separate ways

Staff Quarters
Castle Anvard

You stand in a circular tower which serves as a sort of corridor. In the center is a stone pillar, around which stairs are placed, rising to the Nobles’ Quarters above.  To the north is the Sewing Room.  All around are small tidy rooms, the staff quarters.  To the west is the Inner Ward.

Loc shifts uneasily as he enters accompanied by half a dozen guards.

Lanisen is standing outside what appears to be unoccupied servant’s quarters, peering uncertainly in through the open door. He looks sick and pale, rather more thin than when Loc saw him last, and he looks overwhelmed by the moderate level of noise and activity in the corridor. Turning to ask a question of a guard, he catches sight of the guards and their prisoner ascending the stairs from below. “Loc!”

Loc gives a wan smile, though his eyes show he is clearly unhappy. “Hey Lanny.” He speaks quietly.

Lanisen hurries toward him, stopping a few paces away with a wary glance at the guards. He takes in Loc’s expression and looks again at the guards. “Where’re you… what’s happened?”

Loc glances at the guards and very slowly closes the distance. The guards keep their weapons close, watching him like a hawk. Loc swallows, his eyes watery. “I’ve come to say good bye Lanny.” His voice cracks.

Lanisen takes a breath, horror washing over his face. “Goodbye?” he repeats unsteadily.

Loc sees the expression and shakes his head. “Not like that, I–” A guard interupts, “Come on now. We’ll be leaving any moment.” Loc sighs.

Lanisen’s relief is clearly visible for a moment, but only for a moment. “Wait, leaving? Where?”

Loc hehs and tries to smile in his usual, light hearted way, “I’m going to Carmichael with the Steward and Lord Tyren. I’ll be serving some time in the mines.” He tries to sound happy. “I heard you’ll be in the kennels with the hounds and under Lord Dar’s care. It’ll be good for you.”

Lanisen repeats, “Carmichael? You’re… now? How long?”

Loc’s expression falls. “I don’t know.”

A guard snorts, “Hurry it up. You don’t want to keep the Steward waiting.”

Loc tries to brighten, “I was told we could write one another–monitored of course–if we both behaved ourselves. Though… won’t be for sometime… But… they thought it best we were trained to be decent seperately.”

Lanisen hehs, making a valiant attempt at a smile. “All right. Letters’ll… yeah. I’ll…” He nods once, taking a deep breath, and says, “Ok. Well then. Stay… y’know, safe an’ healthy an’ all that.”

Loc places a hand on Lanisen’s shoulder, managing a weak smile. “You too.” He takes a warbling breath, reaching into his tunic and pulling out a nicely folded piece of parchment.

Lanisen’s eyes follow the hand. He shrinks back a little, but not entirely.

One of the guards lurches forward. “What’s that!” Loc squeezes Lanisen’s shoulder and then releases him, opening and showing it to the guard. “A picture. See?”

The guard glowers. “You never said anything about a picture. What do you mean by this.”

Loc shrugs, “I was told to hand over any weapons. This ain’t a weapon. Never seen anyone die of a paper cut.”

The guard scowls. “I’ll be letting the Steward know.”

Loc shrugs.

Lanisen closes his eyes for a moment, ducking his head. Taking another unsteady breath, he straightens and focuses on the picture.

The guard relents with a snort. “Fine then. Give it to him if you like.”

Loc hands the picture to him, his voice quiet, “Don’t forget about me Lanny.”

The picture is a black and white sketch of two familiar figures on the beach. It’s not a terrible picture but it’s by no means spectacular. However, the likeness of Jana and Loc are clear enough.

Loc says, “Got this on the first trip in Andale. I’d like you to have it.”

Lanisen takes the picture, refolding it with care. He blinks hard a couple of times. “Thanks,” he whispers. “I won’t forget.”

Loc sniffs and rubs at his eyes. “I’m gunna miss you Lanny.”

Another guard enters solemnly. He addresses Loc. “It’s time lad.”

Lanisen tucks the picture away, raising his head to look searchingly at Loc. He doesn’t say anything further, but the puzzled, lost look on his face says a lot of things.

Loc’s expression crumbles and his shoulders shake. He can barely manage, “I guess–this is good–farewell…. We’ll… we’ll see each other again. Even if it’s not for a while, right?” He blinks rapidly, quickly brushing away some tears as they fall.

Lanisen says simply, “‘Course.”

Loc takes an unsteady breath and hesitates before pulling Lanisen into a quick awakward hug. The guards start a bit, looking at one another unsure of what to do. Loc claps Lanisen lightly on the shoulder and says calmly, “Take care. ‘n be good for the Steward. I expect a letter soon enough.”

Lanisen, startled by the hug, tenses. Equally awkward, he looks away, glancing again at the guards. “I will. You too. And…” He pauses, touching the pocket where he stowed the picture. “Thanks.”

Loc gives a small nod, managing a small but genuine smile.

The recently entered guard approached Loc and binds his hands. “All right lad. Come with me.” He begins to walk to the Inner Ward.

Loc nods. He watches Lanisen for a final moment, then turns and follows.

Lanisen takes a step backward away from Loc and the guards, watching them go. He stays until they are quite out of sight in the Ward, the picture clutched in his hands like a lifeline.


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