culture clash

Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

Lanisen is just leaving the kennel at around lunchtime. He pauses outside the door, considering the markets, then heads toward the pretzel stall.

Sehsis wanders into the market, he walks over to one of the stall keepers- a baker of some sort- and hands them a box, accepting payment in turn for the order. He then makes his way across the ward, just generally browsing.

Lanisen queues up behind a portly gentleman at the pretzel stand, waiting quietly for him to finish his conversation with the vendor. He pulls out his coinpouch and counts out the correct amount while he waits.

Sehsis pauses by the pretzel stand, not standing in the queue as he’s not sure if he really wants one or not.

Lanisen pockets his coinpouch, glancing at Sehsis as he nears. He looks away again quickly, studying the ground.

Sehsis gives him a nod in greeting, but otherwise says nothing.

Lanisen returns the nod, but seems uncomfortable. He stands awkwardly, clutching the coin, and waits for the man in front of him to wrap up and move on.

Enter Nasrin, a cascade of colours draped around her, with the look of one who isn’t entirely familiar with her surroundings but is determined not to let that stop her.

Lanisen is standing at a pretzel stand, near Sehsis but not speaking or looking at him.
Sehsis moves on from the stand, the awkwardness is too much for him

Sehsis makes his way out of the ward, unfortunately missing Nasrin by sheer dint of not paying attention much.

Nasrin spots Sehsis and immediately comes to a stop. Shaking her head, she walks on attempting to avoid his gaze and gives Lanisen a nod in greeting. “Hi there.”

Lanisen’s shoulders untense a little as Sehsis moves on, but he starts as Nasrin joins him. “Hi,” he answers, rocking back on one foot. He seems off-centered and uncomfortable, and can’t look her in the eye for very long.

Nasrin glancing over to the departing Sehsis, she turns back to him and raises an eyebrow. “Is everything okay? Did he do something?”

Lanisen says, “I– no, no, everything’s… he didn’t, he didn’t.”

Nasrin peers at him. “Are you sure? What’s the matter then?”

Lanisen rubs his elbow and darts another quick, skittering glance at her face. He seems reluctant to speak. “Is it– it’s only, I– I heard…”

Nasrin looks at him concerned, a small frown on her face. “You heard what…?”

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth, his forehead wrinkling and his eyes fixed on the ground. “He– I heard he deals in, in people. When he’s at home. Is that, is it true?” He does look at her at this, watching her reaction hopefully.

Nasrin avoids eye contact with him for a brief moment, taking a moment to pause. She finally says, “He trades in some goods here, and some different goods back home.”

Lanisen doesn’t say anything for a moment. “I didn’t, I didn’t know.”

Nasrin nods. “It’s not against the law like it is here…” She studies him for a moment. “How did you find out?”

Lanisen says, “Somebody said– He told my friend, so I– I heard that way.”

Nasrin says, “Yes, that’s what he mostly trades in back home. I didn’t even know it was outlawed here until a few days ago myself.”

Lanisen draws in a breath at this. He glances at her again, half-searching, and then averts his eyes.

Nasrin looks over at him, peering closer. “Hey, hey — you don’t have to worry about him doing anything to you!” She gives him a reassuring smile.

Lanisen looks puzzled, and then disbelieving. “That… hadn’t occurred to me,” he says after a small pause.

Nasrin ahs and shakes her head. “Nevermind, then. This, this trading is not really something he’ll ever bring up if you don’t talk about it with him.”

Lanisen lets out a small breath through his nose. “I been runnin’ into him off and on for a couple years, now, so I reckon that’s true.”

Nasrin nods. “See? It took you so long to even find out, so I doubt he’ll suddenly decide to start bringing it up. Just…” She pauses, trying to think of words. “Don’t think about it.”

Lanisen gives her an incomprehending look. “Don’t /think/ about it?”

Nasrin asks, “It isn’t worth thinking about. Why worry yourself over it?”

Lanisen doesn’t answer right away. He moistens his lips and raises his eyebrows, looking at his feet, and asks, “You’re– you’re all right with it, then, I guess?”

Nasrin tilts her head, as though trying to look him in the eye as difficult as that may be. “I’ve never had any reason to question it before. It’s always seemed natural to me.”

Lanisen does look at her at this, hopeful and searching again. He seems to want to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Nasrin nods. “It’s something you grew up with back at home. Nothing bad was ever said about it, it was always just there.”

Lanisen asks, “And… now?”

Nasrin pauses, before saying, “And now I’ve learned it isn’t very accepted in the north.”

Lanisen’s face falls slightly. He nods and looks away.

Nasrin stares at him, almost apologetically, before sighing.

Lanisen gestures vaguely at the pretzel stand and says, “I was just about to…”

Nasrin nods, before getting an idea and feeling around for a small pouch. “Here, would you like me to pay?”

Lanisen says quickly, “No, please, it’s– it’s fine.”

Nasrin says, “I’m more than happy to, Lanisen.”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s, I’ve already–” He shows a coin in his hand.

Nasrin relents and allows him to make the purchase, taking a quick look around at the other stalls set up as he does.

Lanisen hesitates, then turns away. He pauses again there, still troubled, and finally offers, “Join me, if you want?”

Nasrin turns back towards him and nods. “Yes! Yes, of course.” She makes her own purchase, before following after him.

Lanisen hesitates again, uncertain, then moves in the direction of the kennel. He doesn’t seem to know what to say.

Nasrin offers, “How have the dogs been then? Have they been missing me already?”

Lanisen says, “Oh, most likely.” He turns over a crate outside the door for a seat, glancing at her and her bright skirt a little uncertainly.

Nasrin chuckles and takes a seat next to him. “It’s a lovely colour, isn’t it? I decided red was my colour today.”

Lanisen brushes off the crate hastily before she sits. He turns slightly red himself, but agrees, “It’s very nice.” He flips over another crate and sits across from her.

Nasrin says, “The fashion up here is quite different but obviously that’s to be expected… It’s chillier, of course.”

Lanisen says, “S’pose it would be.” He breaks off a bit of his pretzel, though he doesn’t seem to have much appetite. “Least it’s… gettin’ on toward summer.”

Nasrin hums in agreement, trying a piece of her own pretzel – but she doesn’t really seem to share much enthusiasm either.

Lanisen darts another glance at her. “So is it– D’you like Archenland all right, other than, than the cold?” he asks after another small pause.

Nasrin hmms and nods after a moment’s thought. “Yes. It can be quite cold and the cities aren’t so big, but that’s okay. It’s very quaint, the sights are lovely, and the people have been fun to meet.”

Lanisen lifts one side of his mouth at this. “Quaint, huh.”

Nasrin says, “I’m sure you might say the same if you were to ever visit one of our towns, down south.”

Lanisen asks, “What made you want to come?”

Nasrin asks, “My parents thought it would be good for me to become more worldly, and since my uncle often stays here, why not use the opportunity?”

Lanisen tips his head at this. “Your parents?”

Nasrin nods. “Yes, I was still living with them before I came up north.”

Lanisen says, “No, I mean– did you want to come?”

Nasrin looks thoughtful at this for a brief second, but nevertheless nods. “I wouldn’t have travelled such a long distance if I didn’t.”

Lanisen says, “I s’pose.”

Nasrin offers him a smile and bites into her pretzel.

Lanisen breaks off another piece of his own, chewing thoughtfully and watching the people in the market.

Nasrin eventually finishes her pretzel and looks on over at Lanisen. “Something on your mind there?”

Lanisen says, “Oh,” and shrugs. “Sorry, it’s– no, sorry.”

Nasrin shakes her head. “No, no, it’s all right.”

Lanisen is sitting outside the kennel on a crate, eating a pretzel, sitting across from Nasrin. He looks a little distant.

Megren exits the inner ward through the gate and beelines toward the kennels — or, as much as anyone with a propensity toward greeting anyone they see can beeline in the crowded outer ward. … Okay, maybe she butterflylines.

Nasrin looks over to Lanisen offering a small smile. “Well, it’s been lovely seeing you as always. I’ll see you around!” She bids him a wave farewell and stands up, narrowly avoiding a rushing Megren as she departs.

Lanisen gets up as Nasrin goes, murmuring his good-afternoons. He rubs the back of his neck and sits back down, putting his elbows on his knees.

Megren misses seeing Nasrin and hurries up to plop unceremoniously next to Lanisen, jostling him for room.

Lanisen startles and looks at her with mild alarm. “So where’s the fire?”

Megren elbows him playfully. “I got an hour.”

Lanisen asks, “Yeah?” He gestures with a partially torn-apart pretzel. “You want the other half?”

Megren says, “Obviously.”

Lanisen hands it over. “What do you want to do for an hour?”

Megren spreads her hand wide. “The world is at my fingertips.”

Lanisen says, “So many potentials.” He stretches his arms out in front of him, stretching out his back, and sighs before looking back at her.

Megren laughs, lifting her brows sympathetically as she breaks off some pretzel to eat. “Long day already?”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders. “Talked to Nasrin, a bit.”

Megren asks, “Oh?”

Lanisen exhales again and rubs his face. “It’s– I dunno. She /just/ left, I’m still… thinkin’.”

Megren says, “Oh.” She pauses. “Want me to leave you to think?””

Lanisen says, “No, ‘course not, stay. You got an hour.”

Megren asks, “Yeah?”

Lanisen says, “That’s what I heard, anyway.”

Megren sticks out her tongue.

Lanisen asks, “What do you want to do?”

Megren says, “Tame a dragon.”

Lanisen gives this some consideration.

Megren says, “That’s probably more like an hour and a half.”

Lanisen asks, “How big is this dragon?”

Megren holds her hands out to measure about the size of a small dog.

Lanisen says, “Oh,” and makes a dismissive gesture. “An hour, sure.”

Megren opens her mouth excitedly. “Yeah?”

Lanisen says, “No trouble.”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side.

Lanisen asks, “What do dragons like? For treats?”

Megren asks, “Hmmm, but how long to find one, do you think?”

Lanisen says, “You mean you don’t have the dragon lined up already?”

Megren says, “It ran away.”

Lanisen says, “/Meg/!”

Megren lifts her hands, one still full of pretzel, as if to ask what she could have done.

Lanisen huffs out an exasperated breath and shakes his head.

Megren says around a mouth of pretzel, “Sorry.”

Lanisen says, “There’s no hope for you.”

Megren frowns pitifully. “What?”

Lanisen says, shaking his head regretfully, “None at all.”

Megren hangs her head and holds up the fifth or so of pretzel she’s got left. “I don’t deserve this,” she mourns.


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