Another Talk with Aaron

In which Haft attempts to further his relationship with Aaron

Andale

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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.

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

Contents: Darius and Andale Well.

Darius walks towards the heart of Andale at an easy pace, a large scroll in his hands. While nothing about this scroll, save for its size, seems out of order, it does seem to be taking up all his attention.

Haft strolls into town, glancing in the direction first of Het Noorden, then Zuiden, as if trying to make up his mind.  He starts in the direction of Zuiden, but takes on last glance back and pauses as he sees Darius engrossed in reading.  He let’s out a quiet breath and adjusts his direction slightly, sitting himself down on a large rock near the edge of the square and beginning to fiddle with his boot.

Darius slows, attention never leaving the scroll. His eyes narrow a hair as something seems to grab his attention. A moment later, he steals a glance in the direction of the Castle, gaze pondering.

Haft manages to remove his boot, looking like he’s trying to find something inside it.

Darius looks back down to the scroll, slowly making his way forward once more, now approaching Haft.

Haft’s expression remains carefully neutral, his eyes focused on the boot.  He upends it and shakes it rather violently.

Darius hears the movement, stopping suddenly and looking up from the scroll. “Ahh, Haft!” he greets, quickly rolling up the scroll and tucking it into a sash behind him. “How are you this evening?”

Haft looks up, apparently startled.  “Huh?  Oh, hello there.  Fine.  Just trying to get a stone outta my boot.  Was botherin’ me, but I think it’s gone now.”  He begins pulling the boot back on.

Darius chuckles, shaking his head. “Pesky rocks… always seem to find their way in. ” he pauses, grin growing at his own words. “How’s work treatin’ ya?”

Haft says, “Oh, that.”  He rubs the back of his neck.  “I’m just grateful the rock wasn’t in my shoe all afternoon.  It’s a long stand, that, and you have to look sharp, can’t be digging around trying to find pebbles.”

Darius crosses his arms and raising a brow. “So. You are just standin’ the whole time?”

Haft says, “Well no.  Sometimes there’s marchin’.  Mostly standing at one of the gatehouses or watchtowers, though.  Sometimes duty on the wall walk, so you stroll a bit.  That’s kinda nice–can see into both wards.  And the view’s ok.”

Darius nods, releasing a soft ‘ah’. “I see. ” He rests his left hand on his dagger. “I may have asked you this previously, but how does a man gain such a profession?”

Haft says, “Huh?  Oh, well for me it was what I always wanted to be.  My da was in the guard, see, and I never wanted nothin’ else.  When I was old enough I applied to one of the regiments…got put through some tests, makin’ sure I could read and write, and that I was handy with a sword.  When they were convinced I was competent they had me follow around some of the older fellows for a few weeks and then gave me a schedule of my own. ”

Darius taps the hilt of his dagger with a finger. “I see… ” he hmms, letting out another breath. “Well, I don’t suppose you have encountered the /Lord/ Dar? ” he chuckles.

Haft says, “Dar?  Yeah, sure.  He’s the one who took my sword after the battle–for…uh…/safe keeping/ until the king could decide whether he was gonna kick me back outta the country.” He mutters, “Still has it, actually.  Had to borrow one from the armory to carry on my watch.””

Darius frowns at this. “You /must/ be jesting, friend. They /still/ haven’t returned you /your/ sword after all of the /hard/ and /honest/ work you have given them? ” he clicks his tongue, shaking his head. “Taking a man’s sword from him. Might as well take his very soul. ”

Haft says, “Yeah, well, I reckon my soul’s still my own.  But it ain’t natural for a soldier to go round without a sword…like having your arm cut off.”

Darius grins. “Well… Good sir, I do hope they return you your arm. ” He reaches behind him and grabs the scroll. “But I, sadly, need to be on my way. Farewell Haft. ” He gives him a nod before turning and walking in the direction of the Het Noorden.

Darius walks up the path toward the Het Noorden settlement.

Haft watches the man’s back in silence.

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