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Ta Hallin Ni Enneuce ran 1 (ta ˈxal.lin ˈni enˈnɛw.ʒe ɾan)

A Day in the Life of a Judge 1

This article is a continuation of this one. I advise you to read it if you haven't already, because otherwise parts of this story may not make much sense.  
-Ynar
A key component of On Yarien's sprawling bureaucracy, judges are held in high regard by many in the country. Despite the rather mediocre wages they are assigned by the government, poor judges are quite a rare sight, especially in urban areas. This is due to a long standing tradition of charging 'fees' (and outright bribes) for pretty much any process they are involved in. Though dubiously moral at times, it can make the enneu's career a very lucrative one.   Such is the case of Enneu Áhram, who just became incredibly wealthy after seizing all the properties of a rich widow. Though, in all fairness, it should be noted that she made the grave mistake of dying before writing a testament of her own...   If you are interested in following this story, you may embody him for the rest of the day, and even make more decisions in his stead.

Lunch Break


Wrapping Up

''-Tekasan yar massan... Haa, ka nisi yires! Honi, naas, óónar ras tánneris ta toi heis.   -Óam, laqquo''.
''-Wise and wealthy... Ahh, my sweet lil' life! Now, though, please send this to the scriptorium.   -Immediately, sir''.
As the last words dry on the sheet, you seal it and send it to the court scribes, who will then polish it and make three copies: One for the judge, one for the archive and another one for the Naonnís. After that, it will be only a matter of time until all the paperwork and whatnot gets done and your inheritance is delivered. Oh, how long the days will feel until then! You mutter, tears falling down your cheeks.   Now alone, you decide to take a break and relax, the other cases can wait after lunch. Even if the office itself is a bit lacking when it comes to entertainment, unless one likes to read legal disputes or stare at the ceiling, that is, its attached balcony has some of the best vistas in the whole of Eribi. Thus, you take a seat out there and simply look at the city below, thinking of nothing in particular.   From here the capital seems like a forest, its many buildings' colourful façades jutting out of the canopy like the smoke of a myriad bonfires. And much like a fire in the middle of the night, you can't stop admiring them, be they the flowery balconies of your neighbours, the mosaic-covered roofs of temples or even just the brightly painted domes of the theatres. Beauty is truly everywhere, and to be able to immerse yourself in it every day makes all the struggles of past years feel like nothing.
 

The Beriscán

An Invitation

''Oo, miró! Yeu yeu híranam ne-   -Laqquo, honi ánnar beriscán On Yiineuce. Yis ae mari arattal, takan ori taon sann tinnó!   -Ha are! Ta hónisi, naas, yeu mehandéé tekéé''.
''Aww, a squirrel! This one's really cu-   -Sir, it's time for the Chief Accountant's Beriscán. Please come with me, we shouldn't be late!   -Indeed! One moment, though, I'm enjoying this''.
Your rest is, however, abruptly interrupted by the secretary coming in and demanding your attention. As nice as it would be to stay there and enjoy the scenery for a while longer, you don't want to offend the Chief Accountant, so you stand up and follow her.   After walking down the courthouse's empty hallways, you are met by the summit's equally quiet streets, a lonely restaurant the only crowded place. Unlike your workmates, though, you aren't going there today, instead taking a left turn and heading towards the host's home. As he lives nearby, it only takes a (fairly enjoyable) short stroll to get there, his house's rather striking blue hue being hard to miss.
''I know blue is the hot new trend, but c'mon, I feel like that's a bit too much! Don't you think?''
You tell your secretary right before entering the building and being within other people's earshot. Thankfully, the inside of the building isn't as tacky, although there are still a few too many pastel blue items which no one with any sense of aesthetics would want to even own. At any rate, this is where you part ways with your servant, as she is taken to eat with the other staff members while you go meet the other guests.
 

Entrées

''Haannnn... Oi ya telléssil eráá niin tenai. Naas oi ori taon elló tekéé''.
''Hmmm... All these entrées look good. Though I can't eat them all''.
By the time you reach the Tanné, everyone is already there, lounging in couches, snacking and making small talk. Thus, you take a seat and starting eyeing the various morsels that have been placed in the middle of the room, pondering which ones you should pick. That, however, is no easy task, as what the party-giver lacks in decor he more than makes up for in cooking.   For starters, there are plenty of special breads. Olive, garlic, tomato, hard-boiled egg, squash... Really, any kind of bread other than plain. Some even had mango and exotic peppers! Furthermore, you can see no less than 5 types of cured meat, from duck to salmon and from pork to venison. Hell, even Nissi! You almost say out loud, trying to remember when was the last time you saw it outside a wedding or such big event. Besides all that, there's a wide array of other less noteworthy though still good looking treats, and, to top it all off, several creams, spreads and purées just in case.   As you finally fill up a not-so-small platter with olive bread, meat, hummus and a couple pastries, the fellow to the left decides to start a conversation. Now, you hadn't even heard of that guy until half an hour ago, but your secretary kindly gave you the names and information of all the guests, which saved you from looking like a fool at the greetings:
''-Greetings, sir! I have heard great things about Áhram Meu, whom I have never been properly introduced to, yet whose deeds I am well aware of.   -Same I can say of Nittóó Aren, whose name I have only heard accompanied by the highest praise, the one that's often reserved to the truly exemplary individuals''.
After that, things go rather smoothly. Despite his rather obvious attempts at looking like someone worth more than he actually is, he is charming enough not to drive you mad, and thus decide to spend the next 15 minutes entertaining him.  

The Big Plate

''Laqquol! Yis ae mari arapil! Yeu yeu beriscán honi anai tekáá''.
''Gentlemen! Come with me! This Beriscán starts now''.
A while later, a servant, whose pale blue outfit matches with the couch you're on, comes in to announce the beginning of the Beriscán proper. Following him, all 12 of you leave the Danné, a fair amount of snacks still uneaten, and enter into the Quol. There, you take a, much less comfortable, seat to the right of the host and wait for the rest to fill their spots, judging the art on the walls in the meantime.   Once the least senior guest has sat down, the Chief Accountant says:
''Telles sann hei!''
And forth come three retainers, all carrying the same heavy plate, smoke rising as it's gently placed in the middle of the table. Along its rim, adorned with depictions of rabbits and assorted plants, you can see a dozen semi-circular sockets, all perfectly filled by a dozen bowls carrying just as many sauces and jams. Though not as fancy or unexpected as the Nissi from earlier, you are not disappointed by what you see. Tarese Mayonnaise, a honeyed mint sauce made with lemon and vinegar, garlic oil with aromatic herbs, creamed eggs with smoked berries, Zanes, both mild and spicy, Southern and Bianese sauces and several kinds of fruit butter.   Closer to the centre, things look quite appetizing too. Hiding any possible decorations the surface may have are 7 or so kilos worth of cooked meat, eggs and vegetables, all cut into neat little pieces. Only travellers and barbarians eat with knives! you chuckle as you pay closer attention to the meal-to-be.   You can only spot two kinds of meat, pork and duck, nothing more, nothing less. Even if the cuts aren't particularly remarkable, especially not when compared with everything else, you can tell his cooks are quite skilled. The pork has been slow roasted to perfection, its golden brown breading smelling faintly of cinnamon and roasted almond, the duck, boiled in cabbage and vine leaves, looks tender and juicy, and the grilled skewers have a very nice shine to them.   On the other hand, though, the five or so dozen eggs look most diverse and no less well made. Hard boiled and pickled eggs from no less than five species can all be found nestled among the rest of the treats, each seemingly prepared with its own recipe. Red and Purple Duck Cups, Tower Style, Hárar, boiled and fried chicken eggs... Ah yes, even if it's admittedly quite hard to mess up an egg, you can tell a lot of care was put into this part.   Despite that, however, you aren't really in the mood for bird produce right now, nor will you for a few more days to be honest. After all, the month of Etá ended just two days ago, and thus you're understandably quite fed up of the damned things. At any rate, there are also a lot of assorted vegetables scattered around, though there is frankly little to be said about them. Lightly sautéed and salted, most of the flavour will actually come from the condiments one may decide to dip them in.   Finally, almost as an afterthought, the same servants bring forth three smaller platters, each holding a stack of pancakes of a different colour. On a porcelain dish, its edge decorated with stars and clouds, lay the pepper cakes, their reddish hue contrasting well with the white ceramic. Meanwhile the white potato disks sit atop an undecorated black plate, while the brown peanut ones can be found on a plain blue one.
 

Chatter

''-Zabes ares ban ra yi sonn tonó eramm hánsal tokíí.   -Ri So? Etell! Ra a mehandéé, naas? A ori saran.   -Yi mehandéé, are. Saen raon, saen.   -Eri, eri... A sokon zabes.   -Naa, laqquol''
''-I just finished reading that book you lent me.   -Under the Flower? Great! Did you enjoy it, though? It's not for all audiences.   -I enjoyed it, yes. Though it's true that I cried.   -Same, same... It's a sad book.   -I beg to differ, gentlemen''
Thus, you wrap some eggplant, onion, tomato and duck in one of the flatbreads, smother it in a generous amount of sauce and immediately realize your mistake, for you confused the mild and hot Zanes. Not wanting to throw the spicy morsel away, you hide your pain and finish it with faked pleasure, immediately asking for a drink afterwards.   After sipping on some Nim, you no longer feel like your mouth's on fire, and so decide to join a random conversation. Although literary debates have never been your forte, it's different this time, for the author of the book they're talking about just so happens to be your sister-in-law. Rather frustratingly, however, your conversation partners seem to find that last part completely irrelevant, for they won't shut up about their theories being the right ones. But anyways, as it's often said:
''The dumber one is, the smarter one feels''
Sufficiently reminded that not all 'Tekasan Laqquol' are actually wise, you pick up a couple skewers and look for someone else to talk to. Eventually, though, it's the host himself who approaches you:
''Ah yes, the wonders of the Capitoline character! Not to sound rude, but I couldn't help but overhear you all. Worry not, however, for I'm not looking to re-start the debate and tell how wrong you are. Being related to a writer myself I know how much of a pain those guys can be''.
Even if you obviously knew the Chief Accountant before getting invited to his house (you are his boss, after all) you two hadn't really talked about anything other than work until now. Actually, now that you think about it, he may have organized this whole event just to get to know you better. It's certainly a trick you've pulled more than once over the years...   In any case, you're pleasantly surprised by his personality, quickly bonding over your shared experiences as the children of rural aristocrats who left to join the Bureaucracy. He may even get a seat at your next Beriscán, you think as he politely excuses himself to announce the arrival dessert time.
 

Dessert

''Hással sann hei!''
''Let there be Hással!''
Right after those words are uttered, a group of servants comes in and completely empties the table, taking away the remnants of the main course to give them a new use. The table's bareness, however, doesn't last long, as you all are quickly given a new set of plates and cutlery. Furthermore, they also bring forth a tray and a fairly large box, sealed shut to keep its contents cold.   Upon the wooden tray, decorated with images of birds and fish, lie all the toppings and pastries one could ever want for their ice cream. From pickled fruit chunks and chocolate filled wafers to Zeri and cinnamon vessels, as well plenty of freshly grated cocoa, roasted nuts and honey, the only missing condiment is caramel. Though, to be fair, you've never been much of a fan, so really who cares...   However, toppings are quite useless if there is nothing to sprinkle them on, and thus you can't wait for that lacquered container to be opened. When a servant finally does so, you are happy with what you see, it being full to the brim with 4 different Hással flavours. Neatly separated by golden sheets and arranged by colour. First comes the snow white stracciatella, followed by pale lemon, then honey, probably coloured with some saffron, and finally mango.   Although everything looks quite palatable, the last hour or so of feasting has sadly left you full, the Tanáá not helping either. Thus, you merely fill a pastry with stracciatella and piñons and ask for a glass of almond milk to settle the stomach.   After a while of scooping out dessert and chit chatting with guests, all of whom just as full and eager to rest as you, the party giver makes yet another announcement:
''Gentlemen, it has thus come to an end. Now may we all go back in peace to our routines''.

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Cover image: by Ynarkael

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