Barbarians

In which Haft and Sehsis meet again, and prejudice comes into play

The Bird and Baby’s Tavern

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============================================================================== This room echoes with a nearly constant din as voices rise and fall in conversation. An atmosphere of warmth and cheer predominates, and the walls have been painted a dark red. There are several tables for diners; many line the wall to provide for more private discussions. A board hangs in a highly visible location; it pays tribute to the history of the dining room and includes sketches of some of its more well known denizens. A menu, written out by hand, indicates what selections are being served. If the aromas emanating from the kitchen beyond are any evidence, the food is certain to please. In the back is a smaller room where isolated gatherings can be held. ==============================================================================

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You can go: Foyer <NE>, Kitchens <S>, Out to the Courtyard <SE>

Contents: A son of adam with a swarthy complexion (Sehsis); Clift, the

Tavernkeeper’s Assistant; Pricelist; and Wolves and Foxes Game Set.

 

Haft sits at a corner table with a plate of bacon in front of him, observing the room.

Sehsis walks into the tavern from the inn beyond and walks to the bar, buying himself some tea before taking a look around for a free table.

Haft frowns a little upon seeing the Calormene, but makes no other indication that he’s seen the man and continues to attend to his bacon.

Sehsis selects a table quite close to the fire which by sheer coincidence happens to be near where Haft is.

Haft tenses, not particularly wanting the man’s attention.

Sehsis does not seem to have noticed Haft and is instead focused on his tea. Some time passes and he happens to look towards Haft, he frowns slightly as through trying to remember where he’s seen him before.

Haft, having been watching the entire room, is perfectly well aware that he’s caught Sehsis’ eye.  He turns his head to look at the man directly and raises a brow.

Sehsis watches him a moment longer then, giving up says, “You look somewhat familiar have we met before?”

Haft nods slowly.  “The inn in Andale.  Pleasant night,” he adds dryly.

Sehsis winces at the recollection, “Ah yes. You’re the guard”

Haft says, “Yeah.  And I saw you the next day at the castle.  You were making a delivery.”

Sehsis nods, “Yes, now I remember.”

Haft looks like he had a bad taste in his mouth.  “You’re a merchant.  Seen anything interesting on your travels since leaving Andale?”

Sehsis says, “I suppose that depends on what you mean by interesting but no, I would not say so.”

Haft asks, “Where all does your business take you?”

Sehsis says, “Here it is mostly to Chesterton.”

Haft asks, “‘Here’?  You mean when you’re in Archenland?”

Sehsis nods, “Yes, I do”

Haft asks, “Where do you travel when you’re in Calormen?”

Sehsis says, “I live in Tashbaan so I spend most of my time there, though I have been known to go further afield on occasion, my family has customers outside of the city and of course some of my supplies are outside of there as well”

Haft says, “You don’t seem to get up to Anvard much.”

Sehsis says, “No, I don’t and what with one thing and another I am not going there unless I absolutely have to”

Haft nods and speaks quietly.  “I guess then, that you, sir, have incredibly poor timing.”

Sehsis stares down into his teacup and gives a small nod, “Poor timing perhaps, or bad luck.”

Haft asks, “So why’d you sit out in the hall like that?  Didn’t you know you were asking for trouble?”

Sehsis frowns slightly, “I was staying at the inn, not having anywhere else to stay and I had not eaten that day, I had as it were, very little in the way of choice”

“Mighta taken it back to your room instead of sitting out for all to see,” Haft points out.

Sehsis’s eyes narrow almost imperceptibly, “I never did anything”

Haft asks, “No.  But that ain’t always the point, is it?  Was your pride worth almost starting a brawl that you weren’t prepared to finish?”

Sehsis’s voice takes on a note of annoyance, “I didn’t start anything so don’t blame me for this one”

Haft looks annoyed in turn.  “‘This one?'”

Sehsis says, “It is hardly my fault if some hot headed idiot decides to pick fights”

“Your people killed his brother,” Haft growls lowly.  “A lot of families lost fathers and sons because of your kind.  What did you expect?”

Sehsis waves a hand in exasperation and says in an annoyed voice which is perhaps louder than he should be, “Oh yes because, blame me for the actions of some people who I’d never met, never mind they were just a tiny fraction of the population no.” His voices raises further, drawing a few looks which he ignores “Of course it makes complete sense that we’re all guilty!”

Haft flinches slightly at the raised voice and the attention it’s receiving.  “Yeh might want ta keep yer voice down.”

Sehsis settles back, glowering into his tea, “Why? People here are sensible, they know I had nothing to do with anything that may have happened.”

Haft says, “People here are sensible because it wasn’t their men dyin’, mostly.”

Sehsis’s voice takes on a sarcastic edge- that is, more sarcastic than he had already been, “I am certain knowing me for almost a year has nothing to do with this”

Haft nods slightly, allowing the point.  “That might be a factor.”

Sehsis says coldly, “A person has a right to safety, and to go about their business unharassed. As a guardsman, I would think that you would know that the blame lies with he who does the harassing”

Haft narrows his eyes, jaw tightening.  “I’ll thank you to recall who I sided with.  Doesn’t mean I appreciate the foolhardiness of it.”

Sehsis asks, “It is foolhardy to expect to spend five minutes somewhere in peace then to leave?”

Haft snorts.  “The question answers itself, doesn’t it?  You saw what happened.”

Sehsis mumbles “… … … … … … to … civility from barbarians, by … reaction … expect …”, to Sehsis.

Haft barks a laugh.  “Barbarians?”

Sehsis says, “Yes”

Haft asks, “That’s rich, coming from a Calormene.  What, exactly, makes us barbarians?”

Sehsis shoots him a glare, “Coming from a Calormene!?”

Haft gets a pugnacious look.  “That’s right.”

Sehsis seems momentarily speechless then says, “Ah, let me guess. Had you not been a guardsman you would have been the man making the threats.”

Haft jumps to his feet, palms flat on the table.  “I did it because it was right.  Because–” His face contorts in anger and he abandons the remnants of his breakfast, striding from the room without another word.

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