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Page Fourteen of The Hospitaliers Bible
‘Of Mead & Merriment’
by Brother Jaque Tupt
"In hosting the political friends and foes of your Liege Lord, the fates of millions may lie upon the tiniest of details.
A sip of tea steeped for the exact amount of seconds at the precise temperature, or a distilled brew into an expression of its pure essence. These light touches may turn the tides of wars.
The form and function shaping the hospitality of a Lord’s Table set the tone for any negotiations of regional disputes or hosting other Lords of the Realms.
For example, when sorting our regional disputes, a Lord’s Hospitalier must consider such simple things as the shape of a table.
If one were to use a round table, a Mayor or Port Manager might lose sight of the power dynamic of the room, whereas a rectangular table with two heads improves the perception of whom has the last say.
A Lord at one end, with a Lady at the other, provides a suitable method to adequately govern from a place of an absolute and final rule to that of a more pleasant and open disposition. Of whom plays which role matters not, only that the play exists.
How one then seats their guests is of the utmost import.
Do you place the Baron with a taxation issue next to a Mayor asking for funding for a new Archive?
Only if one’s Lordship intends on causing a scene by which they may achieve two goals with one sentence.
The best method of attaining a suitable compromise, in this humble hospitaliers opinion, is to let matters play out without undue involvement of your Lord or Lady.
If a Lord or Lady is involved in a minor matter once, they may find many other little issues arrive upon their desk.
Any Lord’s Counsel or Consigliere will at best be displeased at the workload you have hefted upon them; at worst, well, pray they are not of the vengeful type.
To keep the Lord’s responsibility manageable, seek to manage minor issues in a method that reduces their involvement to a bare minimum, lest they be distracted from threats, both foreign and of home, of their Realm or Realms.
A guest’s culinary preferences should be known well in advance, as some ingredients may not be readily available. A Phoenix’s Tears may add that ethereal quality that the Elves so desire, but it is not something many Lord’s Larders can afford in their weekly budget.
Not only that, but the multitude of maladies that one may suffer due to a rare reaction means that a dish to delight may be delivered and seen as an intentional assassination. Such events are rare, but multiple wars throughout history have historians pegging the deaths of many to a simple failure of forethought or poor planning in hosting guests.
What matter of beast, plant, fungi, crystal, essence, or mana that you may serve is best eaten first by one of your party to show its safety, and in choosing what dishes rest upon your Lord’s table, you set the tone for what their guests may expect in terms of disposition.
In times of hardship, serving an excellent feast for your Nobles may lower the morale of your citizenry. But setting out simple fare for a Noble may undermine your Lord’s position. Consider whether reserve stocks are perhaps worth removing from storage if an opportunity presents itself.
In the abundance of Spring and Summer, ensure the Commoner’s Larders are filled by subsidizing salts and other seasonings. An army marches on its stomach, and the depths of Winter provide little sustenance for a large group traversing the Realms. By ensuring your City’s Granaries and Warehouses are well stocked, your Citizens will be much less reluctant to commit to warfare, whether out of necessity or opportunity.
A Lord’s counsel will have these matters delegated, but the overall responsibility of their table lies upon your shoulders. A Hospitalier is no Mine Manager or Port Dockmaster, so avoid interference in their jobs, lest you invite the same in your own. Ensure the reporting is accurate, and your ability to produce feasts worthy of tales will remain safe.
In doing so, no matter what you may encounter in your Courtly duties, one keeps a variety of tricks up one’s sleeve to accommodate even the most outrageous of requests or short notice, and both are likely to occur at some point in your service.
Should all your efforts fail, the advice given to me by my Master has served me well over the years.
Ensure you always have a suitable amount of alcohol and intoxicants stashed in your Lord’s Larder to make the events of any feast partially questionable to all due to a general lack of remembrance of events.
This one trick has saved many a Hospitalier and must never be admitted to, even if caught in unloading a cart of Ignium filtered Vodka.
In such a case, admit nothing, blame everyone, accuse everything, and breakout the backup stash.
Setting fire to a few bales of Mary Janes Weed and directing the smoke towards the Lord’s Hall is a tried and true last resort."
Hospitalier of the Brotherhood of Chad
Four Hundred and Twentieth of His Name
Order of Brilliance Court Mage
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