In which no one is pleased
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>
Contents: A daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle) and
A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery).
Avery can’t help but smile. “Not since the last letter, but he should be getting my reply soon.”
Abrielle smiles. “That is good to hear.”
Avery inspects her fingernails. “He is very busy, though, so I don’t think I’ll receive a letter for some time.”
Haft steps into the Outer Ward from the North Stair. Catching sight of Abrielle in conversation with Lady Avery, he steps back into the shadows of the tower.
Abrielle nods. “It is better to not hope too much….”
Avery sighs. “It’s hard not to, though…”
Abrielle pats her hand. “I know.”
Avery shrugs. “No matter. The anticipation makes his letters all the better.”
Abrielle nods, smiling. “A very good way to look at it.”
Avery smiles and points toward the gates. “I should, uh, get back. I’ve been out for a while. Two minutes more and my mother will interrogate the Guard about my whereabouts…”
Abrielle laughs and gets up. “I cannot have that happen.”
Haft steps out from the base of the tower, still giving the women room to farewell, but in a position to be noticed after.
Avery stands. “Abrielle, if anything…happens…Send for me at once. I’ll come right away.”
Haft tilts his head slightly, catching this last.
Abrielle nods. “I will…”
Avery dips her head in farewell and then walks toward the gates.
Avery walks west toward the inner gatehouse.
Haft calls out, “Abrielle?”
Abrielle glances around and finds Haft. She comes over. “Hello.”
Haft asks, “Hey. Are you finished here?”
Abrielle nods and looks around. “I suppose so.”
Haft says, “Walk with me.”
Haft offers to lead Abrielle.
In the Archenland Forest
You stand on a well-trod path in the forest. To the north, mountains separate Narnia from Archenland To the south you see the continuing expanse of the Archenland forest. The path continues westward through the forest in one direction, and in the other, curves away to the northeast, toward Anvard.
You can go: Follow the Path <N>, West <W>, South <S>
Haft leads Abrielle down the road from the castle, turning southward onto the less busy path through the forest. After a while he stops and clasps his hands behind his back, not facing her directly.
Abrielle stops right before Haft stops, waiting quietly.
Haft says, “I spoke to Captain Garian yesterday.”
Abrielle nods. “I supposed that was true by the fact that we are in the forest.”
Haft shrugs awkwardly. “Well, you know I don’t like attention drawn to myself or my history. I can do the same for you.”
Abrielle nods and clasps her hands together. “Thank you.”
Haft says, “In short, the conversation went less well than I might have hoped.” He turns. “The matter is not under Captain Garian’s jurisdiction.””
Abrielle exhales slowly. “Ah…tell me the worst.”
Haft says, “It falls under the jurisdiction of the knights and will be brought to Lord Cole or Lord Dar or Lord Ast. The Captain himself has no knowledge of your parents or their crimes, so the records will be searched. If an official exile is confirmed…” He hesitates.
Abrielle looks at Haft. “I go to jail.”
Haft sighs. “You and Lewis and Adrian could be arrested. It does not necessarily equate to going to jail. The matter is complicated and I don’t think even Captain Garian was certain what might happen. I do think it likely that consideration will be given to Lewis’ mental state.”
Abrielle sharply exhales and grabs her nose. She begins pacing back and forth.
Haft says, “I’m sorry. I wanted to give you better news.”
Abrielle stops and drops her hands. “I am sure you did everything you could.” She sits right on top of the dirt. “No one knows where Adrian is.”
Haft says, “I told the Captain I didn’t know where Adrian was. He also asked about any other family you might have living. I only know you mentioned a grandmother.”
Abrielle looks at the dirt. “She is dead…”
Haft says, “Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.”
Abrielle shrugs. “Do you think they will really consider Lewis’ state?”
Haft answers, “I think it probable. I can’t make a guarantee. There is also the possibility that no exile was ever formalized, in which case it may be hard to justify arrest. Though again that may depend upon what is known of the scope of their crimes, but since most of your knowledge of that seems to be indirect…” He shrugs.
Abrielle gets up. “I need to talk to Lewis.”
Haft says, “A moment more.”
Abrielle pauses for a moment.
Haft says, “Garian expects Lord Dar or Cole will wish to speak to you and Lewis both. Also, I asked if I might stand with you when you do so. That may not be granted, but…” he spreads his hands.
Abrielle nods and looks to Haft. “Thank you…I hope you can.”
Haft searches her face. “Do you hate me?”
Abrielle plays with a bit of string on her sleeve for a moment before looking back up. “No…I am just mad with myself…concerned for my family.”
Haft releases a held breath. “Thank you. Mad with yourself?”
Abrielle nods. “Yes.”
Haft asks, “Why?”
Abrielle tilts her head. “I am sure you can imagine why.”
Haft frowns. “For letting it slip to me?”
Abrielle nods. “Is that wrong?”
Haft presses his lips into a line briefly before answering. “Yes. But not as wrong as not turning them over to Lord Ast when you saw them last year.” He shakes his head. “I’m sorry. They’re your parents and it hurts to hear that, but it’s the truth.”
Abrielle nods. “Well…” She sighs. “I need to go talk to Lewis…get some more answers.”
Haft asks, “You spoke to Lady Avery about the situation?”
Abrielle shakes her head. “No. I just told her something is going on.”
Haft nods, considering. “I asked to be the one to fetch you when you’re sent for, but if I’m not, make sure you cooperate with whoever does come.”
Abrielle nods. “I will be ready.”
Haft asks, “And you’ll be in Andale?”
Abrielle nods. “Yes, sir.”
Haft’s brow furrows. “‘Sir’?
Abrielle sighs. “Yeah…” She gives him a weak smile.
Haft says, “Abrielle, I didn’t mean that as an order. It’s a warning. I spent fourteen years thinking I was exiled from this country, years I could have spent here, could have known my nieces and nephews. And no one even wanted me gone. Don’t run. Please don’t.”
Abrielle looks at the ground. “I will not run. I have Lewis to think about him. Without him I might…but I have him to think about. I am trying to be brave.”
Haft says, “You are brave. And remember whatever the penalty might be, it’s not murder or theft or piracy you’d be arrested for. You’re not looking at years and years in a cell. If there is a punishment, accept it, get it done, and move on with your life.”
Abrielle looks around. “Nobody will want to be with my friend or…my husband…or my family…” She says this quietly.
Haft says, “That depends on a great many things. News, even of an arrest, doesn’t spread as far or as fast as you might think. I was terrified that my brother-in-law’s business in Chesterton might have suffered after word of my deed reached it. Turned out most folk in Chesterton had never heard the name of the guard involved, if they heard a guard was involved at all. His business was thriving.”
Abrielle shakes her head. “I only know a few people…everyone will know.”
Haft looks at her sadly. “Actions–choices–have consequences. There are still men in the guard who won’t speak to me if they can avoid it. Not many. I made a choice the night Bar came for Cor. You and Adrian and Lewis have made choices too. The best I can say is that not everyone will turn on you, and you will still have each other.”
Abrielle shakes her head. “Adrian….” She puts her head in her hands.
Haft lays a hand on her shoulder.
Haft asks, “I’m sure he’ll return to Coghill soon. Someone there can tell him you’re visiting Lady Avery?”
Abrielle nods. “Yes…”
Haft says, “Good.”
Abrielle shakes her head and walks away. “I just…” She turns back around, “I need to breathe.”
Haft nods. “You know where to find me.”
Abrielle nods. “Yes. Thank you.”
Haft says, “You’re…welcome.”
Abrielle goes through the trees, not caring as the branches scrape her skin.
Haft looks after her, then closes his eyes. After a moment he opens them and starts back in the direction of the castle.