In which Haft, Eston, Adeliha and Darius converse in 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.
Eston limps into the square with the aid of the crutch, pausing by the well and grabbing the side to take a rest.
Haft comes strolling into the town. He glances around for a long time at the buildings, then approaches the well.
Haft draws up the bucket and take a drink of the cool, sweet water.
Eston takes a seat on the wall of the well, wincing as he sits, and gives Haft a wave, “Haft right?”
Haft starts, not expecting his name. “Who–oh, of course. You’ve been in the barracks, but I think I’ve forgotten your name.”
Eston leans on the crutch slightly even as he sits, “S’alright, I’m amazed I got yours right. The name’s Eston”
Haft glances at the crutch. “You were injured in the battle. Were you within the walls or without?”
Eston asks, “It was in the battle after we all ran out and them Narnians arrived if that’s what ya mean?”
Haft asks, “I guess that’s what I mean. What happened?”
Eston grimaces a hand absentmindedly passing over his wound, “One of the sods got me, lucky I ain’t dead.”
Haft says, “Yeah. Let myself get distracted during the fight. One of em knocked me to my back. Might’ve gone badly if he’d been any smarter. Ran right onto my sword.”
Eston says, “Lucky you just getting knocked down.”
Haft snorts. “Lad, you’ve no idea.”
Eston says flatly, “Reckon I got a pretty good idea.”
Haft blinks. “No…I didn’t mean that. I meant…other things, that day and since. I did not mean to make light of your wound.”
Eston asks, “Something happen?”
Haft and Eston are leaning near the well.
Eston is actually sitting on the wall of the well, leaning on a crutch.
Adeliha comes walking down the path, a bundle of cloth in her hands. Milly is following behind, sniffing at this and that.
“I…” Haft turns at the approach of the woman.
Eston follows Haft’s gaze as his words are cut off. He gives Adeliha a wave, hoping she would see the movement.
Adeliha is focused on the ground, making sure she doesn’t trip. However, Milly begins wagging her tail as she sees Eston, trotting over to lick his hand.
Eston grins and pats the dog on the head, letting his hand get licked, “Hello, nice to see you too!”
Haft just watches, eying the woman.
Adeliha turns to check to see if her dog is still behind her. When she doesn’t see the dog, the Woman looks around the square. Upon seeing Eston and her dog, she makes her way over to the men. “Hello Eston. How are you feeling?” To someone not familiar to her speech, it sounds muffled.
Eston makes sure she can see him clearly when he answers, “Getting along, I’ll live and that’s the main thing.”
Haft rumbles, “Where there’s breath, there’s hope.”
Adeliha focuses on Eston, not responding to the other man. She nods, “Indeed. I am very glad that you were not killed.” She turns to the other man, “Hello, I don’t believe I have met you before. I am Adeliha.” She focuses on his face.
Haft hesitates, giving the woman an assessing glance. “Haft,” he says quietly.
Adeliha gives him an assessing glance right back. “Nice to meet you, Haft. Are you a resident of Andale?” Her eyes are still locked onto his face.
Haft says, “No. I’m in the army barracks at the castle.”
Eston is quite content to sit on the wall of the well stroking the head of Adeliha’s dog, while Haft and Adeliha converse.
Adeliha answers to Haft, her tone friendly but still a bit business like, “Ah I see. Well welcome to Andale then.”
The dog continues to wag her tail, enjoying being petted.
Haft says, “Thank you.”
Adeliha shifts the cloth in her arms, “If you or anyone you know needs a seamstress, I could always use more business.” She then glances at her dog to make sure she is still there.
Darius strolls along the road, eyes ever alert as he takes in the scene before him. He is absently flicking his dagger up and catching it as it completes a full circle. Catching sight of two men first, he looks between them, a small grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. After a moment, he decides to move towards Eston.
Eston tears his attention away from the dog long enough to give the approaching man a wave, “Hey it’s you again, Aaron?”
Haft says, “Thank you madam. My clothing has certainly seen better days. I’ll keep it in mind.”
Haft’s eyes follow Darius.
Adeliha doesn’t respond to Haft as she is looking down at her dog. She looks up as the new man approaches.
Darius catches the blade once more and quickly sheaths it. “Indeed, it /is/ me again. ” he chuckles, glancing down at the dog. Slowing to a halt a little bit away from the mutt, his face flashes a frown before he addresses the man again. “How’s the leg?”
Eston shrugs with a grimace, “Could be better, wishing it’d heal already”
Adeliha watches this man appear, noting his frown. She snaps her fingers once, Milly obediently coming to her side. She does shift to where she can see all the men’s faces clearly.
Haft says, “Waiting’s the worst bit of battle, ‘fore or after, ain’t it?”
Haft removes his satchel and examines the contents.
Eston says thoughtfully, “Aye, maybe, or it could be the bit where they’re charging towards ya, or the bit where one’s stuck a sword up you, or up one of your friends. They’re all worst bits really.”
Darius nods, eying the man’s leg thoughtfully before letting laughing at his reply. “Ah, indeed… none of it sounds quite fun.”
Haft growls, “Yeah, them too.”
Adeliha hmms, her eyes darting between the men. She seems to be struggling in keeping up with the conversation.
Eston places his hands on either side of him to hold onto the side of the well for support, “I reckon I seen my fair share of war, one battle’s enough to last me a lifetime”
Darius finally looks to the woman, a small grin tugging at the corner of his mouth as he takes a graceful step to the side and one purposeful step forward. “Ah, I know I have not had the pleasure of making your acquaintance, M’lady. ” His grin is now replaced with a large smile, eyes twinkling.
The woman’s dog growls softly as the man takes the step forward. The woman however seems unfazed, “Hello, I am Adeliha. You are?” Her tone sounds muffled.
Haft says, “Good to see you again Aaron.”
Darius’ left hand instinctively falls to his dagger at the sound of the dog, though he makes no move to draw it. “Aaron is the name. ” he offers her a small bow. “And you?”
Adeliha keeps her gaze on Aaron, her eyes locked onto his face, “Nice to meet you, Aaron.”
Darius’ smile brightens at this. “And you Adeliha. ” he stands back up to full height. “I take it you live here? And a noblewoman at that, I reckon!”
Haft quirks a brow at this.
Eston rolls his eyes and stifles a snort of laughter at this blatant flattery.
Adeliha arches her eyebrow at this, “You are sorely mistaken, Aaron. I am a seamstress.”
Darius seems unfazed by this, crossing his arms. “Oh, you must be jesting M’lady… Surely, you are of Noble blood. ”
Eston is trying very hard and very unsuccessfully to keep a straight face, “She speaks truth, she’s just a seamstress, not that there’s anything wrong with being a seamstress.”
Haft says, “Hard work by hand is noble enough, surely.”
Adeliha keeps her brow arched. She is focused on Aaron, not responding to the other two men. “I am not of noble blood nor do I necessarily wish to be of noble blood. I enjoy making a living with my hands.” She shifts the cloth in her hands, “In fact, I should be about my business.”
Darius releases a soft chuckle. “Of noble blood or not, it was a true pleasure meeting you Adeliha.”
Eston asks, “You got to head off?”
Adeliha nods to Aaron, “Nice to meet you too.” She turns to Haft, “And you Haft.” She then turns to Eston, “Good bye Eston, Let me know if there anything I can do for you.”
Darius gives her a nod, still smiling but choosing to remain silent for now.
Eston smiles, though he doesn’t sound too convinced, “Yeah, sure, will do.” He gives her a wave, “See ya around?”
Adeliha nods to him, “Of course. I live, do I not?” She gives all three men one last nod before snapping her fingers and making her way back home, Milly following at her heels.
Haft asks, “So, you’re staying in town Aaron?”
Darius watches her walk off, releasing a soft chuckle before turning to Haft. “Indeed! Lookin’ for some work around here. Wandering only takes a man so far,” he hehs.
Eston says, “Offer still stands on asking ’round town if anyone needs an extra pair of hands.”
Haft asks, “What’s your trade then?”
Darius glances at Eston before addressing Haft’s question. “I am a man of many trades… ” he grins. “Master of few.”
Eston watches him curiously, “But what are them few? We got to know ‘else we won’t be able to help.”
Haft says, “Not much good at anything but swordplay myself. And huntin’.”
Haft says, “Cooked for the mess some…nobody died.”
Eston says, “Always a bonus that, no one dying.”
Darius chuckles, shaking his head. “I have few possessions Eston and that piece of knowledge is one of those possessions I am not willing to part with quite yet.” He glances at Haft, snorting.
Haft twitches a lip at Darius, as though sharing a secret.
Eston shrugs, “Suit yourself, but I mightn’t be much good at helpin’.”
Darius catches Haft’s gesture, his eyes narrowing almost imperceptibly. He gives Eston a hearty pat on the shoulder. “Ah, Eston, your company is help enough,” he laughs.
Haft nibbles on some meat from his pack.
Haft draws a deep breath. “Good to breathe the free air again.”
Eston asks, “Free air?”
Haft says, “Been a bit…on parole…after the battle. But it’s settled now.”
Eston raises an eyebrow, “What did ya do?”
Darius looks nonplussed at this comment. “Glad to hear it Haft…That business can be quite unpleasant. ”
Haft says, “Yeah, well…like I said, it’s settled. Got my old job back, near enough.”
Haft gives Eston a sharp look, as though considering whether to answer.
Eston raises his hands in a gesture of surrender, “A’right, no need to look at me like that, ya don’t have to tell me if ya don’t want to.”
Haft growls. “Good. Don’t want to.”
Darius’s mouth twitches into a grin at Haft’s reaction. “Oh, come now. Can’t be all that bad…I mean, you are a free man now, are you not?!”
“Yes,” Haft grits out. “I am.”
Eston says apologetically, “Sorry Haft, didn’t mean to make ya angry, was just curious.”
Haft says, “Yeah, well, ask around. Sure you can find someone to tell old tales.”
Darius smirks. “And that is all that matters.”
Eston shrugs and reaches for his crutch, heaving himself back into a standing position with a wince of pain, “I’d love to stay and chat but I think I need some rest, me injury’s acting up something dreadful right now.”
Haft doesn’t respond.
Darius simply nods in return.
Eston makes his painful way back towards his house.
Haft eyes Aaron. “Had to prod, did you? You already know the story.”
Darius looks back to Haft, smiling softly. “Prod? Nah… I think Eston did that.”
Haft waves the debate away. “Yeah, maybe. Everyone nosing about…those that don’t remember anyway.”
Darius chuckles knowingly. “Indeed, there are quite a few people whom like to nose about. ” He looks like he wants to say more, but goes silent.
Haft asks, “Yeah, well, the king thought better of my exile after I knocked down a few Calormenes. Don’t much matter what no one else thinks, do it?”
Darius waves a hand. “Nah, s’pose it doesn’t. ” he pauses. “I thought you only opened a door?”
Haft says, “I told you for whom.”
Haft asks, “Not like I lost the king’s favorite pair of boots, was it?”
Darius begins to pace, tapping his finger on his dagger thoughtfully. “No, no it wasn’t… But why would they exile one ignorant to their actions? Especially if he was only following orders.”
“Seems it was an oversight,” Haft snarls. “Was told to stay in the citadel–wasn’t precisely following orders, so they had a few questions. One day my captain comes and tells me to get out. I reckon it means exile and leave the country, but does anyone ever bother to seek me out and tell me it’s not, notify family? No. Couldn’t be bothered.”
Darius clicks his tongue, shaking his head. “Pity… Sounds like an honest mistake to me. ” he releases a breath, glancing skyward. “And an injustice at that. I would reckon you are a man owed a great sum and will likely never see it. ” he stops his pacing, a sickeningly arrogant smile forming as his gaze bores a hole into the ground. As fast as it forms though, it vanishes and is replaced by a soft smile as he looks up to him. “I fear though, that I must depart. Gotta continue looking for work,” he returns before turning at once and slowly walking towards the woods.
Haft says, “Yeah, well, good day.”