Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

Megren stands on the northern side of the market stalls, near the kennels, but not directly beside them.

Lanisen makes his way through the inner gatehouse toward the kennels, watching faces as he goes. A man about Aaron’s height in a red shirt gets a missed step and double-take before Lanisen continues on.

Megren trundles toward the hurt man so that she can come up beside him.

Lanisen, after a quick watchful look to see who is approaching him, gives Megren a nod and a small grin. “Evenin’.”

Megren clasps her hands behind her back. “Can I walk with you?”

Lanisen says, “Ahh, sure?”

Megren keeps a watchful, cheerful gaze as they walk. “I talked with Captain Garian a bit yesterday,” she converses.

Lanisen asks, “Yeah?”

Megren asks, “Can I suggest?”

Lanisen asks, “Suggest what?”

Megren takes a breath, “Saw Aaron about the ward yesterday. He still hasn’t done anything dangerous, but you’ve got a room in the castle, haven’t you?”

Lanisen says, “…Yeah?”

Megren says, “I think you and Prince Cor should leave the dogs to Danall and Kirby for a couple days. While we get things sorted. I don’t consider you to be in real danger, but it seems…” she lifts a shoulder. “Practical?””

Lanisen stops walking. “Why’s that?” he asks after a long pause.

Megren squints one eye. “Well?”

Lanisen says, “Aaron’s been told he ain’t to come in the kennels anymore, hasn’t he?”

Megren gives a single, business-like nod. “Yes, but he takes…” she tilts her head. “quite a lot of monitoring. And I wouldn’t like you to be put in a hard position because one of us missed him.” She looks at him for his response.

Dalia enters the outer ward, bidding farewell to what would seem a brother or relative.

Lanisen doesn’t say anything for a minute. “Um,” he says finally, “My–my work’s in the kennels?”

Megren nods. “I only mean for a couple days, but I’m not telling you either. It’s up to you.”

Lanisen says, “What’s in a couple days?”

Megren says, “Uh.. nothing. I just don’t think it will take that long to sort.”

Lanisen asks, “What’s to sort?”

Megren frowns a little. “Well, he’s been coming around, so either he’ll break Captain Garian’s commands or he’ll fall in line.”

Lanisen, talking with Megren near the kennels, seems mildly agitated. “Well,” he says, picking his words carefully, “With–with respect, I… don’t think I’ll be stayin’ away, ma’am. I don’t much fancy the idea of bein’ stuck inside a smaller set of walls.”

Haft walks out of the North Gate Tower and glances around the ward. He hangs back when he sees Megren in conversation with Lanisen.

Megren nods, accepting this. “Captain just said I was to suggest it, so that’s as I’m doing.”

Dalia bids farewell to her brother at the gate and makes her way into the ward, raising her hand to wave, but dropping it when she sees Megren in conversation with Lanisen

Lanisen lets out a breath, relieved. “Obliged,” he murmurs.

Megren, seeing Dalia, gives a big friendly wave back.

Haft steps back, trying to keep under the shadow of the tower entrance.

Megren asks, “Nothing to be obliged about, I’m sure. How’re the pups coming along?”

Dalia seeing Megren wave makes her way over.

Lanisen says, “Um, good, thanks. They’re toddlin’ around, givin’ Vira fits.” He nods politely to Dalia as she approaches and goes quiet.

Haft listens in silence.

Dalia says, “Hello Megren. Hello Lanisen, right?””

Megren says, “My pa found a litter of kittens, when I was little. Fond of running into walls and crawling up your leg, to my memory.” She grins at Dalia as she arrives. “Hello! Suppose you’re in from visiting the family?”

Lanisen nods confirmation, giving Dalia a quick smile. “‘S right. Hello, Dalia.”

Dalia nods and smiles, “Yes. Yes, I am.” to Megren’s question. She looks to Lanisen. “Are – Your wound… is it doing better?”

Lanisen says, “Ahhh, yes, miss. Look!” He raises his hands, grinning crookedly. “No stick.”

Haft cocks his head.

Dalia grins, “Well that’s good to hear. Thank Aslan. I’m glad.”

Megren says, “Going to ask you to race me next.”

Haft lets out a light snort at this.

Lanisen, hearing the snort, turns slightly to glance toward the source. His face goes expressionless and he turns his back to Haft. “Ahh. Heh.”

Megren sucks her teeth, but carries right on forth, “See you’ve still got this hair situation going on, even now you’re able to walk about.”

Haft calls out, “Meg, I’m to join you. I’ll just be a moment upstairs all right?”

Lanisen says, “I dunno what you keep sayin’ about my hair.”

Dalia chuckles softly at Megren’s comment, but catches Lanisen’s loss of smile as he turns and then ignores haft behind him. She says nothing.

Megren is about to respond, but Haft calls to her. She pauses, and then says, “I’ll make more argument later.”

Haft waits for Megren’s response.

Lanisen snorts under his breath.

Garian enters the ward at a leisurely pace.

Megren gives Lanisen a pat on the shoulder goodbye and says, “See you later, too, Dalia?” as she starts walking backward toward Haft.

Lanisen starts slightly, glancing at Megren.

Haft glances at the captain and shifts awkwardly.

Dalia nods and smiles, waving to Megren as she leaves. “Aslan between you and evil.”

Megren gives another friendly wave and hustles off toward Haft.

Garian catches site of the inhabitants and decides to join them.

Haft stays just inside the tower, glancing between the Captain and Megren.

Lanisen glances toward the kennels as Megren walks away.

Megren comes up to join Haft. “Walls, then?” she asks.

Haft nods. “Right.”

Garian joins the fellow guards, nodding to them by the stairs. “Guardsman, Guardswoman.”

Haft straightens. “Captain.”

Megren says, “Evening, Captain.”

Dalia speaks quietly to Lanisen, as Megren walks away. “I may be leaving soon. I do not know if Milord and Milady may be leaving soon… that is” She seems to be having trouble geting out what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. “I had hoped to speak with you before we left. That is… wellI hoped you were healing well.” She sees Lanisen glance towards the Kennels and breaks off…”Well anyway…”

Garian asks, “How has the eve faired?”

Lanisen says, “Oh! Er, thank you, miss. That’s, that’s very kind of you.”

Haft looks to Megren to answer.

Megren says, “Quiet.”

Garian gives an approving nod, “Excellent. Headed up?”

Haft says, “Yes, sir.”

Megren nods agreement.

Dalia says, “I-I don’t want to keep you… um… that is if you need to return to the kennels. Just wish you uh quick healing and Aslan’s Blessings.””

Lanisen says, “Oh, no, that’s–that’s fine. Thank you.” He dips his head to her politely.

Garian asks, “Might I join you?”

Haft says, “Of course, sir.”

Megren nods again, offering him a grin.

Garian nods, and smiles, “Then please lead on.”

A daughter of eve of rather short stature walks through the ward, talking to a few other young women. Her hands seem to be sculpting something in the air before her as they walk, but without context, it’s difficult to tell what.

Dalia says, “So… uh..have things been going well…? That is, I mean besides recovering, I mean?””

Vinri apparently finishes her conversation. As she turns to leave, she says with a wave and a smile, “I’ll show you the sample tomorrow. Good eve!” The group departs and the woman turns to look across the ward, smiling.

Lanisen says, “Yeah, um. Pretty much…” He rubs the back of his neck and trails off, glancing around the ward with a slightly worried look. “Yeah, things’ve mostly been pretty good, thanks. How about for you?”

Dalia nods. “yes. Things have been fairly well…” She catches Lanisen’s worried glance around the ward, frowning and looking perplexed. But saying nothing.
Dalia says, “So…uh. things been well at the kennels? Any new puppies to look after?””

Lanisen says, “Yeah, there’s a batch… ahh, almost a month old now. Courser-harrier cross, we’re thinkin’, funniest-lookin’ things. Cute, though.”

Darius slowly makes his way through the Outer Gatehouse, stopping just before entering the ward. Staying within the shadows of the gate, he carefully scans the ward.

Dalia grins. “They sound adorable.” Musinf almost to herself she says I should love to see them sometime…if- ifen it were alright.”

Lanisen says, “Sure, yeah, that’s fine. If you come in the afternoon after they’ve had their dinner they’ll be all sleepy.”

Darius’s eyes fall on Lanisen and the daughter of eve with him. Stealing one last glance of the ward, he ducks into the crowd, using the hustle and bustle around him to cover his entrance.

Dalia says, “”Thanks. I’d love that.” She spies Vinri and waves to her.

Vinri gives her head a little shake as if to clear it before she begins to walk along the stalls, making cursory examination of the wares and heading in the general direction of the kennels. Catching the wave in the corner of her eye, she looks over and smiles, pace quickening towards them.

Lanisen takes a little step back as the woman approaches, dipping his head respectfully.

Darius continues using the crowd to his advantage, briefly feigning interest in a stall as he passes, growing ever closer to the trio. Without getting too close, he dips out of the crowd, moving towards the northern wall. Still -some- distance away from the three and the Kennels, he crosses his arms and leans a shoulder against the wall, content to observe for now.

Vinri comes to a halt just a couple of steps away, flashing a smile at them both. “Good evening to the both of you,” she greets.

Lanisen’s attention is on the friendly stranger and he doesn’t notice Aaron. “Evening,” he answers quietly, and glances at Dalia.

Dalia says, “”Good Evening. I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Dalia””

Darius remains a stones throw away, unmoved as he listens quietly, a grin beginning to grow.

Vinri shakes her head. “I believe you’re correct. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dalia, I’m Vinri.” She looks towards the son of Adam. “And you, sir?”

Lanisen says, “Um, Lanisen, miss.”

Dalia says, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.””

Vinri smiles easily. “Nice to meet you, Lanisen. How are you both tonight?”

Darius takes a few steps forward, the shadows and his now black tunic keeping him fairly concealed. Content with the distance he has closed, he resumes his postion against the wall in silence.

Dalia says, “I’m well.” Nervously she plays with the embroidered ribbon on her dress, glancing around the ward.

Lanisen murmurs that he’s well too, thanks, and glances uncertainly at Dalia.

Vinri slips a small bag into her satchel as she observes Dalia. “Is everything alright? I /am/ sorry if I’m intruding…”

Dalia turns her attention back to Vinri, “Oh..” She shyly. “No…uh no not at all. I…am not good at greeting new people. Something my mother has always exhorted me about.

Darius continues his slow trek forward, walking in such a way that doesn’t make him look entirely suspicious, but certainly not making his presence known. At this point, he is within feet of the Kennel door. Once again, he stops, resuming his watch of the three.

Vinri takes a slight step back, as if to provide just a bit of space for Dalia. “You seem quite good at it to me,” she offers, “whatever your mother says.”

Lanisen grins faintly at this. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before,” he ventures after a brief pause. His back is to the kennel door.

Dalia smiles at Vinri, glancing back around the ward. She spies the man in the red tunic from the other day and frowns, squinting against the evening light. She turns back to the conversation as Lanisen asks a question.

Darius takes two final steps to the side, still leaning against the wall as his right hand reaches back and gingerly clasps the door handle of the Kennels. His grin turning impish and quiet as he can, he turns the handle and slowly pushes the door inward. Mere seconds later, his arm flexes and he yanks the door shut with a -loud- SLAM.

Vinri says, “I’d have been surprised if you had, seeing as I haven’t /been/ here before.” With a smile, she gestures vaguely southwest. “I’ve just come from Chesterton.” She glances towards Dalia at the expression, then glances over her shoulder a bit awkwardly, trying to see what- she jumps at the noise.”

Lanisen starts and whirls, wobbling a bit on his bad leg. “What even–” Seeing Aaron, he breaks off and goes still.

Dalia also turns arond from listening to Vinri’s reply. She frowns, suddenly remembering seeing the man from the other day,

Darius places both hands on his stomach as he falls prey to a bout of hearty laughter. After nearly doubling over, he wipes a tear from his eye and begins walking towards Lanisen. “Oh, friend… You SHOULD have seen your face! ”

Lanisen stares at him, expressionless.

Vinri examines this man, a brow quirking up. She glances to double check who he’s talking to.

Garian quietly emerges from the stairs, keeping to the wall. He moves discreetly, fairly unnoticable in the fuss that was caused by the commotion.

Dalia mumbles “Saw him yesterday, with Megren, he seemed kinda skittish, like had asked for guarded protection or something.”, to Lanisen and Vinri.
Dalia mumbles “saw him … with … … seemed … skittish like … … … … … or …”, to Lanisen and Vinri.

Garian makes his way to Lanisen and the others, gives a hard gaze at the man in the black tunic. He forces a smile, “So… is this what the commotion’s about?” His tone is even but not as friendly as it could be.

Darius halts within a few feet of Lanisen, looking as if he were going to say something when Garian interjects. His mouth twitching a frown, he shoots the Captain a sideways glance. “What commotion, if I may be so bold?”

Lanisen is standing near the kennels with Dalia and another woman, facing Aaron. He bows his head and looks down at the ground as Garian joins them, posture communicating that he wants nothing to do with this situation, thanks.

Colin emerges from the gatehouse, his hand on the hilt of his sword. He looks around and immediately goes towards Garian and Lanisen.

Garian smiles tightly, “Why don’t you tell me Aaron?” He keeps a polite tone. He looks to Lanisen and says, “Lanisen… I believe there was… something in the kitchens for the dogs. Want to go check?”
Garian looks back to Aaron and chuckles, “I would say boy, you’ve already been a bit bold already, haven’t you?”

Vinri eyes both of the men just arrived, taking a couple steps towards Dalia and murmuring something.
Vinri mumbles “… you … what … … …”, to Dalia.

Dalia shakes her head, though still frowning thoughtfully
Dalia mumbles “… … … like though it … … going … … … …”, to Vinri.

Darius’s frown deepens at the Captain’s suggestion to Lanisen. “Ah, Captain, you are no fun at all. ” he rolls his eyes, turning to face Garian fully. “If you must know, I was in the process of visiting the Kennels once more when I remembered myself and the order to stay away. ” He releases a heavy sigh, brow furrowing in pain. “Suffice it to say, a streak of terror overtook me and I couldn’t help but slam the door shut once more. ” he gives the man the biggest puppy-dog eyes, clasping his hands together in front of him. “You’ll have to forgive me, my memory isn’t too good to begin with… but even worse since being knocked into the wall by Sir Colin though other night. ”

Lanisen nods crisply once to Garian’s suggestion and turns away, heading for the inner gatehouse without another word.

Kitchen Yard
Castle Anvard

The kitchen yard is surrounded on all sides by a high stone wall, covered in climbing ivy. Most of the space is taken up by vegetable gardens, full of carrot, bean, and potato plants. A neat flagstone path runs between the rows, leading to a gardener’s hut in the southwestern corner of the yard. Several spades and rakes are leaning against a wall. It’s mostly quiet here, except for the sounds of the wind over the walls and bees buzzing. It smells earthy and organic, and it is a pleasant place to work.

A thick iron-bound wooden door leads into the kitchen. The entire eastern wall is taken up by the smokehouse.

Lanisen is sitting on the ground against the wall beside the kitchen door, his knees drawn up and a cup of something hot and steaming in his hands. He is quite alone in the garden, which is empty for winter.

Colin walks into the kitchen gardens, looking around the area. He doesn’t see Lanisen right away, looking around the whole garden before seeing him beside him. He shuts the door and crouches down beside him, rubbing the back of his neck. His face has a bit of ashen quality to it. “You all right?” He asks quietly.

Lanisen shifts as the door opens, glancing up from his intense consideration of a frosty squash vine. “Oh. Hey.”

Colin says, “So. I have news.”

Lanisen asks, without a whole lot of enthusiasm, “Yeah?”

Colin rubs the back of his neck. “Aaron’s been completely banned from the castle.” He says, his tone pleased.

Lanisen says, “Oh. Good.”

Colin watches his face a moment, then moves to sit beside him. “What happened before I got there? Garian sent a servant for me but they didn’t tell me much.”

Lanisen shrugs a little. “Nothin’. He slammed the kennel door, tryin’ to scare me.”

Colin rubs his eyes. “Good lion… what a fool.” he’s quiet a moment, then he adds. “I’m glad we’re rid of him.”

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

Colin gently nudges him. “Hey…you okay?”

Lanisen shifts again. “Ahh, yeah. Sorry. Just kind of… yeah.”

Colin nods a little, letting his head rest back against the wall. “Yeah. It’s all right.”

Lanisen says, “Megren earlier was wantin’ me to stay away from the kennels for a while.”

Colin is quiet a moment. “Don’t think that should be a problem now, do you?”

Lanisen says, “No, sorry.” He considers the steam curling off the top of his drink, which looks like some kind of clear tea. “Um.” He shakes his head. “I’m just–feelin’ sorry for myself is all.”

Colin hehs. “I think it’s justified in this case.”

Lanisen is silent for a minute. “I just–” he says rather suddenly. “I’m–stuck here. Again, I’m– I’m gettin’ to where– I hate these walls, I want… /out/, I want to leave, but I’m– I dunno, I’m too… I’m stuck.”

Colin asks, “Feel like it’s not safe to leave stuck?”

Lanisen says, “Yeah.”

Colin says, “We’re going to change that.”

Lanisen says nothing.

Colin rests his head back against the wall again. “Yeah….” he says, completely unsure of what else to say.

Lanisen says, “So what happened?”

Colin rubs the back of his neck. “We only had enough to hold him a night or two. I was trying to arrest him so we could buy ourselves time to think, but Captain Garian came up with the idea to ban him now and if he violates it it’s the dungeons for a darn good time. Few other things happened and I think Garian and I are on his hate list but it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m used to not being liked.” He says amiably.

Lanisen gives him a long, careful look at this, frowning a little. “You’re all white.”

Colin shrugs a little. “I don’t like confrontation if I can help it…”

Lanisen side-eyes him.

Colin looks sincere. Or tries to.

Lanisen says, “Come on.”

Colin says, “What?”

Lanisen says, “You?”

Colin asks, “Me what?”

Lanisen says, “You don’t like confrontation? Pull the other one.”

Colin protests, “Well confrontation isn’t exactly pleasant.”

Lanisen says, “Never know it to watch you.”

Colin raises both eyebrows. “…I avoid people all the time. I’ve avoided Sir Tyren for four years…”

Lanisen says, “Sir Tyren and Aaron, kinda different stories there.”

Colin grunts. “Yeah…I know.” He sighs, and clunks his head back against the wall. “Okay. I’m worried. And I am trying to be positive to convince myself I don’t need to worry, but….I don’t think I’ve seen the last of him yet. I’ve made him an enemy.”

Lanisen points out, “You have a sword.”

Colin’s reply is quiet. “You and Arael don’t.”

Lanisen glances at him quickly at this. After a minute, he answers matter-of-factly “Well, he don’t have one either, so.”

Colin hesitates before looking at Lanisen. “Your recent experience with the man shows that one does not need a physical weapon to do damage. But I digress. It’s all going to be all right. For you, for all of us.”

Lanisen looks uncomfortable. “Now you’re soundin’ like Sir Tyren,” he grumbles to cover it.

Colin says with sarcasm, “Thanks.”

Lanisen says, “Sorry,” without really sounding it.

Colin shrugs.

Lanisen leans his head back against the wall, frowning wearily.

Colin looks over at his friend. “Tea’s gonna get cold.”

Lanisen stirs and glances down at it, like he forgot it was there. He shrugs. “‘S chamomile. Don’t even like chamomile.”

Colin says, “Did you put honey in it? It’s good with honey.”

Lanisen says, “If you put honey in then it tastes like chamomile tea with honey in.”

Colin chuckles. “What kind of tea do you like then, princess?” he tries to lighten the mood.

Lanisen looks annoyed. “The kind you put ice in and then dump down peoples’ necks.”

Colin says, “My favorite too.”

Lanisen mutters, “Don’t doubt that.”

Colin gives him a winning smile.

Lanisen asks, “How long’re you back for?”

Colin says, “Until everything is okay here.”

Lanisen says, “Define okay.”

Colin says, “You are safe and happy, and my services and input aren’t needed on the situation. I think I need to talk to a few people too before I leave. Haft, Garian, Darrin, my brother…and maybe others.””
Colin says, “Just to make sure everything from the other night is sorted.”

Lanisen says, “He’s banned from the castle, ain’t he? What else is there to sort?”

Colin rubs the bridge of his nose. “Ahh–I may need to soothe a few bruised egos…and apologize for a thing or too. Nothing terribly serious.”

Lanisen asks, “What?”

Colin says, “I may have been a bit…abrupt with Captain Garian. And Darrin. And Haft. I need to clarify some things…while my actions were justified they were not handled in the best way.””

Lanisen frowns. “What did you do?”

Colin coughs, a little sheepish but not terribly so. “After I left you….I went to the gatehouse where Captain Garian, Haft, Megren, and Darrin were holding Aaron to find they had let him go before I had a chance to finish with you and question him. I knew we couldn’t do much to keep him but I wanted to watch him and his responses and make it clear he was to stay away from you. It was a clear oversight on their part and I quite abruptly mentioned their incompetence, told Haft he was forbidden near the kennels until we had a chance to speak further, and I left to go search for Aaron to have a chat. Garian tried to say something and I cut him off and ignored him, in a rush to find the buffoon. I was quite angry and they knew it. It was not perhaps how a lord should fully act.”

Lanisen says, “You blew up at ’em.”

Colin says, “No.”
Colin says, “I actually didn’t.”

Lanisen looks confused.

Colin says, “I was abrupt and rude but I didn’t blow up.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.”

Colin rubs his tired eyes. “I think….I think we should try to sleep, yeah?” He slowly gets to his feet, offering Lanisen a hand.

Lanisen considers for a second, then sets his tea aside and takes Colin’s hand with his good hand to haul himself up. “Prob’ly better.”

Colin helps him to his feet and leads the way out of the kitchen yard, holding the door for his buddy.


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