uncertainty


Infirmary
Cair Paravel
Eastern Narnia


The infirmary is empty except for the healer on duty, a tall centaur with dusty gray spotted hindquarters, and for Lanisen, who has curled up on a bench by the west door to read a book on remedies and their preparations.

Wethil flaps into the infirmary and over to the Centaur. “Hullo, mm, Brickle sent me ask if you could prepare another sachet of her tea, she’s, mm, running a little low?”

Lanisen looks up from his book as Wethil enters. As the healer acknowledges the request and leaves off his writing to put together the herbs, Lanisen looks up at the sunlit window, then back to Wethil with one eye narrowed.

Wethil lands on a chair, supporting herself with her wings, and sees Lanisen. “Hullo!” she greets before noticing the look. “Mm, mm… are you alright?”

Lanisen says, “I’m fine, but what are you doin’ awake?”

Wethil hesitates and looks to the window, squinting at the brightness. “Mmmmm… Running errands?” she tries.

Lanisen asks, unfolding from his comfortable curled-up position to put his feet on the floor, “Isn’t it pretty late for you?”

Wethil shifts her weight around. “Mmm… a bit, yes. Well, yes, mmm, quite late, but, mm…”

Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side, worried.

Wethil hastily adds, “It’s alright, it’s alright, I’m not, not that tired, really, I just couldn’t sleep, yes yes.”

Lanisen reaches for a scrap of paper and slips it between the pages to mark his spot in the book. “What can I do?”

Wethil exclaims, “Oh, oh, please, don’t, mmm, don’t stop on my account! I told you, it, mm, it just happens sometimes, I’m, mm, used to it, yes yes.”

Lanisen asks, “Would talkin’ a bit help? Sometimes it does me, if I got too many thoughts runnin’ to sleep.”

Wethil looks like she’s about to protest again, but pauses when she registers what he actually said. “Mm, oh, if you want to talk, I, mm, wouldn’t mind that.”

Lanisen hmms softly at the phrasing, but evidently decides not to argue it. “Does sunshine make you sleepier, or shade?”

Wethil says, “Shade, please, sunshine is, mm, it hurts my eyes, too much of it.”

Lanisen says, “Sure, of course.” He glances up at Stormsbreath as the centaur twists up the dried herbs for Brickle’s tea into a little packet. “I’ll go get some chamomile?”

Wethil stays still as the centaur tucks the packet into her satchel. “Do you, mm, know where to go for it?”

Lanisen asks, “The kitchen, I suppose?”

Wethil nods. “They should have some, yes, yes. You know how to get there?”

Lanisen says, “Yeah, I know the way.”

Stormsbreath fastens Wethil’s satchel closed for her and says, “No need. There is chamomile stocked here.”

Wethil exclaims, “Oh! Mm, of course, yes, sorry.” She peers Lanisen’s way. “Mm, the library or some of the towers, some of them have quiet places.”

Lanisen says, “Anywhere you like.”

Wethil says, “Mmm, library, it’s usually quiet around now, yes.”

Lanisen says, “All right. I’ll meet you there in a little bit.”

Wethil nods a couple of times before pushing off to go deliver the tea.

Lanisen watches her go, then gets up to ask about a kettle, and whether or not there might be something to help somebody sleep that doesn’t make the groggy, foggy feeling.


Library
Cair Paravel
Eastern Narnia


Wethil is hanging from one of the torches, right next to a shelf and a chair. She’s not wearing her satchel at the moment, and is examining book titles closely.

Lanisen enters the library a little while later, carefully carrying two mugs of chamomile in his left hand and a bowl of cherries in his right. He pauses in the doorway until he finds her, then moves toward the table closest to her perch.

Wethil is just reaching towards a book when he comes close. “Hullo, hullo!” she says, smiling. “Mmm, cherries, too? Do you like fruit also?”

Lanisen says, “We used to have a cherry tree in the field below our house when I was growin’ up, but they never got this sweet.” He sits down and sets her tea down. “Stormsbreath says they’ll help you sleep.”

Wethil asks, “Mmm, thank you.” She uses both wings to pinch one up to her mouth. “How have you, mm, liked being back?”

Lanisen says, “Very much.” He pauses, looking down at his tea, then adds, “It’s strange without their majesties, though.”

Wethil nods, face falling. “It is, yes yes…”

Lanisen asks after a moment, “How’re you doin’ with it?”

Wethil is silent another moment. “It… mm, it’s different. I… mm, the uncertainty is the, the worst part, yes, yes.”

Lanisen nods quietly. He takes a deep breath and says, “Almost any kind of normal is better than waitin’ to see what’s gonna happen next, when it’s… when it’s not somethin’ you can do anything about.”

Wethil nods. “And I, mm… none of us have /done/ this before, that I, that I know of. There isn’t a, mm, a normal, so everyone, mm, no one really agrees on what’s right.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah.” He reaches for a cherry and twirls it absently by its stem. “What’re you hopin’ for? If you had, if it worked out exactly right, what would that look like?”

Wethil’s muzzle wrinkles. “Mmm, that, that’s part of the problem. I don’t, mm, I don’t /know/. I suppose, if it were anything… the Lion, Aslan, he’d come back and, mm, choose someone for us again. But I, I know he won’t, he doesn’t, mm, do the same thing twice. So maybe, maybe the Duke is his answer. But if everyone thinks so differently, then, no matter who they choose, there’s, mm, going to be hurt.”

Lanisen nods again, watching the cherry. “I think…” he says finally. “I think he wouldn’t have asked Narnia to choose if, if there wasn’t a good choice out there. I think he wouldn’t have asked Narnia to agree if Narnia wasn’t… /able/ to agree.”

Wethil stuffs a cherry into her mouth, then nods, a little hesitantly.

Lanisen takes a breath and shifts in his seat. “I’m sorry, I’m not– it’s not really for an Archenlander to comment on, is it.”

Wethil quickly says, “No, no, that’s, mm, that’s not it at all.” She looks ‘down’, which is more like up at herself, and hugs her wings close. “It’s just…” She pauses, changes tack. “Have you, mm, met them yet? The ones from Terebinthia?”

Lanisen says, “A couple, I did. The one, Mateo, I met him yesterday, and– um–” His forehead furrows up a little bit. “The duke, I met the duke by accident earlier today.”

Wethil asks, “What did you, mmm, what was he like?”

Lanisen says, “Um–” and rubs the side of his face. “I got nervous and blathered about hounds, but he seemed nice enough.”

Wethil smiles, though not in a mean, ‘laughing at you’ sort of way. “That’s, mm, most of what I’ve heard from the castle, yes yes.”

Lanisen asks, “You haven’t met him yet?”

Wethil shakes her head. “Mm, I’ve, mm, seen him from a distance, but not /spoken/ with him, really, no.”

Lanisen says, “I bet you will.”

Wethil says, “I hope so, yes yes.”

Lanisen hesitates. “They’re not all stayin’ in the castle, I heard?” he asks. “The Terebinthians?”

Wethil nods. “Some are, mm, staying with the ship. I don’t think they, mm, all feel as comfortable here.”

Lanisen hmms softly at this, slightly disapproving.

Wethil says, “They’ll, mmm, get more used to us, in time.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah, of course.”

Wethil stretches down and is just long enough to reach the mug of tea. She slurps up some. “The Duke, though, he, mm, came to the festival. Right with all of us, and he didn’t, mm, he didn’t act uncomfortable at all.”

Lanisen watches this acrobatic feat with all due awe. “That’s a good sign.”

Wethil says, “Mhm. But, mm, some think that because he’s, because he’s not from here, he /can’t/ be a good ruler, and they don’t want to, mm, consider it, or anyone not from Narnia.”

Lanisen points out, “Their majesties weren’t from Narnia.”

Wethil says quietly, “That’s what I said. But, mm… but they /did/ have Aslan speaking for them, yes…”

Lanisen’s eyes shift to the side and he nods.

Wethil asks, “Mm?”

Lanisen glances back at her. “That would– that would make a difference.”

Wethil ohs and nods. “Mhm. But, mm, whatever happens, is what, what /will/ happen. And the council, they’ll make, mm, the right choice, yes yes. It’s just… the waiting, yes.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah.” He pauses. “The waiting, it’s why you’re not sleepin’?”

Wethil says, “Mmm… today, yes, mostly, I think.”

Lanisen nods, sighing through his nose. “I want to fix it for you.”

Wethil chuckles softly. “Mm, want to become king and, mm, solve it all?”

Lanisen snorts, smiling. “How’re you feelin’, are you sleepy yet?” he asks after a pause.

Wethil is looking rather more droopy now. “Mmm, I might, mm, try again, mhmmm.”

Lanisen asks, “Are you all right to get there?”

Wethil nods. “Mhm.” She looks at him and smiles. “Thank you, Lanisen, mhm.”

Lanisen shakes his head dismissively. “I know what it’s like.”

Wethil says, “If you, mm, can’t sleep, while you’re here, I’ll, mm, I’ll be around, yes yes.”

Lanisen glances up at her and smiles, the corners of his eyes crinkling up. “Thank you.”

Wethil smiles back and yawns. “Nyyyyah! Mm, good morning, Lanisen. Have a, have a good day.” She lets go of the torch and flaps out of the library.

Lanisen says, as she goes, “Sleep well.”

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