I Think She Likes the Dogs

In which Haft comments on Peridan’s love life and gets what’s coming to him

Outer Ward

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You stand in the busy outer ward of Castle Anvard, full of people seeing to the needs of king and kingdom. There are market stalls along the outer wall, bustling with merchants and shoppers. Grooms work in the stables, tending to the horses there, and you hear the occasional bark of a dog from the kennels. The sounds of hammer hitting iron rings out from the blacksmith shop. There are stairs leading to the gate towers on the northern and southern corners of the outer curtain. To the east is the outer gatehouse, and the road leading into the realm of Archenland, and to the west another gate, leading to the inner gatehouse, the inner ward, and the main keep of Anvard. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Kennels <N>, Northern Market <NE>, Outer Gatehouse <E>, Southern Market <SE>, Stables <S>, Blacksmith <SW>, Inner Gatehouse <W>, South Stair <US>, North Stair <UN>

Haft is sitting on a barrel in a quiet corner, well out of sight of most of the yard.  He’s got a good view of the gate.

Peridan is speaking to a couple of Guards. By his stance, he is simply chatting with them. Occasionally, one of the guards or Peridan laughs.

Lanisen makes his way through the gatehouse from the inner ward, nodding politely to the guard on duty as he passes. He glances around the outer ward, then heads toward the kennels.

Avery steps down the stairs from the Gatehouse, holding her sketchbook and a small pouch. She looks around the Outer Ward, searching for someone in particular.

Abrielle walks through the gate, singing to herself. She is holding some pencils and some paper. However, she looks like she may have just ran into a deer or something because her clothes and hair are a bit dirty.

Peridan finishes his conversation with the guards before turning away from them. He leans against a wall, arms crossed as he scans the crowd.

Haft watches the soldiers conversing with some degree of envy, then fingers an object in his pocket.

Avery stands on her toes to get a better view. Finally, she sees Abrielle and waves excitedly when she catches her eye. “Abrielle!”

Lanisen reaches the kennels. He picks his way over some coiled rope, a barrel, and a bale of straw to peer in the window.

Abrielle spots Lady Avery and waves back, coming closer. When she is near she smiles brightly and dips into a curtsie. “Hello Lady Avery! I got your note and headed straight over.”

Peridan also spies Lady Avery, his mouth curling up into a smile. However he doesn’t approach the two woman, instead he remains where he is, still scanning the crowd.

Avery smiles. “Please, call me Avery.” She pulls Abrielle toward the low wall and away from the crowd. “How are you?”

Abrielle moves to the wall. “I am good! I had a run in with a stubborn deer but…” She smiles, “It was nothing I couldn’t handle. How are you?”

Haft pulls the object out and stares at it at it lies in his palm.

Lanisen squints through the window into the darker kennel building. He pulls an unsatisfied face and carefully leans his stick on the wall beside him, then cups his hand between his face and the glass to block the light so he can see inside.

Upon seeing Lanisen, Peridan leaves his spot on the wall and walks over to the man. He stands behind him which may help block some of the light as well, “Lanisen?”

Lanisen straightens quickly, pulling back. “Aahh, Lord Peridan!” Behind him, his stick falls over, bounces end-to-end twice, and rolls away out of reach. Lanisen winces.

Avery’s eyes widen. “A deer?” She blinks. “He didn’t hurt you at all?”

Peridan chases the stick, picking it up and returning it to Lanisen. “My sincere apologies, Lansien. I did not mean to startle you.”

Abrielle laughs lightly. “Only a little….a bruise or two. Nothing big.”

Lanisen has taken a few very tentative, limping steps after his stick by the time Peridan retrieves it for him. He lets out a breath of relief once it is back in his hand and says, “Thank you, sir.”

Avery hmms. “I didn’t think deer were prone to attacking…” She motions for Abrielle to sit. “How very odd…”

Peridan asks, “How are you feeling, Lanisen?”

Abrielle shakes her head. “I was stabbing it…it only seemed natural to me.” She gives Avery a winning smile,

Abrielle sits.

Lanisen says, “Er–fine, sir, thank you.”

Haft looks at the thing in his hand a moment more, then stuff it angrily back in his pocket.

Peridan leans against a post, motioning with his head towards the window, a smile playing in his mouth, “Window Shopping?”

Avery stares at Abrielle. “Are you…are you being serious?”

Lanisen says, “Wha–oh. Heh. Um.” He glances at the window. “Just checking in is all, sir.”

Abrielle eyes widen and her face turns to one of concern. “Yes…I use their meat.” She looks away. “Sorry..”

Peridan frowns as the man stutters a bit, “Lanisen, It is okay, I was merely jesting.” He tries to not stand and sound so lordly, “Do you work in the Kennels?”

Lanisen says, “Um, yessir. Used to.”

Avery blinks a few times, but then she laughs. “Oh, Abrielle. You said it so casually! I didn’t know if it was in jest or not…” She sits down as well.

Peridan chuckles, “Well you should get your old job back. I am sure you are a fine Kennel Keeper.”

Abrielle smiles. “Well! You scared me! I started thinking that maybe it was illegal or that you hated deer hunters.” She laughs.

Abrielle exclaims, “You are awful!”

Avery waves a hand. “No, no, that is all quite alright…” She smiles. “Just glad you are not hurt.”

Lanisen gives Peridan a quick startled look. “Oh–er. Is that– um, sorry. What?”

Abrielle nods.

Peridan laughs, “Lanisen, relax man.” He sits upon a barrel, “Tell me, did you let dogs run into the Inner Ward?”

Lanisen blinks at him. “Course not, sir.”

Abrielle nods, still smiling. “Good…”

Avery says, “I’ve had the paints sent to your home in Coghill.”

Abrielle smiles. “Again, thank you! I would have grabbed them but I never quite made it home.”

Peridan grins, “Then you make a terrific Kennel Keeper.”

Avery smiles. “I didn’t know when you would return home…I gave instructions to leave them with a neighbor in case you were not there.”

Lanisen looks even more bewildered. “I know I do, sir,” he says, without a hint of arrogance. “I–um, sorry, what do you mean I’ll… get my old job back?”

Abrielle nods. “That will be good. Philip or Willa will get them.” She says this more to herself than to Lady Avery. “So shall we get started?”

Now it is Peridan’s turn to look confused. “I just said you should get your old job back. Did something happen?”

Avery nods. “Oh, yes. Have you drawn anything since we last saw each other?”

Haft glances in the direction of Peridan and Lanisen, taking in their interaction though he’s well out of earshot, before returning to scrutinizing the crowd.

Abrielle shrugs. “Just a small thing.” She pulls the drawing out of her knapsack and hands it to Lady Avery. “It is nothing special but I used the pencils you gave me.” She smiles proudly. “Did you draw anything?”

Lanisen hesitates. “Er–no, sir, only–um, I work for Sir Colin now instead of– or–I mean, I thought–” He scratches his head and gives Peridan a rather helpless look. “Did… have you heard something I haven’t?”

Peridan shakes his head, “Oh No, I have not heard anything. I was just making…I mean…” He looks a bit at loss for words.

Avery takes the paper and looks it over, smiling. “Was this before or after you stabbed the deer?”

Lanisen says, “Oh. /Oh/.” He turns red. “I–uh, sorry. I think I misunderstood.”

Peridan rubs the back of his neck. “You know what, let us just start over. Greetings Lanisen. How are you?”

Abrielle smiles.

Lanisen shuffles, embarrassed. “Sorry, milord.”

Abrielle smiles. “Oh it was after…see.” She points to a bit in the drawing where blood pools and drips into the water.

Avery ahs. “Yes, I see now.” She grins. “I haven’t drawn anything much. I was working on something, but I’ve already given it away.”

Peridan chuckles, “It is quite alright, I was not clear myself.”

Lanisen says, gesturing vaguely at the kennel door, “Um, I haven’t been back in since before the–thing. With Calormen. ‘Fraid I’ll get knocked over if I open the door.”

Abrielle looks at Lady Avery, interested. “Do you sell you work?”

Peridan grins again, “Yes, I advise not getting knocked over by dogs.”

Haft spares another glance at Peridan, who seems to be smiling at least, and not falling over.

Avery shakes her head. “No…” She smiles and glances away. Her eyes land on Peridan standing by the kennels ave they widen slightly. She quickly looks back to Abrielle, blushing a bit. “I gave it to a…a friend.”

Abrielle follows her gaze to the man and her eyebrows raise. She looks back to Lady Avery. “A…friend?”

Lanisen says, “Was missin’ ’em today, a bit. That’s all.”

Avery quickly nods. “A friend.” She opens her sketchbook, blushing.

Peridan nods, “I can understand that.” He glances around the Ward, this time his eyes landing on Haft.

Abrielle giggles to herself. “Right….” She mumbles something to herself before flattening her own paper.

Abrielle mumbles “Note … … Ask about that …”, to Abrielle.

Haft catches Peridan’s glance and looks like he might be ready to beat a hasty retreat.

Lanisen follows Peridan’s glance. He straightens automatically, watching Haft.

Avery gently swats Abrielle’s arm. “Perhaps you should focus on drawing instead of asking about that…whenever.” She grins, handing Abrielle a pencil.

Peridan raises his eyebrow slightly at the man’s reaction. “Excuse me, Lansien.” Peridan straightens and purposefully walks over to Haft.

Abrielle laughs and puts her pencil down. “But this is more fun! And you know me and fun…we are close friends!”

Haft sighs, then rises as Peridan approaches.

Lanisen bows, watching curiously. After a moment, he glances at the kennel door consideringly.

Avery rolls her eyes. She lifts her sketchbook in front of her face. “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies…”

Peridan waves the man to sit back down. His tone is light but business like, “Good Day Haft.” He leans down a bit and speaks to him quietly.

Peridan mumbles “You are okay to be out here correct? Lord Dar won’t mind if you are here?”, to Haft.

Peridan mumbles “You … okay … be out here correct? … … … mind if … … here?”, to Haft.

Abrielle pulls the sketchbook down. “Later then.” She smiles, threateningly.

Avery hmphs and lifts it back to hide her blushing face. “I make no promises.”

Haft shakes his head warily.

Haft mumbles “He said I might not pass beyond the walls.  I took that to mean all of them.”, to Peridan.

Haft mumbles “… … … … … pass … … … … … … that … … all of …”, to Peridan.

Abrielle smiles. “But I am stubborn….so it is bound to come out.” She picks up her pencil and starts drawing the scene in front of her, making sure to add a blushing girl.

Haft looks uncertain.

Haft mumbles “If you think I have erred, I shall go within at once.”, to Peridan.

Haft mumbles “… you … … … erred, I … go within … once.”, to Peridan.

Avery chuckles. “Oh, but dear Abrielle, my stubbornness rivals even the worst mule…”

Peridan strokes his chin, thinking. He continues to speak quietly.

Peridan mumbles “No No, If he said that you may not past the walls, I believe that this is fine. I do not have to remind you how important it is that you keep your head down for now.”, to Haft.

Peridan mumbles “No … … he said that you may … past the walls, I believe … this … fine. … do … … … remind you … important it … … you … your head … … …”, to Haft.

Abrielle smiles, still looking at the page. “Then we are evenly matched.”

Avery sighs. “None of our secrets will get out.”

Haft says, “If it were any further down I’d be a ruddy Mole.”

Abrielle sighs and keeps on drawing.

Peridan blinks for a bit then lets out a laugh, “I can say that it is not a bad creature to be.”

Lanisen approaches the kennel door and puts his hand hesitantly on the latch. There is a pause, then a chorus of joyful baying from inside. From the scratching noise coming from the other side of the door, about six hounds are jostling for the right to be in front.

Haft tilts his head up skeptically.  “And how do you reckon that?”

Avery flips through her book. “What should I draw?” Her eyes lift momentarily to Peridan, but then drop back down to her page. The baying catches her attention and she looks toward the Kennels.

Peridan starts to respond when he also hears the baying of the dogs. He shouts out to Lanisen. “Be careful, Lanisen! I prefer not to have the same thing happen twice.”

Abrielle laughs. “I think you know what to draw.” She is about to give a very pointed glance in someones direction before the baying begins. She too looks to the kennels.

Haft’s eyes flicker to the kennels.  “Lady Avery might enjoy it though.”

Avery looks up as she hears her name. “Oh, indeed.” She looks to Peridan and laughs. “Very much, indeed.”

Haft colors.

Abrielle sits up, excited. “I would love to see some dogs!”

Peridan also colors as Haft makes the comment and colors even further as Lady Avery responds. He begins coughing, rubbing his forehead with his head.

Lanisen releases the latch and backs away, glancing quickly at Peridan, then around at the rest of the suddenly-interested crowd.

Avery laughs lightly at their reactions and returns to her sketchbook, mumbling to Abrielle.

Haft mumbles “Sorry.  Didn’t think she could hear that.”, to Peridan.

Haft mumbles “Sorry. … Didn’t think … … … …”, to Peridan.

Avery mumbles “… blush … … easily as I do…”, to Abrielle.

Abrielle laughs at Avery. “Sure looks like it.” She also turns back to her drawing.

Peridan waves a hand at Haft, responding. His tone may be a tad sharp. He glances up at the Woman giving them a nod, his face maybe still a bit red.

Peridan mumbles “That was uncalled for, Soldier.”, to Haft.

Peridan mumbles “… … uncalled … Soldier.”, to Haft.

Abrielle waves back, smiling comically.

Haft colors further. He nods sharply.

Lanisen, once everybody’s attention has shifted away from him, takes a deep breath and opens the door. He pushes rather clumsily inside into what looks like a veritable sea of fur and shuts the door behind him. No hounds escape.

Haft mumbles “It was.  My apologies Commander.”, to Peridan.

Haft mumbles “It …  … … Commander.”, to Peridan.

Lanisen walks into the Kennels.

Avery looks up as Lanisen goes into the Kennels, as the baying gets louder for a moment. Her gaze shifts to Peridan and when she catches his eye, she smiles apologetically.

Abrielle glances at Avery and then pulls her attention away. “What do you think about this angle?”

Peridan eyes Haft one more time, mumbling one more thing before heading over to the woman. By the time he reaches him, his face is completely schooled and he is is normal self. “Hello Lady Avery, Abrielle.”

Peridan mumbles “Apology accepted.”, to Haft.

Peridan mumbles something incomprehensible to Haft.

Haft looks almost surprised, and his eyes follow Peridan as he goes toward the ladies.

Avery exclaims, “Huh?” She looks away from Peridan toward the paper. “Oh! Yes, that’s lovely!” As Peridan approaches, she stands up and curtsies. “Hello, Lord Peridan.”

Abrielle follows Lady Avery’s lead. “Lord, Peridan.”

Peridan bows to them, “Hello. How do you fare?”

Avery smiles. “Very well, thank you. And yourself?”

Abrielle nods. “I am well.” She looks at Avery and then back to Lord Peridan.

Peridan smiles, “That is good to hear.” He glances at the ladies’ papers, “A drawing Lesson?”

Abrielle also sits but she isn’t as open about the contents of her drawing.

Peridan hmms, sitting down next to Lady Avery. He looks around the Ward, “Let’s see, Milady. What about those merchants or those children playing there?”

Avery looks at him and smiles. She chooses a sharpened pencil and begins to draw.

Abrielle smiles at Avery and adds children to her drawing.

Peridan tries to peek at Avery’s drawing, “What did you choose as your subject?”

Avery moves away slightly, holding the front cover up to block the drawing from his view. “Patience, milord.” She grins as she looks up, observing the Ward.

Abrielle laughs to herself, hearing the other two banter.

Peridan sighs, “If you insist, milady.” He contents himself to glance around the Ward.

Haft is still sitting on the barrel, missing most of what’s being said by Peridan and the ladies.  He surveys the yard, his gaze coming to rest periodically on individual soldiers or groups.  He takes note of every person coming through the gate.

Avery continues drawing, glancing up periodically. She hmms, tilting her head. “Alright. You see that lady with the scarves? And her son on the floor with the blocks?” Avery hands the book to Peridan. “A rough sketch, but I’ll fix it up later.”

Peridan looks at the sketch, “Milady, you are truly wonderful.”

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