lunch


Outer Ward
Castle Anvard


Sten is wandering about the stalls this mid-afternoon, admiring the various wares. He’s dressed warmly; despite the bright sun, it’s quite chill. He doesn’t seem to be interested in buying anything, though he has a good word for nearly everything he comes across.

Lanisen leaves the kennels, looping a scarf around his neck. He jams his hands into his pockets and angles his path toward the food stalls. He dips his head to people as he passes and murmurs his good-afternoons.

Sten is just starting to close in towards those stalls himself, though he’s briefly delayed by an elderly woman who is far too busy debating the price of some very late apples to notice a nobleman trying to get by.

Lanisen slows and stops, caught up in the same bottleneck. When he realizes who he’s sharing traffic-jam space with, he quickly steps to the side and bows.

Sten’s attention is drawn by the bow, and he smiles. “Ah, Lanisen! So good to see you, my friend.”

Lanisen offers a quick smile and dips his head again, still mildly wary. “Afternoon, my lord.”

Sten glances towards the roadblock, whom Lanisen might recognize as the one that enjoys demanding money back for supposed bad produce. “Off to join the haggling?”

Lanisen says, “Oh,” and laughs, glancing at the rather fierce expression on the vendor’s face. “I wouldn’t dare, my lord.”

Sten laughs again, and starts edging around the woman as she pounds her cane. “I don’t blame you, the battleground seems merciless!”

Lanisen trails after him, giving the woman a cautious berth. “More’n I’m up for,” he agrees.

Sten stretches as they get past her. “Come for lunch then, my friend?”

Lanisen says, “Uh– yes, my lord, there’s, um– Mistress Reta makes real good meat pies.”

Sten’s eyebrows lift. “Does she? Which one is Mistress Reta?”

Lanisen says, “Um.” He cranes his neck to look ahead. “Ahh, that one, next to the scribe. Right past the pretzels.”

Sten looks that direction and nods. “Ahh, I see! My thanks, it may have taken me quite a while to find her myself.”

Lanisen agrees, “She’s a little bit out of the way. I bet you’d’ve found her anyway, though.”

Sten strolls towards the pie-seller, leaving plenty of space for Lanisen to walk next to him, if he wanted. “Eventually. But you’ve saved me from more mediocre lunches along the way! Though of course, there are few of those I’m sure,” he says reassuringly towards a cook selling stew.

Lanisen glances at him sidelong with a sort of uncertain suspicion, as if to make sure Sten isn’t making fun, then smiles again. “Glad to be of service, sir.”

Sten seems utterly unconcerned with the suspicion, if he even notices.

Lanisen, on reaching the stall, hangs back to let Sten make his purchase first.

Sten had just folded his hands behind his back to watch Lanisen make his purchase when all of a sudden it’s apparently his turn. He blinks several times before leaning down to examine the pies, casting an almost desperate look back towards Lanisen at the choices offered. “Ah, um, what would you suggest, my dear woman?” he asks Reta after a moment of scanning.

Lanisen offers when Sten looks to him, “The bird and thyme ones are my favorite, if–” He glances at Reta. “If you’ve got those yet?”

Sten looks hopefully at Reta.

Reta serves one up straightaway, a hold-in-your-hand sort of meal, generously sized and still warm from the oven. “You’ll be havin’ one too, I imagine,” she says to Lanisen, and has set it beside the first before he has answered.

Sten lays down the coin for both and picks his up, inhaling the scent. “Mmm, it smells a masterpiece, my dear!”

Lanisen does not notice, and sets his coin beside Sten’s as he picks up his pie with a murmur of thanks for Reta.

Sten looks at the coin, then mouths, “For next time,” at Reta. Whether she understood or not, he takes a large bite of his pie. “Mmmm!”

Lanisen watches a little apprehensively to see what Sten thinks of his pie. He seems pleased and relieved with the response and gives the lord a companionable grin before he takes a bite of his own pie.

Sten waves the pie appreciatively at Reta before returning to his meal. “You have good taste, Lanisen!”

Lanisen swallows and says, “‘M glad you like it, sir.”

Sten asks, “I hope you and the dogs have gotten along this morning?”

Lanisen glances at him and says with a small wry smile, “So far.” He breaks off a piece of crust to eat and elaborates, “They’re coursin’ today, and with the rain last night they’re sure to come back muddy.”

Sten asks, “Ahh, that’s right, I had heard there were plans to ride today. You have quite the evening laid out for you. How many of you work the kennels?”

Lanisen says, “Just me and Kirb, with Master Danall. There’s a couple others from the town who fill in if Kirb’s busy, or if Sir Colin– if–” He loses momentum there and comes to an uncertain stop. “If, if I’m away.”

Sten nods to this. “Is it ever difficult, to balance the kennels and the squireship?”

Lanisen says, “Um–” He doesn’t look at Sten, and his voice is lower. “It’s– no, sir.”

Sten nods again, gaze unfocused on his pie. When he speaks, however, his voice is only a bit less jovial than usual. “That is good; it sounds as though you have plenty to fill your time.”

Lanisen says, “I try to stay busy, sir.”

Sten says, “A fine goal… as long as there is time left for tea and friends.”

Lanisen grins faintly, looking down at what is left of his pie. “Yes, sir.”

Sten finishes off his pie. “Ahh. Delicious. And the perfect time of year for meat pies, as well.”

Lanisen is making his last. “Is there a bad time for ’em?” he wonders.

Sten says, “A bad time? No, never. But there is something /particularly/ satisfying when it’s brisk and the pies are fresh.”

Lanisen agrees, “That’s true enough.”

Sten dusts off his hands. “Now, I must be back to the castle. Thank you again for showing me lunch!”

Lanisen quickly bows, stepping back. “Thank you for letting me join you, sir.”

Sten dismisses that with a wave. “It is I who intruded. But no matter. Good luck to you with the hounds this evening!”

Lanisen says again, “Thank you, sir. I’ll prob’ly need it.”

Sten strolls off towards the inner gate.

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