Ups and Downs

In which the ladies giggle, Haft attempts a handshake, and he and Abrielle have a serious conversation about banishment

Avery and Abrielle have been sketching in the Outer Ward, and Peridan is admiring Avery’s work.  Haft is sitting on a barrel by the wall a short distance away.

Peridan looks at the sketch, “Milady, you are truly wonderful.” He stands, “Well I didn’t mean to interrupt your drawing lessons. I need to attend to something in the castle. Good day, Lady Avery, Abrielle.”

Abrielle stands and curtsies. “Lord Peridan.”

Haft’s eyes flick to Peridan as he stands–without wincing.

Avery stands and curtsies. “Good day, then.”

Peridan nods once more, takes one look around the Ward and then heads for the inner Ward.

Abrielle looks to Avery, an eyebrow raised. She smiles and teasingly says, “truly wonderful….” She smiles and gets back to work.

Haft watches Peridan leave with a look of mild approval.  He goes back to fingering something in his pocket.

Avery sits back down with an exhale and a mock-annoyed look at Abrielle. “He meant the drawing. Not me, silly!”

Abrielle laughs at Lady Avery. “Of course…I am the silly one.” She mockingly rolls her eyes.

Haft rises abruptly, withdrawing the object and staring at it a moment.  He begins to cross the courtyard, passing in front of the ladies as he moves to put the thing away, but it catches on the edge of the pocket and falls to the ground near Avery’s feet.

You see a well-made brass belt buckle, its high points rubbed smooth over the years, bearing the image of the Lion’s head.

Avery says, “You’re terrible.” She starts to blend the charcoal. A clinking sound catches her attention. She looks down, picks up the belt buckle. “Oh…” Avery looks up at Haft. She holds it out to him. “Did you drop this?””

Abrielle looks at the belt buckle. “What is on that? A Lion?”

Haft steps swiftly after the fallen item.  “Ah, thank you Lady Avery.  I did not mean to interrupt.  Yes, Miss…I do not think I have caught your name?”

Abrielle smiles. “Abrielle.” She holds out her hand.

Avery shakes her head. “No, it is quite alright.”

Haft looks a little wrongfooted, but takes Abrielle’s hand and leans over it, stopping short of the kiss he has seen the nobility perform.  “Miss Abrielle.”

Abrielle pulls her hand away rapidly. “What is that?!”

Haft straightens, his eyes scanning the yard reflexively for danger.  “Miss?”

Avery watches with slight amusement.

Abrielle raises an eyebrow. “Were you going to kiss my hand?”

A page weaves through the crowd. He bows once he is near Avery. “Milady, Lady Paige requests your presence in her quarters.” He clears his throat, glancing at the others. “As soon as possible…”

Haft says, “I…no.  I was just trying to be courteous.”  His face colors badly.”

Abrielle smiles kindly to Haft. “Sorry…it just shocked me. I was looking for a hand shake. I am not high enough for a kiss.” She notes his color before looking up at the page and frowning.

Avery looks at the page and then at the others. “Oh. Of course. Would you pass it along that I’ll be there in quarter of an hour?” The page bows and does his bidding. Avery turns to Haft, the buckle still in her hand. “Haft? Here you go.”

Haft receives the buckle.  “Thank you Lady Avery.”

Abrielle watches Lady Avery. “You need to go?

Avery smiles. “Careful with it. Things get lost around here too often.” She looks at Abrielle and sighs. “I’m afraid so…My Mother doesn’t like to be kept waiting…”

Haft returns a pained smile.

Abrielle nods and then straightens up to curtsie. “Until next time, Avery. I look forward to our next drawing lesson!”

Haft bows.

Avery gathers her things and then stands. “So do I!” She nods to both of them. “Good day.”

Abrielle smiles at Lady Avery.

Avery walks west toward the inner gatehouse.
Haft shakes himself, then turns back to Abrielle.  “I am not accustomed to shaking a woman’s hand, however I am not averse to making an attempt, I suppose.”  He extends his hand.

Abrielle watches Avery for a moment before turning back to Haft. She takes his hand. “It is a strange custom….I will agree with that.” She gives him a small smile. “I feel I must also apologize.”

Haft frowns,  “For what Miss?”  He glances at the bench.  “May I join you?”

Abrielle nods and moves her drawing. “Of course.” She sighs and adds, “I did not mean to make you feel as though I was making fun of you the other night with Lanisen.”

Haft takes a seat and stares across the ward.  Gruffly, he says, “It’s no matter.”

Abrielle shakes her head. “It is a matter…I can sometimes come across as rude, even if I don’t mean it and I am trying to work on that.” She frowns. “I hope it didn’t cloud your judgement of me.”

Haft barks a laugh.  “There, Miss, we have something in common.  Except if I am rude the consequences may be more severe.”

Abrielle smiles and then a memory pops into her head and flies right from her mouth. “Is that what happened when Lord Peridan was talking to you? When you were talking about banishment?” This all comes out in a rush and her hand goes right up to her mouth when she finishes. Her eyes grow to the size of plates and she shakes her head. “I am sorry…you do not have to answer that!”

Haft stiffens in shock, his hands clenching on the edge of the bench.  He turns his face toward her slowly.  “Yes, that was you.  I had almost forgotten…”

Abrielle nods. “I am always in the wrong place at the wrong time.” She notices his tight posture and smacks herself on the forehead, mumbling something to herself.

Abrielle mumbles something incomprehensible to Abrielle.

Haft turns away again, his posture slouching a bit.  He unclenches his hands, resting them on his knees and staring at the ground.  “May I ask how much you heard?”

Abrielle frowns. “Not much at all really….just something about banishment.” She eyes the ground.

Haft shakes his head.  “Just banishment.  Just losing all you’ve ever known, but it was meant as a mercy…”  He runs a hand through his hair.

Abrielle’s eyebrows knit together. “A mercy? Are you to be banished?” Her tone is hushed so others do not hear.

Haft is silent a long time, realizing he could still stop this conversation if he wanted to.

Haft says, “I was banished long ago, child.  I am here now against the king’s order.”

Abrielle mouth opens in surprise as he speaks. She closes it to think when he ends.

Haft miscontrues her reaction.  “No fear.  He is aware of my presence by now, I am sure.  As is Lord Peridan.”

Abrielle raises and eyebrow. “I am not afraid…I just….”

Haft asks, “Just?”

Abrielle sighs. “My parents were banished…I get some of what that means.”

Haft turns to regard her.  “I am very sorry,” he murmurs.  Though his words are kind there is a considering look behind his eyes.

Haft asks, “Did they go to Narnia?”

Abrielle keeps looking at the ground. “Yes…they tried to stay in Archenland for awhile…but they just recently left for good.”

Abrielle looks to Haft. “I am sorry this is happening to you.”

Haft considers her words, but his face changes as though realizing something for the first time.  “Are you?”  He says.  He stares back out over the courtyard again.  “I think that I am not.”

Abrielle looks back at Haft and tilts her head. “You aren’t?”

Haft rests his elbows on his knees and his chin on laced fingers.  “Do not mistake me.  I’m in a hard place, and I’m ruddy terrified for my trial–if that’s the right word–things could go very badly indeed there, particularly if I indulge the rudeness we discussed earlier.  But these past few days–difficult as they have been–have done me greater good than I thought possible.  I have at least seen my home again–though no doubt my breath is a stain upon its free air.”

ooc Nice ambiguous statement there…makes it sound like he’ll be rude in front of /Lune/

ooc Your Majesty, your hat looks like a sausage!

ooc He actually just needs to stop butting heads with Peridan before Peridan has no choice but to lock him up for insubordination…THAT would be a problem at the trial

Abrielle shakes her head. “I don’t think it is a stain…sometimes choices are made…but everyone deserves a second chance. King Lune did that for Sehsis…maybe it will happen for you as well.” Her eyes look hopefull. “Even if you must leave, it will mean a clean slate for you  in Narnia.”

Haft grunts.  “I’ve lived fourteen years in Narnia.  It never felt like a clean slate.  But who is this Sehsis?  What did he do?”

Abrielle nods and sighs. “He is a Calormene trader. He was with me during the invasion and there was some talk about him being in big trouble but King Lune gave him mercy.”

“Ah.”  Haft nods.  “The Calormene.  I saw him after the battle.”

Abrielle nods. “Yes….”

Haft says, “As for second chances, sometimes there aren’t any.  Stolen years that cannot be regained, and I don’t mean by me.  Those I’ve wounded.  People who were lost…men who didn’t need to die.”

Abrielle looks at Haft. “It looks like you have learned.” She frowns and looks up to the sky. “I had best be getting off…”

Haft nods wearily.  “Of course.  Goodnight Abrielle.”

Abrielle nods back, getting up. “Everything you have told me is safe with me. Goodnight, Haft.”

Haft just stares at her dully as she departs.


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