Tea and Cookies

Off-duty Mess

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This is the place where off duty soldiers and sailors can relax and eat. There is a small cookfire and hearth and a few tables set up nearby. On one wall is a dart board, and on a small table in the corner there is a chess set. Someone has left a pile of parchment with sketches of his fellow knights on another table. This is a comfortable, casual room. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[

You can go: Out to the Northern Stairwell <S>

Contents: A daughter of eve with short, copper hair (Megren); A daughter of eve

with sunset-gold hair and thoughtful blue eyes (Reina); Hearth <LIT>; and

Tiny.

Reina enters, cupping a mug of what appears to be, gaging by the scent, lavender tea. Crossing to the fire, she sets the tea down before lowering herself to the floor beside the hearth. Nodding to Megren, she lifts a hand in a little wave.

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Haft steps into the room, heading for the table where food is waiting.

Megren looks up at the sound of someone coming. “Hey!”

Reina glances around at the sound of a new person. Spying Haft, she smiles a bit.

“Hey,” Reina replies, wrapping her hands around her mug. “How are you? Better than your boots, I hope?”

Haft doesn’t notice Reina or the smile, as his attention is on the food, and he serves up a hearty serving of it, and a mug of cider as well, before turning and looking for a place to sit.

Megren grins, “Aw, give them a good night’s rest; they’ll be all right.”

Haft steps over.  “Give who a good night’s rest?

“Her boots,” Reina says, gesturing. “She tried to drown them.”

Megren wrinkles her nose. “Just went for a jaunt out in the woods. Haft, how’s the guard?”

Haft says, “Same as always.  Busy and rushed and quiet and contemplative, depending on the time of day.”

Megren asks, “Nothing exciting to report?”

Reina sips from her mug, seeming content to keep her silence for now.

Haft squints one eye, apparently concentrating.  “I think the vintner brought in several barrels full of Calormenes.  Nothing serious.”

Megren squints back at him.

Haft takes a seat, arranging his food and drink.  “Or it might have just been wine.  Hard to tell.”

Megren mms. “Have to tell Sir Darrin.”

Haft says, “Probably should…although…no, wait, if there’d been Calormenes in the barrels they’d have been given away by the protruding ears.”

Megren makes a face at him.

Haft says, “And the braying.  Mustn’t forget the braying.”

Megren says, “Haft.”

Haft says, “Though I suppose they might have left Rabadash at home.”

Megren says, “…Anyway.”

Haft says, “Anyway.  How’s squiring?”

Reina focuses intently on her tea, lifting it to her lips in an attempt to stifle her giggles.

Megren says, “Went from bucklers to real shields this week and I feel like my arm’s going to fall right off.”

Haft says, “I can imagine.  I felt the same way the first time I used a buckler.”

Reina just drinks her tea, having nothing to add, but appearing interested just the same.

Megren runs her hand over Tiny’s head and back. The kitten’s paws have grown faster than the rest of her body. “Take the breaks I can get in the meantime.

Haft says, “Just so you don’t break an arm.”

Megren says, “Here’s hoping.”

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

Reina gazes pensively into the flames as they flicker and dance,, intermittently sipping at her tea.

Haft glances at Reina, “And what have you been up to? Still working under Sadie?”

Glancing over to Haft, Reina arches a brow. “Sareen,” she says. “Mistress Sareen. Sadie? Where did you get Sadie? It’s a nice enough name… I think I knew a dog called Sadie once. But yes, I am.”

Haft finishes chewing his stew before he answers.  “She was born Sareen.  Took on Sadie as a nickname from what I’ve heard when she was a girl.”

“Hmmm, interesting,” Reina says. “I don’t call her Sadie. But yes, I’m still in the Solarium.”

Haft asks, “Enjoying it?”

Reina nods. “I am. I do. More than I believed I would in the beginning, but it stopped being a punishment a long time ago.”

Megren pokes Tiny’s side experimentally. The little cat snoozes on.

Haft says, “Well that’s good.  Don’t think I’d be much good with growing things myself.”

“Not with that buckler on your arm,” Reina quips. “Or was it a shield. Either way, metal and plants don’t play well together.”

Megren says, “My da used to have a violet in a metal bucket.”

Haft says, “You use a wooden trowel?  I’d have thought metal would have been handier.”

Reina huffs. “Honestly,” she says. “Metal as in big heavy things that are designed for battles. Armor. Shields. That’s what I meant.”

Haft smirks.  “Then why didn’t you say what you meant?”

“Trust me, you don’t want me to now,” Reina mutters.

Haft snorts in amusement.

Reina just sips at her tea, glancing toward the door periodically.

Haft asks, “Expecting someone?”

Reina shakes her head sadly. “Just kind of hoping, I guess.”

Megren wrinkles her nose knowingly at the girl. “Captain?”

Haft says, “One of the younger guardsmen–?  Ah.”

Reina nods at Megren. “I have not seen him in what feels like weeks. I know he’s busy. I don’t resent him or anything, I just miss him.”

Megren nods understandingly. “He’s always been more for the quiet places in his off hours.”

Haft says, “Maybe try looking in his office during the day.  You might be able to set a time to meet.”

Reina nods. “I still bring him tea and cookies, I just don’t see him when I do,” Reina says. “But it’s tradition now, so even if I don’t, I can’t not bring them. I can’t sleep if I don’t. Weird, but there you have it.”

Megren says, “That’s how I was with my da before I came on the guard. Not tea and cookies, but, the same idea.”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Haft props his feet up.  “You’re both welcome to bring me tea and cookies if it will help you sleep.”

Reina giggles. “It’s not the same thing, you silly.”

Tiny gives the most convenient human an unblinking stare and yowls insistently.

Haft sighs.  “Alas.”

Megren says, “I’ll keep that in mind, gramp.”

Haft says, “At least one of you likes me.”

Reina giggles again. “I’ll make you chocolate.”

Megren says, “Wow, I can see I need to try out this thinly veiled begging thing.”

Haft says, “Now that you’ve observed a master at work.”

“That wasn’t even proper begging. Why did we give in?” Reina muses.

Megren says, “Pity for an old man.”

Haft says, “In which case, you can never hope to succeed in similar endeavors.”

Megren says, “We might as well succumb peacefully.”

Haft says, “At least you’ll sleep well.”

Reina laughs, shaking her head. “Can we put salt in his tea?”

Megren makes a face.

Haft coughs, his cider having gone down the wrong pipe at this.  He narrows his eyes at Reina.  “Knew you were trouble.”

Megren holds her hand out for Tiny to sniff when the kitten awakes, stretching furiously and checking whether her claws still work on Megren’s leg.

Reina smiles sweetly up at Haft. “I’m adorable.”

Megren says, “That’s not a lie.”

Haft looks vaguely revolted.

Reina snickers. “He’s revolted at his inability to contest such an accurate statement.”

Haft pulls a face.  “A young lady doesn’t state her charms too boldly.”

Megren makes her own face at this assertion as Tiny hops off her lap and starts exploring the premises.

Reina shrugs, looking back to her tea. “It might be different if I actually believed them,” she says with a grin.

Megren pushes her in the side of the head. “You should.”

Haft chews on his lower lip, then takes another sip of cider.

Reina giggles. “Heyyyy! No abusing the child!”

Haft says, “Don’t complain.  She’s just straightening your spine to correct your hunchback.”

Megren says, “A knock to the head’s how you know I love you.”

A log on the fire shifts, sending a column of sparks flying upwards.

Haft says, “Count the bruises…”

Megren screws up her mouth warningly at Haft, but says in a lighter tone, “Never. Only playful shoves.”

Reina grins at Megren, shooting a wary look at Haft before making a face at him.

Haft blinks, then frowns slightly and addresses the remainder of his stew.

Reina drink the last of her tea, gazing down into the cup with a pout.

Megren pulls Reina in and kisses her temple. “Tell what you learned most recently from Mistress Sareen.”

Reina snuggles against Megren. “I learned how to plant a tree all by myself without killing it!”

Megren asks, “What tree?”

“Lemon, I think, though I could be wrong,” Reina says.

Megren says, “Ohh, good, more lemon tea, then.”

Reina smiles. “Lavender is the best.”

Megren says, “Nothing like lemon and ginger and honey when you’ve got through a cold wet night, though.”

“Ooooh, that does sound really good.” A beat, then, “My older brother game me ginger and garlic tea once when I was sick. I think he was trying to kill me.” Her tone is deadpan, but the amusement in her eyes suggests she believes no such thing. The disgust curling her lips also suggests she probably wanted to kill *him* for doing it.

Megren wrinkles her nose. “That sounds terrible.”

Haft says, “My aunt made me gargle with vinegar for a sore throat once…” He shudders.

Reina shudders right alone with Haft. “Oh ewwww…”

Megren asserts, “Lemon and ginger and honey.”

Reina grins, reaching out and attempting to pet Tiny on the head.

Haft says, “I was eight.  I didn’t know how to gargle.”

Reina laughs. “You nearly drowned, didn’t you?”

Haft says, “I mighta swallowed it.”

Megren opens her mouth and sticks her tongue out.

Haft says, “Yeah, that.”

Reina cringes. “Oh, gag.”

Megren says, “Wash out your stomach real good I bet.”

Haft wrinkles his nose.  “Didn’t like that aunt very much for a long time.”

“I should say not!” Reina agrees adamantly.

Megren says, “Lemon and ginger and honey.”

Haft says, “That works.”

Reina nods. “Lemon and ginger and honey indeed!”

Megren makes a face at Tiny, who has begun to amble away in search of someone who will drop her a scrap.

Haft says, “Think that might be a flaw in cats, Meg.  No loyalty at all.”

Megren looks affronted on Tiny’s behalf. “Tiny and Bartholomew /both/ love me, I’ll have you know.”

“Bartholomew?” Reina asks, incredulous. “Isn’t that… kind of a … big name for a cat?”

Megren says, “Well, we mostly call him Mew.”

Reina laughs. “Oh, Mew! That’s perfect! I didn’t even think of the perfect kitty name right at the end there!”

Haft asks, “Mew?”

Megren makes a mewing noise. Tiny looks toward her, startled.

Reina giggles. “Tiny’s all, whoa! You speak my language! Now speak this, mama, food!”

Haft asks, “Who’s ‘Mew’?”

Megren asks, “Oh. Sir Darrin’s. Grey? Purrs as quick as looks at you?”

Haft says, “Don’t think I’ve seen it.”

“I want a kitten,” Reina says. She’s not whining, but she’s definitely pouting.

Megren exclaims, “He doesn’t set off exploring as much as Tiny.” She glances at Reina. “Here. Tiny–!” she calls, and taps her fingers against the floor, clicking her tongue. The kitten comes running headlong for the good rub between the ears this promises, and Megren picks her up, scrubbing affectionately over her head to quell the kitten’s protests. When Tiny seems mostly appeased, Megren extends the cat toward Reina. “Hold one hand around her middle and gather her back feet in the other.””

The fire flickers, casting dancing shadows all over the walls.

“Won’t I break her legs?” Reina asks, doing just as commanded, though her arms are tense and she’s making certain Megren still has a hold of the cat by not holding too tightly.

Haft says, “Cats ain’t that fragile”

Megren helps Reina adjust her hold, though Reina’s tenseness combine with her lack of certainty make Tiny nervous enough to start wriggling again. “She’ll be fine if you’re gentle.” Megren scratches between Tiny’s ears again to help her calm down. “Hold her close to your heart so she feels safe, and let her wriggle out if her ears go back or she’s fighting you much.”

Reina nods, taking the small weight and drawing the kitten close to her heart. Holding her there, she just looks down and grins, cooing softly. “Awww, aren’t you the cutest?”

Haft finishes his cider and rises.  “Got watch in half an hour.  Guess my boots’ll be getting damp soon.  Goodnight.

“Night, Haft!” Reina says, waving. “Stay warm if you can.”

Megren smiles at Reina’s success, but looks up when Haft rises. “Oh, sure. See you later, then.”

Haft nods and leaves the room.