The kitchen yard is surrounded on all sides by a high stone wall, covered in climbing ivy. Most of the space is taken up by vegetable gardens, full of carrot, bean, and potato plants. A neat flagstone path runs between the rows, leading to a gardener’s hut in the southwestern corner of the yard. Several spades and rakes are leaning against a wall. It’s mostly quiet here, except for the sounds of the wind over the walls and bees buzzing. It smells earthy and organic, and it is a pleasant place to work.
A thick iron-bound wooden door leads into the kitchen. The entire eastern wall is taken up by the smokehouse.
Lanisen has brought his soup out to the garden to eat in the cool evening air. He sits on a bench with his back to the outer wall.
The door to the gardener’s shed opens and Haft emerges, a pair of shears in one hand.
Lanisen glances up at the sound, but doesn’t call out or call attention to himself.
Haft is almost past before he notices Lanisen. “Oh, didn’t see you there.”
Lanisen shifts, keeping his soup carefully level. “Sorry.”
Haft says, “Nothing to be sorry about.” He glances down at the shears in his hand, looking sheepish. “Sadie…wanted some shears. Couldn’t find a page and deemed I would do.””
Lanisen says, “Good of you.”
Haft snorts. “Not really. She’s just too terrifying to say no to.”
Lanisen lets out a small, unvoiced breath of laughter.
Haft asks, “She unnerve you at all?”
Lanisen asks, “Sadie? Nah. Maybe a little, at first.”
Haft raises a brow. “You’d tell her no?”
Lanisen frowns a little. “I mean– prob’ly not, somethin’ like that. Why would I?”
Haft shakes his head. “Never mind.” He makes to move on, then pauses. “Did…Nathen come to see you yesterday?”
Lanisen glances at Haft quickly. His expression is hard to decipher, but he says after a small pause, “Yes.”
Haft rubs the back of his neck. “That might have been my fault. I hope he didn’t cause too much trouble?”
Lanisen shifts again, his posture straightening a little. “Why?”
Haft says, “Well, because I didn’t mean to make a problem.”
Lanisen asks, “How did you– what, what happened?”
Haft shifts. “He said the delivery boy asked him to bring some kitchen stuffs into the castle. The circumstance made me uncomfortable.”
Lanisen asks, “You told him to test it on my dogs?”
Haft winces. “No. Well, sort of. It was his idea, and I reckoned if there were something wrong, which I didn’t think really truly likely, well, I /would/ rather it be a dog than one of us. I told him to ask you or Kirby first and not go feeding it to the first beast he came across.”
Lanisen says, “He didn’t.”
Haft says, “He didn’t ask you?” He grimaces. “Dare I even ask what happened?””
Lanisen’s face doesn’t have much expression, but the tension in his posture and the flat tone to his voice make it very clear that he is still furious. “He… ah, he came in, he picked a hound, he tried to feed the stuff to her. I objected, we had words. The hounds’re too well-mannered to eat somethin’ they’re told not to touch, otherwise he’d have got his way.” His eyes flick to Haft, dark and angry. “Don’t send folk to the kennels with suspicious food again. They’re hounds, they’re not the ruddy cupbearer.”
Haft frowns. “I told you it wasn’t my–” He cuts himself off and considers for a second. “Understood.”
Lanisen nods a couple times and lowers his eyes.
Haft looks away, “Again I apologize for the intrusion,” he says, a bit stiffly, before heading into the kitchen.
Lanisen doesn’t stop him.