The Battle for Cake

In which Haft dines with the high and mighty

The Royal Gardens
The gardens in this section are most splendid, decorated with rose bushes
growing along a wide, tiled path that leads east through the gardens and ends
at a wide, arched doorway.  The doors are wooden, fine-crafted and hung on
brass hinges that sparkle in the sunlight.  Judging from the width of the path
(which could really serve as a road should the need arise) this passage is

The rest of the gardens are fragrant with the scents of fruit trees and
flowers in full bloom.  Several smaller paths lead north and south through
them ending at benches and other quiet places.This appears to be a nice
place to spend time.
You can go: Doors into the Great Hall <E>, Stroll along the path <S>, Stroll
along the path <N>, To the center of the courtyard <W>

Colin starts to limp down the path at her side. “Come on, let’s go find that…never mind!” He says when Peridan makes an entrance. “That was easy…” He comments to Avery.

Avery looks up, clearly surprised. She laughs. “Oh, here you are.”

Peridan claps his hands together, “I am afraid that I am need in both of your help.”

Colin’s face is completely deadpan. “You sure have been needy lately, cousin.”

Avery lifts one eyebrow. “Oh, what for?”

Peridan grins, “Well, it seems that Mirda has made a good dinner tonight and to save myself from her spoon, I need dinner guests.” His eye sparkle.

Colin gives his cousin a look that tells him he sees right through it but he chuckles and nods his assent. “Can’t have your housekeeper whacking you with a spoon….”

Avery laughs. “Well, I might find that funny.” She shrugs. “But I suppose I am a bit hungry.”

Peridan hehs, “Trust me, you do not want to be hit with her spoon. I sent Haft for the horses and I told him that we would meet at the front hall.”

Colin nods agreeably.

Avery smiles. “Let’s not keep him waiting.”

Peridan moves to stand next to Lady Avery as he offers his arm. “I am looking forward to you meeting Mirda.”

Avery takes his arm, grinning. “Oh…but now I’m a little nervous of her spoon…”

Colin falls in step behind them.

Peridan grins, “She only hits me with it, milady.” He leads them through the castle.

Front Hall
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>,
Gatehouse <W>

Haft and a groom stand in the Front Hall, the groom leading Adair and Cyrian and Haft holding the reins of Colin’s gray and a docile-looking roan.

Peridan leads Lady Avery and Sir Colin to the front hall. “Ah, Haft. Thank you for getting the horses.”

You say, “You’re welcome, Sir.” He offers a bow to the three.”

Colin nods to Haft and takes his horse’s reins from him with thanks.

Haft moves to assist if Colin needs help mounting.

Peridan goes to Lady Avery, “If you help, Milady?”

Avery takes the reins of Cyrian, thanking the groom. She glances at Peridan and then around the hall. “Oh, well…Yes please.”

Colin accepts Haft’s assistance and makes it onto the horse’s back without too much trouble.

Peridan smiles as he helps Lady Avery onto Cyrian.

Haft turns and mounts his horse ungracefully.

Avery gets settled on the horse and says, “Thank you, Lord Peridan.”

Peridan says, “You are welcome, milady.” Once Lady Avery is securely on her horse, Peridan strides over to Adair. He pats the stallion as he mounts skillfully. He smiles at the group, “Onward.”

Colin urges his gelding forward.

New Anvard
The tiny village of New Anvard sits here, nestled in and around a nice-sized
clearing in the heart of this stretch of the woodlands. The kindly trees and
bushes shelter a collection of small, cozy-looking cottages here that are
reminiscent of the ones in the townships of Archenland near the castle for
which the small town here is named.  The population appears to be,
conveniently, made up mostly replanted Archenlanders. Sons of Adam and
Daughters of Eve can be seen occasionally coming north to draw water from the
well here or going about other daily chores.

There is a path leading northward toward another clearing. You can see a large
structure there, and a sign posted to a tree helpfully indicates that it is
‘The Athenaeum of Aslan’. Another path leads eastward through the trees toward
Sted Cair.
You can go: Peridan <1>, Into the Woods <SW>, Toward the Athenaeum <N>, Path
to Sted Cair <E>

The group approaches the small settlement of New Anvard. Peridan guides Adair to his cottage. It is a small home, sturdy and functional. There is nothing to draw attention to the eye. An older woman stands outside in the front yard, wearing what seems to be her best dress. As the group approaches, she pulls on her dress a bit nervously before standing straight.
Haft dismounts, then moves to assist Colin.

Colin makes it off the horse this time, again without too much trouble.

Peridan pulls up Adair, calling out to the woman, “Mirda, I bring dinner guests!” He also dismounts and heads over to Cyrian to assist Avery. The older woman smiles a bit, her face used to that particular expression. She bows, “My Lords and Lady.”

Avery gently pulls on Cyrian’s reigns, patting his neck as she looks at the cottage. She smiles when her eyes finally land on Mirda, only turning away when Peridan comes to help her. “Thank you,” she says when her feet touch the ground.

Colin ducks his head by his horse’s neck to hide a smirk.

Peridan smiles at Avery, “You are quite welcome.” He turns to Colin, “Sir Colin, may you escort Lady Avery as Haft and I tie the horses?”

Colin lifts his head, the picture of innocence. “Of course, Lord Peridan. Lady Avery?”

Mirda curtsies at the approaching Lord and Lady before opening the door and holding it open for them.

Haft secures Kaspar and his mount.

Avery rubs Cyrian’s nose before handing him over. She takes a deep breath as she steps toward Colin, looking a little nervous. “Thank you.”

Peridan’s Cottage [New Anvard]
You stand in a very nice little one-room cottage.  It has a wooden floor, a bed, a tidy little fireplace, a table and two chairs, and a window.  There is even a nice, functional rug on the floor.  It’s a decent enough place for Peridan to live.
You can go: Out <O>

Colin grins at her and says something low.

Colin mumbles “Everything’s … to … fine.”, to Avery.

As the little group enters, they see a medium sized table set as properly as it can be. There are fresh flowers as a centerpiece and the good silver is on the table. Mirda leads them to the table, “Welcome, Lady Avery, Lord Colin, Guardsman Haft.”

Colin smiles to the woman. “Thank you very much.”

Haft nods politely. “Madam.”

Avery glances at Colin and gives the tiniest shrug. She turns to face Mirda and smiles. “Yes, this is all so nice. Thank you.”

Colin squeezes Avery’s elbow in encouragement before he steps away from her.

Mirda indicates the table, “Please make yourself comfortable. Dinner will be right out.”

Haft waits for the others to be seated, pulling out a chair for Lady Avery.

Avery smiles at Haft, stepping foward and sitting down. “Thank you, Haft.”

You say, “My lady.”

Colin pulls out his own chair and sits down with a relieved sigh, wincing as he stretches his left leg out to relieve the pain.

Haft winces slightly in sympathy.

Peridan enters the cottage, another bouquet of flowers in his hands. As he enters, it seems that his ‘lordship’ disappears. He has a wide grin on his face, “Welcome to my home friends.” He walks over to Mirda and gives her an quick affectionate peck on the cheek. “It could not be done without Mirda, my wonderful housekeeper.”

Colin watches his cousin, a slight smile toying on his face.

Haft also notes the change in Peridan’s demeanor.

Avery watches Peridan, a wide smile on her face.

Colin says, “My thanks to both of you, Mirda and Peridan. Your hospitality is most welcome.”

Mirda blushes a bit, “I need to get to the dinner, Sir.” Peridan just grins at her before turning back to the table. He presents the flowers to Lady Avery, “A gift for milady.”

The corner of Haft’s mouth twitches.

Colin glances over at Haft.

Avery looks up at him, reaching for the flowers as a blush creeps into her cheeks. She smells the bouquet, hiding her growing smile. “Thank you, Milord. They’re lovely.”

The corner of Haft’s mouth moves back into its customary spot.

Peridan takes the seat that is conveniently next to Lady Avery. “So, this is my cottage.”

Haft takes his own seat now that the others have.

Colin shifts in his chair, adjusting his position as he surveys the cottage, giving a nod. “This looks like you, Peridan. Quite a nice place you have.” he says sincerely.

Avery looks around, her lips still smiling. “I agree. It is like you.” She sets the flowers down beside her plate.

Haft seems slightly ill-at-ease, but ventures, “It reminds me of my brother-in-law’s home. Though his has a workshop attached.”

Peridan hehs, rubbing the back of his neck, “You can thank Mirda for the home touch.” There is a bit of a clanking and Mirda appears with a pot of good looking carrot and leek soup. She begins to dish out the soup to each person. Peridan tips his head, “Your brother-in-law? Where do they live?”

Colin thanks Mirda as he listens to the conversation.

Avery quietly says, “This looks delicious, thank you.” She glances at Haft, listening.

You say, “Chesterton, Sir. He’s a carpenter.”

Colin comments, “That’s a worthy profession.”

Peridan strokes his chin, “Indeed. I should visit Chesterton when I go to Archenland. It has been some time.”Avery smirks a bit. “It’s beautiful there.”Colin accidentally knocks his spoon over and ducks under the table to retrieve it.

“You’ll have to be careful,” Haft says seriously, “given what I’ve heard of the native wildli–” He glances toward the disappearing Colin.

Colin reappears and sets his spoon back where it belongs.

Peridan turns to eye Colin, “You alright there, Cousin?”

Avery bites her lip, trying not to laugh. She nods in Haft’s direction. “The wildlife can be temperamental.”

Colin replies, “Why yes, thank you. Sorry ’bout that. You were saying, Haft? What’s the trouble with the local wildlife in Chesterton?”

You say, “I believe there are rumors of enormous man-eating birds.”

Colin blinks.

Peridan grins, “Ah, they are white, yes?”

Avery adds, “They delight in putting fear in the heart of anyone who comes too close.”
You say, “So they say.”

Colin’s face clears with understanding. “Ahh, those are the swans I’ve heard you and Tyren complain so much about, yes?”

Peridan eats some soup and calls to Mirda, “Most excellent, Mirda.” He listens to the conversation.

Avery says, “Yes.” She takes a spoonful of soup. “It’s a shame, because they really are beautiful birds.”

Colin shakes his head, chuckling as he savors the soup. “Beautiful nuisance.”

You say, “Meant to be observed from a distance.”Peridan says, “Indeed.”

Avery says, “Now, the peacocks know how beautiful they are and they love to show off their colors.”

Colin looks skeptical. “I’ve heard they can be mean as well. I don’t fancy being chased by any type of bird, no matter how pretty.”

Peridan says, “I prefer not to be chased in general. “Colin points to his cousin. “There is that, as well.”

Haft takes a spoonful of soup.

Mirda comes in to check the drinks and soup. “Can I get anyone anything?”
Haft just shakes his head.

Colin also shakes his head, smiling at the housekeeper. “No, thank you. Everything is wonderful.”

Avery looks up as Mirda comes in. “This is delightful, Mirda, thank you.”

Peridan looks up at her, smiling, “I would be amendable to that cake I smell.”

Avery perks up at the word ‘cake.’

Colin grins a little as he finishes off his soup.

Haft sets his spoon aside.Mirda nods, “Of course, Milord.” She begins to clear the dishes in preparation for dessert. Peridan leans forward, “Mirda’s cakes are wonderful.”

Colin points his spoon at Peridan. “What’s your favorite kind?”

Avery picks up the bouquet of flowers, listening as she waits.

Peridan says, “Chocolate of course.”Colin comments, “Excellent choice.”

Haft listens with interest.

Peridan looks about the table, “Well, what are yours?”

Colin’s reply is immediate. “Cake.”

Avery laughs. “I would have to agree with Colin.”

Haft just shrugs a bit.

Avery looks at Haft. “Does your silence suggest you don’t like cake, Haft?”

Colin frowns disapprovingly at the guard.

Mirda brings out a strawberry cream cake. “Here you go, Milady and Milords.” Peridan grins, “I guess we can take Haft’s piece then.”

Haft turns to her. “Ah, no…but it’s not exactly common rations. I’ve had some at Yuletide. That was nice.”

Colin stares at the cake in awe before sampling it when he gets his slice. His eyes roll up into his head and he groans happily. “I’m in heaven.”

Peridan quips, “I sure hope not. Means I will be stuck with you.”

Avery looks at the cake, distracted for the moment. “Oh, Mirda, this looks delicious!” She looks at Haft. “Well, we’ll make sure you have plenty tonight.”

Colin informs his cousin, “Worse things have happened.”

Haft smiles at Avery and takes a bite of the cake, apparently quite enjoying it.

Avery picks up her fork and takes a bite. “I might have to fight you for the rest, actually.” She grins and takes another forkful.

Peridan takes a big bite, “Mirda, you have outdone herself tonight.” Mirda hides a grin, “I’m glad you like it, Milady. It is nice to cook for many people.”

Colin is silent, because cake.

You say, “That would be most disagreeable, Lady Avery.”

You say, “I would never brawl with a lady over pastry. A man, now…” He eyes Peridan and Colin shiftily.”

Colin points his fork at Haft. “I may be injured, but I would die for this cake. Just so you are aware.”

Avery smiles up at the housekeeper and then looks at Haft. “You’re right. You should really just give it to me to prevent a fistfight.”

Colin does finish his cake and look at the plate mournfully but he graciously turns down more when offered.

Peridan looks innocently, “Mirda, maybe you should just hide it.” The housekeeper snorts a bit, “There is enough for everyone.”

You say, “A truly excellent meal all told, Madam.”

Colin says, “Hear hear.”

Peridan says, “Mirda has been with my family and me for forty-some years.”

Haft tilts his head. “You don’t look forty, Sir.”

Avery finishes her cake and pushes the plate forward. At Haft’s remark, she raises her eyebrows slightly.

Colin glances at Peridan, amused.

Peridan rubs his eyes, “Though some times I feel like it, I am not quite that old yet.” Mirda murmurs, explaining “I worked for Milord’s parents before the accident, then worked for Milord.”

Haft tilts his head back with an exaggerated “Ohhh” that makes it apparent he understood this quite well.

Avery nods at this explanation.

Peridan pushes back his plate, “Well, Thank you, my friends, for joining me for dinner.”

Colin says, “Thank you for having us, sir.”

Haft nods. “My lord.”

Peridan stands up from the table, “I am very glad to entertain you all.”

Haft rises.

Avery picks up her flowers. “Yes, thank you. Dinner was delicious. Dessert was even better.” She smiles at Mirda.

Everyone moves towards the fireplace and chats long into the night.


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