Curdled

In which there are cookies


Off-duty Mess

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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. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell <S>

Haft sits in a comfortable chair with his feet propped up on the hearth.  He appears to have nodded.

Garian is looking over some texts near the fireplace, a small plate of cheese and fruit beside him and a mug that smells of cider with it.

Entering the mess, a book cradled in the crook of one arm, a plate of broken cookies held in the other, Reina makes her aimless way into the mess, murmuring to herself. “–crossed the ford upon the back of a mighty Lion. In order to gain the battlefield in time, the Lion knew his High King would need more help than that which currently stood with him.”

Entering the mess, a book cradled in the crook of one arm, a plate of broken cookies held in the other, Reina makes her aimless way across the room toward the fire, murmuring to herself. “–crossed the ford upon the back of a mighty Lion. In order to gain the battlefield in time, the Lion knew his High King would need more help than that which currently stood with him.”

Haft shifts slightly, but then settles again.

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

Garian looks up at the sound of a familiar voice and smiles.

Crossing to the fire, Reina sets down her book, glancing up. When her eyes alight on Haft, she smiles, waving. When she sees Garian, her smile blossoms into a full fledged radiance as she bounds over, cookies in hand. “There you are!”

Garian nods and chuckles, “Indeed, here I am. How are you this evening?”

Haft’s nose twitches.

Slipping into the seat beside Garian, Reina smiles, plunking the plate of cookies down on the table. “Chocolate chip and sugar today,” she announces. “I made more than I think we can both eat, however. Hmmm … if only there were someone who could join us…”

Reina pulls a candied fig from her pouch and eats it.

Garian looks over in Haft’s direction, “Terrible pity we can’t share.”

Garian says, “You do make very good cookies.”

Haft mutters out of the corner of his mouth, “So why aren’t they keeping her in the kitchen?”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Smiling over at Haft, Reina leans back in her chair. “The sugar gets jealous of my sweetness and curdles.”

Haft sits up and turns his head.  “Your curdles?”

Garian chuckles softly, taking a cookie. He bites into it. “You should try one Haft.”

Reina giggles, patting the table. “Come sit!” she says. Turning to Garian, she smiles. “I haven’t seen you in a whole week! I’ve missed you!”

Haft heaves a sigh and heaves himself slowly out of his chair, crossing to their table ans settling himself.  He takes a cookie and sniffs at it doubtfully.

Garian sighs, nibbling the cookie slowly and with great relish. “Things have kept me busy of late. Though I daresay we may be wrapping this terrible business soon.”

Reina rolls her eyes. “I didn’t poison it,” she says pointedly.

Haft wrinkles his nose.  “Is it ‘curdled’?”

Garian snorts, “Would I eat it if it were?”

Haft grunts.  “I have very little knowledge of your eating habits other than you are a fine discerner of tea.”  He takes a bite.

Reina grins. “Lavender tea,” she says, reaching for a cookie and nibbling on it.

Garian chuckles again and nods to Reina. “She knows me well.”

Reina just beams.

Haft shakes his head.  “Recruits look younger every year…she any good with a blade?”

Reina smiles. “I’m good with my fist. Okay with a blade. I haven’t done much combat training. Garian has all my sharp things.”

Haft raises a brow.  “You’re that clumsy?”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Garian grunts and says, “We’re working our way to that.”

Garian says, “More important lessons come first.”

Haft asks, “Baking?”

Reina smiles, nodding her head. “I love the garden. It’s where I need to be right now.”

After a moment, she adds, “Not baking. That’s for Garian alone. And you now.” A laugh. “But I am no kitchen girl.”

Haft says, “You’re a…gardener.” He looks at Garian.  “The training has changed significantly since I joined, I see.””

Garian smirks a little. “Perhaps.”

Garian remarks, “I was a gardener once too, you know.”

Haft asks, “I think you mentioned that.  You slew snapdragons?”

“I’m a gardener only after I tried striking a visiting merchant,” Reina admits, gazing down and crumbling her cookie in her fingers. “My punishment was to be barred from guard training until I learned how to control my temper, and about why life is precious.” Glancing up. “It was a lesson I needed to learn. Besides,” she adds, looking back down to her crumbling, “Garian was a gardener too.” Reiterating the man’s words.

Haft raises his brows in some surprise before nodding and returning his attention to his cookie.

Garian smiles at this. “When you tend to something so delicate and fragile it gives you… perspective.”

Garian adds, “And a better appreciation for the beauty of life.”

Haft says, “I suppose it does.”

Reina nods her head. “It really does.” Smiling, she takes another bite of her cookie as another young girl enters, brown hair drawn back in a tail, carrying a pot of steaming tea from which rises the eromatic scent of lavender. Waving to Reina, she curtsies to the guards before setting down the pot. “Sarah! Thank you,” Reina says.

Waving again with a smile, the girl turns to leave.

Haft says, “Thanks.”

Garian nods to Sarah and inhales the scent with a deep sense of pleasure. “Lovely.”

“You’re welcome, sir,” the girl calls cheerily. “Sorry, got to run! Mama promised I could bring the tea up only if I didn’t yap away the evening!” A grin, mischief sparking in her eyes.

Haft says, “Yap?” He lowers his voice. “Preserve us.””

Reina snickers. “We do seem to be quite the chatty bunch tonight, don’t we?”

Haft says, “Hmm.”

Garian chuckles and says, “At times.”

Reina falls into silence after Sarah’s departure, before, after a time, reaching for her book. “I should go,” she sighs. “I have to finish this report. I must read this, then write a summary of my thoughts on it. I don’t understand how that helps me learn, but …”

Haft says, “Who set the assignment?” He glances at Garian.”

Garian says, “Being able to understand and then retell information you have is a very important skill for the guard.”

Haft says, “And not a universal one, unfortunately.  Good to get it while you’re still young.”  He rises.  “I should go too.  Duty in an hour.”

Rising to her feet, Reina smiles. “It was good to see you, Mister Haft,” she says. Turning to Garian, she places a hand on his shoulder. “Try and sleep at a reasonable hour tonight?” she asks. “And maybe I’ll see you soon?”

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