comparing backstories

Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

Cassandra is sitting on a barrel, watching the inner gatehouse doors.

Lanisen leaves the kennels, washing his doggy hands off in a hogshead by the door, and glances around the ward. He dries his hands and heads toward Cassandra’s barrel, tilting his head at her a little.

Cassandra doesn’t seem to see her brother approaching. Her focus is still on the gatehouse.

Lanisen kicks her barrel.

Cassandra squeals and falls off the barrel. She scrambles to pick herself up, glaring daggers at whoever kicked the barrel. Once she realizes exactly who it is, Cassandra swings at him, “What was that for?”
>>> Cassandra smacks Lanisen with her fist! Lanisen is bruised!

Lanisen scratches his nose to hide a snicker at the sliiight overreaction, but lurches back when she slugs him. “Ow!” he protests, rubbing his shoulder.

Cassandra places her hands on her hips, “Serves you right.”

Lanisen says, “Ain’t my fault you’re jumpy!”

Cassandra grumbles, “Why don’t I sneak up on you and kick your seat to see how you like it?”

Lanisen says, injured, “Well, I sure wouldn’t /hit/ you for it!”

Cassandra snorts, repositioning herself on her barrel. “That shouldn’t be a surprise. So how are you?”

Lanisen says, “Bruised.”

Cassandra grins, “Gosh, you should be more careful than.”

Lanisen sniffs, tilting his nose up. “Budge over,” he says, gesturing to the barrel.

Cassandra moves over slightly.

Lanisen plops down next to her, eying the gate. “Who’re you waitin’ for?”

Without a beat, Cassandra says, “My prince.”

Lanisen takes a breath like he’s about to say something, frowns, purses his lips on one side, and raises one finger. “Fraid I’ve got some bad news for you,” he says, quite solemn.

Cassandra glances at him, “What?”

Lanisen breaks into snickers. “Sorry. Never mind.”

Not liking having secrets withheld, Cassandra bats at him, “What? You can just start something without finishing it.”

Lanisen says, “I was just gonna say the only princes in there still think girls’re cootie-infested, prob’ly.”

Cassandra giggles, “Well, I guess that won’t do.”

Lanisen asks, “You seen Vinri around?”

Cassandra nods, looking a bit proud. “Yup, She said that I have an eye for setting up displays tables.”

Lanisen lifts his eyebrows. “Yeah?”

Cassandra says, “I helped her set up her table one morning. ”

Lanisen asks, “Did you? Sounds interesting.”

Cassandra gets a bit of a faraway look, “Yeah, I set up journals and oh, her jewelry is so pretty. She let me set them up. You should see the jewelry, it is very pretty.”

Lanisen asks, “Would you say the jewelry is pretty?”

Cassandra sighs at him, “Have you not been hearing a word I said?”

Lanisen has to spend a minute snickering again.

Cassandra rolls her eyes, “Why do I even bother?”

Lanisen straightens, clearing his throat and trying to make his face go serious again. “I’m sure I have no idea,” he says primly.

Cassandra snorts in his direction, “Anyway, I like Vinri even if she is too friendly.”

Lanisen asks, “Too friendly?”

Cassandra nods, “She is very friendly, I think a bit too trusting really.”

Lanisen asks, “Why do you say that?”

Cassandra says, “She accepted me right off the bat. ”

Lanisen asks, “So? Why shouldn’t she?”

Cassandra blinks at this question and don’t answer it.

Lanisen shrugs a little. “People are friendly sometimes. It’s okay.”

Cassandra says, “Maybe”

Lanisen asks, “What’re you thinkin’?”

Cassandra shrugs, “Nothing. I’m ready for a job. Any progress with Lord Dar?”

Lanisen says, “Ahh, well. He’s been kinda busy, Lady Honour’s–” He lowers his voice. “She’s just about to pop, I hear.”

Cassandra mouths the word, “Pop.” Her eyes go wide, “Oh!”

Dalia comes walking out of the inner ward, she seems in rather a good mood as she wanders though the market.

Lanisen grins. “Yeah. So he’s been… y’know. Preoccupied.”

Cassandra continues to sit on her barrel. “Gosh, I guess I’ll have to amuse myself some more.”

Lanisen snorts under his breath. “Might be we could find you some odd jobs in the meantime, if you want,” he suggests. “See if anybody around the town needs help watchin’ their kids, somethin’ like that.”

Cassandra wrinkles her nose before nodding. She begins to watch the Ward.

Dalia picks up a trinket smiling at the before setting it down as she complements the vendor. She sees Lanisen and waves.

Lanisen waves back, saying to Cassandra, “You don’t have to, I mean. But if you’re bored.”

Cassandra nods, perking up at the woman who waves.

Dalia wanders her way over to Lanisen, “Hello Lanisen.” she smiles at the woman standing by him.

Lanisen says, “Hey, Dalia. Do you know my sister?”

Cassandra looks at the woman, “Hello.”

Dalia she shakes her head, a bit surprised. “I didn’t know you had a sister.” She smiles again, “it’s pleasure to meet you.”

Abrielle walks into the Ward, singing to herself, and takes a moment to look around. She spots Dalia and smiles, working her way over.

Lanisen says, “Oh, well! Cass, this is Dalia, she works for Lady Astera. Dalia, my sister Cassandra.”

Cassandra says, “Nice to meet you, Dalia.”

Dalia nods.

Abrielle comes up beside Dalia. “Hello Dalia,” She smiles to Lanisen. “Lanisen.” Then she turns to the girl she does not know, “Hello.”

Lanisen shifts slightly as another person joins them and grins briefly at her. “Afternoon, Abrielle.”

Cassandra glances over to the newcomer, nodding in greeting. “Hello.”

Dalia smiles at Abrielle, “Hello Abrielle” before turning back to Cassandra. “Are you visiting Anvard?”

Cassandra replies, “I actually live here now. So I guess you can say that I’m visiting of a sorts.”

Abrielle nods to the girl.

Dalia nods, smiling. “Welcome then.”
Dalia asks, “Will you be working at the castle?”

Lanisen glances at Cassandra at this.

Cassandra says, “Fingers crossed.” She continues to sit on the barrel, glancing around the ward.

Dalia grins.

Abrielle looks at the barrel. “I think that was the barrel that I was warned off of the other day…it is rotting on the bottom.”

Lanisen looks down at the barrel in some alarm and scrambles to his feet. “Is it?” he asks, peering.

Cassandra looks at the woman and grins, “Oh, you mean by Haft? I checked to make sure it wasn’t the one.”

Lanisen looks relieved and sits back down.

Vinri walks out of the southern market, tucking a little packet into her satchel.

Abrielle shakes her head and laughs lightly. “For once it was not him being a worry wart.” She looks over to Lanisen and shakes her head happily. “Garian.”

Dalia asks, “Haft being a worrywort?”
Dalia looks puzzled.

Abrielle nods. “He can be…”

Cassandra slips off the barrel, “Well, I must go. It was nice meeting you two.”

Vinri, hearing familiar voices over the general sounds of the ward, glances their way. A smile appears immediately and she strides towards them right as Cassandra begins to leave. “Hello, you lot!”

Lanisen makes a small wincing face at the mention of Haft. “You headin’ back to the inn?” he asks Cassandra as she gets up.

Dalia says, “I hope to see you again, Cassandra?” says somewhat shyly, but friendly enough.

Abrielle smiles at the girl and waves to Vinri. “Hello!”

Cassandra turns as Vinri speaks, “Oh hello, Vinri.” She nods to Lanisen, “Yes.” She makes another round of good byes. “I’ll see you around.”

Lanisen says, “I’ll come find you ’round suppertime?”

Cassandra smiles, “Okay, but you are buying.” She then slips through the crowd and disappears.

Vinri bids Cassandra goodbye as well, smiling easily back at Abrielle. “How are you all?”

Lanisen mutters under his breath at this before turning back to the little group that has formed. “Afternoon, Vinri.”

Abrielle nods to Vinri. “I am well.”

Dalia draws back from the group a little bit observing the interactions between Lanisen and his sister with curiousity. She nibbles her lip thoughfully.

Vinri settles her weight to be ready to stand about for a while. “I see your sister managed to catch up to you, Lanisen.”

Lanisen returns, “I caught up to her, more like. And then she punched me.” He pulls a sulky face and rubs his shoulder.

Abrielle raises and eyebrow. “She punched you?” She looks off to where Cassandra has left with an approving look.

Vinri grins. “Did she now? I’m not surprised at all, truth be told.” Her grin grows as she catches Abrielle’s reaction. “Think you’ll survive it?” she adds to Lanisen.

Lanisen says sorrowfully, “I may not. I’m feelin’ weak, everything’s goin’ all dark…” He touches the back of his hand to his forehead.

Abrielle looks around to the other women. “I hope you don’t expect any of us to catch you when you faint.” She puts her hands on her hips and smiles.

Vinri looks towards Abrielle, eyes wide in mock-worry. “Abrielle, do you remember anything Miss Kairyn taught us? I’ve clear forgotten everything she told us that night.”

Abrielle shakes her head. “I can’t say I do.”

Lanisen says, “No, no… you’ll have to just, just leave me here to die…”

Vinri shrugs at Lanisen. “‘m afraid you’re right. But don’t worry, Cass’ll bring you back so she can punch you again for missing dinner.”

Lanisen says, “That’s probably true actually.”

Abrielle laughs quietly. “She sounds like a fun one.” She says this like she means it.

Lanisen gives her an alarmed look.

Vinri laughs, not nearly as quietly as Abrielle. “Liking to punch brothers is fun? And here I’d been worried it was such a boring thing to do.”

Dalia stands back watching the conversation nerviously

Abrielle smiles at Vinri.

Lanisen says, “I can see I’m going to have to watch myself around any combination of my sister and you lot.”

Vinri smiles brightly his way before speaking to another. “What about you, Dalia? Have any brothers to punch?”

Abrielle looks to Dalia.

Dalia starts nerviously, on being noticed all of a sudden. “Oh….Oh.. um no. That is I have brothers… but I don’t.”

Lanisen says, “Thank goodness. Somebody with sense.”

Dalia hehs, smiling shyly at Lanisen’s comment.

Abrielle smiles at Dalia. “You are the nice one then.”

Vinri laughs again. “Sense and a good dose of niceness, alright. T’be fair, I haven’t punched anyone for a good few months now, and like as not won’t anytime soon.”

Dalia smiles tentatively, “One of them, he’s rather young. And the other, well he’s older than myself.”

Abrielle nods. “I don’t have any brothers to punch but if I did…I am sure they would give me reason to soon enough.”

Vinri asks, “How much older? I’ve an older and a younger as well, but we’re all just a few years apart.”

Dalia says, “Oh. Well, the younger one he’s much younger. See um, mum was… was… well she’d just had him and they…there were to many mouths so…” she looks nervously around.

Vinri tips her head, forehead a little creased and gaze curious.

Lanisen, even if he doesn’t entirely know what Dalia is talking about, picks up on her discomfort and turns his attention to a loose thread in his sleeve that needs unravelled further in an attempt at tact.

Dalia clears her throat a little nervously and find her voice again. “My older brothers not much older. just a few years.” she finishes

Vinri nods, as if this was all she was waiting for. “Any sisters?”

Abrielle listens quietly.

Lanisen glances up to Dalia at this, interested in hearing the answer.

Dalia smiles thoughtfully, “One younger sister.”

Vinri adjusts her satchel before looking towards Abrielle. “What about you? Any sisters?”

Abrielle shakes her head. “I have no siblings…just my uncle and I.” Her eyes seem to dim a little at this for a flash of a second before she returns to her normal cheerfulness. “Not much to complain about there.”

Dalia puts a hand out to put on Abrielle’s shoulder.

Vinri quirks a brow at this interaction, but lightly replies, “Wouldn’t help much even if you did. Emperor knows I’ve complained enough about mine for them to vanish right off if it did any good.”

Lanisen asks Vinri, “You got a lot of siblings, miss?”

Abrielle glances at Dalia and gives her a small smile before turning her attention to Vinri.

Dalia glances toward Vinri to hear her reply.

Vinri waves a hand. “Just the brothers. Which is enough for me!” Her smile takes the edge off her words.

Abrielle laughs. “I bet they kept you tough.”

Lanisen asks, “Older, younger?”

Vinri looks at Abrielle and spreads her hands. “Tough? Didn’t know I looked it!” She grins before replying to Lanisen, “One of each. What about you? Is it only Cass?”

Lanisen says, “Ahh, Cass and one older sister.”

Abrielle smiles at Vinri and then to Lanisen. “So everyone has one older and one younger.”

Lanisen glances at Vinri and Dalia. “Huh.”

Abrielle says, “All of you should start a club.”

Vinri points at Dalia. “Two younger, wasn’t it? And you’re one of everyone too. But you’re right, most of us /are/ middle children.” She grins.

Dalia nods, “Yes. Two younger siblings.”

Lanisen glances at the angle of the sun, then sighs and gets to his feet, wincing slightly. “All right,” he says. “Stuff to do. Afternoon!”

Abrielle nods. “Afternoon. I should be heading out too. Have a good day, ladies.”

Dalia frowns slightly when she sees Lanisen wince. “Yes, I ought to be seeing to milady. it was good too see you all.”

Vinri straightens as the group begins to disperse. “Well, I s’pose that’s my cue to get back to work. Lovely to see you all!” She waves brightly as she heads into the crowds.

Lanisen makes his way back to the inner gatehouse and further into the castle.


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