In which we learn about Haft’s love life, his regrets, and Megren’s hair dye
This is the place where off duty soldiers and sailors can relax and eat. There is a small cookfire and hearth and a few tables set up nearby. On one wall is a dart board, and on a small table in the corner there is a chess set. Someone has left a pile of parchment with sketches of his fellow knights on another table. This is a comfortable, casual room. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell <S>
Contents: A daughter of eve with short, copper hair (Megren) and A son of adam
with laughing blue eyes (Darrin).
Megren sits at a table next to the fire. She has her alphabet out next to a sheet of paper, and is meticulously copying it in a large rudimentary hand.
Haft walks in and, seeing Megren, heads toward her table.
Darrin appears at the door, and makes a quick scan of the room with his eyes. He notes Haft, a few steps ahead of him, and follows, seating himself unceremoniously at Megren’s elbow. “Looking good, Fritter,” he says with a grin and a glance over her work.
Megren reddens a little and makes an ineffective attempt at hiding her work by taking it in hand as she half rises to give him a little bow. “Thank you, Sir,” she says, her own assessment of the letters clear in the face she makes.
Haft turns and bows to Darrin. “Sir.” He glances back to Megren. “You didn’t mention you were learning.”
Darrin makes a soft clicking noise with his tongue and protests, “I’m serious!” in answer to the look on her face. “It takes a while.” He subsides and looks to Megren for her answer to Haft.
Megren tucks her hair behind her ear and replies to Haft, “Um. I’m not really. Just, Lanisen wrote me out an alphabet before he left.”
“Oh.” He frowns. “So that you could /not/ learn. Obviously.”
Darrin’s brow arches sharply, the corresponding corner of his mouth quirking as well.
Megren wrinkles her nose and tucks both pieces of parchment away. “So… ruined anyone’s boots lately, Haft?”
Haft scowls, shifting his eyes toward Darrin for a moment. Then he answers evenly, “Perth’s, before breakfast. Tossed them in a snowdrift. Owin’s after lunch. Threw one through the window to Lanisen’s hounds. Dropped the other in the horse trough.”
Darrin puts the tips of his fingers together and leans forward in his chair. “I can’t help but feel I am missing some key details to this story,” he observes wryly.
Megren says, “Your brother can give you details. A green lady is involved.”
Haft, still standing, folds his arms across his chest. “Really nothing of interest, sir.”
Darrin arches his brow again, the familial resemblance quite clear for a moment. “You do know the vagueness only piques my interest further, right?” His lips twitch.
Megren grins, looking perfectly aware of this.
Darrin lets out a long suffering sigh.
Megren informs him, “You would know it to look at him, but Haft is liable to enjoy a good prank from time to time.”
Haft shakes his head, speaking at almost the same time. “Megren is apparently attempting to start a rumor that I go around mutilating boots.”
Megren says, “If the shoe fits…”
Darrin looks impressed briefly before Haft denies it, and then his shoulders slump in dramatical disappointment.
Haft ignores Darrin’s posture.
Megren gives Sir Darrin a conspiratorial look and a nod of her head.
Darrin says, “Admittedly the image of you as a prankster, Guardsman, while a bit unexpected, does paint you as rather more…interesting.”
Megren grins with her tongue between her teeth.
Haft presses his lips into a very thin line. “I’m plenty interesting enough. Prefer /not/ to be, on the whole.”
Darrin gestures broadly with one hand. “See, now that statement also interests me,” he says, grinning a bit and glancing at Megren.
Megren says, “Haft is a very interesting person.”
Haft cuts his eyes over to Megren, but doesn’t say anything.
Megren gives him a winning smile.
Darrin clears his throat. “Apologies,” he says, sounding partially repentant. “I don’t mean to make you /too/ uncomfortable, Haft.”
Megren looks skeptical.
Haft says, “Uh…accepted, sir.”
Darrin elbows Megren in the arm with a poor attempt at subtlety.
Megren gives him a very unsubtle look of false surprise.
Darrin tries to contain a smile and it comes out instead as an abrupt giggle.
Haft glances between the two of them.
Megren covers her mouth at this, then coughs and looks away. “Um, surely you didn’t both come here to give false praise over a sheet of lettering?”
Haft says, “I don’t recall saying you were any good at it.”
Megren gives Haft a big cheekily pleased grin at this.
Darrin looks indignant at the word ‘false’ and makes a face at her when she’s turned away. “As you can probably predict, I was looking for entertainment, and I daresay I have succeeded thus far.”
Haft opens his mouth, then closes it again.
Megren says, “You must really be starved, if this counts.”
Darrin shrugs one shoulder. “We could liven it up, if you’re bored, of course.” He smirks.
Megren clasps her hands behind her back. “What are you proposing?”
Haft looks to the knight.
Darrin reaches into a pocket and pulls out a six-sided die, setting it on the table. “Drinking game?” He proposes, eyebrows lifting.
Megren screws up her mouth at him, letting him explain first.
Darrin glances between the two as if thinking, then says, pointing at the cube, “Red for Megren, blue for Haft, and green for me; if our colors are rolled, we take a drink. Otherwise…yellow for everyone giving you a dare, violet for you giving everyone else a dare, and white for you having to answer one question truthfully. Of course with those three colors you can opt out and take a drink instead.”
Haft eyes the candle that marks the hour. “I’ve got duty next watch. If I go past one goblet, I’d best step out…but I’m up for it otherwise…I suppose.
Megren tilts her head thoughtfully. “How about if your colors is rolled you can answer a question or take a drink, but white everyone drinks, no other option.”
Megren makes a face at Haft.
Haft tilts his head inquiringly at her.
Darrin nods to Megren. “Works for me,” he agrees readily.
Haft pulls out a chair and takes a seat at the table.
Megren fetches everyone drinks, a cider for Haft, and wine for her and the knight.
Darrin takes his drink and thanks her. “So, shall we have the eldest or the youngest go first?” He picks up the dice and tosses it a couple times, eyes twinkling.
Haft shrugs. “Go ahead.”
Megren says, “Not the eldest, then.”
Darrin looks to Megren, lifting a brow. “Wait…are you older than me? I just assumed…”
Megren gives him a cheeky look. “Assumed which.”
Darrin looks like he has suddenly realized he might be in tricky waters, here. “Erm. That you were…older?” It’s a confession, but he pitches the word up and makes it into a question at the last second.
Darrin clarifies, “Than me.”
Megren feels around her eyes for wrinkles, looking at Haft. “Am I grey already?”
Haft says, “No. The dye is working well.”
Megren’s brows rise and her mouth opens in delight.
Darrin has been going to take a sip of his wine, wincing a bit, and he chokes at Haft’s comment and starts turning an ugly red color.
Haft ignores their reactions, reaching toward the center of the table and flicking the die in Darrin’s direction.
Megren gives the knight a hearty pat on the back to help him remember breathing.
Darrin sputters and eventually resumes normal circulation and coloring. He groans.
Haft leans back, waiting.
Megren clears her throat, only half-holding back a look of full amusement. “I’m older, but only a little. Just enough to call it your roll.”
Darrin wrinkles his nose. “Fair enough,” he says. He reaches for the die, picking it up between his pointer and second fingers and flicking it over the table. It rolls over and eventually lands with the white side facing up.
Haft lifts his mug and takes a drink.
Megren pouts at the roll but she antes up and takes a reasonably sized drink of her wine.
Darrin takes a gulp of wine and passes the dice off to Haft.
Haft rolls blue. “So, do I get to hear the question before I decide whether to answer it or take another drink?
Megren taps her lips, thoughtfully. “Sir? Your game.”
Darrin says, “Hear it, I’d say.”
Haft says, “All right. Ask away.”
Megren tilts her head, considering him, and then says, “Were you ever in love? And if yes, you have to tell the story.”
Darrin sits up a bit in curiosity.
Haft scrunches his face a bit. “Delving into ancient history, aren’t you Megren?” He purses his lips. “Well, there was Selma…eyes like cornflower, blonde hair…”
Megren rests her cheek in her hand. “What did you like about her?”
Darrin traces the lip of his goblet, seeming content to listen for the moment.
Haft says, “Well, she had spirit. Punched me in the arm when she was six and I was seven. I trotted after her all summer. She grew up and married a greengrocer.”
Megren asks, “What happened?”
Haft blinks. “What do you mean, ‘what happened?’ She was six and I was seven…she grew up and married the greengrocer.”
Megren asks, “I mean, why didn’t she marry you?”
Darrin says, “Wait, so you only pined after her for a summer? I’m not sure that counts as a deep love.”
Megren glances at Sir Darrin and then nods at Haft.
Haft makes a face. “Well, yeah, what Sir Darrin said. After that summer we found other playmates. And I got older and I guess I had one or two gals who took my fancy, but no one for a lifetime, you know?”
Darrin asks, “Not one?”
Megren nods again, looking as if she perfectly understands this.
Haft frowns. “Well…it don’t…doesn’t, fit real easily in with the guardsman’s lifestyle, does it? My father made it work, but it wasn’t easy. Wouldn’t ask a gal to live a life like that on a whim. Just as well.”
Darrin thinks about this for a moment before nodding, slowly. “I suppose that makes good sense,” he says.
Megren’s face registers less agreement with this half of her fellow guard’s thought process, but rather than readily disagree, she picks up the die and rolls it. It comes up green and she grins at Sir Darrin.
Darrin lifts his eyebrows at her and smirks.
Megren asks, “Do I ask since I rolled, or should I left Haft, since I got the last one?”
Darrin says, “Up to you two.”
Megren looks at Haft.
Haft says, “Go ahead. You rolled.”
Megren puts her hand over her mouth and narrows her eyes at the knight thoughtfully. After a moment, she takes her hand away and says, “Favorite sibling. You can’t say both and you have to say why.”
Darrin makes a face and eyes his wine debatingly. “Much as I would like to say something egalitarian and loving here…I’m going to have to go with Dar. Reason, reason, let’s see, reason…” He pinches at the bridge of his nose. “It’s…kind of hard to explain?” He lets out a sigh and at last admits, in a rather softer tone like he’s confiding something, “I aspire to be half the man he is.”
Haft says, “Well, you’re almost half as tall, sir.” Then he colors slightly as if reconsidering the jest.
Megren wrinkles her nose. “Gross,” she says, in a tone implying the opposite.
Darrin snorts at her and reaches for his glass, taking a long drink anyways. He picks up the die as he sets down his wine, and rolls white again.
Darrin promptly takes another drink.
Haft takes a drink and reaches for the die.
Megren accuses him, “You’ve weighted it,” before taking a drink.
Haft rolls white and grimaces, tipping his mug again.
Megren looks very suspicious now.
Darrin starts to protest and then just starts laughing when Haft also rolls white. He shakes his head at Megren over his next swallow.
Haft passes the die to Megren.
Megren drinks as she takes up the die and rolls it, getting red.
Darrin says, “All right, Haft, you should take this question. I’d say it’s your turn.”
Haft eyes the paper Megren’s been writing on. “Strangest thing you ever tried to learn, and how it went.”
Megren laughs. “Easy. Reading. Terribly.”
Haft scowls. “Bit easy, that.”
Darrin gives a skeptical look like he doesn’t find this particularly strange enough to fit the bill.
Megren says, “You asked the bad question.”
Haft says, “Right…well, your turn, sir, since we can get nothing better out of her.”
Darrin chuckles. “All right.” He rolls blue, instead of white.
Megren says, “You haven’t asked one yet, Sir.”
Haft crosses his arms, waiting.
Darrin asks, “What’s one thing you regret?”
Haft’s face goes slack and he stares at Darrin for a moment. “You don’t…?”
Megren gives Haft a kind of look. “Anything you regret. Could be your breakfast this morning.”
Darrin nods. “Or you can always drink, though that’s considerably more boring.”
Haft glances between the two, then seems to collect himself. “I…think I regret entering into this game.” He reaches for the die with a frown.
Haft rolls white and releases a sigh, drinking yet again.
Megren looks unsure what to do with this, her general chipperness a little off-balance now.
Darrin makes a disappointed noise, but doesn’t object over loudly.
Haft passes the die to Megren.
Megren takes it hesitantly, and, after a drink that drains her glass, rolls another red.
Darrin drinks as well while watching the die spin, but he has barely a swallow left in his goblet. He raises a brow. “Your least favorite thing about living out in the woods wither you father, aside from the solitude. Unless Haft has a better question?”
Haft shrugs. “Works for me.”
Megren blinks, and then sticks out her lower lip in thought. “I… don’t know. I guess I have to get up and fetch another drink for that one. I liked it with him.”
Darrin gets up. “I’ll get these ones,” he says. “Haft, you sure you don’t want another?”
Haft says, “Yeah. I should stop after this or I’ll be drowsy later.”
Darrin nods, and goes to collect two more wines.
Haft glances at Megren, murmuring something.
Haft mumbles “I reckoned he knew…with his brother and all.”, to Megren.
Haft mumbles “… reckoned … knew…with … … … all.”, to Megren.
Megren lifts a shoulder, replying quietly.
Megren mumbles “I don’t think they know each other very well. There’s ten years between, after all.”, to Haft.
Megren mumbles “… don’t … they know each … … well. There’s … years between, … all.”, to Haft.
Haft inclines his head in acknowledgement.
When Darrin returns, he sets a glass in front of Megren before sitting down, not appearing to have caught any of this hushed exchange.
Megren takes another reasonably sized drink and passes the die off.
Haft studies his nearly-empty mug.
Darrin rolls blue, apparently not picking up on the silence between the two of them. Apparently.
Megren glances at Haft and asks, “How much would you like us to let you off to go prepare for your shift?”
Haft lets out a small snort of laughter in spite of himself. “Very much, but that ain’t a proper question…and I still have a swallow of cider left.”
Darrin chuckles, looking to Megren for another question.
Megren runs her forefinger over her lower lip. “Then– hmmmm. What was your favorite thing in Narnia? If someone were going to go there, what would you insist they see or do?”
Haft considers, swirling the cider in his mug. “See the Stone Table,” he says.
Darrin takes a drink, blue eyes going thoughtful. “That would be a sight,” he murmurs.
Haft says, “Aye…I…wouldn’t call it a ‘favorite thing’, but that’s what to see.”
Megren asks, “What’s it like?”
Haft says, “Quiet. Beautiful. Big, grassy hill with this broken table on top. Massive thing. Cracks have weathered over the years, and grass grown up between the two pieces…was still a pretty fresh break when first I saw it.”
Megren nods thoughtfully.
Darrin listens intently, not speaking.
Haft says, “Everybody was talking about it–the sacrifice–when I first got into Narnia. Took me a while to find my feet…but thought I’d visit, then.” He shrugs and falls silent.
Megren nods. “I’d like to see it.”
Haft purses his lips and runs a thumb along the edge of his mug, saying no more. After a minute he seems to remember it’s his turn and reaches for the cube.
Haft rolls white and finishes off his cider. “That’s me done.”
Megren eyes Sir Darrin with suspicion as she takes yet another drink.
Darrin affects an extremely innocent expression as he follows suit.
Megren asks Haft, “You want to go?”
Haft shrugs. “I can stay a few more minutes. Not drinking any more cider though.”
Megren nods as she takes up the die and tosses it, rolling green.
Darrin says, “Oh goodie, me again.”
This statement doesn’t appear to be in jest.
Haft rests his chin on his hand, watching.
Megren grins. “If you weren’t a lord, what occupation do you suppose you’d have?”
Haft cocks his head in interest.
Darrin huffs. “Contrary to popular opinion, it seems, my occupation is actually NOT as a lord. I AM a second son, after all. But if I weren’t a knight…well. I have been known to suggest the life of a jester.” He lifts his eyebrows and waggles them a bit.
Megren looks very skeptical.
Darrin sighs exaggeratedly. “And said suggestion was received with a similar expression.”
“Well, Megren could help you bell your cap…” Haft says.
Megren shakes her head. “You’d work with animals, I think.”
Darrin arches a brow at Haft before turning back to Megren. “In all seriousness…probably. Or I might have taken up as a guardsman, honestly. It’s hard to say.”
Megren nods, “That makes sense.”
Haft opens his mouth again, then reconsiders.
Megren passes the die.
Darrin gives the die a little flick so that it more spins than rolls, landing on green again.
Megren squints an eye at him.
Darrin shrugs innocently.
Megren says, “Haft, your go at asking.”
Haft says, “Hmm…worst spar you’ve ever had, and what happened.”
Darrin taps his upper lip. “Well, there was this one time…” He colors slightly, though that is perhaps the wine, by now. “I was a squire, just an everyday training session, you’d think, except there was this gaggle of girls from town, and I totally lost my focus. Ast disarmed me AND knocked me in the dirt.” He takes a gulp of wine. “Not my most shining moment, I admit.”
Megren raises her brows and widens her eyes as if she too finds this embarrassing for him, though her small grin indicates she also finds it amusing.
Haft hehs. “Dare I ask if the girls noticed your fall?
Darrin grimaces, and gives Haft a pointed look instead of an answer.
Megren says, “Awww, they did.”
“Well,” Haft says, hiding any amusement, “This seems an appropriate moment to beat a hasty retreat and prepare for my shift.” He rises, bowing to Darrin and nodding to Megren. “Sir, Meg.”
Darrin snorts a bit in dry amusement. He nods to Haft. “Take care, Haft.”
Megren says, “Thanks for humoring us.”
Haft nods and leaves the mess.