Haft: The Story Thus Far

In the year 1000, Haft, guard of Anvard, was on duty outside the Royal Nursery when Lord Bar came to kidnap Prince Cor.  Having been away on family business for some time, Haft did not know that Bar had been dismissed from his post.  Nonetheless, his orders, strictly speaking, were to allow no one but the king and queen to pass.  He allowed Bar to do so without checking, and Cor was kidnapped.

In the aftermath of the kidnapping, Haft was told to stay in Anvard until matters regarding his conduct had been looked into.  One day, after the return of the king’s warship, Haft’s captain entered the mess hall and told him to get out.  Haft left for exile in Narnia, where he lived a lonely, bitter life, blaming himself for what he’d done and generally being a growly bear to his neighbors in Barfield and anyone else he met.  From time to time he would travel to Sted Cair to hear word of Corin once the boy was old enough to foster at Cair Paravel.

During one of these journeys in 1014 the call to muster Narnia in defense of Anvard came when Prince Rabadash attacked.  Caught between obeying his king’s decree of exile or fighting for his homeland, Haft broke the ban and returned to Archenland to fight with the Narnians.

Haft saw Cor fall from his horse in the battle and, thinking him Corin, kept as many Calormene soldiers as he could from approaching the spot the boy fell, until Cor was pulled to safety by his brother, though Haft didn’t realize the significance at the time.  Later in the battle he realized that he had just seen–as he thought–Corin in two places at once.  Distracted as realization hit, he was knocked down and nearly killed by one of the attacking foot soldiers, but survived without damage.  As the battle ended, he called Cor out from his hiding place and disappeared into the crowd.

After the battle, Haft remanded himself to the custody of the Steward, Lord Dar, to whom he explained his history.  He surrendered his sword and Dar asked that he remain within the castle until the king could hear his case.

At this point Haft, as a volunteer with the Narnian army, fell under the authority of Lord Peridan, who took responsibility for him and who offered to speak for him at the hearing.  His brief time under Peridan reminded Haft what is was like to be a soldier again and he developed a deep respect for the commander.

The meeting with King Lune contained both a wonderful and terrible revelation:  Haft had never been banished, but had taken his frustrated captain’s angry words as the king’s own.  He was offered both forgiveness and a position with the guard, which he accepted.

Within about a month of his return, Haft committed a terrible error.  Incited by the prodding of a suspicious man calling himself Aaron, Haft intimidated one of the men who worked in the kennels, Lanisen.  He was concerned to hear Lanisen had a criminal past because of the amount of time Prince Cor was spending with the hounds.  Haft’s abuse of trust disappointed King Lune and led to disciplinary action on the part of Captain Garian in which Haft is currently required to be on group duty and not stand watch alone.  He has also been forbidden from approaching Lanisen or the kennels by his captain and by Sir Colin, the king’s nephew and Lanisen’s friend.

During the two months since the battle Haft has mostly kept to himself, but the camaraderie and offer of friendship from ever-cheerful guardswoman Megren and the sometimes presence of the jovial Sir Darrin have brought him out of his solitude a bit (though he didn’t feel he could really accept Megren’s offer of friendship until she knew his past, which he was unwilling to speak of at the time).  He has also made the acquaintance of a thatcher from the village named Eston who has a small daughter.  Eston was injured during the battle and Haft has been trying to help him make ends meet until he is mended.  He has also spent a little time off-duty in the company of Captain Garian, with whom he shares much in common and who has also helped with Eston’s difficulties.

Meanwhile, Aaron, the suspicious character who had been hanging around Anvard harassing Lanisen, had finally been banned from the castle.  Seeing Haft at the hall of the local inn, he asked him to deliver a “letter of apology” to Sir Colin, which was stuck through with his dagger.  Haft made the delivery.  The alarm bells in the village sounded mere minutes later.  Aaron had apparently set fire to his own house and fled.  Haft, Megren and several others from the castle, including King Lune and his personal guard, manned the bucket brigade and put out the fire before much damage could be done to the rest of the village.

A couple weeks later, seeing a Calormene man being prevented from leaving the inn hall by an angry Archenlander who blamed him for losses during the battle of Anvard, Haft attempted to intervene (though he doesn’t like Calormenes either), with the result that his own past was brought up in front of the crowd, nearly resulting in a brawl that was mercifully averted by the timely chance arrival of Megren.  This led to Haft finally confessing his past to her.

Haft left a sister and brother-in-law behind in Chesterton when he thought himself exiled.  His attempt to write them with an explanation went astray, and with Captain Garian’s permission he and Megren took leave to travel to Chesterton.  There Haft was welcomed by his sister and brother-in-law and introduced to his two nephews and a niece.

Not long after his return from Chesterton, Haft was in conversation with his friend Abrielle, who let slip that her parents, exiled years ago for piracy and murder, had reentered the country, and she had not reported the matter to the authorities.  Troubled, but understanding his duty, Haft reported this to Captain Garian.  It later turned out that Abrielle’s uncle, Lewis, had invented the story of her parents misdeeds as a way of explaining to Abrielle why her parents had abandoned her.  The captain and Lord Dar were unable to find any record of an exile, and Haft and Abrielle’s friendship has survived the difficulty.

Meanwhile, Lanisen is recently returned to Anvard with his younger sister in tow, and Haft is still under orders to avoid him, with no likelihood of having that command amended soon, as Sir Colin remains in Carmichael.  This has caused tension between Haft and Megren, who counts Lanisen among her friends.  Lanisen now avoids eating in the mess–his right as a squire–and both Haft and Megren have noticed this.

When Lord Tyre and Lady Avery decided to visit Narnia, their mother Lady Paige requested that a guard familiar with the country accompany them in order to better protect her sheltered daughter.  Haft was selected for this role and went willingly enough, but his parting from Megren was darkened by cross words regarding Lanisen.

Haft is currently enjoying his time in Cair Paravel, guiding Avery through the local area and reconnecting with Lord Peridan, but is concerned about the future of the friendship.  Haft and Megren have exchanged letters since he left, but these have been light, ignoring the issues between them.

To be continued…

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