In which Lanisen makes an accusation and Haft gets to be guardly
Lanisen’s eyes go sharp with alarm, but he relaxes again at the end of the story. “He’s all right, though?”
Edana keeps quiet but her eyes look worried at Lanisen’s question.
Vinri nods. “He is, I talked with him after the village was done with scolding. Best escape the goats could’ve made, for him, and all turned out well.”
Lanisen mms. “‘S lucky,” he says, looking at his stew. “‘S too cold to be sleepin’ outside.”
Haft enters the ward from the inner gatehouse, apparently on patrol duty as he surveys the ward before beginning to make a circuit of it.
Edana smiles and puts her hands near the fire again.
Vinri nods again. “Said he was up all last night with a fussy couple of kids and a surprisingly loud owl. But it’s too cold, certain.” She shivers, as if the word made her feel the weather more, and pulls her scarf up over her nose.
Edana laughs. “I can relate with the fussy child part.”
Lanisen grins again at this, glancing sidelong at Edana. His eyes shift back to Vinri, and his smile slips.
Haft continues walking, nearing the group.
Vinri’s eyes crinkles above her scarf, as if to suggest she’s smiling. Leaning a bit towards the fire, she says, “I imagine you would. How old is Kaie, then?”
Edana grins. “Three.” She drinks some of her tea and looks down at her feet.
Lanisen’s eyes don’t leave Vinri.
Vinri mms. “Sweet. I’ve heard that’s a good age from some, and a hard one from others.” Her gaze flicks toward Lanisen and she pauses as she catches his stare.
Lanisen quickly averts his eyes. He looks down at his stew.
Edana nods, but then catches the stares which causes her to get up. “Excuse me. I am going to a my stall for a quick moment.”
Edana gets up and moves to her stall.
Lanisen shifts and straightens as she departs, keeping his eyes down. “Sorry, I should– I oughta get back to the kennels.” His voice is strained, and stew sloshes out of his bowl as he stands, his hands shaking.
Vinri releases her cup with one hand and touches her scarf, right about where her mouth would be. One eyebrow twitches up, though otherwise what can be seen of her expression is almost fixed. “Hm? Oh, alright…”
Haft observes the group as he gets close, noting Lanisen’s spill.
Edana watches Laisen’s spill, expressionless. When she sees that everything is well she gathers up her paint brushes.
Vinri stands as well, setting down the mug as she does. “Mind if I walk with you? I’d like to hear about how Cassandra’s been, I’ve not heard much about her since you both came back.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, it’s– I’ve got, I’ve got some sort of messy work to get done, you don’t want to–”
Vinri glances around, noticing Haft’s approach. When she looks back towards Lanisen, her eyes narrow, once again as if she’s smiling. “Oh, I won’t need long, just a quick word would do, really. How is she?”
Haft stops close, apparently interested in a couple haggling over the price of bacon.
Lanisen can’t seem to look her in the eye. He swallows and shifts his weight from foot to foot. “She’s doin’ well, ‘s kind of you to ask,” he answers. “I’ll pass a hello along, if you like.”
Edana puts her brushes into a bag carefully, glancing at the group by the fire every once in awhile.
Vinri walks around the crate she was sitting on, to Lanisen’s side. “‘M glad to hear that! I was worried, at first. She can be so stubborn.”
Lanisen’s eyes follow her approach, though he still does not look at her face. “That’s Cass,” he answers, in a voice that rasps slightly. His grip on his stew-bowl is white-knuckled.
Edana moves a vase to a nearby shelf.
Haft moves to join the pair. “Good afternoon.”
Vinri exclaims, “Mhm. I’m just glad it stopped when it did.” She’s just gesturing towards the kennels when Haft greets them. “Oh, good afternoon! How are you today?””
Edana finishes up and leaves the stall to rejoin the group. Quietly she greets Haft and returns to her seat by the fire.
Lanisen’s shoulders untense slightly. He swallows again and ducks his head in greeting to Haft.
Haft nods his greetings back. “I’m well. And yourself?”
Vinri exclaims, “‘M well! Took the day off from the stall, so I’ve had plenty of time to chat and relax.” Her head is still angled partly towards Lanisen. “Bit of a chilly watch, isn’t it?”
Edana sits quietly by the fire but keeps her eyes on the others, watching closely.
Haft shrugs one shoulder. “That’s what scarves are for.” His own is a deep purple.
Lanisen’s eyes lift to Vinri’s face again briefly, then skitter away. He crosses one arm over his middle.
Vinri’s scarf, as if on clue, starts to slip as a gust of wind decides to flurry through the ward. She reaches up, pinning it against the side of her face and over her nose as she nods. “True, true. And I suppose you can walk about down here.”
Edana gets up and heads to the group. “I am going to head out. It was nice meeting you Lanisen.”
Lanisen starts slightly, backing a step away. “You, you as well,” he answers.
Edana smiles and waves at Haft and Vinri and walks away.
Vinri watches Edana leave, lifting her free hand in farewell. Before she returns her attention to Haft, she casts a glance Lanisen’s way, eyebrows briefly drawing low in narrow-eyed thought.
Haft glances between the pair thoughtfully, but makes no comment.
Lanisen catches the tail end of the glance and looks away quickly. He steps back, murmuring an excuse, and makes his way back toward the kennel.
Vinri waits until Lanisen is pretty much out of earshot, and then says, “Oh, I’m sorry, Haft, I forgot there was something I needed to mention to Lanisen. It was good to talk to you, Haft!”
Haft watches the two depart into the kennels, then continues around the ward, but he does not proceed through the inner gatehouse when he reaches it again, choosing instead to begin a second circuit.
Dalia slips out into the ward bundled against the cold, a book in hand and heads for the spot with the most sun
Tiny comes padding toward your from the Kennels.
Haft sees Dalia’s intent and says, as they pass close, “You’d do better inside by the fire. Frigid day.”
Dalia looks up in surprise as someone speaks to her, “Oh! Haft. Hello.” She blushes a little guiltily, glancing down at her book. “You’re right. Tis only that I’ve missed the sun.”
Haft says, “Well, it’s up there, but it ain’t much comfort. You’re free to do as you wish, of course, but I don’t expect you’ll last long.”
Dalia glances up towards the sky, commenting. “Not much comfort, is it?” her question however seems more like a statement. She turns to as if leave, spotting the kitten. “What’s a poor thing like that doing out in the cold like this?” she bends down, making clicking noises in an attempt to lure the kitten closer
Haft turns to observe Tiny. “Oh, that’s Megren’s little gal. She’s tenacious.”
Lanisen is in the doorway of the kennels, his hands braced against the doorframe to form a barrier with his body. He glances desperately around the ward until his eyes land on Haft. “Haft!” he calls.
Haft straightens at once and breaks into a run at Lanisen’s tone, crossing the ward to the kennels. “What is it?”
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The kennel of Anvard is a fairly spacious room, well-lit by the windows in the south wall looking toward the Outer Ward. It is immediately obvious that the hounds housed here are quite well-treated: the floor is kept clean-swept; the blankets padding the dogs’ wooden beds are thick and warm; and the hounds themselves have a certain sleek, well-fed look. Several pens can be seen toward the back of the room, likely used to isolate dogs that are sick, injured, or in need of further training, but the majority of the castle hounds are allowed to roam freely about the room.
A fireplace, lit on cold days, is set into the east wall, opposite the door to the quarters of Danall, the Master of Hounds. A set of wooden stairs leads up to a second level. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can go: Outer Ward <N>, Huntsman’s Chamber <W>, Up <U>
Lanisen lets his hands fall from the doorframe as Haft nears. His face is pale and blotchy, and he is shaking badly. “It’s, it’s her, she’s the one, it’s her.” He glances over his shoulder at Vinri.
It takes Haft a moment to process this, but his hand is on his sword hilt before understanding dawns. He stares at Vinri. “She’s the accomplice? The other one who held you?” He sounds slightly incredulous.
Vinri lets out a breathless sort of laugh, breaking her stare to run a hand over her chin and shake her head. She outright snorts at Haft’s second question though.
Lanisen backs away from the door, putting distance between himself and both Haft and Vinri. “She, she wrote the letters, she took my pardon–”
Haft frowns and addresses Vinri. “Have you anything to say to these accusations, Madam?”
Vinri looks at Haft, still shaking her head. “I at no point ‘held’ Lanisen, and I do not have his pardon.”
Lanisen insists, “She took it, she’s the one who took it, she wrote the letters, please–”
Haft doesn’t remove his hand from the hilt. “Lanisen, your evidence?”
Vinri looks towards Lanisen, taking a deep breath and waiting.
Lanisen looks between them helplessly. He takes another step back, shaking his head slightly. “I–” He rallies. “She, she threatened Cass!”
Haft narrows his eyes. His voice is calm. He stands straight and he appears to be fully in his element and in command of the situation. “Threatened her how?” he asks.
Vinri looks towards Haft now. “I didn’t threaten her. She is… was… my friend. Why would I threaten Cass?”
Lanisen says, “I– when I– I started for the door to find somebody to tell and she said that was a bad idea because she’d–” He stops, and his mouth opens slightly. He looks suddenly trapped.
Haft seems to understand the hesitation. “Cassandra is safe. Vinri said she would be harmed if you told someone?”
Vinri shakes her head. “I didn’t say that. I /wouldn’t/ say that. I asked him to say hello to her for me, tell her I missed her, and then whether they were sure they knew everything she’d done. Which I certainly /hope/ so, it’s just that it’s such a wide range.” She lifts a hand and rubs at her eye and cheek.
Lanisen shakes his head slightly, trembling. He stares at Haft in silent, desperate appeal.
Haft looks at Lanisen for a moment and opens his mouth, then closes it and turns to Vinri again, lips pursed. “And what did you say when Lanisen started for the door?”
Vinri shakes her head yet again. “I just told you, I asked if they were sure they knew everything, I didn’t know what he was about to do. Why would I expect he was going to say I was this… accomplice?”
Lanisen backs away another step, rubbing his elbow.
Vinri looks towards Lanisen.
Lanisen can’t answer for a moment. “She–” he begins, then stops, trapped. He takes a deep breath and continues shakily, “She said it like as if– like there was more that, that Cass did, that she knew and was gonna tell, if I told about her.”
Haft asks, “The way Aaron talks?”
Vinri’s lip curls, just slightly, at that suggestion.
Haft regards Vinri. “What wide range of crimes were you referring to, Vinri?”
Vinri rubs at her face again. “Poisoning, theft, apparently attacking people…” She waves a hand, as if to underscore it as self-evident.
Lanisen says, indicating Vinri, “She wrote the letters, she told Cass to do it, it’s, she’s the one–”
Haft responds seriously. “Lanisen, how do you /know/?”
Vinri shakes her head.
Lanisen says, “I remember her, in the graveyard, she came and she took my pardon and she left the candle, she’s the one, I didn’t– she put her scarf up and I /remembered/– I /asked/ if she wrote ’em and she said what if I did, it’s /her/, please, please, you have to believe me!”
Haft raises his free hand in a calming gesture toward Lanisen, then addresses Vinri. “Did you say that, Madam?”
Vinri closes her eyes and shakes her head.
Haft asks, “I see. So…you just came in here to inquire after Cassandra and extend kindness toward her brother?”
Lanisen raises his shaking hands to the sides of his head.
Vinri says, “Of course. Cassandra and I…” Again, she lifts her hand, this time to her forehead. “Lanisen, too, I thought we were friends.””
Haft continues, “And yet, by your own words, you then proceeded to ask whether those investigating had learned everything about her crimes.” He raises his brows. “Hardly a sympathetic comment to make to a concerned brother. Or a friend.”
Vinri’s hand pauses at that one.
Lanisen says, “She’s never come in here before, not, not once–”
Haft says, “I also noticed the way you pulled your scarf over your nose, Madam. If it stirred a memory in Lanisen, then it is worth looking into. I believe it would be in the best interests of the investigation if the pair of you had a talk with Captain Garian.”
Vinri lowers her hand, takes a breath, and nods. “If you think it’s necessary.”
Lanisen swallows and goes silent. He glances again at Vinri.
Haft says, “I do.” He releases his grip on his sword and steps forward to take Vinri firmly but not painfully by the upper arm. “Lanisen, would you please go to the inner gatehouse? Alert Perth that we have a possible lead on the accomplice and that we will meet the Captain in his quarters as soon as he may be found. Then join us there.”
Lanisen nods slightly, lowering his head.
Vinri lifts her eyebrows at his hold. “I’m not planning to run, you know. I think you’d outpace me, even if I tried.”
Lanisen hesitates, then slips out the door.
Lanisen walks out of the Kennels to the Outer Ward.
Haft says, “Just a precaution. I’m sure you understand.”
Haft ushers her out into the ward.
Knights’ and Officers’ Barracks(#12955R/AHKM)
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This is the barracks belonging to the officers of the Army and Navy of Archenland, as well as to the knights of Anvard. While it is smaller than the other two barracks, the items here are of a higher quality. In addition to bunks and lockers, there are also several desks covered in maps and journals. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can go: Naval Barracks <S>, Army Barracks <N>
Vinri walks alongside Haft, stretching her stride to match his. She doesn’t struggle or try to pull away.
Haft leads her through the barracks to the officer’s quarters, not doing anything to draw attention, but not loosening his hold either.
Vinri for once doesn’t greet anyone as she’s being led along. When they get to the quarters, she looks around, then towards Haft. “Here, or further?”
Haft inclines his head. “The captain’s quarters are there, but he won’t be in this time of day. Perth will fetch him back here.”
Vinri nods. “Is there somewhere I could sit while we wait?”
Haft leads her to a stool, releasing his hold but standing directly beside her.
Lanisen follows a moment later, moving slowly and with an uncertain clumsiness to his steps. He halts in the doorway.
Vinri perches on the stool, waiting. After a few moments, a bit after Lanisen arrives, she asks, “Did your nephew like the sketchbook?”
Haft’s response is clipped. “He did.” He looks over. “You can come in if you want.”
Lanisen hesitates. He takes a step through the doorway and another to the side, where he can stand against the wall. His face and lips are very pale.
Vinri sighs silently at the brusque answer and waits.
Perth enters. “Haft, Captain Garian’s gone into town. He’s left Magda in charge.”
Lanisen shifts, his eyes darting from Perth to Haft.
Vinri gives a faint sigh as this news is delivered.
Magda stands just behind Perth.
Haft salutes. “Ma’am, Lanisen wishes to bring charges against Vinri as the woman who aided Darius. I asked her to come up and speak with the Captain on the matter.”
Magda frowns, and she crosses to the Captain’s desk. “That is quite a charge.”
Lanisen’s shoulders hunch slightly.
Vinri nods, looking at the desk after a quick examination of this Magda.
Haft clasps his hands behind his back, observing.
Magda sits at the desk. “I can draw up the paperwork, and then I’m afraid,” she looks up, squinting at the woman. “Vinri, was it? You may need to remain in the castle until we can get these charges cleared up if the Captain has not yet returned when we have finished here. We will find you a comfortable room.”
Lanisen can’t be said to relax, exactly, but something in his stillness seems to become less rigid.
Vinri takes a deep breath and nods. “Of course. Any idea how long that’ll take?”
Magda says, “I expect him back this evening, following the dinner hour. We’ll find another authority to make the call for further holding or release if something is still keeping him by nightfall.”
Lanisen’s eyes shift to the window to gauge the light.
Magda inks a quill. “What are the accusations?”
Haft takes Vinri’s upper arm gently to indicate she should rise. “There will be something free in the servant’s quarters. I can take first shift. Hopefully that’s all that will be needed before the Captain returns.”
Vinri stands, gaze fixing on Lanisen at Magda’s question.
Haft guides Vinri from the room.
Magda inks a quill. She nods to Haft to indicate he may leave, and gestures that Lanisen sit in the chair across from her.