Andale Beach
Eastern Archenland

At the bottom of the slope, the beach spreads, a mixture of sand and gravel. Seagulls scream overhead, and small crabs scuttle about, between pools and bits of driftwood. There are a few larger rocks as well, slowing being eroded by wind and water. The Eastern Ocean seems to go on forever, the gray green waves stretching out to the horizon.

A path leads up the slope to the west toward the Beach Road

Myrd catches you sneaking in.

Morrigan catches you sneaking in.
Loc catches you sneaking in.

Loc’s eyes shift and he smirks. He casually moves to stand behind Lanisen.
Loc mumbles “Hey Lanny Boy.”, to Lanisen.
Loc mumbles “… Lanny Boy.”, to Lanisen.

Morrigan turns her head the slightest bit, catching movement; her scowl becoming more prominent.

Myrd’s mouth narrows into a grim, hard line, and he sneers, “Don’t reckon I care much what you call yourself. I don’t survive by trusting everything I hear. Seems to me you made a proposition, and I like to know exactly what I’m being offered before I acquiesce.”

Morrigan tilts her head slightly. “I am stronger than I seem. If you doubt me, please, test me. I doubt I will let you down. We all know muscle is always a good thing to have.”

Lanisen looks embarrassed to have been caught, but he covers it with a snort.
Lanisen mumbles “Shut up. I’m working on it.”, to Loc.
Lanisen mumbles “… … … working … …”, to Loc.

Loc snickers.

Jana eyes the boys.

Myrd gives the two other men a withering glare. To Loc, he says, “You have something to attend to, boy, and I don’t believe flirting was on the list, last I checked.”

Loc snorts, “That wasn’t flirting. I would have to be daft to flirt with a girl like this. She’d break my face.”

Morrigan doesn’t move an inch, watching the boss carefully. “Do you want what use I have to give, or not?”

Myrd’s eyes harden. “I’ll consider it, woman. Until then, keep mindful of the fact that it isn’t healthy to pry too deeply into my concerns.”

Morrigan feels her fingers clench into fists as irritation flows through her. “I am not a patient person…boss. And yes, that’s very true, Jarson.”

Jana smirks.

Loc grins, “See?” He jerks a thumb towards Shenzi.

Jana mumbles “It’s cute that he thinks he’s not daft.”, to Myrd.
Jana mumbles “It’s cute … … thinks … … daft.”, to Myrd.

Myrd snorts. “It might actually improve him if you did, and you’ll hear when I’m ready.” With this, he turns abruptly and jerks his thumb back in the direction they came, indicating that Jana should follow.

Morrigan scowls darkly, her eyes mere green slits on her dark face.

Jana frowns, but scoots off her rock to follow Myrd.

Myrd walks up the slope to the Beach Road.
Jana leaves, following Myrd.

Loc looks between Lanisen and Shezni, grunting.
Loc says, “He’s…. always that way.”

Morrigan is clearly still on edge, despite them leaving, turning towards the remaining two. “Fantastic.”
Morrigan drops her arms with an irritated noise once more. “I’m going to leave you boys alone. I’ll find you some other time, no doubt, the amount of noise you guys make.”

Lanisen snorts.

Morrigan walks up the slope to the Beach Road.

Loc chuckles as she leaves and grins at Lanisen. “Cute ain’t she?”

Lanisen snorts again and whirls to head back up the beach. “Let’s go.”

Narrow Gate Anteroom
Eastern Archenland

You stand in the Anteroom of the Narrow Gate. Sconces on the walls hold several torches, lending a flickering dim light to the room, a light which makes shadows dance on the grey stone walls and rough stone floor.

A door on the west wall leads out to the Herberg Road. An open arch to the north leads into the Hall, with the sounds of eating and drinking and singing and story-telling. Another arch, to the south, leads to the much quieter Common Room. To the east a staircase leads up to the private rooms.

Loc comes walking through the large front door of The Narrow Gate.

Jana sits in the corner of the anteroom, looking just a little on the sulky side.

Lanisen steps into the anteroom, wiping mud off his boots. He glances around and heads over to join Jana, raising an eyebrow. “Where’d Myrd head to?”

Loc hisses and grabs Lanisen on the shoulder at the pressure point.
Loc mumbles “Lower your voice fool and NEVER use names like that.”, to Lanisen.
Loc mumbles “Lower your voice fool and … … names … that.”, to Lanisen.

Jana shrugs. “Said he had some things to do.”

Lanisen winces, cringing under the grip. “Get /off/!” He elbows Loc.
>>> Lanisen tries to hit Loc, but misses.

Loc ducks back and scowls darkly, squeezing harder.

Lanisen hisses in pain, gritting his teeth. He bows his head and stares at the ground, bearing it.

Loc hisses softly, “You /will/ respect me and mind my words. I’m a lot nicer than /he’d/ be at that.”
Loc releases.

Jana’s eyes flit with mild annoyance. “Made enough spectacle, boys?” She gestures outside. “Time for a walk.”

Loc gives a half grin, “I like walks.”

Jana says wryly, “I noticed.”

Lanisen steps away, brushing off his shoulder. He sets his jaw and stares at the ground, furious and humiliated, then turns to follow Jana.

Andale Beach
Eastern Archenland

Jana leads them down to the remotest part of the beach. “Now, you may argue as much as you like.”

Loc pffts and shrugs. “I ain’t looking to agrue.” He looks around. “Ah, here again.”

Lanisen sits down on a rock, still fuming. He glances at Jana. “We gotta stay here? It’s wet.”

Loc snorts, “Not up here.”

Jana aws, and ruffles Lanisen’s hair condescendingly. “You’ve had a hard day, haven’t you?” She smirks.

Lanisen glares at her. He looks back up the beach, obviously considering storming off.

Jana’s smirk drops. “Sorry about that. Couldn’t be helped.”

Loc snickers. “Aw come on Lanny. Lighten up. We already have one sour puss in the group.”

Jana asks, “Shut up, Loc. I have half a mind to throttle you, you know that?”

Loc scowls at her, “No. And what for? /Talking/ to another woman?”

Loc mutters.
Loc mumbles “Not like /you/ have ever taken notice of me. Why care?”
Loc mumbles “Not like /you/ … … taken notice … … … care?”, to Lanisen.
Loc’s voice is loud enough to be overheard by Lanisen.

Lanisen continues fuming, nothing about his expression indicating he even heard.

Jana says, “Talking ain’t my problem. You can talk to her all you like and you can pursue her all you like, I don’t care. That don’t mean you go disrespectful on me.”

Loc snorts, “I ain’t disrespecting you.”

Jana says, “Well I’m not your mother, Loc, so I don’t give you something for nothing. If it weren’t for me you might not even have a spot in this group, let alone the fact that you even got your skin. So I call it disrespecting when you endanger the band.”
Jana says, “Anyway, you haven’t even seen her fight. She might be all talk and no knife.”
Jana says, “You’ve been sweet-talked, Loc.”

Loc says, “She might take out one but she could never take all of us. And she’d only get in if boss man lets her. She’s still worth looking into. She ain’t any less dangerous than Zan or the boss–or even Lanny boy here.” He snorts. He grins darkly, “Unless you’re scared of a little competition?”
Loc says, “You may a taught me a few tricks Jana, but don’t you forget who sprang you from the stocks when your tricks failed. And I got a good eye–that girl can handle herself. She’s a natural cut throat. All her people are.”

Jana says, “I ain’t scared of anything about her except that I don’t trust her, and we got a plan going.”
Jana says, “And don’t you forget why I ended up there in the first place.”
Jana calls him a bad name.

Loc smirks, “And yet I escaped….”

Jana says, “Guess that shows how much I can trust you.”

Loc says, “You’d still be there today if I hadn’t bailed you out.”

Jana says, “You don’t know that.”

Loc snorts, “Oh honestly Jana.” He rolls his eyes. “We’re all rogues and scallywags and scoundrels. Do we /ever/ really trust one another?”
Loc asks, “Do you trust Zan? Or Myrd? Or even good ol’ Lanny boy here?”
Loc gestures.

Jana says, “Least I know what’s coming from them.”

Loc shrugs. “You’re all worked up over nothing.” He gives a sinister smile, “Besides, I learned something about Fancy Pants.”

Jana rolls her eyes. “I don’t care about that sissy knight. We’re in Andale, last time I checked.”

Loc says, “You might not. But boss man might. And we’re always on the move–so’s he. He’s a knight. You never know when he’ll show up.”

Jana crosses her arms and plunks herself down on the rock next to Lanisen. “All right then. What’s this big secret.”

Loc says, “Apparently our little friendly foreign rogue’s been friendly with his misses.”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows, turning to listen despite himself. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Jana lets Lanisen speak the questions for her, not really one to be egged on.

Loc says, “Apparently Fancy Boy’s little miss offered her a job.”

Lanisen says irritably, “Would you talk plain?”

Loc snorts and asks, “How much simpler would you like? Shall I write it out for you?”

Jana sounds mildly defeated. “Please, Loc.”

Lanisen retorts, “In that scrawl you call handwriting? Please.”

Loc sneers, “You ain’t ever seen me write boy.”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows.

Loc adds with a cuss, “And I doubt you got any better a hand.” He spits at Lanisen’s feet.

Lanisen moves his feet, endeavoring to look aloof and bored.

Loc smirks.

Lanisen says, “You gonna finish, or what?”

Loc rolls his eyes. “Fancy boy–Tyren, that sap that Zan bloodied, has a pretty little Miss. A /wife/.” He looks to Jana, “Remember how Chesterton was all rumors about it? How his mother nearly disowned him for the wench?”

Jana nods faintly.
Jana smirks at that.

Lanisen hehs.

Loc says, “Well, Astera apparently took a liking to Shenzi and offered her a job.”

Lanisen asks, “She still got the job?”

Loc smirks and shakes his head no. “Our fancy boy Tyren wouldn’t let his precious little wife give the big bad Calormene a job.”

Jana blinks.
Jana says, “How… is that helpful to us.”

Loc says, “Astera knew what Shenzi was. And yet took a liking to her. Apparently Astera needed a guard of sorts–her weakness and hospitality could someday prove useful.”

Lanisen snorts. “Bit of a long-shot, wouldn’t you say?”

Loc shrugs. “Myrd makes his plans work. But if Astera got all cozy with a known rogue, what could she do with a sweet, common girl in need of a job?” He looks to Jana.

Jana doesn’t look all that impressed. “Well, tell Myrd, anyway. Be good to keep in mind.”

Loc nods.
Loc says, “Always nice to have something to fall back on.”

Jana sighs and picks up a lock of dirty blonde hair, eyeing it.

Loc leans back against a rock.

Lanisen hehs and mutters to himself.
Lanisen mumbles “Still a long-shot.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “Still … long-shot.”, to Lanisen.

Loc says, “Not as long as you might think Lanny Boy. Our girl is good at what she does. I bet she could take the Little Miss in.”

Jana says, “She ain’t good enough to take her in, if that Shenzi spills.”

Loc says, “She may be a tough nut, but she’s also one person. There’s five of us. Shenzi won’t talk one way or another.”
Loc adds, “Besides, she’s looking for a new partnership.”

Jana says, “She enters our band and you know there’ll be trouble, Loc. She don’t like me, and you can’t say different.”

Loc says, “Well you’re professional enough to leave her be. Conflicting personalities doesn’t mean you can’t work together.” He grins, “Right Lanny?”
Loc says, “And as long as you don’t go for her she won’t go for you.”

Jana says, “She /has/ sweet-talked you.”
Jana says, “Women ain’t that nice, Loc.”

Lanisen merely glowers at Loc in response.

Loc grins at Lanisen in a good natured way and looks to Jana making a face. “Oh yes, by talking of camels.”

Jana says, “Loc, women ain’t like men. Men don’t fight dirty ths same. Women lull you and then strike when you ain’t looking.”

Loc quirks an eyebrow. “You think I trust her?”

Lanisen hehs and makes an uh-YEAH face.

Loc snorts at Lanisen.

Jana says, “Trust her enough to believe she won’t kill me when she has the chance. Look, Loc, you got some real skill. You got her charmed, even I think so. But that /don’t/ mean she’s safe.”

Loc looks surprised, “You really think I charmed her?” And he nods, “I /know/ she ain’t safe. I wouldn’t turn my back on her. And you know I wouldn’t leave her alone with you.” His voice softens a bit at this.

Lanisen rolls his eyes eloquently.

Jana says, “I ain’t scared. I just don’t want to have to watch my back all the time.”

Loc gives a half smile, “That’s what I’m for.”

Jana looks moody but appeased.

Loc gives a small nod.

Jana crosses her arms and looks at Lanisen thoughtfully. “So… Lanisen. You actually know how to do stuff with fire, or you just like the way it looks?”

Lanisen blinks, startled by the apparently-random turn of the conversation. “Stuff… what?”

Jana says, “Fire.”
Jana asks, “What do you do with it besides cook?”

Loc looks at Lanisen curiously.

Lanisen looks at Jana, completely befuddled. “Uh… burn… trash?”
Lanisen asks, “What do you mean?”

Jana asks, “Well. The other day you were talking about burning a house as distraction. You ever done that before or was that just talk?”

Loc’s eyebrow shoots up.

Lanisen scratches the back of his neck. “Uh. I lit a shed on fire once… it was falling apart – wood was all rotten, couldn’t use it for anything…” He looks at Jana uncertainly. “That what you meant?”

Jana puts her chin in her hand, brow furrowed. “Where’d Myrd pick you up exactly?”

Loc listens quietly.

Lanisen says, “Tavern in Andale.” He frowns back at her quizzically. “Told you that before.”

Jana rolls her eyes and waves a hand at him. “Nevermind.”

Lanisen asks, “Thinking of burning something?”

Jana shrugs. “Just trying to figure you out.”

Lanisen scratches his head. “I… see.”

Loc hms softly.

Myrd comes walking down the slope from the Beach Road.

Jana is sitting on a rock interrogating Lanisen idly.

Loc is leaning against a rock, watching.

Myrd comes towards them up the beach. A scowl is firmly planted on his face.

Lanisen glances up from his own seat in time to see Myrd approaching. He straightens slightly, wary.

Jana looks up.

Loc nods to Myrd.

Myrd minces no words. “That woman knew more than she ought to, and when I find out who let slip my name, that person isn’t going to be talking for a good while.”

Loc frowns and looks at Lanisen with an expression that says ‘start running’.

Myrd grasps Lanisen roughly by the collar. He is livid.

Lanisen cringes back where he sits, drawing a quick frightened breath. He grabs Myrd’s hand with both of his own, tugging desperately for some breathing room.

Jana’s eyes dart quickly between the two of them.

Myrd begins dragging the boy towards the water.

Lanisen stumbles, dragging his feet. “Wait!” he begs. “What are you– wait, please!”

Loc frowns and he glances at Jana.

Jana hops off her rock and steps in front of the two. “Hold on just a tic.”

Myrd actually listens to her, releasing his hold on Lanisen slightly. His face is red with fury.

Loc watches silently.

Jana looks like she’s scrambling for words and also not quite sure of why she’s doing this. She takes a breath. “It was my fault.”

Myrd’s eyes glitter dangerously. “What?”

Lanisen struggles to get his feet under him, fighting Myrd’s hold. His eyes are round with terror, as he’s got some idea of what the other man has planned. At Jana’s words, he goes still and startled.

Jana says quickly, “You can’t hurt me so people see if you want to use me, though.”

Loc stands straight, watching nervously.

Myrd drops Lanisen, none too gently, in the sand. “You expect me to believe that? You have too much smarts, woman.” To Lanisen, he grits out between clenched teeth, “Find somewhere else to sleep tonight, boy. If I see you before sunrise, I make no promises how I’ll take it.” With this, he stalks off further down the beach.

Myrd walks up the slope to the Beach Road.

Jana steels herself and follows.

Loc stares dumbfounded.

Lanisen lands on his hands and knees in the sand, trembling visibly. He takes a moment to get his breath back.

Loc offers Lanisen a hand and says softly, “Come on Lanny Boy. We gotta find you a place to sleep.”

Lanisen is too shaken to remember earlier events. He takes Loc’s hand mutely.

Loc pulls Lanisen up, more gently than the man might expect and gently claps a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go lad.”
Loc leads him away.

In the Branches of a Pear Tree
Eastern Archenland

Loc leads Lanisen to a Pear Tree. “Here. Think you can manage?”

Lanisen swings up onto a low branch for answer. He leans against the trunk of the tree, exhales a long, shuddering breath, and mutters without looking at Loc, “Thanks.”

Loc nods. “Take care Lanny.” He turns and pauses, without looking back, “Do you need anything?”

Lanisen shakes his head, eyes on the branch in front of him. “No.”

Loc says, “See you tomorrow then.”

Lanisen rubs at his neck and nods silently.

Loc climbs down out of the tree.

Lanisen is leaning against the bole of the tree, seated on a thick branch with one leg hanging down. From the looks of things, he’s managed to doze despite everything.

Jana steps lightly through the grove, and watches his hanging leg with a reproachful eye. She sighs.

Lanisen shifts, frowns, and settles into a new position, apparently not as asleep as he looks. His eyes open and he startles badly, pulling his leg up onto the branch and nearly losing his balance.

Jana points a finger at him. “You owe me.”

Lanisen nods mutely, sitting stiffly on his perch. His mouth works for a moment, and he finally blurts, “Why’d you do it?”

Jana shrugs, and starts moving on. “Just that nice.”

Lanisen blinks stupidly a couple of times and quickly slides down to the ground to follow. “Wait! Are you… going tomorrow?”

Jana stops. “Going to try, anyway.”

Lanisen nods slowly, looking down at the ground. “Ok… well, good luck, and…” He trails off lamely and rubs his forehead. “…and thanks…”

Jana turns and chuckles. “Work on the sweet. You’re getting there.”

Lanisen says, “Don’t– I mean… be careful?” He’s twice as awkward as usual, which is saying something, but the intent is very definitely there and sincere.

Jana inclines her head and starts walking backwards. “Don’t you worry about me.” She turns with that, to leave in earnest.

Lanisen nods, swallows, and stands where he is, not looking like he’s taking this last bit of advice to heart. “‘Night…”

Jana disappears through the trees.


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