lost caches and wishes

Outside the Twin Oaks Inn
Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Megren stands outside the inn, dressed in sparring clothes. A group of Narnians is gathered around her, all chattering away, seemingly about the kings and queens, if the words that rise above the talk are anything to go by.

A faun with brown curly hair (Tumnus) comes walking in from the south, surrounded by a small group of Beasts.

A magpie with black-and-white plumage (Tooey) half hops, half flies in after the faun chirping something about treasure.

A centaur with dark serious eyes (Wintermoor) stands with the circle listening to the daughter of eve speak to those gathered. A faint covering of travel-dust covers him still.

A squirrel with a fluffy tail (Meka) follows the others into the clearing, humming. When she spots Pheeobe, she breaks away from the small group. It almost looks like she is going to jump up and perch on the wolf’s back when she thinks better of it. Instead, she settles between her paws and looks up grinning.

A wolf with an unmistakable limp (Pheeobe) shakes out her fur and grins back down to the little squirrel between her paws, taking care not to step on Meka. “Hello friend!”

Lanisen opens the inn door, peering out in slightly alarmed confusion at all the hullabaloo.

A squirrel with a wide girth (Skitterplum) bounds ahead of Tumnus and the others. She chitters when she sees the beasts gathered outside the inn. “You see?! They’re probably eating them /right now/.”

An unicorn with curious and mischievous green eyes (Peridot) walks into the clearing, glancing around as though looking for someone or somebeast in particular.

Megren steps back a little when still more beasts come across the gathering, looking a little bewildered.

Tumnus says, “Come, come. I don’t see anyone eating anything at all!”

Tooey peers at the complaining squirrel then around at the others, “They don’t LOOK like they’re eating”

A hummingbird with a ruby throat (Chiltic) darts into the clearing at a ludicrous speed before coming to a halt, hovering above the gathering with curious eyes.

Skitterplum scampers up to one of the Wolves. “Have /you/ seen them?”

Meka throws a brief glance in Skitterplum’s direction before looking back at Pheeobe and whispering, “Do you eat acorns and other squirrel foods? She’s looking for her squirrel foods. Pretty sure you don’t… And…” She changes the subject. “How are you?”

Tooey spots the hovering hummingbird and calls out, “Chiltic! The impossible flier!”

Lanisen steps out a little warily and crosses to Megren’s side.
Lanisen mumbles, “What did you /do/?” to Megren.
Lanisen mumbles “… did you …”, to Megren.

Chiltic spirals around as he attempts to find where his name is being called from. “But you can fly too!” he chirps, as hovering in the same spot.

Megren lifts her shoulders all the way up to her ears, spreading her hands.

Tooey exclaims, “I can fly but not like that!”

A black dwarf female with hard black eyes (Mikkle) looks down at her basket then up at the amassing crowd.

Tumnus addresses the group at large as they approach. “Good afternoon, friends. We’ve come looking for a lost store of nuts for the harvest festival. Who–that is, can anyone help us?”

Pheeobe shakes her head at the squirrels. “I do not but I could certainly help you!” To Meka she adds, “I am doing well. My leg healed up very well.” She puts her nose to the ground and her tail pops up.

Chiltic flutters on down to Tooey giving her a look of pity. “But we tried so hard, so so hard… You need to try again! We can do it!”

Tooey bobs her head, “One day!”

Lanisen asks, bewildered, “Nuts?”

Pheeobe starts sniffing along the ground.

Meka bounces around. “I am glad! I still feel badly that I caused you to get hurt. Your pack members were not too mad, were they?” She sticks close to Pheeobe’s side as they move.

Megren shakes her head at Lanisen to show she’s just as lost as he is.

Lanisen asks, “What… kind of nuts?”

Pheeobe shakes her head. “Oh do not feel bad! It was clearly my fault…I thought I could fly or something.” She keeps sniffing and adds, “They were not too mad at all. How have you been?”

Skitterplum scampers over to the Son of Adam. “ALL kinds,” she says urgently. “Hazelnuts! Chestnuts! Aaaacorns,” she mourns. “I buried them and I can’t find them and everyone at the festival is going to /starve/.”

Tooey exclaims, “We can eat… Berries though!”

Meka giggles. “Well maybe,” she says, looking at the two birds, “You can. I think they can teach you. I’ve been fine. Just storing food for the winter and everything.”

Chiltic begins to circle around as he replies, “Nuts! I heard nuts are tasty but I tried them once and did not like them very much…”

Peridot still walks cautiously around the clearing, looking around. She sniffs the ground and shakes her head. With a shrug, she enters toward where everyone is gathered. Her ears perk at the sound of berries.

Lanisen asks, shifting to speak more easily to the squirrel, “Is it– do you remember where you buried ’em?”

Tumnus asks Skitterplum, “A clearing, you said, didn’t you? Was it this one?”

Pheeobe looks around at the clearing.

Skitterplum says, “It was, it was /north/.”

Megren says, “Well, we’ve all got hands or paws or good eyes, or… other useful things.”

Lanisen glances at Megren. “Maybe if we spread out?”

Tumnus says to the two unfamiliar Humans, “Indeed–indeed, but–” he glances at Skitterplum– “perhaps a bit to the north first?”

Skitterplum bursts northward through the crowd without any further prompting.

Megren glances at Lanisen and then takes his hand and pulls him after the squirrel.

Lanisen says, “Oh! Oh, er, all right.”

In Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Lantern Waste is a dense and varied woodland. It consists predominantly of oak and white pine trees, with a variety of other groves growing here and there. Down here the undergrowth is quite thick, making it rather hard to see any distinct paths leading in any particular direction. Above you, the blue sky and bright sunlight are barely visible through the thick canopy of leaves overhead.

There is a thicket of holly bushes growing here.

Pheeobe laughs. “It is not that obvious!”

Skitterplum says, “This…. this…” she scampers up a tree and out onto a branch, dangerously near the end. “YES. This, it was here, it was here, I /know/ it was here.”

Pheeobe looks up to watch the squirrel with a smile.

Meka says, “Rocks don’t smell like nuts.. Well unless we bury nuts under a rock. then you might have a point. I’ll try it.”

Pheeobe glances at Meka and then starts digging under the rock she ate.

Tumnus looks up, waiting for Skitterplum’s answer. Once’s she’s declared this to be the place, he turns to the others who have followed them into the clearing and claps his hands to get their attention. “Now then–now then, friends! We’ve found the spot where Skitterplum stored her nuts for the festival. Why don’t we all spread out and start looking?”

Lanisen lifts a branch to duck under as he and Megren follow the general stream of Narnians into the deeper woods.

Meka plops a berry under Pheeobe’s nose.

Pheeobe sniffs the berry. “This….Isn’t a nut.” She looks up. “Where did this come from?”

Skitterplum leaps from branch to branch. “I’ll go find more.”

Meka darts away, looking for nuts. She giggles as she goes.

Lanisen glances at Megren. He begins to shuffle through the fallen leaves and cypress needles, looking for ground that might have been disturbed recently.

Pheeobe pokes at the berry for a moment and then continues searching the ground

Tumnus looks taken aback for a moment, but then says, “Oh–very good, very good.” He turns and peers into a hollow in a tree trunk.

Meka frowns. “I don’t think this is the right place… Not very good to hide stores anyway.”

Lanisen moves back and forth methodically, still shuffling.

Megren walks alongside Lanisen so that they are covering twice the ground. She kneels near a tree to get a closer look at something.

Pheeobe smiles and watches Meka run through the trees.

Overhead, a flock of dumb geese call to each other. The noise sends up a murmuration of starlings into the air.

Lanisen tilts his head back to watch the birds. “Somethin’s sent ’em up over there,” he remarks.

Meka stops in her tracks, the nuts forgotten. She chirps in alarm, eyeing the birds.

Zephyrwind continues to forage around for nuts. “Nuts,” he mutters to himself.

Megren looks up as well, brows drawing together.

Pheeobe’s eyes shoot up to the sky.

Meka skitters to Pheeobe to hide under her… just in case.

Tumnus looks up in surprise. “Well, hello.”

The forest falls quiet.

Lanisen goes back to shuffling, but pauses at the odd silence. He looks at Megren to see if he ought to be alarmed.

Tooey stops in her hopping, “Why’s it quiet?”

Pheeobe glances down at Meka and then she gets ready, digging her claws into the dirt.

Mikkle shakes her head, biting her lip.

Zephyrwind’s eyes narrow as he listens intently.

Meka’s tail twitches much too quickly.

Tooey, seemingly oblivious to the sudden seriousness of those around, continues to chirp, “What? What is it?”

Zephyrwind, startled, “Quiet, magpie.”

Tooey fluffs up her feathers, “Excuse me!”

Megren’s eyes are flicking between the trees.

Zephyrwind says, “Sorry, no offense.”

Tumnus says, quietly, “Now then, now then–no need for that. Can any of you Beasts hear anything?”

Pheeobe listens and then shakes her head. “Nothing as of yet.”

Chiltic bobs up and down, as though to nod. “I can hear us but nothing that is not us!”

Meka peeks out from one of Pheeobe’s legs. “I’ve never heard it this quiet before.”

Whatever you may have felt at the sound and silence, you feel calmer now, almost sleepy.

Pheeobe nods at Meka and then glances up as the calmness washes over her.

Megren frowns, suddenly uncertain what she was looking for. She glances at Lanisen.

Tooey tilts her head from side to side, more confused than ever, “What -was- that?”

Meka suddenly relaxes and sits with a soft sigh. She continues to look around, inspecting surroundings for any changes, but her demeanor has softened.

Tumnus blinks, fidgeting with his tail.

Lanisen’s eyes flit around the gathering of beasts, most of whom do not seem particularly scrappy, and looks back out toward the woods. He moves his hand toward his knife, but then blinks a couple of times and lets his hand fall away.

Mikkle shakes her head.

Pheeobe’s eyes flutter sleepily.

A white stag comes walking toward you from the north.

This magnificent stag stands above the height of a man when antlers are
accounted for, his coat a gleaming white. His antlers branch out and upward,
gray and soft and faintly shining and his forechest is full and powerful — but
his legs are lithe, his movements so graceful that they seem almost
otherworldly. His slow gaze matches his movements, eyes deep, intelligent and
pure black.

Pheeobe smiles. “Well…that is different.”

Meka looks from the deer to the stag and blinks a few times to make sure her imagination isn’t getting the better of her. “Never seen this before.”

A white stag steps into the edge of the clearing. It pauses there, observing the gathering in silence, then bends its head to nip at the ground.

Tooey exclaims, “Now that’s a shiny stag…!”

Mikkle’s eyes widen, and so does her mouth.

Tumnus gasps quietly.

Zephyrwind, with a stunned look, “Is that? Am I dreaming?”

Megren straightens, reaching for Lanisen’s arm.

Mikkle says, “That…that ain’t s’posed ta be…”

A white stag lifts its head, ear flicking.

Meka glances at Tumnus and asks softly, “What is it?”

Pheeobe also looks to Tumnus.

Lanisen rubs his eyes. “That’s,” he begins, hushed. “That’s…”

Tumnus continues to gaze at the Stag as he answers slowly. “That is–if I minded my father’s stories well as a young Faun, I do believe that is the White Stag.”

Zephyrwind, in utter amazement, says, “I’ve never seen one; I thought it was just a bedtime story or something.”

A white stag moves forward a few steps, its hooves silent on the forest ground, except for the snapping of a single twig.

Meka taps her head with a paw, deep in thought.

Megren takes an involuntary step toward the beast.

Zephyrwind asks, “He’s quite elegant, isn’t he?”

Mikkle whispers. “Do you think the stories are true?”

Chiltic hovers above the crowd staring at the stag. “So beautiful!”

Zephyrwind whispers back to Mikkle, “I think I’m ready to believe just about anything.”

Pheeobe also takes a small step forward.

Lanisen follows with Megren. He rubs his eyes again and stifles a yawn, frowning sleepily at the stag as if trying to remember the solution to a puzzle he knew a long time ago.

A white stag looks sharply at the group again.

Mikkle looks to Tumnus, gesturing toward the Stag. “Should we…?”

Zephyrwind, with a look of wonder, “It looks as though he would say something.”

Tumnus clears his throat and steps forward slowly, tucking his hands behind his back.

Mikkle stays where she is, but with a look of longing on her face.

A white stag bounds suddenly into action, crossing the clearing and disappearing into the trees.

Tooey says, “…Gone”
Tooey seems to deflate a little, disapointed

Mikkle gives a soft cry.

Tumnus blinks again, still looking dazed.

Meka hops forward and then stops herself from disappearing into the trees.

Chiltic slowly but surely spirals downwards. “Oh, why did it flee…!”

Zephyrwind smiles, then laughs, “Well, this is certainly one for the history books, wouldn’t you say?”

Lanisen jumps back, bumping into Megren. He blinks again, more awake, and stares after the stag. “Come on,” he says urgently, tugging Megren’s arm to follow it.

Mikkle shakes her head at Zephyrwind.

Pheeobe runs towards the edge of the trees. “It can’t leave! Maybe it is taking us somewhere!”

Megren allows him to drag her.

Tooey flaps her wings, “We should follow!”

Darrin moves through the woods to the south, coming from the direction of the Inn, most likely.

Tumnus shakes his head and laughs. “Indeed, indeed–leading us on a chase, Pheeobe. They say he doesn’t grant wishes unless you catch him.”

Meka looks at the ground where the stag was, blinking a few times.

The ground is disturbed there, as if by recent digging.

Meka says, “Why… Why is it like that?””

Lanisen draws Megren after the stag, ducking under branches to follow the path it took.

Pheeobe nod and smiles and begins chasing.

Tooey takes off into the air and flies after the others

Mikkle starts drifting westward too.

Tumnus, farther from the stag than others, follows after the rest

Meka digs, wondering what in the world is under there.

Buried where the stag stood, not especially deeply, is a huge store of nuts.

In Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Lantern Waste is a dense and varied woodland. It consists predominantly of oak and white pine trees, with a variety of other groves growing here and there. Down here the undergrowth is quite thick, making it rather hard to see any distinct paths leading in any particular direction. Above you, the blue sky and bright sunlight are barely visible through the thick canopy of leaves overhead.

Lanisen presses on through the woods after the stag, tugging Megren along with him. He halts after a few minutes, crestfallen. “Where did it…”

Megren pulls her arm out of his grasp to seek after signs of the stag.

Tooey flies in circles above everyone, “Where is it? Where could it be!”

Tumnus gives chase for a little while, but when there is no sign of the Stag re-appearing, he circles back around toward the spot where it was standing when they saw it.

Megren finds a spot in the brush she seems to think is promising.

Lanisen hovers, looking to see what she’s found. “Did it go that way?”

Megren pushes through the brush, but then stops, looking puzzled.

Tumnus pauses and looks around as he nears the clearing where the stag appeared. He looks unsure of which way to go.

Tooey circles a little more before heading back towards where it first appeared

Lanisen looks at her hopefully.

Megren straightens, shaking her head in disappointment.

Lanisen exhales. He nods, lifting his shoulders in a what-can-you-do sort of way.

Tumnus moves hesitantly back toward the east.

Megren pushes her mouth to the side, looking over her shoulder back to the place wistfully.

Lanisen asks, “Did you feel it?”

Megren nods vaguely.

Lanisen rubs the side of his face. “Should we go back?”

Megren takes a reluctant step back.

Lanisen turns in a circle one more time.

Megren finally agrees, “Yes, all right.”

Lanisen nods. He frowns out into the woods, puzzled and slightly troubled, and rubs his elbow, then reaches out to link arms with Megren.

Megren lets him take her arm and draw her away.

In Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Tooey exclaims, “It has!”

Mikkle looks thoughtful.

Pheeobe shakes her head. “Wow.”

Meka looks quizzically at Tumnus. “No, it isn’t… Do we try to catch him now?” By her changing expression, it is clear she can’t decide if this is even a good idea.

Tumnus straightens up and turns toward the Narnians gathered around. “Well, friends–well! The Stag was here, but I think he has quite gotten away from us, though who can say how far?”

Lanisen returns arm-in-arm with Megren. He looks disappointed, and also slightly unsettled.

Mikkle asks, “How much could it grant, I wonder? What sorts of wishes?”

Wintermoor looks thoughtful at the telling that the white stag has been seen.

Mikkle plucks at her sleeve, then seems to remember her basket is still hanging on her arm. “Oh..” she opens the basket. “I have meat pies, for those who don’t care for nuts. They’ll be cold by now.” Her voice sounds slightly strained.

Tumnus taps his hoof on the ground, looking thoughtful. “I couldn’t say as I’ve ever heard–certainly no one has caught him in a hundred years. Shouldn’t we like to find out, though!”

Meka’s eyes gleam, and her tail twitches excitedly. “Oh could we?”

Darrin listens to the conversations around him with wide eyes and a delighted expression.

Tumnus answers. “Well! I think my hoof and your paw won’t catch him, but with a proper hunt–our running and flying Beasts, mind you–well, I should like to find out!”

Megren’s eyes land on the human knight when they reenter the clearing, and she moves toward him.

Meka laughs. “That is true. I can’t run fast for long distances on the ground, but I can fly through trees!”

Tumnus’s eyes twinkle with excitement. “Indeed–indeed!”

Lanisen follows with Megren, glancing toward the faun.

Tumnus turns toward the group. “What do you say, friends? Ought we to see what sort of hunt we can get up?”

Mikkle nods. “Aye.”

Pheeobe nods.

Meka scampers to the nearest tree and climbs with ease. She perches on a low-hanging branch waiting for the word.

Megren asks Darrin, “Did you hear?”

Darrin looks to Megren and Lanisen. “They said the Stag was sighted. Do I take that to mean the /White/ stag?”

Megren says, “It was,” she lifts her hand to indicate the height. “–at least.”

Tumnus says, “Well then–first things first. We’ve got to know if he’s been seen anywhere else. The herd and the pack ought to know we’ve seen the Stag, and the Guard too. We’ll need all the fastest Beasts if we’re to have a proper hunt. And then there’s Their Majesties–if there’s ever a hunt they’ll want to go on, to be sure it’s this one!”

Peridot nods at the mention of the herd.

Zephyrwind perks up, “Well, I thought I saw him in the Lowlands awhile back, but he was so quick, I couldn’t honestly say I got a real good look – it was like a noise and a flash of white.

Meka says, “Pheeobe will mention it to the pack, I am sure of it.”

Darrin looks suitably awed.

Peridot says, “I’ll tell my herd. My mate will want to take part, I’m sure.”

Lanisen rubs his forehead.

Zephyrwind works his way toward the Faun, “Mr Tumnus?”, he asks.

Tumnus nods eagerly. “Quite so, quite so–yes?”

Zephyrwind swallows nervously, “In all of the ado of the day, I never got to actually introduce myself; I’m Zephyrwind. It’s a great pleasure, sir; my parents used to tell me about you.” He extends a wingtip.

Wintermoor murmers softly to himself at the news of the White Stag.
Wintermoor mumbles “The … … the skies … on … the stag … … … earth.”, to Wintermoor.
Wintermoor mumbles “… … … … … … on … the … trods the green …”, to Wintermoor.

Tumnus says, “Oh, indeed? Well then, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Zephyrwind.” He touches the offered wing tip politely. “Now then–yes, yes, Pheeobe will tell the pack, and Peridot will tell the herd. And the Guard and our other neighbors will know from all of you, I trust. Very good! So then I must get word to Cair Paravel.”

Lanisen says softly, “They’re going to hunt it.”

Zephyrwind smiles and says to himself, “This has been a good day.”

Peridot looks toward Wintermoor, her ears swiveling toward him at his murmuring.

Meka looks down at Tumnus with her head tilted to one side and asks a bit uncertainly, “Do you need a messenger, or do you plan to send a certain bird?”

Zephyrwind, hearing the centaur’s words, speaks up, “Wintermoor, is it well with you?”

Tumnus taps his hoof in excitement. “With news such as this to tell, I think I will go to them myself.”

Meka grins, nodding. “That is understandable.”

Megren replies to Lanisen, “I think only to catch it. Somebody said something about wishes.”

Lanisen glances at Megren, then turns his attention back to the planning with this new information. He looks relieved.

Wintermoor looks down at the eagle as he speaks. “It is indeed.”

Peridot’s ears also pick up part of the humans’ conversation. “My herd, as grass-eaters, wouldn’t take part in a hunt which ended in death.”

Tumnus stands in the midst of a group of Narnians, with a few Humans too. He claps his hands together and exclaims, “Well then–well then! We must all get to work, mustn’t we? Please tell all of your neighbors the news, and be sure to say that if they see or hear any sign of the Stag, send word to me immediately. Perhaps I will have more news to bring Their Majesties when I leave.”

Zephyrwind laughs out loud, “Wouldn’t it be great to see the Majesties right here in Lantern Waste?”

Glora wends her way through the underbrush, letting the holly leaves comb through her fur. She sits on the edge of the group as if she’s been there the whole time.

Tumnus says, “Indeed, indeed–we shall all be very happy to see them again! And goodness, no,” he adds, turning toward the Sons of Adam and Daughter of Eve. “As I’ve always heard it, the White Stag is no dumb beast, so of that you may be sure–it will all be very sporting.”

Mikkle asks, “I wonder what counts as catching? Must it be cornered? Netted? Tethered somehow?”

Meka catches a glimpse of the cat from her perch on the branch. She scurries backward a bit.

Zephyrwind, with a thoughtful look, “Well, certainly nothing to terrorize the creature, I should think.”

Megren’s brows knit. “It seemed… intelligent. I wonder if it acknowledges you’ve made a good chase and sort of… doesn’t fight?”

Zephyrwind nods, “Yes, there was a moment when you could have expected it say something.”

Mikkle nods. “That sounds right. I don’t remember traps in the stories anyway.”

Meka speaks, partially hidden now. “Perhaps it knows who is truthful based on what is sought and the need for which it is sought?”

Tumnus nods. “Gracious me, let’s have no talk of traps.”

Lanisen looks significantly less worried now that this is cleared up.

Zephyrwind, nodding in agreement, “It seemed a very gentle thing; inoffensive.”
Zephyrwind turns to Lanisen, “Well, Lan, do you plan to lead a team? Or what?”

Lanisen looks startled. “Me?”

Peridot asks, “What do you think their Majesties would wish for?”

Tumnus says, “We shall have to see when we speak to them! Now then, I think that’s all that’s got to be sorted out for now. Perhaps we ought to go and start spreading the word, before the Stag can get too very far?”

Mikkle shakes her head. “I don’t even know what I would wish for.”

Peridot nods to the gathering, “Then I shall inform my herd. Pleasant night to you all.”

Megren tugs Lanisen and Sir Darrin’s wrists. “We’ll go tell everyone at the inn.”

Darrin looks at Megren at the tugging and grins, nodding.

Peridot trots south, looking eager.

Lanisen says, “Yeah, all right.”

Tumnus exclaims, “Delightful! And I will go and speak to my neighbors. A good evening to you all!”

Meka starts flitting through branches on her way to tell other squirrels.

Zephyrwind, waving a wing, “Good night, Mr Tumnus, good night!”

Glora swishes her tail and stands. “Well /that’s/ exciting.”

Tumnus trots eagerly off to the south.


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