Fight or Flight

In which there is a game of Wolves and Foxesbod-264-morris-chess-60r
The Narrow Gate Hall

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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: A daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle);

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

and Foxes Game Set.

Abrielle sits at a table away from most of the action, staring at the board with playing pieces.

Haft enters the hall and begins to make his way toward his customary table near the edge of the room, not looking for anyone.

Abrielle notices Haft as works his way through the room and raises a hand in a wave.

Haft catches the movement and turns to walk toward her.  “Back in town, I see.”

Abrielle leans back in her chair and smiles. “I can’t seem to get away from here….or you guys can’t seem to get rid of me yet…I can’t decide which one.” She points to the chair across from herself. “Care to join me?”

“Uh, I suppose.”  He moves to take the indicated chair.  “You seem to travel a great deal.”

Abrielle shrugs. “The ladies in the kitchen and Adrian asked me to make more honey cakes and I needed honey. For some reason this is the only town with honey.” She smiles and moves some pieces on the board. “I also love the sea…” She says this more to herself then the Haft.

Haft says, “Sea’s nice.  Fishing’s a bit poor for a man with a line though.”

Abrielle smiles. “I suppose it would be. That is why I fish with my hands.” She thinks about this for a moment before pointing at the board in front of herself. “Care to play a game of Wolves and Foxes?”

Haft blinks.  “With your–” He doesn’t seem to know whether to take this seriously but eyes the board.  “Why not?”

Abrielle smiles and claps her hands. “I love this game!”

Haft seems a bit bemused by the exuberance.  “So it would seem.”

Haft strums his fingers on the table.  “I suppose I should ask you if you’ve seen any sign of Aaron since your return to Coghill.”

Abrielle keeps her eyes on the board but answers. “I have not.” She glances up for a moment to say, “Although people are talking about him.”

“What are they saying?” Haft asks mildly.

Abrielle shrugs. “Well one woman seems to have gotten a letter…or song…warning her about him. It is mostly just speculation and talk amongst those of us who have met him about his motives and fear that he will come.”

Haft asks, “A…song?”

Abrielle moves a piece and laughs. “Yes…it seems a bit silly to me.”

Haft says, “Hmm.  I’d rather hear tell of the good work done that night myself, but I suppose if a song helps warn people away from him that’s all to the good.”

Abrielle nods. “Same here.” She watches the board carefully.

Haft asks, “Any other news from Coghill?”

Abrielle blows a piece of hair from her eyes before answering. “Well…it isn’t important but I am being courted.” She thinks for another moment before also adding, “And Sehsis…you remember him right? He came back.”

Haft says, “Courted?  Well I imagine it’s important to you.  Congratulations.”

Abrielle takes a moment to smile at Haft. “Thank you. It is a fairly big deal to me…” She looks back at the board, still smiling.

Haft asks, “What’s his trade?”

Abrielle moves a piece and grimaces. After a moments pause she answers. “He  is a handyman…traveller…that sort of thing. He is pretty unsettled right now since he is away from home to be with me.”

Haft asks, “Oh. Where’s his home, usually?”

Abrielle says, “Carmichael. ”

Haft makes a final move, finishing the game.

Abrielle’s mouth pops open in amazement. “Oh my….that was quite good! Everyone back in Coghill stinks at playing this game!” She looks at Haft and begins clapping slowly. “Good game.”

“Well, experience, I guess.”  He looks around awkwardly at her clapping, ducking his head a little.

Abrielle laughs lightly, looking around at the others gathered. “Will nobody else join me in congratulating the most amazing Wolves and Foxes player I have every met?” She smiles until there is a feeble group of clappers. She smiles at Haft and keeps it going for a moment before ceasing. “There you go. Total acknowledgement.”

Haft goes very stiff and a little pale.  He turns his face away from the room at large and his entire posture looks rather like someone who wants to either flee or fight.

Abrielle purses her lips as Haft goes pale.

Haft waits a moment, his jaw working, until the other occupants of the tavern have returned to their own conversations.  He rises swiftly.  “I should go.”  He takes a couple of steps before seeming to remember to say, “Thank you for the game,” and makes for the exit.

Abrielle eyebrows fold and she also gets up. She follows him. “What is going on?”

Haft slips out the door, ignoring her words.

Herberg Road

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The Herberg Road leads to Herberg’s public house, The Narrow Gate, a huge building that sits in a clearing to the east of the road. It’s obvious that rooms on the eastern side of the building overlook the beach and ocean. Clumps yellow of fruit trees shade the walls of the Public House and hardwoods line the lane.

The lane to the west leads the shops of East Andale, and continues north toward the Beach Road.

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You can go: Beach Road <N>, East Andale <W>, The Narrow Gate <E>

Haft strides away from the inn.

Abrielle runs out of the inn, following after Haft. She doesn’t call out his name, she just follows looking confused.

Haft hears her footsteps, and turns, looking tense and rather lost.

Abrielle comes up to him. “What is going on? DId I say something to offend you?”

“I don’t like attention, Abrielle,” Haft says bluntly.  “Don’t like crowds–not when they’re staring at me.  You wouldn’t either if you–you wouldn’t either.”  He looks away.

Abrielle closes her eyes for a moment and then lowers her head. “Haft…I am so sorry.” She shakes her head. “I didn’t think. I was just…being rude. I am sorry.”

“I know,” he says, gentling his voice.  “It ain’t your fault.  It’s just…you know I’ve got a past, if you don’t know what it is.  And there’s plenty of people here in Andale all too ready to remember that if I draw too much attention to myself.”  He waves a hand helplessly in the direction of the inn.  “I don’t fancy leavin’ with a bowl of soup chucked at the back of my head.”

Abrielle tilts her head. “Has somebody done that to you?”

Haft shakes his head.  “Not that, no.”

Abrielle nods and crosses her arms. “Right…not the important part.” She frowns. “I promise I will not do that again.”

Haft purses his lips and nods.  “I’d be obliged.”

Abrielle nods, looking disgusted with herself. “Well…no. Most people don’t embarrass people as much as I do.” She mumbles something to herself and then nods slightly.

Abrielle mumbles “How am I … … … … wife … … … stop embarrassing everyone?”, to Abrielle.

Haft shifts a little.  “I’d better get back to the castle.  I’ve got the fourth watch.  You’ll, uh, be in town a few days?”

Abrielle shakes her head. “No…I don’t really fit in here and I need to get back to work with the honey.” She smiles weakly. “I hope you have a good watch.”

Haft says, “Thank you.  Safe journey then.”

Abrielle nods and walks down the road.

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