Lanisen has led the big gray gelding that came with him to the water for a good long drink. His belongings are all packed neatly in a pile just outside the cave where he’s been staying, ready to be loaded. The basin is full of pale gold reflected morning light, only the upper west cliffs directly illuminated.
Jana leads Tristan by the hand into the basin. She holds a small package in her other hand.
Lanisen glances up from the horse when Tohol starts baying, and his whole entire face lights up with a grin. “Good mornin’!”
Tristran lets go of Jana’s hand and breaks into a run to hug his legs.
Lanisen says, “Oof, hi, hello!” and kneels to hug properly. “How’re you doin’ today, then?”
Jana snorts softly.
Lanisen glances up at her over Tristran’s shoulder, and his grin widens.
Tristran whines, “Mama says you gotta go.”
Lanisen says regretfully, “Yeah. But I’ll come back, would that be all right?”
Tristran nods several times. “And play Sir Snooty again?”
Lanisen says, “Oh, definitely.”
Tristran sniffs heroically, “All right then.”
Lanisen makes an unhappy face and hugs him again, then messes up his hair. “I’ll write you letters, how about that? And you can tell your mum what to write back.”
Tristran informs him, “Papa taught me my alphabet.”
Lanisen brightens up. “Oh, good! Then you can write me letters yourself!”
Tristran looks like he thinks he’s maybe dug himself into a hole a bit deeper than he’d anticipated. “Well…”
Lanisen grins. “Or draw me a picture?” he suggests instead.
Tristran relents, “Maybe.”
Jana crosses her arms, watching with amusement.
Lanisen nods seriously. “That way I’ll know what Sir Snooty and the rest of ’em are doin’ while I’m away.”
Tristran concedes, “That’s true.”
Lanisen says, “See, I have good ideas sometimes!”
Tristran screws up his face at the young man and gives him a side eye worthy of his mother.
Lanisen tips his head back and laughs out loud. He musses up Tristran’s hair again and straightens. Tohol chooses this moment to intrude, sniffing at Tristran interestedly.
Tristran hugs Tohol unabashedly.
Jana looks vaguely disapproving, but also charmed. It’s not an unfamiliar expression around the child by now.
Tohol’s tongue lolls out and his tail waves back and forth amiably. He aims a lick at Tristran’s face.
Lanisen looks entirely approving, and also charmed.
Jana moves to Lanisen’s side while the boy is distracted. She presses the package into his hand. By the shape of it, it is probably the same sort of wine she gave him on his previous visit. “You got a place to stay if you gotta get away from… whatever.”
Lanisen glances at her, and down at the package in his hand. He pulls his lips between his teeth, his head bowed, and nods.
Jana says, “Anyway.” Her eyes turn to her son and she pauses for a long moment. “Reckon I got thanks to say.”
Lanisen glances at her again. “Thank you,” he answers, and watches Tristran chasing after Tohol. “He’s bright and sweet, and I’m glad to know him.”
Jana’s lips turn up on one side. “Yeah.”
Lanisen says, “If you ever, either of you– if you need anything I got to give, it’s yours.”
Jana says, “I’ll remember.”
Lanisen nods. He draws a breath, still watching Tristran romp with the hound. “Reckon he needs a dog?” he asks, only about half joking.
Jana says despairingly, “As if the goat weren’t enough.”
Lanisen says, “Dog could keep the goat in line.”
Jana looks unconvinced.
Lanisen shrugs, grinning sidelong at her.
Jana says, “You’ll have to work on your pitch.”
Lanisen says, “Dog could keep the kid in line.”
Jana snorts, eyeing the current pair pointedly.
Lanisen says, “Yep, that’d work out just fine.”
Jana says, “Keep thinking.”
Lanisen says, “Dog’d chase off the bandits.”
Jana says, “Next time you come you can present in detail.”
Lanisen grins. “I’ll make a list,” he promises.
Jana says, “That’ll do. Just don’t let Tristran see.”
Lanisen mmms doubtfully. “Sounds like he’s comin’ along with his readin’.”
Jana says, “Yeah he ain’t bad.”
Lanisen says, “Be a shame if he just picked a list up…”
Jana clicks her tongue reprimandingly.
Lanisen says, “Or if I accidentally by mistake mislabeled it…”
Jana nudges him sharply.
Lanisen ducks away, giggling.
Jana rolls her eyes, lips quirking a little. “You got everything you need?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, thanks.”
Jana nods. “Ain’t want to keep you if you want to beat the hot part of the day.”
Lanisen draws a breath and nods.
Jana taps him on the shoulder with the side of her fist.
Lanisen reaches out to return the gesture, then shrugs and just hugs from the side.
Jana’s brows lift a little and she pats his back awkwardly.
Lanisen draws back, half-grinning to acknowledge the weird without entirely apologizing.
Jana says, “Fall then?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, reckon so. If that’s all right.”
Jana says, “Yeah, that’ll do.”
Lanisen says, “Good. All right.”
Jana releases a breath and calls, “Tristran! Come say bye.”
Lanisen straightens slightly and whistles to call Tohol to heel.
Tristran whines when the dog obeys, but he follows.
Lanisen bends to tousle Tohol’s ears in fond acknowledgement for the order followed, then straightens and looks at Tristran. “See you this autumn, yeah?”
Tristan nods once, his little brows furrowing dutifully.
Lanisen says, “Maybe I’ll bring you a book this time, how’s that sound? One with knights?”
Tristran says, “Well…… I don’t read /that/ good.”
Lanisen says, “You will, though. And I’ll make sure to get one with pictures so you got somethin’ to look at in the meantime.”
Tristan agrees, “If there’s horses and fighting and no pretzels.”
Lanisen exclaims, “No /pretzels/!”
Tristran gives him a very grown up look of exasperation.
Lanisen mourns, “I dunno if there’s any books without pretzels.”
Tristran is not so easily fooled.
Lanisen says, “Allll right. A book with no pretzels.”
Tristran says, “All right.”
Lanisen says, “I’m gonna find you a pretzel somewhere someday and then you’ll believe me about ’em.”
Tristan says doubtfully, “Maybe.”
Lanisen grins. “Well,” he says. “You’ll forget all about me before autumn, I suppose.”
Tristran tilts his head and says doubtfully, “Maybe.”
Lanisen says, “I’ll just have to tell you I’m Sir Snooty’s cousin then, I guess.”
Tristran looks appalled.
Lanisen asks, “No? Maybe I can be his uncle instead. How about his great uncle?”
Tristran screws up his face. “Sir Snooty is an /orphan/?”
Lanisen asks, “What, is he? Orphans got cousins too, I reckon.”
Tristran looks at his mother for confirmation of this dubious fact. She nods.
Lanisen says, “And aunts and uncles too, sometimes, and even grandparents.”
Tristran relents, “Maybe.”
Lanisen asks, “So I can be Sir Snooty’s cousin, then?”
Tristran says, “Maybe.”
Lanisen says, “/Excellent/.”
Jana says again, “Thanks for coming by.”
Lanisen straightens. “Yeah. Thanks for seein’ me off.”
Jana nods, and Tristran hugs him again.
Lanisen hugs him back, tightly. “See you again soon.”
Tristran says, “All right.”
Lanisen glances at Jana, hesitates, then nods and picks up the gelding’s lead to lead him back to where his belongings are packed and piled.
Jana pulls Tristran to her side.
Lanisen loads up his bags, checking to be sure that each is secure. It doesn’t take long.
Jana says, “Tristran’ll like a letter knowing you’ve arrived safely, I shouldn’t wonder.”
Lanisen glances at her, his lips quirking in a slightly knowing way, and nods. “I’ll write as soon as I’m home,” he promises.
Jana nods once.
Lanisen puts one foot in the stirrup and hauls himself up, rather graceless but easily enough. He pauses, then nods again. “Be well, you two.”
Jana nods again. Tristran calls, “You too!”
Lanisen hesitates a moment longer, then nudges the horse’s sides and leaves the basin, Tohol trotting along behind them.