how to spook a handful of grown men

Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

You stand in the busy outer ward of Castle Anvard, full of people seeing to the needs of king and kingdom. There are market stalls along the outer wall, bustling with merchants and shoppers. Grooms work in the stables, tending to the horses there, and you hear the occasional bark of a dog from the kennels. The sounds of hammer hitting iron rings out from the blacksmith shop. There are stairs leading to the gate towers on the northern and southern corners of the outer curtain. To the east is the outer gatehouse, and the road leading into the realm of Archenland, and to the west another gate, leading to the inner gatehouse, the inner ward, and the main keep of Anvard.

Lanisen sits on the ground outside the kennels, a book in his lap and his arm in a sling, people-watching between paragraphs.

Darius strolls into the outer ward, a /wide/ smile gracing his expression as he takes in his surroundings. Moving towards the middle, his eyes flicker between all of the merchants until his attention finally comes to rest on the gate leading to the inner ward. His eyes narrowing a hair, he sucks in a deep breath and just… stops.

Lanisen glances up at a minor commotion down the ward involving a balky cart-donkey. When it proves to be less interesting than the noise suggested, he casts a casual look over the rest of the people milling about, pausing on the vaguely familiar man staring at the gates.

Darius’s attention remains on the gate, gaze calculating. After some time, he lets his gaze wander around the ward once more and this time noticing the man with a sling. Blinking, his smile widens and he /promptly/ begins making his way over to him. “Well hello there! ” he calls out.

Lanisen looks briefly rather alarmed. He straightens slightly and closes his book. “Afternoon.”

Darius slows as he finishes his approach. “Lanisen, isn’t it?! ” he asks, eyes then turning to his sling.

Lanisen doesn’t stand up. “That’s right,” he answers. “D…orian?”

Darius’s brow raises instantly, shaking his head and letting out a soft chuckle. “Ah, no… no my friend. It is Aaron. ” He lets his left hand fall onto his dagger as he then begins fidgeting with the hilt. ” Whatever happened to your arm??”

Lanisen’s eyes follow the man’s hand. “Oh, right,” he says lightly. “I was close.”

Peridan comes walking through the Ward. Upon seeing Lanisen and another man, he calls out a greeting, “Greetings Lanisen.”

Darius chuckles merrily, lightly patting Lanisen on the shoulder. “Indeed you were. ” Hearing the call of another, he takes a half step back and observes the other man from head to toe.

Lanisen stiffens as Darius invades his space, his hand going to the stick at his side, and actually cringes minutely. He lets out a small breath of relief at Peridan’s greeting. “Afternoon, sir.”

Peridan meets the man’s gaze evenly though he does notice Lanisen’s movement. “Afternoon.” He asks the man, “Forgive me, I don’t believe that we have met yet?”

Darius holds his gaze easily, a grin crossing his expression as he quickly extends his hand. “Indeed, we have not… The name is Aaron. ”

Lanisen is still sitting on the ground, though his hand is wrapped white-knuckled around his cane and one knee is drawn up, as if he’s about to try standing. He relaxes several degrees as Aaron’s attention stays on Peridan.

Peridan keeps Lanisen in his line of sight though he faces the man. He pauses, before taking the hand and giving him a firm handshake. “Pleasure to meet you, Aaron. I am Lord Peridan.”

Darius’s expression seems to brighten further, returning the handshake by swinging his free hand around and grasping the man’s forearm firmly. “A Lord you say?! It is a /true/ pleasure to meet you Lord Peridan! ” he greets, finishing the two-handed shake.

Lanisen sits on the ground outside the kennel building, watching Aaron and Peridan converse.

Peridan’s brow raises slightly as the man grabs him. He retains his composure though, “Oh? I am glad that you like meeting Lords. There are many of us here.”

Colin comes out of the castle, entering the outer ward. He pauses to speak to one of the vendors.

Darius releases the man’s arm, smile never leaving his face. “That so? How many would you say? ” he asks, sounding /quite/ interested.

Lanisen begins the awkward process of getting to his feet from the ground, keeping an eye on Aaron.

Peridan’s eyebrow raises even further. Before he responds, he notes Colin giving a wave, possibly to indicate him over here. “Well Aaron, we are at court.”

Colin notices Lord Peridan and Lanisen. He finishes his conversation and approaches, automatically moving to Lanisen’s side to help him. When he notices who Lord Peridan is speaking with, he only gives a nod of greeting with a bright smile–perhaps too bright.

Lanisen thanks Colin under his breath as he finds his feet again. He takes a deep breath and sets his shoulders, pleased and relieved to be upright.

Darius tilts his head, looking curious. “I’m afraid a man such as myself isn’t quite so cultured as to know what that might be. ” He catches Lanisen in his attempts to rise, quickly turning and making a motion towards him. But as he is about to make an attempt to assist him, he stops suddenly as the other man steps beside him. His hand finding his dagger once more, he begins to fidget. “Ah… I /do/ believe we have met before. Though, you will just /have/ to forgive me as I have seem to forgotten you name… ” He returns, noting the bright smile.

Colin’s eyes drop to the hand on the man’s dagger and he positions himself between him and Lanisen, though not noticeably.

Peridan’s gaze falls to the man’s dagger. Peridan moves a bit closer to Aaron, his eye trained on him. The lord just happens to let his hand fall on the sword on his side.

Darius chuckles, his left hand suddenly moving away from his dagger as he clasps both together. “Indeed! I do believe it was… though– ” he pauses as head turning a fraction of an inch as he seems to notice the other man moving closer to him. “Though, it would seem I have forgotten your name. ” he repeats, takes the smallest of steps to the side.

Lanisen glances at Peridan, looking briefly surprised. He shifts his weight uneasily.

Colin chuckles, shaking his head slightly while not taking the eyes off the man. “Yes…I do not recall yours either. Remind me, was it—?” He leaves off for the man to fill in the space.

Peridan continues to stand straight, keeping a eye on the man. His stance suggests that he is a trained soldier.

Lanisen says quietly, “Aaron.”

Darius’s smile never leaves his face. At Lanisen’s comment, he dips his head. “You’re friend here speaks the truth. ” He inclines his head towards the man, gaze pointed, but not revealing anything unkind. “And yours?” he presses.

Colin clasps his hands tightly together behind his back. “Colin.” He replies simply.

Peridan glance at Colin, remaining silent.

Darius’s smile grows. “Ah, yes, Colin… now I remember. ” he shoots a glance at Peridan. “I take it you one of the Lords that Lord Peridan speaks of?”

Colin’s face twists into a smile of sorts. “Nay, do I look like a Lord to you?” He gestures to his simple (and bit dirty as well) tunic.

A servant enters the ward, looking around. Upon seeing Lord Peridan, he makes his way to the gathering. “Excuse me, Lord Peridan but you are needed in Hall.” Peridan turns to the man, “Thank you, I will be right there.” He turns to the three, “Forgive me but I am being summoned. Good Bye, Lanisen, Colin, Aaron.” He doesn’t bow to them as he turns away, though he gives Aaron one more look.

Darius steals one last glance at Peridan as he leaves. Looking back to Colin, he examines him a moment. “Ah, no… not entirely. But then, I don’t have the pleasure of interacting with Lords all that often. So…”

Colin mms mildly. “Sounds like it. So, /Aaron/, you said. That rings a bell now… how are you? What brings you to Anvard?”

Lanisen gives Colin an uncertain look and shifts uncomfortably. He glances back at Aaron.

Darius nods. “Quite well, myself! ” he crosses his arms. “And oh, why the Castle, of course! Been a dream of mine to see it’s magnificent halls since I was but a yougin’. ” he sighs, looking to the wall that protects the inner ward. “But, Alas… I have not been granted such a privilege. ”

Colin merely smiles. “Yes, ’tis a shame. They don’t let many inside unless it’s necessary. Quite a tragedy you weren’t here for the siege…”

Darius’s brow raises, a renewed interest flowing over his expression. “Siege you say? ” he pauses, pondering this. “Ah, yes… I do believe hearing about such a thing. ” He shakes his head, letting out an odd chuckle. “To think that any could imagine breaching /THESE/ walls… ” He extends his arms at this, motioning all around him. “Why they must have been /MAD/! ”

Colin raises an eyebrow. “Indeed.”

Lanisen grimaces slightly. He reaches out and taps Colin’s elbow. “Gonna head on in,” he murmurs. “Afternoon, Aaron.”

Colin nods to Lanisen.

Darius offers Lanisen a nod himself. “Farewell!” he calls out before looking back to Colin. “Obviously the brutes failed miserably. ”

Colin nods. “Obviously.”

Lanisen limps back inside the gatehouse, his stick clacking noisily on the ground.


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