keeping cool

West of Glasswater Creek
Southern Narnia

You stand on the small, sandy beach of Glasswater Creek. It is surrounded by trees on three sides, but to the east, a gentle slope of pebble-ridden sand leads down to the clear, smooth surface of the water. A gnarled, twisted tree grows dangerously close to the brackish water.

The trees of the Great Woods grow so densely all around that it is difficult to see any clear path apart from the beach, which follows Glasswater’s bank to the northeast. There is a little dock built above the water here.

Lanisen sits on the trunk of a tree that fell with its branches in the creek, dangling his feet in the water.

Dreygan comes slowly around a bend in the creek, about as deep as the crook in his hind legs and feeling around beneath the water before he commits to any step. Every once in a while he stops to lap at a particular area, because clearly it is a far better place for a drink than two steps ago.

Lanisen lifts his head at the soft irregular splashing noises and looks searchingly along the bank, starting to lift his feet. He grins when he sees Dreygan and stirs his feet gently through the water to make some noise of his own.

Dreygan doesn’t hear initially for his own sound, but after a moment or two, the soft noise or the scent or some combination catch his attention and he turns his head Lanisen’s way. “Wondered when I’d run into you,” he calls as he starts his slow way closer.

Lanisen grins, pleased, and answers, “Wondered where you’d run off to.” He cants his head and asks, “What’re you doin’?”

Dreygan says, “Working on turning into a fish. Bird didn’t work out, so thought I’d try this next.” He scents the air. “Someone help you down here? Crenna was fussing about how you’d injured yourself earlier.”

Lanisen says, “No, I walked, I got a stick. Don’t tell Crenna, please.”

Dreygan grins. “And miss a chance /not/ to be her most frustrating patient?”

Lanisen sends a splash in his general direction.

Dreygan snorts and shakes his head as some gets in his nose. He returns the favor, skimming his paw over the water in Lanisen’s vague way. “Fiiiine, fine. Only ’cause I sympathize.”

Lanisen says, laughing, “My thanks.” He squints at Dreygan. “What /are/ you doin’, though?”

Dreygan, in answer, turns a couple of circles to check the creekbed and abruptly drops to his stomach, sending up a splash. “D’you know how hot a coat like mine can be?”

Lanisen makes a noise of comprehension.

Dreygan rolls to his side, though he holds his head up over the side. “What’re you doing down here?”

Lanisen says, “Got bored. Wanted a change of scene.”

Dreygan asks, “Fair enough. How ’bout what you’re doing in Narnia?”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He stirs the water again, watching the eddies around his foot. “Visitin’ a friend in the Waste. Stepped wrong crossin’ the ford on the way back, and here I am.”

Dreygan wrinkles his muzzle. “That river’s out to get everyone. Naiad must have a foul temper or something.”

Lanisen asks, surprised, “Really?”

Dreygan says, “I’ve fallen in enough times. There’s an Eagle at the end to make sure everyone crosses alright and pull them out if they don’t, too, so can’t be that unusual.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He wrinkles his nose. “I didn’t get carried off or anything, it’s not deep enough there. I just slipped.”

Dreygan asks, “‘S more for the smaller Beasts anyway. So. Made some friends in Lantern Waste last trip?”

Lanisen says, “A couple.”

Dreygan asks, “That mean you’ll be coming back pretty often?”

Lanisen says, “Ohh,” and pauses. “Maybe.”

Dreygan says, “I see you’ve got this all planned out.”

Lanisen says, “That’s me.”

Dreygan shifts around, sending out ripples. “Glad that got all cleared up.”

Lanisen grins. He pulls his left foot out of the water and examines the ankle, bruised up and multicolored and a little swollen, but healing. “What’s been happening here?”

Dreygan flicks an ear. “Lots of messages, few of us went over to Lantern Waste… guess you knew that one. Snowed, it melted, Crenna filled the den with flowers, the usual.”

Lanisen asks, amused, “Flowers?”

Dreygan says, “She /says/ it’s for her healing, but there’s no way she needs that many. Or that she needs ones that smell that strongly. Pretty sure she just the entire pack wandering around with petals in our fur.”

Lanisen laughs again. “I think,” he says, “Crenna would get along well with one of my friends…”

Dreygan asks, “Pretty sure Crenna gets along with everyone. Who’s the friend?”

Lanisen says, “Sir Darrin. He likes flowers.”

Dreygan asks, “He’s one of the ones who was here last time, right? We scare him off?”

Lanisen snorts. “No, he’s just– busy.”

Dreygan asks, “The other one too?”

Lanisen says, “Yeah. She got, she’s been knighted. So she’s got more stuff to do these days.”

Dreygan says, “Huh. Lots of knights you’ve got in Archenland.”

Lanisen says, grinning, “Not so many as all that.’

Dreygan digs his paws into the creekbed, causing a plume of sand to swirl through the water. “Good for her, then.”

Lanisen says, a little absently, “Yeah.”

Dreygan flicks his ear again. “You sound like Drune when he’s off in his dreaming. Something on your mind?”

Lanisen asks, “Hmm? Nah.” He moves his feet through the water. “Homesick, I guess, a little.”

Dreygan asks, “When’re you free to go back?”

Lanisen says, “I dunno.” He looks at his foot. “Another week, maybe?”

Dreygan says, “Made it down here, didn’t you? Can’t be that much harder to get over the pass.” It’s hard to tell how serious he’s being about it.

Lanisen half grins. “Well,” he says. “I rode, so I don’t gotta be able to walk that whole distance. But I’d like to be able to stand on it before I try the pass, you know?”

Dreygan says, “Should’ve been born with four legs, then you could’ve stood anyway.”

Lanisen says, “Knew I was doin’ somethin’ wrong with my life.”

Dreygan says, “Yeah, poor choices, really.”

Lanisen leans down and scoops up some water in one hand to pour down his neck. “You weren’t with the wolves who went to Lantern Waste, were you?”

Dreygan shrugs a shoulder, making ripples again. Deliberately nonchalant, he says, “Nah. I tend to slow down traveling groups, and they wanted it to be quick. ‘Sides, someone needed to watch the woods.”

Lanisen looks at Dreygan, and bites his lip. After a moment, he says, “I move slow too. We’d make a good travelin’ pair, I bet.”

Dreygan grins. “Is that an invite? ‘Cause I’ll have to decline, Crenna’d have my hide if I tried to slip off to Archenland.”

Lanisen asks, “That so?”

Dreygan says, “She’s a little protective, hadn’t you noticed?” He lurches to his feet, fur plastered against his side, and feels his way to shore, where he shakes. His coat managed to contain… a lot of water.

Lanisen says, “You know, I got that impression, a little bit.” He ducks and raises his arms to shield himself from the spray.

Dreygan, now some odd combination of spiky and fluffed, grins. “So perceptive. Well, if you’re planning to be about for another week, I’d guess I’ll run into you again.”

Lanisen says, “Guess so.” He eyes the wolf’s damp coat. “Stay cool. Drink water.”

Dreygan replies, “Plan to. Good luck sneaking about with your stick.” With that, he heads back in the general direction of the inn.


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