Love is an Open Door

In which Peridan leaves a stall open and Avery threatens Haft

In the Stable
The inside of the stable smells of fresh hay and straw, and horses. The
marshalls have apparently been hard at work, tending to the horses and
keeping the stalls clean. The north wall is lined with probably twenty
stalls, some of which appear to be housing horses and some of which are
cleaned and ready to house the horses of visiting nobles and friends of the
Kings and Queens. Each occupied stall door is marked with the name of its
occupant. The south wall here is lined with neatly hung tack — bridles,
saddles, and harnesses — and twine-bound bales of hay and straw. There are
several barrels of oats and other grains here, and at the far end, tucked
away, a large chariot with ornately carved decorations. There is a wide set
of double doors leading out to the stable yard from here.
You can go: Out to the Yard <S>
Contents: The Breastplate of Lady Raven.

Adair’s stall is open and a man’s voice is speaking fondly, “Hold up, buddy. It will be okay.”

Avery steps into the stable, loose hay clinging to the hem of her skirt. She holds two apples, shining them each in turn against her sleeve. At the sound of the voice, her pace quickend and she leans against the open stall door. “Something the matter with him?”

Peridan looks up and smiles warmly, “Ah, hello Milady.” He turns back to his stallion, “He threw a shoe as we were riding. I am waiting for the blacksmith.” He pats the horse, “Adair seems less than happy at the moment.”

Avery frowns as she comes around the door, dropping one apple just outside of the stall. She holds the other apple out to the horse, gathering his face in her free hands once he takes it. “All will be well soon, Adair.”

Adiar nickers as he takes the apple. Peridan grins, “Oh, so you will believe her and not me, is that how it is, Adair?” The stallion just flicks his tail, searching the lady for more apples.

Haft steps into the stable. “Seems reasonable to me, Sir.”

Avery grins, brushing her fingers through his mane. “He is a smart one.”

Peridan nods to the man in greeting, “Yes, I have always said that he is the smarter of the two of us.”

Haft bows slightly, tapping a curled piece of parchment against his leg. “You’ll pardon me for the interruption. Only I just received a more thorough account of the events at Anvard.”

Avery steps out of the stall. “Please, may we know what is says?”

Peridan looks very interested, “Yes, I would like to hear about it.”

Haft nods. “It’s from Squire Megren again. I can read you the highlights.” He pauses. “First off you should know that both Megren and your cousin–” He looks to Peridan “–Sir Colin were injured in apprehending him. They are both recovering.”

Peridan mutters, “Oh Lion.”

Avery frowns, her eyes flashing with concern. “Sir Colin and Megren? Are their injuries very serious?”

Haft says, “Sir Colin, from what I can make out, was very fortunate. He suffered a neck wound, But Megren thinks he’ll have only a small scar from it. Apparently Aaron threw pepper in his eyes and got on top of him. That might have been fatal.”

Peridan leans against the stall wall, frowning.

Haft frowns. “As for Megren, she says Aaron struck her, but not how badly.” He looks as though the notion makes his blood boil.

Avery takes in a deep breath, resting her hand on the stall door. She shakes her head, frowning.

Haft makes a face. “That said, here are the details:” He looks down at the letter, reading or paraphrasing. “First, about Lanisen, we found him in the forest North of Lancelyn Green, in an old house that looked as if it had not been lived in in a long time. Before that, he was held in the Sepulchre of King Frank.” He skips a bit. “Aeron had poisoned him very much, and beat him. I wonder what we might have found if we had been a day later… He is mostly recovered now, I think. At least, he says he will begin to train again tomorrow.”

Haft continues. “We found him because Aaron was not very smart. He moved Lanisen in a cart after it had rained. I wonder what happened. I can tell that Lanisen put up a very good fight. May be he held Aeron back, and Aaron just left as soon as he was able, wich was when it rained. It seems hard to believe when he was gone so long. But Sir Darrin says it is because we did not look as hard. I do not know. Aaron likes very much to make a seen, and I do not think he is very clever, but sometimes he seems to know just the right thing to get a person. I am sure Sir Colin will say, but I think it would be good for Lord Peridan to ask about an Aaron or Darius in Narnia again. I guess he also uses that name. If he had friends there who sheltered him, perhaps that is how he hid so long. Do you know when that will be?

Haft smiles faintly.

Peridan jerks from his position, “Did you say Darius?”

Haft looks up. “Yes, why?”

Avery listens carefully. Her gaze shoots to Peridan with his sudden question.Peridan moves closer to Haft, “Darius is Aaron?”Avery frowns. “Why do you ask that, Milord?”

Haft asks, “The letter says he uses that name. Do you know of the man?”Peridan rubs his temples. “A few months back a man by the name of Darius passed through. He was from Coghill and was looking for work. I sent him up north to seek out the guard. However, soon afterward, I received word of the fire that Aaron has started. I had suspicion but no evidence was found supporting that both men were the same one.”

Peridan shakes his head, “Not to my knowledge.”

Avery looks between them, listening.

Haft says, “That’s something. I don’t like to think of the trouble his could have caused in that role. Not that it matters now. Still, I wonder what prompted his return at this time…and why approach /you/.”

Peridan raises an eyebrow, “We don’t get many Sons of Adams here.”

You ask, “So he asked for you at Cair? An Archenland-born lord, to ask for a job?”OOC>
Avery says, “skip me”Peridan stands a bit straighter, “I ran into him actually and introduced myself.”

Haft says, “Ah. That’s different. Surprised he didn’t avoid you altogether, given you’d met before. Must have been an impressive disguise.”Peridan nods, “It was.”Avery frowns at this. “He has deceived all of us.”

Haft returns to the letter.

Haft says, “How we cought Aaron is another Mistery. He had disguysed himself oddly, but it was effective enough. I think he might have hidden long enough for us to lose him fully, if he liked. Sir Darrin and I were already starting to lose hope, and I think Sir Colin, too. But then he pretended to be ill. I think he wanted us to think he had been poysoned by Aeron. Lanisen thinks may be he wanted into the castle. Sir Colin and Sir Tyren had not reckognized him, I think, but were taking him for help from the infermery when they happened across Sir Darrin and I on the road. He acted very strange and scared, and I did think he looked like Aaron, though I thought Sir Colin would surely know if he was, and so I stepped to him to stop him from bolting, wich he seemed like he might do Aeron or no.”

Peridan listens.

Haft reads on. “This was too much for him. He struck me–” Haft scowls at this. “– and ran. We folloed after him. He had pepper, and managed to get Sir Colin to the ground by throwing it into his eyes, and he held his blade to Sir Colin so that I was afraid he might kill or badly wound him and run while we tried to fix the damage, but we got him away in the end. Sir Colin I think will have a small scar from it, but it is only a nick really. He is in the Dungen now. Lanisen wonders if he will not be like Myrd and find a way out. I think he wonders if he wanted to be caught. But I do not think he did. I do not think he is the same kind of planner. Either way, we will know to be careful.”

Peridan lets out a breath, “I’m glad he is caught.”

Avery crosses her arms and paces a bit, nodding as she listens. She tenses when Myrd’s name is mentioned.

Haft says, “Thank you for worrying for me. I am fine, and so are we all, though Sir Colin’s eyes are smarting a little, and Sir Tyren’s dog’s, too.” Haft frowns. “Oh, I see. Pepper must have gotten in the dog’s eyes as well.– By the time you have received this, we will all probably have recovered fully. It is good to have us all safe and in the same place.””Peridan looks over at Avery, frowning when she tenses.

Avery quickly turns back to Haft. “Nothing of Tyren himself?”

Haft reads a few more lines but these apparently are personal. “Megren says to give you her best, Lady Avery. She says they are all well and thinking of you–oh, and there’s a new recruit to the guard, Rayna? She’s young, but Megren says she’s an artist and you might get on well.” He considers her question. “She says she knows you must be worried for your cousins and brothers. I think from the phrasing we may assume they are safe with the others.”

Avery sighs deeply, nodding.Peridan nods, “Thank the Lion, no one was killed.”
Haft reaches out a hand as if to lay it on Avery’s shoulder, then reconsiders the action and lets it fall.

Avery folds her arms again, a bit of a shiver passing through her. “Thank you, Haft, for sharing this news. I am very glad to hear most everyone is alright. May Sir Colin and Megren heal up quickly.”

Peridan moves to stand at Avery’s side, glancing at her. “Indeed, milady.”You say, “Megren was well enough to write. That’s encouraging.”

Avery nods. “Indeed, it is. I shall write a letter to her tonight and send it off in the morning.” She glances at Peridan, smiling faintly.

Peridan returns the smile, muttering to her.Peridan mumbles “… … is … … aid in … capturing of this man.”, to Avery.

Haft rolls up the parchment, averting his eyes.

Avery nods to Peridan, her smile growing a bit.

Peridan looks back to Haft, “Thank you for sharing your letter, Haft.”

Haft nods. “You’re welcome, Sir.” He turns and, rather than exiting the room, gives his attention to one of the horses, stroking its muzzle.

Avery retrieves the second apple from the stable floor. “Well, perhaps I should not neglect Cyrian any longer. He would like treat as well.”

Peridan turns to the lady, “Yes, I wouldn’t want him to be jealous.”

The horse Haft is attending nickers.

Avery says, “Too late for that. He already is.” She raises her voice a little. “Aren’t you, Cyrian?” As if on cue, the horse whinnies. Avery looks back to Peridan and shrugs. “What can I do…”

Peridan grins, “Be yourself, he would never be mad at you.”

Haft murmurs to the horse.

Haft mumbles “No apples for the likes of us, my lad. Keep ourselves trim and fit for service.””, to Haft.You mumble “No apple s for the likes of us, my lad. Keep ourselves trim and fit for service.””, to Haft.

Haft mumbles “No apples for the likes … us, … … Keep … … … … … service.”, to Haft.

Avery hands the apple to the dappled gray. He takes it and moves his head just out of her reach as he munches. The Lady laughs, brushing her hands together. “He is sore…He’s taken the apple and that’s it.” She shakes her head as she walks back toward Peridan and Haft.

Peridan smiles. A servant enters, “Lord Peridan, you are needed in your office.” The man nods, “Thank you.” He turns to his companions, “Looks like I am needed.”

Avery curtsies, looking a bit disappointed, but she hides it with a smile. “Of course. Good day, Peridan.”

Haft bows.

Peridan smiles at Avery, “Perhaps, we can have dinner together, milady?”

Avery nods. “I look forward to it.”

Haft’s eyebrow twitches slightly as he turns back to the horse.Peridan bows with a smile, “Good day then.” He exits the stables.

Avery watches him go. She hmms lightly and leans against Adair’s stall door, only to feel it start to close behind her, but the realization is a little too late.

Haft turns. “My Lady!”

Avery falls to the hay-covered floor, landing on her rump. A pained gasp escapes her as the door closes completely and the latch catches.

Haft hurries to her side, kneeling. “Are you hurt?”

Avery falls apart into a fit of laughter, holding her hand out to Haft to help her up.

Haft grins as he realizes his charge is uninjured. He rises and pulls her to her feet.

Avery covers her mouth, struggling a bit to control her laughter and embarrassment.

You say, “Not your most graceful moment, my lady. But still, at least no one witnessed it.”

Avery takes a deep breath. “But you did and I promise you, if I ever hear you tell anyone of it, I’ll have you thrown into the Chesterton lake.”

Haft smiles and holds up a finger. “I am a guard. A guard does not ‘witness’ things. He is a shadow who can be counted on to remain…discreet about his charge’s lack of coordination.

Avery crosses her arms and gives a look of mock-offense. “Lack of coordination? That took me completely by surprise. I doubt even you could have reacted with the proper coordination in such a short amount of time.”

Haft considers. “I have excellent reflexes. I hope, however, that I am aware enough of my environment not to be taken so unawares…that’s part of my training too.

Avery chuckles, holding a hand to her back. “I am glad there were no witnesses…”

Haft frowns at the motion. “You /are/ injured.”

Avery holds her other hand up. “It is northing really. I’m surprised I don’t feel worse. This floor is very solid…”

You say, “Healer.”

Avery is about to protest, but then she nods. “Healer.”

Haft smiles. “Thank you.”

Avery says, “I will be sure not to lean on any doors, too.”

Haft says, “A wise decision.”

Avery laughs lightly. “Alright, let me go to the healer before dinner.”

Haft says, “Of course.” He bows. “Good evening, my lady.”

Avery bows her head as walks toward the stable yard. She turns back. “Remember, not a word to anyone, Haft.”

Haft says, “My lips are sealed.”

Avery gives a nod, smiling. “Good,” she says before turning to go.


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