In which Haft and Cantil discuss a variation on Blind Man’s Bluff, Megren introduces Haft to a horse, and there is mention of the gardens and the late queen
In which Haft teaches Cantil
At the bottom of the slope, the beach spreads, a mixture of sand and gravel. Seagulls scream overhead, and small crabs scuttle about between pools and bits of driftwood. There are a few larger rocks as well, slowly being eroded by wind and water. The Eastern Ocean seems to go on forever, the gray green waves stretching out to the horizon.
A path leads up the slope to the west toward the Beach Road.
You can go: The Beach Road <W>
Contents: A daughter of eve with a red streak in her brown hair (Abrielle).
Abrielle sits on the sand, looking out to the sea, singing to herself. The wind is blowing lightly and it is a bit warmer out than it has been.
Cantil comes walking down the slope from the Beach Road.
Haft strolls along the beach, enjoying the afternoon, and glancing toward the horizon.
Abrielle glances up as Haft strolls into view. “Hello Haft! Fine afternoon isn’t it?”
Haft turns from the ocean, hearing his name. “Ah, yes. Still a little brisk, but seemed a good day for a walk.”
Abrielle smiles and nods. “Yes. I had the same thought.”
Cantil is some distance away down the beach, picking his way along the waterline. He occasionally stops to pick up something from the shore, giving everything a good long look, replacing some of the objects and pocketing others.
Haft asks, “Isn’t your young man going to miss you if you spend too much time here?”
Abrielle shrugs lamely. “I haven’t seen him in some time. I think he is out in the woods somewhere.” She rubs her arms, apparently trying to keep herself warm. “He does that sometimes.”
Haft looks at her askance. “Wanders off without warning?”
Abrielle smiles and looks out over the water. “Well…I do it too.”
Haft frowns. “Seems like a strange way to…well, never mind, you probably don’t need my opinion on that.”
Cantil continues on, wandering aimlessly. He begins to make his way back down the beach, nearing Haft and Abrielle.
Abrielle looks at Haft. “I am sure I can guess what you were going to say.” She sighs and looks around. “Cantil? What are you doing here?”
Haft turns to see the boy.
Cantil’s head raises at the sound of his name. He blinks. “Abrielle? What’re /you/ doing here?”
Abrielle laughs lightly. “I am here….well I don’t know what for anymore…” She looks at Haft and says a little quieter, “Can you remember?”
Haft smirks. “Lying in wait for old bears, from what I can tell.”
Abrielle ahs and quietly laughs.
Cantil looks a little confused. “Oh,” he says. “All right, then.”
Abrielle looks back at Cantil. “So back to my question. What brings you here?”
Haft clasps his hands behind his back.
Cantil shakes his head. “I came in with Lord Shar and all them, a few days ago.”
Abrielle nods. “Interesting…did Nalan come too?”
Cantil blinks. “What? No, why would he?”
Haft asks, “Nalan?”
Abrielle glances at Haft for a moment before answering Cantil. “Last time Lord Shar left he without him he was a bit mad…from what I remember.”
Cantil raises one eyebrow, entirely bemused and not a little disgusted. “…Why would he be mad?”
Haft furrows his brow.
Abrielle mouth twiches at the corners. “I have /no/ idea.” She looks to Haft. “Nalan is just…” She looks to Cantil for his explaination.
Cantil closes his mouth and rolls his eyes.
Haft asks, “Might I inquire as to who Nalan is?”
Cantil shifts his attention to Haft. “Nalan is Lord Shar’s steward.”
Haft’s eyebrows shoot upward.
Abrielle nods at Cantil and looks to Haft.
Haft says, “I see.” He look slightly uncomfortable. “Perhaps we should change the topic. Cantil, my fellow guard tells me you are interested in the finer points of swordsmanship?”
Abrielle glances at Cantil and goes quiet.
Cantil shifts, looking at Haft with new interest. “Maybe,” he says cautiously.
Haft asks, “As Lord Dar’s squire, I trust you have some instruction already in the use of a blade?”
Cantil says, “A little, yeah. Mostly on targets.”
Abrielle, noticing this conversation is something she may not need to be included in, goes closer to the water and begins skipping rocks.
Haft nods. “We all start on targets. Even an advanced swordsman can practice on one to advantage, if he lacks a living opponent.
Cantil half-smiles. “Yessir, I know that.”
Haft says, “Well, I was working on copying down some forms from one of the books in the library. Guardswoman Megren seemed to think you might like to look at them.”
Abrielle’s rock skips over the water five times.
Cantil’s face falls a little. “Oh, I don’t–I don’t read.”
Haft offers an easy smile. “Well, that’s no help, but it’s no great hindrance either. The work is largely pictures, and I can explain the notes, if you’re willing to listen.”
Cantil chews his lower lip, giving Haft a carefully appraising look. “I think I’d like that,” he says at last. “If it’s no trouble.”
The rock Abrielle throws sinks into the water without going anywhere.
Haft shrugs. “If it’d been too much trouble I wouldn’t have offered it. We’ve both got our duties, so we’ll have to schedule around those, but otherwise my time is my own, though I try to get in a couple hours in the Practice Room each day as well.”
Cantil says, “I think I remember where that is.”
Abrielle comes back to join Cantil and Haft.
Haft looks surprised. “I didn’t mean…well, of course, if you’d like to practice some of the forms as well as look at the papers, we could try that.”
Cantil blinks. “Oh.” He shrugs and says practically, “If I’m looking at them on paper, I’ll want to try them anyway. Otherwise I’ll forget.”
Abrielle rubs her arms for warmth.
Haft says, “That’s very true. And important to keep using anything you learn. The muscles forget, after a while.
Cantil says, “Yessir, I know.”
Haft asks, “Getting cold, Abrielle?”
Abrielle smiles at Cantil and then shakes her head at Haft. “No. I am fine.”
Haft grunts, “Mmhmm.” He pulls his cloak off and throw it over her shoulders.
Cantil watches, his head tilted slightly.
Abrielle shakes her head but accepts the cloak. “Thank you.”
Haft says, “I’ll be wanting it back.”
Abrielle smiles. “Nah…I think I was planning on holdiing it hostage.”
Haft mutters, “Good thing I’ve still got my scarf.”
Cantil grins faintly. “Well,” he says. “I didn’t mean to interrupt. I’d better be getting back to the castle.”
Haft nods. “We’ll see what we can work out regarding the practice.”
Abrielle frowns at Cantil. “You weren’t interrupting but if you must go…I am glad to see you.”
Abrielle adds, “I think I will be heading home soon…I know you just got here but is there anything you would like me to take back or tell your father or anyone?”
Cantil ducks his head to her politely. “You too.” He pauses to think. “Ahh,” he says apologetically. “I don’t know, I just left a couple days ago. Tell him hi for me, I guess?”
Haft looks regretful. “Not as interesting when you’re away. But I reckon you’re due.”
Abrielle nods to Cantil. “Will do. I am sure he will be glad to hear that you arrived safely.” She looks to Haft. “I am.”
Haft asks, “You work for Lord Shar’s household as well, Abrielle?”
Abrielle nods. “Yes. In the kitchens and out in the gardens. Why?”
Haft says, “Oh, just trying to keep folks’ duties straight. I think you mentioned it the week we met, but I was a little…preoccupied at the time.” He offers her a private smile.
Abrielle gives him a weak smile in return.
Cantil’s forehead furrows slightly. “Well,” he says, shifting. “I’m going to get back. Nice seeing you both.”
Haft says, “Indeed.”
Abrielle smiles at Cantil. “See you around, Cantil.”
Cantil ducks his head at them both and trudges back on up the beach to the road, pausing to pick up a shell halfway there.
Cantil walks up the slope to the Beach Road.
Haft says, “Well, I’ll walk you back to the inn, shall I? And then you can return my cloak.”
Abrielle takes one more longing glance out to the sea before nodding. “Yes. I think that will be good. Thank you.”
They walk to the inn.
The Herberg Road leads to Herberg’s public house, The Narrow Gate, a huge building that sits in a clearing to the east of the road. It’s obvious that rooms on the eastern side of the building overlook the beach and ocean. Clumps yellow of fruit trees shade the walls of the Public House and hardwoods line the lane.
The lane to the west leads the shops of East Andale, and continues north toward the Beach Road.
You can go: Beach Road <N>, East Andale <W>, The Narrow Gate <E>
Haft says, “Well, here we are.”
Abrielle removes the cloak and gives it back to Haft. “Yes and here is your cloak.” She smiles. “I think this time I will be home for much longer….”
Haft says, “And leave my poor self to Megren’s tender mercies. Well, I’ll manage. You take care of your young man then.”
Abrielle chukles quietly. “Don’t let her mess with you too much.” At the second comment she sighs. “I will try to.”
Haft hesitates. “You know, it isn’t about how often you’re with him. It helps, but it’s not the only thing. My father was a guard, and that meant long hours away from us at the castle. But Ma always knew where he was and when he’d be back. And when he was with us, he was really there, if you take my meaning.”
Abrielle thinks for a moment before nodding. “Yes. I understand and I try to remember that…it can be difficult though.” She pauses for a moment and adds, “The end result of these harder moments is well worth it though. At least I have that.”
Haft nods. “Good evening, Abrielle.”
Abrielle dips her head and gives him a small smile. “And to you, Haft.”
Haft pulls his cloak around his shoulders and fastens it, then turns and heads back in the direction of the castle.
Abrielle watches Haft leave before turning around.
In which Greta opens her mouth. Introducing Cantil!