A Drink with the Captain

In which Garian and Haft get to know each other a bit better, and Haft makes a diabolical suggestion

The Narrow Gate Hall

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The Law of Tooth and Claw
The Law of Tooth and Claw

The Hall of the Narrow Gate is brightly lit by a large chandelier, and by torches on the walls. A bar runs along the length of the south wall. Behind the bar stands Dranken, the Barman, polishing a glass. The wall behind him holds several bottles, and racks of glasses. There is also a menu offering drinks and food. The north wall is dominated by a cheerful stone fireplace.

The rest of the room is filled with tables and stools, in little clusters all over the scuffed wooden floor. An arch leads to the Anteroom to the south.

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You can go: The Anteroom <S>

Contents: Dranken, the Barman; Pricelist; Sign — Rooms, 500 coins per day; and

Wolves and Foxes Game Set.

Haft sits alone at a corner table with a mug in front of him.

Garian enters the hall and looks around, out of uniform. He steps to the side of the door and looks vaguely out of place.

Haft notes the entrance of his captain with mild surprise, then watches him a moment.

Garian frowns a bit and takes a small step toward the door

Haft cocks his head a little, wondering what Garian is about.

Garian has to side step again as a patron enters.

Haft takes a drink of his cider, then scans the room, trying to decide if the captain is looking for someone.

Garian surveys the room one final time, turning to go when he spies Haft. He nods to his fellow guardsman and pauses.

Haft inclines his head.

Garian makes his way over and takes a seat. “Haft.”

Haft looks mildly surprised, but not displeased.  “Captain.  Sorry, was it me you were looking for?”

Garian shakes his head. “I don’t normally leave the castle but… I thought it might be nice to get out.–Maybe experience a little more of Andale than I have. I really haven’t spent all that much time in town since my youth.”

Haft asks, “Oh, did you grow up round here?”

Garian nods, “Aye. In the village.” he looks at the bar thoughtfully.

Garian calls to Dranken for a tankard of ale.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass, and serves it up directly.

Haft says, “Fine place.  Good hunting.  Nowhere much to fish though, unless you’ve got a net and all.”

Garian takes a sip of his ale and nods, “Aye. Tho I was never much interested in hunting and fishing.”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft drinks some mulled cider. Yum!

Haft says, “My father took me hunting when I was a lad.  The fishing I picked up in Narnia.”

Garian says, “My father, Varian, was a guardsman. My mother was a wash girl. Most of my time was spent at the castle, so I never really got into the hunt or fishing… or anything else worthy of being a tradesman.”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft says, “Seems most everyone’s story comes back to family, doesn’t it?  Yours, Megren’s.”

Garian nods.

Haft takes another drink.  “So what happened with Aaron last night?”

Garian grunts, “Oh… he tried to weasel himself out of charges.”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft snorts.  “Something I /didn’t/ already know, sir.”

Garian smirks, “How much did you two overhear?”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft says, “What?  Oh, I didn’t mean that.  We stayed at our post and we couldn’t hear much at all.  I’ve just seen him enough to know he’d try to weasel out of most anything.”

Garian says, “Well, on my way down I sent for Sir Colin. Sir Tyren happening in was a stroke of luck–if you believe in that.”

Haft says, “Providence, perhaps.”

Garian grins, “Aye. Well, Aaron began his whining when I called him on his actions. And I was ordered to arrest him, although the charges were…questionable. At least, at that point.”

Haft says, “Right.  That’s been the problem with him from the start.  Knows just how far he can push and where.”

Garian says, “Well, he began to quibble about what exactly I said and was going to try it from the angle that he had a bad memory and didn’t know “no where near the Kennels” meant he couldn’t even touch the door.” He rolls his eyes.

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Garian finishes off his ale.  A passing serving wench notices his empty tankard and grabs it on her way to the kitchen.

Garian calls to Dranken for a tankard of ale.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass, and serves it up directly.

Haft says, “Of course.  Easily misconstrued words.”

Haft drinks some mulled cider. Yum!

Garian says, “Well, my orders were clear. He hoped to twist them. As he whined and weedled, I came up with a plan. One, I had hoped, would catch him unaware.–For the most part, I think it did.”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft says, “He’s lucky he had a chance to wheedle at all.  Megren and I were surprised Sir Colin drew his sword.”

Garian says, “Well… I think that was just his lordship’s temper. He’s always had one, really.” He shrugs and sips his ale. “Well, Sir Colin said he trusted me and that’s when we moved to the Gatehouse. I mentioned that it might be beneficial to extend mercy in this instance and ensure he perfectly understood the orders.”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft asks, “Mmhmm…?”

Garian grins, “So, once in the gatehouse, I laid down the law. I didn’t yell. I didn’t snarl. I was rather cheerful in fact… as I explained very clearly his restrictions.”

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Garian finishes off his ale.  A passing serving wench notices his empty tankard and grabs it on her way to the kitchen.

Haft asks, “Oh?  So he understands now exactly what not going near the kennels means?  And what’s the consequence if he does?”

Haft drinks some mulled cider. Yum!

Garian says, “Well, you see… I decided to make the orders much easier.”

Haft tilts his head.  “How’s that?”

Garian says casually, “Well, he’s been told to stay away from the ladies and Lanisen when they’re outside the Castle and he is henceforth ban from the castle.”

Garian calls to Dranken for a tankard of ale.  Dranken stops cleaning his glass, and serves it up directly.

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft’s eyebrows go up slightly.  After a moments he stares into his drink.  “You sure he followed all that?  Seems like an awfully complicated set of rules.

Garian smirks, “Oh, the guards at the gate are now fully aware of what he looks like and he’s forbidden to enter. If he does, he’ll be arrested.”

Haft says, “Well that’s good then.”

Garian nods.

Garian drinks some ale from his tankard.

Haft stares at his mug.

Garian downs the rest of his ale.

Garian finishes off his ale.  A passing serving wench notices his empty tankard and grabs it on her way to the kitchen.

Haft drinks some mulled cider. Yum!

Garian looks surprisingly sober for the three ales. He nods to the wench as she takes his mug. “Thank you.”

Haft looks at his drink thoughtfully.  “So, who would you say are the best swordsmen in the guard these days?”

Garian hrms thoughtfully. “Well…” He rattles off a list of high ranking guards, including those in Cor and Corin’s service. “I’d say if Meg keeps up her training, she’ll soon be joining the ranks.”

Garian’s speech is clear and he shows no signs of the ale he’s consumed.

Haft says, “Good to know.  Sir Tyren indulged me a couple weeks ago and I was less than satisfied with my performance.”

Garian says, “Keep in mind he is a knight, Haft.”

Garian says, “He’s probably had better, more consistent training.”

Haft says, “Aye, I know.  Twas less the swordwork that bothered me than how winded I felt by the end of it though.  Didn’t realize I’d let myself get quite that out of shape.”

Garian gives a small shrug. “He’s also younger. It happens.”

Haft says, “Aye, but I don’t mean to let it continue happening.  That’s why I asked you who was good.  I’ll be wanting the practice.”

Garian gives a nod of approval, “Good. I like to see motivation and problem solving in my men. Far too many are content to just complain.”

Haft shrugs.  “The other thing is, when I did spar anyone, well, they weren’t Men.  It’s a different style. Sir Tyren and I talked about that too.”

Haft says, “For the most part anyway.”

Garian says, “I can’t imagine sparring an animal. Even a talking one.”

Haft says, “It’s not like hunting, and the weapons are all different.  When we were fighting the Calormenes you had swords to swords, and that’s what we were taught to expect.  In Narnia you might be fighting a critter with a horn, or hooves–or both–or a Wolf with mostly it’s teeth, or a Dwarf with his axes.  Dwarfs are the most like Men, I guess.”

Garian smirks a bit, “Now dwarves I’m familiar with–somewhat. And yes, they are more man like.” He shudders a little at the mention of a wolf. “I’m not sure I’d like the law of tooth and claw.”

Haft snorts into his mug, rather loudly.

Garian gives Haft a curious look, “Yes?”

Haft says, “Sorry, it’s just–that’s one of my most firmly fixed memories.  I told Lanisen about it.  I was newly arrived in Narnia and didn’t know at all what I was doing or anything about the land…well, it’d been closed off for a hundred years, hadn’t it?  And I was still familiarizing myself with the country and really didn’t understand the way of things yet.  And I was out hunting with my bow.  Well, I knew enough then to shoot only at the smaller rabbits and such…”

Garian quirks an eyebrow. “And?”

Haft exclaims, “And what should happen but I’m lying in wait for a deer and the most enormous Wolf I’ve ever seen or heard tell of comes bounding toward me.  You’d have shot at it too.!”

Garian gives a small snort and tries not to look amused. “You shot a talking wolf?”

Haft says, “Well, I missed, actually.  Next thing I know half the pack is there giving me what I can only describe as a ‘talking to’, though there was a great deal of growling and snarling and not a few threats mixed in.  I reckon they’d only just allied themselves with the kings and queens or I wouldn’t have walked away at all.”

Garian says, with some sympathy, “Yes. I can imagine that would be a very unnerving and education experience.”

Haft smirks.  “That’s one way to put it.”

Garian says, “I’ve never been to Narnian myself.”

Haft hmms.  “Strange country.  Lord Peridan seems to like it though.”

You see a Mug of Mulled Cider, gently steaming.  It smells of fruit and spices, most noticeably cinnamon and mace.  There are bits of some kind of citrus fruit floating in it, apparently imported from Archenland.

There are 1 servings left.

Garian says, “It would be nice to see and experience first hand, I think. And maybe even nice to visit. Not sure I’d want to live there tho.”

Haft shrugs.  “Guess it depends.”

Garian shrugs, “Never been one for travel.” His expression sours a little at this.

Haft asks, “Why’s that?”

Garian grunts and looks for a moment as though he doesn’t want to continue. He finally responds, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Haft glances at the other man, but only responds, “Makes sense to me.”

Garian is silent, his expression sour. It finally mellows before he shrugs and says, “The castle’s my home. We had a house in Zuiden, but I hardly remember being there. It’s what I know… Why should I want to leave it? Besides… I have responsiblities.” This last comment almost sounds like he’s trying to convince himself or justify this statement. “I can’t just… pick up and go.”

Haft lets a breath out.  “No,” he says.  “Megren didn’t understand that when I tried to say much the same thing.  She wanted me to visit my sister.  And I will.  But I’m home for the first time in fourteen years, and I’m not ready to give it up just yet, even to visit family.”

Garian snorts, “Women. They think about travel and dallying about like you got all the time in the world. They don’t understand.” There’s an edge of bitterness in his voice. He falls silent for a time, allowing the mood to pass.

Haft opens his mouth to pose a question, then quickly snaps it shut again.  After a moment, he offers, “Well, she’s young.”

Garian seems to rouse himself from his thoughts, “Hrm?”

Haft says, “Uh, Megren.  She’s young.  She’s been used to a freer lifestyle.”

Garian smiles faintly, “Eh, Meg’s… used to a different sorta life. It’s not her age. She came to the guard to support her old man when he couldn’t support them. To her, family is very important. So it makes sense she’d want you to see your sister–specially being away for so long.”

Haft says, “Yeah, well I need to write her a letter at the least, and I’ve been neglecting that.  Chesterton’s a long way.”

Garian looks surprised, “Chesteron, eh? Lord Tyren’s territory… yes. That is a ways.” He smirks, “Tho most want to avoid running into… certain other members of that family.–When you feel ready, let me know and I’ll give you time to go see her.–Or if you’d like, we can send for her.”

Haft nods.  “Thank you, sir.  I’ll let you know after I send the letter and make sure it’s all well.  She’s got a husband.  They married not long before I left.  She’s a lot younger than I am.”

Garian grunts at the mention of marriage. “Ah.–Do you hail from Chesterton?”

Haft says, “What?  No, her husband’s from there.  We’re from Andale.  He was here on business when they met.”

Garian gives a small nod and looks at the bar, contemplating another round. “Yes. Well, if you’re a merchant there’s a slightly higher chance of being from there than elsewhere. It being the sort of… crossroads for culture and all that.”

Haft nods.  “Seemed like a place she’d like.  I helped them get settled.”

Garian says, “I’ve heard it’s pleasant.”

Haft asks, “Which other members of the family were you thinking of, sir, if I may be so bold?”

Garian gives a wry smile, “Remember the other day when I had some guards pull straws–and I said you didn’t want the short one?”

Haft looks wary.  “Aye.”

Garian says, “Remember who they were on special guard duty for?”

Haft chuckles.  “I do remember the lady, you know.  I encountered her on some occasions during my previous service.  It would seem, though, that her reputation has aged well, like a fine wine.”  He holds up the last of his cider.  “To a formidable woman.”

You finish off the Mug of Mulled Cider. A passing serving wench notices your empty mug and grabs it away from you on her way to the kitchen.

Garian chuckles softly. “She makes life interesting, to say the least.”

Garian says, “I got the short straw once…longest week of my life.”

Haft stifles a snort.

Haft says, “Well, if Megren continues to think wall duty is dull, you can always offer to make her life more…interesting.”

Garian laughs a deep, hearty laugh at this for several minutes.

Garian grins, “Haft… that is truly diabolical.”

Haft spreads his hands.

Garian laughs again, taking some time to become more composed. His eyes twinkle.

Haft asks, “Megren must truly be applying herself, if she’s gained that much talent with a blade in only a year.  Had she any experience before that?”

Garian says, “To an extent. Her father’s a hunter.”

Garian says, “But a hunter needs to know some knife work.”

Haft says, “That’s true enough.  Even so, it’s impressive.  I’ll be curious to observe her in the Practice Yard now.”

Garian gives a small nod. “She’s a quick learner.”

Haft says, “And a ready smile.  Aye, that’s good.”

Garian smiles at this, “Aye.”

Garian stands, “Speaking of Meg, I should get back and see if she has a report for me.”

Haft says, “Ah.  Yes, I might want to be getting back too.  First watch tomorrow.  I’ll walk back with you, if you like.”

Garian says, “I’d enjoy the company.”

Garian pauses, then says, “It’s nice to have someone who understands.”

Haft frowns a little.  “Sir?”

Garian says, “It’s been a while since I’ve had someone closer to my age on the guard. Most are either younger or older.”

Haft says, “Ah, I see.  Well, in that case I am happy to oblige.”

Haft rises from the table.

Garian says as they leave, “Maybe we should do this more often…”

Haft hesitates, then replies,  “I would enjoy that, sir.”

Garian chuckles, “I think I would too.”

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 son of adam with a scar running over his left eye and cheek

(Garian).

Haft says, “Well, good evening, sir.”

Garian nods, “Evening.”

Haft walks up the north stair.

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