take a break

Castle Anvard

Megren sits near the hearth, swarmed by dogs.

Lanisen steps inside hastily, his hair and most of his clothing drenched. The rain outside is the no-nonsense sort common in early summer, large warm spattery drops falling with very little wind. A lingering roll of muted thunder follows him in.

Megren peeks up from the swarm of hounds. “Oh thank the Lion a human person.”

Lanisen asks, stopping by the door to kick off his boots and try to rid himself of the worst of the wet, “What, here?”

Megren says, “Help please?”

Lanisen laughs and pads across the room, dropping to the floor near her but not too near and clicking his teeth.

Megren rights herself once she is a little freer and breathes a sigh of relief.

Lanisen settles himself with his right leg tucked under as the swarm transfers. There’s a bit of rough-housing, then they end up more-or-less settled, Tohol trying really hard to be a lap-dog and Kite requesting belly-rubs and Nia sitting up by his side with her tongue lolling out. “Did you survive?” he asks Megren sympathetically once the general bustle has quieted.

Megren says, “Licked to fatality is a slow death.”

Lanisen says, “Good I arrived when I did.”

Megren rests her hand on Maisie’s head to try and keep the dog off her. Now that she is visible it’s more apparent that she has been training recently, and the salt may explain some of her inability to keep the hounds at bay.

Lanisen asks, “Rough day?”

Megren looses a breath. “If I never see another quintain, it will have been a good life indeed.”

Lanisen squints sympathetically, then begins to get to his feet. “You eaten yet?”

Megren says, “Not for a thousand years.”

Lanisen laughs and begins poking around to see what there might be on hand. He finds oatcakes, and ginger candy, and a slightly stale half-loaf of bread which he regards dubiously for a moment. “I’ll go get somethin’,” he decides, heading for his boots.

Megren says, “I love you.”

Lanisen looks out the window assessingly and hunts for his oilskin.

Megren’s eyes flick to the window and she pushes herself up with a groan, “I’ll come with you.”

Lanisen says, “No, no, stay. No sense both of us gettin’ wet.”

Megren plunks heavily back down, easily persuaded.

Lanisen pulls up his hood and opens the door. He hesitates, then darts out through the rain at a run.

Megren leans back against the hearth and succumbs to Maisie climbing up onto her lap like a cat.

Lanisen is gone for maybe fifteen minutes. When he returns, he’s using the oilskin to shield the food, and he’s even more soaked than he was before.

Megren’s brows draw together. “You looked like a drowned animal,” she says with sympathetic tones, though she does not get up.

Lanisen says, “Thank you kindly.” He sets the food down on the table and drops the oilskin carelessly across the back of a chair to dry.

Megren pushes Maisie lazily and ineffectively in the head.

Lanisen kicks off his boots again with the distinct squelchy noise of waterlogged socks and goes for the plates. “There’s mutton,” he says. “Sparrowgrass and those little round potatoes, stewed apples for afters. I’m gonna go change.”

Megren says, “I love you more than ginger candy.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah, yeah,” and heads for the stairs, dripping a trail the whole way.

Megren slowly pushes herself up and over to the table, to Maisie’s dismay.

Lanisen returns after a minute in dry clothes, though his hair is still very wet. He shuffles to the table in his bare feet and plops across from Megren.

Megren begins parceling out the food between them.

Lanisen says, “Mutton’s for you, I don’t want any.”

Megren asks, “What really?”

Lanisen wrinkles up his nose.

Megren asks, “You ate already?”

Lanisen says, “Mutton ain’t my favorite thing, unless I’m real hungry.”

Megren says, “You’re going to keep on skinny like that.”

Lanisen says, “I’ll fill up on potatoes.”

Megren gives him a heaping pile of those, then.

Lanisen doesn’t protest. He skewers one small marble of a potato on the end of his fork and looks at it thoughtfully.

Megren leans her cheek in her hand tiredly.

Lanisen mirrors her across the table, setting in on the potatoes. “Quintains, huh?” he asks after a few moments of silence.

Megren makes a whiny noise.

Lanisen grins.

Megren says, “I think my tailbone is permanently bruised.”

Lanisen asks, “Did you fall?”

Megren nods. “Couple times.”

Lanisen winces. “You need anything? That ointment Adrian makes for bruises, I might have some somewhere.”

Megren says, “No, I’m just whiny.”

Lanisen snorts under his breath.

Megren blows out a breath and takes a bite of mutton. “I have to get up so early.”

Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side, considering her thoughtfully.

Megren lays her head on her elbow and shovels her fork into her mouth dramatically.

Lanisen asks, “When was the last time you took a day for yourself?”

Megren says, “I went to see da last week.”

Lanisen says, “I mean…” He pauses.

Megren closes her eyes and stabs for a potato blindly.

Lanisen snorts, watching her, but says seriously after a moment, “You should… you should take some time every now and then for just, just you. You oughta have a day where you can sleep as much as you want and everybody can get along without you for a while. Or whatever you want.”

Megren says pitifully, “I want to be a knight.”

Lanisen says reasonably, “You’re not gonna /not/ be a knight ’cause you sleep in one day in ten.”

Megren opens her eyes and pouts at him without picking up her head, an expression very akin to that some of the hounds like to use to garner favor.

Lanisen snorts at her again and gives her a half smile that is at once fond and worried.

Megren closes her eyes and readjusts her head. “I can’t just skip out on everyone,” she says logically.

Lanisen assures her, “It wouldn’t be.”

Megren argues, “Yes.”

Lanisen says, “Shh. Eat your potatoes.”

Megren sticks a whole potato in her mouth obediently.
Lanisen lets her alone, settling to his own dinner, but there’s a little bit of stubborn concern still stuck in the forehead region of his expression.

Megren is quiet for a long moment as she awkwardly gnaws on the lump.

Lanisen pops the skin off a potato the size of a shooter marble and eats that, then eats the potato.

Megren says, “Hey, so who’s that Dwarf, the one you were with earlier?” She pauses, thinking. “…Freya?””

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He cuts a potato in half meditatively. “Um. She’s from Carmichael.”

Megren asks, “You know her from before?”

Lanisen says, “Not– /before/, before. She’s, she’s friends with Loc.”

Megren says, “Oh.”

Lanisen says, a little uncomfortably, “Yeah.”

Megren asks, “She’s… looking for a physician?”

Lanisen says, “No, she, she is one. She’s– I don’t know–” He pauses. “I think she’s lookin’ to work here.”

Megren asks, “Oh. But you’d rather she not?”

Lanisen looks a little startled and averts his eyes. “She’s real good at what she does,” is all he says.

Megren lifts her head to consider him, brows drawing together disquisitively.

Lanisen eats another potato.

Megren asks, “Don’t want to talk about it?”

Lanisen makes a face, mildly frustrated. “She’s just– she makes me sort of unsettled, is all, and I think I offended her by accident last time I saw her, and, everything with Loc– I dunno, it’s, it’s fine, I just don’t really… know what to do with it.”

Megren taps her fork against her lips. “Hmm.”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders and lets out a breath.

Megren asks, “What’s ‘friends with Loc’ mean?”

Lanisen says, “I dunno, they’re… friends. He works in the mine, she lives there, they’re friends.”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side.

Lanisen says again, lamely, “I dunno.”

Megren blows out a breath. “Well.” She picks at her food, much of which she has already inhaled. “It, we’ll sort it out, if she stays.”

Lanisen mumbles, “Yeah.”

Megren says, “We will.”

Lanisen says, “I know.”

Megren says, “Okay.”

Lanisen straightens a little and nods at her plate. “You still hungry?”

Megren mms affirmatively and scrapes up the last of the food from her plate.

Lanisen offers, “I can go get more.”

Megren looks liable to protest, but the says, “Okay.”

Lanisen gets up and finds his boots, rescuing one from one of the spring’s batch of sighthounds. “Back in a minute,” he says, and grabs his oilskin again.

Megren says, “Thank youuuu.”

Lanisen flashes a quick grin over his shoulder at her, and shuts the door behind him.

Megren lays her head on her arms while she waits. She is quite asleep by the time he returns.

Lanisen returns with his arms full, soaked again. He stops at the door and quickly shushes the couple of hounds that look like they might start up a happy racket at his return, glancing back at Megren. He kicks off his boots again and moves silently to the table to put down the food.

Megren stirs a little at the quiet noise of the dish hitting the table surface

Lanisen holds his breath.

Megren doesn’t lift her head or show further sign of waking.

Lanisen relaxes. He moves away, holding the unpleasantly clingy wet fabric of his shirt away from his body with both hands, and heads for the stairs.

Megren seems unlikely to stir further any time very soon.

Lanisen returns after a minute, quiet except for the creak of the steps, wearing the same shirt as earlier, which is only marginally less damp. He looks about as pleased about this as might be expected and goes straight for the fire, only pausing to dig a blanket out of the mostly neglected winter pile.

Megren stirs when one of the stairs creaks badly, lifting her head groggily and wearing an expression of sleepy disorientation.

Lanisen kneels at the hearth to start up a small fire. The kennel is pleasantly cool with the rain, even a little chilly, and the warmth will be comfortable.

Megren’s eyes shift to the plate of food, still sleepy, but now a little guilty.

Lanisen gets a little blaze going and stands, bundling himself in the blanket. He backs to his preferred chair and curls into it.

Megren pulls the plate toward her and picks at it in the sort of silence that is born of a dry, sleepy mouth.

Lanisen leans his head against one wing of the chair and shuts his eyes.

Megren says, “You can go sleep.”

Lanisen sits up straighter and twists to look back at her. “I’ll prob’ly just doze off here,” he answers. “Sorry, I thought you were sleepin’.”

Megren asks, “Sitting?”

Lanisen hms?

Megren asks, “You’re going to sleep in a chair?”

Lanisen says, “‘S a comfy chair. I sleep here sometimes if my shoulder’s hurtin’.”

Megren asks, “Does your shoulder hurt?”

Lanisen says, “No, the fire’s here.”

Megren says, “All right.” She pushes her plate, mostly eaten, forward, and she glances at the window and sighs.

Lanisen says, “You don’t gotta leave.”

Megren disagrees, “I’m so sleepy.”

Lanisen mms, but offers, “I’ll get more blankets if you don’t want to go out in the rain.”

Megren shifts uncertainly. “…Okay.”

Lanisen unfolds from his chair and goes to the blanket pile, picking off the top four or five, enough to cover with and to pad the floor if necessary. “You can have upstairs if you want, or wherever.”

Megren lifts her shoulders and rubs her arm. “Maybe I’ll stay with the fire, if that’s all right.”

Lanisen says, “All right.” He shuffles to the side of the hearth, choosing a spot mostly blocked by the chairs from sight of the front door, and begins laying out blankets.

Megren does the work of eating what’s left on the plate so it’s not left to spoil on the table overnight while he’s doing that.

Lanisen piles up the blankets until they’ve made a very hospitable-looking bed. “You need anything?”

Megren says, “I’m good.”

Lanisen says, “Mm-kay.” He stands for a moment, surveying his handiwork, then shuffles back over and plops in his chair.

Megren pushes her plate into the middle of the table where the hounds aren’t likely to get to it and drags herself over to the makeshift bed. “Thank youuu,” she drawls as she collapses into it. Maisie trundles over to make a bed of Megren.

Lanisen says sleepily, “Anytime.”

Megren groans at Maisie, but she buries her face in her arm and drops off pretty quickly.

Lanisen isn’t far behind her.


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