Off-duty Mess


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 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: Hearth <LIT>.

Megren comes walking into the Off-duty Mess.

Haft dozes in a large chair by the fire, feet stretched out in front of him toward the hearth.

Megren trudges in with the signature lead-footedness of the overworked.

Haft makes no movement.

Megren collapses on the floor by the fireplace, rolling onto her back and spreading her arms wide. She lies there for a moment, resting, and then pokes Haft in the shin.

Haft grunts and opens his eyes.  He looks down at her.  “Tiny?”

Megren sticks out her tongue.

Haft says, “Huh, not enough fuzz.  You look tuckered.”

Megren says, “Sparring, and then horses, and then shield practice, and then defense classes, and then lessons for Prince Cor, and a shift and packing all between.”

Haft latches on to one topic.  “He’s got you helping with the prince’s lessons?”

Megren says, “Just a little. He’s already better on fencing than me.”

Haft smiles.  “That’s good news.”

Megren says, “For him.”

Haft purses his lips.  “True.  Well, you know where to find a sparring partner.  I’m sure you have lots of time for it in your schedule.”

Megren lifts her arm, “Let’s go.”

Haft raises a brow.  “You sure?”

Megren says, “Only you’ll have to help me up first.”

Haft snorts.  “Perhaps a contest upon the chess board would be more appropriate, given your current, delicate state.”

Megren bemoans, “/Delicate/.”

Haft says, “Tit for tat. You call me gramps.”

Haft rises to fetch the board.

Megren pushes herself up to drag the chairs to the table.

Haft returns, setting the board down and taking a seat, beginning to arrange his pieces.

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

Megren leans her elbow on the table and her chin on her hand as she arranges hers.

Haft makes the first move.

They play chess.

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

Haft leans back as Megren makes her final move.  “Not as weary as you let on, it seems.  Well-played.”

Megren wrinkles her nose with pleasure, but offers, “It’s only because I managed to get your queen when I did.”

Haft says, “That’s all it takes.”

Megren grins wearily. “Hm.”

Haft says, “You oughta turn in.  Stay up any later and you’ll be up all night.”

Megren rubs her face. “The wisdom of our ancestors.”

“Elder, not ancestor,” Haft corrects.

Megren waves her hand one way and then the other.

Haft asks, “Speaking of ancestors, how old is your father anyway?”

Megren screws up her face and shrugs.

Haft snorts.  “Good, then you can’t prove I’m older.”

Megren furrows her brow at him, “Am I meant to deduce this means I can’t call you gramps?”

Haft says, “/You/ may.  But if Gearn does it again I’m shoving a dart up his nose.”

Megren says, “Somehow I don’t think me telling him you might or might not be my da’s age is going to change the tides on that.”

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

Haft says, “Probably not.  Was just curious.”

Megren nods with a slow repetition that betrays the contribution her weariness has made toward sleepiness.

Haft suggests in a singsong that just avoids being a command, “Be-ed.”

Megren screws up her face and says in a whine that just avoids toddlerism, “I don’t want to.”

Haft shrugs.  “All right.” He begins resetting the pieces on the board.

Megren throws her head back. “All right! All right!”

Haft blinks at her.  “All right…” he says slowly.

Megren says, “If I play you again I’ll fall forward and end up with a pawn for an eye.”

Haft grins.  “Wasn’t planning on playing again.  Was just straightening the board.”

Megren screws up her lips. “Oh. Right.” She picks up some of the pieces to help.

Haft asks, “Jumpy, are we?”

Megren says, “Listen, this is the longest I’ve sat down in three days.”

Haft says, “Maybe I’d better finish the board.”

Megren says, “And have cause to call me delicate again? I think not.”

Haft raises his hands in defense.

Megren keeps working at the board.

Haft leans his chin on his hand, letting her finish.

Megren finishes, managing not even to mix up kings and queens. “There.”

Haft says, “Good.  Your army is admirably arranged in its proper ranks.”

Megren leans over the table in a kind of seated bow. “They are dutiful.”

Haft says, “Indeed.”

Megren rises, yawning into her hand. “Well,” she says. “Thank you for the game.”

Haft says, “Thank you for showing me a strategy I’ll have to watch out for.  Hope you’re coherent enough in the morning to remember how you did it.”

Megren grins. “I’ll recite it before I fall asleep.”

Haft says, “I give you three minutes. Recite fast.”

Megren bows dutifully. “Night grandfather.”

Haft says, “Night girlie.”

Megren grins, and traipses out the door, less weariness in her step, if more sleepiness.


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