Fire Music

In which Haft finally takes Avery to the tavern

Haft fails to catch Colin before he leaves the castle.  Defeated, he tracks down Avery in Peridan’s office.

Suite 7 (Peridan’s Office)
You stand in a roomy, luxuriously-decorated suite on the lower level of Cair
Paravel. Opposite the door leading out, you see a large, comfortable-looking
four-poster bed hung with curtains, a wardrobe of some rich-looking wood, and a
long window looking out over the bay that divides Cair Paravel from the
mainland of Narnia. The floor laid with thick carpets, and there is even a
little writing-desk for the suite’s occupant to use. Impressive accommodations!
You can go: Out <O>
Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery) and A son of
adam with blue eyes (Peridan).

Avery pushes the door open. She is a little out of breath. “He left.”

Peridan looks up and sighs, “I expected as much.”

Avery frowns. “What?”

Peridan moves towards her, “We had a fight about a few issues. I overacted and it was not my finest moment.”

Avery crosses her arms and turns away from him slightly.

Peridan goes towards her, “Lady Avery?” His voice is concerned. “I am truly sorry. I made a mistake.”

Haft steps into the open doorway. “I couldn’t catch him.”

Avery looks at him and gives a faint nod. “I don’t know what happened, but I do know that he needs support from family right now. I understand that arguments may arise, considering the stress we are all under, but it’s also very important to resolve any issues or offenses, especially before something like this happens.” She turns when Haft arrives, frowning.

Peridan turns as Haft enters. He frowns, “I see.” He looks torn.

Haft says, “He’s trying to protect people he cares about. He is rational. I conversed with him for several minutes. Still, I wish he’d waited. And I wish he’d taken someone.”

Haft doesn’t quite meet Peridan’s eyes.

Peridan takes a step back, “Is he going home or elsewhere?”

Haft shifts uncomfortably. “I am not entirely certain. I would not be surprised if he didn’t go straight home.”

Peridan goes and sits down behind his desk. He holds his head in his hands and closes his eyes.

Avery watches Peridan, frowning. “Haft, would you give us a few moments, please?”

Haft bows and leaves the room.

Some time later.

Base of the Southeast Tower
The Southeast tower differs from those at the west end of the castle, mainly
in that it is not round.  It is also larger and quite a bit more decorative,
being used primarily by the Kings and Queens and their esteemed compatriots.
The stairs that lead upward are rimmed by a sweeping bannister of marble, the
steps themselves draped in a rich carpet.  The walls are hung with tapestries,
and the windows that line the east wall all the way up are of stained-glass.
It gives an almost cathedral-effect as one looks upward toward the second
floor above.

Archways branch off to the west and south here.  The south archway apparently
leads to a corridor, while the west leads into the Well Chamber, just off of
the Great Hall.
You can go: Corridor <S>, Up the Stairs <U>, Well Chamber <W>

Peridan strides through the Tower, dressed ready for travel. His jaw is set and he looks determined.

Haft stands by the base of the tower, waiting.

Peridan makes a beeline for Haft. “Lady Avery and I have spoken and I am going to go after Colin.” He pauses, “Thank you, Haft.”

Haft looks dubious. “For…?”

Peridan says, “For protecting Lady Avery and watching over her. I could not have picked a better man.”

Haft frowns slightly, then nods. “Sir,” he says hesitantly, “what happened in the stable…please understand that I hold you in the highest regard.”

Peridan hehs, “I know. It was a lack of judgment of my part.” He smiles, “Thank you, Haft.”

Haft smiles faintly in gratitude for the understanding. “I hope you find him, Sir.”

Peridan nods, “Lion willing. Until we met again, Haft.” He strides towards the Hall.

Haft looks after him.

Avery walks toward Haft and quietly says, “Haft?”

Haft turns, offering a small bow. “My lady.”

Avery sighs deeply. “I never would have expected all this…”

Haft says, “No. Do you think it’s easier to bear when you do expect it? Trouble I mean.”

Avery shakes her head. “No. I suppose not…”

Haft says, “I wonder if maybe it’s worse. If all you expect is trouble. Turns you bitter.”

Avery looks at him, nodding. “That is true.” She pulls at a loose string on her sleeve. “I hope Lord Peridan finds him.”

Haft says, “It’s likely he will, if he stays in Narnia. The Commander can ask with the local wildlife, and it’s hard to avoid being seen by the Trees.”

Avery nods. “Of course. Then I hope he can bring him back.”

Haft says, “That will be up to Sir Colin, I suppose. But perhaps Lord Peridan can persuade him.”

Avery hmms. “I’m sure you’ve already gathered this…but we won’t be going to Bergdale anymore. I think it is best to just return to Anvard.”

Haft glances at her. “Before Lord Peridan’s return?”

Avery says, “No, of course not.” She shakes her head. “We will make plans to depart when things are mostly settled.”

Haft looks more comfortable with this. “Of course. In the meantime, is there anything you’d like to see near Sted Cair? The Athenaeum? I can escort you wherever you like if it’s close.”

Avery shrugs. “Take me wherever. If I stay here, I’ll only pace and worry…”

Haft looks her over. “Have you been to the tavern yet?”

Avery lifts one blonde eyebrow. “No, I have not.”

Haft says, “Fine. We could both use the distraction. If you’ll don something a little more…less ribbons…and your cloak, we’ll have an evening out.”

Avery looks down at her gown. “Ah, yes. Where shall I meet you?”

Haft says, “The front hall in…” He seems to be evaluating how long it might take Avery to unlace the ties on the back of her dress. “…half an hour.””

Avery nods. “See you in half an hour then.” She turns and walks down the hall rather quickly.

The Satyr’s Hoof Tavern
You stand inside the Satyr’s Hoof Tavern, a lively and warm social gathering
place that is always patonized by many of Sted Cair’s good citizens.  The
room is brightly lit with dwarven-wrought lanterns, and the walls are adorned
with maps, ropes and other adventurer’s gear.  Tables are scattered around in
no particular fashion, and serving wenches casually stroll among them, taking
orders.  A large menu on the wall behind the bar lists the current fare.

There is also a long bar along the southwest wall, with crude wooden stools
set in front of it.  Behind, a tall, handsome-looking Satyr is serving
beverages to the patrons seated there.

The northeast door leads out onto the square.
You can go: Out <NE>
Contents: A daughter of eve with honey-colored ringlets (Avery); Datillo, the
Tavernkeeper; Pricelist; and Wolves and Foxes Game Set.

Haft escorts Avery into the tavern, scanning it carefully to ensure her safety before leading her to a table near the fire.

Avery follows Haft closely. She sits down, untying her cloak and setting it down next to her. “This is the first tavern I’ve ever been in, you know.” She glances around at the lanterns and maps.

Haft says, “Yes, from the look you gave me when I asked if you’d accepted Aaron’s invitation I rather guessed that.”

Haft blushes as if he hadn’t meant to be so frank.

Avery ducks her head a bit. “Coming here with you is an entirely different matter. Let’s not speak of him.”

Haft says, “No, let’s not. ”

Haft raises a hand to summon a server.

Avery smiles lightly. “Shall we get something to eat?”

Haft says, “Possibly. Or maybe my arm will just get tired. Ah, here we are.”

A female faun trots over to the table. “Hallo. What can I get for you two? You come over on the ships from the islands?”

Avery giggles as she watches Haft try to get the attention of the Faun. “No, but wouldn’t that be lovely? We’re from Archenland.”

The faun’s mouth forms an “Oh”. “Well,” she says, that sounds even nicer. I’d rather trot the mountain passes than try to keep my balance on a ship.

Avery shrugs one shoulder. “I’ve never been on a ship, so I’m afraid I don’t have much of an opinion on which is better…”

The faun smiles. “Well, what would you like?”

Avery looks at Haft and gestures for him to decide.

Haft looks over the menu. “Two bowls of stew and…two mugs of mead, I think.”

The faun nods and trots off.

Avery grins. “I hope you ordered those two mugs for you and yourself.”

Haft turns. “Oh, have you had mead before?”

Avery shakes her head.

Haft says, “It’s a kind of fermented honey drink. I thought you might find it different. I’m not a great patron of it myself, but it seemed a little more adventurous than the blackberry tea.”

Avery says, “Well, I suppose I’ll try it.”

Haft looks around the room at the diverse variety of diners. “What do you think? is this how you’ve always imagined a tavern?”

Avery follows his example and starts to observe the room. “I think I always thought it would be more lively…and louder. But it looks like how I’ve imagined it would.”

Haft says, “Less fur and fewer hooves on the guests at the tavern in Andale.”

Avery laughs. “Of course.” She tips her head. “I wonder, could we convince anyone to play some music?”

Haft says, “Let’s ask when the server comes back with our bowls.”

Avery nods. She traces the grain in the table with a fingernail. “Tell me about your home in Barfield. Was there a tavern there?”

Haft shakes his head. “Too small. There’s one to the south in Beruna. It’s not far.”

Avery hmms. “What /was/ in Barfield then? Mostly homes or were there some shops?”

Haft says, “There’s a few shops. Basic things. If you wanted something special you went to Beruna.”

Avery says, “I see.” She looks up at him. “Do you miss it? It sounds like it must have been very different from the busyness of Anvard.”

Haft shakes his head. “No.”

Avery looks like she wants to ask more, but then she simply nods.

The faun returns, balancing a tray that holds their meal. She sets the bowls and mugs carefully before them.

Haft says, “Thank you. I wonder if any of your people might be playing their pipes tonight? The lady’s never seen fire music.”

Avery smiles at the Faun, looking hopeful.

The faun straightens. “My cousin Tarchus played last night, and he’s staying in the common room at the Lion’s Fold. I reckon there’s a good chance he’ll be back tonight.”

Haft says, “If you can send someone to the inn to check, you can tell your cousin we’re good tippers.”

Avery grins at this. “Oh, please do tell him!”

The faun grins. “I’ll do that,” she says before hurrying off.

Avery turns back to the table and focuses on the stew. “It smells delicious.”

Haft looks down at his soup. “Humbler fare than you’re used to, but hearty.”

Haft takes a spoonful.

Avery picks up her spoon and tries a spoonful. She chews a piece of meat thoughtfully and nods her approval. “It /is/ delicious.”

Haft says, “This is the sort of thing they serve in the mess at Anvard. Though I confess the cook here has a way with spices.”

Avery pulls the mug of mead towards her, staring down into the honey-colored liquid. “Here goes nothing.” She lifts the mug and takes a sip. She grimaces and quickly swallows, looking at the mug as if it has offended her.

Haft laughs. “Sorry. I said it was more adventurous than the tea. I never said it tasted better.”

Avery laughs along with him, wiping her mouth with her fingertips. “I’ll forgive you when I can forget the taste…”

Haft asks, “So long?”

Avery takes a bite of stew, giving in. “Oh, alright, you’re forgiven.”

Haft grins.

As Haft and Avery finish their stew–and the two cups of blackberry tea Haft ordered to replace the mead–a quite elderly faun enters with a small set of panpipes slung at his side. He seats himself on a three-legged stool by the fire which seems to have been reserved for this purpose.

Avery watches the Faun with interest, tilting her head to the side slightly.

Tarchus–for so he must be–unslings his pipe and gives a quick trill, gaining the attention of everyone in the hall.

Avery smiles when he plays a couple notes.

As the faun begins to play in earnest, the flames in the healthy fire seem to take on new and strange shapes beyond the usual random flickers. Nymphs dance through the woods, hounds pursue a mighty stag, and a flock of birds rises to dissolve into embers.

Avery glances toward the fire, catching the flickering flames in the corner of her eye. Her eyes grow round and she gasps, glancing between Haft and the fire.

Haft smiles faintly.

Avery grins as the shape of a Centaur forms. “How–” She shakes her head in wonder.

Haft shakes his head. “No idea…well, that’s not entirely true. Their own native magic, I guess. No Man could do it, however good he got at the pipes.”

Avery props her elbow on the table and rests her chin on her hand, watching the flames. “It’s beautiful.”

“Yes,” Haft agrees quietly, “it is.” He lets out a long breath, seeming to release the evening’s strain as he loses himself in the flicker of the flames and the swirl of the music.

Avery traces the rim of her mug with her free hand. “This was a good idea, Haft. Thank you.”

Haft says, “You’re welcome, my lady.”

Avery smiles at him before turning her attention back to the dancing flames.

The two sit quietly long into the evening, sipping tea, listening to the music, watching the fire and, of course, tipping very well.


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