unconstructive


Knights’ Practice Room
Castle Anvard


You stand on the chamber which serves the Knights’ Practice Room. One part is dedicated to hand to hand combat, and the rest of the area has stands for straw dummies. You can also see much of the countryside from here. On a chair near the door sits the old sergeant, Doel, who maintains the equipment.


In the early morning hours, the castle seems still quiet. However, there is one person up and she is attacked a target with great force.

Lanisen pauses at the door, listening with some trepidation, and peers in. He blinks.

Cassandra stands still in front of the target. She raises her hand and lets the dagger fly towards the the heart of the target.

Lanisen’s head tilts a little to the side. He waits a moment, until it looks like there are no daggers about to fly, and then steps inside. There is a wooden practice sword tucked under his arm. “Morning.”

Cassandra looks very smug as it lands in the target. As she goes to retrieve it, she answers, “Morning.”

Lanisen says nothing more. He fetches a target from Doel’s stack, leaving a few coins on the old man’s chair, and carries it over to a corner well away from Cassandra’s knife-throwing path.

Cassandra eyes him a bit before continuing her knife throwing.

Lanisen sets up his target, poking it a couple times with the point of his practice sword to be sure it’s steady, then begins. The sword is in his left hand, not his right, and his movements are slow and deliberate, like he is concentrating on each small motion of the blade.

Cassandra stops practicing to watch him.

Lanisen picks up speed as he warms up. He does not do anything terribly complicated or difficult, and his practice seems to be more repetition than anything else, building strength and dexterity in his left hand.

Cassandra asks, “You probably wouldn’t teach me that, would you?”

Lanisen pauses, lowering the practice sword and turning to look at her. He frowns a little, and looks at her knife, still stuck in the target.

Cassandra crosses her arms and raises an eyebrow, “Do you think I would use that knife on you?”

Lanisen’s frown deepens and he gives her a sidelong look. “…No?”

Cassandra asks, “Then why are you scared of it?”

Lanisen says, “…I’m not?”

Cassandra snorts. She goes to remove it from the target.

Lanisen watches her, a little baffled.

Cassandra stands in front of the target and lets the dagger fly.

Lanisen shifts, turning his back to his target, and watches.

The dagger lands in the center of the target. Cass smirks again.

Lanisen makes a little approving noise.

Cassandra goes to remove her dagger. She flips it to where the edge is resting in her palm and the hilt is facing away from her. She walks over to him, “Want to try?”

Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side, giving his right hand a considering look. He touches his thumb to his index and middle finger and rolls his shoulder a little, testing. “Hmm,” he says, and nods, but pulls his own knife from its hidden place at the small of his back.

Cassandra smiles approvingly at this action. She sheaths hers and leans against his target, “Well, Squire. Teach the kitchen maid something she doesn’t know.”

Lanisen takes his time working up to it. He tries a couple of different grips, testing the weight of the knife in his hand, then nods a little and grips the blade in his fingers. He takes careful aim and lets fly.

Cassandra crosses her arms as she watches.

Lanisen’s knife impacts the target with a satisfying ‘thunk’, sticking out of what would be the target’s forehead, if it had such features, but he pulls a quick breath and his hand goes to his bad shoulder.

Cassandra frowns and she shifts a bit.

Lanisen surveys his handiwork and nods a little, crossing to fetch the knife back.

Cassandra gives a small clap.

Lanisen gives her a wry grin, putting his knife away. “Not bad for a cripple, huh?” he asks lightly.

Cassandra snorts, “You are only a cripple if you think you are.”

Lanisen huffs out a little breath like laughter. He looks down briefly, then crosses to pick up his practice sword again.

Cassandra points her thumb at herself, “Take me for example. I ain’t that big or strong but I have won more fights than not.”

Lanisen points the wooden sword at her. “You,” he says, “shouldn’t be havin’ fights.”

Cassandra doesn’t look impressed, “Why is that?”

Lanisen says, “Anybody attack you?”

Cassandra says, “Not recently.”

Lanisen says, “If it ain’t somebody attackin’ you, there’s pretty sure to be better ways of settlin’ matters.”

Cassandra makes a face, “You sound like an adult.”

Lanisen shrugs.

Cassandra looks down at her hands, “Do you love me?”

Lanisen says, in a ‘duh’ sort of voice, “Yeah?”

Cassandra glares at him, “Seriously.”

Lanisen says, “Seriously yeah?”

Cassandra says, “Well I love you too even if I don’t show it.”

Lanisen says, “Never doubted that for a second. But you still shouldn’t be gettin’ in fights.”

Cassandra says, “I’ll promise to try.”

Lanisen nods, satisfied. He turns back to his target, resuming the drill with his left hand. “Who’re you fightin’ with, anyway?”

Cassandra looks confused, “…nobody?”
Cassandra says, “Aside Maire.”

Lanisen asks, “…Why were you fightin’ her?”

Cassandra shrugs, “I was about the thing that happened between you two. I took care of it.”

Lanisen shifts, turning to face her. “Cass, I told you to stay out of it.”

Cassandra raises her hands, “And I have after the fact. She knows not to mess with our family.”

Lanisen lets out a short breath, unhappy but satisfied.

Cassandra says, “Lanisen. I’m not the little girl that adults can just pat on the head and tell me to let the adults handle it.””
Cassandra adds, “I’m 17 and old enough to make my own choices.”

Lanisen asks, “What? No.”

Cassandra crosses her arms. “No, I’m not old enough to make my own choices?”

Lanisen says, “No, that’s not what I mean.”

Cassandra just stares at him, waiting for an explanation.

Lanisen makes an unsatisfied, frustrated face. “Fightin’ it out is what a little girl would do.”

Cassandra’s eye snap open and anger displays on her features.

Lanisen meets her eyes. He glances away for a second, then back. “You want to be treated like an adult, act like one,” he finally says in a lower voice.

Cassandra’s face goes blank, “Of course, brother.”

Lanisen gives her an uncertain look, then nods a little and turns back to his target.

Cassandra says, “I need to get back to work.”

Lanisen says, “Oh. Sure.”

Cassandra leaves the room without a goodbye.

Lanisen calls after her, “See you later?”

Cassandra replies over her shoulder, “Well, we do work in the castle together.”

Lanisen doesn’t seem to know what to make of this.


-=-=-=-


Infirmary
Castle Anvard


Maire is busying herself gathering some dishes at Reina’s bedside, carefully arranging the plethora of bows and cups to better transport them.

Haft steps into the infirmary, glances around. “Ah, Maire, I was looking for your cousin.”

Maire jumps at the voice, her hands causing some cups to clank on the tray. She turns around, “Hello,” she pushes hair away from her eyes. “I haven’t seen Kairyn yet today, she’s been busy gathering herbs this week.” she says. “Is there something I can help you with?”

Haft sticks out his lower lip and shakes his head. “I don’t think so. I’m about due to have this sling off so I came down to let her have a look at it.

Lanisen slips into the infirmary, shutting the door behind him. He casts a quick glance around, taking stock of those on shift and present, and tenses slightly, seeing Maire and Haft. He hesitates and looks about to duck back out again, but one of the attendants calls to him from across the room, and he quickly lowers his head and makes his way over.

Maire hms, “She should be back later this evening, I believe. If I see her I will let her know you were looking for her.” she says to Haft. Her eyes drift to the door when it opens and she bites her lip.

Haft turns as the attendant calls Lanisen’s name. He frowns slightly at the other man’s back, looking distracted.

Lanisen hands over an empty bottle to the attendant, and is given another in return, full of some dark amber liquid. He glances over his shoulder anxiously toward Haft and Maire, and the attendant has to say his name to get his attention.

Maire moves to pick up her tray and balances it on her hip. She takes a step toward the door, she catches Hafts frown and her eyes dart back and forth between Lanisen and him. She raises a brow almost imperceptibly at the two of them. “Were you in need of more tea, sir? I know where Kairyn keeps it…” her voice trails off.

Haft looks back to her. “What? No. I still have plenty, thank you. I’ll try back later.” With that he heads toward the door.

Lanisen turns his back to Haft and Maire, submitting to what looks like a familiar ritual. He raises his right arm as high as it will go, which is not very, and allows the attendant to lift it another few degrees, until some invisible line is crossed and he says, wincing, “There, there, stop.” The attendant looks unsatisfied, but he presses his lips together and writes something down in a book on the table.

Maire also takes a few more steps toward the door, but her eyes are on Lanisen, and she nearly bumps into Haft, the dishes on her tray teeter and clank as she steadies it.

Haft turns back to her. “You got that?”

Lanisen lowers his arm again, rubbing his shoulder. He shakes his head in answer to a question from the attendant, then reconsiders.
Lanisen mumbles “Well– this morning, my sister, I threw a knife in the practice room with that hand, it’s been twingin’ a little since.”
Lanisen mumbles “Well– … morning, my … I threw … … … … … room … that … it’s … twingin’ a … …”

Maire blinks up at Haft, “Pardon me,” her cheeks turn bright red, and her eyes widen at that particular word choice. “I mean– Yes, I am fine.” she stammers out, gripping the tray tighter in her hands.

Haft nods once. “Right, excuse me.” With that he turns and heads out the door.

Reina, lying under a pile of covers, her face pale, stirrs in her bed, mumbling fretfully in her sleep. Beads of sweat dot her brow, and her breathing, though no longer labored, is shorter than normal.

Maire lets out a little breath when Haft goes, she pauses on her exit when she hears Reina stir. She sets the tray aside and makes her way back to Reina’s side. She touches her brow. Her eyes flick between Reina and Lanisen. She makes gentle crooning noises as Reina stirs and uses her apron to dap at the girl’s forehead.

The girl coughs in her sleep, and though painful-sounding, the cough does not appear to sound as weak as it had days earlier. Her skin is cool to the touch, however, not merely warm.

Lanisen’s eyes dart to the door as Haft departs. The attendant says something to him, rather exasperated by now, and Lanisen apologizes. He unlaces his collar, rather clumsily, and shifts it to the side enough that the attendant can inspect his shoulder. He glances at Maire again, and this time sees Reina as well.

Maire averts her eyes when Lanisen looks at her, and turns her attention to Reina. She smoothes the girl’s hair, watching to see if she will slip back into sleep or not.

Lanisen, once the attendant is finished and has made his notes, laces up his shirt again and looks at Reina. He glances at Maire again, and asks the attendant something too low to hear. The attendant looks over his shoulder at Reina and replies in the same tone, and Lanisen seems satisfied by what he hears. He straightens and takes a step as if to go nearer, but veers away instead and goes for the door, since she is asleep and Maire is there.

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