The Lovely Ladies of the Archenland Espionage Division!

espionageIn which Haft sees the king enter the kennels, and has conversations with Avery and Abrielle

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

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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>

Contents: A son of adam wearing well made clothes and a crown (Lune).

Haft enters through the Outer Gatehouse, looking a little worse for the wear.

Lune passes through the outer ward early in the evening, moving toward the kennels. He is coming from the direction of the inner gatehouse.

Haft turns in the direction of the north stair, though his eyes scan the ward–starting with the kennel door–as usual.  He catches a glimpse of the king entering the word and touches a hand to his sweaty shirt, continuing on his original course.

Lune stops when he reaches the kennel door. He cracks it open and peers at the area just inside before opening it any farther.

Haft pauses for a moment when he sees where the king is headed, then continues on his way.

Lune, upon finding the door unthreatened by any escaping hounds, opens it the rest of the way and passes inside.

Haft walks up to stand in the North Gate Tower, wondering what might be passing in the kennels and whether Lanisen would dare mention any of their altercation to the king.  Of course, it’s probably just a normal visit.  Lune always liked the hounds, and Lanisen might not even be there…

North Gate Tower

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand in the North Gate Tower, and through the narrow windows you can see off into the distance of Archenland. Here soldiers and knights can defend Anvard, raining arrows down on any enemy who should approach the gate. There are stairs leading down to the outer ward, and a door into the Army Barracks.

Narrow stairs continue up to the higher reaches of the tower. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Army Barracks <W>, Upstairs <U>, Outer Ward <D>

Haft stands a while on the North Gate Tower, keeping an eye on the Outer Ward and the kennels.  With the king inside he’d rather know if Aaron comes around again.

A servant approaches Haft, clearing his throat. “Master Haft. The, uh, Lady Avery seeks your presence. You may find her in the library.”

Haft takes a final look at the kennel door the goes to the library to answer the summons.

Library

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The Library of Anvard rises around you. Reddish wooden pillars like twisted tree-trunks support the roof at even intervals, long bookcases in rows between them. The room is warmly lit by a multitude of round hung lamps, like globular fruit. The air is heavy with the sweet and musty smell of books, old and new. Hundreds of volumes line the shelves, and a few spaces between trunks have been left open for tables at which to reading and write. Thick pillar candles can be used to bring a little more yellow light to late-night researchers in these places.

The room appears to be well-dusted and well-kept, its contents carefully maintained and repaired throughout the years. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Hallway <W>

Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery) and A Row of Bookshelves.

Avery is sitting at one of the tables, a quill in hand. She is writing rather quickly, the tip scratching against the paper.

Haft enters.  His shirt is sweaty and he’s clearly been active outdoors lately.  He runs a hand through his hair, but it doesn’t help.  He clears his throat.  “Lady Avery?”

Avery looks up. “Haft. I hope I did not interrupt your duties?” She sets her letter aside, flipping it so the writing is facedown.

Haft says, “Ah…no…” though he looks a little distracted. “What may I assist you with?”

Avery motions to the chair across from her. “I had some inquiries and since you’re a Guardsman, I thought you might be able to provide me with some answers…I hope, anyway.”

Haft frowns but takes the offered seat.  “Of course.  I’ll be happy to help as I may.”

Avery nods. “I was wondering if you know a man who calls himself ‘Aaron’?”

Haft’s eyes widen in surprise.  “I do, my lady.”

Avery asks, “What sort of man is he?”

Haft’s expression grows slightly guarded.  “May I ask why you wish to know?”

Avery waves a hand. “Curiosity. I met him in the Outer Ward. He…created a bit of an unsettling stir.”

Haft nods.  “Please continue.”

Avery arches a brow slightly. “I felt unsettled by his presence…But I wasn’t the only one.”

You ask, “What did he do to cause concern?”

Avery asks, “Does he have any…quarrel with Lanisen?”

Haft’s mouth goes into a grim line, but he hesitates in his response.  “I…do not feel it is my part to answer that question.  Forgive me.  My Captain, Garian, might be better able to judge the matter.  I would, however, be very interested to learn anything you can tell me.  Plainly he gave you reason to believe that he disliked Lanisen.”

Avery gently shakes her head. “I’m not sure what I witnessed was dislike exactly. I cannot be sure.”

Haft says, “Please, tell me exactly what he said. Or did.”

Avery says, “He seemed all too eager to…serve and see Lanisen. But it was clear from Lanisen’s face that he was uncomfortable.” She shrugs a bit. “Perhaps I am assuming things…”

Haft asks, “When was this?”

Avery says, “Last night. Right before Lanisen went to the Kennels.”

Haft’s brow furrows in concentration.  “Did you happen to mention anything to Aaron yesterday about a new litter of puppies in the kennels?”

Avery taps the table with a fingernail. “Yes.”

Haft says, “And how did he react to that?”

Avery says, “He said he had been in there and hadn’t seen them.”

Haft says, “I see.  Anything else?”

Avery sighs. “General chit-chat, nothing of importance. He isn’t aware of who I actually am. I told him my name was Lorrie.”

Haft blinks.  “Lorrie…” he says doubtfully.  “Why would you feel the need to do that?”

Avery says, “I would never give out my true identity to anyone who I don’t have a good feeling about.”

Haft cocks his head slightly and gives her a nod of respect.  “Probably a wise course, though the guard in the outer ward ought to be sufficient to ensure your safety in any event.”

Avery nods. “Of course, but it is also my reputation I protect and consider. I don’t need him dropping my name to his drinking companions at the tavern.”

Haft looks startled.  “You think the man would dare imply a…” he pinkens a little “a romantic connection with a lady of quality?”

Avery looks disgusted. “I should hope not.”

Haft asks, “And, did he says anything to Lorrie that gave you pause?  Something he might not have said in front of the Lady Avery?”

Avery thinks a moment. “He went on a good deal about his desire to see the inside of the castle.” She suddenly stops as if realizing something, mouth parted slightly.

Haft’s look is intense. “Go on.”

Avery shakes her head, glancing at Haft. “But who doesn’t?”

“Lady Avery,” he says, voice firm but still polite.  “Please.  This may be quite important.”

Avery asks, “Why would he have such a desire to see the inside of the castle?”

Haft pauses.  “I should very much like to know the answer to that question, my lady.  It may be no more than idle curiosity, of course.  Anvard is quite beautiful…and then it may be something else.  It is my duty to determine what that ‘something else’ might be.”

Avery sighs. “Idle curiosity…said with such delight? Over architecture?”

Haft develops yet another crease in his brow.  “Any particular portion of architecture?  I mean…did he inquire about fortifications, or…?”

Avery says, “Only that it’s been a dream of his to see what’s within the walls.” She tips her head a bit. “Said he came to the Ward to look upon the outside.”

Haft draws in a breath and lets it out slowly.  “And that is all, Lady Avery?  Can you think of anything else?”

Avery shakes her head. “Not unless his inviting me to a tavern is relevant?” She rolls her eyes.

Haft fairly sputters.  “Wh-what?”

Avery simply nods.

Haft says faintly, “You…you didn’t go?”

Avery exhales and gives him a look as if to say “Really?”

Haft says, “I…forgive me.  Of course.  But, my lady, if I may say so, even as you were dressed yesterday in less than your finest, I do not feel that this man could have failed to notice…well, other things.  Your, ah, hands, for example, are not roughened and bear no mark except an ink spot, and your hair is…uh…” he starts blushing rather badly, “a little too well-maintained to belong to a commoner.”

Avery nods. “If he didn’t believe me about my rank, so be it, but he still doesn’t know who I am. I have no intention to visit the Outer Ward for some time. He will not see me again.”

Haft regains most of his composure, though the blush is slow in fading.  “He knew.  He knew he was inviting someone he ought not…I agree milady, it would be best if he does not see you again.  You may wish to ask Miss Abrielle not to mention your true name, should he inquire.”

Avery says, “Abrielle will not say a thing. Nor will Kairyn.”

Haft nods. “How did he react when you declined?”

Avery says, “Disappointment.”

Haft says, “Not anger?  Did he try to press or coerce you in any way?””

Avery shakes her head. “No. I suggested a walk about the Ward instead. He accepted that.”

Haft asks, “And what did you discuss during your walk around the ward, milady?”

Avery says, “The castle and the pups.”

Haft nods.  “Is there anything else you think I should know?”

Avery says, “No. I feigned illness and Kairyn came to my side, said she’d take me to the healer. He made mention that he would take a look at the pups and walked away.”

Haft says, “I see.”  He rises.  “Thank you my lady.  You acted prudently and I appreciate you bringing the information to my attention.  I will bring this information to the Captain.”  He bows and heads toward the door of the library.

Avery nods, clearing her throat. “Haft, careful what you say. I would rather this news not reach my brother before I’ve had a chance to inform him myself.”

Haft turns, lifts his chin at her words, then nods in understanding.  “Of course.  I will be discreet.”  He then continues on his walk out into the hall.

Haft returns to his previous location.  After a while, Haft sees Abrielle below, speaking to a fellow guard at the bottom of the North Gate Tower.  Curious, he descends to meet her.  “Abrielle?  Is everything all right?”  He looks rather weary.

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).

Abrielle smiles at Haft. “Well Hello! Just who I was looking for! I wanted to let you know that I am going to be heading home again soon…but how are you?”

Haft looks a little distracted and glances toward the kennels.  “I…am fairly well.  And yourself?”

Abrielle nods. “I am good. I met Aaron yesterday….” She looks over her shoulder to the kennels. “I can see you are distracted….anything I an help with?”

Haft starts.  “No…I think not.  Aaron, you said?”

Abrielle tilts her head. “Um…yes….are you sure you are okay?”

Haft says, “I did not sleep well last night.  Please, go on with what you were saying.”

Abrielle sighs and tells her story. “I met him with Lady Avery yesterday…she…” She hesitates before talking, “well…both of us told him fake names.”

Haft shakes himself and forces his attention to Abrielle.  “Did you now?  And why did you do that?”

Abrielle shakes her head slowly. “I have no idea….Lady Avery did it and I suspect it is because she was weary of him….so I just did it too. I think she wanted me to.”

Haft nods.  Did he say or do anything to make you…concerned?”

Abrielle shrugs. “He was loud and weird towards Lanisen but…I didn’t feel that he did anything horribly wrong.” She sighs. “Do you think he will be mad at me when he finds out?”

Haft asks, “‘Weird towards Lanisen’?  In what way?”

Abrielle laughs humorlessly. “He just seemed overly helpful from what I understood.”

Haft says, “I think, Abrielle,” he says slowly, “that returning to your home soon might be a good idea.  I should not like him to discover that he was deceived.”

Abrielle puts her hand on her mouth. “Oh no…I did badly…I am sorry Haft.” She looks horribly guilty.

Haft says, “Not at all.  I am only concerned.  If asked, you should not give Lady Avery’s true name either.  But I should avoid the man entirely, if possible.”

Abrielle frowns. “I thought that he was your friend? Or maybe someone you were friendly with…”

Haft ahs.  “I…do not think he will agree with that sentiment, should you meet him again,” he says grimly.

Abrielle nods and pats Haft’s arm. “I hope everything…will work out for you Haft. I really do.”

Haft arches a brow in surprise.  “Work out for me, Miss?”

Abrielle nods. “Yes. There is very obviously something going on…and I fear that it may have something to do with Aaron…from what I can gather. I do not want to make assumptions but…that is what I seem to be seeing.”

“Well,” he says quietly, “that is my job.  And the job of the other guards here.  We’ll deal with matters as they come.  Do not trouble yourself.”

Abrielle shakes her head slightly and turns away. “I will try not to.”

Haft tries to prolong the conversation.  “You said you are going home?  Where was that again?”

Abrielle crosses her arms and looks back at Haft. “Coghill.”

Haft says, “And your…ah…your mare.”

Abrielle tilts her head. “My mare?”

Haft says, “The horse you were working with, with your friend.”

Abrielle ahs. “Well I thought I made it clear that she was not /my/ mare.” She laughs a little and adds, “When I was home I saw her for a moment. She is fine. I also saw my friend….”

Haft says, “You made it quite clear, yes.  I was…” he casts about “…being polite?”  He sighs and runs a hand through already quite untidy hair.  “I’m not good at it.”

Abrielle frowns. “Sometimes it is I who is rude.” She looks down at her feet. “I need to work on being polite too.” She gives him a small smile. “Maybe I will work on that.”

Abrielle says, “Maybe.”

Haft lets out a breath, “And what do you do when–”  He catches himself.  “Never mind.  That’s my problem.  I’m glad you got to see the mare and your friend.”

Abrielle nods. “Me too…” She tilts her head again. “What were you going to say?”

Haft says, “Nothing.  A private matter.”

Abrielle frowns but doens’t press any further.

Haft says, “I’m sorry we didn’t get to speak more.  We were interrupted yesterday by that…official business with Aaron.”

Abrielle nods. “Yes. I told you that your outfit suited you.”

The corner of Haft’s mouth twitches up, though there is a flicker of uncertainty there.  “What we spoke of that first day, when you said you were sorry it was happening to me.  It meant…I mean…” He rubs the back of his neck, turning his head.  “I needed it.  And I needed to realize that I wasn’t sorry it was all happening either.”

Abrielle crosses her arms, listening.

You say, “I’d lived in Narnia so long–loathing it–I felt like a beast among Beasts, I guess.  Fighting in the battle, calling out the name of my country as we thundered down the hill, it was the first time I felt like a Man again.”

Abrielle nods. “Yes…I understand that that moment liberated you.”

You say, “Not only that.  I needed the days that followed, confined to Anvard.  If I’d have gone before the king immediately, I wouldn’t have been ready.  If Lord Peridan hadn’t taken an interest.  He didn’t have to–I was only a volunteer–but he took responsibility as my commanding officer, even though I was…a problem.  He let me be a soldier again.  I’d forgotten how much I missed it, needed it.”

Abrielle nods, eyes warming with understanding. “Haft…you don’t need to tell me all this….”

“I know.  Mane, I’m tired.”  He runs a hand through his hair again.  “I wanted you to know you helped.”

Abrielle gives Haft a smile. “I would like to keep doing that….if you don’t mind.”

Haft quirks the corner of his mouth.  “We’ll see.  You’d better get.  Your friend–she’ll be waiting for you.”

Abrielle laughs. “He….and I sure do hope so.” She smiles. “I will see you around…come to Coghill sometime. Okay?”

Haft’s eyebrows lift, but he only nods.  “Perhaps, as my duty allows.  Travel safely.”

Abrielle laughs. “Of course! How else would I travel?”

Haft says, “Like a wild, unbroken mare, I imagine.”

Abrielle starts running a little bit, slightly resembling a wild, unbroken mare, or so she thinks…

Haft asks, “What is that supposed to be, girl?”

Abrielle laughs and turns back to face him, still walking backward. “I am a wild, unbroken mare!”

Haft says, “Aye, I reckon you are that lass.  Off with you now.”

Abrielle laughs. “Try to stay happy, Haft.”

Abrielle at that, she turns and leaves, continuing her run.

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