The Dangerous Chestertons

In which Haft terrifies small children

Outer Ward

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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.

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You can go: Kennels , Northern Market , Outer Gatehouse , Southern Market , Stables , Blacksmith , Inner Gatehouse , South Stair , North Stair

Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery).

Haft emerges from the southern market, a couple of packages tucked under his arm.

Avery is standing in the openness of the Ward, wrapped in a velvet cloak. There are a few children around her, each one holding a snowball. Avery makes her own snowball as she says, “If you hit anyone in the face, you’ll have to sit to the side, so aim carefully.” She molds the snow, packing it tighter. “Oh, and don’t hit anyone who isn’t playing, of course!”

Haft crosses in the direction of the North Gate Tower, skirting the group of children.

Avery doesn’t see Haft as she focuses on the game. “Alright, ready?” The children giggle excitedly. “Go!” She tosses her snowball, hitting a boy in the arm. He throws his back at her and it sails through the air. Avery ducks to the side, quickly grabbing more snow, and the boy’s snowball flies towards Haft.

Haft, already past the group, doesn’t see the frozen projectile headed his way and catches it right on the back of the neck, giving out a yelp and nearly dropping his packages, which he juggles for a moment before turning to blink at Avery and her young hooligans.

The children freeze, watching Haft. Avery spins around, blinking. As Haft juggles the packages, she sees the snow on his shoulders and back. Her eyes widen slightly. “Oh. Haft!” Before she can help it, a laugh escapes her. “I am sorry about that…”

Haft says, “I uh…Lady Avery.” He bows awkwardly. “Quite alright. What do we have here, the makings of a battle?””

Avery glances at the children as they stare with slightly worried looks. “Seems you’ve frightened my troops.” She squishes her snowball to be more round, smirking.

Haft scowls. “Yes, I’ve been told that I only approve of people who are standing straight and looking angry. I must be absolutely terrifying to everyone else,” he says dryly.

Avery laughs, tossing her snowball to the nearest boy. “We’ll play again another day.” He catches the snow and they all run off. Avery brushes the cold snow off her hands. “I don’t find you terrifying at all.”

Haft reaches up to brush the snow off the back of his neck. “I didn’t mean to end your game.” He continues, “Well, I’m glad you hear it Lady Avery.”

Avery waves a hand. “No, they should be running off to supper anyway.” She motions towards the Stable. “They’ve each had a turn riding my horse this afternoon. He wasn’t too happy about the excited squealing, but he tolerated it like a good horse should.”

Haft asks, “Your horse has a mellow temperament then?”

Avery quickly shakes her head. “Quite the opposite, actually. He’s the big dappled grey in there. Always expects a treat or brushing.”

Haft says, “Oh…but he does well with the children? I’m afraid I’m not very knowledgeable about horses.”

Avery shrugs a bit. “He does well, yes. But he acts a bit sulky if they pull his mane or poke him.”

Haft tries for a bit of levity. “Funny, I’m just the same.”

Avery grins. “Perhaps you should introduce yourself to Cyrian, then.”

Haft asks, “Cyrian is your horse?”

Avery nods. “Yes. Although, he’ll probably just ignore you and look for me.”

Haft says, “Can’t say I blame him.” Haft’s eyes widen, and he pinkens a little. “I mean…well, you probably give him apples and such.”

Avery shakes her head, smiling. “Lord Peridan offered him an apple and he refused it.”

Haft snorts. “Well, there’s no accounting for taste.”

Avery hmms and nods. “He’s an odd horse…” She motions toward the packages. “I should let you get on with your business.”

Haft says, “Oh, this? Just running a bit low on ink and paper is all. Picked up a bit more.”

Avery smiles. “Oh, I see. Always important.”

Haft nods. “Well, I’ll bid you good day my lady.”

Avery nods. “Good day, Haft.” She grins. “Keep your eyes open for snowballs next time.”

Haft starts off, but shoots back over his shoulder, “That seems a necessary recommendation where your family is concerned, my lady.”

Avery laughs as she makes her way toward the gate.

Haft walks up the north stair.

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