In which there is swordplay, discussion of Anvard employment opportunities, and a new face in town
You stand in the Outer Gatehouse of Anvard. Its sturdy, iron-bound wooden gates loom to the east. Another pair stands open to the west. Within, you can see the busy Outer Ward, full of people coming and going from Anvard’s open air market.
Across the ward you see the inner gatehouse, Anvard’s second line of defense. To the east you can see the road leading away from the castle.
You can go: Outside <E>, Outer Ward <W>
Contents: A son of adam with hunting gear.
Haft steps into the gatehouse, nodding to Perth and Gearn as he passes through.
Deonyc walks up to the guards and asks “Any new happenings in Anvard? Haven’t been here for a while.”
Gearn looks at Deonyc while Perth attends to the business of the gatehouse. “Depends how long you’ve been away, I guess.” He tilts his head inquiringly.
Deonyc says, “The last month, anything big since then?”
Gearn shrugs. “Eh, not much since the fire.” He gives a smirk at the older guardsman’s back as Haft almost succeeds in exiting the gatehouse toward the village. “Why don’t you ask Haft here to catch you up? Me and Perth are on duty, but he’s got time and plenty to spare, don’t you Haft?”
Haft turns, glaring at Gearn, then turning to glance over the newcomer. “All the time in the world,” he mutters. “I’m heading for town. You want news, come on.”
Deonyc turns and walks over to Haft, “Got buisness in town?”
Haft grunts, “Gotta see the seamstress.”
Deonyc asks, “Lets go then, and what was the thing about the fire?”
They start walking toward the town.
Before the Gates of Anvard
]----------------------- ,%~ --[
A flat green space at the foot of the mountains opens here, sheltered by the
slopes of the northern mountains. Stormness Head looms high to the northeast,
its peak nearly always in clouds, and the double-headed peak of Mount Pire
rises over the trees to the northwest. A steep ridge like the side of a bowl
curves around from the northwest to the east, and the ground descends into
dense forest to the south.
At the center of the clear area is a small turreted castle, facing east. Its
weathered walls are built of large blocks of red granite that glitter faintly
in the sunlight, and elegantly functional ironwork graces the front gates and
portcullis. A stone cobbled road wide enough to easily facilitate the passage
of carts and carriages crosses over the broad green lawns from the castle
gates, disappearing into the trees to the east.
]-- ,%~ -----------------------[
You can go: Into the Castle <W>, Down the Castle Road <E>
Haft says, “You’ve been away longer than a month if you didn’t hear about that.””
Deonyc says, “Well mostly I come hunt a bit and leave again; I never stay very long and i don’t talk much with the townsfolk.”
Haft growls, “So why am I deserving of the privilege?”
Deonyc says, “I can leave, too, if I’m intruding. Just trying to catch up a bit.”
Haft sighs. “That was, oh, a month and a half ago now, I guess. We’d had some funny fellow making a nuisance of himself around the castle. One day he up and sets his house on fire.”
Deonyc asks, “His own house?? Why would he do that?”
Haft says, “Not quite sure, to be honest. Maybe he hoped to set the whole village on fire, or injure someone in putting it out. I thought at the time that maybe he meant to cause mischief elsewhere while the fire was burning, but if he did I never heard tell of it.”
Deonyc asks, “Seems the guards are having plenty of work. Did you join before the battle?”
Haft’s step falters and he gives Deonyc a hard look. “After.”
Deonyc takes a step back, “Just asking, i thought about joining, but in the end I decided against it. Not the job for me.”
“I was just wondering,” Haft says slowly, “how you knew I wasn’t in the guard till recently. You’re that familiar with everyone in Anvard?”
Deonyc says, “I used to live here, a while ago.”
Haft asks, “When was that then?”
Deonyc says, “A little less than a year ago.”
Haft grunts, “Lucky you, missing the battle.”
Deonyc says, “No, I was in the battle, can’t say I was of much use, got knocked out fairly early into the battle.”
Haft looks at Deonyc with renewed interest. “Tell me about it. The parts you remember.”
Deonyc says, “Well as the Narnians came and we left the castle to attack the Calormenes I was on the right flank and I and a burly Calormene exchanged some blows, but one with a mace struck me over the head, couldn’t raise my shield in time.”
Haft gapes. “With a mace? You’re blessed to still have a head. Man musta been badly off balance.”
Deonyc says, “Yes, I really was lucky. I’m surprised they didn’t slit my throat right there. I woke up the day after the battle and that was just bad. I mean I’m not a bad soldier, but to get knocked out, well I should really practice more.”
Haft says, “A man fighting dozens doesn’t always take the time to make sure his downed opponent’s really finished.” He pauses as though thinking of something, then shakes his head. “What sort of practice have you had?””
Deonyc says, “Well seeing as that I’m a ranger I normaly hunt, the occasional fox and boar, and sometimes finishing a deer.”
Haft says, “Aye, but that’s not sword fighting. Some knife work, yes, but it’s two different things. Learning to take down a boar might help with the fear, but it won’t teach you technique.”
Deonyc says, “It’s true, fighting animals is quite different from fighting men, seeing as they dont have tusks or horns, they still have armour though.”
Haft chuckles. “Be glad you never faced an enemy in Narnia. They got critters there with horns and armor. Or used to. Ain’t heard tell of a minotaur in a long year now.”
Deonyc says, “Well I still lay hope on trees and arrows, Not very honorable, but it works.”
Haft says, “Trees? Oh, you mean taking cover while you shoot? Yes, works in the forest. Don’t work on an open field.”
Deonyc says, “Well seeing as that im a ranger trees aren’t usualy that hard to find for me, specialy when I work in a forest.”
Haft asks, “What do you mean by ‘ranger’?”
Deonyc says, “Well I hunt and take care of the forests.”
Deonyc says, “Sometimes the mountains.”
Haft asks, “They need taking care of?”
Deonyc says, “If there are to many boars they will come out of the forest and start ravaging the villages. The woods can only feed so many.”
Deonyc says, “And bears can be a threat haven’t killed one yet though.”
Haft says, “Hmm, I got one awhile back. Still have the skin. Makes for a nice extra cover in the barracks.”
Deonyc says, “Well I guess it cant hurt. I still prefer a deer hide. Not so heavy.”
Haft says, “True, but it was worth seeing the look on Gearn’s face when I brought it back. Lotta the guard don’t have much experience with hunting.”
Deonyc says, “What do they do in their free time then?”
Haft frowns. “Depends on the man. Some of them sit around the mess most of the time and play cubes or chess or darts. Nothin’ wrong with that. Any man worth his salt spends an hour or two a day in the Practice Room working on swordsmanship or other skills, or just getting exercise.”
Deonyc says, “Well you can’t get all too far beating up straw puppets.”
Haft tsks. “Of course not. Far better to ‘beat up on’ each other.”
Deonyc says, “You fight with each other.”
Haft says, “Of course. Can’t effectively practice what you’ll do against an opponent without an actual opponent.”
Deonyc says, “True. I just hope we wont get that much practical exercise any time soon.”
Haft doesn’t look very impressed by this sentiment. “If you don’t practice when you don’t need it, you won’t know it when you do. As you learned the hard way.”
Deonyc says, “Well i mean that i hope we won’t need it. Its a waste of lives.”
Haft considers this, then answers, “Depends on what you’re fighting for. We were fighting for our home.”
Deonyc says, “Well i would also not hesitate to defend my home i just hope i don’t have to any time soon”
Haft says, “Yes. Well I spent forty-five years without ever seeing a battle like that, and I hope to spend the rest of my life without seeing one again. But I was ready–or ready enough–when it came, and I mean to stay ready.”
Deonyc says, “Yes i aim to do the same.”
Haft asks, “So who do you practice with then?”
Deonyc says, “The foxes boars and deer of my forest, and my trusty bow.”
Haft nods. “Probably best you stick to archery.”
Deonyc says, “Yes i guess so but id rather be prepared if i have to draw my sword.”
Haft stops walking and gives Deonyc an annoyed look. “Then I ask again, who do you practice with?”
Deonyc says, “Well every now and then i go to the practice fields, but there isn’t really anybody to practice with in Coghill.”
Haft shakes his head. “I had similar difficulties when I lived in Narnia…hard to find humans to practice against, for one thing, but then danger in Narnia wasn’t so likely to come from humans as other things. But if you have no one to test yourself against, you’ll lose all you’ve learned, if you knew anything to begin with.”
Deonyc asks, “Are you harping on my skill with the sword?”
Haft smirks. “You caught that, did you?”
Deonyc asks, “Are you challenging me?”
Haft tilts his head. “Yes, I think so. I imagine one of us will get a valuable lesson out of it.”
Deonyc says, “Well I certanly don’t mind if i get beaten, but of to the lists it is then.”
Haft says, “Hold. I’ll not cross swords with a man without knowing first his name.”
Deonyc says, “if you must Deonyc Woodsbourogh to you.”
Haft nods curtly. “Haft.”
Haft says, “Guess we should turn back to the castle and pick up a couple of wooden swords. I’ll fetch my gambeson, too.”
Deonyc says, “Yes i guess so.”
They return to the castle where Haft grabs a practice sword and the gambeson he wears under his livery, and Deonyc purchases a wooden sword for himself.
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>
Haft quirks a brow at Deonyc. “You want to unload some of that meat before walking back to town, or will you be eating it yourself later?”
Deonyc asks, “Could i sell it somewhere?”
Haft grunts, “Fellow in the smokehouse buys meat. I can sell it for you, if you like.”
Deonyc says, “Okay thanks then.”
Haft takes the meat and sells it in the smokehouse before returning.
Haft hands over the money from the sale. “There you go. Now, as for the lists, I rather think the Practice Grounds will do for now.”
Deonyc says, “Yes I think that would be better seeing as were not betting on anything.”
They walk to the practice grounds.
Ziel’s Practice Grounds
You stand in another bit of cleared ground, just off Vechter’s Field, and obviously a part of it. Ziel, a young Son of Adam, sits on his chair, generally snoozing unless he’s pestered for a target. Behind him is a pile of straw targets, some new, some half-made, some completely destroyed, ready to be taken apart and remade, if only Ziel would wake up and get to work. There are several stands at different heights, scattered across the clearing. It appears that the targets are affixed to these, once purchased.
The only easy way to leave is to go through Vecter’s Field to the east. The rest of the area is hemmed in by conifers.
You can go: Vechter’s Field <E>
Deonyc says, “Should we practice here.”
Haft glances at the sleeping Ziel. “I don’t think he’ll mind. Well, I gave the challenge, after a fashion, so I’ll allow you the first attempt.” Haft takes the wooden sword and grips it firmly with both hands between hilt and pommel.
Deonyc says, “Well, here goes nothing ”
Haft winces as if he finds the very sentiment appalling.
Deonyc swings his sword in a wide arc and tries to bring it down with two hands.
Haft grunts, not fully deflecting the strike. He keeps his own swordwork less grandiose and more controlled, striking toward Deonyc’s chest.
Deonyc staggers and takes a step back. He lunges forward trying to thrust his sword at haft.
Haft’s lips thin. “Better,” he mutters, looking for an opening and lunging again.
Deonyc mutters, “Wish I had a shield,” while striking back.
Haft grunts at the impact. “Useful things, but heavy to carry constantly,” he says as he circles. “I didn’t have one in the Battle of Anvard and I made it through alive. Learn to make do with what you have.” He strikes at Deonyc’s forearm.
Deonyc rubs his arm but strikes back putting his full weight behind the blade.
Haft nearly gets a blow in while Deonyc is busy rubbing his arm, but isn’t quite fast enough. He returns the blow with another of his own.
Ignoring the blow, Deonyc strikes back.
Haft grunts again as the sword connects, then moves quickly, aiming from the right.
Deonyc raises his sword above his head and tries to strike haft.
Haft leaps aside, avoiding most of the blow, then returns another, toward Deonyc’s heart.
Deonyc checks the cut but strikes back.
Haft makes an exasperated sound. “Stop checking your injuries while you’re fighting. You’ll get yourself killed that way. If your hand’s cut off, you’ll know it.” He stabs quickly.
Deonyc says, “Well you also don’t want to fall into a rage.”
Deonyc thrusts at Haft.
Haft deflects the majority of the blow, more distracted by Deonyc’s words than the actual pain. He returns a strike of his own, grunting, “Rage?”
Deonyc says, “Well when you forget your surroundings and forget the situation you’re in.”
Deonyc strikes at Haft.
Haft stares at the man in disbelief, then shakes his head as he absorbs the blow and returns it.
Deonyc raises his sword to deflect the blow but the blade nicks his shoulder
Deonyc tries to hit Haft’s shoulder.
Haft flinches, stepping to the right again to deliver another thrust.
Deonyc steps back and shakes his head but still strikes back.
Haft presses his advantage, ignoring the minor sting and swiftly stabbing at Deonyc’s side.
Deonyc steps side to side looking for a weak spot finding one he trys to stabb haft .
Haft nods his approval that the younger man found an opening, then strikes again from the right.
Deonyc says, “Well I guess I can see where this is going.”
“An intelligent man would,” Haft smiles.
Deonyc tries to strike at Haft’s legs.
Haft winces at the impact near his shin. But the motion has opened up Deonyc’s shoulder, a fact Haft attempts to take advantage of.
Deonyc says, “Okay, I think we can stop now.”
Haft steps back, lowering his sword and nodding.
Deonyc says, “Can’t take much more of this.”
Deonyc goes over to his stuff and sits down
Deonyc says, “You hungry?”
Haft says, “Hmm, I’m all right.” He chuckles. “You know, you were better than I expected.””
Deonyc says, “Well I was not expecting to win… I mean you’re a guard and have a few years of experience more than me.”
Deonyc pulls Sourdough Bread from Knapsack.
Deonyc eats a slice of sourdough bread.
Deonyc holds out the bread to Haft. “made it myself.”
Haft folds his hands over his chest. “Just a few. You’re not bad though. But you make too many large, sweeping motions. Opens you up for an opponent with better form. And you don’t move enough.”
Haft nods. “I won’t refuse.”
Deonyc hands Sourdough Bread to Haft.
Haft eats a slice of sourdough bread. It is wholesome and filling, slightly tangy to the taste.
Haft tests the bread, chewing thoughtfully. “Missed your calling, maybe, Ranger.”
Deonyc says, “Wild animals don’t really give you the time to move.”
Deonyc asks, “Meaning?”
Haft frowns. “What do you do, just stand there and let them charge you straight on?”
Haft says, “Coulda been a baker. This is good.”
Deonyc says, “Sometimes that’s not bad. If they run straight at you you just hold out your sword and they almost spit themselves up.”
Deonyc says, “Well I have to cook for myself so I make simple food until it tastes good enough as anyrhing else.”
Deonyc says, “Well for boars you would use spears.”
Deonyc says, “I usually try to shoot down prey as well.”
Haft says, “Heh. Yeah I cooked for myself for years. My fellow guard doesn’t think much of it I guess. Trying to learn me to cook.”
Deonyc says, “Well if he wants to buy or eat gruel the whole time that’s fine by me.”
Haft leans on the wooden sword. “She, actually. And she’s not a bad cook herself. Showed me something fancy with a stuffed quail that was right tasty.”
Deonyc says, “If she can cook quail she’s really good.”
Deonyc says, “I hardly get past soup and bread.”
Haft nods. “Not real good with bread myself. Can keep a perpetual stew going. Hard to wreck that.”
Deonyc says, “Well sourdough is cheap and easy to make.”
Haft says, “If you say so.”
Deonyc counts on his fingers: “Flour, water , salt, and a starter.”
Haft says, “Huh. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad…except…I live in the barracks. Ain’t really got time to have bread rising in the kitchens and all that. Gets in the way of other folk.”
Deonyc says, ” Well you just leave it in a bowl for a few hours and then bake it.”
Haft shrugs, looking uninterested.
Deonyc asks, “so heard of any jobs in the castle?”
Haft says, “Jobs?” He frowns. “Don’t rightly know….might be something come open in the kennels lately, but I’m not sure about that. Think one of the scullery maids married and moved away. Why?”
Deonyc says, “Well I thought about coming back to Andale. But if I will I’d need a good reason to, and an occupation.”
Haft asks, “You said being a guard wasn’t for you. Why’s that?”
Deonyc says, “Well I don’t enjoy standing around a lot.”
Haft’s lips twitch. “Highly underrated. But I suppose it’s not for everyone.” His eyes narrow a little. “You got much family?
Deonyc says, “No I have a brother in the mountains somewhere but other than that no family.”
Haft gives him a hard look. “In the mountains somewhere?”
Deonyc says, “Well and my father but I haven’t seen him in a long time.”
Haft asks, “And he lives where?”
Deonyc says, “Me and my brother went separate ways quite early.”
Haft shakes his head disapprovingly.
Deonyc says, “Around Stormness Head ”
Haft asks, “Your father lives there? Or your brother?”
Deonyc says, “Dont quite know. Haven’t seen them in a while as I said.”
Haft asks, “And where you been living since?”
Deonyc says, “Coghill.”
Haft asks, “Lotta folks know you there?”
Deonyc says, “Well I know Sehsis, but we’re not really on a talking basis right now.”
Deonyc says, “Kind of called him out during the battle and he’s Calormene, so…”
Haft frowns. “Sehsis. His name comes up a lot. What do you mean you ‘called him out’?”
Deonyc says, “Well I asked what we should do with him during the battle.”
Deonyc says, “See I was really surprised when the Calormenes attacked.”
Haft raises a brow. “Yeah? Who’d you ask? One of the Guard?”
Deonyc says, “Well everybody at once kind of.”
Haft asks, “And what’d they say?”
Deonyc says, “Nothing, so we just left him alone.”
Haft asks, “They didn’t say anything?”
Deonyc says, “Well he’s a merchant and I trust that he didn’t have anything to do with the attack so we just left him alone.”
Haft narrows his eyes. “I don’t think that’s quite so. Wasn’t his weapon confiscated?”
Deonyc says, “He had a weapon? That really surprises me I took him hunting once and he threw up when I killed the animal.”
Haft says, “I saw the king return it, after the battle. Or that was what it looked like.”
Deonyc says, “Maybe I’ll ask him about it when I go back, but I doubt he had a weapon.”
Haft snorts. “I’m sure he’d just love to relive it.”
Deonyc says, “I mean that’s if he even talks to me but…”
“I wouldn’t,” Haft says flatly.
Deonyc says, “Didn’t you have business with the seamstress? ”
Haft tilts his head, smile not entirely pleasant. “Want to be rid of me now?”
Deonyc shakes his head and says “No it’s just I don’t quite know what to think of him right now.”
Haft says, “Of Sehsis.”
Deonyc nods “Yes.”
Haft asks, “The king accepted him at the feast. What leaves doubt in your mind?”
Deonyc says, “I’m not quite sure, I mean what you said about the weapon, what if you are right? Just why would he carry a weapon? The road from Coghill to Anvard is not dangerous.”
Haft scowls. “What is not dangerous one day may be dangerous another. Bandits in Archenland are not unheard of.” He considers. “The road from Barfield to Sted Cair is not dangerous, and yet as a matter of principle my sword does not leave my side, and so was to hand when Narnia mustered to aid you, though I dare say another might have been found.”
Deonyc says, “I trust Sehsis and until anything happens I will continue to trust him even if he doesn’t trust me.”
Haft asks, “Did you know each other well before the battle?”
Deonyc says, “Yes, quite, we talked often.”
Haft says, “But you were not friends.”
Deonyc says, “Well something between friends and acquaintances. I must go now. Farewell.”
Haft’s face is stony. “I would never speak to you again, were I him.” He clears his throat at the farewell. “A word of advice, Deonyc? If you seek a job in the castle, make sure there are people who can vouch that you are who you say you are. Because if you aren’t…well, let’s just say that the last man to ask me about employment in Anvard set his house on fire.”
Deonyc says, “Well the only person that knows me well is Sehsis but I doubt he’ll vouch for me and I’d rather not burn down any houses.Thanks for the advice. I’ll take it to heart. Till we meet again.”
Haft says, “Good day.”
Deonyc says, “Good day to you too.”
Haft turns and walks from the Practice Grounds.