The Knighting of Megren

Knights’ and Officers’ Barracks(#12955R/AHKM)

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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.

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You can go: Naval Barracks <S>, Army Barracks <N>

There are a lot of characters here! Type ‘glance’ to glance at them all.

Lanisen ignores her loftily, but his ears are red again.

Dalia thanks lanisen and takes one of the snowdrops to braid in, reaching not long after for another spring.

Lanisen is sitting sideways in a chair by a window, which is open to let in the cool breeze. There is a hearty supply of fresh flowers in a jar on the table next to Megren and Dalia. Dalia is drawing from a little heap of white blossoms to braid into Megren’s hair.

Myles sets down his polishing rag and puts his second boot on, then stands and reaches for his sword-belt.

Megren fidgets nervously and tries to see if she can see Lanisen.

Lanisen continues choosing and drying flowers, but glances up frequently to check in. He offers her a small encouraging smile.

Haft enters and leans against the door jamb.

Dalia continues braiding, crossing strand over strand and slipping in herb or flower in depending on what she thinks will suit best. Catching Megren’s fidgets in a subtle glance, she holds the braid so that Megren can glance at Lanisen.

Megren makes a silly face at Lanisen to try to hide her nervousness.

Lanisen dimples up, but tips his head to the side knowingly. He glances over his shoulder as Haft comes into sight.

Megren’s eyes skip past Lanisen to Haft and she lifts her brows in greeting. “Almost ready,” she tells him.

Dalia finishes the braid slipping the last few flowers and such in. “There. How does that look?”

Lanisen draws and releases a deep breath approvingly.

Megren picks up the mirror and looks into it. “Oh, it’s, thank you Dalia, it’s, that’s perfect.”

Myles gets his sword-belt fastened in place. He grins.

Lanisen stays quiet, but he gives Dalia a grateful look.

Dalia simply grins, extremely pleased.

Megren gets up and straps on her cuirass, followed by her belt and sword. She takes a breath.

Haft smiles in approval.

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth, quietly getting to his feet.

Megren asks, “So, I think I go, then?”

Lanisen’s eyes flit to Myles and Haft. “I think it’s about time,” he agrees softly, clasping his elbow. “You ready?”

Myles joins Haft near the door, waiting for the others.

Megren blows out a breath and nods uncertainly.

Lanisen swallows, and smiles, and lets his eyes slip from her face to the door.

Dalia offers Meg a smile, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

Myles jokes, “Don’t worry, I made sure everyone knows not to trip you until after.”

Megren gives Myles a horrified look, not apparently having thought of this.

Lanisen grins, looking down.

Myles laughs and waves the group toward the door.

Megren’s expression melts into a nervously confident one, and she strides through the door.

 

Lanisen trails after them, his expression going a bit distant.

 

Great Hall

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More than any other part of the castle, the Great Hall gives the impression of

age and enduring strength. It is a long, rectangular room, spacious enough to

accommodate several long tables on feast days, with high walls built of massive

blocks of red stone and two rows of matching pillars to support the arching

roof. There is an enormous fireplace in the middle of the southwest wall,

directly across from the intricately carved double doors that lead out into the

inner ward. A wicker screen blocks the door to the kitchen in the southeast

wall from sight. Six tall, narrow windows on the northeast wall let in a fair

amount of sunlight in the morning and early afternoon, but decorative iron

sconces that hang at functional intervals along each wall provide most of the

hall’s illumination.

At the far northwest end of the hall, three steps lead upto the dais, where

the high table sits beneath the banners of the noble houses: Coghill’s eagle,

Carmichael’s stag, Chesterton’s dragon, Lancelyn Green’s horse, Neiklot’s tree,

and the crown and mountains of Anvard’s standard.

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You can go: Kitchen <SE>, Inner Ward <NE>, Dais <NW>

There are a lot of characters here! Type ‘glance’ to glance at them all.

The Great Hall is at its finest today: the great drapes on the northeast windows are drawn wide and the room is filled with light. Several benches are set in rows facing the dais, with an aisle up the center clear. Those assembled–many members of the guard, most of the knights in residence, and several of Megren’s friends and family–wait in silence.

Lune is seated on his throne, attended by Darrin on his left and the two princes on his right.

Darrin stands tall, with his hands clasped behind his back. He wears a formal blue tabard emblazoned with his personal crest over his suit of chainmail.

Megren enters the hall and hangs backs close to the doorway for a moment, taking in the decor with wide eyes. She makes a smoothing motion over her armor, glancing at Lanisen nervously, and then drops her hands, resting one of the pommel of her sword, and begins to stride down the long aisle.

Lanisen gives her a small encouraging nod when she looks his way. He hangs back with the others until she has gone some distance alone, then follows and takes a seat on one of the benches.

Myles takes his place among the others gathered in the hall.

Dalia follows taking a seat nearby

There is a low murmur as Megren passes toward the dais, a sound which does not quite edge over into cheering, but is close. The faces that look toward her are encouraging and glad.

Deonyc follows his fellow guards and sits down with the more junior ones, smiling.

Megren colors as the murmuring reaches her ears, but her lips curve.

 

Lune’s face is stern but somehow lighter around the eyes as he waits for Megren to reach the dais.

Nessa comes walking toward you from the Outer Ward.

Darrin smiles, his eyes roaming the crowd, and may be noticed to bounce very slightly on the balls of his feet.

Dalia looks to her sister beside her grinning, before turning back to watch Megren progress towards the the dais.

Megren reaches the steps and ascends them slowly.

Darrin dips his head to Megren as she reaches the dais.

Lune allows a very small smile to ease the gravity of his expression as she nears.

Megren bows to the king, then the princes, and last Sir Darrin.

Lune waits a moment until she has done this obeisance. The hall is utterly quiet, even the little shiftings and rustlings of small movements through the crowd settling, and his voice, when he speaks, carries easily even to the farthest corners. “The Knights of Anvard have long been established as an office of the highest order, serving at the discretion of the King and in the service of the people. The title of knight is bestowed only upon those who have attained those skills and virtues of character which are required by the Crown. Today, we consider the suit of one Megren, squire to Sir Darrin, who has been recommended as fit to receive the oath of her office.”

Megren bows her head a little.

Lune turns to Darrin. “Sir Darrin, has the squire proven to have mastered all the tasks and skills set before her by your person?”

Darrin bows. “She has, Your Majesty. She has excelled in every area.”

Lune inclines his head in acceptance and acknowledgement of this. He looks toward where the members of the guard in attendance are seated. “And of her time as a Guard of Anvard, who can speak to her competence?”

Deonyc looks to the older guards who are nodding in agreement.

Nessa watches, as amazed at getting to see all of the royals as in the ceramony itself

Haft Haft rises and bows. “I will, by your leave. I served with Megren for a year in the guard before Sir Darrin took her as his squire. I found her vigilant and earnest in her desire to serve and protect the people and effective in doing so, to a degree not often found in newer guards. She has often demonstrated an ability to resolve conflicts through earnest speech with the parties involved, and also shows an aptitude with weaponry that will serve her well should it be called upon. Moreover she serves with a merry heart and goodwill toward her fellows that is a boon whether one be guard or knight., and she upholds the ideals of honor, justice, and friendship. I can offer no higher praise.”

He steps back.

Lune nods again. “It is well spoken,” he says. “And has she proven, by quest or deed, heroism and leadership of the highest standard?”

Megren wets her lower lip.

Lanisen stands up. He quails slightly from the attention suddenly directed his way, but he bows to the king and keeps his eyes on him. “She saved my life, your majesty,” he says, and if his voice is shaky, it carries nevertheless. “She, she found me, when I was a prisoner, and then she helped me after. She never let me feel that I was alone. I wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for her.”

His eyes shift briefly to Megren at this last, then he bows again and slips quickly back into his seat.

Darrin gives a small, warm smile, and bows his head to Lanisen as he sits back down.

Megren gives a miniscule shake of her head and blinks at the ground a few times.

Lanisen glances from side to side as the silence stretches.

Lune waits patiently for a moment, then lowers his head to regard Megren. “Knowst thou, Squire Megren, any just cause why the rank of knight should not be conferred upon thee?”

Lune’s eyes crinkle up faintly at the corners. “Megren, squire to Sir Darrin, thou hast been deemed fit for this high echelon by thy superiors and thy peers, and hast indicated thy willingness to accept this honour from Our hands.”

He stands from his throne, and the movement is echoed by a soft wave of rustling from all around the Hall as those assembled follow suit. “Kneel.”

Darrin nods encouragingly at Megren at her answer and then grins to himself when the King announces Megren’s fitness for knighthhood and rises.

Megren kneels, and only those near her will see the tremble in her hands.

Lanisen gets to his feet, shifting slightly to the side so he can see where Megren kneels. He bites his lower lip hard.

Lune’s voice is quiet and solemn, but still fills the whole Hall. “Swearest thou by the name of Aslan to honour and defend the Crown against all who would wish Us harm?”

Megren says, “I swear it.”

Dalia beam with excitement and some other unreadable emotion as she watches Megren kneel and speak her oaths of fealty.

Lune asks, “And swearest thou to act in accordance with the virtues of thine office, to respect and pity the weak and steadfastly defend them, and to pursue justice on their behalf?”

Megren says, “I swear it.”

Lune asks, “Swearest thou to be charitable to all, and to be generous in thy giving to those who have need?”

Darrin watches Megren’s face from where he stands just behind the King as she swears the vows of knighthood.

Megren says, “I swear it.”

Lune asks, “Swearest thou, in the battles that are to come, both bravery and hope in the face of adversity, and grace and wisdom in defeat? Swearest thou to forbear from the creation of an unequal battle, that those engaged upon the field may be assured a fair chance of victory?”

Lanisen’s eyes are damp as he watches.

Megren says, “I swear myself to it.”

Haft’s expression remains solemn, but fond pride sparks in his eyes.

Lune asks, “Swearest thou, as a knight, to champion all that is right and good and reject that which is evil? Swearest thou humility in thine actions and demeanor, good fellowship with those around thee, and a free willingness to hear offered council, regardless of whence it comes?”

Megren nods slightly, and her voice breaks a little as she confirms, “I swear it.”

Lune asks, “Swearest thou to pursue and uphold the truth, and to be loyal to the oaths you have given here today?”

Megren says, “By my heart and life, I swear it.”

Lune’s smile does not diminish the solemnity of his words. “We accept thy fealty.”

Megren swallows.

Darrin bites the inside of his lower lip, looking more and more proud as the ceremony proceeds.

Lune says, “And for Our part, we pledge to thee that from this day forward until the end of Our Reign, we will honor thine Order and defend thy rights as a peer. We pledge to protect the trust that thou hast placed in us, to learn from thee what thou hast to teach and to teach what thou desirest to learn from us. We pledge always to conduct ourselves with honour and justice, holding Ourself as an example to the vows you have sworn here today.”

Megren nods, her head still bowed.

Lune turns aside, extending a hand to Sir Darrin. “Bring forth the shield.”

Darrin turns to his left and takes a steel shield from the page who has slipped to his side unnoticed in the last few minutes. It has the design Megren has chosen for her own standard as a knight emblazoned upon it, a white rose and a brown wren on a field of azure. He steps forward and presents the shield to Megren, emblem first, so that she and everyone in the hall can see its design.

Darrin hands Megren’s Shield to Megren.

Lanisen covers his mouth, smiling helplessly.

Megren takes a great breath, and lifts her arm to accept the shield.

Darrin fits it onto her shield arm.

Lune says, as this is done, “Let this shield be a symbol of thine office as a Knight of Anvard to all who behold it. Wear it with honor and with pride.”

Darrin takes a step back.

Megren inclines her head.

Lune draws his greatsword silently from its scabbard. It gleams in the slanting sunlight from the window. “By Our authority as King, and in the name of the Lion and of his father the Emperor Beyond the Sea, We do dub thee a Knight of Anvard.”

Using the flat of the blade, he strikes a single light blow on each of Megren’s shoulders. “Now rise, Dame Megren.”

Megren rises slowly, unbowing her head and letting her shoulders fall straight.

Darrin calls out, “Three cheers for Dame Megren!”

Lanisen joins in the ensuing clamor with spirit.

Dalia calls out her own cheers with vigor!

Deonyc Cheers with the guards. Wich are making sure that they are the loudest.

Lune claps Megren on the shoulder, murmuring for only those near to hear, “Well done.”

He smiles at her fully, then sheathes his greatsword and steps back, gesturing out to the cheering people.

Megren nods gratefully to the King, her face and ears taking on a bright shade at the cries echoing through the hall. She turns to meet the people gathered there, and descends the dais.

Lanisen keeps well back as the people begin to mill about, stepping out of the way of the servants stepping in to move the benches and haul in the long tables for the feast. He finds a place near the wall where his presence seems not to be inconveniencing anybody and settles in.

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

Darrin clasps hands with King Lune, a bright smile on his face, as Megren joins her supporters.

Lune thumps Darrin heartily on the shoulder before he moves off, booming jolly orders regarding the availability of wine and ale. His sons trail along behind him, eventually breaking off to mingle as well.

Lune walks out to the Inner Ward.

Megren passes through the crowd as quickly as she can, which is not especially so, and disappears for a very brief time, returning without her armor or shield, though her sword is still belted at her waist.

Dalia looks about for Megren for in the milling crowd, making her way towards her when she sees her again.

Lanisen stays where he is, watching the musicians set up for the dancing with a small, absent smile. He seems a bit out of his element, standing with one arm crossed over his stomach, but not overly so.

Nessa starts to follow Dalia, but breaks off at the last second after seeing Lanisen over in the corner and goes over to him. “Hello! I believe we met a couple of days ago and I was unable to stay and talk for long, I’m sorry for dahing off so quickly”

Darrin looks out over the crowd before he too descends the dais, and after a moment he makes his way over to Lanisen and leans against the wall beside him.

Megren stands in the doorway when she returns, her cuirass exchanged for a fitted, comfortable bodice, the rest of the dress the same. She hangs back there, searching with her eyes for her friends.

Lanisen says, “Oh! Oh, er–” He pauses, briefly distracted, and bows as Sir Darrin joins them. “It’s, it’s quite all right,” he says to Nessa, offering a small genuine smile, though he doesn’t meet her eyes for long. “Duties have to be seen to at inconvenient times, sometimes.”

Nessa says, “Indeed” Nessa replied, turning her eyes to the incoming knights and dropping into a curtsy her sister taught her to be proper”

Darrin grins at Lanisen and bows his head politely to the stranger when she curtseys to him as well. “Hello,” he says to both, his tone jovial.

Dalia can possibly be seen making her way in the direction she saw Megren last.

Megren catches sight of Dalia coming toward her and closes the distance between them.

Lanisen rubs his wrists absently and glances at Sir Darrin, lifting his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth.

Nessa looks slightly unsure as to what the ettiquette of the situation demanded and then drops to another very slight curtsy. “It is an honor to meet a knight, sir”

Darrin’s grin turns crooked and he winks at Lanisen, and then turns his attention back to the woman. “The pleasure is mine. I don’t believe I’ve made your acquaintance before. Sir Darrin, at your service.”

Lanisen dimples up and looks away, seeking out Megren in the crowd. He leans back against the wall tiredly.

Dalia smiles and drops a small curtsy, “Dame Megren, may I introduce my sister…”

She turns, around looking for her sister who had been following her.

Nessa says, “Nessa at yours, Sir Darrin. My sister Dalia insisted that I attend the knighting, and it was a lovely ceremony. His Majesty is a joy to behold”

Megren colors, and her lips curve at the first use of her title. She nods. “Yes, of course, I’d love to meet her.”

Darrin agrees, “The King is quite jovial, it’s true. But the occasion calls for it!”

He glows proudly.

Nessa says, “Oh, yes, Dalia said that Dame Megren was your squire. I can’t imagine how proud you must be of her with all of the acts of bravery people were testifying about.”

Dalia colors a bit in response to the empty space, looking for the said sister. She looks a little uncertain at having spoken her friend’s title instead of just her name. She looks about trying to find the said sister. “Um…oh! There she is, looks like. By Lanisen and Sir Darrin.”

Lanisen folds his other arm across his middle.

Megren’s smile broadens. “Oh, perfect. Shall we go?”

Darrin confides, “I could not have asked for a better first squire.”

Nessa says, “I hope that when I am able to take on an apprentice I will be given someone as capible.”

Dalia nods, a small smile creeping back at Megren’s words and smile.

Lanisen stays quiet, though he smiles faintly at Darrin’s praise of Megren.

Megren seeks out her friends in the direction Dalia has indicated and starts that way once she’s found them.

Darrin asks, “Oh, and what do you do, Nessa?”

Nessa fingers the edge of her cloak. “I’m a weaver, Sir. I just recently started supplying some of the wool cloth for the castle.

Darrin smiles. “I shall have to look for signs of your work about the castle in the future, then.”

Dalia allows Megren to lead following along behind, she waves to Nessa to get her her attention as they approach.

Lanisen straightens slightly as Megren approaches, letting his arms fall to his sides. He says nothing, but his face is written all over with quiet pride and affection. When she is near enough, he bends his head and performs a simple, respectful bow.

Nessa says, “You should be seeing them soon, I just finished several bolts for the newest guard’s winter gear”

Haft makes his way toward Megren.

Darrin is nodding to Nessa but gets entirely distracted by Lanisen’s bow. He starts beaming proudly all over again.

Nessa waves back at Dalia and edges toward her. “I’m sorry that I was seperated from you, I saw Lanisen and wanted to appologise for leaving in such a rush when we first met.”

She glances over at the aformentioned son of Adam, noticing his marked change in demeanor. “Though I can see that he has much more important things on his mind tonight”

Dalia smiles, “That’s alright. I wanted to introduce you to Dame Megren.”

There may be something in the way the title is said that might imply the speaker is unused to it.

Megren smiles at the other girl. “Hello.”

Lanisen looks startled by Nessa’s words and he glances between her and Darrin in confusion.

Nessa mumbles “New Titles are tricky. … took … quite … to get used … … … …”, to Dalia.

Nessa looks up at the new Knight. “Hello, it’s a pleasure to me you….sir?”

Haft steps near, lips twisting in amusement at Nessa’s words.

Megren’s grin broadens. “You, too. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name?”

Lanisen tilts his head, looking at Megren’s immaculately braided hair, and then winks at Dalia.

Nessa says, “Nessa at your service, Dame Megran.”

Nessa adds with a slight curtsy. “It was a lovely ceremony today”

Dalia smiles in reply to Nessa’s offered encouragement. She was guardswomen Megren when I first met her..”

Catching Lanisen’s wink, she grins back.

Haft approaches and offers a bow and a smile. “Congratulations, Dame Megren.”

Megren nods. “I was, that’s true.”

Lanisen shifts back against the wall again, content to watch and listen as Megren receives her due congratulations.

Megren smiles at Haft, her nose wrinkling a little, and nods her head. “Thanks.”

Haft asks, “I suppose this spoils any chance of us having you back on the guard?”

Megren says, “More guard shifts, though.”

Lanisen grins.

Haft says, “Well, that’s something then.”

Megren grins, and then looks around. “So is there food at this thing?”

Nessa laughs slightly “I was wondering that myself. Not to take away from the ceremony of course…

Darrin puts in, “Well, there’s certainly alcohol, if I overheard the King correctly.” He laughs.

Megren says, “Right, I want some of that, too.”

Nessa says, “I would not shy away from finding out what wine served in the castle tasted like”

Haft chuckles.

Lanisen looks with interest toward the tables being loaded with food by kitchen workers, Ren directing the placement of a beautifully constructed pastry structure that looks rather like the castle, if the castle were made out of puff-pastry and whipped cream, but his eyes shift to the open door to the ward instead after a moment.

Megren crosses nearer Lanisen and says something quietly to him.

Megren mumbles “… can … … if … want.”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen’s shoulders sag gratefully, but he looks at her with some doubt.

Lanisen mumbles “Will you be all … … … be … …”, to Megren.

Megren nods.

Megren mumbles “I’m … … … we didn’t unwrap the bread …”, to Lanisen.

Nessa looks away from the couple obviously having a private moment. “Would you like to go sample some of that wine, Haft?

Lanisen takes a moment to figure out what she means, but his face lights up with pleasure.

Lanisen mumbles “… … … … … … … it good?”, to Megren.

Darrin steps away to give Megren and Lanisen some privacy, and speaks to Nessa. “I’m all for it.”

Megren mumbles “It … perfect.”, to Lanisen.

Nessa steps over to the table with the food and pours a glass of wine and hands it to Darrin before pouring one for herself “Sir Darrin, how does one become an acomplished knight with a squire that has joined his ranks so young?

Lanisen glows. He glances past her briefly at where Darrin and Nessa are investigating the table.

Lanisen mumbles “Is … … you …”, to Megren., to Megren.

Haft glances at Megren, but follows Nessa amiably.

Megren shakes her head. “Go.”

Darrin follows Nessa, taking a sip of wine and then almost coughing on it. He colors. “Ah, hm, well. I had a leg up there, you know, my parents sent me off to squire under Lord Ast at a rather young age.”

Lanisen accepts this with a nod, but still seems reluctant to go. “Congratulations, Dame Megren,” he says quietly, half-grinning.

Darrin adds, “And Megren was a very particular case, in that I took her on as a squire when she was much older than many other squires start. But she was already an experienced guard, well-trained in martial arts, so her training did not take nearly as long as that of a squire with no experience would have.”

Megren wrinkles her nose again and pulls him into a full hug.

Nessa Figures that there’s more to the story, but decides not to press. “Of course, I forgot that some knights start younger than others. Do you plan on taking on another squire now?

Lanisen startles up briefly, but hugs her tightly in return, squeezing his eyes shut.

Megren steps back with her hands on his shoulders and looks into his eyes to command, “Go sleep.”

Darrin shakes his head, taking another drink of wine but this time more carefully. “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility eventually, of course, but I chose Megren as a squire because of the potential I saw in her rather than my own desire or need to have a squire.”

He shifts to open his stance and include Haft in their conversation, and continues, “I don’t see myself taking another unless I found another person in whom I’d like to invest.”

Lanisen ducks his head obediently, the little half-grin still in place. “I’ll see you soon,” he promises, and turns to go.

Nessa Nods “I like the sound of that, I would like to be able to see anyone that I trained as a friend as well as a pupil

Megren nods, and shoos him off.

Lanisen walks out to the Inner Ward.

Megren blows out a breath as Lanisen departs and wanders off in the direction the rest of her friends have gone. She seeks out the wine and pours herself a cup.

Darrin nods. “That has been a good method, in my experience.”

He nabs a piece of bread off a platter on the table. “Are you looking for an apprentice currently?”

Nessa shakes head “Someday, but not quite yet. I wouldn’t want to take on a great responsibility until I am well established in town. But the idea of watching someone grow from stinging threads on a loom to drawing up their own patterns is very appealing to me

Darrin says, “Still, sensible of you to wait till you’re in a prosperous enough place to take on that responsibility.”

Megren hesitates in joining her friends to talk to her family. There is a great deal of hugging and shoulder smacking and merry words, and one older man who looks of an age to be Megren’s father looks in danger of not letting her go when it is his turn.”

 

Haft’s eyes follow Megren and he smiles at this interaction.

 

Nessa takes a piece of bread off a plate and spreads strawberry jam on it and nibbles on it before yawning. “This has been a lovely celebration, and I am truly happy to have met so many of you, but I really ought to get back home soon.”

Darrin inclines his head. “Well, it was good to meet you, Nessa.”

Megren leads the gaggle of people over toward the food and gets them to admire the pastry castle. After a little more chatter and a lot of practicing to visit within the week, she extracts herself to rejoin Haft and Sir Darrin.

Nessa Finishes off her glass of wine. “I hope that I run into you again, either in the outer ward or in the viliage. Dalia’s descriptions of finding kind friends were not an exageration.” she gave a wink at Haft “Even if Haft and I don’t always see eye to eye”

Haft raises a brow and looks at her slantwise, but makes no answer to this.

Nessa walks out to the Inner Ward.

Darrin raises an eyebrow at Haft. “Now, I can’t help but feel there’s a story there.”

Megren comes up just as Nessa is leaving. “Hi, hello.”

Haft says, “I’m sure it’s not worth telling, Sir.”

Darrin pouts and then brightens immediately when Megren appears. “Hello!”

Megren smiles softly. “Hello.”

Haft says, “A fine evening.”

Megren asks, “Yeah?”

Darrin snerks, shaking his head at this oversimplification.

Haft asks, “And a well-laid table. What’s the occasion?”

Megren shoves him gently in the shoulder.

Haft says, “Well, I behaved for a little while.”

Darrin holds his pointer finger and thumb very close together to indicate how long this lasted.

Megren replies sincerely, “Thank you for speaking.”

Haft says, “I meant every word.”

Megren says, “I know.”

Darrin says, “Well, congratulations, Dame Megren, since I don’t think I’ve said that officially.”

He raises his wineglass.

Megren colors and pulls a face.

 

Darrin chortles, having expected as much.

Haft snorts.

Megren asks, “Should we join the dancing?”

 

Darrin says, “Oooh, yes.”

Megren grins.

Haft says, “I can see no reason why not.”

Darrin sets his now empty glass down on the table.

Megren takes each of their hands and pulls them toward where the dancers have gathered.

Haft follows her lead.

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