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Postby Kirei Qe'Azour » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:08 pm

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17th Cylus 718


Well, at least it's not snowing anymore... Kirei grumbled to herself as she trudged into Elyari's Hope.

Normally she loved working at the restaurant. Elyari was a wonderful woman to work for, and an even better mentor to her and her fellow apprentices. But the ride into Andaris, as short as it was, had been a true challenge to her skills as a rider. The icy crust on top of the snow was slippery, and difficult to navigate, and there was a risk to her horse's legs as her hooves broke through the icy crust, making sharp edges that could injure her. It was a relief to both of them when she finally arrived at the stable in Lowtown.

But entering the kitchen now made the trip worthwhile. The heat from the ovens was a welcome relief to the frigid cold of Cylus.

"So what are we going to be doing today?" Kirei asked as she greeted Elyari, Aris, and Andiron.

"Making bread."

"Are you sure we ought to allow Aris near the ovens? She might burn the whole place down!" Andiron snarked.

Aris stuck her tongue out at him, but she didn't bother trying to defend herself because Andiron did have a point. Her lack of anything approaching baking skill was legendary. And she had managed to set one on fire more than once before Kirei had started working there.

"Bread is a simple food. There are hundreds of different kinds, and even more ways to use it as an ingredient in something else, but it is fairly simple to make. Once you know how to make one kind, you will find that several others have only slight differences. And after you have made several loaves of bread to gain some experience, I will give you the chance to experiment with the recipe a little and make your own personal version.

Kirei was intrigued by the idea. She knew that all master chefs made up their own recipes all the time. Each had their own signature dishes that you couldn't eat anywhere else other than their restaurants. Someday Kirei hoped that she too would be skilled enough to invent her own signature dishes. But if she had learned one thing since she started studying under Elyari, it was just how much she had left to learn. So while she was excited at the prospect of experimenting with a recipe, she was anxious about it, too.

"Shall we get started?" Elyari asked.
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Kirei Qe'Azour
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Postby Kirei Qe'Azour » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:12 pm

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There was only one possible answer to that question. All three apprentices nodded, and washed their hands so they could get to work.

"This first recipe I'm going to teach you is a good one for beginners to learn. It will teach you about the essential ingredients that go into making bread. It will also give you a chance to practice kneading dough, as well as other techniques that are often needed when baking bread. And it will help you to discover what the perfect baking time is for your oven. Every oven heats differently, so some take longer to bake something than others. So making bread here won't be exactly the same as it would be if you made it at home."

Elyari gave her apprentices some time to take in her words before continuing.

"This particular recipe will produce a loaf of bread that has a soft crust, and a moist center. Why don't you start by taking a look at the recipe, and gathering the ingredients we will nwwd?"

Kirei moved so that she could see the recipe that Elyari had sat down on the counter clearly. She sensed more than saw her fellow apprentices doing the same as she began reading the ingredient list.

"I can get the dry ingredients if one of you can get the liquid ones, and the other can get the yeast and vegetable shortening?" she suggested.

The others agreed, and Kirei walked over to the food cellar, and returned with flour, salt, and sugar. Aris was already waiting for her with the water, and milk, and Andiron joined them a few trills later with the remaining two ingredients they needed.

"The first step in any bread recipe is to make the dough that you need. Why don't you get things started, Andiron?"

Andiron nodded stiffly. He carefully looked at the instructions before getting a bowl, and pouring three quarters of a cup of water into a pot. He heated it until it was warm, but not hot. Then he poured it into the bowl. With that done, he started to slowly stir in two quarter teaspoons worth of active dry yeast. He continued to stir until the yeast had dissolved completely. Kirei added the teaspoon of salt along with the one and a half tablespoons of sugar while Aris added the half a cup of milk, and the tablespoon of vegetable shortening.

"Why does the recipe call for salt, Elyari? I thought that salt would kill the yeast?" Andiron asked with a puzzled frown when they were done.

"A lot of people believe that, but it isn't true. The salt will slow the growth of the yeast, not kill it. That is actually a good thing. It is a process known as retarding the dough. This can be done in two ways; through the use of salt, or by placing the dough in the ice box for a while, often overnight. The flavor of many breads will improve if you can slow down the fermentation. Some styles of bread actually require it. Yeast acts fast, and can cause a bread dough to rise within a break if left in warm temperatures. This is good for quick breads, but you will often get a deeper flavor if you slow the yeast down."

Kirei took a mental note of what their mentor was trying to teach them. Retardation seemed like an important technique to know when making bread. Knowing how long it took for bread to rise, and that warmer temperatures will cause bread to rise faster was useful as well. But they had already started making their bread, and if yeast rose quickly in the heat, then surely the heat produced by the ovens would have an impact? Kirei didn't know for sure, but it seemed like a good idea to finish what they had started now, and ask questions later.

"What's next?" she asked.

"Have you combined the ingredients thoroughly?"

Kirei glanced at their bowl, then shook her head sheepishly. The answer to her question had been a pretty obvious one.

"Then do so. Once that's done, you can mix in the first two cups of flour."

The three apprentices were quick to do what they were told. Elyari looked at their dough with a critical eye.

"It looks as though you're going to need some more flour for this."

When Aris reached for the measuring cup, their mentor shook her head.

"What you are looking for is for the dough to chase the spoon around the bowl as you stir it. To achieve that, you need to keep adding flour a tablespoon at a time until it happens."

Each of the apprentices took turns stirring the dough, and adding flour. By the time they had added half a cup more flour, they had achieved the desired effect.

"Now that you've made the dough, it's time to work it, and let it rise. The first thing you want to do is turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it."

At the confused looks she got from her apprentices, she gave them an amused look, then explained what she meant.

"When you knead the dough, you will use only the heels of your hands. You want to push down on the dough with your hand heels. Then you fold the dough in half. After that, you need to turn the dough about 45 degrees and knead with your hand heels again. Continue to knead, fold and turn the dough for the required length of time that the recipe calls for, or to the desired consistency. While kneading, your hands should be lightly dusted with flour in order to keep the dough from sticking to you. You should also keep a measuring cup of flour beside your work area as you work. That way, you can sprinkle flour onto the dough as needed to prevent it from sticking to your counter or kneading board.

Elyari demonstrated what she meant, then allowed each of her apprentices to take a turn kneading the dough so they would learn how it felt to do it. She watched them work, and told them that they needed to add spoonfuls of flour to the dough as they worked so that the dough was soft and smooth instead of being sticky to the touch.

"The next step is to coat a bowl in either butter, or grease, and put your dough into it. You want to turn the dough over so that the top of it is coated as well. Once that is done, it's time to cover the dough in a warm, draft free area for one break so it can rise."

Kirei quickly found a cloth they could use while Aris and Andiron argued over where they should put it. By the time they finally agreed on a spot, Kirei had returned, and they covered the dough so it could rise.
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Postby Kirei Qe'Azour » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:47 pm

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Since they had time to kill, the three apprentices began washing the dishes they had used so far while Elyari went to oversee something else. While they worked, one of the waiters came looking for a quick snack while he was on his break.

"What do you guys think about the Mage burning on the 5th? Great stuff, right? I loved watching that demon burn. There's another Mage burning this trial, too. If I wasn't working, I would definitely be there."

Kirei couldn't help but shudder as she stared at Taru. Burning someone to death was disturbing on more levels than Kirei could name. While she believed that some criminals deserved to be executed, there had to be a better way of doing it. A soldier with a sword, perhaps. Or death by an archer's arrow. Just about anything, really.

"You were there?" she asked, not sure what else to say.

Taru nodded.

"Did any of you go?"

The three apprentices shook their heads in unison.

"We were working." Aris explained.

"But even if we weren't, I wouldn't have gone. Burning someone to death is a little...extreme for anyone, don't you think?"

Kirei nodded in agreement. So did Andiron, but his agreement was a little more hesitant. Taru stared at them.

"Are you kidding? If anything, it isn't enough! If I was the one in charge, I would torture them for weeks before finally allowing them to burn!"

It was Kirei's turn to stare. Did she really know her coworker at all? She considered what she knew about Taru. Above all else, he was a man of the sea. He was a Biqaj who was forced to give up the sea he loved because of an injury that made life on a ship impossible for him. She also knew that he loved to fish, and that many of the fish that the restaurant used were provided by his efforts. None of those things had prepared her for the knowledge that he was the type of man to take pleasure in the suffering of another.

"You can't possibly think that those demons should be allowed to run around freely, and do whatever they want!" Taru demanded incredulously.

"Of course not." Andiron said quickly.

"I hate to admit being afraid of anything, but magic...magic scares me. I'm glad that magic is illegal in Rynmere. I just don't know if burning them is the right thing to do." he said uneasily.

Aris nodded in agreement.

"I wouldn't say that I fear magic, exactly...but I admit to being wary of it. And I think that it should be illegal here in Rynmere. I just think that unless a Mage has hurt an innocent, they should be exiled instead of killed. And if they have hurt someone, there has to be a better way of executing them than burning them at the stake. No one deserves to be burned alive."

Taru turned to Kirei with a fierce glare.

"And what do you think?" he demanded.

Kirei took a few trills to gather her thoughts before trying to explain.

"I think...I think that magic is a form of power. Nothing more, nothing less. It is a form of power, just like any other. And it is the person who wields it that can be good, evil, or some mixture of the two." she said slowly.

Taru's scowl darkened as he continued to glare at Kirei.

"How can you possibly think that?! Don't you know what those filthy Mages did to innocent people back in Vhalar?"

"Of course I do. I don't live under a rock, or anything. And I am not denying that some Mages are evil. Any form of power can be used for evil. Magic is no exception to that. But any form of power can be used for good as well."

When Taru simply stared at her suspiciously, Kirei sighed.

"Look. Take a skill with any weapon...a sword for example. It can be used to protect yourself and your family, right? It can also be used to protect the innocents...much the way the Moseke Knights protect the citizens of Andaris. Am I mistaken?"

Taru shook his head.

"No, of course not. Don't be stupid."

"And yet, in the hands of a bandit, or a thug, that same skill with a sword...that same power can be used to harm the innocent."

"Well yes, but..."

"Or what about political power? The noble that uses his or her rank and power to benefit the people living under them is considered a good person, right?"

"Yes..."

"And another noble who uses their power and influence to benefit only themselves at the cost of their people can be considered to be evil?"

"Yes, but that..."

"How about knowledge? Knowledge is power after all, is it not? Using medicine as an example, a doctor who is skilled in what he does can save lives, or an herbalist who uses their knowledge to make medicines can be considered to be good. But those same skills in the wrong hands can be used to make poisons, or to know the best way to hurt someone."

Kirei didn't mention abilities granted by one of the Immortals because that was something of a grey area in her mind. Immortals like Qylios were good; she bore her own mark from Qylios proudly. But others such as Faldrun were evil, and as such the abilities they granted their followers could be considered to be evil as well.

"I suppose..."

"So why is magic any different? It can be used to cause harm, but I am sure that it can be used to help people as well."

"Because it just is!" Taru ground out in frustration.

Surprisingly, it was Andiron who stepped in to try and defuse the situation.

"Kirei does have a point, Taru. Most forms of power, be it skill with a weapon, or specialized knowledge can be used for wither good or evil. And I suppose...to a point...magic can be as well. But...how much does anyone other than a Mage know about magic, anyway? Most skills can be taught. Someone who starts out not knowing the first thing about a sword can learn to become a master swordsman if they devote enough time, and work into it. People can study to learn about herbs, and so on. But how does one become a Mage? Is it something you can learn from another Mage? That seems unlikely, because if it were, there would be a lot more of them around. Is it something people are born with? Because if that is the case, isn't it possible that only evil people are born with magic? Or that the magic itself corrupts them over time somehow?"

"Well...maybe..."

Kirei didn't think that Andiron's suggestion sounded right somehow. But she couldn't exactly refute it since she didn't really know anything about magic. So she didn't bother to try.

"But I still think we need to keep an eye on Kirei here. She did help a Mage after all."

Kirei paled. That was a very serious accusation. Especially these trials. Helping a Mage could get you burned right alongside them with everyone as paranoid over magic as they were.

"No, I didn't! What Mage? When do you think I helped a Mage?" she demanded as her fellow apprentices turned to stare at her with wide eyes.

"Yes you did. That guy who made the ice skating rink in the Rynmere Theater! Hart, isn't it? Didn't you guys cater the event for him a few trials ago? If I were you, I'd be careful about things like that, or you could be accused of helping a Mage, too."

"Hart's no Mage, Taru." Kirei told him shortly.

"Of course he is! He was arrested for being a Mage at the burning, wasn't he? Everyone knows that!"

Kirei counted to ten slowly before continuing.

"Yes...and yet he was released, wasn't he? Otherwise, how could he have run the event that we catered for him?"

"They wouldn't have arrested him if he wasn't a Mage, Kirei!"

"And they wouldn't have freed him if he was a Mage, now would they?"

"Well...no...but...still! He must be a filthy Mage if they arrested him! No one goes around arresting innocent people!"

Kirei might have responded, but Elyari chose that trill to return, reminding them that a break had passed, and that it was time to get back to work.
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Postby Kirei Qe'Azour » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:13 pm

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"Is there a problem here?" Elyari asked as she regarded them all with a raised eyebrow.

Taru muttered something incomprehensible, and left quickly while the three apprentices exchanged uneasy glances.

"Well?"

"Taru came in here all excited about the Mage burnings, and he ended up accusing Kirei of helping a Mage because of the way she thinks about magic. Us too, sort of. And if you think about it, he kind of accused you of helping a Mage too, Elyari." Aris said in a rush.

"He claims that Hart is a Mage since he was arrested during the Mage burning on the 5th, apparently. And all of us supposedly "helped" him by catering his event at the Rynmere Theater."

Elyari's eyebrow rose even higher.

"I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Calling catering an event that he paid us to do "helping a Mage" is a bit of a stretch to begin with, don't you think? Besides...if he really was a Mage, then they wouldn't have released him if they'd arrested him, now would they?"

"That's what I tried to tell Taru." Kirei muttered in annoyance.

Elyari chuckled.

"Well, don't worry about it. I'll have a talk with Taru later. I think he's just quick to jump to conclusions about things like that because one of his friends was killed during the burning last Vhalar."

Kirei's eyes widened. She hadn't known that. And while she was still disturbed at how much he wanted Mages to suffer...it did make a little more sense. Sort of.

"I will talk to him later. For now, we have bread to bake."

The three apprentices nodded in unison as they got ready to work.

"Now that we've allowed the dough to rise, it's time to punch down the dough."

As before with the task of kneading the dough, all Elyari got was confused looks from her apprentices.

"You want us to...punch the dough...?" Aris asked, seeking confirmation.

"Well...sort of. That is what the technique is called, but it doesn't call for as much violence as the term implies. Punching dough is a common technique used in bread baking and it is essential to almost every type of bread you bake. "Punching down" deflates the dough and releases the air so that you can knead it and form it into loaves."

"So how do we do it?" Kirei asked curiously.

"When punching dough, you should leave it in the bowl it rose in. You need to make a fist with your hand and push it gently and firmly into the center of the dough. Then fold the edges of the dough into the center to form the deflated dough into a ball. When you're done with that, you remove the ball of dough from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured surface Then you knead it two or three times before shaping the dough into your desired form, or putting it into a bread pan."

Elyari gave each of her apprentices a chance to practice, starting with Kirei.

"Punching the dough down will result in a finer, more tender crumb; something you would look for in a sandwich bread or pastries like cinnamon rolls."

"You said this technique was used for most types of bread earlier. What technique do you use for the types where punching the dough isn't suitable?" Kirei asked while Aris was taking her turn.

"You would use the folding technique. The folding technique is another way of releasing the air in the dough. It creates a bread that rises higher and has a looser crumb and air pockets once it is baked. This is a welcome characteristic of artisan bread, baguettes, and dinner rolls."

"And how do you fold the dough?" Andiron wanted to know.

"To fold dough, you would place it on a flour coated surface so that it won't stick, and carefully pat it down into a rectangle. In order to create the first fold, you would pick up either the right or left side of the dough and fold it a third of the way over the rest of the dough. Then brush off any excess flour. Repeat the process on the other side of the dough. Next, grab the edge of the rectangle that is farthest from you and pull in toward you, folding it ​one-third of the way. On all of these folds, gentle stretching is ideal. The dough should not be pinched closed in any way; you should be able to see the layers of the folds. Finally, fold the piece of dough closest to you over the other folds which will now create a square. Brush off the excess flour. When you're finished, you would put the dough back in the bowl. If the recipe calls for using a floured or oiled bowl to keep the dough from sticking, you would coat it with flour or oil before placing the dough in the bowl."

When each of them had had a chance to punch down the dough, Elyari glanced at the recipe.

"What does it say to do next?" she asked them.

Her question had the three apprentices rushing over to check.

"We need to knead the dough, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees."

"Well?"

After a brief discussion, they decided that Kirei would knead the dough while Andiron preheated the oven. Neither of them especially wanted Aris to do much with the ovens if there was a choice in the matter.

"According to the recipe, the next thing we're supposed to do is to form the dough into a loaf, and put it into a buttered bread pan. Then we need to cover it and let it rise for half a break." Andiron informed them.

Kirei started to work on shaping the dough, but Aris came over to give her advice on what the loaf should look like. Together, they managed the task well enough. In the mean time, Andiron found a bread pan, and buttered it so it would be ready for the dough once they got it into the proper shape. Once again they had time on their hands, and once again, they decided to get some of the dishes they had used cleaned up while they were waiting for the dough to rise. But this time they worked in silence. Their last discussion had given them a lot to think about.

The time passed quickly, and before they knew it, it was time to put the loaf into the oven to bake. After checking the recipe, Kirei paused long enough to use a sharp knife to score the loaf by cutting three slashes across the top. Andiron opened the oven for her while she placed the loaf inside.

"How long are we supposed to bake it for?" he asked.

"For forty five bits."

"We don't have that many dishes left to wash. Why don't we finish those up, and see if we can help Elyari with something else?" Aris suggested.

Kirei and Andiron agreed quickly, eager to see what else they might be able to learn this trial.
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Postby Arlo Creede » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:43 am

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Kirei



Knowledge:
Baking: Each oven works a bit differently; some heat faster than others, and this can affect baking times

Baking; Retarding Technique: Retarding is the process of slowing down the final rising in the bread making process; it is done by placing the dough in the ice box, which causes a slower fermentation of the dough. It is often done overnight when the dough is placed in the ice box so it can be freshly baked in the morning. Salt can also be used to slow down the growth of the yeast. The flavor of many breads improves if you can slow down the fermentation and some styles of bread actually require it. Yeast wants to act fast and can cause a bread dough to rise within a break if left in warm temperatures. This is good for quick breads, but you will often get a deeper flavor if you slow the yeast down.

Baking; Punching Technique: Punching dough is a common technique used in bread baking and it is essential to almost every bread you bake. "Punching down" deflates the dough and releases the air so that you can knead it and form it into loaves. When punching dough, you should leave it in the bowl it rose in. Make a fist with your hand and push it gently and firmly into the center of the dough. Then fold the edges of the dough into the center to form the deflated dough into a ball. When you're done with that, remove the ball from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured surface Then knead it two or three times before shaping the dough into your desired form, or putting it into a bread pan. Punching down will result in a finer, more tender crumb; something you would look for in a sandwich bread or pastries like cinnamon rolls.

Baking; Folding Technique: The folding technique is another way of releasing the air in the dough. It creates a bread that rises higher and has a looser crumb and air pockets once it is baked. This is a welcome characteristic of artisan bread, baguettes, and dinner rolls. To fold dough, place it on a flour coated surface so it won't stick, and carefully pat it down into a rectangle. To create the first fold, pick up either the right or left side of the dough and fold it a third of the way over the rest of the dough. Then brush off any excess flour. Repeat the process on the other side of the dough. Next, grab the edge of the rectangle that is farthest from you and pull in toward you, folding it ​one-third of the way. On all of these folds, gentle stretching is ideal. The dough should not be pinched closed in any way; you should be able to see the layers of the folds. Finally, fold the piece of dough closest to you over the other folds which will now create a square. Brush off the excess flour. When you're finished, put the dough back in the bowl. If the recipe calls for using a floured or oiled bowl to keep the dough from sticking, be sure to do this before placing the dough in the bowl.

Baking; Kneading Technique: When you knead, you will use only the heels of your hands. Push down on the dough with your hand heels. Fold the dough in half. Then turn the dough about 45 degrees and knead with your hand heels again. Continue to knead, fold and turn the dough for the required length of time or to the consistency suggested. Your hands should be lightly dusted with flour to keep the dough from sticking to you. And you should keep a measuring cup of flour beside your work area to prevent the dough from sticking to your counter or kneading board.

Mount; Horse: Riding over icy ground is difficult, and can be dangerous


Non-Skill Knowledge:
Kirei: is uneasy about the Mage burning on the 5th of Cylus
Kirei: believes that magic is power, just like any other form of power, and that it is the person who wields it that is good or evil, not the power itself
Kirei: is deeply disturbed about anyone being burned to death

Andiron: is afraid of magic
Andiron: hates to admit that he is afraid
Andiron: thinks Kirei has a valid point in theory, but fears that magic corrupts a Mage, turning them evil over time
Andiron: is glad that magic is illegal in Rynmere, but is uneasy about burning Mages

Aris: is wary of magic, but doesn't fear it outright
Aris: is glad that magic is illegal in Rynmere, but feels Mages should be exiled rather than executed unless they have hurt innocents
Aris: feels that burning is too extreme, and that executing Mages should be handled a different way

NPC: Taru
Taru: a waiter working at Elyari's Hope
Taru: a man of the sea
Taru: a Biqaj who was forced to give up the sea due to injury
Taru: loves to fish
Taru: provides a lot of the fish the restaurant uses
Taru: believes that all Mages deserve to suffer as much as possible before they die
Taru: lost a friend in the Mage burning in Vhalar


Loot: N/A


Fame: N/A


Points: 10 - These points may not be used for magic


Comments: Nice read and well written. I enjoyed seeing how you were able to turn a skill building solo into an examination of your pc's views on magic and her own moral compass while maintaining the flow. Nicely done. :)



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