Making it Pax

In which Haft and Megren reach an understanding of sorts


Inner Ward of Anvard

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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.

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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 against the south side of the inner gatehouse, in an attentive, if slightly bored, stance. The ward is empty at the moment, except for the occasional passing servant, providing little distraction.

Haft walks down the stairs and crosses in front of the gatehouse, joining her for duty.  “Afternoon,” he says quietly.

Megren offers him a little smile. “How was your morning duty?”

Haft looks a little guarded, but notes the smile.  “Fine.  Quiet.  Was on the walls with Perth.”

Megren nods. “Good.”

Haft asks, “Aye.  Anything here so far?”

Megren says, “Incredibly dull.”

Haft says, “Well…that’s good.  You uh…have a good time in town last night?  I was up on the walls a good while and saw you head out.”

Megren looks a little uncomfortable. “Oh– I didn’t say anything, if that’s what you were wondering.”

Haft’s face creases.  “That’s not–all right I guess I was wondering, but I wouldn’t have asked.”  He pauses.  “What happened last night?  I wounded you, but I don’t rightly see how.”

Megren takes a breath. “I’m sorry– I didn’t mean to be angry with you.”

Haft looks like he wants to press the issue, but changes his mind.  “We all get angry.  Everyone has bad days.”

Megren says, “I just– ” She pushes her mouth to the side, and then says slowly, “I really think people ought to be allowed to be close without having their intentions questioned, especially by their friends.”

Haft nods slowly.  “Abrielle and I aren’t close.  And Gearn wasn’t questioning my intentions, or hers.  He was trying to rile me in a good-humored sort of way, because he likes a joke and the sound of his own voice.

Megren’s eyes flicker upward, her lips pressing gently together. “It still… was… sort of vulgar. And if you aren’t close, I’m not comforted by those implications either. It’s not a loving sort of teasing, and I don’t care for that.”

Haft pulls his cloak more tightly around him.

Haft haft pulls his cloak more tightly around him.  “Even if you’re right, it’s wrong to go to a man and drag up the past. It was several days ago and I made my annoyance clear at the time, even if that was more on my own behalf than Abrielle’s.  He’s said nothing further, so I consider the matter closed between us unless he raises it again.  Can you understand that?”

Megren wrinkles her nose. “I… don’t really think it’s dragging the past. But anyway, you’re right that it’s your conversation to have, or not have, and I’m not saying you’re wrong to let it go for now.”

“Well,” Haft says. That seems to be his way of ending the conversation.  “So how was your trip to town, anyway?”

Megren glances at him uncertainly. “It was fine.”

Haft catches the look.  “Right.  None of my business.  Sorry.”  He turns to scan the ward, though there’s not much to see.

Megren tilts her head. “Um, no… it’s just that we didn’t really do anything– went to see if we could spy any animals in the forest, but it was quiet.”

Haft asks, “Oh, hunting?”

Megren says, “Just looking.”

Haft says, “Ah.  Well, I suppose the snow will help with tracks, but the clouds made it pretty dark, so…”

Megren lifts a shoulder. “I promised I wouldn’t let him get bored while he was healing. It didn’t really matter if we found anything; it was just something to do.”

Haft asks, “How’s his injury?”

Megren says, “He says it’s almost healed.”

Haft says, “Does Kairyn agree?  She seems quite…diligent.”

Megren says, “I can’t imagine not. It’s been long enough.”

Haft says, “Wonder how Eston’s faring.  He took Lecie with him.  I asked a neighbor.”

Megren says, “So long as he didn’t get caught in the snow–”

Haft shakes his head.

Megren glances at him. “Have you decided whether you will check with him when you go to your sister?”

Haft says, “I don’t expect so, unless the Captain asks me to.  It’s too far out of the way.  I hope that perhaps Sir Colin and Lanisen will offer him help if they meet him along the road.”

Megren nods. “I’m sure they would.”

Haft says, “Yes.  Lanisen seemed to know him.  Not very well, but some.  I’m worried about Lecie though.  She oughtn’t to have gone back anyway, but I wasn’t counting on snow.”

Megren’s lips press thoughtfully together. “Surely he wouldn’t put her in real danger?”

Haft frowns.  “In my estimation he has not shown himself to be a man who thinks clearly.  When he wanted to fetch Lecie from Carmichael before he meant to catch a ride in a cart to Lancelyn Green with no further though for how to get there, let alone how to get back with a child.  He’d have done it, too, if I hadn’t stopped him.

Megren looks uncertain.

Haft explains, “She was already sick when Adeliha brought her back…or recovering from being sick, anyway.  And he’s taken her back to that same place, where people are sick, and she’s already pinched and thin.  I understand a man wanting to be with his family, but she’d have been safer here, with Adeliha, if he felt he had to go himself.”

Megren says, “I… feel as if someone should go to help.”

Haft says, “I’ve already apprised the Captain of the situation.  We’ll send medicine if it turns out Eston left without what’s needed for the child.  I need to inquire with the healer about that this afternoon.”

Megren asks, “Who’s taking it to him?”

Haft says, “Dunno.  Courier, I suppose.”

Megren nods, still looking unsettled.

Haft says, “I know.  I don’t like it either.  The man ran into battle for his country without any idea which end of a sword was which, cause he was ordered to and cause he didn’t want his daughter to grow up a slave.  I respect that, but doesn’t mean he’s got a lick of sense.”

Megren blinks. “The King didn’t order anybody. He only asked for able volunteers.”

Haft shrugs.  “Wasn’t there.”

Megren says, “I was.”

Haft says, “Yes, I know.  I wasn’t arguing.  I just assumed.”

Megren’s brows draw together. “I don’t think he’s that kind of King.”

Haft looks at Megren.  “I’m not saying anything against him either way,” he says with a slight edge to his voice.  “I assumed every able-bodied man was called upon to bear arms in the last defense.  That’s all.”

Megren doesn’t seem to find this very impressive, but she doesn’t push him, either, letting her gaze follow a heavily encumbered servant instead.

Haft seems to feel the need to step away for a moment, because he strides forward, offering to help the man with a sack of flour.  It’s several minutes before he returns from the kitchen.

Megren is cleaning out her nails by the time he gets back.

Haft leans against the gatehouse.  “Did I miss anything?”

Megren says, “Perth came by, said he’d be out to relieve me in a bit.”

Haft nods.  “How’s your father doing?”

Megren says, “Oh. Good. Especially now things are pretty well settled from the fire.”

Haft looks startled.  “I hadn’t thought about that.  He’s in Het Noorden?”

Megren says, “Oh, no. No, he doesn’t. He was just helping people who lost blankets and things. Making sure the folks who were working to replace them had food, you know.”

Haft says, “Good for him.  Details can slip through the cracks.”

Megren says, “He’s very good at seeing what people need.”

Haft says, “That’s a talent.  Would you say you’ve inherited it?””

Megren blinks. “I–” She takes a moment to consider it. “I’d like to hope so. I suppose it’s something that comes with time and practice, like anything else.”

Haft nods.  “Well said.  It’s…something you learn to look for, I guess.”

Megren makes an agreeable sort of sound.

Haft says, “It’s harder when people don’t want to take the help.  That’s Eston all over.”

Megren says, “A lot of people don’t like to think they’ve inconvenienced someone.”

Haft says, “Aye.  But my father always said that soldiers take care of their own.  I tried to explain that to Eston, that he had a claim on us, but he wouldn’t see it.”  He frowns.  “Funny.  Aaron said very nearly the same thing to me.””

Megren asks, “What thing?”

Haft says, “That I was /owed/.  For volunteering to fight in the battle.  This was back when I tried to make him think I was an idiot who might actually let him into the castle.  Asked about pay and such.  Tried to make it seem a crime.”

Megren looks confused. “You’re… saying he said the same as your father, or?”

Haft says, “Eh, same as me.  Or my father, I guess.  Funny how two people can say the same thing and mean something completely different.  He was looking to stir up trouble.  I was looking to offer help.”

Megren makes a “hmm”ing sort of sound.

Haft says, “Galls me that the man can’t be found.”

Megren glances at him with a sympathetic sort of smile. “I know.”

Haft says, “Abrielle hasn’t seen him round Coghill, anyway.  Though she says there’s plenty of rumor going around…and apparently he’s got his own song.”

Megren pushes off the wall as Perth shows up to relieve her. “The bards do like to make use of a bit of drama.”

Haft says, “Yeah, I guess.  Hullo Perth.”

Perth nods.

Megren asks, “See you both around the mess later?”

Perth says, “Sure.”

Haft considers.  “Maybe, uh, darts…this evening?”

Megren grins. “If you like.”

Haft says, “Right.  See you then.”

Megren exclaims, “Sounds good!”

Megren climbs up the open stair which rises up the northern half of the inner curtain.

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