoon and pokepokes at the oyster after the lemon is squeezed on it. As for that lemon it gets over her fingers and a bit nearly squirts into her eye. That would be embarrassing.
Exactly Soriana! Darsce used to live by the 'don't get caught' rule. "Unless you are allergic? Not really. Especially if you sit at a Lord Holder's table," is Darsce's answer for Mur'dah and K'ael both. "In that case use a simple 'No thank you', but don't play with it and assume no one will notice you aren't eating it. And don't slip it under the table to the canine." Why does she slide a significant look at Mur'dah just then and snicker? Probably she - or he - has also tried this one. Does anyone want to reconsider the Quasar wing now? "Sometimes it's snails, but they weren't in season, so we couldn't get them." Aren't they SO lucky? From the kitchen the servers enter again with trays. Plates of salad are placed before them. That looks benign, right? But they also get a smaller plate of crackers topped with a small heap of teeny-weeny little orangey-pink… pearls. "This is caviar," explains Darsce. "And it's alright to cut your salad up with your knife if the pieces are too big." She's eating neatly, enjoying her food.
Mur'dah wrinkles his nose a bit, but then smoothes out his expression with a deep breath. Dousing the oysters in lemon he very quickly gulps them down, followed by a large sip of water. Eying the caviar, he looks up at Darsce with a brow lifted. "How much is this meal costing us? I mean," ponder, "this is quite the spread for mere weyrlings, m'lady. Thank you for your generosity." Seems his grandfather managed to drill /some/ things into his stubborn head. Lifting knife and fork (always work from the outside in), he cuts up his salad pieces and takes a few polite bites, tilting his head at the odd tastes. "Snails?" Did he just go a little pale? "Thank Faranth they're not…in season." Snails have a season?
Ka'el doesn't want to eat this slimy thing. Not. One. Bit. But there's already lemon stuff on it. .. But that doesn't really make a difference, right? Where's the bovine? The ovine? The MEAT?! Maybe no one will notice if he just leaves it there. Or maybe he can cover it with ice? Look at him. He's the oldest one here (weyrling wise, anyway) but he definitely has the YUCK GROSS YOU CAN'T MAKE ME mentality when it comes to food. Soooo he keeps pointedly quiet as the salad comes out. Oh good, a distraction! This is easy. Much moreso than snails would've been, to which he gives Darsce a 'you're kidding…right?' look. "..Is it…often that this sort've stuff is eaten abroad?" Don't other places eat regular foods? Where are the tubers? The salad is not cut up, because he has teeth and a mouth and these are just leafy greens that he can conquer. He peers at the .. caviar, she said? "Do you eat that with the .. salad?" he asks, thankfully after he's swallowed his mouthful.
Now that she's had one, Soriana might as well have another of the oysters. It's practice. After this, it'll take something special to make her squirm at the Lord Holder's table. Quasar nothing, she can see Nova in her future, so she's paying close attention to this here lesson… though she does glance over to Idrissa and heh. "But, that's the point, right? It's not like I dress up like this for dinner-" ever "-at home, either. Different rules for different situations." And a different fork, for the salad course! So she eats, slowly and carefully, of leafy salad and caviar that pops weirdly between her teeth as she watches Darsce in an attempt to learn these rules she's not supposed to get caught breaking in certain situations.
Idrissa eyes the items that are brought out next and a faint ah escapes her. "Caviar?" Is questioned, oh yes she knows what that is too and she never really cared for it. She looks to Darsce curiously. "Do They really eat this stuff at holds?" Not that she really knows what all does on at the fancy parties after all. Snails? "Why would anyone eat snails?…" Might as well ask this question now then later, right?
"Fish eggs," Darsce elaborates (unnecessarily) to Idrissa. "It makes a better bait than it does an appetizer, but y'know. Holders never waste a thing." Which might beg the question: what else will they have to eat out there?! At least they're not eating mountain oysters tonight? "Sometimes it gets more exotic," Darsce tells Ka'el equably. Exotic, she says when weird might be the better word. "Ask our ex-harper M'trin about Mire Hold sometime," she says with a sage nod. Oh the things one sacrifices for diplomacy! "It's perfectly fine not to chew them," is helpfully supplied after Mur'dah has eaten the oysters. "And a sip of the wine helps with both the oysters and the caviar." Now that they can drink it. "You'll find the selection will compliment the flavor." Or numb their taste buds? For that though, they'll need stronger stuff! "Nothing-" They're not being charged for their lesson! "-but the best for you my honored guests," quips Darsce, smoothing over her near faux-pas with a well-mannered response to Mur'dah's comment. And snails absolutely do have a season! Somehow freezing temperatures wreak havoc with the slugs.
While they've finished with their salad, the meat and tubers are coming: the servers quietly whisking away their salad plates (and the used forks Darsce has shown them to leave on their plates). Plates of steaming food are set before them. This food looks like what they're used to: ovine chops (red in the center part), a heap of mashed tubers with a rich brown gravy atop and green beans sprinkled with slivered almonds. Baskets of hot rolls are placed on the table, dishes of butter curls added beside them. "So who can tell me how to properly pass requested items to others?" Darsce quizzes them cheerfully.
Mur'dah looks relieved when some /real/ food is set before them. But before he eats, apparently there's a question to be answered. "I know how /not/ to," he says with a crooked grin. "You don't throw it." And the gleam in his eyes suggests he perhaps learned this lesson the hard way? Totally, totally worth it though. But Marel might disagree with him.
Yes! No oyster for stealth Ka'el who indeed scooped a bit of ice atop to try to mask the fact that he didn't eat it. The squeezed lemon? A total ploy! Perhaps making it seem as if he did ingest the .. gross looking thing. So he doesn't protest as plates are cleared and his stomach is happily oyster free, and he takes a sip of that wine as Darsce comments upon it, eyes trailing to Soriana for no apparent reason whatsoever. But oh, the one thing that may take his attention off of a girl is luxurious food set before him, and…mmm my, does it smell good! And looks even better. Please, please can they dig in? He's already reaching for a fork, any fork that's available, but he freezes at the question, and his hand is quickly retracted. Er. "Uh…carefully? As gravy doesn't look as nice on a lap as it does on tuber mash?" He can't help but to grin at Mur'dah's helpful suggestion. Yeah, that too!
At least that means no slug sorbet? Palate-cleaning slime is… something Soriana is rather glad to avoid. The wine will do just fine for that purpose. Sip. "I suppose exotic is good, if you're trying to impress people." Or was that scare them off? Her wineglass is set down again as the meat and tubers arrive, and she glances at the plate and smiles before looking back to Darsce. Proper way… heh. Mur'dah has a good improper one, but… "With both hands?" she elaborates on Ka'el's suggestion. "And not reaching in front of people."
Idrissa is quiet while she listens, eyeing the food quietly, she still doesn't seem very interested in all this. She'll totally play the whole black sheep of the group if given the chance. As for the question on which way to hand something she ahs softly before glancing over to Mur'dah, a faint grin seen and she shakes her head a moment. "Yes I would suggest not doing that."
Darsce eyes her brother patiently. "This is true," she agrees with a benign smile. Food fights are definitely are out of the question at Lord Holder's table! Do her eyes seem to track Ka'el's oyster plate as the server removes it? It must be paranoia on his part, right? Soriana gets a beam of approval, "That's correct. Do not stretch across the table or reach across other guests. Don't intercept a pass. Snagging a roll out of the breadbasket or taking a shake of salt when it is en route to someone else is a no-no. Ask for it to be sent back to you if you want something." So many things to remember! "Pass food from the left to the right, pass salt and pepper or bread and butter together." Is that just plain thoughtful, or are they going to save time because it'll be asked for anyway? Why do these things just so? Darsce will tell them! "In case the other guests are tipsy, it's best to just place the passed item on the table rather than hand to hand." The Iernian encourages them to dig in with a smile and a graceful dip of her head.
Mur'dah laughs. "Really? If the guest is tipsy…" This rule seems to amuse him quite a bit as he chuckles, taking a small sip of his wine and neatly tucking into his plate of food. And for all that he gobbles up food when he's in casual company, he's very neat in this context. Knife and fork used just so, putting the food on the back of the fork before eating it, keeping his elbows off the table, sitting up straight, all that stuff. He's good at this! Finally, something he's good at.
How is one supposed to concentrate on eating when there are so many RULES to remember? As Darsce lists them off, Ka'el does his best to try to tack them on to his mental list. No snatching breadrolls on their way to someone else. Pass salt and peper together. Pass to the left.. no wait…to the right? Left to right, right! .. Right? Don't forget the butter. Don't trust the drunkards not to spill. How can he eat when one mispassed gravy pot may cause inter-weyr mayhem!? He glances to Mur'dah, who looks as if he was born for this. He glances at his own array of silverware. Which knife does he use? Darsce showed them, but his mind was occupied and he wasn't quite paying attention! There are a few forks left to choose from, and he glances to the others to see which one they're using. He reaches for one, then changes his mind and reaches for another. Well, maybe he should just use both? Nooo, that makes no sense! Brows knit. Why do they even have more than one fork? He definitely…needs to read up on this.
Soriana smiles back at the approval, then listens to the further details with an occasional nod. So many things to remember. At least some of them have sensible reasons behind them. …and then there's the rest, but hey. It can't be worse than memorizing the small bones of the wing, right? Sori glances back to Mur'dah, and grins as she lifts her glass to him before taking another sip. Tipsy? Hardly. She's only had a few sips, but still. The glass goes back down, and she picks up knife and fork. Food, yes! Food is good. Only, uh… "Pass the pepper?" Oh right, despite the fact that this is Ka'el she's asking, this is a formal occasion, so. "Please?" And don't forget the salt!
Not only RULES to focus on Ka'el, but wait until you meet some of those guests! Talk about distracting! But Darsce wisely leaves THAT for another lesson. Or their first out-of-weyr experience. "You won't get tipsy at State Dinners," Darsce warns them all ominously. "Bad things happen when people are drunk and you'll need your wits." An in an undertone, "Ending up in the bed of the Lord Holder's begets is a definite no-no." She smirks to herself. Not that she's done that, but she's heard things. Mur'dah can be the positive role model for once! Darce gives him Looks of Approval (tm) and also demonstrates Good Manners, such as swallowing her food before speaking, placing her utensils on the edge of her plate instead of gesturing with them and keeping her elbows off the table. Dessert - when it comes - is a fancy thing: a creme-filled pastry that is difficult to eat without being awkward about it. Darsce shows them how to use their last knife and the proper fork to select for it, demonstrating how to cut it without all the cream squishing out. Regardless of the high degree of difficulty, it is delicious. The evening is topped off with her teaching them all how to properly toast their host. This requires wine, but not enough to get them drunk. Tipsy? Maaaybe.
Mur'dah wasn't born for this. He was /trained/ for this with very, very little room for error. "Unless it's me," he says before he can catch himself, and then he clears his throat. "Or…the grandson of…" Oh look, wine. DRINK. That was embarrassing. And there's more drinking to do too, and when the meal is over Mur'dah toasts Darsce graciously and then rises to his feet, putting a hand on the back of Soriana's chair to help her rise if she's ready for it. And yeah, he's a tad tipsy. But it's TOTALLY okay because Darsce told them to. Which…if you think about it…is horrible.
Ka'el eventually did eat, and he even used the right utensils for it! Another success? He passed the pepper to Soriana…and only /almost/ forgot to pass the salt with it. Little victories, folks, are still worth celebrating. And the food is so exquisite that even silverware drama wasn't enough to wholly ruin the meal. And then, dessert! Stab with a fork. Spoon. Knife. It was devoured and in the end, Ka'el is fully and happy and properly wined up enough to be relaxed and not care so much that he has as much etiquette as gorilla. Or some Pern equivalence. He even talked and chatted with those around him, sans Idrissa who likely was still able to disregard him in commentary. And now .. is it time to go already? He watches Mur'dah and Soriana … ah, who's he kidding? He watches Soriana. He's getting ready to get up too. Really. "Thank you, Darsce, for showing me, us… not how not be a …" Uuuh……uhhh.. "drom." Yup. Totally a word he made up just now. But it sounds like something no one wants to be.
Nope, Soriana's not going to get tipsy. In fact, she nods perfectly seriously about the bad things happening, not that she says anything… and not that she doesn't smirk soon thereafter. "Only on formal occasions," she notes to Mur'dah. Because that's the real lesson here, right? You have to know the right manners for the circumstances. Ending up in bed with one of the other guests is inappropriate after a formal dinner party. Now You Know… or at least, Soriana does. She also knows more than she used to about table manners. Maybe she'll even remember it for later! The pepper (and salt) are accepted from Ka'el with gratitude. The creme de pastry does not get all over everything and, being delicious, is eaten - but her plate is not licked, and really, that of itself is an achievement. The host is toasted, her gratitude expressed, and she rises with a smile to Mur'dah that's only a little weird around the edges. She could handle the chair on her own, really she could, but… oh, certain situation. "Thanks," she says to him, then turns to Darsce. "Thank you for your hospitality," she says, and attempts a curtsey. It doesn't go that well, on account of you kind of need a skirt to practice them, and thus, she hasn't really practiced. Ever. But she doesn't fall down! Small victories.
Mur'dah pulls the chair back and then takes a step back himself, giving Ka'el a pointed look. And then the brownling will turn and offer Idrissa his arm, since that seems to be the right thing to do. "May I escort you outside?" he asks the greenling. And if she takes him up on it, he will! And if not…he won't be sad. Regardless, he's heading for the exit now that dinner is over, leaving Soriana and Ka'el to…do whatever they're going to do.
It's only terrible if Mur'dah is getting The Talk about the avians and the v'tols along with said wine-toasting. The Weyrstaff may never let Darsce host another meal-seminar for the Weyrlings. At least their young dragons ought to be sleeping by now and not reeling about the Weyr in the throes of mind-shared tipsy-ness, right? RIGHT??
Ka'el is supposed to do what? .. NOT sit here and daze happily? … Oh, right! Get up. He does that. And oh look, Soriana is over there and not occupied by Mur'dah. Mur'dah, who hopefully succeeds in occupying himself as Idrissa's escort because wine seems to put everyone in a good mood and everyone deserves to have a buddy to leave here with. Even Darsce. Jethaniel is likely lurking somewhere. After pushing in his chair (hey, this IS an etiquette class!) he heads to her and bows lavishly, complete with a grin. "That was an awful curtsey," he .. uh, compliments? with that same grin. "I give you a three out of ten and that is me bein' gracious." His grin continues. "Come on." Everyone is leaving! They ought to, too. He offers his arm.
Ka'el and Soriana are going to be elegant and refined, right? Because this is a formal occasion and that's what you do on those, right? …maybe. Soriana smirks to Ka'el. "I know," she says of her curtsy. "I don't know where you're even supposed to put your back leg." Maybe that's why the long dresses - the skirts hide the fact that the leg disappears between or… something. "I shall, however, accept your gracious advice in the same spirit it's given." She grins, and takes his arm. Time for an elegant departure! And, hey… he's not some Lord Holder's beget… is he? And neither of them are that tipsy, right? At least she doesn't fall down on the way out the door! Which is good, because it's a looooong way down.