misplaced minders

Lantern Waste
Northern Narnia

You find yourself standing in a clearing in the midst of Lantern Waste. It isn’t particularly large, but the landscape is peculiar. There are a number of mounds about. They aren’t particularly large, but each is well overgrown with grass and shrubs and trees, and each has a door in it leading, presumably, into some kind of burrow. None of the doorways are particularly large, but they are obviously homes to Talking Beasts of one kind or another.

Lanisen picks his way along the forest path to the north of the clearing. Though well-trodden, the path is very clearly not often used by humans, and he has to duck and shift branches to the side frequently. He straightens and breathes out in relief when he emerges into the clearing, then pauses and frowns, disoriented.

A small skunk (Rosy) asks, “Are you lost?”

Lanisen steps quickly to the side, startled by the unexpected voice. “Oh!” he says, and laughs ruefully. “Hello! Um– I might… I might be, I thought I was takin’ a shortcut but it’s… this ain’t where I thought I was goin’ at all.”

Rosy sniffs the air. “I love fresh air.”

Lanisen agrees, “It’s a nice day. Um…” He looks around again, rubbing the back of his neck, and asks a bit helplessly, “Can you tell me where the waterfall is from here?”

Rosy says, “I’m Rosy.”

Lanisen blinks, then ducks his head and grins a little. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I’m bein’ rude, aren’t I. Hello, Rosy, I’m Lanisen. It’s nice to meet you.”

Rosy says, “Nice to meet you, Lanisen.”
Rosy says, “I don’t know about the waterfall. I’m sorry. My friend Chirpy takes care of me and doesn’t like me going there by myself. He says I’m too curious.”

Lanisen says, “Ooh.” He crouches down to talk more easily, instead of from several feet above her head, then winces and settles down to sit on the ground instead. “It’s always best to mind those who look after you, I’ve found.”

Rosy says, “You don’t look like me. I’ve never seen anything like you before.”

Lanisen asks, “No? Well. I’ve never met anybody who looked like you before either.”

Rosy asks, “Are you what they would call a human?”

Lanisen says, “Yep, mmhmm, that’s me.”

Rosy asks, “Do you know where I might find food?”

Lanisen cants his head. “What kind of food do you eat?”

Rosy says, “Most anything as long as it is not poisonous. Chirpy even had me try walnuts. They were yummy.”

Lanisen frowns a little, giving the little skunk an assessing look, and then glances around the clearing. “Where is Chirpy?”

Rosy says, “I don’t know. When I woke up, he was gone.”

Lanisen hesitates uncertainly. “Did he leave you any food?”

Rosy asks, “No. Maybe he wants me to learn to find food?”

Lanisen narrows one eye at this. “Well,” he says after a little pause. “How about this: I know where there’s some raspberries, I just passed the bush. You stay here in case your friend comes back, and I’ll go get some berries for you. Would that be all right?”

Rosy says, “Thank you very much.”

Lanisen gives her a quick grin, then gets up to his feet, wincing a little. “All right. I’ll be right back.” He disappears into the trees.

Lanisen returns after about ten minutes, using the front of his shirt as a basket. His fingers are stained red with berry juice, and so is his shirt, a little. He returns to where Rosy is sitting and carefully transfers the berries to the top of a flat rock. “There you go,” he says. “That should take the edge off a bit, eh?”

Rosy says, “Thank you, and eats a raspberry.  “These are the best raspberries. I love them.”

Lanisen grins, but he glances around again, concern showing on his face. “Where’s your parents, are they nearby?”

Rosy says, “No. They died from acidentally eating a poisonous plant. They didn’t know it was poisonous. Chirpy found me in the woods and started caring for me.”

Lanisen blinks and goes briefly still. “I’m so sorry,” he says in a gentler tone.

Rosy says, “I miss them. But now I have Chirpy. I guess he is like a dad to me.”

Lanisen nods slowly. “That’s good.”

Rosy asks, “Where do you live? Do you have a burrow?”

Lanisen says, “Well, no. I live a very long way away, in Archenland. I’m just visitin’ a friend here.”

Rosy says, “Oh. I didn’t mean to startle you earlier.”

Lanisen grins ruefully, his cheeks dimpling up. “You didn’t, much.” He glances around and adds, as if sharing a secret, “I’m a /little/ bit jumpy sometimes.”

Rosy says, “That’s okay.”

Lanisen tilts his head at her. “You’re a Skunk, right?”

Rosy says, “Yes.”

Lanisen says, “I’ve never seen a skunk before, but I saw a picture once.”

Rosy says, “I have never seen a human before.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t think there’s too many around here. You haven’t– you didn’t see ever see the Kings and Queens, though?”

Rosy says, “No.”

Lanisen nods thoughtfully, and then doesn’t seem to know what to say. He picks at a loose thread on his sleeve, and then asks, “Chirpy, what sort of a person is he?”

Rosy says, “He’s a skunk like me, but older and wiser.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, mm. I reckoned he’d be a Bird!”

Rosy says, “No. He’s a skunk. If you see him, please tell him I’m okay.”

Lanisen says, “Oh! I’ll, I’ll watch for him, sure.”

Rosy says, “I’m needing a nap. I am going inside. Nice to meet you. Thank you for the berries.”

Lanisen watches her go. He pushes his mouth to the side, then gets up and goes back into the woods. In about an hour, he returns, his shirt serving as a basket again for all the wild strawberries and raspberries he could scrounge up, as well as several bunches of fresney and kale and lamb’s quarter. He heaps this offering up on the flat-topped stone where he put her berries earlier, then glances around one more time and turns to go.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s