wild card

Room 7
Sun and Moon Inn

Colin is slouched in the far corner behind the door, his cloak pulled around himself and the cowl up over his head.

Lanisen is sprawled on the floor in front of the fireplace, asleep. He looks to be sleeping soundly, but his eyes are moving beneath his eyelids, and his expression is tense.

Colin’s posture is unrelaxed. Chances are if he had a dagger he’d be throwing it into the wall or something to occupy his dark thoughts.

Lanisen jerks awake rather abruptly with a gasp, throwing one arm up as if to ward off a blow. He stays where he is for a moment, probably slightly disoriented, then sits up and scrubs at his eyes.

Colin jumps slightly and looks over at him. “What’s wrong?”

Lanisen sends a baleful look over his shoulder at Colin. Instead of answering, he stands and crosses to the washbasin, splashing water from the pitcher over his face.

Colin raises an eyebrow skeptically at the look thrown at him for no apparent reason. “What did I do now?”

Lanisen still doesn’t answer, leaning on the washstand for a moment before returning to his spot next to the hearth. His face is expressionless, and he sits silently for a long time before finally saying abruptly, “I didn’t tell you everything.”

Colin bites back a snarky retort. “Oh?” he merely says.

Lanisen looks at him carefully, then averts his eyes. “You already know,” he surmises.

Colin says, “Why don’t you tell me what you didn’t tell me and I’ll tell you if I heard it or not.”

Lanisen is silent for another moment, then takes a deep breath. Not looking at Colin, he says, “There’s another person. ‘Sides Myrd, Zan, Loc, Shenzi ‘n’ me, I mean.”

Colin folds his arms, waiting for Lanisen to continue.

Lanisen pauses, looking at the floor. He looks like he thoroughly loathes the words he is saying and himself for saying them. “Her name’s Jana.”

Colin mms noncommittally. “And?”

Lanisen shrugs, staring at his hands. “And… she’s still out there, ‘s far as I know.”

Colin asks, “And what is she planning? Is she smart enough to get away now that the rest of you are in custody?”

Lanisen says, “Dunno. An’ yeah. She is.”

Colin asks, “She’s the one Loc told about, correct?”

Lanisen glances at him briefly and lets out a small breath.. “You did hear everything, then.”

Colin shrugs.

Lanisen exhales and rests his face in his hands for a minute. “Yeah. That’s her.”

Colin asks, “What was her job in  your group? Did she also take a life?”

Lanisen says, “She killed Zan, Loc says. He tried to…” He bites his lip, something furious crossing his face, and shakes his head. “An’… uh… she’s real good at makin’ herself look different, so she sorta went places. Learned things.”

Colin sighs heavily. He doesn’t look angry. He looks over at the snoozing Loc and frowns. “Why do you think he turned her in?”

Lanisen also glances at Loc, then away. “If you heard us, then I reckon you already know.”

Colin looks at the lunatic a few more moments before turning his face away. “I am…going to be so grateful when this is all over.” He says woodenly.

Lanisen hehs.

Colin pulls his cowl up over his head again.

Lanisen looks… hollow. He turns away from Colin and curls up against the wall.

Colin looks over at him with vacant, weary eyes and speaks with a lowered voice.
Colin mumbles “I’m not going to tell them you held back.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles “… not … … … them you … back.”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen turns his head slightly to catch Colin’s words. He looks, if possible, more miserable at this, but he nods once.

Colin,after a while of quiet, rummages in his satchel and pulls out a small sheet of parchment.

Lanisen glances back toward Colin to define the noise. He looks at the parchment
for a moment, then sighs and leans his head against the wall again.

Colin writes a few notes on the parchment for a bit, using the time Loc is out to distract himself for a few spare moments.

Lanisen watches without much interest. After Colin has scribbled for a while, he finally asks, “What’re you writing?”

Colin shakes his head. “Nothing. Just trying to keep the days straight.”

Lanisen says, “Journalin’?”

Colin says, “Sort of.”
Colin says, “Not really much to say.”

Lanisen says idly, “Dear Diary, today I was fake-disgraced and my captives were crazy. Today my crazy captives drove me to the point of murder, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.”

Colin shoots him a dirty look.
Colin says, “I haven’t torn his head off yet.”
Colin glances over at Loc. “Lanisen… I want you to promise something…”

Lanisen shifts, obviously paying attention.

Colin says, “If things should escalate… and come to blows, you need to get the guard in here as fast as you can. Don’t try to separate us.”

Lanisen raises an eyebrow. “You think you’re gonna try to tear his head off?” he asks lightly, half-joking.

Colin says, “I’m tempted.”

Lanisen frowns, looking slightly alarmed. “He ain’t ever tried to hit you…”

Colin sighs, and shakes his head. “I want to see him swing.”

Lanisen’s color drains. “Stop it.”

Colin mutters an apology.

Lanisen is still salt-white. “You don’t gotta always be smackin’ him, even if he does snark off at the innkeeper’s wife. An’ you don’t gotta talk like that. You’re as bad as Myrd, only doin’ it legal!”

Colin’s face drains.

Lanisen seems a bit stunned at his own words, and looks away from Colin.

Colin doesn’t bother to defend himself. He scoots into his corner away from Lanisen, moving the table between them and effectively cutting himself off.

Lanisen stands suddenly, then looks like he’s not sure why he got up. He kicks at the hearthstone and takes a breath. “Colin, I… didn’t mean that.”

Colin doesn’t react.

Lanisen pauses a moment. “I… really… I’m sorry.” There is a pleading note in his voice.

Colin’s voice is impassive. “Don’t worry about it.”

Lanisen swallows, looking a bit helpless. “Colin…”

Colin’s eyes flick to his face.
Colin continues to speak in a wooden tone. “I should have held my tongue. Don’t worry about it.”

Lanisen looks back at him, his face open and oddly frightened.

Colin says, “I’ll still speak on your behalf, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Lanisen doesn’t look particularly relieved and continues to regard Colin anxiously.

Colin leans his head against the wall and appears to have fallen asleep.

Lanisen watches for a moment, then takes a deep breath and turns away, fisting a hand in his hair. He lets the breath out in a rush and sits back down.

Colin is taking a lesson in apathy.

Lanisen hasn’t moved, still sitting next to the fireplace, leaning his side against the wall. His knees are up and his arms are wrapped around his ribs.

Colin turns his head slightly at a noise at the door. Time seems to stand still a moment until whoever was in the hallway moves on to whatever task they have to accomplish. The seconds start slipping by again.

Lanisen’s eyes drift to where Loc is sleeping. He regards the other bandit quietly for a long moment, then stirs. He glances to Colin.

Colin dozes off, sleeping sporadically. The rest he gets probably shouldn’t even be called that.

Lanisen stands and crosses to the window again and sits down underneath it. The floor is much more comfortable over there, obviously.

Colin opens his eyes at any little noise. He watches Lanisen move, then closes his lids again as he tries to sleep.

Lanisen, as time passes, grows more and more visibly despondent.

Colin sighs with visible frustration and he attempts to squeeze his eyes shut tighter as if it will help him fall asleep faster.

Lanisen has picked up the sticks from the other night and is again tapping out an annoying rhythm on the floor.

Colin cracks an eyelid and peers at him with annoyance.

Lanisen isn’t watching Colin, so misses any expression of annoyance. He continues to tap the floorboards absently, his thoughts clearly miles away.

Colin gives up on sleep and rifles through his satchel for something to amuse himself.

Tap tappity tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap….

Colin’s eye unconsciously starts to twitch very slightly at the outer corner of his eyelid. Soon it’s moving in time with the taps.

…tap tap tap tap…

…twitch twitch twitch twitch…

Lanisen has no idea he’s bothering Colin, naturally, and so sees no reason to stop.

Colin is sitting in the far corner behind the door, looking rather apathetic.

Lanisen just keeps beating out a completely random rhythm. He seems to have discovered that one floorboard sounds different than another, and is incorporating that into his unconscious Colin-torture.

Loc stirs.

Colin rubs the corner of his twitching eye. “Lanisen.” he grumps.

Lanisen pauses, glancing up rather guiltily. “What?”

Loc opens an eye halfway.

Colin asks, “Are you /really/ sorry for what you said earlier?”

Loc closes his eye and turns to face the wall.

Lanisen says after a moment, “The last part.”

Colin says, “Then please, I beg of you, stop with the tapping.”

Lanisen’s expression seems to close off. Looking straight at Colin, he deliberately begins to tap the floor again, slightly louder than previously.

Colin gives him a look that says “Don’t you dare.”

Loc turns over once more, opening his eyes and settling a curious gaze on Lanisen.

Lanisen dares.

Colin lunges from his position and tackles Lanisen, grabbing for the sticks.

Loc adjusts his satchel and watches.

Lanisen curls up, making himself small, and hangs on to the sticks for all he’s worth.

Colin wrestles with him.

Lanisen grunts with effort, so far managing to keep a firm hold on the sticks. He braces his feet against the floor and shoves backward, plowing into Colin with his shoulders.

Loc slides back into the wall instinctively.

Colin uffs slightly and grabs at the sticks again.

Lanisen holds them at arm’s length, just out of Colin’s reach.

Colin gets his arm around Lanisen’s neck and headlocks him, still grappling for the sticks.

Lanisen tosses one of the sticks to Loc.
Lanisen jabs Colin with his elbow.

Colin grunts, and tries to flip Lanisen to the floor.

Loc sits up slowly, watching the door anxiously.

There’s a pounding on the door. An angry voice snarls, “KEEP DOWN THAT RACKET! YOU HEAR!”

Lanisen, startled by the guard’s order, goes limp.

Colin’s effort to flip Lanisen suddenly goes into overdrive when he stops resisting.

The pounding increases, “Don’t make me come in there!”

Loc grunts.

Lanisen groans, winded. His fingers are still curled around the stick.

Loc says, “Simetra’s gonna be madder than a wet hen….”

Colin’s balance is awry from his unexpected Lanisen-acrobatics and he nearly falls on top of the boy. “Sorry, we’ll be quiet!” he shouts back, grabbing the stick.

Lanisen still has firm hold of one end of the stick and is not letting go.

Colin pullllllls.

Lanisen grits his teeth and hangs on.


Colin falls backwards with another thump.

Loc facepalms.

The lock rattles violently.

Lanisen sits up,  staring at the splintered half of the stick in his hand. He starts to laugh, his teeth chattering.

The door swungs back, smashing into the wall. The face of a severely displeased ‘guard’ greets them. “What in Tash’s name is going on here!”

Colin is flat on his back. He lifts his half of the stick in the air victoriously.

Loc remains huddled in his corner quietly minding his own business.

Lanisen just laughs harder, the kind of uncontrolled, paradoxical laughter that can’t quite be stopped. He can’t seem to get his breath.

The guard scowls. “And here I thought it’d be Colin and the smart mouthed one.”

Colin says, “Surprise.”

Loc offers, “No such luck mate.”

The guard storms over. At the door stand two more. The guard grabs the stick irritably from Colin and storms over to Lanisen. “Hand it over. NOW.”

Colin voices his protest. “Hey!”

Lanisen manages to snap out of it, swallowing his laughter. He stares up at the looming guard, lowers his head, and submits the stick obediently.

The guard backhands Lanisen over the head and storms out with the stick, door giving a definitive slam behind him. The lock rattles again and a threat is issued, “The Inn Keeper shall see to this nonsense!”

Loc snorts.

Lanisen gasps and flinches, covering his head. He curls up defensively where he sits.

Colin shouts at the guard when he hits Lanisen and tries to grab at him, missing. When the door is shut he scowls vehemently at it.

Loc says, “You’re lucky you missed.”

Lanisen touches the place where the guard hit him gingerly. He watches Colin with wary surprise.

Loc says, “Assaulting a captor would just be something more they’d pin on you.”

Colin snorts. “I could take him and they know it.”

Loc says, “Colin–did it ever occur to you how /easy/ it would be for us to ‘take’ them.”
Loc says, “Heck, I could take the three a them myself too.”

Colin says, “There is no “us”.”

Loc says, “Not in that sense thankfully.” He snorts and grins.

Colin rolls his eyes in disgust.

Loc says, “If you want me to clarify, then either one of us could–okay–you or me–could easily bring down our captors and go.”
Loc says, “But they know we won’t.”

Colin falls silent and doesn’t address Loc, the mirth from the wrestling match completely gone.

Loc says, “If they thought we would, Anvard would be here by now. Or they’d take more secure measures.”
Loc looks thoughtful, “They don’t trust us–and they shouldn’t–and yet…” He shrugs.

Colin scoots backwards and leans against the wall in silence.

Loc draws up his knees.

Lanisen withdraws to his usual seat against the wall. A bruise is beginning to form on his temple. “You couldn’t take ’em all at once, Loc.”

Loc frowns slightly and stands, moving over to Lanisen and tilting his chin up to get a look at the spot where the guard hit. “They ain’t trained like Colin here was. They’re just a couple a servant hands. Strong, but untrained. I’ve taken a few men before and won.”

Colin stays silent.

Lanisen turns his face away from Loc’s hand. “You ain’t armed this time,” he points out, avoiding his eyes. “They are. Prob’ly got clubs ‘n’ daggers an’ who knows what. And two halves of a stick.”

Colin snorts.

Loc opens his mouth and closes it. He shrugs, “Don’t matter anyway. I don’t want to take them. I don’t want anything else added to my list.” He moves to the pitcher and grabs a rag, dipping it in the water. He returns to Lanisen and hands him the rag. “This should help your bruise.”

Lanisen waves away the rag. “It ain’t bleedin’,” he says irritably. “Had worse. Had worse from you.”

Loc says, “The water’s cool and will help numb it.” He snorts. “I ain’t ever hit you in the head. And if you remember, I missed.”
Loc messes with Lanisen’s hair on the side opposite the bruise for a moment, the gesture brotherly. He returns to his spot by the fireplace.

Colin watches silently.

Lanisen’s shoulders hunch up. He smooths his hair down. “It don’t need numbin’, it’s fine.”

Loc says quietly, “I’m glad I missed.” He looks at Lanisen for a moment before looking into the fire again.
Loc yawns and curls up.

Lanisen waits for Loc to be definitely asleep before he surreptitiously picks up the rag and presses it to the side of his head.

Colin gets up and retreats to his corner.

Lanisen adjusts the rag a couple more times before apparently deciding that it definitely doesn’t work and dropping it back on the floor.

Colin sighs from where he sits, and lays his head against the wall to fall asleep, once again drowned in apathy.



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