Lanisen is sitting on the cold hearth, leaned back against the side of the fireplace. He’s brought his practice sword here, and is shifting it through the defensive positions Darrin showed them, a little unfocused frown of concentration suggesting he’s been at it a while.
Megren’s arrival is announced by the greeting of first one dog, then all the dogs.
Lanisen glances up, lowering the practice sword to the floor. “Hey,” he greets her, once there’s enough of a blank space in the cacophony to be heard.
Megren leaning up against the cool stone to get some relief from the heat she’s just been in. “Hey,” she matches, grinning and lifting her brows as if in a shared joke, though there isn’t really much of one to share. Licorice bounds up to her and she rubs behind his ears absently. “Days like this I wish we had a good slow creek in easy walking distance.”
Lanisen asks, “What for?”
Megren says, “Jumping in, what else.”
Lanisen says, “You got a whole ocean to jump in, though.”
Megren says, “Yeah, but it’s pretty far if you don’t have a full afternoon off.”
Lanisen says, “Mm. True. And then you got salt and sand in your clothes, too.”
Megren says, “And you can’t set a plank over it and sit and drop your feet in.”
Lanisen asks, “Do you carry planks around with you often, then?”
Megren says, “Maybe I would, if we had a creek.”
Lanisen says, “There she goes again, our Meg, carryin’ her plank, as she do.”
Megren says, “I could bring one up to that little pool in the noble’s garden, maybe.”
Lanisen blinks. “They got a pool up there?”
Megren says, “Have you never been? Yeah, with fish in and everything.”
Lanisen asks, “Up there? No! Why would I?” He squints suspiciously. “Why do they got fish?”
Megren makes a not-quite-sure noise. “They’re kind of pretty.”
Lanisen asks, “Don’t hawks get ’em?”
Megren lifts her shoulder. “I guess not? I’ve only been up a couple of times, looking for Kairyn.”
Lanisen says, “Huh.” He mulls over this for a while. “Maybe they post a guard to keep the hawks off.”
Megren lifts her shoulder again.
Lanisen wonders, “Where do they get the fish even? We ain’t got any streams!”
Megren says, “There’s that one up on the mountain.”
Lanisen hmms. He yawns and stretches out his shoulders, setting aside the practice sword, and stands up. “How’s your day been?”
Megren says, “Hot.”
Lanisen makes a wry face, agreeing wordlessly. “Least the sun’s goin’ down.”
Megren says, “Yeah. Amon had us sponging down the horses this afternoon.”
Lanisen nods. “Took the dogs out and they just all flopped in the shade. Rabbit right there, bold as brass, and none of ’em flipped an ear at it.”
Megren wrinkles her nose down at Licorice, who has settled at her feet. “Some of us do our jobs in the heat,” she scolds her, stroking her belly with the tip of her boot. She looks up at Lanisen. “Danall says I can take her home when I next got some time off to make the trip.”
Lanisen raises his eyebrows, surprised and pleased. “Yeah? How ’bout that!” He looks at the hound. “How d’you like that, huh, you’re gonna have a people all to yourself.”
Licorice rolls her eyes to look up at him, unimpressed.
Megren says, “I think she and my da should get on.”
Lanisen bobs his head. “Yeah. I think so. I mean, I don’t know your da, but she’s not met a person she don’t like yet.”
Megren asks, “How’s Cass?”
Lanisen says, “Good! We went up on the mountain the other day, took a lunch. She liked it pretty well.”
Megren says, “I saw her at the inn the other day. She’s got a friend in town.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, I know.” He pauses and confesses, “I’m tryin’ real hard not to interfere.”
Megren lifts her brows, “What, you mean in general, or with her friend?”
Lanisen says, “Er, her friend.”
Megren strokes Licorice’s belly with her foot again. The dog rolls onto her back to facilitate this better. “It didn’t look like trouble to me. I’ll keep my eye wide, though.”
Lanisen asks, “You met him?”
Megren says, “Yeah, he was there when I stopped by.”
Lanisen nods several times, looking at the floor. “Yeah. He don’t seem like a bad sort.” He blows out a breath that billows out his cheeks. “I’m just– inclined to be suspicious, is all.”
Megren says, “That’s fair.”
Lanisen says, “After… I mean, the thing with Loc was different, but still.”
Megren says, “Well, it’s not as if they’re falling into each other’s eyes or anything, if that’s even the kind of thing she’s hoping for, which honestly, I couldn’t tell. It was clear they had a preference for one another, but so do Sir Darrin and I, or you and me, for that matter. Anyway, she seemed to have her head about her.”
Lanisen listens, and seems relieved. “She can look after herself,” he agrees. “Maybe… not as much as /she/ thinks she can look after herself, but she’s well capable of tellin’ anybody she don’t like to move on.”
Megren nods. “He seemed nice.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah. Friendly.”
Megren says, “Really fond of Sir Colin.”
Lanisen asks, “He what?”
Megren says, “He went on this long thing about all the good stuff Sir Colin does, that was all the same as most the other knights.”
Megren lifts her shoulder.
Lanisen squints. “Huh,” he says. “Maybe Sir Colin knows him, then. I’ll ask.”
Megren says, “Could be. Might be helpful if he does, anyway.”
Lanisen wipes his forehead and flaps his shirt to cool himself. “Think it’s cooler outside than in yet?”
Megren cracks the door. “There’s clouds. It’s about the same.” She peers up that sky. “Might rain.”
Lanisen says with feeling, “Hope so. Could do with a good big thundershower, cool everything down a while.”
Megren says, “Yeah.” She shuts the door behind her and turns back inside. “Did you want to go some place?””
Lanisen says, “I dunno. Maybe. Someplace with a breeze.”
Megren says, “Take you up to the wall if you like.”
Lanisen asks, “The wall? Is that– I mean–”
Megren says, “Yeah, Kairyn goes up there to spy on folk all the time.”
Lanisen blinks. “Really?”
Megren laughs. “I know.”
Lanisen says, “I didn’t know that was–allowed. I figured only guards were s’posed to be up there.”
Megren says, “Mostly. Once I caught Lady Avery up there.”
Lanisen asks, “Was she spyin’ on folks too?”
Megren says, “No, just sitting. Kaeryn doesn’t really spy, she just doesn’t like to be around too many people and it’s easier to get away from them there.”
Lanisen says, “Huh.”
Megren pushes her mouth to the side. “Does it bother you, then?”
Lanisen asks, “What?”
Megren says, “Well, you seemed sort of bothered about it, and I know you don’t love the idea of Haft watching.”
Lanisen pauses, giving this some consideration. “A little, maybe,” he admits. “It’s different from Haft, though. And if she ain’t really up there to watch people…” He shrugs.
Megren nods to indicate her understanding.
Lanisen hesitates, then asks, “How long is Haft gonna be away?”
Megren shuffles her hand through her hair. “I don’t know.”
Megren glances down at Licorice and nudges her gently. “I’m sorry.”
Lanisen gives her a confused, questioning look.
Megren looks back up. “Did you want to go to the wall?”
Lanisen says, “Oh! Er–yeah, all right, if it’s… if you’re sure it isn’t…”
Megren nods. “It’s fine.”
Lanisen says, “All right, then.”
Megren gestures out of doors with her head.
Lanisen heads toward the door and holds it open for her.
Megren wrinkles her nose at him and heads out.
Lanisen shuts the door behind them.
Southern Wall Walk
You stand on Anvard’s Southern Wall Walk. From here you have an excellent
view of travellers approaching from the south and southeast. A cool wind
ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals people going
to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle.
Megren traipses up the steps of the southern tower and out onto the wall walk, turning backward a coupe of times to be sure he is following.
Lanisen has some difficulty with the second flight of steps, but he keeps up well enough. He takes a deep breath of the fresher air, closing his eyes for a second, and seems well content. “Good idea.”
Megren grins easily. “See.”
Lanisen looks first over the inner wall, peering down into the ward and markets, then turns to lean on the outer wall and look out over the road. “Looks better without a Calormene army,” he remarks.
Megren glances at him and nods.
Lanisen leans far enough out to look straight down the wall. “D’you ever want to drop… I dunno, a piece of grain on somebody down below?” he asks suddenly, his eyes glinting.
Megren laughs. “Have done.”
Lanisen says, “‘Course you have.”
Megren tilts her head humbly, as if this were a great feat of which she is a little embarrassed.
Lanisen asks, “Ever get found out?”
Megren says, “Oh yeah, Haft and the Captain used to tease me for it.”
Lanisen grins, watching people file out of the gates. After a moment, he says, “You and Haft, you’re real good friends, huh?”
Megren’s lips work for a moment as she looks out over the southern forest. “I don’t know.”
Lanisen is surprised enough by this answer to glance up at her.
Megren elaborates, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Lanisen watches her face for a moment, worrying his lower lip, then looks down at the wall.
Megren rubs at the grime built onto the stonework with her thumb. She confesses after a moment, “We fought pretty bad before he left.”
Lanisen hesitates. “I’m sorry,” he ventures.
Megren says, “Me too.”
Lanisen doesn’t seem sure what to say, and finally settles rather lamely on, “Friends fight sometimes.”
Megren says, “Yeah.”
Lanisen says, “I hope… it’s… I hope you get it sorted out. I’m sorry.”
Megren takes a breath and releases it. She scuffs her boot against the ground. “Thanks.”
Lanisen asks after another pause, “Is there anything I can…?”
Megren takes some time to answer. “I don’t think so.”
Lanisen nods again, and looks down, watching the road.
Megren says, “Anyway.”
Lanisen says, “Anyway.” He closes his eyes again as the breeze picks up and grins slightly. “I like it up here. Maybe I’ll haul up a bedroll and sleep up here. Yeah.”
Megren says, “Good idea.”
Lanisen glances at her again, still troubled. “D’you want to go get a drink?” he offers as a better change of subject.
Megren glances at him and offers him a smile. “Thanks– I’d better turn in soon, though. Sir Darrin’s trying to get a practice in early tomorrow before it gets too warm.”
Lanisen nods. “Smart,” he agrees. “Well. Thanks for bringin’ me up here.”
Megren says, “Yeah. Any time.”
Lanisen begins to back away, heading back for the tower and the stairs. “See you ’round, then.”
Megren turns, tapping one heel against the wall. “See you soon.”
Lanisen says, before he disappears into the tower, “Sleep well.”