how to be a friend

Castle Anvard

Cassandra is sitting on the ground, playing with some of the litter.

Lanisen opens the door, shoves aside a big sleek sighthound who really really wants to go chase some carthorses, and shuts it again behind him. The entire kennel is shortly leaping around his knees and baying.

Cassandra looks up at the baying, looking relieved to see her brother. She stands up, wiping her hands on her dress, “Lanisen!”

Lanisen bends to rub some ears and pat some heads, glancing up at her at the same time. “Hey.”

Cassandra walks over to him, “Been looking for you.” She tugs her braid.

Lanisen asks, straightening, “Yeah?” The hounds begin to lose interest, except for a handful that are trading off leaning on his legs and snapping playfully at each other. “What’s up?”

Cassandra bites her lip, “I, er, um.” She trails off, bending down to pet a dog, “I, I am feeling…” She shifts.

Lanisen gives her a closer look, frowning a little in concern. “You okay?”

Cassandra sighs, “Yeah, yeah. I just had an interesting experience yesterday. There is this girl, Reina…”

Lanisen nods. “I know her, yeah.”

Cassandra slides down the wall, “She is having family problems.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.”

Cassandra looks at her feet and just blurts out, “Her parents don’t notice that she is gone. Her brothers are leaving so she is going to the oldest one with 6 other little ones. Her father says she is a disappointment and she is worried that they won’t have enough food for winter.”

Lanisen’s head tips to the side. “Why’s she the one worryin’ about that, I wonder?”

Cassandra glares at him, “Just because she is a kid don’t mean she is stupid about family affairs.”

Lanisen says, “No, no, that ain’t what I mean.”

Cassandra asks, “Then what do you mean?”

Lanisen says, “Just, why ain’t her parents lookin’ after that.”

Cassandra says, “I think they are, but that doesn’t meant she can’t worry.”

Lanisen says, “Hmm.”

Cassandra pulls her braid, “I want to be her friend…”

Lanisen says, “Sounds like she could use one.”

Cassandra mutters, “I don’t know how to be one.”

Lanisen says, “Sure you do. Don’t go overthinkin’ it, you’ll be fine.”

Cassandra snorts, “Maybe I do need to over think it. I never have had friends. I mean, Vinri is my friend now but for how long?”

Lanisen says, “See? That. Exactly. Is what I’m talking about.”

Cassandra says, “Reina was crying in the tavern yesterday and I didn’t know what to do.”

Lanisen pauses. “I wouldn’t’ve known what to do either, can’t help you there.”

Cassandra sighs, “Thankfully, Vinri showed up.”

Lanisen asks, “Did she know what to do?”

Cassandra says, “I think so. I had to go unload some boxes in the middle of the conversation.”

Lanisen says, “‘S good. What was she cryin’ about, the stuff you said before?”

Cassandra nods. “She’s angry.” A moment later, “I understand what she is going through.”

Lanisen shifts his weight and winces, then steps toward the cold hearth to sit down. He glances at Cassandra, listening.

Cassandra doesn’t look at him, “She is angry, feels unimportant, feels unloved…I just can relate. Worrying about the family.”

Lanisen looks down.

Cassandra looks up at him, “Sorry for blurting all this out.”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s not– it’s fine, you don’t gotta… it’s fine.”

Cassandra mutters, “I don’t do well with feelings…”

Lanisen hesitates. “I’m not– I don’t really know how to help you.”

Cassandra answers, “Just being there to listen. I have never had anyone to talk to before.”

Lanisen doesn’t say anything for a minute. “Maybe… that’s all Reina needs too?”

Cassandra leans her head back on the wall, “Maybe.”

Lanisen says, “I mean–she might, if there’s somethin’ real wrong at her home, there’s more that she’d need, prob’ly, but to be a friend, I mean.”

Cassandra looks at her hands, “I want to help in every way I can.”

Lanisen says, “Don’t take it all on yourself.”

Cassandra says, “Yeah.” She pushes herself up, “Well, thanks for listening.””

Lanisen says, “Yeah.”

Cassandra asks, “You doing okay?”

Lanisen shifts. “Yeah. Little tired.”

Cassandra asks, “Tired?”

Lanisen shrugs.

Cassandra eyes him, “Well, you can come for a rest at the tavern some time.”

Lanisen ducks his head and laughs under his breath. “Yeah, all right.”

Cassandra snorts, “My muffins are better than Dranken’s.”

Lanisen says, “You don’t gotta tell me, I been sayin’ so all along!”

Cassandra grins, “Good.” She turns to go, “Thanks again for listening.”

Lanisen says, “Anytime.”

Cassandra makes her way out the door, “See you around.”

Lanisen says, “See you.”


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