You stand in a circular tower which serves as a sort of corridor. In the center is a stone pillar, around which stairs are placed, rising to the Nobles’ Quarters above. To the south is the Sewing Room. All around are small tidy rooms, the staff quarters. To the east is the Inner Ward.
Lanisen is locking the door to his room. He tests the knob once, twice, and slips the key on its cord under his collar, where it hangs like a necklace.
Dalia slips out of her room, locking her own door with a soft click and slipping the key into a small pocket.
Lanisen nods to Dalia, beginning to make his way toward the door to the ward, which has been propped open to let the bright sunshine and fresh air into the tower.
Dalia says, “Hello Lanisen.” She offers a smile, wrapping a shawl around her shoulders.
Cassandra opens the door to the guest rooms. She takes a quick look around quickly before stepping out fully. She is dressed in a plain gown that is divided for riding.
Lanisen returns, “Evenin’, Dalia.” His eyes slip past Dalia as the door opens, and he takes in his sister’s demeanor.
Dalia glances to Cassandra, noting her quick look around and nods to her.
Cassandra’s eyes land on the two and she tenses. She nods to them but doesn’t seem to be staying around to chat.
Lanisen raises his eyebrows at Cassandra, and says in an exaggerated accent that isn’t his own, “Wotcher.”
Cassandra blinks at him, looking confused, “What?”
Dalia is mostly quiet watching.
Lanisen makes a face. “Evenin’.”
Cassandra gives him a look of exasperation. She mutters, “Why didn’t you say so…Hello.”
Lanisen asks, “Where you off to?”
Cassandra says, “Riding.”
Dalia moves towards the door as if to leave Lanisen and Cassandra to talk if they want to.
Lanisen says, “Oh. Silly question.”
Cassandra gives her brother a look before beginning to make her way towards the door as well.
Lanisen ventures before she has quite left, “Be safe, yeah?”
Cassandra looks back over her shoulder with a bit of an impish grin, “Ain’t I always?”
Lanisen makes another face at her.
Cassandra slips out of the door.
Dalia steps back out of the way to let Cassandra pass.
Lanisen’s half-joking demeanor slips as she departs. He rubs his elbow, watching her through the door, his face gone drawn with tired worry.
Dalia reaches out to put her hand on Lanisen’s shoulder and hesitates.
Lanisen glances at her quickly, shifting unthinkingly away. “Sorry,” he says after a beat.
Dalia drops her hand, burying it self-consciously in a fold of her dress. “No-no worries.”
Lanisen doesn’t seem to know where to look, and his eyes settle finally on the floor.
Dalia bites her lip, “You okay?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, I’m– yeah. I’m sorry.”
Dalia shakes her head, “No, no it’s alright.” she pauses “Um… I was heading to the kitchens for some supper… um.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, oh. Sorry, I won’t keep you.”
Dalia says, “Um if you want something…um if you want to come?””
Lanisen hesitates and glances at her, something half-wary and assessing in his face, then nods. “I could eat somethin’, I reckon.”
Dalia says, “I reckon Cook out to have something”
Lanisen nods again, and begins toward the door.
Lanisen opens the door for Dalia, hanging back a little before entering, just looking around the room to see who is present.
Dalia thanks Lanisen, entering and making her way up to the cook.
Lanisen goes for a basket of apples, reluctant to bother anyone. He chooses one that is mottled red and cream and considers it for a moment before taking a bite.
Dalia shyly asks the Cook for a some stew, and returns shortly with the asked for stew
Lanisen hovers near the door, chewing his apple. “Stew weather again, huh?” he asks, nodding at the bowl.
Dalia shrugs and smiles a bit sheepishly. “Get cold easily. Cook said she’s save me some. There’s some left if you want some?”
Lanisen’s eyes flit to the soup cauldron. “Oh,” he says, and shakes his head. “That’s all right, I’m not really hungry.” He turns over an empty crate to sit on and offers it to Dalia, choosing a similar perch for himself.
Dalia smiles. “Thanks,” she replies, seating herself.
Lanisen asks, gesturing at the basket, “Want an apple with that?” He is sitting on an overturned crate near Dalia, eating an apple. His elbows are resting on his knees and he keeps an eye on the general goings-on in the kitchen, but seems more or less at his ease.
Dalia nods, “Please. Thank you.”
Lanisen nods, getting to his feet. He crosses to the basket and takes another apple, a nicely rosy one.
Darius busts up and out of the servants’ passage, caring not for the noise he makes. Quickly taking inventory of the room, his eyes settling on the door to the east, he flies around the side of the table opposite to the two currently in the room. “That is one crazed sister ya got Lanisen!” he calls out, voice almost jovial as he flies through.
Lanisen turns quickly, searching for the source of the voice. His face goes perfectly white and he freezes up for a precious second. He takes a step forward, toward Darius, and flings the apple in his left hand straight at Darius’s face.
Dalia gasps, dropping her spoon with surprise as Darius breezes through.
Darius takes the apple in the face, stumbling forward in shock. Putting a hand on where the apple hit, he shoots Lanisen glare before glancing behind him and then darting through the door to the servant’s hall.
Lanisen says, already hunting for his dagger at the small of his back, “Dalia, go! Go, get the guard, run, hurry!” He shudders a second and plunges after Darius.
You stand in the warm and busy servants’ hall. Most of the floor is taken up by long trestle tables and benches. Candles in sconces on the wall light the room with a friendly glow. At the back of the hall, a staircase leads down into the storeroom. The only other object of note is a large wood and leather chair, where the head cook often rests between meals.
Lanisen shouts at the few servants making use of the hall, and there is a general scramble to abandon the room. He makes his way toward the steps leading down to the storeroom, his dagger drawn, but keeps well back.
Colin follows Lanisen into the room, dodging a couple of servants. Seeing his squire ahead, he limp-dashes for his side. “Lanisen…. Is he down there?” He motions for the stairs.
Lanisen turns quickly, letting out a quick breath of profound relief. “Yes,” he answers shortly.
Colin looks at the staircase, taking a moment to grip Lanisen’s shoulder briefly as he moves past. “Is there any way out of there?” he asks shortly.
Lanisen says sharply, “/Sir/!”
Colin looks at his squire. “Can Darius get out of the storeroom any other way?” He barks.
Lanisen says, “No, he can’t.”
Colin looks relieved, and looks at the stairs with a calculating expression. “Excellent. We wait for our fellows and we’ll get him out of there and back into his cell where he belongs.”
Lanisen exhales and closes his eyes briefly, relieved.
Colin glances over at a servant hovering by the door. “Fetch the Captain and any guards and knights you find. Go!”
Lanisen stands near the steps to the storeroom with a dagger in his left hand, watchful.
Colin stands at Lanisen’s side, a dagger also in his hand. He is faced to the door, having just ordered someone to do something as they disappear through the door before he turns back to face the stairs leading to the storeroom.
Either realizing his error or hearing the two talking, or perhaps both – Darius coming /FLYING/ out of the opening, looking to shoot past the two.
Lanisen takes a step to the side, attempting to get himself into Darius’s path and block with his body.
Colin flinches at the movement bolting from the staircase and on instict raises his knife.
Garian enters the Servant’s Hall at a swift pace, sword already drawn.
Haft is two steps behind him, blade also in hand.
Darius’s eyes catch the flicker of movement behind the two he is nearly ontop of and in that split second he attempts to wheel around, falling over and onto his knees as he does so. Grabbing the first edge of the stair, he scrambles and dives down the stairs.
Lanisen makes a grab for Darius’s shirt when he wheels near enough, trying to slow him down or at least throw him off balance.
Colin, out of fear for accidentally hurting his squire, keeps his knife out of play as he grabs for Darius’s arm, attempting to kick at his legs though everything happens so fast it likely doesn’t do much good.
Garian makes good time across the room, watching Darius’s change of plans.
Haft stays slightly back, in case the man should change direction and break through somehow.
Darius feels the slow just as he is about to dive, letting out a loud grunt and /shoving/ off the ground. Attempting to pull out of Lanisen’s grip and tumble his way down the stairs.
Lanisen tries to maintain his grip a little too long and staggers, windmilling at the top of the steps.
Colin grabs for Lanisen to steady him, ready to bolt down the stairs himself.
Lanisen backs quickly away once he has his balance back.
Garian slows and pauses by Colin’s side. “Sir.”
“Wait,” Haft advises. “Slow down. There’s nowhere for him to go. We can wait for reinforcements. We’ve got the time.”
Colin looks around at the men and nods his agreement, though concern fills his face. “It’s a store room…likely there will be some way he can arm himself.”
Garian says, “What do you advise as our plan of attack Sir?”
Lanisen keeps quiet and out of the way, his eyes fixed on the steps.
Colin replies, “Gather more men. Bring them in here, position them in the ward. If he manages to get past /all/ of us I want those precautions in place. Spread the word. Servants and ladies are to lock themselves in their rooms as a precaution. Send guards to the outer gates: no one leaves this castle until he is back in custody.”
Colin adds, with a slight barking tone, “Find Lord Peridan and get him here.”
Garian bows. “Yes sir.” He turns on his heel and swiftly moves for the door, allowing Haft to remain behind.
Haft looks to Colin. “Do we know what happened? I heard the man on duty was unconscious.”
Colin shakes his head. “I have no idea. I never made it as far as the cells. The guard who alerted me found me in the nobles quarters and as I was going down the stairs, Darius ran out of the dungeon.”
Lanisen keeps watching the steps. His face is very pale, but set.
A loud, crashing noise can be heard coming from the bottom of the stairs.
Colin’s gaze darts to the stairs, his eyes flashing. “Are we sure there isn’t another way out of there?”
Things are beginning to stack up at the entrance below.
Haft asks, “None that I know of…you think he’s malicious enough to destroy the winter stores?”
Colin scowls at the stairs in response.
Lanisen flinches back a step at the noise, but calls out in an urgent voice, “He’s makin’ a barrier, sir!”
Colin draws a breath and runs a hand through his hair. “Where are those /men/?!” As he says this, Guardsman Reuel enters with a handful of men.
Haft lets out a breath.
A number of sacks of salt have already been put at the entrance. A loud grunt and /thud/ can be heard as a barrel of flour is tipped onto its side and rolled in front of the entrance.
Colin looks at the group of men. “Bring me a bow.”
Peridan jogs into the room, his face grim and jaw clenched.
Colin watches one of his fellow knights as he brings a shortbow and a few arrows. Colin places the arrow on the string and steps to the edge of the stairs, drawing the arrow taut and holding. “Darius!” He bellows. “You’ve no chance of escape. Give yourself up or I’ll put an arrow in you.”
Darius darts away from the barrel of flour. Another grunt and thud is heard as he rolls a barrel of suger in place next the flour. Seeing the arrow pointed at him, he dives left and out of sight.
Haft makes a face. “I suppose it would be ignoble /not/ to warn him, he mutters.”
Lanisen watches, his eyes flickering over the barrier Darius has constructed.
Colin doesn’t flinch, every inch of him commanding and braced to do what he must. “I tell you, surrender.”
Darius roars from below. “I will speak only to Commander Peridan! If not, I will take /EVERY/ single arrow in this castle before I surrender!”
Colin’s reply is simple. “It’ll only take one.”
Peridan strides to where his cousin is. His eyes blaze as his most commanding voice booms, “Darius. Surrender /now/!”
Lanisen skitters back immediately to give Peridan room. He presses against the wall to keep out of the way.
Darius moves in fully view of the door very slowly. In one hand is clenched a white substance and in the other he holds a very nasty looking piece of wood. Rage blazes over his expression as he /very/ slowly stalks up the stairs, eyes locked on Sir Colin and his bow.
Colin draws the arrow tighter. “Drop everything, hands in the air where I can see them!” He commands.
Lanisen watches, keeping still and out of the way a little behind Peridan.
Peridan draws his sword and sets the tip down on the stairs. His eyes blaze, “Do it. Now.”
Haft watches, tense and alert.
Darius doesn’t when Colin asks, taking another step up, but as soon as he hears Peridan’s commands he lets the white powder begin to trickle out of his one hand and the wood drop from his other.
Lanisen is rigid and motionless, watching Darius rather like a rabbit watches a snake. He adjusts his grip on the dagger.
Colin’s eyes narrow at Darius’s defiance of him and deference to Peridan. “Up the stairs.” He barks. “Slowly.”
Peridan barks, “Are you armed?”
Darius continues forward, ignoring Colin. “No.” His voice is deep and angry.
Colin waits for Darius to reach the top of the stairs.
Peridan moves the sword casually in his hand.
Colin remains where he is, ready to loose the arrow if Darius pulls anything. “Guards!” He commands. “Take him. Chain him and take him back to his cell.”
Lanisen stays perfectly still, not looking away from Darius.
Peridan does not take his eyes off of him, “Who?”
Darius glares daggers at Peridan, not moving a muscle. “Third time, Commander. ” his voice is low and eyes flashing.
Haft and Reuel approach Darius.
Peridan repeats the question, “Who?
Sir Lyon moves with Haft and Reuel, prepared to back them in case Darius gives any struggle.
Haft sheathes his sword in order to free his hands to seize the man.
Darius never takes his eyes off Peridan. “Lanisen’s ruddy sister.”
Colin does not move. The only change in him is the blood draining from his face and his lips tightening together into a thin line.
Haft moves to grip Darius’ left arm while Reuel takes the right.
Lanisen’s mouth opens slightly, and his face flickers with incomprehension. He shakes his head a little in confused denial.
Lanisen mumbles, “I just, I just saw her, she was goin’ riding, not an hour ago, she’s not even–“”, to Colin.
Lanisen mumbles “… … … just saw her, she … … riding, … an … ago, she’s … even–“”, to Colin.
Peridan closes his eyes, looking almost pained for a brief second. When he opens his eyes, they are hard and a bit distant. He turns to a guard, “Alert Captain Garian. Check the stables for a missing horse. I fear Miss Cassandra has already run. I want her arrested.”
Once the guards have a hold of Darius, Colin lowers his bow. Turning to another of the knights, he begins to give orders, then looks at Peridan with horror. “What?”
Haft’s eyes widen as understanding catches up, but he maintains his grip.
Darius doesn’t resist the grip, his mouth claming shut.
Lanisen shakes his head again, fear and horror in his face. “He’s not, he’s, he’s /lyin’/, she ain’t even– she’s not in the castle, she was goin’ riding, I /saw/ her! Sir–” He turns to Colin in appeal.
Colin shakes his head, stunned. He orders the guards, “Two guards stationed outside his cell from now on at all times. Take him away.” At Lanisen’s pleas, he looks at his squire with pain in his eyes. “When you find Cass, bring her to me.” he says.
Colin puts a hand on Lanisen’s arm.
Colin mumbles “I know he’s lying… we’ll get this sorted.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles “… … … lying… … get this sorted.”, to Lanisen.
Darius snorts, following the guard’s lead.
Peridan strides from the room, not looking behind him. He looks like the weight of the world is crashing down on his shoulders.
Lanisen looks a little relieved, but not very. He gives Colin a searching look and nods.
Colin watches them take away his foe and climbs down the steps a ways and snatches up the piece of wood that the man had.
Lanisen watches the room empty, not moving from his place.
Colin comes back up the stairs, the wood in his hand. He looks to Lanisen and quietly moves to his side, saying something.
Colin mumbles “Brilliant job back there, for what it’s worth.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles “… … … … for what … …”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen swallows and shifts. He glances at Colin with eyes gone dark with fear. “I need to find Cass,” he says, and begins for the door.
Colin moves with him, staying by his side.
Inner Ward of Anvard
Dar states, “Where were the guards who were to be keeping watch over him? They will have much to answer to. He did not open his own cell, clearly.” He blinks at Peridan. “I have not set eyes on her today. I questioned her yesterday and she was less than honest. Why do you ask?”
Garian frowns, “She is gone. She attacked Healer Kairyn. Lady Avery will secure the healer and Miss Dalia in her quarters shortly. But Miss Cassandra has fled.”
Peridan sighs as Garian speaks, “Then we need to put out a manhunt. Darius claims that she is the one who opened the door.”
Dar’s expression becomes as severe as possible, which, for him, is saying a great deal. “This information is certain? Then we must hasten after her. Unless she stole a horse, she will not have gone far. She will explain herself, and then she will suffer the just consequences–”
Garian rubs his forehead. “They’d like to bring Miss Maire with them.” It takes a moment for Peridan’s words to sink in. He sighs heavily. “By the Mane…”
Lanisen slips out of the kitchen door. His eyes flit over the faces of the small crowd that has gathered, searching.
Peridan looks at Dar, “I do not know but if she has fled, we must catch her.”
Avery glances at the men. She quickly grabs a bucket by the well and starts to fill it with clean water.
Dar inclines his head. “Some among us must conduct a thorough search here, in case she has concealed herself. Now that the criminal Darius is seen to, he must be secured as well. Set a guard at the as well, in case she was not acting alone, if indeed she is behind this fiasco. Captain Garian, how many of your men can be spared? The rest of us must to horse before any more time passes–”
Kairyn stays close to Lady Avery’s side, still holding Dalia’s ruined handkerchief. Her face is bloody, a lip split and blood still coming a bit from her nose. A lot of blood has dripped onto her dress and she looks a bit peaky and pale.
Garian says, “Guardsman Owin and his contingent.” He motions to the group which served as the second line. “If Sir Colin is not longer in need of Guardsman Reuel, his men may attend to this as well. I think Guardsman Haft and Perth can see to things here.”
Garian says, “I do believe Miss Dalia said Miss Cassandra may have fled.”
Dalia stands close to Kairyn a hand on her shoulder, standing close by to steady her,
Peridan nods to Dar’s words. He motions, “Saddle Adair, I will ride out.”
Lanisen’s eyes rest on Kairyn for a moment, half-listening to the Steward and the guards. He draws a quick, deep breath and turns toward the gate, walking quickly.
Avery finishes filling the bucket and quickly motions for Dalia and Kairyn to go ahead of her.
Kairyn obeys silently.
Dar nods. “That will serve. See to it, Captain. Lord Peridan, if you will ask that Celeres be saddled as well, I would be grateful.” He catches Lanisen out of the corner of his eye. “Squire Lanisen, to me–”
Colin is at Lanisen’s side. At Lord Dar’s order he holds up a hand. “Squire Lanisen is already tasking, Lord Dar. Forgive us.”
Lanisen stiffens and slows unwillingly, turning back. He hesitates, looking between the Steward and Sir Colin. His face is very pale.
Dar inclines his head. “You have questioned him in this matter, then?”
Colin does not mince words, not wanting to waste any more time. “I’ve got this. Please, sir. Ride with the others and do not let us delay you.”
Peridan nods at Lord Dar before turning to see Colin and Lanisen. Again, he looks briefly pained before steeling his face again. He motions to Lord Dar, “Sir, let us depart. Hopefully, she could not have gotten far.”
Dar says, his tone unyielding as he addresses Lanisen, “Your sister has already lied to me. It appears that she has fled under circumstances which are at best, suspicious. If she is innocent, then the best way for you to assist her is to tell Sir Colin everything you know and assist us in finding her. If she is not, then again, the truth will be her best ally. Think on it–” He turns to Peridan. “Very well. We ride at once.”
Colin steps between Lanisen and Lord Dar. “You are needed elsewhere, Sir. Please. We will discuss this later.” His eyes plead with the man, growing relieved when he turns to Peridan.
Peridan nods once. He pauses before glancing down at his arm. He yanks the sling off, letting out a small grimace of pain as his wrist isn’t completely healed. He begins to stride towards the stable.
Lanisen quails, shaking his head in a slight pleading motion, at a complete loss. He swallows and looks at Colin again.
Colin motions for Lanisen to follow him and they split off from the group preparing for a manhunt.
Colin mumbles “Hurry.”, to Lanisen.
Colin mumbles something incomprehensible to Lanisen.
Lanisen does so as quickly as his bad leg will permit him, breaking into an uneven jog.
Colin matches him uneven step for uneven step.
Garian gives some orders to Perth and summons his men to aid in the man–or in this case, woman–hunt.
Haft emerges from the staff quarters, heading toward Garian.
Lanisen follows, near tears. He circles in place, looking up and down the alley desperately. “Cass?” he calls, and it’s half a sob.
Colin limps for Copper’s stall. “Cass?”
Lanisen’s hands come up to the sides of his head, and he draws several shuddering breaths.
Colin stares into the empty stall and rakes a hand through his hair, choking out quiet words.
Colin mumbles “… … what … … …”, to Colin.
Lanisen calls again, shakily, “Cassie?” He turns once more, then makes for the doorway with purposeful strides.
Colin turns to follow Lanisen, his face tinged with gray.
Before the Gates of Anvard
A flat green space at the foot of the mountains opens here, sheltered by the slopes of the northern mountains. Stormness Head looms high to the northeast, its peak nearly always in clouds, and the double-headed peak of Mount Pire rises over the trees to the northwest. A steep ridge like the side of a bowl curves around from the northwest to the east, and the ground descends into dense forest to the south.
At the center of the clear area is a small turreted castle, facing east. Its weathered walls are built of large blocks of red granite that glitter faintly in the sunlight, and elegantly functional ironwork graces the front gates and portcullis. A stone cobbled road wide enough to easily facilitate the passage of carts and carriages crosses over the broad green lawns from the castle gates, disappearing into the trees to the east.
Lanisen pushes past the guards and out the gate. He stares out into the rain.
Colin winces as he jolts his knee with a wrong step, slipping a little. He stands at Lanisen’s side, squinting into the darkness.
Lanisen shuts his eyes and trembles, hunched slightly. He shakes his head in denial, crossing his arms over his gut, and draws one awful, wheezing sob of a breath.
Colin’s hand goes to his eyes and he turns to look at Lanisen, his eyes utterly broken. “Lion…Lanny. I’m so sorry.”
Lanisen breathes, pulling several more deliberate breaths. He shakes his head again, lost. “What’s going to happen, what’s going to happen?”
Colin quietly rubs his eyes, not bothering to hide the few tears that begin to stream. “I don’t know… I’ll do everything I can to sort it… to protect her, if I can.” He falls silent, very troubled.
Lanisen turns back toward the gate and gets quickly to the side to allow a small company of guards and horses to pass, the first search party. He watches them disappear down the road into the trees, and he crumples into silent, wretched sobs.
Colin reaches for Lanisen, putting a hand on his back to support him silently, as there are no words of comfort he can offer.
Lanisen holds out for a minute, then he just crashes into Colin in a desperate sort of hug. “I’m sorry, please, I’m so sorry–”
Lanisen mumbles “I didn’t know, I didn’t know…”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “… didn’t know, … didn’t know…”, to Lanisen.
Colin wraps his arms tightly around his friend, supporting him. “Shh, shh. It’s gonna be okay… we’re gonna figure this out. You didn’t know… it’s not your fault, Lanny. It’s not your fault.”
Lanisen is too hurt and too blindsided to draw away or do anything else.
Colin wipes rainwater from dripping into his eyes. “Come on… let’s go inside. We’ll wait it out in there.”
Lanisen mumbles, numb and beginning to be chilled, “She’s my sister, I oughta be out there…”
Colin keeps his arm around Lanisen and guides him inside. “C’mon… we’ll find her. We will. They’re looking for her. You need to be ready for when she gets back, yeah? You can’t stay out here…you’ll catch sick and then we’ll have another problem on our hands.”
Lanisen doesn’t resist much. By the distant, horrified look on his face, he’s already started to make some connections.
Colin keeps a good hold on him and guides him inside through the gates and the wards.
You stand on the second story of a circular tower. In the center of the chamber is a large stone pillar, around which stairs are placed, rising from the Staff Quarters below, and continuing upward to the Tower Garden. The Chancellor’s Suite sits to the southeast, and to the south are several chambers for guests. All around the rest of the perimeter are rooms assigned to the nobility of Archenland to use on their visits to Anvard.
Colin gimps up the stairs with Lanisen in tow, his hair and clothes soaked from the rain.
Lanisen seems to have descended into a sort of numb haze. His eyes are distant, and he takes a while to realize where they are. He blinks, and focuses, and looks at Colin in confusion.
Colin guides Lanisen into his room, stopping a servant first to bring wine and soup from Cook. “Come on… Dar won’t look for you here with me.”
Lanisen rouses a little at this, glancing around the tower in fearful apprehension. “He thinks–”
Colin shakes his head. “He doesn’t think anything… just thinks you might have had some answers to help. Let me handle him.”
Lanisen takes a breath and nods. He rubs his forehead with the heel of his hand and lets himself be guided.
Colin leads him into his chambers and firmly shuts the door.
Colin leads Lanisen to a chair, then goes to his wardrobe and pulls out plain dry tunics, bringing one to Lanisen.
Lanisen sits down without protest, weary and red-eyed. He doesn’t seem to realize until Colin hands him a shirt how upside-down and back-to-front the situation is. He stirs, glancing around the suite in consternation.
Colin takes off his soaked shirt in one swift motion and tosses it into a corner, putting on the dry one. He motions for Lanisen to do the same. He then pulls a blanket off the bed and brings it over.
Lanisen takes a moment, but finally seems to decide to just go with it. He peels off his damp shirt, shivering and goose-fleshed, hunched self-consciously to hide his scars, and quickly squirms into the dry one, which is rather too large for him.
Colin wraps the blanket around Lanny’s shoulders to help ward off the chill he’s taken. There’s a knock at the door and the servant has returned with tea, soup and wine to warm them. He accepts the tray and brings it to the table, limping more on his leg than he has been of late. He sets the tray down and automatically tests everything as if it is a normal occurrence now. “Here now. Let’s get you warmed up.” He directs the servant to the fireplace to build up the fire again before he leaves.
Lanisen huddles into the blanket. His eyes follow everything, but he doesn’t seem to make note of much. He looks exhausted.
Colin brings Lanisen tea that smells like cinnamon. Then, he drags a chair over to sit beside him, reaching for a goblet of the wine. He sighs quietly and stares at the dancing flames in the fireplace.
Lanisen cups his hands around the tea, but doesn’t drink. His shivers begin to still in the warming room.
Colin turns the goblet round and round in his hand. “She never said anything to you?” he breaks the silence.
Lanisen doesn’t respond for a long time, but just when it begins to look like he hasn’t heard the question at all, he gives his head the smallest shake.
Colin’s eyes have been on him the whole time, and he accepts this with a silent nod of his own. Nothing further is said.
Lanisen watches the fire with his swollen eyes. He makes no move to get up or shift position, and only sits with the cooling tea in his hands.
Colin eventually brings the wine goblet to his lips and quietly drains it. He sits at Lanisen’s side the rest of the night as the two wait for news of any kind while the rains pour from the skies.