The road wends gently along the edge of the open and scattered woodlands that can be seen encroaching upon the eastern part of this region. To the west, the more open country of the plains can be seen rolling gently in low hills, and you can make out the telltale rooftops of the town of Lancelyn Green. The road here turns toward it.
The Sun and Moon Inn can be seen to the east here, neatly nestled into the trees. The structure looks to be quite old, but it has the proud gleam of a structure reclaimed and refitted, and it appears to be a pleasant place to pass the night. You can smell the pleasant aroma of something cooking in the pub. The road continues north to the Northern Path here.
Colin pulls Coalblack to a stop and swings out of the saddle, moving stiffly. “Think I’ll walk the rest of the way.”
Lanisen follows Colin’s lead and slides down from Maestro’s back, wincing. “Oh, hey,” he says wearily. “The town.”
Colin loops Coalblack’s reins loosely in his hands. “I like this place.”
Lanisen stretches, trying to work some of the soreness out of his back. He glances down the road into the town, chewing his lower lip. “Yeah.”
Colin rubs Coalblack’s ears. “How’s Maestro holding up?”
Lanisen gives the gelding an appraising look, reaching up to stroke his neck. “He’ll be better for a rub-down, I think,” he answers. “But he’s not half doughty, is he? There’s a good fellow.”
Colin grins. “He’s a good horse, that’s for sure.”
Lanisen nods, smiling fondly as the horse snuffles at him for apples, and answers, “We’re getting on all right.”
Colin chuckles and rubs his lower back. “You’d think I’d be used to this by now.”
Lanisen grumbles, shifting his weight with another grimace, “/I’m/ not.”
Colin snorts. “I think I’m just getting old…you’ll adjust.”
Lanisen rolls his eyes and raises one expressive eyebrow at Colin.
Colin looks at him and raises his free hand. “What?”
Lanisen says, “You’re fulla pond mud, sir.”
Colin says, “Excuse you.”
Lanisen shrugs, half-grinning. “Just call it like I see it.”
Colin says, “So helpful, you are.”
Lanisen says, “That’s me.”
Colin pats Coalblack’s shoulder. “We’ll give both of these gents a good rubdown at the stables before we go sniff out some dinner. Sound fair?”
Lanisen nods, coiling Maestro’s reins around his wrist, and hesitates. “Stables–at the inn?”
Colin nods. “Think those are the only ones.”
Lanisen says, “Oh. Right.” He moistens his lips, nearly bumping into Maestro as he gets his directions confused. “I never been here havin’ to worry about a horse,” he explains in a mumble.
Colin glances at Lanisen. “Is that the only reason?”
Lanisen says, “Reason–what?”
Colin asks, “You seem a little squidgy…you all right?”
Lanisen says, “I ain’t squidgy.”
Colin says, “Just making sure.”
Lanisen says, “Lead on, then.”
Colin nods and continues on the road into town.
Lanisen follows, coiling and uncoiling the slack reins in his hands.
Lancelyn Green — Middle Archenland
You stand in the entrance of the Lancelyn Green stables. Every so often you hear a neigh or whinny from one of the stable residents. Rows of stalls line the path ahead. Some are empty, others are occupied by horses. At the far northern end after a second row of stalls is a large door open to the
paddocks. In the middle of the stalls is an area where stable hands attend to the grooming and shoeing needs of the horses. To the right of this area is a ladder leading up to the loft. To the east is a door leading to the Feeding Area and to the west is a door to the Tack Room.
A bucket and fresh hay are provided in each stall for the horse. There is a soft crunch as you walk across the hard packed dirt floor scattered with hay. A young man with coppery hair and bright green eyes is preparing a nearby stall for a new resident. This looks like a fine place to keep your horse.
Colin finds an empty stall, directed by one of the stablehands. He sets about untacking Coalblack and making him comfortable.
Lanisen follows after him and takes the stall next door. He glances up at the loft as he passes underneath the ladder, then quietly unloads and unsaddles Maestro. He is thorough with the rub-down, taking his time.
Colin works on Coalblack’s rubdown, talking at the horse animatedly.
Lanisen, working silently in contrast, finishes up. He glances over at Colin, then lets himself out of the stall and closes it behind him. Maestro follows and whuffles at him across the door.
Colin rubs Coalblack’s ears one last time before leaving the stall and looking around the stable.
Lanisen asks, “All good?”
Colin nods, grabbing his stuff. “I think so. You?”
Lanisen nods, giving Maestro’s velvety nose one more stroke before he slings his satchel over his shoulder. “He’s settled.”
Colin asks, “Excellent. To the inn, then?”
Lanisen nods, falling into step.
Colin leads the way out of the stable doors.
Lanisen follows him toward the inn, but begins to lag behind, and eventually halts outside the front door.
Colin slows with him and glances at him when he completely stops.
Lanisen looks sick. He takes a couple steps backwards. “I’m not actually that hungry,” he confesses. “Go ahead, I’m gonna–I’ll be in the stables.”
Colin reaches out and catches him by the shoulder before he takes off. “Hang on there, buddy. What’s going on?”
Lanisen flinches and ducks away. “Just not hungry is all, not feeling great.”
Colin’s voice softens. “Hey, Lanisen. What’s up?”
Lanisen says, “Nothing, all right? I just don’t want to eat. Can’t a fellow not eat when he’s not hungry?” He is white around the mouth and won’t look Colin in the eye.
Colin motions. “Come on, let’s take a walk.”
Lanisen darts a quick glance at Colin. He swallows, then nods assent.
Colin leads the way up the path where they have more privacy.
Lanisen follows, shoulders hunched guiltily.
Colin puts his hands in pockets and walks alongside Lanisen amiably.
Lanisen stays silent, eyes on the ground in front of him.
Colin just continues to walk along patiently.
Lanisen finally breaks the silence, asking in a lower voice, “So’re we… going anywhere in particular, or.”
Lanisen says, “…Right.”
Colin points out some yellowing leaves. “Looks like fall’s coming.”
Lanisen says, “Looks like it.”
Colin asks, “My favorite time of year. What’s yours, Lanisen?”
Lanisen says, “Dunno. Summer.”
Colin nods, shoving his hand back into his pocket. “Hey, Lanisen?”
Lanisen says guiltily, “Sir?”
Colin asks, “We’re friends, right?”
Lanisen says, shoulders straightening a little, “Yes, sir.”
Colin asks, “You know you can talk to me about anything then, right?”
Lanisen goes tongue-tied and frozen. After a minute, he gives a little jerky nod.
Colin just nods and says, “Just so you know.” He then falls silent and continues to walk aimlessly.
Lanisen releases a breath. He doesn’t move for a minute, then follows Colin.
Colin lightly begins to whistle under his breath for a while before finally turning to go back the way they came.
Lanisen walks with him, slightly behind and to the right. He keeps quiet, though, and as before he shies away from the inn door, gesturing toward the stable instead. “I’ll…”
Colin nods. “Go keep Maestro company. I’ll bring you something for later when you’re hungry.”
Lanisen pauses. “Thanks,” he says, and slips away, all but melting into the evening shadows.