Sun and Moon Inn
Colin sits on the window ledge of the room, peering out over the trees. He has a scrap of paper and is writing something on it.
The door opens, and Lanisen is escorted through by a servant with a no-nonsense expression on his face. The servant slips back out through the door, and a moment later you hear the lock click again. Lanisen stands silently where he is for a moment, then turns to sit in his usual place against the wall by the fire, drawing up his knees. His hands are still bound, but he tucks them into his lap to hide this.
Colin folds his scrap of paper and slips it into a pocket. He observes Lanisen’s tied hands with a frown, and watches him for a moment. “How did that go?”
Lanisen glances briefly at Colin and shrugs. His expression is strained and distant, and he looks exhausted.
Colin rises from the sill and approaches Lanisen, frowning slightly. “What did she say to you?”
Lanisen shrugs again, staring at his hands. “Lots of stuff. She’s writin’ a letter to the king.” He turns his wrists slightly: they have been bandaged with clean white cloth beneath the ropes, which are loose enough that Lanisen could probably get free of them with a few minutes of careful work.
Colin gives a small nod, muttering a “Good.” to himself. Even though it’s probably easy for Lanisen to get free, he silently helps pull the rope away. “What else? You were there for an eternity.”
Lanisen rolls the cuffs of his sleeves down over his wrists and withdraws his hands from Colin. “Just… stuff,” he replies, his tone indicating he’d really rather not talk about it. His eyes flicker briefly to Loc.
Colin watches him quietly. Without pressing, he turns and heads back for the window.
Lanisen draws his knees up and rests his freed arms on them, then quietly lowers his head onto his forearms. Weary bitterness is visible in his expression, and after a moment he scrubs the heel of one hand into his eyes. “Colin?”
Colin glances over at him, his own expression rather unreadable. “Yes?”
Lanisen hesitates, then asks bluntly, “Why are you here?”
Colin frowns in confusion. “Because…” he says slowly, drawing out the syllables.
“The manor servants brought me up here and locked the door?”
Lanisen watches him, waiting for the real answer.
Colin lifts both of his hands in a helpless gesture. “What do you mean?”
Lanisen says, “How come aren’t you out there doing knight things? Why did the king…”
Colin crosses his arms rather…crossly. “You’ll have to ask him that.”
Lanisen looks for a moment like he might push this, but finally just nods and rests his chin on his arms again. He stares at the floor, his eyes unfocused, running over the events of the evening.
Colin appears agitated for a brief moment, running his hand through his hair and rather forcefully sitting by the window again, taking a breath before he gains control of himself again.
Lanisen shifts and frowns up at Colin.
Colin glares back at him.
Lanisen lifts his head, taking in Colin’s expression. He straightens slightly, watchful and faintly alarmed. “Sorry. Forget I asked…”
Colin asks, “What did Rosalind say to you?”
Lanisen’s expression becomes somewhat more wary and withdrawn. “You’ll have to ask her that.”
Colin looks like he’d rather like to throw something at Lanisen’s head. For lack of safe objects (daggers excluded), he opts to turn his back and look out the window.
Lanisen looks like he rather expects to have something thrown at him, and flinches slightly when Colin moves. When no objects come flying, he exhales softly and wraps his arms around his knees again.
Colin mutters something to himself under his breath. “… should never have … …. … a mistake… … … a mess…”
Lanisen shifts slightly, possibly misinterpreting the little he can hear of Colin’s muttering. He nestles his head more firmly into his arms and closes his eyes, apparently trying to sleep.
Colin rather weakly thrusts his fist against the wall, holding himself back and not smashing his knuckles on the wood with the vehemence he might have three months ago.
Lanisen opens his eyes at the noise and watches Colin.
Colin sits down on the floor with his back to the wall.
Lanisen finally observes, “You got a bee in your bonnet.”
Colin looks at him. “No, really?”
Lanisen shrugs. “Just sayin’.”
Colin says, “Your powers of observation astound me.”
Lanisen eyes him for a moment, then chuckles.
Colin almost looks mildly surprised at the chuckle. He shakes his head grumpily and looks away again.
Lanisen says thoughtfully, “Bees ain’t stupid enough to get stuck in somebody’s hat.”
Colin mumbles. “I think it pertains more to the results of having a bee in one’s hat more than a bee getting into one.”
Lanisen says, “Well, still. ‘S not very likely, is it?”
Colin shrugs. “I didn’t make it up.”
Lanisen hms and swipes absently at his hair, just to get rid of any bees that might happen to be lurking in the vicinity. He looks searchingly at Colin again, then sighs and sprawls out on his stomach next to the hearth.
Colin returns the look, bracing himself for Lanisen to ask again.
Lanisen just… doesn’t. He seems to have meant it when he dropped the subject before. He stays quiet.
Colin steals the bed, his expression resembling one of a brooding hen.
Lanisen rolls so his back is to the fire, using somebody’s discarded cloak as a pillow, and pushes back one sleeve enough to look at the neat bandage on his wrist. He touches the linen and lightly tugs at it, then sighs and covers it again. He returns to staring into space.
Colin observes the movement. “What happened to your wrists?”
Lanisen takes a moment to answer, and his tone is rather distant and tired when he does. “Just rope-burn. She… put somethin’ on ’em and wrapped ’em up.” There is definite bitterness at this last statement.
Colin arches an eyebrow and replies with clear sarcasm. “How dare she do that.”
Lanisen merely shoots him a miserable look and doesn’t elaborate.
Colin hides his exhasperated expression and lays back on the bed, his hands behind his head. After a while, he asks “Did she say anything about me?”
Lanisen raises his head a little. “Uh. Yeah. She said you make excellent scones.”
Colin gives him a look. “Funny. I can’t cook. Try again.”
Lanisen rolls his eyes a bit and shifts onto his back, unconsciously mimicking Colin and folding his hands beneath his head. “She said… she hadn’t talked to you. ‘S all.”
Colin presses. “Are you sure that’s all she said?”
Lanisen eyes him. “Um. She said the king wouldn’t approve of her talkin’ to you. Are you in love with her or somethin’? ‘Cause she’s sorta /married/.”
Colin looks annoyed, and peeved. Not a peeved “you found me out but I won’t admit it sort of way” but that Lanisen merely suggested it. “Really? I missed that announcement.” he snarks.
Colin lays his head back again and stares at the ceiling. “No, it’s not that.” he says, snarkiness dissipating. “She is… was, a good friend. Both her and her husband.”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He is silent for a moment, mulling this over. “I’m sorry,” he says eventually – it sounds like he really means it, both apologizing for his assumption and offering sympathy for what Colin lost.
Colin nods slightly in acknowledgment, looking suspiciously guilty for a flash of a second.
Lanisen sits up to better see Colin. “What’s gonna happen to you?”
Colin glances at him, swallowing. “What do you mean?”
Lanisen shrugs. “They locked you up here for no reason. What’s gonna happen to you when they come for us? They’ll let you go, right? ‘Cause you haven’t done anything, right?”
Colin seems to be choosing his words carefully. “I..have a feeling I know the way things are going to go, but I can’t say for certain.” How much more vague can you get?
Lanisen shrugs. “Say for un-certain, then.”
Colin continues to speak in vague implications. “Things will probably improve.”
Lanisen, getting rather impatient with Colin’s vague-isms, says, “What, like the weather?”
Colin keeps it up, shrugging. “Who can predict that? Not I.”
Lanisen eyes him and snorts. He gives up and plops back down onto the floor with a rather painful-sounding thud.
Colin watches him, another guilty flash..flashing across his face.
Colin rolls over, cursing at himself under his breath.
Lanisen mumbles with conscious irony, “/Language/.”
Colin asks, “What’s it to you?”
Lanisen says nothing.
Colin sits up after a long while, his agitation preventing him from resting quietly. “Sorry about that…”
Lanisen stirs and glances over at Colin, his forehead furrowed.
Colin waves a hand. “Snapping at you.”
Colin continues. “Not your fault…well, actually it is but I digress.”
Lanisen frowns and blinks. “Oh,” he says, puzzled – probably unused to people apologizing for snapping at him. “‘S fine… and what are you talking about?”
Colin says, “Never mind.”
Lanisen raises an eyebrow and shoots the ceiling an expressive look. “All right, then…” He resumes his previous position, mostly unperturbed.
A little while later… Colin gets up from the bed and comes over to sit by the fireplace, leaving the snoring Loc way on the other side of the room still sacked out and ignorant of the odd conversation at hand.
Lanisen has by this time fallen half-asleep, but he shifts and opens his eyes as Colin sits, still watchful.
Colin draws his knees up and rests his forearms on them. “Lanisen… what have you heard happened to me?”
Lanisen shakes his head a bit, not bothering to sit up. “Nothin’, really… just heard from some of the maids at the castle that… about you leavin’…” He trails off and glances at Colin, rather uncomfortable mentioning his public disgrace to his face.
Colin makes a motion with his hand to encourage him. “Go on.”
Lanisen is hesitant to continue, and speaks slowly and uncertainly, “They said… the king was awful angry, and that…” He pauses, glancing again at Colin’s face. “That your brother was the one to… um, to throw you out…” He swallows. “That’s all, I’m sorry.”
Colin lets out a quiet sigh. “It’s all right. Not… quite as painful as one would expect.” he says quietly.
Lanisen frowns slightly, obviously thinking through a few possible reasons for this. “You didn’t… get along?” he guesses, and stifles a yawn.
Colin hehs. “We did.”
Lanisen’s frown deepens. “Didn’t you like… you know, being a knight and all that, then?”
Colin nods. “Of course I did. It’s all I’ve known, all of my life. I may not have much experience under my belt but I didn’t hate my position.”
Lanisen regards him blankly, his list of reasons for Colin’s banishment not being painful clearly exhausted.
Colin looks at Loc, and lowers his voice to the point of near silence. “It…was…” he pauses, hesitating.
Lanisen sits up and leans toward Colin, resting his elbows on his knees, intrigued. “What?”
Colin looks at Loc again, then gives Lanisen this look that is quiet, but conveys an element of deadliness to it. “You’re not to repeat what I tell you. Understand? To anyone. Not that anyone would believe you but… you’re not to repeat it. If you do, I will find out.”
Lanisen draws back slightly, a flicker of fear crossing his face. Something else, as well, but it’s gone before it can be defined. His voice is almost resigned as he replies, “All right. I won’t.”
Colin clarifies (probably unnecessarily). “It’s just… ’tis not supposed to get out until all this is over. But at this point, I feel it’s unnecessary to continue. But those are my orders.”
Lanisen narrows one eye slightly. “Your orders…?”
Colin gives a small nod.
Lanisen shifts, frowning, and waits for Colin to continue.
Colin glances at Loc, and lowers his voice.
Colin whispers, “It…didn’t really happen.” to Lanisen.
Lanisen raises one eyebrow skeptically. He begins to grin a bit, as if waiting for the punchline.
Colin looks pretty serious.
Lanisen’s grin fades. “All right… what are you talking about?”
Colin keeps his voice still low.
Colin mumbles “What I am saying is… it didn’t happen.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles “What … am … … … … happen.”, to Lanisen.
Colin whispers, “It’s a facade.” to Lanisen.
Lanisen just stares at Colin, his expression going blank as the dots connect. “…oh,” he whispers.
Colin mumbles “It was intended to make it easier for me to… join your band. But it didn’t work that way.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles “… … intended to make … … … … to… join your band. But it didn’t work that way.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen scoots back against the wall so that he is sitting parallel to Colin instead of facing him, with the fireplace between them. “Well. That’s…” He trails off and touches his healing throat absently.
Colin hehs. “No one.. and I mean NO ONE knows.”
Lanisen says distantly, “Who’m I gonna tell?” His forehead is lined deeply.
Colin says, “No one would believe you anyway.”
Colin says, “Or me.”
Lanisen rubs his forehead with the heel of one hand and lets out a mirthless chuckle. “Wouldn’t’ve worked.”
Colin makes a face. “It didn’t, did it?”
Lanisen hehs. “No… I mean… you know, ideally. Without me ‘n’ Loc muckin’ things up.”
Colin shrugs. “Lucky for me you did then.”
Lanisen is quiet. “So you… you’ve just been… hangin’ around and waitin’ to find us for… three months or so?”
Colin says, “Quite a frustrating three months, I might add.”
Lanisen raises his eyebrows briefly. “Myrd’s good at what he does.” He pauses, then adds, “Was.”
Colin says, “So I discovered. Was getting pretty desperate there.”
Lanisen glances at him without expression. “When’d you figure it out?”
Colin says, “When I came across you and Myrd together. I knew something wasn’t right.”
Lanisen frowns, thinking over this. “That was… on our way back from the Inn. After I’d been sick. He told you I was his apprentice.”
Lanisen asks wryly, “You didn’t believe I was his apprentice?”
Colin says, “I wasn’t sure what to believe right off, I just knew something wasn’t right.”
Colin offers a small, wry smile. “At one point I thought he was kidnapping you and you couldn’t tell me.”
Lanisen raises his eyebrows and lets out a small breath, tucking in his elbows. “I thought he was gonna kill me when we got back to the hide-out. Wouldn’t’ve made sense, really… but he was real angry.”
Colin’s brow furrows, disturbed by this thought. “Why would he kill you?”
Lanisen replies, attempting an airy tone, “‘Cause I’m an idiot kid who does dumb things like go out in the woods and get recognized by knights who aren’t but are.”
Colin’s face flickers for a moment, the expression undiscernable. “Because of me?” he states, his voice carrying an edge to it.
Lanisen glances at him and shrugs. “Nah… well, sorta, but not really. ‘Cause I’m dumb. It just happened to be you I ran into.”
Colin asks, “And what is this ‘Myrd’s’ definition of dumb?”
Colin asks, “Encounters you have no control over?”
Colin’s voice sounds harsh.
Lanisen frowns. “No… I got us noticed. Put us in danger.”
Colin asks, “Oh, so the deaths had nothing to do with drawing attention to yourselves?”
Colin sounds sarcastic… for lack of a better word.
Lanisen looks away. “You know what I mean.”
Colin mumbles, “If my uncle hasn’t hung him by now I’ll kill Myrd myself.”
Colin mumbles “… … uncle … … him … now I’ll … Myrd myself.”, to Colin.
Lanisen says, somewhat harshly, “The deaths got us noticed in general. Like oohh, there’s bandits. I got us noticed in particular, like oohh, there’s bandits, and they’re /here/, and one of them is a dumb skinny kid. That’s bad. Myrd’s first concern was to keep us out of the noose, and I sorta… really messed that up.”
Colin says, “Then why did /he/ go get himself caught? Seems like that’s his fault.”
Lanisen looks down. “I don’t… I don’t know.” He seems about to say something else, possibly further musings on Myrd’s reasoning, but decides against voicing whatever it was.
Colin watches him for a moment. Whether he suspects Lanisen has more to say or not goes unsaid. “Well, no matter now. He’s walked right into his own noose.”
Lanisen hehs. “No noose. He got sick. ‘S dead.” His expression is inscrutable at this.
Colin looks surprised. “What? How did you hear that?”
Lanisen says, “Heard people talkin’ on the way back from the Manor. Asked the servant, he told me the rest.” His tone is flat and blank, but a moment later he swipes at his nose.
Colin takes a minute to let that sink in.
Colin glances at Lanisen. “Why do you mourn him, after how badly you’ve been treated by him?” he asks, his tone not harsh.
Lanisen only says, “Wasn’t always bad.”
Colin shakes his head slowly, keeping his thoughts to himself. He looks relieved, yet almost disappointed at the same time.
Lanisen shudders once, then shakes it off. For lack of anything else to do, he shoves a log onto the mostly-dead embers of the fire with unnecessary vehemence.
Colin rubs the back of his neck. “I…really don’t know what to say.” He confesses.
Lanisen uses the poker to absently crush a spark that escaped the hearth. “‘S all right,” he says finally. “I don’t either. Hated him. Liked him sometimes too. What’re you s’posed to say when somebody like that dies?”
Colin hehs. “I know…”
Lanisen glances at him.
Lanisen asks, “What’s gonna happen when we go to Anvard, then? You gonna get… re-knighted?
Colin says, “Probably. Unless something really bad happens and my uncle decides to keep me this way.”
Lanisen lifts his eyebrows. “Somethin’ bad bein’…? You already got all of us.” He avoids looking at Colin at this.
Colin shrugs. “I don’t know. Nothing probably will happen.”
Lanisen exhales quietly.
Colin glances at him, and sighs quietly.
Lanisen seems to have nothing further to say. After a moment, he stretches out his legs and leans his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. It’s apparently been a very long day.