Next Day

In which Haft spends his first day back in Anvard

Army Barracks(#12898R/AHJKM)

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You stand in the barracks belonging to the Army of Archenland. Here is where the men reside when not on campaign. There are many bunks along the walls and at the foot of each bunk is a foot locker. The barracks is neat and tidy. Arrow slot windows facing out allow for defense and provide light. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Officers’ Barracks <S>, North Gate Tower <E>, Northern Stairwell <W>

Contents: A leopard with a long tail; Sigyn; A wolf with

scars over both of his eyes; Tempest;

A wolf with untrusting and piercing eyes (Aliyah); A daughter of eve with

chestnut curls; Lanisen; A son of adam with a

strong build; Gambeson; Quiver; and Quiver.

Army Barracks(#12898R/AHJKM)

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You stand in the barracks belonging to the Army of Archenland. Here is where the men reside when not on campaign. There are many bunks along the walls and at the foot of each bunk is a foot locker. The barracks is neat and tidy. Arrow slot windows facing out allow for defense and provide light.

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]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

You can go: Officers’ Barracks <S>, North Gate Tower <E>, Northern Stairwell <W>

Contents: A leopard with a long tail; Sigyn; A wolf with

scars over both of his eyes; Lanisen; A son of adam

with a strong build; Quiver; and Quiver.

Colin, Haft, and Lanisen are awake in this room.

The sleepers here are Nimera, Sigyn, and Drune.

Colin replies, “Anytime. You can use me as a punching bag if you’d like.”

Haft sits up, stretching.

Lanisen is sitting up on his cot, chatting with Colin, who is sitting on the floor next to him. There is a half-eaten plate of cookies between them. “Might do, look out.” He rubs the fingers of his right hand, flexing them one at a time with the same puzzled, dissatisfied look.

Colin leans slightly away from Lanisen. When he hears movement, he stretches to see who’s stirring. Noticing the stranger from last night, he nods a greeting.

Haft rolls over and goes back to sleep with a grunt.

Later

Haft sits up.

Lanisen is still sitting on his cot, Colin nearby. He has a book now, however, and is poring over it with extreme interest. “Oh, that’s a centaur,” he says suddenly, looking at a sketch. “I was figurin’ on a two-legger.”

Haft asks, “So, meals in the Great Hall still?”

Colin stares at Lanisen. “I told you they were half horse…what horse is two legged in your world?” He starts when the stranger awakens and he looks over at him. “Um…think so?”

Haft grunts in amusement.  “Trying to sort out the Critters in the hall?”

Lanisen says, “Um, what goat is two-legged in yours?”

Haft’s mouth twitches.

Colin thinks about that for a minute. “Okay…I’ll give you that one.” He looks over and responds, “Sort of. He’s a little, uh…paranoid, shall we say. And skeptical.” He says with a grin.

Lanisen says absently, “Shut up.”

Colin says, “Well, you are.”

Haft says, “Nothing wrong with some healthy skepticism.”

Haft sighs.

Haft says, “Keep you from being taken in.”

Lanisen has gotten to the section of the book that documents the creatures of evil. He leans close, squinting, then breaks out laughing. “Here’s a handsome fellow,” he says, showing Colin a picture of a Toadstool man. “Lookit that fearsome face.”

Colin pulls a face. “I’d hate to meet him…”

Haft says, “The people of Narnia are odd, sure enough.  It’s not wonder that Calormene in the hall was afraid last night.”

Lanisen says, “Says they’re tiny. Lion, what a look. You know what he looks like? He looks like Aryna’s kid Bern when he don’t want to eat his soup.”

Lanisen glances up curiously. “Sehsis?”

Haft asks, “I didn’t catch the name.  Seemed some thought he was a spy, but the king didn’t think so.  Who is he?”

Colin snorts, and nods to Lanisen. “Yes…he wasn’t doing too well last night. I feel a bit sorry for him.” he cranes his head to look at the picture. “Please, Bern’s way cuter than this guy.” To the stranger, he replies, “Sehsis is a merchant. He’s been here for quite a while.”

Haft narrows his eyes.

Lanisen says, “I saw him in the crowd the other night. Wonder how he got caught up in all this.”

Tempest comes trotting into the Army Barracks.

Colin rubs the back of his neck. “People were ready to go after him pretty quickly, that’s for sure.”

Haft says, “Hardly surprising.  I don’t envy him.”

Lanisen looks alarmed. “He get out all right?”

Colin nods. “King Lune saw to it.”

Haft asks, “I was surprised to see him in the hall.  Was he locked up during the battle?”

Colin appears puzzled. “I’ve no idea.”

Lanisen nods, relieved. “I’m glad,” he says. “He didn’t seem like a bad sort.”

Haft says, “He’s a Calormene.”

Colin says, “Just because Rabadash is a complete sod doesn’t mean they all are. Prince Cor seems to like his friend Lady Aravis well enough, and if he’s anything like his father, he’s a good judge of character.”

Lanisen raises an eyebrow and murmurs, “Can see nothing gets by you.”

Haft glowers.  “Not anymore.”

Colin’s eyebrow goes up a little. “While we’re on the subject…sort of…I don’t think I caught your name.”

Haft hesitates.  “Haft.”

Colin nods. “Colin. Good to meet you.”

Haft nods.

Haft asks, “And your friend who doesn’t believe in centaurs?”

Lanisen has lost track of the conversation, having come upon the entry on spectres. He stares at the illustration in morbid fascination.

Colin jerks his thumb toward the avid reader. “Lanisen.” he says with a grin.

Lanisen asks, “What?”

Haft says, “Must be a good book.”

Colin nods, pulling himself to his feet. “That and healing is just boring.”

Haft says, “Worst part of battle, and that’s the truth.  The mending.”

Haft asks, “So what happened to you?”

Lanisen’s face turns slightly red as he realizes he missed something. “Sorry.”

Lanisen says, “Um. Arrows did.”

Haft winces.

Colin’s forehead creases as he looks at Haft. “Sure. The mending.” he pauses for a minute before looking at his friend. “I need to go..it’s time to get back t’ help with some of the cleanup.”

Haft nods.  “Of course.  I might join you.  I haven’t broken my fast yet.”

Haft says, “I think we can safely leave Lanisen with his book.  Unless he had questions about the pictures.  I lived in Narnia for a time”

Lanisen looks interested. “Did you?”

Colin’s tone is somewhat apologetic. “I won’t be going in the direction of the hall, but I can point you that way.”

Haft says, “I know the way.  Thank you.  I’ll head down in a bit.”

Colin nods, heading for the door as he runs a hand through his head. “Lan, I’ll be back later to try to help you to your room.” He says absently as the door closes behind him.

Lanisen watches his friend go, frowning in some confusion. “Uh– all right.”

Haft turns to Lanisen.  “Anything you particularly wanted to know?”

Lanisen says, “What? Oh, um. I don’t know yet.” He half-grins and gestures at the book in his lap.

Colin walks through a narrow door leading to the stairwell in the north tower.

Haft nods.  “I suppose you saw them in the battle, but haven’t had much chance for looking since you were brought here?

Lanisen says, “Oh, I wasn’t in the battle. I haven’t seen anybody but those who have been up here since.”

Haft asks, “How were you injured then?”

Lanisen says, “The night before, on the walls.”

Lanisen adds, “At least… I’m pretty sure it was the night before. I might’ve lost some time, not really sure.”

Haft asks, “You were with the archers?”

Lanisen nods.

Haft says, “That’s still battle, lad.  When your sons ask you, you can tell them you served honorably in the Battle of Anvard, when the prince of Calormen stood before the gates.”

Lanisen says, “No, no– I didn’t see any Narnians in the battle outside, I meant. Because I wasn’t there.”

Haft says, “Ah, I see.”

Haft says, “Well, hopefully you’ll see a few before they leave, if you get your rest and heal as you should.”

Haft says, “It’s a queer land.”

Lanisen glances at the book. “Sounds like it,” he remarks. “Everything’s half-human-half-something.”

Haft says, “Not at all.”

Lanisen asks, “Sorry?”

Haft says, “There are a few, of course.  The centaurs, fauns, satyrs.  But most of the folk you meet are other sorts.  Talking Beasts, for a great part.”

Lanisen says, “Oh. Right, of course.”

Haft says, “And others that might seem humanlike, but aren’t.  The dryads, naiads.  The Marsh-wiggles.  Now that’s an odd folk.”

Lanisen says, “…Marsh-wiggles?”

Haft says, “If you look in your book, you might say they look half-frog-half human, but that ain’t a proper description, as they’re neither.”

Lanisen blinks. “Frog?” he repeats dubiously.

Haft says, “They’re tall, and solemn.  Live up north, near the wastelands.”

Lanisen says, “Tall frogs.”

Haft says, “Oh, I say that because their hands and feet are webbed and their hair is reedy.”

Haft says, “I ain’t met many of them, truth be told.  But you’d not forget it quick like, once you had.”

Lanisen is flipping pages, trying to find the section on this new oddity. He gives the illustration a long suspicious look, once he finds it, and shakes his head slowly. “That’s it,” he says. “I give up. Tall talking frogs, what next.”

Haft says, “I didn’t notice any in the hall, but it was crowded.  If you should see one, make sure to strike up a conversation.  It’s an education, and no mistake.”

Lanisen sits back against the wall and closes the book, looking overwhelmed. He automatically raises his right hand to rub his forehead, but quickly realizes his mistake, his face turning gray with pain from his injured shoulder.

Haft grimaces sympathetically.

Lanisen takes a couple of deep breaths and relaxes again, muttering to himself.

Haft says, “You should probably rest.  I need to find myself something to eat in any case.”

Lanisen mumbles “… is … worst.”, to Lanisen.

Haft grunts in agreement.

Haft says, “Good day, lad.”

Lanisen sags back against the wall, resettling bolsters and blankets. “Thanks for the, um, information.”

Haft says, “Not sure it was any use.”

Lanisen says, “Well, you know. Wouldn’t entirely put it past Sir Colin to have a book commissioned just to mess with me, so it’s good to have a third source.”

Haft’s lips twist, but then he sobers.  “It’s always important to know who you should trust, and when.”

Haft shrugs and leaves.

Lanisen says easily, “Oh, I’d trust him with my life. Just not with Marsh-wiggles.”

Haft pauses in the doorway.  “Be very careful, lad, with whom you choose to trust your life.”

Haft walks through a narrow door leading to the stairwell in the north tower.

Haft walks down to the Great Hall.

Great Hall

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You stand in the most impressive room in Anvard, the Great Hall.  It is hung

with tapestries on every wall, lending warmth to the vast stone chamber. High

windows allow a small amount of light in from the outside, but most of the

illumination comes from decorative sconces hanging along each wall.  At the

northwestern end of the Hall you see a raised dais, where the High Table

stands. The purple and gold banner of Archenland hangs over the dias.

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You can go: Kitchen <E>, Inner Ward <NE>, Dais <NW>

Contents: A daughter of eve wearing a rough woven brown shawl on her shoulders;

A daughter of eve with a pulled back bun; A daughter of eve with mid-back

length hair; A son of adam with curly hair; A son of adam wearing spectacles;

A son of adam with bright blue eyes and light brown hair (Darrin); Feasting

Table; and Keg of Ale.

Haft enters quietly and walks over to the table.

Haft pulls Rabbit Stew from Feasting Table.

Darrin shrugs. “Oh, I don’t know, thoughts about what this might mean for the future of the country, or something. You and my brother are particularly good at that kind of thing.”

Haft finds a quiet corner and sits down on a bench.

Tyre says, “I… presume he will become King when time comes.”

Darrin nods.

Haft glances up, toward the men.

Tyre says, “I do not know the boy so I cannot posit on his fitness.”

Darrin says, “Hm. That is fair.”

Haft narrows his eyes.

Tyre returns to his meal, seeming to think this is quite opinion enough.

Darrin puts his elbow on the table and his chin on his palm and studies his plate in thought.

Tyre coughs on a chunk of potato. “Is that what you wanted to know?”

Darrin lifts his head. “Hm? Ah. Yes, I suppose. I don’t know. I don’t know the boy either, but it does seem to me this will bring about change in one form or another.” He lifts his glass and takes a drink of wine. “For the most part, I’m just happy for the King, though.”

Tyre says, “Yes. I have not seen him so pleased in the time that I have been lord of Chesterton.”

Darrin toys with his fork. “Hm. You should have seen him when we thought we’d lost the boy on the road. I felt terrible. I should have made a point to keep a closer eye on the lad.” He frowns, a crease between his brows, for once more sober than not.

Tyre asks, “Lost?”

Haft cocks his head, listening intently.

Tyre coughs, noticing the man who seems to be listening in on their conversation. He adjusts his glasses.

Haft rises and clears his throat.

Haft says, “Ah sorry milord.  I couldn’t help overhearing.  I was curious about the details of the prince’s return.”

Darrin spreads his hands. “He shows up, the identical of Prince Corin, while we are on the hunt, warning us of 200 Calormene he has seen with his own eyes. Of course the King mistook him for his brother, but apparently the boy had met Prince Corin and knew that they were similar in appearance, so he assured us they weren’t the same. So of course, we make our way to Anvard as quickly as possible after getting the boy a horse, but somehow, don’t ask me how, he managed to get separated from the group. And, from what Queen Lucy says, ended up somehow in southern Narnia in time to warn the Narnians of the threat, so that a stag could carry the warning to King Edmund and Queen Lucy.” He shrugs. “For the life of me I can’t understand how we lost him in the first place, or how he ended up so far to the north, but I am grateful.”

Haft’s eyes widen.

Tyre clears his throat and merely nods, seeming discomfited now.

Darrin, caught up in his tale, doesn’t notice the other man until he addresses them directly. He arches a brow, glancing between Tyre and the stranger. “Ah. Well. We were conversing in a public space, after all.”

Haft says, “Nonetheless, I have intruded.  I will leave you to your discourse.”

Tyre’s reply seems to exhaust him. “It is a feasting hall. You are welcome, given you, ahh, announce yourself.”

Darrin gives Tyre a sympathetic glance and lifts his glass to the man. “As my cousin says.”

Haft lifts his glass in turn.

Haft says, “Still, I have satisfied my hunger, which is chiefly what I came for.  I shall retire, I think.  Goodnight, my lords.”

Haft bows and leaves.

Tyre nods acceptance of the words.

Darrin nods. “A good night to you.”

Haft walks into the Inner Ward.

Haft returns to the barracks and goes to sleep for a while.

Later

Army Barracks(#12898R/AHJKM)

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You stand in the barracks belonging to the Army of Archenland. Here is where the men reside when not on campaign. There are many bunks along the walls and at the foot of each bunk is a foot locker. The barracks is neat and tidy. Arrow slot windows facing out allow for defense and provide light. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Officers’ Barracks <S>, North Gate Tower <E>, Northern Stairwell <W>

Contents: Lanisen (Lanisen); A wolf with scars over  both of his eyes; Tempest; Quiver;  and Quiver.

Drune shrugs, as best a wolf can. “Fine… another two days. ” he returns, in only half jest. “At the very least, I wouldn’t mind getting out and patrolling a bit. Though, I suppose that is up their Majesties. ”

Tempest peers at him. “What about just plain old exploring?”

Haft sits up.

Lanisen hesitates before he says, “Uh, sorry if it’s– you oughta give it a week. At least. Before you try anything more’n short bits of walkin’.”

Haft glances around the room before heading out.

Later

Northern Wall Walk

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You stand on Anvard’s Northern Wall Walk. From here you have a view of travellers approaching from the north and northeast. A cool wind ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals the bustle of people going to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Gate Tower <E>, Outer Wall Walk <S>, Watchtower <W>

Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets and A son of adam with

blue eyes.

Avery is sitting on the ground beside the wall, three children crowding in around her. She holds a large, open book on her lap, reading in an animated voice. The children seem to be enraptured.

Peridan comes walking along the rampart, speaking with a soldier. The Lord laughs at something the Soldier says, patting him on the back. The soldier also grins before saluting and walking in the opposite direction. Peridan stops, gazing out to the North. The sound of Children’s laughter brings his gaze to the Lady.

Haft leans on the rampart, looking out over the countryside.

Sigyn emerges from one of the towers and begins padding along the walkway, sniffing the air and surveying the outer ward with curiousity.

[A depiction of a fox emerging from a hollow log is carved into the door leading to the Northern Watchtower.]

Peridan walks toward the Lady, bowing to her. However, as too not interrupt her story, he actually walks to the man, speaking quietly to him, “Good Eve, Soldier.”

Haft looks slightly startled, turning from running his hand over the fox carved onto the western door.

Haft nods.  “Milord.”

Avery looks up as Peridan draws close. She smiles, but continues her story. “And then can you guess what happens next?” The children beg her to tell them. Avery grins and says, “They crept up to the door and they knocked…and a big, black…dog came running out to lick their faces!” She tickles the nearest one and he squeals with delight.

Sigyn’s ears prick up at the sound of children’s laughter. She continues to pad along the walkway toward the little gathering.

Peridan asks the man, “I recognize you from battle, Forgive me but your name has slipped my mind. How are you feeling -?”

Avery closes the book shut, much to the disappointment of the little ones. “Now, now. If we read the whole thing tonight, what will we read tomorrow? Besides, I think your Mother is looking for you by now. Run along, children.” They obey, running down the walk, squealing when they see the Leopard. Avery laughs and starts to stand, arranging her skirts carefully and modestly.

Haft hesitates.  “Haft, sir.  I’m feeling well.  I received little damage in the battle, other than a fall with a Calormene on top of me.”

Sigyn’s eyes brighten when the children go barreling past her, reaching out to touch her fur as they go. She twitches her tail to playful bat them before they disappear.

Peridan gives the man a friendly smile, “That is good to hear! Thank you for your service in the battle.” He turns as Lady Avery stands, bowing to her again, “Good eve, Lady Avery.”

Avery turns to Peridan and curtsies, hiding a small smile. She holds the book in both hands and says, “Hello again.” She glances at Haft and gives a friendly nod.

Peridan looks at the book in the Lady’s hands, “A good book, Lady Avery?”

Haft turns to hear the lady’s answer.

Avery looks down at the book in her hands. “Oh!” She blushes. “It’s actually a book about plants, but the cover caught their attention in the library. They’re convinced it’s a storybook, but I make all the stories up…”

Sigyn grins with delight. “How clever of you.” she comments.

Peridan laughs, not a loud laugh but a good-natured one, “That is very wonderful of you, Lady Avery.” He turns to the Leopard, “I agree completely, my good Leopard.”

Haft asks, “Sounds reasonable.  They’re kin of yours?”

Avery steps back a bit to allow more room for the Leopard. “They are one of the cooks’ children here in Anvard. Sweet little things.” She smiles at the Leopard, “They seemed to be quite taken with you. I am sure they will inquire after you when I see them next.”

Sigyn chuckles throatily. “Well, if I can be of service to help entertain them, please do let me know.”

Peridan chuckles himself, “I forget that most here are not familiar with talking Beasts. I hope that you have enjoyed your time here, -?” He directs his question at the Leopard.

Haft looks the Leopard over. “I reckon you don’t have the same problems here I did in certain places in Narnia.  Used to bump my head on lintels.

Haft says, “Good thing most of the Talking Beasts didn’t like me anyway.”

Sigyn answers the blue-eyed man with a bow of her regal feline head. “I am Sigyn, sir.”

Avery smiles. “A pleasure to meet you, Sigyn.” She bows her head slightly as she introduces herself, “Avery of Chesterton.”

Peridan look at Haft, “Ah yes, I remember my first days in Narnia as well. Quite different.” He bows to Sigyn, “A pleasure Sigyn, are you a member of the Army or did you answer the call for volunteers?” As Lady Avery speaks, he looks momentarily embarrassed, “Where are my manners…Yes, this is Lady Avery of Chesterton.”

Sigyn’s throaty laugh occurs again. “A pleasure. May I inquire as to who you Sons of Adam are?” she bows her head respectfully again as she answers his question. “I am a runner for the Northern Guard of Lantern Waste in Narnia, which is not a full time member but it gives me some duties. My sister Nimera and I were in Sted Cair visiting our family when the army began gathering.”

Peridan says, “I am Lord Peridan, Advisor to the Kings and Queens of Narnia and Commander of the Narnian Army.”

Avery fidgets with the corner of the book as Peridan introduces her. Her eyes fall to the Leopard and she frowns slightly. “Oh, well, I am sorry your family time was cut short. But think how proud they will be when you return a hero.”

Haft says, “Lord Peridan?  Indeed.  The late queen’s nephew.”

Sigyn’s tail swings back and forth quietly. “That is not important to us, Lady Avery…my sister and I are just grateful for the outcome and that neither of us or our brother were terribly injured. We thank Aslan every day.”

Peridan looks at Haft, “You are correct.” He looks back at the Leopard, “I thank you and your family for your service. Without the help of you, the battle might have gone differently. You said that you were a runner from the Guard correct?”

Avery sets the book down on the stone wall. “Yes, yes, of course. Your service to Archenland is very much appreciated. For you to be alright if a little sore is definitely a blessing.”

Sigyn nods in response. “Yes, I am, Lord Peridan.”

Haft asks, “Has anyone seen anything further of the young princes?”

Peridan hmms, “I should like to speak with you sometime then, Sigyn.” A servant appears, bowing, “Lord Peridan, King Edmund needs to speak with you in the Great Hall.” Peridan nods to him, “I will be right there.” He bows to the Lady first, “It is always a pleasure speaking with you, Lady Avery.” He then nods his head to Haft and Sigyn, “I am glad to meet you both.”

Haft inclines his head.

Sigyn’s eyes widen very slightly and she bows her head once more. “A pleasure to meet you, Lord Peridan.”

Avery curtsies with a nod. “I should also go.  I’ve not seen my brother all day. May I walk with you?”

Peridan smiles at the Lady, “Of course, My Lady.” He extends his arm. “It will be my pleasure.”

Avery takes the offered arm and looks to the other two. “A pleasure to meet you both. I hope to see you again soon.”

Sigyn bows her head once more. “Good day to you, Lady Avery.”

Peridan grabs the book on the wall, grinning a bit, “We don’t want to forget the Children’s ‘story book’.” He nods to the other two, “Take care, my friends.” Then begins to escort Lady Avery towards the Tower.

Peridan walks into the North Gate Tower.

Avery smiles and takes the book. “Of course. That would be dreadful…”

Avery walks into the North Gate Tower.

Outer Ward> Avery comes walking down the stairs to the Outer Ward.

Outer Ward> Avery walks west toward the inner gatehouse.

Sigyn bows her head to the other man and bids him a good day before she quietly pads away.

Sigyn pads into the North Gate Tower.

Haft returns to the barracks.

Army Barracks

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You stand in the barracks belonging to the Army of Archenland. Here is where the men reside when not on campaign. There are many bunks along the walls and at the foot of each bunk is a foot locker. The barracks is neat and tidy. Arrow slot windows facing out allow for defense and provide light. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

You can go: Officers’ Barracks <S>, North Gate Tower <E>, Northern Stairwell <W>

Contents: A leopard with a long tail; Sigyn (Sigyn); A wolf

with scars over both of his eyes; A wolf with thick black fur and tired blue

eyes; A wolf with untrusting and piercing eyes (Aliyah); A daughter of eve

with chestnut curls; Lanisen (Lanisen); A son of

adam with a strong build (Colin); Quiver; and Quiver.

Haft, Arael, Colin, and Lanisen are awake in this room.

The sleepers here are Sigyn, Aliyah, Nimera, Tempest, and Drune.

Lanisen looks extremely indignant. “You will not.”

Haft pauses on entering, wondering what Lanisen’s outburst indicates.

Arael laughs harder, looking perhaps more gleeful than is entirely kind.

Colin lifts both hands. “It was just a suggestion, sheesh.” One of the assistants approaches, handing over the completed walking stick, which Colin then taps Lanisen on the shoulder with before handing over. “I dub thee Sir Gimps-A-Lot.”

Lanisen snatches the stick and swats at Colin with it. “Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up.”

Colin yelps when Lanisen whacks him with the stick. He takes hold of Arael’s hand and positions her in front of him as protection.

Arael squawks in protest and holds her hands up palms-out to ward off any stray blows.

Lanisen complains loudly about this injustice, then thumps the stick a couple times on the floor to test it out. Holding onto it, he hauls himself into a standing position and nods, satisfied.

Colin grins and moves to stand by Lanisen’s injured side in case something fails. “Ready?”

Haft asks, “Decided to venture forth for a view of our northern neighbors?”

Araels positions herself at the ready behind Lanisen and to his other side, just far enough away to dodge stray elbows.

Lanisen says, “Um.” He gulps. “Not really sure–um…” He positions the stick carefully, leaning his weight on it, then puts his injured leg down and takes a limping step forward.

Colin answers Haft, “Adrian’s given permission for Lanisen to go back to his own room today.” He watches his friend like a hawk, ready to move if necessary.

Haft asks, “Adrian’s the Chief Physician?”

Colin nods. “That he is.”

Lanisen gimps about a bit more, trying to get the hang of the stick. He accidentally puts a little too much weight on his leg and stops short where he is, frozen.

Araels cringes in sympathy and hovers her hands near his shoulder, waitin.

Haft watches, leaning next to the doorframe.

Colin’s hand goes to Lanisen’s good arm. “Take your time…”

Lanisen nods quickly. His forehead is shiny with perspiration. He takes a deep breath and another step.

Araels bites her lip as she watches his progress. She shoots Colin a doubtful look behind Lanisen’s back.

Colin returns the glance and stays with Lanisen every step of the way.

Lanisen doesn’t waste any more steps. He heads straight for the door, his face blank with concentration.

Colin holds the door open so Lanisen doesn’t have to mess with it. “You’re doing great.”

Lanisen doesn’t spar Colin a glance, but he puffs out a little breath and grins briefly in acknowledgement.

Araels follows along behind.

The four walk down to the Inner Ward.

Inner Ward of Anvard

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

You stand in the Inner Ward of Anvard. The ground is hard-packed earth, and it is open to the sky above. Wonderful aromas come wafting out from the Kitchen to the south, near the well. Huge, impressive, intricately carved doors lead to the Great Hall. Staff hurry about, in and out of their quarters, serving the Great Hall and the Council Chamber. A quieter corridor to the northeast leads to the library and schoolroom. Noble lords and ladies also pass through, walking towards their quarters seeing to other business. A guarded gatehouse to the east stands between the inner and outer wards. Two stairways line the curtain wall, climbing to the upper reaches of the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

You can go: Council Chamber <N>, Northeast Hallway <NE>, Inner Gatehouse <E>, Kitchen <S>, Great Hall <SW>, Staff Quarters <W>, Infirmary <NW>, Southern Stairwell <US>, Northern Stairwell <UN>

Contents: Araels; A son of adam with a scarred

neck (Lanisen); A son of adam with a strong build (Colin); and Well.

Haft arrives, following Colin.

Colin gives Lanisen a hand with the stairs on the way to the ward, pausing at the bottom to let him rest.

Arael continues to flutter her hands uselessly from time to time.

Lanisen has a hard time on the stairs and is white-faced and hurting by the time they reach the ward. He takes it slow, hissing out indistinct things that sound like cusses every few steps.

Haft follows after.

Haft mumbles “Not sure I have a very high opinion of this healer.”, to Haft.

Haft mumbles “Not … … … a … … opinion … … healer.”, to Haft.

As the group passes through, a page approaches and bows to Sir Colin. “My Lord, if it please you, your uncle the king covets your presence at his table this noon.”

Colin looks at the page. “Er….is it that time already?” He looks at Lanisen and Arael, narrowing his eyes as an idea comes. “Those who were wounded in the battle…they are to be there as well, yes? And those attending them?” He looks at the page pointedly.

Lanisen looks rather panicked and loses his balance.

Arael gasps and darts forward to slip a steadying arm around his waist.

Colin’s hand shoots out to steady Lanisen.

Haft is attending to Lanisen’s [Correction: the page’s words?] words, and misses Lanisen’s stumble.

The page dips his head in acquiescence. “His Majesty desires that they be shown all courtesy.”

Lanisen finds his footing again, hissing, “What are you doing?” in Colin’s ear.’

Haft says, “Honoring the wounded.  Tis meet.”

Colin’s mouth lifts with a grin. “Excellent.” He replies to Lanisen, “Letting you rest before another staircase, while feeding you in the process. Follow me.” He directs. “Ara, you too. Lanisen will need your help.”

Colin’s mouth lifts with a grin. “Excellent.” He replies to Lanisen, “We’re going to go eat. Follow me.” He directs. “Ara, you too. Lanisen will need your help.”

Arael keeps her arm around Lanisen’s back, watching Colin in confusion, but doing as she’s told.

Lanisen puts a couple dots together in his head. “You did this on purpose!”

Haft smirks at Lanisen.  “Enjoy your meal, lad.”

Araels giggles in response to Lanisen’s indignation, though she makes an attempt not to jostle him too much.

Colin sighs patiently. “As much as you would like to believe so, this time I did not trick you into anything.” He nods to Haft as they move across the ward. “See you later, Haft. Come, you two. The king’s table awaits!”

Haft nods back.

Lanisen balks. “Sir–”

Arael tosses a little grin and wave over her shoulder at Haft as she helps a protesting Lanisen along.

Colin makes an attempt to reassure him. “It’ll be all right.”

Colin helps him up the next staircase.

Haft draws up a bucket, and has a drink of refreshing water.

Haft returns to the barracks.

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