frogs


Carmichael Village Square
Western Archenland


You stand in the center of a quaint little country village, nestled in the foothills of the Western Mountains. There are a few shops surrounding the square, including Isfar’s blacksmith shop to the east, which is ringing with the sound of iron-on-iron. To the southwest is a small tavern, which smells of good home-cooked food. There is a traveller’s shelter to the northwest with a sign over the door that reads “Carmichael Lodge”. There is also a shop to the northeast, and two others, to the southeast and to the west, respectively. In the midst of the square stands a a stone well.

The main road heads south toward the settlement, a collection of humble, neatly-kept homes to the southwest of the main town.


Cassandra is leaning against the well, watching the people move about their businesses. Her gaze periodically glances over to the lodge.

Lanisen comes around from behind the lodge, looking slightly dusty with a few pieces of hay clinging to his boots. He makes his way toward the well to wash his hands, missing a step when he sees who is leaning on it.

Cassandra grins at him, her arms across her chest. She waits for him to speak first.

Lanisen says, grinning tentatively back, “Uhm, hey.” He remembers what he was doing and nods toward the well, then pulls up a bucket of icy water to rinse his hands.

Cassandra turns to watch him wash his hands, “Lanny.” She leans against the well, resting her arms against the wall. “You doing squiring duties?”

Lanisen says, “Um. I guess? Just looked in on the horses is all.” He scratches his head. “Is that a squiring duty? I don’t even know…”

Cassandra giggles, “You don’t know what duties you are suppose to do? That doesn’t sound like you are off to a good start.”

Lanisen rubs the back of his neck, grinning ruefully. “Shut up, I’m gettin’ there.”

Cassandra sticks her tongue out at him.

Lanisen flicks water at her and dries his hands on his shirt.

Cassandra glares at him, leaning back against the wall. She looks down into the well, though she keeps him in the corner of her eye, “So, I told our parents that you are back.”

Lanisen is suddenly focused very intently on getting his hands perfectly dry. “Yeah?” he asks after a telling pause.

Cassandra shrugs, “Not much yelling, not much excitement. They just kinda kept doing their thing.” She grins a bit impishly, “Perhaps you should buy them some pie?”

Lanisen drops his hands and lets out a breath. “Yeah,” he says absently. “Pie’ll fix that one right up.” He glances at her sidelong after a pause and offers a grin that doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

Cassandra gives him a look, “Give ’em time.” She grins again, “Maybe, you can just buy me the pie.”

Lanisen eyes her. “You’re shameless.” He throws up his hands. “Fine, twist my arm. Let’s go eat pie.”

Cassandra grabs his arm and begins to drag him to the Tavern. “Hey, you have 6 years to make up for it.”

Lanisen says, “Ow, lion. Steady on.” He limps after her, grin back.


Fischer’s Tavern
Carmichael


Cassandra enters the tavern, “I want some tea too.”

Lanisen says, “How many hands d’you think I have? You’re carrying.”

Cassandra rolls her eyes, “Fine. Do you want anything to drink?”

Lanisen considers. “I’m havin’ cider.” He nods decisively and heads to the counter.

Cassandra follows him, head tipped as he limps.

Lanisen speaks to Fischer and hands over some coin, then steps back to wait. The table near the fire is open, and he glances from it back to Cassandra with his eyebrows raised.

Cassandra nods, “I’ll go save us a seat!” She rushes off, essentially leaving him to carry all the items.

Lanisen takes a breath to point this out, then shrugs. Fischer puts their drinks on the counter, and he grabs them to carry over. He holds the cider in his right hand rather clumsily, his fingers in a slightly unstable fist, but he makes it to the table without incident. “You’re fetchin’ the pie,” he tells Cassandra, sliding the tea over to her side.

Cassandra sighs all dramatic like, “I’m just getting you ready for your squiring duties.” She does stand though and walks to pick up their pie. She walks back over, sitting down again, and places the smaller piece in front of him.

Lanisen scoffs and raises an eyebrow in an I-see-exactly-what-you’re-doing kind of way, then shrugs and starts on the pie. “What’d you do today?”

Cassandra grins at him, taking a big bite out of her pie. “This and that.”

Lanisen says, “Come on, I bought you pie. Details, please.”

Cassandra scoffs, “Fine, I fought two giants and a wolf just to get to town. I also had to run to Anvard and back for a cup of sugar.” She says this in a most serious tone.

Lanisen nods very seriously in return, taking a bite of pie. He chews and swallows thoughtfully. “Well done, gettin’ sugar out of Brosie,” he says. “Never seen a woman guard her kitchen stores as fierce as her. She’s got a mean whack with a wooden spoon, too.”

Cassandra nods, “I definitely had my work cut out for me. But I was victorious.”

Lanisen says, “Well done, you.”

Cassandra takes another a bite, “Thank you, if fact, you should be very proud to be sitting with me right now.”

Lanisen snorts under his breath. “Really, though,” he presses.

Harmonia galumphs into the tavern, she orders a snack and races over to Lanisen

Cassandra blinks as the girl runs to their table.

Lanisen leans back in his chair, his mouth full of pie. He swallows quickly, holding up his hands toward Harmonia and laughing. “Whoa, hey! What’s the rush, missy?”

Harmonia exclaims, “I found them! the pebbles you mentioned! Now Mister snowman’s got eyes and mouth!” Harmonia dances from one foot to the other excitedly.”

Cassandra shifts a bit, watching the kid.

Lanisen says, “Oh, nice! He still standing?”

Harmonia nods excitedly, “And Paw said he’d take me practicing Archery later!”

Lanisen says, “Sounds like a good deal.”

Cassandra picks at her pie, listening.

Harmonia nods.

Lanisen says, “Cass, this is Harmonia, you might already know her? She’s from Terebinthia, new in town. Harmonia, this is, um, this is my sister, Cassandra.”

Harmonia turns to look at the other person at the table now that her exciting message has been deliverd. “Oh! Hello!”

Cassandra shifts as she is suddenly in the center of attention. “Um…Hi. Yeah, I saw you and your folks move into the settlement a few weeks back.” She looks slightly uncomfortable.

Lanisen glances at her. He seems to pick up on this, because he says to Harmonia, “Say, do you know where to find frogs this time of year?”

Harmonia looks to Lanisen, distracted for the moment.”I dunno, Mister Lanisen. Could they be under that water? Asleep?”

Cassandra says, “It’s best to catch them when they are asleep. Makes it easier.”

Lanisen scratches his head. “Maybe. I dunno. My friend in Anvard says frogs can freeze and come back to life, so I figure…” He leans forward, glancing conspiratorially between them. “I played a prank on my friend the other day and he ain’t retaliated /yet/ so prob’ly it’s gonna be a big one, so I should probably have my next one planned, right? So if I can find one of these frozen frogs…” He lets it trail off.

Harmonia grins. “I wanna help you mister Lanisen…” She trails off in thought. “oh….I should probably ask ma and paw.”

Lanisen tilts his head questioningly.

Cassandra looks at her brother, just grinning. “I might be able to help with that.” She turns to Harmonia, “Why? Parents don’t need to know everything.”

Lanisen gives Cassandra a quick look.

Harmonia says, “Well.. they might not want me near the pond… not knowing how firm the ice is. She looks up at cassandra a kinda confused and questioning, but excited look. “Well I suppose if it were only for frogs… they ain’t that dang’rous”

Cassandra makes it a point to not look at Lanisen. “Exactly, What they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?”

Lanisen says hastily, “Don’t go out on the pond. Not even if you think it’s frozen solid, okay?”

Harmonia nods seriously.

Cassandra starts as Lanisen speaks, her eyes going wide. She quickly turns to Harmonia, “Yeah. That /is/ dangerous.”

Lanisen holds out his left hand, little finger extended. “Pinky swear?”

Harmonia holds up her hands as well, finger extended likewise. “I swear, Mister Lanisen”

Cassandra looks down at her uneaten pie, chewing her lip.

Lanisen links their pinkies together and grins at Harmonia. “Good.”

Harmonia grins excitedly.

Cassandra coughs, “I best be going.”

Lanisen blinks at her. “You didn’t eat your pie.”

Cassandra snorts, “I ate most of it.” She turns to the girl, “You want the rest?”

Harmonia tilts her head questiongly towards Lanisen, before replying. “Sure!”

Cassandra pages, “I probably should go unless you want to speak with me?” to you.

Lanisen bites his lip. “I’ll see you around?”

Cassandra pushes the plate over, “Here you go.” She looks at Lanisen, “Of course, you still remember our deal, right? You can’t leave without saying goodbye.”

Lanisen says, “No, ‘course not.”

Cassandra nods, “Good.” She pauses, “Uh…see you around, kid. er…Harmonia.”

Harmonia waves, “Bye Miss.”

Lanisen scoots his chair back and stands. “See you, Cass.”

Cassandra nods to him, “See you Lanny.” She mutters to him quietly.
Cassandra mumbles “Come to dinner soon, yeah?”, to Lanisen.
Cassandra mumbles “Come … … … …”, to Lanisen.

Lanisen’s eyes go a little wide. He murmurs back.
Lanisen mumbles “…Maybe?”, to Cassandra.
Lanisen mumbles something incomprehensible to Cassandra.

Cassandra frowns at him before turning without another word. She waves a hand in the general direction, mutters a good bye, and heads out the door.

Lanisen watches her go, looking troubled.

Harmonia looks up from her pie, “You okay, Mister Lanisen?

Lanisen says, sitting back down, “Um. Yeah, sorry. How’s the pie?”

Harmonia says, “S’good.”

Lanisen says, “Good. That’s good.” He glances at the window after Cassandra.
Harmonia’s father appears, entering the tavern and standing looking for Harmonia. Harmonia groans a little bit. “I gotta go Mister Lanisen. maybe I can help you look for frogs next time?”

Lanisen says, “Oh. Sure, yeah, maybe.” He grins at her, though he seems a little distracted. “See you ’round.”

Harmonia waves. “Bye Mister Lanisen.”

Lanisen says absently, “‘Bye.” Once she’s left, he quietly finishes his pie and carries the two plates and mugs back to Fischer.

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