I separated this page from the Bazi Tea page because this information is relevant references to tea served in the land of the Pani.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
"It is as we feared," he said. "Would you care for tea?" Lady Sumomo, the younger of his two contract women, was nearby, and ready to pour. Her kimono was of yellow silk. Her glistening black hair was high on her head, and held in place with a long comb.
Tajima wished to buy her contract but, of course lacked the means to do so. It is easier with slaves, as it is with other beasts. One does not expect to pay much for them. Most are priced reasonably. It is not difficult to pick out a nice one. One examines them, one bids on them, one owns them.
"No," I said. "I am returning to the encampment."
Sumomo was kneeling at the low oval table, with its surface of inlaid woods, on which reposed the service for tea.
As it was learned later, Lord Yamada, sitting cross-legged in his pavilion, being served tea by his contract women, listening to reports, was incredulous.
The girl very carefully, holding her right sleeve back with her left hand, poured tea from the blue-and-white ceramic vessel into my tiny cup.
"Be careful, my dear," he said to the slave. "Do not spill tea, even a drop."
"Yes, Master," she whispered, frightened. There are consequences, of course, for clumsiness in a slave.
"Are you willing to pledge the cavalry to my service?" he asked, regarding me over the brim of the small cup of tea.
He then sipped his tea, and, a bit later, indicated to the nearest contract woman that his small cup might be refilled.
"Scarcely," said Lord Yamada, lifting his tiny cup of tea.
"Had we come on tarn," I said, "it seems, after a suitable interval, with no contact, such a party, if it existed, might have departed, returning north."
"That is possible," said Lord Yamada.
I sipped my tea, and then put it down on its saucer.
The motivation for my crawling forward, toward the head of the table, was that I had heard that the Alexia, one of the ships of Bosk of Port Kar, had recently anchored in the arsenal harbor, just this afternoon, from far Bazi, bearing tea, as the enterprises of Bosk of Port Kar were varied and widely flung. A newcomer, one I did not recognize, in the rimless cap common to mariners, had just been admitted to the hall and had been called to the head of the table. I took him to be most likely the captain, or a captain's officer, from the Alexia. If this were the case, might he not be soon apprised of new and important developments having to do with the holding?
"How went the voyage, noble Astron?" inquired Florian.
"As reported, well," said the newcomer. "Our hold is bulging. Too we have bales and boxes of six new teas, unknown, I think, even in Brundisium or Jad. They may yet rival black wine in preciousness, at a quarter the cost."
"Skinny she-tarsk," said Talena. "What did you sell for, a tarskbit? A crumb of bread, a rind of larma to flavor tea, or did they give you away?"