When it Rains, it Pours

In which there is an argument and tears are shed

Outer Ward

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Because we're both mule-stubborn, really
Because we’re both mule-stubborn, really

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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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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>

Contents: A son of adam with curly hair (Eston).

Eston is talking to another man at the edge of the market. The other hands him a letter and leaves after a few more words. Curiously, Eston sits down on a crate and opens the letter, reading what it says slowly, his mouth moving as he does. With each line his expression grows ever more forlorn.

Haft enters the ward through the outer gatehouse.  The skins at his side make it evident he’s been hunting.  He heads toward the northern market but turns aside when he sees Eston there.  “Good day Eston.  Miss Lecie.  How do you both fare?”

Eston scrunches the letter in his hand and looks up from it sharply, “Fine. I fare fine.”. Unlike his father, Lecie seems quite cheerful, burbling happily in her makeshift sling.

Haft cocks a brow skeptically.  “Good.  Me too.  Successful day’s hunting.  In fact…” he frowns at the parcels of meat he’s brought back from his hunt, “I wonder if you might do me a favor.  I hadn’t thought of it before, but…”

Eston shoves the crumpled letter into a pocket, “Favor…?”

Haft asks, “Aye.  I’ve got meat coming out of my ears here.  The smokehouse is full to bursting, or was this time yesterday, and if I take it up to the barracks it’ll stink to high heaven come morning.  Take it off my hands?”

Eston rubs his forehead, “Could salt it?”

Haft says, “Yeah, but then I’d have to buy salt.  And it’s too much trouble.  I just wanted the pelts to sell to the tanner, is all.  I get my meals in the mess anyhow.  I do my part when I can to fill the castle larder, but like I said, it’s full up.”

Eston fidgets distractedly, “I…could aye, got a few coins here could give you for them”

Haft shrugs.  “You needn’t. Really, it’s just a bother to me.”

Eston shifts uncomfortably, “Is no bother I can pay”

Haft sighs.  “You seen the captain yet?”

Eston shakes his head, “Can’t, got to go…”

Haft frowns.  “Go?  What, right now?”

Eston shrugs, “Tomorrow probably, sister’s…Got to look after her, her husband…”

Haft asks, “Your sister?  Why?  What’s happened?”

Eston’s hand absently pulls the letter from his pocket, “Her husband’s…He’s had an accident…Didn’t survive…”

Haft rubs a hand over his face.  “Mercy.  I’m sorry Eston.”

Eston sighs, running a shaking hand through his hair, “Is just one thing after another..”

Haft asks, “Aye…but look here, you can’t be meaning to go back to take care of her.  Lecie could get sick again.  She’s not even recovered yet.  And how are you supposed to get there?”

Eston closes his eyes, taking a deep breath, “I’ll find a way! I can’t just leave her, me sister’s got a girl of her own and I can’t just leave them!”

Haft looks frustrated. “Then send Adeliha!  She was willing to stay with your sister before.”

Eston says, “I ain’t gonna do that” He puts the letter back into his pocket, “Is not my place to impose like that”

Haft’s temper rises.  “It’s not your place to endanger your child.”  He clenches his teeth.  “I know it’s hard–it’s miserable, and I know you want to be there yourself, but send someone else.  Or send money and let your sister hire some help, if you don’t want to bother Adeliha.”

Eston’s voice raises as his own temper flairs, “Ya talk like I have an option! I don’t have no money to send to her!”

Haft growls.  “Well I do.  You think I’m out hunting all the time for my own health?  It’s hard, dirty work.  I don’t need it for me.  My wages are plenty ample.  This is for–it’s for other things.  I’ve got enough!”

Eston tries to keep his voice steady, “I ain’t gonna ask you for money”

Haft laughs harshly.  “Never expected you would.  You’re mule-stubborn, man.  But if you think it’s all right to haul that babe all over the country before she’s mended, and you not whole yourself…”

Eston glares, his voice now raised, “You don’t know what you’re on about! You think I like what’s been going on? Don’t ya think for one moment–” His voice is cut off however as Lecie, who had been growing ever more disturbed by the argument starts to wail and cry.

Haft stares at Lecie awkwardly, looking slightly guilty.

Eston quickly unslings her and tries his best to calm the wailing child without much success.

Haft lowers his voice, looking upset by Lecie’s cries.  “What is it I shouldn’t think, then?”

Eston rocks the girl, “Is okay Lecie I ain’t gonna shout no more” To haft he says, “I never asked for this…All this stuff.” Lecie begins to calm, but she looks as if she could be set off at any moment again.

Haft rakes a hand through his hair.  “I know,” he says lowly.  “Some of us make our own problems, but you…you just…they found you.  Please, let me help.”

Eston shrugs, now seeming more helpless than angry, “Dunno. I’ll think on it…”

Haft nods.  “Do that.  If you won’t…at least think of leaving Lecie here, with Adeliha or another neighbor, while you take care of things.  She shouldn’t be in a sick house.”

Eston shifts uncomfortably, rocking the girl to keep her calm, “Aye, we’ll see…”

Haft asks, “Right.  Will you take the meat then? I’ll have to give it to Lanisen’s hounds if you don’t.” He makes a face.

Eston decides that in the interests of keeping peace he should relent to this small gesture at least, “Aye, will do good I expect…”

Haft nods and hands over the parcels.

Eston accepts the parcels, “…Thanks..”

Haft says, “Yeah.  You’re welcome.  Well…I’d better get these hides sold.  I’ll see you later.”

Eston says, “Bye then…”

Haft nods and shuffles off toward the tanner’s.

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