fellow traveler

Lancelyn Green

The atmosphere of the tavern is warm and cheery. A few well-placed lamps hanging from the ceiling, accompanied by a glowing fireplace, attempt to throw light into the somewhat dim room. Serving wenches bustle in and out of the kitchen door to the north, clearing tables and serving food briskly, calling out orders to each other occasionally over the din. Prinn, the barman, polishes a rather antique-looking counter idly when he is not speaking with customers. There is a menu on the wall behind him, along with several bottles and glasses. There is a door to the south that leads back out into the Anteroom.

Colin walks into the tavern at Lanisen’s side, his cheeks red from the cold.

Lanisen casts a quick nervous glance around the room as he steps through the door. He carefully taps the snow from his boots at the doorway and follows Colin.

A son of adam with cloudy gray eyes sits at a table near the fireplace holding a harp, which he runs his fingers over, pulling a quiet, aimless arpeggiated chord progression from its strings. His glance is focused on nothing in particular, at least discernably, but the soft smile on his face is contented.

Colin glances around at the occupants of the tavern before approaching Prinn at the counter to have a quick chat.

Alsendar continues to let his fingers ply their craft over the strings of his harp – or at least, does until one note in particular makes his brow furrow slightly. He plucks the string again, tilting his head just a hair.

Lanisen turns aside to a table against the wall, choosing a seat from which he can easily watch the whole of the tavern. He leans his forearms on the table, jogging one knee, and glances toward the harp music.

Colin nods his head when Prinn answers his question and he utters something not audible by most of the room but might sound like thanks before he turns from the counter, locates Lanisen, and goes and plunks in one of the chairs beside him. “No traveling today.” He says.

Lanisen says, “Yeah. Didn’t figure.”

Alsendar fiddles with one of the harp’s pins, again with the occasional pluck of the string in question, until he gives a small nod of satisfaction. He resumes the tune, this time adding a soft vocalization to it, in a warm tenor.

Colin rubs the back of his neck. “I hope Ara doesn’t get too worried…she’ll have gotten my letter saying we’re leaving and I told her we’d arrive the day after. I wish there was a way to let her know we made it safely to Lancelyn Green and aren’t stuck up in the mountains.”

Lanisen points out, “Unless the courier’s stuck here too.”

Colin makes a face. “Lion, I hope not.”

Alsendar again furrows his brow a touch as a note might be pitching just a touch flat, though he doesn’t miss a beat as he continues on. The song is brought to a quick (albiet satisfying) close, and he lets the last chord hang a moment before he stills the strings.

Lanisen says, “…If the courier’s stuck here then she won’t be worrying.”

Colin exclaims, “No…suppose not. Just surprised when we show up knocking.” He says with a laugh. “Maybe we can hand her the letter!”

Alsendar fumbles around the chair he’s currently occupying for a moment or two before he finds the harp’s case, and he carefully replaces it before grasping about once more for the large stick leaning nearby and feeling his way toward the bar.

Lanisen says, “There you go.” Somebody lets in a gust of snowy wind as they come through the front door, and he glances toward them quickly.

Colin follows Lanisen’s glance and sizes up the person before looking away. Doing so, he notices the fellow heading toward the bar and he watches him a moment, glancing at Lanisen before speaking up. “Need any help there, mister?”

Alsendar is hit with the blast of wind, being in the process of crossing its path, and turns his head slightly as the gust ruffles his hair. “Whoof! Still cold out there, that’s for sure.” It takes a moment for him to recognize the question might be directed toward him, and he waves a hand in the general direction of its asker as he continues toward (and arrives at) his destination, plunking himself down on a stool. “Oh, I’m fine! Know this place like the back of my hand, I do.”

Colin replies, speaking clearly so he can hear. “All right then, good to know.” he says, his tone friendly.

Lanisen watches, glancing from the man newly arrived to the harpist. His fingertips tap out an irregular rhythm on the tabletop.

Alsendar bobs his head, still smiling, toward the speaker, though his glance isn’t /quite/ in his direction. “Awful kind of you to offer, though. Might have taken you up on it if I hadn’t grown up here, too.” Prinn plunks a tankard down near him, a little more emphatically than typically, and the harpist nods his appreciation. “Thanks,” he says. “Think the ol’ throat was telling me I was overdue for a break.”

Colin responds, “Sounding good. Don’t know if I’ve ever caught your name. I’m Sir Colin, and I’ve got a fellow sitting beside me called Lanisen. That’s the one he responds to best anyway.” He says with a grin.

Alsendar’s brows lift a touch at the introduction, and he hops off the stool long enough to deliver a quick bow before he scoops up the tankard. “Well, pleased to meet you both then, Sir! As for me, you can call me whatever you’d like, I’m sure, though I’ll respond quickest to Alsendar.” He grins.

Lanisen glances at Colin, half-annoyed. “Afternoon,” he says toward Alsendar.

Colin gives Lanisen an innocent grin as he replies. “Well met, Alsendar.”

Alsendar bobs another nod, then takes a long drink from the tankard, clearing his throat slightly afterward. “Much beter.”

Lanisen stays quiet, giving a long curious look to the harp in its case.

Colin asks, “Have you always been a musician?”

Alsendar chuckles. “Depends how you want to define ‘always,’ Sir. Mum plays a little herself, she taught me a thing or two growing up, and I liked it a lot, I did. Only been a couple years that I’ve been making a living out of it, though.”

Colin says, “Good for you, being able to make a living at something you enjoy.”

Lanisen’s knee starts its jogging again.

Alsendar says, “That’s how I see it, Sir. ‘Course it’s one of the only trades I know, too.”

Colin says, “I confess music is something I was never the best at, my talents always lay elsewhere. I’m not the most creative sort.” he says with a grin.

Alsendar grins himself. “Somebody’s got to do the deeds worthy of song before somebody can write ’em.”

Colin says, “There you go.”

Lanisen lets out a very, very quiet snort.

Alsendar’s attention shifts just slightly, aimed more in Lanisen’s direction more than Colin’s now. “Well they can’t /all/ be bawdy songs,” he says lightly.

Colin chuckles under his breath.

Lanisen says, “Er… what?”

Alsendar shrugs. “Just an observation. Maybe I misheard something.” He flicks an earlobe. “Even my ears aren’t infallible.”

Colin offers, “None of ours is. Mine’s quite selective.”

Lanisen’s forehead wrinkles. He glances back at Colin, still confused.

Alsendar chuckles. “Which I’m sure you compesate for in other ways, Sir. How these things tend to work, in my experience.”

Colin says, “Indeed so.”

Alsendar says, “Going back to somethin’ earlier, though. I’m sure you’ve got somethin’ creative in there somewhere, Sir. Surely a knight like you’s got all sorts of tales to tell.”

Colin ers, glancing at Lanisen. “Not really…my life’s been a bit boring.”

Alsendar exclaims, “Oh, come now. There’s a good tale in practically anything if you spin it right. And you knights are all over the good stories!”

Lanisen gives Colin an unimpressed look. Behind the bar, the kitchen door opens and shuts again, and he twists to look.

Colin glares at Lanisen before replying. “The one you want to talk to would be Sir Tyren…he’s got a lot of words to share.”

Alsendar says, “Hm. I’ll have to remember that, then.”

Lanisen resettles in his chair, snorting again at this last.

Colin asks, “He’s mostly at Anvard. You ever get over there?”

Alsendar says, “Oh, on occassion. One of the joys of being a traveling minstrel, you get to sample a little bit of everywhere.”

Colin glances at Lanisen and comments, “That sounds nice.”

Alsendar says, “Who knows, maybe if I’m lucky I can find someone willing to help me over one of the passes north. Have to admit that’s half the reason I’m planning to make for Carmichael when I can.”

Lanisen looks a little confused at this. He glances from Alsendar’s stick to the snowstorm outside and ventures, “…You’re wantin’ to cross the mountains now?”

Colin says, “No one’s crossing those mountains today. Or even tomorrow.”

Alsendar says, “Well I didn’t exactly say it was immediately /feasible/. But I can be patient. And besides, few places a minstrel can’t make a bit of coin anyway.”

Colin glances at Lanisen.

Lanisen glances at Colin.

Alsendar glances at nothing in particular.

Colin ventures, “We’re going to Carmichael, soon as the carriage can move on the road. If you’d want to join us…”

Lanisen looks at the tabletop.

Alsendar says, “Really? Well that’d be awful kind of you, if you truly wouldn’t mind taking another along.”

Colin glances at Lanisen again.

Lanisen shrugs.

Colin speaks again, “No, we wouldn’t mind.”

Alsendar dips his head. “Then thank you.”

Lanisen stays quiet, watching through the window as another poor soul makes his way to the tavern door through the snowstorm.

Colin nods, rising from the table after a glance out the window. “Of course. Nice talking with you.” He looks to Lanisen. “We should head back before it gets much worse.”

Alsendar hops off the stool again to deliver another bow. “Likewise, Sir. Good night.”

Lanisen quickly stands as Colin does, looking quietly relieved.

Colin waves farewell to Prinn and leads Lanisen out into the white.


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