In which Haft goes up to the wall walk to reflect on his conversation with Lune, and instead ends up speaking with a fellow guard. Introducing Megren!
Inner Wall Walk
You stand on Anvard’s Inner Wall Walk. From here you have a view of both the Inner and Outer Wards. A cool wind ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals the bustle of people going to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle. In the Inner Ward you see nobles and staff, mingling happily or going about their own business.
You can go: Toward the Trapdoor Opening <N>, Southern Watchtower <S>
Megren stands on the wall walk, leaning her weight gently against a parapet and looking down into the outer ward, which is relatively quiet for the time of day.
Haft walks up from the stairwell, takes a few steps onto the walk, and turns to lean against the wall, resting folded arms on it. He stares up into the sky, lost in thought.
Megren glances over at the new arrival. “Hello,” she greets, not too insistently.
Haft starts, then turns. “Sorry?”
Megren tilts her head. “Hm? Oh. I said, ‘hello’.”
Haft says, “Ah.” He straightens. “Hello Megren.””
Megren returns her gaze to the ward. “Something on your mind? You seem pre-occupied.”
Haft snorts softly. “I’m mostly pre-occupied these days. S’all right though.” He waves his hand to the ward. “Anything interesting?”
Megren shakes her head. “Not even that Aaron fellow Captain Garian briefed us to keep an eye for.”
Haft takes a long, deep breath at the mention of Aaron. “Good, very good. I’d dearly like to see the back of that man.”
Megren gives him a cursory look before returning her eye to the ward. “Was it you that gave word of him, then?”
Haft says, “Oh…yes, I suppose. The Lord Peridan and Sir Colin were already aware of him, and I reported to the Captain some of what passed after Lord Peridan took an interest.”
Megren nods, her brow creased thoughtfully. “He is simply… suspicious, then? I’m afraid I do not have a full understanding what it is about him we are watching for.”
Haft looks out onto the ward. His brows furrows for a moment, then he answers, “He has shown undue interest in getting inside the castle. From my own interactions with him, I am of the opinion he presents a false face. What he truly wants…” He purses his mouth and shakes his head.
Outer Ward> Lanisen comes walking toward your from the Kennels.
Outer Ward> Lanisen walks west toward the inner gatehouse.
Inner Ward of Anvard> Lanisen comes walking toward you from the inner gatehouse.
Inner Ward of Anvard> Lanisen walks into the kitchen from the inner ward.
Megren mms. “I admit I was excited myself the first time I got to see the Inner Ward and the rest. But did he not see any of it during the siege? I do find that strange.”
Haft says, “Wasn’t here. Said he was somewhere to the west when it happened.”
Megren’s brows draw together. “What brings him here now?”
Haft’s eyes follow Lanisen from the kennels and he frowns slightly.
Haft’s brow furrows. “You know…I’m not sure he’s actually said. No,” he snaps his fingers. “He definitely hasn’t said. He’s got a place in Het Noorden…I’ve been there once.”
Megren muses. “I find that strange. But then, perhaps he need only be asked.”
Haft let’s out another sort of laugh-snort. “By all means, ask him. If you can get him to answer, you’re a better soldier than I…” he pauses, “though that’s not much to brag of.”
Megren blinks, and spares him a longer glance this time. “What?”
Haft rubs the back of his head. “Nothing. Sorry. Been a long couple of days.”
Megren gives a conciliatory nod, but after another moment, she says, “You are on the castle guard.”
Haft gives a wry smile and stares out over the ward, nodding. “No place better to be.”
Megren says, “That is… in a sense what I mean.”
You ask, “In a sense? What was your full meaning?”
Megren says, “If you are a castle guard, you have much to be proud of. It is not a position given or held lightly.”
Haft looks at her very oddly for a moment, then understanding dawns and he opens his mouth in realization. “Ah. I understand. I meant no offense to the uniform.”
Megren says, “And I meant encouragement.”
Haft says, “Then it would seem we are at cross purposes. Yes,” he says quietly, “I am on the guard.””
Megren glances at him again and offers a small smile.
Haft nods his acceptance of it, if he doesn’t quite smile back. “What brought you here? Where did you come from?”
Megren says, “Mm? Oh. Well…? It’s a bit of a story.”
Haft draws a breath and lets it out again, staring back at the sky. “I have time.”
Megren nods amicably. She leans her elbows on the wall. “My… mother died when I was young, you see, and rather than be parted from me, my father brought me up on his own. He was a hunter, and so, I was, too, of a kind. A few years ago, he took a bad fall. There was nothing permanent, but it still kept him from working. I’d long thought I might try my hand at something of the kind if I ever had need to provide for myself. But this gave me reason to make the attempt much earlier, and I am able now to provide for him.” A very small smile, reflective and proud, but not arrogant, crosses her features.
Haft nods his respect. “Well-chosen. He must be very pleased.”
Megren says, “I am very grateful for him, and happy that I may return his providence.”
Haft nods. “Always interesting to hear a guard’s story.”
Megren says, “And what is yours? If I may ask.”
Haft’s eyes stare into the distance. “That…would be a /very/ long story,” he says, softly. “But the beginning starts with family, as does yours. My father was a guardsman here. I never wanted to be anything else, all my life. Mother always said,” and he does smile a bit now, “that he had a toy sword in my hand before she’d swaddled me that first time.”
Megren tilts her head a little. “And you never wanted anything else?”
Haft shakes his head. “Not interesting enough? It’s always made me happy.”
Haft looks away for a moment and mutters something to himself.
Haft mumbles “When I was doing it right, anyway.”, to Haft.
Haft mumbles “When I … doing … … …”, to Haft.
Megren pauses to think how to correct his understanding of her response. “It sounds… very comfortable,” she says, without judgement. She glances at him uncertainly when he begins to speak to himself, though.
Haft says, “Yeah…I guess it is. That part of it is, anyway. For me.”
Megren says, “I am glad you have that, then.”
Haft says, “‘Bout all I have got, really. It’s enough.”
Megren asks, “Oh. Really? I suppose. Are your parents still living?”
Haft shakes his head. “No. They passed away some years ago. I have a married sister…I haven’t seen her in several years. I shall need to attend to that, next time I have leave. Quite a bit younger than I.”
Megren’s eyes widen a little. “Aren’t you the one who has been in Narnia all this time? How long has it been?”
Haft’s face clouds and he frowns. “Yes,” he says quietly. “Fourteen years.”
Megren says, “Surely you need only ask for such leave. There must be little the King would wish more to support than the reunion of loved ones.”
Inner Ward of Anvard> Lanisen comes walking out of the Kitchen.
Inner Ward of Anvard> Lanisen walks west toward the staff quarters.
Haft says, “Yes..I’m sure he would. But as I’ve only just returned…I think I’ll wait a bit longer.”
Megren looks confused, but she only nods.
Haft changes the subject. “Have you ever heard of cubes? It’s a game they play in Narnia.”
Megren blinks at him. “I — oh, yes. We have it here, as well, though I have played less than a handful of times.”
Haft says, “Really? Is there a set in the castle? I only saw chess and darts in the mess.”
Megren says, “I think I’ve seen one passed around. A personal set–” she hums thoughtfully. “Gearn’s maybe.”
Haft nods. “I’ll have to make friends with Gearn, then. Left my own back in Barfield before the muster.”
Megren says, “Perhaps you shall have to give me a refreshment lesson.”
Haft asks, “I look forward to it. Do they score it the same way here, or does the Archenland Standard take precedence?”
Megren says, “Oh, I suppose the rules vary a little from person to person.”
Haft says, “Yes. Some folks like to score differently.”
Megren nods, distracted by an argument below in the ward between a vendor and her customer.
Haft glances down, long enough to determine the severity of the issue will require no extra hands. “I’ll leave you to your duty. Have a pleasant afternoon.”
Megren says, “Yes, you too. Meantime, don’t be too concerned with your rank of competence among the other guards, will you? I’m sure we’re all glad to have another hand.”
Haft appears taken aback by this. He begins to open his mouth in protest, but decides he really does need to leave her to her duties and strides to the southern watchtower.