Mansemat took a long whiff of the dish set before him, then glanced at Breus. "Very nice. Do I detect a a hint of raisins? Cooked in rum?"
"You might," answered the seneschal with a smile.
The Dark Lord grinned. "Ahh. It's so good to know that in peace and war, the great tradition of the midwinter pudding continues unabated."
Viviane rolled her eyes. "Yes, Manny. Pudding--the greatest thing in existence."
"Hey, don't knock it till you try it." Morgaine slouched into the dining hall. "Hey, guys. Sorry if it's been awhile. Been researching things. By talking to dead people. It's kind of intense in an awful way."
Viviane chuckled. "Honestly, I'm just happy to see you haven't been plastered with cobwebs after so long."
Morgaine shrugged as she got into her seat. "Ehhh... there were a few but I got them right off."
Viviane blinked. "Ummm... wait, I was... joking... that was..."
"Yeah, but I'm a stationary object that's about room temperature," said Morgaine. "Really, when you think about it, it's pretty obvious." She glanced at the pudding, and picked up her fork and knife. "Oooh--do I smell rum raisins?"
"No pudding until everyone is here," stated Mansemat firmly.
Morgaine scowled and stuck out her tongue at him. "You are mean." She glanced away. "By that measure we shouldn't eat until Nissy gets back, and he's across the river..."
Mansemat sighed. "Just the family in the castle, who should be here..." There was a sudden pop as Malina appeared, at which point Elaine and Antea entered through a side door.
"See," said Elaine. "I told you this was the right way."
"I bow to your superior knowledge of this great Castle," said Antea respectively.
"Hey everyone!" said Malina cheery. She sniffed. "Ooooh! Yummy pudding!"
"Indeed," said Antea, as she pulled up a seat. "Is that... raisins that I smell?"
Viviane laughed. "You are definitely all family."
"And that is the point of this gathering," said Mansemat. "A reminder that we Cthoniques stick together. And love our tasty, tasty midwinter puddings."
Breus nodded. "You want me to serve it, Your Magnificence?"
"Of course I do," said Mansemat. "It's pudding. With rum raisins, at that."