This chamber is a little wedge-shaped room, completely unremarkable but very clean. It’s small, with room for a bed and a little table and a wardrobe, but not much else. There is a narrow window of thick, slightly warped glass in the curving outer wall with a pleasant view of the castle pastures: rolling green, with a glimpse of the lake and waterfall beyond.
Several herb-packets and bottles share space on the top shelf of the wardrobe with a pair of unusual gloves, and a rather battered leather satchel hangs over the back of the chair.
Colin raps twice and slips in, almost acting like he’s trying to escape something out in the hallway.
Lanisen is sitting on his bed with Nia curled up beside him, a book open on his lap. He has a blanket wrapped around his shoulders despite the comfortable temperature. When the door opens, he goes still and tense, watching to see who comes in.
Colin manages to get the door shut behind himself before he trips gracefully over his own foot and staggers a few steps. “Ruddy–!” he utters a choice phrase, then sighs. “Lan, if you were asleep, I’m sorry.”
Lanisen stiffens at Colin’s slightly chaotic entrance, ready to lurch to his feet. Nia raises her head, making an enquiring noise in the back of her throat. “I wasn’t,” Lanisen answers after a brief, wary pause, and settles back against the wall. “What’s goin’ on?”
Colin grumbles something about people hovering outside and why don’t they just go mind their own business already.
Lanisen says, “Oh.”
Colin plops on the foot of Lanisen’s bed. “How’s the patient? And Nia.”
Three knocks on the door.
Lanisen mumbles “Wish you wouldn’t call me that.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “Wish … … … me …”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen glances up at the knock. “Meg?” he calls to check.
A low-pitched voice denies through the door, “Our majesty, King Lune.”
Colin blinks and squints at the door.
Lanisen laughs under his breath, his eyes crinkling up at the corners. “C’mon in, your majesty.”
Megren’s head pops in, followed by the rest of her body. In one hand, she carries a dish that smells of fruit and spices. She closes the door with the other hand.
Colin deadpans, “My, uncle, your hair is redder than I recall.”
Megren gestures to Sir Colin with her thumb, giving Lanisen an incredulous look. “This guy doesn’t even bow when the king shows up.”
Colin says, “He’s my uncle. I can get away with it.”
Lanisen gives Colin a mock-despairing look. “He’s a maverick,” he says to Megren.
Megren clicks her tongue and shakes her head, giving Sir Colin a truncated bow, closer to a nod, and lifting the dish in her hand. “It’s not pie,” she warns.
Lanisen asks curiously, “What is it?”
Colin leans closer for a look.
Megren says, “Dalia made you a cobbler.” She pulls a piece of parchment out from under the pan and hands it to him. “Here, there’s a note as well.”
Lanisen blinks, surprised and rather touched. “A cobbler? She did?” He reaches out to take the note, and reads it with a strange look on his face.
Dear Lanisen, I am so very glad to know you have returned safely.
I pray Aslan grant you a swift recovery.
Colin says, “That was awful nice of her.”
Megren places the cobbler on his table. “And Reina says she’s glad your back and she hopes you’re well, and you needn’t have got yourself kidnapped just to escape losing tic-tac-toe.”
Lanisen folds the note again, scratching his cheek self-consciously. “Everybody’s being so kind,” he murmurs.
Megren shoves him in the head.
Lanisen sways a little, making a face at her.
Megren grins cheekily. “Want me to find you a fork?”
Lanisen says, “Oh, er. Sure?”
Colin slides off Lanisen’s bed. “Well… enjoy your cobbler. Meg, I trust you’ll entertain him while I’m gone.”
Megren steps into an attentive position and bows as if to a general. “Yes, Sir.”
Lanisen grins silently again at her antics, glancing at Colin.
Colin gives them both a wave before he cracks the door and eyes out into the quarters before he slides through the door all sneaky-like.
Megren eyes him with an amused, if bewildered, grin.
Lanisen shakes his head a little. “I don’t know who he’s hiding from.”
Megren says, “Probably the King, if that’s how he treats him.”
Lanisen grins again, reaching over to put Dalia’s note on the side table. He has hung Megren’s windchime from the windowframe.
Megren says, “Right. Fork.”
Lanisen resettles the blanket around himself and pulls up his knees. “What’d they do before forks, I wonder.”
Megren says, “Hey, if you want to eat it with your hands, I will not protest.”
Lanisen squints at the cobbler doubtfully.
Megren rolls her eyes amiably. “Be right back, then.”
Megren slips out the door, returning after not too long with her usual three knocks.
Lanisen says, “All right.” He scoots back into the corner formed by his headboard and the wall and curls comfortably into it, and is still there when Megren returns.
Megren holds up the forks when she comes in, but hesitates just inside the door. “Need to rest?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “Been restin’.”
Megren squints one eye, but nods, laying the pair of forks and a pair of plates on his side table. She hops up on the end of his bed and points to the chimes. “Those are meant for the kennel stairs.”
Lanisen says practically, “I’m not at the kennel now though, am I?”
Megren says, “Just checking.”
Lanisen says, “I’ll put ’em there when I go back to workin’, promise.”
Megren leans forward to kiss Nia on the forehead. “So, Sir Been-Resting. What were you hoping to do? Run a race? Climb a parapet?”
Lanisen says, “Mm. Thought I’d climb over into Narnia for starters, and then swim to the seven isles after breakfast.”
Megren nods. “Good place for a picnic.”
Lanisen says, “‘S what I’ve heard.” He drops his head to rest on the headboard.
Megren scoots up to sit beside him. “Pretty bad still?”
Lanisen shifts and shakes his head. “‘S not, it’s only I’m so tired. But all I do is sleep and sit.”
Megren asks, “All the teas and whatever helping, or not really?”
Lanisen hesitates guiltily before he lifts his shoulders in a shrug.
Megren squints an eye at him. “You’re taking the important ones, right?”
Lanisen says, “I dunno which are the important ones.”
Megren wilts into her own lap and turns her head to look at him. “Don’t make me nag, nagging’s the worst.”
Lanisen tugs at his blanket unhappily, not looking at her.
Megren gets up and pulls his chair up next to where all his various things are. “All right, let’s see what we’ve got here.”
Lanisen takes a quick anxious breath. “Please– it’s all right, Meg. I’m feelin’ better, lots better.”
Megren says, “I’m gonna toss the stupid ones.”
Lanisen halts his protest, surprised and confused. He watches to see what she does.
Megren starts sorting bottles, making three groupings. She sniffs at one bottle and wrinkles her nose, pulling it away. “You’re sleeping fine, right?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, fine…”
Megren puts that one aside disdainfully.
Lanisen lets out a little breath of disbelieving laughter and sits up straighter to watch.
Megren pushes her mouth to the side. “How’s your stomach?”
Lanisen says, “Fine, ‘s been fine, last couple days.”
Megren starts a fourth grouping.
Lanisen is quiet for a minute, watching. “I tried, I tried takin’ ’em,” he says, as if he can’t quite help trying to explain himself.
Megren scrutinizes a few more, and finally sits back looking about half-satisfied with her work.
Lanisen looks at the little groups and back at Megren, slightly apprehensive.
Megren points to the second largest grouping. “You don’t need those ones. It’s, I don’t know, tea, and stuff.”
Lanisen says, “All right.”
Megren points to the second smallest group. “You definitely need to take those, and if I don’t see the levels are down next time I’m here, I’m telling Kairyn.”
Lanisen chews his lip, looking at them, and says nothing.
Megren watches him uncertainly, and then moves on to the largest group. “I don’t know what these are.”
Lanisen says, “She told me. I forgot.”
Megren nods with a breath. “So– so, I don’t know about those.”
Lanisen is quiet for a minute, fidgeting. “I dunno if I can,” he says finally. “Take ’em, I mean, I–” He closes his eyes and takes a breath. “I got, I got, um, sick, last time I tried.”
Megren brows lift. “Oh– ohh. From the new ones, or?”
Lanisen says, “I dunno, I’m not sure.”
Megren nods. “All right. Well.” She gestures to the “yes” group. “How about– how about if we try just that group, and if it doesn’t make you sick, you can start adding from this one,” she points to the large group.
Lanisen gets up off the bed and comes to stand next to the table, the blanket trailing behind him. He picks up one one of the bottles to look at it. There is a troubled furrow between his eyebrows.
Megren glances at him uncertainly.
Megren quips, “Want me to take them with you?” It’s a little hard to tell whether she’s joking or not, actually.
Lanisen sets the bottle down and rubs his hands over his face. “I–” he starts. “Um. One of ’em, I dunno which one, it…” He stops there, and doesn’t say anything for a minute. “It– um, it felt, it made me feel– The, what he gave me, it felt the same in the beginning.”
Megren’s brows peak and she abandons the bottles to give him a hug.
Lanisen takes a miserable breath and says, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I know it’s not, I do–”
Megren says, “Nooo, no, stop it, I’m sorry. I’ll talk to Kairyn, we’ll figure out what it is.””
Lanisen sags a little in relief. He nods.
Megren presses her cheek to his temple. She points to the last group, just two things. “That’s mint. I don’t think you need it, but you like that one so you might as well. It’s not what’s doing it to you, I’m very sure.”
Lanisen looks at it. “All right,” he says, automatically trusting.
Megren’s lips turn downward as she considers him. “I’m so sorry, Lanisen. I wish–” She takes a breath and releases it, stopping herself from continuing.
Megren says, “I’m gonna– we’re gonna find him.”
Lanisen says, “I know, I know you are, and–” He lets out a breath and says, wry and unhappy, “I know lots of things, I’m just tired is all.”
Megren hugs him again, pressing her face against his temple. “I know.”
Lanisen drops his forehead to rest on her shoulder. “Everything’s okay now,” he says in a murmur. “It’s safe here. He’s gonna be caught.” It sounds like a mantra.
Megren murmurs. “That’s right.”
Lanisen says, raising his head to half-smile at her, “See? I know things.”
Megren chucks him under the chin, returning the half-smile.
Lanisen’s half-smile turns into a full smile, if it doesn’t quite light his eyes. He steps back and nods at the cobbler sitting on the little table. “Shall we?”
Megren’s own eyes are sharp enough to catch this discrepancy, and not cunning enough to hide it, but she replies, “I thought you’d never ask.”
Lanisen picks up one of the forks and begins to portion out the cobbler onto the two plates.
Megren jumps up onto the bed, crossing her legs under her while she waits.