Eating At The Duke's Table, by Charles Matthias

Story name: Eating at the Duke's Table
Author: Charles Matthias

Date: Holy Saturday, 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep


Matthias and Kimberly have dinner with the Duke, but one obnoxious noble almost spoils the evening.


After watching the archery tournament, Matthias and Kimberly retire to their rooms to dress for the Duke's dinner. Thalberg seats them at the end of the table, and runs them through the necessary decorum. The dinner starts off well, but then Lord Loriod enters and sits opposite them at the table. Both Matthias and Kimberly are immediately offended by his appearance and smell.

Thomas gives a toast for the year's harvest, and the dinner guests enjoy bread, vegetables, soup, and sparkling wine. During the second course, both Matthias and Kimberly express distaste at Loriod's licentious jokes, which turns his attention to them. Loriod mocks them for being rats, and Matthias, a bit tipsy from the wine and angry that Loriod is insulting Kimberly, mocks his foul smell. Loriod unleashes several insults at how unclean and impure they are, while Matthias retaliates at how honorless and ignorant Loriod is, until Thomas finally stops the argument.

The rest of the feast passes quietly, but Matthias is unable to focus. As soon as it ends, he hurries Kimberly out into the hall, where she weeps and he apologizes and calls her beautiful and confesses his love for her. Thomas and Thalberg appear and apologize for Loriod's rude behavior, and that he will ensure they be invited to another dinner soon, and will be seated near him. Matthias and Kimberly set off for Dr Channing's reading of the second-place story.


Main Characters:

  • Charles Matthias: Headmaster of the Writer's Guild. Years ago he and several Keepers convinced Thomas to tax the nobility to fund several projects that benefited the commoners, such as the Gnawer's Support Group.
  • Kimberly: Matthias's beloved. She explains that she'd never eaten at a noble's table; she and her family ate in the kitchen. Her parents served the Baron, while she and her siblings served the Baron's children.
  • Lord Loriod: He has a woman before the curse, the wife of the previous Loriod who supposedly killed himself after the curse. He is large and has oily black hair, and very good at manipulating people via conversation.


  • Thomas: Duke of Metamor Keep. He is a bit distracted at the dinner.
  • Thalberg: Steward to Duke Thomas. For the dinner, he wears a ruffled red gown and cape.


  • Channing: Fellow Writer's Guild headmaster who sits next to Matthias during the archery tournament. He makes observations about Metamor's weather to him.
  • Habakkuk: A participant in the archery contest, and eliminated partway through.
  • Gregor: The baker, giving away free bread in the afternoon.
  • Brennar: The baker's apprentice, who played a joke on Goldmark.
  • Goldmark: A rat thief, the victim of a prank played by Brenner.
  • Father Hough: The Ecclesian priest who sits at the head of the Duke's table.
  • Posti: The Prime Minister to Duke Thomas. He remains close to the Duke at all times, except at the end of the dinner, when he didn't follow Thomas out to comfort Matthias.


  • Phil: He is not present at the dinner, though Matthias suspects he's more prominent than he lets on.
  • Donnie: His vegetable soup is well-known.
  • Coe: The Keep doctor. He once declared Loriod in fine health to dispel rumors that he had tuberculosis.

Points of Interest

  • Matthias wears his green doublet with gold lining and green hose for the dinner, the same outfit he wore for Evening Stroll. Kimberly is wearing a bright green dress.
  • The Ivy Causeway is on the northwestern side of the Keep. It has pansies and lilies.
  • The crown prince (Malisa) is rumored to have gone missing. This is a reference to the non-canon story Distant Voices, where she and a few other Keepers did indeed secretly leave the Keep.
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