The Kitano Tea Ceremony

KodazaKodaza Los AngelesMember Posts: 115 ✭✭✭
edited March 2017 in Roleplay Logs
Recently, there was the Enorian-Duiran people auction, and Kodaza listed herself. Among some other things, she offered a unique tea ceremony, drawn from her own family background. @Serrice expressed intent to bid on her, but Kodaza discouraged her by saying there was no need to spend money on their friendship, promising that she would do the tea ceremony for free. After all, she needs to practice.

You have emoted: Kodaza begins to loosen her satchel, setting it on the ground. "Though...
now that I see the place... I feel a little silly bringing, well, all of this." As the satchel opens
where she sets it, a heavy pile of wooden planks and loosened branches begins to spill out of it,
the satchel seeming to have contained much more than it should have from its size.

Serrice looks more curious than anything, and he moves closer to you and takes a knee by your side,
a hand reaching out to run over the timber. "What's all of this for?" he asks, his tone easily
conveying his mood.

You have emoted: "The ceremony," Kodaza says, her light-shadowed form casting across Serrice as she
turns on her foot to look at Serrice with a smile. "The one I was auctioning? I'm going to practice
it with you, it's been almost eight years since the last time..." She trails off, nudging a branch
with her foot. "So. There's some ritual involved here, even before I start brewing. Pick your
favorite!" She bends down on her knees, stooping, and finds a lengthy plank that she lifts up.

Plainly not knowing what to be looking for, Serrice chooses one of the branches at random, something
relatively straight, with perhaps a gentle curve to it. "How about this one? Looks like you could
even make a dhurive out of it -- well, a child-sized one." He takes it in both hands and holds it up
for your inspection and approval.

You have emoted: Kodaza beams at Serrice, literally and figuratively. "If that's the one that speaks
to you." She walks over to another spot on the mossy platform, gesturing for Serrice to come join
her. "You see, Serrice," she says, almost scholarly as she begins to explain, the set in her
shoulders and tone in her voice being an obvious imitation of some matronly example as she recites.
"Just like a family builds there home, or a pair of birds builds their nest before laying eggs. All
tea must be taken at table. And all tables begin as nothing, but are made special by the ones who
sit at them." She hugs her plank of wood, patting it with her hand fondly. "So come, Serrice," she
says, more naturally now, working off of script. "Let's make a table."

"Should've paid more attention to my father's work," Serrice murmurs, his tone light and his
expression all smiles as he watches and listens to you. At the atavian's prompting, he glances down
at the branch in his hands, then plank in your - "With just this branch and that plank?" he asks,
curiously as he moves to join you - tentatively, he pokes his branch into the ground and flashes you
a helpless, sheepish smile.

You have emoted: "Don't be silly," Kodaza chirps, laughing. "These are just the start. I brought
piles of things to build with." Standing beside Serrice, but looking at the two nothing-yet pieces
of wood on the ground instead of him, she wraps her arm in his. "But the first step is the most
important. You can't choose your family, so, we focus on the things we can choose." She lets Serrice
go and returns to her pile of things. "There's more than just wood in here, too. Some stray stones,
small tiles. We'll just set it all on top of each other and make something flat and stable. We don't
have to use it all, just... whatever catches your eye?"

"Well I wasn't sure!" Serrice softly protests, the man looking back at you before switching his
focus back to the other things that had fallen out of your satchel. "What are the branches we picked
out for, then?" he goes on to wonder as he makes his way over to the pile and kneels, mind already
at work. He expresses a clear preference for wood, picking out a number of relatively straight
branches and planks and using them to form the four sides of a square.

You have emoted: "Everything has a beginning, doesn't it?" Making sure Serrice is building around
the original set of plank and branch, Kodaza arranges her own armful of lumber, creating a very
balanced second layer atop the one he put in place. "Every fire has its first spark. Every rain has
its first drop. Every child takes its first breath." She brushes her hair out of her face as she
works, humming softly. "We needed something to build on top of. Just like a family would."

Serrice shifts until he's on his knee before the structure that he and you are constructing -- he
leans over when necessary to fetch more wood, plank and branch, one after another, to steadily build
up the 'walls' of the table. Once it's perhaps a foot high, he starts digging more for planks and
tiles, balancing them across the top to form the table's surface. "That's true. Even the unending
Rhythm was set into motion by the Celestine. All things have a beginning."

You have emoted: Kodaza nods. "I was just talking with Nola about some of this," she says, smiling
fondly. "Hmmm. Serrice, you mentioned your father's work?" Kodaza begins to grin. "Tell me more
about that. That's exactly the sort of conversation we should be having in this case. Oh, and while
you're at it," she says, noticing Serrice's position allows him easier access to the wood supply,
"do you see those smaller branches that don't look like they would be useful for this? They have a
purpose, so hand them to me, please?"

"Father is a woodworker, carpenter, you might say," Serrice explains as he leans over obliging and
gathers sticks and branches into a bundle in the palm of his hand that he hands over to you one
after another. "Wasn't much interested in that sort of work, though. Wasn't a very patient girl,
liked running out in the wilds and catching interesting bugs and climb tall trees rather than know
the best sort of plane to smooth out wood, aye?"

You have emoted: Kodaza holds her palms up, hands together, to receive them from Serrice. "Well,"
she grins, "at least this is a little less refined, hm? Just a pile of things. But a meaningful pile."
Sitting back, she begins softly bending and tying the branches together. "Ma was a basket weaver,
so she knew how to work with her hands. Always knew how to fix something if it was broken, always
with something you wouldn't expect. Using branches like these to hold ripped dresses together, and
the like." She smiles fondly, lightly humming, and inspects the 'table.' "Do you think it's about
tall enough yet to sit at?"

Serrice nods. "Long as you don't intend us to build chairs, too," he says with an airy little smile.
Shifting, the man moves out of his kneel to sit cross-legged instead, hands plucking and pulling at
the silk of his kimono until it lays more or less appropriately, covering the whole of his lap. A
couple of stones are reached for and set at the four corners of the table, for ornamentation more
than anything else. "Are you? Because I'm just going to grab one of those bigger rocks and call it a
seat if you do."

You have emoted: "You can do that," Kodaza says, hiding what she was working on down on the ground.
"There's one last part I have to do first, but you can go ahead and relax while I explain." She
walks over back to the pile of things, and gets four more thin planks, setting them in a square
within the rocks Serrice decorated the table with. "A nice touch," she whispers as she works, then
quiets, seeming a little serious and thoughtful as she makes sure this new, final layer is just

Serrice doesn't actually go and grab a stone, apparently finding the moss comfortable enough. He
does take the prompt to relax to heart, however, leaning back on the palms of his hands and turning
his red-eyed gaze from the table to you. He watches you work quietly, a small, neutral smile on his
features all the while.

You have emoted: Kodaza steps back, having made it so that the top of the table forms a small
chamber, allowing a recess into it. "A family can build a nest," she says, once more sounding as
though she is reciting from long memory, "but it is the love they share that makes it a home.
Parents may bring forth children, but it is the child's own creativity and growth that makes a life.
All things may be built," she says. Pausing, she glances at Serrice.

In Atavian, you tell Serrice, "This is where you would say something, but you don't know the words,
so I'll do the next line too!"

You have emoted: Kodaza shifts to the other side of the table, as if taking on the role of a second
person. She sets down some rocks in the little chamber she's formed, creating a shield for the wood.
"But it is the spark within that warms them and completes it." She reaches down and pulls up the
small branches she asked for earlier, revealing that she's formed them into a small wicker bowl. She
sets this in the chamber too, just atop the rocks.

You murmur to Serrice in Atavian, "You can speak freely now, if you like."

Serrice's head tilts slightly, something about your words prompting a deeper sort of curiosity to
his features than just interest in what words might come next. It comes, and it passes, and by the
conclusion of your remarks, it's gone. "It-- that's very skillful of you, Koda," he enthuses quietly,
looking first at the bowl, then you, both times with a tentative smile. "You've put stones to the
side, there. Is this where you'll be brewing the tea?"

You have emoted: Kodaza nods. "Just so. Ordinarily, we'd build very careful fires, using the stones
to keep the table itself from burning, and then use the stones to boil the water. We'll still do
that second part, but!" She flashes Serrice a childish grin. "Ah. I'm going to cheat a little."
Extending her index finger, she pokes each small stone, and they begin to heat and flicker from the
Ascendril's touch. As they continue warming up, she shakes the channeled heat off of her hand before
taking up the tiny bowl she made. "Here," she says, handing the final tiny stone that was left
unused to Serrice, and placing some dried tea leaves into the bowl. "Start mashing these? Like a
mortar and pestle. It's perhaps not how you're accustomed to drinking it, but it's as part of the
ceremony as anything."

Serrice obliges, splaying his fingers apart to keep the bowl firmly in place whilst he starts
grinding away at the leaves with the stone in hand of the other. It's careful, delicate work, the
bowl not of an equally sturdy material as might be expected of something an herbalist would use.
"Have chopped the leaves before, but generally like them whole," he mentions. "Though, shouldn't be
anything wrong with this if they were whole when dried. Doesn't lose any flavor this way."

You have emoted: "Releases some of the oils," Kodaza says, "but that's fine. It's a different flavor,
not a loss of one." She folds her hands in her lap for a moment, taking a small break as her
cheating with the stones gives her a brief window to do so. "And, while you do that, though. There's
one more thing you must do, that the ceremony asks."

"Hm?" Serrice asks, glancing up briefly from his work to look back at you with a slight arch of an
ashen brow. "What's that?"

You have emoted: Kodaza's smile widens. She drags her satchel closer to her, and reaches inside for
the teapot. "You have to sing. Whatever comes to mind."

"Sing?" Serrice's eyes widen, and he gradually straightens, pulls back up. "Well, I can't-- I
certainly don't know how to sing!" There's a tinge of protest in his tone.

You have emoted: "Hum, then? But vocally so. La la, lala la la lah?" Kodaza asks of Serrice.

Serrice hesitates for a moment. "N-no, I won't do that-- I'll sing." He flashes you a sheepish smile.
"But you're not to judge!"

You say, in Atavian, "I won't."

Serrice exhales through his nose and gains a pensive expression, quiet with thought. Eventually, he
clears his throat, shoots you one last self-conscious look, and begins to sing.

Serrice, the Black Fox says something in a graceful, foreign language.

Serrice, the Black Fox says something in a graceful, foreign language.

Serrice, the Black Fox says something in a graceful, foreign language.

Serrice, the Black Fox says something in a graceful, foreign language.

Serrice continues on like this for some time, a light, airy thing, cheery and repetitive - like a
children's song, one that might sound a touch unusual coming from an older, deeper voice like his.

You have emoted: Kodaza smiles as she listens, not understanding the words, but after a few lines catching the tune.
Humming along with Serrice for a full measure to be sure she has it right, she begins to sing along with him, harmonizing her light and cheery voice with the deeper one.
"La la la, la la la, la-lah Lah-la," she sings, just as she exampled to him, following wordlessly along to the tune.

The basic structure of the song seems the same, repeating itself three times with only slight
variations on certain words each time. It concludes on a somewhat slower note, but without any
particular distinction beyond that -- Serrice exhales when done, his lips drawing into a nostalgic
smile. Switching back to Atavian, he explains, "That was a children's song my mother used to sing to
my sister and I when we were small. 'Little bird, little bird, fly through my window...'"

You have emoted: Kodaza goes rosy as she smiles. "Oh, how sweet!" she chirps. "Birds are good
friends. They share the sky with us. So out of anything in Creation, barring of course," she
indicates Serrice, "special exceptions of remarkable people who have learned to fly in other ways?
There are things only we know, only we have seen. The birds, and the Atavians." She leans forward
across the table, setting the teapot on the warm rocks, and opening it as the water inside begins to
bubble. "Pour the leaves in now," she whispers.

Serrice nods and reaches for the bowl. Carefully, he holds it over the teapot and with a finger,
nudges the crushed leaves in in a slow and calculated trickle. A swipe gets the last of it in,
before the bowl is finally set aside. "Done," he declares.

You have emoted: Kodaza continues whispering to Serrice. "It might be a bit, um. Crunchier than
you're used to," she says, off-script. "Using a branch bowl like that almost certainly broke off
bits and mixed that in with the leaves, too..." Her voice gradually rises as she finishes her
prologue to Serrice, coming back to reciting as she continues, "As there are struggles in any home,
between all families and friends, we know the world gets its flavor from the imperfections. We drink
this tea now, with all its flawed texture, on the rough table we have set. But it is ours, and it is
warm, and we will leave this place stronger for it." She nods, covering the teapot with her hands
for a moment, closing her eyes as though praying silently.

Uncertain what to say or do, Serrice just stays quiet, though he nods to you after your initial
warnings. When your hands cover the teapot, his own move to follow, resting atop yours until they
make to leave. His eyes do not close, instead watching the other woman yet still.

You have emoted: When she feels Serrice's hands cover her own, Kodaza nods in approval, eyes still
shut a moment longer. Slowly, she opens them and smiles at Serrice. "Okay," she whispers,
producing a silver-repaired blue ceramic cup from her satchel, and then another to match. "Would you
like to pour, or shall I?"

"I can't decide," Serrice admits to you with a small smile of his own. "Shall we do it together?" He
gestures to the teapot, then to the cups.

You have emoted: Kodaza's smile widens, shifting her grip on an onyx-glazed pot filled with chakra
flowers of brewed 'Sparrow' tea, redolent of citrus so that Serrice can take hold of it with her.
"Let's," she agrees. "The ceremony is over, Serrice. Thank you," she says as she begins to pour. "I
think I remembered it very well, after all."

Together, Serrice and you pour out the tea, filling one cup, then the next with the golden-hued
liquid. Some detritus floats to the top, but the Azudim neither points it out nor pays no mind to it
-- when done, he reaches out and takes one cup and then the other, holding yours until you have a
hand to hold it. Then he sips.

You sip from a silver-repaired blue ceramic cup with traces of brewed 'Sparrow' tea, redolent of
citrus. The fresh slice of orange brightens the citrus-infused tea, and is softened by the tender,
sweet taste of peach. Further warmth envelops your tongue as the spice of ginger subtly breaks
through the welcoming peach.

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