The Narnian wilds are more open here, full of life and bounty. Chains of cranberries and acorns have been hung up, stringing from branch to branch, a seeming dare to the intrepid Squirrel. Lanterns have been set up in convenient places, casing made from turnips and candle stubs, and some industrious creature’s hard work at carving openings for the light to pour from.
Under the pear tree sits a huge feasting table, laden with everything good and in season. There are squash of all varieties, potatoes roasted, mashed, and boiled, a pile of nuts more enormous than seems quite safe or possible, kale and fresney in every form, soups and stews, venison and rabbit and fish, and of course, several apple, quince, and nutty pies.
Meka is having a very animated conversation with Applebud in the midst of those gathered.
Applebud can be seen to be chittering very excitedly to Meka.
Darrin comes into view among the crowd.
Lanisen follows along with Darrin, his hands in his pockets. He seems interested in everything.
Meka notices the Sons of Adam and waves a tiny paw in their direction. “Hello there! I think I saw you the other night when we glimpsed the stag, but I didn’t catch your name. I’m Meka.”
Applebud turns when the other squirrel speaks. “It’s the humans!”
Darrin grins brightly when he catches a glimpse of the small paw waving them over. “Hullo! So you did. I’m Darrin. Good to meet you, Meka.”
Lanisen’s attention is drawn to the squirrel. “I’m Lanisen,” he answers, grinning as well. He pauses, squinting slightly at the younger squirrel, then asks, “Applebud, right?”
Applebud nods excitedly!
Meka grins. “Nice to officially meet both of you! Are you new to the area or just visiting?”
Darrin says, “We’re just visiting.”
Meka moves closer, head tilting. “Where are you from?” Her eyes are bright with curiosity. “I haven’t traveled much. I think it would be fun though!”
Lanisen says, glancing at Darrin, “Anvard, in Archenland.”
Meka is speaking with Applebud, Darrin, and Lanisen amongst the crowd. “Hmmm,” she says, tapping her paw on her head repeatedly, “Can’t say as I’ve ever met anyone from Archenland. Is it similar to this?” She gestures around, encompassing all of the Waste.
Skarlieth lands far enough away from the feasting table to not disturb any of the revelers. Before approaching, he surveys those gathered.
Lanisen says, laughing, “Not very.”
Darrin grins at Lanisen, and nods. “There’s forests sort of like this, I suppose. But we don’t have any Talking Beasts, just humans.”
Meka’s mouth drops open, and her eyes grow wide. “No talking beasts? What in the world kind of place is that, and…” she continues sort of as an afterthought, “Must have been weird when you first met one then.”
Lanisen admits ruefully, “I was scared out of my mind, pretty nearly.”
Skarlieth sees the group talking and pauses. After a moment, he picks his way closer to the table, towards a couple of small, savory pies.
Meka laughs. “I can only imagine.” She notices the eagle and turns, offering him a cheery, “Hello there!”
Lanisen turns slightly to see who Meka is greeting. He pauses, half-wary, then ducks his head to the Eagle.
Skarlieth stops beside the table and turns towards the group, offering a half-bow, his wings slightly spread. “Good day to you all.”
Meka says, “I think he’s okay,” to Lanisen. “Nothing to be scared of.” She grins at the human.
Lanisen looks embarrassed. He rubs his elbow, red-faced.
Skarlieth examines the Squirrel, but nods slightly as if to agree. Looking towards the unfamiliar man, he half-bows again. “I do not believe we have met. I am Skarlieth.”
Darrin touches his chest, as if to indicate himself. “Sir Darrin. A pleasure.”
Skarlieth asks, “Indeed, and a merry harvest to you.” He adjusts his wings as he glances between them all. “I hope the festivities have been well?”
Darrin says, “Quite so, from what I’ve seen.”
Lanisen nods a little to agree with Darrin.
Skarlieth glances briefly at Lanisen before continue to focus on Darrin. “How do they compare to those of your home?”
Meka nods to Skarlieth. “I am Meka. Nice to meet you.” She, too, waits for Darrin’s response.
Darrin asks Skarlieth, “To our festivals?”
Lanisen glances around, as though comparing.
Darrin taps his upper lip, looking thoughtful. “They’re…equally exuberant, I’d say, but this one seems more informal, more relaxed?” He looks to Lanisen for his input.
Lanisen, looking back at Darrin, lifts his shoulders and nods. “More sorts of people here, obviously,” he says, glancing at the Squirrels. He looks at Skarlieth again briefly, and his eyes skitter away.
Meka asks, “What things are more formal about the festivals in your homeland?”
Skarlieth nods, seemingly not seeing Lanisen’s reaction as he continues to focus on the Squirrel and Sir Darrin. He’s not exactly ignoring Lanisen, but also carefully not staring his way. “Such is the way here.” He falls quiet as Meka asks her piece.
Meka walks to the table and picks up a pie, hunger getting the better of her.
Darrin focuses on Meka. “Our dancing, for instance – I was comparing the two with Megren last night. We tend to have dances with specific, arranged steps, especially those among the nobles. I don’t think that works well when your dancers are of all sorts, as you have here. Your dancing seems more – well, spontaneous.” He glances between Lanisen and Skarlieth as he speaks.
Meka says, “Well, perhaps you can try to teach us one of your dances… Just to see what happens, you know.”
Skarlieth glances down at his short legs and talons.
Darrin seems amused by the prospect. “It would be my pleasure.”
Lanisen looks askance at Darrin. He rubs the back of his neck.
Meka follows Skarlieth’s gaze and giggles, looking at her own short legs. “We got this,” she says overconfidently. “It’ll have to wait for another day though. I need to head back to my nest for a rest.” She nods to the two humans and then Skarlieth in turn. “Again, nice to meet all of you.”
Lanisen bobs his head at the Squirrel, grinning slightly. “You too,” he answers.
Darrin sketches a bow to her. “And you, Meka.” He catches Lanisen’s look and winks at him.
Skarlieth looks at the Squirrel and clacks his beak. “It could not do harm to try,” he agrees. “But likewise, I believe I must depart for the time.”
Meka hums to herself as she disappears through the crowd.
Lanisen ducks his head to the Eagle again. “Evenin’.”
Darrin says, “Good to meet you too, Skarlieth.”
Skarlieth half-bows yet again. “And you. A pleasant evening to you both.” He turns and takes off, apparently forgetting the initial quest for pie.
Darrin glances at Lanisen as the other disappear into the crowd. He gestures at the feasting table.
Lanisen steps back slightly as Skarlieth takes off, watching him go. At Darrin’s suggestion, he nods and begins toward the food.
Darrin loads a plate with stuffed trout and a baked potato. He says, “Had you met Skarlieth before?”
Lanisen takes a small pie and an apple, glancing about rather guiltily as he does so. “He knows Jana,” he says, glancing back to Darrin. “The other day, we met.”
Darrin scrunches up his nose. “So he doesn’t like you, because of Jana?” He sounds puzzled.
Lanisen doesn’t seem to know how to answer this. He drops the apple in his pocket, then takes it out again, absent-minded and uncomfortable. “No, I– I think just because of me,” he answers.
Darrin looks offended on Lanisen’s behalf.
Lanisen lifts his shoulders awkwardly, glancing around the area. He seems uncomfortable, but not particularly offended. “He’s on the guard,” he explains.
Darrin nudges a fallen roasted walnut with his foot. “I still don’t see why that would make him awkward around you.”
Lanisen doesn’t answer.
Darrin purses his lips, his brow creasing.
Lanisen rubs his elbow, watching a group of fauns pass. “He knows what me’n Jana did,” he finally explains. “He knows Jana, he don’t know me. It’s…” He shrugs. “It ain’t… unexpected. Or, or wrong, even. Don’t think badly of him for it.”
Darrin sighs. He glances at Lanisen and gives him a small smile. “I’m sure you’re right. It’s hard not to, though, when he slights my friend.”
Lanisen seems oddly touched by this. He lowers his head and smiles, shrugging again. “Thanks.”
Darrin smiles wider. “You’re welcome.” He looks around until he spots an open area under one of the fruit trees. “Want to sit down?”
Lanisen follows his glance. “Yeah, all right.”
Darrin weaves through the crowd and settles on the ground with his plate.
Lanisen trails after him.