In which Haft lets down the person he respects most. Featuring King Lune
Haft is aware that Lune has recently visited the kennels, having seen the king in the Outer Ward the previous day. He’s been wondering if Lanisen would mention anything, so when he receives the summons, he’s got a fair idea what may be coming.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand in the barracks belonging to the Army of Archenland. Here is where the men reside when not on campaign. There are many bunks along the walls and at the foot of each bunk is a foot locker. The barracks is neat and tidy. Arrow slot windows facing out allow for defense and provide light. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can go: Officers’ Barracks <S>, North Gate Tower <E>, Northern Stairwell <W>
Word is brought to Haft that King Lune wishes to speak with him in the council chamber of Anvard.” to you.
Haft puts on his uniform over his shirt and heads down to the Council Chamber, lips pressed into a grim line, though he masters his expression before he reaches the door.
Haft walks east into the council chamber.
You stand in the Council Chamber of Anvard. Here King Lune discusses policy with his advisors, entertains visiting ambassadors, and hosts small dinner parties. The room is cozier than the Great Hall, and circular in shape. Fine tapestries are hung on the walls, interspersed with the coats of arms of various noble households. In the center of the room is a beautiful round table, with ornately carved legs ended in lion’s claws, and a surface of inlaid wood. Clearly, aside from more practical purposes, this is a room fit to entertain people who need impressing.
You can go: Northeast Hallway <E>, Inner Ward <S>
Contents: A son of adam wearing well made clothes and a crown (Lune); A Silver
Platter Heaped with Meat; and A Silver Platter Heaped with Vegetables.
Lune sits at the table with a stack of parchment before him. He is speaking with one of the castle scribes who stands at his side, holding a document out where the king can see what is written upon it.
Haft enters the room, takes a few steps forward, and bows, but does not speak, waiting for the king to finish his business.
Lune looks up on Haft’s entry, and he pauses to nod to him before turning his attention back to the document. After a few more moments’ perusal, he pushes back from the table and rises, saying, “Very good. You may make those adjustments and send it on. Thank you, friend.” The scribe bows and departs, and Lune turns his attention to Haft. “Master Haft–a prompt response.” He gestures to one of the other chairs at the table.
Haft nods in acknowledgement of the king’s words. “I was in the barracks, not hard to find, Sire.” He takes the indicated seat.
Lune nods and resumes his own seat, and there is a measure of weariness in his movements. He slides the stack of parchment off to one side and folds his hands atop the table, fixing Haft with a gaze that is grave, but gentle.
Haft searches the king’s face, but says nothing.
Lune takes a breath. “I have lately been told,” he begins slowly, “That hast been pressing one of the men who works in the kennels–one Lanisen–with questions regarding his past deeds before he came into our household.”
Haft closes his eyes for a moment, then nods his head, acknowledging the question. “If he only used the word ‘pressing’, Your Majesty, he was being gracious. My behavior of two days past was…” he searches for the correct word, “shameful.”
Lune pauses and nods, absorbing this, before answering quietly, “He did not say so much even as this.” He steeples his fingertips together and continues thoughtfully, “What I would crave from thee is an account of what thou meant by it all. Thy captain and superiors can give no order of theirs as cause for such action.”
“No, they wouldn’t,” Haft says softly. “The encounter was prompted by an interaction that preceded it, and I did not inform the Captain in the interim–the appropriate course of action. You have, I believe, been apprised of some concern about a man named Aaron?”
Lune nods slowly, gesturing for Haft to go on.
Haft laces his fingers on the table in front of him, staring down at his hands. “Aaron approached me as I was coming off duty, still in my uniform. He told me that Lanisen had been involved in the murders of two innocent people. He pushed and prodded and suggested we were harboring a murderer, then said he would look into matters himself if I didn’t. By the time I was done with him I was furious, even if I knew he wasn’t to be trusted. Lanisen and I…we’d spoken a few times. Sort of…” he spreads his hands. “…silently agreed not to ask about each other’s pasts. But I knew he had one. I was angry.” He hesitates. “and afraid, and I took it out on him.”
Lune’s countenance grows heavy with disappointment as Haft’s narrative proceeds. He presses his lips together for a moment that stretches long. His tone is very grave when he responds, and his air is one of command. “It is not thy place, guardsman, to break faith with our subjects on our behalf in such fashion, with no order or reason to believe that art acting according to our wishes. Thought thou that we did not already know this, and more besides, that this man would not have been able to tell thee had he wished to?”
Haft bows his head further beneath the weight of the king’s censure. “I had good reason to believe that it was known, either by yourself, your Steward, or others. Even Aaron’s words seemed to suggest that Lord Dar knew.”
Lune looks saddened. “And wert not satisfied with this?”
Haft speaks quietly. “Not until it was too late. I know better. I understand the chain of command and the line of authority. I trust your judgment and that of each man above me and I…” he shakes his head. “By the time the better part of myself caught up it was too late.”
Lune nods slowly. “Must never forget,” he says softly, after a breath, “That art charged with the protection of all within our household in equal measure, and not only those above thee. It is those among us who are weak and unable to defend themselves against such things to whom our greatest duty lies.”
Haft nods. “I know it, Your Majesty. I…” he hesitates, but continues, as if knowing what he is about to say will not make himself look any better. “I spoke to one of the other guardsmen about the matter, so as to be better informed of the situation. I tried to choose someone discreet. I do not think the story will recirculate based on my inquiry. I did this after I had calmed…addressing the question to the Captain might have been a better official course, but by then I didn’t want to embarrass Lanisen more than necessary.” He shrugs slightly, as though unsure which course was worse.
Lune shakes his head and says, “Art best assured of both discretion and true tidings by seeking the counsel of those placed above thee, for they are appointed so with just such occasions in mind, and unlike thy peers, can be sure of which course to follow.” He sits back in his chair. “I would know the name of the man with whom thou spoke, for Captain Garian will have need of it in order to ensure that no further injury is done Lanisen before all of this is said and done.”
Haft winces very slightly and answers, “Perth, Sire. I hope he will not be held to account for my fault.”
Lune says, gentling, “Of that you may rest assured. Our wish is to repair all harm that was done, not to promote it.”
Haft nods gratefully.
Lune brings his elbows in to rest on the arms of his chair and folds his hands across his chest. He studies Haft for a moment. “Is there aught else I should know on the matter?”
Haft says, “I…threatened him. To ask around the whole castle and the village if he wouldn’t tell me himself. To drag up old ghosts. You should…know that.”
Lune lifts his hand in a gesture indicating a halt and says, weary but gentle, “Needest not recount every detail of thy indiscretions. We understand them well enough now to see the nature of the failing. Rather, we would know what may be of use in better serving our subjects in the future.”
Haft nods, considering this for a long moment, then says, “I believe that is the breadth of what I must say about the incident with Lanisen, other than I will try to mend it with him as I may. There is…a related matter, if you will allow it.”
Lune nods for Haft to continue.
Haft says, “You are likely already aware of part of this, and perhaps full mention of the matter has been brought to your ears already by one of my superiors, but…your eldest son spends a goodly amount of time visiting the kennels. I should not take notice–nor” he cuts in quickly “–am I concerned about him seeing Lanisen. I trust your judgement on that–but the man Aaron spends a great deal of time in the Outer Ward, and two days or so ago expressed interest in the kennels themselves, and an intent to stray into them even though I…” he looks hesitant “expressed my displeasure at his going there. I was forceful in my speech and my actions, and hope I have not strayed too far beyond my trust, but that man…I fear he should not be near the prince.”
Lune watches Haft thoughtfully for the space of a few moments before shifting in his chair and clearing his throat. “When last wert here,” he begins slowly, “We spoke of the paralysis of regret. I could, it is true, command the Prince’s personal guard to keep him always within these walls, and trust not in their ability to protect him from the threat of every passing man or beast. But that is the course of fear. Their highnesses’ guards are finer by far than my own, and history has shown that danger comes not from the quarter we fear.” He shifts again, and his speech comes more readily now. “As for the man Aaron, that too is a matter to be addressed upon the orders of thy captain. Garian has spoken to me of it, and his actions shall be addressed in due time, should they be found to warrant it.”
Haft nods, accepting this. “Yes, Your Majesty.”
Lune nods and sits forward, clapping his hands upon his knees. “Then we shall consider the matter closed between us. We shall speak with thy captain before the day is out, and canst expect to report to him for tidings, as we have already said. Beyond that, we bid thee only to tread lightly when seeking pardon where hast wronged. Amends are not always easily received where there has been injury, and we would be loath to see further harm caused in forgiveness’s name.”
Haft looks stunned that no disciplinary action has been taken, but rises, pushes in his chair, and bows to the king. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”
Lune nods to dismiss him, saying kindly, “May return to thy rest and ensure reports of thy faithful service in the future.”
Haft nods his head and, turning, strides from the room.