This quiet area is known as North Andale. To one side of the gravel road is a glade of trees, mostly hardwoods, dominated by a huge White Oak. To the other side of the road is a small meadow, full of wild-flowers and there in the middle someone has placed a table and two benches, much weathered, but still sturdy. This is a favorite place for young sweethearts to pass time together.
To the south is the village of Andale and off to the east is the Range Road.
Megren sits in the circle of flower-crown-makers, good leg tucked under her and her cane across her lap, back to the bonfire.
Lanisen sits close by, crosslegged and quiet, people-watching.
Darrin wanders into the area from the direction of the castle, clearly a little more clean than he usually is at the end of the day.
Megren pokes Lanisen to pay attention to what she is doing. “You see, you can do it just like a braid, even,” she says, laying one bundle of stems over two others demonstratively.
Lanisen jumps at the poke and makes a face at her. “Very nice.”
Darrin scans the crowd, locating Megren’s red hair and navigating by it until he plunks down on her opposite side from Lanisen. “‘lo,” he says cheerfully.
Megren’s attention shifts to her other side. “Sir!” she exclaims, and removes the cornflower-white rose-and woundwort crown from her head to present to him. “Here.”
Lanisen straightens quickly as Darrin joins them and begins to get to his feet.
Darrin says, “Oooh…” He spins the flower crown in his hands admiringly. “Pretty.”
Megren points out, “It’s for your head.”
Lanisen bows quickly and sits back down.
Megren picks back up the queenswort-and-aster chain she is working on. “You’re next,” she threatens Lanisen.
Lanisen says, “I’m, I think I’m all right, thanks.”
Darrin settles it on his head and gives a quick wave to Lanisen’s bow. He hides a smile at Megren’s threat and looks around at the flowers everyone is working with critically.
Megren lifts the chain and eyes the length of it critically. “Yeah, and you’ll be better than all right in a minute.”
Lanisen wrinkles up his nose but gives up his protesting.
Darrin looks extremely amused before he scoots forward and starts picking through the flowers.
Megren’s eyes track the knight for a moment before returning to the loose flowers left in her lap. She incorporates a few sprigs of lemon balm and lifts it to her nose to smell.
Lanisen picks up a tiny lilac-colored blossom of fleabane that has escaped the pile and twirls it between his fingers thoughtfully, then picks up a little sprig of lavender to go with it.
Megren’s eyes shift to Lanisen’s work and her lips turn upward but she keeps her mouth quite shut.
Darrin is taking an inordinately long amount of time to choose the flowers for the crown he intends to make, setting aside larkspur and bear’s ear sanicle and hesitating over a third choice.
Megren tries joining up the ends of her new crown, but it isn’t quite long enough yet.
Lanisen shifts where he sits so he can reach the pile of wildflowers more easily. His choices seem to come easier than Darrin’s: thyme and bindweed join with fieldbalm and clover, but he has trouble weaving them together.
Megren lets her chain fall into her lap to help him. “Take the long ones and make those the main thread and then just guide the others alongside,” she instructs, reaching over to show him.
Dalia makes her way into the festivities and over towards her friends.
Darrin finally picks a dark mulberry-colored sprig of toadflax and some ivy and brings his assorted jewel-toned flowers back to Megren’s side. He divides them into stacks by flower when he’s settled again, pursing his lips in concentration as he works.
Lanisen says, “I know; I know, sorry.” His difficulty seems to come primarily from the stiffness in his right hand.
Megren squints up one eye. “Maybe try keeping it steady in the right hand and doing most of the weaving with the other?”
Lanisen doesn’t say anything. His forehead knits as he experiments.
Megren wrinkles up her nose and then seems to decide he’s best left to experiment unexamined. She shifts to see what Sir Darrin is doing.
Dalia moves towards the table with flowers and her friends, “Mind if I join?”
Darrin weaves the ivy and larkspur together first and then starts threading his bear’s ear sanicle and toadflax in more sparingly.
Megren grins when she sees the more complex choice Sir Darrin has made, then looks up at the voice. “Dalia! Yes, sit. Here, I’ve almost got one done you can wear.”
Dalia seats herself with a smile. “Oh, Thank you.”
Lanisen glances up at Dalia’s voice and gives her a quick grin of welcome before bending to his task again. He doesn’t seem to be making very good progress.
Darrin, completely enthralled in his task, holds his flower crown out at arm’s length to inspect it. He reaches for more bear’s ear sanicle only to find his stash gone. Grumbling under his breath, he goes to get more.
Megren looks up when she feels him move, momentarily surprised.
Dalia reaches for several flowers weaving them together, she glances towards Lanisen’s chain but says nothing.
Lanisen lets out a small breath through his nose and sticks the tip of his tongue out in concentration.
Megren moves her chain into a circle again and seems to determine that it’s big enough this time. She loops the chain and starts the hardest part, tying the ends.
Darrin reaches up to steady the crown of cornflower-white rose-and-woundwort on his head with his right hand and then takes a few flowers out and weaves them back in in another spot. He bends the chain into a loop and glances between his work and Megren’s head several times.
Dalia simply makes a small ring-sized chain and slides it on her finger.
Megren finally seems satisfied with her loop of yellow queenswort and white aster, large lemon balm leaves filling out the spaces between. “All right, Lanisen.”
Lanisen looks up from his would-be chain.
Megren holds it out for him to look.
Lanisen says approvingly, “‘S pretty.” He glances at Dalia.
Dalia smiles and nods. “It’s lovely.” She holds up few small flowers she’s twined into a ring shape.
Megren screws up her face at Lanisen and then extends to crown to Dalia. “Here, you can wear this one.”
Dalia gratefully accepts the crown with thanks.
Darrin ties the ends of his crown, leaving a little bit of greenery and stems hanging down. The cobalt of the larkspur sets off the mulberry of the toadflax and the lavender of the bear’s ear, and the deep jewel tones of the whole thing makes the thick crown rather royal looking. He looks pleased.
Lanisen gives up on weaving.
Megren reaches over to help.
Dalia offers several woven flowers towards that end.
Lanisen makes a scolding noise and swats Megren off. He detangles the flowers he managed to get semi-braided together, considers his assortment, and starts something new.
Megren makes another face, but acquiesces.
Darrin nudges Megren and offer her his larkspur-toadflax-ivy-bear’s ear crown with both hands.
Megren looks distractedly away from Lanisen and back to Sir Darrin. She lifts her brows, lips turning upward.
Lanisen begins to build a little bundle of flowers, no bigger than a man’s fist. The lavender goes in, and the thyme.
Megren takes the crown carefully and bows her head a little to fit it on, looking upward and slightly cross-eyed as if she might be able to see what she is doing. She lifts her brows for approval.
Darrin beams at her.
Megren’s grin widens. She picks up a spare cornflower from the crown she’s given him. “What’s this one mean?”
Darrin says, “Tenderness, reliability, mostly.”
Megren tilts her head thoughtfully, and then gives a short nod of approval.
Lanisen continues quietly adding flowers to his little bundle.
Darrin leans back on his hands, his crown slipping sideways and down over one eyebrow.
Megren snorts, and then covers her mouth and nose to hide it.
Darrin wrinkles his nose and pushes his flower crown back into place.
Megren reaches up. “Here– can I?”
Darrin tilts his head down for her to better reach, upsetting the whole crown again.
Lanisen keeps quiet, sitting near Megren and Darrin and adding fragrant blossoms to a tiny bouquet. He glances at them, and one corner of his mouth turns up slightly, but he averts his eyes and lowers his head again.
Megren just manages to catch it. “You have to sort of tug it down.” She rotates it a little in order to feature the best flowers and places it back on his head, tugging it down a little so it sits snugly.
Haft enters the festival area, eyes scanning until he spots Megren and her retinue.
Darrin, sitting cross-legged next to Megren, waits patiently as she fixes the flower crown on his head. “Ah yes, right,” he says, a little abashed, but the level of innocence he is radiating is suspect. “Thanks.” He smiles at Megren warmly.
Megren nods. “Much better.” Her eyes skitter to Lanisen. “What are you even doing?”
Haft approaches the group, looking amused but not terribly shocked by the array of flowers. He sketches a bow to Darrin, then addresses the three. “Might I join your court?”
Deonyc walks onto the fesival grounds looking around for familiar faces.
Darrin waves Haft to the ground. “Of course!”
Megren leans forward and pats the ground not far from her for Haft to sit.
Lanisen scoots obligingly to make room, even though there is already plenty of room.
Haft lowers himself to the ground beside Megren, giving Lanisen his space.
Deonyc watches the group, and walks over asking none in particular, “May I join your group.”
Megren says, “Yes, of course.”
Darrin leans over and plucks some flowers at random from the nearby pile. He offers a smile to Haft and the newcomer.
Megren pokes Lanisen and asks again, “What are you doing?”
Deonyc sits down across from megren and lanisen, he gives a small nod of greeting to Darrin.
Lanisen winds the long vine of the bindweed around the base of the little bouquet to sort of fasten the rest of the stems in the bundle. It’s not as regal as Darrin’s crown, but it’s a fragrant and pretty nosegay in Anvard’s colors. He presents it to Megren, looking pleased with himself.
Megren accepts it and holds it to her nose.
Haft watches amiably.
Deonyc smiles, “Are we still passing around flowers then i guess?”
Darrin admires Lanisen’s work. “Pretty.”
Megren says, “Just about done I think.” She nods toward the bonfire. “There’s folk starting up dancing, it looks like.”
Lanisen glances at Megren and then at Darrin at this, mildly apprehensive.
Haft asks, “You like to dance, Meg?”
Megren asks, “I got you doing it, didn’t I?”
Lanisen’s eyes flick to Haft in surprise, and then in realization.
Darrin brightens at the mention of dancing.
Haft asks, “I didn’t ask that. I asked if it was something /you/ enjoyed personally. Do you dance at festivals?”
Megren’s brows lift. “/Haft/. Have I never danced with you at a festival?”
Haft says, “You have not.”
Deonyc looks around at the group, “Do you dance a lot?”
Megren eyes the cane across her lap calculatingly.
Lanisen watches Megren warily.
Darrin says, “The more opportunities the merrier, I say.”
Haft follows Megren’s gaze. “No.”
Megren looks up and catches both Haft and Lanisen’s eyes on her. She pouts.
Lanisen purses up his lips on the side at Megren.
Haft says, “Save it for the next festival.”
Megren looks at Sir Darrin like she thinks he might be more permissive.
Lanisen’s eyes shift to Darrin and he looks liable to be just as stern with him, lord or no.
Haft watches her. “Pretty sure Lanisen and I could take him, Meg, if it came down to it.”
Deonyc’s eyes flick from person to person, no idea who to support.
Darrin looks Greatly Amused by the looks being cast his way. He shrugs.”I mean, it has been a couple weeks, and so long as you don’t step in another hole…” He smirks. “I think you’re okay.”
Darrin says, “But the real question here is why all of us assuredly able-bodied folks are sitting about when there is /dancing/ going on.”
Haft eyes the area as though it must be riddled with rabbit holes.
Megren looks between Lanisen and Haft. “You have to both do one whole dance and then I promise I won’t.”
Lanisen pauses. He glances a little helplessly at Haft.
Haft looks heavenward, then rises and goes over to a spot where a couple of young women are making their picnic. He bows slightly and extends and hand to one, who giggles and then accepts his help up. He then says a few words to her friend before taking his new partner and heading toward the group of dancers.
Deonyc looks to Darrin and Megren, “I’d be happy to dance.”
Megren’s face breaks into a delighted grin as her manipulating works on Haft.
The other maid rises, blushing, and walks over to the group, then stops in front of Lanisen, ducking her head a bit and looking at him expectantly.
Darrin claps his hands together. “Great!” he tells Deonyc, hopping to his feet and holding out a hand to the other man. “Shall we join the crowd then?”
Megren’s brows draw upward and she watches Lanisen with her lips closed between her teeth.
Deonyc nods to Darrin, and shouts out to a girl he knows who smiles and walks over towards the group.
Lanisen looks completely at a loss. He casts a pleading glance to Megren and looks back to the girl. “I don’t kn– sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to, I don’t know it.”
The girl’s cheeks dimple and she bites her lower lip, uncertain. “Sorry. Only…your friend said you were, um…”
Darrin watches Lanisen and the girl as Deonyc wanders off. He exchanges a knowing look with Megren and then moves over and bows low to the girl, steadying his flower crown with his right hand as he does and holding out his left to her. “May I have this dance, milady?” he asks smoothly.
The girls looks up at Darrin, eyes wide, but she glances at Lanisen first with a small frown, not wanting to be rude.
Megren nods in response to Sir Darrin’s look and sways to bump shoulders with Lanisen so he knows he’s okay.
Deonyc walks over to Lanisen. “You’ll be fine, and better now than never, right?”
Lanisen’s shoulders drop with relief as Darrin steps in, and he apologizes again to the girl without using any words.
The girl smiles reassuringly at Lanisen and turns to accept the proffered hand.
Darrin smiles brightly as the girl acquiesces. He kisses just above the back of her hand and then leads her towards the dancers, looking back over his shoulder to wink at Lanisen as he goes. Soon enough, he and his partner disappear from view in amongst the crowd.
Megren smiles at Deonyc. “It’s okay, he doesn’t have to. Go have fun,” she says, then lifts the knee on her good leg to hug it, watching her friends join the dancers.
Lanisen draws and releases a deep breath, ducking his head to rub the back of his neck. His face is burning red.
Deonyc leads his partner of towards the crowd of dancers, both smiling brightly
Megren looks at Lanisen and screws up her face.
Megren mumbles “Sorry.”, to Lanisen.
Megren mumbles something incomprehensible to Lanisen.
Lanisen shakes his head quickly. “I don’t know it, I never…” He moistens his lips and his shoulders slump again. “And I’ve just– Haft, he’ll think…”
Megren says, “You don’t really have to know it, you just sort of get swept up and run around in the same general direction of everybody else. Haft’ll be fine.”
Lanisen puts his elbows on his knees and rubs both hands over his face.
Megren runs her hand over his back and sways again, this time staying with their shoulders touching.
Lanisen drops his hands and leans a little toward her, watching the dancers. “Sorry,” he mumbles.
Megren says, “You don’t have to be.”
Lanisen stays still for a moment. “You want anything?” he asks finally, glancing at her.
Megren glances toward the table under the tree, which someone has set with feasting things. “I wouldn’t mind a drink,” she agrees.
Lanisen nods and gets up to fetch it. He returns with two mugs and hands the one filled with ale to Megren.
Megren smiles at him and holds it in both hands.
Deonyc returns from the group of dancers, parting ways with his partner he returns to the two.
Lanisen ducks his head a little, some of the embarrassed flush returning.
Megren says, “Hey Deonyc. There’s food.”
Deonyc smiles, “I know, all I need is something to drink right now though.” He goes to the table to get a mug of ale and returns.
Megren draws in a pleased breath as the sky starts to go pink-orange behind the dancers.
Lanisen takes a deep drink of his water and is settled when Deonyc returns.
Megren asks, “How is it the yellow part and the blue part don’t get green between?”
Lanisen asks doubtfully, “Green?”
Megren says, “Isn’t that how its supposed to go? Like in a rainbow.”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He frowns, studying the sky, then offers doubtfully, “Maybe it’s comin’ at it from the other way. Maybe the green’s on the other side of the sun.”
Megren squints at him.
Lanisen says, “/I/ don’t know.”
Megren says, “Hmmm.”
Deonyc seems a bit confused, “I guess that makes sense?”
Lanisen lifts his shoulders.
Megren says, “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Lanisen says, “You explain it, then.”
Deonyc asks, “Me?”
Megren says, “The sky’s paper, and all the clouds are new paper laid on top and the sunsets are too.”
Deonyc tilts his head thinking about this, “I suppose that’s a way to think of it.”
Lanisen says, “Well. All right.”
Megren nods, satisfied and no-nonsense.
Lanisen shakes his head and drinks again.
Megren reaches for her cane. “Will you give me looks if I take a very slow and deliberate walk around the meadow with absolutely no leaping or merry-making whatsoever?”
Lanisen asks, “Can I go with you?”
Megren says, “Yes, milord.”
Lanisen looks exasperated.
Megren grins at him.
Deonyc stands up, and smiles at the two,”I’ll leave you two.”
Megren lifts a hand. “See you, Deonyc.”
Lanisen says, “Evenin’, Deonyc.” He gets to his feet and offers Meg an arm up.
Megren accepts his help, using her cane in her other hand to push up.
Deonyc nods, “Evening.” He heads towards Andale.
Lanisen waits for Megren to set the pace and glances toward the dancers again.
Megren walks slowly, mostly taking the opportunity to observe.