sunset


Beach below Cair Paravel
Eastern Narnia


Oren sits low on the steps behind Cair Paravel, which lead down to the sea. He gazes eastward. Beyond him, beside the Splendour Hyaline, sits a lesser vessel with a smaller carven bird in blue and orange on its prow.

Lanisen makes his way down to the beach a little after suppertime. He glances out at the shore frequently, watching the killdeer and seagulls run along the waterline, and so misses the other man’s presence until he nearly trips over him. He stops short several steps up, slightly guarded.

Oren turns in surprise from his reverie. “Sorry, didn’t think I was in the way here.” He checks himself self-consciously. “Lanisen, isn’t it?”

Lanisen says, “Yes, uh, yes, sir– um, I beg your pardon, I didn’t know anybody was down here.” He turns to beat a hasty retreat.

Oren waves a hand at the expanse of water. “There’s plenty of room.”

Lanisen hesitates. “I don’t– I don’t want to intrude.”

Oren says, “It’s really no intrusion. Just enjoying the sunset.”

Lanisen turns back toward the sea, a little awkwardly. He rubs his elbow and stays standing.

Oren asks, “Have you ever sailed, Lanisen?”

Lanisen says, “No, sir.”

Oren says, “A pity. Nothing quite like it.”

Lanisen shifts. “You’ve been– your whole life, I suppose?”

Oren says, “Yes. My great-grandfather loved the sea. Wanted to explore further east I think, but obligations kept him close to home. But he passed it on to his children, and so forth.”

Lanisen nods, before realizing that Oren can’t see it. “You learned from your da, sir?”

Oren asks, “That’s right. What about you? That where you learned your skills?”

Lanisen asks, “My– my skills, sir?”

Oren says, “With dogs.”
Oren adds, “I can’t imagine they have just anyone minding the king’s best hunters.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He shifts. “No, sir, my da kept sheep.”

Oren looks surprised. “Oh. How did you come to work with the hounds then?”

Lanisen moistens his lips. “The castle steward found me a place there, when I was a kid,” he answers neutrally.

Oren asks, “Good of him. You enjoy the work?”

Lanisen says, “I do.”

Oren nods. He gestures toward the harbor. “That’s my ship there. The Halcyon.”

Lanisen follows the gesture. “She’s beautiful, sir.”

Oren says, “Commissioned her after I visited Narnia before. Wanted something that reminded me of the Splendour Hyaline. Tied me to my homeland.”

Lanisen stays quiet.

Oren smiles. “She’s not so grand, but then she needn’t be. I can outfit her with a smaller crew, and she’s swift as a song.”

Lanisen asks curiously, “How many does it take to crew her?”

Oren says, “Twenty is comfortable, but we can manage with fifteen at need.”

Lanisen nods, his eyes flicking briefly down the beach toward where the rest of the Terebinthians are camped. He shifts his weight and says, “When I was little, my plan was to run away and live on a ship by myself. Crushed all my dreams when I met a real sailor who told me how many people it takes to run a ship.”

Oren’s mouth quirks in understanding. “There’s small boats as can be manned by one, but can’t say they’d be great fun to live on for a long stretch.”

Lanisen agrees, “I don’t imagine so.”

Oren says, “You’d also need to be quite fond of fish.”

Lanisen snorts.

Oren spreads his hands with a grin. “A small price to pay!”

Lanisen concedes, “For the first week or two, maybe.”

Oren exclaims, “Ah, but you’ve not truly met the sea! You might say otherwise if you knew her.”

Lanisen asks, “Yeah?”

Oren says, “I’d show you about the Halcyon, but it’s not the same as being at sea, truly.”

Lanisen says apologetically, “I never done well on boats, anyway.”

Oren says, “Oh, well then I’ll spare you the experience.”

Lanisen grins. “Thank you, sir.”

The sun sinks below the horizon in a final flash of fire. Oren stands to his feet, stretching. “Well, suppose I’d better return before Mateo finds and flays me for slipping him.”

Lanisen steps back as the other man stands, automatically giving way.

Oren says, “Have a good evening, Lanisen.”

Oren starts the climb back up the steps to Cair Paravel.

Lanisen says, “You too, sir.”

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