Clarity

 In which there is bigotry

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 daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle);

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

 

Sehsis is sitting at a table by the fire, his usual cup of tea in hand.

Haft enters the tavern, glancing around and starting toward a corner table before notincing Sehsis.  He frowns deeply for a moment, then narrows his eyes and strides directly to the man’s table and takes a chair uninvited.

Sehsis looks up sharply as Haft takes the seat, “Can I help you?” His tone is cold and he sits back, folding his arms defensively across his chest.

Haft says, “Dunno.”  His tone is no warmer.  “We didn’t exactly finish our conversation the other day, and I thought we might.  Also, I’m curious about a couple things, and wondered if you’d…be willing to fill me in.””

Sehsis gives a half shrug, “You can ask.”

Haft nods.  “All right.”  He hesitates.  “Understand, I ain’t askin’ this as a guard.  You don’t have to answer.”

Sehsis gives Haft a curt nod, “I would not answer if I had no desire to”

Haft frowns at this, but doesn’t press the issue.  He glances around the room, then lowers his voice to be inaudible to others.  “You were at Anvard.  During the siege and the battle.”

Sehsis’s expression flickers and for a moment it looks as if he won’t answer, but he then nods, “I was.”

Haft asks, “I saw you, though I didn’t realize it was you till later.  The king spoke to you during the feast.  Returned a weapon?”

Sehsis says, “What of it? I am allowed to take precautions against the dangers of the road.”

Haft says, “I’m not making an accusation of it.  I talked to a fellow–Deonyc–who said you’d had no weapon, and I couldn’t make the accounts match.”

Sehsis shrugs again, “I cannot be held accountable for what he believes.”

Haft says, “So what…happened?  He said he called you out in front of some folks, but they were silent.  That doesn’t explain how the king ended up with your weapon.”

Sehsis sighs, “He called me out in front of everyone. Your king told him it was not his concern. When everyone had left for the hall, he had called me to him and asked me to surrender any weapons as well as having me swear to cause no trouble. That is what happened.”

Haft’s jaw drops open and his eyes widen.  “He did it in front of the king?”  He looks appalled, even angry.

Sehsis says, “Yes”

Haft mutters, “Knew I didn’t like him.”

Sehsis takes a sip of his tea, though he does not seem to relax, “I cannot say I care for him.”

Haft says, “You were friends.”

Sehsis says, “The key word being ‘were’.”

Haft says, “Plainly.  So in short, you kept to the king’s terms and he returned your dagger.”

Sehsis nods, “In short, yes”

Haft says, “I see.  Thank you for the clarity.  I dislike having only half a story.”  He frowns.  “Speaking of a lack of clarity, perhaps you’d care to enlighten me on what makes Archenlanders ‘barbarians’?””

Sehsis taps the side of his cup thoughtfully, “Well, they say that people here are uncultured, brutish, idle, untrustworthy…” He shrugs, “I found that it is not necessarily the case, though you get some people who are of course.”

“And that’s what you think of me, I take it,” Haft scowls.

Sehsis says, “You have not gone out of your way to make yourself likable.”

Haft releases a small snort.  “No, I don’t tend to.  But then I don’t like Calormenes.”  He waves to Clift and orders a cider.

Sehsis asks, “Why not?”

Haft leans back and narrows his eyes, as if considering whether or not to answer the question.  After a moment, he replies.  “You were there.  You heard what Bron accused me of.  Were you able to make any sense of it?”

Sehsis shakes his head, “Save that he accused you of treason, not at all and I fail to see how that is relevant?”

Haft takes a long swig of cider.  “Let’s just say if not for Calormen, no man would ever have accused me of that.”

Sehsis gives him a blank look, “I beg your pardon?”

Haft says, “Never mind.  I’ve got my reasons.”  He stands up, leaving the cider unfinished.  “And I can’t speak to the rest of your claims.  But I’ll tell you this, there’s no such thing as an idle guard.  We spend hours and hours every day on our feet protecting people like you.  So you might want to rethink at least some of your ideas.”

Sehsis says in an even voice, “Perhaps before telling me to reconsider my ideas, you may wish to reconsider your own”

Haft’s face darkens.  “When I get back the years I lost, the people who died and all the rest that can’t ever be replaced, maybe I’ll think about it.”

Sehsis says dryly “I am sure the thousands of people who have never killed anyone in their lives and do not know nor care that you exist are to be held accountable for all of this. Good day and may the gods keep you.” and with those words he turns his attention away from Haft and back towards his tea.

Haft’s face contorts in rage, but he doesn’t answer, turning away from the table and exiting the room.

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