tectonic shift

Lanisen’s Quarters
Castle Anvard

You stand in a cozy room. A small arched window adorns the curving outer wall. One corner of the space holds a narrow bed with warm woolen blankets. Nearby are a basin and pitcher for cleaning up. A rug covers part of the floor, adding warmth. It looks like a comfortable place for Lanisen to live.

Someone starts pounding on Lanisen’s door.

There’s a bit of a scuffle from inside, then wary silence. After a moment there’s a tapping noise crossing the room, then the door opens a crack and Lanisen looks out.

Colin stands outside, tapping his thighs nervously. He takes one look at Lanisen. “You coulda just called out…”

Lanisen lets out a breath, standing aside to let Colin in. “Landsakes,” he says, exasperated and shaken despite himself. “Where’s the fire.”

Colin takes a look out into the hallway before closing the door and turning to face Lanisen, positively beaming with a pleased grin. “So….how are you today?” he asks, rising up onto his tiptoes over and over again.

Lanisen gives him a long suspicious look. “All right, spit it out.”

Colin fights to pull a face. “You didn’t answer my question!

Lanisen says, “I’m fine, now talk.”

Colin says, “Guess what.”
Colin draws out the last word like a child.

Lanisen snorts and smiles uncertainly, Colin’s excitement catching even if he doesn’t know the source. “All right, what?”

Colin keeps going up on his toes and starts to casually stride around the room. “I just got finished talking with my uncle…” he whirls to face Lanisen and claps both of his hands together, rubbing them madly. “And have received his blessing!”

Lanisen backs away carefully, keeping out of the way of the manic dancey knight. The words take a second to sink in. “His… blessing? For–” His eyes go /really wide/.

Colin’s eyes dance. “Asking Arael to marry me…and even /marry/ing her!”
Colin adds, “If she’ll have me.”

Lanisen’s mouth falls open and he coils himself for a jubilant leap into the air before he remembers himself. “That’s–that’s that’s that’s–WHAT ARE YOU DOING /HERE/ YOU IDIOT! GO TALK TO /HER/!”

Colin falls down onto his knees, clasping both of his hands together. “I /can’t/, I have to ask her father’s permission first!!”

Lanisen says, “That’s just silly! Her father’s three days away!”

Colin lifts both of his hands. “Alas, that is how it must be done. I think..I like it this way though. I think she and Winbrytt’s family will be leaving for Carmichael soon…she’ll be none the wiser. And I’ll show up in a day or two to speak with her father, then take her to the waterfall. That’s special, and important.”

Lanisen asks, “The waterfall, huh?’

Colin nods. “I think so…that’s the first place that comes to mind.”

Lanisen grins, limping back over to sit on his bed. “Better check on it first, it’d be awkward if your proposal got crashed by somebody tryin’ to hide their loot.”

Colin thinks about that for a minute and outright guffaws. “That’d be interesting…”

Lanisen grins, watching his friend. He leans his stick against the side of the bed. “Didn’t think you’d ever work up to it. Talkin’ to the king, I mean.”

Colin feigns insult before he admits, “Me either, to be honest.”

Lanisen laughs. “How’d it go?” he wants to know next.

Colin says, “I was nervous…but he quickly puts you at ease. I’m still a bit shocked he agreed and gave his blessing.”

Lanisen says, “Why wouldn’t he, though?”

Colin lifts his hands. “It’s not often done..but he said he trusts my judgement…” he says with a grin, running his hand through his hair.

Lanisen snorts. “Can’t think why,” he says, deadpan and shaking his head.

Colin waves his hand. “My thoughts exactly!”

Lanisen laughs out loud. “Hey,” he says. “I’m glad.”

Colin grins and simply sinks to the floor and flops there. “Yeah?”

Lanisen says, “Yeah.”

Colin cranes his head around to look up at Lanisen. “Me too.”

Lanisen grins down at him. “You been waitin’ on this a long time.”

Colin stares at the ceiling. “Uh huh…”

Lanisen asks, “So what’s this mean for you, then? Once you get married, I mean. Are you gonna be at court more, or?”

Colin blinks a few times. “I have no idea…I haven’t thought that far ahead. We’ll figure it out.”

Lanisen asks, “Or at Neiklot more?” He pauses, blinking. “I’ve never even been to Neiklot.”

Colin grins. “I’ll take you sometime. I think you’d like it. The vineyards are absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall.”

Lanisen asks, “Vineyards, huh?”

Colin nods. “Ever had wine? It probably came from us.”

Lanisen rolls his eyes at Colin. “Yes I’ve had wine.”

Colin says, “Oh good. That’s important.”

Lanisen snorts, kicking Colin lightly. “When’re you goin’?”

Colin yelps and tries to roll away. “Dunno. I’m going to conveniently find her at the inn today and find out when they are leaving. I can make my plans from there.”

Lanisen asks, “Gonna beat ’em back?”

Colin grins as he thinks over that idea. “Hm…I could probably travel faster…that would certainly be interesting.”

Lanisen shrugs slightly, grinning faintly. “It’s an idea.”

Colin asks, “You think Coalblack’s up for it after that battle?”

Lanisen says, “Prob’ly. It’s been more’n a week. You could take Maestro if not, or did somebody ride him?”

Colin tilts his head. “I–don’t recall.”

Lanisen says, “He’s prob’ly fine. Don’t push him and don’t do any of your crazy cross-the-land-in-one-night things, though.”

Colin shakes his head. “No, I wouldn’t. I think I could still get ahead of them, they’re traveling with several people and a little boy.”

Lanisen says, “You could prob’ly beat ’em walkin’ on your own when you put it that way.”

Colin snickers. “That would be interesting.”

Lanisen asks, “You need help packin’?”

Colin sits up, looking contemplative. “Perhaps…do..do you think I need anything special?”

Lanisen snorts. “You think on the special, I’ll just make sure you don’t forget your socks, how ’bout that?”

Colin gives him a look. “I’ve never forgotten my socks…”

Lanisen says, “Sir I don’t trust you not to forget your own head right this minute.”

Colin grins at him sheepishly. “I have more important things on my mind!”

Lanisen says, “Uh-huh. Come on, let’s get you sorted.”

Colin gets to his feet and heads for the door.

Lanisen finds his stick, takes a deep breath, and stands up. He gimps after Colin.

Colin’s Suite
Castle Anvard

This is a well-appointed suite on the second level of Anvard. A curtained, canopied bed sits opposite the door. An armoire of some dark wood is provided for clothing, and a small desk holds other personal items. Two windows allow sunlight to come streaming in, and also provide a breath-taking views of the countryside. It’s a nice place for Colin to stay in during visits to Anvard.

Colin opens the door and leads the way in. “Try not to break your neck…” He warns, grabbing his chainmail and helmet from a chair and clearing it for Lanisen to have a seat.

Lanisen gives the room a mildly horrified look. “Okay, ain’t you got somebody who’s s’posed to tidy up after you?”

Colin runs a hand through his hair as he surveys the room. “Well, things have been a bit…off this week. I tore through here looking for stuff several times during the battle. No one’s had the time to tidy things.” he says guiltily.

Lanisen makes a disapproving noise and sits down with a wince, glancing around the room curiously.

Colin looks at the chainmail in his hand and hastily makes a little pile of armor like things.

Lanisen says, “Pretty sure that’s not what you’re s’posed to do with that stuff.”

Colin waves a hand at the pile. “I still have to clean and repair…I’ll take care of it later. It makes for good winter work when we’re cooped up inside.”

Lanisen says, “Fair enough.” He glances around the room doubtfully. “You even got enough clean clothes to pack?”

Colin makes a face as he picks his way over to the wardrobe. “Should have enough.”

Lanisen says helpfully, “Socks.”

Colin launches a balled up pair at Lanisen’s head.

Lanisen yelps and dodges aside, then yelps again when his shoulder protests.

Colin winces in sympathy. “Ah–sorry. I’ll behave. I forgot, I’m sorry.”

Lanisen wings the socks back. And misses by a mile because he’s not left-handed but it’s the thought that counts.

Colin lunges to catch them and tosses them neatly into his satchel. Well, more on top of it really but it works for now.

Lanisen says, “Sir you need more than one pair.”

Colin replies petulantly even as he digs around for more, “No I don’t.”

Lanisen says, “Wool ones.”

Colin hms and digs furiously, shouting triumphantly when he finds three whole clean pairs and balls them up, chucking them in the direction of his satchel.

Lanisen cracks up, watching. “Here, gimme the satchel,” he says, gesturing for it. “I’ll make it so it all fits while you find things.”

Colin shimmies on his knees to get the satchel, shoving the socks in and stretching to hand it over to Lanisen.

Lanisen takes the satchel and folds the socks more neatly, shoving them all into the same general area so Colin can find them.

Colin grins at him and starts digging around. “What else? Er…tunics, should probably find a few of those.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah, yeah, that’s a good idea. Warm ones, just in case.”

Colin says, “You’re smart.”
Colin finds two clean ones and sends them flying.

Lanisen snatches them both from the air, one after another, and sets to the difficult task of folding them one-handed.

Colin finds a few other things, trousers, a pair of boots (he doesn’t throw those, he sets them by the door), a scarf. “I feel like I’m forgetting something…”

Lanisen says, “Heavy cloak.”

Colin snaps his fingers. “Right. It’s winter.”

Lanisen makes an annoyed noise and takes his arm out of the sling, hanging it on the back of the chair. He is careful not to move the shoulder too much, but he has a much easier time folding the tunics.

Colin looks up at the noise. “You doin’ all right?”

Lanisen looks up. “What? Yeah, I’m fine.” He puts the (not very neatly) folded tunic in the satchel and starts on the next. “Hey, this one’s got a hole.”

Colin squints over, trying to see. He makes a ‘meh’ noise and shuffles around a few things. “I know I have more…”

Lanisen says, “The other one’s all right, just make sure to wear that one when you talk to him.”

Colin hehs. “All right.”

Lanisen resumes folding. He seems to be having trouble with his right hand, and when the tunic slips from between his fingers, he looks down at it with a confused frown for a long moment.

Colin catches the movements out of the corner of his eye. “Having trouble holding on to things?” He asks, a slight frown on his face.

Lanisen slowly and deliberately flexes each finger of his right hand, still watching it like it belongs to somebody else. “Just wasn’t payin’ attention is all,” he answers after a pause.

Colin still frowns a bit, not saying anything else.

Lanisen resumes folding, more careful and deliberate with his movements.

Colin makes a few neat piles while he forages around, glancing over at Lanisen periodically.

Lanisen stays quiet for a while, and when he’s got the tunics and trousers folded he puts the sling back on. “Figure out what you were forgetting?”

Colin hms. “Not yet…I have something to pick up from the dwarves in Carmichael so it’s not that..”

Lanisen asks, “Oh?”

Colin grins. “I commissed them to make this little necklace…a wood lily. Her favorite.”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows and grins broadly. “/Really/ now. So sure of yourself, were you?”

Colin rubs the back of his neck, sheepish. “I was hoping…”

Lanisen snorts. “All right, so it’s not that. What else are you missing from in here, then? Are you planning on taking anything to her family, or?”

Colin blanches a bit. “I dunno…”

Lanisen grins. “Okay, we can rule that out. Where’s your cloak, sir?”

Colin ers and looks around. After a minute he dives under the bed.

Lanisen looks bemused and leans to the side to see what Colin might be up to under there.

Colin ows as he hits his head with a ‘thunk’.

Lanisen winces.

Colin struggles back out, covered with a layer of dust now. He triumphantly holds his cloak aloft.

Lanisen eyes the equally dusty cloak and makes an unimpressed face.

Colin gives the cloak a shake.

Lanisen hmms.

Colin looks at the cloak. “…I’ll have one of the servants give it a wash before I set out.”

Lanisen says, “Good plan.”
Lanisen asks, “Where’s your good one?”

Colin ers. “This is my good one…”

Lanisen shakes his head and looks at the ceiling. “You’re hopeless. Give it here.”

Colin reluctantly hands it over. “I should just go buy another one…”

Lanisen gives him an incredulous look. “Why?”

Colin says, “Cause that one’s…well.”

Lanisen says, “…Dusty?”

Colin says, “And worn…”

Lanisen says, “Looks fine to me. Don’t wear it to talk to Arael’s father if you don’t like how it looks.”

Colin nods, eyeing the cloak skeptically. “All right…”

Lanisen starts picking off pilled bits of wool even so. “Gimme your razor,” he says after a minute.

Colin asks, “My what?”

Lanisen says, “Your razor? You know? The thing you shave your face with when you bother to do that?”

Colin mutters something under his breath and retrieves the device from his desk, handing it over.

Lanisen takes it. “/Well/ done.” He takes his arm out of the sling again and starts shaving the raggedy balls of wool off the cloak.

Colin watches him, fascinated. “I had no idea you could do that…”

Lanisen says, “I’m a man of many skills.” A small pile of snipped-off fuzz begins to accumulate, and he brushes it off onto the floor, adding, “My mum used to do this in the winter. Somehow all our warm clothes got fuzzes on ’em every year. Forgot about it until just now.”

Colin says, “That’s genius.”

Lanisen looks pleased. The cloak is already starting to look less raggedy where he’s de-fuzzed it. “Keep thinkin’, what else you need?”

Colin rubs the back of his neck. “I think I have enough clothes…always have my sword, knife and quiver with me…”

Lanisen says, “You need food and stuff.”

Colin says, “Food’s good…I’ll get some bread and cheese from the kitchen when it’s time to go.”

Lanisen says, “Waterskin, get yourself some dried fruit too–” The razor slips out of his fingers and clatters onto the floor.

Colin nods. “I can do that.” He reaches for the razor, retrieving it from the floor. He hands it to Lanisen with a slight frown. “You keep having trouble with your hand…” He comments.

Lanisen’s head is ducked to hide his expression. “No, it’s fine, it’s fine–” He flexes his hand again.

Colin watches him, reaching out to tap the fingers on Lanisen’s injured hand.

Lanisen starts to pull his hand away reflexively, then stills and leaves it where it is. His expression twists with misery and something like fear, though he still doesn’t look up at Colin. He says nothing.

Colin feels his hand more carefully, frowning. “Bit cold, too…Lan, has Adrian said anything about this?”

Lanisen shakes his head. “I just– figured it was the sling.”

Colin’s frown deepens. “We gotta say something. Might be something he can do to help. Does it hurt?”

Lanisen shrugs a little, looking at the hand. “It’s all–pins-and-needles. Like when your foot’s gone to sleep. Except for–” He indicates his fourth and fifth fingers.

Colin asks, “And do they hurt?”

Lanisen shakes his head. It takes him a minute, but he finally says, “Can’t feel ’em at all.”

Colin’s frown deepens. “Yeah…we’re talking to Adrian. Better safe than sorry, yes? I don’t know much about wounds like yours but I know it’s better to take care of problems early on.”

Lanisen shakes his head again. “You need to get to Carmichael. I’ll go.”

Colin places his hand on Lanisen’s uninjured shoulder. “Hey…you are just as important as this. Let’s go.”

Lanisen’s shoulders slump a little, miserable.

Colin gives him a pat or two as he stands up, grunting a bit as he gets off the floor. “Don’t feel bad…it’ll be okay.”

Lanisen fits his arm back into his sling and sets the cloak aside. He finds his stick and stands silently.

Colin opens the door, holding it for him. He gives him a reassuring smile as he hobbles towards him.

Castle Anvard

You stand in the Infirmary, amid several cots, some occupied, some not. Along the walls are cabinets packed with bandages, blankets and pillows. On a table are many jars and crocks, filled with herbs and oils and ointments. A plain desk sits in the far corner, and on it is a journal, filled with the details of treatment. Adrian, the attendant, sits behind that desk.

Peridan sits on a bunk, the attendant looking at his side, tsking. The wound is healing but it looks like it is recently opened.

Colin enters the infirmary, leading Lanisen. He looks around, clearly looking for someone in particular. He motions to one of the attendants and asks in a low voice for Adrian. The attendant nods and scurries away.

Lanisen follows his friend silently, looking like he’d rather be almost anywhere else. He takes a deep breath and watches the attendant leave.

Peridan glances up as the two men walk into the infirmary. However before he can catch their attention, the attendant working on him happens to pull the bandage tighter than Peridan was expecting. He draws a breath, “Steady there, my good man. I do wish to breathe.” The attendant mutters an apology as he quickly finishes wrapping the wound.

Colin gives Lanisen a reassuring look as Adrian approaches them. “Ah, hello Adrian. No, I’m doing all right. We were wondering if you could take a look at Lanisen’s shoulder…he’s having trouble with his hand.” Adrian nods firmly and motions for Lanisen to head for an empty bunk.

Lanisen blows out a nervous breath and nods, heading for the cot indicated. He is too preoccupied to notice Peridan as he passes him.

Finally the attendant finish wrapping the wound. He speaks, “Milord, it would be best if you tried to not push yourself, your wound is still healing.” Peridan rubs the back of his neck, “Thank you, I’ll take that under advisement.” Whether or not, he is planning on heeding that is another story.

Colin follows Lanisen. He notices Lord Peridan and nods a greeting as Lanisen gets settled. He motions to the bandages and asks him, “What did you do?” Adrian in the meantime helps Lanisen out of his sling to examine the offending shoulder.

Lanisen removes his sling and sets it aside, allowing Adrian to poke and prod. He answers the healer’s questions in a subdued voice, telling him what he told Colin: that the sensation in part of his hand is gone.

Peridan brushes his hand across his new bandage, wincing a bit. “Are you asking how I got this wound or how I opened it again?” Upon hearing Lanisen’s answers, the man frowns.

Colin hehs. “Both I suppose.” he watches Lanisen and Adrian with a hawk-like gaze. Adrian also frowns and starts working at Lanisen’s hand and up his arm.

Lanisen says to Adrian, when the healer asks why he didn’t come sooner, “It just felt–asleep, is all. I figured it was the sling.”

Peridan answers a bit absentmindedly, still focused on the exchange, “Don’t challenge someone on horseback and don’t ride until you completely healed.”

Colin winces a bit with sympathy. “Advice noted.” Adrian sighs a bit as he finishes his examination. “I’m going to give you something to start exercising your hand with to save your muscles, and I want you to come see me every day so I can have a look. As things heal, you’ll start working and moving that shoulder. It’s going to be a bit painful but I have some things that will help with that. ‘Tis a good thing you did not wait any longer.”

Lanisen asks, “Will it–go back to normal? My hand?”

Peridan tips his head, listening to the answer to that question.

Adrian purses his lips as he applies fresh bandages. “Yes, quite possibly. We will know more as it heals and the swelling subsides. There is also a possibility that it will not go completely back to normal….we’re going to do everything we can to prevent that but you need to be prepared as well. Recovery can take a long time.”

Colin chews on his lower lip as he listens to this.

Lanisen absorbs this in silence. He sits blank-faced for a moment, then nods.

Peridan gives the man a sympathetic glance, still remaining quiet for now.

Adrian finishes the bandages and disappears for a moment, returning with several small paper packets. “These herbs take at night. When you come see me in the mornings we’ll see what else you have need of. And take this–” he hands Lanisen a round ball type object. “You will squeeze it in your hand, as much as you can several times a day.” He demonstrates.

Lanisen takes the ball mutely in his good hand, staring at it. He transfers it to his right and squeezes obediently. He winces and rubs his shoulder.

Peridan stands beginning to put on his shirt. He does keep an ear on the two.

Colin watches as Adrian also hands him the little packets of herbs with instructions on how to brew them every night.

Lanisen takes the packets and the instruction, nodding at key points to show he is listening and understands, but saying nothing. He seems distant and lost.

Peridan turns to face Colin and Lanisen, waiting for Adrian to finish.

Colin steps out of Adrian’s way and stands back for a few moments. One of the servants slips into the infirmary and approaches Colin. “Sir, you’re needed in the barracks.” He says quietly, bowing and departing. Colin rubs a hand through his hair and turns back to Lanisen and Peridan. “Hey…I’ll be back as quick as I can.”

Lanisen focuses on Colin after a delay. He nods.

Peridan nods to Colin, muttering to him.
Peridan mumbles “I’ll … … eye … him … … … back.”, to Colin.

Colin gives Peridan a grateful nod before he quickly departs.

Lanisen, as Adrian moves on, quietly slips back into his shirt, covering the new bandages on his shoulder. He stares down at his hand without really seeing it.

Peridan turns to Lanisen as Adrian finishes. He gives him an encouraging smile, “Those herbs smell nice.”

Lanisen draws a deep, deliberate breath, frowning slightly at Peridan as if confused to see him there. He looks down at the packets in his hand and asks blankly, “Do they?”

Peridan nods, moving closer to the man, “Indeed. I have been prone to some pretty bad smelling herbs. And you know what they say…”

Lanisen asks, “What?”

Peridan sits down on the bunk right across from Lanisen, putting them on eye level. “The worse they smell, the more awful they taste. And trust me on that. I have been privy to some pretty foul tasting stuff.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He looks down at the herbs in his hands. “Yeah.”

Peridan’s tone softens, “Don’t worry, Lanisen. It seem that you are in good care here in the infirmary and I have no doubt that you will heal completely.”

Lanisen turns his right hand palm-up, working the fingers. The fourth and fifth fingers seem stiff, and respond slower than the others. Lanisen’s face crumples just briefly with wretched fear as he watches his hand, but he pulls a deep breath, straightens, and says, “Thank you, sir.”

Before Peridan can speak, a soldier comes hurrying into the infirmary. “Lord Peridan, you are needed in the armory.”

Perdian nods to him, “Thank you, Soldier.” The man salutes and hurries away. Peridan watches him go, before taking a deep breath and rubbing his temples. “There is always something….” He turns to Lanisen, “Are you going to be alright?”

Lanisen nods quickly, as if trying to make it true, and says without looking directly at Peridan, “Yes, sir. Thank you.”

Peridan stands, placing a hand on the man’s uninjured shoulder. “If you need to talk.” He leaves it there and makes his way outside.

Lanisen is too bewildered and numb to even react to Peridan’s hand on his shoulder. He takes a deep breath, re-slings his arm, and picks up his stick to leave the infirmary.

Colin re-enters the infirmary, looking for Lanisen. He approaches. “Sorry that took so long.” He apologizes.

Lanisen shakes his head, stuffing the herb-packets and Adrian’s ball into his pockets and thumping toward the door. “It’s fine, you’re fine, come on, let’s go, stuff to do.”

Colin blinks in surprise and steps in front of him, blocking the door. “Whoa now…hang on buddy.”

Lanisen halts, surprised, and tries to side-step Colin, intent on escaping to the ward outside. “I’m done, let’s go.”

Colin appears to be extremely confused. “What happened while I was gone….”

Lanisen says, “Nothing, he gave me herbs and told me come back tomorrow.”

Colin nods slowly. “I was here for that.”

Lanisen says, “That’s all, then.” He pushes past Colin toward the door.

Colin stares at him in astonishment. It takes him a minute to collect himself and follow.

Inner Ward of Anvard
Castle Anvard

Lanisen, once he takes several lungfuls of the bracing outside air, seems more composed. He nods to himself, and turns to Colin, quite calm and focused. “I’m gonna go talk to the kitchen about putting together some food for you for tomorrow, if you want to go check with the stablemaster about Coalblack.”

Colin folds his arms across his chest as he watches Lanisen. “That can wait.”

Lanisen says, “I’m fine, sir. You don’t gotta worry about me. I got–” he pulls the ball out of his pocket and grins crookedly at Colin. “One of these things.”

Colin says, “Lanisen, you’re scaring me.”

Lanisen’s grin disappears. He pockets the ball again. “It’s okay,” he says. “I’m fine. It threw me for a minute is all.” He takes another deep breath. “Now. Let’s get you sorted, yeah?”

Colin continues to watch him, a bit wary. “I’ve got a couple things to take care of…I won’t be able to leave today.” He says.

Lanisen says, “I know. Tomorrow.”

Colin says, “Maybe not even then, so…no rush.”

Lanisen says, “Mmmm, you were pretty rushed earlier.”
Lanisen reminds him, “You need to get there before Ara gets home.”

Colin squints at him. “She hasn’t left yet. She’ll think it strange if I don’t say goodbye.”

Lanisen stumbles over this a bit. “Oh, that’s right.”

Colin rubs the back of his neck. “Lan–you wanna go somewhere and talk?” He offers.

Lanisen asks, “‘Bout what?”

Colin squints at him again. “Aahhhh….”

Lanisen says again reassuringly, “I’m okay.”

Colin slowly shakes his head. “No…Lanny, I know you’re not. I wish you’d talk to me but–I understand, I think anyway.” He says slowly.

Lanisen swallows, and his expression flickers. “It’s really– I’m just, I gotta get my head around it is all, but I’m okay, I’ve got, I’ve got a thing to work on to make it better, I’ve got books, I’ve got–I’m, I’m okay.”

Colin nods, adding, “And we won’t know for sure for a while what the outcome will be…”

Lanisen latches onto this. “Yeah! Yeah, exactly.”

Colin looks him in the eye. “One day at a time. One hour..one task..one minute. One thing at a time.”

Lanisen, uncharacteristically, holds the eye contact without flinching or looking away. “Yeah,” he says guilelessly. “Yeah, that’s right.”

Colin continues to hold the eye contact with his friend. “I’m with you every step of the way. No matter what. You’re gonna get through this.”

Lanisen says, “I know, sir.”

Colin says, “Please tell me what I can do.”

Lanisen glances around the silent ward. “Um,” he says, lowering his voice just in case, “You could go talk to Arael’s dad, for one thing.”

Colin raises an eyebrow at him.

Lanisen holds out for a little longer, then deflates and looks away.

Colin says, “I know it’s important to you….and it’ll happen. Soon.”

Lanisen says, “Good.”

Cole slowly walks out of the Northeast Hallway, eyes trained on the book in his hand.

Colin’s hand goes back to rub his neck as he thinks of what else to say to Lanisen. Hearing footsteps, he glances upwards. “Going to walk into a wall again..” he half-calls out automatically at his brother.

Lanisen, as Colin’s attention is drawn away, bows and backs away, ready to make his escape.

Cole blinks at the voice calling out to him, stopping suddenly and looking around. Smirking as he catches sight of his brother, he chuckles. “My thanks for your concern Sir Colin, but I am /quite/ aware of my surroundings. ” his brow quirks slightly as he sees Lanisen move back. “Something wrong?” he asks, question directed at Lanisen.

Colin smirks slightly, though his antics might be a fraction subdued to what they normally are. He says something to himself as Cole asks Lanisen the question.
Colin mumbles “… … … … had to … … for … … talking to him.”, to Colin.

Lanisen shakes his head quickly, bowing to Cole and turning away. He thump-shuffles toward the door to the staff quarters.

Cole comes up next to Colin, watching Lanisen shuffle off quickly with a raised brow. “Something I said?”

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