the art of conversation

Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

Garian is in the Outer Ward, speaking to one of the guards on duty.

Reina comes walking in through the outer gates, leading a gray horse by the bridle, the steed, a plow horse by the looks of him, limping badly. Without looking around, she makes her way toward the stables.

Lanisen is making the rounds in the market, taking a good long look at everything as he considers the wares.

Reina pauses to murmur a greeting to Perth as she passes.

Garian looks up from his conversation and nods to Lanisen. He spies Reina and smiles, “Good day Reina.” He looks at the horse curiously and walks over. “Whose this?”

Reina glances up, her demeanor brightening a bit at the sight of her captain. “Good day, Captain Garian,” she says. “This is Old Gray, father’s plow horse. He’s gone and half thrown a shoe.” She motions to the horse’s front left foot, where the shoe is half hanging from the hoof. “It looked awfully painful, so I thought I’d give him a walk on over to see if it could be fixed.”

Garian grimaces and gives a small nod, “A very good idea. Our stable hands are very good with the horses here.”

Reina nods. “A moment then, while I get him set up inside.” She gives a small bow and with a soft click of her tongue, urges the horse to walk through the doors of the stables.

Lanisen slows and stops at a particularly delicious-smelling meat-pie stand. He gives the vendor a nod and a noncommittal smile, then turns away a moment later to a stall with a less appetizing but cheaper and still wholesome option.

Garian steps back, giving Reina and the horse extra room to pass.

Reina disappears into the stables.

Lanisen makes the exchange, accepting a small hot pie, and turns away from the markets, heading back toward the inner gatehouse. He nods to Garian.

Reina emerges from the stables, scanning the Ward absently. When her eyes find a very familiar figure, she freezes and watches the young man warily as he surveys the vendors’ wares.

Garian smiles to Lanisen and catches Reina’s reaction. He frowns thoughtfully.

Lanisen, oblivious, steps out of the way of a cart and continues on his way. At the inner gate, he pauses, then tilts his head back to consider the sun’s position, and turns around to head back across the ward for the outer gate instead.

Reina glances around, turning sharply off her current course and slipping to the fringes of the crowd, seating herself on a wooden barrel shoved up against a corner wall. She watches Lanisen carefully, brow creased with worry as she glances between him and Garian. Her expression is a mixture of apprehension, embarrassment and guilt. She tracks him across the Ward and waits to see if Garian will call out to him and what will happen thereafter.

Garian watches her behavior with growing confusion. He looks to Lanisen and says, “How are the hounds today, Squire?”

Lanisen slows and stops, faintly startled. He ducks his head politely and says, “They’re fine, sir, thanks for askin’. And you?”

Garian says, “Well thank you.” He pauses, the ventures gesturing to Lanisen’s purchase, “I haven’t tried that before. Is it any good?”

Lanisen says, “Oh, um.” He looks down at the pie and shrugs. “‘S all right. Sometimes the potatoes are a bit hard yet but it fills you up fine.”

Reina rises from her barrel, unable to hear what the two men are saying and wanders closer, attempting to make the movement look nonchalant, pausing every now and then to peruse the vendors’ wares herself.

Garian says, “Well, I suppose the important thing is that it is filling. Taste is negotiable. Much better than hard tack at any rate.”

Reina wrinkles her nose at the mention of hardtack.

Lanisen says, “Yes, sir, I s’pose so.”

Garian is quiet a moment, then ventures, “Have you ever tried it?”

Reina sidles a little closer until she is about two feet from the pair, her attention fixed half on them and half on a wooden case filled with paints and several canvases.

Lanisen closes his mouth for a second, then says, “Yes, sir, I’ve had hardtack.”

Reina winces. Gods this conversation is painful to listen to. Turning, she scoots up to Garian’s side, glancing nervously at Lanisen with a respectful nod. “Squire Lanisen,” she murmurs.

Garian hms softly and attempts levity, “Terrible stuff.” He shifts the subject and nods to Reina as he muses, “Very lovely day. Have you been up on the walls at all?”

Reina looks up at Garian and nods. “Aye. I stood on the early morning shift with what’s his name on the northern wall, then took the mid afternoon shift with what’s his other name, the tall one of the three word sentences. I will take another later.” She glances sidelong at Lanisen. “Keep myself busy and all. It’s good for me.”

Lanisen takes a small step backward, half as if to better include Reina in the circle and half as if to begin extricating himself from the conversation.

Garian looks mildly confused by Reina’s final remark but says, “Well, it’s always pleasant when you can enjoy the outdoors.” He looks to Lanisen, “If you get the chance, feel free to enjoy the day and views from the walls.”

Reina mumbles “… if I’m … … … won’t.”, to Reina.

Lanisen says, “Er, thank you, sir.”

Reina mumbles “May … to let … … when … wishes … explore … … so … … make it … point not to be …”, to Reina.

Lanisen gives the girl an odd, wary look.

Garian’s head tilts faintly at the mumbling.
Garian’s eyebrow lifts faintly at the girl and he tries again, looking to Lanisen, “Do you get to take out the pups on a day like today?”

Lanisen shifts uncomfortably, but answers politely, “Not today, sir, it’s too hot. Danall took ’em all and ran ’em yesterday.”

Reina remains quiet, standing beside Garian with her hands clasped behind her back, head up, eyes staring ahead.

Garian gives a small nod, “Ah very good then.”

Reina shifts, a grimace passing over her face before she unclasps her hands, dropping the stance in order to curl her left arm close to her chest. Shrugging her pack off one shoulder, she begins rummaging around inside it.

Lanisen says nothing else. He gives Reina a strange sidelong look.

Garian looks at Reina curiously.

Reina removes a small wooden jar from her pac, before shrugging it back onto her shoulder. Turning off to the side, she rolls up her sleeve to reveal a row of raw, nasty welts on her wrist and stark purple bruises along her arm.

Lanisen’s eyes shift to the bruises, but recognizing the pattern, he only rubs his own forearm in sympathy and does not comment. “Well,” he says, backing another step away.

Garian frowns and asks, “What are those from?”

Reina does not answer right away, only opens the jar and dips her finger into the salve within. Grimacing in pain, she smears it across the welts first, then touches a thin coat to her forearm. “It’s nothing,” she says absently, turning back to them as she carefully rolls down her sleeve.

Lanisen glances at Garian.

Garian frowns a little and says, “It’s something to me Reina.” His voice is firm but kind. He studies the marks with a critical eye.

Reina bites her lip, looking somewhere in the vicinity of Garian’s shoulder. “It’s just from archery practice,” she mumbles, hunching her shoulders as if trying to look small. She looks guilty. “You said…” She trails off as if trying to remember his exact words. Had he actually given permission or had that merely been a consideration.

Garian ahs and asks, “Whose been instructing you?” He frowns thoughtfully. “I haven’t yet made arrangements for the instructors here to give you proper lessons.”

Reina flinches. “Erm… no one?” she says in a small voice. “I just remember what I witnessed when I watched my brother… and I just… watch those down at the range.” She looks up suddenly, a little defensive. “What does it matter? Take a look around you, Captain. You see what happens when I try and reach out to others. If I have your permission, then shouldn’t you be pleased I’m not wasting anyone’s valuable time and just trying to do it myself?”

Lanisen shifts and glances awkwardly away.

Garian frowns at this and says firmly, “You did not receive my permission, Reina.”
Garian says, “And you should not be using a bow without proper instruction. It is a good way to get hurt.”

Reina glares. “You said you’d look into it! That’s the same thing! If you were going to talk to Megren about it anyway, then you obviously thought it was all right.”

Garian frowns, looking displeased. His tone is even and firm, “It is /not/ the same thing. These things take time and the proper equipment. It means you wait for me to tell you that you may begin and for me to introduce you to the proper instructor. Otherwise, this happens.” He motions to her arms. “Needless injury.”

Lanisen looks at his pie.

Reina looks like she wants to argue further. For a long moment, she appears to be struggling with herself before she releases an explosive sigh and bows her head, shoulders slumped in defeat. “Yes, Captain,” she says in a low tone both respectful and slightly toneless. “I apologize for not heeding you. It will not happen again.”

Garian’s expression softens, although his tone remains firm. “I know that waiting is hard, and patience is of one the hardest virtues to master, but it is very important to do things right the first time. Otherwise it takes much longer to achieve your goals.” He glances at Lanisen and shifts his position, allowing Lanisen to make an easier exit from the conversation if he wishes.

Lanisen takes the chance immediately and gratefully, murmuring, “Evening.”


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