day 1: missing party

Gathering Circle
Lantern Waste

Aliyah has moved away from the fire by this point, her coat dry. She is, however, sprawled out on her side. Being full will do that to a wolf. Her eyes remain open and alert, and her head raises as the deer appears. “Wilfry?” she offers him a smile.

Wilfry’s head snaps in the direction of Aliyah’s voice. When he spots her, his posture relaxes and he hops over a fallen log and moves toward her. “Have they got back yet?” he asks eagerly.

Aliyah shakes her head. “No, they haven’t.” She moves into a sitting position.

Wilfry frowns. “What’s taking them so long? It’s been /hours/.”

Lanisen walks into the camp alone from the east, looking tired and a little pensive.

Megren crouches with some others at the part of the camp that has been designated for cleaning dishes.

Petria yawns and streaches stretches, getting to her feet. She takes in the camp and makes her way with her nose to the ground from the especially fine tents to the edge of the campsite. She whines and sits herself down to greet anyone coming to the camp.

Caileana comes padding into view of the camp. Her ears tilt back as she approaches, as though she’s still not accustomed to all this chaos.

Aliyah frowns. “I’m not sure.” Her gaze turns to Caileana as she hears the other wolf enter the clearing. She looks behind her to see if any of the kings and queens are following.

Lanisen pauses at the edge of the clearing, his eyes skipping over the people gathered until he finds Megren. He crosses to join her.

Caileana offers Petria a nod of greeting as she approaches her.

Petria barks a greeting to the Wolf and to Lanisen when they approach. “Have their Majesties caught the Stag?”

Wilfry turns in that direction as well. “I waited at the festival ’cause that was closer, but I didn’t hear them or smell them even /once/.”

Lanisen glances automatically toward the bark and grins at Petria.

Caileana blinks, her golden eyes scanning the crowd and coming back to the Dog. “Er. They’re not here? I haven’t seen them since the Hunt.”

Megren looks up as Lanisen comes behind her. “Hey! Thought you’d gone and found their majesties for a bit there. Where were you?”

Lanisen drops to sit next to her. “Walkin’ in the forest a bit. It’s a nice day.”

Petria scratches at her ear, “No. No I don’t smell them or see them.”

Caileana looks a bit puzzled, but she shrugs it off. “Well, maybe they’re still at the hunt?” she offers. She tilts her head. “I admire their tenacity after such a creature, if that’s so. Though I didn’t think Children of Adam could see so well in the dark.”

Aliyah shakes her head, frowning. “I’ve not scented them either. I spent much of the afternoon near the river because it was quiet. Not once did they pass that way.”

Megren says, “Bit cold.”

Petria asks, “Can Humans see in the dark?”

Cor returns from the horses, overhearing this last. “Uh,” he says. “I mean, it’s not as if we suddenly go blind, not unless it’s a cave or something.”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders. “It’s not so bad.” He glances at her sidelong in a half-guilty assessing sort of way.

Megren doesn’t look suspicious until he gives her that look.

Wilfry turns his head to face north. “Guess they went the other way.”

Lanisen picks up a plate to help wash.

Presently a faun approaches the edge of the camp from the treeline, and waves a hand, calling out, “Good eve, friends! Is there yet any news from the hunt?”

Petria says, “Oh. Certainly, your Highness.” she replies to Cor.

Megren says, “Well, you missed apple sausages and there was something pickled.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, pickled things. How could I miss that.”

Petria makes another circuit around the camp, pausing to speak with the Faun. “You’ve not seen them either.”

Megren jostles him.

Aliyah watches the goings-on with little to say due to the size of the gathering. Her gaze flicks to the treeline every so often.

Cor frowns, looking to Bracken. “What, has no one heard, then?”

Lanisen complains, “Oww.” He glances across the camp to where the talk is starting to sound worried, and looks back at Megren questioningly.

Wilfry turns a part-circle to look back in the Faun’s direction.

Bracken looks up. “Beg yer pardon, Yer Highness?”

Cor looks at Petria for confirmation instead, since she’s the one he’s overheard.

Leon shakes his head in reply to the dog’s question. “Alas, no. We were all still waiting at the feasting table, for their return, but, it grows late, and we’re beginning to wonder… So I decided to come see. Their Majesties still haven’t returned?”

Petria says, “”It seems so, Your Highness. She makes her way over to Lanisen. “Have you seen their Majesties?”

Cor frowns, scrubbing his hand through his hair and then having to fix his circlet. He looks at Bracken again, maybe hoping for a theory.

Aliyah raises her head, suddenly having a thought. “Is there a chance they might have gotten lost in the forest? I mean, how long has it been since they have been here?”

Lanisen shifts, looking to Petria. He shakes his head. “Not since they went ahead earlier. They ain’t come back?”

A beaver with a pair of glasses perched atop her head (Mrs. Beaver) makes her way into the camp looking like she’s carrying something something in a sack.

Bracken purses his lips. “They’ve gotta be headed back by now. Light’s gone. Unless they decide to make camp where they stopped. Didn’t have much with them though. Still, the kings aren’t above roughin’ it.”

Wilfry tilts his head. “I’ve never heard of them getting lost.”

Caileana perks up her ears to listen to the speculations going on about Their Majesties.

Bracken says, “Didn’t say they were lost.”

Leon offers a nod of greeting to both Aliyah and Lanisen. “Lost? LOST? Pardon my intrusion during your speculation, but I highly doubt their Majesties are *lost*…”

Aliyah shrugs. “Just a thought. There are a lot of trees out there, and it’s not difficult to do if the path isn’t clearly marked or one is not good at tracking.”

Cor says, “They don’t usually break off from the group that long.”

Caileana skirts the edges of the crowd after much ear-twitching at all the talk around her, and makes her way to the friendly Son of Adam from before, where he’s talking to the red-headed Daughter of Eve.

Megren rises, moving to join the group of speakers as their conversation grows more involved. “Could the trees say?” she asks, a genuinely uncertain question.

Leon frowns. “Maybe the Stag led them off much further than anticipated?”

Wilfry scuffles his hooves on the ground as the speculations get passed around.

Lanisen follows after Megren, glancing at Petria worriedly.

Bracken answers Megren. “They might. Getting brisk out, but they shouldn’t be too drowsy yet. But we’d have news faster if we sent a Wolf.” He looks at Cor. “If you’re concerned.”

Leon says to Aliyah, “I do hope nothing untoward has occurred… They’ll probably come back late tonight, and we’ll all be laughing about it, eh?”

Cor looks a little overwhelmed. “Uh…”

Aliyah looks at the prince. “I would be happy to go if it would ease your mind, and I am sure Caileana would as well.”

Petria exclaims, “Oh let me go! let me go! I have a good nose too, Sir.””

Caileana sniffs, catching the scent of a few of her packmates coming toward the camp from the west. She pads that way and confers with the other Wolves in low tones.

Leon looks around. “My my, you all seem so terribly concerned… You guys really think there might be a legitimate reason to be concerned?”

Cor asks, “I don’t know… I wouldn’t want to — ah.” He grunts, uncertain. “I — , if we send a big crowd and they’re with the stag, it could, maybe it would spoil it?”

Bracken shrugs, answering Leon. “Not especially. Ain’t much round here their Majesties couldn’t handle, even at night.”

Cor acknowledges of Bracken’s remark, “That’s true.”

Darrin, to this point conversing quite happily with a Skunk and several other humans from their Majesties’ retinue around one of the campfires, excuses himself and comes to stand by the Prince.

Aliyah nods in understanding to Cor’s response. “Perhaps…”

Leon mhmms, nodding. “I thought as much…” He sighs. “I do wonder what keeps them, though… Queen Lucy had promised that we’d share a drink this evening and talk again, after the hunt… But the night grows later and later…”

Bracken asks, “Might be they’re wishing. If it was me, I’d take my time and watch my phrasing, or ain’t you never heard stories about the danger of wishes?”

Lanisen, standing next to Megren, listens attentively and looks to Cor. He seems ready and willing to be useful, if needed.

Cor looks up at Darrin, acknowledging him with a small smile and nod before returning his attention to the others. “That doesn’t sound like the Lion’s kind of magic, and I’d got the impression it was the Lion’s sort of Beast.”

One of the Ulfden Scouts breaks off from the group and goes back the way he has come, west towards the cliffs. The rest follow Caileana towards the center of the speculation, waiting on the fringe of the group around the human Prince.

Leon perks an ear. “Hmm… I think the Prince is right, sir, umm… Dwarf.” He adds in an apologetic voice, “I could swear I’ve made your acquaintance in Sted Cair, but your name quite slips my mind.”

Bracken says, “Bracken.” He shrugs. “I heard tales of the Stag in my youth, and they all followed different patterns, but catching sight of it was quite another thing. I reckon Your Highness may be right.””

Petria makes her way around the camp again, her ears pricked to the conversation, decides to station herself by the edge of the campsite, just in case.

Megren glances up at the trees like she thinks they’re going to drop some needles that spell out an answer.

Leon claps his hands. “Oh quite, Sir Bracken. It was… It was… I can’t quite describe it, actually… I think I must have caught sight of the Stag at least three or four times, and for those brief moments, it was… Amazing.”

Darrin listens quietly, a half step behind and beside Cor, tucking his hands behind his back in a stance almost reminiscent of parade rest. His brow furrows.

Bracken chuckles. “Just Bracken.”

Megren’s eyes drop to Sir Darrin and she closes the space between her feet, clasping her hands behind her back.

Lanisen glances at Megren and straightens slightly as well.

Cor glances at the gray Wolf who had volunteered her kind earlier. “Maybe if just one or two went, in case they’re needing help.”

Wilfry stops fidgeting as the attention turns to Aliyah, standing near him.

Bracken rises. “Of course, Your Highness.” He steps over to the Wolf. “We’d be grateful for your service, to set us at ease as it were.”

Aliyah nods. “That will be no problem.” She moves over to Caileana and the Ulfden wolves. “Caileana, will you go with me? I think two of us would be better than one.”

Caileana nods. “Of course.” She looks to the Humans and others. “Between the two of us, we’ll find an answer for you. See if we can’t do it quietly too, just in case.” She looks to her companions and issues a quiet order that they make themselves available to aid, and see that the Alphas are kept informed.

Aliyah nods. “We will start where we last saw them. Hopefully we can at least catch scent of where they went.”

Bracken returns to the Prince. “That’s settled then. Nothing to worry about.”

Caileana nods her agreement.

Wilfry calls, “Hope you find them quick!”

Lanisen watches the Wolves prepare to depart, interested and a little envious.

Cor nods, his brow still a little knit, but his general countenance relatively relaxed. He moves to sit near the fire. “In the meantime,” he nods toward the Faun and the Archenlandish travellers. “Everyone’s welcome to sit and talk for a while, I’m sure.”

Leon says, “Good luck, Aliyah.”

Aliyah glances at the faun. “Thank you.” Then to the others, “Please send word if they return.”

Cor nods to the Wolf. “We will.”

Caileana dips her head to the Prince, and with a glance to Aliyah, pads east.

Bracken takes the bucket some distance from the fire and pours out the dirty water, then returns to the fire and upends the bucket to use as a stool.

Leon turns and bows toward Cor. “Thank you, your Majesty. I believe I shall rest here, then, and perhaps we can lighten the mood.”

Wilfry watches the two wolves head into the forest before turning and moving closer to the fire. He lies down beside it, but keeps his ears tilted toward the east.

Lanisen follows the general movement toward the fire and finds a place, pausing to bow to Cor when he gets nearer.

Leon pulls out his pipes. “Care for any music?”

Cor says, “I wouldn’t mind.”

Leon nods once, and commences to play a slow, quiet tune.

Bracken glances around to see what effect the melancholy tune has on the rest of the company. He certainly doesn’t look charmed by it.

Wilfry is distracted from his watchfulness by the music fairly quickly.

Lanisen’s attention shifts to the faun as the music begins. He goes quiet and still, and folds forward to sit with his arms on his knees.

Cor rests his elbows on his knees, watching the fire and listening quietly.

Leon continues to play, but, indeed, the music is what one would call… Sad, not at all happy like one would expect from the cheerful faun.

Darrin sits down beside Prince Cor and Lanisen, listening to the faun’s music.

Lanisen glances at Darrin, offering a quick hello grin, and looks back to the faun.

Megren follows Lanisen and Sir Darrin, but she stands behind them rather than sit off to one side.

Cor scoots over, closing his knees so that Darrin has more room to sit.

Wilfry’s ears twitch back and forth as he listens.

Pheeobe canters into the gathering circle with her nose to the ground and a concerned face. As she comes closer to the gathered group, her nose comes up from the ground as she assesses the situation.

Bracken looks up with a frown at the unfamiliar Wolf.

Leon’s music never loses that haunting, melancholic quality, as of a dream one wishes they hadn’t forgotten. Presently, however, the faun’s song draws to a close, the notes fading in the cold night air. “There now. I call that piece, “Requiem For a Lost Day.” What do you all think?”

Cor tilts his head. “It’s… pretty,” he concedes.

Lanisen whispers to Darrin, “What’s requiem?”

Wilfry blinks.

Darrin leans over to Lanisen and says, “Something done in rememberance.”

Lanisen squints.

Megren says, “You said that was rosemary.”

Leon smiles. “Thank you, Prince. I wrote it fairly recently.”

Wilfry asks, “How’d you lose a day?”

Darrin rolls his eyes heavenward, as though he is extremely Put Upon by this conflation of definitions and flower language. He looks beseechingly at Cor, and then seems to remember he will find no help there, and subsides, burying his head in his hands.

Bracken continues watching Phoeebe, waiting for explanation.

Cor just looks befuddled. “Rosemary for a Lost Day doesn’t work.”

Lanisen asks, “Are you s’posed to eat the rosemary?”

Leon replies to the deer, “It was a day I lost and never spent with the lady-faun I used to be infatuated with.”

Wilfry looks at the Humans and then back at the Faun. “‘Cause of rosemary?”

Darrin shakes his head without lifting it from his hands, clearly Given Up.

Leon looks confused. “Rosemary who?”

Pheeobe notes the dwarf’s gaze and moves closer to the group with caution. Once she is near she bows her head. “Greetings. I am Pheeobe of Ulfden.”

Cor asks, “Is Rosemary the she-faun?”

Megren looks inordinately pleased by the confusion and also Sir Darrin’s reaction to it.

Bracken nods slowly. “There some problem, Ma’am?”

Lanisen says, in private revelation, “Ohhh, Rosemary’s a person.”

Leon tilts his head. “I never met Rosemary.”

Wilfry says, “But I thought they named all the she-Fauns after smelly plants.”

Leon asks, “Is Rosemary from Bergdale?”

Megren has to put her hand on Sir Darrin’s shoulder to steady herself. Her face is a study in force of will.

Darrin’s hands slip down so they’re more covering his mouth than his face. His shoulders shake under Megren’s hand.

Pheeobe shakes her head at the dwarf. “No. Although I heard of some kind of search?”

Lanisen looks at his friends and makes a face.

Cor says, “I suppose you could name a she-faun Requiem, if you wanted.”

Leon says, “I once knew a faun named Soliloquy.”

Wilfry’s nose twitches. “What does that one smell like?”

Cor suggests, “Probably grapes.”

Bracken replies, “Just checking up on the kings and queens. They’ve been hunting and we anticipated their return earlier.”

Wilfry looks interested. “Oh!”

Pheeobe nods and seems to relax a little as she sits.

Leon waves to the new wolf. “Good evening.”

Megren straightens a little, dabbing at her eye with the heel of her hand. “Hello,” she says to the Wolf.

Pheeobe smiles, tail wagging a bit. “Hello.”

Leon looks at the daughter of eve curiously.

Megren offers, “I’m Megren.”

Leon inclines his head politely. “Leon. Pleasure to meet you. You are from Archenland, like dear Lanisen here?”

Aliyah comes into view of the others alongside Caileana and a lion they met along the way. Her expression is downcast as they approach the group.

Caileana leads Aliyah and a Lioness back towards the group, moving quickly.

Megren glances at Lanisen, squinting an eye. “When’d you change species?”

Lanisen blinks a little at the epithet.

Wilfry’s ears twitch and he turns his head toward the approaching group.

Lanisen snorts.

Leon peers over at Aliyah’s group. “Ho, you lot look… Troubled.”

Pheeobe looks over as Caileana and Aliyah arrive. She tenses up again at their faces

Bracken watches the group, then approaches them. “Yes?”

Lanisen leans back, straightening to look at the returning wolves. He looks quickly to Megren, alarmed.

Aliyah takes in a breath before speaking. “We found… We found their horses, Lieutenant.”

Caileana looks around the group with a serious look in her golden eyes. “Their Majesties’ trail goes cold, and all four of their mounts are abandoned, wandering untethered about the Waste.”

Aliyah nods in agreement.

Megren straightens further at the return of the Wolves, not yet alarmed until one of them speaks, at which time her lips form a deep frown.

Bracken’s eyes widen.

Leon drops his pipes to the ground. “Abandoned?!”

Aliyah digs her claws into the earth. “There was no sign of a struggle either. The horses look well. They are still prepared as if they are waiting for riders.”

Cor rises at the return of the Wolves. He looks troubled by their report. “How long?”

Bracken asks, “Why would the trail go cold? Was there water near? Did you have difficulty tracking the horses?”

Caileana says, “Their riders’ scent is hours old, like they’ve been waiting for some time. The Kings and Queens’ trail just…stops. Not far from where they left us during the Hunt, near the Lamppost.”

Pheeobe stands up and walks a little closer to her packmate. “What do we do now?”

Bracken asks, “What about other scents in the area? Or the stag itself. It might be they joined up with something that masked their scent, yes?”

Caileana looks to the humans, especially Lanisen and the Prince. “The horses themselves seemed spooked of us, and we thought someone might be able to go and fetch them? We didn’t want to drive them off, but I can lead someone right to them.”

Aliyah says, “They were all in different locations. Two were not near water at all.”

Wilfry gets to his hooves as the others are talking.

Aliyah says, “And we scented nothing else.”

Leon looks on in confusion. “But… but…”

Caileana says, “I could find no more trace of the Stag. I don’t think the human scents got mixed with anything else – the trail looked to me like they dismounted near the Lamppost, and then they went a little to the north, and then…nothing.”

Lanisen has gotten to his feet with a sort of blank confusion in his face. He nods numbly to Caileana’s request and begins to move toward her across the campsite.

Cor nods at the Wolf. “That sounds — yes, that sounds — we should send someone to wait at the Lampost, too, or –” he pauses thinking, and then says, “That’s where they left them, the Lamppost?”

Bracken turns to the Prince. “Your Highness, we should take care. It may be the Wolves can pick up the scent again not far off. If we send to many to the area, that will muddle scents…and tracks.” He looks at the rest of those assembled. “Anybody here good tracking by sight? I ain’t.”

Caileana glances at Aliyah and Athaleyah. “Yeah, that’s what it looked like to me,” she tells Cor. She bares her teeth in a silent snarl at Bracken. “Our eyes work just fine, Dwarf, and we already searched far and wide around where the trail ends. Our tracking means our life or our death. I think you can trust it.”

Megren tucks her hair behind her ears and then crosses her arms, looking uncomfortable at not having a use.

Wilfry stands tense and still as he listens.

Bracken’s hand goes instinctively to his axe. “So you’re saying they were picked up by…what? Eagles? Dragons?

Cor lifts a hand. “It’s — hey, it’s, we all want the same thing.”

Aliyah’s expression remains neutral as Cail speaks to Bracken. She does not wish to make the situation more tense than it is. She does nod, agreeing with the other wolf though. “And if you don’t trust us, she says softly, “Best to send an owl at this time of night. Do you know of any? I don’t.”

Pheeobe nods to Aliyah’s idea. “We could find an owl.”

Cor steps forward now, straightening. “Listen,” he says in a louder voice.

Caileana forces her hackles down as the Prince speaks.

Lanisen looks from Caileana to Cor, silent and anxious.

Leon watches Cor thoughtfully.

Bracken attends to the Prince, but doesn’t turn from the Wolf or remove his hand from his axe.

Wilfry flinches and then stills again.

Cor says, “Someone should go to the Lamppost and wait, in case their majesties return looking for the horses. It needn’t be a lot of people, but maybe — maybe two, in case whatever caused them to leave comes again, so they can watch out for each other.” He nods at Aliyah. “An Owl’s clever. Let’s ask after one to look and check whether — to check again, just in case. It can’t hurt. Lanisen and I can fetch the horses, but the rest of us had better, the rest of us had probably better stay out here. They might come back this way when they realize they’ve lost their horses, and anyway, they’re, everyone’s said it once, they’re all very capable. Even if they’ve come across some great adventure, they’re sure to handle themselves very well, and return with stories we’ll all be glad to hear.” He turns, his eyes falling to Bracken’s hand on his axe. “We’re all Narnians and Archenlanders and /friends/ here, so there’s no use, there’s no use fighting.””

Lanisen shifts and focuses on Cor. He stands a little straighter at the prince’s words.

Leon nods. “The Prince is right, you guys shouldn’t start fighting.”

Bracken notes that Caileana has calmed herself, and releases his hold on the axe at his belt. He takes several steps away from her and turns to Cor. “Your Highness, under the circumstances, I must urge you to send someone else.”

Caileana straightens, her tail lowering a small amount. She agrees sharply, with the air of someone long years used to taking orders, “Sir.”

Cor gets a quarrelsome expression like he’s going to fight this suggestion, but after a pause he nods. “You and Sir Peridan, then,” he says to Bracken.

Lanisen shifts, glancing uncertainly between Bracken and Cor.

Bracken looks to his superior officer and relaxes. He turns back to Cor. “Right away.”

Darrin frowns faintly, looking at Megren and then Cor.

Megren tucks her hair behind her left ear with her right hand, and then drops that hand to her own shoulder. She returns Sir Darrin’s glance.

Bracken strides over to make ready his pony.

Aliyah nudges Caileana and watches the interaction between the humans and dwarf, holding her breath. Her expression is one mixed with fear, doubt and sadness.

Caileana nods to Aliyah, moving aside to confer with Pheeobe for a moment. The other Scout nods and makes for the den.

Leon stoops to retrieve his pipes from the ground, the faun trying not to look too worried. “I don’t like this, one bit.”

Wilfry relaxes his neck enough to turn and look at the Prince. “Do you need to get messages to anyone else, Your Highness? I can go.”

Lanisen picks his way back toward Megren and Darrin. He looks somewhat at a loss.

Cor wilts a little as the crowd starts to disperse again. He hesitates, and then nods at Wilfry, his eyes tracking the Wolf that’s gone toward the den. “It looks like they’re telling Ulfden. Somebody should probably tell the guard. And, oh, the, and the Beavers. They could stop there, I suppose, if it got late.”

Darrin steps up to Cor’s side. “If I may, Your Highness, my squire and Lanisen and I can keep watch at the Lamppost for the night, perhaps return and confer in the morning.”

Cor shakes his head. “You smell like humans.”

Lanisen looks briefly enlivened by the prospect of something productive to do, but winces at this observation.

Caileana adds, “Perhaps a few of my packmates? Or Aliyah?” She gives a glance to the Dwarf and adds, not a little sarcastic, “Our scent is already about, after all.”

Aliyah glances at the prince. “If I may… We do have humans here. They are few and far between, but it wouldn’t be terribly uncommon to see them in the forest.”

Cor asks, “I meant, they track over their majesties scents, for you and the other Wolves.” He nods at Caileana. “That would, I think that would work. What do you think?”

Darrin wrinkles his nose at being left with nothing to do, but he concedes the point, nodding.

Aliyah’s expression changes to one of understanding. “Ah, that does make more sense. My apologies.”

Bracken speaks up. “I’d like Aliyah to lead us to the horses, if she would.”

Aliyah says, “That will be no problem.”

Cor takes a moment to figure out who that is, and then nods. He points to Caileana, “Then why don’t you take one of your other packmates.”

Caileana bows her head. “It will be done, Your Highness.”

Wilfry says, after this is settled, “I’ll check at the Beavers’, and then see the Guard. Is there anything special I should say?”

Bracken finishes cinching up his pony and mounts beside Peridan, looking to Aliyah and nodding.

Cor replies to the deer, “Tell them their majesties have not returned, and seem to be without their horses, and to send report to the camp if they learn of anything.”

Lanisen keeps quiet, listening and watching and waiting for something useful to do.

Aliyah says, “This way,” as she leads Bracken and Peridan away towards the horses, remaining quiet as she goes. Her ears are pinned against her head as she tracks to make sure none have moved.

Megren runs a hand over her mouth, turning and walking a tiny circle in place.

Wilfry bows his head. “Yes, Your Highness. I’ll be back in no time!” With that, he turns and bounds off into the forest.

Caileana confers to the side with the couple of Ulfden wolves who are left standing about. One breaks off, once more to the den, and the other follows Caileana east, towards the Lamppost.

Cor finds a Chimney Swift in their group, and inquires with her whether she knows where to find an Owl. After a little conversation, the bird flies off northward.

Darrin moves over next to Megren, touching her arm.

Megren glances at him and then nods quickly, a motion meant to be encouraging, though her eyes first drop to the ground and then shift to the Prince and then Lanisen.

Lanisen stays standing very still, watching the Wolves and other Beasts depart on their errands. He focuses on Cor.

Cor turns toward his fellow Archenlanders, looking apologetic. “Um,” he says, his eyes focusing on Darrin like he’s sort of hoping he’ll come up with the rest of the structure everyone seems to need himself. “You can stay the night here, if you want,” he offers lamely.

Darrin steps forward and claps Cor gently on the shoulder, offering something in a lower tone before he looks around at those still gathered and says, “His Highness is right – with lookouts and messages sent, I daresay that’s all that can be done tonight. All are welcome to rest here for the night, if they wish, and we’ll regroup here in the morn.”
Darrin mumbles “… … well, Your Highness.”, to Cor.

Cor nods, not looking very certain.

Megren clasps her elbows, rubbing her upper arm with her opposite hand, and crosses to Lanisen. “Let’s see about whether everyone’s got what they need for the night.”

Lanisen focuses on Megren. “Yes,” he agrees with some relief.

Darrin glances over at Megren, nodding, then looks back to Cor. He nods back at the fire questioningly.

Cor nods and walks back over to the fire. He sits down with his elbows on his knees again and his back bent. He scrubs the heels of both hands back and forth against the sides of head, pulling off his crown and clenching it between his fingers as he does.

Darrin follows Cor, sitting beside him with one leg tucked under himself.

Cor turns his head to the side to acknowledge the knight sitting and drops his hands, the circlet still between them.

Megren leads Lanisen around the camp from tent to tent, quietly making inquiries and helping with preparations.

Darrin seems content to offer quiet companionship, his eyes following Megren and Lanisen for a moment before returning to the fire.


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