Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

Sareen ambles slowly through the ward, eyeing the decorations.

Lanisen makes his way out of the kennels, closing and latching the door securely behind him. He is bundled against the chill in so many layers that he looks almost stocky, but by the way his shoulders hunch up at the cold it’s not quite enough.

Sareen glances to the side as Lanisen enters the ward. “Hey! You, Lanisen!” she calls, not bothering to be discreet or head his way.

Lanisen raises his head, glancing about to see who might be calling him. He dips his head to Sareen and begins to cross toward her. “Afternoon, Mistress.”

Sareen pokes a finger at him accusingly. “You haven’t been up to see me lately.”

Lanisen’s face goes slack and startled, and quickly guilty after that. “I’m– sorry…”

Sareen says, “I thought you were gonna come and take flowers to your sister. There’s still winter blooms in the greenhouses, you know.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, I– I have, thank you very much. She likes ’em a lot.”

Sareen arches a brow. “You have? But not staying long enough to say ‘good day’?”

Lanisen turns red and shifts in place. “I– sorry, you seemed, I didn’t want to, to interrupt…”

Sareen says, “I thrive on interruption, lad. Makes life tolerable at my age.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.”

Sareen says, “Plants are very interesting, you understand, but they’re not very good conversationalists.”

Lanisen says, “I could, I could see how that would be.”

Sareen gestures toward the kennel. “What about the hounds? They much for talk?”

Lanisen rubs the back of his neck, turning to glance toward the door. “They have their moments, I s’pose.”

Sareen says, “But you still like human company, I imagine.”

Lanisen says, “I– um, yes, ma’am, I guess so.”

Sareen eyes the garlands adorning the ward. “You help put these up? They seem to be overrunning the castle like I forgot my shears.”

Lanisen says, “Not, not these ones, ma’am.”

Sareen asks, “Oh. Elsewhere?”

Lanisen says, “There’s, um, in the servants’ hall, I sort of helped put those up. Not very much, though. It was Haft mostly.”

Sareen asks, “Haft? The one who only smiles when he thinks no one’s looking?”

Lanisen says, “I– um, he’s got a beard?”

Sareen says, “Lots of men have beards. The king’s got a beard.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t know, it’s, maybe he’s the one you’re thinkin’ of. He’s a guard.”

Sareen says, “Yeah, probably. Doesn’t talk much, wears a purple scarf under his cloak. Short brown hair.”

Lanisen pauses. “I never noticed any purple scarf.”

Sareen shrugs. “I might be wrong. Easy to miss, anyway. The guards wear purple on duty, after all.”

Lanisen nods politely. His teeth begin to chatter.

Sareen notices this. “You need more meat on your bones. You eating enough?”

Lanisen says, “Y-y-yes, ma’am, thanks.”

Sareen says, “Hmm, well, better get inside.” She pulls her own mantle closer and starts toward the inner gatehouse.

Lanisen nods gratefully, beginning to move that direction as well. “Afternoon, ma’am.”

Sareen says, “Good afternoon, Lanisen.”

Lanisen says, right before they part ways, “I’ll, I’ll interrupt, next time.”

Sareen nods and continues on her way.


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