It Only Takes One Man

In which Haft’s self-loathing comes into play.  Also, talk of Christmas in Narnia versus Archenland!

Inner Ward of Anvard

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Lanisen walks toward you from the Staff Quarters.

Haft is standing by the well.

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

Lanisen leaves the infirmary, crossing the ward toward the staff quarters. His head is down, and he looks weary.

Haft glances around the courtyard, noticing Lanisen’s stance, but makes no move to address him.

Lanisen pauses halfway across the ward. He rubs his nose and grimaces slightly, then changes his course to approach the well.

Haft steps aside to make room, but says nothing.

Peridan appears in the Ward. He takes an intake of the ward, spotting the two men. He begins to approach, “Greetings.”

Lanisen shifts, glancing up briefly to acknowledge each man. He ducks his head toward Peridan in lieu of a bow, then leans his stick on the well wall and begins to haul up a bucket of water.

Haft raises his right hand and touches his brow.  “Milord.”

Peridan nods to each man, “Haft, Lanisen. How fare you today?”

Lanisen glances at Haft.

Haft says, “Well, sir.  Just stretching my legs.” he returns Lanisen’s look and raises a brow.”

Peridan says, “Glad to hear it.” He turns to Lanisen, “How is the arm?” Though his tone is casual, Peridan glances at Lanisen’s hand than back to Lanisen’s face, his eyebrow slightly raised. ”

Lanisen follows Peridan’s glance to his hand. “It’s fine, thank you, sir,” he answers quietly, after a telling pause.

Haft narrows his eyes doubtfully.

Peridan’s eyes soften just a tad giving a slight nod before changing the subject, “I am glad I ran into you Lanisen.I wanted to ask who that man, Aaron, was?”

Lanisen’s shoulders relax slightly. “Dunno,” he answers, maneuvering the bucket onto the well wall. “I ran into him once in Lancelyn Green. Sir Colin don’t like him.”

Haft cocks his head slightly, just listening.

Peridan hehs, “I guess Sir Colin and I have yet another thing in common.” He strokes his chin thinking, “And this is the first time you have seen him here in Anvard?”

Lanisen says, “Yes, sir.”

Haft frowns.  “What is it that concerned you about this man?

Peridan looks at Haft, “He was quite interested in learning how many Lords were in the Castle.” He rubs the back of his neck, “I do not like it when commoners wish to know certain details of the castle.”

Lanisen stays quiet, glancing at Peridan. He catches his lower lip between his teeth and looks at the bucket.

Haft scowls.  “No,” he says slowly, “I would think not.  But lords…why lords?  Why not ask for the number of soldiers garrisoned here, or the number of knights…unless he is a merchant.  What did he look like?”

Peridan glances Lanisen’s way, his eyebrow rising, but answers Haft, “I do not know why he was intent on the Lords as well. As for his appearance he had long brown hair, his clothes were nice but I did not get the idea that he was a merchant. He also carried a dagger.”

Lanisen speaks up at last. “He ain’t–beggin’ your pardon, but he ain’t /done/ anything.”

Haft glances sidelong at Lanisen, as though he wishes to argue a point, but remains silent.

Peridan blinks, a bit surprised that Lanisen speaks up. He assesses the man as he addresses him, “You are correct, Lanisen. He has not done anything yet. So what do you think should or should not be done?” His tone is light, not accusatory.

Lanisen looks a little uncertain at this, glancing briefly from side to side as if the answer will pop out at him from somewhere in the ward. “Um–nothin’?” he says at last. “I mean–besides maybe keep an eye on him, when he’s about. But he’s just, he’s kind of odd is all. He’s not hurt anybody, or not–not yet.”

Haft hears out Lanisen’s answer, then turns to Peridan.  “If it were up to me I should say also that this man should be watched, and that a closer watch should be placed on all the castle, and especially anywhere someone might encounter Prince Cor.  There are many possible risks to his safety at present–though I say so as shouldn’t, you may think.”

Haft’s face is grim.

Lanisen’s forehead crinkles dubiously at this. He glances at Peridan.

Peridan shifts to where he is leaning against the well, facing the two men. “Gentleman, I am not in the habit of accusing a man when he has done no wrong yet I do not ignore warning signs either. You both have good points and  I agree with them. Therefore, If Aaron should appear when you two are present, I request that you keep an eye on him and report to Lord Dar anything suspicious.”

Haft says, “Yes, Commander.”

Lanisen hesitates, but nods his compliance as well.

Peridan notes Lanisen’s hesitation. “What is on your mind, Lanisen?”

Haft also notices the hesitation, but keeps his expression schooled.

Lanisen rubs the back of his neck. “Er, only that… the castle’s nigh impossible to break into, sir.”

Haft blanches and turns to Lanisen, speaking harshly.  “It takes only one man to open a door!” he growls.

Peridan clears his throat, “Gentleman, I will appreciate it if we remain civil.”

Lanisen draws back, startled. “I only meant–”

Haft snaps to attention.  “Sir.”

Lanisen ducks his head quickly. “Sorry, milord.”

Peridan keeps his gaze steady on the two, “Thank you. Now, I am inclined to agree with Haft as it only takes one. However, I know that under the eyes of Lord Dar, it would be hard to be that one person to open the door. However, we can always help with making sure that nothing happens.”

Haft seems to be struggling to keep his emotions contained.  He looks angry, though whether at Lanisen or not is unclear.  He stares past Peridan’s shoulder for a moment, but nods curtly.

Lanisen accepts the rebuke silently, not looking up.

Peridan allows the silence to last, not having anything to discuss now. He does rub the back of his neck, closing his eyes.

Haft shakes himself.  “This man, you said he was dark-haired.  An Archenlander?

Peridan snaps open his eyes, now assessing Haft. “Yes.” His tone becomes a bit firm, “Haft, I request that you do not harass this man, threaten this man. In fact, I ask that you show this man, should you run across him, all forms of politeness and hospitality.”

Lanisen murmurs, “Beg your pardon, milord.” He bows, retrieving his stick.

Haft nods stiffly.  “Of course, Commander.”

Peridan nods to Lanisen, “Good bye, Lanisen.”

Lanisen glances briefly at Haft, then hobbles off across the courtyard, having completely forgotten about getting a drink.

Lanisen walks west toward the staff quarters.

Haft watches Lanisen go.  “His arm.  I wonder if it’s mending as well as he says.”

As the man limps off, Peridan moves to the bucket. Seemingly having forgotten about Haft, Peridan cups his hand and splashes his face, for once allowing himself to look stressed. He looks up as Haft speaks, “If he says it is, then I am sure it is.” However, his tone suggests otherwise as well.

Haft says, “I apologize Commander.  I should not have snapped at him.”

Peridan looks at the man, “In the few weeks that I have come to know Lanisen, I have observed that he is a bit…quiet. ” He shakes his head, “I know that you are passionate Haft when you can be and it serves you well, such as in battle.”

Haft glances around, making sure they are not overheard.  “Passionate?  is that the courtly word for self-recrimination, sir?” His mouth twists in a bitter smile.  “As for the battle, I was born to the sword. and I did not let my skills wither entirely in Narnia.”

Peridan’s eyes narrow briefly, “I am not blaming you.” His tone has taken on an air of authority. “Lion knows, I am very passionate in battle. I did not receive this,” He brushes his side, “By being dispassionate. And I am glad that you /did/ practice in Narnia as your sword helped us win victory.”

Haft says, “I did not mean to suggest that you blamed me sir….how is your injury?”

Peridan says, “It is fine, still healing.” He glances up into the sky, “I do hope that it heals in time for us to return to Narnia before Winter really sets in or we might be stuck here until the snow melts.”

Haft’s face clouds.  “The citadel is beautiful in the snow.  You must have seen it as a boy.”

Peridan moves to sit down on a bench, nodding. “Yes…quite beautiful.” His voice is calm but again his face shows a bit of emotion.

Haft says, “Christmas at Anvard was always something to see.  Not that the Narnians don’t celebrate it in their fashion.  There it’s in the wildness, every branch and hill dripping of winter, and bells mixed in with the birdsong.  It’s more…contained, here.  Grander, but less wild.” He shakes his head.  “Listen to me.  I’m waxing poetic.  Must be getting old.”

Peridan nods, “Yes. Christmas is different here.” He stands, looking almost pained, “Excuse me, Haft. I need to attend something. Have a good day.” He makes his way to his quarters.

Haft nods.  “Of course, sir.”

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