In which Abrielle tries to get Haft away from neutrals, Haft discusses mementos with Sir Tyren, and Megren tells Haft about Sir Colin’s new squire
You stand in the Seamstress’ Shop, where the finest clothes in Archenland are sold. Bolts of fabric lie in neat piles, some rough, and others soft or shimmering. Threads of various hues, even a few which appear to be gold or silver, sit wound on neatly-ordered spools. While the common traveler can find a serviceable tunic for a reasonable price here, there are also fine embroidered gowns and doublets for court functions. The sheer variety of merchandise in such a small space is a bit overwhelming, and gives you the impression of having fallen into the center of a rainbow.
You can go: Market Entrance <O>
Contents: A daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle);
Pricelist; Tess, the Seamstress; and Yellow Dress.
The steamstress’ shop is a bit dull today. The sun shines through the windows as Tess works on a garment by the window. Abrielle and a couple other shoppers walk around the room examining the garments and talking in hushed tones. Abrielle herself is lightly touching and closely admiring a fine silk dress with another women who has blond hair and rosy cheeks.
Haft walks into the shop, not really attending to the other customers, and goes to examine some scarves in the corner.
Abrielle laughs at something the other woman has said and in the process sees Haft walk into the shop. She polietly excuses herself from the woman and comes his way. “Hello Haft.”
Haft turns. He looks a little uncomfortable. “Oh. Greetings Abrielle.”
Abrielle smiles. “How are you?”
Haft asks, “Um, all right, I suppose. And yourself?”
Abrielle shrugs. “About the same as yesterday.” She looks over his shoulder at the scarves. “Are you looking to buy a scarf?”
Haft nods vaguely. “Scarf, muffler. Gets cold on the walls, specially on the night shifts. Since it was summer when we came down, I don’t have one now.
Abrielle smiles and asks, “Is muffler the more manly word?” She laughs continues listening, nodding slightly. “Got any idea of which one you like?”
Haft makes a face at her question. “This one looks warm,” he says, indicating a woolen scarf in a muddy shade of brown.
Abrielle examines the muddy brown color with a frown. “It does looks warm…but I wonder if it has to be that gross brown color.”
Abrielle examines Haft’s clothing. “What about a purple or gold color?”
Haft looks uncertain. “Purple seems a bit…bright.”
Abrielle points a finger at Haft in a determined sort of way. “Not if you got the right shade.”
Haft stares at her finger as though he finds it offensive. “What shade would that be?”
Abrielle rolls her eyes and looks down at the selection again. “What about this dark purple. Nice and subtle.”
Haft fingers the plum-colored muffler and makes a noncommital grunt. He turns to lift another one for Abrielle’s inspection. “What about this? Nice and grey.”
Abrielle raises and eyebrow. “I can say this….it is better than the brown.” She keeps her hand on the purple scarf while the blonde woman comes over and gives her a quick good-bye. Once out the door, Abrielle turns back to Haft. “That woman, the one who just left, she thought you were attractive.” She says this quietly and with a small smile before turning back to the task at hand.
Haft sputters and starts coughing.
Abrielle side-eyes Haft with a small smile.
Haft catches his breath and scowls. “There was not time for her to make any such statement.”
Abrielle chuckles. “Women are very capable of making those types of statements quickly.”
Haft grunts. “I do not see how this comes to bear on the question of mufflers.”
Abrielle shrugs. “It doesn’t….I just thought you may like to know.”
Abrielle says, “Since she is close to your age and all. ”
Haft says, “I didn’t come back to Archenland to get married.”
Abrielle pulls a muted gold colored scarf from the pile and nods. “Fine. But Charlotte is very pretty and very smart.” She shrugs and holds up the scarf. “This one?”
Haft mutters, “So are most of the king’s hounds. I don’t fancy courting one of them either.” He eyes the gold without much enthusiasm.
Abrielle ignores Haft and waits for his criticism.
Haft says, “I don’t know…might look all right with the uniform…not sure about my off duty shirts. Still need to pick the second one up from Adeliha. Couldn’t find her yesterday.”
Abrielle sets the scarf down. “Well…if you are unsure about all of them…let’s go see Adeliha.”
Haft makes a face. “I fail to see how that would help.”
Abrielle chuckles quietly. “It wouldn’t. So what is it?”
Haft asks, “What is what?”
Abrielle sighs. “Do you have a choice?”
Haft holds up the brown with a smirk.
Abrielle grimaces. “You and Lewis have no sense in style.” She shrugs. “Oh well…you have to live with it.”
Haft asks, “Who’s Lewis again?”
Abrielle says, “My uncle.”
Haft says, “A man of distinguished taste, no doubt.”
Abrielle shakes her head. “He is not very concerned with his looks…that is for sure.”
Haft snorts. “And you’re saying I’m not either.” He looks mildly affronted. “I keep my beard trimmed and boots polished.” He gestures to his shoes, which reflect the room around.
Abrielle nods with a smirk. “Yes….but you chose a muddy brown scarf.”
Haft rolls his eyes and releases a long-suffering sigh. “Brown goes with everything.”
Abrielle shakes her head. “Except with gold and purple.”
Haft indicates his cloak. “I wear this over my uniform when it’s brisk. Looks just fine. If you think I’m wearing a purple cape like some trumped-up lord, you’d better think again.
Abrielle holds her hands up innocently. “Never said anything like that.”
Haft narrows his eyes at her, then rummages for some coins.
Abrielle narrows her eyes back.
Haft walks over to Tess, interrupting her conversation with another customer rather abruptly, and gives her 150 coins. He returns to Abrielle and lays down the mud-colored scarf before snatching up the dark purple and heading out of the shop.
Haft walks into the outer ward from the northern market.
You stand in the busy outer ward of Castle Anvard, full of people seeing to the needs of king and kingdom. There are market stalls along the outer wall, bustling with merchants and shoppers. Grooms work in the stables, tending to the horses there, and you hear the occasional bark of a dog from the kennels. The sounds of hammer hitting iron rings out from the blacksmith shop. There are stairs leading to the gate towers on the northern and southern corners of the outer curtain. To the east is the outer gatehouse, and the road leading into the realm of Archenland, and to the west another gate, leading to the inner gatehouse, the inner ward, and the main keep of Anvard.
You can go: Kennels <N>, Northern Market <NE>, Outer Gatehouse <E>, Southern Market <SE>, Stables <S>, Blacksmith <SW>, Inner Gatehouse <W>, South Stair <US>, North Stair <UN>
Abrielle has her lips pursed as she follows Haft from the market.
Haft wraps the warm scarf around his neck twice, tucking the front ends under the clasp of his cloak.
Abrielle folds her arms across her chest following after Haft.
Haft glances over his shoulder. “Problem?”
Abrielle raises and eyebrow. “I was just going to ask you the same thing.”
Haft gives her an innocent look. “Not at all.”
Abrielle says, “I don’t believe that at all.”
Haft looks amused. “And why is that?”
Abrielle points over her shoulder with her thumb. “Um…maybe because you just stomped out of the shop and didn’t say a word.” She seems slightly puzzled by his amusement.
Haft says, “I did not stomp.”
Abrielle takes her turn to look slightly amused. “A little bit.”
Haft says, “I must respectfully disagree. I made my selection and exited with great…aplomb.”
Abrielle looks like she completely disagrees. “Aplomb….really?”
Haft nods, tugging one end of his scarf back from under his cloak. He waves it in front of her. “Yes. A plum.”
Abrielle raises and eyebrow, looking stern, but then she burst out laughing. “Crafty.”
Haft sketches a small bow. “Anything to please a lady.”
Abrielle shakes her head. “Where are you off to now? Tavern?”
Haft winces a little. “I think not.”
Abrielle tilts her head. “Do you have an embargo on that place now?”
Haft’s mouth thins. “I have a fervent desire not to start a brawl.”
Abrielle frowns. “There was a brawl?”
Haft shakes his head, folding his arms. “There wasn’t, but it was a near thing. I told you, I don’t like drawing attention to myself. Well, trying to help your friend Sehsis out of the mess he’d gotten himself in drew attention.”
Abrielle shakes her head. “He did not put himself into any situation….if you are referring to the siege.”
Haft says, “I meant sitting in the hall of the inn. He might’ve guessed what would happen.”
Abrielle says, “He should feel safe to be here.”
“Yes,” Haft says, “He should. But things don’t always work out the way they should.”
Abrielle says, “No it doesn’t…but you don’t need to be telling me that he got himself in a situation for assuming safety in this town.”
Haft takes a deep breath. “Course he did. We all put ourselves in situations. Sometimes we have to. He had to come here for his business. He did not have to go into the main hall of a crowded inn full of people who’d just survived a siege instigated by his country. I had to come to Anvard to fight, but I was willing to accept the consequences of that, too. We all make choices, but we have to accept what can happen when we choose.”
Abrielle folds her arms. “I do not like the idea of my friend being uncomfortable. No matter what he is.”
Tyren winds his way from the market to the north into the ward proper, cloak-clad and with a scarf in the crimson of his house’s colors wrapped around his neck.
Haft makes an impatient gesture. “I understand that Abrielle, but it’s the truth. What do you want me to say?”
Abrielle’s face turns hard. “Nothing I guess.” She mumbles something to herself.
Abrielle mumbles “… … … to …”, to Abrielle.
Tyren nods towards the guardsman as he nears. “Ah, evening, Haft.” Another, perhaps smaller, one is delivered toward his companion. “Abrielle.”
Haft turns, looking a bit awkward, and bows. “Sir Tyren.”
Abrielle also turns to curtsey. “Sir Tyren.”
Tyren’s glance drops toward Haft’s scarf, and the corner of his mouth tugs slightly in what might be a faint grin before he addresses the man properly. “Watches today proving uneventful, I hope?”
Haft says, “Oh, yes, Sir. Came off duty about half an hour ago. Pleasantly dull.”
Abrielle notes the tug of Sir Tyren’s mouth and she barely retains her own smile. She stays quiet.
Tyren says, “Excellent. ‘Tis what I like to hear these days.”
Haft snorts lightly. “Well, yeah, when eventful duty means a siege or a madman in the kennels or a fire in the village.”
Abrielle glances at Haft and then curtsies to Tyren. “I am sorry but I have somewhere I need to be. Good day, Sir Tyren. Haft.”
Haft nods to Abrielle. “Good day.”
Tyren replies, “Exactly. Far too much excitement for my liking these days.” He nods to Abrielle. “Good day.”
Abrielle walks eastward toward the gatehouse.
Haft fidgets slightly, tucking the trailing end of his scarf back behind the clasp of his cloak.
Tyren gestures toward it. “Fine scarf you’re wearing there. The color in particular.”
Haft says, “Um, thank you, Sir.”
Tyren grins slightly, or at least to all appearances, as the expression apparently can’t quite decide if it wants to be a smirk proper or not. “Not many who can handle that particular shade. I should know, it turns up a fair amount in Chesterton.”
Haft nods. “Abrielle seemed to think it would look all right with the uniform.”
Tyren chuckles. “I’d trust her judgment over mine in that respect. Absolute rubbish with that sort of thing myself.”
Haft shrugs. “I rather liked the dark gray.”
Tyren says, “Ah, a practical sort you are, then.”
Haft asks, “Yeah, pretty much. Don’t need a lot, but when I do buy something, I want it to be well-made and long-lasting. And should…I dunno…match everything else, I guess?”
Tyren shrugs a shoulder. “Tend to favor function over fashion myself, albeit to the Lady Paige’s chagrin.”
Haft smiles slightly. “Well, good workmanship’s to be admired. Means it won’t fall apart on you when you need it.” He fingers the lion’s head buckle on his sword belt. “This, for instance. Probably the fanciest thing I own, apart from my uniform, but it’s lasted decades.”
Tyren smiles a bit himself. “And still a rather fine piece. Well-kept.”
Haft nods. “Gift from my father when I joined the guard. He wore it on duty in his turn, and my grandfather before him.”
Tyren’s smile broadens at this. “Which makes it all the better. Few things more valuable than a well-made piece with history, meaning, and sentiment behind it.”
Haft nods gesturing to the pin. “‘s a pike, isn’t it? How’d that get to be the Chesterton emblem anyhow?”
This pin is masculine in design. It is suitable to be worn on a tunic,
and it is small enough that it likely doesn’t weigh much. It has been crafted
to resemble a fish–a pike embowed, if you want to be specific–and the eyes
are formed by two dark green stones. It may very well be of dwarfish make,
as the resemblance is really remarkable. The thin patina of age dulling the
metal indicates that this piece has seen some years. There are two words
faintly scratched out on the underside of the pin: “sapienti sat”
Tyren hehs, his hand going toward said pin. “It isn’t, actually. It’s the dragon that’s on our crest. My father rather liked the meaning behind this particular choice of emblem for its own merit, though. He gave this to Lord Dar as a reminder of sorts, who then gave it to me for… much the same reason.”
Haft asks, “And what are its merits, Sir?”
Tyren replies, “A pike on one’s crest, as I had it from Father, is representative of one who strives toward virtue and what is right – for its own sake, not from a desire for recognition or some other ulterior motive.”
Haft says, “That’s a hard enough goal, and that’s a fact. Most of us want recognition of some kind, I guess.”
Tyren nods. “Or power, or wealth – or having it already, maintaining it, if not obtaining more. I wear this as a reminder of where my priorities should lie.”
Haft touches his buckle. “Reminders are powerful things.”
Tyren nods again, slowly. “There are things too important to allow to be forgotten, after all.”
“Yeah,” Haft says, pulling his cloak tighter against the chill. “So what brings you to the market today, Sir?”
Tyren says, “Paying a visit to the fletcher, as it happens. I found myself running a bit low.”
Haft nods. “He does good work. Good as the fletcher near Barfield, in any case.”
Tyren says, “He does indeed. Fine work by all the weaponscrafters in the market, really… which reminds me, I need to pay Eisenarbeiter a visit in the near future, too.”
Haft asks, “So is your interest in archery primarily military, or are you fond of the hunt, Sir?”
Tyren says, “A little of both, truly. I do take a certain amount of enjoyment from the hunt, and if it’s a skill that makes me more versatile militaristically, then so much the better.”
Haft nods. “Aye. I had some training from my father as a lad, and more practice once I joined the guard, just for versatility. But I was always primarily a swordsman. Didn’t get good at archery till I needed to earn a living with it.”
Tyren nods himself. “I’ve espoused for quite some time that it suits a man of the military to be at least somewhat versatile – no guarantee that he’ll have his weapon of choice in hand at all times, or even a weapon at all. But there’s always one one favors anyway.”
Haft asks, “And what is your weapon of choice, Sir? Sword? Lance?”
Megren comes walking down the stairs to the Outer Ward.
Tyren says, “I tend to favor the sword, myself, though I wouldn’t say no to a solid lance, either. Also confess to a certain penchant for boxing every now and again, too, if only as another method to keep my training interesting.”
Haft stands speaking to Sir Tyren near the northern market. He is wearing a warm cloak over his livery, and a new dark purple scarf wrapped around his neck and tucked in at the ends.
Megren walks out of the southern market, an especially pleased grin stretched across her face. A flash of parchment and string can be seen as she tucks it away.
Tyren says, “Must admit I’ve become a bit more fond of the bow than I used to be, though. Not precisely sure why, but there it is, I suppose.”
Haft says, “I still prefer the sword, I think. Lost a bit of my old skill while I was in Narnia, but I’ve been working hard these past months to rectify that.”
Megren, seeing her friend, skips up toward him, offering Sir Tyren a bow.
Tyren nods. “Seen a bit of that myself, although it’s been a bit since we last crossed blades. Perhaps another round would be in order in the near future.” He nods upon Megren’s approach. “Evening.”
Haft says, “I would enjoy that, Sir. Oh, hello Megren.”
Megren exclaims, “Hello, Sir! Hello, Haft.” She looks between them, picking up enough of their conversation to push it to the next logical(?) step. “Are you two going up to spar, then?””
Tyren says, “Not tonight, I think, though we’ll have to arrange it soon. The prospect does appear to be considered mutually enjoyable, after all.”
Haft asks, “Indeed. But how does the day find you Megren?”
Megren asks, “I got a letter. You?”
Tyren lifts a brow slightly in mild curiosity, but otherwise leaves the inquiry unasked.
Haft asks, “Oh? From whom?”
Megren’s eyes brighten with glee. “From Sir Colin’s squire.”
Tyren asks, “They’re still in Carmichael, I take it?”
Haft says, “Didn’t realize he had a squire.”
Megren looks at Sir Tyren and nods a few times in confirmation before saying eagerly to Haft, “It’s Lanisen! Sir Colin asked and he said he would do it! Only I think the dogs will be rather down about it, as if they aren’t already, with him gone this long.”
Haft’s eyes widen in surprise–and possibly alarm. “I had no idea.”
Tyren says, “I suppose I shall have to comfort Elek over it, then. Not that he’d ever admit he needed it. I wondered if Sir Colin might do so.”
Megren gathers her hands behind her. “Mhm, only he still doesn’t say when they’ll be back with Sir Colin’s betrothed. She’s learning how to be a lady from Lady Rosalind, but nobody seems to know how long it will be, and it already feels like forever at only a fortnight.”
Haft says, “Has it only been so long? They left not long after the fire, and that seems ages ago now.”
Tyren says, “It can be a rather large adjustment to make, as Lady Rosalind can certainly attest to. Likely they want to take advantage of whatever advice she can give for however long she be present to deliver it.”
Megren tilts her head at the knight. “What sorts of things do you suppose she is learning? I guess there’s things to learn special about Neiklot and then more sort of,” she looks to the sky thoughtfully for a moment, “–etiquette and writing sorts of things that just everyone has to know?”
Haft listens for Tyren’s answer.
Tyren nods. “Much along those lines. Any noble faces a good deal of publicity, which lends itself to a good deal of scrutiny, and doubly so considering her background. Court is not a simple place to find one’s footing, especially if one has not… been raised as a part of it from the beginning. It’s a rough road, and I have seen firsthand the struggles one in her position is liable to face. Best take her first steps someplace less… intimidating, until she has a better sense of what exactly she may expect.”
Megren looks momentarily unsure, but then she nods. “It’s easier without everyone looking over your shoulder.”
Haft asks, “Have you met the lady in question, Sir Tyren?”
Tyren nods once to Megren, then again in response to Haft. “I cannot say I know her particularly well, but our paths have crossed a fair few times.”
Megren says, “Arael, right? Lady Arael. I feel like we should start saying it now, even though technically she isn’t yet. She might as well be.”
Haft asks, “Will the wedding be held here in Anvard, then?”
Tyren says, “I suppose we’ll find out.”
Megren looks at Haft, brows peaked with surprise at her previous self’s poor curiosity, “I don’t know! I’ll have to ask in my next letter.”
Haft grunts in assent. “What about you Meg? You’ve been here about a year, yes? Did you have much trouble adjusting to the etiquette required of a guard?
Tyren glances to Megren, brow lifted slightly again.
Megren tilts her head thoughtfully, pushing her mouth to one side. “Hmm. I like that question.” She tilts her head the other way and looks upward in thought. “I mean, it’s a lot different, and I guess I must’ve done some balmy-looking things. Oh, it took a while before we got a uniform fitted right, so I tried to help a woman dropped her produce when I was in plainclothes and she thought I was thieving. That was a scrape!” She lifts her shoulders. “I don’t know. Sir Tyren or the other knights and guards probably have lots of stories of dippy things I did without realizing, but I was mostly just happy to be here and know people.”
Haft grunts in amusement. “Sounds a bit like me, feeling so wrong-footed when Lord Dar still had my sword.”
Tyren shrugs a shoulder. “We all make our mistakes while adjusting to something new. If you ask me, though, the important thing is whether we strive to learn from them, rather than whether they were made in the first place. Which, according to my experience thus far, I’d say you both have.”
Megren responds with an easy, genuine sort of smile. “Thank you, Sir.”
Haft says, “Well, one can hope.”
You unwrap the parcel of boar meat and eat it.
Tyren simply nods once, with a smile of his own. It’s then that a servant from the castle approaches and bows, exchanging a few words with the knight. He turns back to Haft and Megren, saying, “It seems I’m needed elsewhere at the moment. A good eve to the both of you, in that case.”
Haft bows. “Sir.”
Megren bows as well. “Good evening, Sir! Hope to see you in the mess some time.”
Tyren grins faintly as he says, “Probably will. I’m known to drop by for a chess match or two with some of the others every now and then.” He nods once more, then heads in.
Tyren walks west toward the inner gatehouse.
Haft looks after Tyren. “Suppose he’d trounce us both. What do you reckon?”
Megren says, “Oh, probably together.”
Haft asks, “Sorry?”
Megren says, “He’d probably even trounce us two on one.”
Haft says, “If you can figure out a way to play two on one in chess, you’ll have my admiration.”
Megren says, “Note passing, obviously.”
Haft snorts. “You are incorrigible.”
Megren looks pleased. “You think?”
Haft says, “I do, but you needn’t look so happy about it.”
Megren says, “I will anyhow.”
Haft shakes his head in mock annoyance. “He seems a decent sort, Sir Tyren.”
Megren gives Haft a sidelong glance and a private sort of smile that says she is having a small, probably harmless, joke with herself. “Mhm, I think so.”
“What’s funny?” Haft growls.
Megren blinks, looking at him more full on. “Mm? Nothing. I think you two would get on, actually.”
Haft says, “Hmm. Well, at first I thought he was a bit of the stern side–not that I can talk–but he’s got a sense of humor too. Bit hard to think of ‘getting on with’ someone when they’re so high above you though–or when you remember them as a six-year-old.”
Megren says, “You get on with me, and you could remember me as an infant if you’d known my da at the time.”
Haft says, “Ah, but I didn’t. Besides, you’re a guard. Anyway, I tried not to get on with you. You made it wretched hard and I just gave up.”
Megren grins with her tongue between her teeth, a self-satisfied sort of look. “Well, I’m saying don’t try with him. You’d get on.”
Haft tilts his head. “Noted.”
Megren clasps her hands behind her back. “You on duty, or do you have time to help me practice so I’m not so entirely shamed if Sir Tyren ever asks after chess?”
Haft says, “Aye, I’ve got some time. Let me get out of uniform and I’ll join you in the mess.”
Megren nods. “Sure. Meet you there.”
Haft walks up the north stair.