Colin enters the staff quarters, coming from the direction of the ward. Considering the late hour, he looks a bit tired but still wide awake as he goes about his business.
Lanisen is sitting on the first step of the wide stairs leading up to the noble quarters. He is curled up and leaning against the central pillar, and looks like he’s hit that zombie stage of sleepiness where he can’t even doze.
Colin walks through the staff quarters, covering his yawn with a hand. He reaches the stairs and finds his way blocked off by a Person. He blinks at him a minute. “Lanisen?”
Lanisen raises his head and blinks blearily up at Colin. “Sorry, sir.” He stands, moves off the stairs and out of the knight’s way, and bows. On straightening, he sways slightly and covers his own yawn.
Colin peers at him. (Clearly this knight is not the brightest person in the world when he’s tired) “What are you doing out here?”
Lanisen, of an equally bright disposition at ridiculous hours of the night, scrubs gunk out of his eyes and replies, “Sittin’.” Duh.
Colin ahas. “Why are you sitting out here? Don’t you normally sleep in the kennels?”
Lanisen, yawning again, answers, muffled, “Uh-huh…”
Colin chuckles. “These aren’t the kennels, Lanisen.”
Lanisen frowns at Colin, sleepily baffled by this statement of the obvious. “Uhn-uh…”
Colin raises an eyebrow at him. “Glad you noticed.”
Lanisen stretches out his shoulders and rubs again at his eyes, apparently trying to wake himself up enough for intelligent conversation. It doesn’t seem to be working. “Time’sit?”
Colin answers, “Well past midnight.”
Lanisen ohs, but doesn’t seem particularly surprised by this revelation. He squints at Colin. “What’re you still doin’ up, sir?”
Colin shrugs a shoulder. “I was reading in the library. Quite a fascinating book.” He pauses, then grins. “I fell asleep reading it.”
Lanisen chuckles, scratching his forehead. “Sounds real interestin’.” The amiable sarcasm in his voice comes out blurry and drunk-sounding.
Colin gives the boy an appraising look. “So. Just too tired to make it another step or are you out here for a reason?”
Lanisen closes his eyes and shakes his head. “Nah, just… can’t… sleep.”
Colin asks, “Any particular reason why?”
Lanisen says, “Eyes won’t stay closed?”
Colin chuckles. “That’s a legitimate reason.” He looks at the boy. “Something on your mind?”
Lanisen rubs his temple with the heel of one hand. “’M too tired to think.”
Lanisen drops his hand. His expression looks like he would be frustrated with his inability to sleep if he was awake enough to do it justice. “Sorry, sir. You were on your way to bed, didn’t mean to get in your way…”
Colin shakes his head. “I’ve been asleep for an hour, I think I’ll be all right.”
Lanisen makes a vague noise of comprehension/relief. He sways again and stands stupidly for a moment, then leans against the pillar and slides down it to sit on the floor.
Colin raises an eyebrow and crouches down in front of the lad. “Have you been drinking?”
Lanisen, sleepy or not, rouses enough to be offended at this. “Uhn-uh! Told you I wouldn’t!”
Colin looks at him with a keen eye, and nods. “You’re just tired enough to ACT like you’re drunk.” He says, half amused.
Lanisen says, “‘M not drunk.”
Colin says “I believe you.”
Lanisen pulls up his knees and rests his forehead on them. “Just want to sleep… head /hurts/…”
Colin says, “Have you talked to Adrian?”
Lanisen says, “Ain’t sick.”
Colin rolls his eyes slightly. “Doesn’t matter. He does more than care for sick people. He can help with things such as not sleeping. ” He pauses. “Adrian and I go way back.”
Lanisen mutters into his knees, “Yeah, he’ll give me some gunk that tastes like outhouse.”
Colin sighs. “Let me guess – you didn’t take it.”
Lanisen mumbles that he hasn’t actually gone yet.
Colin says, “I suspected as much. Come on.”
Lanisen looks up, blearily alarmed. “I ain’t sick, I don’t need to go to Master Adrian, really…”
Colin’s tone invokes no argument. “Come on.”
Lanisen goes still, then reluctantly gets to his feet. “It’s late, he prob’ly won’t even be there…”
Colin laughs, keeping his voice low. “You’d be surprised.”
Colin leads Lanisen into the Infirmary. “Adrian, are you still awake?”
Lanisen follows the knight, dragging his feet a bit either from reluctance or exhaustion. He peers past Colin with apprehension.
Adrian comes out from the back, looking oddly wide awake for the hour. “Ah, Sir Colin, what brings you here tonight?” He pauses, and looks at his companion. “Sparring with servants now?” He asks dryly.
Colin hehs. “No, of course not. I was curious as to if you had some of that tea you used to give me to help me relax and sleep?”
Lanisen shoots a nervous glance around the room at the various remedies and prepared treatments and shifts his weight, ill at ease.
Adrian eyes Lanisen pointedly. “I make a point to keep some on hand at all times.”
Colin asks, “Could you spare enough for tonight?”
Lanisen stares at the floor.
Adrian says, “Ah, one of those. Of course, just a moment.” He walks to the back.
Lanisen watches him go, then turns to fix Colin with a look that he must have picked up from one of the puppies, all pleading and sad betrayal.
Colin glances at him and quickly looks away. “Oh for heaven’s sake.. .cut that out.”
Lanisen gives the look to the floor instead since its intended recipient apparently did not appreciate it.
Colin rolls his eyes.
Adrian returns with a small packet which he hands to Colin. “Is that all you need for tonight?”
Colin nods. “Aye, it is. Thank you, Adrian.”
Lanisen eyes the packet with deep misgiving, but he dips a bow to the master healer and mumbles his thanks anyway.
Adrian nods and retreats to whatever task he was doing at this time of night.
Colin motions to Lanisen and leaves the infirmary.
Lanisen follows obediently, looking doleful and resigned to his doom.
Colin leads the way to the kitchen, which is abandoned for the night. “Now. Make this tea and drink it.”
Lanisen begins the process, stoking up the embers in the fireplace and swinging the kettle over it. “If I get in trouble with Mistress Brosie it’s your fault,” he mutters.
Colin snorts. “Lanisen, I’m the king’s nephew. We’ll clean up after ourselves.”
Lanisen glances at him, pausing his work for a moment. He shakes his head and rubs his eyes, looking a bit disoriented, then jabs a couple of slender dry pine logs into the embers.
Colin watches Lanisen work, making sure he prepares the tea. While the lad does so, he nabs an apple from the bowl on the table and starts munching.
Lanisen hunts around the dark kitchen in unlikely places for something resembling a mug, barking a couple of shins in the process. He emerges triumphant from a floor-level cupboard a moment later, a cobweb clinging to his hair, and blows the ancient-looking vessel into a fairly clean state.
Colin snickers. “Water’s boiling.” He comments.
Lanisen takes a moment to wipe dust out of the mug with a corner of his shirt and eyes the little packet. He unfolds it, peering in at the contents, and sniffs it cautiously. “Guess I just…?” He mimes dumping it into the mug and glances at Colin for direction.
Colin nods.”Might want to strain the bits out but that’s how you do it.”
Lanisen dumps the herbs into the mug-of-questionable-sanitation and swings the hot kettle off the fire. With unpracticed awkwardness, he cautiously pours the water into the mug and over the herbs, sloshing a bit on the table despite his best efforts. A mild profanity escapes him – he glances quickly at Colin – and he finishes filling it up. “Don’t got any idea where there’s a strainer-gadget…”
Colin hrms and peers around the kitchen. “Hang on.” He starts a hunt through all the storage spots.
Lanisen watches, then eyes the gunk floating at the top of the mug. “Wonder what he puts in this stuff,” he says gloomily.
Colin chuckles. “I think you might be surprised. Aha!” He shouts victoriously and chucks a strainer thing at Lanisen.
Lanisen neatly snags it out of midair. “Thanks.” He begins dipping the floating herbs out of the concoction with the strainer until it’s relatively unchunky, muttering, “There’s gotta be a better way to do this.” He takes the mug in both hands and blows on the surface, but hesitates, not sipping just yet. “Sir… what’s this gonna do to me?” There is genuine nervousness in his expression, as well as an apology for its presence.
Colin waves a hand. “It’ll put hair on your chest. The green skin is just a side effect, it’ll wear off.” He says, perfectly serious as he takes a loud bite out of his apple.
Lanisen’s eyebrows have time to shoot up before he realizes that Colin is joking. He lets out a short breath and eyes the tea, then lifts the mug and takes a cautious sip.
Colin snickers and watches lazily, waiting.
Lanisen takes a moment to process the flavor, then takes another sip. He glances sidelong at Colin a few seconds later, sheepishly aware that he’s made a big deal over nothing.
Colin coughs, doing his best to cover his laughter.
Lanisen grumbles incoherently to his mug.
Colin crunches one last bite out of his apple. A moment later the apple core is conveniently sailing for Lanisen’s head.
Lanisen, mid-sip, yelps, chokes, and dodges too late out of the way, in that order. He manages to keep the tea from spilling, sets the mug down, and kneels to retrieve the core.
Colin doesn’t move, merely reaching over to the counter behind him and grabbing a container. He waits for Lanisen.
Lanisen reappears in short order, the apple-core held gingerly between thumb and forefinger. He settles back into his seat and takes another swig of tea, eyeing Colin and the mysterious container.
Colin leans casually against the counter. “Evenin’.” He nods sociably.
Lanisen replies gravely, “Evenin’.” He wings the apple core back at its original owner.
Colin ducks and simultaneously flings a container of water in Lanisen’s face.
Lanisen splutters! If he was semi-awake before, he’s thoroughly awake now. “Oh, /whaat/?”
Colin keeps a straight face and leans against the counter again, his muscles poised for action. “Feeling better?”
Lanisen gathers his drenched tunic into dripping handfuls and attempts to wring out some of the moisture. Perhaps ominously, he merely returns to docilely sipping tea.
Colin waits patiently.
Lanisen just drinks his tea.
Colin taps his fingers on the tabletop.
Lanisen merely continues working his way through the mug, apparently savoring the stuff.
Colin says, “Good, no?”
Lanisen concedes, “Not bad.” Still innocently biding his time.
Colin waits, imperceptibly moving an inch towards the door.
Lanisen finishes the tea, making a big show of leaning back to get the last dregs. He sets the mug down, nods in satisfaction, then snatches the strainer gadget and the mug and whirls off to wash up.
Colin moves another inch towards the door.
Lanisen scrubs the residual tea-bits out of the mug and strainer, leaving the actual washing for someone tomorrow to do when there’s hot water and soap. This done, he turns to bank the fire. Nothing suspicious here.
Colin moves two inches this time.
Lanisen stretches and yawns, rubbing his eyes. The tea seems to already be taking effect. He glances around the kitchen, remembering, “Where’d that apple core get to?”
Colin eyes him. “You were holding it.”
Lanisen reminds him, “I threw it at you.”
Colin ohs. “That apple core. Um… I think it’s over there?” he points.
Lanisen looks. He crosses to nab it, careful to keep from turning his back on Colin, and tosses it in the compost heap.
Colin suddenly scurries out the door the second Lanisen is far away enough.
Lanisen howls in indignation and takes off after him. He hits the closing door with his full (insignificant) weight and (not insignificant) momentum.
Colin is on the other side of the door using all of his strength to hold it shut.
Lanisen lets out an audible ‘uff’ as he hits the door, bounces off, re-thunks, bounces off. He hammers on the door with one fist, hollering.
Colin hisses from the other side. “Wake up Brosie and we’ll both have it!”
Lanisen reminds him through a crack, “King’s nephew!” He braces his shoulder against the wood and shooooooooooves.
Colin steps aside and lets the door go.
Lanisen’s startled expression can be seen for a split second, then he hits the ground. “Huurrrrgh…”
Colin is casually leaning against the wall next to the kitchen door. “Well hello, Lanisen. What are you doing up at this hour?”
Lanisen seems to have had the breath knocked completely out of him. He only wheezes a groan in reply and lays where he’s fallen, features twisted up in a grimace of pain.
Colin remains innocently passive and reaches a hand out to Lanisen. “Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to use a door?”
Lanisen appears to be in real pain. He moans again, incoherent.
Colin rolls his eyes. “I’m not buying it.”
Lanisen doesn’t drop the act just yet. One more moan, one more wince, then he takes Colin’s hand with his left hand and PULLS, heaving himself up to his feet, and with his right hand slaps a handful of tea-herbs gunk down the back of Colin’s tunic.
Colin yelps! He grabs Lanny and drags him to the well.
Lanisen yelps in his turn and struggles, bracing his feet and attempting to wriggle out of Colin’s grip.
Colin grabs the bucket and douses Lanisen.
Lanisen lets out a yell of protest – though, considering that the late-spring night is fairly hot, the cool water can’t be /that/ uncomfortable – and tries to wrestle the bucket away from Colin.
Colin snickers and lets him, bolting for the stairs.
Lanisen wastes no time in dipping up a new bucket and giving chase. Unfortunately, running with a full bucket of water is a sloshy business at the best of times, and he ends up splashing most of it on himself. Doesn’t seem to bother him too terribly.
Colin races agilely up the stairs.
Lanisen skids to a halt at the bottom of the stairs leading to the nobles’ quarters and stays there. An irate night guard peers down at him.
Colin peers around the corner behind the guard, snickering.
Lanisen skulks off sheepishly, loitering quietly out of sight of the guard, who looks like he’d be more than happy to report on Lanisen’s doings to Somebody In Charge.
After a moment if anyone is looking Colin can be seen talking with the guard.
Lanisen risks a glance up the stairs, then scoots back out of sight, still hanging on to the bucket.
Colin stays safely behind the guard.
Lanisen finds a strategic position beneath the stairs and settles in, holding the bucket ready for attack when the target presents itself.
Colin talks to the guard a bit more.
Lanisen stays where he is, silent and invisible under the stairs, weapon poised.
Colin must have found something fascinating to discuss with the guard. They’re talking for quite some time.
Lanisen periodically sneaks stealthily out to peer up the stairs, but as time passes, these mini-escapades become less frequent. He leans his head back against the wall, stretching, and waits.
Colin finishes his conversation with the guard and peers down the stairs.
Lanisen is nowhere to be seen. However, the pail has fallen on its side and rolled lazily around to bump against the base of the stairs, and its contents meander in an unimpressive trickle across the uneven floor.
Colin cautiously descends the stairs, treading lightly. Considering his time in the woods learning how to sneak around, he makes absolutely no sound.
There’s no sound from Lanisen’s chosen sniper’s-nest.
Colin approaches silently and takes a look.
Lanisen is fast asleep, slumped against the wall with his mouth slightly open. Whatever was in the tea Adrian gave him seems to have taken effect, despite his wet clothing. The bucket apparently fell from his hands.
Colin chuckles quietly at the sight, not all that surprised. He hrms, taking account of the area Lanisen is asleep in, and puts a hand on Lanisen’s shoulder, shaking him gently enough to half wake him up and make him movable but without making him wake up entirely.
Lanisen flinches and pulls into himself. “Iiiii’ma I’m up!” His eyes blink open and fix on Colin’s face, disoriented and bleary but with unmistakable recognition and relief. He blinks several times and his head sags forward drunkenly.
Colin struggles to contain his laughter. “Come on, lad.” He guides Lanisen out from under the stairs, keeping him moving without running into things.
Lanisen doesn’t seem to particularly want to leave the dark warm quiet nook, but he’s too out-of-it to protest otherwise.
Colin guides Lanisen to the room that is hopefully Lanisen’s.
Lanisen, evidently waking enough to half-realize what’s going on, rubs at his eyes and stares around the room. Only one thing seems to register: bed. He totters forward and pitches across it at entirely the wrong angle, and is immediately asleep.
Colin chuckles uncontrollably and quickly leaves the room to get himself to an area where he doesn’t have to restrain his laughter.