heading north


Kitchen
Castle Anvard


Megren stands in the kitchen doorway, something wrapped in brown paper in her hand, talking to Dalia.

Dalia thinks, “I don’t actually know. I thought it was was only an off hand comment. I declined of course.”

Lanisen opens the door and steps inside hastily, a corner of his oilslick up to keep the rain off his face. He stops by the door, wiping his feet, and glances around the kitchen.

Megren turns at the sound of the door. “Sorry, sorry,” she says. “I’m ready.”

Dalia also turns at the sound of the door. “Oh Lanisen! Megren told me. Safe Journey. And I’ll be sure to look in on Nia every once in a while.”

Lanisen shakes his head quickly at Megren and starts to answer, but pauses, grinning quick and embarrassed at Dalia. “Oh, would you? She’d like that, she likes you, thank you!”

Dalia grins.
Dalia says, “Do take care out there in all that rain. I suppose I ought to be getting something to eat myself, before I chill. Aslan’s blessings on you.””

Megren nods. “Eat some of that bread. Glad we got to catch you before we left.”

Dalia says, “As am I.”

Lanisen says worriedly, “It’s still rainin’, is that, are we?”

Darrin opens the door to the kitchen and slips inside.

Megren moves out of the way as the door moves again, rain still pattering outside.

Lanisen ducks to the side as well and quickly bows to Darrin.

Dalia makes her way over towards the cinnamon bread, getting a plate and putting some on it.

Darrin comes in rather damp and notices the dodging his appearance creates. “Whoops, sorry.”

Megren traces a bow and asks, “Ready?”

Darrin nods, wiggling the strap of the satchel over his shoulder. “I am! Are you two?” He looks between Megren and Lanisen.

Lanisen asks again, “The rain, is it all right?”

Megren lifts her shoulders and looks at the knight for guidance.

Darrin says, “It’s not ideal, but I think it’ll be all right. Sky looks lighter than it did earlier already, so that’s a good sign.”

Lanisen nods, looking relieved. He glances at Megren, lifting his eyebrows.

Megren asks, “Will your shoulder be all right?”

Lanisen says, glancing a little self-consciously at Darrin, “It’s, I’ve got my stone, I’m fine.”

Darrin says, “We could postpone till tomorrow if we would prefer, but I don’t think any of us are in danger of getting sick if we head off.””

Megren lifts her shoulders again.

Lanisen looks like this isn’t quite what he was thinking, but he nods.

Darrin nods to the door.

Megren takes a breath and goes to push the door open for them both.

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth to stop an excited grin and follows her.

Darrin pulls the hood on the cloak he is wearing over his head before he follows.

Megren pulls up her own hood once they have both passed through and emerges into the wet.

Lanisen follows suit and shifts his satchel.


travel


In the Great Woods
Southeastern Narnia


You find yourself in the deep, vibrant forest that makes up the Great Woods of Narnia. All around you, trees and vines and bushes grow in great abundance, their leafy branches serving to block out a good deal of the sunlight that would trickle down from above. There are very few clear paths here upon which to walk, but at least you sense no real danger from the trees here. They seem to regard you with a detached curiosity, allowing you to
pass by without impediment.

To the north, you can just make out the sparkling surface of the inlet of Glasswater through the dense foliage. The seawater adds a tang to the woodland scents that hang in the air here. To the south, the ground inclines sharply toward the mountains beyond, and a stone building sits nestled between two foothills. The sign above the door reads: The Splintered Axe Inn and Tavern.


The rain, which is icy and thick on the south side of the mountain, disappears for a short time when the travellers reach the north side, and when it does pick up again, it is more of a drizzle under the cover of the trees of the great woods. The forest quickly grows thick and the musty smell of autumn is just beginning to permeate the air. Early fallen leaves slip rather than crunch under the horses hooves, so that, even if the thickness of the wood did not already impede them, the need for care slows the journey quite a bit. Finally, through the evening fog, the lamps of a stone building emerge.

Darrin leads the way on Dawn, slowing further as lamplight reveals the inn between two hills. “Whoa, girl,” he murmurs, and Dawn lifts her head somewhat, ears pricking and a generally more hopeful look on her face.

Lanisen is drooping a little in the saddle, but he takes a deep breath and straightens as Dawn slows, looking at the inn with tired interest.

Megren rises on her saddle and kicks her leg over to dismount, pulling a lead from her belt and clipping it to Swiftly’s halter and she approaches the lights to investigate. “Sir?” she calls inquiringly over her shoulder.

Darrin stops Dawn and slips from her back. “The Splintered Axe Inn,” he calls back, leading Dawn forward. “Perhaps more relevantly, a dry place.”

Megren asks, “Is there somewhere to put the horses?”

Lanisen dismounts as well, rather stiffly, and takes hold of Maestro’s bridle. The gelding’s ears are pricked forward interestedly, and Lanisen rubs his neck as they follow Dawn.

Darrin says, “There’s a stable behind back, mostly for the Talking Horses and larger beasts to use, if they prefer. Should be room for them.”

Megren says, “I can take the horses while you two go in.”

Lanisen says, “I’ll, I can help.”

Megren makes a face at him.

Darrin says, “I’d like to too. Why don’t I go and get us rooms and then come back?”

Megren rolls her eyes. “You’re both meant to get dry. Fine.”

Lanisen says, “Sooner the horses’re dry, sooner we can all get dry.”

Darrin grins at Megren and in agreement with Lanisen. He hands his lead to Megren and then unties his saddlebag. “Anybody else want me to take their bags?”

Megren says, “Oh, um –” she pauses uncertainly. “No, I can bring mine in after.”

Lanisen makes a vague sort of noise that indicates he’ll do the same but is grateful.

Darrin says, “Suit yourselves.” He heads inside, bag over his shoulder.

Lanisen begins walking Maestro toward the stables, looking ahead a little apprehensively.

Megren leads Dawn and Swiftly around back and ducks into the stable. The building is well lit and warm and smells sweetly of hay and horses.

Lanisen ducks his head politely to the Faun who greets them, very careful not to stare, and leads Maestro to the stall she indicates.

Megren sets up Dawn and Swiftly in their stalls. She chats animatedly at the faun, requesting food and a blanket for Swiftly while she sees to Dawn’s care.

Lanisen works quietly at unbuckling and unloading Maestro, who stretches his neck out toward the sound of rustling grain.

Megren quickly finds her way to the tools she needs to start on Dawn’s rubdown.

Lanisen follows after her a moment later for the same purpose. He rubs his shoulder and yawns.

Megren says, “You can go in, I can do Maestro.”

Darrin emerges sans bag. “All right,” he says, shaking water from his hair. “I’ve got us three rooms for the night.” He passes a key to both Lanisen and Megren.

Lanisen says, “No, it’s, I’ve got him.” When Darrin hands him a key, he looks startled and puzzled, and then more startled. “Thank you, sir.”

Megren wrinkles her nose, accepting the key in exchange for Dawn’s rag. “All right. I got her started for you.”

Darrin gives her a grin. “Thanks.” He moves to Dawn’s side and goes to work rubbing her down.

Lanisen hauls a blanket back to Maestro’s stall and drapes it over the door while he rubs the gelding down.

Megren goes to see to Swiftly and finds the faun already attending him. She laughs with a little embarrassment and thanks her before taking over.

Darrin, as is his wont, keeps up a steady stream of conversation with his mare in a low tone as he works.

Lanisen’s task is made easier by Maestro’s complete engrossment in his dinner. He finishes the rub-down and hauls the blanket over to cover the gelding’s broad back.

Megren is a little slower than Lanisen, but she finally wraps up and gives Swiftly his well deserved blanket. The horse spares her a few nudges before enjoying his meal.

Darrin pats Dawn’s nose and offers her an apple he has mysteriously acquired before draping a blanket over her back and finishing up.

Lanisen loiters in Maestro’s stall until everybody else is finished and then steps out.

Megren waits for the knight outside his stall.

Darrin wipes his hands on his thighs as he latches Dawn’s stall door behind him. “We all ready?”

Megren asks, “Time for food?”

Lanisen asks, “Food, you say?”

Darrin says, “Definitely time for food.”

Megren says, “The best thing I’ve heard all day.”

Lanisen says, “Dry clothes first.”

Megren says, “I’m doing food and then a bath if they’ll heat for one and then a drink; you can do whatever you like.”

Lanisen shivers as they step outside. His left hand goes to his shoulder again.

Darrin says, “Food first for me, especially if they have something warm. Meet you in the tavern, Lanisen?”

Megren hesitates, glancing at Lanisen. “I’ll ask them if they’ll draw you a bath first.”

Lanisen nods to Darrin. “No, no,” he answers Megren. “I’m just gonna change and find a fire.”

Megren screws up her mouth like she’s thinking of defying this.

Darrin shoots a glance at Megren.

Lanisen just keeps walking.


The Splintered Axe Tavern
Southeastern Narnia


You find yourself standing in a rustic tavern nestled deep in the Great Woods of Narnia. It appears to be much what you’d expect of such a tavern. It is not large, but there are several tables scattered about. They are rough-hewn, but clean. A beardless, young-looking dwarf can be seen behind the bar along the south wall, washing out mugs and taking orders from the patrons. The tavern appears to have a small but loyal clientele, made up mostly of talking woodland beasts.

There is a door behind the bar, but that appears to lead to private quarters.

A door to the west leads to the Inn, where travelers can stay for brief periods as they make their way from Archenland into Narnia or vice versa. The door leading out is north.


Megren glances at Sir Darrin in return.

Darrin gives a small, somewhat helpless shrug.

Lanisen pauses at the door, taking in the sight of the tavern. He grins briefly and shakes his head, then glances at Darrin questioningly.

Megren jogs up to close the space between them.

Darrin says to Lanisen, “Well, let us know if you change your mind.”

Lanisen pauses uncertainly. “Sorry?”

Darrin motions towards the bar in invitation. “The rooms are through there, though,” he says helpfully, pointing to the door on the western wall.

Lanisen looks where he gestures and nods gratefully. “I’ll–” He pauses, and says ruefully, “I might be back down but I’m prob’ly gonna go to sleep.”

Megren asks, “You sure you don’t want a wash first?”

Lanisen makes a face at her. “I’ll wash, don’t worry.”

Megren replies in burdened tones, “Fine, all right, don’t let your friends take care of you.”

Lanisen says, “G’night, mum.”

Darrin snickers quietly.

Megren makes a face.

Lanisen bops her lightly in the shoulder with a fist, then bows to Darrin. “Thank you, sir.”

Darrin says, “Rest well.”

Lanisen says, “You too, both of you.” He shifts his satchel and heads toward the west door.

Megren rocks on the balls of her feet watching him go.

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