riddles


Fischer’s Tavern
Western Archenland


Loc sits at the bar, a little more broody than usual. He is covered in dust and appears to have been through a long day of work. He takes a long draught of his ale.

Lanisen slips into the tavern, keeping unobtrusive as usual. He halts by the door, surveying the occupants, obviously looking for somebody in particular. It takes him a moment, as the tavern is fairly busy, but once he catches sight of the broody dirty man at the bar, he breaks into a grin. He rubs the back of his neck, coughs once, schools his features into nonchalance, ambles over to take a seat next to Loc with complete unconcern, and orders an ale.

Loc lowers his glass, eyes flicking briefly to his newest companion. He sends foam and ale all over Lanisen in a not so fine mist as he sputters and chokes, ale from his jarred mug sloshes about wildly.

Lanisen throws up an arm, squawking in protest of the unwanted shower.

Loc coughs hardily, nearly casting the mug across the bar as he attempt’s to get himself straightened out. “LANNY!” His bellowing voice draws a silence and the eyes of the patrons. Murmurs bablled like a brook and after a moment everyone returns to their own business.

Lanisen quails briefly under the stares, but once the noise level goes back to normal, he gulps, wipes spewed ale from his arm onto his trousers, and raises his eyebrows innocently at Loc. He’s managing to keep a straight face, but just barely.

Loc stares at Lanisen for a moment as tho he doesn’t /quite/ believe he’s there. he reaches out and pokes Lanisen’s arm.

Lanisen eyes Loc, eyes his arm, eyes Loc again.

Loc’s cool, uncertain expression slowly melts into a cheshire grin. “By the mane! It /really/ is you!”

Lanisen ducks his head a bit, unable to keep from grinning like an idiot. “Pretty sure.”

Loc laughs, grabbing Lanisen in a headlock and mssing up his hair. “You idiot!” He laughs merrily, “By the mane… Lanny…. you’re here!”

Lanisen ducks out from under the headlock and smooths his hair back to a relatively normal-looking state, still grinning. “Seem to be.”

Loc shakes his head, leaning casually against the bar. “It’s good to see you!”

Lanisen shakes his head, laughing. “Yeah– you too.” He slugs Loc’s bicep happily. “Lion! They put you to work down here, huh?”

Loc chuckles and nods. “Indeed! Don’t let me near anything of worth of course but I move a lot of rocks and have fixed things here and there and of course polish stuff.”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows. “Yeah? You gettin’ along all right then?”

Loc nods. “Yeah. I like the days I can spend more time working up top instead a in the dim dark deep.”
Loc says, “It’s the world in perpetual twilight.”

Lanisen swallows. “Yeah?”

Loc nods, glancing about. He leans forward, “Like the other place…. but no… bars if you follow.”

Lanisen shifts in his seat. Instead of replying to this, he asks, “You– you like it all right?”

Loc shrugs. “It’s a life. I suppose.”
Loc says, “How about you?”

Lanisen ignores the question. “Steward said he talked to you.” His own query is implied.

Loc frowns slightly, “Bout me and where I’m headed… and… her…”

Lanisen is silent, waiting for him to continue.

Loc says, “He wondered how I was progressing and my thoughts about the future. And told me… Morri ain’t right in the head.” He sighs.

Lanisen swallows and looks away. “Yeah, I know,” he says quietly.

Loc looks down. “I was trying to think of better solutions for her. I pity the girl. I mentioned a sort of… house confinement…”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows. “A sort of whaat?”

Loc says, “Being confined to the house. Seen it before. To keep the person… safe. And everyone else… happy.”

Lanisen is quiet for a moment. “I thought–” He pauses. “Who would–”

Loc says, “I don’t know. I thought maybe Sir Tyren–but I don’t know. I’d look after her if I could, but I doubt they’d let me… Pssh, I’d marry her if it’d help things but I doubt they’d let me do that as well. She just… needs a chance. And someone to take good care of her.”

Lanisen shifts his chair to face the bar. “Hope she gets it,” he says quietly after a moment.

Loc nods and sighs.
Loc asks, “You been minding them?”

Lanisen hehs, tracing an old stain in the bartop. “Tryin’ to.”

Loc says, “Heard you had something with dogs?”

Lanisen says, “Yeah… I did. I–” He shrugs and stares at a ropy scar on the inside of his arm. “I messed up. Lord Dar’s got me workin’ for him now. Not… sure why.”

Loc’s eyebrows shoot up. “Oh? What happened?”

Lanisen shrugs, obviously uncomfortable. “Ain’t important. Just… my mouth got me in trouble again is all.”

Loc gently pats Lanisen’s shoulder. “Well, you look alive and well to me.”
Loc says, “That’s the important thing. You’re doin’ all right.”

Lanisen swallows. “Yeah. Guess so.”

Loc asks, “So… he brought you out here?”

Lanisen nods once.

Loc says, “Well… I’m glad you’re here.”

Lanisen glances at him and gives a quick grin. “Me too.”

Loc grins. “You’re not the only visitor I’ve seen.”

Lanisen frowns slightly. “Yeah?”

Loc studies Lanisen’s frown for a moment, his smile flickering. “Yeah. Girl I used to know from many years back in Chesterton. Named Evey.”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows, a teasing smirk forming. “Ohh, a girl, aye?”

Loc grins, “/Aye/.”

Lanisen chortles. “Better tell me.”

Loc says, “She’s on her way through to Lancelyn Green where she’s going ta stay with her sister. But she has a mind to stay here.”

Lanisen tilts and shakes his head as if mystified. “Can’t think what any girl would see to stick around for here…”

Loc says, “It’s a nice place.”

Lanisen snickers into his mug and gestures for Loc to continue.

Loc says, “Not quite sure why she got such a fancy, but she’s always been that way.”

Lanisen asks, “What’d you say her name was? Evey?”

Loc nods. “Evey. I call her that. But her name’s Evette.”

Lanisen’s eyebrows shoot up. “Lady Rosalind’s sister?” he asks incredulously.

Loc says, “Yes.”

Lanisen blows out a breath in a tuneless whistle.

Loc frowns. “What?”

Lanisen says, “Aimin’ high, ain’t you?”

Loc snorts, “You forget, she ain’t noble.”

Lanisen says, “She’s close.”

Loc says, “No, she ain’t. That famiyl is as common as you and me. Just cuz she got a sister in high places don’t mean much in the long run. She ain’t gonna be able to marry a noble man you know.”

Lanisen says, “Noble man takes a fancy to her, you can bet she’d be able. Happened before, plenty of times.” He pauses. “One worried sister in a high place like Lady Rosalind… ‘s more’n enough, you know that.”

Loc says, “Lady Rosalind was a special case. You don’t know nobles like I do Lanny. Half breeds ain’t looked on kindly. And Evey’d be the one aimming too high if she thought to marry a noble that way–to be honest, it’d be an unfair life to her. Noble women ain’t got the freedoms a spirited gal like her needs.”

Lanisen lets out a breath through his nose. “An’ a reformed criminal can,” he says flatly.

Loc flinches visibly, his expression souring, “I’ve /done/ my duty Lanny. I’m an /honest/ man now which is a lot more than Myrd can say.”
Loc says bitterly, “Can’t a man start over and make his way in the world? Or must I forbid myself the thoughts of ever being a decent family man because I’ve got myself in a spot before.” He scowls. “You’ll remember I’m the /only/ one who technically turned himself in.”
Loc says, “I did the /right/ thing.”

Lanisen says nothing further, only staring down at the bartop. His fingers clench white-knuckled around the handle of his mug.

Loc pushes his mug away, looking down. His voice is flat. “I wish they’d have just hung me.”
Loc says, “Woulda saved everyone trouble.”

Lanisen says harshly, though his voice is low, “Shut up.”

Loc looks at Lanisen, his expression dark. “You believe in ghosts Lanny?”

Lanisen looks at him silently and does not reply.

Loc’s voice lowers, “Cuz I /seen/ some ghosts that made me believe. Don’t /think/ that the noose ain’t around my neck either way.”
Loc’s look is pointed.

Lanisen says flatly, “What’re you sayin’?”

Loc shakes his head. “If you have to ask, then just forget it.” He stands. “And forget me. /You’re/ the lucky one. You got the protection of Anvard. Me? I just got my ghosts. And I think it just might kill me.” He begins to walk to the door.

Lanisen stands as Loc does, jogging a few steps to catch up with him. “Loc, stop.”

Loc pauses at the door.

Lanisen looks at him intently and keeps his voice low. “What are you sayin’?”

Loc says, “Your past doesn’t die Lanny. If you’re lucky, you can outlive it and get free. That’s what I intend to do.”

Lanisen stares at him, trying to ascertain his meaning without more questions.

Loc says, “Good night Lanny.” He turns and exits he tavern.

Lanisen stays where he’s standing, watching him go.

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