Lanisen makes his way through the market in the early afternoon. Despite the sunny day, he’s wearing a scarf and a jacket. He’s got bags under his eyes and looks a little pale.
Deonyc walks along the marketplace aside a fellow guardsman, they are both in uniform but greeting people as they meet.
Dalia slips out from the stables, dusting off her dress and brushing a hair behind her ear.
Lanisen pauses at a stall selling wine and cider.
Deonyc notices lanisen and seperates from his guardsman, he walks over and says hello.
Nasrin sidles on into the marketplace with a bright dress, fitting for the spring weather. Her first stop is the bakery of all places, where she purchases a sandwich and pastries.
Dalia gives her dress a final look over and makes her way into the market. Seeing Nasrin, she waves and and heads her way.
Lanisen purchases a little bottle of murky cider vinegar from the wine-seller. “Oh,” he says, and ducks his head politely to Deonyc. “Afternoon.” His voice is hoarse and raspy and barely there.
Deonyc asks, “Afternoon Lanisen, caught a cold?”
Sehsis walks into the ward, taking a look around the crowd.
Nasrin waves for Dalia, giving her a friendly smile. “Dalia, it’s been a long time no see! How have you been keeping?”
Lanisen says, half-smiling ruefully, “A bit of one, it’s nearly passed.”
Dalia exclaims, “The same to you! I’ve been well, well mostly. And you? I trust you’ve kept warm enough? It must have been good to get back home again.””
Deonyc nods, and turns to look at the wares at the stand, “I hope that you get well soon then, can’t go into spring with a cold.”
Nasrin grimaces ever so slightly, her eyes darting to the side. “It was nice to return to a place I knew well.” She quickly changes her subject. “Still, the weather was fantastic and that’s not to say I haven’t missed my time in Archenland.”
Dalia nods, nibbling the edge of her lip when she sees her friend grimace. “Well, I have missed you.”
Sehsis walks over to Nasrin and Dalia, “Good day, Dalia.” He gives Nasrin a slightly annoyed look.
Dalia smiles and nods to Sehsis, “Good day, Sehsis.”
Nasrin gives Dalia a smile, opening her arms. “And you too!” Before she can hug she suddenly spirals around upon noticing Sehsis, giving him a nod in greeting. “Uncle, hello. A pleasure to see you too.”
Sehsis says dryly, “Are you going to make a habit of running away?”
Deonyc looks over to the group at the stable, “Hey look Sehsis and Nasrin are back in Archenland.” he says to Lanisen
Lanisen croaks, “Thank you.” He follows Deonyc’s glance and agrees, “Looks like it.”
Nasrin cants her head to the side. “Preposterous, I prefer a brisk walking pace.” She gives Sehsis a light smile.
Deonyc turns to Lanisen, “You going to come and say Hello?” he starts walking slowly twoards the group.
Sehsis says, “And every time I try to bring up certain subjects you have a habit of vanishing.”
Lanisen looks uncertain, but Deonyc vanishes before he can make a reply. He ducks his head to the wine merchant and continues on, aiming for the honey-seller, whose cart is near to where Dalia and Nasrin are conversing.
Nasrin says, “These sandwhiches are simply the best, uncle. What’s your favourite? It’s ever so hard for me to choose just one…” She ponders the thought.
Deonyc looks over hsi shoulder but says nothing, he reaches the group shortly, “Hello Dalia, nice seeing you again Sehsis, Nasrin.”
Sehsis momentarily pinches the bridge of his nose, “Difficult as ever.” He nods to Deonyc, “Good day.”
Dalia nods to Deonyc, glancing back the way he has come. “Did you get any of the cookies at the mess? Or did rest of the guards finish them off?”
Deonyc he smiles and nods, “I had one or two before getting on duty, they were great!”
Nasrin nods for Deonyc. “Deonyc, hello. It’s great to see you once again too. How has life been back here?”
Dalia smiles, “Glad to hear it, Ren will be pleased.”
Deonyc replies to nasrin, “Well now that winter is over great, Dalia makes sure we have cookies, nothing to complain about.”
Nasrin chuckles before leaning on over to Dalia. “Oh Dalia, will you ever share your recipes with us or will that remain a secret?”
Dalia laughs, “It wasn’t me this actually. One of the new kitchen help, mistook me for a kitchen maid. But my recipe, I should be glad to share.” She leans over and whispers something in Nasrin’s ear.
Deonyc heads over to sehsis, “How was the trip back?”
Sehsis says, “Thankfully uneventful.”
Sehsis glances towards Nasrin here
Lanisen exchanges a couple of coins for a little bottle of honey and thanks the vendor. He slips the bottle in with the vinegar with a little clink of glass.
Nasrin’s eyes widen as she listens to Dalia whisper away. She gives her an almost shocked look, before grinning. “Perhaps Deonyc can be so lucky and learn the recipe soon enough too!” She chuckles.
Deonyc looks over to the two, “The cookie recipe?”
Dalia nods mysteriously.
Nasrin also nods mysteriously, and in sync with Dalia. Spooky.
Deonyc smiles, “Maybe someday, I must get back to duty. Gearn will be prety mad if I don’t show up to help in the armoury.”
Sehsis asks, “You’re leaving then?”
Deonyc nods, “If there’s nothing pressing you need of me.”
Sehsis says, “Not as such no.”
Dalia shakes her head, “We can’t have Gearn furious with you.” She glances around taking in the market again, waving to Lanisen as she spots him.
Deonyc nods, and smiles at Dalia’s reply, “Well Ill see you all around I guess.”
Lanisen takes a moment to realize he’s being waved at, but he ducks his head and smiles back.
Nasrin chuckles. “I hope to see you around later Deonyc. Farewell now.” She nods for him.
Sehsis looks to where Dalia is waving, and, seeling Lanisen he gives him a polite nod
Lanisen murmurs as he passes near, “Afternoon.” His voice creaks and breaks like a teenager’s.
Sehsis says, “Good afternoon”
Nasrin nods for Lanisen. “Hello again, Lanisen. How are you doing today?”
Lanisen says, “Doin’–” He stops mid-croak and clears his throat without much effect. “Pardon me, sorry, I been sick,” he explains. “Doin’ well, though, how’re, how’re you?” He glances at Sehsis and Dalia to include them in the question.
Nasrin gives him a sympathetic look. “Dreadful to hear, but in this climate it’s not a surprise. Have you been drinking tea? It’s very helpful.”
Lanisen says wryly, “/So/ much tea.”
Sehsis asks, “Quite well..It’s not contagious is it?”
Lanisen says, “Um–” and glances at Dalia a little guiltily. “I’m not, not anymore, Adrian said. He’s, sorry, he’s the healer here. So I’m cleared to be out and about, just, just soundin’ like a mess.”
Sehsis nods, seeming satisfied by the answer, “Oh good”
Dalia frowns when she hears the croak in Lanisen’s voice and hears he has been sick, “Oh dear, and here I was drinking all the tea you loaned me.”
Dalia glances back to Sehsis, “Have you brought any of that ginger tea with you?”
Lanisen assures Dalia, “It’s all right, I got more, and I got some from Adrian too. It’s, Meg’s got it now, so I’m gettin’ stuff for her.” He lifts his bag slightly.
Dalia pulls some coins out of her coin purse and offers them to Sehsis, frowning sympathtically when she hears that Megren’s ill. “Will she take company?”
Sehsis accepts the payment, “I’ll have the tea sent the moment that I return to the Inn”
Lanisen says, “Might be! She was pretty sleepy last I saw her, but bored, too.” He clears his throat again and swallows, wincing.
Dalia frowns sympathetically, before turning to turning to Sehsis. “Thank you.” She offers Nasrin a smile. “Perhaps I can bring some cookies that way.”
Nasrin returns the smile for Dalia, nodding. “I should like that very much.” She looks to Lanisen. “I do hope the illness clears up very soon.”
Lanisen rasps, “Thank you.”
Dalia turns back to Lanisen, “Give her my best wishes when you see her and tell her I will visit her if she would like it.”
Lanisen says, nodding, “I’ll do that. She’d like that, I bet, since you already had it.”
Nessa walks out of her stall, covered in fine fluff from a long length of wool. “Hello Dalia! I thought I saw you pass by. Hello to you as well, Lanisen.”
Dalia motions Nessa over, “Nessa! I’d like you to meet a friend of mine,”
Lanisen steps back slightly to widen the circle as Nessa joins them. “Afternoon, miss,” he answers in a croak of a voice.
Dalia turns to Lanisen, “Thank You, I can’t help but feel it must be fault.”
Nessa walks over “Oh? Who is it?
Dalia motions to Nasrin, “Nessa, this is a friend of mine, Nasrin.”
Nasrin bows her head in greeting for Nessa, offering her a polite smile. “Nessa, what a lovely name. It’s nice to meet you.”
Nessa dips in a slight bow herself. “THank you. Narsin is a lovely name itself. Pleased to meet you.”
Dalia smiles at Nasrin, “Nasrin, this is my sister, Nessa.”
Nasrin looks between the two, nodding. “Oh, your sister! I’m so glad to finally meet you. Dalia’s always spoken so well about the rest of her family.”
Nessa says, “And she’s spoken so well about the rest of the inhabitents of the castle and town””
Lanisen rubs his elbow, half-grinning.
Dalia says, “Nasrin and her uncle are merchants. They travel here from calormen, and leave when the weather gets to cold.”
Nessa exclaims, “Calormen! That explains the vibrent color you’ve managed to get in your clothing. There are so many exotic goods that come from there. I mostly deal with traders here in Archenland or if I’m lucky I’ll get really good wool from Narnia”
Nasrin nods, happy to show off her dress! She takes a hold of her dupatta holding it out for a moment, before draping it back. “Thank you very much! The fashion from the empire is really quite wonderful if I might say so. Have you ever dealt with traders from Calormen before?”
Nessa shakes her head “Unfortunatly never. I deal with wool cloth and there are few sheep in Colormen and almost as little demand for wool clothing from what I understand. Isn’t it frightfully hot?
Dalia grins watchin the two converse and steps back towards Lanisen.
Nasrin nods in agreement here. “No, lovely as wool can be in the colder lands up north I don’t think it’ll catch on any time soon back home. Now the desert can be so cold at night, but during the day… that’s a whole other story!”
Nessa says, “Ah. Perhaps if my buisness grows I will need to talk to you about wool blankets for cold desert nights”
Lanisen glances at Dalia, lifting his eyebrows a little helplessly.
Nasrin chuckles. “Now that I would be interested in.”
Dalia offers Lanisen a smile, and makes a motion that he should carry on with his task. “Get some rest, alright?” the last part might be a statement, but it’s phrased like a question.
Nessa says, “Good. I’ll keep in touch for when I’m done with the cloth for the guard’s new winter gear.” Nessa says with a half joking smile”
Nasrin returns the smile. “I stay at the Inn for now, so if you’d ever like to visit I can often be found there.”
Nessa asks, “Thank you for the offer, I might take you up on it. Is home Colormen for you then?”
Lanisen rubs the side of his face at this and gives Dalia a small grateful smile. He takes a step back, away from the conversational group, and turns to go.
Nasrin nods. “I’m from Calormen, yes. What about you?”
Nessa says, “I was born here and spent the begining of my childhood here, but I learned my trade in Cogshill.””
Nasrin says, “Quite a few people from around here have roots or family from Coghill. It’s a nice place, certainly.” She offers a smile. “I’d love to stay, but I should he heading back now. I’ve only recently arrived back to Archenland, see, and there’s a lot that needs doing.”
Nessa nods “Of course. I really ought to get back to weaving myself
Nasrin says, “It’d be a delight to see you around though. Farewell everyone.” She nods for Nessa before looking to the other two, who she waves to before departing.
Nessa waves to the group before heading off herself
Megren lies curled in the center of her bed, fractallic, Tiny curled in an excellent imitation between her knees and her stomach.
Lanisen knocks softly three times on the door.
Megren calls, “Come in.”
Lanisen opens the door and slips in, shutting it behind him. He has a bag again. “Hey,” he whispers, not even trying to talk with his actual voice. “How’re you feelin’?”
Megren drags her pillow over her face.
Lanisen makes an unhappy face. “Dalia says hey,” he volunteers.
Megren croaks, “Hey, Dalia.”
Lanisen crosses to the little table and unloads his bag. He’s got the kettle from the kennels, and a little bottle of murky cider vinegar and another of amber apple-blossom honey.
Megren clears her throat and then coughs.
Lanisen wordlessly pushes her cup of water closer to her, and then kneels to start up the little fire.
Megren observes, “You’re sick.”
Lanisen rasps, “Better’n you, though.”
Megren says, “Go to bed.”
Lanisen says, “Make me.”
Megren sits up miserably. Her hair sticks up at the back of her head.
Lanisen straightens and fills the kettle from the pitcher of water on the table, then sets it over the fire. “I’ll be right back,” he whispers, sloshing the almost-empty pitcher. “There’s some good pies today in the market, you feel like eatin’?”
Megren mutters some kind of accusation about him infecting the entire market.
Lanisen rasps, “Adrian says I’m clear to be about.”
Megren looks skeptical.
Lanisen lifts a single finger. “Don’t argue with Adrian,” he advises. “D’you want a pie?”
Megren gives the tea kettle a glossy glare.
Lanisen waits a moment, then promises again, “I’ll be right back.” He disappears through the door.
Megren drags herself over to make herself drink something while he’s gone.
Lanisen returns in about ten minutes, just as the kettle begins to make bubbly noises. He sets the full pitcher and a wrapped meat pie down on the table.
Megren has curled up in the corner of her bed again by the time he returns, her head leaning against the wall.
Lanisen goes digging in his bag again and unearths an empty jelly-jar and two packets of spices. He carefully shakes a small amount of each spice into the jar. This is followed by a small amount of honey and a small amount of vinegar, which he mixes up into a syrupy reddish-brown mixture which does not smell unpleasant. “Here,” he rasps. “I been drinkin’ this, Kairyn told me how to make it. It’s for the sore throat.”
Megren makes a face at it.
Lanisen says encouragingly, “It’s not bad, it’s kinda nice. It burns, though, just take it by the spoonful.”
Megren says, “It already burns.”
Lanisen says, “No, it’s, it’s a better kind. It only burns for a minute, then it’s better.”
Megren makes another face.
Lanisen says, holding it out to her, “I promise.”
Megren takes it and sniffs. “Smells like pickled things,” she complains.
Lanisen says patiently, “It’s just the vinegar.”
Megren takes a drink and squints up her eyes to swallow.
Lanisen refills her cup with cool, fresh water from the pitcher so it’s ready.
Lanisen sits down next to her and rubs her back.
Megren wilts against his shoulder.
Lanisen wraps his arms around her, rocking a little. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry for gettin’ you sick,” he mourns.
Megren says, “I probably would have anyway.”
Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side.
Megren reaches for her blanket to pull it back around her.
Lanisen helps, tucking it up around her shoulders before he wraps his arms around her again. “What do you need, is there anything you need?”
Megren just shakes her head.
Lanisen reaches down to take the lid off the kettle so the steam begins to fill the room, then resumes rubbing Megren’s back.
Megren says, “Why are you here; go to sleep.”
Lanisen says, “I don’t want for you to be alone.”
Megren presses her forehead against his shoulder but says, “Thank you.”
Lanisen adds, “I’ll go if you want me to go.”
Megren admits, “No, I hate being alone.”
Lanisen nods and settles in silently.
Megren closes her eyes.
Lanisen scoots back to lean against the wall.
Megren says, “Thank you,” again.
Lanisen says, “‘S all right.”
Megren sniffs and clears her throat again. “Maybe my nose will fall off,” she says hopefully.
Lanisen says, “Oh, oh–” He puts his finger on the bridge of his nose, almost up between his eyebrows. “Push here, it helps.”
Megren opens her eyes to watch and squint skeptically.
Lanisen says, “It makes it, it, it clears, it goes away.”
Megren says, “What.”
Lanisen insists, “It /does/, I swear. And then you can breathe.”
Megren pokes him between the eyebrows.
Lanisen jerks his head back automatically and huffs.
Megren says, “Doesn’t look very pleasant.”
Lanisen says, “Not bein’ able to breathe out your nose ain’t very pleasant either.”
Megren pulls a self-pitying face.
Lanisen lets out a longsuffering sigh and reaches out to push at the bridge of Megren’s nose with one finger.
Megren screws up her mouth and one eye.
Lanisen holds his finger there where the bridge of her nose meets her forehead and makes a little indent, pushes slightly up, and waits expectantly.
Megren says, “I guess.”
Lanisen lets his hand fall away and giggles triumphantly, which immediately triggers a coughing fit.
Megren screws up her face.
Lanisen raises his elbow and coughs into that instead, his eyes watering. “Told you!” he croaks when he’s finished.
Megren says, “I think you better have a lie down.”
Lanisen says, “No, I just got here.”
Megren says, “You can have my bunk, I’ll climb up.”
Lanisen says indignantly, “You will not, if anybody’s climbin’ up I’m climbin’ up.”
Megren says, “Fine, all right, you then.”
Lanisen says, “I don’t want to lie down.”
Megren says, “You’re coughing.”
Lanisen says, “I’m not anymore.”
Megren gets up to climb to the upper bunk.
Lanisen says unhappily, “Nooo, I’ll go.”
Megren plunks back down.
Lanisen heaves a sigh and gets up sulkily to climb up.
Megren picks up the vinegar he’s poured her and takes another sip to appease him.
Lanisen tumbles onto the top bunk ungracefully and curls up on his side.
Megren gets up again, this time to pull a spare blanket from her trunk.
Lanisen says, “I really didn’t come up here so you could look after me.”
Megren says, “I know.” She passes the blanket up.
Lanisen heaves a sigh and takes the blanket, hugging it rather than unfolding it.
Megren says, “I’m glad you came, only I want you to take care of yourself, too.”
Lanisen says earnestly, “I am!”
Megren says, “Yeah, now.”
Lanisen says, “If I’m layin’ down, you gotta too.”
Megren does as instructed, sniffing unattractively as soon as her head hits a new angle.
Lanisen asks anxiously, “Do you need anything?”
Megren says, “Someone who’s throat works to talk at me.”
Lanisen shifts and goes quiet.
Megren says after a pair of quiet, “I hate being cooped up. I’m glad to have someone here even if he oughtn’t talk.”
Lanisen rasps, “I know, I’m sorry.”
Megren says, “Don’t be sorry.”
Lanisen goes quiet again.
Megren can be heard softly and irregularly snoring not long after.
Lanisen stays curled up and awake, watching out the window. After a while, he gets up and climbs down. He checks the level of water in the kettle and tops it off from the pitcher on the table.
Megren stirs when the bedframe jolts, but she doesn’t regain real consciousness.
Lanisen fills Megren’s cup with what’s left in the pitcher and slips out. He returns after a few moments with the pitcher full again, sets it down on the table, and quietly leaves.