A note from HonourRae

Second chapter of the day, so make sure you go back and read the last one if you already haven't!

Arthur hadn't felt this flavor of rage and despair since... well, now that he thought about it. He hadn't felt it since he left the borderland village.

A place where everything was unfair, where he had no hope of ever getting ahead, and his greatest ambition was to live out to see the end of that day.

Remembering that he practically lived in paradise compared to before gave him pause. And that was enough to cool his temper.

He put down the dirty wineglass that, a few moments before, he had been about to throw against the far wall.

The source of his aggravation still hovered in his vision.


New skill gained: Sommelier (Cooking Class)

Due to your card’s bonus traits, you automatically start this skill at level 3.


Yet another cooking skill. One that was uniquely different than the rest. And yet he still hadn't attained his Cooking Class.

With a sigh, Arthur picked up the glass again and dunked it in the soapy sink to wash it out.

He'd been working at Bob's Fine Beer and Wines for just over a week and had received the skill by accident.

While washing out endless wine cups and mugs that had once contained beers, ciders, and ales, he'd started playing a game to keep himself occupied: Every time he washed out a new glass, he tried to identify the liquid and vintage inside it by smell.

He'd been pouring for the few morning customers for a few days when Bob stepped away from the counter. So, he had something to compare the dirty mugs to. Honestly, he hadn't been sure he had been guessing right until he was awarded the basic skill.

"What is a sommelier anyway?" he grumbled. Something to do with wine, probably. That was the last guess he'd made.

The wine was a popular one, and he'd heard Bob talking up customers enough to learn it was grown in this valley. Wolf Moon hive had famously bitter cold winters, and equally dry hot summers. It was those summers and the quality of the soil that gave this wine a floral taste.

Not that wine particularly interested Arthur. He'd tried tastes of the stuff when Bob wasn't looking. Not enough to add experience to his Thief class. Just to see what the big deal was.

He didn't understand and chalked it up to an adult thing.

Arthur sighed again as he dunked the last of the glasses in the sink and set them up to dry. He took one look around the kitchen -- all vegetables chopped in preparation for the next shift when they came in an hour.

Pulling off his apron, Arthur called. "Shift's done, Bob!"

Bob, who was currently visiting with one of his favorite customers -- if there was one thing Bob liked better than drinking his own brew, it was having a long conversation -- waved Arthur out. "See you the day after tomorrow, then. Oh, wait." He lobbed something at him in an underhand throw.

Arthur caught the object which was a small draw bag. He looked in and saw with widened eyes that it was his week's pay, Uncommon card shard and all.

He hadn't been expecting it. Normally Barlow paid his workers the day after break day. Bob had paid him a little early.

Maybe this day was looking up after all.


Arthur had to jog not to be late for his afternoon shift at Barlow's restaurant. The first few days he had arrived out of breath, legs aching.

Now... Well, he was still out of breath, but the muscles in his legs had toughed up. It wasn't a skill. He was just growing stronger.

"You're late," Horatio crowed, grinning at him from his baking station.

Arthur glanced at the timepiece set on the wall, saw he had two minutes to spare, and glared at his friend for making him look. "And you're still ugly."

Horatio cackled and flicked some flour his way, but Arthur had already moved out of range.

He moved to his own workstation and started the usual prep for the dinner service to come. Today, Barlow had him break down the entire haunch of a beef cow. Thanks to his Butchering skill, which now sat at level 7, it was a simple and much less messy process than it had been when he first started.

Arthur was just arranging the cuts of meat, deciding which were tough enough to be tossed in the stew pot and which should be kept aside as steaks, when a bottle of wine caught his eye.

It was sitting on the next station over. The cook who worked there did the entree meals, but he must have been running late today.

Curious, Arthur grabbed the bottle, popped the already loosened cork, and sniffed.

He wasn't sure which skill told him, but he knew for certain that this vintage would pair wonderfully with a steak.

In fact...

Arthur glanced around to see if anyone was watching -- they weren't. Then he moved to the wood fire usually occupied by the missing cook.

He grabbed a pan and a thin slice of steak he'd trimmed from a better piece. Once the pan was hot enough to make butter spit on it, he laid the meat on and splashed some of the wine to cook along with it.

As the pan was hot, it only took a few minutes to cook the slice of meat. Arthur ladled the combination of butter and wine over as it seared, pausing to add a dash of salt and bruised rosemary he had handy.

Finally cooked to a perfect medium rare, Arthur transferred it onto a plate, cut into it, and bit down.


The tang of the wine had complimented the meat just as he hoped. The fatty butter, salt, and rosemary added extra layers of flavor.

His eyes half closed in pleasure, he wondered what side dishes would be best paired with this. Chef Barlow had said they would soon be receiving a fall harvest.


New skill gained: Meal Improvisation (Cooking Class)

Due to your card’s bonus traits, you automatically start this skill at level 3.


New Class!
Cooking - Tier Two Crafting

It takes knowledge of fundamental skills to start down the road of any craft. But to truly begin to master a craft, one must show a commitment to learn and push the boundaries of your art.
As Cooking is a crafting class, individual skills maintain their own levels and are not rolled into an overall average. In addition, relevant skills are split into synergistic subcategories:

Kitchen Management

Add more skills within this class to create more sub-categories.
All new skills within this class start at level 5, and experience is gained 15% faster in addition to existing card’s bonuses.

When equipped:
+2 to perception (+ additional 2 to all taste and smell) 
+ 2 to dexterity (+ additional 3 when using kitchen specific tools)
+ 1 to intelligence
+ 1 to luck



Do you wish to equip Tier 2 - Cooking Class now?

Arthur stared at the message, his second bite of meat hanging out of his mouth.

He'd done it. He'd finally done it. Of course an entire class for a craft would be more complex than average. He had accidentally stumbled into Gambling and Thievery, but he had to show commitment and a desire to improve himself to begin to master Cooking.

That was likely the same with other crafts as well. Sure, he could pick up skills in Smithing or Tannery, but he would have to put in a good deal of work to combine those skills into a class.

"Arthur, what are you doing?" Chef Barlow asked.

Arthur whirled around to find the man staring at him, one eyebrow raised.

"I was... uh... experimenting?" He gestured to the pan, clearly not at his workstation.

Chef stepped forward and speared the final bit of meat with his own belt knife. He bit into it, and, after a moment's chewing, nodded. "That's the Sauvignon? Throw in some shallots and sliced potatoes. Make those potatoes thin as a sheet of paper, you understand?"

"Yes Chef," Arthur said, a little stunned he wasn't being told off for experimenting when he should be on prep duty.

"You'll be cooking up five of those steaks," Barlow continued. "We have noble guests who ordered a private room tonight. If all goes well, it'll be your dinner they'll eat." With another nod and a clap to Arthur's back, he walked off.

The words didn't fully register until a moment later. Arthur snorted to himself: How times had changed. He used to be lower than the muck Baron Kane would scrape off his shoe. Now here he was, cooking multiple nobles a fine meal.

Later, those same nobles might even visit Bob's tavern to drink fine wine out of glasses Arthur himself had washed, maybe even lose a hand of cards...

A seed of an idea was planted then. Something that Arthur, all of twelve years old instantly rejected.

Instead, he turned to his duties with the eagerness of someone who wanted to explore a hard-earned class.

But the seed lingered, dormant. Waiting for the right moment.

It sprouted, four years later to the day.

A note from HonourRae

And that's a wrap for 12-year-old Arthur! Friday's upload will be a brief interlude followed by a first chapter after the time skip.


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