The Realms / Feast of Blackwood
Every year, the Kingdom of Blackwood hosts the Feast of Blackwood where the warriors and people of the Realms are invited to partake in the festivites, hospitality, activities presented and of course, the Feast itself. This year things were a bit different however as is apparent in the text of the official invite to the Feast:
"Come one, come all Denizens of the Realms to Feast of Blackwood 1021, A Tale of 2 Feasts! At Blackwood Tournaments, we were acquainted with some residents of what appears to a mirrored physical plane of Blackwood, and we became aware of the existence of a world ride with new locations, people and experience that beg to be explored by those brave and enterprising enough to ford the dimensional boundaries that confine us in our day to day lives! Mediators and the royals of Blackwood have made arrangements with the political leadership of our new found neighbors for those in attendence of Feast of Blackwood to experience a holiday celebration and a tour of this new realm, and on the day of our feast, host some new friends at court. We look forward to a weekend of exploration and new bonds being forged and would be so honored to share this with all of the realms. We hope to see you there."
On occasion, we at "The Ambassador" enjoy the "Ramblings" of Madam Zarine especially when it comes to various events we ourselves were not present at. In this case, Zarine has written a summery of what transpired at this year's Tournaments of Blackwood. Here are some exerts from that article.
"Ah yes, it is once again my favorite time of year. The smell of mulling spices and simmering soups fill the air. Pumpkin everything brings all the basic bitches to frolic in the crisp, colorful leaves in the yard. Cooler days and even colder nights encourage folks to spend their ill gotten gold on a warm companion. But most important of all, Blackwood welcomes us all into their lands to partake of all their meaty goodness. And partake we do. Perhaps a bit too much, really. Honestly, you could have fed a small village just from what I ate alone."
During the Tournaments of Blackwood, as Feast was also hosted with a variety of foods to dine on that Madam Zarine commented in depth on.
"We might as well start at the beginning with the appetizers. The cheese and crackers were cheese and crackers. Not much to say about them as they were pretty standard. I would like to see some more thought put into the cheese selection, perhaps some of those cheeses that sound like cities that The View just published would be interesting. The veggie plate was much the same. Nothing fancy but serviceable and something to snack on before the other food came out.
"Cat's cucumbers were tasty if a tad bit dry. Also, I am given to believe they were not prepared by an actual feline which is disappointing to say the least. Kiira's allergy meant that her cucumbers came without crackers, and I have to say they actually looked more appealing that way so perhaps that is an idea for the future. The mini quiches were delicious though they sadly got cold quick which is probably a problem without a solution. I am also not the biggest fan of phyllo dough, but it seemed to work well for this particular dish. The Rueben pizza had the same issue as the quiches in that it cooled too fast. It also had pickles on it, and while I would have preferred it without, it did give me an excuse to pick them off and fling them off into the woods like a bitter old heiress tossing her husband's mistress' panties off the balcony after she died under mysterious circumstances. Also they were delicious. The Rueben, not the panties; those probably taste like regret and alimony. The blackwood meatballs were amazing, as usual, and I was gifted many plates of them. One plate was even hot and fresh from the kitchen, so thank you for that, I very much appreciate it.
"On to the main course. When our order was taken we were only given the option of chicken or beef, which was disappointing because I actually wanted the zucchini. Later I discovered that no one actually registered as vegetarian, either out of embarrassment or because there really weren't any, but either way it was quite sad that we were denied a taste of the world's fourth best squash for seemingly no reason.
"I chose the beef, which has been the wrong choice for two years now. This year it was Roasted Herb Beef Tips, which were very flavorful but a bit over cooked for my liking. They were actually more enjoyable reheated at home the next day.
"Now, because I'm Zarine, I got to taste a sample of the other two choices. The chicken was Crispy Chicken Thighs, and while I did not find them particularly crispy, they were moist and delicious and I do love a good pair of thighs. The zucchini dish was once again the best of the main courses. Zucchini Roll-Ups were their name and being delightful was their game.
"The sides were fairly good and well presented. The mac & cheese was smooth and creamy and I usually dislike what other people call good mac & cheese. The carrots weren't very memorable so I assume they at least weren't bad. The green beans were good and I enjoyed whatever was with them; sunflower seeds maybe? I don't rightly remember other than that I liked the addition of whatever it was.
"Dessert. Now, some people wondered why I got dessert personally delivered to me by Mathies who then explained each cupcake in explicit detail. Once again the only explanation is that I am Zarine and you are not. So, let's start with my least favorite: the Chocolate Cherry. Honestly, they were amazing, I'm just not a lover of muffins containing cherries so this was a bottom for me. The Caramel Apple Spice were truly divine, and I love me some cream cheese frosting. My favorite though was definitely the Lemon Crème. Just the right amount of lemon and the frosting was the perfect consistency so these were the clear winner for me.
"Overall this was a fantastic feast. It was a pleasure to see people out and about again. I had some fantastic conversations, enjoyed some gambling, and ate too much delicious food. The only thing missing were soups. Well, I guess that wasn't the only thing. I suppose the king wasn't there and that is probably more sad than no soup. It's at least comparably sad to no soup... So thank you once again to Blackwood for having us and for feeding us. Also, many thanks to Iawen for letting me watch her table for a bit. It sounds like it was work, but really it was great fun. And of course a big congratulations to Sir Pilpus on his knighting."
One can read more from Madam Zarine here: The Scarlet Harlot