In which there are home remedies

Off-duty Mess



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>

Contents: Hearth <LIT>.

Megren sits with her back against the hearthstone, her legs bent up in front of her, her book open in her lap. Anyone near her can hear her quietly sounding things out.

Haft enters the mess and glances about, nodding to a couple of guards before noticing Megren and selecting a chair next to the hearth.  “Progress?”

Megren looks up. “Oh! Hello. Um, maybe a little. Not a lot.”

Haft says, “Want to share?” He pinches the spot between his eyes.  “Or I can sit quiet if you’d rather.”

Megren closes the book over her hand. “I could use a break. Long day?”

Haft shakes his head.  “Not especially, but my head seems to disagree with that assessment.”

Megren nods. “Been to see Kairyn? She’s got teas and the like for that kind of thing.”

Haft asks, “Hmm?  No, hadn’t thought about it really.  They any good?”

Megren asks, “I don’t know. Don’t get headaches much. You could try a hot cloth, though. Shall I fetch you one?”

Haft glances around.  “If I say no, am I going to get a lecture on how I always say a soldier should take care of himself?”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Megren only grins in response.

Haft grimaces.  “I’ll fetch one on my way back to the barracks if it ain’t gone by then.  Fair?”

Megren rolls her eyes and pulls a handkerchief from her livery. “You got your waterskin?”

Haft says, “Back in the barracks.”

Megren pushes herself up off the ground. “I’ll get some from the table then.”

Haft opens his mouth to protest, then closes it.  “Right.”

Megren makes a quick trip to soak the cloth and returns with a cup of cider, a piece of bread, and one of the sticks many of the guards use to toast things on the hearth. She sets the cider and bread on the table next to Haft and sits cross-legged to wrap the wet handkerchief around the stick.

Haft looks amused.  “If you manage to set that on fire, see that you keep it away from my beard.”

Megren tucks the end in so it doesn’t flap and finds a spot near some glowing, but not flaming, coals. “No promises.”

Haft asks, “What’re the bread and cider for?”

Megren says, “Sometimes da gets headaches cause he hasn’t eaten enough.”

Haft says, “Well, you know me.  Not one to sat no to cider.”

Haft reaches for the mug and takes a sip.

Megren turns the stick. “I do know that.”

Haft asks, “How is your da?”

Megren says, “Oh, he’s same as ever. Going out hunting in a couple days.”

Haft asks, “Yeah?  How did you say he was injured again?”

Megren says, “Got his leg hurt from some ice a couple winter’s back. It’s fine now, mostly. Pains him when the weather changes too quickly.”

Haft asks, “Yeah, I’ve heard of stuff like that.  Good that he’s still able to use it.  What happened with the ice?”

Megren pulls the cloth back to test it with her finger. “Slipped pretty bad, fell on it twisted.”

Haft winces.  “Ow.  Good thing he had you.”

Megren begins to unwrap the handkerchief. “Yeah. It was hard for a while there. Took a while to set up a home in town, and the Captain had it set up so I only took night shifts so I could help him during the day. Worked out, though.” She hands him the cloth, which is just barely cool enough to hold. “Try that.”

Haft accepts the cloth and presses it to his forehead, glancing around surreptitiously.

Megren grins at the stealth, and settles back on the floor, gathering up her knees to her chest, ankles crossed. “Better?”

Haft says, “Yeah, a bit.  Thanks.”

Megren nods with satisfaction.

Haft asks, “You get many headaches yourself?”

Megren says, “Not me. Constitution like a bear, da says.”

Haft says, “Well, that’s good.  I don’t get ’em too often.  Thought about just going to the barracks and lying down, but it’s almost as noisy in there as it is in here.”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Megren nods. “Maybe the towers? Gets foot traffic between shifts, but not much else.”

Haft asks, “Yeah, but it’s more comfortable here.  I’ll be all right.  How’s the reading?”

Megren lifts a shoulder. “Perth’s helped a little.”

Haft asks, “Any critters in the book you hadn’t heard of before?”

Megren makes a thoughtful noise. “Not yet. Never seen a Unicorn before, though. Or a dragon, besides the ones on Sir Tyren’s clothes.”

Haft says, “Probably seeing a dragon is not something to aspire to, unless they’re safely penned at his estate.”

Megren says, “Can’t say I’m completely uninterested.”

Haft asks, “No?”

Megren gives him a blithe grin. “Penchant for curiosity.”

Haft waggles his brows.  “That’s how little girls get eaten.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at him. “Good thing I’m not a little girl then, I guess.”

Haft tilts his head.  “Guess so.  Though, now that I think of it, it’s wild beasts that prefer little girl.  Dragons like maidens fair.

Megren squints one eye. “You’re listening to some funny kind of stories. Pretty sure dragons like gold, caverns, and large mammals.”

Haft says, “Gold huh?  Well,” he leans back in his chair.  “At least you’re a redhead.”  He closes his eyes.”

Megren frowns a little, eyes flitting over him assessingly. “Anyway… guess I’d better stow this in my bunk before Gearn shows up teasing. You heading that way, or staying here a bit?”

Haft says, “Nah, think I’ll stay a few more minutes, maybe reheat the cloth.  I’ll see you later.”

Megren rises again. “All right. Feel better.”

Haft says, “Thanks.”


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