Hollyhocks

Which is very flowery


Outer Ward

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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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Kennels , Northern Market , Outer Gatehouse , Southern Market , Stables , Blacksmith , Inner Gatehouse , South Stair , North Stair

Contents: A daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle).

Haft stands on duty with Owin near the Inner Gatehouse.

Abrielle walks into the Outer Ward, takes one look around, notes Haft on duty and walks into the Southern Market.

Haft scans the ward, noting Abrielle.

Abrielle walks back out the Market after awhile, a smile on her face.

Haft is distracted by a pair of brothers who look like they might be about to annoy one of the bakers, but their mother comes and herds them off.

Abrielle pushes past the boys and their mother and waves to Haft. She calls over, “How’s it looking today?”

Haft lifts a brow.  “Sunny.”

Abrielle laughs and comes closer. “I would say so.”

Haft asks, “Doing a little shopping?”

Abrielle rocks on her heels. “You could say that.”

Haft nods.  “Seen any more of Lady Avery lately?”  He lowers his voice a little.  “She was worried about you.”

Abrielle shakes her head and bites her bottom lip.

Haft says, “I didn’t go into details.  But you might want to talk to her.”

Abrielle nods. “Of course…I hope she is not too worried.”

Haft asks, “So, now that everything’s settled, will you be heading back to Coghill soon?”

Abrielle looks around at the Ward and then back at Haft. “Yes. I think so. Lewis has made a lot of friends here though…so it may be a little difficult.” She smiles. “I kind of wish I didn’t have to.”

Haft says, “Well, you have your work to consider.”

Owin looks over at Abrielle and Haft curiously.

Abrielle nods. “I know.” She looks over at the other guard and frowns. “I think I am pulling you away from work.”

Owin blushes and stammers an apology.

Haft turns to look at his fellow guard.  “I can talk a moment longer,” he says to Abrielle.  “And then I’ll be off in another hour.  Abrielle, this is Owin.  Owin, Abrielle, from Coghill.”

Owin nods mutely.

Abrielle smiles at Owin. “Nice to meet you.”

Owin says, “Y-yes.”

Abrielle raises an eyebrow at Owin and looks to Haft. “Anything interesting happen today?”

Haft says, “A broken cart wheel an hour ago.  Got it moved to the side, over there, and the wheelwright’s coming in from town to have a look.”

Avery comes walking into the outer ward past the iron gates.

Haft stands on duty by the Inner Gatehouse with Owin.  He is speaking to Abrielle.

Abrielle looks over to the cart. “Oh…well…” She nods once. “Fun.”

Haft says, “That’s most of what we do in a day, just help people out in the ward.  Occasionally break up minor disputes over wares.”

Abrielle smiles crookedly. “What if I started some trouble…that could be interesting….”

Haft gives her a pointed look, though his tone is teasing.  “You are entirely too capable of starting trouble /without trying/.”

Avery makes her way through the gate, appearing to be searching for someone. Her eyes light up when she sees Abrielle and she quickly weaves through the crowd. “Abrielle!”

Abrielle shrugs at Haft, smiling. “Maybe you are right.” At her name being called she turns on her heel and call out. “Speak of the devil!”

Haft and Owin bow in turn at the approach of the lady.

Avery arches a brow as she grabs Abrielle’s hands. “I thought I sensed my name being uttered.” She laughs and turns to give a polite nod to the guards.

Abrielle laughs at Avery. “I knew we should have been quieter.”

Haft says, “We weren’t exactly bellowing.”

Avery shrugs one shoulder. “All it takes is a whisper.” She looks at Abrielle, becoming serious. “I’ve been on the lookout for you for days. How are you?”

Abrielle nods. “I am good. Everything has been resolved.” She looks to Haft. “I am still deciding what to do but…”

Haft raises a brow at Abrielle’s look.

Avery smiles. “All resolved?” She tilts her head. “Deciding what do about what?”

Abrielle nods. “All resolved….just wondering what to do about Lewis.”

Haft scans the ward, though he still attends to the conversation.

Avery nods, but she looks a bit confused. “Oh. Of course.”

Abrielle smiles, a little less bright this time, “I can tell you about it later if you would like.”

Avery nods. “Only if you like.”

Abrielle nods. “I will.”

A page approaches and bows. “Milady, the Lord Tyre would like to see you in the library at your earliest convenience.”

Avery glances at the page and then at Abrielle. “Oh…” She frowns. “May I meet with you later?”

Abrielle frowns. “Yes of course! Whenever you are free.”

Avery smiles and nods before making her way back toward the castle.

Haft and Owin bow as Lady Avery departs.

Abrielle watches as Lady Avery leaves for a moment before turning back to Haft. “Mission accomplished.”

Haft says, “So it would seem.” he opens his mouth as if to say something further, but apparently changes his mind.”

Abrielle tilts her head and smiles. “What? You are so bad at hiding when you want to say something.”

Haft scowls. “I think I’ll keep my own counsel this time.

Abrielle scowls back playfully. “Fine…be that way.”

Haft shrugs.  “Going to read some more today?”

Abrielle shakes her head. “I finished that book. I actually stayed up pretty late reading it.”

You ask, “And have you become a mistress of herb lore?”

Abrielle shrugs. “Maybe someday! I hate to give myself limits.”

Haft says, “Remind me not to drink anything you’ve brewed until you can tell the difference between hemlock and hollyhocks.”

Abrielle smiles. “I think I might be able to tell the difference but…that is a good idea.

Haft asks, “Mother used to make hollyhock dolls for Brigid.  Ever seen one?”

Abrielle shakes her head. “No…”

Haft says, “She’d use one of the open blooms as a skirt and a bud for the head. Pretty things. Bet she’s made them for Calla.”

Abrielle smiles. “That is sweet…I would love to learn how to do that.”

Haft says, “You just need some small twigs, really.  One to connect the head and body, and two for the arms. It’s not hard.”

Owin looks at Haft a little oddly.

Abrielle looks at Owin for a moment and then smiles at Haft. “Well maybe someday you can show me.”

Haft says, “Maybe.  ”

Abrielle frowns. “Maybe means no.”

Haft asks, “Does it?”

Abrielle shrugs. “I guess not.”

Haft says, “Maybe means I ain’t going wildflower hunting with you.”

Abrielle opens her eyes wide and lowers her voice so Owin will not hear. “Please.”

Haft crosses his arms across his chest. “It also means if you bring some into the ward and expect me ta make you a doll in front of other guards, I may never speak to you again.”

Abrielle smiles wickedly.

Haft glowers.

Abrielle continues smiling.

Abrielle shakes her head. “I think we could make a deal.”

Haft tilts his head. “I doubt it.”

Abrielle holds up a finger. “Listen. If I promise not to bring any flowers in here that means you have to go pick them with me.” She smiles.

Abrielle asks, “Would you really never talk to me again?”

Haft says, “I leave that option open.”

Abrielle raises an eyebrow. “huh.”

Haft clarifies. “Not speaking to you.”

Abrielle nods. “Yes. I know what you meant.”

Haft says, “Good.  Just so we’re clear.”

Abrielle shakes her head. “I am very aware that you could choose not to talk to me.”

Haft looks amused. “Then don’t threaten me with flowers.”

Abrielle laughs. “If given the chance I will always threaten you with flowers.”

Haft heaves a long-suffering sigh. “You and Megren are just the same.”

Abrielle rolls her eyes. “Go ahead and act like you don’t love it.”

Haft asks, “Love what?”

Abrielle says, “Us. Megren and I.” She smiles. “I don’t know if we are just the same though…she is more fun.”

Haft makes a face. “Maybe I should spend more time with other members of the guard. What do you say, Owin? Cubes tonight?”

Abrielle smiles and looks to Owin.

Owin starts, then glances at Abrielle as if this is entirely her fault. “Yeah…sure.”

Haft smiles. “Good.  Assuming we can wrangle Gearn’s set from him, anyway.

Abrielle mumbles to herself and looks off to give them some privacy.

Abrielle mumbles “… … … fun.”, to Abrielle.

Haft smirks. “Doesn’t it though?”

Abrielle shakes her head at Haft. “You don’t know what I said.”

Haft says, “So tell me.”

Abrielle purses her lips. “I think I will keep my own counsel.”

Haft hehs. “Fair enough. But I should attend to watching. I’ll see you later.”

Abrielle nods. “Have a good day, Haft.” She looks over to Owin. “Owin. Very nice to meet you.”

Haft says, “You too.”

Owin bobs his head. “Miss.”

Abrielle walks eastward toward the gatehouse.

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