social skills


Outer Ward
Castle Anvard


Nessa is seated just inside one of the stalls wrapping a loom. The doors and windows of the small building are opened wide to let in some of the early Spring light and breeze

Lanisen passes through the market in the early afternoon, perusing the food stalls. He drifts toward a woman hawking hand pies.

Nessa looks out the window and sees Lanisen, finishes her row and then goes out to see him. “Hello! Have you heard from Dalia today? I haven’t been able to get inside the castle today and I was so hoping she was recovering well from that cold, she doesn’t seem to be able to shake it”

Lanisen pauses, diverted from his course. “Ahh,” he says, and glances back toward the castle. “I ain’t, I ain’t seen her yet today, but that’s– I don’t, usually, until maybe dinner time.”

Nessa asks, “Oh, I suppose that makes sense, you both have your work to do before dinner. Is there anything out of the ordinary going on at the castle?”

Lanisen says, “Not– er, not that I know of?” He squints at her uncertainly. “Why?”

Nessa says, “Just curious, honestly. I like to know what’s going on in general and it seems like there are just so many people who live around here that it would be impractical to keep track of everyone, it’s just nice to know about major events and such”

Lanisen confesses, “I don’t pay much mind, except for what has to do with the dogs. Um, they’re goin’ coursing tomorrow, I think some of the knights were plannin’ to ride out with ’em.”

Nessa laughs a little nervously. “I’m sorry, I must have come off as so nosey. It’s a bit odd getting used to Anvard, it’s a lot bigger and there’s so much more variety of things going on than in the outskirts of Cogshill. Of course you would only pay attention here to things that concern you. What precisely is coursing?”

Lanisen says, “Oh, sorry, it’s– Danall takes ’em out, he’s the master of hounds, they have a good run and bring back a few hares or a hart, so it wears ’em out and feeds ’em both.”

Nessa says, “Oh I see, that sounds like good fun for a hound. I’m sure it takes a lot of work to keep them all occupied””

Lanisen says, letting out a rueful explosion of breath, “A fair bit.”

Nessa gives a slightly sympathetic expression. “A lot like younger children I assume

Lanisen pauses to consider, then tips his head in agreement.

Nessa says, “Though you’re not allowed to play favorites with childern, I suppose it’s allowed with dogs”

Lanisen squints. “Allowed…” he hedges.

Nessa says, “Do you have favorites? ”

Lanisen says, “Oh, I s’pose so.”

Nessa says, “Which ones? I mean, what do you like best in a dog”

Lanisen blinks and looks like he’s not really sure how to answer this.

Nessa starts to notice Lanisen’s uneasiness “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hold you up from living your life. I should have just asked about Dalia and moved on, you must have things to do”

Lanisen blinks again. “Er,” he says, “That’s not– ahh, sorry.”

Nessa exclaims, “You don’t have to be sorry! I’m the one that bombarded you with questions”

Lanisen rubs the back of his neck.

Nessa looks sheepish “You know, I’ll just, uh, go back to my shop.”

Lanisen looks startled and remorseful. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to– I’m, I’m sorry?”

Nessa cringes. “Oh Lion this is awkward, no, you don’t need to be sorry. I can be pushy. That’s my fault.”

Lanisen now just looks confused. “Oh,” he says, and offers, “It’s, you’re, you’re not, you’re fine.”

Nessa laughs “Well, this is a silly thing to argue about. Perhaps we should just agree that no one was at fault for this awkward exchange?

Lanisen rubs his elbow uncertainly, shrugging one shoulder with a small disarming smile. “All, all right?”

Nessa smiles back “Though I suppose I ought to let you go back to your own work and I go back to mine?”

Lanisen takes a small step back. “Don’t let me keep you.”

Nessa steps back towards her own shop “No, don’t let me keep you

Lanisen looks more confused. He hesitates, then ducks his head and steps toward the pie-merchant.

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