Castle Anvard

Myles has pulled a chair up close to the fire and is sitting with his hound–a mixed-breed dog of middling age–dozing at his feet. He has a small block of wood and a carving knife in his hands and is whittling away.

Megren opens the door carefully, her knee lifted against any possible errant dogs.

Myles glances up in the door’s direction when it opens.

Megren scolds an eager dog off of her and gets all the way inside to stop her boots off before letting the dog sniff at her hand. “Oh! Afternoon, Sir,” she says, bowing. “Was expecting Lanisen.”

Myles peers down at himself and scratches his head. “No fooling you, is there?” He looks back up at her and adds, “Afternoon.”

Megren lifts her shoulders, unperturbed. “How’s Banter?”

Lanisen comes down the stairs from the loft, the wooden chime above the door clanking softly as he opens it. He has the bleary, slightly guilty look of somebody who has just been sleeping when he didn’t mean to be, and his hair is still all a muss. He pokes his head out into the main room.

Myles says, “Quiet today. Not one quarrel to be had.”

Megren says, “Sounds like some kind of record.” She looks up at the loft door and grins. “Morning.”

Myles looks where she does. “Aha!”

Lanisen pauses briefly still inside the door to locate the source of the second voice, then steps out, a little sheepish, straightening his shirt self-consciously. “Hey.” He sounds like gravel.

Megren reaches into her gambeson and pulls out a small bag of caramels and a few slightly squashed rolls, all of which she sets on the table. “Good thing I brought extra.”

Myles turns the wood block absently. “Planning for a party, were you?”

Lanisen wanders over to investigate in his stocking feet, moving a little stiffly and rubbing his shoulder. “Where’d these come from?”

Megren says, “I had Ren teach me the caramels. Though, I don’t think I could do them on my own.”

Myles looks closer, interested. “Oh-ho, you /made/ them!”

Lanisen looks impressed. “Really?”

Megren says, “Well, like I said, it was mostly Ren…”

Myles asks, “Recruiting people to help get ready for Yule, are they?”

Lanisen reaches for the bag, glancing at Megren. “Can I…?”

Megren says, “Brought them for you didn’t I?” She dips her head to Myles. “You, too, like I said, there’s extra.”

Lanisen grins at this and reaches in delicately to take a single caramel. He shuffles over to the hearth, unwrapping it as he goes.

Megren selects one for herself and troops over to sit near him on the hearth.

Myles grins and sets his knife and carving on the table, reaching into the bag after them. “So, do extra treats turn up here often? Because here I’ve been hanging around the mess for the last fifteen years.”

Lanisen scoots over to make room for her. He glances at Myles with an odd, covert sort of hesitation, then puts his clay stone in the embers to heat before returning his attention to the caramel.

Megren says, “Pretty sure the kitchen is the place to go. — Is there water in the kettle?” This last is to Lanisen.

Lanisen reaches over to check. It makes a satisfying sloshy noise.

Megren picks it up to set it on the hearth.

Myles snorts around his caramel. “Treats in the kitchen? /That/ doesn’t sound like news.”

Lanisen takes his time unwrapping his caramel, then takes a small nibble off one corner. He closes his eyes blissfully.

Megren looks delighted by this reaction.

Lanisen nods several times and makes a wordless noise of deep appreciation.

Myles gets distracted from further conversation when the caramel gets stuck to his teeth.

Megren covers her mouth to keep from letting Sir Myles see her expression.

Lanisen ducks his head to hide a grin at Myles’s difficulty, too shy yet to actually laugh at the man. For his own part, he avoids the same fate by taking small bites and rolling them around in his mouth until they melt, making the candy last as long as possible.

Myles doesn’t look very troubled by his predicament. He leans back and stretches his legs out as he sucks on the caramel.

Megren says, “The waterfall’s still frozen.”

Lanisen says, “‘S been pretty cold.”

Myles suggests, muffledly, “Wartched warterfall newver melts?”

Megren sucks in both her lips, but her laugh comes out in a snort anyway.

Myles grins, folding his hands behind his head. “Whart? ‘S good.”

Lanisen grins again, glancing between them. He finishes his caramel and folds the waxed paper in neat quarters.

Megren checks the kettle. “Got any tea?”

Lanisen says, “Um, it’s–” He gestures at the cupboard and gets up to go fetch it, stepping wincingly on his left leg. “Just, just mint, that all right?”

Megren lets him go to get it, since he’s already done the work of getting up. “Sure, that’s good.”

Myles crosses his legs at the ankles, looking down to be sure he won’t kick Banter when he does so.

Lanisen has to search a little to find the packet, but he returns a moment later with it in hand and offers it to Megren.

Megren sets the tea to brewing.

Myles clears his teeth a little. “Have you got anything much planned for this week?”

Lanisen settles back on the hearth next to Megren, stretching out his leg in front of him. He glances at Myles, and then to Meg.

Megren hms. “Preparations for the festival mostly, besides the usual that is.”

Myles nods. “Seems to be the same for most people.”

Megren asks, “You too, then?”

Lanisen glances speculatively at the bag of caramels still on the table.

Megren smacks him lightly in a gesture to go.

Myles tilts his head in a shrug. “Might ride out past town and check on a few people if the roads aren’t too muddy.” He grabs the bag and holds it out toward Lanisen. “Make sure they’re all settled before the festival starts up.”

Lanisen reaches out to take the bag, murmuring thanks to both of them. He takes another caramel, then turns toward Megren with a question-heavy hesitation.

Megren lifts her brows.

Lanisen says, “Um. Sorry. D’you mind if I take one to Cass?”

Megren exclaims, “Oh!” She looks at Sir Myles. “Oh, sure, I don’t mind.”

Myles catches Megren’s look and nods as well.

Lanisen watches the exchange of looks alertly. He nods after a small pause and begins to get to his feet, pocketing one of the caramels.

Megren says, “Bring her a few.”

Myles nods again. “One might get stuck to her teeth.”

Lanisen glances at each of them with a quick grin. “Can’t be havin’ that.” He drops a couple more in his pocket and adds, “Thanks.” He’s nearly to the door before he realizes he’s still in his socks.

Megren covers her mouth again and goes to fetch is boots for him.

Lanisen finds one where it’s supposed to be and jams his foot into it, glancing around a little hopelessly for the other, which is missing.

Myles grins at the fire before swiveling toward the table and getting to his feet. “Got a thief on the loose, have we?”

Megren tries to look in one of the pens and gets piled on.

Lanisen says wryly, “Always.” He turns in place, a little lopsided with one boot but not the other, and says, “Oh.” It’s half hidden behind the door to the loft, looking slightly chewed. He limps across the room to fetch it, laces it up, and says, “All right.”

Megren struggles to free herself from the dogs.

Myles peers across the room at Megren. “All right in there?” he calls.

Megren makes a vague noise that sounds something like a discouraged “yes”.

Lanisen straightens from lacing his boot. “Need help?” he calls.

Megren half steps, half tumbles out of the pen. “I’m good,” she calls back.

Myles makes an ack noise and lunges to hold back Banter, who is now very much awake, from joining the fray. This doesn’t stop her from barking, however.

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth at her graceful withdrawal, his eyes glinting with mirth.

Megren straightens. “I’m good,” she says again.

Lanisen says, “Mm-hmm, all right.”

Myles mutters at his loud hound and scolds, “Banter! That’s all!”

Megren dusts herself off and fetches cups for tea. “You’re going out for a bit, I guess?”

Lanisen says, watching Myles and Banter, “Yeah, if you’re all right without me.”

Megren asks, “Sure. Sir? Tea?”

Myles gives Banter an appeasing pat as she quiets, mostly. To Megren he replies, “I’ll have a cup.”

Megren nods, and takes down two.

Lanisen hesitates a moment until the hounds in the pen have calmed down as well, then makes his way back toward the door, calling, “Thanks,” over his shoulder again.

Megren moves back to the table to pour the tea. “See you later?”

Myles sits again, patting his leg to call Banter to his side.

Lanisen says, opening the door and pausing before he goes, “Yeah, I’ll be back in a bit, prob’ly.”

Megren passes Sir Myles his cup and sits down with her own. “All right.”

Myles says, “Afternoon.”

Lanisen waves and bows toward Myles, then slips out the door and latches it behind him.

Megren takes a sip of her tea and sighs contentedly.


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