Confrontations

In which Haft has a really rotten day.  Featuring Darius, Lanisen, Cor and others!

Outer Ward

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

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>

Darius comes walking toward you from the Outer Gatehouse.

Abrielle sits on a bench along a wall, singing to herself.

Haft strides out of the tower, still in his uniform, and walking over to the bench, greets her with a smile.  “Abrielle!”

Abrielle looks up, already smiling. “Hello, Haft! How are you?”

Darius walks briskly into the Outer Ward, scanning the area as he usually does before settling his gaze on Haft. Seeing that he is with another though, he pauses and resorts to walking the outer wall, eyes never leaving the two.

Haft spreads his arms, displaying his livery.  “Wonderful well!”

Abrielle stands up and walks around Haft. “That looks fancy!” She comes back to his front and claps her hands. “I am very happy for you!”

Darius continues in a wide Circle around them, attention almost entirely on them.

Haft’s eyes crinkle.  “It’s good to wear the gold and purple again.”

Darius continues in a wide circle around them, attention almost entirely on them.

Abrielle nods. “It looks well on you.” It is at that moment she notices the new man. “Hello, Sir.”

Darius smiles brightly as he is noticed, quickly making his way towards the two. “Evening!”

Haft turns round to see whom Abrielle is addressing and his smile fades for a moment before he calls out, “Aaron!  Good to see you.  I’m just off duty.”

Abrielle folds her hands behind her back but keeps smiling. “Evening.”

Darius dips his head to the Lady before looking to Haft. “Unfortunate… because I have some rather. ” he glances at the Lady once more. “Unsavory news for you. ”

Haft’s face grows serious and he straightens his posture.  “News for a member of the guard?”

Abrielle eyebrows fold and she points in a different direction. “I can leave.”

Haft glances around the ward, which, while not at its fullest, is still active.  “Do you wish to discuss the matter elsewhere Aaron?”

Darius shakes his head, looking to the Daughter eve with some concern. “I will leave that up to your discretion m’lady. ” he pauses at Haft’s suggestion before nodding. “I don’t think it would be entirely proper to speak of such matters in front of such a Lady. ”

Abrielle raises an eyebrow. “I think you are limiting me. I can handle it. I just don’t want to be a bother.”

“No,” Haft says firmly.  “If this is something official, I will deal with it in private.  Please excuse us, Abrielle.”

Darius looks between the two, remaining silent as he waits for one of them to decide.

Haft says, “Follow me.”

Haft starts in the direction of the stables.

Abrielle frowns and goes back to her bench, pulling out a sheet of paper.

The two men walk into the stable.

Stable

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand in the Anvard Stable. All around you are stalls and equipment. There are horses of all colors, but all are high caliber. The far wall is hung with saddles, bridles, stirrups and other tack. There is fresh straw in every stall and buckets for water are hung on hooks. There are several special stalls for visiting talking horses. The floor is hardpacked dirt. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Outer Ward <N>

Haft glances around the stable, decides it looks quiet at the moment, and steps inside.

Darius follows closely behind Haft, eyes quickly darting around the room as they enter.

One of the horses nickers softly at the unfamiliar men.

Haft turns to face Darius.  “What seems to be the problem, Aaron?”

Darius clasps his hands together, releasing a breath and walking over to one of the stalls, examining the horse within. “I have come upon some distressing information. ”

You ask, “Yeah…?”

Darius continues his examination of the horse. “You know of the Lanisen I presume?”

Haft blinks.  “What?  Of course I know Lanisen.  Works with the hounds.”

Darius turns back to the man, brushing a hand across the stall door. “Well, I have come to find that he has been involved in some particularily unsavory business not so long ago. ” he takes a couple steps around the room, looking to the floor. “Turns out he and two others were involved the death of two. ”

Haft’s looks turns to one of consternation.  “That can’t be right.”  He swiftly adds, “What two others?”

Darius shakes his head. “I know little of the others save that one now works in the carmichael mines. ” he sighs, rubbing a hand on his face.

Haft’s face is stony.  “Then tell me what you /do/ know.”

Darius crosses his arms. “I know that he spent a short time in the dungeons. I know this happened about five years ago and he has since worked under Lord Dar. ” he frowns.

You ask, “Who were the people killed?”

Darius shakes his head, looking a bit frustrated. ” I know not my friend! The locals only will divulge so much information. All I know is he was involved in murder of some sort!”

You ask, “Which locals?  Who told you this?”

Darius’s frown deepens. “Locals that have been here far longer than I. ” he pauses. “Why don’t you ask Lanisen yourself?”

Haft says softly, with a hint of menace.  “You didn’t answer my question.”

Darius gives holds his gaze, expression turning a bit flat. “Haft, why would I lie to you? And what reason do I have to bring such heavy claims against Lanisen, but for the safety of the Castle?!”

Haft takes a deep breath, composes himself.  “It’s a serious accusation.  I can’t go accusing him of wrongdoing on hearsay.”

Darius waves a hand. “As you wish. Keep harboring a murderer within your walls… I truly thought better of the Guards of Anvard. ” he returns, looking a bit put-out.

Haft’s fists clench.  He takes another breath, but it seems to cost him.  “Look, Aaron, we’re friends, right?  But I can’t bring him up on nothing.  /As a guard of Anvard/ I am telling you to give me the names of the people you spoke with.  In my…official capacity.

Darius’s eyes dart to the mans hands, his own dropping to his dagger. “For their own protection and so has not to get them involved, I respectfully refuse. ” he says, voice even as his continues watching the mans fists.

Haft’s eyes flick openly to the dagger, then back to Darius’ face.  “You might end up with a night in the dungeon if you refuse to answer questions like that from certain members of the guard,” he says bluntly.

Darius’s brow arches, tilting his head as if he didn’t hear the man correctly. “Might I? For doing what? Being concerned for the commoners safety? Or trying to protect the Lords and King of this palace from a potential menace?”

Haft says, “I didn’t say I’d do it.  But there’s some as might.  It’s a real serious charge.  You can’t just refuse to say who told you, if the boy’s investigated.”

Darius hehs. “Well, I’d say you should just ask him yourself. ”

Haft quirks a brow ironically.  “No doubt he’d appreciate that.  And if your hearsay is wrong?  How do I look then?  Remember I only just got my job back and I ain’t in no position to go makin’ trouble if there ain’t none.”

Darius nods after a moment. “Fair enough. ” takes a few steps forward. “Well then, why don’t I ask him. I have little to nothing to lose and it may very well be doing you a favor. ”

You ask, “You, ask him?  What will that achieve?”

Darius shrugs. “Either I insult a respected man whom is innocent or I skip the run-around and get to the bottom of this. ”

Haft considers, looking unhappy.  “You said he worked under Lord Dar?  Surely the Lord Dar knows then?”

Darius nods. “Surely. ”

Haft looks away.  “Then I don’t see that there’s much I can do.  If Lord Dar thinks he’s fit to be on the premises, I got no license to gainsay him.

Darius asks, “So you’re harboring murderers then?”

Haft says, “I…” he hesitates.  “Look, if he’s here with Lord Dar’s permission, there’s nothing I can do.  That’s as good as the king, ain’t it?   Even if he did…”

Darius’s looks grows flat. “You’re okay with this?”

You exclaim, “What?  No!  Of course not, but what am I supposed to do about it?”  He looks troubled.  “What would you do?””

Darius raises both of his hands. “I would ask him myself, that is what I would do!”

You ask, “And if he says he did them things?”

Darius tilts his head to the side. “Well, I would address this with the Lords. You ARE harboring a muderer after all. Regardless of ‘good behavior’, their sort always seem to return to their old ways. ” he frowns deeply, shaking his head.

Haft spreads his hands.  “You’re not thinking what you’re saying man.  Me, tell them what to do?  I ain’t nobody.  I can’t barely even go up to one of them and talk, unless they ask me a question.  And I can’t ask my Captain to do it either.  He’d pluck me clean out of the guard and send me on my way.”

Darius sighs, looking disappointed. “What is worth more? The lives of the Lords or your title? ” he pauses, moving back to one of the empty stalls and placing his hands on it. “Who am I jesting… I couldn’t ask you to do something, I, myself, would fear doing. ” he hehs, looking back to the man. “You are a good man Haft. I will deal with this without dragging you down with me. ”

You ask, “Deal with it?  How?  I mean, if you find out he’s guilty?”

Darius clasps his hands together and places them over his mouth in thought. “I… I will figure it out. I am hoping to find these things as hearsay, so hopefully this will be the last you hear of it. ”

Haft hesitates, then shakes his head.  “No,” his says firmly.  “You’re right.  I’m in the guard.  I’ll deal with it.”

Darius smiles softly, nodding to the man. “My thanks Haft. I knew I could trust you. ”

Haft nods.  “Anything else you reckon I should know?”

Darius shakes his head. “No… No, that is all. ”

Haft nods.  “Thanks…uh…for bringing this to my attention.”

Darius smiles softly, nodding to him. “My pleasure Haft. ”

Haft turns away and strides into the ward.

Darius follows along after him.

Outer Ward

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

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>

Contents: A daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle); A

daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery);

Avery smiles as she sits, pulling Abrielle down with her. “Careful, they are easily enchanted by a pretty voice.”

Kairyn comes walking toward you from the Outer Gatehouse.

Haft emerges from the Stables, looking distinctly less pleased than he did earlier.  He scans the ward reflexively, but his eyes are distant.

Abrielle laughs at Avery. “As I have been told.” Her eyes glint playfully

Avery nods, looking serious. “How fortunate for them that I sing very ill.”

Kairyn steps through the outer ward, a cloak over her shoulders to ward off the chill. She looks about absently at the various people walking to and fro but does not engage anyone in particular as she makes her way through.

Haft notes Avery and Abrielle in the ward and glances around more specifically, noting the presence of a couple other soldiers nearby.  He turns to Darius.  “If you will excuse me.”

Haft strides off in direction of the kennels and goes inside.

Kennels

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The kennel of Anvard is a fairly spacious room, well-lit by the windows in the south wall looking toward the Outer Ward. It is immediately obvious that the hounds housed here are quite well-treated: the floor is kept clean-swept; the blankets padding the dogs’ wooden beds are thick and warm; and the hounds themselves have a certain sleek, well-fed look. Several pens can be seen toward the back of the room, likely used to isolate dogs that are sick, injured, or in need of further training, but the majority of the castle hounds are allowed to roam freely about the room.

A fireplace, lit on cold days, is set into the east wall, opposite the door to the quarters of Danall, the Master of Hounds. A set of wooden stairs leads up to a second level. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Up <U>, Outer Ward <S>, Huntsman’s Chamber <W>

Contents: Kirby the Houndkeeper.

Lanisen comes walking into the Kennels from the Outer Ward.

Lanisen gives Aaron a weirded-out look and passes through the door, pulling it firmly shut behind him.

Haft stands staring into the fire, arms crossed over his chest. He turns at the sound of the door, not uncoiling his frame.

Lanisen shuts the door on Darius, his stance tense. When he turns around and there is somebody unexpected in the room, he starts. “Oh! It’s you.” He gives Haft a nod and a half-smile, shrugging out of his coat. There is a knife buckled at his waist that wasn’t there before.

Haft has a dark look on his face. “Sit,” he growls.

Lanisen pauses, one arm still in the coat sleeve, and gives Haft a closer look. “Sorry?” he says after an uncertain pause.

Haft clips out. “I. Said. Sit.”

Lanisen slowly puts his coat back on, not leaving the space in front of the door, watchful. “What’s going on?”

Haft recognizes the defensive action and lets it pass, face still furious. “You won’t need to run. But you and I /are/ going to have a talk.”

One of the hounds growls uneasily.

Lanisen stays very still, watching Haft. “All right, I’m listening,” he says, level and calm.

Haft nods slightly. “Tell me where you got that scar. That’s not a request.”

Lanisen says, “Which scar?”

Haft says, “Let’s start with the one on your throat.”

Lanisen’s face flickers briefly with comprehension. “From Sir Colin’s dagger,” he answers after a pause.

Haft’s eyes widen and his mouth opens slightly as shock overtake rage. “Explain.”

Lanisen lets out two short breaths through his nose, laughing without mirth or voice, and looks away. “You been talkin’ to an old bird, I see,” he says, rather bitterly.

“I’ve been talking to /Aaron/!” Haft snaps. “He sought me out. I’m giving you a chance to tell me yourself.” His breathing is fast, angry. “Because I’d think you’d have done the same for me. Because others have done the same for me,” he adds softly.

Lanisen repeats quietly, “Aaron.” His mouth makes a hard line.

Haft’s eyes flash. “I don’t like giving him credence. The man is a snake and I’ll have him up on charges the moment there’s the least amount of evidence. But we both knew the other had a past, and now I’m asking.”

Lanisen says, “You might could say what you heard.”

Haft opens his mouth as though about to answer, then closes it. “There’s that much. Not one incident. Many.” It isn’t a question.

Lanisen waits silently.

Haft says, “Answer me boy.”

Lanisen stiffens at this, his shoulders hunching. “What did you hear?” he repeats.

Haft says, “I heard hearsay. He wouldn’t even tell me who’d told him. Last chance. Tell your side.”

Lanisen swallows. His jaw clenches, and his eyes dart from side to side behind Haft. “Tell me why I should,” he finally says, very softly, his eyes flicking to Haft in clear rebellion. “You’ve no authority over me, I don’t answer to you.” His hand goes to the doorlatch.

Haft measures his response for a long moment. “No. I don’t, so let’s start there. Who does? Lord Dar?”

Lanisen says nothing.

Haft’s voice is cool. “I see. So you’d rather I ask around the barracks, the village? Dig up all your old ghosts and drag them back into the light. Is /that/ what you want?”

Lanisen’s face goes pale, then red, then pale again. “Aye,” he says quietly. “You’d know about ghosts, wouldn’t you, Haft.”

The anger drains from Haft’s face as he pales in his turn. His mouth opens and closes several times as he unsuccessfully tries to find the words he needs. He presses his eyes shut, presses back the past. “I know,” he croaks.

Lanisen says coldly, “I thought so.” He takes a deep breath and pushes off the door. “I. do not. answer. to you,” he says, staring Haft in the face. “You can do what you like, you can drag up whatever old stories you can find and smear ‘em all over the castle, but don’t think you can hold that over my head, don’t think you can do worse to me than I’ve already had, and don’t you think for /one second/,” his voice is shaking with anger or fear or a combination of the two, “that /you/ have a corner market on the king’s mercy!”

Haft staggers back and slumps against the wall at the last words, head dropping to his chest. He looks as though he’s been punched and his breathing is ragged.

Lanisen’s breathing is equally heavy. He looks down as Haft slumps away, as if he has gone farther than he meant to, and takes a moment to steady himself. He backs to the door and opens it wide, then makes a wordless /get out/ gesture, not looking at Haft.

Haft raises his head, staring at the open door as though the light itself is painful. He shakes his head, but speaks. “I can’t.” His voice is raw, defeated. “He said you’d been complicit in the death of two innocents.”

Lanisen says, “Get. Out.”

Haft doesn’t rise, doesn’t move at all. “I…can’t,” he breathes.

Lanisen says, “You got legs, use ‘em. You’re not welcome here.”

Haft shakes his head again. His voice is quiet. “If you know who I am, know what I did, you’d know why I can’t. I have to know. He’s…he’s always here.”

Lanisen throws up his hands. “So talk to Lord Dar!” he all but shouts. “Talk to Sir Colin, talk to the KING for all I care! Just. LEAVE.”
Lanisen repeats, his voice breaking, “Please leave.”

Haft says softly, “Because you can’t bear to talk about it either.”

Lanisen seems to have shut down. He refuses to look at Haft or respond in any way. He stands, still holding the door open.

Haft continues to ignore the invitation. “Aaron wanted to investigate you himself, if I refused. He…acted like those answerable for you were wrong, said we were hiding a murderer in our midst. He wanted…to deal with you. I won’t let him.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t care.”

Haft whispers, as though Lanisen has not spoken. “If you have the king’s pardon, that’s what I need to know to keep you safe. You’re right, you don’t answer to me. I answer to him, ultimately. You needn’t…fear me. I’ll make what inquiries I must as quietly as I can. Just tell me one thing.”

Lanisen doesn’t look at him.

Haft says, “Tell me he’s safe. Whatever you’ve done in the past, whoever you were. Tell me he’s safe with you.”

Lanisen’s face crumples at this. He pulls one ragged breath, then another, then very quietly tells Haft to go someplace unpleasant.

Haft draws a ragged breath, almost a dark laugh, taking this as the best assurance he’s likely to get. He pushes away from the wall, unsteady on his feet, and begins to make his way past. He hesitates at the last moment, stopping right beside Lanisen and not looking at him. “Will you…tell him?” he says, voice dead like a man who has just handed over a weapon to an enemy.

Lanisen is silent.

Haft catches his breath on a sob, presses his eyes closed again, and stumbles out into the harsh sunlight.

Lanisen shuts the door behind him with finality.

Haft walks out of the Kennels to the Outer Ward.
Outer Ward

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

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>

Contents: Kairyn; A daughter of eve with

honey-colored ringlets (Avery); A son of adam of about 14 years of age (Cor);

and A son of adam wearing a red tunic (Darius).

Kairyn jumps again when the door slams behind Haft.

Haft stumbles out of the kennels, his face a wreck.  He lifts bleary eyes to take in the scene before him.

Darius’s hands drop to his sides, expression uneasy as he leans towards Avery and mutters hurredly to her, watching the prince continue his approach.

Cor, who still has half his concentration on the kennels, sees the slammed door and the man who emerges from it. His face falls uncertainly.

Darius mumbles “… what is it? … … … … to turn one’s … … the … … … approaches.”, to Avery.

Avery looks at Darius and shrugs helplessly. “Oh…I-I…He is just so…royal? …Makes me nervous.”

Haft freezes as he sees Darius standing in the direction Cor is headed.  He raises his eyes to the boy and sees the hesitation there and his own face falls further.

Kairyn visibly shrinks into herself as more people enter the vicinity.

Darius’s brow raises even further, taking a step back so as to look fully at her face. “You sure I shouldn’t be turning my back to the prince out of respect or something? ” he asks quickly, looking between her and the prince, no longer caring about the volume of his voice.

Avery shakes her head, turning toward the Prince, but keeping her eyes lowered. “No, show him your respect, of course!” She takes a slight step back.

Haft takes a breath, grits his teeth, and quickly strides around Darius to Cor’s side.  “Ah, there you are, Your Highness.  I believe Master Lanisen is…free, at the moment.”

Cor glances between the guard, the kennel door, and Lady Avery, who seems to be turning her back to him. The glance is brief however, and then his gaze falls more firmly on the harried guard’s face and he seems to have determined in this moment an appropriate course of action.

Cor mumbles “Are you very well?”, to Haft.

Cor mumbles “Are … very well?”, to Haft.

Haft’s brow furrows at the question.  His gaze softens and he hesitates before murmuring back.

Darius stands there, looking completely lost as he looks between the three.

You mumble “Well enough.  Go on, see Master Lanisen now.”, to Cor.

Haft mumbles “”Well …  Go … … … … …”, to Cor.

Cor blinks, still seeming uncertain, but he nods obediently and slips off past the guard.

Haft follows quickly behind him, keeping his eyes alert.

Avery lowers her head more as the two of them pass by.

Kairyn rises up to curtsy to the prince before sitting back on her bale as unobtrusively as possible.

Cor gives the woman on the bale a friendly, if confused, sort of grin, and passes on inside.

Cor walks into the Kennels.

Haft enters after him.

Kennels

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The kennel of Anvard is a fairly spacious room, well-lit by the windows in the south wall looking toward the Outer Ward. It is immediately obvious that the hounds housed here are quite well-treated: the floor is kept clean-swept; the blankets padding the dogs’ wooden beds are thick and warm; and the hounds themselves have a certain sleek, well-fed look. Several pens can be seen toward the back of the room, likely used to isolate dogs that are sick, injured, or in need of further training, but the majority of the castle hounds are allowed to roam freely about the room.

A fireplace, lit on cold days, is set into the east wall, opposite the door to the quarters of Danall, the Master of Hounds. A set of wooden stairs leads up to a second level. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

You can go: Up <U>, Outer Ward <S>, Huntsman’s Chamber <W>

Contents: A son of adam of about 14 years of age (Cor); A son of adam with his

right arm in a sling (Lanisen); and Kirby the Houndkeeper.

Lanisen is sitting on the hearth while a pot heats over the fire, shaving lye soap into a bucket. He looks very tired and distant, like he’s not really paying attention to what he’s doing.

Cor opens the door to the kennel as unobtrusively as possible. His movements are tentative. It’s clear he knows something is off, but is unsure exactly what, and Haft is close enough behind him that now that he’s started on this path, it’s the one he’s taking.

Haft enters the kennels immediately behind Cor.  His expression is guarded.  He closes the door firmly but not forcefully behind himself, then strides ahead of the prince.  “Lanisen, a word?” he says quietly.

Lanisen glances up from his task, instantly on his guard. His eyes flit from Cor to Haft, and he stands slowly, putting aside his knife and the block of soap. There is hate in the look he gives Haft, but it’s soon smothered by blank, resigned misery.

Haft meets Lanisen’s eyes.  His own are full of worry.  He leans in and murmurs something to the younger man.

You mumble “Aaron is outside.  Keep him here until I return.”, to Lanisen.

Haft mumbles “Aaron is outside.  Keep … … … … …”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen goes still and confused. He dares another glance at Haft.

Haft steps back, holding Lanisen’s gaze as something like fear passes through his own.  He looks as if he wants to say more, but he only turns and walks back toward the prince en route to the door.

Cor stands uncomfortably and uncertainly next to the door. Sorrel has recognized and come up happily to him, and he rubs between her ears.

Lanisen watches Haft walk away.

Haft hesitates at the door, as if gathering courage, then takes a shaky breath and lets himself out.

Outer Ward

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

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>

Contents: A son of adam wearing a red tunic (Darius).

Darius watches the two [women] walk away before shaking his head and making his way towards the Kennals, reaching for the door handle.

Haft’s reflexes come into play as he registers exactly who is trying to enter as he leaves.  He grasps Darius’ wrist, kicks the door shut behind him, and in a voice of cold menace, says, “No.”

Darius blinks, nearly jumping out of his skin as his wrist is grabbed tight, his other hand /instantly/ going down to his dagger and tugging on it. “/Wha– / //What?!// ” he nearly shouts, his dagger half out of its sheath.

Haft releases him, pushing him back.  “Leave it where it is or you’ll have half the guard on you.”

Darius lets his dagger fall back into his sheath. “By all sanity, man! ” he exclaims, realizing whom it is. “Grab a man’s arm like that and I wouldn’t expect any other reaction. ” he returns, frowning deeply and rubbing his wrist.

Haft glances around, making sure they have no attentive audience.  “What’s your business beyond this door?”

Darius continues rubbing his wrist, eyes wide in disbelief. “I was told there was a new litter of puppies and I wanted to see them. ” he exclaims, looking unhappy.

Haft regards Darius coolly.  “It would be best for you if you considered the kennels off limits.”

Darius finally releases his arm. “And why is that?” he asks, eyes narrowing a hair.

Haft says, “Because if you do not you will find me seriously displeased.”

Darius asks, “Why?”

Haft sets his jaw, voice low and commanding.  “Walk with me.”

Darius’s eyes flicker between the door and Haft, but he nods.

In the Archenland Forest

(^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^)

You stand on a well-worn path in the middle of a forest, running east and west through the trees. To the north, you can see the mountains that separate Archenland from Narnia, to the south, the continuing expanse of the Archenland forest. A pleasant place for strolling, to be sure, what with the occasional squirrel crossing your path, or glimpse of some bright bird’s plumage.

(^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^x^)

You can go: West <W>, East <E>, South <S>

Haft leads Darius toward the forest, his strides long and determined.  He stops just under the cover of the trees.  “I told you,” he growls, “that I would deal with Lanisen.”

Darius halts a few paces behind him, looking at the trees with a certain uneasiness. “Yes? So?”

Haft says, “So you have no call to be interfering.”

Darius shoots him a flat look. “What -are- you talking about. I was told by one of those ladies that there was a new litter in the Kennals. ” his eyes narrow further. “Or is it a crime to want to see a litter of puppies now?”

Haft says, “A crime?  No.  But now that I’m investigating Lanisen, I want you to stay away from him.  That means staying away from the dogs.”

Darius crosses his arms. “You have a court order? Remember whom gave you your information Haft. If it weren’t for me you’d be going along your merry watch right now, isn’t that right?”

Haft says, “But you did tell me.  That makes it part of my duty.  You wouldn’t ask me to compromise my duty would you?”

Darius doesn’t waver. “No, no I wouldn’t. But, as I said, -I- found out the information about Lanisen. Now, if -you- had gone out on your own and gathered this information -yourself- I would have little to argue for, but you didn’t. -I- did. So, for as long as the Kennel door is unlocked and open to the Outer Ward, I will, being the -free- man I am, walk right in. ” he frowns. “I honestly thought you would be more grateful then you are… ” he finishes, nearly muttering the last.

Haft cocks his head.  “And just what kind of gratitude were you expecting?”

Darius snorts, turning back and beginning to make his way towards the town. “The kind that doesn’t treat me like a common criminal. ” he returns, grabbing his arm and muttering something about wrist.

Haft calls after him.  “Tell me, Aaron, what’s so all-important about seeing a few puppies?”

Darius continues on, Haft’s words bouncing off of his back without reaction as he slowly disappears into the forest.

Haft growls and his voice rises to a shout that Darius cannot possibly pretend to miss.  “Aaron!”

Haft runs to catch up with the man.

Darius may not be able to miss these next words, but he very well -does- ignore them as he continues on at a slow pace.

Haft overtakes the man and places a staying hand on his shoulder–his left hand.

Darius stops at the hand, sucking in a deep breath through his nose. Making no move to turn, his hands are drooped at his side. “Release my shoulder. Now. ” his voice is commanding and drips of anger.

Haft slowly does so.  “One last warning Aaron,” he says, voice low.  “Do not approach Lanisen.  If I find that you have harrassed him in any way I will have you arrested.  Do I make myself quite clear?”

Darius snorts, giving no response as he once again lets the man’s words fall on deaf ears, making his way further into the forest.

Haft lets him go, then turns back and departs toward the castle.  He heads straight to the kennels.

Kennels

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The kennel of Anvard is a fairly spacious room, well-lit by the windows in the south wall looking toward the Outer Ward. It is immediately obvious that the hounds housed here are quite well-treated: the floor is kept clean-swept; the blankets padding the dogs’ wooden beds are thick and warm; and the hounds themselves have a certain sleek, well-fed look. Several pens can be seen toward the back of the room, likely used to isolate dogs that are sick, injured, or in need of further training, but the majority of the castle hounds are allowed to roam freely about the room.

A fireplace, lit on cold days, is set into the east wall, opposite the door to the quarters of Danall, the Master of Hounds. A set of wooden stairs leads up to a second level. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

You can go: Up <U>, Outer Ward <S>, Huntsman’s Chamber <W>

Contents: A son of adam of about 14 years of age (Cor); A son of adam with his

right arm in a sling (Lanisen); and Kirby the Houndkeeper.

Lanisen glances at him. “I think…” He pauses, and says frankly, “I think it’s going to be a very long time before I want to think about Calormen again. What do you think, your highness?”

Cor looks up from Sorrel. “Me too.”

Lanisen lets silence fall between them for a moment. “You… doin’ all right with it, your highness?” he asks tentatively.

Haft enters the kennels, opening the door and stepping inside, but not closing it behind him.  His eyes flit to Cor and then come to rest on Lanisen.

Cor nods, his brows rising in thought. “I think so. It’s not as if it will be the same.” He stop talking as the door opens and looks to it.

Lanisen’s eyes go immediately to the door as it opens. He straightens, tense and hostile, and stares at Haft.

Haft’s expression is neutral, though there is something deeper in his eyes.  He looks weary.  He nods silently to Lanisen, pauses a moment, and turns to step back outside.

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