It’s a Dog’s Life

In which the kennels get crowded, the plot thickens, and Haft faces disciplinary action.  Featuring the return of Captain Garian!

Outer Ward

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206c48edac616634758d02bc411de31fYou 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>

Megren sits on a crate outside the kennel door.

Haft walks down from the North Stair, out of uniform, and glances around the ward.  He catches sight of Meg by her bright hair, but hesitates, curious about her choice of seat.  Folding his arms across his chest, he leans back against the tower wall, watching her.

Megren’s eyes, alert as ever, catch Haft before very long. She gives him a bright smile, but doesn’t leave her post, nor let her gaze be distracted for too long.

Haft nods in return but remains where he is, giving the ward another once over.

Haft’s curiosity finally gets the better of him.  He strides across the ward, coming to stand next to Megren.  “All’s clear?”

Megren says, “In love and war.” She furrows her brow. “That can’t be right.”

Haft asks, “I…what?”

Megren gestures with her head behind her. “Aaron’s in there. Haven’t heard anything much, but I thought I’d sit on hand in case.”

Haft tenses.  “What?” he says, and there is a distinct edge to his voice.

Megren’s brows rise a little. “Oh, Prince Cor’s not. I took a peek in the window. Lanisen’s in there with him.”

Haft’s look blackens.  “I see.”  He steps toward the door.  “Excuse me a moment.”

Megren frowns a little, rising to stand just behind him, but not interfering.

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>

Megren comes walking into the Kennels from the Outer Ward.

Darius continues forward as if not hearing, his left hand resting easily on the hilt of his dagger and his right reaching for the man’s shoulder. “As always, it -WAS- a true pleasure Lanisen. But, I fear my time here is drawing to a close. ”

Haft steps into the kennels, scowling.  He sees the man reaching and snaps out, “Aaron!”

Lanisen’s eyes follow Aaron’s reach, his shoulders hunching. At the last minute, his left hand snaps up to strike Aaron’s hand away.

Haft steps into the kennels, scowling.  He sees the man reaching and snaps out at the same time Lanisen moves.  “Aaron!”

Megren stands in the doorway right behind Haft. She frowns as she takes in the scene, looking at-the-ready, but not yet making any action.

Darius flinches as the man snaps his hand up, his left hand tensing on the hilt of his dagger and his right swiftly catching Lanisen’s in a vice-like grip. His mouth twitches between anger and a grin as he hears Haft behind him, loosing the man’s hand slowly before muttering something to him. Then completely letting him go, he spins around, bright eyed and smiling. “Ah, Haft and Megren. SO good to see you but… ” he nods, beginning to make his way towards the door. “If you both will excuse me, I need to be going. ”

Darius mumbles “… aren’t through …”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen wrenches his arm away the second Aaron’s grip is loose enough to allow it, backing quickly away. He watches him go, white-faced.

Haft moves to block the door.  He looks Lanisen over quickly for signs of injury, then focuses on Darius.  “I think,” he says, voice cold but steady, “that I made it perfectly plain you were not to harass this man.”

Megren doesn’t move from the doorway.

Darius proceeds to attempt and sidestep Haft, ignoring his words for the moment. Seeing Megren blocking his exit, he smile softly, dipping his head to her. “If you please, M’lady, I need to be going. ”

Megren says, “Sure, just as soon as you’ve finished your talk with Haft, over here.”

Lanisen watches, backing unsteadily to where his stick leans against the wall. He picks it up, left hand clenching white-knuckled around it.

Haft give Darius a pointed look, raising one brow.

Darius takes a few more steps forward, coming within a foot of Megren. “M’lady. ” he continues, voice soft. “I really do need to be going. ”

Megren’s face is as open and friendly as ever. “Better wrap it up quick then, I guess.”

Lanisen stays silent where he is, watching Aaron warily. He pulls his dagger from its sheath with some difficulty and grasps it awkwardly in his stiff right hand.

Lanisen takes out his dagger, standing ready for combat.

Haft’s mouth parts in surprise, and he holds out a staying hand toward the younger man.  “Lanisen?  What’s happened?”

Darius’s eyes widen a hair at the short, but familiar sound of rasping metal. Turning quickly towards the sound, his right hand whips over the hilt of his dagger and his whole body tenses as he looks ready to yank the dagger out. “Pulling a dagger on me while my back is turned? ” his voice is low and gaze flickering dark.

Lanisen is standing a good distance away from the door and from Aaron. He says nothing, and doesn’t apologize for the dagger.

Megren asks, “Peace. You seem tense. If Lanisen here misread the situation, give him reason to see it’s so. What’s got you bothered?”

Haft keeps his voice low and even, addressing Lanisen.  “Put the dagger away.  You won’t need it.”

Darius eases up, flashing Lanisen an impish smirk as Haft addresses him. Turning back to the lady, he smiles, any hint of tension gone from his features. “I imagine you would be tense too if someone drew their knife as you left your back to them.” He releases a soft sigh, nodding. “I admit I am not -completely- without fault though. I was wishing Lanisen here a farewell and went to give him a pat on the shoulder. Something, I now see, could be misinterpreted. ”

Megren glances to Lanisen for his reaction to this explanation.

Lanisen keeps his hold on his knife, though it is held low and in an nonthreatening position. His eyes flicker to Megren for direction instead of Haft. As Aaron gives his account, his mouth forms a thin line.

Haft frowns, then slowly steps across the room toward Lanisen, keeping his movements easy and nonthreatening.

Darius’s brow raises a bit at Megren. “M’lady, if you please… ” He gestures towards the opening. “The door. ”

Megren pushes her mouth to one side, still not moving. “You know, I have to admit. Something seemed a little off to me, too. You two aren’t just talking puppies in here, I suppose.”

Lanisen shifts slightly as his attention is split between Aaron and Haft. “Stay back,” he says quietly.

Haft halts and nods his acceptance.  He keeps his voice quiet, though it can still be heard by the others.  “Clearly something has happened.  You don’t have to explain it to me.  I’m going to call the Captain.” He turns back to Megren.  “Don’t let Aaron leave.”

Haft makes his way toward the door.

Megren’s eyes flick for just a moment to Haft when Lanisen speaks, but she nods approvingly at Haft’s proposal, then looks back to Aaron for his response, moving just enough out of Haft’s way that he can get through.

Haft walks quickly up to the Officer’s Barracks and raps on the door.  After a moment he is told to come in.

Officers’ Barracks(#12955R/ADHKM)

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This is the barracks belonging to the officers of the Army and Navy of

Archenland.  While it is smaller the the other barracks, the items here are

of a higher quality.  As well as bunks and lockers, there are also several

desks, covered in maps and journals.

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Garian stands as the door opens, a faint frown crossing his face.

Haft strides in, expression grave, and clasps his hands behind his back.  “Captain,” he begins without preamble, though he notes the look, “There has been a disturbance in the kennels.”

Garian gives a small nod, “Am I needed or has the disturbance passed?”

Haft says, “You are needed, sir.  Megren was on duty and told me that Aaron had entered the kennels and that Lanisen was inside.  I had warned him against harassing the man, so I followed, and Megren came after me.  We witnessed Aaron reaching for Lanisen’s shoulder.  Lanisen struck the hand away.  Some tense words were exchanged between the lot of us, and then Lanisen drew his dagger.” His face is grim.  “He would not put it away as requested, nor explain the matter…but I think you know why he would not do so for me.  I thought it best to fetch you.”

Garian grunts softly and gives a small nod to this, looking mildly displeased. “Yes. Judging by the urgency in the knock I suspected something was amiss. Lead on.”

They walk to the kennels.
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>

Megren stands in the doorway with her back braced against one post and her foot against the other. It’s a relatively casual position.

Lanisen is standing in the back of the room, tense and silent, a small knife in his right hand and his walking stick in his left.

Darius stands a few feet from Megren, positioned in such a way so he can observe the two without having to turn. He shrugs. “Talk of the past came up, other than that… ” he shakes his head, his eyes wide with innocence.

Garian begins to open the door from the outside but finds something from behind prevents it. He pauses and knocks, allowing whatever–or whoever–to move before entering.

Megren moves, and opens the door for the captain and her guardmate. “Hey! We were just talking about you.”

Haft enters behind his Captain.

Darius’s eyes narrow a bit as he examines the people entering the door. He takes a step back, clasping his hands behind him.

Garian nods to Megren, his demeanor relaxed. His expression is serious but not unkind and he carries himself with a more authoritative walk. He pauses, stepping aside to survey what is taking place. He greets Megren in a polite manner, “Guardswoman.” He nods to Lanisen, “Master Lanisen.” His eyes then turn to the man in the red tunic. He says politely, “Sir.”

Haft steps to one side, out of the way near the door.

Darrin steps through the doorway several paces behind Garian and Haft.

Darius nods to the man whom addressed him, his expression revealing little.

Lanisen goes, if possible, more tense and still as more people pour into the kennels. He is standing near the back, his small knife in his right hand and his walking stick in his left. His eyes flick from Aaron to guard to guard to guard and back.

Darrin steps up beside Megren, somewhat out of the way and cracks a grin. “Seems I missed the announcement about the party in the kennels,” he says, not overloudly, but loud enough that most everyone hears the comment anyways.

Colin enters the kennels from outside, screeching to a halt when he sees the kennels occupied with so many bodies. His face goes stony as he immediately looks at each one in turn to assess the situation, hand going to the sword at his side. His clothes are dusty from travel and he smells like horse.

Garian moves to stand near Lanisen and murmurs something.

Megren trades a grin with the knight, though she looks uncertain at the size of the company. She offers him a nod of her head instead of a bow, given the circumstances.

Garian mumbles “You’re … … … Lanisen. You can … it …”, to Lanisen.

Garian’s tone is quiet and kind.

Lanisen doesn’t let him get too near, edging away step for step as he approaches. His face is rather pale, and in the chaos he doesn’t immediately notice Colin.

Haft watches the scene gravely.

Darius’s eyes continue scanning the entrance as more people pour in. He shifts, looking a bit uncomfortable, but reveals little else as he stands in silence.

Colin blocks the doorway, standing just inside. As he looks around the room, his eyes rest on Lanisen, taking in his facial expression and the knife in his hands. When he sees the man in the red tunic standing with the guards rather close to him, his eyes narrow and his expression turns deadly. And he’s looking right at Aaron. “Someone fill me in.” He says, his voice quiet yet somehow booming at the same time.

Garian turns to Colin and speaks evenly, “We were just about to discuss the situation here Lord Colin. I am glad you can join us.”

Megren gestures with her brows for Haft to talk to Colin, moving toward Aaron herself, and perching on the back of a chair near him.

Lanisen’s head snaps up at Colin’s voice, his eyes going wide. He sags a little, breathing quickly with glad relief.

Haft meets Megren’s eyes, but holds his peace.

Garian clears his throat and proceeds in a somewhat methodical manner, “You sir-” He looks to the man in the red tunic, “I do not believe I’ve caught your name and you are not familiar to me. Kindly make an introduction and explain to me–clearly–what brought you to this current position.”

Darrin takes a moment to reassess who exactly is around him and then moves to lean a shoulder casually against the wall. He crosses his booted feet at the ankle and waits merely in case he is needed, reaching down to scratch between the ears of a nearby hound.

Garian’s voice remains even and calm.

You unwrap the parcel of fox meat and eat it.

Darius moves from clasping his hands behind him, to clasping them in front of him. He takes another step back, his back almost hitting the wall as he does so.

Megren twists to look at Aaron, as he is now a little behind her. She gives him a sympathetic “shoulda talked to me when you had the chance” kind of look.

Lanisen finally begins the clumsy process of resheathing his knife with his stiff and shaking right hand. This proves difficult, and he finally sets his walking stick down to just do it with his left hand.

Haft’s eyes flick to Darius, waiting for his response.

Darrin drums the fingers of his free hand on the hilt of his sword and in the meantime continues petting the hound at his feet.

Megren gets up so she’s not in the way of Aaron and Garian’s conversation, moving back near Sir Darrin.

Darius looks to the man with the scarred cheek and dips his head. “Of course, Sir. My name is Aaron. ” he sucks in a breath, glancing at Colin as he speaks but continues without missing a beat. “As I told the other guards, I simply walked into the Kennels to see the new litter. I saw Lanisen and, being the man I am, decided to strike up a conversation. ”

Garian hrms softly and nods, “I see. Continue.”

Lanisen’s attention returns to Aaron. He stays quiet, absently massaging his right hand with his left.

Darius nods, glancing around the room briefly. “One thing led to another… and, regretably, the past came up. I fear I may have touched upon a sore spot of Lanisen’s. After that I went to give Lanisen a pat on the shoulder, another apparent mistake and he moved to smack my hand away. Realizing my error, I turned to leave, at which point he drew his knife on me as my back was turned. ”

Colin reaches out, clamps a strong hand onto Aaron’s shoulder and not so gently shoves him against the wall, pinning him. “No more silver tongued words. Lanisen felt threatened enough to draw his knife and that is enough evidence for me for you to spend a night in the dungeons.”

Haft clears his throat softly.

Haft says, “Lanisen did not draw it on the man’s back, I should say.  He was across the room, and Aaron was by the door, though he had turned, yes.”

Megren blinks, frowning a little and glancing at Sir Darrin for his reaction.

Lanisen calls out sharply, breaking his silence, “Sir!”

Garian looks rather surprised by this.

Darrin arches a brow rather severely at the accusation of not-quite back-stabbing and straightens abruptly, his hand closing around his hilt. He makes no move to stop Colin, just yet.

Haft adds, “Nor did Lanisen make any move toward the man.”

Garian keeps his voice calm and says cautiously, “Milord… perhaps we should… wait before pronouncing a judgment just yet–and hear all sides of the story first?”

Darius eyes turn into saucers as he is shoved backwards, letting out a loud grunt as he smacks into the wall. “Aye! ” he shouts, his hand instinctively dropping to the hilt of his dagger and the other clasping Colin’s arm. “I was leaving when the man drew his weapon on me! Ask the guards! ” he exclaims quickly.

Lanisen shouts urgently, limping forward toward the chaos, “Sir he’s armed!”

Colin’s hand grasps Aaron’s wrist to remove it from his dagger. “That is not what I have been receiving word of.”

Darius’s arm flexes as he holds it on the dagger, still making no move to draw it. His breathing heavy, his grip on the man’s arm tightens further. “Sir, I have not drawn my weapon once, please, release my hand. ” he swallows hard.

Haft’s glance flicks between Lanisen and the two men in conflict over the dagger.

Lanisen comes to a halt a few paces away from Aaron and his friend, watching anxiously.

Garian clears his throat and says calmly as he observes the situation, “Aaron. Please remove your hand from the dagger.” He steps back so that he can see Lanisen and Aaron at the same time, making no move to pull Colin away from the man in the red tunic. “Lanisen, please tell us what occurred. If you would like a smaller audience to do so, I will have that arranged.”

Lanisen gives Garian a brief, distracted glance.

Colin keeps a firm grip on Aaron’s wrist. “Do as the guard says so we can get this all sorted out.” He looks to Lanisen. “Lanisen. Has this man ever at any time made you afraid for your life? Has this man at any time caused trouble, turmoil, fear, or distress for you?” he asks, his words clipped.

Darrin says, “Right, yes, just taking up space and air over here, feel free to shoo me away at any time, Guard-Captain.”

Lanisen hesitates, his eyes darting to Aaron.

Darrin adds, “It appears Sir Colin, er, has the matter…in hand.” He smirks faintly, but his blue eyes are sharp and more serious than his tone.

Megren presses her lips together, definitely not smiling, for sure.

Darius eases slowly away from his dagger, swallowing hard. His breathing is finally steady, he looks to Lanisen as he awaits his answer, expression turning neutral.

Garian glances at Darrin and the corners of his mouth tug upwards for a moment. “I concur but your presence is always welcome Lord Darrin.”

Lanisen says slowly, speaking to Colin, “Not–not for my life, sir.”

Colin says, “Explain.”

Lanisen shifts uneasily, glancing around at all the people.

Colin asks, “Lanisen, would it help just to talk to me?”

Megren pushes herself off from the wall and takes the initiative to head toward the door, looking to her captain in case he should protest.

Colin looks at his friend earnestly.

Darrin inclines his head to Garian. “At your service,” he says. When Lanisen starts looking uneasy, he motions to the door, “Perhaps I’ll wait just outside, then. Make a bit of ruckus and I’ll be right back.”

Haft glances to his captain, awaiting an indication of his wishes.

Garian moves to Colin and places a hand on his arm, “I will take Aaron to the guard house with my guards, accompanied by Lord Darrin. Then you can hear Lanisen out–if it is your will, milord.”

Megren nods to this, and just slips right on out the door and out the way.

Megren walks out of the Kennels to the Outer Ward.

Darius watches as the Captain places a hand on Colin’s arm. At this, he slowly releases his own hand and lets it hang by his side.

Darrin nods at Garian’s proposal. “Right,” he says. He slips out after Megren to wait just outside.

Lanisen nods, the faintest motion of his head.

Colin nods his consent to Garian and he steps aside, still coiled tight as a spring.

Garian says firmly, “Follow me Aaron. But first I ask you relinquish your weapon.”

Lanisen watches Aaron without looking directly at him.

Darius eases off the wall, rubbing the spot Colin had grabbed before slowly following after the Captain.

Darius decides to follow Garian.

Darius approaches the Captain and slowly draws his blade. He frowns, turning the blade so that it points to him and the hilt points to the Captain before extending his hand.

Haft watches the man, tense.

Garian takes the blade’s hilt and says, “Please proceed behind my guardsman.” He nods to Haft to go.

Lanisen dares a quick glance at Aaron’s face.

Darius puts his dagger away.

Darius hands Dagger to Garian.

Haft nods smartly and steps from the room.

Haft walks out of the Kennels to the Outer Ward.

Megren sits on a crate on the opposite side of the kennel door from Sir Darrin.

Haft exits the kennels with Aaron and Garian following

Gatehouse

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand in the Outer Gatehouse of Anvard. Its sturdy, iron-bound wooden gates loom to the east. Another pair stands open to the west. Within, you can see the busy Outer Ward, full of people coming and going from Anvard’s open air market.

Across the ward you see the inner gatehouse, Anvard’s second line of defense. To the east you can see the road leading away from the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Outside <E>, Outer Ward <W>

Garian follows Haft and Aaron into the gatehouse, carrying Aaron’s dagger.

Megren rises and falls into line as the captain emerges, following him into the gatehouse.

Darius follows a little behind Haft, expression surprisingly calm despite all that has transpired.

Darrin walks in alongside Megren, looking calm and perhaps a bit curious.

Haft steps to one side, waiting for the captain to speak.

Garian gestures to a chair. “Have a seat Aaron.”

Darius does so without hesitation, sitting and folding his hands together. Looking around at the faces, he settles on the Captain, waiting for him to continue.

Garian says, “I’d like further details on exactly what was said before you turned to go.”

Darius unclasps his hands and opens his palms to him. “I’ve already told you everything. I touched on Lanisen’s past and I found myself in error. ”

Haft cocks his head as though requesting the Captain’s permission to speak

Megren finds a seat to perch on and observe, casual and out of the way.

Darrin comes up beside Garian, and crosses his arms over his chest. “A rather vague summary, I must say. A person’s past could include anything from his embarassing childhood memories to yesterday’s conversations.” His tone is light, but the look he gives Aaron is not.

Garian glances at Darrin and again the corners of his mouth tug up for a moment. He nods, “Indeed. I’d like you to be more specific. And it is in your best interest to be as truthful and recollective as possible.”

Darius clasps his hands together again, looking between the two men addressing him. “I touched on the unsavory parts of it. More specifically, his involvement in a past murder. I asked one too many questions regarding it. ” he returns quickly, stating this all matter-of-factly.

Garian’s eye narrow and his tone becomes decidedly much more unfriendly with a low rumble, “I see. And you felt this was appropriate?”

Haft’s head returns to its upright position as he watches, expression impassive.

Megren blinks and leans forward, a small frown forming between her brows.

Darrin arches a brow sharply, but makes no move to ask another question of Aaron just yet.

Darius releases a heavy sigh. “Appropriate or not, I made a mistake. I see that well and clear now. Though, as I said before, I did not make a move to assault or threaten the man with any bodily harm. The -ONLY- gesture I made towards him was a simple pat on the shoulder. At which point, he stopped me and I turned to leave. ” his eyes turn to look between Megren and Haft before he continues. “It was then, with my back turned mind you, that I heard the man’s blade being drawn. When I was -WELL- away from him and -VERY- obviously had no intent of any further interaction or harm towards him. ”

Haft cuts in, quietly.  “And yet after you told him “We aren’t through yet.”  Or something very near that.  Did you catch his words, Megren?

Garian speaks slowly, each word distinct, “I have already heard that. Many times. And I feel sir, you protest too much. What gives you a right to bring such sensitive material up besides ideal curiosity? Are you dull witted? Did you not think perhaps that might stir a nerve?”

Garian asks sharply, “And futhermore, what right do you have to challenge a man who has been forgiven for any crimes that have been committed and deny a pardon given by the King himself!”

Darrin doesn’t seem to think it necessary to add to this rant at the moment. He nods a few times and remains silent, eyes on Aaron.

Darius’s jaw clenches briefly at the captain’s words, though he regains his composure almost instantly as he looks back to him. “It is my greatest privilege to meet a man whom has lived such a perfect life. ” he drolls. ” As to the second. ” his brow furrows and he shoots the man the most confused look he can muster. “What in all of the world are you talking about? I asked him about the past, I did not challenge the man himself! But again, I am new here… so, I’m sorry the information concerning Lanisen’s pardon wasn’t exactly common knowledge to me. ”

“I made it plain to you that I would look into the matter and that you were not to pursue it on your own,” Haft says evenly.

Megren twiddles her thumbs.

Garian looks positively furious. His eyes burn, “You dare you use such a tone with me after coming into a man’s home and harassing him about a subject you had to have KNOWN would offend him! A man who would clearly not be here of all places without a pardon for past offenses! AND with noble protection! Tell me something Aaron–” At this point his voice has become loud enough to be heard outside, “Are you just an insensitive idiot or are you a malicious coward trying to bait someone known to have a rough past just so you can come running when he fouls up?”

Haft flinches slightly, as if the words might be directed at himself.

Megren’s lips press slightly together and she concentrates on the movement of her thumbs.

Darrin looks angered by Aaron’s choice of words, but when Garian speaks again, his face clears. He blinks several times and tries to keep his lips from turning upwards at the corners. The look he gives the Guard-Captain is rather impressed. He turns back to Aaron and raises a brow again, his gaze unsympathetic.

Darius doesn’t seemed fazed by the volume of the Captain’s words as he drums his fingers together, not responding right away. His brow furrows. “I will claim the insensitive idiot then. ” He pauses, eyes locking on the Captain. “Insensitive or not, daft or not… ” his words come out slow, almost as if he wants the Captain to be clear on each and every one of them. “I made no move to harm the man and it was he whom drew his blade, not I. Or is it now a crime to be daft? ” at this last, he smiles.

Haft looks furious at the insolence, though he makes no move.

Garian meets Aaron’s gaze, “Willful ignorance is not only a crime Aaron, it is a grave sin. Mind your tongue!” His voice becomes a low growl. “And do not think your smug manner will win you any friends here.”

Megren looks up from her thumbs to take measure of the room.

Darius releases a wry chuckle as his response, looking back down to his hands.

Darrin says, “The man you are, for reasons unbeknownst to us all, intent on riling is the particular friend of Sir Colin, a fellow knight. Beyond not winning you any friends, the matter is not likely to be forgotten.” His tone is completely devoid of all its usual humor.

Garian glowers darkly, “I advise you to tread carefully Aaron. Your mouth outruns your thoughts and though you think yourself very clever I am sure, words can be punished as swiftly as deeds. Your blatant disregard for respect and indignance towards authority is concerning.” He pauses and adds, “And though Sir Colin may have overreacted–should I hear of you near the Kennels, or Lanisen again, I shall take further measures to prevent interference.”

Garian says, “Clearly he dislikes you–and I cannot fault him for that–so let him be.”

Darius snorts at Darrin’s words, looking up to him. “I certainly hope not. ” his eyes glint as he looks back to the Captain. “That seems fair enough. ”

Megren frowns at the response to Sir Darrin’s words.

Garian adds with a wry tone, “I find you to be a rather disagreeable man. And one who likes to test limits. Take care you do not push them–especially with Sir Colin. He has some very powerful kin and a very strong will.”

Haft listens silently.

Darrin arches a brow yet again at Aaron and gives him a very deliberate stare from head to boots. He nods once sharply when Garian mentions Sir Colin.

Darius smiles, nodding at the warning. “I extend to you the utmost of my gratitude for such -sound- advice Captain. ” he returns, happily. “But, as I also mentioned before, I do need to be going. So. If you would kindly hand me my dagger, I will be on my way. ”

Megren looks to the ceiling to see if that’s where all the sense has gone.

Garian says in an even, but clearly displeased manner, “You may take your leave.” He hands the dagger back hilt first. “Mind you not bring it next time. After all, you are safe within the walls of the Castle–however smug and belligerent you are.”

Garian hands Dagger to Darius.

Darrin takes a single step back and out of the way.

Garian gazes at Aaron with a long, hard look. “Despite my opinion of you, I am fair.”

Haft looks at Aaron with dislike, but does nothing more.

Darius stands, grabs the dagger and sheaths it, smiling bright. “Indeed, you are! ” he dips his head to him. “And you have my most sincerest thanks for it. ” his gaze sweeps the room and he gives them all a short bow. “It has been a pleasure. ” With that, he moves to exit the gatehouse.

Garian watches him go.

Haft’s eyes flash and nostrils flare at the man’s parting words.

Megren gives the man an eyes-wide dismissive sort of closed mouth smile.

Darius walks out the gates and down the road.

Garian releases a slow breath through his nostrils and closes his eyes once Aaron has finally gone. He takes a moment to rub the bridge of his nose before turning to the others present. His voice is quiet and genuine, “I apologize for my outburst. The man baits and thrives on such reactions and it was unbecoming of me to give into my anger.”

Haft shrugs, rather awkwardly, hands remaining clasped behind his back.

Darrin rubs the back of his neck as Aaron goes. “Parting is such a sweet kind of sorrow. Except when the only time a man is pleasant is on his way out the door. More sweet, less sorrow, there,” he drawls.

Darrin bows his head to Garian. “In truth, Guard-Captain, I rather thought it all aptly put.”

Megren leans her elbows on her knees to listen.

Garian chuckles softly at Darrin’s words about Aaron’s departure. He pauses to reflect on the second statement, “The words may have been right, but the tone was not. I broke one of the oldest rules of engagement–never let them see you bleed. Never let them see your rage. I let it get the better of me.–I shall, however, endeavor to improve upon it in the future. I have now finally met this man and know who to look out for–and better what to expect when I encounter him.”

Haft takes in the captain’s words, remaining silent.

Megren finally puts in, “He does like to see a man riled.”

Darrin nods slowly at Garian’s words, looking thoughtful. He glances to Megren and smirks. “I may even go so far as to call it a hobby of his.”

Garian snorts and manages a small smile. “Yes… but it’s all part of his game–his tactics. Rile a man–push his buttons. Extend the limits. And if you are struck first, you are not to blame.” His smile fades. “But behind the rudeness is… a very unsettling maliciousness. I don’t know if it’s just his goal to make others miserable or if there’s more he wants from it.”

Megren rubs at her hairline.

Darrin says, “I believe that is the key question.”

Haft speaks up.  “The other day sir, he attempted to enter the kennels immediately behind the crown prince.  I found that curious.  Most visitors would not dare.”

Haft is standing with his hands clasped behind him.

Garian nods slowly and says, “I remember you telling me that.”

Garian says, “I shall have to speak with his majesty about this.”

Haft says, “This incident was more recent, sir.”

Megren says, “Yet, Haft also tells me that he has been harassing those within the ward since before the Prince even arrived, Captain. So it must not be his primary goal.”

Darrin, standing near Garian and an empty chair, asks, “Is it mainly Lanisen his harassment has targeted?”

Colin enters the gatehouse, observing each face present. When he notices the most important one missing, he pauses, arching one eyebrow and looking to Garian and Darrin. “I was under the impression you were holding him until I finished my inquiry. Where is he.”

Garian places a hand to his chin and strokes it thoughtfully. He gives a slow nod. “If he was heading for the kennels that would fit. You spoke my thought precisely milord.”

Garian turns to Sir Colin, “Sir?”

Colin says, “Aaron. Where. Is. He.”

Garian says, “The situation has been resolved at present. He was dismissed.”

Colin raises both eyebrows at this.

Darrin blanches when Colin enters, and he looks to Garian with slightly widened eyes, as if suddenly realizing the mistake. He turns back to Colin, “What did Lanisen say?”

Haft looks like he was about to correct Megren, but is distracted by Sir Colin’s arrival.

Megren moves into a standing position in respect of the newly arrived lord.

Garian remains calm and doesn’t seem phased by this. “Yes, I would like to hear what Lanisen had to say.”

Colin’s expression flashes with incredulity and utter dismay. “Your incompetence will be your undoing. I did not give you permission to release him! Pray for your sakes he can be found.” he shakes his head with disgust and begins to stride purposefully past them through the outer gates. He stops and looks straight at Haft. “As for you. You are forbidden to enter the kennels until we speak further.” That being said, he continues on his way.

Haft bows promptly to Colin’s back.

Garian says sharply, “Lord Colin pray hold a moment and let me speak.”

Colin moves his hand sharply in the Captain’s direction. “Later.” he says shortly before going through the gates.

Garian stiffens, looking deeply offended.

“Sir,” Haft says earnestly, “I know where the man is staying.  I have visited the house.”

Darrin stares after Sir Colin for a moment in shock. He scrubs a hand down his face and sighs. “That was poorly done, I admit. We should have held him until Sir Colin had finished his questioning. But the blame does not lie solely on you, Captain, as I didn’t stop you from releasing the man. I…think it best if I go and help him try to find Aaron.”

Megren takes a visible breath and releases it. She looks to say something, but then nods when Sir Darrin speaks her thoughts.

Garian takes a moment to collect himself, a faint blush creeping into his cheek. “Sir Darrin… we questioned him as was our job. What reason did we have to hold him? Lanisen would not speak with us and it was Lanisen who had the charge brought against him. If anything, it is Lanisen we should hold by that. And I do not feel Lanisen did wrong. If it was needed, Lord Colin would be able to seize the man himself.”

Garian says, “However, unless proof is given to us that something more than baiting has been done… what more can we do but release him?”

Megren asks, “Captain? Perhaps Sir Darrin would best serve aiding Sir Colin as we sort matters among ourselves?”

Haft taps the hilt of his sword, unsettled.

Darrin hesitates, clearly thinking. “You make a good point,” he admits, after a moment. “I think it clear that Sir Colin was perhaps not completely cool-headed. Lanisen is his friend, after all. I will speak with him and raise your points with him, Captain.” He glances to Haft. “Perhaps Guardsman Haft might accompany me and help me seek out both Sir Colin and Aaron?”

Megren gives a miniscule shake of her head.

Haft looks to his captain for confirmation.

Garian looks to Megren, “I believe that in Sir Colin’s current state… Sir Darrin may be a great aid.” He opens his mouth then gives a soft chuckle. “Milord, it is often like you perceive my thoughts before I spea them.” He pauses, “However, I would have you take Megren. As I have some… business to address with Haft.”

Haft nods to Garian and addresses Sir Darrin.  “You will find him in Het Noorden, sir.”

Darrin nods. “Very good, Guard-Captain,” he says, glancing to Megren for her acceptance.

Darrin says, “Thank you, Haft.”

Haft says, “A man named Eston may be able to assist, if all else fails…I am not sure.”

Haft bows slightly.

Megren nods, standing at the ready.

Darrin offers to lead Megren.

Megren decides to follow Darrin.

Garian says, “Thank you Lord Darrin.–Please… explain to Sir Colin my reasoning.”

Darrin walks out the gates and down the road.

Megren leaves, following Darrin.

Megren walks out the gates and down the road.

Garian turns to Haft and says, “I should like to meet with you on the walk. It will allow for more privacy at this time of day.”

Garian says, “There are several matters to be discussed.”

Haft nods.  “Of course, Captain.”

They proceed to the Northern Wall Walk.

Northern Wall Walk

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

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

You stand on Anvard’s Northern Wall Walk. From here you have a view of travelers approaching from the north and northeast. 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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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

You can go: Gate Tower <E>, Outer Wall Walk <S>, Watchtower <W>

Haft clasps his hands behind his back, waiting for his commanding officer to speak.

Garian follows slowly to the walk, silent. He ambles along the way once they arrive for a time, until he finds a spot to gaze out into the ward. He presses his hands against the stone and leans forward slightly. “I… have spoken with his Majesty about some things Guardsman Haft.–And I must say I am unhappy with the report.”

Haft nods.  “Yes, sir.”

Garian looks to him, “Haft… I understand your eagerness to…” He sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. “I understand making mistakes Haft. I have made many myself…Right now I am having a hard time bringing you to task for your mistakes when I myself have made a rather grievous error just moments before.”

Haft doesn’t appear to be too sure what to say to this.  After a moment he says, “I threatened a man who was weaker than I, one injured in battle, no less.  I did it on hearsay…all–or nearly all–of your words to Aaron ought be applied to me, and many times over, for I bear the weight of my uniform.”

“I broke trust,” Haft adds softly.

Garian hehs softly, “I am displeased that you went beyond your place on several accounts. While I would have had you vigilant of Aaron’s actions in the castle, that did not extend beyond the gates. And to threaten and malice a man who has paid for his crimes many times over… is unbecoming. Yes. You did break trust.” He sighs. “And there will be consequences.”

Haft nods again.  “Understood, sir.”  His brow furrows slightly.  “‘Beyond the gates’, Captain?  Are you referring to my conversation with Aaron in the forest after he tried to enter the kennels behind the prince?”

Garian nods. “Indeed. It is one thing to watch and monitor, but a whole other to begin to take…more forceful actions or say sharp things. I would have you spend less time with him. I did not mean to become close or closely associated with him. But rather keep an ear out.” He sighs. “I was unclear and that is partly my mistake.”

Garian asks, “What exactly happened Haft?”

Haft nods.  “I see, sir.”  He pauses for a moment, ordering his thoughts.  “Well, I had been trying to get into his good graces, as we had discussed.  On the day in question he met me as I came off duty and greeted a friend, still in my uniform.  He indicated that he had something of importance to say and in the interest of privacy I led him into the stables, where he told me he had heard Lanisen had been involved in the deaths of two innocents.”

Haft says, “I tried to ask who had told him this, but he refused to answer.  He said that Lanisen was now working under the Lord Dar.”

Haft says, “I became very angry, largely through his proddings and refusal to give me the information I asked for.  He suggested that we were harboring a murderer within our walls, and that he would have to investigate himself if I would not.”

Garian frowns, “I do not know who revealed this information to him but he is not as informed as he thinks. Whatever Lanisen did is no longer an issue as the King himself oversaw the issue. It is also far beyond his authority to look into such matters. Having met the man, I understand your anger–but forceful words and any forceful actions would be out of the bounds of your authority. I do believe what was more displeasing was the unsavory incident with Lanisen.”

Haft nods.  “I will detail that, sir, if you wish, and what happened after with Aaron, as well.”

Garian says, “That was far above and beyond your authority. I admire tenacity and passion, but your actions can affect not just you but also your superiors.” His tone is gentle. “Not too detailed, but I would like a concise account.”

Haft nods.  “During the conversation in the stables I tried–poorly–to keep my temper and my persona of stupidity with Aaron, but even then there were veiled threats.  In any case, I told him that I would look into it and that he should not take action.  I went to the kennels immediately after and waited for Lanisen there.  Once he arrived I intimidated him, demanded to know where his scar had come from.  He said that it had come from Sir Colin’s dagger.  He refused to answer further questions and I threatened to ask questions all through the village and the castle, drag up his past if he didn’t tell me.”  He takes a shaky breath at the memory, then draws in another as if trying to recover from it.  “Then…he rather knocked the stuffing out of me.”

Garian looks surprised, “He knocked the stuffing out of you?”

Haft’s grim expression twists into an almost wry smile–though no less grim for that.  “He reminded me I had ghosts too.  We had…both silently agreed not to ask about the other’s history on a previous occasion, but clearly he’d heard.  He…reminded me that the king’s mercy did not extend to me alone.”  This last comes out softly.

Garian smiles, almost proudly. “Well spoken I should say. He is a good young man at heart. It was wrong of you to press him about business that is his own.–And I hope we should never have to have this discussion again.”

Garian says, “Mind Sir Colin and let Lanisen be for now.”

Haft nods.  “I just asked him to assure me that Cor–that His Highness–was safe with him.  He told me to go to…well, never mind that.  And I left–just in time to see the prince walking across the ward toward Aaron.  I went to him and steered him directly into the kennels, then asked Lanisen to mind him until I came back.  As I walked out the door Aaron’s hand was stretched toward it and I grabbed his wrist on reflex, ordering him away.  He drew his dagger partway and I told him he’d have half the guard on him if he didn’t put it back.  I asked him to accompany me to the forest where we had a conversation.  I told him he would find me severely displeased if he went back, and that I’d have him arrested.  He made it plain he intended to ignore both threats.”

Haft pauses a moment.  “I believe that is all.”

Garian places a hand over his eyes and gives a loud sigh, rubbing. “I see. However, from Aaron’s perspective, you grabbed his wrist and he felt justified to pull the dagger. Haft…do a favor and just…stay away from Aaron. He wants trouble. Let Sir Colin give it to him. I will be assigning you to a group of guardsmen to help you adjust a little better here.”

Haft nods.  “Yes, sir.”

Garian looks at Haft, “I am willing to move forward, as I hope you will as well. Prove to me–and his Majesty–you can be trusted. Because I do want to trust you.”

Haft says, “I will do so.”

Garian nods and gives a small smile. “Good.”

Before the Gates of Anvard> Colin comes walking out of the trees down the road to the east.

Before the Gates of Anvard> Colin walks up the road toward the Gatehouse of Anvard.

Outer Ward> Colin comes walking toward you from the Outer Gatehouse.

Outer Ward> Colin walks west toward the inner gatehouse.

Haft looks at Garian, awaiting dismissal.

Garian watches Colin enter the Ward and sighs softly, noting some moment’s later Haft. He turns and chuckles softly, “At ease soldier. You may take your leave when ready.”

Haft relaxes.  “Ah, thank you sir.” He doesn’t notice Colin below, his eyes fixed on his captain.  He touches the back of his hand to his temple and departs.

Garian nods to Haft.

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