Mortified

Wherein Haft gives advice of the sort he normally doesn’t follow himself

Infirmary
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The infirmary of Anvard is a long, bright room, a little over half the length
of the Great Hall. It is shaped oddly, the northeast and southwest walls
curving inward to accommodate the towers on either side. A partition that faces
the door out to the inner ward bisects the room, separating the front area
where the castle healers work from the back.

Three windows on either side of the door in the southeast wall let in a good
amount of sunlight, especially in the late morning, and their sills are
cluttered with the pots of several frequently used plants. To the left of the
door stands a large cabinet, and bundles of herbs in various stages of drying
hang from the ceiling. There is a long oak worktable to the right of the door,
and a desk in the east corner is piled high with half-completed notes and books
and other useful documents.
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You can go: Inner Ward <SE>, Past the Partition <NE>
Contents: OOC Sign; Small Storage Chest; and Storage Trunk.

Haft sits in a chair in the infirmary, which is empty at the moment. He appears to be waiting.You feel a little hungry.

Avery steps into the Infirmary, her hair mostly down with only the front part pinned back. There are dark circles under her eyes. When she sees Haft, she stops, her cheeks coloring. “Guardsman Haft. I didn’t know you’d be here…”

Haft rises and bows, then frowns in concern. “My Lady, are you unwell?”

Avery shakes her head. “I am fine.” She looks around the infirmary and then back at Haft. “Lord Peridan?”

Haft says, “In the guest quarters, I expect. Kairyn patched him up and put his arm in a sling. She gave him some tea to help with the pain and sent him on his way.”

Avery nods faintly, rubbing her forehead. She picks up a small stool by the door and sets it on the floor near him, plopping down. “Are you here for your shoulder?”

Haft turns, looking at the seat behind him. “You can have the chair.”

Avery waves a hand. “I’m alright here…I don’t think I quite deserve to take your chair…” She lets out an embarrassed chuckle.

Haft sits, bemused. “Deserve?”

Avery covers her face with her hands. “I /don’t/ even know what I was thinking.”

Haft smiles gently. “I suppose you were thinking that you were fond of him and grateful he wasn’t hurt worse.

Avery looks up at Haft. She smiles a little. “But there are so many other ways I could have expressed that.” She shakes her head, shrugging. “And I chose that one. In front of you, and Kairyn and my /brother./”

Haft makes a sympathetic face. “Well…you didn’t know they were there, and a guard is meant to be discreet. Try not to be too hard on yourself, Lady.”

Avery takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “At least my Mother wasn’t there…”

Haft says, “Small mercies.”

Avery looks down, covering her face with both hands. Her shoulders shake a bit.

Haft touches her shoulder tentatively. “Lady?”

Avery sits up straighter, her laughter spilling out without any hesitation now.

Haft draws his hand back quickly.

Avery takes a deep breath, trying to compose herself. She shakes her head. “What a mess this is…”

Haft says, “Perhaps it will resolve itself. In time.”

Avery holds her hands out. “It has to.”

Haft says, “Then it will. At least you can laugh at it.”

Avery says, “At this point, I think it’s the only thing I can do…”

Haft says, “That’s good. I have trouble laughing at myself. Seems like it must be good for the spirit.”

Avery tips her head. “Maybe you can learn to.”

Haft lifts his right shoulder. “Stranger things have happened.”

Avery nods. “That is true.” She taps her knees gently. “You were with Lord Peridan last night, after he came here?”

Haft says, “Yes.”

Avery hesitates a few seconds before asking, “How was he?”

Haft’s expression turns slightly guarded, though his voice is cordial. “His hand hurt. She had to set it.”

Avery winces, biting her lower lip. “I should have been there with him…”

Haft says, “He wouldn’t have wanted you to be. The setting was quite unpleasant.”

Avery speaks in a quiet voice. “That wouldn’t have mattered…I should have let him know that–” She stops talking, lifting her eyes toward Haft. With a shake of her head, she finishes with, “I just should have been there.”

Haft inclines his head, allowing her point. “Maybe. I didn’t say you weren’t strong enough for it. But it’s past now.”

Avery sighs. “You’re right.” She stands up. “Well, I should go see to some things…I hope Kairyn is able to help you with the pain.”

Haft says, “I’m sure he wouldn’t object to your inquiring after him now.” He hesitates, as though wondering if a visit to Peridan’s quarters is really a good suggestion, given the previous day’s events, but doesn’t withdraw it. “Thank you, I’m sure she’ll be pleased to have another patient.”

Avery nods a bit. She returns the stool back to its place and says, “Thank you, Haft.”

Haft rises, offering another bow. “Have a pleasant day, my lady.”

Avery bows her head and leaves.

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