In the Archenland Forest
You stand on a well-worn path running through the trees. To the north and west, purple mountains separate Archenland from Narnia. The trees on either side of the path provide ample shade for an enjoyable outing. Alongside, you occasionally spot a small cluster of flowers in some delicate color. The path continues on through the forest to the south and the east, while to the west it begins to wind through the plains.
Colin is well off the trail in the trees, his back pressed to the bark of a great leafy something or other. Lanisen is curled up on the ground, sound asleep.
Loc walks along the trail. Quite obviously having seen better days. His face is grim and he walks with confidence. Coming upon the two men he pauses. “Ah.” His voice is quiet, and there’s an underlying tone to it, almost like a wince. “There you are.”
Colin is on his feet in an instant, hand clutching a knife. He stands between the stranger and Lanisen. “Who are you?”
Loc doesn’t seem alarmed and doesn’t move. “A bandit.”
Loc replies smoothly in a nonchalant manner.
Loc says, “And you’re Colin.”
Colin raises an eyebrow warily. “And which one are you? Zan?”
Loc’s expression darkens. “No.” His voice is cold and hateful. “He’s dead. Tried to make a move on the woman last night. Paid the ultimate price.”
Loc looks at Lanisen, his expression becoming more composed. “Did he tell you all our names?”
Colin’s expression flickers at the news that one of them is dead. He looks at the sleeping kid behind him. “Well. He gave me names. Whether they are accurate or not is for you to decide.”
Loc extends a hand, “Loc. Of Chesterton.”
Loc seems mildly surprised by his own action.
Colin looks rather surprised himself, and can’t resist shooting a glare at the clueless snoozer. Keeping his knife in one hand, he warily steps forward and grasps the bandit’s hand, ready to spring back at any moment. “Not sure if I should say it’s a pleasure…” he admits.
Loc laughs, the sound sounding almost forced. His grin fails to reach his eyes. He clasps Colin’s wrist in a friendly manner before releasing, making no move of aggression or defense. “The boy you had the pleasure of capuring is our resident moron Lanisen.” His voice is cool and smooth, much too casual for such an occasion. “So. I suppose you wonder what brings me here.”
Colin repeats the ‘Lanisen’ and eyes the kid for a minute before turning full attention to Loc. “The thought had crossed my mind…”
Loc motions to a place beside Lanisen. “Let’s talk.”
Colin nods slightly, and takes a seat, his muscles tensed.
Loc takes a seat by Lanisen’s head. He frowns seeing the injury and sighs, pain flickering across his face. “That’s a nasty cut. He’ll need to have it attended to.”
Colin nods once more. “I did what I could… I’ll admit my skill does not lie in healing.”
Loc says, “You didn’t need to be so rough with him. He couldn’t hurt a fly if he wanted.” He looks at Colin, “We need to bring him to the inn.”
Colin sighs. “I didn’t intend for him to get cut. He moved…”
Colin takes a moment to look at Loc more closely. He shakes his head and runs a hand through his hair.
Loc shakes his head. “Kid doesn’t have an ounce of sense in him. But I suppose that’s how he got into this.” He takes a deep breath. “Which explains why I’m here. This boy–he’s just a kid. He really hasn’t done anything except bring a letter to Mister Fancy Pants of Chesterton. Any punishment has already been recieved ten times over. He’s been beaten, abused, misused, and walled up in a dank cave with dirty food and water as his sustinance. I know he comes from a place somewhere below Carmichael. He’s got a family. Some sisters and parents. He can’t be taken to the King.”
Colin draws a heavy sigh. “How in the world did he get mixed up with you lot? And even you… you’re my age.”
Loc looks at Colin, giving a weak humorless laugh. “My story? We can discuss that later. Right now let’s focus on him.” He gestures to the sleeping boy. “Lanisen wasn’t originally part of my group. That was just the woman and me. He was with Myrd and Zan. they picked him up somehow. I was unclear on that. But he was their pack mule and whipping post from the start. I admit to harassing the kid myself, but never like Myrd or Zan.”
Colin glances at Lanisen, not too keen on the story he’s hearing.
Loc’s expression darkens, “That Myrd put this boy in a pit and walled him up was despicable. Just for talking to you cuz he was afraid his precious loony plans wouldn’t work out. Boy almost died. Would have if the woman hadn’t spoke up and Myrd taken him to the inn.”
Colin looks sharply at Loc. “He locked him up because he spoke with /me/?”
Loc nods. “That’s what the woman said. I was in Andale at the time.”
Colin says nothing, and vehemently stabs his knife into the ground.
Loc says with another humorless laugh, “Our mighty boss man is quite a piece a work.”
Colin says, “I’m starting to see that.”
Loc takes a deep breath, “Anyway. Now that you know the kid’s story, I’m going to ask you to release him. I can give you something better.”
Colin glances at him. “What are you offering?”
Loc hehs and gives a slightly cocky smirk. “Me.”
Colin arches an eyebrow. “What?”
Loc says, “Lanisen here might not have done anythign but if anyone deserves a noose it’s me. I was there the night that man from the Green died. I held him bound while the others took whacks at him.” His smirk disappears. “We never meant to kill him. Then that ruddy squire got invovled and it got messy. Myrd’s the one who knocked the boy over the head. Then I helped kidnap that artist in Andale. Gave him a new nose. The King would be rather happy to have a rogue like me in a cell I think.”
Colin looks at him, trying to read his face for any sign of truth or lie. “A noble thing to offer yourself in his place. I thought there were no heroes amongst thieves.”
Loc speaks with sincerity and ease, his expression composed. “Honor. There’s supposed to be no honor among theives.”
Loc hehs, “I don’t have honor.”
Colin hehs, quietly inspecting the handle of his knife.
Colin runs a hand through his hair, thinking it over.
Loc says, “I suppose you wonder why I’d turn myself in then?”
Colin says, “I was wondering, yes.”
Loc laughs, carelessly, though this time there’s a little mirth to it. “I’m not sure myself. I’ve always pitied the boy. And he’s been dealt so much bad luck already. I guess–I wanted him to have a second chance. Cuz I know that if I ever got one, I’d run the other way from this life and never look back.”
Colin slowly sets his knife aside, looking at Loc. One might only imagine the jumble of thoughts in his head. “Why didn’t you take this chance, then?”
Loc says, “Take what chance?”
Colin says, “To run away from this. Your leader is out of the picture.”
Loc laughs again, this time painfully so. “Well. I said I came with a woman. I suppose… in the end, that’s going to be the death a me. But I just–I couldn’t live knowing that Lanny hung when I got away free and easy like. Not when I’ve done more than he could do.–And–I just figured, if I ran this would all eventually come back for me. I’d always be looking over my shoulder. If I’m meant for a second chance I’ll get it the right way.” He pauses, “There is one more thing. The Calormene wench who killed the Squire got locked up by Myrd instead a Lanny. She’s been freed but is in a bad spot. We’ll need to get her and then you’ll have two for the price a one. Maybe your Uncle will look a little kinder on you eh?”
Colin swallows, his jaw tensing as he works through all this.
Loc says, “Bringing two bandits in is a mighty good deed. even for a traitor.”
Colin holds up his hand to silence him. “Let me think.” He says quietly.
Loc nods. He begins to look over Lanisen carefully.
Colin rubs the back of his neck, swallowing again. He starts muttering to himself as he thinks.
Colin rises and starts to pace.
Loc quietly sits crossed legged, his expression patient.
Colin turns to face him. “Where is the woman? This murderess?”
Loc looks down at Lanisen. “Follow me.”
Colin glances at the kid too.
Loc asks, “Should we… bring him to the inn?”
Colin nods. “I’d rather that then leaving him out here in the open.”
Loc nods. He gently lifts Lanisen and drapes him over his shoulders.
Colin watches quietly, his expression unreadable.
Loc leads the way.
The Underground Riverbank
Loc says, “Careful. It’s treacherous.”
Colin moves carefully, his feet sliding a bit in the mud.
Loc makes his way along the floor carefully. A boat is landed on the shore on its side, waiting. “Just be thankful when we left we wanted the boat found.”
Loc climbs in and motions for Colin to do the same.
Colin steps carefully into the boat, doing his best to keep the balance.
Loc carefully starts across.
Across the River
Loc motions to the cavern to the west. “We got some stuff in there.”
Colin looks around at the hideout, nearly in awe of it. “This is quite a place.” he can’t resist commenting.
Loc hehs, “Yeah. But it’s a real prison when you got brutes with you.”
Colin hehs quietly, again looking at Loc in near puzzlement.
Across the River
Loc says as they return, “Zan was always a big dumb muscle man. An ox of a man and beastly as any wolf. And Myrd was cruel and cold.” Loc spits, “I hate them. Still do. Don’t know what she sees in him. But she loves him. And that’s that.” He curses and grabs the unconscious, half starved Calormene woman. “Well. This is the woman who murdered the squire. That place there is where Lanisen and she were walled up. There were three boats. Zan destroyed the other two.” He looks around. “I wonder what it used to be.”
Colin looks around at the place and shakes his head in wonder again. He lays eyes on the woman. “So… that’s her.”
Colin hesitates, then speaks quietly. “Loc… I have a proposition for you.”
Loc looks to Colin, “Yes?”
Colin gestures to the pathetic looking woman. “I need to turn her in… she’s a murderer. And I don’t see her getting anything but the noose. You… and Lanisen, however.” He takes a breath, and swallows. “I want to put in a good word for you both. The King is just, and merciful.”
Loc gives a slight nod, “I’d appreciate a good word. But as long as Lanisen gets off I don’t care much what happens to me at this point. I just–I do want to be able to tell my story beginning to end to His Majesty. That way he’ll know all I do. If he deems my life worthy to continue then so be it, and I can be free of everything I’ve done wrong. If I hang, I hang. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I just want out of this dank pit I’m in. I’ve seen a side of humanity I wish I’d never known.”
Colin is only able to look at him for a few minutes. What is there to say, really? He offers a hand to him. “I’ll make sure he gets to hear your story. I hope…” he pauses for a moment. “I can honestly say I hope you get a chance, Loc.”
Loc offers a half smile, “If the King grants me that I’ll do anything for him. If not, then I’ll at least die knowing that there’s…. something decent about me. I can die in peace. I’m not afraid of it.”
Colin swallows again and nods. He motions to the woman. “At the moment she looks too weak to travel. We’ll take her to the inn. From there, I think it would be best if you and Lanisen were escorted to Anvard, directly to Sir Tyren. I’ll make sure he receives word, and a full explanation. I’ll follow with Shenzi as soon as she’s able.”
Loc shakes his head. “Not Tyren. That man’s family ruined mine. Make it Dar. He’s the Steward. A good man. He’ll be able to handle this.”
Colin sighs heavily. “If you wish it, I’ll send you to Lord Dar. But Lanisen will go to Tyren.” he pauses. “I owe him that much at least.”
Loc nods, “All right. So long as that Fancy Pants Knight takes care of him.”
Loc says, “He already has credit for capturing Myrd.”
Loc says, “This will pale in comparison.”
Colin mms. “Good. At least he’s gotten that.” Then he looks Loc square in the eye. “I don’t know what happened to you. But Tyren is a good man.”
Loc shrugs. Suddenly he glances at the Calormene. “That reminds me. She mentioned his wife. Something about how he wouldn’t Shenzi be her servant or something. Shenzi said that was a good thing as it’d have bitten her in the end. Maybe someone should tell Tyren his wife should thank him for sparing her that. Specially as things turned out this way.”
Colin hehs. “I’ll do that. When I can.”
Loc gives a slight nod. “All right. Let’s get out of this place.”
Loc puts Shenzi in the boat and leaps in, waiting for Colin.
Colin takes one last look around, and follows, taking his seat.
Loc waits and once Colin is in and secure, starts back across.
The Underground Riverbank
Loc docks the boat safely. “Mark the place well in case his majesty needs to know of it.”
Loc leads the way out.
The Sun and Moon Anteroom
The Sun and Moon Anteroom has a welcome, unassuming air. It is obviously a very old building, but it is well-kept, and clean. Several sconces, a fire, and the two windows facing the road brighten the room well, and the light color of the wooden desk and walls adds to the clean look. A vase of dried flowers sits on the desk next to an open guest book, and there is a large woven rug beneath the entrance door, giving the room a certain charm. A friendly young woman stands behind the desk, a list of available rooms at her elbow.
The sounds of mirth and clinking dishes reveal that the archway to the north leads into the tavern. There is a locked door to the east leading to the innkeepers living quarters, and a circular staircase to the south of it leading up into the private rooms. On the south wall is an arch leading into the common room, and on the west wall, a heavy double door leading back outside.
Colin puts his cowl over his head before they enter the inn.
Loc walks in carrying the unconscious woman. He brings her into the hostel and returns, leading Colin into the tavern area.
The atmosphere of the tavern is warm and cheery. A few well-placed lamps hanging from the ceiling, accompanied by a glowing fireplace, attempt to throw light into the somewhat dim room. Serving wenches bustle in and out of the kitchen door to the north, clearing tables and serving food briskly, calling out orders to each other occasionally over the din. Prinn, the barman, polishes a rather antique-looking counter idly when he is not speaking with customers. There is a menu on the wall behind him, along with several bottles and glasses.
There is a door to the south that leads back out into the Anteroom.
Colin keeps his face hidden, and quietly speaks with Prinn. He frowns slightly, nodding in acknowledgement a few times before turning back to Loc.
Loc takes a seat, keeping his voice low. “So… plan?”
Colin sits down as well, keeping an eye out. “Well. Astor and Simetra aren’t here. Apparently your buddy kidnapped Simetra. She’s safe and Astor went to Andale to retrieve her. Prinn doesn;t know when they’ll be back. I was hoping to appeal to Astor to use him as a go between to get Lord Barron’s assistence… Much as I appreciate you turning yourself in, you still have to have an escort to Anvard.” He says it almost apologetically.
Loc shrugs, “Understandable. I can always have a letter dictated for the Steward. never learned to write properly. It’d be a mess. And then I could wait for him to come get me.”
Colin says, “No matter, I can write the letters. That might be best.”
Loc says suddenly, “His Majesty needs to be warned–Myrd’s got a trick up his sleeve. Don’t know what it is, but I do know that he wanted us to come get him out. And that he apparently had a back way into the castle.”
Loc says, “He also seemed certain that he could get everyone not to know he was gone–but I don’t know how he planned to do that.”
Colin looks around the tavern again, uneasily surveying the patrons. He blinks at what Loc says, and nods slowly. “All right. We’ll make sure he knows.”
Loc gives a slight nod. “Good.” He pauses, “One more thing. If Myrd finds out how free I’ve been with this and he gets out, he’ll do all sorts of nasty things to me. So I’d rather enjoy his majesty’s hospitality than Myrd’s.”
Colin says, “I think we can arrange an element of… anonymity, as it were.”
Loc laughs, “Oh, he’ll know.”
Colin says, “We’ll do our best, anyway.”
Loc shrugs, “Long as he can’t get to me I don’t really care what he knows or don’t know.”
Loc says, “I appreciate that. And I wish you best of luck with your situation. That little Lady from Chesterton is a–” He uses several colorful words. “Always was, always will be. You’re lucky to be rid a her.”
Colin holds up a hand. “I don’t care what she’s done, she doesn’t deserve to be called that.”
Loc bows his head in concession. “If you say so. That’s charity on your part.”
Loc spits on the floor, “But Tash take the whole lot of women folk. Nothing but trouble.”
Colin hehs. “I’m almost inclined to agree with you sometimes.” he eyes Loc. “How did you know about Lady Avery?”
Loc chuckles, “Well. I came from Chesterton. I know all about her and that overstuffed family. I also spent a good deal of time in Andale. Flirt a little with the castle wenches and they can tell you a whole lot.–Did I mention she let Myrd into the Castle?”
Colin exclaims, “She /WHAT/?!”
Colin’s rather loud exclamation draws some attentive glances their way. He shrinks into his cowl and lowers his voice. “She did /what/?”
Loc laughs again, “You didn’t hear about that? Myrd found her out and about in the Ward. Charmed and flattered his way inside and slipped away to nick a few things.”
Loc says, “She’s in a mighty fine spot now. THEN–/then/ she gave sass to the King himself!”
Colin lets his head drop to the table with a ‘thud’.
Loc chuckles. “Not a very bright peacock is she.”
Loc gives a small yawn. “Well. It’s been a long day. And we got letters to send out. I wouldn’t mind turning in now if you’d let me. I won’t run. Got nothing to run to. I know you’re never supposed to trust a rogue–” He shrugs, “But you can trust me. I’m done. I want out. And I got nothing to lose by facing the truth of all this.”
Colin gives a small nod. “I’ll allow it, and trust you in this. But.. ” he leans forward. “Break my trust, and I’ll make sure you get put in Myrd’s dungeon.
Loc hehs, “I’ll hang myself first.” He speaks casually and with a slight smirk, though his eyes convey he is quite serious.
Loc says, “I told this to–the woman–and I’ll tell this to you.”
Loc’s smirk disappears, “I’d rather die by an honest man–the lion of a king you have–than be gutted in my sleep by that snake holed up in the castle.”
Colin says, “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to either circumstance.”
Loc nods soberly.
Colin rises from the table and pauses at Loc’s side, peering down curiously at him. “What you said earlier.. about having no honor?”
Loc stands. “Yeah?”
Colin says, “You’re wrong. What you’re doing for the boy… there is honor in this.”
Loc flushes and rubs the back of his neck. “Well.” He shrugs, “We’ll see how this all turns out.”
Colin nods. “We shall.” he replies quietly.
Loc says, “It’s really only good if he can go home.” His voice softens, “It’s where he belongs.”
Colin motions towards the door.
Loc nods and departs.
Colin pauses, and gives a small nod in response.