In which Haft has a conversation with Lord Dar
Following the battle for Anvard, the people of Archenland and Narnia are gathered for a hot meal in the Great Hall. Prince Cor’s heritage has been revealed and he, Lune and Corin have retired for the night. Haft has been watching the room from a quiet spot, and the lords are discussing the prince’s return.
Tyre blinks wearily, not quite able to muster up conversation. Finally he manages, “Prince Cor?”
Dar approaches his cousin Tyre and his brother once his king has departed. He is easily able to see them over the heads of the other revelers. For once, the Steward of Anvard does not offer any words, his features as expressionless as ever but his long frame stretched as tautly as a bowstring with the accumulated changes of the day settling on him.
Darrin arches a brow, not understanding the question. “What about him?” He offers Dar a smile at his approach.
Tyre asks, “It’s ah– it’s really him, then?”
Dar hehs. He answers Tyre, “Can you question it, Cousin, when our king himself has confirmed it? Note the likeness between the boy and Prince Corin–I could point out at least twenty separate similarities. Archenland has its heir back safely again. It defies belief, and yet–and yet–”
Haft steps away from the wall and heads down the room to stand next to Fiona.
Haft asks in a low voice, “Excuse me Madam, who is the gentleman wearing the chain of office?”
Fionna replies, “I believe, he is called Lord Dar, good sir.”
Haft asks, “And his position, Madam?”
Tyre adjusts his glasses again, the usually spotless lenses growing still more smudged. He seems to grow still more overwhelmed as his other cousin approaches and responds to his attempt at conversation.
Darrin nods when Dar speaks and adds, “The resemblance is unmistakeable, particularly up close.”
Dar produces a clean cloth which he proffers to Tyre with a slight twitch of his lips. He inclines his head once in agreement with his brother’s statement.
Darrin says, “I expect it will be even more undeniable when the boy’s…er, cleaned up a bit.”
Fionna replies on the same low tone. “I Believe he is the King’s Steward.”
Haft nods. “My thanks, Madam.
Fionna nods, “Ye are truly welcome.”
Haft sets down his bowl and straightens up, running his hand through his hair and taking a deep breath.
Haft walks toward the men gathered with Lord Dar.
Haft clears his throat quietly and bows. “Excuse me, my Lord Dar. If I might have a word?”
Dar turns at the sound of his name, straightening to his full (rather impressive) height. There is little to be read in his expression, all of the weariness of the day retreating behind the mask of sober, polite formality. “As you wish–I take it you mean a word of an official nature? In which case, this is hardly the place–” He gestures for the man to follow him after making his excuses to his brother and his cousin. “I will return presently.”
Haft nods, looking relieved not to have an audience.
Darrin eyes the stranger with some curiosity, raising a brow. He nods to Dar.
IN THE INNER WARD
Dar makes his way out of the celebration with another man following close behind. Dar’s demeanor is sober to the point of severity and his posture clearly indicates that it is a matter of business which claims his attention.
Sehsis says, “I should look for Philip, though I expect he is in the hall…”
Haft glances at the Calormene with an unreadable expression.
Johan Nods “Alright…. take care Sehsis…”
Sehsis nods, “And yourself as well”
Dar guides Haft through the hallways with unerring step. He inclines his head briefly to Sehsis in passing, but does not address him.
Sehsis inclines his head towards Dar as well, but saying nothing not wanting to bother him.
Johan walks through the arch into the inner gatehouse.
Philip stands by the well, playing with the winch and bucket. He is quiet for the most part, but he looks back at Sehsis every once in a while, as if to make sure he is still there.
Sehsis walks over to him, “I thought you would have been inside with the rest…”
Sigyn pads toward you from the Great Hall.
Sigyn pads quietly through the ward.
Sigyn climbs up the open stair which rises up the northern half of the inner curtain.
Haft and Dar continue toward the Council Chamber.
You stand in the Council Chamber of Anvard. Here King Lune discusses policy with his advisors, entertains visiting ambassadors, and hosts small dinner parties. The room is cozier than the Great Hall, and circular in shape. Fine tapestries are hung on the walls, interspersed with the coats of arms of various noble households. In the center of the room is a beautiful round table, with ornately carved legs ended in lion’s claws, and a surface of inlaid wood. Clearly, aside from more practical purposes, this is a room fit to entertain people who need impressing.
You can go: Northeast Hallway <E>, Inner Ward <S>
Contents: Dar (Dar); A Silver Platter
Heaped with Meat; and A Silver Platter Heaped with Vegetables.
Haft faces Dar with his hands clasped behind his back, standing like the old soldier he is–or was.
Dar seats himself at the council table and gestures for Haft to be seated as well, if he wishes. “On an evening of festivities such as tonight, there is little chance of being disturbed here. You wished to speak with me?”
Haft acknowledges the gesture, but remains standing.
Haft says, “Milord, as Steward, I believe you are the person I ought to address regarding a certain matter.”
Haft says, “I apologize for pulling you away from more pleasant activities, but I did not feel in good conscience that it was proper for me to remain in the hall as…a guest.”
Dar’s eyebrow raises so high it threatens to detach itself from his forehead altogether. It is the only sign of surprise that registers. “Indeed? And why is that?”
Haft takes a deep breath. “I don’t know sir, if my name will be familiar to you. I have not been in our king’s service for many years now. But once, long ago, I was Haft of the Royal Guard.”
Dar replies, “That is a name I have not heard in years.”
Haft says, “If you are familiar with my name, then you may be aware of my history.”
Dar replies, “Let us not mince words or make assumptions. I prefer to hear the truth of matters from you.”
Haft nods, curtly. “As you wish then. Thirteen years ago I was implicated in a plot to kidnap the crown prince, condemned in the end not for malicious intent but for dereliction of duty, and duly exiled. The blame lays squarely on my shoulders and I do not deny it.”
Dar inclines his head. “If memory serves, that is confirmed in the records kept by my predecessor. And yet–” He gestures to the room they occupy, clearly outside the bounds set by his exile. “You are aware of the penalty for breaking your exile?”, he asks, expression never changing.
Haft nods gravely.
Dar touches the tips of his fingers together. “An interesting day for your return,” Dar comments. “What could be worth the risk?”
Haft frowns. “That answer is easy enough. I have lived these past years in Narnia, living with my guilt and shame, hoping to perhaps one day be of service to Prince Corin when he was fostered at Cair Paravel. A penance, if you will. But that did not come to fruition.”
Dar ahs solemnly. “And in the intervening years?”
Haft says, “In the intervening years I lived simply, among the Narnians. I took a home in Barfield and earned a quiet living trapping and such. Every now and then I travelled east toward Sted Cair to seek word of Prince Corin and hear how he fared.”
Haft says, “That’s where I was yesterday. Upon hearing that Anvard was in peril from the south and seeing many folk of Narnia answer the call to arms, I chose to follow and come to the aid of my country.”
Haft says, “I have not come here to beg mercy, Lord Dar. I come now to remand myself to your custody for my defiance of the king’s decree.”
Haft surrenders his sword.
Dar considers this carefully. “Your intentions seem beyond reproach, at the very least. The manner of carrying them out–” He pauses. “You have done right to come forward. His Majesty is otherwise occupied, and I will not disturb him further this evening. As it turns out, the crown prince is restored to us and our enemies defeated. You have reason to hope he may be lenient.”
Haft nods, swallowing thickly. “I saw as much, milord. Indeed, I saw the two boys on the battlefield and was nearly skewered in my distraction, so great was the shock of it.”
Haft says, “You are right that His Majesty should not be disturbed this night. In sooth, that is part of the reason I waited until he had left to present myself.”
Dar runs a hand through his hair. “We have all been taken by surprise at this day’s revelations. You have been forthright, Master Haft. I will deal with you in the same manner.”
Haft says, “Yes, sir.”
Dar meets Haft’s gaze frankly. “You will be lodged here, not uncomfortably, while this matter is sorted out. You will not be at liberty to leave, you understand, but you will not be harmed and you will not have to pass the time in the dungeons. I do not advise attempting to flee before His Majesty renders a decision. Your honesty and your actions in defense of Archenland this day, along with the recovery of his son, may go a long way toward convincing him.”
Haft nods somberly. “I thank you for your clemency regarding my lodging.” He cracks a rare smile. “In truth, I feared spending the night with some of our Calormene guests. I do not think it would have ended well on one side or the other.”
Dar’s mouth twitches very faintly at the corners in response to this levity. He rises and summons a servant. “Very well. I will inform His Majesty of what you have related to me.” When the servant bustles in, Dar tells him, “See that this man is shown to one of the unused rooms in the barracks. He is to be kept comfortable for the night and given food and warm blankets. He may not pass beyond the walls.” The servant bows low. “As you wish, Milord.”
Haft gives a final, polite bow to Lord Dar and follows after the servant.