preparations


Carmichael Lodge
Western Archenland


The Carmichael Lodge is not an ostentatious building. The focal point
appears to be a small woodburning stove, which lends light and warmth to the
room. The wooden walls are whitewashed and bare, but for several sconces.
The woodplank floor is swept clean and there is a fairly tidy desk sitting
beside a doorway that appears to open into a hallway. Sitting at the desk is
a young man with blonde hair.


Cassandra comes rushing out of the hallway, a package is in her hands.

Lanisen passes through the front room of the lodge, on his way back to the room. “Hey,” he says, startled. “What’s the rush?”

Cassandra runs smack dab into Lanisen. Because he is probably more sturdy, she and the package bounce off of him and ends up on the floor with an oof!!!

Lanisen is not actually that sturdy. He grunts and staggers and catches himself on the wall. “Wow,” he remarks, offering her his left hand to haul her up.

Cassandra grabs his hand with one hand and her package with the other. “Sorry, Lanisen. I didn’t see you there.”

Lanisen says, “I figured. Whatcha doin’?”

Cassandra smirks, “Running through buildings and knocking people over. What are you doing?”

Lanisen says, “Getting knocked over.”

Cassandra giggles, repositioning her arm around her package. “That does sound like a problem.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, you know.” He tilts his head a little at the package. “Where you goin’ in such a hurry?”

Cassandra says, “I was trying to catch the person who left this package for me but I think I missed him.”

Lanisen asks, “What is it?”

Cassandra hands him the package to look at it. Inside is a lovely blue shawl and a masterfully carved otter.

Lanisen peers at the carving, interested and impressed. “Starting a collection, are you?”

Cassandra giggles, “I guess I am.” She takes the items back, removing the shawl to drape around her shoulders. “It is one of my favorite colors.”

Lanisen says, “It’s pretty.” He frowns a little. “You don’t know who it’s from?”

Cassandra blushes a little, “I know who is is from. I was hoping to catch him or whoever he sent it with to say thank you.”

Lanisen says, “Got it, I see.” He rubs the back of his neck. “That’s, um, that’s been… all right, then?”

Cassandra twirls around to watch the shawl twist around. “What?”

Lanisen says, even more flustered and awkward, “Oh, um.”

Cassandra stops her twirling to face him, “What?”

Lanisen says, “Er, nevermind.”

Cassandra lifts an eyebrow. “Lanisen, what are you talking about?”

Lanisen says, “Nothing!”

Cassandra crosses her arms and gives him the biggest glare she can muster.

Lanisen says, “Sorry, um.” He clears his throat and changes the subject, “Um, what d’you think of headin’ back to Anvard? In a day or two?”

Cassandra drops her hands, looking a bit surprised, “Really?”

Lanisen nods.

Cassandra hugs Lanisen in a huge bear hug. “Oh Lanny, that is wonderful! Shall I go pack? I can leave now if you need too. Oh, we probably will need food. How far is it? Are we going to walk? I don’t have a horse. But I can walk aside Maestro.”

Lanisen says, “Um, packin’ would prob’ly be good but there’s no real rush. It’s about three days, we’ll be takin’ a wagon.”

Cassandra does a little dance of excitement. “Okay, I can be packed in 5 minutes.”

Lanisen says hastily, “Not… today, prob’ly, I mean tomorrow maybe, or the next day.”

Cassandra looks a bit sad, “Okay. Just let me know and I’ll be ready.” She giggles, looking very happy, “I can’t believe I finally get to leave.”

Lanisen says, “Um. Colin had a few more thoughts about what maybe you could do, once we get there, if you’re…”

Cassandra tips her head, “If I’m?”

Lanisen says, “I dunno. If you want to hear ’em.”

Cassandra snorts, “Lanisen, can you for once just speak plainly and not dance around things? If you got something to say, say it.”

Lanisen stops, confused. “Sorry…”

Cassandra just shakes her head, “Maybe you can tell me on the way. I want to go put up my otter before it gets lost.”

Lanisen says, “Um, all right.”

Cassandra hugs him again before darting off to her room.


Carmichael Mine Entrance
Western Archenland


High above you, the snow-capped peak of Mount Car rises up against the sky,
its peak obscured by scattered clouds. Sadly, however, you cannot see it
from here, forested in at the mountain’s foot. Trees grow in wild tangles
here, sheltered as they are from the harsher elements, but denied the amount
of sunlight necessary to grow tall and straight. The ground is covered with
rocks, leaves and bracken, but the path here is still distinct. It leads
directly into a vertical stretch of the mountain’s base and disappears into a
cavernous opening there.


Freya takes the bundle from Loc with an appreciative nod. “Thank ye. Ye made ’em yerself?”

Loc nods, and laughs, “Apparently I lost out on my calling as a baker.”

Lanisen follows the road toward the mine. He has a slightly apprehensive look about him, and his limp is more pronounced than usual. He catches sight of Freya, and changes his course just slightly to approach her, but halts on seeing Loc.

Freya grins, “Aye, ye have a gift.” Her eyes catch further movement from the road and looks over. She waves in a reserved way. “I should prob’ly see him separately for a moment. ‘scuse me, Lad. Duty calls.”

Loc turns and looks at Lanisen. He takes a step back to let her pass.

Lanisen looks slightly panicked. He makes a small motion as if to go back the way he came. “Um… if it’s… a bad time…?”

Freya leaves her stuff next to the rock to approach Lanisen. She speaks in low tones meant for his ears only.
Freya mumbles “Nonsense. T’ lad and I were just talkin’. Are ye intendin’ t’ take m’ offer?””, to Lanisen.
Freya mumbles “… … lad and … … just … … Are ye intendin’ … … … …”, to Lanisen.

Loc hangs back, folding his arms over his chest.

Lanisen shifts, awkward and unhappy. “I didn’t mean to interrupt, I’m…”
Lanisen mumbles “I’m sorry, I’ve– it’s… they gave me a bottle of tincture for when my arm hurts, back at the castle, and it tastes so awful I didn’t think I’d ever run out only I have and I can’t– I can’t sleep. I’m… sorry.”, to Freya.
Lanisen mumbles “… sorry, I’ve– … … gave … a bottle … … for when … arm hurts, back … … … … … tastes … … I didn’t think I’d ever … … … I have and … … … can’t sleep. I’m… …”, to Freya.

Loc eyerolls, “Oh for Lion’s sake Lanisen. You’re not interupting. But it’s unfair to expect me to leave everytime you show up somewhere. If you’re still angry fine. Just pretend I’m not here instead of getting awkward.”

Lanisen gives Loc a startled look. “I’m… I didn’t mean– I shouldn’t have come, I’m sorry.” He dips his head to Freya and turns to make his escape.

Freya nods seriously. “Aye, I might be able t’ help.”. She looks back at Loc with a stern look before turning back to Lanisen. ” Iffen ye like, come back tomorrow and I’ll have somethin’ ready fer ye.”

Loc says with some exasperation, “And you don’t gotta run off.” He gives Freya a look right back.

Lanisen pauses, hopeful and grateful. “Thank you,” he says with some surprise. “I’ll… stop by. Thank you so much.”

Freya takes the pipe from her mouth. “Yer welcome, lad, ‘though I haven’t done anythin’ yet.”. She adds something in a low voice.
Freya mumbles “I also want t’ examine yer arm in detail.”, to Lanisen.
Freya mumbles “I also … … examine … … … …”, to Lanisen.

Loc leans against a tree, looking at the woods.

Lanisen looks alarmed. “Oh.”

Freya sighs and adds something in a low voice.
Freya mumbles “I don’t bite.”, to Lanisen.
Freya mumbles “… don’t …”, to Lanisen.

Loc politely keeps his gaze off Lanisen and Freya, although they aren’t entirely out of the corner of his eye.

Lanisen says, avoiding her eyes, “No, no, I’m sorry, I didn’t… um.” He swallows. “I’ll… see you tomorrow, thank you.”

Freya puts the pipe back in her mouth. “Aye, tomorrow. I’ll be expecting ye.”

Lanisen nods quickly and says one more time, “Thank you.” He hesitates, then nods and heads back up the road to town.

Loc says dryly, “Good night Lanisen.”

Freya nods, “Have a good night!”

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