In which Haft bumps into Dalia
The Narrow Gate Hall
The Hall of the Narrow Gate is brightly lit by a large chandelier, and by torches on the walls. A bar runs along the length of the south wall. Behind the bar stands Dranken, the Barman, polishing a glass. The wall behind him holds several bottles, and racks of glasses. There is also a menu offering drinks and food. The north wall is dominated by a cheerful stone fireplace.
The rest of the room is filled with tables and stools, in little clusters all over the scuffed wooden floor. An arch leads to the Anteroom to the south.
You can go: The Anteroom
Contents: Dranken, the Barman; Pricelist; Sign — Rooms, 500 coins per day; and
Wolves and Foxes Game Set.
Dalia comes walking into the Hall of the Narrow Gate from the Anteroom.
Dalia enters the hall nervously and looks around wringing her hands.
Haft turns from the counter, a bowl of soup in his hand, and edges his way through the crowded room toward his customary table. En route, he accidentally brushes against Dalia, bumping his arm and spilling a little of the steaming meal over the bowl’s edge and onto his hand. “Drat!”
Dalia initially draws back, as if to let the grumpy patron by looking as if to go. She then notices it is haft. In a quiet, almost afraid to speak voice she inquires, “Master Haft, are you alright?”
“What?” he says, rather sharply, turning. “Oh, Dalia, good day. Yes, I’m…fine. Just not careful enough. It’s too crowded in here.”
Dalia pulls a clean handkerchief from from her pocket, offering it to haft to wipe the spilled soup from his hand. “It is rather.” She glances around, “I had hoped to meet my father here, but I don’t see him.”
Haft glances around, but not at any length. “Does he?” He switches the bowl to his free hand and takes the proffered handkerchief, then lets out an exasperated sigh as his table is taken by another customer.
Dalia frowns at Haft’s exasperated sigh, biting her lip. “Not usually. We had had planned to meet each other here, but I don’t see him now.”
Haft notices her expression. “Something wrong?”
Dalia says, “Are… are you cross.. with me?””
Haft says, “I…what?” He looks rather like he’s trying to make up his mind. “No. Just lost my table. But I bumped you, not the other way round.” He offers back the handkerchief, which he hasn’t been properly able to use one-handed.
Dalia nods, taking back the handkerchief. She points to an empty clean table in a corner, that’s not too recently been vacated, “looks like a good one there. Mind i I join you? At least till my father shows.”
Haft hesitates, then shrugs. “Sure, that’s fine.” He precedes her over to the table and takes a seat.
Dalia hesitates taking a seat, “If it is no trouble…”
Haft brings a spoonful of soup toward his mouth, blowing on it. “So, how’s his barding going?”
Dalia nods smiling, “Well from what I’ve heard. More people are out and about, to buy his music. I believe Lady Avery even requested .”
Haft asks, “What kinds of things does he write about?”
Dalia “ohs!”Well I suppose a little bit of everything. He sometimes sends me new compositions to read when he has time. Though I’ve not seen any for some time.”
Haft asks, “Everything? Ballads and epics and humor and all?”
Dalia colors slightly, “I…I’ve not been around much since I left to serve Lady Astera. I’ve only a little knowledge of his work.”
Dalia says, “Sometimes he sings familiar songs, if his crowd wishes it. Or so he says.”
Haft says, “Ain’t heard as many bards since coming back to Archenland. Seemed like every other faun, satyr and dryad could sing, or fancied he could. Half the Animals too.”
Dalia perks up at talk of Narnia. “Really?”
Haft nods, but doesn’t elaborate, focusing on his soup.
Dalia says, “I’d no idea you’d been to Narnia, Master Haft. I hope… that is. It is a dream of mine… to visit someday.” ”
“Seems most everyone wants to,” he mutters.
Dalia seems mildly confused by Haft’s manner, “I..I think I shall head out. I don’t see my father yet. He may be delayed.”
Haft says, “All right. Hope you find him. Good day.”
Dalia hesistates, before saying “Aslan bless you. Master Haft.” She nods to his good day and head out.