Gift

In which Haft presents Megren with her present

Off-duty Mess
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This is the place where off duty soldiers and sailors can relax and eat.
There is a small cookfire and hearth and a few tables set up nearby.  On one
wall is a dart board, and on a small table in the corner there is a chess
set.  Someone has left a pile of parchment with sketches of his fellow
knights on another table.  This is a comfortable, casual room.
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You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell <S>
Contents: Hearth <LIT>.

Megren sits in one of the large armchairs by the fire, a book in her lap. She’s turned it a bit so that she’s not easily visibly, especially given she has her legs tucked up into it, but a flash of her hair can be seen from the doorway, if one is looking for it.

Haft enters the mess, first giving the room a quick once over before inspecting more carefully and heading over to sit down near Megren. “Good book?”

Megren looks up. “Oh.” She sits up, dropping her legs. “Um, it’s just something Sir Darrin was reading.” She displays the cover that of a piece of fiction. “I wanted to read something more useful, but I’m sort of stuck between children’s books and difficult things right now.”

Haft says, “Suppose I could have brought you back something written by a Hedgehog. They tend to use pretty straightforward language. Then again, advice on the best placed to nose for worms and snails might not count as useful either.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at him.

Haft offers a small package. “Found it. Fell behind my bunk.”

Megren’s brows lift and her mouth opens in delight. “You /did/ bring me something!”

Haft laughs. “What, you thought I was shamming? Course I did. I said I would.”

Megren takes the package in her hands. “Can I open it?”

Haft nods. “You know, I had a hard time coming up with something. There was this Weasel suggested a map, but that didn’t seem like something you’d have a lot of call for. Lord Peridan, I think it was, suggested a woodcarving. Of course I was sorely tempted to get a carved Otter so we could compare the likeness.”

Megren sticks her tongue out at him. She slips her thumb under the wrapping, careful not to tear it.

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

The package opens to reveal a small sheathed knife. Examination reveals it to have a blade about four inches long and sharpened on one edge–a small utility knife. The handle is unadorned, but the wood itself is rich and well-shaped, with an attractive striation in the grain.

Megren turns the object over in her hands, her thumb running along the grain. “Oh, Haft — it’s beautiful.”

Haft looks pleased by her reaction. “Cast off from one of the Walking Trees. They have the best grain. Thought something you could use would be better than a trinket or something to hang on the wall, specially now you’re gonna be galavanting all over the place as a squire.”Megren gets up to hug him, careful to turn the blade away. “It’s the very perfect thing.”
Haft returns the hug with his good arm. “Good.”

Megren pulls away. “You had a good time? Besides the shoulder, anyway.”

You say, “Well, the shoulder was just at the end. Yeah, I did. Never thought I’d say it, but I think it was good for me to get away for a while, just focus on protecting Lady Avery. Not that she needed much. Helped me remember some things about just doing my duty that I’d forgotten I’d enjoyed. Away from problems here.”

Megren gives him a little half smile. “Good. I’m sorry– I’m sorry for my part in that.”

Haft smiles back. “Thank you. I’m sorry for mine. I’ll take care of this business with Lanisen as soon as–well, the timing’s right. I’ll talk to the Captain soon. But with what he’s been through and what I’ve heard, apologizing to Lanisen himself may have to sit yet awhile. Has he started eating in the mess again?”

Megren shakes her head. “No, I’ve — well, everything that’s happened. I don’t know. You expect — in the stories, you rescue the person, you catch the outlaw, and that’s the end of it.”

Haft snorts. “Who comes up with them stories?”

Megren’s mouth lifts at the corner. “Not somebody who’s lived them, I suppose.”

You say, “Guess not. I hope Sir Colin shared the details of his leads with the rest of the knights, cause what I heard in the council chamber lacked a lot of basic information about how we even know there’s an accomplice.”

Megren’s brows lift. “Did he–” She pauses then stops. “Well, better to ask him directly, I guess.”

Haft shrugs his shoulder. “I suppose the information’s been given where it’s needed.I do wish we had some kind of description to watch out for, but I gather we lack that.”Megren looks doubtful, but she doesn’t voice her doubts. “Only that she might have worn a veil.”

Haft notes her look. “What is it?”

Megren says, “Oh, I — it just seems like half the trouble is no one’s telling each other near enough of what they know. If Sir Colin had told us he was leaving for Narnia and why–” she lifts a shoulder. “I don’t know. I don’t mean to doubt his reasons. Maybe we’ve a difference of opinion on what needs to be known, and by whom.”

Haft nods. “It’s hard to judge without knowing what’s being withheld, whether it ought to be withheld.”

Megren tucks her hair behind her ear and nods. She looks down at the knife still in her hands. “I should put this away.”

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

Haft rises. “Don’t hide it in your trunk, mind. I expect you to use that.”

Megren makes a face of mock offense. “I would never.”

Haft grins, waving her out. “Off you go.”

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