skulking


Library
Castle Anvard


Haft exclaims, “In one example a knight said to another, ‘I will defeat!’ To which the other replied, ‘I will de-leg you.’l”

Nathen asks, “However it seems to find an audience with the more easily amused among the castle’s population. Perhaps something a bit more intellectual?”
Nathen turns to see Lanisen enter.

Haft says, “I need something in reserve for riddles with Lord Darrin, as it turns out. So yes, something a bit more intellectual.”

Nathen sighs in a suffering manner.
Nathen says, “Lord Darrin. I suppose I might be able to locate a book of limericks that would amuse him. He has all the tact and grace of blacksmith’s hammer.”

Haft frowns at this.

Lanisen slips inside, closing the heavy doors behind him. He hesitates briefly at the door, then ducks his head to both Nathen and Haft politely and makes his way toward a shelf of histories.

Nathen tucks the books of Jokes and Riddles under his left arm then turns his attention to the young man he met earlier. Favoring him with a thin smile.

Haft murmurs hello as Lanisen walks past.

Nathen exclaims, “Ah! I see my young stalker has tracked me down. Looking for a good book of jokes as well? ”

Lanisen crouches down a little stiffly to inspect the lower shelves. He glances back toward the two men at this to see who Nathen might be referring to.

Haft mutters.
Haft mumbles “There’s … … … give me away.”, to Nathen.

Nathen mumbles “… course. I … you … … your image … mean … a guardsman. It … … our little secret.”, to Haft.

Lanisen looks between them curiously, raising his eyebrows.

Haft rolls his eyes heavenward.

Nathen says, “So have you come to library to finally use that head for more than cracking walnuts, Master Gani?” as he turns to regard Lanisen.

Haft asks, “Master who?”

Lanisen looks briefly lost, but as Haft asks the question before he can, he doesn’t bother saying anything.

Nathen looks to Haft, lifting his hand palm-up toward the young man with the scarred throat.
Nathen says, “Have you not met Gani yet? Here I thought a guardsmen were famous for their powers of observation.”

Lanisen stands up again, pulling his lips between his teeth. He glances at Haft a little helplessly and says, “It’s, um, my name’s Lanisen, sir.”

Haft says, “I trust it’s not the squirrel we extracted from the bookshelves some months ago.”

Nathen shudders at Hafts query, then eyes Lanisen suspiciously.

Lanisen shifts his weight self-consciously.

Nathen says, “No, no. We did not get around to finding out the nasty little vermin’s name. But if you do not recognize Gani… Are you supposed to be in the castle, boy?”

Haft crosses his arms, waiting to be enlightened.

Lanisen stiffens slightly, his eyes darting to Nathen’s face in surprise and confusion. “Um…”

Nathen exclaims, “Out with it, Gani! If that is your real name. Are you a spy or thief?”

Haft’s eyes widen slightly and he glances at Lanisen.

Lanisen’s face goes slightly pale, then red. He shifts his weight. “My name’s Lanisen, sir, I been comin’ in here for years.”

Haft asks, “You’re feeling quite all right, I suppose? Haven’t been dipping into the Calormene epics again?”

Nathen fluffy white brows come together like a hunting owl’s wings as he eyes the young man down his nose suspiciously.
Nathen asks, “Lanisen? Why did you tell me your name was Gani then?”

Lanisen says, “I never, I never– it’s, it’s a little close, I guess, maybe you misheard.”

Haft says, “It’s no such thing.”

Nathen purses his lips in thought then shrugs dismissively. “Perhaps. Though if you didn’t mumble I might have heard you the first time.”

Lanisen’s ears flush a little darker red. He ducks his head. “Sorry, sir.”

Haft rubs his chin as if waiting for something more.

Nathen grunts softly. “Well I’m glad we cleared that up.”

Lanisen says, “Yes, sir.”

Nathen asks, “How may I help you, Lanisen? Perhaps a book on lockpicking or skulking?”

Haft says, “I wouldn’t mind a book on skulking.”

Lanisen draws a small breath. He takes a step back, and then begins for the door, murmuring, “Beg pardon.”

Nathen looks at Haft incredulously. “Oh yes. A man layered in iron garments would find such a volume very useful, I’m sure.” Looking back at Lanisen, he frowns as he moves to leave.

Haft says, “It’s mostly maille.”

Lanisen slips out as quietly as he came in, careful not to look at either Haft or Nathen.

Haft leans against a bookshelf. “You unsettled him, good and proper, Master Librarian.”

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