Edmund is standing speaking to Aliyah. His face and hair are wet and his collar looks to be slightly damp, but he looks to be in good spirits.
Aliyah looks amused while speaking to Edmund. She’s overly full and also seems like she might fall over at any time from food-induced fatigue.
Lanisen walks through the orchard, following the general stream of merrymaking, though he seems to be alone for the moment.
Leon waves over to the newcomer. “Good evening, friend! Join us!”
Edmund turns as the faun calls out greetings. “Well met, Lanisen.”
Aliyah follows Edmund’s gaze. “Nice to see you again, Lanisen.”
Lanisen takes a moment to track the call, and takes another moment to realize that it’s calling him, and then he realizes all at once who is present, his eyes darting from face to face with pleasant surprise. He bows deeply to Edmund.
Leon smiles pleasantly to Lanisen. “T’is good to meet you again, Sir. Enjoying the festivities?”
Aliyah looks surprised to see Lanisen this far north. “Lanisen, did word of the stag bring you this far as well? If so, we have some great messengers.”
Edmund nods acknowledgement of Lanisen’s bow.
Lanisen says, glancing at Aliyah, “Er, not– not exactly.”
Aliyah stares with curiosity for a moment and then looks away, deciding it’s best not to pry.
Edmund asks, “Hast enjoyed thy visit of Lantern Waste? Thou and thine companions?”
Lanisen bows again, less deeply. “It’s– yes, your majesty, um. It’s been, it’s been very good.” He meets Edmund’s eyes and nods a little, imparting something unsaid with the look.
Leon ear-perks, looking to Lanisen. “Oh? How interesting.” He waves a hand airily. “You know, I’ve been thinking of visiting your Archenland sometime. I’ve heard some interesting things about it…”
Aliyah focuses on any visible details. her right ear flicks on occasion. “Glad you are enjoying your stay,” she says, not unkindly.
Edmund nods to Lanisen. “It is good to hear. Shalt continue so, I hope.”
Lanisen says, “Yes, your majesty.” He’s standing within conversational distance of Aliyah, Leon, and Edmund.
Edmund stands by the feasting table, speaking with Lanisen a cup of steaming cider in his hand. His collar is damp, as is his hair.
Leon is relaxed on a nearby stump, conversing with Aliyah, Lanisen, and King Edmund.
Leon claps his hands. “At any rate. I do hope this fine feast is to your liking, Mr. Lanisen. Sadly, we seem to be shockingly devoid of wine, a glaring oversight, if you ask me…”
Aliyah coughs, trying not to laugh at the faun’s statement.
Leon is quite gravely serious. Which is all the more comical.
Lucy walks toward the feasters from the direction of the dancing, a little out of breath.
Aliyah stands at the sight of Queen Lucy and approaches. “Hello. You look like you need a break. The food is amazing!”
Leon spots the Queen approaching, and he stands immediately, giving a bow. “Your Majesty, Queen Lucy! How it pleases me so to have the pleasure of your company again! It has been a mite too long since my last visit to Cair Paravel.”
Lanisen draws away a little to widen the circle, offering a deep bow to Lucy.
Edmund turns to greet his sister. His collar is damp as is his hair. “Well met, Fair Sister.”
Lucy smiles gleefully at the Wolf. “How could we expect anything else, from the sight of it? Everything here looks simply delightful. Although I must confess, I am eager to return to our Hunt — which is after the White Stag itself.” She nods to acknowledge the bows and replies to Leon, “Wilt ammend that absence shortly, I trust.” It is then she sees Edmund. “Brother!” she laughs. “Why, what hast done to thy poor head?”
Aliyah chuckles. “Indeed. I am anxious for the hunt to begin as well and ready to see if what has been said is true.”
Leon nods, smiling cheerfully. “Indeed, Your Majesty!” He claps his hands. “Ah, but the Stag, the Stag! Is it true the rumor I heard that Tumnus himself was the first to spot the Stag a few days past? It is fortuitous, I think.”
Lanisen rubs his elbow, keeping to the side.
Edmund replies in good humor, “Our most royal Sister proposed a challenge of bobbing for apples. Thus I am as you see, Fair Sister.”
Lucy laughs, “Queen Susan? Where is this penchant for mischief when I seek after it?” To the others, she replies in hushed excited tones, “Indeed so, our friend Tumnus saw it just less than a fortnight past, and we set out for it now four days ago — and on the second day, I tell thee, we saw it! I am quite sure it was the same Stag, just t’other side of the Fords at Beruna. And one other time before arriving here, so that I feel very confident it dwelleth in these parts and we shall close in upon it anon.”
Aliyah ponders Lucy’s statement for a moment. “So if it was first seen here and then moved to Beruna and back… It is as if it is leading us to it perhaps?” She looks hopeful.
Edmund says, “I know not, Sister.” He sips again of his cider.
Leon shrugs at Aliyah’s statement. “Perhaps? Maybe he likes to grant wishes, like Father Christmas?”
Lucy says, “You speak my own Hopes, friend Wolf, though there are those among our party who say it portends poorly, for it makes a long and unpredictable path, and we have already followed it four days with no real gaining. I do believe they lose heart, if I am honest. But fear not. I shall not abandon our quest ’til it be met, or ’til the Stag is well and truly gone, unseen three days or more and without clue or trace.” She inclines her head to the Faun. “So it is said, and so we trust.”
Lanisen keeps quiet, well interested in the queen’s news but unwilling to draw attention to himself.
Aliyah smiles. “I must view it this way. If the stag was first seen here, then I would expect it to be here and to not move around so rapidly without cause. Hope is of the utmost importance if what is said about this creature is true.” She looks wistful as she dives back in her own thoughts.
Lucy says, “Art invited to join us whence we recommence, then.”
Leon asks, “I should be glad to join, my Queen. Perchance my fair music shall draw out the Stag?”
Lucy says, “On a usual Hunt, I should say not, but I know not what this Stag may prove subject to. The usual has not served us as well as I should like.”
Susan steps to Lucy’s side. “If by usual you mean plunging ahead after it without the slightest thought.”
Aliyah nods in agreement. “With most, music would scare them away. It is usually imperative for total silence.”
Lucy rolls her eyes good-naturedly, lolling her head in a put-upon manner. “Only the /first/ sight.”
Leon bows once more. “Your Majesty,” he greets Queen Susan.
Lanisen bows in tandem with Leon, offering Queen Susan a quick smile of greeting.
Susan smiles at Lanisen. “I’m glad to see we finally caught up to your party. I hoped we would.”
Leon looks to Lanisen. “Ah, you’re hunting the Stag, too?”
Lucy claps her hands. “Oh, yes. Wilt join us when we take up the pursuit next? I hope we may try again this very even.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, er– I hadn’t–” He looks a little flustered and settles on, “Sir Darrin will want to, I’m sure, and Squire Megren.”
Susan says, “Well, we shall be glad of their company then, if the pursuit is not to your taste.”
Lucy says, “And thou? Oh, say thou wilt. Thy friends shall miss thee, else.”
Lanisen confesses, “I don’t know what to do with myself on hunts, your majesty.”
Susan asks, “Art not the keeper of the king’s hounds?”
Aliyah asks, “You have never been on a hunt?”
Lucy says, “Shalt ride beside me, then, if my brothers’ and sister’s criticisms have any merit.”
Leon says, “My dear Lanisen, do join. And, mayhaps I shall come visit your home in Archenland. Even if we have just met.”
Lanisen answers Susan, “Yes, your majesty, but– um, I wasn’t– I’ve only been on one, and all we caught was a crown prince.”
Susan says, “Well then you had better success than my brother and I, for His Highness slipped us in Tashbaan.”
Lucy laughs aloud, “A most excellent hunter, then, sister! Just what we are looking for. This is no ordinary hunt, for we hope the beast at the end of it shalt be our friend. Do come, then.”
Leon tilts his head. “A most singular prize, Master Lanisen.”
Lanisen rubs his elbow and looks a little anxious, but bows concession. “I’ll come, then, your majesties,” he says, and adds self-deprecatingly, “So long as nobody laughs when I fall off my horse.”
Lucy threatens, “Lion’s mane! No more of that. Shalt sit astride mine, if thou continue on so.”
Lanisen looks duly chastened.
Aliyah tries to hide her amusement.
Leon claps his hands. “Hurrah! It is settled, then. You can tell me all about your homeland as we partake in the hunt.”
Aliyah yawns. “Well, if we are to do this properly, I believe sleep is in order.” She stretches and shakes out her coat. “At least for me it is. Plus, I would like to find Drune. That wolf is always wandering off somewhere.”
Lanisen asks, “Drune’s here?”
Lucy taps her lips with her fingers thoughtfully, a motion reminiscent of her youngest older brother. “Indeed, I think I shall speak to our brothers now and see if anyone has the spirit to pick out the trail a last time this evening.”
Leon says, “Drune… Have I met him? The name sounds familiar.”
Aliyah nods in response to Lanisen. “He is.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, good. I was hopin’ to see him on this trip.”
Aliyah says, “I did not realize you two knew each other.”
Leon plays a brief tune on his pipes. “Perchance I shall have occasion to visit Cair Paravel to play for you once again, Queen Lucy, and for you as well, Queen Susan, after this Stag Hunt is completed.”
Susan says, “We would be grateful if you would honor us with your gift.”
Lucy says, “Oh, yes, do, Leon.”
Lanisen says to Aliyah, “We met in Archenland after the battle.”
Lucy places her hand on her sisters arm. “Wilt seek out our party with me, Sister?”
Aliyah blinks, remembering something. “Ah yes. My apologies,” she says to Lanisen.
Susan says, “Yes, we should rejoin them.”
Aliyah adds, “Anyway, I am going to get some rest. I will see you all in the morning.” She offers a wolfish grin to all.
Leon bows deeply. “It would honor my greatly, your Majesties, to share my gift. I shall not forget my pipes on the morrow.”
Lanisen steps back slightly to keep track of all the people preparing to move on.
Lucy smiles. “Very good, Leon. Thank you.” She tugs her sister in the direction of their camp. “Come, then,” she says. “Perhaps we can convince a tree to shake all its needles down onto our brother the High King’s head.”
Aliyah is padding away when she overhears what Lucy said to Susan. She bursts into laughter and nearly bumps into a tree. “Oh dear…”
Lanisen grins at this, quick and bright, and bows as they depart.
Susan laughs and follows her sister.
Leon bows once more, “May Aslan watch over you, Your Majesty. Good eve.”
Leon turns to Lanisen once more. “Now then… Is it true there are no talking animals in Archenland?”
Lanisen says, “That’s, that’s right, yeah. Um, some visit, sometimes, there was– a Monkey, um, Lulunan? And then those that came to help us with the battle, and I’ve heard there was a Cat who stayed in the castle, a long time ago.”
Leon nods his head, yawning a bit. “Mhmm. I shall have to come visit. I do enjoy traveling.” The faun puts away his pipes in his satchel. “But, it does grow late, I suppose. Do you sleep in a tent?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “Bit cold for that, these nights. Good evenin’ to you.”
Leon mms, nodding. “Indeed… Will be snowing soon, I think. Sleep well, Master Lanisen. See you at the Hunt.”
Lanisen echoes, “See you.” He continues through the orchard, making a slow, aimless circuit that eventually leads him south.