In which Haft meets his new commanding officer and briefs him on the situation with Darius
Haft is just returning from his conversation in Darius’ cottage.
You stand in the Outer Gatehouse of Anvard. Its sturdy, iron-bound wooden gates loom to the east. Another pair stands open to the west. Within, you can see the busy Outer Ward, full of people coming and going from Anvard’s open air market.
Across the ward you see the inner gatehouse, Anvard’s second line of defense. To the east you can see the road leading away from the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can go: Outside <E>, Outer Ward <W>
Garian speaks with one of the guards in a low voice.
Haft comes striding in toward the gatehouse with purposeful strides, face set.
Garian catches the movement and looks over. He barks out in an authoritative air, “HALT. Who goes there?” His voice is a bit gruff but not wholly unfriendly.
Haft snaps to a stop at the command, though his face appears startled. He identifies the source of the voice but does not recognize it as coming from other than a member of the guard. “Haft,” he answers clearly. “Has there been some disturbance?”
Garian steps away from the guard and approaches Haft. He pauses for a moment before slowly walking around him, his look appraising. He joins his hands behind his back and keeps his shoulders back and level. The movement is carried by one who has spent many years training and tested by battle, despite a more simple garb. After one circuit, he stops and gives a single nod of approval. He looks the man in the eye, his tone one of business. “Ah, then you are Haft. Well met soldier. I have been expecting you.”
Haft looks at the Captain with interest, the inspection alerting him to the fact that this is a commanding officer, and adjusts his posture in kind. “Sir? You are Captain Garian?”
Garian nods, “I am. I was told by His Majesty you are to join my guard.”
Haft says, “Yes sir.”
Garian gives the faintest of smiles, “Welcome to my regiment, Guardsman Haft. I heard you fought nobly in the recent seige. I have been debriefed about your situation and am glad to have you back.” He waits a beat and says sincerely, “Welcome home.”
Haft nods. “Thank you Captain. It’s good to be back.”
Garian says, “It may take some time to adjust to things, but I have great confidence you will be a fast learner.” He pulls a crisp, folded piece of paper from his pocket and hands it to Haft. “These are your orders. You will be assigned to a post and have two patrols on the grounds. You must be on time and in uniform. Outside of that, you may spend as much or little time about the castle for your leisure and have full access to the training quarters.”
Haft says, “Understood Captain. He accepts the paper, then his brow furrows. “Might I have a word, Sir, on a related matter? In private?””
Haft says, “Or…well, actually, the first may be rather urgent. Perhaps here would do.”
Garian nods. He looks to the other guards and says, “Dismissed.” The guards nod and depart.
Haft says, “Thank you sir. Something occurred just a little while ago–in fact I’ve only just returned from…dealing with the matter–but the most urgent problem is that I saw prince Cor in the kennels earlier and I think that that might not be the best place for him to be. I had just left him and Lanisen there and gone up to the tower when I saw a certain man whom I deem a danger to the royal family–I will happily elaborate in full–and found myself in the uncomfortable position of standing in the Outer Ward praying that boy would not come out. Among other reasons, my sword is still in the care of Lord Dar. So I feel it might be wise to check whether the prince is still there–or at least to alert some other guards.”
Garian tenses and frowns deeply. “I see. You may check and then report back to me. Please send the gentlemen waiting outside back to their posts in the meantime. When you report back, we shall discuss this matter further.”
Garian adds, “And be hasty.”
Haft nods. “Yes, sir.” He strides into the gatehouse.
After a few minutes, Haft returns to the Captain.
Haft strides back toward Garian. “They appear to have left the kennels, Captain.”
Garian waits for Haft to return and gives a small nod. “Good. We shall have to pass along the incident to Lord Dar. I would like to discuss this at length.”
Garian says, “Come.”
Garian leads Haft to a more secluded place, where the conversation will be more private and easier to hear.
They walk up to the Northern Wall WAlk.
Haft adopts a respectful stance, hands clasped behind him.
Garian places his hands on the stones, overlooking the land below. “You may begin, when you are ready, Guardsman.”
Garian adds after a moment, “At ease.”
Haft relaxes somewhat. He says, “There is a man named Aaron. As I’ve seen him he wears crimson and carries an ornate dagger. Has a cottage in Het Noorden, from which I’ve just come. He had been met before By Sir Colin, Lanisen, and Lord Peridan, and Lord Peridan charged Lanisen and I with keeping an eye out, as he had given them some cause for unease. I have encountered him thrice now, and can report that he is either trying to sow malcontent, or seeking a man who is already discontented. He is also overly interested in gaining access to the castle. I allowed him to know of my situation…before my hearing with the king, and he was extremely interested in my former position as a castle guard…Now that he knows I have been reinstated, I should say his interest is greater yet.”
Garian places a hand to his chin, “Is he now?” There is discontent and interest in his voice. “Please explain further what you have observed that has given you, and Lord Peridan, such unease.”
Haft says, “I am not entirely certain what has occurred before. Lanisen said Sir Colin didn’t like him, but I do not know the specifics.” He takes a breath. “I should say that I have given him the definite impression that I am dissatified and resentful toward the king.” He looks as if he finds the taste of the words unpleasant. “I wanted to see what he would do with that. It certainly seems to have gained his attention. He asked me to put a good word in to get him on the guard. I believe that if he cannot gain access to the castle through a position of his own, he will ultimately attempt to bribe me to allow him inside.””
Garian’s eyes darken and he looks sorely displeased. “I see.” He rumbles. He contemplates this for a time. “I shall have to speak with Sir Colin further on this… in the meantime, if he believes you are a confidant, that may work in our favor. I will confer with minds greater than my own on how to preceed beyond that. How patient does this man Aaron seem?”
Haft considers this. “Not patient enough to avoid visting the castle often. Nor subtle enough to stop staring at the entrance to the Inner Ward when he does so. However, if he is playing as serious a game as he seems to be…I imagine he will bide his time as long as needed. That said, we do not know what he wants within the walls, and if I may say so sir, I should be sorely troubled if either of the king’s sons, and particularly the elder, who is untrained in warfare, were to be wandering the Outer Ward unescorted.”
You see a middle aged man before you. His features are stern but not unkind. He has a rugged scar running over his left eye and down most of his cheek. He carries himself with an air of authority and when he speaks, his tone has a pleasant, earthy and baritone qaulity.
Garian nods in agreement to this. “A wise observation. We shall see if his majesty will speak with the boy–untrained though he may be, you must remember he too fought–” The corers of his mouth upturn faintly in a smile. “And I do believe the Lion has a mind tokeep him safe… regardless, we shall do our part and I thank you for telling me this. Continue to watch the lad, and this… man of ill intent. I shall have the other guards look for him as well. Perhaps if he is… aware there are more eyes on him he will be less eager to remain on the grounds.”
Haft says, “Yes Captain.” He raises the back of his hand to his brow. “Anything else, Sir?”
Garian smiles, “I think that will be quite enough for now. Thank you. I look forward to becoming better acquainted with you in the coming days. Make sure you are well rested and fed. It helps keep a man strong and alert. If you are in need of anything, let me know. I will ensure they are met.”
Haft says, “Thank you Captain.”