Lanisen, along with a few other random kitchen drudges, is heading out of the kitchens and in the general direction of the staff quarters through the dark Inner Ward. The servants are chatting among themselves; Lanisen, predictably, hangs back.
Tyren strolls into the ward at a calm and easy pace, looking rather more relaxed than he normally does in the daytime.
Lanisen glances across the ward in his direction, as Tyren is one of the few occupants of the courtyard, but he apparently has no reason to approach him. He looks tired.
Tyren’s glance shifts to the servants as they make their way out, eventually settling on the straggler. He smiles himself as he sees Lanisen’s, and strides over with a cordial nod. “Evening, Lanisen.”
Lanisen bows. “Evening, sir,” he answers.
Tyren asks, “Done for the evening, I take it?”
Lanisen glances after the other servants and rubs the back of his neck. “Yeah… nothin’ left for the day but preparin’ the bread and Cook won’t let anyone else do that. So…”
Tyren hehs and nods. “So you’ve the evening to spend as you see fit, I suppose. How do you plan to?”
Lanisen shrugs. “Just headin’ back to my room.”
Tyren quirks a brow slightly. “Sounds a bit like a lonely way to spend a nice evening such as this.”
Lanisen apparently has no reply to this other than to shrug again.
Tyren lets the matter drop for the time being. “How are you holding up today?”
Lanisen says simply, “I’m fine, sir.” He hesitates, then asks, “You?”
Tyren says, “Doing rather well, myself, thank you. Was just out for a little stargazing.”
Lanisen glances up automatically at this, though not much can be seen past the looming castle walls. “Yeah?”
Tyren nods. “It’s… rather a fond pastime of mine.”
Lanisen digs at the gravel with the toe of one boot. “‘S nice, sir.”
Tyren hehs and nods again. “I have… many fond memories of it. You ever done much yourself?”
Lanisen hesitates. “Uh… used to, sir. Kinda… uh, haven’t for a while.”
Tyren hehs. “Understandable, I suppose.”
Lanisen studies the ground. “Yes, sir.”
Tyren asks, “Well, I can attest to the fact it’s a fine night for it. And I daresay you could do with something to ease your mind, or at least make an attempt to. Perhaps, then, you’d care to accompany me to one of the towers?”
Lanisen blinks. “Really?”
Tyren says, “I don’t see why not, unless you’re not inclined toward it.”
Lanisen says, “No, I– sure!”
Tyren chuckles a bit. “Come on.”
Here you stand on the upper reaches of the Northern watch tower. From this dizzying height one can see for miles, off into the southern hills of Narnia, even. There is a trapdoor in the floor, and the crenelations give some protection from the wind which buffets you from every side.
Tyren ascends the tower with Lanisen through the trapdoor, glancing up. “Still clear, it seems.”
Lanisen follows him on up, doing so as well He edges cautiously to the wall and peers down. And edges back.
Tyren chuckles a bit. “Makes a good vantage point, but that comes at a bit of a cost. Spent my share of days up here.”
Lanisen, looking faintly queasy, opts to sit down with his back to the wall and turn his attention up instead of down. “Pretty sure it wasn’t that high last time I was up here.”
Tyren hehs. “And when was that?”
Lanisen rubs the back of his neck, looking distinctly uncomfortable, and mumbles, “It was… uh, Sir Colin brought me up here after… a while ago.”
Tyren ahs, simply giving a nod. If the news surprises him or otherwise affects him in any manner, he does not show it, and returns to the subject at hand. “The Ship seems particularly bright tonight, if I do say so myself.”
Lanisen glances up at him, looking faintly puzzled. He hesitates, then asks, “Which one’s that?”
Tyren extends an arm to point the general direction. “It’s that way. The Hammer’s handle points directly toward its sail.” He traces the pattern with his finger, which may or may not be helpful depending on one’s vantage point. He adds, “The particularly bright star over there is the Ship’s bow.”
Lanisen scrambles up to get a more helpful perspective. He stares in the direction indicated for a moment, his forehead furrowed, then nods. “I think I see it. It’s kinda tilted down like it’s gonna sail into the south tower?”
Tyren nods. “That’s it. Although I’m rather glad we don’t have an /actual/ ship about to run into the south tower. I don’t think my training covered that possibility.”
Lanisen grins, unguarded in the poor light. He turns in a circle, staring up at the sky and trying to get his bearings. “The Leopard’s… there, right? ‘Cept you can only see his head this time of year?”
Tyren says, “Depends on how good your eyesight is. You can see his tail too, although those stars tend to be faint. The rest of him’s beneath the horizon at this time of year. Pity, he’s one of my favorites.”
Lanisen squint in an effort to see the tail-stars, then shakes his head. “Ehh. Can’t see it.” He glances at Tyren. “Which one’s your favorite, then?”
Tyren chuckles. “The Leopard’s my personal favorite, in all honesty, but I’m partial to the Spear as well.” He gestures toward the north as he says, “Lot easier to find, after all, considering it ends in the Spear-Head.”
Lanisen follows the gesture and nods. “Knew that one. Didn’t know it was called the Spear-head, though…”
Tyren chuckles. “Oh, they’ve all names, but nobody could possibly know them all. I know precious few myself, but that’s a useful one to know.”
Lanisen says, “Yes, sir.” He watches that particular star for a moment silently, something in his mien growing distant.
Tyren doesn’t seem to notice, perhaps because his own expression has become slightly distant as he continues to scan the sky, pointing things out. “Then you have Aravir, who’s rather noticeable herself due to how bright she is, off that way…”
Lanisen takes a moment to react, but he turns to find the star indicated. “My sister’s favorite,” he says unexpectedly. “Forgot how to find it.”
Tyren hehs. “It’s the last one to fade from the sky at the sunrise. She /is/ the morning star, after all.”
Lanisen hmms absently and watches it, crossing to the west side of the parapet to lean on the wall, the very-high height apparently forgotten.
Tyren drops his gaze from the sky, instead looking to Lanisen. “I wasn’t aware you had a sister…”
Lanisen doesn’t look at Tyren. He is quiet for a moment before answering, “One sister, one brother.”
Tyren nods a little, asking in a soft tone, “I take it you’re on the younger end of the three of you?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “I’m, I was the middle.”
Tyren nods a bit, saying no more as he lets his glance drift skyward again.
Lanisen leans his elbows on the parapet wall and coughs a little. “You got an older brother?” he guesses. “And Lady Avery’s your sister?”
Tyren nods. “Middle child. Never… well, no, that’s not accurate. We… get along well enough, but… we’re not exactly a close-knit family. Not like my wife’s, at least. Or my cousin’s.”
Lanisen glances at him, querying silently.
Tyren hehs. “Tyre was Father’s heir, Avery was the baby of the family and her mother’s little girl. Take a wild guess where that left the boy in the middle.”
Lanisen shifts slightly, frowning. “I don’t follow…”
Tyren hehs, leaning against a wall of the parapet. “Tyre was the eldest, the title of our house and position and all that goes with them to one day be his. You can imagine that commanded him a rather large degree of attention, preparing him for that day… and Avery… well, she was the baby of the family, as I said. She got rather a good deal of attention herself. Between the two of them, though… there wasn’t often much left for the one in the middle of them.”
Lanisen turns back to Aravir, frowning as he works through this. “So… you’re not close ’cause of that?”
Tyren hehs, his own glance shifting toward the Hammer. “I don’t know if it’s as simple as that. But whatever caused it, Tyre tends to bury himself in his work, Avery in… well, her own little world, really, and Mother… well. There’s been tension there for a long time.” He pauses slightly. “Really, the only one I felt close to was Father.”
Lanisen asks, “What’s he like?”
Tyren hehs again. “Dar tells me I’m a lot like him. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I suppose that says something there. He… always made time for all three of us. Spending time with us in ways we enjoyed. He was a quiet man most of the time, and when he said something, you knew he meant it. He took his position seriously, trying to do what was best for Chesterton and his family…” He takes a long, slow breath. “Was a good man. Best I’ve known, but then again, I’m a bit biased…”
Lanisen huhs quietly, studying the horizon. “When did he die?”
Tyren says, “Seven… no, I think it’s eight years by now. Days kind of ran together then…”
Lanisen turns around to lean against the wall and see Tyren better. “I’m sorry. Sounds like… I’m sorry.”
Tyren hehs, shaking his head a bit. “No need to be. I… think I’ve finally come to proper terms with it.” He takes another breath, again scanning the skies. “I’ve still got my memories of him. The lessons he taught me. And they’re all good ones. It’s not quite so much of a loss as it once was…”
Lanisen nods, but keeps his thoughts to himself.
Tyren says, “It’s why I still find myself scanning the skies after all these years, though. That’s what we were usually doing when it was just the two of us…”
Lanisen asks, “He taught you?”
Tyren nods. “He did. Sometimes we’d sit out and he’d teach me bits and pieces, sometimes we’d talk about other things, and sometimes we wouldn’t say a word, just enjoyed each other’s company.” He gives a nod in the direction of the Hammer and Ship. “Those two were his favorites. Said that the right path always required hard work, but the results were always worth it… the same way a lot of work goes behind a hammer to build a ship.”
Lanisen glances toward the constellations indicated, wrapping the ends of his sleeves around his hands to warm them up. He is again quiet, his expression thoughtful.
Tyren hehs. “Listen to me musing on…”
Lanisen hehs. He pauses, then ventures, “You don’t really think about… y’know, important people havin’… well, like you and your brother and sister. Sorta figured it was just us average townsfolk find stuff to squabble over, and everybody’d be fine if they just had big manor houses and enough to eat and warm clothes and such.”
Tyren nods a bit. “Seems to be a common sentiment… we too have our problems, our struggles. They’re just more often hidden behind a glittering mask. Less obvious. Because what’s more often seen of us is… well, our status, our position, and all the good things that come with them. But they come with their own pains and struggles too… and certain struggles are common to us all, no matter who you are or what your status.”
Lanisen doesn’t answer, watching the eastern sky.
Tyren says, “So many seem to think we nobles do nothing more than take and take while we sit high and mighty, uncaring of those beneath them… but that is not what we should be. We have the status we do so that we can see to the welfare of those we are responsible for… not all of us take that duty as seriously as we should, though, too caught up in its trappings… heh. There’s a reason they call them that, I suppose.”
Lanisen raises his eyebrows half-skeptically, glancing at Tyren.
Tyren nods. “That’s what they do, after all. Trap. Entice someone to focus too much on them and ignore what really matters. Those without it fall to the trap of wishing they did, and those who /do/ have it fall either to the trap of wanting more or thinking they’ll be sufficient to solve whatever problem comes their way…”
Lanisen frowns, scuffing his foot along the line of a stone in the floor of the parapet. “Figured it was the other way around.”
Tyren hehs. “I’m proof to the contrary. I’ve grown up in a wealthy family with practically everything it could ask for, and still I’ve been lonely, despairing, bitter, empty… I’m sure Sir Colin can attest to a good deal of that. The wealth and the riches and the glitz and glory aren’t the solution… they just make more problems of their own if not handled properly.”
Lanisen makes no response for a moment, continuing to draw random invisible designs on the ground with the toe of his boot. “‘Least you got to eat and be warm while you’re busy bein’ a normal thinkin’ being who gets lonely and stuff,” he finally says. His tone, in contrast to the rather bitter words, is level and absent.
Tyren hehs. “Which means we’re prone to take it for granted and forget what a blessing it is to even have food of /any/ sort and a roof over our heads, let alone a such a nice one. Which tends, in turn, to make us forget those who don’t. At least, it does if we don’t strive to make it less so.”
Lanisen doesn’t look up from the ground. “Do you?” he asks after a moment.
Tyren says, “It is my duty as a knight and nobleman, Lanisen, to see to the safety and well-being of Archenland and its people. How can I hope to do that if I do not take the time to understand those I must defend? I fail more often than I would like, I know, but I strive not to let my status and position make me… look down upon those who are not in my own position.”
Lanisen, as the wind picks up, begins to shiver. A rack of clouds has begun to build up over the mountains, partially obscuring the stars.
Tyren hehs, taking note of this. “Perhaps it’s time we headed toward somewhat less… blustery quarters?”
Lanisen stirs at this, glancing around the tower. “‘S not bad,” he replies. “View makes it w-worth it.”
Tyren chuckles a bit. “Well, I suppose I can’t argue much with that one.”
Lanisen asks, “Can you see across to Narnia from here? When it’s not all dark or foggy in the mountains, I mean?”
Tyren replies, “I believe you may be able to see the very foothills on an exceptionally clear day… not as far as Cair Paravel, but I assure you that’s there.”
Lanisen asks with interest, “Did you go there?”
Tyren nods. “Spent several days there.”
Lanisen frowns north as if to try to see it now. “Does it look like Anvard?”
Tyren hehs. “Not particularly… it’s… oh, I don’t even know how to describe it. It feels even more regal than this, almost. Even that’s not doing it justice.”
Lanisen huhs. “An’ that’s where they live…” he muses under his breath.
Tyren lets out another low ‘heh’. “If you’re thinking of Myrd and Jana, they live in the village outside of it.”
Lanisen blinks, glancing at Tyren. “They… get to leave the castle?”
Tyren shakes his head. “Other way around. They’re not often allowed /in/, as far as I’m aware. They’re kept close, but not in the castle itself.”
Lanisen rubs his upper arms and lets out a soft, envious breath.
Tyren again notes this, brief as it may have been, and strides over to put a hand on Lanisen’s shoulder. “You do, however, have one thing they do not.”
Lanisen tenses slightly. After a pause, he asks, a little tonelessly, “What, sir?”
Tyren replies simply, “People who will stand beside you for who you are and who you are striving to be, not out of fear.”
Lanisen frowns, bewildered.
Tyren quirks a small smile. “Loc did, after all, inquire about you. And valued whatever relationship you two have enough to want to ensure you he was doing all right himself. I know Sir Colin’s grown a bit attached to you. Truth be told, I think I might be as well. Can the same be said of anyone they know?”
Lanisen, flustered, ducks his head. “…Couldn’t, couldn’t say, sir.”
Tyren hehs. “Not that I’m aware of, at least.”
Lanisen clears his throat and shuffles a step. “They got… they got each other, sir. ‘Less it’s still all just crazy mind games an’ stuff.” The next words are difficult to hear. “An’ they get to go places that ain’t walled.”
Tyren hehs. “Even they’re not sure how much of it is mind games and how much isn’t, Lanisen. And that’s a wall in and of itself. They’re still walled in themselves. The difference is that theirs are walls of their own making, invisible to the eye, but no less present.”
Lanisen mumbles, “Doesn’t really help.”
Tyren says, “Give it time.”
Lanisen nods silently. The icy wind, which has been steadily decreasing in temperature and increasing in force, chooses that moment to give a particularly nasty blast around the unsheltered tower, and snow flurries begin to spin past. Lanisen watches them without interest.
Tyren shivers slightly himself at this. “In any case. Perhaps it’s best to give it a night’s rest. Likely you’ve got to be up bright and early for your duties tomorrow, and your quarters are likely to be warmer than up here.”
Lanisen exhales at this and nods, jamming his hands into the opposite sleeves. “Prob’ly so.” He hesitates, then adds, “Thanks for bringin’ me up here, sir.”
Tyren hehs. “You’re quite welcome.” He tilts his head toward the trapdoor, and begins to make his way down.