war stories

Cair Paravel
Eastern Narnia

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.

Chlamash glances to Mateo, “Zalinreh was a little land under her own disorganized rule. The possession of a lessor lord of a lesser land. Teebeth, the capital city of Tisroc’s enemy. Both now prosper under the Tisroc’s rule.” He thinks for a moment, “Now where should I begin…” This he says more to himself than to his companion.

Mateo nods a little as he listens, waiting for the main part of the story to begin.

Lanisen steps into the library, the heavy door closing softly behind him, carrying two cups of tea. He turns aside to talk briefly with the Faun attendant at her desk and leaves one cup of tea with her before moving on. He looks toward Chlamash and Mateo curiously.

Chlamash pauses in his tale and glances up as he hears the sound of footsteps. “Good Afternoon, Lanisen.”

Mateo exclaims, “Hello Lanisen!”

Lanisen halts and bows slightly, careful of his tea. “Good afternoon, sir, Mateo.”

Mateo says, “The Tarkaan was just about to tell me about a battle.”

Chlamash nods briefly, taking his pipe from his mouth to release a puff of smoke and looks to Lanisen for his reaction. However there is closed and shuttered in his eyes as he does.

Lanisen asks, “Oh? What battle?”

Mateo says, “He said it was a place called Teebeth.”

Chlamash says, “Man-at-Arms Mateo of His Grace’s retinue expressed an interest in the stories of my homeland and its battles.” Though he says this easily, there is something about him that seems to tense with expectation.

Lanisen says, “Sounds, sounds interestin’.”

Chlamash says, “Indeed? I will begin then.” He settles himself in his chair and places his pipe in his mouth again. ”

Mateo turns his attention back to the tarkaan, listening once more.

Lanisen hesitates, and then takes a chair nearby to listen, cupping his mug in his hands.

Chlamash says, “Some years ago, when I was a younger than I am now, there rose a king against the power of the empire. I do not recall his name and it does not matter now. Such had been the insult against the Tisroc that it could not be let stand. For some weeks, we pressed forward gaining more and more territory, till at least we reached it. Teebeth, the capital city.”

Mateo nods, listening attentively.

Lanisen rests his elbows on his knees and listens.

Chlamash says, “For many weeks we had fought, both on open land and within the towns, and now we had come to it. ”

Lanisen shifts and glances toward the shelf that holds maps.

Chlamash says, “The army had barricaded themselves behind the gates of the city, hoping withstand the siege, but in the end they were forced to face us. They were no match against our cavalry and the power of our charioteers. For weeks they had withstood our siege, but in the end they for forced to surrender to the might of the empire. Many young tarkaans won great honor that day. ”

Mateo listens, waiting to see if there was more said before asking questions.

Lanisen’s forehead furrows slightly at this.

Chlamash sighs in that might be satisfaction, “I shall not soon forget that day nor the thrill of victory which flowed through all our veins. It was a great victory and we celebrated that night. It was not long after that I received my first command of men.”

Lanisen asks, “What did they do, sir?”

Chlamash turns to Lanisen, “They were foot soldiers for the emperor’s armies.”

Mateo asks, “Did the taking of the capital mean the entire place was took, Tarkaan?”

Lanisen says, “I meant, I meant…”

Chlamash looks to Mateo as he speaks, “Our campaign was finshed but a few short weeks afterward.” He turns again to Lanisen, waiting as he pulls his thoughts together.

Mateo nods and gives Lanisen an enquiring look.

Lanisen says, “The… the country you were fighting with, what did they do?”

Chlamash says, “They had become a threat to the empire, raising an army. Constantly raiding our borders. Mocking our sovernty.””

Lanisen says, “I see.”

Mateo asks, “What’s it like there now?”

Chlamash says, “The are a prosperous part of the empire.”

Lanisen looks troubled.

Mateo seems to accept this.

Chlamash looks to Lanisen who has gone quiet.

Lanisen frowns down at his tea absently, then takes a drink.

Mateo asks, “Do these kind of battles happen a lot, Tarkaan?”

Chlamash glances at Mateo, taking longer than usual to reply. “Not of late, unless there are rebellions to put down. There was a great uprising some years ago, but that is another story.”
Chlamash asks, “Do you seek to learn of Calormen?”

Mateo nods, “I’ll admit I’m interested”

Lanisen rubs his shoulder and keeps quiet.

Chlamash says, “Indeed? Perhaps I shall be able to enlighten you on this matter while you are present” He pauses, glancing towards his friend. A guarded expression crosses his face as he observed Lanisen rub his shoulder.

Mateo says, “I’d like that, if it’s not too much trouble for you, Tarkaan” He follows Chalamash’s gaze to Lanisen, giving him a curious look

Lanisen, realizing both men are looking at him, looks up uncertainly.

Mateo asks, “Are you ok?”

Lanisen says, “I–” His eyes dart between them. “Yes, of course, I was just–”

Mateo looks concerned, watching him.

Chlamash says, “Forgive me, my friend. I did not mean to stare, I was merely curious for I feared I had offended you with my tale.””

Lanisen says, “No…” and hesitates. He rubs at one scarred wrist. “I was– I was wonderin’ if that… Is that what would have happened to Archenland, if Anvard fell? Would we have become a– a… prosperous part of the empire, too?”

Mateo now looks to Chlamash curiously.

Chlamash says, “Anvard? Is that the city that you are come from? I am not certain… I have yet to visit your great city.””

Lanisen pauses, made uncertain by Chlamash’s ignorance. “It’s– it’s the castle,” he says. “Prince Rabadash attacked it with his cavalry, it’s been– three years ago now. You didn’t– you didn’t know?”

Chlamash glances down to the book before him, motioning to the book on the table before him, and those nearby “I may have read something of the matter in one of the Narnian records.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.”

Mateo seems… Genuinely surprised, watching Chlamash and how he acts.

A man from the Duke’s entourage walks into the library and casts a look about. He gives an apologetic bow to Chamash and speaks to Mateo in a low voice. Mateo stands and, after giving a polite bow to the Tarkaan he says to the other two, “I’m terribly sorry, something’s come up that needs my attention, goodbye”

Chlamash inclines his head to the messenger and then to Mateo as he excuses himself. Something shifts within demeanor as the Terebinthian leaves.

Lanisen ducks his head to Mateo as he goes, then glances covertly back at Chlamash. He looks confused and unsatisfied.

Chlamash turns to Lanisen, “Tell me about Anvard? I believe I may have read somewhere that it is near mountains?”

Lanisen says, “Um,” and hesitates. “That’s right, sir.”

Chlamash says, “I think…” he says, then pauses. “That it would be of strategic importance.”

Lanisen pauses. “…What do you mean, sir?”

Chlamash makes of motion with his hand “Your question. You asked if it would have become part of the empire?”

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He turns his mug in his hands. “Why, why is that?”

Chlamash makes a gesture with his hands seeming indicate that he does not know and is merely assuming. “Perhaps there maybe a path through the mountains?
Chlamash says, “Perhaps the mountains are impassible, and you have come by boat. I do not know.””

Lanisen concludes, looking at his tea, “It’s… important because if Calormen has Anvard they can get at Narnia, is, is that what you’re sayin’?”

Chlamash takes a breath, “It is possible, yes…that it may have been used as a garrison…”

Lanisen rubs a hand over his face and blows out a breath.

Chlamash turns his attention to his pipe which he works at somewhat distractedly.

Lanisen asks, “What… happens to survivors? After that kind of battle?”

Chlamash looks more than a bit uncomfortable, the unpleasantness is visable in his manner. He strikes a match to light his refilled pipe, but holds it to close and burns his finger. He grits his teeth, and shakes the match out dropping it. He strikes another, this time successful. “It would depend on the Tarkaan in charge of the expedition.” He gives Lanisen an assessing look.

Lanisen looks back, troubled and serious. None of this seems directed at Chlamash in particular, however; it seems more abstracted.

Chlamash puffs on his pipe, “Do you truly wish to know?”

Lanisen draws a deep breath and looks down. “I can guess, I think,” he says, and rubs at his wrists again.

Chlamash looks to the book before. He is quiet, but his whole body is tense as if he is fighting an invisible battle. “I…have been learning, the Narnian way of things while I have been here. It..it is not as I was told.”

Lanisen looks at him. He takes in the man’s demeanor and hesitates before he asks, “What do you mean?”

Chlamash says, “How the people of the north view the world. Their kindness, their justice, their honor, their mercy. I was raised to seek glory for the empire and for the Tisroc. To gain honor was to bless one’s family.”

Lanisen nods, his eyes on the rug between them. “Can’t be easy,” he says after a moment. “Changin’ how you think like that.”

Chlamash laughs, but it is a harsh laugh. “You speak the truth.”

Lanisen looks up at him again, no laughter in his face.

Chlamash is quiet again looking down that his hands, one hand moving to the gold band on his other hand, twisting it back and forth.

Lanisen’s eyes follow the movement and rest on the band. He watches and doesn’t ask, but his face has a distant puzzled look.

Chlamash says, “I see now that I ought beg your pardon for the telling of the story. I… I had not known that you had come from Anvard, but perhaps could have shown greater discretion.”

Lanisen asks, “Sorry?”

Chlamash says, “I must beg your pardon for I fear I have offended in light of what you have told me of your city.”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s– no, it’s fine.”

Chlamash glances toward Lanisen’s shoulder where he was rubbing it. “May I ask?”

Lanisen lifts his eyebrows. “Yeah, of course.”

Chlamash says, “Your shoulder,” His glance skims over Lanisen’s hand as well, but he does not comment. “Was it from the attack on Anvard, your city?””

Lanisen says, “Oh.” He lets out a breath, uncomfortable, and avoids Chlamash’s eyes. “It– yeah. Yeah, it was.”

Chlamash nods, though he doesn’t look like the answer has helped him at all, perhaps even done the opposite. “My grandfather was a great Tarkaan untill he was wounded in one of the Tisroc’s battles. He had won honor in battle, but disgrace to his family. It fell to his sons to lead the Tisroc’s wars.”

Lanisen asks, “Bein’ wounded was a disgrace?”

Chlamash says, “It was the not the wounding that was a disgrace. It was that he had made himself unfit for the Tisroc’s wars. There is honor in battle and in an honorable death. Yet he lived.”

Lanisen says, frowning, “I see.”

Chlamash is sitting at one of the tables present for reading, a book is sitting before him unopened. A wisp of smoke escapes his pipe. His manner and demeanor express some sort of tension or inner war. He seems to be in conversation with Lanisen.

Lanisen sits in another chair facing Chlamash, a cup of tea in his hands and his elbows on his knees. He looks troubled and thoughtful.

Linor comes into the library with a tray of spicey crisp biscuits and some cinnamon tea and sets it on a table between the two

Chlamash eases slightly when Linor enters with refreshments. “I thank you, good mink.”

Lanisen looks slightly startled by the sudden appearance of cookies, but he offers Linor a quick smile.

Linor beams. “You’re welcome. I hope you like them, it’s the first time I’ve used that kind of spice, it came in with some of the latest goods from Calormen.”

Chlamash raises his eyes in some surprise. “Indeed? Are the merchants still present?”

Linor says, “I’m not really sure. The shipment came in last week, this is just the first that I personally got to use them.”

Lanisen looks curiously at the cookies.

Chlamash nods. He takes a bite of one of the cookies, enjoying it immensely.

Lanisen looks down at his tea.

Linor looks very pleased that the Calormene man seems to enjoy her cookie. “How are you finding you stay in Narnia, Mr. Archenlander? I never got your name yesterday.”

Lanisen says, “Ahh, Lanisen, sorry. You’re Linor, right?”

Linor exclaims, “Aye! Linor at your service.” she said with a little bow. “What brings you to Narnia? Are you here to be considered for king?”

Lanisen blinks and looks rather alarmed. “No, no, nothin’ like that.”

Linor looks just slightly disappointed. “Oh. I thought that that was why all of the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve were visiting for. I suppose you must have other business in Narnia then.”

Lanisen laughs and rubs the back of his neck. “I can’t speak for the others, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t make a very good king. I’m only a servant.”

Linor tilts her head “I’m not sure what that has to do with being king or not. I hear King Frank was a gardener. It doesn’t matter how you were born, just that you’re a good person.”

Chlamash nods in agreement.

Lanisen squints up one eye, rather doubtful. “Well,” he says. “There’s lots of good people who would make better kings or queens than me, how about that?”

Linor says, a little playfully, “Some might say that knowing that would make you a good king. But I understand. It’s an awfully big job.”

Lanisen grins, a little bit helplessly, and looks at Chlamash.

Chlamash says to Linor, “Here is one with a good heart, to befriend a Calormene.”

Linor nods. “And he didn’t have the example of King Edmund to guide him as us who work here do. And you’re nothing like the scary stories our parents told us about Calormen, Mr. Chlamash.”

Chlamash smiles at Linor’s words, though perhaps the smile doesn’t go all the way to his eyes. “Thank you.”

Lanisen turns very red, and looks at Chlamash in confusion and protest. “Why would– what does, what does that mean? Why shouldn’t we be friends?”
Lanisen adds, looking at Linor, “And I did know his majesty, a little. He was very kind.”

Linor looks rather sheepish. “Well, a lot of Narnians have said a lot of rather unkind things about Calormen. And I’m sure some of them are true, I’ve heard Bree’s stories. But There are good Calormenes and bad Narnians.” she said, and then brightens again at the memory of the royals. “And all of their majesties were ever so kind. I trust that the council with choose someone good to follow after them, and I hope that Aslan will bless whoever is king and queen next, but I do miss King Edmund. And Queen Lucy. Oh! And Queen Susan was ever so lovely and of course the High King could not have been any more magnificent….I miss them all. But I look forward to the future too! We all have lives to live.”

Chlamash doesn’t look at Lanisen and he doesn’t answer, letting the mink make an explanation. He rises. “If you will excuse me, I have much to think on. Perhaps we speak again.

Lanisen says, standing up, “Yeah, of course.” He rubs his elbow, and opens his mouth to say something else, but stops.

Chlamash nods to both, pausing as he sees Lanisen start to speak then stop. “Good evening to you both.”

Lanisen bows slightly.

Linor exclaims, “Good evening Mr. Chlamash!””

Lanisen rubs his elbow again, then sits back down. He still looks slightly troubled, and confused.

Linor climbs up onto one of the chairs so as to be more level with the human and look concerned. “Is there something troubling you, Mr. Lanisen?

Lanisen asks, “Hmm? Oh, I’m sorry. Chlamash Tarkaan has just given me some things to think about.”

Linor asks, “He is awfully mysterious, so I suppose he would be the kind to leave you with things to think about. Would you like me to let you think?”

Lanisen says, “No, no, that’s all right.” He tilts his head at her. “How long have you worked here in the castle?”

Linor exclaims, “I’ve been here about two years. I learned the basics of baking from a faun out in the forest and I found it ever so fun! So I came to the castle to learn from the cook here. What brings you to the castle?”

Lanisen says, “I came with Lady Avery and the rest, last week or whenever that was.”

Linor says, “I’ve heard about Lady Avery, but I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her yet. What’s she like? Is she kind to you?” she says, twitching her tail in anticipation”

Lanisen says, “Oh yes, she’s very kind. Um,” he pauses. “I don’t know her very well, she’s not often at court, but she’s always been kind to me.”

Linor looks slightly disappointed at the lack of details, but accepts that that’s what Lanisen knows. “Well, if she’s kind to a servent than that’s a good sign that she’s a good lady. But if she didn’t know you well how did you become part of her party? And what do you do at court?”

Lanisen says, “Ahh, I came because– because I’ve been here before. It was, Dame Megren asked me to come. And I don’t do anything very exciting at the castle, I’m, I look after the hounds.”

Linor exclaims, “Oh! I see, it was kind of her to bring you then. And looking after the hounds sounds very exciting! I could never do it, they would want to eat me.” she says, her tail twitching nervously. “Talking hounds are all well and good, but dumb ones are horrifying.”

Lanisen draws a breath to protest to the contrary, but he considers his audience and checks himself. “I suppose they would be, from your perspective.”

Linor nods. “A lot of dumb animals aren’t very nice from my perspective. But I suppose you train your dogs not to go after us little folks? Or are talking animals too rare in Archenland for that to be an issue?”

Lanisen says apologetically, “There’s hardly any Talking Beasts in Archenland, only the ones that come to visit. Um… I brought a hound last time I came, and he was good and minded his manners, but it was very confusing and a little scary for him, and it was scary for some of the people who met him, so I left him at home this time.”

Linor says, “Thank you for doing that. I’m sure that he’s a very good dog with humans, but dumb dogs can’t tell the difference between talking animals and not talking animals all the time. ”

Lanisen is sitting in a chair near the north wall, under a window, talking to Linor. “Well,” he says, and pauses. “They don’t, they don’t chase unless they’ve got orders to chase. It’s, they’re trained, they’re well-trained. But– it was more, more worryin’ than I wanted anybody to do.”

Linor is sitting on a chair across from Lanison “Well that’s good to know. If I ever see an Archenlandish dog I won’t run.”

Lanisen says, “Well, no, that’s not what I’m sayin’. Keep yourself safe first. But my hounds wouldn’t chase or hurt anybody they weren’t told to chase.”

Glora saunters into the library and immediately jumps onto one of the tables, eyeing each of the other occupants. Delicately stepping over some abandoned books, she teeters on the very edge as she peers into the corners of the room. Her ears flick towards the two talking.

Linor’s head darts towards the movement in the room. She looks a little surprised at seeing a new cat, but isn’t scared as the intelligence is plain in the cat’s eyes. “Hello!” she shouts over. “I don’t believer we’ve met before.”

Lanisen follows Linor’s glance, and grins with evident pleasure to see Glora. “Hey, you.”

Glora launches from the table and lands gracefully, walking over and brushing over against Lanisen’s leg before jumping onto /their/ table and sitting in front and just a bit to the side of Lanisen, leaving enough space to not block him off from the Mink entirely. “Hey, you. And no, I suppose we haven’t. I’m Glora.”

Linor hops from her chair onto the table, careful not to cross in between Lanison and Glora, and positions herself behind the teapot. “And I’m Linor. Would you like some tea or a biscuit?

Lanisen asks, “What have you been up to today?”

Glora asks the Mink, “What sort of tea?” despite the fact that it is right there and she can probably smell it. “And I’ve been exploring the castle. I wanted to see how different it was from Anvard. What about you?”

Lanisen says, “Mm, I went and talked to Stormsbreath a bit this morning, and then I went and walked down along the beach, and then I came here.”

Linor says simply, “Cinnamon tea.” Normally she would be offended by the lack of curtasy, but the newcomer is a cat after all, and cats can be hard to warm up to.

Glora hms, then swishes her tail. “I suppose I’ll take a cup. Thank you. How was the beach?”

Lanisen says, “Lovely. I could get used to the sand here.” He glances at Linor and explains, “The beach near Anvard is mostly just rocks.”

Linor tilts her head. “It’s odd thinking of a beach having rocks, that sounds more like a riverbed to me. But I rather like riverbeds, so I suppose I’d like a beach with lots of rocks to climb and jump off of”

Glora looks towards the Mink as well. “Smaller rocks, too. The kind that are just big enough to get caught in your toes or poke your paws. But pretty enough, if you’re careful.”

Lanisen says, “And there’s parts that have sand, it’s just not long stretches, like here.”

Linor looks at her claws. “I don’t think I would have a terrible time with rocks in my claws, after all, they’re meant for rocky riverbeds. I suppose they wouldn’t be bad on a rocky beach. But I don’t think I would ever go to Archenland. I’m sure it’s quite nice, but I love Narnia so much.

Glora looks just a bit superior, but points out, “I’m sure that the Archenlanders love their home too, but they’re here. Just because you leave somewhere doesn’t mean you don’t love it.”

Lanisen reaches over and turns over a cup to fill with tea for Glora, half-smiling.

Linor says, “I suppose that’s true, I could still love Narnia even if I wasn’t here. But I’m so happy here, I don’t know if I could ever be as happy anywhere else””

Glora tests the tea, but makes a face at how hot it still is and lets it sit. “Mm, I think happiness is more about /you/ than where you are.”

Lanisen says, “It’s easier to be happy in some places, though. Places where you feel at home.”

Linor thinks for a bit, her tail twitching slowing for a bit, and then resuming. “I think happiness is about who you’re with. I’m happiest around lots of talking animals and all of the good sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve that visit the castle. I suppose I could quite happily visit somewhere else if I had a friend.

Lanisen agrees, “Friends are part of what make someplace feel like home, for me.”
Belgwyn is plenty lost and sits back on his haunches noting he is in a library, a place he has not much reason to be in.

Glora swishes her tail and mms. “I suppose so, yes.”

Linor notices a very familiar lump of fur crash into the library. “Speaking of friends that make someplace feel like home…” she jumps off of the table and scampers over to the otter. “Belgwyn! What are you doing in the castle?”

Lanisen glances up, watching the sudden scamper with bemused interest. He glances back at Glora, questioning.

Glora looks back at Lanisen and shakes her head, apparently just as lost.

Belgwyn looks up at Linor confused, “Well there was a little cart, and I… I walked along, ‘n now im lost…” he trails.

Lanisen lifts his shoulders slightly and looks back at the mustelids. “Belgwyn,” he repeats, then gets to his feet. “Didn’t we– I thought you lived in Lantern Waste!”

Linor exclaims, “Well…um…welcome to my home! We have some guests from Archenland with us.” she says, motioning towards the cat and the human. “I was serving tea and then we started talking.” she padded back over to the table with the teapot “Would you like some tea and biscuits?”

Belgwyn pads alongside her, “Sure almost like at Mrs.Beavers dam!”

Glora looks down at the otter from where she is seated on the table. “Hello.”

Belgwyn waves a paw, “Hello you.”

Lanisen sits back down, slightly amused, as he is ignored in favor of biscuits.

Linor climbs up on the table and pours a cup of tea, which she hands down to the otter. “I’ve heard about Mrs. Beaver’s cooking, but these are my biscuits. You’ll actually get to taste what I’ve talked about doing!

Belgwyn takes the cup and drinks a few sips before setting it back on the table and nibbling at a cookie.

Linor says, “So I guess you already met Lanisen, and this is….I actually never got your name, Miss Cat”

Glora swishes her tail, leveling a Look at the Mink. “I told you my name when I first came in.”

Lanisen glances at Glora, raising an eyebrow.

Belgwyn smiles innocently, “I don’t know it though!” he thinks a moment, “You aren’t with Trim are you, the ship’s cat?”

Linor says, “Oh, I suppose I did. I’m terribly sorry Glory, it must have slipped my mind.”

Glora catches Lanisen’s glance from the corner of her eye and looks away. “Glor-uh. With an A. It’s fine. And no, I’m not. I don’t care for being surrounded by that much water.

Linor seems to hear a distant chime. “I really ought to get back to the kitchen.” she says. “I’m terribly sorry about mispronouncing your name, Glora

Lanisen says, “Thank you for the biscuits, Linor.”

Glora says, “It’s fine. Thanks for the tea.”

Linor says, “You’re welcome. I’ll leave the rest here for you.”

Belgwyn glances at Linor as she leaves, before looking at the two his gaze settling on the son of adam, “Who are you?” he asks curiously

Lanisen raises his eyebrows at the Otter, smiling slightly. “Lanisen,” he answers. “We met in Lantern Waste, a few weeks ago. I was makin’ soup.”

Glora glances at Lanisen, skeptical and bemused all at once.

Belgwyn thinks back a moment before breaking into a grin, “Oh right! Sorry Lanisen.” he shakes his head

Glora asks, “So now we’ve said my name a few times, Lanisen’s a couple… what was yours, again?”

Belgwyn smiles, “I’m Belgwyn!”

Lanisen asks, “What brings you here?”

Glora tests her tea again and finds it suitable for drinking.

Belgwyn looks around, “Well I bounded in with the cart, think it went to the kitchen?” he pauses, “Then I was all lost and started exploring.”

Glora asks, “I suppose it /is/ easy enough to get lost in here. Why did you come in to start with, though?”

Belgwyn shrugs, “I was curious.”

Lanisen says, “Good a reason as any, I guess.”

Glora can’t really help but agree.

Belgwyn nods, and looks to Lanisen, “Weren’t you planning on going straight home? In Lantern Waste that is?”

Lanisen says, “Mm, I was. Then I crossed the ford and turned my ankle and stayed another two and a half weeks. I made it home, though.”

Belgwyn looks a bit confused, “Why’d you do that?”

Glora looks askance at the Otter. “Turn his ankle or make it home?”

Belgwyn says, “Cross the fords.”

Lanisen blinks. “‘Cause home was on the other side?”

Glora sighs. “Not everyone can swim like you, you know.”

Belgwyn shakes his head, “Not if you travel on the other bank, past the swift /and/ the stone table, then you only cross the swift.”

Lanisen says, “No, I know, but there’s– There were some Aspens and a stream I wanted to say hello to on the way, so I stayed on the north side until Beruna.”

Belgwyn nods, “Alright!” he nods brightly, “Getting through the woods must have been hard though.”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders but only says, “I asked directions.”

Glora tucks her feet under herself and listens.

Belgwyn watches Glora, “Where are you from then?”

Glora says, “Lantern Waste, actually.”

Belgwyn looks surprised, “Really! how come you’re here? Trying to find out what’s rumour and what isn’t?”

Lanisen says, “She’s here with us from Archenland.”

Glora swishes her tail and confirms this with a little feline smile.

Belgwyn asks, “But I thought she’s from the Waste?”

Lanisen says, “She’s been visitin’ us in Anvard for a while.”

Belgwyn looks surprised, “Oh wow!”

Lanisen adds, “It’s been good to have her.”

Glora purrs softly. “It was nice. I might go again some time.”

Belgwyn asks, “Tell me, Glora, what was it like?”

Glora mms. “Busy. Something was always going on, and the markets inside the walls were always crowded. A nice sort of crowd, though. And you could get anything you wanted there.”

Lanisen grins, a secret and fond sort of look.

Belgwyn thinks to find a comparison, “Like Sted Cair?”

Glora considers this for a moment. “…No, not quite. Sted Cair… It feels like everyone’s there for a day out, for fun. People come to the ward for fun, too, but there’s more need to it. And everyone’s human.”

Lanisen nods quietly to agree to this assessment.

Belgwyn asks, “A lot of Humans?”

Glora says, “A few.”

Belgwyn nods. He looks around, thinking about going.

Lanisen says, “It’s not a big city, not like Chesterton, but there’s a decent number livin’ nearby to serve the castle, and their families.”

Belgwyn smiles. “Maybe. Sounds a bit too busy for me. Are there Rivers?”

Lanisen says doubtfully, “There’s a few streams nearby…”

Belgwyn sighs, “That’s no good.”

Glora says, “There’s an ocean.”

Lanisen says, “That’s true.”

Belgwyn says, “You can’t fish in an ocean like a river”

Glora says, “You can buy fish. And fish pies.”

Belgwyn sounds quite disgusted, “Buy old Fish?”

Lanisen can’t quite stop a giggle at this.

Glora rolls her eyes. “I like fishing too, you know, and I managed just fine.”

Belgwyn quips, “You don’t even like water, what do you know about good fish.”

Glora rolls her eyes again. “Just because you fish one way doesn’t make you the expert on all things fish related, you know.”

Belgwyn says, “You would buy old fish to eat…”

Glora looks at him coolly.

Lanisen says, to derail the talk, “There’s lots of other good things to eat too. There’s pretzels.”

Belgwyn looks curious enough, “I usually get by fine with fruit, berries and fish.”

Glora says, “Mm. The pretzels are alright. I like the ones with cheese toasted on.”

Lanisen tells Belgwyn, “You ain’t /lived/ until you’ve had a pretzel hot out of the oven.”

Belgwyn looks surprised, “Maybe Linor could get me one?” he shrugs, he obviously thinks he can live fine without baked goods.

Glora tells Lanisen, “I think he’s hopeless.”

Belgwyn looks at Glora in surprise.

Lanisen says, “Nah, he just don’t know about pretzels, is all.”

Glora mms, a bit skeptical.

Belgwyn looks to the two, “I think I should get going, I’ve been looking for Aliyah all day already.”

Glora says, “Good luck.”

Lanisen says, “I think they’re stayin’–” He pauses. “Never mind, I don’t know where they’re stayin’. I keep bumpin’ into ’em at the beach, though.”

Belgwyn nods, “Me and Ali have spent a lot of time there.”
Belgwyn waves a paw and bounds off, “Bye you two!”

Glora says, “Good bye.””

Lanisen watches him go, amused again. “I hope he knows the way out…”

Glora nudges her teacup with a paw, watching the last dregs of liquid swish. “I wouldn’t count on it.”

Lanisen pushes his mouth to one side. “Maybe I should go see…”

Glora bumps his arm with her head. “Maybe,” she agrees. “Or he’ll never find his friend.”

Lanisen says, “I was thinkin’ more he might end up walkin’ in on somebody who’d take offense, but that too.” He gets up, stretching. “I’ll be back in a little bit.”

Glora says, “Alright. See you soon.”

Lanisen makes his way toward the door.


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