Ancient Wisdom

In which the age jokes keep coming

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>.

Haft sits in a comfortable chair, less near the fire than usual, but well-illuminated.  He has a book in his lap.

Megren walks into the mess, a book under one arm. Seeing Haft there with a similar occupation in mind, she moves to join him. “Evening, grandfather.”

Haft nods toward the book. “How’s the reading coming along?”

Megren rubs between her eyes. “Not too great, but I thought I’d try to distract myself for a bit.”

Haft looks thoughtful. “What is it you’re avoiding?”

Megren squints an eye at him at the obviousness of the answer.

Haft says, “Ah. Not settled in your mind yet.  Well, I won’t trouble you about it, if it’s distraction you want.”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side, sitting down across from him. “It’s mostly just that I haven’t had the chance to catch him, and there’s nothing useful in thinking about it until I know more right now.” She glances at the ceiling. “I think, anyway.”

Haft says, “Oh, you haven’t gotten the details yet?  Then yeah, I agree. Put your mind to more useful pursuits, like reading.”

Megren asks, “What are you working on?”

Haft opens his mouth, then closes it, hesitating. Finally he answers. “Poetry.”

Megren’s brows lift. “What, really?”

“Yes,” Haft answers slowly.

Megren asks, “What brought this about?”

Haft offers a mock scowl. “I suppose it is inconceivable that I am a great reader with a passion for rhymed verse?”

Megren grins, supporting her temple with the tips of her fingers. “Not at all. Is that what brought it about, then?”

Haft looks down. “Well, no.”

Megren asks, “So?”

Haft says, “Well, something I was trying to remember.  Used to be a man in my regiment who liked to quote the odd verse.  Had lots of things down by heart.  There was one I remember liking, but I can’t quite recall the words.  I guess it must be in one of the castle books.”

Megren considers this, then nods. “Like being a bard on hobby. Sounds interesting.”

Haft says, “Yeah, I guess so.  He didn’t really sing ’em…bit of a mercy…he couldn’t carry a tune in a satchel, but he’d recite sometimes when a watch was quiet.” He shrugs. “Why not? There’s worse ways to pass the time.”

Megren asks, “So what was this one about?”

Haft says, “Something about a fallen captain.  I don’t remember anything else.”

Megren lifts her brows. “Bit dark.”

Haft shakes his head. “It wasn’t though.  Not really.  It was hopeful at the end. Only I can’t remember.”

Megren says, “Huh.”

Haft closes the book. “It’s not important. I’m about halfway through this and haven’t found it yet.  Just something to do.Megren nods. “Got bored of copying down forms?”

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

Haft says loftily, “It is not possible for the studious swordsman to weary of such an endeavor.” He grins, “However, I’ve exhausted the volumes on that topic.  I’ll likely go at them again after a few months, so I can see them new eyes.”

Megren rolls her eyes agreeably. “So dedicated.”

Haft says, “It’s what–” he cuts himself off.”

Megren lifts her brows.

Haft says, “Ah, it’s what I do to make myself a better guard.  That’s what you were using to measure this opportunity of yours.” He looks apologetic for bringing it up.

Megren says, “You don’t have to avoid it. It’s there, and we both know it’s there.”

Haft just nods.Megren takes a breath and releases it. “I think my father wants me to say I will,” she admits.

Haft says, “Oh yes, I was wondering what his thoughts were.”

Megren says, “Well, I /know/ he wants me to say I will, but he wants me to do what I think is best more.”

Haft says, “Good.  I guess there is one other thing to consider–if you’re still unsure after you hear all the details, I mean.”Megren’s brows peak.

Haft says, “What it is that’s holding you back.  Sometimes we’ve got good reasons for hesitation, if we examine it.”

Megren’s lips press together, and she nods.

Haft says, “Well anyway, go ahead with your reading. I won’t fuss too much if you need to sound things out.” He reopens his own book.

Megren observes in a tone of something like revelation, “It’s not usual for me to be fearful.”

Haft’s brow furrows. “But you are? It’s a strong word.”

Megren shakes her head. “I don’t know. I’m not normally nervous, either. It’s an unfamiliar spectrum.”

Haft says, “Yes, I’ve observed that you’re usually quite confident in your dealings.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at him.

Haft says, “I’m in earnest.”

Megren rubs her hairline. “So…”

Haft asks, “So?”

Megren asks, “Why?”

Haft looks confused. “Why what?”

Megren asks, “Why aren’t I confident about this?”

Haft shakes his head. “I don’t know Megren.  I’m sorry.”

Megren sighs. “Don’t be sorry. Why would you know if I don’t?”

Haft says, “I thought it was because I’m the possessor of the ancient wisdom we mentioned earlier.”

Megren says, “Well, true. On second thought, yeah. Why can’t you figure it out for me?””

Haft spreads his hands. “Plainly I am a disappointment as an elder.”

Megren says, “I thought better of you.”

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

Haft sighs. “I shall endeavor to do better in the future.”

Megren rubs her jawline, offering a small grin in response, and then says, “Well, I’ll let you derive some wisdom from your poetry, then, and see if I can’t manage to catch up in my skills so I can investigate the writers myself.”

“An admirable endeavor,” says Haft, resuming his reading.


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