You stand in a pleasant room, lit by a fireplace on one wall and a window on the other. Near the fireplace there are two large and comfortable looking chairs, perhaps castoffs from the local manor. A rug covers the floor there, adding warmth to the wooden floor. Across the room, beneath the window is a sturdy table with four chairs. Shelves on the walls hold crockery and pots.
Through a doorway in the back wall, you can see a huge bed, covered in furs, dominating a small bedroom. Another door leads outside.
Lanisen sneaks into Winbrytt and Aryna’s cottage via the window to plant the pickaxe, but nearly gets caught.
A daughter of eve with long auburn hair and soft brown eyes (Aryna) catches something out of the corner of her eye. “Hello?”
Lanisen freezes, hidden behind a chair, and bites his lower lip hard.
Aryna turns back to the old woman at the door. “I’m sorry, but no thank you. Perhaps you might try next door?”
The woman holds up a cloth. “Won’t ye even look at them?”
Aryna sighs softly. “I suppose I could… but I cannot buy any ribbons, I am sorry.”
The woman outside says something else.
Aryna smiles. “You’re very kind. I honestly thought you might be my cousin… hm, I have no use for ribbons, but perhaps a gift. She has a birthday later in the summer. What do you have?”
The woman says something.
Aryna glances over her shoulder at the stove where something is cooking. She shrugs and steps out the door. “Mind you, I have just but a minute. My husband will be expecting a decently cooked meal, nothing burned.” she smiles.
Aryna heads outside.
Lanisen lets out a breath of relief as Aryna steps outside. He straightens, raising his head enough to look out the front window, drops the satchel containing the pickaxe someplace inconspicuous, and quickly scrambles out the side window the way he came in.
You stand along a wide trail that connects Carmichael proper to the north with the settlement area to the west. The sun beats down on you from far overhead and the wind rustles the bushes. A trail runs east into the Lowlands.
Lanisen is standing near the crossroads, pacing apprehensively.
Jana hobbles down the path, still behaving like an old woman… though a suddenly incredibly fast old woman.
Lanisen glances down the road for pursuit and quickly follows, face pale.
Jana passes him without sign of recognition.
Pool of the March
The trail ends here, in a forested box canyon. Your steps are cushioned by the leaves and needles that have collected over the years. Most of the western side of the canyon is filled with a large, waterfall-fed pool. The trail follows the narrow southern shore until it reaches the canyon’s back wall.
There is an abundance of tracks from the many animals who came here to drink. The trail rises steeply back out of the canyon to the east.
Jana makes three owl hoots.
Someone drops a rope down from above.
Loc watches the two climb up.
Loc asks, “Well?”
Jana climbs up the rope, slightly encumbered by the rolls of cloth in her hands. She finally swings herself up and drops it, collapsing to the ground with the exhaustion that follows an adrenaline rush. “Pulled it off, despite clumsy over here.”
Lanisen drops a satchel and sits down against a boulder with the same visible relief. His face is chalky-white, his freckles standing out, and he doesn’t even bother trying to defend himself.
Loc grins and applauds, “Well done my leading lady.” He looks to Lanisen and asks in a good natured manner. “What’d you do this time?”
Loc pats his shoulder, “Come now man. You survived. Look alive.”
Jana says, “Can’t sneak around worth a Calormene counterfeit.”
Loc walks over to a satchel and pulls out a flask. He offers it to Lanisen. “Here. This’ll help.”
Lanisen ducks his head, shamed. He accepts the flask gratefully and takes a swig without asking any questions, still looking shaken.
Jana waves her hand at Lanisen. “It worked. But we better get out of here as soon as Myrd shows up.” She indicates the flask. “Toss that to me when you’re done with it.”
Loc’s expression softens slightly. “Look the important thing is you pulled it off. And you’re alive. You have those two important things and you’re good as gold.”
Jana hehs. “So long as we don’t get caught after, either.”
Jana pulls out her oils and a rag and gets ready to use those to remove her make up, once she gets the water from Lanisen.
Lanisen hands the flask over to Jana and ventures, “Think she suspected you?”
Loc looks to Jana and grins, “I bet she wouldn’t in a million years.”
Jana shakes her head. “Don’t think so. Just a matter of will she suspect me later.”
Lanisen says, “Heh. She won’t recognize you, if she does.”
Jana makes a good swipe at her face. “That’s the hope, anyway.”
Lanisen adds, “I don’t /think/ she got a good look at me…”
Loc frowns and almost glares at Lanisen, “She /saw/ you?”
Jana exclaims, “I told you he’s an awful sneak!”
Lanisen winces. “She might have,” he admits in an undertone. “I can’t be sure.”
Jana says, “Had to pretend my bones didn’t work to cover for him.”
Loc tsk tsks. “Alright Lanny. We’re putting you through basics.–Don’t you practice? Keep your skills fresh?”
Loc gives Jana an approving nod.
Lanisen says loudly, “Yes, I practice. There was a loose nail in the windowframe and my shirt snagged on it. She must have heard that.”
Jana unties the rope and gathers it into a bundle.
Loc grunts. “That’s why you /look/ for those things. Always be prepared. Expect the unexpected. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Jana says, “Oh hush up, Loc. Not like you’re the best sneak either.”
Loc says, “I’m better than him.”
Loc grins, “And nine times out of ten, nine and a half even–I do it correctly.”
Lanisen glares at the ground silently, face flaming.
Loc adds with a pat to Lanisen’s shoulder, “And you ain’t exactly Miss Nimble Shadow either.”
<Jana says something snarky I think? The pose got lost.>
Loc grins deviously, “Now that you got a few more years on you now.”
Jana smacks him upside the head.
Loc jerks his head to the side at the last second, grinning to Lanisen.
Jana swings again. “Idiot.”
Lanisen continues brooding, sullenly watching Jana try to smack Loc.
Loc ducks the second swat only to incterceot the third. He gives a small yip and scowls.
Jana says, “Don’t insult a woman if you don’t want to get smacked.”
Loc grins once more, “You’re such a cranky old crone. Wash that stuff off and go back to just being Jana.”
Loc immediately places himself on the other side of Lanisen.
Jana jumps on him.
>>> Jana swings her fist at Loc, grazing him. Loc doesn’t appear to be too hurt by the blow.
Loc laughs and takes the blow in a good natured manner. He pushes her off. “Come on now. It’s all good sport. Got you moving again didn’t it?”
Jana says, “Shut up.”
Loc teases, “Yes dear.”
Jana smacks him again.
Lanisen cracks a smile, looking on.
Loc glances at Lanisen and then back to Jana. “Would you prefer me calling you grandmother?”
Jana glares at Lanisen. “You think it’s funny, you get hit, too.” She backhands Loc while she address Lanisen.
Lanisen lets out a snort at this that may or may not be a stifled chuckle, but he manages to get the smile off his face. Mostly.
Loc sways back on his heels, laughing. He wraps his arms about her waist. “Aw come on Jana! Let him have a laugh.”
Jana says, “Get off me, you…”
Jana uses some words that would best be not repeated as she beats him off her.
Loc throws her to the ground rather roughly. “As you wish.” He flourises.
Lanisen scratches his upper lip, /really/ trying not to smile.
Loc makes sure he aims towards the interior of the cave.
Loc mumbles “Isn’t she cute when she’s angry?”, to Lanisen.
Loc mumbles “Isn’t … … when … angry?”, to Lanisen.
Jana uses some more colorful language. “I could kill you if I wanted, boy.”
Loc looks to her, “Aye. And I could toss you over the edge or beat you black and blue if I had a mind to.”
Lanisen looks between them, obviously not sure what to think of their odd relationship.
Jana says, “Don’t threaten what you can’t deliver.”
Loc’s face sudenly darkens and he steps forward. His voice is hard and deadly serious. “Do you want me to prove I could do it?”
Lanisen frowns, amusement replaced by uncertain alarm. He glances at Jana nervously.
Loc says, “You saw well what I did to that man in the inn. Don’t think I’m not capable of it.”
Jana says, “That man in the inn wasn’t me.”
Loc gazes at Jana steadily. He throws the satchels down in disgust and spits. “I could still take you woman. If I wanted.”
Jana says, “You don’t. call me /woman/.”
Loc snorts, “Shall I call you a man?”
Jana backhands him.
Loc jerks back and scowls.
Jana says, “I /made/ you.”
Lanisen stands, ready to jump in. He hesitates, watching Jana.
Loc’s expression evens out. “That you did. And you did a fine job.” While his voice has an edge, there is also respect.
Jana lifts her chin. “That’s better.”
Loc says, “You know I’m grateful for it too.”
Jana grunts, and plunks down to the ground.
Loc glances at Lanisen and gives a faint nod, indicating all is well. Loc makes his way to the edge and has a seat, dangling his legs over the side and leaning back on his hands.
Lanisen settles back down slowly, looking like he’s not sure what he just saw. “Ok, then…” he says under his breath.
Jana watches him a moment, chin jutted, then resumes removing makeup.
Loc closes his eyes, “I’ve got to say. Of all the spots we’ve ever been in, this is one of the nicer ones despite the poor accommodations.”
Jana, again, grunts her reply.
Lanisen relaxes a bit as it seems the fight is over. He shifts into a more comfortable position, apparently opting to observe quietly for now.
Loc opens his eyes and looks askance at Lanisen, “So, Lanny. Tell us about yourself. Where ya from? what got you in?”
Loc asks, “Ever stay at a spot like this before?”
Jana glances at Lanisen before returning to make-up removal.
Lanisen blinks, a bit wrong-footed at finding himself under attention. “Uh,” he says eloquently. “Grew up around here, actually… my da’s farm is south of Carmichael. Got a– got a sister. Wasn’t anything for me there, so I went off on my own. Myrd picked me up in Andale last winter.”
Jana says, “Sounds like Andale’s a regular criminal hub.”
Loc grins, “You got a sister? She very pretty?”
Lanisen eyes him darkly. “Not your type.”
Jana awws. “Loc’s a real gentleman-type, when he wants ta be.”
Loc chuckles in a good natured manner.
Loc mouths “I’m taken” purposely keeping his face turned away from Jana. He jerks his head a bit, spending droplets everywhere though predominantly in Jana’s direction.
Lanisen says, “She’s ten.” He grimaces at the Loc-spittle flying everywhere.
Jana says, “That’s disgusting, Loc.”
Loc smirks, “It’s just spring water Jana. Just be thankful I take a bath.” He looks to Lanisen, “And you’re right.”
Lanisen looks satisfied.
Loc looks down at his spray soaked tunic and frowns slightly. He carefully stands on the wet rock and heads to a dry spot, choosing a seat beside Lanisen.
Jana rolls her eyes.
Loc says, “If you want me to smell like a stable I can oblige.”
Lanisen says dryly, “A man of many talents.”
Loc grins, “But of course. One needs to be in this business.”
Loc waves his hand dismissively. “But what made you.. choose this–career?”
Lanisen looks at Loc, one eyebrow arched. “What made /you/ choose to be a bandit?” he challenges.
Loc hehs, “Me?”
Lanisen nods. “You.”
Loc jokes, “And I prefer… A gentleman of the streets, bandit’s such a coarse term.”
Jana rolls her eyes. She pats her face dry and clean.
Loc grins, “I was about ten when my parents died. I stumbled into a tavern hall hungry. Tried to flich something off of one of the pretty maids there and nearly got my head handed to me. I guess she saw something worth sparing, because she took me in.” His tone is light but sincere. “So I grew up on the streets. I loved the freedom.”
Lanisen glances from Loc to Jana at her part of the story. “Yeah?”
Jana rolls her eyes. Again.
Loc says, “And the excitement. It also pays well.”
Loc says, “So I stuck with it.”
Loc mumbles “Don’t ever get on her bad side. It hurts when you do.”, to Lanisen.
Loc mumbles “Don’t … … on … bad … It hurts … you …”, to Lanisen.
Loc grins a bit.
Lanisen hehs and grins lopsidedly. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Loc claps a hand to Lanisen’s shoulder for a moment, “smart man.”
Jana eyes them, then stands, and swings out onto the rope. “I’m going to wash my hair. You watch and you die. And I’ll know.”
Loc rolls his eyes this time.
Lanisen’s ears turn red.
Loc glances at Lanisen and snickers.
Jana slips out of sight.
Jana ties a rope to a jutting crag and drops it.
Jana climbs down the rope.
Loc says, “I’ve half a mind to pull it up….”
Lanisen turns a deeper shade of red at the snicker. “She’d kill you,” he answers, grateful for another topic.
Loc says, “I never said I’d watch. In fact, I’d be leaving her to her privacy….” He eyes the rope.
Loc grins deviously.
Lanisen shoots him a dark look.
Loc says, feigning inncoence, “What? She’s know it was me. And I wouldn’t strand her down there. Just have a little fun.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, yeah, unless she thought it was me. I’m in enough trouble already, thank you very much.”
Loc says, “How about this–you pull the rope up with your foot–its within reach, and I’ll take the blame for it.”
Lanisen snorts. “Wow, Loc, that plan is sheer brilliance. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself.” His tone is thick with sarcasm.
Loc chuckles, “She’s believe it. I’ve done the like before.”
Lanisen rolls his eyes. “No.”
Loc smiles a bit, “I like you Lanny. You’re fun.” He chuckles.
Loc asks, “Now, where were we before she threatened us with almost certain death?”
Lanisen says darkly, “Dunno about you, but I was /experiencing/ almost-certain death.”
Loc cocks his head to the side, “From her?”
Lanisen says, “No. From messing up earlier.”
Loc shrugs, “You lived. You did your job. You weren’t /caught/. Those are the important things.”
Jana swings herself back up into the cavern.
Loc remains seated in the position she last saw him in talking to Lanisen.
Lanisen hehs. “The surviving part might be a bit moot when Myrd hears about it…”
Jana asks, “You still on that? Worry about it when it comes to the point. Where is old Myrd anyway?”
Loc grunts and looks to Jana, “All Myrd really needs to know is if it was successful or not.”
Lanisen glances up at this, surprised. He looks at Jana apprehensively, expression faintly hopeful.
Jana squeezes her hair out over the ledge, not giving a response.
Loc says, “Well, that’s the important thing. Whether it succeeded or failed. What do the details matter so long as we’re safe?”
Lanisen looks back down at the ground, fiddling absently with a small stone. “Shouldn’t lie to Myrd,” he mumbles.
Loc says, “You don’t have to lie.” He grunts, “Lying can get you killed.
Jana looks at Lanisen. “Knew you had to have some sorta smarts in that head.”
Loc says, “We can just say the task has been completed and it was done
Jana says, “We’ll say whatever is necessary.”
Jana says, “Avoiding important detail is as bad as lying, and you know Myrd’d think so.”
Lanisen is obviously torn between self-preservation and loyalty to Myrd. He keeps his eyes down, throwing pebble after pebble over the cliff’s edge.
Loc nods gravely. “Is it that important?”
Jana says, “It’s important to know just how much they’ll put together about why stolen things are in their house.”
Jana says, “I don’t know if the little wife will remember the strange noises she heard while an old woman visited her or not.”
Loc says, “Well, obviosuly they’re going to figure it out once the axe is discovered. But we’ll be long gone by then.” He looks to Lanisen, “You were disguised weren’t you? Anything to hide your face or obscure it and make you look different?”
Lanisen ehs. “I had my hood up. That’s it, though…”
Jana shakes her head.
Loc asks, “Did you keep your face down and turned away?”
Loc adds, “And was your hair covered?”
Lanisen says, “My hair was covered. I know my face wasn’t down, though – I was looking to see if she heard me…”
Loc slaps a palm to his face. “Eh. That’s bad.”
Jana combs her hair with her fingers. “Thank you, Sir Obvious.”
Loc rolls his eyes. “Your welcome Lady Disdain.”
Loc looks at Lanisen, “How many people were about?”
Lanisen says, “Well, the innkeeper’s wife… I think that’s all.”
Jana says, “The innkeeper.”
Lanisen blinks. “The innkeeper too?”
Loc’s eyes widen.
Jana nods, looking mildly irritated. “He was in the house. Didn’t see him?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “N-no…”
Jana says, “Good. Then maybe he didn’t see you.”
Jana says, “Too big a man to hide very well, anyway.”
Lanisen hehs. He stands suddenly. “I’m going to catch some sleep. It’s late.”
Jana says, “Enjoy the beauty rest, Freckles.”
Loc nods, “Night Lanny.”
Lanisen hehs and waves over one shoulder before disappearing into the cave.