The infirmary of Anvard is a long, bright room, a little over half the length
of the Great Hall. It is shaped oddly, the northeast and southwest walls
curving inward to accommodate the towers on either side. A partition that faces
the door out to the inner ward bisects the room, separating the front area
where the castle healers work from the back.
Three windows on either side of the door in the southeast wall let in a good
amount of sunlight, especially in the late morning, and their sills are
cluttered with the pots of several frequently used plants. To the left of the
door stands a large cabinet, and bundles of herbs in various stages of drying
hang from the ceiling. There is a long oak worktable to the right of the door,
and a desk in the east corner is piled high with half-completed notes and books
and other useful documents.
Kairyn sits in the east corner of the infirmary, working at the desk stationed there. Glasses perch on her nose and she scribbles furiously on several pieces of paper scattered on top of the rest of her clutter.
Lanisen opens the door from the inner ward and peeks in. He steps tentatively inside and closes the door quietly behind him. “Um… ‘scuse me?”
Kairyn’s head snaps upright from being bowed over her work. Her blue eyes blink rapidly a few times from behind her spectacles before she pulls them off and squints in his direction. “Yes?”
Lanisen watches the spectacles uncertainly. “Um,” he says again, faltering for a second. “Sorry, I… um, I was wonderin’ if there was– if I could talk to somebody about maybe gettin’ another bottle of–um, they gave me some kind of somethin’ for–for when my arm hurts a few months ago, and I’ve run out?”
Kairyn peers at him as she works through this information, then she blinks and her expression brightens. “You’re Lanisen, yes?”
Lanisen says, a little relieved, “Yes, miss.”
Kairyn rises from her chair and extends her hand to him. “I know we haven’t met…but I know who you are. Obviously, I just said so. Heh. Right, medicine…Do you remember what Adrian gave you? Was it an ointment? Or a tincture?”
Lanisen starts to correct her, but changes his mind. He shakes her hand and rubs the back of his neck. “It was–um, a tincture, I think? It was the kind you drink but not tea.”
Kairyn taps her chin thoughtfully and nods. “And your injuries..were arrows, yes? How have they been doing?”
Lanisen says, “They’re fine, miss. My arm just gets to hurtin’ is all.”
Kairyn nods thoughtfully and starts shuffling through the papers on her desk. “Right. I’m pretty sure I can reconcoct it…but first, if you don’t mind, I should have a look at them. Now that you’ve had some time to heal, there’s probably some more things we can do for you. If you’re willing, that is.” she adds, stammering a bit in her excitement as she resurrects a large leather bound book from her desk and starts flipping through it eagerly. “I made up some notes after the battle….” she informs him absently as if that should explain everything.
Lanisen shifts, a little alarmed by her enthusiasm. “Oh.”
Kairyn finds the proper place in the book and places her finger there. She looks up at him and catches his expression. Pausing, she says in a meek voice, “I get bored sometimes.”
Lanisen watches her flip through the book with some consternation and says weakly, “I see.”
Kairyn falls awkwardly quiet for a moment or two before coughing once. “Right. Past the partition, if you don’t mind. Let’s see how they’re healing. Then I can start on what you need.”
Lanisen doesn’t look entirely thrilled, but he says, “Yes, miss,” and shuffles that direction obligingly.
Kairyn follows him.
Infirmary Sleeping Quarters
A row of about fifteen beds is set up in the back area of the infirmary. These
are mostly unused and bare, but there are always a few made up and ready, with
warm blankets folded at the ends. This space is darker and quieter than the
front, intended for rest and recovery, but there are sconces for lamps on the
walls over each bed. A large cupboard in the middle of the northwest wall
stores extra blankets.
Kairyn motions beside the door towards a cot like thing that’s a bit higher than the other beds further into the room. “Have a seat there. The light is better up here. You said your arm is the one troubling you the most?”
Lanisen sits–perches, really, uncomfortable and apprehensive–and nods a little. “Yes, miss. It gets… sort of– it hurts along here?” He gestures to the inside of his forearm. “And my hand, it… buzzes, a lot. And cramps up sometimes too.”
Kairyn nods, biting her lip in concentration. “Do you lose feeling in your hand at all?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah.” He indicates his third and fourth finger. “These two, I can’t feel them mostly. They buzz sometimes too, is all.”
Kairyn reaches for his hand. “May I?”
Lanisen hesitates a telling moment, then lets her have it.
Kairyn gently pokes and prods along the fingers and hand, testing it. She continues to hold his arm gently so as not to jostle it as she works her way up, asking him where it hurts and where it buzzes when she pokes. Once that is done, she motions for him to undo his collar so she can have a look at the wound.
Lanisen does so, one-handed and blushing, and pulls it enough to the side so that the arrow-scar is visible.
Kairyn just takes it in stride, inspecting the scar and very lightly touching the area around it to check sensitivity. “Does the scar pull at all or is the pain internal?”
Lanisen focuses on the floor while she works. He shakes his head slightly. “It’s… on the inside, mostly,” he says. “It don’t bother me unless I’m tryin’ to pick stuff up, or–or sleep, I guess. Or get on a horse, or wagon.”
Kairyn nods, folding her arms across her chest and viewing him with a thoughtful expression. “Right. Well…. Adrian and I’ve discussed your case, and I’ve done some research since the battle. You aren’t the only one with muscle and nerve damage, but you inspired my project. I’ve done a little experimenting with some of the men who sustained injuries, and if you’re willing I’ve got some treatments you might want to try in addition to Adrian’s tincture. I focused on finding things to help with nerve inflammation and muscle inflammation, as well as pain and we’ve seen some success in aiding healing. Does this interest you?” she bites her lip hopefully.
Lanisen says, “Um.” He rubs his palms on his knees. “Um. Maybe?”
Kairyn nods a little. “It’d involve doing a poultice in the morning, a topical ointment application, another tincture (just flaxseed), and two to three types of teas to have throughout the day…” her voice is a little uncertain. “It’s a little off putting because it’s so intensive…but I assure you I’ve seen some good results, if that helps.”
Lanisen says, “Oh. Um.” He seems a little overwhelmed. “Um. What kind of… good results?”
Kairyn replies, “Reduction in pain and stiffness, more feeling and healing returned than those who chose not to use the treatments. I have not yet seen if it will fully restore a patient to where they were at the time of injury, but the impact it makes will increase quality of life and abilities.”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He hesitates, glancing at the door. “Um. I don’t… Is it… worth it?”
Kairyn chews on her bottom lip thoughtfully. “You’d have to ask my patients…The men who’ve done it have expressed relief that their pain isn’t as great. They don’t always like the work it requires, and there’s no way of telling if leaving things alone would eventually see the same results over time. However if it were me, I’d try it. That’s just me, though…I don’t mind drinking a lot of tea.” She offers him a quirked smile.
Lanisen asks, “If I… try it, and then want to stop…?”
Kairyn gives a quick nod. “You can stop the treatments at any time.”
Lanisen thinks it over. “I guess it would–be pretty silly not to at least try, then,” he says cautiously.
Kairyn’s smile is quick to appear. “All right then. I’ll start making up what you need. The teas are ready, as well as the flaxseed tincture. I’ll make you Adrian’s tincture, and an ointment that you will apply yourself. WIll you and Sir Colin be in Anvard for a while yet? The poultice will be the tricky one.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, Sir Colin’s not back, he’s still in Carmichael. I’m just here because… um. Because I ran out of tincture.”
Kairyn ahs, nodding. “All right. Well, for as long as you are here…is it possible for you to stop by in the mornings for the poultice application? I’ll apply the concoction to your wound site and we’ll leave it on for up to fifteen minutes for the herbs to sink in. A little inconvenient…” She says apologetically.
Lanisen balks at this. “Um–can’t you… I mean, I could put it on myself, if you give me the …the stuff?”
Kairyn says, “You’ll do that with the ointment. The poultice should be applied by one of us for at least a week or two before you take over.”
Lanisen asks, “Can’t you just show me how?”
Kairyn nods. “Yes. For the first week. Then I can give you the ground herbs, like I’ll do with the teas. Everything I give you should last for two weeks, then you’ll have to come by and get fresh herbs and ointment and the like.”
Lanisen doesn’t look entirely happy with this arrangement, but he looks down and nods.
Kairyn says, “If it makes you feel any better… my first patients came to me for the poultices for eight weeks….”
Lanisen says, “Oh.”
Kairyn gives him an apologetic smile.
Lanisen says, “Well.”
Kairyn coughs. “Right. You button back up and I’ll have everything for you later this evening if you want to stop back by. I’ll leave them on my desk for you.”
Lanisen does so, giving her a grateful look. “Thank you–I really, thanks.”
Kairyn outright grins at him. “Thank you, for the opportunity. I truly hope it helps.” She ducks her head in a farewell nod and heads for the door.
Haft steps into the Infirmary, looking a little under the weather. He has a kerchief in his hand and his nose and eyes are red.
Lanisen emerges from the back area of the infirmary, lacing up his collar clumsily. He looks distant and weighed-on.
Haft looks up as Lanisen emerges, clearly expecting one of the healers. His eyes widen.
Lanisen isn’t paying as much attention to his surroundings as is usual for him. When he sees Haft, he comes to an abrupt halt facing him, as if he’s just realized there is a boar in the room and isn’t sure of its intentions.
Haft swallows. “I was just looking for Kairyn.” He turns and heads back toward the door. “Excuse me.”
Lanisen says, “She’s–” He gestures vaguely toward the back. “I’m, I’m going.”
Haft hesitates, then nods, clearing the path to the door but not looking at Lanisen.
Lanisen gives him an uncertain, guarded look, then heads toward the door.
Haft steps past him, heading into the back room to find Kairyn.
The Narrow Gate Hall
The Hall of the Narrow Gate is brightly lit by a large chandelier, and by
torches on the walls. A bar runs along the length of the south wall. Behind
the bar stands Dranken, the Barman, polishing a glass. The wall behind him
holds several bottles, and racks of glasses. There is also a menu offering
drinks and food. The north wall is dominated by a cheerful stone fireplace.
The rest of the room is filled with tables and stools, in little clusters all
over the scuffed wooden floor. An arch leads to the Anteroom to the south.
Lanisen is sitting alone at a table against the wall, keeping an eye on the door as he eats.
Cassandra bursts through the door, still looking excited. She is a bit dusty and her hair is a bit loose from her braid but her eyes are bright.
Lanisen glances up immediately as the door opens and waves at her.
Cassandra walks over to Lanisen’s table and unceremoniously throws herself into a chair with a sigh of relief.
Lanisen eyes her. “What’ve you been doing?”
Cassandra replies, “Seeing everything. It is so big.”
Lanisen grins faintly and takes a drink of his cider. “You ain’t been to Chesterton.”
Cassandra glares at him but it is only a half glare, “Don’t ruin my excitement. This is the furthest I have ever been from home in my life!”
Lanisen says, “Sorry, sorry.”
Cassandra waves over a bar maid, asking for a tea. She then turn to Lanisen, “Glad to be home?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah. I missed my room. And my dogs.” He glances at her sidelong. “Whatcha think of it so far?”
Cassandra grins, “I like Megren and Nia.”
Lanisen looks pleased. “I thought you might.”
Cassandra asks, “What have you been doing today?”
Lanisen says, “Unpacked. Stopped by the infirmary. Checked in on the hounds. That’s about it.”
Cassandra frowns slightly, “I guess we should discuss living arrangements? I already own you and Sir Colin a lot of money for my stay in the Carmichael Lodge.”
Lanisen shakes his head dismissively. “I’d be /really/ surprised if he ever let either of us repay that,” he says.
Cassandra snorts, “I don’t like owing him anything.”
Lanisen glances at her, a little wry.
Cassandra returns the look.
Lanisen says, “Well. He wrote a letter for you, if you think you’d like to work in the castle. That’d prob’ly come with quarters in the castle, so it might be easiest.”
Cassandra blinks, “A place in the castle? Really?”
Lanisen shrugs a little. “There’s quarters for the servants on the first floor of the nobles’ tower. They ain’t fancy, but. Room and board, and a job. You could do worse.”
Cassandra taps her fingers on the table, “That sounds like a good deal.”
Lanisen offers, “Bet they could find you a spot in the kitchens, if you wanted. I know you don’t want to serve direct, that’d be different. Or you could work in the kennels like I did, maybe, I don’t think girls’ve worked there before but that don’t mean they can’t, I reckon. That gets nasty, though, you got a weak stomach?”
Cassandra hmmm, “What nasty stuff? I can pick up after them well for them.”
Lanisen says, “Well, dealin’ with their food, dealin’ with what’s left behind… handlin’ stuff when they get sick… Plus sometimes they fight and you gotta break that up, that can get nasty.” He rolls up his sleeve to show her an ugly, ropy bite scar several years old.
Cassandra recoils slightly, “Okay, maybe not.”
Lanisen hastens to assure her, “That don’t happen often, I got stupid.”
Cassandra nods once, still thinking, “I asked Megren what guarding was like.”
Lanisen blinks. “Oh?”
Cassandra says, “Don’t think I would like it.”
Lanisen says, “Oh.”
Cassandra asks, “What about the stables?”
Lanisen asks, “You want to work in the stables?”
Cassandra shrugs, “I like horses.”
Lanisen asks, “You like shovelin’ their muck too?”
Cassandra wrinkles her nose before sighing.
Lanisen hesitates. “Colin suggested helpin’ in the infirmary, maybe. That something you’d be interested in?”
Cassandra makes a disgusted face, “I would rather muck out stalls then be around sick people.”
Lanisen thinks about this, tapping the tabletop with the tip of his fingers. “Well,” he says at last. “You could try it out, I suppose, and then try something else if it don’t suit you.”
Cassandra nods, “I like that idea!”
Lanisen asks, “We’ll talk to the Steward, then?”
Cassandra suddenly looks nervous. “Alright.”
Lanisen says, “Nothin’ to worry about. You got Colin’s letter.”
Cassandra bites her lip, “I’ve never been around nobles before. Aside Sir Colin.”
Lanisen says, “It’s not so bad. Just curtsey and remember to say sir a lot.”
Cassandra stands up, “Like this?” She grabs the sides of her skirt, pulling them up as she crosses her leg to bow. However, the hem gets stuck on the heel of her shoe and she begins to fall. She attempts to grab the chair but it just goes tumbling with her.
Lanisen blinks, reaching out too late to try to catch her. He covers his mouth quickly to keep himself from laughing out loud.
Cassandra picks herself up, setting the chair upright. She glares at a few of the patrons who also are trying not to laughing before sitting down. She then glares at her brother, “Hush.”
Lanisen asks, “You never curtseyed before?”
Cassandra gives him a look, “I told you. I haven’t been around nobles before.”
Lanisen says, “Not even Lord Ast and Lady Priya?”
Cassandra shrugs, “Okay, I may have curtsied once or twice but not normally.”
Lanisen says, “Well, amusing as it would be, I’m not gonna try and teach you how. You might could ask Megren?”
Cassandra’s face lights up slightly, “Do you think she would mind?”
Lanisen says, “Nah. Mind you, she might fall over too.”
Cassandra hmms before staring out the window.
Lanisen asks, “You want me to come with, or…?”
Cassandra shakes her head, “No no. I really like Megren. I hope, maybe, that we can be friends is all.” She looks back at Lanisen, “You know, I’ve never had that many friends before.”
Lanisen says, “Megren’s friends with everybody, I think.”
Cassandra says, “Then I guess I don’t have anything to worry about.”
Lanisen says, “Nahh. Not with her.”
Cassandra grins, “I’m glad.”
Lanisen asks, “Your room here all right?”
Cassandra nods, “I’m use to sleeping in an inn now so it is okay. I’ll be ready for my own bed though.”
Lanisen says, “I know what you mean. Sooner we talk to Lord Dar the better, yeah?”
Cassandra nods, “Yeah. But could you be there with me?”
Lanisen hesitates. “Yeah,” he says after an apprehensive pause. “If you– yeah.”
Cassandra tips her head, “Everything okay?”
Lanisen says, “No, yeah, it’s fine.”
Cassandra smiles at him, “I appreciate everything Lanisen. I really do.”
Lanisen shakes his head slightly. “‘S nothin’,” he says. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Cassandra stands to her feet, “Me too. Now I’m going to go take a nap. I need to enjoy this last bit of free time before I have a job.”
Lanisen says, “All right.” He finishes off his cider and stands up. “I’ll be… I think I’ll prob’ly be in the kennels, if you need me. You remember how to get there?”
Cassandra nods, “If I get lost, I’ll ask someone.”
Lanisen says, “All right.” He rubs his shoulder and glances at the door. “Enjoy your nap, then.”
Cassandra grins, “Thanks.” She makes her way towards the hostel.
You stand in the heart of Andale where most of the folk who support Anvard
live. Young children play here on nice days, skipping rope, or shooting
marbles, and older ones can be seen reading scrolls. Adults hurry through on
their way from home to where their business takes them. A well with a stone
wall sits on the western edge of the road.
The road here widens and splits to run toward the shops to the east, North
Andale to the north and the Crossroad to the south. Short paths lead to the two
settlements here; Het Noorden to the northwest, and Zuiden to the southeast.
Dalia says, “I apologize if it’s not my place to ask, Sir.” She glances around the village, “I see they’ve built a new cottage over there.” She gestures, with her hand to a new cottage built over some dark stones.”
Vinri’s smile shifts to something a little mischievious. “So if I told you about the wild boars that went rampaging through the Ward, you’d not yet have heard of it?” She glances the way Dalia gestured. “Oh, that’s where the fire was, isn’t it?”
Garian appears a little more comfortable, “Feel free to ask any time Miss Dalia.” He looks over to the indicated cottage and gives a small nod. He looks to Vinri and blinks, “Pardon?” He straightens and says, “I don’t recall a report of boars in the Ward–” Here he frowns and perhaps looks faintly annoyed, “Although there was a complaint from one of the patrons about some noisy children earlier–again.”
Lanisen passes along the road from the tavern, heading back toward the castle. He nods to the small knot of people as he passes.
Dalia smiles at the Captain’s reply, she turns to Vinri as she hears her comment. “Yes. I think so… I am not sure.” Glancing towards the road she spies a traveler and the surprisedly blinks and looks again. “Good evening, Lanisen!”
Vinri gives a laugh. “A good thing, Captain, because whoever reported such a thing would be a headache of their own. Is that a daily complaint, then? They seemed no louder today than any other.” She looks around at Dalia’s greeting to shoot a smile towards the passer.
Garian says with a faintly terse smile, “One of the many daily complaints, ma’am.” He nods to Lanisen, “Good to see you back Lanisen.”
Lanisen pauses, turning toward the sound of his name. “Evening, Dalia,” he says, grinning faintly. “Captain Garian, Miss.” He dips his head toward them.
Garian nods and offers Lanisen a smile.
Vinri smiles again from her perch on the well. “Evening!”
Haft walks slowly through the town, bleary-eyed and stopping every few steps to cough. His eyes are more on the road than the people in it.
Dalia makes her way over to Lanisen, “I did not know you were back.” she seems a bit surprised and glad. “Did you have a pleasant journey?”
Lanisen says, “Oh, er. We only got in last night. It was pleasant enough, I suppose. Hope everything’s been well here?”
Vinri hears the coughing in a brief lull of sound and looks that way. For a moment her smile slips to an expression of dawning horror and she glances at her gloved hands. It’s quickly replaced with normal cheer as she focuses on the conversation, rubbing her palms together absently. “Journey? Where were you traveling?”
Garian frowns at the sound of coughing and looks over to see Haft coming up the way. He falls quiet, and glances at the group conversing.
Haft continues on his way, passing the group without noticing who comprises it.
Dalia nods, “Yes, I believe so. Nothing too exciting.”
Garian clears his throat and says, “Guardsman, are you sure it is wise to be out and about when you should be resting? You look as though tea and sleep would suit you more than duty at the moment.”
Haft turns as he realizes he is being addressed. “Yes, sir. I agree. It’s only that I wanted to take word to–” He cuts off, realizing just how many ears are likely to catch the conversation. His eyes flicker to Lanisen in particular, and he lowers his voice.”
Haft mumbles “I wanted to … her that no … … … were found. … She … have to worry just because … sick.”, to Garian.
Garian ahs and says, “I should think a note would suffice–with the understanding of your condition.”
Lanisen flushes and lowers his head, looking away from Haft. “Beg your pardon,” he says toward Dalia and Vinri. “I was just headin’ back to the castle, I oughta get, Danall’s waitin’ on me.”
It plainly doesn’t occur to Haft to argue with his superior officer. He nods. “I’ll go back to the castle and send one sir.”
Garian gives a small nod to Haft. He looks to Lanisen and smiles, “I’m sure the hounds have missed you greatly. You do an excellent job with them, Lanisen.”
Vinri tips her head at Lanisen’s actions, glancing between Haft, Garian, and the younger man. She lifts a hand. “Have a good evening, then.”
Dalia nods politely to Lanisen, casting a questioning glance at Haft at Lanisen’s response, but doesn’t attempt to stay him. “I…I’m glad you’re back…I mean safe, back safe. Carmichael’s a long ways away.”
Haft turns and starts making his way back toward Anvard.
Lanisen says, in a slightly confused, general sort of way, “Er, th-thank you, um. Good evening.” He dips his head toward them all and turns back toward the castle, only to find that Haft is going that direction too.
Garian nods, “Good evening Lanisen.”
Vinri watches this unfold with a bemused expression.
Dalia glances at the sky, then at Vinri and the Captain, “I’m sorry. I should be heading back as well. I do not wish to keep Milady waiting.” She nods, at Vinri, and more respectfully at the captain. “If you’ll excuse me..”
Garian nods to Dalia, “Of course. Have a good eve, Miss Dalia.”
Vinri exclaims, “Thank you for walking with us, Dalia! Have a good night.”
Lanisen hesitates, hanging back a little as Haft walks away, then seems to decide that that is ridiculous. He sets his shoulders and takes off down the road to the castle as well.
At the Fork
The path divides here, one fork curving west toward Anvard and the other
continuing to the northeast toward Andale. The trees are very thick here, with
dense patches of thorny briar filling in the gaps between trunks, and it is
impossible to see very far down the road in any direction. Sweet raspberries
can be found in the thickets on either side of the path in summertime, and the
forest is noisy with wildlife.
Haft trudges up the road, battling his cough.
Lanisen hangs back, trying to play it casual.
Haft continues on, not noticing his reluctant shadow.
Haft pauses in the gatehouse to write a note.
Lanisen stops, hanging back and turning slightly away, as if he just happens to be standing there, outside the gates, as you do. He waits for Haft to finish up and move on.
Haft finishes his brief note, then folds it and hands it to a fellow guard. “Would you have this delivered to a woman named Abrielle at the Narrow Gate as soon as may be?
The other guard receives the message with a nod and an admonition to get some rest.
Garian returns to the castle a short while later
Lanisen shifts unhappily, stranded.
Haft thanks him and then, after a fit of coughing, continues on his way toward the barracks.
Lanisen, once Haft is through the gatehouse, follows him at a distance and heads toward the kennels to escape.
Garian heads over to his men for the daily report, allowing Lanisen to continue on his way.