Outside the Twin Oaks Inn
An eagle of large and imposing stature approaches from above. With the heavy beating of large wings and a screech announcing his arrival, he touches down.
Zephyrwind says, looking pleasantly surprised, “Greetings, Son of Adam!” Catching sight of a squirrel, he says, “Please excuse me.” He pounces, but the squirrel gets away. He looks slightly disappointed. “Oh well, I wasn’t exactly starving.”
Lanisen is sitting on the bench outside the inn, a cup of tea cooling next to him. He looks up in slightly alarmed surprise from his book at the noise of the Eagle’s descent, and straightens as he lands. “Er, hello,” he answers, watching the squirrel with somewhat morbid interest.
Zephyrwind, with an inquisitive expression, asks, “What brings you to this part of our fair country? Welcome! Welcome!”
Lanisen says, shutting his book on his finger to keep his place, “Just, just travelin’ with some friends, is all.”
Zephyrwind gestures with his left wing, “Staying at the Inn, I presume?”
Lanisen says, “Yes, sir.”
Zephyrwind, obviously delighted, says, “Wonderful! Haven’t seen many humans ’round here. Well, I see you’re reading; I hope I’m not disturbing you. It’s just that I saw you from above, and I simply could not resist the urge to meet you. Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Zephyrwind.”
Lanisen says, hastily putting aside his book, “No, sorry, not at all. I’m Lan, pleased to meet you.”
Zephyrwind extends a wingtip, “Ah, Lan, well…I hope you don’t, but I’m quite curious about the goings on in Narnia. Perhaps there is news from Cair Paravel you could share.”
Lanisen looks startled. “How’d you know I been there?”
Zephyrwind, with a thoughtful look, responds, “Well, you ARE after all a Son of Adam; naturally, I just assumed…well, surely I don’t mean to pry. Do you not frequent; that is,” suddenly looking a little embarrassed, “I don’t know; it might have something Skarlieth said – I don’t quite remember…Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve, Sted Cair, Cair Paravel. Please, am I mistaken?”
Lanisen squints. “Are you thinkin’ of the kings and queens?” he ventures.
Zephyrwind, appearing to tap his head with his wing, “I guess perhaps I was; I hope I have not stepped over a line…please forgive me?”
Zephyrwind steps a little closer to the Son of Adam, “If I have erred in some way, please tell me.”
Lanisen says, shifting a little uncertainly, “No, no, ‘course not, only, I’m– I’m not them, I’m definitely not them.”
Zephyrwind, with a sigh of relief, “Oh, thanks be to the Lion; I would not want one of my few encounters with a Son of Adam to be a disaster.”
Lanisen says, “Ahh, heh.”
Zephyrwind looking a bit puzzled, “I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Please explain.”
Lanisen says, “I– er– nothin’? Sorry.”
Zephyrwind still quite curious, presses in, “Your friends you mentioned. They are nearby.”
Lanisen shifts again, gesturing at the inn behind him. “They’re not up yet.”
Zephyrwind nods, “I see…well, I hope I get the chance to meet them as well. I suppose, though, news of any kind warrants good conversation; that is, of course, if you have any.” He continues, “I’ve had some unusual things in recent days, things that might make for good chit chat.”
Lanisen is sitting on the bench outside the inn, a book and a cup of tea next to him. His posture is rather guarded, his arms folded over his middle. “Oh, er,” he says uncertainly. “I don’t know what’s, what’s news, around here.”
Zephyrwind, not quite sure how to proceed, he speaks, “Well, it may seem a little strange what I have seen, or at least I thought I did…oh dear.”
Lanisen frowns a little, questioning.
Zephyrwind continues, “Well, once when I was fishing, another time I was simply visiting with a friend, but not only here in Lantern Waste; it happened not long ago in the Lowlands, at the Stone Table. I saw something.”
An eagle with a crested head soars over the inn, near over the roof. He curves around again once he has cleared the building, landing nearby. After a couple flaps to regain balance, he folds his wings and turns towards the pair. “Good morning to you both.”
Lanisen straightens slightly, his attention drawn toward the new eagle. “Mornin’,” he answers after a small hesitation.
Zephyrwind lightens up, “Skarlieth, how nice to see you!” Hesitating just a bit, he says, “Skarlieth, this is Lan; he’s here visiting with friends. We were just getting acquainted.”
Skarlieth dips his head deeply to the both. “A pleasure, Lan. I am Skarlieth.”
Lanisen says, “Nice to meet you, Skarlieth.”
Zephyrwind says, trying to mediate, “Well, as I was saying we were just getting to know one another. You understand, friend Skarlieth, I haven’t had many opportunities to visit with a Son of Adam. Of course, you’re in the Guard; I suspect you get around quite a bit more.”
Skarlieth tips his head. “As it happens, my training partner in the guard is a Son of Adam, and I work closely alongside a Daughter of Eve as well. But do not let me hinder your conversation; I am sure I shall find my bearings.”
Zephyrwind nodding agreeably, continues, “Well I…was saying that I had seen something. I don’t know but others might have seen it too. And yet, I can’t say I got a very good look; it was something white in the distance. I was angling for a perch at the stream…and there was this flash of white. Of course, you know, we eagles have keen eyesight. That’s why I feel just little embarrassed to say I didn’t really get a good look. But it moved very quickly, and before I could set my eyes directly upon it, it was gone. Sorry to say, it’s happened a number of times…oh me, I don’t think I’m losing my good sense.” He appears to get a little flustered.
Lanisen goes still at Skarlieth’s words, going slightly pale.
Zephyrwind looks upon Lan with concern, “My, my, are you quite alright? Something to eat perhaps?”
Skarlieth studies Lanisen for a moment before looking towards Zephyrwind. “I doubt you are losing your sense purely due to a glimpse of something.” He falls silent as Zephyrwind checks in with Lan.
Zephyrwind moves closer to Lan, “Is there anything I can do?”
Lanisen says, avoiding both eagles’ eyes, “No, it’s, I’m fine, sorry.” He picks up his tea and drinks.
Zephyrwind, speaking affirmatively, “Well, Lan, we are at your service.”
Zephyrwind, speaking to Lan and looking at Skarlieth at the same time, “Perhaps you should retire to the Inn and lie down a bit.”
Skarlieth gives a small nod and turns his gaze towards Zephyrwind. “This thing you saw,” he says, switching the conversation away, “Why does it bother you so?” He glances towards Lan. “I think he shall be well, though, of course, he is free to do as he wishes.”
Lanisen says, “No, thank you, I’m fine.”
Zephyrwind, nodding, and appearing to be relieved for Lan, then finding his place in his story, “Well, I hesitated to say what I thought it might be…you know, it was something my parents told me when I was an eaglet, but I never really gave it much thought…it seemed more like a story a parent tells his child at bedtime. But it was something about…a stag; yes, a white stag. But like I said, I never really got a good look.”
Skarlieth says, “Indeed? That would be quite the thing.”
Zephyrwind nods excitedly, “I mention it, I suppose, hoping maybe someone else might have seen something.”
Lanisen shifts slightly, frowning with thoughtful interest. He doesn’t say anything.
Zephyrwind seeming a bit crestfallen, “Perhaps I should check with Panacea; maybe she has something…”
Skarlieth shakes his head. “I cannot say that I have noticed it. But then, I watch more carefully to the north.”
Lanisen glances at Skarlieth again, studying him surreptitiously.
Zephyrwind perks up a little, “I appreciate that, Skar; you give me the benefit of the doubt. My parents, they said this creature, if captured, could grant wishes. Hah – imagine that, such a creature.” He chuckles.
Zephyrwind looks at Lan, “You seem very silent, new friend. You are doubtful perhaps?”
Skarlieth nods. “Indeed. Is there some wish you…” He falls silent when Zephyrwind addresses Lan.
Lanisen says, “No, no, sorry. I’ve heard the story. Read it, I guess.”
Zephyrwind, with a slightly dreamy expression, staring off into the distance, “A wish? Oh, well, my parents saw the Great Lion; I was too young to remember. But I think if I could have a wish, I would like to see Him. Yes, very much; I would like to see Aslan.”
Skarlieth tips his head. “I do not know that the Great Lion would be answerable to the magic of the Stag… though perhaps He would respond, nevertheless. An interesting thought.”
Zephyrwind nods acquiescently, “You make good point, wise Skarlieth, but, stag or no stag, I can still wish it, can’t I?”
Lanisen sets down his tea, looking between them. He listens with a keen, silent interest.
Zephyrwind, after several moments pass, speaks up, “It seems so still – calm.”
Skarlieth asks, “Of course you can wish.” He tips his head. “What seems so still?”
Zephyrwind looks up, “The air? The wood? I just had a momentary sense of … I don’t know – well being, yes. It suddenly seemed quite good for us to be here.” He pauses, “You think I’m silly?”
Skarlieth blinks once. “That was not my thought, no… My apologies that it came across as such.”
Lanisen rubs his wrists absently.
Zephyrwind looks at the ground, then raises up a little, “I’m rather enjoying myself right now. Skar, we’ve only know each other for a short time, and I feel you are a dear friend. And you, Son of Adam, Lan, I even begin to feel an affinity with you. How glad I am to have met you today.” he adds, “Friends.”
Skarlieth shifts his wings, his feathers fluffing up briefly. “I am glad you are in such a good mood this morning.”
Lanisen finds a small quick smile at this, though he stays quiet and seems not entirely at his ease. He glances at Skarlieth again.
Zephyrwind, looking a little self-conscious, “I hope I didn’t get too whatever there…breathe, Zeph.”
Zephyrwind shakes his feathered head, “I think I take myself too seriously at times.”
Zephyrwind laughs with a slightly nervous intermittent chirp.
Skarlieth shakes his head. “There is no crime in feeling you belong, or in finding connection. I am glad that it is so.”
Zephyrwind smiles, he replies, “Coming from you, Skar; well, it means a lot.” He turns to Lan, “So Lan, are you and your friends going to be here a few days? I hope so. Maybe we can fish.”
Lanisen straightens a little. “I don’t know how long, I– I think, yeah, a few days at least.”
Skarlieth shifts again before looking Lan’s direction. “Is fishing a hobby of yours?”
Lanisen says with a quick rueful smile, “Ahh, it’s been… prob’ly ten years.”
Zephyrwind’s stomach growls, “Well, it’s been about ten hours for me. Oh, I beg your pardon.”
Lanisen asks, “It must be good here, the fishin’?”
Skarlieth glances between them. “Have you a rod, Lan? Perhaps we could show you some of the better spots, if you desire.”
Zephyrwind nods, “Yes, these waters are teeming with fish: perch, catfish, golden carp, trout…”
Lanisen says apologetically, “I don’t have a pole.”
Zephyrwind perks up, “Snitch’s goods? Maybe he’s got one.”
Skarlieth gestures with one wing towards the inn. “Or perhaps the innkeep?:
Zephyrwind reaches for the sky, “Excuse me, a moment.”
Zephyrwind spreads his wings and takes off.
A shadow passes over you as an Eagle flies overhead.
Lanisen looks rather startled as the eagle takes off. He looks back at Skarlieth helplessly. “Er…”
Skarlieth watches Zephyrwind go with a similar look. “…Perhaps to check for a pole?”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He rubs the side of his face. “I hope he doesn’t go to any trouble.”
Zephyrwind swoops down from above, landing beside them.
Zephyrwind addresses Lan, “Well, I had to see…Snitch doesn’t have a pole, however.”
Skarlieth says, “Quite the speed to check. A pity, though.”
Zephyrwind smiles and says, “Well, it’s not so far …on the wing, that is. Of course, if I was walking I might still be enroute.”
Lanisen says, shaking his head slightly, “That’s all right, it’s, I prob’ly wouldn’t know what to do one if I had it anyway.”
Skarlieth dips his head. “That is fair. If you desire it, there are many skilled fishers in the Waste; I am sure you could find someone to help you catch dinner.”
Zephyrwind nods in agreement, “You bet.” He clicks his talons. “Fishing equipment built in.”
Lanisen grins, ducking his head a little. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he says. “Thanks.” He’s sitting outside the inn, a cup of tea and a book on the bench next to him.
Jana comes up the path from the south. She is wearing a cloak and there is some brush clinging to the hem of her skirts.
Skarlieth glances towards the movement and dips his head in greeting before looking back towards Lanisen. “How long have you been in Lantern Waste?”
Lanisen follows Skarlieth’s glance. He goes very still, and looks rather sick.
Zephyrwind notices the change in Lan’s face, “There he goes again. Perhaps you should see a physician. Are you not well?” He continues, “Oh, and I beg your pardon, daughter of Eve; I don’t know that I’ve had the pleasure. But our friend here has show himself to be not quite well this morning.”
Jana frowns at the eagle who has spoken. “Yes we have. Zephyrwind.” Her gaze shifts to the man with the eagles, and her frown grows yet more disapproving. Her gaze sharpens a bit, taking on a shrewd cast.
Skarlieth turns his head to regard both of the humans, frowning. Focusing on Adara, he tips his head the other direction, questioning.
Zephyrwind with a sudden look of recognition, “Yes, of course, I humbly beg your pardon. There IS something different, however…not quite sure. Please forgive the silly eagle.”
Lanisen doesn’t move a muscle, but he seems to shrink. He doesn’t look away from the woman.
Jana sucks her teeth but says nothing further on the subject. “Who’s this,” she says, apparently referencing the man.
Skarlieth takes a brief break from his examination of the humans to look at Zephyrwind, rather askance.
Zephyrwind, still trying to compose himself, gestures toward Lan, “Why this is Lan, daughter of Eve; I only just met him this morning, and we have been having a good visit.”
Lanisen’s eyes dart to Zephyrwind in alarm and back to Jana. He slips one hand beneath his coat.
Jana’s eye sharpen again, and for a moment the skin around her scar tightens and grows white, then flushes pink, then returns to normal. The moment passes quickly, and she crosses her arms, a big toothy grin appearing on her face. “Well, how about that. Lan.” She thrusts out a hand toward him, open-palmed, as to shake. “Adara.”
Skarlieth catches Lan’s reaction out of the corner of his eye and tenses. When Adara greets Lan, however, he blinks a couple times and shifts his wings.
Lanisen draws a quick shuddery breath and cringes slightly when she reaches out. He shuts his mouth and swallows, his eyes darting between her hand and her face. “Adara,” he repeats. He withdraws his hand from his coat and takes her hand. The last two fingers of his right hand stay curled, clawlike. This does not seem to be voluntary.
Jana eyes his hand with interest, taking it firmly in her own and shaking it. “How come you’re out this way, then, Lan? Ain’t get a lot of Archenland folk this far north.”
Lanisen pulls his hand back as soon as she lets it go. His eyes shift to the eagles, and briefly to the inn. He is white-lipped and trembling visibly. “Travl– just travelin’,” he answers, his voice slightly hoarse. “With, I’m with friends.”
Skarlieth continues to watch closely, now the silent one.
Zephyrwind, looking a little flustered and bewildered, “Well,” laughing almost hysterically, “This has been a truly wonderful day. I can’t deny feeling a bit confused, but strangely enough I feel great as well. I hope I see you again, Lan. And, Daughter of Eve, a great pleasure – it’s been awhile, yes? And my friend, Skarlieth; it’s been fun. I want to see you all again. And I hope you’ll forgive me, but I must go. Please forgive me for rushing off, Good day to you all.”
Jana’s eyes flick to the inn. “Friends…” she gives the eagle a curt nod.
Zephyrwind looks heavenward and reaches for the sky….”Bye!”
Zephyrwind spreads his wings and takes off.
Skarlieth spares a nod Zephyrwind’s way as he leaves.
Lanisen takes a small breath as Zephyrwind abandons them. He darts a glance at Skarlieth, half-pleading.
Skarlieth meets Lan’s eyes and says, “I believe I am missing something. Might I have an explanation?”
Jana crosses her arms again.
Lanisen looks at Jana.
Skarlieth stares at them both, waiting.
Jana replies to the eagle openly enough, though her arms are still crossed. “I knew a man in Archenland, but he was called Lanisen.”
Lanisen doesn’t deny it. He shifts so that he can get to his feet quickly if necessary.
Skarlieth focuses on Lanisen. “I am not sure what you fear, Lan, but you are not in danger here.” He glances toward Adara. “Though I believe it may be worthwhile to know some context outside of a name.”
Jana folds her arms again. “Ain’t for me to say.”
Lanisen draws a breath. “I been pardoned,” he says, looking at Jana. “I’m not, I don’t want any trouble.”
Skarlieth goes quiet when Lanisen begins to speak.
Jana frowns deeply. “Pardoned. Course you have. Meanwhile I got a kid can’t see his own country without leaving his mum.”
Lanisen opens his mouth, realizing his misstep. “I’m– sorry.”
Jana makes a ‘tch’ sound. “What are you here for, really, then. Have you got it on you? Come to wave it in our faces?”
Lanisen flinches. “I don’t want trouble, I don’t want trouble.”
Skarlieth says, “I do not believe any of us do.”
Jana glances at Skarlieth and she deflates a little. “Reckon not.” She nods at Lanisen and says in a begrudging but less hostile tone, “How long you been pardoned?”
Lanisen rubs his wrists, where the skin is scarred and shiny. He glances between them. “Couple years,” he says after a small pause. “Little less.”
Jana’s eyes skip from the scar on his neck to the ones on his wrists. “Done some things in the mean time,” she observes.
Lanisen pulls his sleeves down. “So’ve you.”
Jana nods once, curtly.
Skarlieth shifts his wings and puts his weight on one leg.
Jana asks, “You said you got friends?”
Jana says, “Better’n Myrd, then.”
Skarlieth clacks his beak quietly at that.
Lanisen nods again. His eyes rest on Jana’s scar. “He do that?”
Jana’s lips press into a line but she shakes her head. “Zan.”
Skarlieth tips his head.
Lanisen’s eyes sharpen with comprehension. He crosses his arms loosely over his stomach, his hand near the hidden knife but not reaching for it.
Jana’s eyes track the movement before shifting back to his face. “Who done that to your neck?” she returns, nodding toward the injury.
Lanisen lowers his chin slightly. “Ain’t important.”
Jana says, “Told you mine.”
Lanisen hesitates. “Happened when I got caught,” he says finally.
Jana nods once. “Not the wrists, though.”
Lanisen shakes his head slightly.
Jana says, “I got a house here.”
Lanisen says, “I know.”
Jana says, “Sometimes the guard comes in for a drink.”
Lanisen glances at her.
Skarlieth dips his head in confirmation, also glancing Jana’s way.
Jana says, “You could bring your friends.”
Lanisen swallows, glancing between them. “Myrd?” he manages after a small, confused pause.
Jana presses her lips together. “The tower, then.”
Lanisen asks, “The tower?”
Jana gestures with her head back the way she came. “Guard tower, that’s where me and Skarlieth and the rest of the guard work out of.”
Skarlieth nods confirmation.
Lanisen looks like this has gotten away from him. He studies Jana’s face, confused and anxious and not entirely trusting, then looks at Skarlieth, then back to Jana. “I got– my friends would prob’ly be interested to, to see that,” he finally says slowly.
Skarlieth says, “You are welcome any time, I am sure. There are generally at least a few of us at the tower at any point.”
Jana gives another curt nod. “Ain’t nothing fancy.”
Lanisen’s eyes shift back and forth between them again. “This ain’t…?”
Jana frowns, not sure how that question’s meant to end and annoyed that she’s not sure.
Skarlieth glances at Adara. Not seeing an answer there… “This is not what?”
Lanisen rubs a hand over his mouth, still slightly shaky.
Jana’s frown deepens.
Skarlieth drops his gaze.
Lanisen says, “I’ll, I’ll talk to my friends.”
Jana says, “Fine.”
Jana asks, “You seen the garden?”
Lanisen asks, “The–?”
Jana says, “South.”
Lanisen says, shaking his head slightly, “We ain’t gone south much yet.”
Jana says, “Go look before you come. I done that.”
Skarlieth says, “And well. It is worth the visit.”
Lanisen hesitates, glancing between them again. He nods.
Jana says again, “Fine.”
Lanisen looks at her, trying to gauge this. “I’ll go.”
Jana says, “Good. You can take your friends.”
Skarlieth glances at Lanisen again and nods. “Perhaps we ought to let you return to your tea. It has been a pleasure, Lan.”
Lanisen draws a breath, glancing at Jana again. “It’s Lanisen,” he says, ducking his head.
Jana looks at Skarlieth and then inclines her head in acceptance of this suggestion. She holds out a hand to Lanisen again.
Lanisen gets to his feet and takes the offered hand, his free hand falling to his side. The final two fingers stay curled in.
Skarlieth nods. “Lanisen, then. A good morning to you.”
Jana takes his hand in her firm grip and turns it very briefly, her shrewd gaze falling on his wrist and failed fingers, and then she’s released him again. “Reckon I’ll see you around, then,” she asserts.
Lanisen looks like he’s not entirely sure what to make of her scrutiny. He pulls his hand back, swallowing, but nods. He looks past her to Skarlieth. “You– you too.”
Jana steps back to stand beside Skarlieth.
Skarlieth nods one more time before taking off, flying in low circles to keep wait for Adara as they head off.
Lanisen takes a step forward before they are quite gone. “Jana–”
Lanisen says, “Can you– please…” He pauses and moistens his lips. “Don’t… don’t tell him, don’t tell him.”
Jana pauses, then says, “Ain’t gonna lie if it comes up. But ain’t reckon it will.”
Lanisen rubs his elbow. He finally nods, accepting this.
Jana says, “Ain’t gonna bring it up.”
Lanisen exhales. “Thank you.”
Jana turns and follows Skarlieth.