because we are alive

Before the Gates of Anvard
Eastern Archenland

A flat green space at the foot of the mountains opens here, sheltered by the slopes of the northern mountains. Stormness Head looms high to the northeast, its peak nearly always in clouds, and the double-headed peak of Mount Pire rises over the trees to the northwest. A steep ridge like the side of a bowl curves around from the northwest to the east, and the ground descends into dense forest to the south.

At the center of the clear area is a small turreted castle, facing east. Its weathered walls are built of large blocks of red granite that glitter faintly in the sunlight, and elegantly functional ironwork graces the front gates and portcullis. A stone cobbled road wide enough to easily facilitate the passage of carts and carriages crosses over the broad green lawns from the castle gates, disappearing into the trees to the east.

(OOC note: This log contains a busy crowd scene and has been edited and color-coded for readability.)

Lune wanders around the space of the lawn being set up for the feast, chatting with nobles and commoners alike. He’s clearly in high spirits, and every now and then his loud, booming laugh bells out at something said.

Astera beams with energy and happiness as she holds her daughter, telling the story of Mount Pire. She is hanging around the edges, not yet mingling with the crowd but clearly her heart is light.

Aliyah pads towards the castle grounds, nose twitching at all of the different but delightful scents.

Tempest trots through the crowd of Narnians and Archenlanders, taking everything in.

Arael comes out onto the lawn through the castle gates. She is hovering at Lanisen’s elbow, watching him and the ground closely to be sure that he doesn’t stumble or snag his cane on anything. Progress is slow, but eventually they make it.

Colin is right with Arael and Lanisen, hovering at Lanisen’s other elbow. His demeanor is relaxed and merry as he cracks jokes and makes quips the entire time they help Lanisen along.

Aravis mingles in the crowd, occasionally stopping as she hears a snatch of song, or to listen to a piece of a story being told.

Lanisen doesn’t say a whole lot as they leave the castle. He grins at key points, but he’s focusing on staying upright on a bum leg with one arm in a sling, and he doesn’t have much extra concentration.

Dalia rushes up to Astera hastily, curtsying, “Milady! Milady!”

Arael’s expression is also light and happy, though she pulls a face at Colin behind Lanisen’s back when he makes a particularly bad joke. As they pass out from under the gate, she looks up and surveys the area, breaking into a grin.

Astera turns to Dalia, her bright eyes widening. She nods, shifting her daughter a little. “Dalia!” Lana watches the interaction with interest. Astera smiles. “It is good to see you here!”

Lune keeps close tabs on both his sons as he mingles with the people, never going more than a minute or two without glancing to make sure they’re still with him, or within sight.

Dalia smiles back, slightly out of breath. “And you as well Milady!”

Tempest cautiously approaches the table, selecting some choice meats to satisfy the rumble in her stomach. She quietly eats while her ears prick back and forth listening to conversation flow around her.

Cor seems grateful for his father’s closeness, looking to him for cues on how to stand and behave, never quite getting it right.

Dalia exclaims, “You’ll never guess! I was so nervous… and excited! And she was so kind! I met Queen Lucy… herself!”

Astera beams and nods, “Oh, yes! Queen Lucy! Isn’t she wonderful? I am so glad you got to meet her.”

Dalia exclaims, “She was so kind to me and Lady Avery…” she takes a breath. “She introduced me to Lady Aravis!”

Aravis’s wandering takes her within sight of Cor and she walks over to him saying, “You look like the ground is about to open up underneath you.”

Aliyah finds a spot to sit to watch the goings-on. She smiles at Dalia’s exuberance.

Astera nods, “Yes, her majesty is truly one of the best women I have ever known. I am glad that you were able to see it for yourself. Doesn’t she make you feel special? Even in a roomful of people, she just knows how to include you and make you feel wanted.”

Dalia nods very excitedly, “Exactly that, Milady.”

Lanisen moistens his lips and hesitates, looking a little overwhelmed by the number of people present on the lawn. He glances uncertainly at his companions.

Colin gives his friend a reassuring grin before he begins helping him find a place to sit down and get off his leg.

Cor squints one eye and rubs the top of his head, then, realizing this is not a particularly dignified gesture, quickly drops his hand. He looks down at the ground for any crack to indicate such a circumstance. “It’s all a bit overwhelming,” he admits.

Arael spots a place and points it out to Lanisen and Colin.

Dalia turns to look around, “And Lady Avery introduced me to Lady Aravis and Lord Peridan… and… did you see Aslan?” It all comes out in an excited rush.

Astera chuckles softly and nods, her eyes merry and bright. “Indeed.” Her voice is quiet and reverent. Lana looks up at her mother and asks, “Kitty?”

Aravis gives him an amused smile and says in an offhand manner, “Really you just have to relax, you’re a prince now after all”

Peridan comes walking out of the Castle, relaxed and calm as he makes his way towards the crowd.

Cor looks slightly annoyed, “It’s not as if I’m a different person.”

Aravis opens her mouth, ready to make a snarky- and possibly a little mean- response but she catches herself and closes it again, “No, you’re right, it’s not your fault it’s overwhelming… But you could at least /try/ not to look like you just ate something unpleasant.”

Lune claps his elder son encouragingly on the shoulder as he turns away from the lord with whom he had been speaking. “Art doing very well,” he tells him in a lower voice, with a broad, proud smile. He turns the smile on Aravis next and greets her with a courtly bow. “And how hast found our castle, Lady Aravis? Are your rooms to your liking?”

Lanisen nods and begins to gimp toward the place Arael has indicated.

Aliyah’s tail thumps the ground as the little girl calls Aslan a kitty, amusement in her eyes. She otherwise makes no comment, feeling quite out of place but thankful to be here.

Peridan pauses, eyes scanning the crowd. He then makes his way to the King, standing a bit to the side as the King addresses Lady Aravis.

Dalia glances around at all the differant faces, she spots Aliyah. “Oh Hello again!” She turns, “Milady, may I introduce you to Aliyah?”

Aravis gives King Lune a very proper curtsey, “Oh yes, it’s lovely, thank you ever so much for letting me stay. I am grateful.”

Astera laughs softly, her cheeks tinting red when Lana calls Aslan a kitty and says, “Well… sort of sweetie. Aslan is a Lion–which… is a very big kitty I suppose, but we must remember, he isn’t a tame beast.” She smiles. “But he is wonderful.” She looks to Dalia and nods, “I would very much like to meet someone new.”

Colin helps Lanisen into the seat carefully so he doesn’t jostle his leg.

Aliyah rises to her paws as Dalia notices her. She moves towards them, tail wagging. “Hi Dalia. How are you?”

Lanisen blows out a breath of relief and says, “Thanks.” Now that he’s settled, he takes a longer look around the area, staring at the many and varied types of Narnians who arrived with the army. “Hey,” he whispers to Colin, elbowing him. “That’s a faun?”

Cor gives an unconscious sort of grin at the hand on his shoulder.

Dalia says, “Very well, thank you. Aliyah, let me make known to you, Milady Astera. Milady Astera, Aliyah…Of Narnia.” She pauses to look back at the wolf. “It was Narnia, right?”

Lune looks pleased. “Truly, for your service to our country and your friendship to my son, it is we who are grateful to you. I hope you will be very happy here.”

Astera looks to the wolf, her expression one of kindess and a little awe. She nods to Aliyah, looking her over, marveling at her size. Lana takes one look at the wolf and exclaims happily, “Puppy!” She claps her hands and reaches for the wolf’s head to pet it.

Colin looks to where Lanisen is indicating and nods with a grin. “Yep. See? I told you, the book and I were not pulling your leg. This time.”

Peridan continues to stand a bit to the side of the King. He remains quiet for now, just a silent observer.

Aliyah dips her head to Astera. “It is a pleasure to meet you.” A lop-sided grin forms as the child calls her a puppy. She moves into a play bow position so that she can pet her head. “I’m not quite a puppy, but I once was quite small like you. I am a wolf.”

Lanisen is fascinated and stares for a long moment, looking away quickly when it begins to look like the faun in question might turn around. “They don’t look anything like the picture,” he says decidedly.

Arael sits nearby with one leg curled up under her, turned so that she can see both the goings-on around her and her friends’ reactions to them. Her eyes twinkle as she teases, “Now we’ve just got to spot you a centaur.”

Astera looks rather embarrassed and is about to pull her daughter back when she sees that the wolf will allow Lana to touch her. She nods, “Yes sweetie, a wolf. Remember, a wolf is…” She pauses a moment as Lana gently touches Aliyah’s head. “Stronger than a puppy. A fighter. And she is a talking wolf from Narnia–remember the stories I would tell?” Lana gently strokes the wolf’s head in a manner that indicates she has been instructed how to properly interact with an animal.

Lana ponders this and smiles, “Soft woof.”

Colin peers through the crowd. “They should be around here somewhere…”

Aravis says, “A friendship I’m grateful for” She smiles, “I am sure I will be happy”

Cor looks back to her from his distraction by all the Narnians in the crowd. “You will stay, won’t you?”

Aliyah laughs, standing to her full height again. “Well, we also have rather large families like you, so we don’t fight all of the time… But sometime like brother and sister..” A brief flicker of sadness crosses her features, but it quickly fades. “I’ve always loved little ones, no matter if they are wolves or children.”

Lanisen glances around rather apprehensively at this revelation. “Here?”

Aravis puts on a serious expression at Cor’s question and hmps, “No, I’m leaving tomorrow” the seriousness does not last long however and she breaks into a smile, “Of course I’m staying, don’t be so silly!”

Colin nods to Lanisen. “Aye. Some fought in the battle.”

Peridan smiles at the conversation going in front of him. He speaks up, “Anvard is a very nice place to stay.”

Astera’s expression softens with delight. Lana, content, retracts her hand, all smiles. She continues to watch Aliyah with fascination. Astera says with a warm smile, “Yes. Little ones can be quite lovely.” She gives her daughter a small squeeze. “do you have any of your own?”

Aliyah shakes her head. “Not for now, but I do not have a mate either. Perhaps I will at some point in the not too distant future though.”

Lune bellows a pleased laugh at this. “Thou art full welcome,” he declares once again, and turns toward Peridan and claps him heartily on the back. “Nephew! Hast found thy way home again?”

Colin starts a bit before he realizes he isn’t being addressed.

Lanisen fidgets with his sling, craning his neck as he looks this way and that.

Arael cranes her neck, looking around the crowd until she spots a talking bear who is hovering near a table of sweetbreads. She gasps and, tugs on Lanisen’s sleeve, pointing through the crowd. “Look there!”

Lanisen turns quickly at Arael’s direction and has to blink a bit before he understands what he’s seeing. “They’ve… they’ve got Talking Bears too?” he asks in a hushed voice.

Astera smiles, “Well. Best of luck! I have found that a mate can be a very lovely thing to have.” Her eyes move over the crowd as she looks for her husband. “How are you finding our country, Aliyah?”

Peridan lets out a breath as King Lune claps him on the back, “Indeed, Sire. Fourteen years is a long time to be gone. It is good to be back.”

Arael murmurs back, “Seems so.” She stares, wide-eyed and fascinated.

Aliyah glances around, eyes landing on the forest. She turns back to look at Astera before responding. “Aside from getting lost once, it is nice. Granted, it is quite different than living in the woods with so many people around. Some of them still aren’t sure what to think of us which makes for interesting reactions.”

Lanisen watches with wide eyes as the Bear delicately helps herself to a spun-sugar ball and asks, quieter yet, “But how do they /tell/?”

Cor displays both relief and renewed discomfort as his father’s attention is drawn away from him. He reddens a little at Aravis’s words and says, “I meant, how long do you think you’ll stay? It’s –” he wrinkles his nose, searching for the right words. “–I’m glad to have someone I know around for all this.”

Colin stage whispers quietly to Lanisen, “I think they talk.” He leans back to avoid any incoming hits, quite delighted that his friend set himself up so nicely.

Astera looks back to Aliyah and nods, “Yes. To those who have not seen Talking Beasts, it can all be quite surprising. I was in Narnia for a time, and I found myself surprised every day at the wide variety. But it was all very thrilling.”

Aliyah tilts her head. “I take it you stayed in the castle while there? I adore the area surrounding it. The beach has become one of my favorite palces.”

Astera nods, “Indeed. I was nursemaid to Prince Corin while he was first joining King Edmund as a squire.–But I did love the beach and town. It was all so… magical and lovely.”

Lune asks Peridan, “Shalt stay long, then, or do you return to Narnia with their majesties?”

Abrielle walks onto the lawn through the gate, hands behind her back. When she spots the people and animals she smiles to herself and moves a little closer.

Lanisen snorts and gives Colin a fondly disgusted look. “Shut up, good /lion/.” He seems to realize a second later what he’s just said. He goes a little pale and loses his train of thought for a second.

Aravis says to Cor, “As long as I’m welcome, I don’t know what I would have done if I had not got this offer, truth be told.” after a pause for thought she adds on in as reassuring a tone as she can manage, “Now then, I’m sure you’ll do just fine”

Arael gives a surprised giggle, but cuts off in confusion when she turns and catches Lanisen’s expression.

Aliyah nods. “It is quite different. I was not born in Narnia but wanted to find it upon hearing stories from my father. I had no reason to stay in my current home so traveled to it about a year ago. I did not get to see the beach or castle until just a few months back. It seems more tranquil than the Waste where I stayed prior.”

Aliyah turns her head to see Abrielle appear. She waves a paw at the girl.

Cor’s brows draw together. “I hope so.”

Peridan responds to his uncle, “I shall return with their majesties to Narnia. Although Archenland is my homeland, Narnia has become my home as well. With High King Peter away, there are duties in the Court for me to attend too.” He pauses, “However, Sire, if you require me to stay, I shall.”

Astera nods to Aliyah, “Yes. It is so quiet and a good place to reflect. I have found our beach here similar, although not as golden and beautiful.”

Abrielle dips her head to the wolf with a bright smile. She looks around for a friendly face, not quite sure where to align herself. She notes the royalty and dips into a little curtsie.

Aravis says confidently, “You will, besides, even if you do make mistakes I’m sure everyone will understand”

Lune laughs again, rich and joyful, and casts a glad look over the people assembled. “We seem to have found ourselves at peace. No, I think there is no need to recall you from your post, though we thank you most heartily for your services in the battle. It shall be remembered.”

Dalia glances around and waves to Abrielle, “have you met Abrielle, Milady?”

Peridan says, “I shall always ride to the Defense of Archenland, my lord.”

Astera shakes her head. “No, I don’t believe I have.” Lana, who has returned to crowd gazing, spots a bear and claps delightedly. She points and proclaims with exhuberance, “Teddy!”

Lanisen says suddenly, “Oh!” He watches a small group of very tall, very stern centaurs make their way toward the tables from one of the Narnian pavilions.

Abrielle waves back to Dalia and comes to her side. “Milady.” She curtsies. “It is very nice to meet you.”

Aliyah smiles and responds, “Indeed. It’s nice to find those special, quiet places to think…” She’s caught off guard by Lana’s clapping and laughs in earnest when she realizes what the child is referring to.

Astera nods to Abrielle, “Pleased to meet you Abrielle. Do you live in Andale?”

A son of adam shrouded in a heavy cloak (Romney) strides casually onto the castle lawn and joins the feasters.

Abrielle smiles and shakes her head. “No I am from Coghill, Milady.”

Cor looks up, a little startled by the big laugh of his father. He puts his hands awkwardly behind his back in an attempt to look refined. “Everyone’s very nice,” he concedes.

Arael turns quickly back around at Lanisen’s exclamation. When she sees the centaurs, she sits up very tall and bounces a little in her seat, watching them in awe.

Lune claps Peridan’s shoulder again. “Well do we know it,” he says. He glances back at Cor and Aravis, then casts a searching look around the darkening area until he finds Corin engaged in a game of something like “tig” and something like “tackle the loser” beyond the circle of torchlight.

Colin watches her for a moment, grinning at her reaction before he gets caught up looking through the rest of the crowd at all of the faces.

Peridan grins as the King speaks, “Indeed sire.” As he glances around the crowd, he spots Colin. “Excuse me, sire.” The man begins to walk over to Sir Colin.

Astera says, “Oh, Coghill! It is very lovely there! It reminds me of my own home, Carmichael.” She looks to Aliyah, “All wooded.” She grins.

Abrielle smiles brightly. “I do like it! However, I also loved being in Carmichael. My friend Adrian is from there.”

Aliyah perks up at this. “Oh, really. I might have to visit one day. I love more wooded areas obviously.” She sits, letting Astera and Abrielle speak.

Astera says, “I always thought the woods made for a more imaginative childhood. So many stories take place in them.”

Lanisen marvels under his breath, “They’re so /tall/.”

Colin notices someone approaching them and he stands.

Arael furrows her brow in amazement and nods. “/Aye/.” Her attention is drawn when Sir Colin stands, and, seeing Lord Peridan approaching, she stands as well.

Abrielle nods to Astera. “I agree.” She then looks to the small child. “Is that your child, Milady?”

Aravis gives Cor nod and says matter of factly, “There you see. Now you can relax.”

Romney nibbles on a piece of meat, glancing around at the revellers.

Astera nods and says, “This is Mistress Lana. Someday she shall be a Lady of Chesterton.” Astera smiles as she says this, although it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. Lana looks to Abrielle and gives a shy, “Hi.”

Abrielle smiles sweetly at the child. “Hello there, Mistress Lana. You are quite cute.”

Peridan finishes his approach, calling out to Sir Colin, “Greetings, Colin. It /has/ been a long time.” As the Woman stands as well, he bows to her, “Greetings Miss.” He also nods to Lanisen, “Hello Lanisen, How are you faring?”

Romney eyes the Wolves with some trepidation.

Astera smiles as Lana giggles and hides her face against her mother’s shoulder, her long black braid flopping against her back. Astera says, “She thanks you.”

Cor asks, “Sort of. On the other hand, it just makes you want to do right by them all the more, doesn’t it?”

Colin squints slightly at the man before it clicks. “Lord Peridan, cousin! Yes, what has it been..fourteen, fifteen years?” He greets him with a lighthearted grin and a quick bow. “Allow me to make introductions, cousin. These are my friends, this is Arael of Carmichael..and I see you’ve already met Lanisen.”

Aliyah has a feeling she’s being stared at… She tries to turn her head in a subtle manner to figure out who it might be and catches sight of an unfamliar Son of Adam.

Tempest’s blue eyes watch the man in the heavy cloak. She makes no move towards him.

Lanisen says, “I’m well enough, thank you, sir.”

Arael looks bewildered for a moment, and her lips twitch at the corners, but she looks down as she curtsies, and when she rises her expression is more serious.

Aravis takes a contemplative bite of a piece of cake as she considers this, “Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean you should be so scared of them”

Cor looks annoyed again. “I’m not /scared/.”

Aravis gives him a disbelieving look, “Well you /look/ terrified”

Cor exclaims, “I don’t!”

Aravis folds her arms, “You actually do!”

Peridan nods to Colin, grinning at him, “Indeed, You were still a growing boy when I left.” He nods to the woman, “Pleasure to meet you, Miss Arael.”

Drune pads gingerly out of the Castle, favoring his right side and blinking as he sees those gathered.

Cor screws up his mouth, and, to his credit, his annoyance does in fact appear to have overwhelmed his fears for the moment. “What do you know.”

Aliyah spots Drune as he approaches and moves to him. “Hey! Glad to see you moving about. You look much better than yesterday.”

Tempest’s nose twitches when she catches a new, familiar scent drifting her way. She lifts her head, looking around for her packmate and when she sights him she lets out a short bark to reveal her location to him.

Arael says, “And you, My Lord.”

Aravis allows herself a triumphant little smile as she says, “Rather a lot more than you would care to admit I think”

Astera eyes the tables with food and politely excuses herself to rtrieve something for she and her daughter.

Lanisen looks from Peridan to Colin and back curiously. “You knew Sir Colin when he was a kid, my lord?” he ventures.

Drune nods to Aliyah as she approaches. “Indeed… feeling quite a bit better. ” he smiles, ears perking as he catches his packmate’s bark amidst the crowd and begins moving towards her.

Abrielle glances over her shoulder, jumping a bit at the bark.

Cor says, “Not to /you/, certainly.”

Aliyah nods. “Glad to hear it. Finally saw someone about my own shoulder yesterday as well. It was worse than I thought.” She walks along beside him.

Aravis exclaims, “I see becoming a prince hasn’t made you any less stubborn!”

Colin raises an eyebrow at Lanisen and looks to Lord Peridan. “Ah yes but I was quite the angel you recall.” He says jokingly.

Lanisen gives Arael a covert glance. He looks /delighted/.

Astera shares some of the saffron and fruit bread with her daughter. Lana, in the meantime, takes it upon herself to introduce herself to Teddy, much to her mother’s dismay.

Romney sidles over to Dalia.
Romney mumbles “… me Miss, … … … … … boy and … foreign girl?”, to Dalia.

Tempest bows her head in greeting to Drune, giving Aliyah a little nod. Her expression is pretty unreadable as she speaks. “You’re on your feet, I see. I’m glad to see you mending so well.”

Arael giggles, watching Lord Peridan with interest as they await his reply.

Peridan chuckles, “Indeed, we were always told to take an example from Colin.” He leans forward a bit, still grinning a bit “Though I believe it was more of a cautionary tale.”

Lanisen glances at Colin, both eyebrows raises and the biggest grin on his face. “/Really/!”

Dalia turns with a start, to find herself spoken too. “That is Prince Cor and Lady Aravis.” She replies

Romney says, “Lady? She’s not from here.”
Romney asks, “And don’t you mean Prince Corin?”

Astera thanks the bear, who has treated her daughter graciously. She sets Lana down and walks her around the festivities, pointing out some of the other Narnian citizens.

Colin coughs. “All lies, I assure you.” he informs Lanisen, his eyes twinkling.

Drune chuckles softly at Aliyah’s comment. “The intensity of battle came completely blind us from our own wounds at times.” He hehs. “I have a fair few scratches myself. ” Reaching Tempest, he sits beside her. “Indeed. I like to think I heal quick. ” he snorts.

Tempest snorts and touches him with her nose. “There is wonderful meat here, some I’ve never tasted. Would you like some?”

Dalia furrows her brow. “I believe he is called Prince Cor….and His brother is Prince Corin.

Lanisen looks back at Peridan to see how he’ll take this gross insult to his honesty.

Arael flashes a wicked grin as her eyes dart toward Sir Colin. She mutters something under her breath.
Arael mumbles “… not … you told …”, to Arael.

Romney looks puzzled. “But…I don’t understand.”

Cor says, “Look, I have to –” he glances around and draws himself up. “I could say the same of you, but I won’t because it isn’t polite.”

Aliyah chuckles. “Indeed it can… and did. I must have run on adrenaline for a solid day after it was through.” She offers a nod to Tempest.

Peridan claps his cousin on the back, “Indeed? I guess I have more to learn from your shining example, Colin.” His eyes are bright with amusement. ”

Astera keeps her daughter close as they walk. Lana finds a patch of wild flowers and picks a few. After Lana has a small bouquet in her free hand, they continue to walk.

Dalia says, “”I’m sorry, Sir. I do not know much more. Only that they are the king’s sons.”

Colin laughs along with him, his demeanor completely lighthearted. “Perhaps you can. In all honesty Lord Peridan, I can say that the past few years I’ve managed to behave myself rather well. Though, I suppose that would depend on who you speak with.”

Aravis gives an indignant hmpf and purses her lips, “You hide it behind nice words, but you might as well have just said it!”

Romney says, “Huh. Well, thanks, Miss.”

Lanisen ducks his head and grins.
Lanisen mumbles “Indeed it would.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “… … would.”, to Lanisen.

Drune eyes the meat, letting out a soft heh. “Maybe in a bit… ” he returns, eyes flickering between those gathered.

Cor grins a bit, seeming to consider this a clever victory.

Aravis gives him a haughty stare, another little ‘hmpf’ and puts her hands on her hips.

Peridan appraises his cousin, “I have no doubt that you have become a great asset to Archenland.”

Tempest falls quiet as she gets distracted by the prince’s conversation a little bit away from them. She tilts her head.

Astera pauses a moment to receive a message from a servant. Lana pulls away and begins to meander. Astera turns at this and begins to look about frantically. Lana, meanwhile, toddles over to Aravis and Cor. She reaches up and gently taps Aravis on the hand.

Dalia says, “you might better ask one of the nobles,Sir. They would know better than I… if you will excuse me?” she curstys.”

Colin chuckles at Lord Peridan’s words. “I wouldn’t put it that way but I do what I can and that is what matters, yes?”

Cor seems about to elaborate on his win, but he is interrupted by the toddler who comes up to Aravis. This is probably a boon to him.

Arael falls quiet, just looking back and forth between Sir Colin and Lord Peridan with a crooked sort of grin.

Aravis blinks and looks down as she feels something tap her hand, she gives the toddler a curious smile, “Hello there?”

Peridan nods, “Of course.” He glances at Lanisen, “As I was telling Lansien here, everyone is important in their own way. One stone can cause a mountain to crumble.”

Astera calls out her daughter’s name several times and begins to frantically search the crowd. Lana gives a shy smile and says, “Hello.” She presents a slightly crumpled bouquet of her wild flowers to Aravis. “For you.” She declares, as if it were a great treasure.

Lanisen looks uncomfortable.

Romney nods to Dalia. “Of course”:

Aravis graciously accepts the flowers, “Now, these /are/ pretty aren’t they?”

Avery takes a sip from her wine glass and sets it down on a tray. She walks over to Astera and says, “She’s with the Tarkheena, sister.”

Tempest sits quietly as the crowd thickens, her nose twitching as she picks out all the scents.

Cor, hearing the call of the woman, looks up to find her. Spotting her, he goes to her to see if the child is what’s the matter.

Dalia hears her Lady’s calls and begins to search as well.

Aliyah glances around and notices Avery. She makes her way to her, much more quickly than the day prior. “Lady Avery,” she says, tail wagging as she nudges her hand.

Colin’s grin widens. “Sound advice, I should say, oh cousin of mine. Say, how have you found Narnia all these years? I have yet to set foot there but I quite enjoy all those I’ve met this weekend. Will you be going back do you think?”

Cole walks out of the Castle hurriedly, parchment in his hands taking up his entire focus. Upon hearing the commotion, he slows and looks up, blinking in some surprise.

Darrin slips in among the revellers as if he’s always been there.

Astera looks over to Aravis and immediately relaxs, relief washing over her face. “Thank you Avery.” She sighs and gives a wan smile. “That girl.” She immediately begins to hustle toward Avaris. Lana nods earnestly. “Yes. Pretty.”

Aravis kneels down so she’s more on a level with the small child and says, “Did you pick them all by yourself?”

Arael looks sidelong at Lanisen and leans in a little.
Arael mumbles “Were you the mountain or the stone?”, to Lanisen.
Arael mumbles “Were … … mountain or the …”, to Lanisen.

Lana nods earnestly, looking proud. “From there.” She turns and points to where she found them.

Avery lets out a surprised sound as a wet nose touches her hand. “Oh, Aliyah!” She gives the wolf a friendly rub between the ears. “How is the shoulder? Healing nicely, I hope?”

Aravis looks over to where Lana pointed, “How lovely!”

Lanisen gives Arael an exasperated look.
Lanisen mumbles “If you want to do the riddle-talkin’ thing, I think Sir Tyren’s over there.”, to Arael.
Lanisen mumbles “… you … … … the riddle-talkin’ … … … Sir … over there.”, to Arael.

Drune notices as Aliyah interacts with the others and blinks at the daughter of Eve’s gesture, looking unsure.

Cor takes a stumbling step back as the woman hustles past him, having already seen her child. He rubs between his brows and follows after, back to Aravis.

Peridan responds to Colin, his eyes very bright, “Narnia is a magnificent country. Its beauty stretches from the southern Woods to the far reaches of Lantern Waste. I believe that the Great Lion designed it after Himself in a way. Wild and free. I have enjoyed my time there very much.” His eyes flicker between the three in front of him, “You all should visit it if the opportunity presents itself.”

Arael’s eyes widen comically and and she chokes out a very startled laugh.
Arael claps a hand over her mouth.

Astera slows a little and hesitates once she nears her daughter. Then she notices the Prince and gives a hasty courtesy. “Your highness.” She blushes faintly. Lana nods eagerly, engorssed in her conversation with Aravis. “I like these most.” she points to a flower that is purple in color.

Lanisen presses his lips together and looks away, pleased with himself and unrepentant.

Aliyah nods a few times. “It is feeling much better. Thank you so much for your help. I only wish I had seen the healer sooner.” She doesn’t seem to have minded the petting at all.

Aravis takes one of the purple ones, “These ones?” She puts the purple flower in Lana’s hair.

Dalia finally spies the child standing by Lady Aravis and sees her ladyship hurrying towards the child. She spies a familiar face and heads toward where Lanisen is sitting.

Darrin appears suddenly and silently behind Sir Colin. He leans an elbow on the other knight’s shoulder casually and says, “It is a lovely country, I agree,” to Peridan’s statement. A smirk plays about his mouth.

Cor says, “Oh,” he bows to the lady. “Pleased to meet you.”

Cole runs a hand through his hair, seemingly realizing the occasion. Looking over the gathering, he catches sight of his brother and begins making his way over there, attempting to make a small of an entrance as possible.

Colin gives Arael and Lanisen an odd quizzical look when he picks up on some of their antics, but lets it go to focus on Lord Peridan’s description. “I definitely would like to some day. It is…something I have been thinking about a lot this year. However, when I do travel there, I need to make sure my motives are… honorable, and not selfish.”

Arael glares at Lanisen, hand still pressed over her mouth, before she composes herself and looks up toward Lord Peridan, dropping her hand. She dips her head in acknolwedgement, but doesn’t speak, and her lips still twitch at the corners.

Lana nods and grins, holding still so the flower doesn’t fall. She giggles and claps, taking one of the flowers and trying reach Aravis’ hair to do the same.

Avery smiles at the wolf. “Oh, I was glad I could help. No use letting it get infected further.” She looks up at the crowd, her eyes lingering on certain people. “Have you been back to check in with Adrian?” Her attention shifts back to Aliyah.

Aravis bows her head a bit to let Lana reach more easily, “And now we match”

Astera tilts her head as she looks at Cor, then smiles. “You must be Prince Cor.” She grins a little wider. “I am Lady Astera. Now that things are settled, I can introduce myself properly.”

Tempest watches Aliyah’s interaction with the lady Avery, glancing at Drune while she speaks quietly.
Tempest mumbles “… … … think … all this?”, to Drune.

Lana nods and claps her hands together, giggling and looking delighted.

Aliyah glances around, taking in the scene before responding. “I did go back to see him. He said it’s healing nicely, and we expect the bandage to be off before I head back to Narnia.”

Lanisen catches this last from Colin, and his mirth drops away quickly. He glances up at his friend, then carefully plants his stick and hauls himself up to his feet, mumbling something about food. Catching sight of Dalia, he nods and gives her a quick grin.

Drune’s ear perks at Tempest’s voice, eyes never leaving the group as he responds in kind.

Drune mumbles “I’ve … loved … … like this… … I must … I prefer watching from … …”, to Tempest.

Tempest nods in agreement and asks him something else.
Tempest mumbles “What … … … … … and … …”, to Drune.

Aravis smiles at the child, “So what’s your name then?”

Cor says, “Lady Astera. I’ll try to remember. There’s so many names.”

Drune grins slighly, glancing at her before replying.

Arael furrows her brow and tilts her head a little as she, too, catches Colin’s words, but she shakes it off and focuses on Lanisen as he makes to leave.

Avery looks relieved. “Oh, how wonderful!” She fiddles with her sleeve. “If you’ll just excuse me…I would just like to lecture my cousin on his tardiness. Punctuality is a virtue, you know.” A grin turns up her mouth.

Drune mumbles “Aliyah and the … … … … being… petted by the Daughter … …”, to Tempest.

Tempest nods her head.

Aliyah laughs and wanders away to find something tasty to eat. “Alrighty then.”

Peridan tips his head, assessing Colin as he speaks his last words. But before he can comment, Darrin appears. He bows at the man in greeting, “Sir Darrin.”

Astera gives Cor a friendly smile, her voice quiet, “Yes. But you’ll get the hang of it.” she grins a little wider. “you’re much more reserved than your brother.” She speaks affectionately. Lana bobs a small courtesy and says proudly, “I’m Lana.”

Avery moves across the Lawn, coming up behind Darrin and taking his elbow. “Late to a party, Lord Darrin? How unlike you…” She smiles at the gathering and curtsies.

Dalia makes her way to Lanisen, “Hello again. Lanisen, right?” she notice his cane and sling. “are these wounds from the battle, then?”

As Lord Darrin, Lord Cole and Lady Avery approach, Colin says no more on the matter, allowing the conversation to steer away. When Lanisen makes his move away, he frowns slightly in thought, looking at Arael with raised eyebrows.

Aravis claps her hands together and exclaims, “Lana! What a pretty name!”

Cor asks, “Oh. Well. He’s had a lot longer to get used to it, hasn’t he?”

Drune snorts softly, leaning toward his Alpha to reply once again.
Drune mumbles “… it were me and … … other … I would likely have … … hand.”, to Tempest.

Darrin drops his arm and bows his head Peridan. “Lord Peridan,” he says in a friendly tone. “Ah, cousin, you’re not supposed to notice my entrance, tskk tsk.” He smirks at her.

Lanisen leans on the first table, glancing up as Dalia approaches. “Evening, Miss Dalia,” he answers, giving her a quick smile. He looks down at his sling. “Ahh. Kind of. I wasn’t in the real battle.”

Tempest grins toothily, her pink tongue hanging out as she replies.
Tempest mumbles “… here, I …”, to Drune.

Arael curtsies as she finds herself surrounded by lords and a lady. She meets Colin’s eye and shakes her head, still frowning in confusion, before leaning to the side just a bit to watch Lanisen as he goes.

Astera chuckles softly, “Well, yes, I suppose. But I meant that’s how I think I can tell you two apart. I daresay you will never be carried like a sack of potatoes for sneaking out.” Her eyes twinkle. Lana giggles softly, looking pleased. “Thank you. What’s your name?”

As Lady Avery approches, Peridan bows to her, “Lady Avery.”

Cole comes up beside his brother, attempting to act as if he has always been here. “Lord Colin… ” he offers in greeting, examining the table.

Dalia nods looking serious, “I hope you weren’t hurt too badly?” She glances again at the way he’s leaning on the table and at the stick in his hand.

Drune chuckles softly, eyes returning to the crowd.
Drune mumbles “… thoughts on the …”, to Tempest.

Cor glances to where his brother is playing, not seeming entirely untempted. “So,” he attempts at polite conversation, “You’re from a town, I guess?”

Colin’s expression lifts. “Ah, brother! Good to see you again. Didn’t catch you when we came in…don’t tell me you forgot yourself in your books again.” He teases.

Avery throws a smirk right back at him. “There are few things that go unnoticed by me, Cousin.” She looks at Peridan as he greets her, inclining her head. “Ah, Lord Peridan, how do you fare tonight?”

Lanisen is quick to reassure her. “Oh, no. It barely hurts at all now.” From the way he’s clutching the cane, this may be a slight exaggeration.

Aravis says to Lana, “Aravis, you can call me Aravis”

Aliyah takes her food to the edge of the crowd and sits a bit to rest her shoulder and think.

Astera nods to Cor and smiles, “Yes. Originally, Carmichael. That’s thr town west of here and a little north. Just south of the other pass. All wooded. Largely known for its herds and the gems, mined by the dwarfs. By marriage I am from Chesterton… the fashionable town… and all that. Oh, and metalwork” She sounds less enthusiastic about Chesteron than she does Carmichael.

Peridan gives her a slight smile, “I am very well tonight. I am with friends, we are feasting, and there is peace in the land.” He turns as Cole speaks, “Ah, Lord Cole. It has been a long time.”

Lana listens and says the name slowly, “Ar-ar-aravis.” She stumbles over the word at first and then says it once more confidently, “Aravis.” She smiles. “It’s pretty.”

Cor’s eyes glaze a little at all the details. “Oh.”

Cole’s brow raises in mock disbelief as he shakes his head quickly. “I know not what you mean brother. ” he returns quickly, mouth twitching as he tries desperately to hold back a smile.

Arael turns her attention back to the greetings going on around her when it is clear that Lanisen isn’t about to fall again, though she does continue to glance at him out of the corner of her eye.

Astera grins a little and says in a quiet tone, “Yes… I find all the details very long and not as interesting, but it will come in handy later.”

Darrin chuckles, shaking his head at Avery. “I will have to remember that for the future, then.” he looks about the group around him, finally registering all the faces, and seems rather at ease. He offers a smile when he notices Arael.

Cor tries, “So… you’d be married to… Lord… Tyre?”

Astera quickly places a hand over her mouth to stiffle a giggle, although her eyes shine with merriment. She takes a moment to compose herself before saying, “No, your highness, but Lord Tyre is the Lord of Chesterton. I am married to Sir Tyren, his brother.”

Aravis nods encouragingly as the little girl tries to say her name, “That’s right, and thank you”

Astera says in a light, jovial manner, “For which I believe Lady Paige forever shall be grateful.”

Arael grins at Darrin in acknowledgement when she catches his smile.

Dalia nods slowly, as if she doesn’t quite believe him, but isn’t sure either way.

Lana asks, “Do you want to play?”

Cor seems a little confused by this last remark. “Oh I see. Uh, congratulations to you all, then.”

Aravis asks, “Play? What do you want to play?”

Cole turns as he hears his name once more, smiling broadly as he recognizes his cousin. “Ah, Lord Peridan! ” he exclaims. “It has been quite some time. ”

Astera smiles, “Thank you.” For a brief moment her smile looks strained. She eyes her daughter and interrupts saying, “Lana, don’t you think it’s your bedtime?”

Lana turns to her mother, her smile disappearing. She gives a small pout. “But I play with Aravis.” She explains.

Aravis stands as Lana turns to her mother and tries to look dignified, “Is she yours?”

Lanisen turns his attention toward the food. He reaches out, mindful of his balance, and grabs a piece of bread. He transfers this from his left hand to his right hand, then piles some meat carefully on top of it. Once he’s set there, he grabs his stick and turns back toward Colin and Arael.

Peridan claps Cole on the back, “Indeed, it has been a long time. It is good to see you, cousin.”

Cor steps back, trying to be out of the way of the conversation.

Astera tries to conceal a smile, “Perhaps tomorrow. Don’t you wish to be well rested so you can play longer?” She nods to Aravis and gives a small courtesy, “Yes milady, she is.”

Darrin pats Avery’s hand on his elbow apologetically and moves over near Arael. He flashes a broader smile at her. “Miss Arael! I haven’t yet had much of a chance to speak with you. How do you fare?”

Colin watches the interacting with Darrin and Arael, his expression curious before he focuses on the conversation with Lord Peridan and his brother.

Aravis returns the curtsey with one of her own, done in the Calormene style, “You’re Lady Astera aren’t you? I think we were introduced?”

Cole nods. “And you… ” he grins. “I trust Narnia is treating you well?”

Avery listens to the men, staying quiet for the moment. She takes a step closer and comes beside Colin. “Sir Colin.” She curtsies, eyes lowered.

Colin greets Lady Avery pleasantly. “Good day to you, Lady Avery. How are you faring?” He bows politely.

Peridan laughs, “Yes, it is a wonderful country. I am very happy to serve her for as long as she needs me. I hope Nieklot is still standing?” His eyes are twinkling with amusement.

Arael says, ‘Well, I thank you, /Lord/ Darrin.” Her tone is teasing here, but then grows a little more serious. “And you? You got through the battle all right?”

Avery asks, “Very well. And yourself, Milord?” She observes him with a modest gaze. “I trust you are well, especially after the last few days?”

Darrin snorts a bit, the noise rather undignified, but he grins at the acknowledgement. “Oh yes. Came out of the major battle entirely unscathed, though I took an arrow the day before. Tis not bad, however, never fear.” He touches his fingers to his middle briefly, smoothing out his tunic over the location of the wound in an unconscious gesture.

Astera nods to Aravis and smiles, “Yes. Although with everything going on, there’s not been much time to talk.” Lana gives a soft sigh and concedes, holding her arms up to her mother. Astera picks up her daughter, kissing the top of her head. “I see Lana had no trouble introducing herself. She’s so curious and adventurous. Sometimes it makes me quite faint.”

Cole looks to his brother as he replies to Peridan. “I can only assume… ” he chuckles, now grinning. “My duties have kept me close to Anvard these last few years. I imagine Sir Colin would have a much more personal grasp on Nioklot’s current state. ”

Colin nods his assent to Lady Avery. “Yes, I was most fortunate, thank you for asking.” When he hears his name his attention is pulled back to the conversation. “Aye?”

Aravis allows herself a little laugh, “She’s no trouble really, she actually reminds me a little of my younger brother who’s about her age, he was always wandering off and getting himself into trouble too”

Cor glances around, looking rather alone in the crowd. His eyes settle on his brother playing, but it’s clear he’s not sure he’s quite up for such roughhousing.

Peridan raises an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest. However, he winces slightly as his arm happens to brush his side, “Is that so, Colin? Now I really wonder about the state of Nieklot.”

Astera smiles, “I think it’s the age, really. Although I am very glad she is so curious about everything. I think that it makes for a much more delightful childhood.” She glances at Cor and asks, “So how do you both find things here?” Lana snuggles up against her mother, listening to the conversation.

Avery is about to walk away and let the men talk business, but before she does, she happens to see Peridan wince and she frowns. “Are you quite alright, Lord Peridan?”

Colin clasps a fist over his heart with a gasp. “You wound me, sir!” He jokes.

Dalia says, “I hope Aslan sees fit to restore you to full health soon. Aslan’s blessings.”She says as she sees him turn back to his friends. ”

Arael raises her eyebrows in surprise at this news. “Oh!” She glances at Colin. “H– I’d not heard about the arrow. I’m glad ’twasn’t worse.”

Cor, having stepped out of the conversation, doesn’t realize he’s been spoken to at first. When he hears the lull of noise peripheral to him he startles and turns. “What?”

Lanisen flinches slightly, either from Dalia’s well-wishing or because he put too much weight on his bad leg, it’s impossible to tell. “Ahh, thank you,” he says after a hesitation. “You, uh, you too.”

Cole cannot suppress his laughter at this. “Ah, I hear you Cousin. ” he then moves to put a hand on his brothers should and give it a good squeeze. “/But/! I wouldn’t be too worried… I have yet to hear of any wars in Nieklot. ”

Aravis glances to her rather confused looking friend, “I am finding it very nice indeed, I think he is rather lost most of the time if I’m honest with you”

Darrin flicks his keen blue gaze between Arael and his fellow knight, and restrains a smirk. “A mere graze, I assure you,” he lies effortlessly.

Astera bites her lip and smiles. “Well. It can be all very overwhelming at first.” Her tone is gentle. “I remember my first time here… I spent most of my life in a lovely little manor in the woods–only hearing stories of Anvard. And then to come here was so… exciting and frightening. So many names and faces… and so many halls.–And things to remember. I was not ready for what was here when I came, to be honest.”

Peridan grins at his cousin, “Ah, so I can wound you now? I am glad that I have not lost my touch. And yes Cole, I was merely joking.” He appraises them, defaulting into his commander’s stance, “I know that you two serve Archenland faithfully and honorably.” As Lady Avery speaks to him, he looks at her, shaking his head, “I am quite alright, milady, It is just my wound from battle, it acts up every so often.”

Avery tilts her head with a frown. “Oh. I wasn’t aware you were too badly wounded…” She blushes. “Forgive me.”

Aravis nods along as she listens to Astera talk, “Well I suppose put like that it must be quite overwhelming”

Dalia slips to Astera’s side, “Milady, if you wish, let me take Lana up to her bed?”

Cor says, “Sorry. I’m still trying to sort it all out.”

Colin watches Avery and Peridan chat, and a grin begins to toy at the corners of his mouth. He coughs and slides into the conversation with Arael and Darrin. “I should have known you two would be chums.” He says lightheartedly.

Astera nods to Dalia, “Thank you Dalia.”
Astera hands off her daughter, who has started to doze. She looks to Cor and says, “It is a lot to take in.”

Lanisen, seeing the number of people that have migrated to Colin’s general area in the few minutes he has been gone, hesitates. He looks a bit lost.

Arael nods, and then seems about to ask something else when Colin joins them. She looks up at him and grins. “Aye, well, with as long as Lord Darrin was with Lord Ast and all, you know.”

Dalia carefully takes the slumbering child in her arms, she nods to all and wishes them goodnight.

Peridan raises a hand, “Please do not worry Lady Avery, I have had worse practicing with High King Peter. Now, that is man that is relentless.”

Aravis, on noticing Astera’s attention drawn by Cor, excuses herself and makes her way towards the cakes before vanishing into the crowd.

Tempest glances at her packmate and replies.
Tempest mumbles “… … … … … … … … it is a bit overwhelming.”, to Drune.

Darrin says, “But of course, Sir Colin, as lovely as the lady is, how could I not ?” His eyes twinkle, and his tone, though light, verges just slightly away from flirtatious.

Avery acknowledges that with a nod and a small smile. “I shan’t then. May the Lion bring swift healing. If you are to return to Narnia soon, I am sure traveling with a wound would not be pleasant…” Her gaze travels to Cole. “Sir Cole, it has been quite some time since our paths have crossed.”

Aravis walks up the road toward the Gatehouse of Anvard.

Cor’s eyes follow Aravis as she leaves and his discomfort visibly grows.

Arael rolls her eyes at Darrin’s teasing.

Colin grins in response. “Seems as if Lord Ast was quite lenient with your training, perhaps I should give you a few pointers.”

As Cole and Avery begin to speak, Peridan’s eyes wander the crowd, spotting Prince Cor standing a bit of ways. He excuses himself from the group, walking over to the Prince. “Evening, Prince Cor. I hope you are enjoying yourself?”

Cole has returned to examining the table when his name is once more called. Turning to face Avery fully, he dips his head to her. “Lady Avery… It has been. ” he heh’s. “Time goes by far too fast. I trust you have been faring well?”

Astera says softly, “If you’d like to join your brother or Lady Aravis, your highness, you can. I can always catch up with one of the other nobles.”

Peridan also bows the Lady standing beside the Prince, “Evening, milady.”

Darrin arches a brow, the enthusiasm he has for this suggestion clear in his blue eyes. “Alas, I am not supposed to be back to training for a bit, but as soon as the healer gives the go-ahead, you are most certainly welcome to try,” he tells Colin.

Lanisen decides against braving the crowd of important people surrounding his friends. He shuffle-limps to a nearby chair and sits down to quietly eat his bread and meat.

Lune continues to make the rounds, paying equal attention to people and table, keeping tabs on his sons’ locations. When he catches a glimpse of Cor’s discomfort, he extricates himself from his current conversation and returns to his son’s side.

Drune nods. “Indeed… Makes one miss the woods. ” his brow furrows a bit at this as he leans over to mutter something to her.
Drune mumbles “… you heard anything … the pack?”, to Tempest.

Cor squints in concentration. “Ah, Sir Peridan, is that right? Oh, yes, yes I suppose I am.”

Astera courtesys to the Lord, “Good evening milord.”

Tempest shakes her head. “No, but I did send word letting them know where we were.”

Arael’s eyes twinkle with amusement as she watches Colin and Darrin’s exchange.

Avery nods. “Indeed, it does. Sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday that I was being presented to court. And yet, here we all are, enjoying one another’s company. The latest…events make one appreciate gatherings like this all the more. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Peridan nods to the boy, “I am glad to hear that.” He turns to the Lady, introducing himself, “Forgive me, I am Lord Peridan.

Astera spies the king’s approach and courtesys deeper. She suddenly seems a little out of her element although she remains composed. She smiles. “Pleased to meet you Lord Peridan. I am Lady Astera of Chesterton. I don’t believe I saw you when I was in Anvard before.”

Peridan turns as the King approaches, bowing to him before answering Lady Astera, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Astera.” He chuckles, “No, you would not have seen me, I have resided in Narnia for these last fourteen years.”

Cole lets out a soft chuckle, folding his hands. “Indeed… ” he lets his gaze wander. “I couldn’t agree more. Been some time since there were so many gathered in one place. ” he muses.

Lune gives Peridan and Astera each a nod, coming behind his son and wrapping an arm around Cor’s shoulders. “Lady Astera!” he exclaims. “Was that thy lovely daughter wandering about earlier? By the Emperor, she has grown!”

Avery also looks out, taking a small dessert from the table. “Ah, yes. So many old friends to catch up with and some new ones to meet.”

Astera ahs softly, “Narnia is a delightful country.” She nods to Lune, a faint blush creeping into her cheeks. “Yes, that was Lana. I swear, I turned my eyes for a second and she got it in her mind to visit with Lady Aravis.” She chuckles, “She has grown up so fast! I never thought time could pass in such a manner.”

Cor looks up at his father, seeming comforted for the opportunity to fall quiet for a moment.

Colin laughs at Darrin. “Try, yes. I haven’t had a spar in quite some time, lad, so it will be nice to stretch the legs, as it were.”

Peridan offers, “She seemed quite lovely.”

Cole rubs his hands together slowly, nodding. “Quite a bit of history in one gathering. ” he adds. “And yes, I imagine this shall strengthen Archenland’s friendship with Narnia. ”

Darrin makes a vaguely strangled sounding noise at the word ‘lad’ and puffs out his chest. “Ah, you say that now, Sir. We shall see.” He smirks.

Lune laughs as well. “Aye, they will surprise you.” He glances down at his new-recovered son, something distant and wistful in his face. “Truly we must treasure every day given us.”

Avery takes a bite of the cake. “Oh, to be sure. I am excited to see how things will progress.” She smiles and shrugs lightly. “It has always been a dream of mine to go to Narnia…Perhaps it will happen one day soon.”

Arael laughs lightheardedly at their antics.

Peridan coughs slightly, not having children and therefore having nothing to say that moment.

Colin looks at Arael and points his thumb at Darrin as if to say “Really?”

Darrin breaks into a grin the second Colin’s back is turned and hides it again just as quickly when the other knight turns back.

Astera nods, her eyes bright and with a warm smile.

Arael’s shoulders continue to twitch a little, and she manages to hide her amusement not at all, but she stops her laughing and raises a challenging eyebrow at Colin, lips pursed. “I’ve /seen/ him fight, you know.”

Cole’s brow raises a bit at the statement, a thoughtful expression settling over his countenance. Focus turning to Peridan, an ever-so-subtle twinkle enters his eyes. “You know, Lady Avery… if you had the time, I imagine asking Lord Peridan to arrange for a visit to the country wouldn’t be completely out of order. ”

Colin’s eyebrows shoot up and he sputters. “You’ve seen me fight too!” He says, pride wounded.

Cor looks a little awkward, seeming to be thinking of what his father might be thinking of. He overhears a bit of conversation outside of them and takes it as a jumping-off point. “Have /you/ been to Narnia, Lady Astera?”

Having being addressed, Peridan turns from the current conversation back to Cole. “Hmm?”

Avery turns to him with widened eyes. She shakes her head. “Oh, but my Mother, Sir Cole…” When Peridan looks over, she blushes.

Astera nods, “I have been, shortly after I was presented at court. I was Prince Corin’s nursemaid when he went to become a squire to King Edmund. It was a very… enlightening trip.” She smiles.

Darrin throws back his shoulders and further puffs himself up, looking ridiculously pleased by this development. “What the lady means, Sir Colin, that you might have to work for a victory. No simple leg-stretching here.”

Cor says, “I’d like to go, and see the forests, and Bree, and Hwin.”

Cole smiles at his Cousin, gesturing to Avery. “Lady Avery just mentioned to me how she has dreamt of visting the country you now reside in and I thought… ” he glances to Avery at her comment. ” That if it wasn’t completely out of order, you might be able to arrange for her to visit. ”

Lune chuckles. “And shalt do. A prince must know of his allies. Before the year is out, how should that be?”

Aliyah walks a bit more gingerly now. It seems the evening’s activities have caused her shoulder to act up a bit. Not wanting to interrupt the conversation, she waves a paw in Avery’s direction before disappearing inside for some rest and mouths ‘goodnight’.

Cor asks, “Oh, could we?”

Peridan glances between the two, his eyes bright, “Of course, My Lady. I would be glad to arrange for anyone to come to Narnia. It has been a long time since there were many Archenland Nobles in the Narnian Courts.” As Cor and Lune are speaking, his attention is diverted to them, “I would be happy to arrange for Prince Cor to come visit, your Majesty.”

Lune says, “I see no reason why not. Thy brother has only just returned from such a visit, and those of the Narnian court are dear friends.”

Astera asks, “Who’s Hwin and Bree?” She smiles at the mention of the Narnian court.

Avery looks down, her cheeks turning crimson now. She glances back up and says, “Sir Cole, I am sure Lord Peridan has more important things to worry about.” However, when Peridan speaks, she smiles and dips her head. “I thank you for the consideration…” Once Peridan looks away, she shoots a look back in Cole’s direction with a slight roll of her eyes, an amused smirk on her lips.

Cor says, “Oh, why, Bree’s who brought me up here. And Hwin told Aravis about Narnia. They’re talking horses. It was all rather good luck, you know. Or, not luck at all, I suppose.”

Astera grins and nods, “Oh, the talking horses! They are delightful. We’ve had one or two visit anvard–one with wings!”

Arael frowns at Darrin and cries out in mock indignation, “I did /not/!” She turns to Colin. “And I /haven’t/ seen you fight!”

Colin squints in confusion. “Well why ever not! How’ve we avoided that?”

Darrin says drolly, “Clearly, we shall have to remedy that in the near future.”

Cole grins as Peridan turns, only to catch Avery’s eyeroll a moment later. “What? ” he chuckles.

Peridan smiles at the thought of the Narnian Beasts, “If you like Talking Horses, Prince Cor, just wait until you meet a Unicorn.”

Cor asks, “A Unicorn?”

Astera nods to this.

Lune says, “A beast like to a horse, but with the hooves of a goat and the tail of a lion. They have a single horn in the center of their foreheads and are said to be wondrous beautiful creatures.”

Drune lets out a large, wolfish yawn before muttering something to his Alpha.

Astera says softly, “Although I think after seeing Aslan… nothing could be more beautiful than him.”

Drune mumbles “I … … am … turn in for the evening…”, to Tempest.

Cor says, “Still, I’d like to see that.”

Tempest nods her head in agreement, replying.

Avery chuckles. “You know what, Milord.” She reaches for a few grapes. “I can only imagine asking my Mother about this…”

Tempest mumbles “I … I shall … …”, to Drune.

Drune smiles softly, nodding and standing before making his way silently back into the castle.

Peridan nods, “I could have not said it better, your Majesty.” Soon, a servant appears, nervously catching his attention. There is a few whispered words before the servant hurries off. Perdian looks at his companions, ” Please forgive me but I must retire from the feast.” He first bows to his uncle and cousin, “Your Majesty and your highness.” He Then bows to the Lady Astera, “It was a pleasure to meet you.” He then disappears into the crowd.

Astera courtesys to Lord Peridan and nods. Then she looks to Cor, “Oh! And hopefully you will get to see a Marshwiggle!”

Arael rolls her eyes at Colin again. “I /suppose/ because you never felt as if you needed to fight me? Emperor forbid!”

Cole crosses his arms, chuckling softly and seemingly letting it go for now.

Cor glances between her and his father. “A who?”

Colin raises his eyebrows, looking at her skeptically and fighting the amused grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Somehow I don’t feel I would win such a match…”

Arael makes a face.

Darrin crosses his arms over his chest and simply laughs outright at this.

Astera giggles and tries to explain, “They are the most… unique creatures! They sort of resemble a man and a frog, with webbed fingers and feet–they have…” She gestures a bit and says, “Well, normal faces but very bulgy eyes. And they have the most… interesting outlook. Like… it’s a sunny day but it’s most certain to rain later.”

Cor looks confounded.

Colin allows the grin to spread on his face.

Lune laughs out loud. “My father who was king had an advisor with just such an outlook,” he remarks. “I thought him ridiculous, until my time came to take the throne. Then I rather wished I had a marsh-wiggle-ish advisor of my own.”

Avery pops a grape into her mouth and chews thoughtfully. Her eyes widen with a particular thought and she lets out a small gasp, nearly choking on said grapes.

Cole blinks at the gasp from Avery, expression almost instantly turning very serious. “Are you alright Lady Avery?” he asks quickly, taking a half step forward.

Cor looks up at his father, his nose wrinkling as if he has just such doubts as young Lune. “Someone who sees the sun and imagines clouds anyhow?”

Arael glances back and forth between the grinning Colin and the laughing Darrin for a few beats before she, too, begins to laugh.

Astera giggles softly, her eyes bright. “It might seem very dour at first but… they are truly gentle and kind.”

Lune says, “Aye. When the rains come in earnest, you’ll find one day, it is well to have somebody at hand to remind you to carry an oilskin.”

Avery lifts a hand, her cough turning into a laugh. “Yes, yes, I’m alright. I’ve just…” She shakes her head, cheeks pink. “Something suddenly came to mind is all.”

Colin joins in the laughter and his eyes start searching the crowd. When he spies who he’s looking for, he politely excuses himself from Darrin and goes over to where Lanisen is sitting. “How you feeling, mate?”

Darrin coughs a bit and steps closer to Arael as Colin steps away, eyes twinkling with amusement. He watches Colin a moment, looking thoughtful.

Cole eyes her a moment, slowly loosening up. “I see… ” he replies, still not completely at ease. “And what might that be? ” he asks slowly.

Cor seems to find this idea troubling, perhaps overwhelming. “I suppose–“

Arael bobs a curtsey as Colin leaves, though she cranes her neck a little to see where it is he’s going.

Lanisen stirs from where he has been sitting in a tired, zoned-out daze. “Fine,” he answers, straightening and rubbing his eyes. “Yeah, I’m …fine.”

Colin asks, “You look a bit done in…ready to head back to the castle?”

Astera says, “You will see so many new and exciting things in Narnia. I know you’ll love it.”

Darrin looks back to Arael and says something quietly to her.
Darrin mumbles “So, … and Sir … … … rather … friends.”, to Arael.

Lanisen considers the long distance between his chair and the gates, and the longer distance between the gates and his chamber rather hopelessly. “…I’ll go in a bit.”

Colin crouches down by Lanisen’s seat to better speak with him.
Colin mumbles “You have my aid.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles “… … … …”, to Lanisen.

Avery gives him a sideways glance. “Oh…” She lifts one shoulder. “I was just thinking that Lady Paige might actually approve of the request…”

Lune says, glancing at Cor, “Though doubtless there are enough new things here to keep you occupied for some time, eh?”

Cor nods agreement to this supposition. “I don’t feel as if I shall ever get it all sorted.”

Lanisen gives Colin a tired, grateful look. He rubs his hurt shoulder, closing his eyes briefly, then nods.

Arael turns to look up at Darrin as he speaks to her. She grins and glances back over toward Colin briefly.
Arael mumbles “Aye, he’s … … a … … … … … … …”, to Darrin.

Colin nods, rising back to a standing position and moving to Lanisen’s good arm to help him up.

Astera’s expression softens but she continues to smile. She says encouragingly, “just give yourself some time. It’ll all come into place. And you’ll have plenty of help.”

Cole’s brow quirks as he nods. “Ah… ” he begins to compose himself, taking a deep breath. “Well… good, I am glad to hear it. ” He pauses, letting the silence hang for a moment before glancing skyward. “I fear I will have to be going though. I have some duties within the Castle. ”

Darrin beams.
Darrin mumbles “… am … to hear it.”, to Arael.

Avery curtsies to him. “Good eve, then.”

Cole shoots a glance at his brother before dipping his head to her. “Good eve M’lady. ” he offers her a quick smile before quickly heading into the Castle.

Lune squeezes Cor’s shoulder again. “And shalt have all the time needed.”

Cor nods, not really looking encouraged by this, but accepting it nonetheless.

Avery watches Cole go and then she steps toward Astera, curtseying to King Lune first and then the others. “Good evening.”

Arael bites her lip and glances down, maybe just a bit shy. As she looks back up, she catches sight of Lanisen standing with Colin’s aid. She starts a little, and gestures toward them, saying apologetically, “I should go. I said I’d help Lanny while he’s laid up and all.”

Darrin follows her glance. “Of course.” He bows his head to her deeply. “It has been good to speak with you again, m’lady,” he says with a smile.

Astera courtesies to Avery and says softly, “You’ll have your father’s guidence too, your highness.” She blushes a little but looks to Lune with genuine devotion and gratitude, “He’s very good at helping someone grow into what they’re made for.”

Arael huffs at him in mock exasperation and curtsies more deeply than she would usually do. “Aye, /my lord/,” she teases once more, grinning, before moving off toward Lanisen and Colin.

Lanisen accepts Colin’s help, leaning heavily both on his friend and his cane. He hisses out a breath of pain even so and takes a minute to find his equilibrium again.

Darrin chuckles and shakes his head, watching Arael go with an expression of approval. He shakes his head again and wanders over to the group around the King.

Colin steadies Lanisen, trying to help ease some of the discomfort.

Lune keeps a close eye on his son, watching for any signs that he is too overwhelmed.

Arael moves quickly to Lanisen’s other side and slips her arm behind his back, avoiding the sling. She looks a little sheepish. “I’m sorry, Lanny. I didn’t realize we’d left you out there so long.”

Lanisen shakes his head quickly to Arael, trying to indicate without words that it’s not even a little bit their fault. He takes a deep breath, eying the castle gates with pale determination, and nods.

Avery looks to King Lune. “Your Majesty, you have provided us with such a wonderful night. It has been so nice to come together and encourage one another.” She glances at Astera. “However, the night has been long and I would like to get a letter written for my Mother before it is too late…”

Colin together with Arael helps Lanisen make his way into the castle.


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