In which Haft checks out a library book and there is bantering
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>
Haft sits at an out-of-the way, but well-lit, table, with some parchment, writing implements, and a book open in front of him.
Megren ambles into the mess, standing in the doorway for a moment. She stops to tease one of the guards, but she can’t help but investigate the reason Haft is not in his usual spot, so she quickly slips over to his table.
A book featuring illustrations of broadsword fighting with annotations lies before Haft, and the paper in front of him bears somewhat less precise approximations of the figures on the page.
Megren sits on the bench across from him, tucking her legs under her. “What have you got there?”
Haft looks up. “Uhh…book?”
Megren says, “Yeah, but you’re doing something with it.”
Haft grunts. “Copying down some of the information. Since our southern prince doesn’t appreciate me in the library…thought I’d bring the library to the mess.”
Megren rests her chin on the back of her hand, studying the page upside down. “Oh, well, that’s clever, isn’t it?”
“Had to reassure the librarian about seven times to get her to lend it to me. Wants it back pretty quick too…more to make sure I don’t grime it up than cause anyone else is reading it, I think.”
Haft says, “Had to reassure the librarian about seven times to get her to lend it to me. Wants it back pretty quick too…more to make sure I don’t grime it up than cause anyone else is reading it, I think.”
Megren wrinkles her nose. “Hasn’t she seen your boots? I’d be more worried about some of the knights than you.”
Haft raises a brow in a very good imitation of Lord Dar. “I rather doubt she’s looking at anything below reading level.”
Megren clicks her tongue, shaking her head. “That’s a loss to her. They’re very pretty boots.”
Haft scowls for a moment. “Yes. Well…got to have something to hide one’s stockings.”
Megren giggles. “In front of Lord Dar, too,” she shakes her head at herself. “At least they were matched.”
Haft shakes his head. “Ridiculous woman. All that to try to get back at me–almost worked too. ‘Cept I knew you’d never confuse coins for snow.”
Megren grins at him. “It worked. For a second. I’m sure it did.”
Haft says, “Hrrm.” He dips his quill and starts copying down a fresh line of notes. “Fortunately I’m under no obligation to admit it.”
Megren’s face drops. “What, seeing my pleased expression isn’t enough for you?”
Haft snorts. “Most assuredly not.”
Haft sets the quill in the inkwell, looking unconcerned. “I spent a good many years avoiding pleased expressions. I can do without yours.”
Megren says, “Why would you go and do a thing like that?”
Haft tries to hide amusement. “Well, for one because it seems to gall you so…”
Megren says, “I do believe you are very nearly contrary.”
Haft lets out a sputtering laugh. “‘Nearly’? You have no idea…”
Megren gives him a perturbed look. “I do, too.”
Haft’s laughter fades. “Hmm?”
Megren says, “I have an idea.”
“Of how contrary I am?” Haft asks cautiously.
Megren says, “Contrary enough to avoid pleased expressions.”
Haft looks perplexed. “Uh…right.”
Megren makes a good-humored, squint-eyed face at him. “Contrary enough not to play along when someone’s bantering at you.”
Haft considers this a moment, purses his lips, then nods solemnly. “Yep.”
Megren wrinkles her nose, but seems mollified by this, sitting back. “Well, I won’t keep you from your drawings, since the librarian’s not got the sense to draw conclusions from your footwear.”
Haft lifts the quill again, using it to point. “You just be glad you ain’t got no use for books and she hasn’t any call to be examining yours–the ones with the soles coming off.”
Megren says, “If it comes to that, I’ll tell her whose fault it was and it’ll be back to you sneaking about hiding from guests.”
Haft narrows his eyes. “Art truly calculating and devious, Megren.”
Megren says, “I think I may be an arch villain.”
Haft raises his eyebrows. “There was doubt?”
Megren says, “Shh. I have a few convinced.”
Haft says, “Yeah, well, no one ever said Owin was the brightest pin in the seamstress’ shop…”
Megren says, “Hey, now, Owin’s very clever with a needle.”
Haft says, “So’s Adrian, but I wouldn’t want him stitching my britches.”
Megren gets a mischievous look.
Haft eyes her, and his voice takes on a low, bearish tone. “Don’t try it, woman.”
Megren gets up from the table, tossing her hair. “Try what?” she says with sweet innocence.
Haft says, “I don’t know. I’m just sure I’m going to regret it.”
Megren grins, “Regret what?” She taps the table lightly with her knuckles. “Enjoy your copying.”
Haft sighs, looking as though he’s resigned himself to his fate, and puts quill to parchment again. “See you later Meg.”