Gathering Circle
Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Lanisen is kneeling on the outskirts of the clearing, digging through a pack. A stolid old gelding grazes on the new sweet grass under the trees, and a soaking wet wolfhound gallops in cheerful circles, pausing occasionally to shake itself with great vigor.

Skarlieth comes into view overhead from the north. As his flight curves into a wide circle, he lets out a cry to announce himself before beginning to descend.

Lanisen finds what he is looking for just as the eagle begins to alight. He glances up at the cry, and the wolfhound lets out a resounding BOOF before trotting back toward the horse.

Skarlieth flaps several times when the dog barks at him, steering himself to a spot further away.

Lanisen says hastily, “To heel, to heel, c’mere Tohol.” He shades his eyes to see the eagle better.

Skarlieth comes to a landing and settles his wings into place before focusing on the Son of Adam and dog. “Lanisen, was it not? Welcome back.”

Lanisen’s face shows recognition, and then something like caution. “Thank– um, thank you,” he answers. “It’s Skarlieth, isn’t it?”

Skarlieth dips his head. “Indeed.” He glances over the pack, horse, and dog. “Just arrived, I take it? Is Adara aware?”

Lanisen says, “Not– not just yet, um…” He glances at the horse. “She knows, she knew I was comin’, I’m a little later than I meant to be…”

Skarlieth nods. “She mentioned that you might be coming. I hope your journey was well?”

Lanisen looks relieved at this. “Well enough,” he answers, offering a small quick grin. “We got snowed on, a bit, comin’ over the mountains, but…” He shrugs and glances down at the hound at his feet. “We’re here.”

Skarlieth says, “Indeed.” He turns his gaze on the dog. “I see you brought a different sort of company.””

Lanisen turns faintly red. “He don’t talk, but he’s a good friend.”

Skarlieth nods once. “There are some Beasts here who might find him… somewhat intimidating. I imagine, however, that as you have made it this far, it has not been overly much an issue.”

Lanisen says, “He’s… he listens, he’s trained not to, to chase, unless he’s sent to chase. He won’t hurt anybody.”

Skarlieth once again nods. “Of course.”

Lanisen nods in return. His hand settles on the wolfhound’s neck, stroking lightly. The hound’s tongue lolls out.

Skarlieth asks, “And you have a place to stay while you are here?”

Lanisen says, “I was, I planned to stay by the… um, there’s caves, and a pool? We stayed there before.”

Skarlieth tips his head. “Not a brief journey by foot, from there to Adara’s home. Manageable, perhaps, but it seems somewhat less than ideal.”

Lanisen says, shifting his weight and rubbing his elbow, “No, that’s, that’s all right with me.”

Skarlieth takes just a moment before saying, “Ah. I n that case, I hope it serves your purposes well.” He pauses again. “I also make my eyrie upon the cliffs there. Should you require anything, I hope you will not hesitate to make it known.”

Lanisen looks startled by this information and looks at the eagle searchingly to gauge the sincerity of the offer. “Thank you,” he says after a brief hesitation.

Skarlieth inclines his head. “Of course.” He gestures eastward with one wing. “Do you wish me to make your presence known to Adara? I believe she shall be pleased to know you have arrived.”

Lanisen hesitates again, his eyes following the gesture. “I was… I was goin’ to go say hello,” he says. “Only it’s– I don’t remember the way to the tower.”

Skarlieth clacks his beak once, quietly. “Wise of you not to venture forth, then. The Waste can be confusing at times. I can lead you, if you so desire.”

Lanisen asks, “It wouldn’t–? I don’t want to be a bother…”

Skarlieth says, “I would rather show you the way now, so that you might use it again in the future, than leave you to wander.”

Lanisen says, “Oh. All right, that’s– thank you.”

Skarlieth nods. “You are welcome.” With a glance at the horse, he adds, “Riding, or by foot?”

Lanisen says, “Er, whichever you’d rather, sir.”

Skarlieth tips his head. “Perhaps by foot, then, so as to give you more time to see the route and feel what it is to travel it.”

Lanisen nods and picks up his pack, fixing it to the gelding’s saddle, and gathers up the reins. He clicks his teeth to the hound and prepares to follow.

Skarlieth takes flight and begins to lead the way. This seems to involve his circling over the trees and occasionally landing some distance ahead, pointing out landmarks and directing Lanisen through the denser parts of undergrowth. Some of his advice would fit better from a different vantage point, but most of it is fairly straightforward.

Lanisen follows Skarlieth’s instructions as well as he can, leading the horse and hound along with him.

Eventually, the group gets to the tower, where Skarlieth lands next to Torgin. “And here we are. Adara’s cottage is through the trees, that way,” he gestures with one wing, “and you are welcome to seek her there or await her here, as you prefer.”

Lanisen looks toward the cottage where Skarlieth indicates. He moistens his lips and steps back slightly. “I’ll– I’ll wait here, if that’s, if it wouldn’t be in anybody’s way.”

Skarlieth nods, seemingly unsurprised. “Not at all. I imagine you could convince Torgin to a game, should that be to your liking.” The Dwarf grins. “Or perhaps a rest from your travel is welcome.” He glances over to the cottage as well. “… if you prefer to wait inside, that, too, can be accommodated. There are places aplenty to rest within. ”

Lanisen says, slightly distracted, “Um…” He shifts and glances between Torgin and Skarlieth. “Um– I’ll, I’ll stay here, I think Maestro’d prob’ly like a little while without a saddle on while we wait.”

Skarlieth responds, “Certainly. I shall leave you all to rest, then. I will not be far, should you need anything.” He dips his head, just short of a shallow bow.

Lanisen returns the gesture. “Thank you,” he says again. “I really– Thank you.”

Skarlieth says, “You are most welcome. Good day to you, Lanisen, Torgin.” He spreads his wings and takes off again, quickly obscured by trees.

Lanisen watches him go, then turns to tend to the gelding.


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