searching out threads

Queen’s Solarium
Castle Anvard

Lanisen has curled up on a bench near one of the braziers that heats the room, studying a heavy book with a frown.

Megren stops for a long moment at the pond before dragging herself away to peek into the solarium.

Lanisen glances up at the sound of the door opening, leaning forward to peek around the fronds of a large potted fern and see who has come.

Megren stands near the entry for a long moment, trying to see who might be in the room.

Lanisen says, “Hey, hello.”

Megren turns in the direction of his voice. “Oh! Tarva, hello! I didn’t expect to find /you/ here.”

Lanisen says, wrinkling up his nose, “Haa, sorry. It’s nice up here when the sun’s out.”

Megren looks up thoughtfully and shrugs. “That’s all right.”

Lanisen asks, “Are you lookin’ for Sareen?”

Megren asks, “Hm? Oh. Um, no. What are you, is that a book?”

Lanisen asks, “This? What makes you think that?”

Megren sticks out her tongue.

Lanisen grins unrepentantly, though he tilts the book so she can see. “Yeah, it’s–mm, it’s records of who came from Narnia before the Winter.”

Megren says, “…Oh.”

Lanisen makes a face. “It’s, there’s, when we were in Narnia somebody asked me to look for– um, her relatives, she lost them, and she thought maybe they’d be here, or their descendants. I, um, I forgot, with everything, but I remembered, and now I’m looking.”

Megren says, “You’re becoming a regular at that.”

Lanisen makes the face again.

Megren moves to look at the book. “Who are you looking for?”

Lanisen confesses, “I don’t know.”

Megren says, “Hm.”

Lanisen says, “It’s, I figured– they’re mostly listed by their occupation or where they come from or whose family they are so I thought maybe– oh, they’re unicorns, the people I’m lookin’ for, so I thought their entry might stand out a little bit.”

Megren blinks. “There’s… no unicorns in Archenland.”

Lanisen says, “Well. That we’ve met.”

Megren squints an eye.

Lanisen says, “I said I’d look, anyway.”

Megren says, “That’s fair. They might have come even if there aren’t any anymore.”

Lanisen’s forehead pulls down at this, but he agrees, “Maybe.”

Megren says, “I would have liked to have known even if it was that.”

Lanisen says, “There’s a lot of Archenland I haven’t seen.”

Megren says, “I suppose.”

Lanisen says, “And unicorns, they’re supposed to be sort of… secretive, aren’t they?”

Megren says, “Uh.”

Lanisen presses, “If they’re hidden away somewhere, maybe in the mountains, maybe they don’t know it’s safe to go home.”

Megren pushes her mouth to the side, not looking very convinced.

Lanisen asks, his face falling, “Not even a little bit possible, huh.”

Megren says, “I don’t know. I’ve, I’ve been all along the east part of the mountains. I would have guessed other hunters have been the same in their forests. But maybe not. And being all over these forests didn’t put me in the right place to find my own family when I didn’t know to look for them, either.”

Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side.

Megren lifts a shoulder.

Lanisen fingers absently at the corner of the page, looking down at the rows and rows of names. “I told her I’d look,” he says again, subdued but stubborn.

Megren nods. “Are there any in there?”

Lanisen shakes his head slightly. “Not– not that I’ve found yet.”

Megren asks, “Hm. Is this the only book?”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s– there’s one for each year before the passes closed for good, I think there’s– five, I think there’s five more.”

Megren says, “Hm.”

Lanisen runs his thumb along the yellowed paper. “Maybe it’s… I dunno, maybe if they came maybe they didn’t come the usual way. They’re not, they wouldn’t need the same things humans would, maybe–”

Megren shifts to browse the page he’s opened to. “Look at all these people,” she muses.

Lanisen goes quiet, his eyes drifting over the records again. “Yeah,” he says finally.

Megren asks, “Do you know if your family–?”

Lanisen shakes his head slightly. “It’s… um.” He lifts his shoulders. “I don’t, I don’t know names, not past my grandparents.”

Megren says, “I wonder if Aunt Liss knows.”

Lanisen squinches up one side of his face, like this seems a bit of a long shot to him.

Megren asks, “Are your grandparents still living?”

Lanisen says, “Um…”

Megren nods, understanding.

Lanisen says, “My mum’s mum, she’s… maybe?”

Megren asks, “Would you want to learn?”

Lanisen fidgets uncomfortably.

Megren looks down at the book again and runs her finger down the list of names. “I’d want to– well, I’d like to know all of them.”

Lanisen’s eyes shift back to the records. He nods silently.

Megren takes a breath and releases it.

Lanisen asks, “Do you know their names, your family who came from Narnia?”

Megren shakes her head. “I don’t even know how many. Maybe just one. I heard a hint about it once from Aunt Liss. I don’t even know about da’s family.”

Lanisen nods quietly.

Megren pushes her mouth to the side. “Anyway. None of them were Unicorns, as far as I know.”

Lanisen says, “Ha, hmm.”

Megren asks, “Want help checking?”

Lanisen looks down at the book, at the few pages he’s already gotten through, and at the rest of the book still to go. “I don’t think this is gonna help,” he says frankly. “I think, I think it’s gonna be, if there’s anything it’s gonna have to be talkin’ to people, that’s how we found Mistress Liss in the end.”

Megren says, “I’m pretty all right at talking to people.”

Lanisen lifts one side of his mouth at this. “That’s so,” he agrees.

Megren says, “Let’s see what we can do.”

Lanisen asks, “Really?”

Megren nods.

Lanisen’s face lights up with a grin and he catches his lower lip between his teeth. “Thanks.”

Megren releases a quick laughing breath.

Lanisen says plaintively, “I’m bad at talkin’ to people, I’m /so/ bad, don’t laugh at meee!”

Megren clicks her tongue. “Hardly.”

Lanisen pouts at her.

Megren says, “You made all kinds of friends in Narnia.”

Lanisen falters a little bit. He shrugs uncomfortably. “That was different.”

Megren shakes her head. “You were comfortable and confident, that’s all.”

Lanisen closes the book and settles it across his knees. He shrugs again.

Megren sits beside him and bumps shoulders.

Lanisen says, “So I’m bad at talkin’ to humans.”

Megren says, “What? No. I didn’t mean that.””

Lanisen says, without offense, “No, no, I wasn’t meanin’ you did. Just, I am.”

Megren says, “You talk to me.”

Lanisen says, “Had to get used to you first, didn’t I?”

Megren lifts a shoulder.

Lanisen says, “Anyway, thanks.”

Megren says, “Yeah. I’ll help.”

Lanisen glances at her sidelong and grins. “There’ll be some nice weather before it’s properly spring, I bet,” he muses. “Maybe we can go lookin’.”

Megren says, “Sure, definitely.”

Lanisen says, “I hope there’s somethin’ we find out that I can tell her, anyway.”

Megren says, “Yeah. We’ll find something.”

Lanisen folds his arms on top of the book, nodding a couple of times. For all that he’s given up on this direction of search, he looks encouraged.

Megren lifts one corner of her mouth and bumps shoulders with him. “Want to see about a pastry?”

Lanisen sways away and bumps back. “Pastry sounds nice,” he agrees.

Megren gets up and offers a hand. “Good, good.”

Lanisen takes her hand and gets to his feet, shifting the heavy book to carry under one arm. “What’re they bakin’ today, do you know?”

Megren shakes her head. “We’ll have to find out.”

Lanisen says, starting for the door, “We better get a move on, then.”

Megren trails quickly after him.


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