Valley Visitors

Tales from the Atreblan Valley

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Michelle Montoya
Proven Adventurer
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Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:50 pm
Location: Atrebla Manor

Valley Visitors

Post by Michelle Montoya » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:56 am

May 2019
Atrebla Valley

It was a pleasant morning in the valley, and a gentle cool breeze ruffled Michelle’s hair as the horses grazed lazily on the spring grass. The snow capped peaks had begun their melt and the river below the path had risen up the banks with the fresh inflow of water. Michelle waited near the portal to Rhy’din with three horses for Mist, Amaris and herself. She wasn’t sure if Amaris could ride but if not they could stable the horse at the Beacon along the way.

With the smallest glimmer, like vibrations in the air, her guests appeared. Mist flickered a smile as he looked around, then gestured to Amaris to walk along with him. He dipped a polite bow to Michelle, and regarded the horses brightly. He did love horses, though he wasn’t sure if Amaris could ride either, though he had his own horses.

“Hello. Do you know how to ride, Amaris, or will you ride with Michelle or I?” he noted, first of all.

The young woman followed along beside Mist almost attached at his hip, after her previous night she seemed a little more subdued. Her eyes shifted towards the horses giving a small wave at Michelle and then shook her head to Mist “I haven’t ever rode a horse before…” She shifted a little uncertain “I… guess I can ride with you.”

Michelle allowed her visitors to get settled with their mounts before leading them up the valley towards the Beacon of Truth. “I trust you found the portal outside of Rhy’din easily enough, considering you made it here. Welcome to my favourite place in all the realms- the valley of Atrebla.” She gestured to the tall coniferous trees, the clear waters and the snow capped mountains. “We will take the abbreviated route to the manor through a series of portals but we’ll make a few side trips to see some of the views and breathtaking vistas.”

“That sounds lovely,” Mist replied with a flare of smile. He had pulled Amaris to the horse behind him, and guided the animal easily after Michelle. His gaze settled onto the beacon curiously, but for now, he mostly just looked around and enjoyed the quiet ride.

Amaris had hid behind Mists leg, when it was time to mount up. The horses nickered and didn’t seem to happy with her being so close but she was safely settled behind Mist at this point. She was quietly looking around and taking in the views she pointed out. Her voice was soft in Mist’s ear “What is that?” She pointed to the beacon curiously. After her last dueling she was a bit more quiet.

“I don’t know,” he mused, and looked to Michelle curiously, head tipping. The Beacon was a collection of buildings walled with stone fortifications and a singular tower overlooking the valley. It was simple, but held an impressive quality due to its strategic design and location.

“That’s the primary muster point of our local military force, The Guardians of Truth. At one point they were considered a guild and it included my father and mentor, Topaz. When I was young they inducted me in as a Lady at Arms, a title I still hold. The Guardians are the first line of defence but also help with more local matters in the valley and, sometimes up at the manor. A series of hidden but accessible portals begins at The Beacon allowing the typical two-day journey across the valley to take less than an hour.”

She pointed out the lake just north of The Beacon, “this is Alpine lake, fed by the glacier melt further up the valley. You can see a variety of sedges and forbs in the meadow beside it, including some of my favourite specimens like milkweed and cotton grass.” Michelle led them on a riding trail past the Beacon pointing out various flowers and plants native to the valley. Their journey consisted of brief periods of riding punctuated by portals which took them past long stretches of trail.

Their first real stop was the town itself which had a rustic but attractive ambience.

Mist took in the sights quietly, his gaze warm as he looked it all over. It seemed familiar to him, a realm before telephone poles and repeater towers, skyscrapers and cars. It was all beautiful.

As they rode through the town Michelle softened their pace, “Are you hungry at all? Or would you like to take a look at some of the local artists and craftsmen?”

Amaris’ stomach gave a soft growl and she’d blush “I can always eat” she grinned a little looking to Mist to find out if he would agree.

“Food sounds like a grand idea,” he replied with a chuckle, ruffling Amaris’s hair, as if he’d heard nothing. “And I always like to see fabrics and carvings and such.”

“Delightful! I’ll take you to some of my favourite places.”

((Co-written with Mist and Amaris))
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Michelle Montoya
Proven Adventurer
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Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:50 pm
Location: Atrebla Manor

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Post by Michelle Montoya » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:43 pm

Michelle guided them through the last series of portals from the town to her home. In the centre of the manor was the dojo and the orchard was nearby along with a stunning view of the valley. Mist chuckled, swinging Amaris down from the horse before dismounting, looking around in curiosity.

After stabling the horses Michelle led them through a backdoor to an open concept kitchen and quickly handed out aprons. “What kind of pie would you like to make Amaris? A fruit pie? A cream pie? A --” before she could finish cheers of delight were heard in another part of the manor. Michelle merely smiled and continued on, “a meat pie?”

Mist found it an interesting house, he took an apron, rather bemused, to put on, and the helped Amaris with another apron. She happily took the apron putting it on carefully with some help from Mist.

“Peanut butter and chocolate pie? Please?” Yes, Amaris wanted to start hard pies first apparently, and then there were plenty of little ones scrambling around. As the kids spilled in, Mist simply offered a quiet place for Amaris to hide and peer at the other children, holding out an arm. Hearing the noise, Amaris blinked looking around and hid behind Mist. She looked up at Mist then Michelle nervously. Even if she’d met them before she was still uncertain if she was ready to meet others her age.

The eldest child, a boy with dark curly brown hair was yelling at the three girls “hey! HEY! Mom said not to come rushing in! Aaaarrgghh.” He rolled his eyes and looked at Michelle. “I’m sorry Mom.”

At the same time Allen was apologizing the youngest girl was tugging on Michelle’s shirt. “Do we get to make pies too? Pleeeeeaassee.” Michelle’s eyes quickly ticked towards Amaris, gauging the young woman’s reaction before responding.

Amaris pulled on her braid a moment, looking at the girls and their brother, then looking up between Mist and Michelle. Her focus back to the youngest and gave her a small smile - it couldn’t be bad if they all worked together. Shyly she looked at the others “Hi” and gave a small wave.

The smallest girl, just under three feet, with her loose brown hair and big brown eyes grinned at Amaris. “Hi! I’m Bethie. This is my sister Lilly,” she pointed to a girl with matching brown eyes and longer brown hair, “and this is Allen, he doesn’t like to be called Al, and this is Nadella but we just call her Ella” she pointed to the other boy and the last girl who stood out with blonde hair and blue eyes. “What’s your name?”

She listened closely “I’m Amaris” She scrunched up her eyes a moment “I’m gonna try to remember your names …” she moved a little out from behind Mist but just to stand at his side pushing against him. “Michelle said she was gonna teach me how to bake a pie” lame explanation but it was the best conversation piece she could think of just edging her way into being comfortable.

“Well, let’s get started with the crust and the cream.” Lilly, not one for making pies, left as soon as the baking started. Allen started whipping the heavy cream and Michelle sent the two girls to find three 9-inch pie plates. While the girls looked for the dishes Michelle pulled out the recipe for Amaris. To make sure everyone got a chance to make graham crust Michelle gave a brief demonstration of pressing the graham mixture into the pie plate before pairing everyone off: Michelle and Nadella, Allen and Beth, and Mist with Amaris.

Allen leaned against the counter while watching Beth but he was clearly more curious about the visitors. “Mom says you live in Rhy’din. I get to visit there every weekend and spar with Thia.”
Mist leaned back and watched with a faint flickering of smile on his face. He didn’t mind the littles swarming around, and was happy to find that Amaris was able to interact with them. When Michelle drafted him into pie crust making, he was helpful but let Amaris do the work - he already knew how to make pies, but this exotic peanut butter concoction was definitely new to him.

Amaris looked at recipe eyes wide “That looks amazing!” Watching the demonstration closely she’d rush off to get started with Mist getting the bowl and mixing together the Graham cracker crumbs and both sugars and the butter together, then took the pie dish and started to pressing the crushed graham crackers into it carefully. She looked at Allen “I use to live in the Arena. Nae-Ray let me work there so I could get a room and get paid too. I moved in with dad a few days back though so I live with him now.” She motioned to Mist “I love to duel! I have a mentor in unarmed fighting and I’m a member of House Steel. Auntie Rachael is really good at teaching me, so is my other dad… when he gets back” She bit her lip and looked at the recipe trying to push thoughts out of her head. She blinked “Oh and I’m a squire of Old Temple.”

Allen’s eyes widened and he looked over to his mother. “How come she gets to fight in the rings? And be a squire?!” Michelle just pursed her lips while helping Nadella put the pie crust in the bottom freezer. The heavy cream was already set aside in the fridge. With her kitchen being more like an industrial operation she pulled out three mixers and had the teams blend the cream cheese, sugar, peanut butter and vanilla.

“Why did you live in the arena?” Allen finally asked. “Why weren’t you living with your dad? Was he gone or sick or something?”

Amaris blinked at Allen’s reaction then looked at what Mist was doing because she had no idea how to measure. She murmured to Mist “how do you know how much to put in? Is it that,” she pointed at the ¾ cup. With the crust she’d just eyeballed and copied the others but this was confusing her.

Mist simply smiled, and moved so Amaris could get at the bowl. “Three-quarters of a cup,” he murmured in agreement to her. “Read what the instructions say, then, we find the measure. If it says a cup, we use the cup…” Quiet words as he indicated the various measuring cups and spoons.

She bit her lip at Allen’s question “Mist is my adopted dad, I…” She cut off looking down closing her eyes and taking a few deep breaths “My first parents, they’re dead” she altered her explanation, hurting too much to say she killed them “I escaped from the detective’s bag and found myself in Rhydin alone… That’s when I met Benny and later Mist. I had nowhere to live for a while … and” She muttered low “I stole a lot to eat and Nae-Rae saw me and offered me a job and a place at the arena because I like to fight and was there a lot. Both my dads took care of me really good, but… Benny can’t take care of me right now so I stay with Mist.” She busied herself by trying to help Mist a bit.

This was her conversation to have, and probably annoyingly to Amaris, Mist played dumb. He smiled and was warm with support … but nothing he was saying was helpful… except about what to put into the pie when. That he was suspiciously good at.

Allen didn’t seem perturbed by her explanation in the slightest. “I’m sorry your parents died and that you had to steal food. That sucks.” He opened his mouth to say something when Michelle spoke up.

“Alright kids, I’ll show you what it means to fold the whipping cream into your peanut butter mixture.” She took the whipping cream from the fridge and with her hand over Nadella’s showed the kids how to use the spatula to fold in the cream.

((Co-written by Mist, Michelle and Amaris. Thia’s character belongs to Koyliak and was referenced with permission.))
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