In the Great Woods
Lanisen sits on the inn’s front step in the cool autumn sunshine. He has a map of Narnia unfolded on his lap, and he is poring over it with interest.
A wolf with heavy scarring over his right eye is preceded by the rustling of branches and twigs. He emerges into the area around the inn, sniffing at the ground before placing his feet.
Lanisen raises his head at the rustling and looks around until he locates its source. He shifts slightly so that he is more ready to get to his feet, watching the Wolf with a curiosity and interest that is more respectful than wary.
Dreygan lifts his head once he’s clear of the thick brush. He sniffs again at the air, then sits, grinning. “So you’re one of the scents bumbling about. Wondered when I’d run into any of you.”
Lanisen relaxes and laughs under his breath. “Bumblin’s right,” he agrees ruefully, beginning to fold the map. “Hello.”
Dreygan’s ears swivel towards the rustling of the map. “Hey. What’s that you’ve got?”
Lanisen says, “It’s a, um, a map, Hergel was kind enough to loan it me.”
Dreygan says, “A map? Surely you don’t need that in these woods. The paths are clear as cracked ice.”
Lanisen is skeptically, politely silent at this.
Dreygan waits in expectant silence for a moment or two, then sighs heavily. “What, did that change too since I saw it last? Always thought cracked ice was pretty hard to see through.”
Lanisen says, rather foolishly, “Oh.” He makes a face. “I wasn’t exactly sure what you meant.”
Dreygan grins. “Don’t worry about it, that’s pretty common. Where’re you from, anyway?”
Lanisen answers, “Anvard, I’m visitin’ with a couple of friends. Are you from Winterden?”
Dreygan tips his head. “I am. Met a few of my packmates, then?”
Lanisen says, “Ahh, Tempest and Drune a couple years ago, Crenna yesterday.”
Dreygan makes a face like he just ate a bushel of lemons. “Fantastic. Now you’re going to think we’re a pack that does nothing but contemplate as we pick flowers. I can only hope Tempest helped remedy that image so that all the work’s not up to me.”
Lanisen pulls his chin back, puzzled. “Sorry?”
Dreygan flicks an ear. “Doesn’t matter. Crenna’s my cousin.”
As if on cue, Crenna comes padding out of the underbrush, “Yes because I’m the only family member that will claim you, Scarface.” She smiles as she approaches, “Hello there, Lanisen.”
Lanisen is sitting on the inn step, a map unfolded on his knees. His attention shifts to Crenna as she steps into sight, quick and watchful, but he grins to see her. “Hello, Crenna.”
Dreygan asks, “That’s just a loss for the rest of them, now, isn’t it?” He paws at the air her way, a casual attempt to bat a hello. “Lanisen, was it?”
Crenna bumps Dreygan with her shoulder to let him know that she is there, smirking, “A gain to some.” She eyes his map, trying to read it upside down.
Lanisen answers Dreygan, “That’s right.”
Dreygan snorts. “Gain in boredom, maybe.”
Crenna just rolls her eyes and snorts. She looks at Lanisen, “How are you settling in? Have you everything you need? No on has bothered you, have they?”
Lanisen shakes his head quickly. “No, no, it’s been– everybody’s been very friendly. It’s very nice here. Thank you.”
Dreygan says, “Lion’s mane, you’ve decided to adopt him already, haven’t you? Didn’t think he sounded all /that/ young.”
Crenna snorts faintly, “Can I not be nice to our visitors, Dreygan? I just wanted to make sure his visit to Narnia was a pleasant one.”
Lanisen asks, “Dreygan, that’s you?”
Dreygan moves his muzzle in a little circle, rather like rolling his eyes. “Still sound like a mother beaver whose young caught a cold.” He angles his head towards Lanisen. “One and only.”
Lanisen says, “Pleasure.”
Dreygan says, “That it is.”
Crenna bumps Dreygan, “I can help ease a cold.” She looks at the map in front of Lanisen, “Is that a map of Narnia?”
Lanisen holds it out so Crenna can see it. “Yeah, ah, it’s Hergel’s. The one I brought don’t show the woods so well. It just sort of says, this is a wood, there’s trees here, it’s got a creek or somethin’ marked too, but no paths.”
Dreygan pushes Crenna lightly with a paw. “Not the point.” Back at Lanisen: “You planning to spend the entire time here?”
Lanisen says, “No, um… my friends, I think they’re wantin’ to go down the coast a bit, and they said somethin’ about wantin’ to see the Stone Table. And unicorns.”
Crenna’s entire face lights up, “The stone table?”
Dreygan says, “Seems like everyone just needs to swing by there. Better brace yourself: it’ll probably be very much stone, and shaped something like a table. Fascinating, really. Coast is nice enough.”
Lanisen looks rather surprised at this assessment. He glances at Crenna.
Crenna ignores Dreygan. “Oh, it is wonderful. So very peaceful and relaxing. I think I feel the most close to Aslan there. I try to go every chance I get though with pack duties, I don’t get to go as often as I like.” She hmms, “As for the Unicorns, you will find those up in Lantern Waste. About a three day journey north. At least from here.”
Lanisen’s forehead wrinkles up a little at Crenna’s description, but he nods.
Dreygan comments, “Because it’s so raucous and busy here, of course. Cross the river, too, to get to Lantern Waste. How good are you at crossing logs?”
Lanisen asks, “Logs?”
Crenna nods, “In order to get to Sted Cair, you will need to cross a log. Though if you have horses, you might be able to cross the river on them.”
Lanisen asks, “There’s no, there’s no bridges?”
Dreygan wrinkles his muzzle at the strange thought. “Bridges? Not here. Beaver’s dam, further upstream. Other than that… slippery wood or a nice, brisk swim, your choice.”
Crenna offers, “The log is wide though. It is fairly simple to cross.”
Lanisen looks rather worried.
Dreygan mutters his disagreement.
Crenna says, “I can show it to you if you want. It isn’t far.”
Lanisen asks, looking down at his map, “Is it this?” He holds the map out to Crenna and points at where a crossing is indicated.
Crenna nods, “Yes, I believe so.” She chuckles, “Though I have never seen a map before so it might be something else.”
Dreygan says, “Asking Crenna for directions? Guess you really /are/ planning to spend the whole time in the Woods.”
Lanisen grins, glancing between them.
Crenna gives Dreygan a deadpan look, “I have gotten better! I don’t get lost near as I use to, thank you very much.”
Dreygan smirks. “So only every other patrol now?”
Lanisen folds the map and sets it aside, pulling up his knees comfortably to listen to the banter.
Crenna whacks him lightly with a paw, “Oh hush. I don’t get lost, I just take detours.”
Dreygan says, “Sure. Detours that only end with remarkable amounts of luck.”
Lanisen loops his arms around his knees.
Crenna smirks, “I am remarkably lucky.” She bumps him, “I get always find my way home, Don’t I?”
Dreygan says, “‘Course you do. If you didn’t, you’d have to go a day without my company, and that’s too tragic to bear.” He stands and shakes, fluffing up his fur. “You’ll have to bear it for a while, though. I’ve got to go give Ayden a break.”
Crenna quips, “Oh how I could ever live with that, I don’t know.” She dips her head, “Have a good trip back to the den. Howl if you get lost.”
Lanisen says, “Good to meet you, Dreygan.”
Dreygan smirks Crenna’s way. “LIke you’d be of any help. And same to you, Lanisen. Don’t let her get too motherly, or she’ll never let you go home.” He lowers his head and begins to sniff back the way he came.
Crenna rolls her eyes and looks at Lanisen with a smile, “I’m glad you are settling in. How long do you plan to stay in the Woods?”
Lanisen says, “I don’t know, really. The rain kept us here, but it’s passed now, so I don’t suppose we’ll be here longer than another couple of days. Not that I’m in a hurry. It’s nice here.”
Crenna nods, “If you do end up in Lantern Waste, you will be able to tell a difference between their woods and our woods. Here, it is much more quiet. There, with the Guard and the Ulfden Wolf pack and the Unicorn herd, it can be a bit more busy.”
Lanisen asks, “A place called ‘waste’ is busier?”
Crenna chuckles, “Don’t let the name fool you. It is very pretty there. I don’t know why they call it the Waste. I think it had something to do with the fact that the old evil White Witch used to live in that part of the area.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, that’s right, I remember readin’ about that.” He tilts his head at her. “Were you alive when she was still…?”
Crenna bursts out laughing, “Oh my goodness, do I look that old?” She just takes a minute to get control of her laughter, “No, I wasn’t. She has been gone some 15 winters. I am only 4 winters.” She does grow serious, “However, Dreygan and I do come a pack that had some of her former servants.”
Lanisen looks startled by this news.
Crenna lowers her ears, “Don’t be frightened, it was a long time of ago. Some Beasts and other Narnians did serve the Witch just as I am sure that not all Sons of Adam and Daughters of eve follow goodness?” She looks at him.
Lanisen says, “No, sorry, no, it’s– you’re /four/?”
Crenna looks confused, “Yes? I have been around for about four winters, perhaps close to five now, I suppose.”
Lanisen shakes his head a little, baffled and laughing. “Sorry, sorry, everything’s… so different, it’s, I keep comin’ up against these little things, the /tables/ in there, you’re /four/, I /am/ sorry, I’ll get used to it.”
Crenna lays down, propping her muzzle on her paws, “It is quite alright. I can imagine how different this is. I have only been exposed to the limited number of people in Sted Cair but I imagine where you are from, this place seems wild. And Wolves don’t live as long as you do either so even though I’m four winters, I probably only have 15 or so winters left.”
Lanisen shifts, no longer laughing. There is a rather odd expression on his face.
Crenna frowns, “Did I say something offensive?” She looks very worried indeed.
Lanisen says, “No, no, of course not, um.” He frowns a little and shakes his head. “I hadn’t… I hadn’t thought of that, is all.”
Crenna tips her head, “Thought about what?”
Lanisen says, “Nothin’, never mind, I’m sorry.”
Crenna hmm, “Okay.” She stands up and stretches, “Well, I will leave you to your map. I need to finish a patrol.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, of course.” He gets to his feet as well. “Thanks for stoppin’. See you around, maybe?”
Crenna nods, smiling, “Yes, I hope so. Take care!” She begins to make her way back through the forest.