A Word of Warning

In which Haft and Lanisen have a conversation about safety…and old birds

Outer Ward

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The old bird
The old bird

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>

Lanisen comes walking into the outer ward past the iron gates.

Haft comes out of the North Market, looking thoughtful.

Lanisen steps outside the kennel, closing the door behind him, and stands for a moment getting his arm resituated in its sling.

Haft scans the ward in his customary way.  Then his eyes light on Lanisen.  He pauses a moment before strolling over.  “Good day.”

Lanisen takes his arm back out of the sling, making a noise of annoyance, and untwists the fabric. He glances up as Haft approaches and gives him a nod. “‘Lo.”

Haft asks, “Where you headed?”

Lanisen says, “Dunno.” He glances at the sky. “Servants’ hall, maybe. Haven’t ate since breakfast.”

Haft says, “Mind if I join you?  I’d, uh…like a quiet word.”

Lanisen finally gets his sling sorted out. He glances at Haft oddly at the hesitation, then shrugs. “If you like.”

Haft follows Lanisen to the Servant’s Hall

Servant’s Hall

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand in the warm and busy servants’ hall. Most of the floor is taken up by long trestle tables and benches. Candles in sconces on the wall light the room with a friendly glow. At the back of the hall, a staircase leads down into the storeroom. The only other object of note is a large wood and leather chair, where the head cook often rests between meals. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Kitchen <W>, Storeroom <D>

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

Haft takes a seat at the deserted end of one of the tables, far from prying ears.  He glances around the room a little uncertainly.

Lanisen joins him after he’s got himself a plate of bread and meat and some kind of stewed root vegetable. “Gonna eat?”

Haft says, “Maybe later.”  He pauses a moment.  “I’m concerned about the time Prince Cor is spending in the kennels.”

Lanisen goes rather tense and defensive. “Why’s that, then?”

Haft notes the tone, looks like he even expects it.  “No reflection on you,” he says, seriously.  “And no reflection on him, either.  He plainly enjoys it, and I’ve no call to interfere with that…it’s only…”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows.

Haft asks, “It’s Aaron.  You remember him.  Sir Peridan asked us to keep a lookout?”

Lanisen says, “…What about him?”

Haft asks, “He’s been about.  Almost continously.  Twice now it’s been you and Cor in the kennels with naught but an unlocked door and me between the crown prince and that…I don’t know.  There’s something /wrong/ about him Lanisen.  The first time I didn’t even have my sword.  What if Cor had stepped outside and Aaron intended ill?”

Lanisen says slowly, “Then there’s guards about, on the walls, at the gates, to make sure nothing goes wrong? Then there’s a ward full of people who love ‘im and won’t let anything happen to him?”

Haft ducks his head, pressing steepled fingers to his lips.  “I know.  I’m concerned.  That’s all.  You’re in no shape to help if anything goes amiss.”

Lanisen says, rather annoyed, “Dunno what you expect me to do about it in any case.”

A brief flash of anger passes across Haft’s face.  “I don’t know…you can’t use a sword, I suppose?  Normally, I mean.”

Lanisen goes still, wary of the other man’s anger. “I don’t understand,” he says after a moment, treading carefully.

Haft says, “I mean,” he says slowly, as though talking to someone a bit dense, “that as you are Sir Colin’s friend I thought there was a chance you might know how to use a weapon, as opposed to most of the men in the village.  You used a bow in the battle.  I know that much.”

Lanisen doesn’t answer for a very long moment. He looks down at his right hand. “I can use a knife,” he answers finally, without looking at Haft. “Normally. And I’m all right with a bow.”

Haft nods curtly.  “Doesn’t matter for the moment in any case.  Look, I’m not telling you to prevent him–that’s not my place, and I reckon it’s not yours.  Just…be mindful, allright?”

Lanisen says, a little dryly, “Right. Sure.”

Haft gives Lanisen a long look.  “You don’t believe there’s cause for concern.  You told Lord Peridan the man hadn’t done anything…”

Lanisen says, “Well, he ain’t. I don’t like him too much but he ain’t done anything.”

Haft asks, “No.  He hasn’t…may I ask why it is that Sir Colin didn’t like him?”

Lanisen sighs. “‘Cause of how he is, I figure. Aaron, I mean. You seen him, all bright and happy-like. It’s not quite right.”

Haft snorts.  “I’ve seen sorts that happy in Narnia–drove me half batty sometimes–but there was an honesty to it.  But Aaron is…not honest.  I’d stake my sword arm.  I’ve had a few more conversations with that man.  He’s playing a very strange game, but I haven’t figured out quite what it is yet.”

Lanisen leans forward a little. “Okay but you know what? Whatever his game is, whether he plans on makin’ mischief or not, he’s made /everybody/ squidgy. You, me, Colin, the guards up front, Lord Peridan. He’s gotta be the most closely-watched fellow in Archenland. You see what I’m sayin’?”

Haft’s lip twists up slightly, possibly at the term “squidgy”.  He runs a hand through his hair.  “Yeah, you have a point.  I just know–from experience–sometimes if you wait for a man to act, it’s already too late.”

Lanisen snorts and gives Haft a dark look. “You want my advice, don’t worry about Aaron. Worry about the folk you’re not payin’ attention to ’cause you’re too busy watchin’ him.”

Haft cocks his head, a slight edge to his voice.  “Such as…?”

Lanisen says, “There’s always somebody.”

Haft narrows his eyes at Lanisen, trying to take his measure.  His eyes fall briefly on the scar on his neck, then go back to the younger man’s face.  “I suppose there is,” he says without heat.  He sighs.  “It’s good advice.  I /do/ need to keep an eye out for more than a flash of red in a crowd–and I hope I have been.  That’s my duty.”

Lanisen, realizing he’s said too much, quails slightly under the scrutiny. He says nothing more.

Haft asks, “Well, I’ve said what I wanted to say.” He changes the topic.  “Corin, does he like the hounds as much as his brother?”

Lanisen seems to relax a little. He breaks off a piece of his bread. “Prince Corin? Oh, aye.  He ain’t at the kennels so much, though, he’s got his own hound that follows him all over the place.”

Haft asks, “Really?  What’s her name?”

Lanisen frowns slightly. “Dani, I think.”

Haft asks, “Something wrong?”

Lanisen blinks. “What?”

Haft says, “You frowned just now…wasn’t sure if it was directed at me, or…”

Lanisen gives him an odd look. “I couldn’t remember.”

Haft winces slightly.  “Sorry.”

Lanisen shrugs.

Haft says, “Maybe I will get something to eat.”  He starts to rise, then freezes halfway up, his eyes looking across the room to another table.

Lanisen blinks. He hesitates, then turns to look too.

At the other table, an older guardsman is talking to a younger one, a look of disgust on his face and his eyes plainly on Haft.

Haft sits back down again.  “Perhaps later.”  He stares at the surface of the trestle.

Lanisen wordlessly shoves his plate halfway across the table to share his bread.

Haft stares at the plate for a moment, surprised.  “Thanks,” he says gruffly, breaking off a chunk.

Lanisen shrugs again. “Ain’t that hungry.”

Haft says, “Me neither.  But a soldier learns to fill his stomach when he can.”

Lanisen looks mildly exasperated, but says nothing.

Haft growls, “Out with it.”

Lanisen says, “Nothin’.”

Haft asks, “Sounds about right.  We’ll just sit here and ‘nothing’ at each other, shall we?”

Lanisen says, “Fine by me.”

Haft breaks off another piece of bread, willing to let the conversation lapse.  He doesn’t raise his eyes to look at the other tables again.

Lanisen gives due attention to his meal and not to much else.

Haft finishes his portion of the bread and rises, eyes on Lanisen and carefully averted from the rest of the room.  “Thanks again.”

Lanisen makes a vague no-problem gesture, shaking his head.

Haft strides around the table and leaves the room.

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