War Wounds

In which there is a discussion on the nature of language


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 <N>, Northern Market <NE>, Outer Gatehouse <E>, Southern Market <SE>, Stables <S>, Blacksmith <SW>, Inner Gatehouse <W>, South Stair <US>, North Stair <UN>

Haft enters the ward from the North Gate Tower, turning to look around before heading toward the outer gatehouse.

Abrielle runs into the Ward being chased by a pack of children who are giggling. She runs right into Haft, not seeing him because her attention is on the children.

Haft, in the process of putting something in the pouch at his side, finds himself jostled and drops two small, paper-wrapped packages, one of them splitting and spilling several silvers onto the ground.

Abrielle,hitting Haft pretty hard, falls to the ground. She blinks for a few moments before shaking her head. The Children scatter in fear. “Oh Haft! I am so sorry!” She begins trying to collect the silvers that fell out of Haft’s hands.

Haft kneels down to assist her.  “You all right?” he asks.

Abrielle nods and then quietly starts to laugh. “Yes. I am fine. Are you okay?”

Haft claps a hand to his torso.  “I’m pretty solidly built.  No damage.”  He glances around at the space now devoid of children.  “Don’t know why they’re so scared.  Am I really as terrifying as all that?”

Tyren walks toward the ward with a rather good-sized wolfhound at his heels, both knight and hound jerking to one side as a fair few youths go darting past them. Tyren glances to the hound as he raises a brow, while the hound just stares back at him with his head cocked just a touch.

Abrielle straightens up and also takes a quick look around. “I guess you are…we /were/ having a good time. One lad thought he could beat me up a tree.” She smiles, confidently. “I really showed him.” She holds out her hands which are all scratched up. “I got these as war wounds.”

Haft looks at her askance.  “You manage to beat him in them skirts?”

Tyren shrugs a shoulder, continuing on his way – until he halts as he passes Abrielle and Haft, the hound coming to a stop as well and sitting next to the knight in a dignified manner. “War wounds,” he echoes, somewhat flatly.

Abrielle nods. “Of course! I have always had to find a way to manage in these horrible dresses…it has never stopped–” She stops and drops to a curtsey as Sir Tyren comes closer. “Yes, sir.”

Haft turns at the knight’s words and bows, his face becoming more solemn at Tyren’s tone.  “Sir.”

Tyren asks, “A somewhat strong choice of words for the circumstance involved, don’t you think?”

Abrielle clasps her hands in front. “It was only a joke, Sir. I did not mean to offend you…” She looks to Haft for a moment before adding, “or anyone.”

Haft shakes his head, as though to indicate that he, at least, is not offended.  “It’s…dependent upon your experience, I think, Sir,” he says, addressing Tyren.  “Someone who’s never fought or been injured in a battle…it’s different.”

Tyren replies to Abrielle, “Less a matter of offense and more one of accuracy.” He nods slightly to Haft, acknowledging his point, before he says, “One must nevertheless be careful about the words one uses to describe things. If something like /that/ is a war wound – what, then, is left to call an injury taken should that circumstance come about one day?”

Abrielle tilts her head in understanding and goes quiet.

“Your point is valid,” Haft acknowledges.  “Still, I seem to remember an incident when I was a rather younger man…”  He glances at Tyren, but continues carefully.  “I was walking on the forest road toward the castle, and I saw a young lad–no more than six–who’d fallen out of an oak tree.  He’s sprained his ankle and was trying valiantly not to blub, being a young man of good family.  I’d say that lad, due to his inexperience, might have called that a war wound, don’t you?”  He avoids looking directly at Tyren.

Tyren’s mouth tugs slightly at the corner, and his tone softens a degree. “He might have,” he acknowledges. “Until his father gently reminded him of the point I’ve just made myself. It gave him much to consider.”

Haft nods.

Abrielle eyes Tyren carefully and then smiles.

Tyren says, “Words are a rather tricky business at times, though.”

Something flashes through Haft’s eyes briefly.  “They are,” he says.  “Can change a sentence, or a life, if ill-used.”

Abrielle glances at Haft and then back to Tyren. “I think that is true…sometimes. I think people should try to be considerate but there are moments when consideration oppresses a person into not sharing what they really feel.” She looks to the ground for a moment and then back up. “I would hate it if people were /so/ careful with their words that it discouraged them from sharing anything at all.”

Tyren replies, “To some, especially those in certain positions, if one is to err, it is better to err by being too careful than not careful enough.” He glances to the hound at his side, who has been sitting rather dutifully through the conversation. “Sometimes I think you have the right idea, though. Not like you have any trouble getting your point across to me without any words at all.” The hound proceeds to poke Tyren’s hand with his nose, gently, and the knight obliges with a scratch behind the ears. “Case in point.” The hound only replies with a few wags of his tail, though he maintains his dutiful composure.

Haft sighs. “There’s a balance,” he admits.  “I’d say it’s the words spoken in anger that’re more likely to go astray than a casual turn of phrase…”  He shrugs.  “What’s his name?”

Megren comes walking into the outer ward past the iron gates.

“This would be Elek,” says Tyren as he gestures toward the massive wolfhound sitting at his side, whose ears perk slightly at the name. “Who is far too serious for his own good sometimes, but he makes a very fine companion.”

Abrielle smiles at the dog. “He does seem like a happy one.”

Haft nods.  “Always liked wolfhounds.”

Tyren says, “Awful subtle about his happiness. But dutiful, and loyal to the last. Which, I suppose, is enough to keep him pleased.”

Megren traipses into the outer ward from the market, tucking a piece of parchment away as she goes.

Abrielle looks down at her hands and notices she is still holding Haft’s money. She hands it back to him.

Haft, having become distracted, blinks.  “Oh, thank you,” he says.  He eyes the one ruined makeshift envelope, then puts both parcels back in his pouch.

Tyren’s brow arches slightly, though he doesn’t comment, instead nodding toward Megren as she comes into view.

Megren, seeing the gathered group and taking the nod as invitation, grins broadly, bowling to the knight. She produces a small biscuit of the kind used in the kennels when the hounds have earned a treat and gives Sir Tyren a questioning look.

Abrielle watches Haft for a moment before smiling at Megren.

Tyren glances from Megren to Elek, who sniffs at the air for a moment before looking to the knight. Tyren chuckles slightly, and turns his glance back to Megren as he inclines his head.

Megren kneels halfway down and extends the treat to the wolfhound as she looks up at the others. “Hello, everyone!’

Haft smiles.  “Hey Meg.”

Abrielle gives Megren a small wave. “Hello.”

Tyren says, “Evening, Megren.”

Elek sniffs at Megren’s hand a moment before carefully accepting the treat, which he chews on for several beats before he wags his tail twice and noses Megren’s hand again.

Megren lets Elek lick the crumbs from her palm before scratching between his ears. “What are we gathered over today?”

Haft says, “Hmm?  Oh, Abrielle and I had a little spill.”

Abrielle nods.

Tyren says, “Which was about when Elek and I made our way through.”

Megren glances up at Haft. “Uh oh. You didn’t lose anything important I hope?”

Haft says, “Nothing that wasn’t recovered.  Just need to wrap it better.”

Abrielle glances at Haft. “I am sorry though.”

Haft asks, “Well, was an accident.  Or were you lying in wait?”

Megren glances between them, slightly more than half her attention still on the dog.

Abrielle smiles. “You will never know…”

Elek remains dutiful at Tyren’s side, prim and proper, though he wags his tail a few times.

Tyren chuckles, glancing to Megren. “I think he’s taken a bit of a shine to you.”

Haft says, “Megren has a way with beasts.  We were pondering the other day how she’d fare against your manor swans.”

Abrielle watches the hound and Megren closely.

Tyren’s brow lifts at this. “Is that so? Nasty lot, them, when you catch them in the wrong mood. I don’t know which is worse, them or the peacocks.”

Abrielle looks around and sighs. “I am sorry to do this but I need to be on my way.” She curtsies to Tyren and nods to Megren. “Nice to see you all again.”

Megren looks about to say something about the peacocks, but she switches tack when Abrielle bids them farewell. “Oh, you too!”

Tyren nods once to Abrielle. “Good eve, then.

Haft says, “See you around Abrielle.”

Abrielle smiles at all of them before leaving.

Abrielle walks eastward toward the gatehouse.

Megren looks at Sir Tyren once Abrielle has left. “There’re peacocks, too?”

Tyren nods once. “Mother’s doing.”

Haft asks, “You Chestertons do go in for large winged critters.  You don’t have actual dragons patrolling your yard, I suppose?”

Tyren smirks rather broadly at this particular question, and replies simply by patting the draconically-decorated sword at his side.

Megren laughs. “A little dragon paddock with rocks and golden toys to fetch and wood stacks for scorching.”

Haft says, “Good for lighting fires in winter…or roasting apples.”

Megren says, “Hot cheese on a stick.”

Tyren remarks lightly, “We tried that one summer, got awful gooey.”

Haft whips back, “The cheese, or the people doing the toasting?”

Megren giggles and wrinkles her nose at the graphic image.

Tyren says simply, “Yes.”

Haft says, “Yes, I can see why you gave it up.”

Megren eyes Sir Tyren, as if looking for gooeyness.

Tyren says, “Yes, we did away with the actual dragons rather quickly after that. Nowadays they leave the menacing and the firey temperment to me, and Tyre manages the hoard, as it were.”

Megren lifts her brows a bit. “And the flying is for the birds,” she remarks peaceably.

Haft says, “You see Meg?  Menacing is a perfectly respectable business.”

Megren asks, “Are dragons what we aspire to these days, then?”

Tyren says, “Well, I don’t exactly have much choice in the matter, myself.”

Haft opens his mouth, then decides he’s not going to answer that one.

Megren says, “For my part, I think I shall see about the flying and the fruit-toasting.”

Tyren stifles a snigger, which doesn’t entirely work, resulting in a rather undignified sort of noise – and a sideways glance from Elek.

Haft says, “Yes, well from what I’ve seen of your abilities, I reckon you’re more than capable.”

Megren clasps her hands behind her back in a dignified manner. “Why thank you, Haft.”

Tyren returns his hound’s look. “Oh you hush.”

Megren gives Elek a meaningful look, just between the two of them.

Haft releases an amused snort.

Tyren folds his arms. “Too serious for your own good. I keep telling you that. As I’m sure Durant does even more often than I do.”

Elek snorts once.

Haft says, “You sure he’s not a Talking Beast, Sir?  He’s almost cheeky enough.”

Megren giggles. “It seems as if half the kennel could use a lesson in not sassing their betters.”

Tyren replies, “You want cheeky, you should see my horse one of these days.” He ruffles Elek’s fur as he says, “Although I suppose between the two of them they keep me from getting too serious. With a healthy degree of aid from my wife and daughter.”

Haft asks, “How old is your daughter, Sir?”

Tyren says, “Three years, now. Closer to three and a half, actually.”

Megren says to Haft, “You can see her around with Lady Astera sometimes in the inner ward.”

Haft says, “Think I might have.  Dark hair?  Sweet age.”

Tyren smiles broadly, the pride of a father evident on his features. “That’d be her, most likely.”

Megren looks delighted by this change in expression. “How much longer will she and Lady Astera remain at court?”

Tyren says, “Not certain, but probably a while yet. Astera’s rather missed it here. And Lana’s a good deal to see and a fair few friends to make, too.”

Megren replies brightly, “It’s a good place to call home.”

Haft smiles.  “It is.”

Tyren hehs. “Home is where you lay your sword at the end of the day, wherever that may be… but yes, Anvard is a fine place for it. I know I’m always glad when I’m able to spend time at court.”

Haft says, “With respect, Sir, it’s different for a guard.  We have one home and we mostly stay in it.  Best that it’s a good one.”

Tyren acknowledges this with a nod. “Just so.”

Megren says, “Though, it is where our swords are when we’re sleeping, too.”

Haft says, “Makes it easier to find ’em in the morning.”

Megren’s face takes on an impishly thoughtful expression.

Haft scowls as if he knows exactly what she’s thinking of.

Tyren chuckles. “Best to keep it close at hand so it’s always right where you need it.” He glances to Elek. “For now though, I think it’s time my family had me close at hand. Best get you back into the kennels so I can get back to them.”

“Pleasant day, Sir,” Haft says, bowing.

Megren bows. “I’m to meet Perth anyway.” She extends her hand to Elek.

Elek noses it obligingly in farewell, with a low ‘wuff.’ Tyren nods with a smile, saying, “To the both of you as well,” before he heads into the kennels, emerging a few moments later sans wolfhound to head into the castle.

Tyren walks west toward the inner gatehouse.

Haft glances at Megren.  “Not a bad idea to keep it close for other reasons I could name.”

Megren gives Haft a grin full of withheld ideas and says innocently, “Oh?”

Haft makes a rather prunish face.  “Bells.”

Megren says, “I’m sure I don’t know what you can be thinking of.”

Haft presses his lips together.  “Fiddlin’ with my gear.  It’s a good thing I like you.”

Megren nods happily. “It is.”

Haft says, “Well, I won’t keep you.  I’d better get some things taken care of before my own watch later.”

Megren exclaims, “Right! Perth. I’ll see you later in the mess maybe, though.” She starts to turn toward the tower and then stops. “Oh– there’s a kid running about. Lord Dar’s squire, Cantil. I bet he’d like to see your drawings… with the–” she takes on a swordswoman’s stance and lifts her brows at him to see if he understands.

Haft says, “Ah yes, Cantil.”  He looks a bit rueful.  “He…” He checks himself and glances around at the still-busy ward.  “Maybe I’ll just walk you up.”

Megren’s brows peak and then she nods, stepping back for him to lead the way.

Northern Wall Walk

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You stand on Anvard’s Northern Wall Walk. From here you have a view of travellers approaching from the north and northeast. A cool wind ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals the bustle of people going to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Gate Tower <E>, Outer Wall Walk <S>, Watchtower <W>

Megren comes walking out of the North Gate Tower.

Once they are en route to the wall walk and out of earshot, Haft continues.  “Met Cantil yesterday.  Seems like a nice kid.”

Megren nods, listening.

Haft says, “Got a sense of humor on him, and a little bit of lip, but then so do I.  Got some good judgment, too, though.  Probably better than mine.  Not to pry when it’s not wanted.”

Megren lifts her brows, waiting for whatever this is leading to.

Haft sighs.  “You met Greta?  Lady Avery’s maid?”

Megren says, “I don’t know her very well.”

Haft says, “I’d call that a blessing.  Wish I didn’t know her a bit.  She’s a right vexation.”

Megren wrinkles her nose.

Haft says, “Don’t you go looking at me that way.  Girl’s a gossip, and unrepentant about it.”

Megren says, “Anyway.”

Haft says, “Anyway, she decided to announce to him that I’d been sent away to Narnia for some crime.  Just said it right out like I weren’t even standing there.”

Megren takes a breath and tilts her head. “What did you do?”

Haft murmurs, “Not much I could do, was there?  Wasn’t like the tavern; they were just kids.  I told her to mind her own affairs, and him that his master knew about it and that should be good enough for him.  And that’s the thing:  I think it was good enough.  He passed me by later on the wall walk, maybe just up exploring, or maybe he wanted a better look at me.  I could tell he was curious, but he didn’t press, even when I growled at him to ask if he wanted.  That’s…” he sighs “…impressive in a youth.”

Megren looks just a little amused at this last part. She nods, though. “He seems a good sort. I think you two might get on. If you don’t make much of it I doubt he will.”

Haft says, “Well, if you see him again, you can mention my book, though it’s mostly just what’s in the library.”  He pauses, considering.  “I might add to it, if I think of things worth including.  Can he read?”

Megren makes a hesitant noise. “I think a little. I wouldn’t push the reading part though, if you can manage not to. I guess he had a hard time with it back when he was trying to learn.”

Haft says, “Ah.  Well, I’m happy to go over the forms with him, if he wants to and has the time, and if I didn’t scare him off.  Didn’t seem too nervous to my eyes.”

Megren nods again. “He seems to recover quickly.” Her brows lift when they reach the walk and a figure can be seen walking toward them. “Ah, there’s Perth.”

Haft claps her on the shoulder.  “I’ll see you later.”  He turns and heads back toward the barracks.

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