The lowest level of the noble’s tower is a broad, round chamber, fairly dark, but lit by sconces on the walls and a row of small, arching windows high near the ceiling. To the north, three windows look out onto the pastures at ground level, though it is difficult to see much in detail; to the east, a single wider window offers a glimpse of the comings and goings in the inner ward. Wide steps curve up around a pillar in the center of the room, leading up to the servants’ floor, and an archway to the southwest leads down a long, dim corridor toward the kitchen.
Sunk into the ground around the chamber’s central pillar is an enormous reservoir, filled with enough clean, clear water to fill all the bath-tubs in the castle, and then some. In the morning, the sunlight from the east window reflects off the surface of the water and fills the chamber with dancing light.
Colin leads Lord Peridan down the stairs to the reservoir chamber and takes a turn for the dungeon corridor. He glances up slightly and then slows, squinting at one of the windows. He looks at his cousin, confusion on his face. “Is that…”
Peridan coughs, “Yes, that is.”
Colin looks at him. “Wait, you know about it? What happened? How did it break?”
Peridan continues along his path, “Unconventional method of questioning Darius.” His tone is light, almost like he is commenting on the weather.
Colin pauses, limping slightly on his left leg. “You did /what/?”
Lanisen is sitting on the reservoir wall behind the stairs when the knights pass. He keeps quiet and does nothing to draw attention to himself, though he looks up quickly at this last from Peridan and darts another look at the broken window.
Peridan pauses, taking a deep breath. When he turns, his expression is calm, “I promised Darius I would change his scenery for information.”
Colin’s tone is dry. “Didn’t promise you’d try to get a horse, did you?”
Peridan says, “No, I did not.”
Colin points at the window. “So, what did that get out of him?” He begins to limp forward again.
Peridan says, “The information on Maire.” His mouth quirks up, “And his trust.”
Colin snorts quietly. “For what that’s worth…”
Peridan hehs, “Colin, I have spent my career dealing with monsters like him. Trust me on that.”
Lanisen stays silent, his face flickering with apprehension.
Colin glances at Peridan, his face flickering with many emotions. “It’s interesting…he’s the monster the knight couldn’t slay… if that’s not reason enough for me to turn in my sword then I don’t know what is.”
Peridan lets a smile play on his lips, “Funny, I have not slayed many and yet I still have my sword.”
Lanisen lowers his head, trying not to listen to what seems to be beginning to be a private conversation.
Colin grumbles vague things at him, turning to face him fully to give him another verbal assault when his eyes catch the figure on the cistern wall. He pauses and cranes his head around Peridan for a better look. “Lanisen?”
Peridan also turns, tipping his head.
Lanisen pulls a guilty breath. He pauses, then sets aside his book and stands, his eyes on the ground between himself and the knights. He bows.
Colin holds up a hand. “Sorry…don’t let us interrupt.” He searches Lanisen’s face from where he stands. “Are you doing all right?” He asks quietly.
Peridan takes a step back to give the two a more private conversation.
Lanisen glances at Colin, then quickly down and away, rubbing his wrist. “Yes, sir,” he answers. “I’m fine, thanks.” He looks no less exhausted than he did, but he seems to have been eating. “You?” he asks after a painful pause.
Colin nods a little, rubbing the back of his neck as he glances at Peridan. Something sits unspoken in the air between them but all he says to Lanisen is, “Same, thanks.” Another awkward pause, then he says. “All right..you can get back to your book. Sorry to interrupt.”
Peridan claps his good arm behind his back, his expression calm.
Lanisen nods a little, his eyes darting beyond Colin to Peridan. He bows again and takes a step back, bumping the reservoir wall with his shins.
Colin glances at Peridan once more before giving Lanisen a deep nod. He continues toward the dungeon corridor.
Peridan nods to Lanisen, giving him a smile before following his cousin.
Lanisen watches them go. Once they are out of sight down the corridor, he collects his book and climbs the stairs rapidly.
A Fool’s Errand – Colin