In which Haft asks for help from Lanisen without actually, er, asking Lanisen

Practice Room

Can ya loan a guy a cart?

Megren practices her forms against a target that has a smiley face poked in where it’s head should be.

Haft strides into the room, glancing around and catching sight of Megren with her dummy. He pauses, watching her.

Megren’s form is good, albeit unremarkable.

Haft calls out, “Nice target there.”

Megren looks up. “Oh! Hello. Thanks.”

Haft asks, “Your own design, is it?”

Megren says, “I’m thinking of coming out with a line.”

Haft shakes his head, bemused. “Practicing all on your own?” Megren says, “What do you mean? I’ve got this guy here.”

Haft says, “So I see. He hardly seems able to defend himself though.” Somewhere on the muck, Peridan has disconnected. Megren says, “He tries, but he’s not too bright.”

Haft says, “Ah well, he’s a good soldier, all told. Knows how to take a punch and keep smiling.” Megren nods. “The stoic sort.”

Haft says, “Well, you have to take what comes, I guess. Bet he’s a terrible dancer though.”

Megren says, “A little lead-footed.”

Haft says, “Yes…” He glances away for a moment, considering something. “I wonder if you might be able to help with something. I wanted to ask Captain Garian, but I haven’t been able to find him. The Captain would be better, but I’m afraid it can’t wait and…well…you have a way with people.”

Haft looks rather uncomfortable.

Megren steps out of her stance, sheathing her sword. “What’s up?”

Haft asks, “Well…you said that Sir Colin and Lanisen were going to be leaving for Carmichael, yes?” Megren mhms. Haft asks, “Well…I imagine they’ll be taking a cart, given Lanisen’s still limping…you know Eston, in the village?”

Megren says, “You’ve mentioned him before, but we’ve never met.” Haft says, “Yeah. Well, he’s the one that got hurt in the battle, and he’s got a baby girl. Well, his sister lives in Carmichael, got a daughter of her own I guess, and the sister’s sick. Eston got a letter yesterday, said his brother-in-law died…and now he wants to go tramping across the country to care for her.”

Megren says, “Oh, wow.”

Haft shakes his head. “We only just managed to fetch his little one here, away from the sickness. She still doesn’t look too good. But I don’t think he’ll stay. Goodness knows I tried to convince him, but…well, if he /is/ going, he can’t /walk/.

Megren asks, “Does he have someone to leave the babe with?”

Haft says, “I asked him to leave her with Adeliha, the seamstress who brought Lecie from Carmichael in the first place. But I don’t think he’s gonna listen. I could tell–he had that look–said he wasn’t gonna take advice, good or not.”

Haft says, “But even if he will leave her, he’ll be needin’ a ride.”

Megren says, “I can watch after it if he needs. I’m sure the Captain would let me off a while for something like that, and my father’d help. I don’t know if they’ll take a cart, though, since Lanisen knows how to ride a horse. I can ask.”

Haft nods. “It’s a lot, to ask to trouble the king’s nephew, but Lanisen at least knows the man a little. I think he might put in a word, if you asked him. I…can’t ask,” he says, turning his head away.

Megren says, “I’ll ask.”

Haft turns back. “Thank you.”

Megren says, “No problem. This sort of thing’s what we’re here for, and Sir Colin even more.”

Haft says, “Yeah. Fraid I haven’t quite got the measure of Sir Colin yet, but…like I said, he’s the king’s nephew. Good stock.”

Megren says, “You do say the strangest things sometimes.”

Haft tilts his head just slightly. “How so?”

Megren says, “I don’t know, I guess I was raised on–” she squints an eye, thinking. “–sort of, only affirming things you were sure of. I don’t suppose that makes a lot of sense.”

Haft considers this, watching her for a moment. “I see.” Then he offers, in an even, serious tone. “And I am sure that King Lune is the best man I know.”

Megren nods. “I don’t disbelieve that for a minute.” Haft nods. “Good. All I’m saying then is that I would hope he takes after his uncle.”

Megren lets out a little giggle. “Mhm.” Haft lowers one brow. “Why is that funny?”

Megren says, “It just… seems like you feel the need to imply maybe he isn’t.” She lifts a shoulder. “It’s funny.”

Haft looks slightly angry. “I didn’t say that. I said I hadn’t got his measure.”

Megren mhms, unfazed. Haft leans back against the wall, giving it a kick of frustration with his heel. “What do you want from me, Megren?”

Megren blinks, “Nothing. I seem the sort that doesn’t say what she wants?”

Haft says, “No, you do not, which is more than I can say for–” he runs a hand over his face, “–far too many people.””

Megren says, “That, I will grant you.”

Haft sighs, slumping. “Would you like to spar? That’s what I came here for anyway.”

Megren nods, “Sure, if you like — though I doubt I’ll be much challenge. Hand or sword?”

Haft says, “I’d prefer sword, though I do need practice with the other

Megren nods. “That what I was working on anyway.”

Haft takes his stance, then salutes with his practice sword. “After you.”

Megren moves well, but it quickly becomes clear that she is not a very surprising opponent. Her parries are solid and her attacks land soundly when they land, but because she does not expand far outside the basics she is forced into too much defense, and as she tires her form begins to become sloppy. After this has gone on a small while, she steps back, lifting her wrong-hand. “I yield.”

Haft matches Megren’s movements with an even form made familiar by long experience. Even so, he tires more quickly than the younger guard and is breathing heavuly by the end of the match, despite a certain confidence in his attacks. He steps back at her signal.

Megren moves to the wall to lean against it and catch her breath. “Good match,” she breathes.

Haft nods, mimicking her stance. “You too. The Captain’s right. You’re progressing very well for a year in.”

Megren grins wearily, quite pleased with this. “Thanks.”

Haft examines the bruises on his arms. “You know, in Narnia some of the healers used to make something called bruisebalm. My own mother made something similar. Should try to see if I can find the ingredients round here. Helped with the aches.”

Megren says, “If your mother made it, I’m sure it’s known to Adrian or Kairyn, or some of the others in the infirmary.”

Haft says, “Aye, I should ask. It’s been awhile.”

Megren nods, rubbing ruefully at a bruise on her thigh.

Haft asks, “No more chasing chickens today, I trust?”

Megren says, “Sorry, nothing so exciting.”

Haft says, “Pity. The commonfolk will have to learn to keep their heads covered.”

Megren mms?

Haft says, “To defend themselves from errant waterskins.”

Megren looks indignant. “I haven’t once targeted a person.”

Haft looks unconvinced. “What do you target? Goats?”

Megren says, “I mean, paving stones mostly.”

Haft says, “Ah, I see. Target practice.” He frowns a little. “That reminds me…something I’ve been wanting to ask.”

Megren asks, “What’s that?”

Haft says, “You said you were up on the walls during the battle. Did you hear any of the king’s exchange with Rabadash? Lanisen told me a bit, but he didn’t seem to remember much…well, understandably. But I’ve been curious.””

Megren’s brows draw together. “Oh. I… it was about what you’d expect, I guess? Some pretty words, but poor lies, and his Majesty taking them for the nonsense they were.”

Haft asks, “Lies? What did Rabadash suggest?”

Megren says, “Uh… he… didn’t suggest. He said he wanted a place to stay the night.”

Megren says, “Something like that.”

Haft snorts. “Oh yes. I imagine that was very convincing when he had two hundred armed men with him, and warning already given.”

Megren says, “Like I said. Poor.”

Haft nods. “Were you there when he…when the Lion…?”

Megren shakes her head. “Sorry. I was on duty. It was mostly only noble folk that were there.”

Haft nods. “And some of those honorably wounded. Lord Peridan told me about it though. Must have been something.”

Megren giggles. Haft smirks. “Well, that too. That wasn’t what I meant.”

Megren says, “‘Something’. It’s such an… insufficient word.”

“‘Everything'”, Haft corrects, smiling, as though at a memory.

Megren pushes off the wall, picking up her sword. “I’m sure I would have liked to have seen him, one way or another.”

Haft says, “Aye. Don’t need to, but I’d have liked it, even if he’d left me shaking in my boots.”

Megren puts the sword away on the rack. “See you in the mess?”

Haft says, “Yeah, reckon so. Let me know if they’re willing ta help with Eston, and I’ll tell him.”


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