Tree Rings

Wherein there be codgers

Outer Ward



You stand in the busy outer ward of Castle Anvard, full of people seeing to the needs of king and kingdom. There are market stalls along the outer wall, bustling with merchants and shoppers. Grooms work in the stables, tending to the horses there, and you hear the occasional bark of a dog from the kennels. The sounds of hammer hitting iron rings out from the blacksmith shop. There are stairs leading to the gate towers on the northern and southern corners of the outer curtain. To the east is the outer gatehouse, and the road leading into the realm of Archenland, and to the west another gate, leading to the inner gatehouse, the inner ward, and the main keep of Anvard. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


You can go: Stables <N>, Northern Market <NE>, Outer Gatehouse <E>, Southern Market <SE>, Kennels <S>, Inner Gatehouse <W>, Blacksmith <NW>, South Stair <US>, North Stair <UN>

Haft walks out of the inner gatehouse, wearing his cloak and purple muffler.  He looks distracted.

Abrielle, sitting alongside the wall of the outer ward, smiles when she sees Haft walking from the gates. She calls out to him, “Nice muffler.”

(Missing a bit.  Will try to retrieve later.)

Barret walks along the stalls and eventually reaches the two, recognizing Haft he says, “Nice scarf there”

Haft turns to his fellow guardsman, his cheeks looking a little pink at the comment–or maybe just the cold.  “Um, thank you.  Abrielle, this is Barret, another of the guard.  Barret, Abrielle.”

Abrielle laughs quietly as Haft goes pink. She bobs her head a bit at Barret. “Hello Barret. Nice to meet you.”

A son of adam with grey-streaked hair says, “Pleasure to meet you”

Haft says, “Barret here is one of the few men like me in the barracks who’s past his first shave.”

Lanisen leaves the kennels, shutting the door securely behind himself, and heads across the ward toward the stables. He is purposeful in his movement and keeps his head down.

Abrielle laughs. “Finally!”

Barret grins, “Well that’s his polite way of saying we’re the old codgers among all these kids”

Colin emerges from the inner gates and begins to cross the ward, headed in the direction of the stables.

Haft chuckles. “Too true, though Captain Garian is catching up. But to answer your question Abrielle, I was heading into the forest. We’re searching for a fugitive and since I’ve got the tracking skills…” He shrugs. “Most likely she’s already moved on, but it’s something at least.”

Abrielle’s eyebrows fold. “So the fugitive is gone?”

Haft looks surprised. “You’ve heard about it already?”

Lanisen passes near enough to pick up on the topic of conversation, and his face twists with misery. He continues on, shoulders tense, not looking in the direction of the guards.

Barret says, “I would be surprised if the whole town hasn’t heard.”

Abrielle waves a dismissive hand. “Lady Avery told me someone else was suspected but she didn’t know if they were here or not when I spoke to her.”

Colin notices his squire walking towards the stables and he falls in step behind him, his face growing troubled at the look on Lanisen’s face. He quietly follows him.

Haft heaves a sigh. Focused on the conversation, he doesn’t notice Colin or Lanisen. “We don’t know where she is. Chances are she’s left the area. That’s the one thing about being a guard, I wish I could ride out and help with proper searches. But I guess if all the guard did so, we’d have no one left for defense of the castle. This is just a short foray, since I’ve got the afternoon free.”

Abrielle looks off to the woods. “I hope she doesn’t go to Coghill…” She pushes her mouth to the side and adds. “Well if I can be any help…”

Lanisen’s head turns slightly, and he hesitates in the stable doorway as if he can’t quite help listening. He slips inside when it seems there is no further news to be heard from their gossip.

Colin glances about the ward and steps into the Stable a few brief moments after Lanisen.

Haft hesitates.  “I can’t recall, have you ever met Lanisen’s sister Cassandra?

Abrielle shakes her head. “Never even heard of her.”

Haft says, “Ah.  Well, no matter then.”

Barret says, “Well, just keep your eyes and ears open and if you hear anything let one of us know.”

Abrielle nods. “I will. I try to always stay aware.”

Haft asks, “How is, um, Adrian?”

Abrielle smiles. “He is good. Nothing new really. Thank you for asking.” She turns to Barret. “So how long have you been on the guard?”

Barret’s eyebrows scrunch in the effort of recollection, “Let’s see now, something like twenty-five years or so?”

Haft says, “You don’t have to ask, Abrielle.  It’s like tree rings.  Just count the circles under our eyes.”

Barret chuckles, “I like to think I’m rather well preserved all things considered.”

Abrielle laughs. “You two are quite the pair.”

Haft asks, “Well-preserved?  Like strawberry jam?”

Barret says, “Something like that”

Abrielle shakes her head. “So how was Narnia?”

Haft says, “Pleasant, actually.  It really is a beautiful country, and I enjoyed showing Lady Avery the village, though we didn’t explore as far as we had originally planned.  ”

Abrielle nods. “Why is that?”

Haft says, “All the trouble with the kidnapping, really.  I think Lady Avery wanted to be with her family.”

Abrielle nods. “Of course. I am glad you all returned safely.”

Haft snorts.  “Safely might be an overstatement.  She got thrown in the river, I was kicked in the shoulder by her horse, and Lord Peridan broke his wrist.”

Abrielle eyes widen. “How is your shoulder now?”

Haft shifts it, rotating the joint in its socket.  “Just about well.  It’s been about a month.”

Abrielle nods, exhaling. “Oh good…well…it sounds like an adventure.”

Barret says, “Sounds more like a complete shambles to me”

Haft glances at Barret.  “Thanks so much for the observation,” he says, a little testily.

Abrielle laughs. “That too.”

Barret smiles innocently, “No offense of course”

“Of course,” Haft says flatly.

Abrielle smiles at Haft. “You did a great job. Everyone made it back.”

Barret says, “You don’t have to take it personally, it could have happened to anyone.”

Colin comes walking toward you from the Stable.

Colin limps from the stables, his face troubled as he makes his way silently through the ward.

Colin walks west toward the inner gatehouse.

Haft narrows his eyes at Barret, then nods grudgingly.  He sighs.  “But it happened to me.  Well, that’s about right, I guess.”

Abrielle looks between the two guards and sighs. “Well…I am really glad you are back Haft. I should be going, I have held you two from your tasks for too long.”

Haft squares his shoulders.  “I should go too, while there’s light to see by.  Have a good afternoon, Barret.”

Barret says, “You too, and it was nice to meet you Abrielle”

Abrielle smiles at Barret. “Nice to meet you.”

Abrielle gives Haft another waves and heads out towards the woods.

Haft turns and continues on in the direction she has taken.


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