Not Dragon Eggs

Inner Ward of Anvard

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand in the Inner Ward of Anvard. The ground is hard-packed earth, and it is open to the sky above. Wonderful aromas come wafting out from the Kitchen to the south, near the well. Huge, impressive, intricately carved doors lead to the Great Hall. Staff hurry about, in and out of their quarters, serving the Great Hall and the Council Chamber. A quieter corridor to the northeast leads to the library and schoolroom. Noble lords and ladies also pass through, walking towards their quarters seeing to other business. A guarded gatehouse to the east stands between the inner and outer wards. Two stairways line the curtain wall, climbing to the upper reaches of the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Council Chamber <N>, Northeast Hallway <NE>, Inner Gatehouse <E>, Kitchen <S>, Great Hall <SW>, Staff Quarters <W>, Infirmary <NW>, Southern Stairwell <US>, Northern Stairwell <UN>

Haft stands on duty beside the Inner Gatehouse.

Dalia enters the inner ward, humming thoughtfully. She has a shawl around her against the spring chill, but it has fallen down to hang over her arms instead. She seems thoughtful and not quite present at the moment.

Gearn enters the ward through the gatehouse, spies Haft, then leans against the opposite side of the archway.

Haft rolls his eyes.

Dalia continues humming, glancing up every so often to maake sure she doesn’t trip,

Gearn grins.  “Got at least three minutes til I’m on duty.  Might as well enjoy watching you.”

Haft asks, “Can’t you change shifts like a normal person?”

Dalia glances up at the sound of voices, looking around for the speaker.

Gearn shrugs.  “Where’s the fun in that?  Good afternoon, Dalia.”

Dalia spots the two smiles and waves. “Good Afternoon. Gearn, Haft.”

Haft nods his head.  “Dalia.  You warm enough?”

Dalia nods, “The was quite warm this morning, I almost though perhaps we might have summer soon.”

Gearn’s lips twitch.  “Maybe you’re feeling chilly yourself, gramps.”

Haft growls, “When you’re a redheaded squire, you can call me that.  Not before.”

Gearn says, “Or what?”

Haft says, “Or I’ll humiliate you during arms practice.  Again.”

Gearn raises his hands in mock-defense. The right one is stained blue.

Dalia’s lips twitch as she tries to hide her amusement. At the sight of Gearn’s blue hand, an eyebrow raises slightly with curiosity.

Gearn notices her expression and glances at his hand.

Haft folds his arms across his chest.

Edana walks into the outer ward, her son pulling at her dress talking excitedly. She laughs at his chatter but keeps walking, head held high.

Gearn says, “It was an egg.”

Dalia asks, “An egg?”

Gearn says, “Blue egg.  There are a bunch of ’em in the mess.”

Dalia ohs!

Haft glances at Gearn but says nothing.

Gearn says, “Ain’t got the foggiest who put ’em there.  They smelled alright, so I’ve been eating ’em.  No one else seemed to want to.”

Kaie stops chatting and looks around. He grins widely when he sees Dalia and runs over to her, completely interrupting he shouts up at her. “Miss Dalia! I got a puppy!” Edana shakes her head and comes over apologizing.

Dalia glances at Haft for his thoughts, turning when she hears Kaie. She waves to Edana and bends down to Kaie’s level. “Did you? And what did you name your puppy?”

Edana smiles to the others. “Good day. I am sorry for my son.” She shoots him a warning glance before he answers Dalia with a small squeek. “Finn.” He places his hands behind his back and looks up to the others with wide eyes.

Haft just watches, glancing about the ward now and then.

Dalia smiles up at Edana, before turning back to Kaie. “Finn is a nice name. What does He look like?”

Edana smiles at Dalia and then turns to the guardsmen. “How are you gentlemen?” Kaie answers Dalia. “He is a sheepdog from Coghill. He is white with black spots.”

Dalia nods, listening intently to Kaie.

Haft says, “Just fine, thank you.”

Gearn says, “I’m all right.  Just telling Dalia about some dead curious eggs I found in the mess.  They’re blue!”

Edana smiles. “Oh really.” She raises an eyebrow and Kaie looks at Gearn. “Curious eggs? Why are they blue?”

Dalia asks, “have you seen them, Haft?”

Haft blinks.  “What?”

Dalia asks, “The eggs?”

Edana waits for Haft’s answer with Kaie under her hand.

Haft says, “I…well, yes.”

Haft says, “They are certainly blue.”

Kaie puts his hands on his hips. “Did you make the eggs blue?”

Haft coughs uncomfortably.

Gearn gapes.  “You did!”

Haft pulls a face at Gearn, then looks at Kaie.  “Perhaps they’re dragon eggs.”

Dalia tries to surpress a smile.

Edana smiles and looks down to Kaie who is grinning widely, cheeks all pushed up. “Where is the Dragon?”

Haft shrugs.  “Don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to be Gearn when it shows up.”

Dalia says, “Perhaps I should go see these eggs for myself…””

Gearn shakes his head.  “Ain’t dragon eggs.  Those’d be huge.”

Edana looks to Gearn. “How do you know? Have you ever seen a dragon?”

Dalia says, “”Perhaps I should go see these eggs for myself…”””

Haft waves a hand.  “Be my guest.  Must be a couple still in the mess if Gearn ain’t finished them off.”

Edana smiles as Kaie asks in a serious tone. “May I see the dragon?”

Gearn looks exasperated.  “They aren’t dragon eggs!  Why’d you tell him that?”

Haft looks innocent.

Haft mumbles “Why didn’t you just tell him they were laid by a pink rabbit? Would have been less trouble.”, to Haft.

Haft mumbles “Why didn’t you just tell him they were laid by a pink rabbit? Would have been less trouble.”, to Haft.

Haft mumbles “Why didn’t … … … him they were … … … … rabbit? Would … been … trouble.”, to Haft.

Haft says, “Aren’t you on duty now, Gearn?  I’m sure your three minutes are up.”

Gearn glowers but straightens and eyes the ward.

Kaie looks to Gearn and frowns and shouts in an exasperated tone. “Are you against imagination!” He sighs and turns to Haft. “Can you take me?”

Haft asks, “To the dragon?”

Kaie nods once. “Yes.” Edana tries to hide her smile behind her hand.

Haft looks at the sky.  “Getting a bit late in the day for dragon hunting.  I reckon if you find one, they’ll be along the beaches, but I wouldn’t want to disturb one that was getting ready to sleep.”

Kaie looks to his mother and starts pulling her hand. “I am brave! I want to go!” Edana looks to Kaie and laughs. “Didn’t you hear Haft? They are going to sleep. It would be rude.” Kaie keeps pulling on her arm.

Haft says, “I can show you the spots I used to hunt them, Kaie, when I was your age, but not tonight.  Perhaps you’d like to see one of the eggs, though.”

Stops pulling to listen. After a moment of consideration he nods and puts his hands behind his back. “I would like that very much, And you will show me the spots soon?”

Haft says, “I will.  Give me five minutes and I’ll be back with an egg.”

Haft strides to the northern stairwell and disappears up it for a few minutes before he returns, carrying and object in his hand.  He holds it out to Kaie.  “Gearn is right, they turn your hands blue.”

Edana sighs as Kaie carefully takes the egg, examining every angle. “It is so magical!”

Haft says, “You may have it if you like, but I don’t think it will keep very much longer.”

Edana smiles and Kaie holds the egg to his chest, turning his shirt blue. “I will watch it carefully, sir.” Edana grimaces as the egg dyes his shirt. “We had better go Kaie. We are being a distraction.” She looks to Haft and mouths a thank you.

Haft mouths back, “You’ll want to wash that soon.”

Edana nods and moves her son along towards the market.

Dousing

Northern Wall Walk

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You stand on Anvard’s Northern Wall Walk. From here you have a view of travellers approaching from the north and northeast. A cool wind ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals the bustle of people going to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Gate Tower <E>, Outer Wall Walk <S>, Watchtower <W>

Megren hops up the last few steps and onto the walk. She has her arms crossed against the wind, but looks chipper enough. She seems to have sought Haft out, as she heads toward him in a purposeful kind of way.

Haft asks, “Here comes trouble.  What’ve I done now?”

Megren exclaims, “Hey! Who’s spreading it around that I’m trouble?”

Haft says, “I suppose that would be me.”

Megren clicks her tongue.

Haft says, “Gotta keep things interesting.”

Megren asks, “How’s the watch?”

Haft answers, “Cold, long, and I think the wind has frozen my knees in place.” He grins.

Megren says, “So, better than usual.”

Haft asks, “You know me too well.  How’s squiring?”

Megren says, “Full of polishing metal, it turns out.”

Haft says, “So just about the same, then…only I don’t have to deal with horses.”

Megren says, “Started shield training around yule, too.”

Haft asks, “Oh?  How’s that coming?  Arm aching?”

Megren says, “A bit. I’ve been training off-hand swords with Lanisen, so it’s better than it might be.”

Haft asks, “How’s his training coming?”

Megren exclaims, “Good! He’s getting better. It’s not easy, going wrong-handed.”

Haft asks, “No, it isn’t.  How’s his other hand?”

Megren lifts her shoulders. “Far as I can tell the last two fingers aren’t ever going to work right. It doesn’t seem to pain him much anymore, except if it’s real cold.”

Haft says, “Ah, that’s a pity.  But good that he’s willing to train left-handed.”

Megren says, “Speaking of Lanisen, that’s what I came out looking for you for.”

Haft doesn’t look particularly pleased to hear this.  “Yes?”

Megren says, “He’s been a bit down about Sir Colin heading home to Neiklot, so I’ve invited him out to my da’s hunting hut for a couple days. I wondered if you’d be willing to help Perth keep an eye on Tiny.”

Haft raises a brow.  “You’re paying us how much to look after the little miscreant?”

Megren says, “I’m paying you three full days of fluffy cuddles.”

Haft pulls a face.

Megren asks, “Not enough?”

Haft lets out a long-suffering sigh.  “The things I do for you.”

Megren says, “A cider at the Narrow Gate, then.”

Haft purses his lips, then nods.  “Fair.”

Megren says, “My hero.”

Haft leans on the wall.  “So Lanisen and Sir Colin still haven’t mended things?”

Megren blinks, and her brows lift. “Oh. Um…” She pushes her mouth to the side. “I, you’d have to ask them; I don’t know how to say what ‘mended’ means. Lanisen’s still here because of his job in the kennels, I think. He’s still Sir Colin’s squire.”

Haft says, “That’s good anyway.”

Megren says, “Yeah. I — well, I’m glad he’s still here. He’s real good with the dogs.”

Haft says, “I’m real good with arena fighting.  Doesn’t mean I’d rather be back in Narnia.”

Megren’s brows draw together. “…Arena fighting?”

Haft turns his head.  “I didn’t tell you that?”

Megren says, “There an arena here.”

Haft says, “Don’t need the money here.”

Megren squints an eye.

Haft shifts.  “I didn’t earn all my living from hunting.  There’s prize money to be won at the arena in Beruna.  I took advantage of that.”  He pauses.  “Good thing too or I might not have remembered how to use a sword by the time Rabadash attacked.”

Megren says, “Oh, I –” she nods. “Sorry, I was just trying to figure out the analogy.”

Haft exclaims, “What?  Oh!  I meant…I’m glad he’s still recognized as a squire.  It’s hard on a man to lose his position, even if he’s good at other things.”

Megren says, “Oh, I see.” She nods. “That’s good, too.”

Haft looks confused.  “What’s good too?”

Megren says, “Staying a squire.”

Haft says, “Oh.  Yes.  And at least he’s still training with you.”

Megren says, “And Sir Darrin, since Sir Darrin’s left-handed already.”

Haft says, “Knew there was something odd about him.”

Megren says, “I’ll let him know you said.”

Haft says, “Please do.”

Megren wrinkles her nose. “How long’ve you got left on this shift?”

Haft asks, “Maybe another quarter hour.  Why?”

Megren says, “Cider after, if you like.”

Haft asks, “Oh, you mean to pay in advance?”

Megren says, “Of course. Got to get you feeling indebted.”

Haft says, “If yout think it means I’ll let the little furball claw my boots without a dousing, you’re sorely mistaken.”

Megren asks, “A /dousing/?”

Haft nods.  “Dousing.  It’s when you upend your water jug on the miscreant.”

Megren punches him lightly on the shoulder.

Haft says, “I find it to be a very effective deterrent.”  He reaches for the waterskin at his side and waves it at Megren threateningly.

Megren opens her mouth, aghast at the threat. “It’s /cold/!”

Haft’s eyes sparkle.  “Yes, well, that’s why it’s such a good deterrant.  In your case, however, I think I shall show mercy–just this once.”  He lowers the skin.

Megren screws up her mouth.

Haft says, “It /is/ an awfully long walk into Andale.  Wouldn’t want to getting a chill.”

Megren asks, “No?”

Haft says, “Unless you want one so you can get out of armor polishing for the next few days…if so, I can still oblge.”

Megren says, “Somehow I think I’d end up feeling like I landed on the wrong side of that decision.”

Haft says, “I would think so.  Given the choice, I’d always rather take a couple of bruises in the practice room than be sick, myself.”

Megren says, “Good to know.”

Haft asks, “So when do you reckon you’ll be taking this little trip?”

Megren says, “Set to leave in two days.”

Haft asks, “How long you planning to be gone?”

Megren says, “Just two nights. Might be one, depending how it goes.”

Haft says, “Sounds like a nice break.  Hope it does him good.”

Megren says, “I hope so. It’ll be nice for me, too. I miss it, sometimes.”

Haft says, “Do you?  Your father will be pleased to have you.”

Megren says, “Oh, he doesn’t stay out there in winter.”

Haft asks, “Oh?”

Megren says, “It’s just for hunting trips, so he doesn’t have to troop out home every time, you know. He tries not to hunt so much in winter any more, now I’m helping with the money. The cold’s hard on his knee.”

Haft asks, “Oh, so it’s not just /my/ knees?”

Megren says, “All old men, it would seem.”

Haft presses his lips together.  “I walked into that one.”

Megren grins. “Seems so.”

Gearn steps onto the wall walk from the gate tower, walking toward the pair.  He smiles at Megren, and addresses Haft.  “Anything to report?”

Haft says, “Megren’s foisting her pets off on other people.  Otherwise, it’s been a quiet shift.”

Megren exclaims, “Hardly! It’s only, I think Tiny will pitch a fit if I try to take her out of her castle.”

Gearn asks, “Why’s that?”

Megren asks, “Have you tried taking her past the outer ward?”

Gearn shrugs.  “No…”

Megren says, “I don’t recommend it.”

Haft folds his arms.  “Were you going to warn me about this before leaving her in my care?”

Megren asks, “Were you planning on taking her for a jaunt about town?”

Haft says, “Might’ve done.  See what Eston’s Lecie would make of her.”

Megren says, “Sir Darrin says most cats are like wild beasts; they don’t like going outside their own space, particularly if they aren’t choosing it.”

Haft says, “I’ll keep it in mind.”  He raises a hand in farewell to Gearn, then turns back.  “Come on, let’s see about that cider.””

Megren hops off toward the gate tower. “Last one there has to buy the other’s meal.”

Haft says, “Knew I’d get the short end of the deal somehow.”

Megren grins, walking backward.