In hindsight, today was a bad day to start my daily writing challenge, because this scene took me at least a couple hours longer than it should have, and I had stuff to do.
Oh well, here we go — February Daily writing starting a day early because I love each and every one of you just that much.
One of Kat’s favourite places in Porthaven is the Outlands Quarter. It’s not just because of the food, but it is mostly because of the food.
They say you can find anything in markets of Porthaven’s Outlnads Quarter. It makes sense, ships comes sailing into Porthaven from just about everywhere: the other cities and countries in Realmgard, Hrimfax, the Kingdoms of the Sea, the Wandering Coast, even places as far away as Yamatai.
Naturally, the food is no exception: spicy dishes from the Wandering Coast, dishes with preposterous names from Gallicantu, foods from all over Terrace conveniently stuck onto sticks by the street vendors. The only thing Kat has never had the courage to try is the Hrimfaxi shark that has to spend a few months buried on the beach… for some reason.
According to braver diners than her, it stinks like death and tastes like grievous injury.
Lately, Kat has been learning more about Yamatai thanks to her frequent visits to a little food stall at the edge of the Outlands Quarter’s main market. The stall is owned by a woman from Yamatai named Kokoro with two twin daughters named Tsuru and Tsubame who help her run the stall.
Kat likes the arrangement they have. Kat eats noodles while Kokoro tells her about Yamatai.
Before now, most of what Kat knew about Yamatai is what she learned from her father’s voyages there when she was little. And most of that is the fact that those voyages made him miss three of her birthdays.
But hey, at least, those voyages let him come back with all kinds of stories about the faraway land of Yamatai and made him rich enough to add another floor to Darkstone manor, which is, of course, so much more important than three of your firstborn child’s birthdays.
Not that Kat is still mad about that or anything…
“So, hey, Kokoro,” Kat asks. “Why do people from Yamatai eat with these little stick-things? Isn’t it easier to just use a fork?”
“We did not have forks back in Yamatai,” Kokoro notes. “And besides, Kat, anything is easy when you get enough practice.”
“I’m going to get it this time,” Kat declares. “I’m going to use these sticks right.”
With Kokoro’s patient guidance and Tsuru and Tsubame wagering on her prospects of success, Kat painstakingly positions the chopsticks in her hand.
Kat tries to envision herself as a Gigacrab on the prowl, ready to grasp its prey within its mighty pincer. Much like, she reflects, she was herself almost mightily pinched by a Gigacrab back on Oake Island.
She clamps her eyes shut in fear as she grasps for her noodles, unable to bring herself to look. She cautiously opens an eye to see that she has successfully captured a noodle between her chopsticks.
“I did it! Kokoro, look! I did it! I—”
The noodle slips from between Kat’s chopsticks and splashes back into her bowl.
“Would you like a fork?” Kokoro asks.
First things first, Yamatai (a real-life name for an ancient region of Japan) is Terrace’s equivalent of Japan, and I apologize if that header image isn’t actually Japanese-style noodles. I only had so many choices for suitable stock photos.
Second things, uh, second, both Yamatai and the Outlands Quarter are things I’ve wanted to introduce into the Realmgard mythos for a while now.
Also, that shark buried on the beach thing is, in fact, a reference to a real-life Icelandic food…
So, anyway, here’s the start of my February daily writings. You can keep up with this and all my other Realmgard stuff via social media and email: