(2530-08-05) Lessons in Tea Drinking
Summary: Vel takes the young ones to the tea house
RL Date: 05 Aug 2020
Related: none
vel skyler jude celeste 

Xi Yang Tea House

The famous tea house is ringed by a moat, accessible only via a wooden arched bridge. Inside, low tables line three of the four floor-to-ceiling glass walls that offer a splendid view onto the moat and surrounding greenery. People may kneel at the table or otherwise make themselves comfortable on cushions. There are a few taller tables with proper chairs in the middle of the room for those who prefer them. Decorations within are rich red and golden. The light in the tea house is always low and the only sounds are the sweet chimes of oriental instruments and the trickle of an artificial waterfall. Waitresses in classical silk robes glide around, serving tea and other refreshments. A proper tea ceremony can be had on request.

It is a summer morning. The weather is warm and stormy.

A flash of blue light travels across the dark sky. Thunder crashes, and the lights flicker. The air becomes sweet with the heavy scent of ozone; then the sky opens up. Vel is seated at a traditional Japanese table; on a mat on the floor at the table; there is room for four people. Dressed in a silk kimono and has all the ritualistic instruments needed for a tea ceremony. Vel herself is wearing a black silk summer dress that shows off her curves and falls below her knee.

Just barely before the rain begins, Celeste steps inside. Good timing on her part, since the water would have /ruined/ her blue silk shirt. That sort of material doesn't recover well from a drenching. Her trousers are equally delicate, but white rather than blue. She doesn't notice Vel at first, she's too busy looking at her Cortex device as she lingers by the entrance, clearly waiting for somebody.

Skyler owns about three outfits and one ball gown. That's it. So she's in the same jeans and tee shirt she normally wears. She also doesn't understand the purpose of this whole field trip, given that she doesn't like tea. Did she tell Vel that? Nope. It doesn't do any good. She's told Max she hates tea like four times, and he keeps offering it to her. Some people just don't have the mental capacity to comprehend there are people in the world who do not enjoy specific caffeinated beverages. To the tea house she goes, hoping they have a secret stash of BlueIce Sodas, and struggling to get past Celeste, "You're sorta blocking the way, Sunshine."

That somebody is Jude. He wasn't sure what to expect from being invited to a Japanese place. Hopefully it wouldn't involve sushi again. He's even dressed for the occasion. In a way. He's wearing his usual black denims and leather boots, but instead of a heavy metal t-shirt he wears a t-shirt with a manga character, a pony-tailed girl in a very skimpy skirt wielding a massive samurai sword. "Hey.", he greets Celly with a smile and a kiss, trailing after Sky.

Hearing familiar voice Vel looks away from the woman and then gracefully rises to her feet. She then makes her way over toward the three of them. "Please come in and join in, I have a table. I was thinking a tea ceremony is in order." A kind and warm smile touches her lips and brightens her eyes. She makes a gesture towards where the woman and table is.

"Mm? Oh! Please excuse me." Celeste shifts out of Sky's way. At first she doesn't recognise her, in that odd way that you don't recognise somebody because they're in a completely unexpected place. Then she blinks. "Oh, Sky! Hello." Then there's Jude, who she kisses and smiles at. And then a Vel! Now, Vel is somebody she /would/ expect to find in a place like this, so that's not so jarring. "Hello, Professor," she says. "Are you sure we're not imposing? That would be lovely. I adore the ceremonies here!"

Skyler goes over and sits on the mat. Is she supposed to remove shoes? If so, she doesn't know she is, so she doesn't. In Japanese, she asks the Kimono Lady if there's any way she could slip something other than tea into her glass because tea tastes like hot grass but everyone in the world seems to get upset if you tell them that, so it has to be done SECRET-like, if she can pull it off."

Jude looks taken aback when Vel appears. IT'S A TRAP! "Did you know she was here?", he asks Celeste, "Did you plan this? I thought we were gonna have …" Well, he wasn't thinking much actually, so he claps his mouth shut. "What's a tea ceremony?", he asks as he trails after the others.

The woman looks at Skyler and offers her a shake of her head. Vel looks at Celeste, "if I did not mean it I would not have offered." She heads over towards table, looking over her shoulder she looks at Jude. "No, I did not, perhaps it is just fate." Another smile, is offered. She then goes to take her seat.

Celeste blinks at Jude. "No…" She's not /nearly/ deceptive enough to set something like this up without telling him. She's pleased, though. There is a much better chance of Jude agreeing to a tea ceremony if Vel offers it! She was planning on easing him in gently. Mostly by ordering food, and sneaking the tea along with it. She smoothly kneels to settle herself on the opposite side of the table from Vel.

Maybe one of the reasons that Celeste didn't recognize Skyler right away is her hair. It's not her normal curly mass. It's been tamed and gently coaxed into two short braids, fixed at the end with red ponytail holders. Anybody who knows Sky at all knows that she didn't do this to herself, and is unlikely to have willingly encouraged it. It does mean that her expressions are more visible, unable to be hidden behind spirals of deception, so her disappointment at the no covert beverages can be seen flickering across her eyes. Oh well! Still in Japanese, she tells Kimono Lady that these people she is with have an unnatural fondness for smoked eels in garlic sauce. Just because she can.

Jude decides to believe the pair. Mostly because he's distracted by the next drama on hand. KNEELING? Have they noticed how tight these jeans are? And that certain parts of his anatomy, which at least Celeste should be reasonably appreciative of, might get squished? So he stands and hovers.

Once they are seated, the woman begins to ritualistically make the tea for the four of them. The woman is silent, and her movements graceful and restrained. A clean cloth is used to clean the tea caddy and the bamboo scoop. A tea mixture is scooped out and placed in the bowl. Hot water is then added to the mixture and then a whisk is used to mix it until it is forthy. She repeats the process in silence, and then a bowl is then handed to Celeste, Jude, then Skylar and at last Vel. Silently Vel picks up her bowl and, with careful movement, places it to her lips.
<FS3> Celeste rolls Etiquette: Failure. (1 6 4 1 6 4 4 2)
<FS3> Skyler rolls Etiquette: Success. (3 4 8)

Celeste motions for Jude to join them, not at all thinking of his tight jeans and the downsides of such. She smiles as she gets her bowl and thanks the woman in Japanese, although that's about the extent of her knowledge of the language, so she still doesn't know what Sky said. It doesn't surprise her that Sky knows the language. She knows all sorts of wonderful things. She's not quite as smooth as Vel is with the bowl, though - it's been a while since she say through a tea ceremony.
<FS3> Jude rolls Etiquette: Failure. (2 2)

Skyler does have certain skills, and one of them includes nuances of language and motion. She doesn't understand why she's doing what she is, or see the value in it, but she is able to copy Vel's motions with grace and accuracy. What happens if they talk? She looks into the bowl and imagines what might happen, like Kimono Lady's brain exploding, or getting hauled out of the joint by her hair.

Jude decides to sit cross-legged, which may be a massive etiquette fail but will save his balls. He watches the Japanese fuss about, casting glances towards Vel, Cel and Sky on occasion to see what they make of it. And then he's handed a bowl of something questionable and green… and holds it.

Vel drinks it very slowly. Sips it each sip is done with with reverence. When her tea is drunk and carefully placed on the table correctly. She sits silently. Her eyes on the other three as she waits for them to finish. Her bowl is taken by the Tea Master and put away to be cleaned.

Celeste drinks hers a little too quickly, but at least she's neat about it. It's not her favourite sort of tea, but she can cope with it. She manages not to slurp or choke or do anything /too/ embarrassing. She puts her bowl down, then she dabs carefully at her mouth with a napkin.

Curses alive, Skyler can't even get away with pretending to drink the stuff! Well, she's eaten out of trash cans and, on more than one occasion, downed the flesh of lowly scavengers, so she swallowing tea won't kill her. Unless it's poisoned. She narrows her eyes at the Kimono Lady briefly, glances over at Vel to see if she shows any signs of seizure or mouth frothing, then drinks down her own tea and sets the bowl back on the table.

Jude looks slightly alarmed when he realizes that the green stuff is meant to be drunk. He looks around to see if any potted plant is within reasonable reach. No dice. "D'you want this?", he whispers to Celeste, offering her the bowl.

The woman looks at Jude, "It is green tea." she tells him a small frown crinkling the corners of her mouth. Vel look at Jude and smiles and offers a nod for him to drink. Skyler is given a bow of her head. She looks over at Celeste and a silent nod and wink is offered.

Celeste shakes her head at Jude. "Try it," she suggests, softly. "Then pass it back if you don't like it." She's not going to /force/ him to drink it, after all. Vel's wink makes her smile, and she folds her hands neatly in her lap.

Skyler just sits there, still as a statue, because what else is she supposed to do. She doesn't even have an outburst at Jude, so she IS trying.

Jude eyes the green stuff. Well, he's had many a questionable drink in questionable establishments. And there were the equally questionable meds his mum forced down his gullet when he was a kid. "Well, down the hatch.", he mutters and chugs it all back in one go.

The empty bowls are gathered along with all the equipment, except for the water kettle. Vel smiles, "Thank you, I adore the tea ceremony. It is so calming and it is about tranquility. I appreciate the company."

Celeste stares at Jude for a long moment. She decides not to comment. "It's lovely to be able to do it with others," she says to Vel. "Usually I have to promise my brothers something in return to get them to come, or I'm on my own. It's not really the same."

"Is that it?" Skyler asks, careful to keep her voice neutral. "Can we go now?" She doesn't move just yet, but there's a kinetic energy behind her stance that screams to movement yet to come.

Jude is with Skyler on this one. "Is there no food?" He looks disappointed. He sideeyes Celeste. When they are alone later, he might inform her if she wants to get him to come to this again, she'll have to offer something in return as well.

"Not yet, now we have quiet conversation. We reflect, and enjoy each others company." Vel says this sweetly. "There is in art to the ceremony. Each movement has meaning and it is done with intent. It is an old ceremony as well."

"We can eat in a little bit," Celeste reassures Jude, with a little pat on his knee. She's clearly having a good time, delighted by the chance to do something so civilised with somebody like Vel. (And Jude and Sky, of course, but Vel is somebody she can look up to as part of her own social circles.)

Skyler's expression fluctuates like a the ripples on the surface of a lake before she schools it again into a placid tolerance. She's reflecting. She's reflecting on how this place makes money on serving people a little bowl of green water. THIS, not a bad con. Convince people there's a need and want - eyes go from Celeste to Vel - and get yourself a spot, some bowls, and a tea pot. If you want to be really swanky, you can get a sink so you can rinse them between people.

A conversation? A conversation won't fill his ever-hungry stomach. "What we gonna talk about then?", Jude wonders, "And can we get some nibbles at least?"

"The uniqueness of the tea ceremony is the ceremony itself. It is a meditative ritual if you will. Everything is precise, even the movements are. As I said it is an ancient ritual, even though I said old. Skyler, how are you doing today? Celeste and Jude, are you two doing well?"

Celeste wonders if she should start carrying crackers or something in her bag to feed to Jude at moments like this. Maybe chocolate. "Very well," she answers Vel with a smile. She moves one hand to place it atop Jude's. "We've been exploring places together that make pleasant dates. This one was my pick."

Skyler pulls a chewy granola bar out of her jeans pocket. It's jeans-squished, but otherwise completely intact, still in its wrapper. She slides it across the table toward Jude. If he refuses, he's rejecting ALL OF HER. Good, Celeste. You do the talking. I'm REFLECTING.

Oooh, lifesaver. Jude grabs the granola bar and slides it off the table like it's some highly illegal contraband. It probably is. He gives Sky a grateful look. "We went to Eagle Canyon the other day. I got to drive her fancy car. It goes real fast.", Jude tells Vel proudly. Clearly that's what makes for a pleasant date. Then he fumbles the wrapper open under the table and breaks of pieces to push into his mouth.

Vel nods he her head. "How did you enjoy playing it?" Vel then goes to reach under the table and take out her wallet to pay for the tea. "What did you drive Jude?" She then looks over at Celeste. "Which one is your favorite so far?" Shen she looks at Skyler, "That is very kind of you Skylar. I was thinking of going shopping after this. I wanted to pick up some Mango."

"I think the roller-skating at the arcade is my favourite," Celeste says. "So far, anyway. We've seen some good movies, though. Although if we're also talking off Persephone, I really liked when we went out riding on Kerry. I'd like to go back there soon."

Skyler says, "It's just a granola bar." She's known true depravation, so she probably always has something to hand. She also probably hoards things like granola bars and rice krispie treats in the corner of her closet for the approaching apocalypse.

Jude may start hoarding too. But he is easily distracted because he gets to talk about cars! "It's a Solazzura PX150, the 2528 model with a convertible roof and Xtrac… fine little thing!", he beams and might go on about the technical details if nobody stops him. Solazzura of course being a fancy Italian form of Blue Sun who make virtually everything, while Italian sports cars have forever been the best.

(after Vel had to log out, the young ones did a runner to…)

Dewi's Diner

Skyler orders herself onion rings and a strawberry milkshake, and says to Celeste, "Jude's met my puppy but you should come see him and play with him. He's sooo cute."

Jude orders a triple bacon burger with cheese, a heart attack between buns. He's deserved it! It comes with a pile of fries and a bucket of fizzy sugary soft drink. "Sky, do me a favour, text me next time Vel is taking you on a field trip so we know to avoid that place.", he asks her with a grin as he slides into a booth with his food.

"Are you kidding?" Skyler says to Jude. "I'm gonna open one of those places. You don't even gotta talk to the people. You just wave your hands around in some hocus pocus way. What does tea cost? I figure they're makin' something like 800% overhead!"

Now Celeste looks like the odd one out, dressed how she is. She slides into the booth beside Jude. She has the smallest burger they offer and some fries, along with a milkshake. "I really like it there," she says, softly. "The ceremony is an ancient tradition. It's a part of history. And they have amazing jasmine tea."

"I think you'd need a bit more than waving hand hocus pocus.", Jude offers thoughtfully, "Maybe Celeste can teach you how it goes? Though you'd also need to be all dainty and elegant like them Japanese girls." And then he shuts up because he has the mother of all burgers to enjoy.

"You don't think I'm dainty and ele…" Skyler signs "Well, we'll just have to get Celeste to do the ceremonies. SHE's dainty and elegant. And besides, Celeste, history is just the stuff someone made up sometime before. So, it can be NEW History."

"Oh, well…" Celeste brightens at the compliment, but she has to be truthful. "I don't know entirely how it goes, since it's not strictly Persephone culture, but … well, there are Chinese tea ceremonies that are similar, and other cultures too. Perhaps we could make our own." She nibbles on a fry.

Mrmphmrphhchewchewmmrph. Yes, Jude is a beacon of cultured eating.

"Like, Persephone's ancient tea ceremony. By ancient, we mean twenty-minutes old," Skyler flashes a smile. "But, you'd have to talk it up to the rich people, cause poor people got no use for things like that. Poor people's just happy to get tea with or without hand waving."

<FS3> Celeste rolls Persuasion: Success. (6 10 4 4 5 7 4 5 3)
<FS3> Celeste rolls Etiquette: Great Success. (5 5 2 8 3 9 9 10)

Celeste picks up her milkshake, and holds it carefully. "And this is the ancient tradition of the pink milk," she says, completely sombre about it. "It represents the struggles of the first people of Persephone, represented by the pink, as blood which has been forgotten over the years since." She picks up one of her fries. "This is the sacred wood with which the first settlers founded Eavesdown, in the style of Earth-That-Was cities."

Jude looks at Sky over the rim of his rapidly shrinking burger while Celeste speaks. "Ferfsmuninit.", he declares at last. There's definitely money in this.

A twinge of guilt, then Skyler nods at both of them. "That's how it's done. You don't know any of the /real/ rituals is real. Someone coulda just been tryin' to ear a buck, 2000 years ago. Hey, what if I make people walk in a circle four times, then kiss. That's gonna mean forever love! That sorta thing."

"I don't think it matters," Celeste says, thoughtfully. She eats her fry. "If people enjoy it, and they get something out of it, and it makes them happy. Then it's real, even if it's not strictly the same as it was, all of that time ago."

"Yea, and people get something out of lots of shit.", Jude confirms, having enough room to talk for a bit, "I mean, there was that cortex celeb that sold candles smelling of her…" Nope, not saying out loud. Gonna put him right off his burger. So he goes back to finishing that rather.

Skyler pokes her straw in her milkshake, also pink and therefore representative of the blood of the people. She falls quiet, thinking about all of this. "Shit," she says, finally. "People don't make no sense."

"They do!" Celeste nods, "It's just that people always want to… /belong/ to something. We like things that bring us together." She takes a small bite of her burger, then looks at Jude. "Smells of her what?"

Nope, Jude has his mouth full, he isn't gonna reply. Too busy. Chewchew. Swallow. Bite. Chewchew. "Not much makes sense.", he finally offers a contribution to the conversation. "People wanna belong to others so they can make no sense together."

"I'm guessin' cunt," Skyler says, without any shame or embarrassment using that word. "Cause, nipples don't smell and ain't nobody buyin' a candle that smells like BO or belly button gunk."

<FS3> Celeste rolls Willpower-2: Failure. (1 7 5 7 7)

Celeste is juuust taking a drink from her milkshake when Skyler speaks. She gasps, her eye going wide. Of course, that makes her inhale a good amount of liquid and she chokes, putting her hand over her mouth as she coughs it up again, her cheeks flaring bright red.

Jude's eyes widen when Skyler uses THAT word, but he nods to acknowledge that yep, that was it. And then Celeste starts coughing. No fear, the nurse is at hand. "Are you okay?!", he asks worriedly and pats her back.

Skyler only has a vague idea what might be wrong. "What? It's the SAME THING whether you call it that, or a hoo ha, or snatch, or whatever. It's the SAME THING. They're just words." Words you don't say in church unless you want to get hit by the preacher. Not that Sky's tried THAT word. She did try, when she was living with the evangelical family, telling Jesus Christ where he should go. It didn't end well for her.

Celeste isn't in danger of choking to death, but she's definitely in danger of death by mortification. She grabs a napkin and holds it against her mouth, her eyes streaming.

"Yea, well… it's female bits." Jude points out, "I don'T think they should get a public airing over lunch." He finishes his burger and leans back with a happy smile. "That was good."

"You're girlfriend's dyin, so make sure to pat your belly and look all please," Skyler rolls her eyes at Jude. "Jeez, Celeste, you're actin' like you don't actually HAVE one. I'm pretty sure you do, unless you're …." She studies Celeste a moment, then shakes her head. "You gotta."

Celeste finally manages to compose herself, patting at her face with another napkin. "It's… it's just… not something to be discussed over food. Or… I mean, at all. At least, in my experience." She pushes the rest of her burger and fries away, since they're now lightly splattered with milkshake. She doesn't think even Jude will want /that/.

"Yea, of course.", Jude confirms even though he isn't asked and it's none of his business. At all. Jude would eat anything - it's just food in a slighty unusual mix after all - but he's actually rather full after the massive burger. And the conversation has become way too hairy. "Er, I just remember I got an appointment.", he claims ever so vaguely, "You girls have fun, yea?"

Skyler says, "Imagine that. Me sayin' somethin' that's considered not all polite and proper." Wait. Jude's running away before she can run away! That's my move, Boy!

"Oh … sure." Celeste gives Jude a slightly weak smile, after her choking fit. She seems fine, now. Merely a little flustered. And she takes Jude at his word.

"See ya later!", he tells them and plants a rather greasy bacony-kiss on Celeste's lips before running away.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License