Inner Ward of Anvard
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.
Haft is standing by the well.
Haft draws up a bucket, and has a drink of refreshing water.
Lanisen leaves the infirmary, crossing the ward toward the staff quarters. His head is down, and he looks weary.
Haft glances around the courtyard, noticing Lanisen’s stance, but makes no move to address him.
Lanisen pauses halfway across the ward. He rubs his nose and grimaces slightly, then changes his course to approach the well.
Haft steps aside to make room, but says nothing.
Peridan appears in the Ward. He takes an intake of the ward, spotting the two men. He begins to approach, “Greetings.”
Lanisen shifts, glancing up briefly to acknowledge each man. He ducks his head toward Peridan in lieu of a bow, then leans his stick on the well wall and begins to haul up a bucket of water.
Haft raises his right hand and touches his brow. “Milord.”
Peridan nods to each man, “Haft, Lanisen. How fare you today?”
Lanisen glances at Haft.
Haft says, “Well, sir. just stretching my legs.” He returns Lanisen’s look and raises a brow.
Peridan says, “Glad to hear it.” He turns to Lanisen, “How is the arm?” Though his tone is casual, Peridan glances at Lanisen’s hand than back to Lanisen’s face, his eyebrow slightly raised.
Lanisen follows Peridan’s glance to his hand. “It’s fine, thank you, sir,” he answers quietly, after a telling pause.
Peridan’s eyes soften just a tad giving a slight nod before changing the subject, “I am glad I ran into you, Lanisen. I wanted to ask who that man, Aaron, was?”
Lanisen’s shoulders relax slightly. “Dunno,” he answers, maneuvering the bucket onto the well wall. “I ran into him once in Lancelyn Green. Sir Colin don’t like him.”
Haft cocks his head slightly, just listening.
Peridan hehs, “I guess Sir Colin and I have yet another thing in common.” He strokes his chin thinking, “And this is the first time you have seen him here in Anvard?”
Lanisen says, “Yes, sir.”
Haft frowns. “What is it that concerned you about this man?”
Peridan looks at Haft, “He was quite interested in learning how many Lords were in the Castle.” He rubs the back of his neck, “I do not like it when commoners wish to know certain details of the castle.”
Lanisen stays quiet, glancing at Peridan. He catches his lower lip between his teeth and looks at the bucket.
Haft scowls. “No,” he says slowly, “I would think not. But lords…why lords? Why not ask for the number of soldiers garrisoned here, or the number of Knights…unless he is a merchant. What did he look like?”
Peridan glances Lanisen’s way, his eyebrow rising, but answers Haft, “I do not know why he was intent on the Lords as well. As for his appearance He had long brown hair, his clothes were nice but I did not get the idea that he was a merchant. He also carried a dagger.”
Lanisen speaks up at last. “He ain’t–beggin’ your pardon, but he ain’t /done/ anything.”
Haft glances sidelong at Lanisen, as though he wishes to argue a point, but remains silent.
Peridan blinks, a bit surprised that Lanisen speaks up. He assesses the man as he addresses him, “You are correct, Lanisen. He has not done anything yet. So what do you think should or should not be done?” His tone is light, not accusatory.
Lanisen looks a little uncertain at this, glancing briefly from side to side as if the answer will pop out at him from somewhere in the ward. “Um–nothin’?” he says at last. “I mean–besides maybe keep an eye on him, when he’s about. But he’s just, he’s kind of odd is all. He’s not hurt anybody, or not–not yet.”
Haft hears out Lanisen’s answer, then turns to Peridan. “If it were up to me I should say also that this man should be watched, and that a closer watch should be placed on all the castle, and especially anywhere someone might encounter Prince Cor. There are many possible risks to his safety at present–though I say so as shouldn’t, you may think.”
Haft’s face is grim.
Lanisen’s forehead crinkles dubiously at this. He glances at Peridan.
Peridan shifts to where he is leaning against the well, facing the two men. “Gentleman, I am not in the habit of accusing a man when he has done no wrong yet I do not ignore warning signs either. You both have good points and I agree with them. Therefore, If Aaron should appear when you two are present, I request that you keep an eye on him and report to Lord Dar anything suspicious.”
Haft says, “Yes, Commander”
Lanisen hesitates, but nods his compliance as well.
Peridan notes Lanisen’s hesitation. “What is on your mind, Lanisen?”
Haft also notices the hesitation, but keeps his expression schooled.
Lanisen rubs the back of his neck. “Er, only that… the castle’s nigh impossible to break into, sir.”
Haft blanches and turns to Lanisen, speaking harshly. “It takes only one man to open a door!” he growls.
Lanisen draws back, startled. “I only meant–”
Peridan clears his throat, “Gentleman, I will appreciate it if we remain civil.”
Haft snaps to attention. “Sir.”
Lanisen ducks his head quickly. “Sorry, milord.”
Peridan keeps his gaze steady on the two, “Thank you. Now, I am inclined to agree with Haft as it only takes one. However, I know that under the eyes of Lord Dar, it would be hard to be that one person to open the door. However, we can always help with making sure that nothing happens.”
Haft seems to be struggling to keep his emotions contained. He looks angry, though whether at Lanisen or not is unclear. He stares past Peridan’s shoulder for a moment, but nods curtly.
Lanisen accepts the rebuke silently, not looking up.
Peridan allows the silence to last, not having anything to discuss now. He does rub the back of his neck, closing his eyes.
Haft shakes himself. “This man, you said he was dark-haired. An Archenlander?
Peridan snaps open his eyes, now assessing Haft. “Yes.” His tone becomes a bit firm, “Haft, I request that you do not harass this man, threaten this man. In fact, I ask that you show this man, should you run across him, all forms of politeness and hospitality.”
Lanisen murmurs, “Beg your pardon, milord.” He bows, retrieving his stick.
Haft nods stiffly. “Of course, Commander.”
Peridan nods to Lanisen, “Good bye, Lanisen.”
Lanisen glances briefly at Haft, then hobbles off across the courtyard, having completely forgotten about getting a drink.