An unfamiliar voice calls up to the loft. “Lanisen? Squire Lanisen, are you there?” There is a note of urgency in the tone.*
Lanisen peers down the steps after a brief pause. “I’m here?” he calls uneasily.
A young man Lanisen might have seen on watch patrols lately looks up. “Squire, you ain’t to eat anything.” He wrings his hands. “I mean, Sir Colin says you ain’t.”
Lanisen’s face goes slack with confusion. “I– what?” he asks after a pause.
The young guardsman looks flustered. “It’s, Sir Colin got sick, just now. Ate something bad that someone gave him–a pie, maybe? He collapsed in the mess, and he said to warn ya.”
Lanisen goes quite still. He blinks several times and shakes his head a little. “A– a–” He begins down the steps, hurrying too quickly and nearly stumbling at the bottom, and pushes past the guardsman on his way to the door.
The guard calls after, a little frantic. “Did you eat anything, Squire?”
Lanisen doesn’t answer, already out the door.
*spoofing by Haft
Inner Ward of Anvard
Avery straightens a bit. “Please send them both down to the kitchen, with the pie, if that’s possible.” She shrugs. “They should return to work after all.”
Darrin tells Peridan, “Just those I mentioned before, Tyren, Haft, Adrian, I think guardsman Owin was there.”
Peridan places a hand on Lady Avery’s arm, “Let Sir Tyren speak with them and once he is done, we can talk with them?” His tone is kind but also slightly firm.
Lanisen passes through the gatehouse in a terrible rush, his face white and his limp exacerbated by his haste. He heads for the infirmary, and doesn’t seem to see any of those gathered in the ward.
Avery looks at Peridan and shakes her head. “I want to talk to them.” She turns back to face Darrin. “Do they know you’ve come to find us?”
Darrin nods. “I expect so, since Tyren asked it of me.”
Peridan frowns at Avery but Lanisen catches his attention. He runs his hand through his hair.
Lanisen vanishes into the infirmary. He reappears a moment later, looking lost and just shy of panic, and stares blankly around the ward.
Avery also notices Lanisen, frowning. She turns to Peridan and speaks quietly to him.
Avery mumbles “… help … … be …”, to Peridan.
Peridan inclines his head once before walking over to Lanisen. He lifts his hand up, his voice soft, “Hey Lanisen.”
Darrin follows their looks.
Avery watches Peridan go and then turns back to Darrin, her voice lowered.
Avery mumbles “… … … … to … girls, Darrin.”, to Darrin.
Colin’s left arm is supported by Haft and Adrian the healer helps him on his other side as they move slowly into the ward. The knight’s movements are lethargic and weak and his eyes are squinted and he keeps blinking.
Lanisen shies back, taking a step backward and bows distractedly. “Sir, Lord Peridan, sorry, I’m– I can’t, talk, I’m sorry–” He takes off again, heading back toward the gatehouse.
Peridan slips back in front of him, “Hey, it’s okay. You’re safe.” He doesn’t keep his eyes off of Lanisen.
Darrin shrugs and is mumbling something quietly in return to his cousin when Colin appears with Haft and Adrian.
Darrin mumbles “… for it, honestly. I … … the two … them – do you know them … bit better?”, to Avery.
Lanisen looks frustrated, but he only ducks to the side to get around Peridan with another barely-coherent apology.
Colin’s shoulders hunch over as his stomach protests at the movement and he looks peaked, nausea shooting through him.
Avery shrugs, but before she can reply, her eyes land on Colin and the others. She frowns.
Haft says, “Almost there Sir. We’ve done the hard part.”
Peridan lets Lanisen side step him but isn’t quite ready to move away.
Cassandra comes out of the hallway. She is biting her lip and she stops as she sees all the people gathered.
Lanisen’s attention is arrested by the group descending the stair, and he goes perfectly still.
Colin nearly goes down when his knee gives out and Adrian struggles to keep him upright, using the nearby wall to support the knight.
Lanisen takes a quick breath and lurches forward.
Haft grunts. “Easy now. Few more steps.”
Colin rests his forehead on the wall, groaning. “Where are we?”
Haft replies, “The Inner Ward, Sir.” Then he lowers his voice.
Haft mumbles “Your squire is here, … … … … Lady … Sir.”, to Colin.
Upon seeing Colin, Peridan’s face pales considerably but his expression remains calm. He begins to make his way over as well.
Cassandra hangs back, not wanting to interrupt.
Lanisen backs away several steps to get out of the way. He crosses one arm over his stomach and hovers, anxious and useless.
Avery sighs and touches Darrin’s arm before stepping away. She rushes toward the infirmary door, opening it wide for them to come through. “Almost there, Sir Colin.”
Colin lifts his head a little at Haft’s words and gives a little nod, squinting his blurry eyes. “La–okay…okay…” he draws a deep breath. Adrian adjusts his position and begins to help him forward, guiding the knight to the infirmary. Colin limps weakly but stays upright, gritting his teeth.
Darrin moves over to Lanisen, keeping a few feet between them. He nods to him.
Darrin mumbles “Hey Lanisen.”, to Lanisen.
Darrin mumbles something incomprehensible to Lanisen.
Peridan moves out of the way, looking ready to help in any way possible.
Lanisen shifts a step away from Darrin, glancing at him distractedly. He pulls his attention enough away from Colin for long enough to bow, then looks back at the little procession.
Colin rests in the doorway of the infirmary and turns his head to his left to say something to Haft.
Colin mumbles “… … … all …”, to Haft.
Haft turns his head to reply.
Haft mumbles “He looks … … I’ll …”, to Colin.
Colin nods, allowing them to guide him into the infirmary.
Haft and Adrian help Colin through the doorway past Avery.
Avery watches them pass, her concerned eyes on Colin. She closes the door behind them and walks to Peridan’s side, searching his face.
Peridan places his hand on his mouth, running his fingers across his jaw. His eyes scan the Ward, landing on Lanisen. He looks very concerned.
Haft emerges from the infirmary, his eyes immediately seeking Lanisen. “He wants to know if you’re all right.”
Darrin disappears at some point in all the commotion, probably to do something useful somewhere or tell someone important.
Cassandra shifts a bit but doesn’t move from her spot.
Lanisen backs away a step to get out of Haft’s way. “…M-Me?” he asks in some confusion once he has realized he’s being addressed.
Avery watches Haft and Lanisen for a moment.
Haft says, “Yes.” Haft steps closer as nonthreateningly as he can, lowering his voice.
Haft mumbles “He ate something, a pie. We think it may have been poisoned. He wanted to make sure you hadn’t eaten something too.”, to Lanisen.
Haft mumbles “He ate … a … We … … … have … poisoned. He … to make … … … eaten something too.”, to Lanisen.
Peridan mutters to Avery.
Peridan mumbles “I, … need to … with …”, to Avery.
Avery looks up at Peridan and nods, speaking quietly.
Avery mumbles “… … I … … … … right …”, to Peridan.
Lanisen eases back away from Haft even so, his shoulders going tense and defensive. He shakes his head. “No, no no, I’m fine, I’m, I’m fine.” He hesitates, then bows his head and asks something in a lower voice.
Lanisen mumbles “Please, is he all right, is he–“, to Haft.
Lanisen mumbles “… is … all … … …”, to Haft.
Peridan squeezes Avery’s arm once and then disappears into the infirmary.
Haft mumbles “He’s in pain, and having trouble with his vision. Adrian gave him something and says he should mend.”, to Lanisen.
Haft mumbles “He’s … … … … … with … … … gave him something and says he … …”, to Lanisen.
Haft’s gaze flickers to Cassandra with a frown.
Cassandra pulls her braid and makes her way to her brother.
Lanisen starts, “Can– Is he–” But he rubs his wrists anxiously and doesn’t finish the thought.
Avery speaks up. “If you want to see for yourself, Lanisen, I know Sir Colin would appreciate your presence.”
Cassandra stands a bit aways from Lanisen, biting her lip again.
Lanisen looks at Avery with some difficulty, a terrible blank sort of fear in his face.
Tyren descends one of the stairwells, Maire on one side of him, and another knight on her other side. He carries what is left of a pie in one hand, and he pauses briefly enough to direct a page to bring it to Adrian before continuing through.
Maire walks between the knights, her expression blank. Her eyes scan the ward, her step falters a bit, her gaze searching and landing on one person before she escorted away.
Avery steps closer to Lanisen. “Hey, it’s alright. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to…” She looks toward the stairs, watching the two knights and Maire.
Cassandra stares at the passing party before focusing her attention on her brother.
Lanisen’s eyes shift to Tyren and Maire as they pass through, and a sort of comprehension shows on his face. He closes his eyes briefly.
Haft steps back to give Lanisen room, but he is mostly watching Cassandra.
Lanisen shudders. One hand comes up to the side of his head for a moment, then he opens his eyes. He takes a step toward the infirmary, then halts, indecisive.
Haft offers quietly. “I think he’d like ta see you, but I can tell him you’re well if you prefer.
Avery watches Lanisen for a moment, stepping closer, her voice low.
Avery mumbles “He /needs/ you, Lanisen. He is trying to be strong, but he can’t manage it right now, not without you. You’re the only one who can /really/ help him right now.”, to Lanisen.
Avery mumbles “He /needs/ … Lanisen. He is … to … … but … … … … … now, … … you. You’re … … … who … … … … right …”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen focuses on Avery, and seems to remember where he is, and how very public the location is. His eyes dart from her face to Haft’s, to Cassandra and the other servants and castle folk who have stopped what they are doing to get the news. He backs away a step, then ducks his head and limps hastily toward the infirmary door.
Reina shifts in her bed, disturbed by whatever is happening outside the infirmary.
Peridan lets out a sigh of relief as he sees the person, “Lanisen, Colin wants to see you.”
Lanisen slips in through the door, skulking a bit, like he doesn’t want to be seen. He looks at Peridan, startled and vulnerable, then scans the infirmary quickly for Colin.
Peridan takes a step back, “I will leave you two to talk.”
Colin starts to sit up but grows quite dizzy and he lays back down. He looks in the general direction of the door, trying to make out the blurry shapes.
Lanisen hesitates, then makes his way toward Colin’s bed. “Sir?”
Peridan takes this moment and slips out the door.
Colin gives a half smile. “Hey… long time no see.”
Lanisen huffs out a little laugh that isn’t really a laugh. He sinks down to sit on the next bed over. “You need anything?” he asks after a pause. “Water?”
Colin shakes his head a little. “Naw..’m good. Stomach hurts too much.” He pauses. “How’re you?”
Lanisen says, shaking his head a little, “I’m fine, I didn’t eat anything.”
Colin looks relieved. “Good…”
Lanisen asks, “You, d’you want me to stay?”
Colin replies, “Only if you want to.”
Lanisen says, “I’ll stay.”
Colin lets his head flop back on the pillow and he looks really relieved. “Thank you… missed you, Lanny. ‘M sorry ’bout all this.”
Lanisen reaches out and grips Colin’s shoulder.
Colin squeezes Lanisen’s forearm before hunching over and curling up again. He stays there for quite a while and eventually falls into a restless doze.
Lanisen slips down off the bed after a while and drops to the floor, sitting with his back to the wall next to Colin’s bed. He stays there, quiet and watchful, until he dozes off as well, some hours later.