cheese and frog poops

Lanisen’s Quarters
Castle Anvard

Megren knocks on the door three times.

Lanisen opens the door after a minute, and steps back so Megren can come in. “Hey.”

Megren traipses a few steps inside. “Get your rainslick.”

Lanisen asks, “You wanna go out in this?”

Megren nods, “We’re going up to the parapet.”

Lanisen squints at her.

Megren wrinkles her nose happily at him.

Lanisen says, “It’ll be slippery though.”

Megren says, “There’s walls.”

Lanisen says, “And holes in the floor.”

Megren says, “There’s a door.”

Lanisen says, “/Ladders/.”

Megren rolls her eyes, “Fine, where you /you/ want to go.”

Lanisen ventures, “Somewhere dry?”

Megren squints a thoughtful eye. “The beach.”

Lanisen looks exasperated.

Megren grins. “The stable, then.”

Lanisen says, “…All right.”

Megren looks suspiciously tickled, like she may have been aiming for something closer to this all along. “Still might want your rainslick, though.”

Lanisen goes to the wardrobe and rummages, muttering under his breath.

Megren waits impatiently for him by the door, bouncing a little.

Lanisen swirls it over his shoulders, the most graceful thing he’s done all week, and limps over to follow her.

Megren wrinkles her nose at this display, eyes crescenting, She turns on her heel and opens the door for him.

Lanisen heads out, struggling to fasten the button at his throat.

Castle Anvard

Megren hurries through the rain, lifting her hood over her bowed head and racing toward the stables, turning frequently to be sure he’s not too far behind.

Lanisen keeps up, well motivated by the fat raindrops splattering noisily on his rainslick.

Megren pushes her mouth to the side when she gets into the stable, surveying it thoughtfully, and then swings onto a ladder and starts climbing toward the loft.

Lanisen halts at the foot of the ladder, giving it a doubtful look.

Megren apparently has full faith in him, because she climbs all the way up.

Lanisen does an anxious indecisive back-and-forth dance, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, then sets his foot on the bottom rung and begins to climb up. His progress is slow and lopsided, but he makes it up.

Megren has laid out a feast of soft sweet rolls and three kinds of cheese and a wineskin by the time he gets up.

Lanisen straightens and rubs his shoulder, then blinks at the spread. “I didn’t realize you had all that.”

Megren lifts her brows proudly. “Cloak.”

Lanisen says, “Cloak, right.” He comes nearer and sits down across from her. “What’s all this, then?”

Megren shrugs. “I was hungry; it was rainy.”

Lanisen says agreeably, “Makes sense.”

Megren crosses her legs under her and nestles a bit into the sweet-smelling hay. “Also, Sir Darrin is meeting with Lord Cole and I’m bored.”

Lanisen watches her, then glances behind him and scoots backward into a heap of hay to do the same. “I never been up here, this’s nice.”

Megren says, “Sir Darrin and I went up here once, when we wanted to see who all came by without them seeing us.”

Lanisen asks curiously, “Who came by?”

Megren shakes her head. “Nobody much. Some stablehands.”

Lanisen says, “Disappointing.” He squiggles a bit, settling himself more comfortably, and closes his eyes for a minute.

Megren giggles, “You look like a cat.”

Lanisen mutters without opening his eyes, “No, you.”

Megren says, “I don’t.”

Lanisen mms doubtfully.

Megren leans forward. “What kind of cheese do you want first?”

Lanisen opens his eyes. “What did you bring?”

Megren points. “Hard one, yellow one, soft one.”

Lanisen sits forward, tucking his good leg under. “I dunno.”

Megren squints. “I think yellow one. Or– oh!” She fishes around inside her cloak and pulls out a cube, lifting her brows in inquiry.

Lanisen frowns and looks to see what she’s holding, then snorts and bows his head. “You ever go anywhere without that thing?”

Megren looks virtuously upward.

Lanisen says with resignation, “All right, what shall it be.”

Megren hands the cube over. “You be the cube master this time.”

Lanisen takes it reluctantly. “I’m not good at thinkin’ stuff up for cubes.”

Megren says, “Do wine for something, and then you got food options, and then you got question options, and dare options.”

Lanisen does some rapid calculating, glancing over the cheeses. “Oh, that’s all right then,” he says, relieved. “Um, hmm. White, yellow… blue, I guess.” He points at the hard cheese, the yellow cheese, and the soft cheese. “Purple,” the wine. “Red, you ask me, green I’ll ask you.”

Megren tucks her legs tighter under her, sitting up a little. “All right, game master, you first.”

Lanisen makes a face and reaches for the cube. He rolls it, and takes a piece of the hard cheese when it lands white side up.

Megren rolls a red and scrunches up her nose impishly.

Lanisen watches, and glances at her in some apprehension.

Megren squints at him thoughtfully. “If you had to come home to a bed full of frogs or a closet full of bats, which would you choose and why?”

Lanisen blinks, and laughs, relaxing. “Hmm,” he says. “Bats.”

Megren says, “What really? Your clothes would be all pooped over.”

Lanisen says, “I’d rather have the clothes I ain’t wearin’ be all pooped over than my bed.”

Megren says, “I don’t think frogs poop.”

Lanisen takes a breath and catches his lower lip between his teeth. “Ahh, hm.”

Megren says, “I challenge you to show me one.”

Lanisen asks, “You want me to find you a frog poop?”

Megren says, “A pooping frog.”

Lanisen says, “There’s frogs in that cave, go watch one of them.”

Megren says, “I’ve been lots and I’ve never seen it.”

Lanisen asks, “You ever looked?”

Megren shakes her head, “You are the one who made an assertion, you are the one who has to do the proving.”

Lanisen snorts and reaches for the cube again. It lands purple side up, and he frowns a little before his eyes settle on the wine and he remembers.

Megren takes a roll while she waits.

Lanisen hesitates visibly, then takes a gulp of the wine and sets the skin back down.

Megren observes this a bit sharply, though her expression is clear by the time he sets the skin down. She picks up the die and breaks off a piece of the hard cheese when it rolls white.

Lanisen reaches for the die again and rolls a soft cheese. He picks up a roll and breaks off a little piece to scoop a bite of it onto, and settles back, chewing.

Megren rolls white again, makes a face, and rerolls, getting purple instead. She very graciously does both: taking another piece off the cheese and drinking from the skin.

Lanisen grins and reaches for the cube. He rolls another blue and lets out a breath, tearing off another bite of bread and taking a smaller piece of the cheese.

Megren asks, “Don’t like that one?”

Lanisen shakes his head. “Ain’t hungry.”

Megren makes a hmming sound. She rolls a green.

Lanisen looks at the cube. “Um,” he says, and shuts his eyes to think. “Would you rather have a really cold, snowy winter, or a hot dry summer?”

Megren shakes her head. “Ask me a harder one.”

Lanisen shifts. “Um,” he says again, and shakes his head a little. “Where’s the furthest you ever walked at once?”

Megren wrinkles her nose. “Cold, as long as it wasn’t long, and I think here to Coghill, but it depends what you mean by “at once”.”

Lanisen says, “All in one day, I guess. Or where you walk all day and then go to sleep and get up and walk more.”

Megren says, “Well, Haft and I did Coghill to Chesterton like that. But da and I’ve sometimes done almost a whole summer that way, if hunting counts.”

Lanisen ‘huhs’ softly, as if he hasn’t considered that sort of context. “That don’t sound bad.”

Megren rests her hands on her shin. “There’s nice things — being in someone’s company so long and…” she tilts her head, trying to think how to word it. “Well, you rely on just yourself and the other person for everything, so it’s — I guess thats probably how a lot of children are with their parents, but, I don’t know. It seems different, there’s something close about making camp every day and having each other’s habits at the front of your mind always. It’s simple, and personal, and takes a lot of caring. That part’s nice. And getting to wake with the birds and the sun, that too.”

Lanisen listens, and nods. He looks at the floor about halfway between them, his head tilted a little, half wistful.

Megren asks, “What is it?”

Lanisen hmms?

Megren says, “You got a look.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He shrugs. “It just sounds nice, is all.”

Megren pulls her knee up to hug it. “Well… you wake up cold half the time, and if you don’t find anything to eat, you’re stuck on tea and tack unless you’re near to town and have enough coin, and it’s–” she pauses. “It’s close, but it’s lonely, too. There’s not anybody else.”

Lanisen says, “I know that part.”

Megren lifts her brows at him.

Lanisen turns faintly red and looks down. “Sorry.” He reaches for the cube, and gets purple again.

Megren waves a hand at him. “It’s all right. You aren’t hungry any more any way.”

Lanisen looks relieved. He settles back against the hay again.

Megren leans back as well, quietly listening to the thunder roll.

Lanisen turns a little, so that his side is supported by the hay behind him instead of his back, and curls up against it. “This’s nice.”

Megren looks at him with a squinted eye.

Lanisen waves a hand vaguely to indicate the rain, the hay, the company. “Thanks for… haulin’ me up here.”

Megren says, “You are a /haul/ sometimes.”

Lanisen says, “…I dunno what that means.”

Megren lists, “Won’t go to the tower, won’t go to the beach…”

Lanisen protests, “In the /rain/!”

Megren says, “I’m only saying.”

Lanisen makes vague grumbly noises and leans his head against the hay-heap, closing his eyes for a minute.

Megren accuses, “You are going to fall asleep.”

Lanisen says, “S’what. It’s nice up here.”

Megren asks, “What’s Nia going to say to me when you come in the morning smelling of horse?”

Lanisen’s lips curl up. “She’s gonna say, hey, I notice you’ve been having cheese; did you bring any for me.”

Megren says, “Well.” She pauses. “You’ve got me there.”

Lanisen’s faint grin broadens. “I’ll go over when I wake up, how ’bout that.”

Megren says, “I guess it’s the compromise I’m liable to get.”

Lanisen is quiet for a minute, but he stirs before he falls all the way asleep. “Saw Maire today.”

Megren asks, “Yeah?”

Lanisen shrugs.

Megren says, “Well, I didn’t see blood in the hall.”

Lanisen rubs his cheek and looks away.

Megren makes a regretful look. “It went all right, though?” she tries again.

Lanisen shrugs again. He confesses, “I left.”

Megren nods.

Lanisen says, “I– she’s bein’ so /nice/, and–”

Megren leans forward a bit, tucking her hair behind her ear.

Lanisen says, a little desperately, “She tried to stab me!”

Megren says, “I don’t know her.”

Lanisen says, “Me neither, and I don’t– I don’t trust her, and I don’t want to talk to her, and–” He tips his head back to look at the ceiling, anxious and frustrated.

Megren releases a breath. “Well… if she tried to hurt you at a first go, surely she isn’t a very subtle type?”

Lanisen says nothing.

Megren says, “I don’t know, Lanisen.”

Lanisen rubs his hands over his face. “Me neither. Sorry.”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side. “Me too.”

Lanisen looks at the cheese and bread still sitting out. He scoots forward to wrap it up.

Megren leans forward to help him.

Lanisen sits back again once it’s all squared away. “Think mice’ll eat my hair off if I do sleep up here?” he muses.

Megren says, “Probably.”

Lanisen considers. “There’s worse things,” he decides, and curls up again against the haystack.

Megren scrunches up her mouth and drops down the ladder, reascending not long after with a horse blanket.

Lanisen looks at it in some surprise, and looks at Megren questioningly.

Megren tosses it beside him. “Rain’ll mean it’s cold come midnight.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He uncurls and puts the blanket down over the hay, then resettles on top of it. “Thanks.”

Megren nods, descending partway again to where she can stop and rest her arms on the loft floor. She observes him a moment. “You’re definitely the cat.”

Lanisen mumbles, “/You’re/ the cat.”

Megren grins. “Good night.”

Lanisen says, “G’night, Meg.”

Megren ducks her head to see below her and step down to the lower level.


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