sweet rolls

Inner Ward of Anvard
Castle Anvard

Peridan is sitting on a bench, reading.

Lanisen makes his way out of the corridor to the servants’ quarters toward the well. He’s moving with relative ease, but he’s still relying on the stick quite a lot. Once he reaches the well, he leans his stick against it and draws up a bucket one-handed.

Avery comes from one of the corridors, a maid at her side. She is speaking to the younger girl, looking a bit flustered. Finally, with a nod, the maid curtsies and runs off. Avery sighs and moves toward the well, her eyes falling to the paper in her hand. She starts when she looks up and sees Lanisen. Her hand flies to her chest. “Oh, Lanisen. You gave me a fright…”

Peridan looks up from his book as he hears voices. He closes it, beginning to stand.

Lanisen, startled by Avery being startled, drops the rope. The bucket lands in the water far below with a distant splash, and Lanisen sways, off his balance without his stick in hand. “S-sorry, my lady.”

With wide eyes, Avery reaches out to steady him. However, she pulls her hands back as soon as he is righted, clasping them together, creasing the letter. “No, ’tis not your fault. I just was not paying attention…”

Peridan closes the distance between the two, his voice friendly, “Careful, Lanisen, we do not want you to fall into the well.”

Lanisen automatically flinches back as Avery reaches out, grabbing onto the well wall to steady himself. He carefully picks up his stick again and gets himself re-balanced. “Sorry,” he repeats, glancing at both Avery and Peridan.

Avery nods in agreement with Peridan. “Certainly not.” She curtsies. “Good afternoon, Lord Peridan.”

Peridan bows to the both of them, “Afternoon, Lady Avery, Lanisen. How do you two fare?”

Lanisen bows unsteadily. He’s immensely uncomfortable with a noble on both sides and it shows on his face.

Avery gives a smile. “Very well, thank you.” She motions to the well. “I’ve just come for a drink. Running around the castle has made me so thirsty…”

Peridan moves to the well, “Allow me.” He grabs the rope and starts pulling. “A nice drink does sound refreshing.”

Lanisen watches the dripping bucket come back into view.

Avery moves out of the way, giving him room. “You are too kind, Lord Peridan. I thank you.”

Peridan finishes pulling up the bucket, grabbing it with his free hand. He places it on the edge of the well in the middle of those gathered, steadying it with a hand.

Lanisen takes a couple of steps back, glancing at Avery.

Avery looks to Lanisen as he steps back. She nods slightly and quickly takes a drink.

Peridan continues to steady the bucket.

Lanisen doesn’t make a move until Avery is quite done, and even then is hesitant.

Avery smiles. “Well, I should…ah, return to my tasks at hand.” She shrugs. “My Mother will be arriving very soon, I should think…I hope to have everything ready for her arrival.”

Peridan tips his head at this, “It was a pleasure to see you, Lady Avery.” He still keeps his hand on the bucket.

Lanisen bows quickly. He’s getting better at it!

Avery nods. “Yes, you two as well.” She smiles at Lanisen and curtsies to Peridan. “Afternoon.”

Peridan watches the Lady walk off before turning to Lanisen. He grins a bit, “Well, Lanisen, if you want a drink, you’ll have to come closer. I am a helpful man but I can’t do everything for a person.”

Lanisen, as Avery departs, glances again at the bucket. He starts a little at Peridan’s words, ducks his head, and offers a quick, self-deprecating grin. “Sorry,” he says, for the third time in about three minutes, and returns to the well. He sets down his stick, picks up the ladle, and carefully helps himself to a drink from the bucket. “Thank you, sir,” he says when he’s finished, wiping his mouth. “I hadn’t quite worked out how I was gonna get the bucket out of the well.”

Peridan chuckles, “Well, it is good thing I was here. I guess I am filling in again.” He winks, “I’ll spare you the long winded speech.”

Lanisen grins again, picking up his stick. “Appreciate it.”

Peridan also takes a drink before he begins to drop the bucket back down into the well. “So Lanisen, What do you do when not getting into fights with Sir Colin?”

Lanisen laughs, scuffing at the ground with his stick sheepishly. “Ahh–we don’t actually fight. Not anymore. That was kind of– different circumstances.”

Peridan chuckles, “Oh?”

Lanisen shrugs a little. “It was a long time ago.” He glances around the relatively quiet ward and makes a what-the-hey kind of face. “It ain’t a secret or anything. I was kind of– part of a bad crowd. Sir Colin brought me and another fellow in to, um, face the law. He glosses over now ’cause he’s nice. That’s all.” His tone is matter-of-fact, but he’s turned a little red and won’t quite look Peridan in the eye.

Peridan appraises the man in front of him. “That is a different circumstance. I am glad that a friend came from that.”

Lanisen says quietly, “Yeah. Me too.”

Peridan says, “Though out of all the men in the court, Sir Colin would be the most interesting friend to have.”

Tyre enters the courtyard as if on cue.

Lanisen asks after an uncertain pause, “Why do you say that, sir?”

Peridan begins to respond when another figure catches his eye, “Ah, Good afternoon, Lord Tyre.”

Tyre looks to be headed toward the library when he is greeted. He looks for the caller, and bows, readjusting his glasses as he rises. “Sir Peridan.”

Lanisen looks rather startled by the name. He quickly bows, putting a hand on the well wall to support himself.

Peridan watches Lanisen from the corner of his eyes as he bows to Tyre, “How are you faring, Sir?”

Tyre says, “Ahh — as ever, I suppose.”

Lanisen goes quiet, trying not to draw attention to himself.

Peridan chuckles, “I hope as ever means that you normally fare well.”

Tyre says, “Ah… enough, yes, I suppose so.”

Peridan clears his throat, “Well, I am glad that you are faring well.” Soon a servant appears coming up to Peridan. After a few exchanged words, Peridan nods, “It seems that I am needed in the Great Hall.”

Tyre says, “Of course.”
Tyre bows.

Lanisen says quietly, bowing, “Afternoon, sir.”

Peridan bows first to Tyre and then to Lanisen, “Afternoon, my friends.” He follows the servant into the Hall.

Lanisen looks startled and alarmed as Peridan bows to him. He glances helplessly around the ward.

Tyre looks the other Son of Adam over. “I was just on my way to the library. …Will you be needing help to wherever you are going?”

Lanisen says, “M-me? No, sir! Er, thank you, sir.”

Tyre exclaims, “Ah! Oh. Very, uh, very good. They did say you were improving rapidly.”

Lanisen says, “Yes, sir. Um, I think so, sir.”

Tyre says, “Well, then, very well. I’ll just be off. I’m sure a servant will assist you should you change your mind.”

Lanisen says, bowing again, “Thank you, sir.”

Tyre waves a hand at him. “Please. I’m sure no one expects you to bow in your condition.”

Lanisen gives Tyre a surprised look. “Oh. Um. Thank, you, sir?”

Tyre pushes his glasses up with his knuckles. “Good afternoon. Oh. Lanisen, I think they said it was?”

Lanisen says, “Yes sir. Um. Lord Tyre, he called you?”

Tyre says, “Yes, ahh, that’s right.”

Lanisen asks, “You’d be, um, Sir Tyren’s brother, then?”

Tyre says, “And Lady Avery’s.”

Lanisen says, “Ah. Yeah. That’d make sense.”

Tyre pushes his glasses up, looking a little baffled by this. “Well–”

Lanisen says, “Um. Seeing as Lady Avery is Sir Tyren’s sister, and you’re Sir Tyren’s… brother… er.”

Tyre says, “Yes.”

Lanisen asks, “Are you not often at court, then, sir?”

Tyre’s eyes flicker toward the library. “Only when I am needed.”

Lanisen catches the flicker. He starts to bow again, checks himself, and stands awkwardly for a moment. “Um, glad to meet you, sir.”

Tyre says, “Ah, and you, L..anisen.”

Lanisen backs away respectfully and bumps into the well.

Tyre does not seem to notice, perhaps due to kindness and perhaps distraction.

–much later–

Lanisen sits on the ground with his back to the wall in the sunniest and most out-of-the-way corner of the ward. His book is open on his lap, and he is staring at the page with an unfocused frown. To anybody near enough to see, the book is open to a painting of a lion.

Arael comes in through the gates with a napkin-wrapped parcel tucked under her arm. She pauses and looks around when she makes it into the inner ward, and, upon spotting Lanisen, she grins brightly and makes her way straight toward him, her step light and quick.

Peridan comes walking alongside of a man, a soldier by the looks of it. The two are talking quietly.

Lanisen is too lost in thought to notice her approach until she is quite near. “Oh, hey,” he says, quickly closing the book. “Where’d you come from?”

Arael drops easily to the ground beside him, crossing her legs in front of herself. “Oh, from the harbor, of course,” she quips promptly. “Took a sail with a band of pirates this morning.” She holds up the parcel, grinning. “Brought you back some of the treasure.”

Peridan finishes speaking with the soldier, who then proceeds to salute before marching off. Peridan glances around the Ward, happening to catch Arael’s last words. He chuckles, moving towards the two, “Can I see this treasure?”

Lanisen eyes the parcel with distinct interest. “Did you now?”

Arael snorts in response to Lanisen and turns to look over her shoulder, toward the other voice. Upon seeing Peridan, she hands Lanisen the parcel and stands again, curtseying. “My lord.” She backs up against the wall so that she can see both of them at once, and explains, “‘Twas Laya’s–my cousin’s–baking day. We made a bit extra.”

Peridan gives the two space, “Baked goods are the greatest treasure of them all.”

Lanisen peeks beyond Arael at Peridan. He gives the man a cautious smile and a sitting bow, then lifts the napkin to investigate what might be underneath.

Arael peers over his shoulder, grinning as she watches for his response. “Laya’s got the best way of making sweet rolls. We put in some other bits, but you’ll want to try those first, I think.”

Realizing that he might be intruding, Peridan begins to edge away.

Lanisen lifts the plate and inhales deeply, closing his eyes in bliss. “Oh, /thank/ you,” he sighs. “Thank Laya for me too.” He opens his eyes. “All right, what’s what?”

Arael grins in satisfaction. “Aye, to be sure I’ll do that.” She glances up at Peridan, still grinning, before leaning over a little to point things out. “Those are the sweet rolls. Here’s some of the bread–just plain, but ’tis fresh from today, and she made some lovely blackberry jam a bit ago–that’s there. And some tarts, just there.”

Peridan watches, sniffing, “They did smell wonderful. Your cousin must be quite the baker.”

Arael nods. “For all I’ve done enough baking, I’ve never got quite as good as she is.”

Lanisen makes appreciative noises as each is pointed out, and at last glances up at them. “Well, I’m not about to eat delicious things in front of you both, that’s just rude,” he says, grinning faintly. “There’s enough for three here, easy.”

Peridan raises a hand, “I don’t want to press you into giving me a piece. I was intruding.”

Arael sits down beside Lanisen once more, back against the wall this time. She shakes her head. “I’ve already had my share. I couldn’t eat another bite–you’ll have to find a way to go it without me.”

Lanisen purses his lips on one side at this. He considers the plate and selects a sweet roll for himself, then extends the plate to Peridan, eyebrows raised.

Despite his manners and lordly behavior, Peridan doesn’t hesitant to take one then takes a bite, “Mmmmm…this is delicious.”

Astera enters the ward with a small coin purse. She looks to be in a pleasant mood.

Arael grins in satisfaction at his response.

Lanisen balances the plate on his knees, giving due attention to the sweet roll. He seems very reluctant to rush the experience. He takes the smallest of bites and leans back against the wall with his eyes closed, making a wordless noise of appreciation. “That,” he says, “is extremely, extremely good.”

Arael giggles. “Aye, as I said–the best.”

Peridan continues to eat the roll, “I have never had something so delicious before.” He is so wrapped up into his roll eating, he fails to notice Lady Astera.

Astera hears a familiar voice amid the chatter and pauses, looking around. She grins and calls out, “Ara!” And moves toward her.

Lanisen opens his eyes and raises his head at the call. He shifts on recognizing Lady Astera, his eyes widening slightly.

Arael looks up quickly in response to Astera’s call. She grins broadly in recognition and gets quickly to her feet once more. “Lady Astera! G’day.” She bobs a curtsey.

Peridan coughs, removing the roll from his mouth. He bows, trying to swallow the remainder before saying, “Evening, Lady Astera.”

Lanisen also says quietly, “Good evening, my lady.”

Astera gives a polite courtesy to Peridan, “Lord Peridan.” She looks at Lanisen and pauses, “Hello Lanisen. How are you doing?”

Lanisen says, carefully formal, “Well enough, my lady, thank you.”

Peridan watches quietly for the moment.

Arael glances at the others, then back to Astera. “And you, M’lady? I think I’ve not seen you since the feast on the lawn.”

Astera smiles, “I am well, thank you. I recieved word today my mother-in-law shall be coming to Anvard.” Despite the smile, it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “So I thought I’d help Lady avery prepare. Lanisen, if you need anything, please let me know.”

Peridan says, “Lady Avery did mention her mother was coming.”

Lanisen says, without quite looking directly at her, “Thank you, Lady Astera.”

Astera glances at Peridan and asks, “Have you ever met her ladyship?”

Arael leans her back against the wall, but remains standing for the moment as she watches Lady Astera and Lord Peridan’s exchange.

Peridan shakes his head, “I’m afraid not, I never had many affairs in Chesterton.”

Lanisen glances up at Arael briefly, then looks down at the plate on his knees.

Astera opens her mouth and closes it, maintaining a smile. She hesitates, then says, “Well… it will be quite the experience I’m sure. She’s very…. outgoing.” She looks to Arael, “So… how long will you be in Anvard?”

Peridan watches all the silent stares thoughtfully.

Arael raises her eyebrows in surprise and shakes her head quickly. “Oh, I’m not–’twas just to keep safe when the army came through, like all the rest from the town, you know. I’ve been at the inn with Ary and Win, and in town with Laya.” She grins and nods toward Lanisen’s plate in explanation. “I just came up to visit for a bit.”

Astera smiles, “That was very kind of you. You… will visit some more, won’t you? With Ary and Win before you all return to Carmichael?”

Astera looks to Peridan, “We grew up there. If you ever get the chance to visit Carmichael, I think it’s one of the lovilest places in Archendland.”

Peridan nods, “It has been a long time since I have travelled to other places in Archenland.”

Arael grins in response to Astera’s question, but waits for Astera and Peridan finish conversing before she answers. “Ary and I’ll be sure to bring Bern up again before we go. Win’s not yet said for sure when we’ll be leaving, but not for a few more days, anyway.”

Astera looks pleased to hear this, “Excellent! I should like Lana to get as much time with her cousin as possible. There were so few children in Chesterton for her to play with.” She looks to Peridan, “Perhaps, if you get the chance to stay long enough, Lord Ast and Lady Priya can give you a tour of the town. It’s small, but a good community.”

Lanisen smiles faintly at this, looking at his hands.

Peridan nods, “Yes, That would be lovely. It does depends on a few things but I shall be amendable to tour the countryside.”

Arael grins proudly at Astera’s description of their town. Turning to Peridan, she says, “‘Tis lovely. You’ll want to make sure not to cross any of the dwarves, though. Some people who don’t know–oh!” She brightens with realization. “But like as not you know more than we do about how to get on with dwarves.”

Peridan chuckles, rubbing the back of his neck, “Ah, yes. Dwarfs are interesting characters.”

Astera places a hand over her mouth and giggles, eyes bright. “Do you remember the nick names I gave to some of the miners when I was young? All because of that fairy tale mother told me? Oh… I ddidn’t think they’d ever forgive at first.” She smiles. “But… they are kind–and I think sometimes a little homesick.”

Arael laughs merrily at the memory. “Aye, that’s so.”

Peridan tips his head, “Oh?” He is smiling.

Astera giggles harder, “Wasn’t it the leader I called Grumpy? Because he was always so gruff?” She explains, “There was a story about a maiden who fled an evil queen and lived among seven dwarfs. And they all had very simple names. So I started to call some of the miners those names and liked to think I was the maiden from the story. Thankfully, most were very understanding of a child with an active imagination.”

Peridan grins, still listening.

Lanisen grins again, seeming more at his ease.

Arael snorts at this. Her eyes twinkle mischievously, and her lips twitch upward at the corners. “They were /understanding/ of the stories. ‘Twas when you’d get under their feet and pester them for trinkets from the mine that they’d get cross with you.”

Astera giggles softly, “Yes. Do you remember the time Astor and I asked for a ride in one of their carts? Oh goodness, I can still har Grumpy yelling!”

Peridan laughs outright at this story, continuing to listen.

Lanisen breaks his silence at this, startled. “Grumpy?”

Arael laughs as well. Her posture is relaxed and at ease as she leans against the wall. At Lanisen’s query, she looks down and explains. “Lidwyrt. You know–who led the miners. Grumpy.” She grins.

Astera nods and giggles, “Yes!Yes, that was his name! Lidwyrt! Does he still run the mines?”

Peridan grins at Lanisen, still listening. He still remains standing but in a comfortable speaking position.

Lanisen raises his eyebrows and blows out a breath. “You’re braver’n me,” he says. “I was always terrified of him.”

Astera laughs merrily, “You’ve met him them? Yes. He can be quite sour. But to a child with a vivid imagination and carefree nature, he seemed to fit the perfect part of Grumpy.–And with my father running Carmichael, I suppose that also helped things for my own case.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah, I–I grew up in Carmichael too, my lady.”

Soon a man appears walking up to Peridan. “Commander sir, there is a slight problem.” Peridan turns to him, sighing a bit. “I see, I’ll be right there.” He then turns to the others, “Forgive me, but it seems that I am needed. Moving armies are a headache sometimes.”

Arael giggles ruefully. “He /was/ frightful when he’d yell, but then she’d–” she nods her head in Astera’s direction here– “come up with an idea that sounded like great fun, and I’d forget about being frightened long enough to make him yell again.”

Astera giggles and is about to respond when the man approaches Peridan. She courtesys to him, “It was good to see you again, Lord Peridan.”

Lanisen says, “Evening, sir.”

Arael straightens and curtsies quickly.

Peridan bows to the Lady and then the other two, “Good evening. Take care.” He follows the soldier out of the ward.

Astera turns back to Lanisen and Arael once Peridan leaves. She is smiling, “Yes. I was very good at getting us in and out of trouble.” Her smile falters for a moment. She looks at Lanisen and says warmly, “I didn’t realize you were from Carmichael. I feel rather bad now. I thought I knew practically everyone–but it is always nice to know someone from home.”

Lanisen flushes a little and says, “Er, well– I left a long time ago, and you were a few years older’n me, it’s not…”

Arael grins a little, but stays quiet for the moment. She leans back against the wall, listening as the two of them speak.

Astera smiles warmly, “Well, I shall make more of an endeavor to better know you. Us Carmichael folk need to stick together you know–at least that’s what the dwarfs would always say–” She stiffs a little, clears her throat and does her best dwarf impression, “The dwarfs are for the dwarfs!”

Lanisen looks a little uncertain. “Er–I’ve never heard a dwarf say that.”

Arael gives a startled snort at Astera’s impression. “I think ’twas just the one. After he’d have a quarrel with Winbrytt, he’d go into Fischer’s and sit at a table with some of the other miners, and after he’d had enough ale he’d start yelling it.”

Astera nods, her smile dimming slightly, “Or after he had a quarrel with father.” She sighed. “I remember some nights listenin’ in when I wasn’t supposed to… but… they always seemed to calm back down and go back to work.”

Lanisen says, “Huh.” He looks down at his hands again, and in the process remembers he’s got a lapful of delicious baked goods. “Er– Arael brought these from her cousin, do you want one?” He lifts the plate full of sweet rolls toward Astera.

Astera smiles and takes one, “Thank you.”

Lanisen says, nodding toward Arael. “Thank her.”

Arael grins a little. “Have you had one of hers before? I can’t think if you were ever about when she made them last time I was here.”

Astera chuckles softly as she takes a bite, “You know I don’t remember. It’s been rather long since I was last here a decent amount of time. Mmmm. They certainly don’t make these in Chesterton.” She sighs with a wisrful delight.

Lanisen asks, “You live in Chesterton now, m’lady?”

Arael grins broadly at Astera’s response to the roll.

Astera sighs, “If you could call it living.” She keeps her voice low, “My husband is stationed here, but after her majesty’s death–Emperor rest her soul–I had no reason to be at court. So when Lord Tyre learned I was expecting, he opened the manor to me… and I was sent there.–It’s not that it lacks loveliness it just…”

Lanisen opens his mouth slightly. He quickly looks down, uncomfortable.

Arael’s face falls a little at this, and she frowns, biting her lip.

Astera glances at Lanisen, “Well… it’s so big. And… there’s so much and everything almost feels like it’ll break if you touch it. Anvard has many nice things–but at least here, you can belong. I never felt like I really fit into such…” She motions. “I missed the wood and things you could touch and be part of, you know? That’s what makes Carmichael–and here–so special.”

Lanisen chews his lip silently, staring at the plate on his lap.

Abrielle pages, “Anything fun going on in Anvard?” to you.

Arael offers her a half smile, looking sympathetic. “Have you got any idea how long you’ll be staying, now that you’re here?”

Astera immediately brightes and says, “Well, not yet–but the good news is with the Tarkheena here, there will be a Lady at court–which means I might not have to go bac–at least not forever!” She keeps her voice low. “I think I shall get to stay home this time.”

Arael grins a little more now. “She’ll be staying here in the castle, then?”

Lanisen glances at Arael, interested.

Astera nods, “That’s what it sounds like. See, the whole reason the ladies are at court is to serve the Queen and provide her with company. When… well…” She pauses, “When that all happened, I didn’t really have much purpose here–if that makes sense. So Lady–Princess? Aravis will need companions and help and such. So, I’ll be useful. At least I hope to be. It would be ever so lovely to stay. And then I won’t have to be away from my husband either. At least not unless he travels.” she laughs softly and shakes her head. “It’s just nice to be able to… visit Chesterton and not be such a… burden to her ladyship.”

Lanisen asks, “She’s a princess??”

Arael blinks at this part as well. She glances down at Lanisen and then back up at Astera, eyebrows raised in curiosity.

Astera’s brow furrows, “Well, she’s noble. I’m just not sure quite how to address her yet.” She chews her lip. “At the very least a lady. She carries herself like a princess tho.”

Lanisen says, “Huh,” again. He shrugs. “What’s her name, even? I seen her about but I haven’t…”

Arael nods, glancing between the two of them once more.

Astera says, “Her name is Aravis.–Isn’t it lovely? So fluid and poetic.”

Lanisen looks a little confused. “Er–sure, I suppose.”

A servant finds her way through the crowd to Astera, explaining that Lana has awoken from her nap.

Arael giggles quietly at Lanisen’s response.

Astera thanks the servant, “I need to go. It was lovely to see you both again! Thank you for the roll.” She nods to them and hurries off.

Lanisen watches her go, relaxing visibly as she disappears.

Arael curtsies to her as she goes. She watches for a moment as Astera walks away, brow furrowed just a little, before turning back toward Lanisen.

Lanisen gives her a questioning look.

Arael offers him a crooked grin and explains, “She’s a very old friend, you know, even if I don’t see her so much now.”

Haft comes walking down from the stairwell.

Lanisen asks, “Yeah?”

Arael nods. “Aye, we grew up together–me always around the manor and all, you know.” She moves to sit once again, but as she does so, she glances up at the sky and starts a little. “Oh! I’d not thought ’twas so late.” She wrinkles her nose at him apologetically. “I ought to go or Ary’ll be looking for me.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, sure.” He glances at the plate. “Thanks for the rolls. Really.”

Arael grins. “Aye, ‘course! And I’ll try to come by and see you again tomorrow. G’day, Lanny.”

Haft looks at Lanisen. “How’s the arm?

Lanisen grins slightly. “Thanks. I’ll look forward to that.” He blinks at Haft, a little startled. “I didn’t see you there.”

Arael makes her way quickly toward the gates, though she turns backward to wave once as she goes.

Haft grunts.

Lanisen looks at him uncertainly.

Haft arches a brow.

Lanisen asks, “Sorry, what?”

Haft says, “I asked how you were mending.”

Lanisen says, “Oh. Um. All right, I guess.”

Haft says, “Well that’s good”

Lanisen says, “Thanks for askin’.”

Haft shrugs.

Lanisen, still awkwardly sitting on the ground and trying to converse with somebody standing over him, reaches for his stick and starts the arduous process of standing up.

Abrielle walks out of the kitchens, smiling and holding a plate of bacon. Her eyes move from one thing to the next with interest until they land on Lanisen and a man she does not know. She gives Lanisen small wave,

Haft sees the woman and stiffens slightly

Lanisen is too distracted with the business of getting up to notice anybody else. He goes suddenly very white and sits back down, breathing heavily.

Abrielle pauses as she sees Lanisen struggling.

Haft turns sharply. “Lanisen?”

Lanisen shakes his head and leans back against the wall for a minute.

Haft says, “Yer overdoing it, boy.”

Abrielle waits for a moment and then walks over closer to Lanisen and the man.

Lanisen stiffens. He takes a deep breath, then plants his stick again. “My name’s Lanisen.”

Haft says, “I know yer name.”
Haft says, “It’s a right mouthful.”

Abrielle shrugs. “Not really.” She keeps eying Lanisen as he breathes. “I see the battle got to you.”

Lanisen says, rather shortly, “Then use it.” He hauls on the stick again, trying desperately to get his feet under him.

Haft crosses his arms over his chest, watching Lanisen’s attempt.

Abrielle frowns at Haft and then asks Lanisen, not in a pushy way, if he would like help.

Lanisen leans back against the wall again, closing his eyes unhappily. “Please,” he says after a moment. “I’d–be obliged.”

Abrielle hands her bacon to the other man with an expectant eyebrow raise. “Here. Hold this please.” She then moves forward to help Lanisen straighten up by giving him some extra leverage.

Haft blinks in surprise as he is forced to accrpt the tray.

Lanisen, with Abrielle’s help, straightens and stands. “Okay,” he says, taking a few steadying breaths and putting his weight back on the stick. “Okay.” He glances at her and offers a quick grateful smile. “Thank you. I appreciate it.”

Abrielle waves a dismissive hand and grabs her plate back from the other man. “No worries.” She takes a piece of bacon and eats it happily. She looks to the other man. “You provided the true service. What is your name so I can thank you?”

Abrielle eats a serving of fried bacon. It looks crisp, aromatic and delicious.

Haft frowns. “Haft.”

Abrielle nods to Haft. “Well, Haft, I thank you for holding my bacon.” She gives him a bright smile.

Lanisen looks at Abrielle, surprised. He quickly hides a grin.

Haft scowls. “Are you making fun of me, Miss?

Abrielle shakes her head innocently. “Why would I do that, Sir.” She smiles sweetly. “I only just met you.”

Lanisen is having a really hard time not laughing, and it shows in the weird twisty expressions his face goes through.

Haft lools between the two. “Enjoy your joke then. You’ll excuse me.”
Haft climbs up the open stair which rises up the northern half of the inner curtain.

Abrielle puts a hand to her mouth and mumbles something to herself as Haft disappears.
Abrielle mumbles something incomprehensible to Abrielle.

Lanisen watches him go. He shifts, leaning on his stick, and glances at Abrielle. “Thanks,” he says again. “Really.”

Abrielle glances at Lanisen from the coner of her eyes. “What for? Helping you up?” She looks up for a little bit longer before looking at Lanisen fully. “I already told you….no worries. I need to be thanking you for your help during the battle….but something tells me you would rather just fly under the radar.” She examines him. “Is that true?”

Lanisen says, “…Fly under the what?”

Abrielle tilts her head. “under the radar….”

Lanisen says, “…right.”

Abrielle laughs. “Sorry I made Haft upset….I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.”

Lanisen says, “Oh!” He grins faintly. “I don’t much care.”

Abrielle smiles. “Good.”

Lanisen asks, “You were here during the–the thing, then?”

Abrielle frowns and grabs another slice of bacon. “Yes. But I didn’t do much…just sat with Sehsis.”

Lanisen says, “Nothing wrong with that.”

Abrielle shrugs. “There kind of is…I would love to defend Archenland….but I would have just been in the way.” She looks over at his leg. “I am sorry that you got hurt.”

Lanisen shrugs uncomfortably. “Ain’t that bad,” he says. “Just gettin’ up from the ground is hard.”

Abrielle nods. “Of course.” She drops the topic. “How is Sir Colin?”

Lanisen says, “He’s good. Got out of the battle with nary a scratch, if you can believe it.” He glances around the ward, nods wordlessly toward a nearish bench, and begins to shuffle-limp that direction.

Abrielle walks alongside Lanisen, close enough to help if needed but far enough away to allow him the benefit of walking. “That is very impressive. I have yet to meet him but I thought he may get into more trouble than that.” Once she reaches the bench she sits down and makes room for Lanisen.

Lanisen carefully seats himself and exhales in relief, rubbing his leg. “Yeah, you’d think,” he says. “A cat’s own luck, that one.”

Abrielle chuckles. “Sounds about right.”

Lanisen asks, “You said you were with Sehsis?”

Abrielle nods. “Yes. He was…a bit distraught with it being an invasion from his homeland and all. I came here with Philip and him.”

Lanisen winces a little. “I saw him in the ward. Somebody was giving him a hard time…”

Abrielle looks concerned upon hearing this. “What did they say?”

Lanisen says, “You were there, I thought? They pointed him out to the king, wanted to do somethin’ to him, I dunno.”

Abrielle sighs. “I wasn’t always there…he did tell me about it.” She looks around at the people passing by. “It is unfortunate….”

Lanisen says, “It all ended up all right, though, didn’t it? He’s not gettin’ any trouble in Coghill?”

Abrielle shakes her head. “No. But he doesn’t know what will happen to his trade…especially if he returns home.” She kicks a pebble. “He may be seen as a traitor in his homeland.”

Lanisen’s mouth opens slightly. “Why would he–”

Abrielle glances at Lanisen. “Think about it….he didn’t fight for the Tisroc…if they found that out–” She shakes her head.

Lanisen says, “How would they find out, though?”

Abrielle shrugs. “Who knows….but Sehsis assures me that the situation is pretty serious.”

Lanisen lets out a breath, raising his eyebrows. “I hope things work out for him,” he says at last. “He seemed like a decent sort.”

Abrielle nods. “He is…after you scrape off the rough edges.”

Lanisen laughs under his breath. “Ehh. Rough edges. We all got ’em.”

Abrielle rolls her eyes. “I don’t” She says this jokingly. “Nope…not me.”

Lanisen glances at her, rolling his eyes. “I /almost/ believe that.”

Abrielle laughs. “Did you just copy my eye roll!? I am offended…that was my face!” She smiles and holds her hand to her heart with a shocked expression.

Lanisen blinks at her, indignant but smiling. “Did I–what? You don’t get to claim a whole /expression/, that ain’t how that works!”

Abrielle crosses her arms, grinning ruefully. “That is how it works. Sorry.”

Lanisen says, “That’s stuff and nonsense.”

Abrielle unfolds her arms and frowns. “That is all I am full of.” She perks up instantly. “So have they told you when you are going to be all healed up?”

Lanisen shrugs, looking at his stick. “Adrian says a month or two at least, depending.”

Abrielle eyes grow larger at the mention of the name Adrian. After a moment of confusion she laughs. “Ah…Adrian the doctor….what does it depend on?”

Lanisen says, “Um. If I walk on it enough. If I walk on it too much.”

Abrielle shakes her head. “That is confusing.”

Lanisen says, “You’re tellin’ me.”

Abrielle nods. “I guess I shouldn’t be tellin’ you anything.”

Lanisen side-eyes her. “You makin’ fun of me?”

Abrielle throws her hands up in the air. “Everyone thinks that…” She sighs and lowers them to her lap. “Yes. Yes I am makin’ fun of you.” She smiles after a moment of giving him her best stare. “Happy?”

Lanisen says, “Yes, actually.”

Abrielle opens her mouth to rant again but then stops herself, tilting her head. “Really?”

Lanisen pauses, wrong-footed. “Uh?”

Abrielle waves her hand. “Msot people” She holds up a hand to mouth Haft to him, “Don’t like it when I joke around….it is kind of refreshing,”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He shrugs one shoulder. “I don’t care?”

Abrielle nods. “Good.” After a moment she looks up to the sky. “Well…I had better head back.” She stands. “Do you need help getting anywhere before I go?”

Lanisen shakes his head. “I can stand up from sittin’ all right. Thanks, though. An’–thanks for helping me earlier.”

Abrielle smiles. “I am off to Coghill tomorrow…I hope to see you around there sometime soon.” She puts on her knapsack.

Abrielle says, “All healed up that is…”

Lanisen grins. “I’ll try.”

Abrielle nods, accepting that answer. “Good.” She turns on her heel and walks away to the outer ward.

Lanisen calls after her, “Thanks again!”

Abrielle yells back through the enterance. “No worries!”


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