South Side of the Caldron Pool
Drune pads along the path with his nose to the ground, heading in the direction of the meadow.
Lanisen comes along the path from the south, his satchel over his shoulder, heading toward the pool.
Drune’s nose wrinkles as he picks up another scent. He pauses and looks up, eyes falling on Lanisen. He doesn’t call out though, choosing to observe for the moment.
Lanisen adjusts his satchel and rubs his shoulder absently. He continues on, his attention on the trees, and cranes his neck to look at the churning pool ahead.
Drune slowly moves towards the human, still not calling out and doing very little to draw attention to himself.
Lanisen is only human and therefore a little oblivious, especially to a wolf that does not want to be seen. He keeps going.
Drune continues behind him, head tilting in curiousity as he still makes no move to reveal his presence quite yet.
Lanisen slows and stops once the waterfall is in full view, lowering his satchel. He takes a deep breath and just watches the pounding water and spray for a few minutes.
Drune moves to come up beside Lanisen. “Peaceful, isn’t it?”
Lanisen startles and looks toward the voice, his shoulders hunching up, but he relaxes almost immediately and grins. He looks back at the waterfall before he answers. “I dunno,” he says thoughtfully. “All that– all that noise, and power, but it’s… yeah, I guess so.”
Drune sits, a flicker of a grin touching his muzzle. “I hope I an not interrupting anything.”
Lanisen says, “No, no, not at all.” He glances at the wolf again. “I didn’t think to see you here.”
Drune chuckles wryly. “I didn’t expect to reside up here for as long as I have. ” he sighs softly. “Been here since the disappearance. ”
Lanisen asks, startled, “So long?”
Drune nods. “Indeed. ” he eyes the waterfall. “I will be returning to the Great Woods with Winterden soon though. What brings you up this way?”
Lanisen rubs his elbow. “Visiting. There’s a– um, visiting.”
A wolf with a smoky coat (Indra) pads toward the pool from the south path.
Drune’s eyes flicker with curiosity as he nods, glancing at Lanisen. “Fair enough… Well, I hope the visit bodes well. ” His eyes return to the waterfall, apparently ignorant of Indra’s presence.
Lanisen says, “Thank you.” He pauses, then adds, “I’m glad to be back.”
“They’ll never be able to unite the country this way,” a Wolf confides in a low rough voice to his companion. “It’s all going to ruin, everything we’ve worked these fifteen years to build.”
The other Wolf agrees, “We ought to have a real organization by now. The council wasn’t meant to rule forever, and they don’t know the northern border like we do, or King Peter did. Tumnus is no warlord, if the giants find out and return. It’s irresponsible to leave things the way they are.”
“And that northern guard is all about building /gardens/ and sitting up in their tower,” the first Wolf growls. “It’s up to us to keep things running. This is where the disappearance happened. This is where the giants and Maeta’s kind have always hit first and hardest. It’s us who get hurt when Cair Paravel fails. It’s up to us to keep things safe.”
Indra veers her path toward the pair.
Drune nods. “This place–. ” he pauses, ears flicking towards a few passing wolves conversing with each other. His expression darkens and he sighs softly as the wolves move away from them.
Lanisen’s eyes track discreetly after the passing wolves. He listens, standing very still until they have gone, and then looks at Drune to see what he makes of it.
Drune shakes his head, darkness in his expression holding firm. “If those wolves belonged to Winterden they would have been tossed into the Great River for spreading such dissension. ”
Lanisen nods slowly, glancing after the wolves. He opens his mouth to ask a question, but checks up the path first and pauses at the sight of the unfamiliar wolf, ducking his head.
Indra comes up beside Drune. “Who’s this?”
Drune catches Lanisen’s change of attention and he follows it to Indra. The darkness abating, he offers her a polite smile and nods in greeting. “Indra. ” he nods to the Son of Adam. “This is Lanisen. ”
Lanisen confirms this with a small smile and a dip of his head. “Hello.”
Indra asks, “Welcome, Lanisen. From Archenland, or the city?”
Lanisen says, “Archenland, ma’am. Just visitin’.”
Indra asks, “Well met. And how do you like your stay so far?”
Drune lets his gaze wander to where he last saw the passing wolves disappear, one ear tilted towards the conversation at hand.
Lanisen’s eyes dart briefly toward the waterfall. “It’s beautiful,” he answers frankly.
Indra’s attention shifts to the waterfall as well, her tail swishing once. “I can’t disagree.”
Lanisen asks, glancing between them, “Are you Winterden as well?”
Drune frowns in thought before looking back to Lanisen and then to Indra, awaiting her response.
Indra says, “Nay. Drune and I were on the Northern Guard together for a time. I still am, but my daughter remains in Ulfden.”
Lanisen’s eyebrows lift with interest at this, looking back at Drune. “I didn’t know you were on the guard.”
Drune nods, his attention returning to Lanisen. “Indeed, I was. There came some needs within Winterden that called me from that post. ”
Indra says, “It was some time ago now.”
Lanisen nods at this, glancing back at Indra curiously. “Who is your daughter, can I ask?”
Indra inclines her head. “You may have met her; she is Ulfden’s guardian. Caileana.”
Aliyah pads quietly from the woods and into the small gathering.
Drune nods absently at this fact, looking between the two.
Lanisen’s eyes sharpen with recognition and he nods. “I’ve met her, yes,” he answers. “Guardian, what’s that mean?”
Indra says, “She has charge of the pack when the Alphas are unable.”
Drune chimes in. “Besides Alpha, it is one of the highest positions a wolf can hold in a pack. ” he adds.
Lanisen says, “Oh! Oh, wow.”
Indra tilts her head in an ironic kind of way, and her tail wags once left and once right. “I’ll be sure to pass on your praise.”
Lanisen squints at her a little uncertainly.
Aliyah flicks an ear looking between the two wolves and Lanisen. “I did not realize her position had changed. I will have to congratulate her. Last I heard, she was a scout. Of course, that was a long, long time ago.”
Drune chuckles. “A long time ago, Indeed Aliyah. ”
Indra nods to greet Aliyah. “That was some time ago,” she agrees.
Aliyah dips her head to Indra and then Lanisen. “How are the two of you doing?”
Indra asks, “Well, thank you. You have come up for the Wolf summit?”
Drune’s eyes return to where the passing wolf had exited once more, frown returning. “You all will have to excuse me, I need to attend to a couple of things. ” he looks between Indra and Lanisen. “It was good to see you both again. Hopefully our paths will cross once again before we depart. ”
Lanisen turns more fully toward Drune. “I’d like that.”
Aliyah snorts. “Sometimes I feel like we are still doing patrols even here.” She grins before answering Indra’s question with a shrug. “You could say that… I suppose. I have been here for some time with him.” She gestures to Drune. “Long before this mmeeting was decided upon really.”
Drune stands, nodding to the three before padding off in the direction of the discontent wolves.
Indra says, “Safe journeys, Drune.”
Lanisen watches him go, his forehead furrowing a little, and he looks back at the other wolves assessingly.
Aliyah tilts her head in Lanisen’s direction.
Indra asks Aliyah, “You mentioned feeling like you were on patrol. I have just finished mine, but I will take your report back to the commander if you have anything to add to it.”
Aliyah shakes her head. “I don’t have anything today. It just seems Crenna, Drune and I end up in different places most of the time.” She smiles. “Have there been any new developments?”
Lanisen looks politely away while they discuss business.
Indra says, “Nothing to report.”
Aliyah seems to relax. “Good. No news is good news, I suppose.”
Indra says, “It would seem.”
Lanisen glances briefly at Indra at this.
Aliyah looks between them. “Still worried about something?”
Indra says, “I struggle to believe we can maintain the current state indefinitely. We will need to escape limbo eventually.”
Lanisen rubs his elbow and averts his eyes.
Aliyah nods, inhaling deeply. “I could not agree more. I hope a resolution is reached sooner than later.”
Indra looks to their guest. “What does Archenland think on these things?”
Lanisen glances between them, rueful. “I don’t know,” he answers apologetically. “People keep askin’, but I don’t– I’m just, I’m a servant, I don’t know anything about what they’re thinkin’, them who matter.”
Indra asks, “What do you think?”
Aliyah flicks an ear, glancing in Lanisen’s direction.
Lanisen shifts his weight. He looks between them again, a little anxious, and moistens his lips. “I think– I think it’s not for me to…”
Indra tilts her head.
Aliyah looks at the ground and then back up at him. “Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I mean this could potentially matter to Archenland at some point.”
Lanisen says hesitantly, “To… to Archenland, maybe, sure, but it’s not… it’s not liable to affect /me/. I think the decision ought to be made by– by the people it’s sure to affect.”
Indra considers, “Well, for what that’s worth, I don’t suppose the choice is liable to fall to me, either.”
Aliyah agrees with Indra. “Nor me if you look at things that way. But it could affect the ‘little people’ at some point in time.” She smiles, trying to reassure him.
Lanisen looks like he’s not sure he’s been understood, but he half-smiles in polite acknowledgement.
Indra nods to punctuate this statement. She pulls back a moment, stretching her front limbs. “Well. I suppose I should send on my report.”
Aliyah stretches. “And I should hunt down Crenna. Talk about returning home.”
Lanisen straightens slightly. “‘Course, yeah,” he answers, inclining his head to both of them. “Thanks for, for talkin’.”
Indra says, “Good to meet you, Son of Adam.””
Aliyah nods. “Have a good evening… Both of you.” Her tail wags, and she trots into the trees.