Lanisen trudges into the front room of the inn at the early hour ordered, rumpled and bleary-eyed and very, very stiff.
Dar, on the other hand, looks immaculate despite the hour. He has a cup of tea before him and is using the time to peruse some documents.
Lanisen approaches him, bows, and stands, still half-asleep, to wait for permission to sit or other orders.
Dar gestures towards the other chair after determining that the room is completely deserted.
Lanisen sits, slowly and rather painfully.
Dar gives Lanisen a searching look. “No riding today”, he determines.
Lanisen rubs his eyes, raising his eyebrows briefly in grateful relief, and nods.
Dar’s mouth twitches once more. “Now. You and I have some matters to discuss. I am, first of all, pleased to see that you did not attempt to run last night. You cannot avoid having to face down your past, but that, at least, shows some courage.”
Lanisen stares at a crack in the tabletop and slouches a bit. “Can’t /move/, sir,” he mumbles. “Couldn’t run if I wanted to.”
Lanisen glances up and quickly adds, “I don’t.”
Dar hehs. “I do remember what it is like to first ride the distance you have.”
Lanisen asks plaintively, “Is it better the second time?”
Dar replies evenly, “Your muscles will grow used to it, in time.”
Lanisen doesn’t seem to find the vague answer all that reassuring. He rubs the junction of his left shoulder and neck with his right hand, wincing.
Dar observes, “The more often you ride, the less time the process will take. In the meantime, hot water or the herbs a healer might provide are all I can suggest.”
Lanisen nods, covering a face-splitting yawn with both hands and again attempting to rub his eyes awake. “Yes, sir.”
Dar presses the tips of his fingers together, then gives Lanisen another long look. “You are aware of why I determined to stop at the inn rather than at the Manor house itself–”
Lanisen’s baffled expression shows that he didn’t make the connection last night and hadn’t yet thought of it this morning, but it disappears rapidly as he comprehends. He shuts his eyes briefly and bows his head.
Dar runs a hand through his hair. “Do not attribute it to a lack of trust. Were that the case, I should not have brought you with me.”
Lanisen nods again, shifting in his seat, not looking up.
Dar asks quietly, “Just what happened here? What will my brother-in-law and sister know of you? That may well include whatever Loc has told them. I cannot act without information.”
Lanisen takes a breath and releases it. He has gone pale, but his voice is steady enough when he replies, still not looking directly at Dar, “Uh, here… I brought a letter to Sir Tyren when he was stayin’ here… ’bout a year ago now. Myrd wrote it. It was s’posed to be from– from the King, about Lady Avery, to… to get Sir Tyren out of the way.” He hesitates, swallows. “Doubt they’d recognize me from that. Not even sure Sir Tyren knows that was me, come to think of it. I– I don’t know what Loc would’ve told ’em, sir.”
Dar’s eyebrow rises sharply at this. “That is significant, perhaps, but as long as there is no repetition, I do not see why Ast and Priya should not be lenient, seeing as His Majesty has chosen to be.”
Lanisen darts a quick glance at Dar’s face and nods silently, ashen.
Dar’s eyebrow raises even higher, a clear question in his expression.
Lanisen, whatever the question may be, doesn’t answer. He rubs one eye yet again and instead asks one of his own. “Sir, uh… what’re we doin’ here? If I can ask?”
Dar hehs. “You may. I suppose I have yet to tell you that–”
Lanisen drops his hand from his eye and glances at Dar. “Didn’t figure it was just deliverin’ Sir Tyren’s letters…”
Dar nods. “You would be correct. We are here because of a letter I received from my sister, Lady Priya.”
Lanisen doesn’t ask, only waits attentively to hear whatever else Dar might tell.
Dar rubs at his forehead. “She expressed some–concerns about Loc. You will be seeing him again shortly.”
Lanisen’s glance sharpens and he straightens slightly, some of the weariness disappearing from his demeanor, but he offers no other reaction.
Dar says dryly, “My sister believes that he is not–suitable to life in the mines. Thus, he will return with us.”
Lanisen’s eyebrows shoot up, the expression half-hopeful, half-wary. “To Anvard?”
Dar only acknowledges, “It is a possibility.”
Lanisen shifts position again. His thoughts are obviously flying, and he must have dozens of questions, but all he asks is, “Dependin’ on what, sir?”
Dar frowns as he considers his reply. “Depending on what he is suited for. He has been given an opportunity, just as you have, and he will need to speak for himself.”
Lanisen nods quickly and lets out a breath. “I– I get to see him?” he asks uncertainly, obviously wondering about the strings attached.
Dar inclines his head. “I can conceive of no reason to prevent such a meeting.”
Lanisen blows out another breath and grins rather incredulously, the increasingly rare expression changing the look of his face entirely. “I– thank you, sir, I… thanks.”
Dar finishes his tea and rises. “Ready yourself. We will have a lengthy day ahead of us.”
Lanisen stands quickly as Dar rises – and immediately stiffens, wincing. Apparently in his excitement he forgot how sore he is. He straightens gingerly.
Dar could not exactly be said to smile, but his solemn expression lightens minutely. “And Lanisen? Eat something.”
Lanisen looks briefly blank at this, but he ducks his head and replies, “Yes, sir.” He bows and limps back toward his room.
Dar makes his own more stately progression out of the room, a vague flicker of amusement registering on his features once Lanisen is gone.