history & memory & grace

In the Great Woods
Southern Narnia

You find yourself in the deep, vibrant forest that makes up the Great Woods of Narnia. All around you, trees and vines and bushes grow in great abundance, their leafy branches serving to block out a good deal of the sunlight that would trickle down from above. There are very few clear paths here upon which to walk, but at least you sense no real danger from the trees here. They seem to regard you with a detached curiosity, allowing you to pass by without impediment.

To the north, you can just make out the sparkling surface of the inlet of Glasswater through the dense foliage. The seawater adds a tang to the woodland scents that hang in the air here. To the south, the ground inclines sharply toward the mountains beyond, and a stone building sits nestled between two foothills. The sign above the door reads: The Splintered Axe Inn and Tavern.

Lanisen sits alone on the ground outside the inn in a puddle of sunshine that has broken through the trees, writing a letter. His left foot, extended in front of him, is bootless and wrapped up tightly in white cloth, as if it’s been hurt recently. A big black hound is flopped on his side next to him, asleep with his back pressing up against Lanisen’s leg.

Wintermoor makes his way into the clearing and towards the inn carrying with him the signs of travel.

Lanisen looks up at the sound of hooves, moving slightly in a way that suggests he’s about to get up before he changes his mind. He watches the path, keeping very still, and then breathes out in pleased relief and recognition when Wintermoor comes into view. The hound at his side raises his head.

Wintermoor notices the son of Adam as he draws closer to the inn and recognition dawns on his serious face in a pleased sort of way. “Hail, Son of Adam. We meet again.”

Lanisen reaches out a hand to settle the dog, who has sat up and is watching Wintermoor with his ears lifted. He grins up at the Centaur. “Hello, sir. It’s good to see you again.”

Wintermoor says, “Likewise. For I fear our last meeting was under grievous circumstances.” He takes in Lanisen and the foot which as been wrapped. “What brings you again to Narnia? Are your friends with you?””

Lanisen says, “Um– no, sir, I’m, I’m alone this time.”

Wintermoor says, “Though not completely alone, I see.” He nods to the dog.

Lanisen says, “No, he’s– Tohol don’t talk, but he’s a good friend. Meg wanted me to bring him.”

Wintermoor nods. “It is well. For though Narnia is a peaceful land, there are dumb beasts yet that hunt.”

Lanisen pauses, blinking. “Oh,” he says. “I wasn’t– I wasn’t thinkin’ of dumb beasts bein’ a danger.”

Wintermoor says, “I think you should not have much trouble from them, least they be provoked, yet it is not unwise to be prepared. There is wisdom in this.”

Lanisen says, “I’ll– I’ll tell her.”

Wintermoor nods. “You are cautious and wise, and I sense Aslan’s blessings on you. Might I join you? For I have traveled a good deal, and I desire to rest.”

Lanisen looks startled. “Of– of course, yeah, or if–” He glances over his shoulder at the inn and moves again as if he is about to get up. “I bet you were lookin’ forward to a meal, don’t– don’t let me keep you from it.”

Wintermoor pulls his pack from his back and sets it down on the ground. He drops on his front feet to his knees, then lowers the rest of the horse part of his body to rest on the ground. He is far enough away so as not to frighten or disturb the young man or his canine companion, or to block the path, but close enough to easily converse.

Lanisen shifts, drawing his bare and wrapped left foot in toward himself, but tenses up and gingerly puts it back the way it was. The hound gets up and stretches lazily, then wanders over toward Wintermoor, his tail flipping in benign, friendly interest. Lanisen watches bemusedly.

Wintermoor turns to observe the dog, as he pulls some cheese and oat cakes from his pack. He sets down a small portion of the oatcake and cheese for the dog and breaking them into portions he offers some to Lanisen. “I must beg your pardon for I do not remember your name.”

Tohol all but inhales the morsels, his tail flipping wildly. He licks his chops and stares up at Wintermoor adoringly.

Lanisen accepts the cheese and oatcake with murmured thanks and a quick cautious glance up at the Centaur. At the question, he lets out a breath of nervous, relieved laughter. “Oh, thank goodness,” he says. “I was tryin’ to remember yours and couldn’t think how to ask. I’m Lanisen.”

Wintermoor says, “I am Wintermoor of the Council Ring.” He offers Lanisen a smile if somewhat serious.

Lanisen lifts his chin in recognition and recollection. “Of course. I remember now.”

Wintermoor says, “Before that I was a captain in Their Majesties’ Army. That was before the winter came.”

Lanisen blinks, and then blinks again. He shifts where he sits, his mouth forming a question that doesn’t quite get voiced.

Wintermoor takes in his companion’s surprise but his serious demeanor does not visibly change. “Speak on, friend,” he says, not ungently.

Lanisen says, “Um,” and swallows. “Sorry– Did you, did you mean this last winter? Or–”

Wintermoor shakes his head. “Do you know the story of their majesties’ arrival and the long winter, and of Narnia’s deliverance?”

Lanisen says, “Yes, only–” He stops there, puzzled, and looks at Wintermoor, assessing and questioning.

Wintermoor says, “Yes?” He asks, waiting for Lanisen to speak.

Lanisen says, “I thought–” and falters briefly. “I thought that winter began well over a hundred years ago.”

Wintermoor nods. “So I am told.”
Wintermoor says, “I fought for my King when the Witch came out of the far north. I led his wars, led his rebellion when there was no hope left. And then when Aslan and their majesties the queens found me, I awoke and joined the final battle against her.”

Lanisen pauses, his eyes sliding to the side and his forehead furrowing. He draws a small breath of comprehension a second later, his face going slack with horrified sorrow, and he looks back at Wintermoor with wide eyes.

Wintermoor places a hand on his companion’s shoulder. “All is well. I do not often speak of it. Such things are of the past. Aslan’s grace returned to me my life, so that I might serve him and others.”

Lanisen’s eyes follow the centaur’s hand, and he goes still and tense, but he doesn’t flinch away. He swallows and lowers his head, nodding mutely.

Wintermoor does remove his hand, though gently it may have been laid. “I forget sometimes though.” He looks to his companion, “Tell me if you will, of your friends and of the time that has past since our meeting last. Do they fare well? And of yourself?” At this he looks Lanisen’s wrapped foot.

Lanisen eases a little as the contact is lifted, and seems to start breathing again. He shifts where he sits. “Um– my friends are– they’re well, far as I know. It’s been near six weeks since I seen ’em.” He pauses. “Megren– my friend with the red hair, she’s a knight now.”

Wintermoor nods, “Yes, I remember her.”

Lanisen nods. Tohol lies down again next to him, resting his chin on his paws with a doggy sigh.

Wintermoor says, “My congratulations to her. Certainly it is a hard task to master.”

Lanisen says quietly, and a little wistfully, “She’s earned it.”

Wintermoor says, “It is a great reward.”

Lanisen nods.

Wintermoor asks, “What of yourself?”

Lanisen says, “I been– visitin’ a friend in Lantern Waste.”

Wintermoor says, “Encountered no trouble there, I hope.””

Lanisen says, “No, no.” He moistens his lips and explains, lowering his head, “I stepped funny crossin’ the fords.”

Wintermoor nods understandingly, “It is easily done.” He rummages for something in his pack for something, and finding it seems content. “My knowledge is more of the wounds of battle, but the healers of my herd have provided me with herbs if it pains you. Has it yet been seen too?”

Lanisen shifts and nods. “Crenna looked at it, and a Marsh-Wiggle– um, Sombersigh? And I had some willow bark already for my– for somethin’ else.”

Wintermoor nods, “That is good then.” Returning to his meal, he divides what can be divided, and offers a portion to his companion before pulling a wineskin from his pack.

Lanisen seems shy, or perhaps just isn’t capable of keeping up with a centaur in matters of food, and declines most of what is offered, smiling gratefully.

Wintermoor offers the wine skin first to his companion and drinks heartily afterwards.

Lanisen hesitates, then takes a small, cautious sip of the wine before returning the skin.

Wintermoor returns his wineskin to his pack when all is finished. “Will you be returning to your own land soon again? I am headed on to the north to learn what I may and to see if the Council has spoken of what may be.”

Lanisen say, “Yes, um… as soon as, as soon as I’m allowed, anyway.” He tilts his head at the centaur. “You’re goin’ to the castle?”

Wintermoor says, “If there is need, I may go. It may be that the townspeople may already know of Narnia’s future. Have you a need, Son of Adam?”

Lanisen says, “No, no, I was just…” He pauses. “Do you know what’s gonna happen?”

Wintermoor says, “I do not know. Much is hidden from me, much on which the stars are silent. I think joy will come again to Narnia. A great joy though its journey may yet be a long while in coming, and Peace for long and long, but not Forever. But take heart, for I think it will be many years in the life of sons of Adam and daughters of Eve before it is broken.”

Lanisen listens in silence, drawing up the knee of his uninjured leg so he can loop his arms around it. He watches the centaur’s face, quiet and serious, and finally nods. “I’m glad,” he says at last, looking down. “Narnia’s… not my home, though I wish–” He stops there, and hesitates, and finally just says again, “I’m glad.”

Wintermoor says, “You have a great love for the land, as did their Majesties, though they themselves were not of Narnia.” He rises up, getting swiftly to his feet again.

Lanisen starts automatically to get up as well, but the usual motions result in a gasp and a grimace, and he subsides. He gingerly draws up his left knee as well, and looks up (and up and up) at the centaur. “Are you leavin’, then?” he asks wistfully.

Wintermoor looks down on the injured son of Adam as he attempts to rise and gasps in pain. It is the look a father, or a commander for his men. “I need not leave yet, son of Adam. I must ask of the innkeeper if he may have room for me to refresh myself and rest. And then, if you desire, you may ask what you will.”

Lanisen looks up, his expression open and alert. He weighs this offer, studying Wintermoor’s face, and then lowers his head and offers a smile. “I’d like that, sir, if you’re willing.”

Wintermoor says, “I am willing, Son of Adam. ”

Lanisen’s smile grows. He folds up the letter he has half-completed at his side and puts it away, then reaches for his walking stick. He braces one hand on the wall behind him and one on the stick, but getting up to his feet from the ground is still an awkward, difficult, painful process, and his first try fails.

Wintermoor watches the son of Adam attempt to get to his feet with a care that he should not infringe on his companion’s independence. He extends a hand with a silent offer when he thinks it might be accepted.

Lanisen’s eyes land on Wintermoor’s outstretched hand, and he looks past it to the centaur’s face, half-wary. He ducks his head gratefully and takes the offered hand.

Wintermoor carefully with a sure steady hand helps Lanisen to his feet. He picks his pack up from the ground and looks to his companion to see if he is ready.

Lanisen is able to find his feet with this aid. He plants his walking stick, gripping it tightly with both hands, ready to go.

Wintermoor seeing his companion is ready leads the way towards the inn.

Lanisen follows along, his gait awkward and lopsided as he avoids putting his hurt foot down whenever he can.

The Splintered Axe Tavern
The Great Woods
Southern Narnia

Lanisen breaks off from Wintermoor once inside to allow him to settle his business with the innkeeper. He hesitates, looking about the room at the various tables and seating available to accommodate different species, then at last makes for a tall table that looks high enough to suit a centaur’s height, but is accompanied by two tall stools that will suit a human. He carefully lugs one of the stools out of the way, and then sets his walking stick aside before he clambers up onto the other.

Wintermoor, once inside, makes his way to the innkeeper. He returns a short time later without his pack and looking freshened without the sweat or journey of the road. His height gives him a clear view of the tavern as he enters, and he picks his way carefully through towards the table where Lanisen is sitting.

Lanisen has gotten himself a cup of tea in Wintermoor’s absence, and a second mug the size of a tankard steams gently on the other side of the table. “I wasn’t sure what you’d want,” he says, straightening slightly as Wintermoor approaches. “Hergel said tea was a safe bet, though?”

Wintermoor says, “It is a good choice and I thank you.” ”

Lanisen nods. He goes quiet, then, a little uncertain, and glances sidelong at Wintermoor, as if he’s not quite sure what to say or where to begin.

Wintermoor lifts the tea to blow on it and sets it down again. “Speak on, Son of Adam. What is it you wish to know?”

Lanisen lifts his eyebrows briefly, as if there’s too many ways to answer this question. “Whatever you’re willin’ to tell,” he says finally.

Wintermoor says, “To tell all would take many nights. Perhaps I should tell you about myself, as I have asked well enough about you.” ”

Lanisen says, nodding as if this is rather what he had in mind, “All right.”

Wintermoor’s face takes on a serious set to it as he thinks back on the past. “I was born some years before the winter. My father was an officer of their Majesties’ army, and had served the King and Queen before that. I was born there, free and firey as some young colts are known to be. He began to train me to use the sword and the bow, and at night, I would join he and my mother and they would teach me of the constellations.

Lanisen listens, his eyes not shifting from Wintermoor’s face. He stays quiet, his forehead slightly furrowed.

Wintermoor says, “As I grew older, he began to train me on the barracks ground itself. I loved sparring against my peers and even sometimes those with much more skill than I, but those of His Majesties’ army were wise enough to know how to let me lose with dignity. After some years, it was decided that I should leave and make my way to the Council Ring to learn to read and understand the voices of the stars and the messages of the Emperor Beyond the Sea. My mother was a good friend to several of the Centaurs there.”

Lanisen nods. He rests his forearms on the table and cups his hands around his tea.

Wintermoor says, “They were good to me there, for they knew my mother, and had known of my father’s line as well, and I learned much. There were signs in the sky; if I had been more attentive perhaps I too should have seen them. Then came the rumors of the giants attacking the border, and with the blessing of the Elders, I left to join my father and the army.”

Lanisen shifts. “Giants?” he repeats. “They were– were they workin’ for the Witch?”

Wintermoor lifts the tea to his mouth, taking a sip now that it has cooled some and adding a little honey.  “I believe she had perhaps joined alliance with them, though we did not know it then.”

Lanisen says, “So you went to…” He trails off. “How old were you?”

Wintermoor is thoughtful. “We Centaurs live longer than sons of Adam or even those of the Un’airekan herd. To you, it might be the age of a son of Adam when he reaches his majority.”

Lanisen pauses, slightly thrown by this information, but nods.

Wintermoor says, “Those were good years. I foolishly thought, as many did, that once the Giants were dealt with, all would return to as it had been. But they were the first of things to come.”

Lanisen draws a deep breath. “How long was it… How long did it…?”

Wintermoor shakes his head, “How long did it take? I do not remember. Two years? Five years? Maybe more, maybe less. First the giants. Then there appeared strange folk, some like sons of Adam… but not. There was something very different. We began to lose men, Narnians and soldiers alike. Not killed, just vanished.”

Lanisen frowns. “Vanished?”

Wintermoor says, “Perhaps not. I do not know, but for some we could find no trace of them later. ”

Lanisen asks, “What happened, did you ever…?”

Wintermoor shakes his head, “I do not know. If it was the work of Her hand, it would be dark indeed.”

Lanisen says, “So if…” He stops, and glances quickly at Wintermoor’s face.

Wintermoor turns to look at his companion, “Yes?”

Lanisen says, “Um,” and falters, looking down at his tea. He moistens his lips and asks, haltingly, in a voice that won’t carry beyond their table. “Am I– Am I understandin’ you right, sir? What… what she did to you?”

Wintermoor says, “I told you I led the rebellion against Her when all hope was gone? I had led a party, for we knew we could not hope to win, but wanted to strike back all the same. But we were betrayed, for some of the trees had joined her side. And She was there wielding her great weapon, her wand. She turned us all to stone.”

Lanisen listens in silence, his eyes not leaving Wintermoor’s face, though he looks like he would like to look away. He draws a breath and nods a couple times. “And you… As– Aslan, he… restored you, and the others? To how you were before?” Again, he speaks quietly and tentatively, wary of asking what he should not.

Wintermoor says, “Do not fear to ask, Son of Adam. Did I not say that you might ask what you would?” Still, he considers Lanisen’s question. “He woke me and the others. Though there were more than just our company in that terrible courtyard. But to how I was before? Nay, I was young and full of pride. I have lost monarchs and comrades, and of my kin I do not know. Perhaps had my pride not driven me… Had I stayed in the Council or in hiding as others did, I might have been able to save them? To save more of them? I do not know. ”

Lanisen says nothing for a moment, staring at the table between them, his face gone distant with the effort of wrapping his head around this sort of loss. At last he draws a breath and says softly, “That’s a lot of mights and maybes, sir.”

Wintermoor nods, sensing wisdom in this. “It is true.” His stern expression lightens somewhat as he comes back out of the past and into the hear and now. “He restored my life to me and with it a measure of wisdom. I can do no less than follow Him. I am not the only one. There are others you may meet, or may have already met who were restored. Those who lived through the winter I do not know as well, though there may yet be some.”

Lanisen hesitates, pulling his lips between his teeth. “Those others,” he says after a moment. “The, the ones you said vanished… If she, if she did to them what she did to you…” He hesitates again and glances at Wintermoor. “Could they be out there somewhere still?”

Wintermoor says, “It is possible Son of Adam. We had feared they had fallen to her sway or something darker. Were they to be found again and Aslan return, it would be good to see them restored.”

Lanisen doesn’t answer for a moment. “Where… would somebody start lookin’?”

Wintermoor considers this. “It has been some time…” He sifts back through the years of memory, and turns to consider his companion beside him. “It would not be easy for such a one. But they should look to the northern borders. She came from the from the wild north where the giants dwell, She and all her following. Look for the hidden places, places where dark trees grow together and a creature might easily dart unseen.”

Lanisen rubs at his wrists, briefly exposing twin bracelets of scar tissue that encircle them. “It doesn’t sound like a place to go alone,” he says after a pause.

Wintermoor answers seriously, “No. It is not. And I would advise that those who wish to go should take with them friends, and not blindly walk through such places.”

Lanisen nods absently, studying his tea. He hesitates, then says, “Sir… have you, have you told this to anybody, your story? Has anybody written all this down for the archives at the castle?”

Wintermoor says, “I have not spoken often of my past, save to the elder of the Council Ring and a few of my kind. It may be that there are records of those lost within the archives.”

Crenna trots into the Tavern. Upon seeing the occupants, she stops in her tracks. She may straighten her shoulders and dip her head a bit as she quietly approaches. She says very respectfully, “Hello there.”

Lanisen sits perched on a tall stool at a tall table, talking quietly with Wintermoor. He pauses again and is about to say something else, but Crenna speaks. He straightens slightly and glances toward her, finding a quick grin of greeting.

Wintermoor turns to face the wolf. “Good day to you, in the name of Aslan.”

Crenna gives a smile to both of them, “Sorry, I did not mean to interrupt. I just wanted to check on Lanisen. Please do not stop your conversation because of me.”

Lanisen looks startled. He glances between Wintermoor and Crenna, embarrassed. “I’m all right,” he says, half-grinning crookedly. “Don’t worry about me, I ain’t done anything I shouldn’t.”

Crenna dips her head, “I always worry. I just wanted to check to make sure you weren’t in any pain or discomfort.”

Lanisen says, “I had some willow bark, I’m doin’ well enough. Though–” He pauses. “Um, do you know where I could get more, around here? I’m all right for now but I don’t know that I’ll make it home with what I have.”

Crenna thinks about this, “Hmmm, I may have to go to Sted Cair to get some….” She smiles at Lanisen, “Don’t worry, we will get you some before you run out.”

Lanisen says hastily, “No, that’s all right, I don’t want anybody to go to any trouble. I just reckoned if there was anybody near…”

Crenna just shakes her head, “No trouble at all.” She turns to Wintermoor, “It is nice to see you again.”

Lanisen looks worried and unhappy, but he says nothing.

Wintermoor says, “Scout Crenna, was it not? Friend of Elder Zephyrbrook?”

Crenna dips her head again, “Just Crenna is fine. And yes, I have know Elder Zephyrbrook.” She smiles at the thought of him, “Is he doing well?”

Lanisen glances between them curiously.

Wintermoor says, “He was busy with a matter when last I saw him, before my journey brought me here. But I believe he is well. His wisdom is a blessing to the Council Ring.”

Crenna nods in agreement. “He is very wise.” She looks up at the centaur. “I hope your journey was pleasant?”

Wintermoor nods. “It was. Aslan has blessed us with good weather.”

Lanisen turns his teacup in circles absently.

Crenna nods, “Yes, He has. How long are you staying?”

Wintermoor turns to regard Lanisen briefly, “I do not know. Perhaps some days. I had thought to make my way to Sted Cair and see if there might be any news of what may be for Narnia’s future.”

Lanisen glances up, lifting his eyebrows.

Crenna frowns briefly before saying, “Whatever the outcome is, I know that as Narnians we will all come together to support each other.”

Wintermoor nods, agreeing.

Lanisen’s eyes flit between them again. He narrows one eye curiously at Crenna’s reaction.

Crenna says, “Though I have faith that the council will select well.”

Wintermoor says, “Have they spoken of their choices?”

Crenna shakes her head, “I have heard nothing.” She chuckles, “Though I doubt they would come to tell me of their choices. I am but a simple Wolf.”

Wintermoor nods, “Perhaps all will become clear in time.”

Lanisen asks, “Will there be four again, do you think?”

Crenna shrugs her shoulders a bit, “I have no idea what is going into their considerations.”

Lanisen asks, “What’re you hopin’ for?”

Crenna thinks about this for several moments. She finally says, “Someone who is fair and kind. Shows mercy and will not let the power corrupt them.”

Wintermoor says, “Yes. And someone who will cherish the histories, so that we may not forget and again allow a tyrant to rule us.” ”

Lanisen looks like this was maybe not entirely what he intended to ask, but he nods in agreement anyway, lifting his eyebrows briefly.

Crenna nods in agreement, “Also someone who can be peacemaker between all the Beasts. I know that sometimes conflicts arise.”

Wintermoor nods, lifting his cup to drink.

Lanisen says, “‘S a lot to look for in one person.”

Crenna hmms, “Perhaps that is why Aslan chose four rulers in the first place.”

Lanisen nods thoughtfully.

Wintermoor is also thoughtful. “But did He not chose two from the world of their Majesties? Was Narnia not ruled at her beginning by one son of Adam and one daughter of Eve? It will be hard to find one who may be all that Their Majesties were, but with Aslan’s blessing one will be found.”

Lanisen tilts his head at Wintermoor. “You favor one monarch, then?”

Wintermoor says, “I do not favor one one over another, son of Adam. Let the Council lead while they may, or let a son of Adam or daughter of Eve. Only let us not not forget we are Aslan’s people, and let it be done by the will of Aslan.”

Lanisen nods slowly, though his forehead furrows up with a question. “Why a human?”

Crenna turns to look at Lanisen thoughtfully. “I guess I have never considered the next ruler or rulers to be anything but a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve.”

Wintermoor finishes his tea, “If you two will excuse me, I think I shall rest. Until we meet again.”

Lanisen straightens and makes the sort of motion that means he’s about to get up, except then he remembers, and stays put. “Of course, yeah,” he says. “Um– thank you for talkin’, sir.”

Crenna dips her head respectfully, “Of course. Rest well.”

Wintermoor nods to both, and heads towards the inn.

Lanisen watches the centaur go, his forehead furrowing again. He draws a deep breath and looks down at Crenna, then makes a face at how much higher his stool has placed him relative to her and reaches for his stick.

Crenna turns back to Lanisen, tipping her head. “Do you want to go outside?”

Lanisen carefully maneuvers himself down from his stool, hissing when he has to put weight on his hurt foot. “Sure,” he agrees once he’s down and resettled.

Crenna perks up and takes up her usual place by his side so they can get out of the Tavern.

Lanisen thumps to the door. “Where’re we goin’?”

Crenna looks up at him, “We can just stay outside the Tavern.” She smiles, “I like the forest air myself.”

Lanisen says agreeably, “All right.” He pushes open the door and steps out, holding it open for her.

Crenna thanks him as she steps out into the Woods.

In the Great Woods
Southern Narnia

Tohol trots up importantly behind them, roused from where he was sleeping under Lanisen’s table, and pushes out behind Lanisen.

Lanisen remarks, “Oof, hi.”

Crenna eyes the dog a bit warily, “I guess he has warmed up to me then?” She smiles.

Lanisen says, watching Tohol lean forward as far as he can to sniff noses with Crenna without actually coming any nearer to her, “Ehh.”

Crenna does seem too bothered by this. She lets him check her out before looking around for a spot for Lanisen to sit. Right across from the Tavern, there is a tree that has a nice large root that is high enough off the ground, “Will that work?”

Lanisen says agreeably, “That looks nice.” He shuffles his hand soothingly through the thick fur at the scruff of Tohol’s neck, then stumps off after Crenna. Once he is settled, he tilts his head at her and asks, “So why human?”

Crenna flops down next to him, propping her head on one of the roots so she can look up at him. “Well, I guess we have always had Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve…though I am no expert on the history of Narnia. I have only been here around 3 years and am still learning a lot.”

Lanisen hmms softly.

Crenna lets her gaze drift off, “I suppose since humans are not as populous in Narnia, they have a more fair outlook. I suppose a Beast may be more be tempted to be more loyal to their herds or packs or species? I do not know.”

Lanisen hmms again, frowning thoughtfully. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

Crenna shrugs her shoulders, “Though I would hope if a Beast was chosen, he would look past his Species.”

Lanisen nods absently. “Can I ask…?” he asks, glancing at her.

Crenna smiles warmly at him, “Of course, Lanisen. Ask any questions you would like.”

Lanisen asks, “What was it you all were talkin’ about? In Lantern Waste, the big clearing, a couple weeks ago.”

Crenna ohs, “Ah, it was our two packs meeting to discuss the future. We have decided to send two delegates to the court, one from each pack, to help aid the counsel however they see fit.”

Lanisen says, “Makes sense.”

Crenna says, “I am glad our packs are working together. Apparently it has not always been the case.”

Lanisen says, “I suppose Winterden split off for a reason.”

Crenna nods, “Years ago.” She chuckles, “Before I was even born.”

Lanisen says, “Time’s good for that kind of thing.”

Crenna nods, “I agree.” She lets out a sigh and glances up at him, “Wolves don’t always get along.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t know of anybody who always gets along.”

Crenna eyes him, “I am sure you get along with people just fine. You have one of those quiet souls.”

Lanisen laughs, a little, and rubs a hand over his mouth. “I dunno. I find trouble easily enough.”

Crenna smirks, “I guess there is nothing wrong with a little trouble. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.”

Lanisen makes a small ‘hm’ kind of noise and looks down, chewing his lower lip.

Crenna tips her head, “Something the matter?” She looks concerned at Lanisen

Lanisen says, looking back up and smiling, “No, no.”

Crenna hmms, “You seem like you have a lot to say, Lanisen.”

Lanisen lifts his eyebrows, dimpling up. “Oh? I thought I was a ‘quiet soul’ or somethin’.”

Crenna snorts, “A quiet soul doesn’t mean you don’t have opinions.”

Lanisen says, “I guess.”

Crenna says, “I want to clarify that there is nothing wrong with being a ‘quiet soul’.” She hehs, “Lion knows, we need them.””

Lanisen’s grin broadens. “Thanks, I was worried.”

Crenna smirks back, “Sorry, I already have the job of the Wood’s Worrier. You will have to find a different title.”

Lanisen says, “Hmm, that explains a lot.”

Crenna snorts, “What does that mean?”

Lanisen says, “Oh, nothin’.”

Crenna lifts a paw to gently prod him, “I’m not going to bite, I promise.”

Lanisen tilts his head at her, laughing. “You know, people keep sayin’ that to me. I haven’t sussed out why.”

Crenna flashes him her teeth, “So these aren’t scary?”

Lanisen says, “No! I mean, yes, of course, they look very sharp, but why would I be worried about you usin’ ’em on me?”

Crenna chuckles, “I wonder that myself. I suppose it is the fact that some Beasts mistrust us and thus we need to make sure they know that we aren’t going to harm them.”

Lanisen’s amusement falters. “Oh,” he says. “That’s… that makes more sense.”

Crenna is quick to reassure him, “Though that was 15 some years ago. And those Wolves were long sense chased out of Narnia.”

Lanisen says, “Still. You still, even– You weren’t even born yet, was your dam? You still have to tell people, even after all this time, even though you weren’t around, that you’re not like those others.”

Crenna shrugs her shoulders a bit, “The Winter was a long one, Lanisen. Yes, my generation was not born yet but there are many that still alive that remember. So it is my job to make sure that all future generations will simply see Wolves are Narnia’s protectors and not her oppressors.”

Lanisen looks at her, an odd expression on his face. “Not everybody would be so forgiving.”

Crenna smiles a bit sadly, “Sometimes, the only power one has over a bad situation is forgiveness.”

Lanisen goes still for a moment. His eyes shift back toward the inn, and he nods.

Crenna watches him quietly.

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth and shakes his head slightly, still staring toward the inn. “There’s so much… there’s so much /memory/ here,” he says finally. “And so much hurt, so much leftover hurt, even now. But there’s…” His expression twists, and he turns to look at her wonderingly as well for a moment, before he swallows and shakes his head, looking down. “I don’t know how to say; I don’t know how to say, but it’s–”

Crenna just listens quietly as he finds the words.

Lanisen rubs the side of his face, and shakes his head again. “I don’t know,” he says finally. “But I’m glad to have met you, and Wintermoor, and Glora and Caileana and the rest.”

Crenna smiles warmly, “I am glad that I have met you as well, Lanisen. I think that you have given me a fresh perspective on how much Narnia needs questioning and curious people.”

Lanisen glances at her sidelong, thrown off track by this, but half-smiles in a baffled sort of way.

Crenna just grins at him, “And I’m glad to have met Tohol. Even if he doesn’t feel the same way.”

Lanisen says, “He’s not growlin’!”

Crenna quips, “That is progress.”

Lanisen says, “It really is!”

Crenna chuckles. She hmms, “I think you would like Stormness, Lanisen. After you are healed and before you go back home, Can I take you there?”

Lanisen asks, “The mountain?”

Crenna shakes her head. “No, the cliff. It looks out over the ocean. It is a nice place to go and lose oneself in one’s own thoughts.”

Lanisen says, smiling, “You took me there, last fall.”

Crenna blinks, “Oh silly me.” She chuckles, “I have slept since then.”

Lanisen raises his eyebrows. “Yeah?”

Crenna snorts, “Well, if you want to go again, just let me know.” She yawns, standing to her paws, “My apologies but I must be on patrol.”

Lanisen says, “All right, then.”

Crenna says her goodbyes before trotting off.

Lanisen watches her go. He looks back toward the inn and leans his head back against the tree, frowning again in thought. After some time, he shifts and hunts through his pockets until he finds his notebook and charcoal; then he finds a more comfortable position and sets to writing.


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