You stand in a surprisingly long, quiet room that runs the length of this side of Cair Paravel’s west wing. The room is narrow in shape, and thus appears to be more of a long, unusually wide corridor. Someone has constructed a series of shelves along the north wall, under tiny windows that let in only enough light to see by. Torchwicks line the south wall that can be lit for additional illumination, and under them sit several wooden tables and accompanying benches.
The floors are bare, so your footfalls send hollow-sounding echoes through the marble walls. There are archways at the southeast and west ends of the room –the west archway leading into the northwest tower, and the southeast archway leading into the common gallery.
A son of adam with wavy brown hair (Mateo) is examining the shelves, occasionally he’ll pull out a book and read the blurb or the first page before setting it back.
Lanisen pushes one of the heavy doors open and glances inside. He seems to be looking for somebody, but the person present is not them. He straightens, slightly guarded.
Mateo looks around at the sound of the door opening and, on seeing an unfamiliar human he straightens up, “Hello?”
Lanisen says, “Ahh, hello. Sorry, I didn’t realize anybody was… was in here.”
Mateo says, “It’s alright, I was just browsing” He looks the newcomer up and down, eyes falling momentarily on the scar.
Lanisen assesses the other man more discreetly. “Lanisen,” he offers after a pause, limping forward to extend his hand. “I came with the party from Archenland.”
Mateo accepts the handshake with a firm one of his own, his hands are rough suggesting a history of manual labour and he speaks with a distinctly Galman accent, “Nice to meet you, I’m Mateo, I’m with his Grace’s party from Terebinthia”
Lanisen echoes, “Nice to meet you.”
Mateo offers him a friendly smile and waves a hand towards the shelves, “You were looking for something in particular? I’d hate to think I was getting in the way”
Lanisen says, “No, not at all– um…” He glances around the library again. “I was lookin’ for a friend, actually, he’s– he’s here sometimes.”
Mateo asks, “A friend? What does he look like? Perhaps I seen him and could point you in the right direction?”
Lanisen says, “Um– Tarkaan Chlamash?”
Mateo blinks and looks a little surprised, “Well, I did see him, last night but… Not today” He chews the inside of his mouth thoughtfully, “You know him? I have to say I was quite surprised to see a Tarkaan here”
Lanisen says, “I met him last time I was here.”
Mateo asks, “How long has he been here? I just… Well I kind of assumed he was here because of the disappearance? An Ambassador type thing…?”
Mateo trails off giving Lanisen a puzzled look.
Lanisen says, “I don’t– I don’t know, actually, he’s… he’s been here since well before the disappearance.”
Mateo nods slowly, “Oh, well, I was just curious that’s all” He grins a little, “I’ll stop being nosy now”
Lanisen says, “No, no trouble.”
Mateo chuckles, “Maybe I’ll be a bit nosy about you, I didn’t know there was going to be an Archen party?”
Lanisen’s eyes flick briefly to the other man’s face, unreadable, but he smiles and steps toward a bookshelf to look over the selection. “Just a few of us, um–” he tilts his head. “Seven? Glora shouldn’t count, she’s Narnian…”
Mateo closes the book he was in the process of looking at before Lanisen arrived and puts it back on the shelf, “Well, I’m certain that your stay will be as well as our own, it’s a lovely place this, very interesting”
Lanisen nods, looking up at the shelves. “I could spend a few years here happily,” he says. “Just in this room. Have you seen the Athenaeum?”
Mateo shakes his head, “I haven’t, where is it?”
Lanisen says, “Um–” and narrows one eye. “It’s sort of– you follow the road to the mainland and go north through the town, and then it’s back west in the woods a little ways.”
Mateo says thoughtfully, “I’ll have to take a look, though through the woods… Perhaps for when I can navigate the castle without getting lost”
Lanisen grins, rubbing the back of his neck. “There’s sure to be a map around here somewhere.”
Mateo snaps his fingers, “A map! Now that I could do with, the amount of wrong turns I’ve taken already. I went out to the town the other day and I ended up having to ask a tree for directions- You can do that here you know”
Lanisen’s grin widens. “Or the birds,” he offers. “Somebody told me ask the birds if I ever get lost. It’s been useful advice.”
Mateo says, “I’ll remember the birds for when i go searching for this Athenaeum”
Lanisen adds, “Squirrels, rabbits…”
Mateo asks, “Does -everything- talk here? I mean, I knew about the talking animals already but… Everything?”
Lanisen says, “Um,” and pauses. “Nooo, there’s, there’s creatures that don’t talk, and trees.”
Mateo waves a hand towards the shelves, “I was looking for a book to help with it all, there’s so much here I never seen before, I met a dwarf yesterday even.”
Lanisen says, “Oh, oh, I know of one…” He gets a rather intent look, glancing at the shelves to get his bearings, and starts down the room with purpose. “Last time I was here, there was– um… there’d been rumors, a couple sightings of the White Stag. Queen Lucy had asked Tarkaan Chlamash to research it, I guess, and I helped him a bit, and there’s… oh, here, yes.” He stoops and withdraws a cloth-bound book from its place on the shelf and hands it over.
Mateo accepts the book with a thanks and opens it, flicking through the pages to get an idea of what it’s about.
It’s a compendium of the inhabitants of Narnia, Talking Beasts and Wild People alike. There is a sizable amount of information on each, including where they may be found, how they live, and any notable history attached to the species. A smaller section toward the back contains information on the fouler creatures of the world: were-wolves and toadstool people and hags and their ilk.
Mateo closes the book and keeps a hold of it, “This is exactly what I was after! I wonder if I could borrow it”
Lanisen nods toward the desk by the front door, where the faun who looks after the royal library sits repairing a crumbling binding. “She’d be the one to ask.”
Mateo looks over to the faun, “She seems a little busy right now, I’ll ask later.”
Lanisen says, smiling a little, “She don’t bite. Her name’s Temsia and she likes peppermint tea.”
Mateo nods in approval, “Good taste”
Lanisen says, “I’ll let you get to readin’?”
Mateo asks, “I don’t mind chatting, but perhaps you want to continue looking for your friend?”
Lanisen says, “No, no. He’ll turn up here eventually, I think.”
Mateo nods, “You’ll be waiting then or?”
Lanisen says, “‘S not like there’s nothin’ to do here.”
Mateo says, “That’s fair”
Lanisen moves toward a table, glancing at Mateo sidelong. “You’re here with the Duke?”
Mateo nods and follows towards the table, “I am part of his entourage”
Lanisen asks curiously, “You known him long?”
Mateo nods, “Many years now, he has been a good friend to me”
Lanisen asks, “What’s he like?”
Mateo says, “He’s a good man, fair. In all my years knowing him I have no complaint about him.”
Lanisen nods thoughtfully. “How’d you come to know him?”
Mateo says, “We met years ago, back when I was younger, he took me under his wing and I been working for him ever since.”
Lanisen hesitates, tilting his head a little as if he would like to ask more, but he nods and leaves it there.
Mateo gives him a friendly smile and opens the book, turning it to the page on dwarfs.
Lanisen gets up and returns to the nearest shelf. He considers for a little while, then selects a book about the islands and returns to the table.
Mateo happens to catch a glimpse at the book title, “Ever been to the islands?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “Never been on a ship.”
Mateo’s eyes widen a little, “What, never?”
Lanisen looks up, lifting his eyebrows. He shakes his head.
Mateo shakes his head, “Sorry that’s just…Well thats somewhat strange to me, I mean, even getting between the main islands and the smaller outlying ones one needs a boat. They’re just so…” He waves a hand, “Every day”
Lanisen asks, “Really? Every day?”
Mateo says, “Weeelll, maybe not every day, but common enough”
Lanisen says, “/Huh/.”
Mateo looks to the book and says, “May I?”
Lanisen glances at the book and slides it over. “‘Course, yeah.”
Mateo opens the book to the page on Terebinthia and shows him a map, pointing to the larger main island, “Say you lived here” he then points to a smaller island just off the coast, “But had family here, you’d need a boat to visit” he nods and slides the book back.
Lanisen asks, looking at the map, “Are there towns on all the islands, or– or just the main one?”
Mateo asks, “Mostly the main one and the larger of the small ones, the smaller ones are usually farms… Sheep you know? Crops?”
Lanisen asks, “What kind of crops?”
Mateo considers this, “Wheat’s a major one.. You get other stuff too of course, Corn… Grapes, olives, potato… Sugar beets? That kind of thing”
Lanisen asks, looking down at the map with interest, “And which one’s home for you?”
Mateo points to a town labelled ‘Lapidos’, “There’s where I live”
Lanisen asks, “You got family there?”
Mateo shakes his head, “I’m not married, got no family of my own”
Lanisen says, “Makes it easier to travel, I suppose.”
Mateo nods, “Thats true, but sometimes you can’t help think it’d be nice to settle, you know?”
Lanisen glances at him. He looks down and nods, a little absently.
Mateo allows Lanisen to take the book back.
Lanisen says, “Oh, thanks.”
Mateo says, “No problem”
Lanisen flips pages idly.
Mateo turns his attention back to his own book.
Lanisen settles back in his chair to read. He seems the sort to get completely absorbed in his book.
Mateo too becomes absorbed in his reading.