intrusion


Kennels
Castle Anvard


Lanisen is not immediately visible in the kennels. What is visible is a wall of haybales stacked nearly to the ceiling, encircling the area around the hearth but for a narrow doorway, which is covered with a blanket. The main room is cooler than usual, probably due to the heat trapped and concentrated behind the bales.

Reina slips through the door of the kennels, closing it quickly behind her and running a hand through the thick fall of her hair. “Heya boy,” she murmurs to a hound padding up for attention. Easing a step or two further into the building, she lifts her eyebrows at the sight of the hay bales. “Erm… did someone rob the stables or something?” Creeping toward the blanket-covered doorway, the young now teenager crouches down, lifting two fingers to pull aside the blanket just far enough to peer in with one large blue eye.

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snow curveballs


Anvard Pastures
Castle Anvard


The pasture, once green, is now a field of fluffy white snow. The wind is chill, but that seems to matter little to the child crouched in the center of it all, packing snow into a large ball. A pile of odds and ends, sticks, some coal, a scarf and, is that a carrot? rest beside her. Her expression is rather pensive as she works, her movements almost instinctive. Her mind is clearly leagues away from what she’s actually doing.

Lanisen opens the heavy door from the stable and squeezes out into the pasture, pushing it shut behind him. He is bundled up tightly against the cold, his coat buttoned to his neck with an odd lump over his right shoulder, and his scarf almost obscuring his face. He pauses to glance around the pasture, and his eyes land on Reina for a moment, then he turns and begins to walk along the castle wall, keeping his eyes on the ground as though looking for something.

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twice as nice


Outer Ward
Castle Anvard


It is well into evening by the time the castle comes into sight. Some time during the afternoon, a light, wet snow has begun to fall, and it sticks in Megren’s hair and along the wool of her cloak.

Fiddling with her knapsack and coin pouch within, shivering slightly beneath her cloak, Reina is leaning against the foot of the northgate stairwell, glancing up intermittently to scan the outer ward. Spying Megren, her expression brightens. Lifting a hand, she waves the woman over.

Lanisen follows a few steps behind Megren, his shoulders hunched against the snow and the cold. He is carrying his pack lopsided, over his left shoulder, and he looks pretty worn out.

Continue reading twice as nice

wassail


Outer Ward
Castle Anvard


The outer ward of Castle Anvard is a busy, bustling place, with market stalls and the smithy, stables, and kennels lining the outer walls. There are stairs leading to the gate towers on the northern and southern corners of the outer curtain. To the east are the outer gatehouse and the road leading into the realm of Archenland, and to the west another gate leads to the the inner ward and the main keep of Anvard.

The snow has been mostly cleared out of the center of the ward and gathered into several waist-deep piles up against the walls. A large bonfire of fragrant wood, kept burning bright and hot at all hours of the day and night, occupies the open space. Festive greenery hangs all around, amid the icicles.


Myles falls in near the group with the wassail bowl as they progress through the ward.

Perth produces a somewhat battered holly crown and places it jauntily on Megren’s head. She wrinkles her nose.

Lanisen sticks his head out of the kennel door to watch the festive commotion.

Continue reading wassail

barriers


Kennel Loft
Castle Anvard


An unfamiliar voice calls up to the loft. “Lanisen? Squire Lanisen, are you there?” There is a note of urgency in the tone.*

Lanisen peers down the steps after a brief pause. “I’m here?” he calls uneasily.

A young man Lanisen might have seen on watch patrols lately looks up. “Squire, you ain’t to eat anything.” He wrings his hands. “I mean, Sir Colin says you ain’t.”

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unconstructive


Knights’ Practice Room
Castle Anvard


You stand on the chamber which serves the Knights’ Practice Room. One part is dedicated to hand to hand combat, and the rest of the area has stands for straw dummies. You can also see much of the countryside from here. On a chair near the door sits the old sergeant, Doel, who maintains the equipment.


In the early morning hours, the castle seems still quiet. However, there is one person up and she is attacked a target with great force.

Lanisen pauses at the door, listening with some trepidation, and peers in. He blinks. Continue reading unconstructive

beginning resolution


Lanisen’s Quarters
Castle Anvard


This chamber is a little wedge-shaped room, completely unremarkable but very clean. It’s small, with room for a bed and a little table and a wardrobe, but not much else. There is a narrow window of thick, slightly warped glass in the curving outer wall with a pleasant view of the castle pastures: rolling green, with a glimpse of the lake and waterfall beyond.

Several herb-packets and bottles share space on the top shelf of the wardrobe with a pair of unusual gloves, and a rather battered leather satchel hangs over the back of the chair.


Reina taps tentatively on Lanisen’s door, glancing over her shoulder as she does so. “Lanny? It’s Reina. May I come in? I won’t stay long,” a small voice calls.

There is silence from Lanisen’s room for a moment. Then the lock clicks, and the door opens a little, enough for him to look out.

Reina glances surreptitiously over her shoulder, then gives him a tentative smile. “May I come in?” She holds up a sheet of paper. “I think we’re long overdue for a game, don’t you?” She gazes at his face, but her expression does not change at the sight of his fading bruises. She does not seem uncomfortable or pitying in the least, or so she hopes.

Continue reading beginning resolution

games


Servant’s Hall
Castle Anvard


You stand in the warm and busy servants’ hall. Most of the floor is taken up by long trestle tables and benches. Candles in sconces on the wall light the room with a friendly glow. At the back of the hall, a staircase leads down into the storeroom. The only other object of note is a large wood and leather chair, where the head cook often rests between meals.


Reina is seated in a far corner of the servant’s hall, back to the room, shoulders hunched as if trying to make herself look small. On the table in front of her is a plate of cheese cubes and apple slices. Beside the plate is a sheet of parchment with two columns of ink on it. The left hand column is comprised of a list of words while the right is comprised of a list of expertly drawn images. Lines connect a few of the words to a few of the drawings, revealing it to be a matching game. The child keeps her head bowed, either gazing at her plate or surveying her parchment, but interacting with no one.

Lanisen has a plate very similar to Reina’s in his good hand as he slips through the door. He surveys the room briefly, considering several seating options, and his eyes catch on Reina.

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deja vu


Staff Quarters
Castle Anvard


You stand in a circular tower which serves as a sort of corridor. In the
center is a stone pillar, around which stairs are placed, rising to the
Nobles’ Quarters above. To the south is the Sewing Room. All around are
small tidy rooms, the staff quarters. To the east is the Inner Ward.


Lanisen sits against the pillar under the stairs, tucked out of sight, except for his boots. He is reading a letter.

The door to room 1 opens slowly, and a knapsack edges out first, Reina shortly after, a storage chest in her arms. Her expression is blank, unreadable, her eyes bright, though her cheeks are perfectly dry.

Continue reading deja vu