The Perpetrator

In which something lost is found

Northern Stairwell



You stand in a small tower room, really nothing more than an intersection of stairs and doorways. To the south is a door leading to the curtain stair. The stair continues upward inside this tower to a trap door above. To the north is a door to the Off Duty Mess, and to the east is the Army Barracks. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


You can go: Armory <W>, Army Barracks <E>, Off-Duty Mess <N>, Trapdoor Opening <U>, Inner Ward <D>

Contents: A daughter of eve with short, copper hair (Megren) and Tiny.

Megren wanders through the stairwell, bouncing strangely between a crouched position and a standing one, her hands clasped behind her back. She makes a small inconsistent kissing sound.

Haft enters the stairwell from the barracks, Tiny held in his rough hands.  “Misplaced something, have we?”

Megren straightens swiftly, in a guilty kind of way. “Uh–” she says, a little red-faced, and then her brows rise. “Oh! Oh, you found her!”

Haft scowls.  “On my pillow.” He strokes the small head.

Megren grins. “Aw, she loves you, then.”

Haft says, “Clearly I forgot to wipe some fish stew from my chin before bed.  Only explanation.”

Megren eyes his fingers between Tiny’s ears. “Hmm,” she says, agreeably skeptical.

Haft shrugs easily.  “How’s squiring?”

Megren’s face breaks into a greater smile yet. “Good. I’m a sight better at swordswomanship than I was last spring. At least, I think so.”

Haft returns the smile.  “Are you now?  Under Sir Darrin’s tutelage?”

Megren nods. “And sometimes Sir Chal stays after our defense lessons for a spar.”

Haft says, “You and I will have to spar again soon.  I’d like to see your progress.”

Megren says, “Yes, I’d like that.”

Haft looks down at the lightly purring kitten.  “I suppose you want this back?”

Megren tilts her head, surveying the pair thoughtfully. “Well…”

Haft says, “Too busy to mind her?  Here I thought you were responsible.”

Megren wrinkles her nose at him punishingly.

Haft says, “Well, maybe I expect too much…you are the one who paraded through the mess without your stockings…in front of the Steward no less…”

Megren barks a laugh. “Don’t remind me.” She extends her hand for the kitten. “No, I just hate to deprive you, is all.”

Haft offers a longsuffering sigh.  “I’m sure I’ll survive somehow.  Mind you, if she invades my bunk again with winter coming on, I’m stuffing her under the blankets to keep my feet warm.”  He holds out the kitten.

Megren lifts Tiny to her shoulder. “If you kick her I’ll have words.”

Haft asks, “You speak cat?”

Megren says, “Well, obviously, but the words will be with you.”

Haft says, “Yes, I gathered that.  Just wondered how you were going to obtain knowledge of my misdeed.”

Megren wrinkles her nose happily as Tiny butts her head up against Megren’s ear. “Please, I think the whole barracks will hear the yowling.”

Haft makes a doubtful noise.  “Not from her.  Placid little thing…from me maybe, when her claws go in.”

Megren pulls her head quickly away when Tiny nudges at her face and then laughs, turning to go nose to nose with the kitten. “Your nose is /cold/, you scamp.”

Haft’s mouth twists.  “Right…not by the feet, then.”

Megren aws. “Shuffle her off to Perth, he won’t be ungrateful.”

Haft says, “No, but he might shriek like a maid.”

Megren squints an eye at him charitably. “I’ve never heard Dalia shriek in my life.”

Haft narrows his eyes.  “I’ll just bet Greta does.”

Megren says, “Do you know, she and I have yet to strike up more than a passing acquaintance.”

Haft says, “How fortunate for you.”

Megren laughs. “I’ll determine that for myself one of these days, I’m sure. Either way, I /have/ heard Perth shriek, so perhaps we should be as accurate to say ‘like a very large guard’.”

Haft grins.  “Oh really now?  And what was he shriekin’ at?”

Megren looks at the ceiling. “Might’ve been there were some half-frozen stones at the foot of his bed.”

Haft feigns a gasp.  “Meg! I’d never have thought it of you.”

Megren asks, “/Me/?”

Haft raises a brow.  “You’re blaming Small?”

Megren lifts her hand to scritch Tiny’s ears again. “Tiny is the soul of benignity.”

Haft says, “And so the mystery continues…”

Megren says, “We may never learn.”

Haft asks, “And yet, isn’t it interesting how you happened to be on hand for the shrieking, and so readily able to identify it as Perth’s voice?”

Megren asks, “It /is/ interesting, isn’t it?”

Haft asks, “Truly fascinating.  I wonder what sort of retaliation might be brewing for an assault like that?”

Megren lifts her brows in shock at the accusation, her voice punishing. “From /Perth/? How can you accuse him of such a thing?”

Haft says, “Just because he ain’t the loudest fellow in the barracks doesn’t mean he don’t have a sense of humor…whoever is was had better watch their back.  They might just find their kitten confiscated.”

Megren gasps and lifts up Tiny from her shoulder, sticking her between her jerkin and her clothing protectively instead.

Haft says, “War is brutal.  I’m sure he’d find her a good home.”

Megren says, “You hush.”

Haft grins.  “Maybe in Chesterton?  I’m sure Calla wouldn’t mind.”

Megren shoves him in the good shoulder.

Haft chuckles.  “Perhaps not.  Well, I’d best be getting something to eat before my next shift.”

Megren sticks out her tongue. “All right. Thanks for finding Tiny.”

Haft says, “Well, I couldn’t very well leave her where she was.  You have a good afternoon…try to let her up for air once in a while.”

Tiny scrabbles obligingly up the leather to where she can sit on Megren’s shirt collar with her head and forepaws peeking out over the jerkin.

Haft smiles at the kitten before turning to head into the mess.

Megren grins, watching him go before turning toward the barracks, ducking her head to give Tiny some lecture.


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