Megren can be heard bustling quietly around Lanisen’s room in the early hours.
Lanisen slips into the tower, shutting the door quietly behind him to avoid waking anybody up with the noise. He hesitates outside the door to his room, listening, then knocks softly.
Megren says, “It’s not locked.”
Lanisen opens the door, a little tentatively just in case, and then peeks inside. “Hi. You’re up?”
Megren is moving away from Lanisen’s wardrobe, a bit innocently. His room is quite dust free for a place so little lived in. “Mhm, good morning.”
Lanisen slips inside, narrowing one eye a little. He glances at her injured foot. “How’re you feelin’?”
Megren makes a face that indicates “not good and not saying”. She moves back toward where she can sit on the bed. “Have to go in after breakfast so they can have another look.”
Lanisen nods. He gestures at the water-bucket. “You want me to get new?”
Megren says, “Yeah, I guess so. If you don’t mind.”
Lanisen says, “No, ‘course not.” He takes the bucket and slips out again, and is back in a matter of moments.
Megren has moved to where she can lean against the headboard with the one leg propped up by the time he returns.
Lanisen sets the bucket down at the side of the bed where she can easily put her foot into it, then straightens. “You want me to get anything while you’re doin’ that?”
Megren says, “No.”
Lanisen asks, “D’you want me to stay or leave you to it?”
Megren says, “Stay.”
Lanisen nods and scoots the chair out to sit, covering a yawn. “How’d you sleep?”
Megren lowers her foot into the water, grimacing as she does. “Fine. Not great.”
Lanisen watches, his face twisting up with sympathy at the look on her face. He holds his peace until she is settled, then suggests, “We can talk to them at the infirmary about somethin’ to help you sleep, maybe?”
Megren says, “It’ll only be a couple days.”
Lanisen says, “Couple days is long enough.”
Megren looks likes she’s going to protest, but she pauses reflectively and then says, “All right.”
Lanisen asks, “Willow bark?”
Megren says, “I have it already.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, I know, did you take it yet?”
Megren says, “Yes.”
Lanisen nods. He yawns again, covering his mouth with the back of his hand, and says, “They’re makin’ that sweet bread with the raisins, you can smell it in the ward.”
Megren says, “Mm.”
Lanisen asks, “You want me to go get somethin’, or d’you want to wait and go to the hall after?”
Megren says, “I’ll go with you.”
Lanisen says, “All right.”
Megren reaches for her cane and stands up.
Lanisen frowns at her. “You don’t want to cool your foot a little more?”
Megren says, “I don’t want to sit around all day.”
Lanisen says, “Sun’s barely up.”
Megren says, “The sky will be nice, then.”
Lanisen says, “All right, if you’re sure.” He gets up and scoots his chair under the little table, then opens the door for her.
Megren says, “Thanks.”
Lanisen stands out of the way and waits for her to pass through.
Megren walks past him and out toward the ward. “Do I fuss at you this much?”
Lanisen says, “I’m not fussin’.”
Megren walks beside Lanisen, using a cane and favoring one leg. “Very fussing.”
Lanisen glances at her uncertainly and doesn’t answer right away. “Sorry.”
Megren says, “I’m the fussiest; I deserve it.”
Dalia comes out of the servants’ quarters, holding a a light shawl around her shoulders to ward of the early morning chill. As she passes in the direction of the kitchen, she notices Megren and Lanisen and heads there way.
Lanisen glances at her again and lets it be, carefully not fussing.
Megren placates, “It’s okay, it’s okay.”
Dalia approches with a somewhat worried frown on her face. “Lanisen? Megren?”
Lanisen says, “Mornin’, hi.”
Megren says, “Oh, good morning, Dalia.”
Dalia frowns concernedly glancing at the cane. “Are…Are you alright?”
Megren says, “Oh,” she colors. “It’s just, I sprained it, it’s fine.”
Dalia makes a little grimace, sucking in air.
Lanisen says, “We’re just headin’ to the hall to sit down and get some breakfast, you headin’ there too?”
Dalia nods, “I was just on my way, yes. Don’t let me keep you standing around.”
Megren says, “Come with us.”
Dalia smiles, “Thank you.”
Lanisen begins moving that direction again, glancing at Megren to gauge her reliance on the cane.
Megren is relying on it pretty heavily, though she seems to have figured out how not to draw attention to it from anyone who is not seeking out this information.
Lanisen moves to her other side, where she can use him instead of or in addition to the cane if she sees fit.
Dalia follows, then hesitates, stepping over to a nearby vendor, exchanging some coins for a small wrapped package before joining them again.
Dalia rushes ahead to open to the door to the servants’ hall, and holds it open for Megren and Lanisen.
Megren wrinkles her nose and smiles. “Thanks, Dalia.”
Lanisen reaches to take the door, giving Dalia a quick grin of thanks. “What do you want?” he asks Megren, glancing over his shoulder into the kitchen. “I see porridge and sausages, and there’s that raisin bread.”
Megren screws up her face at him and says, “This sprain is going to kill me, isn’t it?” She moves over toward the table. “Whatever you get for you is good for me.”
Lanisen accuses, “You’re not very helpful.”
Haft peers into the servant’s hall, searching. His eyes brighten when he sees Megren.
Megren says, “How is that not helpful? Fine. Porridge, with sugar and cinnamon and candied ginger and raisins on top in that order, and sausages cut like this–” she holds her fingers a little way apart. “Obviously butter on the raisin bread. Carried on your head.”
Lanisen asks seriously, “The butter or the bread?”
Megren says, “That part is fully your discretion.”
Haft strides over to them. “Tie it buttered side up, but don’t lose your balance. Buttered bread always does land face down.”
Dalia smiles in reply Megren’s thanks and moves somewhat nervously to pull out a chair for Megren to sit in and another one for Lanisen and herself.
Megren says, “Oh, thanks, you don’t have to– thanks, Dalia. Morning, Haft.”
Haft nods. “Morning.”
Lanisen glances up and steps back a little as Haft joins them. “Morning,” he echoes, then gestures toward the kitchen. “I’ll just get that order goin’, Lady Meg.”
Dalia says, “Morning, Haft.””
Haft eyes Megren. “They’ve gone and promoted you again? Now who allowed that?” He nods to Dalia.
Megren pulls a face at Lanisen’s retreating back as she sits. “You’d think, wouldn’t you,” she says to Haft.
Haft says, “I’m just off shift and thought I’d check down here since you haven’t been up to the mess.” He watches Lanisen. “But perhaps I should go on up.”
Megren says, “Lanisen had me stay in his room while he was in the kennel last night so I wouldn’t have to do stairs to get to the infirmary.”
Haft says, “Oh. That was…a good idea.”
Megren says, “I’ll see if there’s not an extra bed in the guest servants’ for tonight.”
Haft says, “I’m sorry it’s so painful.”
Megren sticks her tongue out at him.
Haft raises a brow. “I wasn’t teasing.”
Megren makes a face, embarrassed. “It’s fine. People are making a bigger deal than it’s worth.”
Lanisen returns after a moment with a tray, carefully loaded with four plates, a large dish of porridge and a plate of sausages, and half a loaf of raisin bread so fresh the steam is still coming off it.
Dalia stands back somewhat nervously by the table, hands on a nearby chair as if she was about to pull it out to support Megren’s foot. She bites her lip.
Megren tsks, “That is not his head.”
Haft says, “There’s no pleasing this one.”
Haft says, “Though, in all seriousness, I’m glad you’re taking it seriously. Most folks under thirty are under the impression they’re indestructible.”
Lanisen sets down the tray carefully in the middle of the table and begins to unload it, setting out the plates but leaving them to fend for themselves with the food. He heads back to the kitchen.
Megren says, “As if I could do anything else under the watchful eyes of Lanisen and Sir Darrin.”
Haft looks offended. “What about my watchful eye? I’m the one who’s been checking to make sure you didn’t drag yourself up to the mess.”
Megren says, “Yours too.”
Haft says, “Thank you.”
Lanisen brings back a knife for the bread and a pat of butter. He sits down across from Megren, glancing at Dalia and Haft.
Dalia nibbles her lip debating, before offering Megren a small package which is still fairly warm and smells of spices and sugar and nuts.
Haft glances back at Lanisen, then addresses Megren. “Well, now that I’m assured you’re settled and fed, I think I’ll head for my bunk. I’m more tired than hungry.
Megren brows lift. “Oh. If — all right.” Her eyes skip to the package in Dalia’s hand. “What’s this?”
Haft backs away a few steps before he turns and exits the room.
Lanisen’s eyes rest on the fourth plate briefly. He pushes his mouth to the side and looks down.
Dalia says, “It’s probably too sweet to eat now. One of the bakers in the market sells them. I was meaning to show you. Lanisen said you might like them.”
Megren says, “Oh, that’s, thank you, that’s so sweet.”
Dalia says, “I just thought of it as we were crossing the ward. Maybe.. I didn’t know how much. How much you’d want to be around.” She shifts her feet, smiling mostly but nibbling a corner of her lip as she slids into her seat.”
Lanisen reaches for the knife and begins slicing the warm bread. He helps himself to a slice and a link of sausage.
Megren says, “Lanisen, look what Dalia brought.”
Lanisen glances up and grins to Dalia. “Good thinkin’.”
Dalia grins, and reaches for a plate putting some sausages and a roll or two on it. “Thanks.”
Megren says, “I do not see sugar or ginger candy.”
Lanisen says, “It’s breakfast.”
Megren says, “You’re a terrible servant.”
Dalia grins, taking one of the rolls from her plate and cutting it in half before buttering it.
Lanisen cuts a piece off his sausage with the flat side of his fork, looking entirely at peace with this proclamation.
Megren makes a face at him and pulls her bowl toward herself.
Dalia sets her roll down, “Can I pass you anything?”
Lanisen says, “I’m set here.” He glances at Megren.
Megren tucks her hair behind her ear. “Thanks, I’m fine.”
Dalia nods, taking a bite of her roll and chewing thoughtfully.
Lanisen says, “Danall should be in pretty soon if he ain’t already, Meg, I can ask him after breakfast.”
Megren says, “No, don’t. I’d rather just stay in the servant’s guest.”
Dalia says, “My room is just nearby if need anything. You’ve probably a dozen offers already though.”
Lanisen says, “The guest quarters? That’s the worst place to get a good night’s sleep.”
Megren says, “It’s much closer to where I usually sleep.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, but you’re used to the people you bunk with.”
Dalia reaches for the porridge helping herself to some.
Megren says, “I don’t want to take somebody’s bed.”
Lanisen raps his knuckles on the tabletop and gives her a Look.
Megren eats her food studiously, seeming to think they are all in agreement here.
Lanisen looks exasperated but lets it be. For the moment.
Dalia quietly cuts more sausage, glancing between the two.
Megren asks, “What have you got for work today, Dalia?”
Dalia says, “I’m running down to the seamstress after breakfast. I need to see if the garments that were sent are repaired and ready. I’d be willing to fetch anything if either of you need anything.”
Dalia says, “After that check and see if aunt or cousin have sent any messages.”
Dalia says, “Usually whatever Lady Astera needs. Perhaps visit little Lana.”
Lanisen nods, listening.
Megren asks, “Is that a pretty usual workload for you, then, or does she sometimes have more needs, or less?”
Dalia nods. “Yes, it depends. Sometimes we’ll sit in the sewing room and embroider and talk.”
Megren says, “That sounds peaceful.”
Dalia nods. “It’s where I learned my letters.
Lanisen asks, “Lady Astera taught you?”
Megren says, “Lanisen taught me. And Sir Darrin, but Lanisen’s the one who started it.”
Lanisen says, “Mostly Sir Darrin.”
Megren repeats, “But Lanisen started it.”
Lanisen asks, “Didn’t Haft?”
Megren says, “Haft suggested it.”
Dalia listens with her head tilted, to the side. An expression like she doesn’t completely believe only the small amount of credit Lanisen is allowing himself.
Lanisen says, “Oh, hm, all right.”
Megren says triumphantly, “/Thank/ you.” She bites into her hunk of raisin bread happily.
Lanisen squints at her.
Dalia grins, attemping to hide it with her piece of bread.
Dar’s footsteps can be heard approaching the corridor. The door connecting to the kitchen swings open, and he stoops a little to pass through the doorframe.
Megren sits with Lanisen and Dalia in the very early morning hours. A few other early risers are eating. Megren has her leg propped up, and a cane leans against the table.
Lanisen shakes his head at Megren, mildly exasperated. His eyes shift past her to the door as Dar enters, and with a small intake of breath he gets quickly to his feet to bow.
Megren glances over her shoulder and drops her foot, standing to bow without reaching for her cane.
Dalia rises quickly when she sees Lanisen rise, offering Lord Dar a bow as well.
Dar acknowledges Lanisen’s bow with a courtly nod, then gestures for them to be at their ease, his inscrutable glance lingering on Megren for a moment longer than the others. “Ah–evening–or, rather, morning, I suppose–”
Lanisen isn’t about to be the first one to resume his seat. He keeps his head down.
Megren asks, “Morning, Sir. Can one of us help you with something?”
Dar shakes his head. “Ah–no. Though I confess I was told I might find you here. I wished to see how you were healing, Squire Megren.”
Lanisen shifts slightly, glancing at her.
Megren says, “Oh.” She colors. “I’m, it’s fine, just a sprain. Get worse injuries training among the guard all the time.”
Megren says, “Thank you for inquiring, Sir.”
Dar inclines his head. “I am pleased to hear it. I intend, however, to have a discussion with my brother concerning the proper care of squires. And–please be seated. I had no wish to disrupt what must have been a pleasant conversation with my inquiries after your welfare.”
Megren says, “Oh,” she hesitates, trying to discern if he’s joking, then goes with the safer route. “It, no, it wasn’t his fault.”
Lanisen’s eyes shift between Megren and Dar.
Dar raises a sharp eyebrow. “Then he did not participate in an activity which led to your injury? He attempted to dissuade you? I realize, of course, it was not his intent, nor yours–”
Megren says, “I feel in enough possession of my own body and will to take full responsibility for both, Sir.”
Lanisen rubs his elbow, studying the tabletop.
Dar nods in response to this. He says mildly, “That is so. It is one of the reasons I typically credit you with more sense than to risk the former without good reason. You never know when you will be called upon to exert your full strength. Such is the life you have chosen. Nor does taking responsibility for your decisions, noble as that is, preclude the duty that my brother accepted when he asked you to serve him as squire.”
Megren says, “If his duty were to keep me from any activity which could cause injury, it would also be to keep me from learning excellence in my trade, Sir.”
Lanisen shifts. He narrows one eye, and he looks up at Dar a little incredulously.
Dar hehs. “No. Not any activity. You are training to face combat, and I do not deny there are risks involved in that. This was training?”
Megren tucks her behind her ear, eyes mostly on the ground. “If not training, then I think we may agree it is out of his jurisdiction.”
Lanisen keeps quiet and watchful. He drops his hands to his sides.
Dar does not appear entirely convinced by this display of logic. His features, in fact, become rather expressionless. “But not beyond his participation. I did not come to chide you, Squire Megren, but to ask how you were recovering. I thank you for satisfying me as to that.”
Megren says, “Yes, Sir.”
Dar glances at the currently unoccupied chairs. “Well–I will intrude no longer. I see I have interrupted, and I offer my apologies.”
Megren says, “It’s no trouble, Sir. By your greeting, I suppose we should say sleep well.””
Dar looks very slightly amused. “Ah–if I do that, I will not finish reviewing yesterday’s dispatches before my children rise for the day. It grows late–or rather early, I suppose.”
Megren squints up an eye, then bows. “Then, speedy reviewing, Sir. ”
Lanisen bows in tandem with Megren, keeping his head lowered when he straightens.
Dar inclines his head in parting. “Then I bid you both good–morning.”
Megren says, “Yes, Sir ”
Lanisen murmurs something along the same lines.
Dar walks into the kitchen.
Megren blows out a breath.
Lanisen does the same. He sits down once Dar has gone and rubs the side of his face.
Megren turns to start clearing her plate.
Lanisen picks at the remainder of his sausage but his heart isn’t in it.
Megren asks, “Want me to take it?”
Lanisen says, “It’s yours if you want it.”
Megren says, “Your plate, I mean.”
Lanisen scowls at her.
Megren pulls it toward her.
Lanisen says, “Ah!” and pulls it back, reaching for Dalia’s plate and the unused fourth to stack all together.
Megren takes her turn to scowl.
Lanisen steals her plate while she’s doing that.
Megren says, “I fully loathe you.”
Lanisen says, “I know you do.”
Megren says, “Consuming hatred ”
Lanisen grins. He gets up and circles the table, hesitating only slightly as he peers through the door into the kitchen, then carries the dishes back to where they came from.
Megren reaches for her cane to follow after him.