Strategic Practice

In which there is unexpected humor and the precise nature of a battle goes undisclosed

Snowball fight in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 135. Book of Hours, Use of Rome.
Inner Wall Walk

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You stand on Anvard’s Inner Wall Walk. From here you have a view of both the Inner and Outer Wards. 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. In the Inner Ward you see nobles and staff, mingling happily or going about their own business. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Toward the Trapdoor Opening <N>, Southern Watchtower <S>

Contents: Kairyn; A daughter of eve with short,

copper hair (Megren); and A son of adam with laughing blue eyes (Darrin).

Megren’s face pinkens a little and she swings her legs inside the wall to hop off and bow. “Is that part of the noble etiquette Sir Colin was telling me you all have to learn in the cradle?”

Darrin affects a pained expression at this reaction from the two of them. “My gravest apologies, you needn’t trouble yourselves on my account,” he says, sounding repentant. He wanders forward and fits his hip against the side of the wall, crossing his ankles. “Oh no,” he tells Megren with a grin. “Rather more of a specialty of mine, in particular.”

Megren squints at him calculatingly. “I think you’re telling tales.”

Kairyn straightens her rumpled skirts and stands beside and slightly behind Megren, content to listen for the moment.

Haft walks onto the wall walk, but on seeing the group, hesitates, turning to lean on the wall a short distance away.

Darrin shrugs easily. “Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Difficult to say, isnt’t it?”

Megren glances down the wall to where Haft stands a small distance away. “We have three swords on this wall.” She grins cheekily.

Kairyn’s blue eyes widen and she stares at Megren to see if she’s serious.

Haft stares out over the ward, catching Megren’s comment but not really following.

Darrin blinks a few times and shifts, forgetting that he’s got his ankles crossed. He tips forward and only just barely catches himself from falling over with his hand on a crenellation. He coughs, giving Megren a wide-eyed stare. “Ah. Well. I freely confess my skills are not equal to a task of that…er, deadliness.”

Inner Ward of Anvard> Avery walks toward you from the Staff Quarters.

Megren shakes her head. “I’m disappointed.”

Kairyn squeaks as Darrin starts to tip and jumps back a step. She scowls at him and pipes up without thinking, “You aren’t being careful! Sir!” she adds as an afterthought.

Haft looks up quickly, sees the knight has managed not to fall off the battlement, shakes his head in light exasperation, and looks back over the ward.

Darrin leans back against the wall and makes sure to keep his legs uncrossed, this time. “You are welcome to be disappointed, Little Fritter, so long as I am welcome to continue keeping possession of my hands.” When Kairyn squeaks, he shoots her a startled glance and then blushes, reaching back to rub at the back of his neck. “I think you give my /excellent/ balance too little credit, miss,” he says, shaking his head mournfully, though the word ‘excellent’ is drawled in a sarcastic tone.

Megren grins, leaning her arm over the wall and resting her cheek on her hand. “Kairyn was just telling me that you’ve been skipping out on infirmary visits again.”

Kairyn nods emphatically.

Darrin squawks. “I – but – I was supposed to come back /already/[A?” He sighs melodramatically.

Haft looks mildly amused.

Megren tsks. “You’d think Kairyn weren’t the most delightful person to visit in the whole castle, the way you talk, Sir.”

Kairyn nods. “Yes!” She then blinks as to realize what she’s agreed to and she looks at Megren with a confused frown.

Megren offers Kairyn a big grin.

Darrin shakes his head vigorously and protests, “That is not what I meant!” He narrows his eyes at Megren. “You’d think you had it out for me, or something,” he throws back. “You are deliberately trying to get me in trouble. I see how it is.” He sniffs delicately.

Kairyn pokes Meg in the ribs.

Haft’s mouth twitches as thouh he’s considering adding to the conversation, but he refrains in the end.

Megren starts backward, defending her side with her hand. “Hey! Why am /I/ under attack here?”

Darrin smirks, raising both brows.

Kairyn blinks her blue eyes innocently at Megren.

Haft smiles faintly.

Megren crosses her arms. “Well? Are you going to see to him, or just bully me?”

Darrin taps at his lip. “Well, now, bully is a rather strong word for the situation, don’t you think?” His lips twitch.

Kairyn stares at Meg. “You be wanting me to have him take off…an examination up /here/?” she screeches, but somehow faintly. “Adrian’d have my head!”

Megren covers her mouth with her hand, giggling. “There’s stairs /right there/.”

Haft snorts loudly, scarcely suppressing laughter.

Kairyn exclaims, “You want me to push him down the stairs?!”

Megren rolls her eyes dramatically.

Darrin whips his head to glance between the two of him at Kairyn’s comment, his brows scrunching. He lifts a finger to object, but the only thing that comes out is a quiet noise of objection. When Megren points out the stairs he sighs in relief, and then starts snickering to himself.

Haft throws out, quietly, “You’d better listen to them, Sir.  Sounds like they mean to do you a serious injury in the interests of healing you.”

Darrin glances over his shoulder at Haft and arches a brow.

Megren says, “Please. As if we even could.”

Darrin mumbles “Yes, quite. Seems I’ll have to be on my guard.”, to Haft.

Darrin mumbles “… quite. … … have to … … my …”, to Haft.

Haft inclines his head toward Darrin.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Tyren walks toward you from the Staff Quarters.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Tyren climbs up the open stair which rises up the southern half of the inner curtain.

Tyren comes walking out of the Southern Watchtower.

Kairyn creeps behind Megren when the men start whispering.

Megren steps aside so that Kairyn is fully exposed. She slips her arm behind her and gently nudges her forward.

Kairyn’s eyes nearly pop from her head. She squeaks in terror and elbows Megren, ducking away from her.

Darrin glances back to the ladies when Kairyn squeaks and arches a brow in some confusion.

Haft cocks his head, following Darrin’s gaze.

Tyren strides down the walk, glancing about as if looking for someone. The group already gathered along its length makes him pause briefly before he makes his way toward Darrin and Haft, dipping a nod as he approaches.

Haft straightens, offering a bow.

Megren, seeing the new lord arrive, straightens into a more attentive stance. She bows, and then turns her attention to the ward, as she has been supposed to do.

Kairyn straightens her short stature and curtsies to the new arrival, keeping silent as is her custom.

Darrin nods to Tyren as well. “Hello, cousin,” he says in a friendly tone.

Tyren dips another nod toward Darrin with a faint smile. “Cousin.” Another to take in the others present, with a simple, “Evening,” followed by a question addressed to Haft and Megren. “The captain been about this eve, by chance?”

Haft says, “One of the men indicated he was in the Officer’s Barracks earlier, Sir.”

Megren nods to Haft’s words. “He usually spends his spare time there.”

Kairyn is content to listen for the moment.

Darrin raises a brow, looking mildly curious. “Business with the captain tonight?” He asks Tyren.

Tyren says, “Must have missed him when I passed through earlier today… ah well.” He looks to his cousin, shrugging a shoulder. “Of a brief sort, at least. I’ve something for his records that he shall hopefully find useful.”

Haft listens quietly.

Darrin ahs. He gives another nod.

Kairyn glances out into the wards as everyone else talks.

Tyren glances back to the two guards as he asks, “Unless one of you might be willing to pass it along for me next you have a word with the Captain?”

Megren glances at Haft. “I think Haft sees him more often, Sir, though I’m sure we’re both at your service.”

Haft says, “Of course, Sir.”

Darrin folds his arms over his chest, seeming to not see the point of adding anything to this discussion.

Kairyn shuffles her feet, staying quiet as she has no information that would be helpful.

Tyren says, “Excellent.” He procures a piece of parchment, which he hands to Haft. “In light of recent events, the Lady Avery thought a sketch of Aaron might prove useful for the Guard to have on hand, for those amongst its ranks less familiar with the man’s appearance.” He nods toward the parchment. “That’s it there.”

Haft glances down at the drawing, nodding his approval.  “A good likeness.”

Darrin peeks at the parchment thoughtfull as Tyren hands it over. “Excellent work, as usual,” he says. “Though if the man does reappear, I expect his appearance will be altered in some fashion or another.”

Kairyn catches herself stretching to glance at the drawing, nodding her blonde head very slightly.

Haft holds up the drawing for the ladies to view.

Tyren nods to Darrin. “I would not be surprised myself. But it is a starting point, at least.”

Megren gives the drawing a cursory look, more interested in a man in the outer ward tripping over his own feet because he’s watching his unrequited love interest.

Darrin hmms, and nods his agreement. “Still, might be interesting to see him drawn with longer hair or facial hair, I expect.” His lips twitch.

Kairyn pipes up. “Shorter hair.” she recommends, before edging close to Meg again and following her gaze.

Haft says, “I’ll see that the Captain receives it promptly, Sir.”

Tyren glances to Darrin with a faint smirk as he says, “I was thinking bushier eyebrows myself, but you know what a stickler I am for accuracy.” He nods to Haft. “My thanks.”

Darrin snorts quietly, grinning.

Megren says, “Nose hairs.”

The corner of Haft’s mouth lifts briefly at this.

Kairyn falls silent once more, her expression looking even more uncertain.

Darrin chortles. “I can’t say I ever got close enough to the man to notice his…nose hairs, Megren.”

d9e287a800120dba9b6d7522d30a4296Haft says, “Wasn’t the nose hairs I noticed.  Was the serpent’s tongue.”

Haft suddenly looks rather less amused.

Tyren says, “Well, Avery did sketch him with his mouth closed, so I suppose the sketch itself will remain ambivalent as to whether his tongue is properly forked or not. Regardless, it is rather a feature of his, if only metaphorically.”

Megren puts her hand over her mouth.

“You don’t need to cover yours Megren,” Haft says with a straight face.  “I’ve seen it.  Not forked.”

Darrin blinks once, giving the Guardsman a look of disbelief, and then he cracks up. He slaps Haft on the back appreciatively.

Haft coughs at the backslap.

Darrin grins widely. “Whaddya know, he has a sense of humor.” He gives Megren an-inside-joke kind of look, raising both eyebrows delightedly.

Megren’s eyes grow wide and she doubles over with a giggling fit. “Haft!”

Haft looks decidedly uncomfortable.  “I…well I never said I didn’t!” he says, a bit gruffly.

Tyren’s brow rises sharply, in a manner very much akin to his mother, though the faint smirk is generally not present on the Lady Paige’s face to accompany it. “Most men do, if you dig enough,” he remarks casually to his cousin.

Kairyn smiles faintly but doesn’t appear to be terribly amused herself.

Darrin glances between Tyren and Haft with a skeptical look that likely spells something to the effect of ‘well, he might as well have said he didn’t.’

Megren leans her elbows back on the wall behind her. “I never knew you liked me so well, Haft. Next you’ll be saying I’ve got a worthwhile smile.”

Haft appears nonplussed.  “Uh…”

Tyren mumbles “… lost count … those who were … when they … … /I/ did, after …”, to Darrin.

Darrin pffffts at his cousin in a loud fashion. He sidles over to Tyren and pokes unceremoniously at the corner of Tyren’s mouth.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Colin comes walking down the open stair on the north side of the inner ward.

Darrin mumbles “Anyone who … … much … clearly terrible at reading … expressions. … … … … … … but … not … good.”, to Tyren.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Colin walks west toward the staff quarters.

Tyren considers this for a moment before he replies.

Kairyn stares at Sir Darrin.

Tyren mumbles “Well, granted, it … … … … … I married.”, to Darrin.

Haft shifts.

Megren gives Kairyn a big shrug and returns to attentions to the hapless suitor in the outer ward.

Darrin waves a hand dismissively as if doubting the veracity of his cousin’s claim.

Tyren brings a hand to his chest, as if the very implication of such wounds him.

Kairyn continues to look increasingly uncomfortable and leans close to Megren, whispering something in her ear.

Megren glances at her and tilts her head.

Megren mumbles “You … … … … …”, to Kairyn.

Kairyn shakes her head and replies quietly.

Kairyn mumbles “… it’s all right. … …”, to Megren.

Megren hesitates, and then nods. She places her hand for a moment onto her friend’s arm, and then returns her attention to the outer ward.

Darrin smirks at Tyren. Perhaps this wounded expression was his goal.

Kairyn catches Meg’s elbow and gives it a squeeze before she glances to the group and sneaks away along the wall.

Kairyn trips as she tries to sneak southeast.

Kairyn walks south into the Southern Watchtower.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Kairyn comes walking down the open stair on the west side of the inner ward.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Kairyn walks northwest into the infirmary.

Tyren fires an amicable sort of ‘just you wait’ look at his cousin.

Megren watches Kairyn leave, tapping her fingers quietly against the stone.

Haft leans back against the wall again.

Darrin glances after Kairyn and takes an unconscious step in her direction when she trips trying to be stealthy. She rights herself and he falls back, noting the look on Tyren’s face with a grin. He waggles his eyebrows at his cousin.

Tyren casually lets his hand come to rest on the hilt of his sword as he leans back himself, turning his attentions back to the two guards. “How fare things along the walls this eve? All well, I hope?”

Megren turns halfway in order to respond with her report. “Mostly dull, which is to say well.”

Haft nods, deferring to Megren since he’s not currently on duty.

Darrin says, “And affords us the opportunity to do more interesting things, like make Sir Colin lighten up.”

Megren grins.

Haft’s eyes widen slightly.

Tyren asks, “How did I know you’d be taking that particular duty upon yourself?”

Darrin lays a hand over his chest. “I consider it my particular duty to alleviate the stresses and boredoms of general existence, Sir!”

Megren rests a hand on her hip as the noblemen trade quips.

Haft’s eyes wander bwtween the two men.

Tyren asks, “You’ve got your work cut out for you, don’t you, then?”

Darrin purses his lips. “It is a burden I bear with magnanimity, I assure you.”

Megren glances away so that she can make a face more discreetly.

Tyren doesn’t bother with discretion, himself, his face conveying a single word: “Riiiiiiiiiight.”

Darrin taps his upper lip in a show of thought. “Or perhaps ‘delight’ would be a better word,” he says gravely.

Tyren thumps his cousin lightly on the shoulder with his fist. “/That’s/ more like it.”

Darrin chuckles, his brow arching. “Can’t fool anyone, can I? Ah well.”

Inner Ward of Anvard> Roshan comes walking out of the northeast hall.

Inner Ward of Anvard> Roshan walks west toward the staff quarters.

Megren climbs up between the crenellations to sit there, her foot gently tapping at the stone.

Tyren says, “Not me, at least. I know you too well.”

Darrin snaps his fingers in a ‘ah, rats’ motion, and then grins.

Haft looks mildly bemused.

Tyren reaches over to give Darrin’s hair a rough tousle. “Can’t pull the wool over your cousin’s eyes. At least not easily. And it’s probably not worth pulling it off anyway.”

Dar comes walking toward you from the trapdoor opening.

Darrin startles and swats at him. “Hey! You! None of that!” He mock-glares at Tyren. “Besides, it’s not so easy when I’m almost your height now, is it?” He smirks.

Megren grins from her place nearly hidden between crenellations, where she listens to some of the conversation going on near her.

Haft leans against the wall, acting as though he isn’t listening to the two knights.

Tyren pffts as he waves a hand dismissively. “May I remind you I spar your /brother/ on a regular basis? I know all the tricks one uses against a taller opponent.”

Dar comes up behind his brother, having–well, more than several inches–on Darrin. The corners of his mouth twitch ever-so-faintly at Tyren’s words. “Fascinating. And what were those tricks again, Cousin Tyren? It is best to be precise in these matters.”

Darrin acks, loudly, and clutches at his chest in dramatic fashion, staggering away from his cousin and his brother. “Emperor above, don’t DO that,” he says. He comes to stand nearer Megren, incidentally.

Megren shifts instinctively so that she’s harder to push off into the milling abyss of peasant folk below.

Tyren’s reaction is far less overtly… reactive, though does start slightly. He turns to grin at his (older) cousin, replying, “None that I intend to elaborate on in front of /you/ anytime soon. Have to keep what advantages I can.”

Haft speaks up.  “You strike at the forearms.  And the legs are often left open with a taller opponent.”

Dar raises an eyebrow in the family fashion. He answers mildly, the reply encompassing both cousin and brother. “Yes, of course. The element of surprise. I find it rather effective myself–” He turns to Haft, acknowledging these words with a slight inclination of his head. “Indeed. I shall have to make note of that.”

Megren peers around the crenellation at Haft, grinning with pleasure at his unexpected openness.

Darrin folds his arms and shoots Dar an ornery look, his nose scrunching.

Tyren shifts his glance toward Haft. “Well there went /that/ particular advantage.”

Megren slips off the crenellation in order to be more respectful to Lord Dar, bringing her to stand about at Sir Darrin’s side.

Haft ducks his head a bit.

Dar’s expression becomes just a touch less formal as he regards his brother. He comments dryly to Tyren, “I cannot imagine that to be the only arrow in your quiver, Cousin. I believe you have managed a victory in at least 92 of our last hundred spars. Not that I have been keeping track–”

Tyren’s brow rises just a hair. “Oh, it’s hardly my /sole/ advantage – although I’m fairly certain it was ninety-three.”

Darrin smirks. “How very…meticulous of you two,” he says sarcastically.

Megren covers her grin with her hand.

Dar considers with an air of deep reflection. “Ah, yes. I am forgetting last winter. Training in handling an ambuscade under snowy conditions, was it not? Ninety-three it is. I must keep better records.”

Megren raises her brows, glancing at the knight beside her.

Tyren grins as he nods. “Indeed it was. Also a bit of practice with… shall we say, less standard weaponry than what we are strictly accustomed to.”

Darrin glances between Dar and Tyren, and narrows his eyes suspiciously.

Haft glances at Megren, lips twitching subtly.

Dar makes an effort to look particularly expressionless. “Indeed.”

Megren widens her eyes and raises her brows at Haft.

Tyren says, “As I recall, the temporary fortifications you attempted to entrench yourself behind proved to be rather… easily besieged.”

Darrin gestures at Dar with one hand and glances at Megren, arching a brow in a ‘can you believe this guy?’ look.

Haft narrows his eyes, glancing sidelong at Sir Tyren.  “You know, I seem to recall a similar sort of exercise when you were a lad.  Struck a poor soldier right on the back of the neck, didn’t you Sir?”

Dar coughs several times. Not, assuredly, in an attempt not to laugh.

Megren folds her arms and shrugs helplessly at Sir Darrin.

Tyren says, “That I did, and he wasn’t even my intended target, I’m ashamed to say. My aim has improved considerably in the intervening years.”

Haft nods graciously.

Darrin leans over to say something quietly to Megren.

Darrin mumbles “… they’re talking … what I … … … about?”, to Megren.

Dar’s mouth twitches again. “/That/ I can readily confirm.”

Megren grins at Sir Darrin and says aloud, “We should test it. Knights versus guards.” She casts around for a reason. “…Strategic practice.”

Tyren glances to Dar with a grin. “I /have/ often remarked on the value of making sure one is familiar with a variety of weaponry, haven’t I?” At Megren’s suggestion, he asks Dar, “What do you think? Would it prove valuable experience?”

Dar’s eyebrow jerks upward. “Ah–perhaps so. Of course, since I have already had the experience, I would hardly wish to–”

Darrin says, “Well, now, two against three, that hardly seems fair.”

Haft says, “One against three.  I haven’t said I’d do it.”

Tyren gestures toward Dar. “Well, someone will need to officiate, of course.”

Megren says, “Oh no. I mean ALL the knights and ALL the guards. You folks can have your squires if you don’t feel up to the challenge.”

Haft snorts.

Dar hehs. “Perhaps Lord Cole instead–to lend an air of more–official authority.” He raises an eyebrow at Megren. “It is hardly that.”

Megren grins at Lord Dar, though she gathers her hands behind her back in a more respectful kind of stance.

Darrin ahs and then gives Megren an affronted frown. “Oh, I see. I’m sure those of us who /have/ squires would hardly feel it necessary.” His lips quirk.

Tyren says, “We shall see if there is time to plan such an exercise proper, for when the conditions are right.”

Megren gives Sir Darrin an innocent sort of grin in reply, and then nods to accept Sir Tyren’s announcement.

Haft says, “We’ll need some warm soup and a good fire in the Great Hall after–to celebrate our victory.”

Haft says, “The kitchens must be notified.”

Megren covers her mouth with her hand again.

Darrin snickers, but nods sagely. “An excellent plan, Haft.”

Dar states to Tyren, “Ah, yes. The conditions must be carefully considered. After all, your victory was a direct result of employing a battering ram.” He gives his younger brother a look of perfect innocents, not admitting to anything outright.

Tyren looks about to protest Dar’s description, then reconsider. “…actually, that’s probably pretty accurate, I’d say.”

Haft says, “Well, can’t blame a man for effective use of siege instruments.”

Megren shifts, looking a little uncertain.

Darrin makes a face at Dar, and then, after a moment’s hesitation, sticks out his tongue. “Right!” he says, straightening. “This is a fascinating proposal, I’m sure, and one of course which I am in full favor of. However. The hour grows late, and I should be off.”

Tyren says, “As should I, I’m afraid. Still a matter or two to see to before I call it a night.”

Megren shifts and looks at the increasing evening sky. “Oh, I’m off shift.” She bows to the departing knights.

Dar responds to Darrin by looking so extremely serious that he might almost be characterized as grave. “Yes, I ought to review several dispatches myself before I retire.”

Haft bows as well.

Darrin simply grins to himself and bows to the group. “A good evening to you all,” he says before he meanders off.

Tyren bobs a bow himself. “A good eve, then,” he says before making his way off.

Tyren walks south into the Southern Watchtower.

Darrin walks south into the Southern Watchtower.

Dar walks south into the Southern Watchtower.

Haft’s mouth twitches slightly.  “That was…diverting.”

Megren watches the lords depart before turning to Haft and offering him a grin. “Never took you for a teaser.”

Haft turns to look at her.  “Was I teasing?”

Megren nods approvingly. “Little bit.”

Haft says, “Wonder where that came from?”  He rubs a spot on the back of his neck, still smirking.

Megren mhms, leaning against the crenelations opposite him.

Haft says, “And to think, all these years, I thought he had really excellent aim.”  He rubs the back of his neck again.  “Night, Guardswoman,” he says as he makes for the northern end of the wall.

Megren says cheerily, “Goodnight!” and departs for the south.

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