In which Haft catches Megren up on Vinri’s detention
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell <S>
Contents: A daughter of eve with short, copper hair (Megren) and Hearth <LIT>.
Megren sits at one of the long dining tables, eating a rather late meal.
Haft enters the mess, going over to the table and piling a plate with rather more food than usual, and filling a mug with cider before joining her.
Megren lifts her brows at him. “Hungry?”
Haft begins slathering butter over bread. “Yeah, had the afternoon shift and never got off.”
Megren asks, “Oh, wow. Just a busy market day or…?”
Haft shakes his head. “We’re detaining Vinri.”
Megren blinks. “The jewelry seller?”
Haft nods. “Lanisen thinks she’s Darius’ accomplice.”
Megren lowers her fork onto her plate and cleans her hands. “You mean /thinks/ thinks,” she confirms in a serious voice. “Not like with Maire and the knife?”
Haft says, “‘Maire and the /knife/?'”
Megren’s mouth pushes to the side. “Right, the, the knife, after he– oh you weren’t here. After we brought him back, she was new and jumpy and she pulled a knife and he got scared, but he… he didn’t bring her in or anything, he knew it wasn’t proof.”
Haft makes a face. “Every time I think she might be tolerable I learn something else. And I don’t know. Vinri made a motion, drawing her scarf across her face, and it reminded him of the woman he’d seen who took his pardon. And he said she said things in an intimidating way, which she denied. They were alone in the kennels, and he stuck his head out and called me over.”
Megren asks, “She just said he was lying?”
Haft says, “She said she didn’t say the things he said she did. It was her word against his, except for one thing.”
Megren’s lips press together as she waits for him to elaborate.
Haft asks, “She said she went into the kennels to ask after Cassandra and to show kindness, to Lanisen, as a friend. And she also said that she told him she hoped that we had learned the full extent of what Cassandra was guilty of. Doesn’t that strike you as an odd statement to use when showing support for a troubled brother?”
Megren squints an eye. “I… guess it might, depending how she said it? I’ve never known Lanisen to lie, that strikes me as stranger.”
Haft says, “Well, it gave her pause, when I made the same observation. That’s not proof of anything, of course. But…with such a weighty accusation, I didn’t see how I could have ignored it. If nothing else, it’s important to clear her to set Lanisen at ease. And if she’s guilty…” He spreads his hands. “As to Lanisen’s truthfulness, I have no experience by which to judge.””
Megren says, “He doesn’t call on you lightly either, unless something’s changed I don’t know about.”
Haft regards her for a moment over the rim of his mug. “I was surprised by that, but I suppose I was the nearest.”
Megren releases a breath. “Is he being interviewed now?”
Haft shakes his head. “Earlier. I’ve had watch over Vinri for the past four hours. She’s confined to a room.”
Megren drops her eyes to her half-full plate, then pushes her chair back. “I should find him–”
Haft interjects. “I apologized. A few weeks back.”
Megren pauses. “I know. He… he said.”
Haft frowns. “Then why were you wondering if something had changed?”
Megren says, “Well, you two still aren’t close, so far as I know.”
Haft scowls. “He /begged/ me to believe him, when he accused her. He thought I was gonna let her go, or take her part or something. I wasn’t. I was just doing my duty. We’re supposed to ask questions before detaining someone, whatever the accusations are.”
Megren visibly debates for a moment the urgency of going to see Lanisen, but she chooses to sit again. “You’re right, Haft, of course you are. I didn’t mean to imply you would have done anything but what was right.”
Haft looks up. “I didn’t think you were accusing me.”
Megren says, “All right.”
Haft says, “It just…the way he acted, it made me feel ugly.” He sighs. “I don’t know if that’s just him or that’s what I earned. Anyway, you should go. I’m sure he could use a friend.””
The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.
Megren hesitates. “If… if a memory hit him — it wasn’t you. He gets–” She shakes her head. “I don’t know. Scared. Magda says she used to get that way, something about a battle. When we first found him, he was that way with everyone. He could barely recognize me. I think… the poison maybe? Maybe it made it worse.”
Haft nods slowly. “Thanks. I hope–if it is her, they figure it out quick and get this over with. He could use some peace.”
Megren nods, looking troubled. She rises again. “I… I need to find him. I’m sorry.”
Haft says, “Don’t be. I’m all right.”
Megren picks up her half-eaten plate, laying her other hand on his shoulder. “All right. Thank you for taking care of him.”
Haft nods. “I’d like to think I did no more or less than my duty, but I’m glad I was able to help him.”
Megren releases a long breath. “I can’t tell if I hope it’s her or I don’t.”
Haft shakes his head.
Megren says, “I know, I shouldn’t hope for either. I just want it to be done. But I don’t –” she sighs again. “– anyway.””
Haft says, “I bought a number of items for the children from her. She ordered a special sketchbook for Ash at my request.”
Megren’s mouth pulls downward.
Haft shrugs. “I cannot make sense of her actions, if the accusations are true. Clearly being a merchant is more than a mere cover. She had the right connections to order the book for Ash. And I can’t speak to a motive, unless it’s something similar to Darius’.
Megren says, “What I’d really like is to wake up tomorrow and learn it was no one. Lanisen was never kidnapped. Darius never cam back. There’s no secret villain among our friends or anyone else.”
“Aye,” Haft answers, setting down his cider. “That sounds very fine.”
Megren pushes her hair back and runs her hand over her face.
“Have a mug,” Haft says gently. “Then go see him.”
“Take him some too.”
Megren hesitates, then nods and goes to get herself a cup.