This cell is small, but not unreasonably so, wedge-shaped with a curving outer wall. It is livable but spare, a bed and a small table the only furnishings. These are both sturdily built of thick oak, too heavy to easily move, and fixed to the stone walls and floor with iron bolts.
The door is iron-bound oak with a small barred opening at the top to let in noise and air from the outside. Across the cell from the door is a very small window, fitted with glass so thick and warped and wavy that it is impossible to see anything clearly out-of-doors except for a general impression of ‘green’. On either side of the pane are iron bars the width of a child’s wrist, spaced regularly a few inches apart.
Loc lays on his cot, staring at the ceiling.
Lanisen is sitting silently on his cot, staring down at his Foxes and Wolves pebbles in the light of the little window. It doesn’t look like he’s made a move in quite some time.
Loc looks over and watches Lanisen.
Lanisen stares down at the game, then heaves a sigh and sweeps all the makeshift pieces into an untidy heap. He shifts onto his back and folds his hands beneath his head, watching the door.
Loc asks, “How ya feelin’?”
Lanisen shrugs and replies, “‘M fine. You?”
Loc says, “Same.”
Lanisen rolls onto his side so he is facing Loc, across the small room, and rests his head on his arm. “I’m sorry.”
Loc looks back up at the ceiling, “For what?”
Lanisen says, “For… gettin’ caught. For not goin’ with you when you wanted to leave with Shenzi. For… everythin’…”
Loc’s features soften and he looks over to Lanisen, “We might have made it… we might have run into trouble. Shenzi might have cut both out throats… we can’t keep going over faults and mistakes and what ifs. It’s better this way. It really is.” He pauses. “It’s just…. getting through this. If we can and do–then we’ll really have nothing to fear.”
Lanisen regards Loc silently for a long moment, then rolls back over to look at the ceiling. “Think we will?”
Loc grimaces, remaining quiet for a moment. Finally he says, “Yes.”
Loc says, “Even if Myrd … by some foul magic got out–he’d be long gone by now.”
Lanisen says nothing.
Loc says, “Unless you’re afraid a ghosts…” He shrugs. “But if the King lets us live… There’s not a man or woman alive who will defy him.”
Lanisen says, “You’re one to talk.”
Loc hehs. “I talk a lot Lanisen.”
Loc says, “He’ll probably let you live. In fact, I’m sure of it.”
Lanisen says, “Lot more to life than just survivin’ it.”
Loc says, “He’ll let you /live/ Lanny–Lanisen.”
Lanisen says, “I don’t know a trade. All I know is thievin’, an’ there ain’t a tradesman in Archenland who’ll take on the likes of me as an apprentice.”
Loc says, “The King will find something for you.”
Loc smiles a bit, “You’re not very good at theivin’.”
Loc asks, “What got you in it anyway?”
Lanisen says defensively, “I do all right. Ain’t good at the big stuff like Myrd, but I can lift a purse better’n you!”
Loc chuckles, “You never saw me lift a thing.”
Lanisen says, “You never saw me take nothin’ either.”
Loc’s expression darkens, “And Myrd… I wish I never laid eyes on that snake–or his fiendish brute.”
Loc smirks, “That bracelet. That was pure genuis.” He teases.
Lanisen snorts. “That was /months/ ago. You keep track of everythin’?”
Loc says, “I kept track of not gettin’ my throat cut or back stabbed. I did what I was told and kept what I needed on me in a way I didn’t need to worry. Like I always have.”
Lanisen doesn’t answer this. “Wonder what they did with Colin,” he says after a little while.
Loc shrugs. “We’ll find out, I’m sure.”
Lanisen says darkly, “Might.”
Loc asks again, “So what got you in Lanny? Why’d you decide to come to the dark side.”
Loc leans on his side, propping his chin in his hand.
Lanisen is silent, and his face is expressionless. He obviously doesn’t want to answer the question, but he finally says, “Just got desperate, I guess.” He glances at Loc. “What about you?”
Loc hehs and grins a bit, “I thought I already bored you with that story.”
Loc says, “I was ten… hungry, cold… Jana found me.”
Lanisen asks, “What happened to your folks?”
Loc’s grin fades and he turns to stare up at the ceiling. He twitches a little, “Died.”
Lanisen watches Loc, and says quietly, “‘M sorry.”
Loc says quietly, “Nothin’ to be done ’bout it… Mother was always… sickly. She was never well after she had me. Father got real sick… and when he was gone, Mother just couldn’t–” His voice dies and he fall quiet again.
Loc says, “He was a cordwain…”
Lanisen listens silently, his eyes on Loc’s face.
Loc says, “I was meant to be one too. To take over…” His expression flickers. “By the mane…” His voice shakes a little. “If… if only… I’d have been established by now…”
Lanisen stays silent, still listening. He gives Loc his full attention, and his expression is quietly, unironically sympathetic.
Loc closes his eyes, “I can… still see the shop… the racks of shoes… the table where Father taught me…” He swallows hard. “He always told me… if you do an honest man’s work–” He stops.
Lanisen waits for him to continue, not pressing. He shifts to rest on his side again.
Loc says quietly, “You do an honest man’s work and you’ll never have to worry about anything. The Emperor always looks after your needs. A lot of people, especially here, get what they want and what they need all mixed up, but Locy boy, you remember… you only need… need enough to keep your family fed properly and a nice roof over their heads… The rest will be supplied by love.”
Lanisen absorbs this in silence. His expression is faintly bitter, and he is quiet for a few moments before saying, “I’m sorry you lost him.”
Loc says quietly, “I haven’t thought about him in years….”
Lanisen hehs. His eyes unfocus slightly, as if he’s looking past the wall into space. “Your family must’ve been real nice.”
Loc grunts softly. “Was while it lasted.”
Loc says quietly, “They’d a liked you.”
Lanisen grimaces slightly and turns away.
Loc falls silent.
Lanisen exhales quietly. “Thanks for… tellin’ me about ’em.”
Loc says, “Thank you–for bringing back the good things…. I was so angry when they died.”
Loc says, “I could only remember the dark times…”
Lanisen doesn’t answer.
Loc says, “Then I got caught up in the life of the road and…”
Lanisen quietly finishes, “An’ then… here.”
Loc says, “I know how… distraught my parents would be, how /ashamed/ they’d be to see their son today. so it was just easier not to think a it.”
Lanisen ehhs quietly. “They sound like… they sound like the sort that’d take you back, even after…” He pauses, then adds, almost inaudibly, “Not like mine…”
Loc looks over to Lanisen, his expression sympathetic. “I’m sorry.”
Lanisen shakes his head, suddenly brusque. “Doesn’t matter. Moot anyway. I wouldn’t go back even if he’d take me.”
Loc manages a weak grin, “How ’bout this–if we get out of here I’ll teach you about forestry–and anything I can remember about bein’ a cordwain.”
Lanisen asks, “Forestry?”
Loc says, “Huntin’. Archery. Skinnin’ a kill.”
Lanisen grins half-heartedly. “I’d like that.”
Loc grins a little as well, leaning over, “It’s really a fascinating set of skills. Had to do something to pull my weight at the inn where Jana and I stayed… Very
Lanisen reminds him, smirking a bit, “You missed.”
Loc gives a soft laugh, “Would you prefer that I hit?”
Lanisen snickers quietly. “Just sayin’.”
Loc says, “Keep in mind I wasn’t intending to actually hit–just scare you. So really, I achieved my goal.” He grins.
Lanisen winces a bit. “Definitely scared me,” he mutters.
Loc hehs, “A little too much.” He chuckles, “You’re awful skiddish Lanny.”
Lanisen says, “You were shootin’ at me.”
Loc nods, chuckling again. “I’d have been skiddish too.” His smile fades. “I’m sorry for bein’ such a boar to you. I’ve always liked you. I know there are times I… been…” He grunts. “Mean as a bear.”
Lanisen hehs. “You weren’t so bad… you an’ Jana were both mostly nice to me.”
Loc says quietly, “Angry as I am with her… she did teach me /some/ good things… one of the reasons I always…” He sighs.
Lanisen asks, “Always what?”
Loc says quietly, “I’m a fool…. I knew I always was…. but from the moment I saw her I was taken. I always wanted to win her…”
Lanisen winces very slightly at this, turning his gaze to the ceiling.
Loc shrugs. “But that’s… life.”
Lanisen says, “Guess so.” He falls silent, watching the ceiling. After a while, you can see that he’s managed to fall asleep.
Loc watches Lanisen and grins a bit, leaning back. He marks a dash on a clean stone and then falls asleep as well.