hounds and knights

The Bird and Baby’s Tavern
Southeastern Archenland

Lanisen enters the tavern, letting in a burst of cold air, and closes the door behind him. He stamps on the threshold for a minute, wiping his boots on the mat, and crosses immediately to the fire, stripping off his gloves as he goes. He holds his hands out to the blaze and flexes his fingers to try to warm them up.

Sehsis shivers as the door opens, moving to a table further away and closer to the fire.

Lanisen, once he is relatively thawed out, turns away from the fire, casting a quick sweeping glance over the few people in the tavern. Recognizing Sehsis, he nods a polite greeting.

Sehsis returns the polite nod, “Lanisen was it?”

Lanisen says, “That’s right. Sehsis?”

Sehsis says, “Yes, that’s right”

Lanisen chafes his upper arms and stamps a bit more, not straying too far from the fire. “Keeping warm all right?”

Sehsis rubs his forehead wearily, “I don’t know how anyone can cope with this weather, I really don’t. It’s quite dreadful”

Lanisen disagrees, even as he shivers, “Ain’t that bad.”

Sehsis gives him a skeptical look, “Really now?”

Lanisen admits, “It’s kinda bad.”

Sehsis asks, “And this happens every year?”

Lanisen gives him a bit of an odd look. “Winter?”

Sehsis says, “This horrific cold”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He shrugs. “Sometimes it’s colder.”

Sehsis frowns, “Oh gods. I hope that is not the case this year”

Lanisen says apologetically, “It’s pretty early in the season yet. It’ll probably get colder after the real snows start.”

Sehsis says, “I am not looking forward to seeing this snow.”

Lanisen offers, “Can be kinda pretty, if you’re on the right side of the window.”

Sehsis says, “So I hear” though he sounds unconvinced

Lanisen finally takes a seat, though he stays pretty near the fire. “I don’t really like it much either.”

Sehsis says, “I have never seen it, though I cannot imagine that i would like it”

Lanisen says, “Couple years ago it snowed so much folks couldn’t get from Andale to Lancelyn Green for a few weeks straight.”

Sehsis gives him a look of disbelief, “What do you mean, they could not get from one place to another?”

Lanisen says, “The roads were covered.”

Sehsis asks, “Is it really that bad?”

Lanisen shrugs. “Sometimes. It don’t get that bad every year.”

Sehsis says, “It had better not happen when I am here, I would hate to be stuck in this country”

Lanisen grins slightly and says, “Nobody likes being stuck anywhere.”

Sehsis shrugs, “I don’t know, I’m waiting for the day that I would have reached a point where I myself do not have to keep coming here. I would prefer to spend more time back home”

Lanisen asks, “What keeps you here?”

Sehsis says, “A paranoid lack of trust if you must know”

Lanisen is startled into a snort of laughter. “All right, that’s fair.”

Sehsis says, “Though I will admit, saying it out loud it sound a little odd”

Lanisen says, “Not that odd.”

Sehsis says, “Oh good”

Lanisen glances at the pricelist, takes out his coinpurse, and counts through carefully.

Sehsis also glances towards the pricelist but decides agianst buying anything just now./

Lanisen winces a little at what he finds in his slim coinpurse, then gets up and asks for a cup of tea from Clift.

Sehsis notices the reaction but decides not to comment.

Lanisen returns to his table, blowing on the steaming surface of his tea. “Don’t trust your subordinants, then?” he asks.

Sehsis says, “Not quite yet”

Lanisen asks, “How long you been workin’ with ’em?”

Sehsis looks thoughtful, “Ah, let me see. It must be a good few months now”

Lanisen ahhs, understanding. “That makes sense. Yeah, that don’t sound odd to me, that sounds smart.”

Sehsis nods slowly, “I find a lot of people here are very trusting, so some might see it as odd”

Lanisen laughs under his breath. “Yeah,” he agrees, looking down at his tea. “More’n they oughta be, probably.”

Sehsis says, “I quite agree there, a charlatan would find their job altogether far too easy with some of the attitudes I have seen”

Lanisen says, “Well. Not /that/ easy.”

Sehsis says, “One can hope”

Lanisen takes a careful sip of his tea.

Sehsis watches the fire.

Lanisen asks, “What is it you do, again?”

Sehsis says, “Here? I trade mostly in spices, and on request anything else more readily obtained in the south than over here.”

Lanisen blinks. “Spices?” He mulls this over for a second, raising his eyebrows. “Guess I never thought about where they come from before. Huh.”

Sehsis says, “Well they do not grow here that is for sure”

Lanisen says, “Heh. Well. I didn’t figure.”

Sehsis says, “And now you know”

Lanisen asks, “Is there a lot of demand for that here, then?”

Sehsis nods, “A fair bit, especially amongst the better off”

Lanisen says, “Makes sense.”

Sehsis says, “Of course I do a lot of trade in Chesterton ”

Lanisen seems amused by this. “I bet.”

Sehsis nods, “What is it you do again?”

Lanisen says, “Um.” He scratches the back of his neck. “Just following Sir Colin around, at the moment.”

Sehsis says, “Like a servant? Or a personal assistant? ”

Lanisen considers this, looking at his tea. “I suppose so, yeah.”

Sehsis says, “Well fair enough”

Lanisen glances up and half-grins. “Sorry. I’m not tryin’ to be secretive. I don’t really know is the thing. I think he just wanted a friend along is all.”

Sehsis says, “Oh it is quite alright, if it is easier, what is it you do when you are not a useful companion”

Lanisen says, “Look after the castle hounds.”

Sehsis grimaces slightly, “Now that is a job I would hate to do”

Lanisen grins. “It ain’t so bad. I like it all right. Buncha idiots, but what can you do.”

Sehsis says “The dogs? This would not surprise me…” he adds rather more quietly, “I can’t stand those animals..”

Lanisen asks, “Yeah? Why not?”

Sehsis asks, “Why do I not like them?”

Lanisen nods, taking a drink of his tea.

Sehsis says distastefully, “They are dirty, vicious beasts”

Lanisen says, “Oh, now. They’re only dirty if nobody’s looked after ’em, and they’re only vicious if somebody’s been cruel to ’em.”

Sehsis says, “Say what you will, but I still cannot abide them”

Lanisen asks, “You get in a tangle with one or somethin’?”

Sehsis shakes his head, “Oh, no, nothing like that”

Lanisen asks, “Do people not keep hounds where you’re from?”

Sehsis says, “No, not really. They are work animals and seen as dirty.”

Lanisen asks, “Work animals?”

Sehsis nods, “Yes, work animals”

Lanisen says, “No, I mean, what kind of work?”

Sehsis shrugs, “Guarding, hunting I expect, that manner of thing.”

Lanisen asks, “Why’s that make ’em dirty, then, I don’t get it.”

Sehsis says slowly, with a slight frown, “That is just the way things are”

Lanisen does not look altogether satisfied, but he only says, “Huh,” and lets it go.

Sehsis gives a small shrug, “Well, I do not like them anyway”

Lanisen says, “‘Salright, you don’t gotta.”

Sehsis says, “I know”

Lanisen adds, rather firmly, “But they’re not vicious beasts.”

Sehsis says dryly, “You have never seen some of the strays in Tashbaan then”

Lanisen says, “Noo, but I seen some strays around here. If they’re mean it’s cause they don’t know how not to be. ‘Cause they’re scared, maybe, or hungry. Maybe somebody hurt ’em. They don’t start out that way.”

Sehsis says, “But they end that way and are a dangerous nuisance ”

Lanisen asks, “Can we agree they’re not all like that?”

Sehsis says, “If you say so”

Lanisen says, “Come by the castle someday and I’ll introduce you to a deerhound sweet as a spring afternoon.”

Sehsis says, “Really I would rather not if it’s all the same to you..”

Lanisen laughs, holding up his hands. “All right, then.”

Sehsis looks a little relieved

Lanisen is sitting at the table closest to the fire, halfway through a cup of tea, in conversation with Sehsis.

Colin enters the tavern, surveying the inside once his eyes adjust to the light.

Lanisen glances up as the door opens. He grins, raising a hand to greet Colin.

Colin catches sight of Lanisen and nods, approaching his table. “Evening.” he greets.

Sehsis looks around as Lanisen waves, though he does not recognise the newcomer.

Lanisen stands and bows. “Evenin’,” he returns. “What’re you up to, sir?”

Colin glances at Lanisen’s companion and nods a greeting before answering. “Trying to find time with Lord Dar. You?”

Lanisen sits back down, kicking the other chair out for Colin. “Tryin’ to stay warm,” he grumps.

Dalia slips into the tavern and heads towards the hearth to warm her hands.

Sehsis returns the nod of greeting, but seems unsure how best to react from there, having noticed Lanisen’s bow

Colin plops himself in the chair without ceremony. “Little cold for ya?” he grins.

Lanisen says, “Shouldn’t be allowed.” He frowns slightly as Dalia passes, trying to place her.

Colin squints at the girl momentarily, also trying to place her. He says to Lanisen (and his companion), “I have news for you. It’s going to get worse. This hardly counts as winter.”

Sehsis grimaces, “Well, isn’t /that/ good news…”

Lanisen says pragmatically, “That it’s gonna get worse don’t change the fact that it’s ruddy miserable now.”

Colin laughs. “Do we need to get you a new coat?”

Lanisen says quickly, “I’m fine, it’s fine. Just makin’ noise.”

Dalia takes a chair at a nearby table after she’s warmed herself a little calling for tea.

Sehsis notices Dalia and gives her a nod in greeting, “Hello Dalia”

Colin asks, “So when I push you into a snowbank you’ll be all right?”

Lanisen gives him a long look with one eyebrow raised. “I think the question you oughta be askin’ yourself there, sir, is will /you/ be all right after I get back at you for that.”

Colin pffts. “Always.”

Lanisen mutters threateningly and drinks more of his tea.

Colin chuckles under his breath and glances at the stranger once more. “Don’t believe we’ve met.”

Sehsis inclines his head, “I do not believe we have either, my name is Sehsis”

Colin says, “Colin. Pleasure to meet you.”

Lanisen glances sidelong at Colin, frowning slightly.

Sehsis says, “Ah, you’re sir Colin. A pleasure to meet you as well”

Colin raises his eyebrows at Lanisen’s expression.

Dalia turns to face the son of Adam who has called her name. “Oh Hello!”
Dalia nods to Sehsis.

Lanisen shakes his head slightly to indicate it’s nothing important. He glances at Dalia again, looking puzzled.

Colin leans back in his chair to include everyone in on the conversation. “How is everyone this evening?”

Lanisen grumbles under his breath, “Cold.”

Dalia smiles, holding her cloak close.”It is rather chily, isn’t it?”

Sehsis gives a nod of agreement to Lanisen and Dalia’s comments, “With the exception of this disagreeable weather, rather well”

Colin chuckles. “Apparently it’s cold.” He comments. “Glad to hear everyone is otherwise well.”

Dalia glances curiously at the son of Adam with the scarred neck. “I’m Sorry… Your face is familiar… Have we met before?”

Lanisen looks alarmed, but he hides it quickly. “Um,” he says. “Um, I’m not sure, miss.”

Colin asks the girl, “Do you work in Anvard, miss? You look familiar to me as well.”

Sehsis stands and says, “Apologies, I really must be going.” he says a final goodbye and with quite some reluctance leaves the warmth of the inn for the cold outside.

Lanisen closes his eyes briefly in relief. “Right. Anvard,” he murmurs. “Evening, Sehsis.”

Dalia says, “”I used to attend Milady, Astera there, Sir. I’ve been given leave to visit my family here. My name is Dalia.”

Colin bids Sehsis farewell as he leaves, nodding as Dalia speaks. “I remember now.”

Lanisen says, “You’ve not been at the castle for a while now, I didn’t recognize you.” He grins at her faintly. “Hello.”

Dalia Smiles famililarly. “No. I’ve not. Hello again, Lanisen isn’t it?”

Lanisen says, “That’s right, yeah. Kennel brat.”

Colin says, “And I’m Colin. I’m one of the knights who hangs around.”

Dalia blanches, standing to curtsy, “I appologize Sir, I was not aware.”

Colin waves his hand. “No problem, I’m not worried about it.”

Lanisen grins slightly, turning his tea mug in circles.

Dalia smiles, “Thank You, Sir.”

Dalia turns to both Colin and Lanisen, “Are things well then? at the Castle?”

Lanisen glances at Colin. “Far as I know? We were back just briefly a couple weeks ago to pick up some things for a man in Carmichael, but we didn’t stay long. Didn’t hear any gossip.”

Colin nods. “I don’t stay there much these days.”

Dalia laughs a little at the mention of gossip. “My aunt and mother could both supply me with enough to last plenty of time… but gossip is….well…” She breaks off. trying to explain, using her hands.

Colin nods. “Yes, exactly.” he says, apparently a little distasteful about the subject of gossip.

Lanisen says, “Things seemed all right there, anyway.”

Dalia smiles, “That is good to hear.” She takes a sip of tea.

Colin asks, “How long are you in Coghill?”

Lanisen glances at Dalia, attentive.

Dalia says, “I shall be staying here a few weeks, yet.””

Colin nods as he orders an ale.

A girl enters the tavern and beckons to Dalia. She gets up quickly.”Oh! excuse me please.”

Lanisen glances at the girl incuriously. “Evening, miss.”

Colin nods. “Evening, Dalia.”

Lanisen watches her go, then glances at Colin. “What’d you talk to Lord Dar about?”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He taps the table-top with his knuckles. “Been meanin’ to ask you…”

Colin looks at him expectantly.

Lanisen says, “Um. What am I, even? Am I still… do I still answer to Lord Dar, or you now, or…?”

Colin says, “Well, Lord Dar is higher ranking than both of us so we both answer to him but really you answer to me unless we have to pull him in I think.”

Lanisen nods thoughtfully. “Good to know.”

Colin asks, “Why do you ask?”

Lanisen says, “Ehh.” He shrugs, glancing around the tavern. “Just antsy. I figure, bein’ here, prob’ly I’ll run into Lord Dar sooner or later.”

Colin nods. “I understand that…”

Lanisen says, “Just wanted to know how things stand is all.”

Colin nods. “Yeah, no worries.” He fiddles with the handle of his tankard.

Lanisen people-watches a bit, companionably silent as he drinks more of his tea. “‘Nother question,” he says suddenly. “…How come you ain’t been stayin’ at the manors, places we go? Gotta be a world more comfortable than hostel rooms and barn lofts.”

Colin responds, “Sometimes I return or leave so abruptly I feel it’s less of a burden on the families to stay elsewhere.”

Lanisen says, “Makes sense.”

Colin says, “I thought so.”

Lanisen asks, “We gonna winter here?”

Colin fiddles with his tankard. “I’d like one more trip to Carmichael…but we may be wintering here. Yeah.”

Lanisen glances at him. “You want to stay in Carmichael instead?”

Colin says, “Want to, yes. In all practicality, sometimes the snows are bad enough that we couldn’t get anywhere else and we’re likely to be needed elsewhere first…”

Lanisen ahhs quietly. He gives Colin a quick sympathetic glance, then drinks more of his tea.

Colin falls silent, his expression lost in thought.

Lanisen asks, “Is that what you were gonna talk to Lord Dar about?”

Colin shakes his head. “No…no, I wanted to talk to him about…Myrd.”

Lanisen looks at him quickly. He sets down his teacup and leans back in his chair. “That,” he says after a pause, “is about the last thing I expected you to say.”

Colin hehs. “Not surprising…”

Lanisen asks, “Why.”

Colin says, “I want some answers.”

Lanisen asks, “What answers?”

Colin picks at a chip in the table. “Why he’s still alive. Why I didn’t know he escaped. Things like that.”

Lanisen is quiet for a long minute. “I see.”

Colin asks, “What are your thoughts on it?”

Lanisen shifts, shaking his head. “I wish it were… something else,” he answers.

Colin asks, “Yeah?”
Colin says, “How come?”

Lanisen scrubs both hands over his face. “I–I understand why you… have to ask those things, I do, I know it’s important that–that you can trust each other and know… But I wish it was about anything other than Myrd, I really do.”

Colin hehs. “I understand…it’s a rotten topic.

Lanisen says, “I wish I could ask you to leave it be.”

Colin once more hehs quietly. “I know.”
Colin says, “I can’t, though. Not with something this big.”

Lanisen says, “I know.” He is silent for another minute, then shifts and frowns. “‘Why he’s still alive,'” he repeats, and looks at Colin with some alarm.

Colin shifts in his chair.

Lanisen’s mouth opens slightly. He stares at Colin. “No.”

Colin says, “No what.”

Lanisen says, “You’re /not/. You’re not gonna try and… change that.”

Colin says, “I never said that.”

Lanisen says, “Tell me you’re not.”

Colin asks, “I’m not making any promises. You never know what’ll happen. What if he comes back?”

Lanisen says, “He hasn’t, not for years.”

Colin says, “Doesn’t mean he won’t again.”

Lanisen says, “Why would he, though?? It’s been… sir, please. Don’t dredge up more than you gotta. Please.”

Colin shoves his tankard away. “I’m not dredging anything yet. I’m just asking questions.”

Lanisen stares down at the table, unsatisfied.

Colin stands up, leaving his half-full tankard where it sits. “I’m going to go sleep.”

Lanisen says, “Fine.”

Colin nods and disappears through the doors.


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