Colin sits at a corner table away from most of the people who seem to have decided to eat there today. He’s going over a few papers and scribbling in a book, glancing at the door periodically.
Lanisen leans in through the tavern tavern door, casting a quick glance around. Once he’s spotted Colin, he enters, taking a slightly circuitous route to avoid going near too many people, and slides neatly into the other chair at his table.
Colin looks up from his work to see Lanisen sitting across from him. “When’d you get here?”
Lanisen says, frowning, “Just now?”
Colin closes his book. “Ah. Good. Sometimes I get so caught up people will sit there for sometimes ten minutes…”
Lanisen blinks a bit, then shakes his head. “You need a minder,” he says. “What are you even doing?”
Colin squints at him. “A minder?”
Lanisen says, “Yes.”
Colin asks, “Why?”
Lanisen says, “Because you do stuff like stick your dagger in your satchel without its sheath on and tune out an entire tavern including your own table when you’re interested in something.”
Colin narrows his eyes at him skeptically. “Why is that a bad thing?”
Lanisen holds up Colin’s coinpurse.
Colin snatches it back from him. “You said you just got here!” He accuses. “How much did you take.”
Lanisen just grins.
Colin chucks the coinpurse at him.
Lanisen snickers out loud and snatches the purse out of the air. He sends it sliding back across the table toward Colin. “What are you doing?” he asks, nodding at the book.
Colin shrugs, securing his coin purse on his belt with a glare in his direction. “Just taking notes, locations of the hideouts and such.”
Lanisen nods approvingly. “Can I–?” he asks, gesturing at the book.
Colin nods and slides it towards him. “Sure.”
Lanisen flips quickly through the pages until he finds the new maps. These he examines critically, nodding at what he sees. “These are good,” he comments. He reaches for the writing utensil and makes a few minor corrections to the shape of the underground riverbank, light enough that Colin can erase it later. “It sticks out a little bit here… and… here,” he says. “There’s a bunch of rocks down this way, that’s why the boat’s where it is. You could get drowned pretty easy if you tried to cross any further downstream than… /here/.”
Colin leans forward to watch him make the adjustments. “Thanks, that’s actually really good to know. Hey, did any of you ever like…have any arms or legs fall off from swimming in that sludge water?”
Lanisen says, “Oh, yeah, I once lost all my arms and legs.”
Colin says, “I thought you looked kind of funny.”
Lanisen grins down at the map, shading in to show where the current is particularly strong. “None of us ever tried swimmin’ in it.”
Colin points at the map. “So if you’re in one of those /boats/ and you try to cross past here, you’ll drown. Nevermind swimming. Am I following?”
Lanisen says, “Well. Maybe not drown. Get mighty wet, though.”
Colin ahs. “Well, a little water never hurt anybody, right?” He says with a grin.
Lanisen gives him a look.
Colin amends, “Unless it’s that water.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah see how it narrows right there? It’s /fast/. And here?” He adds a little line across the river. “It goes underground. No idea where it comes out. And that water is /foul/, drink any and you’re pukin’ up your innards for a week.”
Colin watches closely. “Noted. Water not provided in that hideout. Hey, in the other one, the one here, the water from the waterfall’s safe, right?”
Lanisen taps the tabletop, thinking. “Pretty sure,” he says. “It tastes clean enough. None of us ever got sick from it, anyway.”
Colin nods thoughtfully. “What did you all do for water in Lancelyn Green? Just waterskins?”
Lanisen hesitates a beat. “Yeah,” he says. “Somebody’d make a run every day, there was a stream where we washed stuff. When we did.” He grins lopsidedly.
Colin snorts. “Waited til your shirt could stand up on it’s own, huh?”
Lanisen says, “Pretty much.” He looks back down at the map, scanning it again for any inaccuracies, and studies the sketch of the small blocked-off chamber expressionlessly. “That’s right,” he says after a long pause.
Colin looks at the map once more and gives an approving nod. “Good. Accuracy is very important. I’ve gotten better than I used to be but my skills still need improving.”
Lanisen nods, still looking at the representation of the tiny room, then abruptly straightens and slides the book back over to Colin. “Yeah. ‘S good.”
Colin closes the book and banishes the map. “Excellent. Thanks for your help.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah. No problem.”
Colin tucks the book away. “Sometime you should look over my region maps and tell me what I’ve left out.” he says, only half joking.
Lanisen says, “Haaa. Fraid I wouldn’t be nearly as much help there.”
Colin chuckles. “Worth a shot. Have you eaten?”
Lanisen says, “Nah. Not hungry.”
Colin asks, “You sure? I hear the fish stew is excellent.” He says with a straight face.
Lanisen raises an unimpressed eyebrow at him.
Colin laughs. “Never mind then.”
Lanisen nods at the book. “You got anything else interesting in there?”
Colin asks, “My pack?”
Lanisen snorts under his breath. “Your book, genius. You been any other interesting places?”
Colin shakes his head. “Nothing terribly interesting. Just Archenland, however Narnia is definitely high on my list some day.” He rubs his chin.
Lanisen raises his eyebrows. “Narnia? Why Narnia?”
Colin holds back a grin. “Please, who doesn’t want to see talking animals up close and personal? Also it’s easier to get there than the Lone Islands or Galma.”
Lanisen says, “Me. I don’t. That’s weird.”
Colin eyes him. “Seriously. Talking dogs. Wolves. Bears. Cats. Beavers! I want to talk to a beaver.”
Lanisen says, “Rabbits, deer, chickens, geese. I’d like to see you meet a talking deer. Tell me that wouldn’t be awkward.”
Colin grins and shrugs. “Well, as long as you don’t decide to pull out a venison sandwich to munch on I think it would be fun.”
Lanisen says, “It would be awkward.”
Colin waves his hand from side to side. “All right, yes a bit but still come on!”
Lanisen gives him a doubtful look.
Colin rubs his chin. “Though…hunting might be awkward. You’d have to try to converse with the thing to make sure it’s safe to kill but that would alert it to your presence…”
Lanisen lets out a delighted snort of laughter. “Oh, I can see that now.”
Colin says, “Now I’m seriously concerned about this.”
Lanisen says, “You’ll just have to eat your vegetables for once in your life is all.”
Colin’s face blanches in horror at the idea. “Perish the thought.”
Lanisen snickers. “What about Calormen?” he asks. “You been there?”
Colin shakes his head. “No, but I wish. It sounds even stranger than Narnia. I want to see it some day.”
Lanisen nods. “I just about went one time,” he says casually.
Colin raises his eyebrows in surprise. “Did you now?”
Lanisen mms. “Woulda been… six, seven years ago now? Hadn’t been on my own very long, there was a fellow said he was a merchant with a business out of Calormen, said he was willing to take me on, teach me the trade.”
Colin wows under his breath. “Why didn’t you go?” He asks curiously.
Lanisen shrugs. “Got spooked. Seemed too good to be true. Anyway I didn’t fancy the thought of crossing the desert.”
Colin nods. “That doesn’t sound too enjoyable really…”
Lanisen pulls a face and shakes his head.
Colin muses, “You’d have to take a lot of water…”
Lanisen mutters, “And a knife.”
Colin replies, “Well, you always should have a knife…but why would you need one for the desert?”
Lanisen gives him a quick sidelong look and an odd, thin smile. “Well. He. Wasn’t a merchant, most likely. At least–not that kind of merchant.”
Colin’s mouth twists with disgust. “Oh. Well….it’s a good thing you didn’t go with him probably.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah.” He sits back in his chair. “You see ’em more in the city, near the trade routes. They watch for kids who’ve run off or ain’t got family. You get canny real quick or you disappear too.”
Colin frowns. “Ever see any of those sorts here in Archenland?”
Lanisen says, “I never been out of Archenland.”
Colin nods. “Well yes, we established that. But…are you talking about what you’ve heard about what those sorts do down in Calormene or have you seen this yourself here?
Lanisen says, “Slaves ain’t allowed here. It’s all just rumor, ’cause nobody comes back, but. Yeah, I knew some kids who disappeared.”
Colin says, “Yeah, they aren’t allowed here but that doesn’t mean people can’t be taken….wonder where they’d take them.”
Lanisen says, “Dunno. Calormen’s big.”
Colin muses, “It would be interesting to find out more…”
Lanisen says, “Wouldn’t know where to start, now.”
Colin hehs and starts gathering up his papers. “Seriously…I’d have to think on that one. Hm. Not tonight though…I’m beat.”
Lanisen scrubs a hand over his face. “Yeah. Me too. Mmf.”
Colin looks at his pile of stuff and then shoves it all into his pack. “I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything today…”
Lanisen says, “You drew a nice map.”
Colin gives him a grin. “Thanks. Thanks for your help on it, too.” he shoulders his pack with a tired sigh. “To the lodge?”
Lanisen stands up, stretching. “Lodge,” he agrees, and makes a ‘gimme’ gesture at Colin’s pack.
Colin raises an eyebrow in confusion and holds tightly to his pack. “What do you want with it…”
Lanisen says, “Uh, I thought I’d take it for a walk, maybe fix it up with some daisies and roses. Find it a pet kitten.”
Colin uh huhs and squeezes past him. “No time for kittens and roses, buddy.”
Lanisen chortles, reaching out to try and snag the pack so he can carry it instead.
Colin gives him a highly skeptical and confused look before dashing out the door ahead of Lanisen.