history & natural science

Castle Anvard

Haft sits at a table, immersed in a large book.

Lanisen enters the library, shutting the heavy doors behind him with a soft ‘snick’. He crosses quietly to the shelves where books on Archenland’s nearest neighbors are kept, stripping off his gloves, and kneels to inspect a lower shelf before he finds what he’s looking for. He carries the book toward the fireplace and the deep armchairs there, his path bringing him near to where Haft is sitting.

Haft raises his eyes. “Afternoon.”

Lanisen veers away slightly in surprise, but to judge by the quick pleasant smile he offers a second later, this is only the mild wariness natural to him and not anything personal. “Afternoon,” he answers, ducking his head.

Haft asks, “No dogs hounding your steps?”

Lanisen hms? “Oh,” he says, glancing toward the back of the library. “I don’t, I don’t think Master Nathen would approve of that, somehow.”

Haft looks mildly disappointed that his pun has been missed. “No, I suppose not.”

Lanisen nods, a little awkwardly. His eyes flicker away from Haft and settle briefly on the book in front of him.

Haft asks, “Why do you suppose people write history?”

Lanisen blinks.

Haft says, “Sorry. Just thinking about how we write stories for people who’ll never know us.”

Lanisen asks, “Are you plannin’ to write some?”

Haft asks, “Me? No. What on earth would I put?”

Lanisen says, “I dunno. You said we.”

Haft says, “Oh. People in general.”

Lanisen nods. His eyes drop to Haft’s book again. “You’re readin’ a history, then?”

Haft says, “Yeah. Some Calormene retellings.”

Lanisen asks, “Retellings of what?”

Haft says, “Battles. They seem to enjoy fighting a lot.”

Lanisen ohs. His forehead furrows a little as he looks at the book, but he doesn’t say anything.

Haft asks, “What about you?”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He looks down at the book in his hands, turning faintly red, and turns it so Haft can see. It’s a work on Narnian woods and waters and the nymphs that inhabit them.

Haft asks, “Huh. You meet any?”

Lanisen says, “A, a couple.”

Haft asks, “What’d ya think?”

Lanisen lifts his eyebrows and looks down at the book. “I think they’re a bit beyond what I might think of ’em,” he answers after a small thoughtful pause. “Beautiful, I suppose, in a very… wild, /other/ sort of way. Frightening, when you think what they might do if they didn’t like you. But beautiful.”

Haft nods and turns a page. “Sounds about right.”

Lanisen’s eyes follow the motion. He looks down and takes a step back.

Haft looks up again. “What?”

Lanisen shifts uncertainly. “Sorry?”

Haft says, “Uh.” He shakes his head. “Nothin’. Never mind.””

Lanisen says, “I’ll–” He hesitates. “I’ll let you get back to…?”

Haft says, “Sure. We came to read. Didn’t mean to interfere.”

Lanisen says, “No, no.”

Haft says, “Well, carry on. There’s plenty of room.”

Lanisen seems like he’s not sure whether or not this is an invitation.

Haft glances up again, but doesn’t appear to have more to add and continues reading.

Lanisen ducks his head and begins moving again in his original direction, toward the chairs in front of the fire.


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