The Bird and Baby’s Tavern
Southeastern Archenland

Colin sits at a corner table, scribbling absently in his book. It doesn’t appear that he has much purpose, but as he seems to be in quite a thoughtful mood it must be more for distraction than anything.

Lanisen enters the tavern along with a gust of cold air that makes the fire flicker in the hearth. He stands stamping and chafing his arms for a minute and blows on his hands to thaw them out, then glances around the room. Once he finds Colin, he heads toward his table to join him.

Colin is too absorbed in his thoughts to notice Lanisen’s arrival until he is right at the table. “Oh. Evening.”

Lanisen slides into the chair across from him. “Well,” he says dryly, “you’ve still got your money pouch, so that’s a step up from previous preoccupied stints in taverns.”

Colin squints at him. “Eh?”

Lanisen shakes his head. “Whatcha doin’?” he asks, nodding at the book.

Colin glances at it and lifts a shoulder. “Nothin’ much. Just writing down some thoughts.”

Lanisen peers at the page. “That’s an awful lot of thoughts.”

Colin chuckles under his breath. “Tend to have ’em sometimes.”

Lanisen says, “Could’ve fooled me.”

Colin just blinks at him mildly. “Rude.”

Lanisen grins unrepentently back.

Colin says, “Just for that I’m not sharing my pie with you tonight.”

Lanisen sniffs. “It’s probably blackberry anyway.”

Colin groans. “I still don’t understand your problems with blackberry pie.”

Lanisen says, “Told you. It crunches.”

Colin retorts, “Your /face/ crunches.”

Lanisen says, “…..sir that makes no sense in any world.”

Colin closes his book. “Yeah…I have no idea where that came from. I’ll work on my comebacks.”

Lanisen says, “Good plan.” He leans back in his chair, yawning, and rubs his eyes.

Colin watches him. “You look a bit tired. What have you been doing with yourself today?”

Lanisen drops his hands. “What? Oh. Nothing, really. Too cold. And there’s not a range or anything here, so.”

Colin asks, “It’s a bit quiet. How are those archery skills coming along?”

Lanisen shrugs. “Fine. I went out to see if I could find a rabbit or something to shoot at but no luck. I mean I didn’t stay long, but. Yeah. Fine? I think?” He stifles another yawn and eyes the pricelist.

Colin hms. “I saw some fresh fox tracks out by that hermit’s place. Maybe we can track it in the morning so you can get some practice.”

Lanisen says, “Sure. Morning. Yeah.”

Colin raises an eyebrow slightly at him. “something wrong with tomorrow morning?”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s fine.” He drums his fingers on the table and stares consideringly at somebody else’s bowl of stew, then sighs and asks, “Can we– later, though? I’m no good at mornings.”

Colin presses his lips together slightly to hold back a chuckle as he nods. “Sure, that’s fine. You hungry?” he prompts.

Lanisen says, “I could eat.”

Colin lifts his hand to get Clift’s attention, requesting a couple bowls of stew be brought to their table.

Lanisen, once their stew is brought, murmurs thanks. He goes quiet and starts eating, keeping a habitual eye on the people coming and going as he does so.

Colin falls silent for a little bit as well, tucking in the savory stew.

Lanisen loses steam about halfway through and sits pushing bits of rabbit meat from one side of his bowl to the other.

Colin starts making small talk eventually. “So. Now that you have experience with both a blade and a bow, which one do you find you prefer?

Lanisen says, “Bow’s more useful.”

Colin nods. “I like that you can strike before you’re even seen.”

Lanisen gives him a brief, puzzled look. “That’s usually the goal, ain’t it? Once the critter sees you it’s all up.”

Colin nods. “Sometimes, if you freeze right away and the wind is in your favor, you can still get a good shot in but it doesn’t often happen.”

Lanisen says, “Think I only ever managed a couple rabbits with a knife. And those just ’cause I got real lucky.”

Colin taps his nose with a grin. “Bagged yourself a knight, though.”

Lanisen says, “That ain’t how I recollect it.”

Colin shrugs. “You could just go with it. It makes you sound even tougher than you already are.”

Lanisen snorts. “All right, now you’re just bein’ patronizing. Want the rest of my soup?”

Colin says, “I only patronize fools, and you are no fool. You feelin’ all right? Usually you polish that right off.”

Lanisen says, “Just tired is all.”

Colin nods, sliding the bowl toward himself. “Early night today maybe, yes?”

Lanisen says noncommittally, “Yeah, maybe.”

Colin adds as he starts to work on the remainder of Lanisen’s dinner, “Especially since we’ll be traveling in a day or two.”

Lanisen asks, “Yeah?”

Colin nods. “Got a summons of sorts. The king wants to have a hunt this weekend.”

Lanisen asks, “A hunt?”

Colin nods. “I don’t know what the target is, bear or boar, but he probably wants a good run around before the weather turns bad. I’m glad to see him wanting to get out some. He’s been isolated for a while.”

Lanisen asks, “Where’s he planning to hunt?”

Colin hms, taking another bite. “Not sure, it wasn’t mentioned. I’m assuming the forest.”

Lanisen blinks at him, then snickers. “Right. Well reasoned.”

Colin grins as he takes another mouthful. “I thought so too.”

Lanisen asks, “How long do you think you’ll be?”

Colin shrugs. “Some hunts take all day. Some less. Depends on where we are going and what we’re doing.”

Lanisen says, “Makes sense.”

Colin says, “I don’t anticipate us staying in Anvard very long.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, Anvard.”

Colin says, “Yup.”

Colin scrapes the last of the stew from the bowl and stands, carrying their dishes to the counter. “I’m going to go see if Lord Dar is available. If I don’t see you, have a good night and I’ll let you know tomorrow when we leave.”

Lanisen goes still at this. “Yeah,” he says after a pause, looking at the table-top. “All right.”

Colin looks as if he may say something, but at the last minute shakes his head slightly and departs the tavern.


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