two of a kind

West of Glasswater Creek
Southern Narnia

Lanisen is sitting in a shady sun-dappled patch of grass beneath the elm tree, his notebook open in front of him. He’s trying to sketch the creek. He’s not very good at it.

Petria makes her way along the pathway, panting in the heat of the sun. She wears a pack on her that identifies her as a messenger.

Lanisen makes a face at his page, then closes up the book and sets it aside, stretching. The noise of the panting dog catches his attention, and he peers around the trunk of the tree curiously.

Petria pauses to lap water from from the stream. When finished, she raises her head with water running of her fur to sniff the air and catches the scent of the nearby son of adam.

Lanisen blinks, and then grins when he sees her. “Hello, Petria.”

Petria barks happily, shaking the water from her fur where she has drunk water and dashing towards Lanisen. “Hello, Lanisen!”

Lanisen says, shifting and putting his book aside. “I didn’t think to see you here!”

Petria friendly snuffles Lanisen’s hand. “I didn’t know you were in Narnia again. Or are you still? How long have you been here?”

Lanisen’s hand makes a slight motion as if he would like to tousle her ears in return, but he refrains. “Umm,” he says, squinting one eye. “Late Raingiver it was, when we got here, so…” He pauses, a little startled. “Two months, it’s been, two whole months.”

Petria bumps Lanisen’s hand in return, letting him know that if he wants to he may.

Lanisen asks, “What brings you here, then?” He looks at her pouch and guesses, “Runnin’ courier?”

Petria exclaims, “Yes, I just on my way to the castle. Oh! Is there any message you want taken? Or were you planning on heading that way?”

Lanisen says, grinning, “No, no; that’s all right. I’m just headin’ home, soon as my foot heals up enough that Crenna will let me ride.”

Petria flops down beside Lanisen, “Home to Archenland? Do they have many talking dogs there?

Lanisen says, “Nooo, none of the dogs talk there. I hadn’t ever met a Talking Dog until I met you.”

Petria exclaims, “Oh!” She seems not to know how to take this, but somewhat pleased nonetheless. “Do you know many of them? These non talking ones? I smell it on your clothes.”

Lanisen hesitates, looking at her assessingly. “A dozen or so,” he answers.

Petria says, “A dozen? Almost as many as my mother’s litter. Tell me about them” she asks eagerly. “How do you communicate with these non-talking ones? How do you teach them anything? ”

Lanisen says, “Um,” and hesitates again, cautious. “Would–” His eyes go to the far bank of the creek. “Would you like to meet one?”

Petria ears perk up, “Really? Oh might I?”

Lanisen says, “He’s here, he came with me, he’s just followin’ rabbits over there, um…” He hesitates. “He’s bigger’n you, but he won’t– he won’t hurt you.”

Petria nods, scrambling to her feet “All Right, good to know. Thank you.”

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth, a little anxious, but sticks his fingers in his mouth and whistles. An answering bark sounds from across the creek, and a big black furry shape can be seen trotting along the paths through the underbrush back around.

The hound comes out from the treeline and bounds toward Lanisen, but skids to a stop some distance away, his ears lifted comically in surprise at the other dog. He barks again, dropping briefly to his elbows, then darts back and forth without actually coming any nearer.

Petria barks herself, then calls a greeting. “Hello there!” She drops down likewise and wags her tail, “What do call him? This non-talking one?”

Lanisen says, watching the interaction between Dog and dog, “His name’s Tohol, and he’s a bit scared of you, I think.”

Petria frowns a little, “Oh dear. I don’t think I’ve ever frightened anyone or anything before ” She slips her messenger bag off besides Lanisen and drops to the ground. “I hope–will something like this help?” she asks, looking up at Lanisen. “It always seemed to help us as pups.”

Lanisen looks startled, and then grins. He reaches for his walking stick and gets himself up to his feet, then limps over to where Tohol is still hanging back. The hound’s tail is tucked but wagging, his head held low, but he explodes into relieved prancing when Lanisen comes near enough. He leans against Lanisen’s legs for a moment, getting his ears rubbed, and then looks back at Petria, his ears lifted. He lowers his head again and goes over half-cringing with his tail wagging to say hello.

Petria barks in what she hopes in a friendly manner, still laying down.

Tohol leans all the way forward to sniff noses with her from as far away as possible, then prances backward, barks, and goes tearing off in a clear invitation to romp.

Petria touches noses with the other dog, following after the other dog to romp.

Lanisen watches, keeping a close eye on them as they dart back and forth in the open area.


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