packing up


Kennels
Castle Anvard


Lanisen is packing. There is a rucksack open on a chair half-full of travel supplies and clothing, and he’s wandering around the kennel to see what else he might need, distracted.

Megren comes down the stairs holding up a sachet of tea. “This one?”

Lanisen halts his wandering and blinks at the sachet. “What was it doing up there?” he wonders.

Megren asks, “We brought the whole pot up that one night, with all your teas, remember?”

Lanisen squints. “Oh,” he says. “Oh, that’s right.”

Megren says, “Must’ve forgot to bring this one back down.”

Lanisen says, “I guess so.” He turns in place and runs a hand through his hair.

Megren pushes her mouth to the side.

Lanisen says, “Um…” He looks from the rucksack to the shelves and finally to Megren, a little helplessly.

Megren offers, “Present for Tristran?”

Lanisen says, “Got it already.”

Megren says, “Then I think you’ve got it.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah…”

Dalia knocks softly.

Megren looks up.

Lanisen starts for the door, pausing at the window to look out before he opens it.

Dalia isn’t looking straight ahead so she doesn’t catch at first when Lanisen opens the door.

Lanisen peers out to see what’s caught her attention.

Dalia turns back, “oh!”-ing softly, when she realizes, the door is open. “Mind if I come in? Perth said he thought Meg was probably here.”

Lanisen says, “Oh! Oh, yeah.” He steps back, glancing toward Megren. “She’s here, come on in.”

Megren leans to see Dalia through the doorway. “Hello!”

Dalia smiles as she enters. She offers Lanisen a little container of tea. “For you.”

Lanisen blinks. He opens the bag, sniffs it, and laughs. “Oh, that’s– you didn’t have to!”

Dalia smiles, “I know.” She turns to Meg, half smiles, half concern. “Hello Meg- erm ma-am. How’re you feeling?”

Megren says, “Better, thanks. Almost full well.”

Dalia smiles a smile which is almost but not completly full, “Lanisen told me you were ill and I came up to see you, but Magda said you were sleeping. Did she give the soup and flowers?”
Dalia looks between Meg and Lanisen, “Sorry to have shared my cold with you both.”

Megren says, “Oh, she did, and it was so sweet and brightened my room so well. Thank you. Please don’t blame yourself. It’s all over the castle.”

Lanisen says, “She got it from me, pretty sure. Anyway we all survived.”

Dalia nods, “Always good news to hear from ones best friends.”

Megren gets a big foolish grin, her nose wrinkling a little.

Lanisen ducks his head and dimples up at this.

Dalia grins back widely and happily. She finally notices the rucksack on the chair. “You’re leaving then?” she asks.

Lanisen glances at his packing and shuffles his feet. He nods.

Dalia says, “”I don’t want to keep you from your packing….””

Megren says, “He’s done. Distract him or he’ll fuss.”

Lanisen says, “I’m not– I’m not fussin’.”

Megren says, “Not yet. You’re on the cusp.”

Dalia offers her hands open to give him a hug.

Lanisen hesitates, put on the spot a little bit, and then steps forward awkwardly to oblige.

Megren grins, stepping back and crossing her arms, her nose wrinkling again.

Dalia hugs him back with sisterly affection, stepping back to say “Lion go with you.”

Lanisen steps back as she does, rubbing his elbow. “Than– um, thank you.”

Megren asserts, “It’s going to be a great trip.”

Dalia steps back as well, unsure if she’s overstepped her boundaries and unsettled her friend. She smiles at Megren’s comment. “Write if you can.”

Lanisen nods.

Dalia turns towards the door, “I should go visit my sister. She’s been weaving all week and barely stepped out the door. I should get her outside and out into the sun.” She finishes with a joking sparkle in her eyes.

Megren says, “The apple tree’s blooming if you need something to tempt her with.”

Lanisen mms in agreement.

Dalia nods, “Thanks. I’ll see if can.” She casts both a final grin, and says to Lanisen, “Safe journey” before heading out the door.

Megren leans back against the table and blows out a breath as she leaves. “So, who actually knows what you’re going for?”

Lanisen asks, “What?”

Megren asks again, “Who knows why you’re going?”

Lanisen says, “It’s not… I haven’t been… /secret/.”

Megren asks, “So I can say?”

Lanisen says, “I’ve just, I’ve just been sayin’ I’ve got a friend…”

Megren asks, “What if they ask how you know them?”

Lanisen rubs the back of his neck. “Nobody’s, nobody’s asked? Why would they ask?”

Megren says, “I’d ask because I was curious and didn’t know I shouldn’t?”

Lanisen says, “They know I been in Narnia…”

Megren shrugs. “I’m just saying what I’d do.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He rubs his elbow and straightens his shirt, glancing after Dalia. “Nobody’s, nobody’s asked.”

Megren says, “If they do, you want me to say?”

Lanisen says, “Um…” and hesitates. “Just– just that I’m visitin’ a friend, please.”

Megren squints an eye. “If they ask ‘how’s he know that friend’ you want me to say ‘he’s visiting a friend’ again?”

Lanisen shifts his weight. “No, no, just– tell ’em it’s somebody on the guard in Lantern Waste.”

Megrne pushes her mouth to the side but agrees, “All right.”

Lanisen is frowning slightly now. He goes to check his bag for something. “It ain’t, it’s not lyin’,” he says after a small pause, defensive.

Megren says, “All right.”

Lanisen glances at her briefly to see if he is being mollified.

He is, a bit.

Lanisen looks down. He absently rearranges a few things, looking troubled.

Megren asks, “What else do you need to do before you go?”

Lanisen tugs at his collar, glancing worriedly over the shelves. “I need to… I sent away for some pennyroyal and it ain’t come yet…”

Megren asks, “Pennyroyal?”

Lanisen says, “It’s for, it’s for pests, we’re almost out, I was gonna get more. I should’ve sent for it sooner, I knew it was out of season…”

Megren says, “I can keep an eye for it and bring it to Danall.”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s, they’ll bring it by, just we’re gonna run out ’cause of– I forgot, I forgot, I usually remember but it’s been, I haven’t been–” He rubs his hands over his face.

Megren offers, “Well there’s nothing to change it one way or the other now.”

Lanisen exhales, discouraged and upset, but nods.

Megren says, “It will be fine. It’s small in the long view of things.”

Lanisen mumbles, “Not if they all get fleas, it’s not.”

Megren says, “Depends how long a view you take.

Lanisen doesn’t answer. He sits down next to his pack.

Megren watches him for a moment, and then abruptly says, “Wait here.”

Lanisen asks, “Where are you goin’?”

Megren says as she’s out the door, “It’ll only take me a moment.”

Lanisen gets up as she leaves, watching the door anxiously, then sits back down again. His eyes fall on his pack, and he tugs its chair closer to rearrange a little more.

Megren returns after about a quarter of an hour with a small brown paper bag stacked on top of a brown paper package. “I was going to wait until you left, but I suppose it’s easier for packing now.”

Lanisen has unpacked everything and is putting it back in a different order now. He looks up when she enters and frowns curiously.

Megren extends the packages.

Lanisen reaches out for them, a little hesitant. “What is it?”

Megren says, “Present, silly.”

Lanisen says, “/Oh/.”

Megren says, “Oh.”

Lanisen asks, “Am I meant to open it now?”

Megren says, “The top one’s for sharing. You should save the other.”

Lanisen sets the one to be saved aside. “When should I open that one?”

Megren screws up her mouth thoughtfully. “When you get there, I think. To Lantern Waste.”

Lanisen says, “All right.”

Megren says since he isn’t opening it, “The top ones ginger candies.”
one’s

Lanisen says, “Oh! Oh, sorry,” and unwraps the package. He sets it on the table, open, and confesses guiltily, “I don’t have anything for you.”

Megren says practically, “Well, I’m not going away.”

Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side.

Megren says, “Anyway, those are for making friends.”

Lanisen says, “Oh! I thought they were for sharing with you.”

Megren snorts.

Lanisen says, “You’d better have one, since it’s open.”

Megren pulls one out and throws it at his forehead.

Lanisen ducks too late.

Megren smirks.

Lanisen rubs his forehead and gives her a betrayed look

Megren says, “Eat it and no complaining.”

Lanisen bends to rescue it from the floor before a dog does first. “You have to have one too, then.”

Megren complains, “Ugh, fine.”

Lanisen grins unrepentantly.

Megren reaches for one with a defeated expression.

Lanisen lets out a prolonged snort.

That’s not a snort it doesn’t use the noise

Megren asks again, “What else do you need?”

Lanisen says, “Um…” and glances around worriedly.

Megren asks, “Tea and a rest?”

Lanisen rubs his hands over his face. “Ha, like as if I could rest.”

Megren says in a voice her with the burden if what’s to come, “Ah, now you’ve challenged me.”

Lanisen wrinkles up his nose at her.

Megren peers at the window speculatively and then starts for the door. “All right. Hop along.”

Lanisen asks, “What?” He gets to his feet and follows after.

Megren holds the door open for him, closes it behind her, and scoots along past him toward the outer gates, apparently expecting him to follow.

Lanisen sends Kite back from the door with a word and follows her.

Megren leads him down along the west path of the foothills into a small ravine. She picks her way toward a tiny, almost invisible path. Overhead, the sky is starting to light up in yellow and coral.

Lanisen asks, “Where’s this go?”

Megren gives a big shrug that is clearly a lie.

Lanisen huffs and follows after her, a little out of breath.

Megren’s path leads them up an incline to the top of the ravine, and while it’s not quite high enough to be above treeline, the crest offers a modestly spectacular view of the spring forest cast in the golden embrace of the setting sun.

Lanisen straightens at the top and takes a few big breaths, then exhales happily at the view. “Mmm,” he murmurs. “You know the /best/ spots.”

Megren gets one of her big wrinkled-nosed grins.

Lanisen shades his eyes against the sun and squints out toward the road that goes to Lancelyn Green. He sighs again, a little regretful this time.

Megren gives him a small half-hug from the side.

Lanisen glances at her and offers a little half-smile, hugging back.

Megren asks, “Are you all right?”

Lanisen says, “Yeah.”

Megren asks, “Sure?”

Lanisen confesses, “I’m gonna miss you.”

Megren glances at him with something like surprise, her mouth pushing to the side sentimentally. “You’re going to have a hundred other friends who know their forests just as well, and who like games just as much, and who’ll probably cartwheel in high places if you dare them hard enough and they have the right kind of limbs.”

Lanisen counters, “I’m gonna find something new and lovely and I’m gonna be lookin’ over my shoulder to see what you think of it, every time.”

Megren offers practically, “Just learn to draw really fast.”

Lanisen makes a face.

Megren says, “I’ll be expecting letters and you’ll hate me by the time you’ve got to head back because you keep having to retell all the stuff you looked at and did and realizing it doesn’t actually need my opinion.”

Lanisen frowns at this and looks away, discontented.

Megren screws up her face and admits, “I’ll miss you too.”

Lanisen lifts one corner of his mouth.

Megren says, “I’m really glad you’re going, but I’ll be sad once you have done.”

Lanisen nods absently. He doesn’t say anything for a moment. “What if I can’t do any good?”

Megren shakes her head. “You can do good. It might not be the good you’re setting out or hoping for.”

Lanisen says, “It’s, I don’t feel like I can, I feel like– who do I think I am, thinkin’ I can.”

Megren says, “I suppose you think you’re a person who cares and has got the energy to give.”

Lanisen rubs the bridge of his nose.

Megren says, “There’s no airs in trying to help.”

Lanisen says, “There can be.”

Megren says, “Example.”

Lanisen says, “Just– it’s– there can be.”

Megren says, “You’re not taking airs.”

Lanisen doesn’t answer. He turns away from the view and circles to find someplace to sit, settling on a fallen log. He folds his arms on his knees, tapping restlessly with one forefinger with his forehead knit.

Megren looks out over the forest. “We should head back if we want to get to the castle before real dark.”

Lanisen glances up, distracted. “Oh,” he says, and gets back to his feet. “Right, yeah.”

Megren slips her arm around his shoulder to walk like that while there’s room for two abreast.

Lanisen curls his arm around her in return and bows his head as they walk.

Megren offers him silence.

Lanisen shivers slightly in the chilly night breeze and keeps quiet until they reach the castle again.

Megren rubs his shoulder to warm him as they walk.

Lanisen asks, nodding toward the kennels, “Tea?”

Megren says, “Definitely tea.”

Lanisen opens the door for her and goes to put on the kettle.

Megren sits at the table, pulling up her legs to cross them under her.

Lanisen comes back and settles at the table across from her. He plants his elbows on the tabletop and his chin on his fists and lifts his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth at her.

Megren says, “I once met a seller of puppet dolls….”

Lanisen blinks at her. “Is this a limerick?” he asks suspiciously.

Megren says, “I was just observing a likeness.”

Lanisen pulls his chin back in confusion.

Megren lifts her brows and lips in a similar performed manner.

Lanisen squints at her. “You’re bein’ weird,” he accuses.

Megren drops the expression and shrugs.

Lanisen looks back at his bag, still half-unpacked, and lets out a breath through his nose. He tugs the chair it’s propped up on closer and starts putting things back in.

Megren watches, any help she might give equally likely to put her in the way.

Lanisen finishes. He closes the bag just to make sure it will close, then opens it again.

Megren gets up to see to the whistling tea.

Lanisen glances up as she does and goes for cups and honey.

Megren says, “I can — I’ve got it, I can do it.”

Lanisen says, “I’m just settin’ the table.”

Megren makes a noise of defeat.

Lanisen gives her a beatific look.

Megren gives him her most monstrous one.

Lanisen says, “/Gracious/.”

Megren mmms? as sweetly as any lady.

Lanisen snorts and sets the honey in the middle of the table.

Megren sits again.

Lanisen plops down across from her, folding his arms on the tabletop. His eyes flit anxiously over the shelves and their contents, finally landing again on his pack.

Megren says, “You’ve got it all.”

Lanisen gives a small, embarrassed grin at this, but it doesn’t stick.

Megren returns it with a softer smile.

Lanisen looks at his hands, then glances back at the pack, then back to his hands. He looks apprehensive and nearly sick with it. “I’m gonna,” he starts, and clears his throat. “I guess I’ll leave early tomorrow.”

Megren prepares him a cup and pushes it into his hands. “Want me to stay here tonight?”

Lanisen accepts the tea gratefully and wraps his hands around it, hunching over it. “You don’t, you don’t have to.”

Megren says, “I will if you like, though.”

Lanisen avoids her eyes except for a brief anxious glance. “Only– If, if you want to,” he says after a small pause.

Megren says, “It’s settled then.”

Lanisen’s shoulders unhunch a little. “All right.”

Megren says, “Let me just run up to grab a bedroll.”

Lanisen says, “I’ll put down some blankets.”

Megren says, “I’m going to change out of my knight clothes while I’m up anyway.”

Lanisen says, “No, I meant– for puttin’ your bedroll on, so it ain’t just the floor beneath.”

Megren says, “Oh, thanks.”

Lanisen asks, “Anything else I can fix up while you’re out?”

Megren lifts her shoulders.

Lanisen asks, “Upstairs or down?”

Megren says, “Whatever you were thinking on.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t, I don’t mind. Either.”

Megren says, “Bit warmer down here.”

Lanisen says, “All right.”

Megren gets up and disappears out the door.

Lanisen leaves his tea on the table and goes to the loft to bring down stacks of blankets. After several such trips, he has two piles of comfortable thickness spread out on the floor in front of the fire. Tohol flops on one possessively.

Megren returns better dressed-down, and carrying a bedroll under one arm and a pair of steaming mugs in another. “Guess what.”

Lanisen straightens and squints at the mugs in confusion.

Megren grins. “Hot chocolate.”

Lanisen’s eyebrows lift and his face lights up. “Ohh!”

Megren looks smug.

Lanisen asks, “Who?”

Megren says, “Guess.”

Lanisen makes an appreciative noise of comprehension. “Thanks for bringin’ it,” he adds.

Megren nods, and sets the cups down, then goes to do the same with her bedroll.

Lanisen says, gesturing at the makeshift mattresses, “There’s more blankets if you want ’em.”

Megren says, “That’ll do me just fine.”

Lanisen says, “You ain’t even sat on it yet!”

Megren says, ‘I’ve got eyes.”

Lanisen looks doubtful.

Megren sits.

Lanisen makes an enquiring noise.

Megren says, “Told you it’s fine.”

Lanisen looks satisfied.

Megren asks, “Now can I have my hot chocolate?”

Lanisen asks, “What’re you askin’ me for?”

Megren says, “You’re making me run around sitting on blankets and what not.”

Lanisen says, “I dunno how you put up with me.”

Megren plunks back down at the table. “Me either.”

Lanisen fusses over the makeshift mattresses for another minute, adding another layer to both, then follows her to the table.

Megren pushes his cup to him.

Lanisen reaches for the cup and wraps his hands around it, breathing in the smell of the chocolate with evident satisfaction.

Megren looks pleased with herself.

Lanisen reaches for his tea and finishes that off before he begins on the chocolate.

Megren falls into amiable silence.

Lanisen asks, “What’re you gonna do while I’m gone?”

Megren says, “Probably write sad poems.”

Lanisen mms understandingly.

Megren says, “Wander the walls on foggy nights, making mysterious noises.”

Lanisen says, “I can see you doing that.”

Megren says, “It’s very like me.”

Lanisen says, “Every time I hear somethin’ outside I can’t quite figure out, I think, oh, it’s probably Meg at it again.”

Megren says, “Well howls and wails, those ones are easy.”

Lanisen says, “/Ohhh./”

Megren says, “What’s tricky is getting the clatters and creaks just right.”

Lanisen suggests, “Fill up a barrel with horseshoe nails and roll it along as you go?”

Megren says, “And here I’d just been hanging books from old doors.”

Lanisen says, “You should’ve asked me sooner.”

Megren says, “I guess!”

Lanisen makes a regretful ‘tsk’ noise for the time lost.

Megren says, “What other wisdom do you have for me?”

Lanisen says, “I wouldn’t dare presume.”

Megren pushes him in the forehead.

Lanisen complains.

Megren does it again.

Lanisen says, “Why this.”

Megren says, “Advice, please!”

Lanisen makes a banishing gesture and says grandly, “I’m /drinking/ my /chocolate/.”

Megren says, “Wow.”

Lanisen relents. “Fill up a bottle halfway with dry barley and shake it around.”

Megren says, “Nice.”

Lanisen says, “Get a pair of metal bars and bang ’em together as you walk.”

Megren suggests, “Shake a jar with a needle in.”

Lanisen says, “Mm, yes, or glass beads.”

Megren says, “Cubes.”

Lanisen says, “You’d have ’em handy that way, sure.”

Megren says, “It’d really just be a plea for other game partners.”

Lanisen says, “It’d work.”

Megren makes a thoughtful, plotting sound.

Lanisen purses up his lips and nods judiciously, then takes a drink of his cocoa.

Megren says, “Thanks.”

Lanisen says, “What would you do without me.”

Megren screws up her mouth.

Lanisen says, “You wouldn’t know what to do without me without me, is what.”

Megren says, “You /will/ write?”

Lanisen nods.

Megren asks, “Often and in egregious detail?”

Lanisen says, “You’ll open up the letter and just put it down again and walk away, it’ll be so long.”

Megren says, “That’s what I want to hear.”

Lanisen grins, but wrinkles up his nose and ducks his head. “I’ll write, I will,” he says. “They might not be so long as all that, though.”

Megren says, “Frequent, then.”

Lanisen nods.

Megren says, “I will too.’

Lanisen says, “Thanks.”

Megren says, “Oh, no, they’ll be insufferable.”

Lanisen lifts his eyebrows. “Your letters will be?”

Megren nods.

Lanisen laughs. “All right, um.”

Megren says, “Entirely a selfish endeavor.”

Lanisen laughs again. He pulls his mug closer, hunkering over it.

Megren falls into another quiet.

Lanisen does too. He stares down into his mug and pulls his lips between his teeth.

Megren says, “I’ll miss you.”

Lanisen nods tightly without looking up. “I’ll miss you too,” he says after a small pause.

Megren says, “I know.”

Lanisen nods again.

Megren says, “It’s going to be a good trip, though.”

Lanisen takes in a deep breath and blows it out, nodding.

Megren says, “I’m already waiting for your first letter.”

Lanisen snorts.

Megren says, “It’s got to be full of interesting things.”

Lanisen asks, “Shall I start writin’ it here and now, then?”

Megren says, “That would be fine.”

Lanisen says, “Dear Meg, I’d wish you were here but you are here. Just had some really excellent hot chocolate, the weather’s been good, and there’s puppies. Love, Lanisen.”

Megren says, “Dear Lanisen, Nobody ever takes me to see the puppies, but it sounds like we are experiencing similar weather and chocolate. Love, Meg.”

Lanisen says, “They’re just upstairs!”

Megren asks, “And where are we?”

Lanisen says, “They /been/ upstairs!”

Megren looks unimpressed.

Lanisen says, “/You/ said you wanted to sleep downstairs.”

Megren says, “Well, they keep you up!”

Lanisen concedes, “A bit, they do.”

Megren asks, “So is anyone going to invite me to see the puppies then do you think?”

Lanisen says, “Hard to say.”

Megren screws up her mouth and pushes it to one side.

Lanisen snickers. “Would you like to see the puppies.”

Megren says, “Please!”

Lanisen says, “Alllll right, let’s go see the puppies.” He picks up his chocolate and drinks the last of it before he stands up.

Megren hops up. “/Finally/.”

Lanisen opens the door to the stairs and steps back so she can go up first.

Megren hops up past him 2 at a time.

Lanisen follows more slowly. “They’re, you can hold ’em if you want, they’re old enough,” he calls after her.

Megren pulls out two and lies on her back so they can sit on her stomach. “Hello baby dogs.”

Lanisen follows and settles down to sit cross-legged next to her. There are five pups in the box: three are blotched silver-and-white like their watchful dam, but there is one black and one brindle. He reaches out to say hello to Arrow with a scritch behind the ears before lifting out the runt to cuddle.

Megren has taken the brindle and one of the silvers. The brindle wanders shakily up to investigate her chin.

Lanisen scoots to lean back against the wall and cradles the little black puppy up against his chest. “They’re gonna be so big when I get back,” he murmurs.

Megren says staunchly, “I’ll defend ’em til then.”

Lanisen smiles faintly without looking up from the puppy.

Megren’s puppy ventures onto her face. “Oof.”

Lanisen giggles under his breath. “And you lot gotta look after her, too, all right?” he tells the runt seriously.

Megren tries to say something but it earns a paw in her mouth.

Lanisen grins. His puppy seems the easily soothable type and snuggles down into the crook of his arm to continue sleeping.

Megren’s brindle yips and pulls its paw out of her mouth to go pounce its sibling who is still curled sleepily on her stomach.

Lanisen reaches into the box and pulls out both of the remaining silvers to settle in his lap while the runt sleeps.

Megren sits up in a disgruntled way so that the pups can play in her lap, where she’ll feel a little less stomped on.

Lanisen works on getting the new two calmed down enough that he’s not juggling one-handed. One settles to gnawing his fingers, which he takes philosophically.

Megren observes, “Gonna lose that finger.”

Lanisen says, “It’ll grow back.”

Megren looks less sure.

Lanisen grins. “What’re you gonna do with it, huh?” he asks the pup. “It’s near as big as you.”

Megren’s brindle makes lots of provocative noises at the silver, all in vain.

Lanisen successfully gets one silver to sleep, and the other settles to gnawing peacefully, which is good enough. He exhales tiredly.

Megren goes back to lying down and the brindle settles one her chest. Her breathing evens out with the dog’s.

Lanisen sits quietly, but doesn’t quite sleep. After a long time, he gently resettles the pups back in their box.

Megren has fallen into a light doze by this time.

Lanisen carefully lifts the brindle pup and the other silver and gets them settled as well. “Hey,” he whispers, shaking her shoulder gently. “Let’s go downstairs, yeah?”

Megren stirs sleepily and squints at him. “Hm? Oh, right.”

Lanisen offers, “Or I can make you a bed up here.”

Megren sits up. “No right I’m coming.”

Lanisen asks, “Sure? There’s plenty of blankets up here.”

Megren says, “I’m /coming/.”

Lanisen says, “It’s okay, it’s okay, there’s no hurry.”

Megren says, “Too late.”

Lanisen sits back to wait for her.

Megren lumbers downstairs.

Lanisen follows. He putters about the kennel a little, blowing out the lamps and drawing the curtains, putting their dishes in a tub to be carried to the kitchen later.

Megren assists, albeit sluggishly.

Lanisen shoos her to bed. “It’s all right, I got this.”

Megren says, “I wanna help.”

Lanisen says, “There’s not much to do. Look, it’s done.”

Megren makes a face.

Lanisen says, “Come on,” and drapes an arm around her shoulders to steer her toward the bedrolls.

Megren allows for this.

Lanisen gets her settled before he sits down on his own blanket-heap, negotiating briefly with Tohol for space.

Megren curls up and almost immediately passes back out.

Lanisen curls up on his side for a while, but after about an hour of sleeplessness he digs out his notebook and flips through it by the light of the low fire.

Megren stirs quietly at the noise.

Lanisen doesn’t make much noise once he’s found his notebook, except to turn pages every few minutes.

Megren is eventually quiet again.

Lanisen continues restlessly through the night. He gets up sometime after midnight and pads quietly over in his bare feet to check his pack again, then once this is done he pours himself a cup of room-temperature tea from the abandoned remains of their pot and carries it outside to drink.

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