Four and Twenty Blackbirds

In which there is dastardly pie

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>

Colin begins to page through the book on the table once more.

Darrin nods as Gavin says something disarming about how Colin was not disturbing them. He looks at Darrin as Colin sits back down, and Darrin shrugs. Darrin goes and collects a couple of glasses of wine while Sir Gavin gathers up the darts.

Haft enters the room, looking for an open seat.

Colin looks up as the door opens again and he lifts a hand in greeting. “‘Lo there, Haft.”

Haft offers a bow and a polite, “Sir.”

Colin asks him, “Off duty for the night?”

Darrin hands a glass over to Sir Gavin in exchange for half the darts, and the pair of them settle into a game, with much ribbing and the occasional threat of wagers, though no actual coin appears.

Haft walks up to him as the knight seems inclined to converse. “Yes. Thought I might go over some notes I made in Narnia, but then realized I’d be hampered by the sling. Was hoping to get it off today, but missed Kairyn before my shift.

Colin makes a sympathetic noise. “That’s a pity. How’s your shoulder doing?” He leans back, content to chat while observing the dart game.

Haft says, “Still hurts like blazes, but nothing that won’t mend. I was fortunate not to have a broken collarbone.”

Colin winces in sympathy, rubbing his own collarbone. “Those hurt something fierce. I broke mine when I was a lad when I got thrown off a horse that was too feisty for me. It felt like it took forever to heal. You are fortunate indeed.”

Haft shakes his head. “Horses are vicious things. Why do we ride them again?”Somewhere on the muck, Madeline has disconnected.

Colin shrugs a little. “Faster than walking or something like that. Utter nonsense.”A daughter of eve with a long braid comes walking into the Off-duty Mess.

Haft says, “Well see, if we’d all agree not to ride, just to even things out…no one would need to rush.”

Darrin can be heard making an affronted noise when he catches the bit of Haft and Colin’s conversation that calls horses vicious.

Colin turns his head at the noise. He is quiet a moment before drawing a breath and forging ahead. “You disagree, Sir Darrin?” he asks, his tone amiable.

Haft turns to catch Darrin’s answer.A daughter of eve with a long braid enters the mess with Maire in tow. She blinks as she sees all the people in there before nudging Maire and muttering to her.

Cassandra mumbles “Told … people … be here.”, to Maire.

Maire enters the mess, behind Cassandra her eyes scanning the room and land on Sir Colin. She smiles, and heads straight toward him. She sets her tray on the table, there is a blackberry pie with the edges slightly darkened, with lavender sprigs on top. “Hello, sir.” she says, and in a low voice she asks, “Have you eaten?” her tone is slightly teasing.

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

Darrin aims at the dart board and lands a dart in the second ring from the middle. Sir Gavin groans loudly, “I beseech you, Sir Colin, don’t get him started.” He covers his eyes with a hand as Darrin turns. “I would say rather because they are noble creatures and steadfast friends,” he says, earnestly. At Gavin’s louder groan, he gives him a severe look, his lips twitching. “Oh, hush.”

Colin is distracted when the kitchen maid approaches him and he blinks at her, startled for a moment before his face settles into a longsuffering expression. “Hello, Maire….” He hesitates before answering, “I have not….” He glances skeptically at the pie, warming to it a little when he sees it looks a mite better than the ones he has been receiving thus far.

Haft smiles, bowing to Darrin. “I’m sure it’s just an observation based on the number of horse-related injuries, Sir.

Cassandra remarks, “She made it so it is your own life you are taking into your hands, Sir.” She curtsies to all the Lords in the room.

Maire smiles, and sets to cut a slice for him, “Its good to see you out and about, sir.” she gives Cassandra a pointed look.

Colin accepts the pie, slightly hesitant but still grateful. “Thank you, Maire…and thanks for the ones you’ve been…leaving.” He glances at the others before takign a moment to appreciate the aroma wafting up. He touches his finger to the juices spilling from the sides and taste tests it, definitely warming up. “This one tastes pretty good. I see you’re mastering the ovens. Thank you.” He says again.

Maire hands him a fork, “You’re welcome, sir.” she turns to the rest in the room, “Would anyone else like some?” she smiles, gesturing toward the tray.

Darrin sends Haft a somewhat sheepish smile. “Yes, well. Probably. I’m hardly an unbiased person on the matter.” Gavin snorts loudly.

Colin accepts the fork and, in the manner of someone who may have forgotten to eat that day, and also he’s a knight and practically hollow all the time, he eats a few bites of the pie, making appreciative noises.

Cassandra begins to collect some dirty dishes.

Haft laughs, “And I’m hardly an objective party.”

Tyren pokes his head in the entryway to the mess, glancing about with a searching expression. Apparently he finds what (or who) he’s looking for as he makes his way into the room proper.

Colin closes his book since so many people are now in the mess. When he sees Sir Tyren enter, he once more rises from his seat and bows, making the usual adjustments for his injured knee.

Maire turns back to Colin, “How have you been?” she asks, her voice low, hoping the others are enough distracted they won’t take notice.

Darrin conveniently jostles Gavin’s elbow when he goes to throw the next dart, only half paying attention to the goings ons of everyone else.

Cassandra picks up a plate that is right next to Haft. She squints at him, “Haft, right?”

Haft opens his mouth, perhaps to comment on Darrin’s cheat, but turns to Cassandra. “Ah, yes, that’s right.”

Tyren makes his way over to Colin, nodding to the others as he passes them. “Ah, Sir Colin. Just the man I was hoping to find.”

Colin looks a little woozy.

Colin stumbles a little as he stands, shaking his head. He rubs his eyes. “Is that so, Sir Tyren?”

Colin glances at the maid but does not answer since Sir Tyren is right there.

Darrin is socked in the shoulder by Sir Gavin when the other knight misses badly enough to not even hit the board. Darrin chortles smugly.

Cassandra takes that response as good and finishes cleaning up.

Maire takes a little step back when Sir Tyren approaches, offering him a little smile.

Tyren moves to help steady Colin, and it isn’t quite clear how much of the action is reflex. “Quite. I was hoping for your assistance with something. If you’re up for it, that is.”

Tyren’s only reply to Maire is a faint lift of the brow.

Haft turns back to observe the progress of the dart game.

Colin’s face grows confused and he reaches for the edge of the table. He begins blinking a few times and rubs his eyes again. “Oh..oh?” he asks, not really focusing on the conversation.

Maire pushes the pie closer toward Tyren, “Would you like some, sir?” she asks, lifting a brow of her own to match his.

“Cassandra turns to look at Sir Colin, tipping her head.

Tyren says to Maire, “Later, perhaps,” focus still on Colin as he gives his fellow knight a quiet word.

Tyren mumbles “… feeling all … … haven’t forgotten to … … you?”, to Colin.

Colin groans slightly. He is starting to look a bit peaked. “I don’t feel so…” he says, blinking his eyes rapidly. He rubs them, then rubs them again. “Something’s…” He reaches for Sir Tyren’s arm and misses. “I can’t…I can’t see?” He says, his voice pitch starting to rise.

Haft leaps to steady Colin, arm at his elbow. “Sir?”

Cassandra startles a bit, “Sir?”

Darrin is distracted from his own turn at the darts by the commotion. He chucks the dart haphazardly and turns. ”

Colin?” he looks between Tyren and Colin as he nears, sounding anxious.

Tyren does the same, minus the leaping, as he’s already at Colin’s other side. “Easy, easy,” he says as he grasps Colin with a /slightly/ firmer grip than usual, just as reassurance that yes, he really is There and Present. “Answers /one/ of my questions. Although Adrian might be able to answer it better. Come on.”

Maire’s brows bunch on her forehead. She takes a step forward, but pauses seeing others coming to his aid.

Colin’s eyes keep blinking as he tries to clear them and he suddenly bends over double, making an agonized sound. His legs give out and no longer support him.

Haft does his part to keep the man from falling.

Tyren grunts at the sudden shift, finding himself bearing a good portion of Colin’s weight in a somewhat awkward position. He needs a moment to adjust.

Cassandra looks at the goings on and frowns. She turns to the pie, looking at it.
Haft calls to a guard across the room. “Owin! Fetch Adrian! Do it now.”

Colin nearly crashes to the floor, his legs too weak to hold him. “Wha–what’s happen…MAIRE!” He sounds thoroughly panicked right now.

Maire gasps when Colin stumbles.

Owin dashes from the room.

Tyren adjusts once more, his own voice steady. “Easy, Colin, easy. Adrian’s on his way. We’ve got you.” He glances over to the others, his glance lingering on Maire just a hair longer with a faint frown, then attempts to turn Colin just slightly, back to the chair he was occupying previously. “You’re in good hands, and help’s on the way.”

Darrin gives Gavin a look and the other knight heads out as well, perhaps to be certain Owin finds Adrian. He kneels by Tyren at Colin’s side.

Cassandra grabs Maire and pulls her back. Her grip is firm on her arm.

Colin’s hand goes to his head and he moans. “Oh my head…” Completely disoriented, he bumps into the table, then chair.

Haft releases Colin’s arm, rising. He catches Cassandra’s action. “Stay!” Then amends, “You two sit there, out of the way.”

Maire’s eyes widen feeling a tug on her arm, she looks to Cassandra, her expression horrified, “What is going on?” she tugs a little.

Tyren glances to Darrin as he kneels by him. “Would you be so kind as to see my sister is informed that we’ve had a rather abrupt change of plans this evening?” He glances back to Colin, guiding him as best he’s able with a firm but gentle hand. To him, he asks, “How long have you felt it? Just now, or has it been building a while?”

Cassandra hisses to Maire. “I don’t know. Just stand back.”

Maire looks thouroughly upset, as if she does not want to comply. She tugs at her braid, then slips her hands in the folds of her skirts, her jaw working back and forth.

I don’t see that here.Darrin looks reluctant, casting a concerned look at Colin, but he nods. “Where is she?” he asks Tyren.

Colin shakes his head, rubbing his eyes again and squinting in a desperate attempt to clear the blurryness. “I don’t know…”

Haft booms, “Did that sound like a request? Sit. Down.”

Tyren replies, calm and steady, “I left her in the library – she’s likely seeking out Lord Peridan. He should probably know, too, so that saves us some time.” He adds after a beat, “I’ve got this. Not the first time, after all.”

Cassandra looks at Haft and yanks Maire down on the bench.

Maire shoots Haft a direct look, and falls back on the bench when Cassandra pulls. She scoots a little bit, sitting right on the edge.

Darrin hehs. “Of course, how could I forget,” he says, voice dry. He gives Colin one last look, nods, squeezes Tyren’s shoulder, and moves to go.

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

Tyren nods to his cousin. “Thank you.”

Adrian bursts into the room, Owin not far behind, looking a little red-faced. Adrian gives the room a quick sweep with his glance, then hurries over to Colin. “So we meet again, Sir.”

Colin groans in response.

Adrian says dryly, “Nice to see you too.” He makes a few shooing-type gestures at Tyren before kneeling down himself. “Now. What seems to be the problem /this/ time?”

Tyren rises, giving Colin’s shoulder a brief squeeze as he does so. “Going to give Adrian room to work,” he says. “I’m still right here.” He glances to Haft. “I think you’re in a better position to fill us both in on what exactly seems to have happened.”

Colin draws a sharp breath and hunches, crossing his arms over his stomach.

Maire folds her hands in her lap, her eyes taking in the scene. She leans forward, scooting as far as she dares, saying nothing.

Cassandra glares at Maire.

Haft nods. “Sir Colin was sitting, eating and talking, and then he rose to greet Sir a Tyren and grew week, complaining of blindness.

Haft says, “Then he collapsed.”

Adrian nods, checking Colin’s vitals and lifting a brow as Colin hunches over. “Accompanied by stomach pains, I gather.”

Tyren’s glance drifts toward Cassandra and Maire. “Anything either of you have to add?” His tone is just a hair closer to that of the Authoritative Knight.

Colin moans. “Why is everything so blurry…my head…oh my head.” He groans in pain.

Cassandra speaks first, “We were in the kitchen this entire time. Maire wanted help making pies.”

Haft frowns. “This reminds me of something I saw years ago in Narnia. Young Squirrel ate some plant or other. Nearly–” He breaks off, turning to the women.

Maire’s brows knit even tighter, her eys wide. She shakes her head, “It happened so fast, I don’t know.” she says. She tips her head when Cassandra speaks and nods.

Tyren’s glance shifts from Cassandra, to the pie, to Maire, to Haft, to Colin and Adrian, and then back to Maire, in rapid succession.

Maire asks, unsure if Colin will even hear her, “Have you been feeling sick lately, Sir Colin?”

Colin groans helpfully.

Adrian glances at the others as he continues his ministrations. “How suddenly did the difficulty seeing come on?”

Haft says, “It seemed very sudden. He looked fine a moment before.”

Colin nods, balling up in pain. “Everything’s so blurry…can’t make anything out…”

Haft frowns, coming closer. “Sir Colin, you said something about Maire?”

Adrian frowns, though he doesn’t look particularly surprised, as if this is confirmation rather than news. He barks a few directions at Owin, who darts off to comply again, then continues about his work.

Tyren’s glance remains riveted on Maire, save for a quick, meaningful dart of his eyes toward the pie. There is evident inquiry in the glance.

Colin winces. “Feel like I’m gonna be sick…pie. Was fine before pie.”

Maire stiffens, her eyes dart between Colin and the pie and then to Tyren. Her eyes slowly widen.

Cassandra’s eyes dart around the room and she turns to look at Maire.

Haft looks to Tyren. “We can feed it to a chicken, see if that’s the cause.

Colin’s blurry eyes suddenly go wide and he reaches for whoever he can grab, who happens to be Tyren (I think). “Someone…warn Lanisen. Don’t eat.”

Haft calls over a wide-eyed new recruit who’s been watching, horrorstruck. He explains the situation in brief and sends the man off to find Lanisen.

Cassandra jerks a bit as Lanisen is mentioned. She slams a hand down on the bench.

Tyren glances to the pie at Haft’s remark. “Confirmation, more like.” He glances to Maire. “Yours, I take it.”

Colin looks a little woozy.

Maire gasps softly, she looks at Cassandra, her eyes couldn’t be any wider. She turns back to Tyren, “I- I’ve been bringing…” understanding dawns on her features.

Owin returns with a few extra things for Adrian, who raises a concoction to Colin’s mouth. “This should help with the stomach pain, Sir.”

Tyren says, simply, evenly, “Tell me about this one in particular.” Though smoothly spoken, there is an edge just beneath it, implying he will /not/ tolerate anything being left out.

Colin opens his mouth obligingly, wincing.

Colin looks a little woozy.

Maire jumps up, pressing a hand to her forehead. Her eyes dart around the room, her face focused. She doesn’t hear Tyren’s words.

Tyren says, “/MAIRE/.”

Haft moves between Maire and the door.

Maire jumps, her eyes flying to Tyren’s, “I don’t know!” she says, her voice more forceful. “Its just a pie.” she gestures, palms upward.

Cassandra just sits there.

Haft cuts in. “You made it by yourself?”

Tyren replies, “Circumstance suggests otherwise. What went into it? Was it unattended? Or is there need for me to seek answers by other means?”

Colin looks a little woozy.

Maire’s eyes go back and forth between Haft and Tyren, “I did make it, it was not unattended.” she looks at Cassandra, her face torn, and confused, then going blank and unreadable. “Any of the ingredients could have been tainted at any time before the pie was made.” she says, pressing a hand to her forehead. She paces a few steps.

Haft presses, “But Cassandra said you wanted help. Who helped you?”

Tyren’s expression indicates he would very much like to know this as well – and will not stand for silence.

Colin slowly, lethargically, reaches for the edge of the table nearby. Once finding it, he leans forward and rests his forehead on said table.

Cassandra speaks up, “I did. But all I did was watch, told her how to stir. When to put it in the oven.”

Maire runs her hands through her hair, scrunching the at the roots, “I can’t master the ovens, everyone has been helping me.” her voice rises in pitch. She looks at Cassandra, her expression goes blank again.

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

Haft looks to Sir Tyren, allowing him to take charge of the questioning now that Haft has brought up the point he remembers.

Adrian rises as he finishes his work, glancing at the pie in question. To Colin, he says, “I’ve done what I can for the symptoms, for the time being.”

Tyren folds his arms as he glances between the two women. It is to Cassandra that he poses his next question. “And did you notice anything out of the ordinary while doing so? Was there a moment where your glance was elsewhere where something… untoward could have slipped its way in?”

Colin wraps his arms around his torso again, squinting in what seems to be Adrian’s direction. “That’s all you can do?” he asks, sounding weak and somewhat pathetic.

Cassandra rubs her eyes, thinking, “Um, I turned away from her, once, when she placed the pie filling into the crust. I started washing the dishes.”

Maire presses her lips together in a thin line. She takes a subtle step backward.

For now,” Adrian reiterates. “Rest assured, Sir, that you will be right as rain in due course. I will see to it personally.”

Haft asks, “Do you know what was used Adrian?”

Tyren takes just as subtle a step forward. “You know how this looks, Maire.” Something in his tone suggests he may not simply be referring to the pie.

Maire stares right back at Tyren, her gaze direct. She says nothing, just bites the edge of her lip. She then looks to Colin, her shoulders drop ever slightly.

Colin pipes up from where he sits, forehead still on the table. “Can I go lay down…”

Adrian nods. “I am rather certain, yes. And Sir Colin will be quite all right, in time.” He nods to Colin, not that he can see it. “Best idea for you now, Sir.” He moves to Colin’s side and gestures to the other two men. “A little help from one of you please.”

Colin grips the edge of the table and starts to get up. He hunches over, still somewhat in pain. His movements are slow and weak.

Haft looks to Sir Tyren for permission.

Tyren gives a small nod to Haft, though not before he puts a hand to Colin’s shoulder. “I’ll be by. Take care of yourself.”

Adrian snorts faintly.

Colin keeps an arm across his stomach, nodding slowly.

Haft positions his right arm under Colin’s left to provide support. “His quarters or the Infirmary, Adrian?”

Cassandra bites her lip, watching everything.

Adrian replies, “The infirmary for at least the night, so we can keep an eye on him.”

Haft nods and helps Colin from the room.

Colin groans in response, but does not protest. He limps forward, the knee not helping things but somehow they manage.

Inner Ward of Anvard
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You stand in the Inner Ward of Anvard. The ground is hard-packed earth, and it
is open to the sky above. Wonderful aromas come wafting out from the Kitchen to
the south, near the well. Huge, impressive, intricately carved doors lead to
the Great Hall. Staff hurry about, in and out of their quarters, serving the
Great Hall and the Council Chamber. A quieter corridor to the northeast leads
to the library and schoolroom. Noble lords and ladies also pass through,
walking towards their quarters seeing to other business.  A guarded gatehouse
to the east stands between the inner and outer wards. Two stairways line the
curtain wall, climbing to the upper reaches of the castle.
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]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[
You can go: Council Chamber <N>, Northeast Hallway <NE>, Inner
Gatehouse <E>, Kitchen <S>, Great Hall <SW>, Staff Quarters <W>,
Infirmary <NW>, Southern Stairwell <US>, Northern Stairwell <UN>

Avery also notices Lanisen, frowning. She turns to Peridan and speaks quietly to him.

Avery mumbles “… help … … be …”, to Peridan.

Peridan inclines his head once before walking over to Lanisen. He lifts his hand up, his voice soft, “Hey Lanisen.”

Darrin follows their looks.

Avery watches Peridan go and then turns back to Darrin, her voice lowered.

Colin’s left arm is supported by Haft and Adrian the healer helps him on his other side as they move slowly into the ward. The knight’s movements are lethargic and weak and his eyes are squinted and he keeps blinking.

Avery mumbles “… … … … to … girls, Darrin.”, to Darrin.

Lanisen shies back, taking a step backward and bows distractedly. “Sir, Lord Peridan, sorry, I’m– I can’t, talk, I’m sorry–” He takes off again, heading back toward the gatehouse.

Peridan slips back in front of him, “Hey, it’s okay. You’re safe.” He doesn’t keep his eyes off of Lanisen.

Darrin shrugs and is mumbling something quietly in return to his cousin when Colin appears with Haft and Adrian.

Darrin mumbles “… for it, honestly. I … … the two … them – do you know them … bit better?”, to Avery.

Lanisen looks frustrated, but he only ducks to the side to get around Peridan with another barely-coherent apology.

Colin’s shoulders hunch over as his stomach protests at the movement and he looks peaked, nausea shooting through him.Avery shrugs, but before she can reply, her eyes land on Colin and the others. She frowns.

Haft says, “Almost there Sir. We’ve done the hard part.”Peridan lets Lanisen side step him but isn’t quite ready to move away.

Cassandra comes out of the hallway. She is biting her lip and she stops as she sees all the people gathered.

Lanisen’s attention is arrested by the group descending the stair, and he goes perfectly still.

Colin nearly goes down when his knee gives out and Adrian struggles to keep him upright, using the nearby wall to support the knight.

Lanisen takes a quick breath and lurches forward.

Haft grunts. “Easy now. Few more steps.”

Colin rests his forehead on the wall, groaning. “Where are we?”

Haft replies, “The Inner Ward, Sir.” Then he lowers his voice.Upon seeing Colin, Peridan’s face pales considerably but his expression remains calm. He begins to make his way over as well.

You mumble “Your squire is here, and Lord Peridan, Sir Darrin and Lady Avery, Sir.”, to Colin.

Haft mumbles “Your squire is here, … … … … … … Lady … Sir.”, to Colin.

Cassandra hangs back, not wanting to interrupt.

Lanisen backs away several steps to get out of the way. He crosses one arm over his stomach and hovers, anxious and useless.

Avery sighs and touches Darrin’s arm before stepping away. She rushes toward the infirmary door, opening it wide for them to come through. “Almost there, Sir Colin.”

Colin lifts his head a little at Haft’s words and gives a little nod, squinting his blurry eyes. “La–okay…okay…” he draws a deep breath. Adrian adjusts his position and begins to help him forward, guiding the knight to the infirmary. Colin limps weakly but stays upright, gritting his teeth.Darrin moves over to Lanisen, keeping a few feet between them. He nods to him.

Darrin mumbles something incomprehensible to Lanisen.

Peridan moves out of the way, looking ready to help in any way possible.

Lanisen shifts a step away from Darrin, glancing at him distractedly. He pulls his attention enough away from Colin for long enough to bow, then looks back at the little procession.

Colin rests in the doorway of the infirmary and turns his head to his left to say something to Haft.

Colin mumbles “Make sure Lanisen’s all right…”, to Haft.

Colin mumbles “… … … all …”, to Haft.

Haft turns his head to reply.

You mumble “He looks well, but I’ll check.”, to Colin.

Haft mumbles “He looks … … I’ll …”, to Colin.

Colin nods, allowing them to guide him into the infirmary.

Haft and Adrian help Colin through the doorway past Avery.

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>

Adrian guides Colin to the nearest bunk where the knight can finally rest. Colin sits, emitting another weak noise. He grits his teeth, hunching over once again as his stomach pains him.

Haft releases Colin and straightens up. “I’ll go check on Lanisen now, Sir.” He quickly exits the room.

Inner Ward of Anvard
]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You stand in the Inner Ward of Anvard. The ground is hard-packed earth, and it
is open to the sky above. Wonderful aromas come wafting out from the Kitchen to
the south, near the well. Huge, impressive, intricately carved doors lead to
the Great Hall. Staff hurry about, in and out of their quarters, serving the
Great Hall and the Council Chamber. A quieter corridor to the northeast leads
to the library and schoolroom. Noble lords and ladies also pass through,
walking towards their quarters seeing to other business.  A guarded gatehouse
to the east stands between the inner and outer wards. Two stairways line the
curtain wall, climbing to the upper reaches of the castle.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[
You can go: Council Chamber <N>, Northeast Hallway <NE>, Inner
Gatehouse <E>, Kitchen <S>, Great Hall <SW>, Staff Quarters <W>,
Infirmary <NW>, Southern Stairwell <US>, Northern Stairwell <UN>

Haft emerges from the infirmary, his eyes immediately seeking Lanisen. “He wants to know if you’re all right.”

Darrin disappears at some point in all the commotion, probably to do something useful somewhere or tell someone important.

Cassandra shifts a bit but doesn’t move from her spot.

Lanisen backs away a step to get out of Haft’s way. “…M-Me?” he asks in some confusion once he has realized he’s being addressed.

Avery watches Haft and Lanisen for a moment.

Haft says, “Yes.” Haft steps closer as nonthreateningly as he can, lowering his voice.”

Peridan mutters to Avery.Peridan mumbles “I, … need to … with …”, to Avery.

You mumble “He ate something, a pie. We think it may have been poisoned. He wanted to make sure you hadn’t eaten something too.”, to Lanisen.

Haft mumbles “He ate … a … We … … … have … poisoned. He … to make … … … eaten something too.”, to Lanisen.

Avery looks up at Peridan and nods, speaking quietly.

Avery mumbles “… … I … … … … right …”, to Peridan.

Lanisen eases back away from Haft even so, his shoulders going tense and defensive. He shakes his head. “No, no no, I’m fine, I’m, I’m fine.” He hesitates, then bows his head and asks something in a lower voice.

Lanisen mumbles “Please, is he all right, is he–“, to Haft.

Lanisen mumbles “… is … all … … …”, to Haft.

Peridan squeezes Avery’s arm once and then disappears into the infirmary.

Peridan walks northwest into the infirmary.

You mumble “He’s in pain, and having trouble with his vision. Adrian gave him something and says he should mend.”, to Lanisen.

Haft mumbles “He’s … … … … … with … … … gave him something and says he … …”, to Lanisen.

Haft’s gaze flickers to Cassandra with a frown.

Cassandra pulls her braid and makes her way to her brother.

Lanisen starts, “Can– Is he–” But he rubs his wrists anxiously and doesn’t finish the thought.Avery speaks up. “If you want to see for yourself, Lanisen, I know Sir Colin would appreciate your presence.”

Cassandra stands a bit aways from Lanisen, biting her lip again.

Lanisen looks at Avery with some difficulty, a terrible blank sort of fear in his face.

Tyren descends one of the stairwells, Maire on one side of him, and another knight on her other side. He carries what is left of a pie in one hand, and he pauses briefly enough to direct a page to bring it to Adrian before continuing through.

Maire walks between the knights, her expression blank. Her eyes scan the ward, her step falters a bit, her gaze searching and landing on one person before she is escorted away.

Avery steps closer to Lanisen. “Hey, it’s alright. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to…” She looks toward the stairs, watching the two knights and Maire.

Cassandra stares at the passing party before focusing her attention on her brother.

Lanisen’s eyes shift to Tyren and Maire as they pass through, and a sort of comprehension shows on his face. He closes his eyes briefly.

Haft steps back to give Lanisen room, but he is mostly watching Cassandra.

Lanisen shudders. One hand comes up to the side of his head for a moment, then he opens his eyes. He takes a step toward the infirmary, then halts, indecisive.

Haft offers quietly. “I think he’d like ta see you, but I can tell him you’re well if you prefer.

Avery watches Lanisen for a moment, stepping closer, her voice low.You feel a little hungry.

Avery mumbles “He /needs/ … Lanisen. He is … to … … but … … … … … now, … … you. You’re … … … who … … … … right …”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen focuses on Avery, and seems to remember where he is, and how very public the location is. His eyes dart from her face to Haft’s, to Cassandra and the other servants and castle folk who have stopped what they are doing to get the news. He backs away a step, then ducks his head and limps hastily toward the infirmary door.

Cassandra lets out a breath as her brother enters the infirmary. She curtsies to the Lady, “I need to go alert the kitchen staff.”

Haft looks relieved at Cassandra’s statement. “And I should find Captain Garian. Please excuse me.” He bows.

Avery watches Lanisen for a moment before turning to Cassandra. “Alert the kitchen staff?”

Cassandra nods, “Sir Tyren asked me to tell them to stop and know that the knights are going to question them.”

Avery nods. “You must be Cassandra.”

Cassandra says, “Yes, Milady.”

Avery hmms and dismisses her with a slight wave of her hand. “Carry on, please.”

Cassandra curtsies and disappears.

Cassandra walks west toward the staff quarters.

Haft waits until Cassandra has departed, then turns and heads up the northern stairwell.

Avery turns to Haft and sighs. She dips her head. “Good day, Haft.”

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