In which Haft gives an account
Guest Staff Quarters
This is a wide, wedge-shaped room, about twice the size of one of the
neighboring quarters for permanent castle staff. It is furnished sparsely,
but comfortably, with a small sitting area to the right of the door. The rest
of the room is divided into several small but cozy sleeping areas, with
partitions and curtains for privacy. There is a small table beside each bed,
and small lockers that fit under the beds for storage.
Garian gives a small nod, sipping his tea. “I’ve always rather been a home body. I prefer here to anywhere else in the world.”
Vinri sits, perched on the end of the bed, across from Garian, with tea between them. “I’ll not argue that, it’s a lovely place all about.”
There is a light rap at the door.
Garian looks to the door, “Enter.”
Haft opens the door, steps inside and closes it behind him. He clasps his hands behind his back. “You sent for me, Sir?”
Vinri looks towards the guard. She offers a smile, though she glances towards Garian with her brows furrowed a little.
Garian asks, “Care for a cup of tea, guardsman?”
Vinri takes a sip of her tea, then pauses. “Would you care for a cup, Guard Haft? I’m sure we can find another?”
Haft says, “Yes, thank you.”
Vinri waits for Haft to be seated and poured a cup.
Garian pours Haft a cup, allowing him to decide whether or not he wants any cream or sugar. Garian clears his throat, his tone polite and casual, “Now then. I suppose we should discuss the manner of your stay.”
Haft sips from his cup, listening.
Vinri lifts her eyebrows and sets down her cup. She nods. “I reckon so, yes.”
Garian takes a sip of his cup, “There have been some rather weighty accusations brought against you and I was hoping that maybe you could explain what led up to that.” His tone remains cordial and almost pleasant considering the serious nature of the business.
Vinri nods, biting her lip. “Truth be told… I’m not entirely sure, myself. I’d come to the ward joined a group around a firepit. Lanisen was there… or joined when I did perhaps. He seemed his normal self, but after a bit, something spooked him, it seemed.”
Garian hms softly, sipping the tea. He makes no move to interupt yet.
Haft watches Vinri as she speaks.
Vinri runs a finger along the top of her cup. “I thought I’d chat with him a bit further. It’s happened before, y’see, that I’d managed to calm him a bit. Haft came by, and we spoke a moment before Lanisen left. I thought I’d follow. He’d offered to say hello to Cass for me, so I needed to speak just a moment longer.” She chews on the inside of her lip again, staring at her cup.
Garian asks, “And then what happened?”
Vinri sighs softly. “I was insensitive. I brought up Cass and what she’s done, what they know about it, because I’ve mostly heard rumors and I thought that maybe a bit of fact would be good.” She glances to Garian’s gaze. “‘M usually better at cues,” she says, mouth pulled into a wry, unhappy sort of smile. “Not sure what came over me. And then he called Haft.”
Haft takes another sip of tea, just watching.
Garian glances at Haft. “I see.” He looks to her. “Then what?”
Vinri flicks a hand to indicate the room. “He made his claim, and I was brought in for questioning.”
Haft sets his teacup down, as if waiting to see whether Garian has any questions.
Garian gives a small nod and looks to Haft. “Guardsman, can you recount your part and observations?” He takes a sip of his tea.
Haft says, “Certainly, sir. Most of it is as Vinri says. I was on patrol duty and walking through the ward when I observed the group and that Lanisen seemed somewhat tense, so I made a point to observe. Vinri at one point pulled her scarf across her face to ward off the chill. Lanisen later explained that this reminded him of the woman he believed had been with him in the tomb. I saw Vinri follow him into the kennels and decided to linger awhile longer in the outer ward. I was speaking to Dalia when Lanisen appeared in the doorway and called to me.”
Vinri listens as Haft speaks, sliding her finger over her cup’s rim.
Garian says, “And you then detained her for questioning?”
Haft says, “Not at once. I asked a number of relevant questions of both parties and tried to ascertain whether Lanisen had good reason to judge as he did. I also pointed out what Vinri has just spoken of, that if she had come only to offer kindness and comfort, it was odd that she should make a certain statement, which was that she hoped that those in charge had discovered the full extent of Cassandra’s crimes. She didn’t have any answer for that at the time.”
Vinri shakes her head. “I still don’t have a good reason for asking it, right then. It was cruel of me, and I should’ve seen that.”
Haft says, “Lanisen claims that she said things that unnerved him, but in the end, his evidence seemed thin–It’s his word against hers–but he seemed very sure, and he’s the one who would recognize the woman, after all. In light of the severity of the accusation and the time spent thus far in searching, I deemed it appropriate to bring the matter to your attention”
Garian takes a sip of his tea, listening carefully. He positions himself so he can see both clearly.
Vinri nods, looking at her cup again.
Garian contemplates this over his cup, brow furrowing. He sips his tea slowly.
Haft takes another drink, having made his report.
Garian looks up at Vinri and gives a kind, almost apologetic smile. “Well. That is quite the tale.” He pauses, his manner remaining polite. “Miss Vinri, you swear to your innocence?”
Vinri takes a breath and meets Garian’s eyes. “I am not that man’s accomplice. I am innocent.”
Haft lowers his cup, asking in a neutral tone. “Sir, have you had the opportunity to speak to Lanisen yet? Megren did mention he had more to say on the matter than he told me.”
Garian gives a small nod to Vinri. For the moment he does not respond to Haft, keeping his attention on the woman. “I am glad to hear that. However, I hope you understand that… under such circumstances, things as they are… we are required to pursue all leads. I am afraid you must enjoy our hospitality for a few days more while we look into the matter.” His tone is kind. “Since you assure me of your innocence–and you are both well liked and trusted, I am certain you will not us… investigating the matter. To clear your name and erase any doubts.” His eyes meet hers, both kind and carrying levity.
Vinri looks towards Haft as he speaks, then back to Garian. “Of course, I reckon that makes sense, but I do have a business. Might I have half a morning to fetch some things from the inn and speak with a few people? The tailor I use, for instance, I’d like to let her know that I won’t be picking up orders for a day or so.”
Garian gives a polite smile, “This won’t take very long. I can have pages deliver any necessary message and will have some of the women on the guard collect your things to bring them here. All you need to do is prepare a list.”
Vinri nods, letting out a quiet breath. “Of course, that’s fair. I’ll have my messages and list ready.”
Garian gives a small smile and nods. “Excellent. Please let me know when both are ready and I will take care of all you need. Your cooperation is most appreciated. It will allow the matters to progress more swiftly.”
Vinri nods yet again, giving a smile. It’s still a bit more subdued than usual, but quick regardless. “My pleasure. Anything else you need, or shall I get to the messages?”
Garian stands, gathering the tea pot and any other items that need returning to the kitchen up on a tray. “I think that shall suffice for now. I will let you get to your list and any necessary messages. Thank you for meeting with me.”
Vinri says, “Of course. Thank you, too. Good evening, Captain Garian, Guardsman Haft.”
Haft rises and nods to Vinri.
Garian nods and glances to Haft before departing.
Haft follows Garian out.