The Cleric Cook

Rinn had lived at the temple for as long as he could remember. The priests had given him the name Rinn out of a misguided attempt to honor the elvish portion of his lineage. One of them had read it in a book of old tales and thought it fit. When he was a child, it fit, this was true. Unfortunately he was now an adult. An adult half-elf with an elf child’s name. Of course, humans used the same name from birth to death, but in elvish culture, as Rinn had learned when a group of elven pilgrims had stopped at the temple, they receive a new name upon coming of age.

When Rinn had brought it up to the high priest of the temple the man had scoffed. What use was it changing your name he had asked. He’d further iterated that the only people who changed their names consistently were snake oil salesman and thieves. He’d hammered this point home. At length. Eventually, when Rinn supposed he looked penitent enough about even broaching the subject, the high priest had sent him back to the kitchen where he performed most of his duties. It was only later, as he sat on a stool peeling potatoes with his tutor that he thought of the perfect counterpoint- actors. Actors brought joy to many and used many different names. He couldn’t go back and reopen the topic for discussion though. The high priest had closed it soundly.

As he added the potatoes into a pot of water bubbling around a beef bone, he realized that the high priest would probably just point out that he wasn’t an actor. He was merely a cook’s assistant in a Temple of Lliira; just as he had been for the last twenty-five years. Ever since he aged enough to help in the kitchen without being underfoot he had worked there. Now thirty his days were filled with prayer, cooking, training under whatever itinerant clerics passed through, cooking, sleeping, dreaming about cooking, and more cooking.

He wasn’t quite as good as the head cook of the kitchen. To be fair however, the head cook practiced in the kitchen his entire life; which, to this point, had been much longer than Rinn’s. Rinn tasted everything that came out of the kitchen, occasionally sneaking an extra dash of salt or pepper into a pot that he felt needed it. Everyone who ate at the temple was pleased with the flavors put before them. The head cook received all the praise. That was the case with the stew at dinner that night. Rinn slaved away over it with minimal input and help from the head cook, who focused on scolding the scullery boy for not having the pots and pans ready fast enough.

Rinn was guild trained by the fact that the head cook was a guild cook. As he lay awake in bed that he planned out how he would get out of the temple. The life was too restrictive. He had learned enough from the other itinerant clerics that he felt he could make a go of it on the road. He could spend his days traveling, cooking for the needy, and spreading the word of the Joy of Lliira. An itinerant cleric-cook. That would suit him nicely. The last thought that he had before drifting off to sleep was that if he was out on the road he wouldn’t have to live in the head cook’s shadow anymore, and, maybe, he added to himself with a smile, he could go about changing his name.

Apropos of: A little backstory for a D&D 5th Edition campaign I’m joining. Sorry folks sometimes I’m self serving here.


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