Several Encounters

In which Haft has conversations with Eston, Abrielle, and Lanisen

The Narrow Gate Hall

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

The Hall of the Narrow Gate is brightly lit by a large chandelier, and by torches on the walls. A bar runs along the length of the south wall. Behind the bar stands Dranken, the Barman, polishing a glass. The wall behind him holds several bottles, and racks of glasses. There is also a menu offering drinks and food. The north wall is dominated by a cheerful stone fireplace.

The rest of the room is filled with tables and stools, in little clusters all over the scuffed wooden floor. An arch leads to the Anteroom to the south.

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You can go: The Anteroom <S>

Contents: A son of adam with curly hair (Eston); Dranken, the Barman;

Pricelist; Sign — Rooms, 500 coins per day; and Wolves and Foxes Game Set.

Haft is sitting in the corner of the room at an isolated table, sipping a mug of mulled cider.

Haft calls to Dranken for a mug of mulled cider.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass, and serves it up directly.

Eston comes limping into the tavern, supported by his crutch. He glances around the room briefly and flops down into a seat by the bar, ordering a tankard of ale.

On seeing Eston enter, Haft frowns, hesitates, then waves to catch his eye, beckoning him over.

Eston looks over at the wave and, grimacing, he grabs his ale and with perhaps a bit more theatre than strictly necessary grabs his crutch and painstakingly stands, walking towards Haft.

Haft indicates an open seat.  “Sorry to make you get up,” he murmurs.  “I’ve long preferred the edges of a room.”

Eston flops down into the seat and says, “Why’s that if ya don’t mind my asking?”

Haft stares into his cup.  “A reviled man isn’t quick to make himself the center of attention.”

Eston raises an eyebrow, “Reviled?”

Haft frowns.  “Ill-tempered might be more apt.  I was not a good neighbor to my fellow creatures in Narnia.”

Eston takes a swig of his ale and shrugs, “Aye, well, you’re not in Narnia now are ya?”

Haft says, “No.  I am not.  Old habits.”

Eston nods sagely, “Ah, them things”

Haft’s lips twist wryly.  “How’s yer leg?”

Eston says, “Still a pain to walk on.”

Haft nods.  “Don’t overwork it.  You only get one pair.”

Eston nods and leans back in his seat, “That’s true enough, I got lucky it didn’t go bad so I actually get to keep my leg!”

Haft nods.  “What’s your work?”

Eston says, “Thatcher, though I ain’t been able to do that with this leg of mine acting up….” His normally cheerful smile falters and he stares down into his tankard.

Haft asks, “No.  I would imagine not.  You have a bit saved up?”

Eston says, “Aye…Sure I do, ‘course” His tone however, suggests otherwise.

Haft asks, “You live here in Andale?”

Eston says, “Got a place in Het Noorden.”

Haft says, “Oh yes.  I was there yesterday.  Visiting Aaron.”

Eston looks quite surprised, “He lives there? Didn’t figure he did the way he talks, ‘traveller’ indeed, I thought he was some manner of vagabond but didn’t like to say it.”

Haft says, “I can’t make heads or tails of him.  Thought maybe he was a merchant, but his hands are rough.  That dagger’s nice though.”

Eston nods, “Always showing off with that thing in’he? Odd fellow, bit too friendly I reckon, like he don’t mean it.”

Haft says, “Do you think so?  Well, I shouldn’t trouble about it too much if I were you.”

Eston takes another swig of his ale, “I don’t trouble ’bout it, we all have our funny little ways.”

Haft chuckles rather darkly.  “We do at that.”

Eston says, “Takes all sorts to make a world after all.”

Haft asks, “You got family?”

Eston’s expression flickers with sadness for a moment, but that is soon replaced with another smile, “That I do, got a lovely daughter just a few months old she is, but she’s living with my sister after….Well, she’s just with my sister ’til I can find my feet all proper.”

Haft frowns into his mug.  “Tell me what it was like.  When you heard the news that Rabadash was coming.  And inside the castle during the siege.”

Eston stares into his tankard, swirling the contents around, “Shock mostly, like, I couldn’t believe that it was happening. Then I thought that I had to fight, ’cause if I didn’t…I ain’t having my girl grow up a slave to them Southerners.” He says this word with the same inflection that one might use for the word “earthworm”.

Abrielle comes walking into the Hall of the Narrow Gate from the Anteroom.

Eston and Haft are sitting at a table at the very edge of the room, they are in conversation and each has before them a drink. A crutch is perched against the table next to Eston.

Haft growls.  “No.  It was well done.  So what happened then?”

Eston never takes his eyes off the tankard as he speaks, “Then we was waiting, me and some other fellows, ’cause we couldn’t use a bow and weren’t able to help on the wall. Was dreadful that, just waiting an’ hoping it wouldn’t come to the worst. Don’t think I slept a wink that night.”

Haft nods.  “Go on.”

Eston takes a deep draft from his drink before continuing, “Then in the morning we was all rounded up and told we would have to fight ’em. Most terrifying moment of my life that was, when the gates were opened and we charged…” He stops, biting his lip and clenching now shaking his hand into a fist, “Then…then we was in the battle. Blimey everything happened so fast, I was fighting ‘an the next thing I know there’s this shooting pain and I find myself falling, if Johan- He’s a friend of mine, also volunteered- Didn’t see and pull me away I’d have died for sure.”

Haft nods gravely.  “We often rely on our brothers-at-arms in such moments.  You did well, to go out, untrained, at your king’s command.  No man can ask for more.   You will be proud to tell the tale to your wee one someday.”

Eston smiles softly, “Aye, I’ll do that, when she’s old enough.”

Haft says, “I came with the Narnian Army.  I can’t imagine how it must have been, ordered outside, not knowing we were beyond the ridge.”

Abrielle walks into the inn and goes straight to ordering something warm.

Abrielle calls to Dranken for an order of walnut muffins.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass and serves it up directly.

Eston says quietly, “We all, at least I reckon we all, thought we was gonna die. But was better to fight ’em and try than not at all…If your lot hadn’t arrived they’d have got us I’m sure of it.”

Haft says, “The Emperor was merciful.”

Eston exclaims, “‘Tis true, and now those cads wish they’d never came!”

Haft barks a laugh.  “I reckon they do at that!”

Eston laughs as well and drinks some ale.

Abrielle notes the laugh and looks up to spot Haft. She gives him a small wave.

Haft catches the motion and waves her over.

Eston looks to the direction of Haft’s motion and gives the girl a wave of his own.

Abrielle smiles and comes closer. “Hello. How are you two?” She looks to the man sitting across from Haft and adds, “I don’t think we have ever met before. I am Abrielle.”

Eston smiles and says, “Nice to meet ya, the name’s Eston.”

Haft says, “I am well.”

Abrielle asks, “Nice to meet you, Eston.” She looks at Haft and smiles. “I am glad to hear it. May I sit with you two?”

Eston nods and waves a hand at a free chair, “Go for it”

Haft says, “We were just discussing the battle.  Quite a day.”

Haft says, “Which reminds me, Eston.  I find myself in need of a scabbard.  I know you’re a thatcher, but any idea where I might look?  I’ve been away a long time.”

Abrielle looks at both of the men. “Really? I have not heard much of what actually happened outside of the castle.” She points to Eston’s crutch. “Were you hurt?”

Eston says, “A scabbard?” He stares thoughtfully up at the ceiling, “Ain’t there a leatherworker at one of the castle’s markets? Reckon they’re as good a place as any to look, ‘an if they don’t have one they might be able to tell ya someone who does?”

Eston glances at the crutch at Abrielle’s question and nods, “Aye, I was. Miracle I ain’t dead to be honest”

Haft nods.  “Of course.  I should have thought of it.”  He turns to Abrielle.  “Well, I can tell you what happened on the Narnian side.”

Abrielle shakes her head solemnly. “Many were hurt.” She pauses for a moment before adding, “Thank you for your defense. I was quite scared inside the castle…I cannot even imagine what it was like in the battle.” She nods to Haft. “I was wondering about why you are here in the inn instead of at the castle.”

Eston finishes the last drop of his ale and sets the tankard down heavily, “Was the most bleedin’ terrifying day of my life that’s what it was like.”

Haft tenses slightly, then relaxes.  “I am at liberty,” he answers quietly.  “In fact I wear the purple and the gold again.”  He says it as though it is a thing of wonder.

Abrielle nods. “Of course.” Then, to Haft, her mouth opens in surprise. “Well congratulations! That is really good news.”

Haft nods silently.

Eston asks, “You’re a palace guard?”

Haft says, “Yes.  I met with Captain Garian and received my orders yesterday.”

Abrielle smiles and eats some of her muffin. “That is really good.”

Eston exclaims, “Nice!”

Haft stares into his mug.  “It seems I was not as…forsaken as I had thought.  There was a misunderstanding.  It has been cleared up now.”

Abrielle nods, still smiling.

Eston says, “Good it’s all been cleared up”

Haft says, “Well, anyway, you wanted to hear the Narnian side.  I was in Sted Cair and word came to the town that there was a muster to ride to the aid of Archenland, which was under attack by Rabadash and two hundred horse.  I had my sword with me and I joined the muster.  We marched over the mountains under the command of King Edmund and Lord Peridan, and arrived at need as you saw us.”

Abrielle nods and eats more of her muffin.

Eston listens to Haft’s side of the story with interest.

Haft exclaims, “So then we charged, most crying “For Narnia!” and me “For Archenland!”, and Lord Peridan crying for both.  The Cats went in first, and that looked a real mess, and then I was too busy to do much for a while except use my blade.”

Eston says, “The battle was proper chaos, stuff happening at every direction, ya never knew where a blow was coming from.”

Abrielle puts her head on her hands.

Haft glances at Abrielle.  “You all right child?  Perhaps it ain’t fitting talk for a lady.”

Abrielle perks up for a moment. “Nope. Just listening.”

Eston gives her concerned look, “Sure you’re ok?”

Abrielle smiles at both of them. “No I am fine! Please continue.”

Haft says, “Well anyway, saw Prince Corin enter the battle.  Saw his brother too, but didn’t figure it out at first.  When I realized I’d seen the same boy in two different places–well, my heart near stopped.  Like seeing a ghost.  That’s when that Calormene nearly got me.”

Eston grins, “Haft here got off lucky, just fell on his backside or so he says.”

Haft raises his brows.  “So he says?”

Eston shrugs, “Aye well, ya may have hurt yourself more than you’ll let on.”

Abrielle looks to Haft. “You could have.”

Haft’s face clears.  “Ah, you think I’m hiding an injury to improve my image as a tough old bear, do you?

Eston chuckles, “Ya may well be!”

Haft says, “Well, I appreciate the compliment–I think–but you see I’ve been a soldier, raised by a soldier, and lived among soldiers.  And I’ve learned that the first thing you do is see to your injured comrades.  They’re your lookout the moment swords are down.  And you see to your own.  If you don’t, you may not live to fight again.”

Abrielle listens closely.

Eston says, “S’a fair point that.”

Haft says, “So I’m afraid as far as injuries, I can’t boast more that a dusty backside.  But then remember I was trained to fight when I was a boy, where you weren’t.  Even so, a number of good and skilful men were injured that day.  That was the Lion’s mercy on me, I guess.”

Haft mumbles something to himself.

Haft mumbles “And I’ve had other battles to fight.”, to Haft.

Haft mumbles “… … … … … to …”, to Haft.

Eston says flatly, “Aye. And died too, we mustn’t forget the dead”

Abrielle nods.  “I am thankful for every man that helped in the battle.”

Haft nods and lifts his glass to the fallen.

Eston says in a low voice, “They made the biggest sacrifice of us all I reckon.”

Abrielle nods solemnly. “Yes I would say that is true.”

Haft doesn’t say anything.

Eston lapses into silence as well, staring into his regrettably empty tankard.

Abrielle looks at the two men. “Well…”

Haft rubs the back of his neck.  “So…you’ll be in Andale a while longer Abrielle?”

Eston tears his attention away from the tankard and watches Abrielle for her reply.

Abrielle laughs. “I am quite the traveler lately. I just got back…I left yesterday afternoon and stayed the night in Coghill. I may do the same again tonight.”

Haft asks, “What takes you about so much?”

Abrielle says, “I have been taking advantage of the woods between the towns, the market, and, I guess to some extent, the people. ”

Eston asks, “What’s it ya do?”

Haft starts. “You what?”

Abrielle tilts her head at Haft and answers Eston. “I work at the manor in Coghill…in the gardens. Not much to do right now.”

Haft asks, “What do you mean…’taking advantage of the people’?”

Abrielle frowns. “I just meant that I have been enjoying the company of the people in Coghill and over here.”

Eston says, “What’s Coghill like, never been there.”

Haft relaxes slightly.  “Ah, I see.”

Haft calls to Dranken for an order of bird soup.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass and serves it up directly.

Abrielle smiles. “It is a friendly little place…not much to do but I like it.” She eats some of her muffin. “This thing is awful….” She puts it off to the side. “You should come visit, Eston.”

Eston waves a hand at the crutch, “Don’t reckon I’ll be going anywhere for a fair while, and when I am better I’ll be needing to get back to work right away.”

Haft frowns.  “Who is lord of Coghill now?  I have been away for some time.”

Abrielle answers Haft. “It is Lord Shar. Lord Dar’s father.”

Haft says, “Ah.  Yes of course.  I remember him.”

Eston waves to the barman for another tankard of ale as the other two converse.

Haft says, “There is one good thing to be said for the battle anyway…Prince Cor has returned to us.”

Abrielle nods. “Yes…and he sounds wonderful.”

Eston thanks the barman as his ale is brought up and says, “I heard was him that got word to the king of the attack and told the Narnians of it.”

Haft says, “What?  I had not heard that.”

Eston shrugs, “Just a rumor, could be wrong, you know how folks are about spreading stuff.”

Abrielle nods to Eston. “I heard the same.”

Haft asks, “But…how did he ever manage to warn both?  How did he even know?”

Eston takes a swig from his tankard, “How should I know, he was brought up there though they say.” He scowls, “I hope for all our sakes he ain’t like that lot despite that upbringing.”

Haft turns on Eston, snarling.  “He will be your king.  Do /not/ speak so of him.”

Abrielle frowns. “I don’t think all of them are that bad. I think he will be fine no matter who brought him up.”

Eston raises his hands apologetically, “Sorry, sorry, I’m sure his highness’ll make a fine king, I just don’t like them southerners is all.”

Haft’s breath is coming hard.  He gives Eston a dark look before returning his gaze to his soup bowl.  “Yeah, well, neither do I.”

Abrielle frowns at both of them. “You should not generalize. I have met at least one very fine “Southerner”.”

Eston looks at Abrielle, so taken aback from this that he’s quite distracted from Haft’s anger, “Now I hardly believe that!”

Haft asks, “Who are you thinking of, Abrielle?”

Abrielle nods. “Honestly! My friend Sehsis is a merchant from Calormene.”

Abrielle says, “I can speak for his character. ”

Eston looks skeptical, “Oh yeah?”

Haft frowns.  “You mentioned him.  The king saw fit to return his weapon after the battle.”

Abrielle nods. “Yes. See, the King trusted him and I do too. He has been nothing but kind to me and my neighbors.”

Eston’s mouth drops open at this alarming piece of information. He closes it, opens his mouth again and shuts it, shaking his head in disbelief.

Haft watches Eston out of the corner of his eye.  “There is the Lady Aravis.  I have been told she was a companion to our prince during his escape from Calormen.  She now reside in Anvard.”

Eston manages to find his voice and says, “I don’t know who this ladyship is.”

Abrielle nods and gets up. “I need to go Fellas…It was nice to meet you Eston.”

Haft says, “Good day Abrielle.”

Eston waves her off, “Nice meeting you too”

Abrielle walks into the Anteroom of the Narrow Gate.

Haft turns his attention back to Eston.  “I know very little about her.  If the king sees fit to grant her a place, I am sure it is well done.”

Eston says slowly, “Wait…Is she a Calormene too?”

Haft says, “Yes.”

Eston blinks, “Bleeding heck.”

Haft’s eyes widen.  “What?”

Eston says, “Just shocked is all.”

Haft says, “I see.”

Eston stares into his tankard before taking a long drink from it, “A’right, I’ll concede maybe one or two is decent, big place is bound to happen if only by a fluke, but most of ’em” he shakes his head.

Haft nods.  “That’s about the sum of it, I reckon.”

Eston nods, “Aye that’ll be it.”

Haft slurps up the rest of his soup.  “Well, I’d better be getting back.  I have duty later.  Good day, Eston.  Rest that leg.”

Haft rises from the table.

Eston gives him a wave, “Will do, good luck on your new duties.”

Haft says, “Thank you.””

Haft turns and exits the room.

Later in the day…

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: A son of adam with his right arm in a sling (Lanisen) and Well.

Lanisen leaves the kitchen, a half-eaten sandwich in his left hand and his stick tucked into the crook of his right elbow. He makes his way toward the well, limping and careful but definitely not using the cane.

Haft comes striding into the ward from the gatehouse, wearing the livery of a guardsman.  His eyes light on Lanisen and he approaches the well.  “Good day.”

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

Lanisen glances toward him. He pauses, taking in the livery, and says neutrally, “Afternoon.”

Haft wipes his mouth.  “I’d forgotten what thirsty work it can be standing still.  I’ll have to bring a waterskin.”

Lanisen mms vaguely, reaching for the ladle once Haft is through. This takes some minor juggling: stick leans on well, sandwich goes in right hand, ladle in left. He takes a long drink.

Haft eyes his motions closely, but makes no comment.  “Forgive me, but I don’t think I actually know what your role is within the castle.  You work with the hounds?

Lanisen glances at him, wiping his mouth with his sleeve. “Yeah, that’s right. Past four, five years, excepting the last few months.”

Haft asks, “Oh.  What do you do now?”

Lanisen says, “Uhh, I’ve been travelin’ with Sir Colin, mostly.”

Haft says, “Oh.”  His brow furrows.  “I’m sorry…I’m afraid I know very little of the roles of the people in the castle anymore.  What is Sir Colin’s primary function?””

Lanisen’s forehead furrows. “He’s… one of the king’s knights?”

Haft says, “So he helps maintain justice at large then.”

Lanisen takes another drink from the ladle. “Yeah, that about sums it up.”

Haft nods.  “Thank you.”  He pauses.  “Prince Cor enjoys the hounds?”

Lanisen says, “Seemed to! He was gettin’ on real well with Sorrel. She’s a clever one and sweet, couldn’t pick a better hound for his highness, if he wants one for his own.”

Haft brightens, though he doesn’t smile.  “Really?  He’s his father’s son if he recognizes a good dog.”

Lanisen purses his lips on one side. “Or Sorrel’s her dam’s pup, recognizes a good human.”

Haft laughs.  “Well said, sir.”

Lanisen grins a little, dipping the ladle one more time and bending to drink. His sandwich falls out of his right hand and lands on the ground, and Lanisen lets out under his breath a frustrated, blistering string of words he most likely didn’t learn in the castle.

Haft doesn’t look much affected by the language.  “I can fetch you another if you like.”

Lanisen bends cautiously to fetch the sandwich, keeping a hand on the well to steady himself. “‘S fine,” he mutters. “I’d prob’ly drop that one too.” He gives the sandwich a critical look and blows on it.

Haft folds his arms and leans against the well.  “So I know Lord Dar is Steward.  Who is Chancellor now?”

Lanisen says, “Lord Cole.”

Haft nods.  “Are there any other castle staff you think I should be aware of?”

Lanisen says, “Um.” He gives Haft an odd look. “I dunno what you’re askin’ me for, I got no idea who does what, up top. Master Adrian’s a devil with a needle, Cook’ll whap you with a rollin’ pin if you steal biscuits, the guard with the big moustache is sweet on the girl who brings goat cheese on market day, that I can tell you.”

Haft says, “Oh.”  He ponders this for a moment.  “Not much has changed then.””

Lanisen shrugs.

Haft asks, “Cook’s sandwiches…any good?”

Lanisen says, “Salted pork’s all right. Get somethin’ else if it’s venison.”

Haft says, “I consider myself duly warned.”

Lanisen gives his sandwich a careful look, then shrugs and takes a bite. An unpleasant crunching sound, along with the sour look on his face, indicates that he might have maybe picked up some sand.

Haft sees the expression on Lanisen’s face and makes a valiant effort not to grin.  “Nothing wrong with a little grist,” he says evenly.  “You get used to all manner of things if you ever go on campaign.”

Lanisen says, “I had my share of camp food.”

Haft says, “Yes, if you’ve been traveling much with Sir Colin, I reckon you have.”

Lanisen gives him an inscrutable look and takes another bite, crunching and wincing and crunching and wincing.

Haft says, “My father used to take me out on all manner of trips.  Grand time for a boy.  But some of the things he taught me you could eat if you had to…well…less than pleasant.”

Lanisen mutters, “Believe you me, I’ve prob’ly had them all.”

Haft says, “An old campaigner already.”

Lanisen shrugs.

Haft opens his mouth to ask a question, then seems to think better of it and falls silent, watching the ward.

Lanisen shifts his weight, wincing, and takes a seat on the ground against the wall.

Haft asks, “Lanisen, do you know much about Eston the Thatcher?”

Lanisen asks, “Eston? Sure, I know him.”

Haft asks, “What’s he like?  A good man?”

Lanisen shrugs. “Far as I know? He’s got a kid, um… Lecie? I think? She ain’t too old, her mum’s died.”

Haft asks, “What happened?”

Lanisen says, “Got sick, I s’pose. Not sure.”

Haft nods, frowning thoughtfully.

Lanisen asks, “Why d’you ask?”

Haft hesitates.  “Just needed the measure of the man.  Don’t worry, he’s done nothing wrong.  I was only curious.  What about Adeliha?  Do you know her?”

Lanisen mms and shakes his head. “Don’t think so.”

Haft asks, “What about Aaron? Have you seen him again since we spoke to Lord Peridan together?”

Lanisen shakes his head again. “Nope.”

Haft says, “Hmm.  Well, as that’s about the extent of the people I know, with the exception of a few old faces, so I won’t badger you more.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t mind.”

Haft asks, “So tell me, did you see your fill of Narnians?  I remember you had that book.  What do you think of them now?”

Lanisen shrugs a little. “Reckon it don’t matter much what I think of them,” he answers.

Haft says, “No, I suppose not.  Well, they never much cared what I thought of ’em either.”

Lanisen asks, “Where was it you lived in Narnia?”

Haft says, “Barfield.  It’s in the middle of the country.  Near Beruna.”

Lanisen asks, “Is that near Lantern Waste?”

Haft says, “Bit to the east of there.”

Lanisen nods, thoughtful.

Haft asks, “Why?”

Lanisen says, “No reason.” He pauses. “You know somebody called Myrd?”

Haft frowns.  “The name sounds vaguely familiar.  Should I?

Lanisen says, “Ahh. Nah.”

Haft’s face clouds.  “I didn’t get out much, really.”

Lanisen raises an eyebrow. He looks down at his sandwich.

Haft asks, “Bit of a loner yourself?”

Lanisen asks, “Me?”

Haft says, “Yes.”

Lanisen says, “Um. I dunno. Hounds are better’n people.”

Haft says, “Oh really?  I never cared for being among Beasts myself, and those were Talking Beasts.”

Lanisen says, “Hounds ain’t complicated.”

Haft says, “That’s true enough.  I ain’t worked with dogs much myself, but they seem admirable creatures.”

Lanisen says, “They don’t hold a grudge.”

Haft asks, “No…I suppose they don’t.  You’ve had trouble with that sort of thing, have you?”

Lanisen gives him a quick, guarded look. “Ahh… heh.”

Haft looks thoughtful.  He stares at the ground for a while, not seeming inclined to pursue the conversation.

Lanisen says nothing further. He looks down at the remains of his unfortunate sandwich.

Haft asks, “Giving up on it?”

Lanisen sighs. “Yeah. Ain’t that hungry anyway.”

Haft asks, “Hmmm.  You don’t take well to convalescence, do you Lanisen?”

Lanisen asks, “You what?”

Haft says, “You don’t like sitting around when you’re injured or sick.  I never much did either.”

Lanisen asks, “Who does?”

Haft asks, “Dunno  Shirkers, maybe?”

Lanisen snorts.

Haft says, “Amyway, never easy to take it with good grace.”

Lanisen looks annoyed.

Lanisen mumbles “Easy … … … though.”, to Lanisen.

Haft quirks a brow.  “Easy to criticize, is it?”

Lanisen mumbles, “You tell me.”

Haft frowns.  “I wasn’t trying to criticize.  I’m much the same.”

Lanisen says, “All right, then.”

Haft gives him a piercing look.  “Do you dislike me, Lanisen?”

Lanisen looks startled. “What?”

Haft watches the younger man’s reaction.  “Perhaps I was mistaken.  You’re tired and still recovering.  Don’t mind me.”

Lanisen doesn’t seem to know what to say to this. His demeanor has shifted to something more careful and guarded, and he doesn’t quite look directly at Haft.

Haft studies Lanisen carefully.  “I see.  I find I don’t much care for conversation any more.  You will excuse me.” He pushes away from the well.

Lanisen blinks. He sits for a confused second. “Wha– I’m–I’m sorry!” he blurts, sounding slightly panicked. “I didn’t–didn’t mean–”

Haft turns, frowning.  After a moment, his face softens.  “No, you didn’t,” he says gruffly.  “I find that I am not very good company just now.  Forgive me.  I should retire.”

Lanisen says, “Oh. Sure.”

Haft says, “Good day Lanisen.”

Haft turns and strides away.

Later still…

Andale

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You stand in the heart of Andale where most of the folk who support Anvard live. Young children play here on nice days, skipping rope, or shooting marbles, and older ones can be seen reading scrolls. Adults hurry through on their way from home to where their business takes them. A well with a stone wall sits on the western edge of the road.

The road here widens and splits to run toward the shops to the east, North Andale to the north and the Crossroad to the south. Short paths lead to the two settlements here; Het Noorden to the northwest, and Zuiden to the southeast.

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You can go: Het Noorden <NW>, North Andale <N>, East Andale <E>, Andale Crossroad <W>, Zuiden <SE>

Contents: A son of adam with curly hair (Eston) and Andale Well.

Haft strides into the town square form the direction of the castle.

Eston comes limping into the square from Het Noorden, leaning on his crutch for support.

Haft looks around as though trying to decide which way to go, then his eyes light on Eston.  “Oh, hello again.”

Eston gives him a wave, though he doesn’t have any of his usual cheerfulness, “Hello Haft”

Haft asks, “Lousy day?”

Eston nods with a grimace, “You have no idea”

Haft hesitates.  “So tell me.  I’ll buy you a drink.”

Eston gives him a grateful smile, “Cheers, I need it, I’ll tell ya when we’re there. Ain’t too nice standing and talking”
They walk to the inn.

The Narrow Gate Hall

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

The Hall of the Narrow Gate is brightly lit by a large chandelier, and by torches on the walls. A bar runs along the length of the south wall. Behind the bar stands Dranken, the Barman, polishing a glass. The wall behind him holds several bottles, and racks of glasses. There is also a menu offering drinks and food. The north wall is dominated by a cheerful stone fireplace.

The rest of the room is filled with tables and stools, in little clusters all over the scuffed wooden floor. An arch leads to the Anteroom to the south.

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You can go: The Anteroom <S>

Contents: Dranken, the Barman; Pricelist; Sign — Rooms, 500 coins per day; and

Wolves and Foxes Game Set.

Eston comes walking into the Hall of the Narrow Gate from the Anteroom.

Haft chooses the corner table again.

Haft calls to Dranken for a tankard of ale.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass, and serves it up directly.

Haft hands a  Tankard of Ale to Eston.

Eston slumps down into a chair at the chosen table, setting his crutch to one side though still in easy reach.

Haft calls to Dranken for an order of bird soup.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass and serves it up directly.

Haft hands the Bird Soup to Eston.

Haft calls to Dranken for an order of bird soup.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass and serves it up directly.

Haft calls to Dranken for a mug of mulled cider.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass, and serves it up directly.

Haft eats some soup.  The bird meat is perfectly tender and the spices are just right.

Haft says, “Well, get it all out then.”

Eston sighs and says, “Is my sister, remember I mentioned her to ya? She’s gone and fallen ill and says she can’t help look after my girl anymore and I have to go collect her…I don’t know how I’m gonna get to Carmichael in this state!”

Haft frowns into his soup.  “That is a problem.”

Eston takes a swig of the ale and nods, “Tell me about it, could prolly hitch a ride on a farmers cart far as Lancelyn but after that?”

Haft considers.

Eston leans back in his seat, “Is a real problem.”

Haft takes another sip of cider.  “I’d offer to go myself, but I haven’t a mount and I haven’t the time as I’m only newly come into my orders.  Do the carts leave for Lancelyn pretty regular?”

Eston shrugs, “Don’t actually know, I’d have to ask around I just seen ’em.”

Haft says, “Hmm.  Don’t go yet.  I’ll make some inquiries and see what I can do.  You need to stay off that leg.”

Eston looks almost pained when he says, “I wouldn’t want to put no one to no trouble…”

Haft asks, “Why not?”

Eston shifts uncomfortably in his chair, “Don’t like askin’ for help or feelin’ like I’m begging or something”

Haft looks at him sharply.  “You’re not,” he says flatly.  “You were injured in battle, and every man, woman and child in Archenland is grateful.”

Eston doesn’t quite meet Haft’s eye, “Well..If it’s no bother, if ya could think of a way I could get there I’d be grateful.”

Haft considers.  “I’ve been away a long time…does the castle take any deliveries from Carmichael?

Eston says, “I dunno, truth be told I only moved here a few months back and don’t know how it’s all workin’ yet.”

Haft asks, “And left your daughter with your sister?  How did the message come that she was sick?”

Eston hands him a rather crumpled letter, “This arrived yesterday”

Haft asks, “I mean who brought it?  Someone who might be traveling back and forth?”

Eston scratches the back of his head thoughtfully, “Aye, could well be, but I wouldn’t ask someone I don’t really know to carry a baby all that way.”

Haft says, “No, I suppose you’re right…and the same problem if I find a cart going from the castle…do you have any neighbors you would trust to go?  You can’t go on that leg, cart or not, man.”

Eston says quietly, “Even if I did is a long way and that’s a lot to ask of someone.”

Haft asks, “Not what I asked.  Is there one you would trust?”

Eston shrugs, “That girl Adeliha I suppose, she seems trustworthy”

Haft says, “She seemed nice…a bit funny…?”

Eston nods, “Aye, she’s deaf so she reads your mouth to know what you’re sayin'”

Haft’s eyes widen  and he nods in understanding. “I see.  Well, how long do you think it would take her to get to Carmichael?”

Haft says, “And back.”

Eston shrinks back in his seat, “Takes a long time to get there, and is turning more wintery by the day, I wouldn’t want to impose like that.”

Haft says, “You’re not going to impose.  I’m going to pay her.”

Haft’s voice is almost a growl.

Eston says in a quiet voice, “I’ll pay you back what I can.”

Haft says, “You needn’t…I told you, soldiers look after their own.  You fought.”

Eston stares down at his hands, “A’right…” He doesn’t seem too comfortable with this but seems to realize there’s no use arguing.

Haft asks, “I came looking for her anyway.  Got some work for her.  Does she also live in Het Noorden?”

Eston shakes his head, “Zuiden I think but I’m not too sure.”

Haft says, “We’ll find her.  Compose a note to your sister explaining matters.  If I find Adeliha first I’ll pay her and send her to you for instructions.  If you find her first, tell her what she needs to know, give her the note, and send her to find me at the castle.”

Eston nods, taking a swig of his ale, “I’ll do that.”

Haft asks, “Good.  So, what’s your wee one like?”

Eston smiles softly and says, “She’s a lovely thing, looks just like her mam.”

Haft says, “Yeah?  Never had any children.”

Eston says, “It really changes the way ya think, least, it did for me.”

Haft says, “Yes, I imagine it would.”  He gets a strange look in his eye.  “A child that young, you’d do anything to keep them safe…still would…” He trails off softly.

Eston nods emphatically, “It’s exactly like that!”

Haft opens his mouth as if to add something, but just shakes his head to clear it and takes another drink of cider.

Eston stares into his tankard, “And to make sure they grow well and happy…Is part of why I fought you know, she wasn’t going to grow up in a world where…” He shakes his head and takes a swig of his ale.

Haft’s hand–the one not occupied by a spoon, clenches on the table, knuckles turning white.  His breath is suddenly coming faster and he stares vaguely at the table as though his mind has been dragged somewhere else against his will.

Eston frowns and says in a concerned voice, “You alright?”

Haft’s hands are trembling.  He drops his spoon and jumps to his feet, nearly upsetting the table.  He shakes his head violently and strides out of the room without a word.

Haft walks to the Andale Beach.

Andale Beach

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

At the bottom of the slope, the beach spreads, a mixture of sand and gravel. Seagulls scream overhead, and small crabs scuttle about between pools and bits of driftwood. There are a few larger rocks as well, slowly being eroded by wind and water. The Eastern Ocean seems to go on forever, the gray green waves stretching out to the horizon.

A path leads up the slope to the west toward the Beach Road.

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You can go: The Beach Road <W>

Eston comes walking down the slope from the Beach Road.

Haft sits on a large rock, elbows resting on his knees and head in his hands.  His shoulders are shaking.

Eston limps along the beach before taking a rest and lowering himself down onto one of the rocks a fair distance from Haft though still close enough to be able to talk, “Sorry about before.”

Haft turns his head away, trying to wipe at eyes and nose.  “Couldn’t leave well alone?” he barks.  “I don’t need company just now.”

Eston shrugs and stands painfully, “Didn’t actually expect to see ya here, thought you’d have gone back to the castle or something.”

Haft runs his hand through his hair.  “Don’t need them to see me like this neither.”

Eston says, “Sorry again.” He begins to walk further down the beach, but as he does so his crutch catches on a loose rock and he finds himself falling hard onto the sand. Uttering a string of curses that would not look nice written here, he clutches his bad leg.

Haft mutters an epithet and walks over to Eston, picking him up none too gently by the scruff and shoving his crutch into his hand.  “Blast it, man, what’re you even doing down here?  This ain’t no fit place to use a crutch.”

Eston grasps at the crutch tightly, “I come to the beach to think, and I need to think after all that’s happened!” His tone is made more snappish than it would usually be because of the searing pain.

Haft exclaims, “Well find a better place to think until you’re mended!  Like your cottage!”

Eston exclaims, “Aye well that ain’t so much a nice place is it!”

Haft asks, “What’s that mean?”

Eston stares down at the sand mumbling, “It don’t mean nothin’.”

Haft says, “Fine.  Doesn’t matter.  Find a place where you won’t fall down.  You can’t afford to.”

Eston says “Fine.” He tries to move but as soon as he puts weight on his bad leg he goes pale and freezes, clutching the stick, “Bleeding heck…”

Haft growls.  “By my beard…I can’t carry you man!”

Eston grits his teeth, “I ain’t askin’ you to.”

Haft says, “C’mon.  Arm around my shoulder.  Use the crutch to steady yourself.”

Eston hesitates before realizing he won’t make it back so easily and puts his arm around Haft’s shoulder, using his free hand to hold the crutch.

Haft helps Eston to his home in the Het Noorden settlement.

Het Noorden

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You stand inside a circle of cottages, mostly in good repair, with thatched roofs and solid looking, white-washed walls. Each one has a tidy path leading to the front door, and a small garden at the rear. In the center of the circle is a firepit, used by all in the community. In this settlement live many of the citizens of Andale, serving the needs of King and Castle.

A path to the southeast leads out to Andale, and is well traveled by those on their way to and from the well, or the castle, or the shops.

-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#-#

You can go: Andale <SE>, Aren <1>, Tran <2>, Aileen <3>, Rothril <4>, Frida <5>, Coalesce <6>, Eleanor <7>, Arryn <8>, Eston <9>, Darius <10>

Eston unlocks the door marked ‘9’.

Haft helps Eston through the door of the indicated hut.

Eston’s Cottage [Het Noorden]

=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=

——————————————————————————-

This is a small, cheaply made one room hovel at the very edge of the settlement. The majority of the walls are bare, white plaster, though there are some small glassless windows covered by wooden shutters to keep out the cold and the wet. The floors are covered in a thick rush mat, which is the only thing covering the compact dirt that would otherwise make up the floor of this hut. There is a hearth set within the middle of the room and there is very little in the way of furniture but that which exists is very basic, comprising only of the bare necessities. ——————————————————————————-

=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=|=

You can go: Out <O>

Contents: Large Storage Trunk and Small Storage Chest.

Eston enters from outside.

Eston painfully sits heavily down on a trunk which seems to be the hut’s concession to the idea of chairs, “Thanks for that…”

Haft glances around the cottage and grunts.  “No matter.”

Eston says, “I’d offer you a drink but I don’t have any.”

Haft waves the non-offer away.  “We already had our drinks.  And now that we’re both cold they’re mostly wasted.  You need to stay in and warm and rest that leg.”

Eston says, “Aye, I’ll do that.”

Haft folds his arms across his chest, standing over the man since there’s no other place to sit.  “Your girl don’t have no one else, now her aunt’s sick.  Remember that before you go walking on the beach again,” he says gruffly.

Eston stares down at his knees, his expression darkening to one of shame, “Sorry…Didn’t think…”

Haft says, “Plainly.”

Eston doesn’t reply, instead he keeps his eyes fixed on his knees.

Haft runs his hand through his hair again, relenting.  “Is there anything else you need?”

Eston shakes his head, “Not really”

Haft turns toward the door.  “Fine.  I’ll try to find out where Adeliha lives.  You rest.”

Eston says, “I appreciate that, thanks again…”

Haft grunts and leaves.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s