making amends

Fischer’s Tavern
Western Archenland

Lanisen is at a table near a window, close to the back of the room where he can sit with his back to the wall and keep an eye on both the road and the other tavern patrons. He’s about halfway through a bowl of soup and an ale.

Eston walks into the tavern and makes his way towards the bar, buying himself some ale, he looks exhausted and stressed.

Lanisen watches the man with the same casual interest he gives to the rest of the patrons and takes another bite of soup.

Eston sits down at the bar and downs the ale, his shoulders slumped helplessly.

Lanisen finishes his soup, dividing his attention automatically between the relatively busy road outside and the quiet tavern, then stands up and heads for the bar to return his bowl and get another ale. He nods to Eston.

Eston gives him a little wave and forces a smile, “Lanisen wasn’t it?”

Lanisen nods confirmation and asks, “Eston, yeah?”

Eston nods, “That’s me”

Lanisen passes over a few coins to Fischer and takes a quick gulp of his drink. “How’s the day treatin’ you?”

Eston sighs and takes another swig of the ale, “Don’t get me started…”

Lanisen looks uncertain. “Sorry to hear that.”

Eston sets down the tankard, “Yeah, well.” He gives a helpless sigh, “How’re you then?”

Lanisen shrugs. “Well enough. Staying warm.”

Eston says, “The weather’s turning that’s sure…”

Lanisen nods, glancing out the window. “There’s snow in those clouds,” he says. “Hope it falls on the mountains and not us.”

Eston goes a little pale, “Yeah, here’s hoping”

Lanisen glances at him. “You got a while before you need to worry, if it’s travel you’re thinkin’ of,” he says. “First snowfalls don’t usually stick around too long.”
Lanisen pauses, then adds, “Though there was that one year…”

Eston picks up the tankard and drinks, setting it down heavily, “Is not the travel I’m worried about, I can handle it.”

Lanisen looks puzzled for a minute, then ahhs. “Work?”

Eston shakes his head, “No, it’s my daughter I’m worried about…”

Lanisen frowns, uncertain and hesitating. “I… see…”

Eston says weakly, “She’s sick..”

Lanisen stares at him. His face twists briefly with sympathy, and he sits down. “Talked to the healer?” he asks more quietly.

Eston says, “Yeah, I have. She don’t know what it is.”

Lanisen asks after a pause, “Is it bad?”

Eston nods, staring back down at the tankard.

Lanisen nods and looks down. He doesn’t say anything more.

Eston shakes his head, “Well, enough about that!”

Lanisen shrugs, glancing at him wryly. “Buy you an ale?” he asks, then stops, squints at the tankard in front of Eston, and amends, “Slice of pie? I have it on good authority that the blackberry’s good. If you like that kind of thing.”

Eston finishes the ale and waves towards the empty tankard, “If you’re offering”

Lanisen hands over the requisite coins and watches Fischer get the next ale. “So you’ll be in town a while, then.”

Eston says in a shaking voice, “I want to I really do, If I could I would but I can’t stay ’cause I have to get the money for her medicines ‘else she’ll…”

Lanisen moistens his lips. “You could– you could talk to the lord and lady at the manor, maybe see about a loan? There’s gotta be something…”

Eston says, “And why would they help me? They don’t know me, I’m nobody”

Lanisen shrugs. “You’re in their town, your kid lives here. Get somebody from home to vouch for you, maybe.”

Eston says, “I ain’t got noone home..”

Lanisen asks, “Nobody at all? Nobody you done work for, no neighbors?”

Eston says, “Yeah there’s them..”

Lanisen says, “There you go, then. That’s something, right?”

Eston takes another swig from the tankard, “I dunno if you notice but noone cares about the little folks, we’s just here and it don’t make no difference to them in their big halls whether we live or die”

Lanisen pulls back. “That ain’t true.”

Eston says, “How’s it not true? When my wife died there wasn’t noone but me and our families that cared, when Aus next door’s little boy died ‘fore he was even three years old noone cared””

Lanisen pauses. “Listen,” he says finally, staring at the bartop, “I don’t know about that, I dunno your story, but you could try. What’s the worst that could happen, they say no? You’re no worse off than you are now.”

Eston says, “Guess you’re right, sorry about that”

Lanisen shakes his head. “I’m sorry. It ain’t my business.”

Eston says, “It’s alright”

Lanisen takes a drink, glancing out the window briefly.

Eston downs the rest of his drink, putting the tankard down a little more forcefully than strictly necessary.

Lanisen jumps, looking quickly at his companion.

Eston blinks, “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you”

Lanisen says, “It’s fine.”

Eston nods, grimacing slightly, “I don’t half bring the mood down do I?” he forces himself to smile, “I never did ask how your day’s been.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, ahh.” He shrugs. “Fine? You know Carmichael, never a dull moment.”

Eston nods absentmindedly, “What’s it you do?”

Lanisen says, “Tend hounds, when I’m at home. I’m here on a, uh, a hunting trip with a friend now. Wanted to get one in before the snows come, you know.”

Eston asks, “You ain’t from ’round here? Where abouts you from then?”

Lanisen says, “Well, I am, sort of. Grew up in these parts.”

Eston says, “But where you visiting from, sorry I’m a bit of a nosy parker”

Lanisen says, “Anvard.”

Eston looks surprised at this, “What the castle?”

Lanisen nods. “Been a servant there for …ahh, four, five years now?”

Eston says, “Really? Well fancy that”

Lanisen grins faintly at some private joke and says, “It’s nothing exciting.”

Eston nods towards the scar, “Vicious dogs though?”

Lanisen asks blankly, “What?”

Eston says, “Your neck”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He runs a thumb over the scar and raises his eyebrows briefly. “Forget that’s there. Nah, that’s not from a dog. This one is, though.” He rolls up his left sleeve and displays an ugly, ropy mass of white scar tissue with evident pride.

Eston winces sympathetically, “Owch, that looks like it was painful”

Lanisen rolls down his sleeve, grinning. “Yeah, it was prettier’n that for a while. We’re on better terms now, me’n the hound.”

Eston says, “i should hope so, it looks like it’s tried to take your arm off”

Lanisen says, “Nahh, he was just scared. Bad day for everybody.”

Eston says, “I can see that”

Lanisen says, “It happens. I was kinda new to hounds then, too, made mistakes. You get your scars and move on.” He touches his throat again unconsciously.

Eston notes the touch but decides not to question it further, “Ain’t that a fact”

Lanisen turns his tankard in a circle idly. “Anyway. Yeah. Hounds. It ain’t a bad life.”

Eston says, “I’m sure it ain’t”

Lanisen asks, “You always been a thatcher?”

Eston nods, “Yep, since I was a lad and ‘prenticed to one”

Lanisen tilts his head slightly in Eston’s direction and rolls his eyes self-deprecatingly, conceding that the answer was pretty obvious. “Makes sense.”

Eston gives a short laugh, “Yeah it’s not that interesting I’ll admit”

Lanisen says, “Eh.” He shrugs. “Interestin’ ain’t everything.”

Eston raises an eyebrow quizzically, “What d’you mean?”

Lanisen says, “Nothing.”

Eston says, “a’right”

Lanisen glances out the window again, pursing his lips on one side as he looks down the road.

Eston looks out the window, “Waiting for someone?”

Lanisen says, “My friend, yeah, the one I’m travelin’ with. Ain’t seen him since morning. Figured he was at the range, but no way with this wind.” He pauses, then adds, “…well, maybe. He would.”

Eston says, “I’m sure he’ll turn up”

Lanisen says, “Yeah.” He eyes the road for another minute, then turns around and takes a long drink. “Two months from now, prob’ly, missin’ three toes from frost and wearin’ his beard like a gaffer.” He doesn’t sound too concerned.

Eston chuckles, “That’s be a sight to be sure”

Lanisen snorts, laughing under his breath at the picture.

Eston says, “Your friend sounds like quite the character”

Lanisen assures him, “Oh, he is.”

Eston says, “wouldn’t mind meeting him”

Lanisen says, “I’ll introduce you if he shows up. He said somethin’ about wantin’ to head to Coghill so I don’t reckon we’ll be here much longer, though.”

Eston frowns slightly, “Coghill…That’s uh, small place kind of south right?”

Lanisen pauses to think. “South, yeah, right south of Anvard.” He frowns thoughtfully. “It ain’t that small? I mean if you compare it to Chesterton maybe…”

Eston shrugs, “Ain’t never been there, just saying what I heard”

Lanisen shrugs. “I only been the once. It’s nice. Lotta trees.”

Eston asks, “You travel a lot?”

Lanisen snorts and takes another sip of ale. “Lately, yeah.”

Eston says, “You and your friend must like your hunting”

Lanisen says, “Oh, you know.”

Eston shakes his head curiously, “Can’t say I do, never been one for the hunting and such like”

Lanisen says, rather uncomfortably, “It ain’t for everybody.”

Eston says, “Trapped rabbits and the like when I was a lad, but nothng more than that”

Lanisen nods vaguely.

Eston asks, “Something wrong?”

Lanisen asks, “What? No, sorry.”

Eston shrugs, “Not a problem”

Lanisen is slouching at the bar next to Eston, swirling his ale idly in its tankard.

Eston goes back to staring down at his empty tankard.

Colin enters the tavern and gives his normal cursory glance around, peering into the corners. With a slight frown, he approaches the one familiar face and claps him on the shoulder, ordering his own ale. “How’s the head?” He asks Lanisen loudly, allowing a grin to appear on his face.

Eston tears his eyes away from the depressingly ale-free tankard to cast a cursory glance towards the newcomer, “Is this the friend you were on about?” he asks Lanisen

Lanisen jumps, then shoves at Colin good-naturedly. “Aye,” he answers Eston. “Thinks he’s funny.”

Colin answers by thumping Lanisen on the shoulder as he accepts his tankard and lifts it to Lanisen’s unfamiliar companion. “Glad to meet you, stranger.”

Eston says, “And you too” He holds out a hand “The name’s Eston”

Colin takes the hand and gives it a firm shake. “Colin.”

Lanisen asks, “Where you been, sir?”

Colin waves his hand dismissively and drinks deeply from his tankard. “Around!” he replies when he resurfaces.

Eston casts a glance towards Lanisen, “Sir?”

Lanisen says, “Oh, around.”

Colin waves his hand in a circle for emphasis. “Yes, around. The term’s quite popularly used to describe when one has been in a vicinity.”

Lanisen says, “Makes perfect sense.”

Eston takes the opportunity while the other two are busy talking amongst themselves to buy himself another tankard of ale.

Colin takes another swig. “Of course it does.” he sets his tankard on the bar emphatically. “How are the both of you this evening?”

Eston takes a swig of his ale, “Could be better, but I already bored Lanisen with my troubles so I ain’t gonna do that again”

Lanisen ehhs, for his part, making a vague gesture with his tankard. At Eston’s words, he shrugs.

Colin raises eyebrows at Lanisen. “Just ehh? Still nursing a headache?” He asks with a knowing grin.

Lanisen says with dignity, “That was hours ago.”

Colin says, “Sure it was.”

Lanisen says, raising an eyebrow, “I have no idea what you’re talkin’ about.”

Colin takes another drink from his tankard, shaking his head with a laugh.

Eston asks, “Been out on the drink last night?”

Lanisen groans out loud. “I wasn’t even that–/lion/.”

Colin snickers, keeping his thoughts to himself.

Eston grins, “Sounds to me like you was”

Lanisen says to Colin, “Hate you.”

Colin gives Lanisen a thumbs up as he takes another swig. “Sure ya do.”

Eston says, “There’s no shame in it, happens to the best of us”

Lanisen says, “/Thank/ you.” He looks at Colin and points at Eston as if to say ‘see??’.

Colin lifts both of his hands in defense. “I never said anything to the contrary!”

Lanisen grumbles, “Don’t see what’s so funny about it, then.”

Colin grins at him. “I’ll make sure to wake you next time I imbibe too much. Maybe I’ll trip over your cot or something.”

Eston takes a swig of his ale, “Don’t drink too much when hunting mind, else you’ll get gored by a boar or something, heard of that happening”

Lanisen says, “Course not. What kind of idiot would drink on a hunt for boar?”

Colin grumbles a bit. “Heard of a couple of those idiots.”

Lanisen says, “Wait, really? People actually do that?”

Eston nods, “Yeah, you hear stories”

Colin nods. “When I was younger, anyone who’d been caught imbibing before a hunt was forced to stay back in Anvard.”

Eston raises an eyebrow, “You work in Anvard too?”

Lanisen laughs into his tankard at this.

Colin kicks Lanisen. “Could say that.”

Eston asks, “What’s funny?”

Lanisen chokes on a mouthful of ale and has to cough a bit. He glares at Colin.

Colin good naturedly returns the glare with a grin as he pounds Lanisen’s shoulder once or twice with apparent friendliness. “Eh, old Lanny here thinks a lot of things are funny.”

Lanisen mumbles “Yeah, like your face.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “Yeah, … … face.”, to Lanisen.

Colin’accidentally’ kicks him again.

Eston remarks with an amused shake of the head, “Laugh a minute with you two innit?”

Lanisen casually steals his money pouch in revenge.
You steal the 2680 coins from Colin! (And no one sees you do it! Hee hee!)

Colin snatches his money pouch back, thumping Lanisen. “Depends on your perspective.” He replies to Eston.

Lanisen grunts and ducks away, laughing.

Eston says, “seems pretty amusing to me”

Colin drains his tankard and orders another. “Oh good, glad we can keep you entertained.” He says with a grin. “So Eston…I’ve been to Carmichael a lot recently and haven’t encountered you before. Are you from around here?”

Eston shakes his head, “No, here on a visit, from Andale, though I only moved there recently”

Colin nods his head, interested. “Andale is a good town. Where are you from originally, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Lanisen asks the barkeep for a cup of water while he’s getting Colin’s ale.

Eston gives a shrug to indicate he doesn’t mind, “Lancelyn Green”

Colin nods. “Also another nice place. What took you to Andale?”

Eston’s expression darkens slightly and he takes another swig of his ale, “…I don’t much like to talk on it, moved there after my wife died…”

Lanisen winces and gives Colin a quick apologetic glance.

Colin’s expression appropriately fills with sympathy and he nods. “Sorry to hear that. I’m from Nieklot myself, but I travel all over for work. If you’ve ever need of anything, flag me down. That’s my job.” He explains, graciously offering an out to allow Eston to move on from the sad topic.

Eston takes the out and asks, “Your job’s helping people?”

Colin nods. “Been known to be, yeah.”

Eston asks, “What kind of stuff d’you help with?”

Lanisen takes a long drink of water, makes a what-the-hey face, and orders pie.

Colin eyes Lanisen pointedly as if to say “Where’s mine?” and replies to Eston. “Mostly I help if there’s bad stuff. Mischief, banditry, the like. But, that often doesn’t happen, so I try to help with disagreements, disputes, and when there’s none of that I’ll do almost anything. Been known to whitewash, even.” He says with a slight grin.

Eston gives a little chuckle, “So you’re a bounty hunter who dabbles in home improvement”

Colin frowns slightly at the idea. “I don’t do bounty. They don’t help, the way I see it.”

Lanisen asks, “How’s that?”

Colin replies, “Bounty hunter just goes after bandits and thieves and takes them in. Leaves them in the castle and takes pay for it. I don’t do that.” he says, a little darkly.

Lanisen says, “Well, no, obviously, but how’s it not help? Bandit still gets caught, way I see it.”

Eston raises an eyebrow, “What’s it you do to them then?”

Colin says, “What if the so-called thief is a starving child? Or mother with children? Or an old senile neighbor like that old man in Lancelyn Green couple months ago? Bounty hunter may or may not take them in, but they wouldn’t do anything about it. I’m in a position to help fix what’s causing problems like that. I don’t just deal with bandits.”

Lanisen stays quiet, looking into his water glass.

Eston gives a thoughtful nod, staring down into his tankard of ale, “I’m sure that’s mighty fine of you…”

Colin doesn’t appear to be too pleased with that response either, but he says nothing as he finally drinks from his untouched tankard.

Eston looks up with an apologetic smile, “Sorry, just had a thought there, I’m sure they appreciate the help”

Lanisen stirs, glancing at Eston speculatively. He raises his eyebrows at him, darting his eyes briefly toward Colin.

Colin drains his tankard. “Some do. Some don’t.”

Eston catches Lanisen’s glance and gives him a puzzled look

Lanisen looks vaguely frustrated and nods toward Colin again.

Eston gives a brief look of realisation and hesitates before taking a swig from his ale and saying slowly and carefully, “I…Don’t mean to impose but…You did say you helped folks and…Well you don’t happen to know where I can find affordable medicine, only my daughter…”

Colin perks up slightly. “Probably. What kind of medicine do you need for her?”

Eston rummages in a pocked and hands him a shabby, crumpled bit of parchment, “The healer written it down what she’s needing”

Lanisen sits back, looking pleased.

Colin takes the parchment from him and scrutinizes it. “I can definitely get you what you need. Mind if I hang on to this?” he asks.

Eston nods, “Sure thing”

Colin asks, “How old is she?”

Eston says, “Just a few months..”

Colin nods, offering him a smile. “If you need help getting to know your neighbors, I know several families with children and I’m sure you’d be able to find other help you need as well.”

Eston returns the smile, “That’s very kind of you”

Lanisen stays quiet, listening with a faint smile.

Colin hms thoughtfully, fully lost as his brain spins. “Also while you are here, if you need help with someone to watch her for a few hours, I know people. The one who comes to mind first is the innkeeper’s wife, Aryna. She’s quite capable and the best cook I’ve ever met. They have a four year old son so she’s quite experienced with children.”

Eston nods with a smile, “I got family that’s looking after her right now, but I’ll remember for the future”

Colin nods. “Of course. If we’re ever not around and you happen to meet, tell her I gave you her name.”

Eston asks, “How much’ll I owe for the medicines?”

Lanisen cuts into his pie, glancing sideways at Colin. He stays quiet.

Colin replies, “I’ll let you know when I get it all together. Sound fair?”

Eston nods, “Sounds fair yeah”

Lanisen leans forward to glance over Eston’s list.

Colin tilts it so Lanisen can get a look.

Lanisen reads it over, then taps the second item on the list, glancing at Colin. “Lancelyn Green, for sure.”

Colin nods. “Definitely.”

Lanisen considers the fourth thing on the list. “Adrian makes that tincture in huge smelly batches every fall, that’s easy.”

Colin points to the last two things. “And I know for sure we can get these in Coghill.”

Eston listens to them hopefully.

Lanisen asks, “Coghill, really?”

Colin nods. “I know someone. It’ll come in handy.”

Lanisen says, “Huh.”

Eston says carefully, “Sounds like they’s coming from many places”

Lanisen says, “Adrian’s prob’ly got ’em all in those dusty bottles he’s got squirreled away. I just saw this one at the Lancelyn Green apothecary two weeks ago or so though, that’s why I thought of it.”

Colin nods. “Good thinking. We can get it on our way to Anvard, just to be safe. And if Adrian doesn’t have those last two, we can nab ’em in Coghill.”

Lanisen says, “How ’bout just skip straight to Anvard and try that first? I’d trust Adrian over whoever does the brewing in Lancelyn Green.”

Eston looks down, “I hope I’m not putting you all to trouble”

Colin comments, “True. We have to come back through Lancelyn Green anyway.” He looks to Eston and replies, “Not at all.”

Eston says, “Well I’m glad about that”

Lanisen says, “Or we could go to Coghill first and see how many of them your friend has? That might be shorter, since you were wanting to go there anyway.”

Colin sits comfortably at the bar with a tankard of ale and two other men. “Nah, let’s do Anvard first.”

Lanisen frowns slightly, then ahhs. “All right, sure.”

Colin quirks an eyebrow in confusion. “What?”

Lanisen says, “Nothing? You got stuff to do in Anvard?”

Eston watches them with some curiosity, taking a swig of his ale.

Armel enters the tavern and, after giving a glance round to the others, moves to a table off to the side of the room to sit alone. He stretches his legs under the table and pulls out a few wooden figures from his pocket, two hares and a hound, unfinished. He takes out a small knife then and proceeds to work on the hound’s ears.

Lanisen says, “Oh. Well.” He pauses uncertainly and asks, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to just go straight to Coghill, then?” He glances up automatically as the door opens and does a double-take.

Colin gives Lanisen a look. “It makes sense to go where we might have more luck and maybe save the trip.” He then follows Lanisen’s gaze and looks at the newcomer with a bit of confusion before he blinks in recognition.”

Eston glances towards the newcomer but, not recognising him he pays him no heed. Instead he finishes his ale and sets the tankard down on the bar before standing. “Sorry to leave all sudden, but I got to go check on my daughter”

Lanisen quickly turns to face the bar so that his back is toward Armel. He looks like he wishes the floor would open up underneath him.

Colin glances over at Eston and nods, reaching his hand out. “Good to meet you tonight, Eston. We’ll definitely be seeing you soon.”

Chip chip, the newcomer works away at the hound. He brushes a fleck of wood from his beard and then resumes his work. If people are staring at him he doesn’t seem to notice, or particularly mind. Oh yep, that’s a little sly grin he’s got there. He sets the hound on the table and sets the rabbits one by one with their tails turned to it.

Eston gives Colin a firm handshake, “It was nice meeting you and…Thanks for the help, I appreciate it I really do” With a last goodbye to Lanisen and Colin, he makes his way out the tavern and into the street outside.

Lanisen stays silent, tapping with his fingertip against the side of his glass and resolutely not looking back at the artist. He barely seems to notice Eston leaving.

Colin glances at Lanisen, quietly sipping from his ale while he tries to decide what to do.

The man at the table plays a little game with his wooden figurines. The hound pursues the rabbits who fall off the edge of the table while he sings, “Oh the merry ol’ hound’ll chase them down, down down the hole, under the oak with the great big bole. Aye he’ll chase them round and round and down, and in the dark goes the hound.”

Colin’s brows raise as he continues to nurse his ale. He looks at Lanisen over his tankard when Armel starts singing.

Lanisen closes his eyes briefly, head bowed. He doesn’t look at Colin.

Armel finishes his little game and moves to the bar, leaving the animals on the floor or on the table, depending on the species. He orders one ale. If the men recognize him he does not seem to share this, but simply waves and says, “Evenin'”

Colin nods at him over his ale. “Evenin’.” he replies casually.

Lanisen takes and releases a breath, coming to some private resolution, and raises his head. “Let me,” he says to Fischer, and slides the coins for Armel’s ale over to the barkeep.

Colin watches Lanisen.

Armel blinks and accepts the man’s offer with a smile. “Well thank you. Can’t remember the last time a Son of Adam bought me a drink.”

Lanisen laughs weakly. “Ahh. Heh. Well.” He looks down at his money pouch. “Ah. I’ve. Bought a few drinks with your money, so I figure it’s only fair.” He swallows, and with a hand that trembles slightly he slides his money pouch down the bar toward Armel.

Colin can’t resist. “Used to gettin’ them from talking bears, are ya?” He grins, before falling quiet as Lanisen hands over the pouch. He watches.

Armel laughs at the light haired man. “Dwarfs mostly,” says the man and then turns his full attention to Lanisen. “Oh, well, that was a long time ago. It’s good to see you come round to the good side. Apparently I have as well.” He tries to sound casual, but there’s a bit o’ moisture in the corners of his eyes.

Lanisen looks even more uncomfortable. He stares at his hands and says, “Um. Well. Don’t matter how long it’s been, to my way of thinking, um. I’m sorry.”

Colin squints a bit and remains quiet.

Armel nods and puts the pouch into his purse. “Well, that’s right honorable of you. I’ll remember this. Don’t believe I ever caught your name.” He sounds a bit more, well, dwarfish than he did those years back, in diction if not in accent. “But you mighta tossed it. I was a dim lad then.”

Lanisen says, “Lanisen, it’s Lanisen.” He pauses. “Um. I don’t… ‘fraid I don’t remember your name.”

Colin keeps working on his own ale.

“Arm’l,” says the former artist, whose hands are calloused and covered in dust. “You had a gang, no? What become of them? I know Loc, work with him in the mines, but you had a lady with ya at least.”

Lanisen moistens his lips. His eyes dart to the other tavern patrons with a bit of a deer-in-headlights look, then he glances at Colin. “Uh. Um. Yeah, that’s right, there was–there was me, and Loc, then one that, uh, died–two more in Narnia now. I–I heard they went straight too.”

Colin’s tankard hides the scowl that darkens his face.

Armel nods his head, “I see. Well, by the mane, if the world don’t go upside down after you’ve been inside it a few years.” he doesn’t say anything else, but slumps a little and has a large swallow of ale.

Lanisen says, “Heh,” and goes awkwardly silent.

Colin drains his tankard and scoots away from the bar, sliding off his stool. “Evenin’.” He says quietly before exiting the tavern.

Lanisen gives him a quick look of panic.

“Eve’ Oh hold on,” Armel says and holds up his dusty hand. “I ain’t left this town in ’bout five years and am meaning to visit the old home but I’ll be as lost as anything. How does one get to Anvard?”

Colin walks out to the square.

Lanisen watches Colin go, looking lost. He casts a quick glance around the tavern, all but shrinking under the unfriendly looks directed at him, and wets his lips again. “Um,” he says. “It’s east, just keep taking the road east, past Lancelyn Green. You’ll get there.”

Armel nods his head and finishes his ale. “Thank you, Lanisen. Enjoy your stay in town. I should be packing.” He moves over to collect his figurines and then hurries out of the room.

Lanisen watches him go. He doesn’t wait too long before standing and slipping out of the tavern with his head ducked.


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