In which Haft tells Avery what is worth seeing near Cair Paravel
The Front Hall of Cair Paravel is a long, open room that really serves as more
of an anteroom to the Courtyard than anything else. Nonetheless, the room is
suitably impressive. The ceiling is high above you, a pitched roof with
brightly-colored banners hanging from every rafter. The marble walls to the
north and south are hung with tapestries depicting previous Narnian rulers and
their more infamous exploits.
The northwest and southwest corners of the room are cut off by the rounded
bases of the two towers that flank the rooms. Each tower has a broad door
leading inside. The west wall is dominated by the huge iron gates that make
up the fortified inner barrier for Cair Paravel, and the east wall is mostly
open — a wide opening leading out into the gardenlike Courtyard. Two
ornately-carved columns stand on either side support the arched doorway.
You can go: Courtyard <E>, Southwest Tower <SW>, Northwest Tower <NW>,
Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery);
Avery comes into the Front Hall, removing her cloak. “Perhaps I should have left this behind. Too warm for such things.” She hangs the cloak over her arm and flips her fan open, waving it before her flushed face.
Haft says, “I can take it back to your apartments if you wish my lady.”
Avery gently shakes her head. “No, thank you. I can hold onto it.” She smiles. “Have you seen much of the castle?”
Haft says, “Some. It’s a well-thought-ought building.”
Avery laughs. “Well-thought-out, yes.” She uses her fan to point toward the wide opening to the Courtyard. “I had a few questions for you. We can walk about the Courtyard while we talk.”
Haft says, “Certainly my lady.” He waves his arm. “After you.”
Avery nods and walks toward the Courtyard.
Haft asks, “So, what did you wish to know?”
Avery walks down the path, a few steps before Haft. She turns toward him. “Now, I want to make sure I am following every guideline my Mother, or brother, has laid down. I would love for things to go smoothly, for you and for myself.” She shrugs. “I know most of them, I’m sure, but what have they told you?”
Haft frowns slightly. He takes a long moment before speaking. “May I answer your question by asking a few of my own?”
Avery arches a brow, considering his question. She nods. “Please do.”
Haft says, “Thank you. Tell me, Lady Avery, do you intend to do anything to willfully endanger yourself? Say, going alone into the forest of an evening?”
Avery chuckles. “By now, you are aware that I am no stranger to mischief, but I would never do such a foolish thing.”
Haft presses, though lightly, “Or set sail for parts unknown with merry Terebinthian sailors? Or attempt to swim to Beruna?”
Avery huffs and crosses her arms, a playful smile on her lips. “I considered it…but now that you’re onto me, I’ll have to think again…”
Haft smiles. “Well, then I should say that you understand well enough the things that will obviously threaten your safety. Time was, ten years ago, when nasty things would come down from the north, and I should not have felt assured of your well-being without a guard. But those evils have long been held back now, and there are few menaces to Narnians or their guests, here near Cair Paravel. Should you wish to explore the town, I have no concerns about you doing so. Even if I am otherwise occupied. If you wish to explore farther afield, or late at night, I would recommend an escort, though it need not be myself.”
Avery nods as she listens. “And who would you recommend?”
Haft says, “Your brother is certainly acceptable. And I believe you know Lord Peridan. He might be willing. Of course I am at your disposal at any hour.”
Avery hmms, giving a nod. “Well, I thank you for your flexibility and attentiveness.”
Haft says, “You’re welcome. And there really are things you should see, while you’re here. The arena in Sted Cair is very different from any tournament you may have attended back home. Have you ever seen a Badger and an Eagle duel? Or perhaps a troupe of Mice versus an Elephant? ”
Avery gives him an incredulous look. “A troupe of Mice? Against an Elephant? You’re telling tales, Master Haft.”
Haft smirks. “Well, I heard they each wanted to take on the Elephant one at a time, but the Marshall wasn’t keen on the idea.
Avery laughs. “And who came out the victor? I know the Narnian Mice are strong and courageous, but if you tell me it was them…well, I might have to eat my hat.”
Haft smiles. “I suggest you ask the first Mouse you meet. They’ll delight you. And of course there are summer dances. A dryad dance is not to be missed. I should not join a faun or satyr revel without accompaniment though. And there are picnics by the river to be had, and a small library north of town that I think you could visit on your own. And New Anvard, where some from Archenland make their homes now.
Avery grins. “I have a feeling my days will be quite booked up with adventures and exploring.”
Haft says, “I would think so, yes. And if you happen to hear of any fauns playing music in the local tavern, I might suggest a visit, despite what might be, ah, usual back home. And make sure you get a seat by the fire.”
Avery says, “Music at the tavern?” She flips her fan open, hiding her grin “My Mother would faint at the thought. I must attend.”
Haft looks a little sheepish, but doesn’t withdraw the suggestion.
Avery laughs at his expression. “You are filled with delightful suggestions, Haft.”
“No doubt I’ll regret every one,” he says gruffly. “But really, Lady Avery, all anyone wants is for you to remain safe and happy. I believe you have the good sense to manage that, and I am simply here should you need help navigating.”
Avery smiles lightly. “I am happy. Very happy indeed.”
You say, “I am pleased to hear it.”
Avery lifts her hand. “Oh, one more thing. Tarkaan Chlamash. He and I have crossed paths quite a few times in the Castle. Am I to keep my distance or may I offer him a few words of kindness here and there? As long as it is in a public place, of course.”
Haft frowns. “Is he the man we encountered in the market the other day?”
Avery nods. “Yes. Lord Peridan properly introduced us here in the courtyard sometime after that.”
You ask, “I see. You understand this man is one of those who attacked Anvard a year ago?”
Avery blushes lightly. “I’m aware of that.”
You say, “I confess I am not entirely clear on the Tarkaan’s current position. I should like to learn more before you found yourself alone with him. A desperate man is…unpredictable.”
Avery nods. “Of course. I would never endanger myself.”
Haft nods. “Good. In truth, I should prefer more than simply a public place. I think I or another guard, or Lord Peridan, should be present if you are to converse with him.
Avery nods. “I understand.”
You say, “Good. Is there anything further my lady?”
Avery says, “Nothing that comes to mind.” She readjusts the cloak. “I might check in on my brother before dinner.”
Haft bows. “Have a pleasant evening. Call on me if you require anything.”
Avery bows her head to him. “Of course. Thank you.”