A Den of Dullards

Outer Ward

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You stand in the busy outer ward of Castle Anvard, full of people seeing to the needs of king and kingdom. There are market stalls along the outer wall, bustling with merchants and shoppers. Grooms work in the stables, tending to the horses there, and you hear the occasional bark of a dog from the kennels.

The sounds of hammer hitting iron rings out from the blacksmith shop. There are stairs leading to the gate towers on the northern and southern corners of the outer curtain. To the east is the outer gatehouse, and the road leading into the realm of Archenland, and to the west another gate, leading to the inner gatehouse, the inner ward, and the main keep of Anvard.

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Haft makes a slow round of the ward in uniform.

Nathen watches the guard move his game piece and tuts at him as Nathen shakes his head in disappointment.

Lanisen leaves the kennel in the early afternoon, making his way toward the part of the market that is mostly food stalls.

Nathen glances up just as Lanisen pases by. “Master Gani! A word if I may?”

He says in his cultured baritone voice.

Lanisen slows and stops, turning toward Nathen a little warily. “Sir?”

Haft turns too.

Nathen shifts the sacks of flour to his left arm as he approaches Lanisen. “You never did tell me what you were seeking in my library the other day.” He asks with a note of mild curiosity.

Lanisen shifts backward slightly, maintaining some distance. His eyes shift briefly to the flour-sacks. “Uh,” he says, and shakes his head a little. “Um, I was– nothin’, nothin’ in particular, just somethin’ to read, it’s, it was hot out and it’s cooler in the library some days, is all.”

Haft glances away but continues to listen.

Dalia comes walking into the outer ward past the iron gates.

Nathen spears Lanisen with his eyes as they try to pin him in place with a look. “Do stop that! I’m not going to eat you.”

Nathan sniffs then continues in a more mellow tone. “So you have a curious mind? I must say that is most… surprising. And welcome in this den of dullards and thick wits.”

Megren comes walking down the stairs to the Outer Ward.

Lanisen is being interrogated by Nathen and doesn’t look like he likes it much. He rubs his elbow and frowns a little uncertainly. “Um…”

Nathen nods sagely. “It is indeed. The culinary art is a noble pursuit. One I would hope our cooks would invest SOME of their time in.”

Lanisen pulls his chin back uncertainly at this and glances at Megren.

(Missing a bit…)

Dalia takes advantage of Megren speaking to Nathen to turn to Lanisen, “Perhaps a moment?”

Nodding her head towards some barrels closer to the kennels than the ward.

Megren opens her mouth in mock offense. “You tease. I don’t know if I’ve known anyone so dedicated to his craft as Ren.”

Lanisen says to Dalia, “Oh– oh, yes, all right. Excuse me,” he adds to Megren and Nathen, and steps back away toward the barrels.

Megren accepts Lanisen’s pardon via a wink.

Dalia lets out a little sigh, when they are far enough away. She uncovers the basket to allow the steam to rise, and offers one to Lanisen. “Muffin? I baked them this morning.”

Megren lets her lips make a small clicking sound. “Nothing would satisfy you, I suspect. Do you need help with that flour?”

Lanisen says, “Oh! Thank you.”

He peers into the basket and glances at her before picking one out. “What kind are they?”

Nathen shakes his head. “No miLady, I can manage thank you. The Library is not far. “Dalia smiles, “Blueberry.”

Megren asks, “You’re taking it to the library?”

Nathen asks, “Where else would I be going with it?”

Megren asks, “Kitchen?”

Lanisen makes an appreciative noise. “I love your baking.”

Megren says, “Bake it I suspect. What are you doing with it?”

She pats her bag. “I’ll walk you to the library. I was coming down to return these to you anyway.”

Dalia smiles all the wider.

Lanisen cups his hands around the muffin to keep in the heat. “What was it you were wantin’ to talk to me about?”

Dalia nods slowly, “Well yes…and” she pauses.

Nathen nods in acceptance of Megren’s offer to walk with him and strolls off toward the Library’s direction. “I can show you if you’re interrested.”

He smiles at the books she’s caryying. “Did you enjoy then?”

Lanisen tips his head slightly.

Nathen nods sagely. “Indeed. Master Wulf’s doctrine on footwork and style is a bit heavy handed but he at least gets the basics across. More or less.”

Dalia glances at the retreating back before returning her attention to Lanisen. “He seemed a little strange.”

Haft stops on the far side of the ward to aid a woman with a spilled basket.

Dalia says, “I…I just wanted to make sure…” She hesitates searching for the right words. “That you were alright.”

Lanisen flushes a little and shifts his weight, looking down. “I’m, I’m all right,” he says, nodding to reassure her. “Thank you.”

Megren says, “It was useful to me.”

Nathen favors Megren a smile. “Then it served its purpose and that is more than I would have expected.”

Glancing over his shoulder his smile withers into a thoughtful expression as he eyes Lanisen and Dalia.

Megren let’s her glance follow Nathen’s, but she continues on through the gate of the inner ward.

Dalia says, “If… If I overstepped my bounds, I apologize.”

Dalia takes a muffin breaking it in half and offering another to Lanisen.

Nathen returns his gaze forward as they enter the inner Gatehouse.

Lanisen says, “No, no, it’s– thank you.”

He shakes his head slightly to her offer, indicating the first still-uneaten muffin.

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