In which Haft converses with Vinri and Megren, and lets a bit of temper show
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>
Vinri comes walking toward you from the Outer Gatehouse.
Haft walks out of the northern market into the outer ward.
Vinri is talking with another young woman, a piece of beautifully blue fabric in her hand. She holds it up near the other woman’s hair, chatting animatedly and apparently mostly about this cloth, as she indicates it regularly. The other looks rather intrigued and maybe a bit flattered.
Haft walks through the ward, passing by Vinri and the other woman, paying them no attention.
Vinri asks “Just the one, then?” as she starts to fold up the fabric. The other hesitates, then says, “Oh, the lining too, that /does/ sound nice.” Vinri beams. “Oh, if you’re sure, then. It’ll look fair beautiful, miss, I promise.” They talk details for a moment before Vinri draws out a small, leather-bound booklet and tugs off one glove, revealing ink-stained fingers. She jots down a couple of notes with a piece of charcoal fished from her bag, then waves. “Pleasure talking with you, Miss Leina, and I’ll have that too you soon as I can.”
Haft continues on his course toward the inner gatehouse.
Vinri watches the other woman leave, looking satisfied for a moment before she turns back to the ward at large, tucking away notebook, charcoal, and fabric.
Haft pauses to wait while a woman chases her young son in front of him.
Vinri spots the familiar man. After a moment of consideration, she walks towards him. “Hello again, sir!”
Haft turns. “Hmm? Oh, hello miss.”
Vinri smiles. “I was wondering if perhaps I could know your name? Seems I’ve been seeing you about often enough, it might be nice.”
Haft says, “Oh. Uh, Haft, miss.”
Vinri’s smile remains. “Pleasure to meet you, Haft. I’m Vinri, in case you’re wondering.” Her brow quirks a little when she says this last part.
Haft asks, “Oh. Yes. You, ah, said you were a merchant, I believe?”
Vinri waves a hand. “That I am. And you’re a guard, I gather?”
“That’s correct,” Haft replies, straightening.
Vinri tips her head a little, then asks, “Is the guard always… quite so needed as they have been this past week or so?”
Haft considers with a slight frown. “Needed? Do you mean in fighting the fire? That’s not a common occurrence, no. Nor among our usual duties, but every man pitches in in a case like that. Even the king lent his hands.” His eyes brighten at this last.
Vinri gives a little bit of a laugh. “Yes, I saw the king on his way! He’s a good king, to be sure.” She amends, however, “Not just the fire. But the first few days I was here, I saw an arrest as well, and then there was the seige so recent, too…”
Haft asks, “An arrest?”
Vinri nods, a little hesitantly. “Yes, there was a man who slammed a door… I left just after he was put under arrest, I didn’t want to be in the way, you see.”
Haft says, “Ah, yes, I know the incident you are referring to. That sort of thing is naturally involved in the duties of the guard, keeping peace in the castle. The siege, well, nothing like that has happened in recent memory, but I was outside the walls then, not inside.”
Vinri’s brows raise. “Were you now? That must have quite the time.”
Haft snorts. “That’s one way of putting it.”
Vinri looks like she’s about to ask another question when she spies someone in the crowd. “Oh! I /am/ sorry, Haft, but I really must go. Nice to speak with you!”
Haft nods. “Sure. Have a nice day.”
Vinri ducks away through the people in the Ward.
Haft continues into the gatehohuse.
Inner Ward of Anvard
You stand in the Inner Ward of Anvard. The ground is hard-packed earth, and it is open to the sky above. Wonderful aromas come wafting out from the Kitchen to the south, near the well. Huge, impressive, intricately carved doors lead to the Great Hall. Staff hurry about, in and out of their quarters, serving the Great Hall and the Council Chamber. A quieter corridor to the northeast leads to the library and schoolroom. Noble lords and ladies also pass through, walking towards their quarters seeing to other business. A guarded gatehouse to the east stands between the inner and outer wards. Two stairways line the curtain wall, climbing to the upper reaches of the castle.
You can go: Council Chamber <N>, Northeast Hallway <NE>, Inner Gatehouse <E>, Kitchen <S>, Great Hall <SW>, Staff Quarters <W>, Infirmary <NW>, Southern Stairwell <US>, Northern Stairwell <UN>
Contents: A daughter of eve with short, copper hair (Megren) and Well.
Megren stands on duty against the wall of the inner gatehouse.
Haft leaves the gatehouse, eyes on the northeast hallway. He spies Megren as he passes her and gives her a nod.
Megren offers him a small smile. “Where are you headed?”
Haft pauses, turning to her. “The library.”
Megren blinks. “What for?”
Haft narrows his eyes. “That’s where they keep the books.” After a moment he relents. “I’m refreshing my memory on some of the finer points of swordsmanship, if you must know. There are a couple of excellent volumes on the subject.”
Megren raises her brows. “In a book?”
“Yes,” Haft answers slowly. “I’m sure you’ve been taught the basic forms–Captain Garian seemed to think you were progressing well. One of the books has illustrations of the forms, with commentary on their uses, with various defenses against each.”
Megren says, “But you could learn all that in regular lessons.”
Haft says, “Only if one’s teacher is familiar with the same theory. I have found that every swordsman has a different style.” He frowns a little. “And I haven’t been neglecting regular practice in favor of books, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”
Megren says, “No… I suppose it just never occurred to me.”
Haft nods. “I found them useful in the past. There have not been many additions to the library in that area since I was last here, unfortunately.”
Megren asks, “Where did you learn to read?”
Haft says, “My father. He was a guard before me. Said if I ever wanted to be a captain I’d have to learn.”
Megren says, “Oh. I guess I’d never thought of it that way.”
Haft asks, “You’ve never learned?”
Megren shakes her head.
Haft folds his arms and moves to lean against the wall next to her. “It’s a useful skill. Necessary if you want to advance. You and I get to give the Captain and the lords long, boring reports. The Captain, he has to write them.”
Megren mms thoughtfully.
Haft gestures to the Inner Ward. “So, have you seen any of the Calormene embassy?”
Megren says, “I’ve seen the Prince around and about. He goes into the library a lot.”
Haft raises his brows. “Does he? Maybe I should be avoiding it.”
Megren says, “Oh, he doesn’t seem anything like the other Prince.”
Haft grunts. “What does he ‘seem like’?”
Megren mms, “Sort of more your philosophy type.”
Haft snorts. “Can’t speak to that. A buncha words that don’t amount to much, I guess. Easier to know where a man stands when you’re facing him in open battle. But like his brother or no, I don’t much care for Calormenes.”
Megren asks, “How does battle make you understand someone?”
Haft shakes his head. “I mean when his sword’s pointed at you, it’s pretty easy to figure out where your own goes. You know he’s the enemy. That’s war.”
Megren looks like this puts a bad taste in her mouth.
Haft gives her a calculating look. “Must be nice to live in your world. You smile and people do whatever you want. You even got Aaron to give up his dagger. That was a neat piece of work. But it /isn’t/ always like that. He set fire to his house and could have killed half the village. Calormenes attack and people die. Like I said, that’s war, and your pretty smiles won’t stop it.”
Megren says, “I was on the walls for the battle, same as anyone else.”
Haft glances toward her. “Yeah.” He rubs the back of his neck. “Sorry. I shouldn’t…I can’t imagine what that was like. At least we knew we’d have a fair fight once we got here.”
Megren glances him over. “It’s fine. I don’t suppose you were meaning to offend.”
Haft snorts. “Yeah I was. That’s my problem, isn’t it? I’m still letting my temper run away with my mouth. As if I didn’t know how to act like a civilized Man.”
Megren says, “We all have our struggles, I guess.”
Haft lets out a sigh. “I guess.” He glances at the entrance to the hallway, but seems to change his mind. “Think I’ll go up to the wall for a bit.”
Megren nods. “Sure. I’ll see you later.”
“Right.” Haft turns and strides to the northern stairwell.