batter balls

The Beach near Sted Cair
Eastern Narnia

This stretch of beach is quiet, largely abandoned except for the occasional shorebird. Perfectly clear blue water surges up in rhythmic waves to meet the smooth shore, fine golden sand studded with seashells. The water is gentle and fairly shallow for some distance out, though a darkening in the color suggests an abrupt drop-off of the ground below the surface. The beach is sheltered by a series of towering sea-stacks to the southeast and by the the peninsula to the north, on which the castle of Cair Paravel sits with all its windows glittering in the sun. The beach gets progressively rockier to the south, where smooth sand gives way gradually to tide pools and boulders.

A sandy little-trodden path leads southwest up the slope to the main road, and the beach is clear all the way to the castle to the north.

Lanisen has left his shoes behind somewhere unknown, and he has his pants rolled up halfway to the knee. He’s making his way toward the part of the beach that adjoins the Terebinthian camp, leaving waterlogged footprints behind him along the waterline.

Oren walks toward the camp as well, from the direction of his ship. He doesn’t immediately notice Lanisen.

Lanisen continues on, oblivious for the moment to the man behind him.

Oren stops, still some distance from the camp, and finds some rocks to sit on. He removes something from a pouch at his hip and lifts it to his lips, releasing a sweet, melancholy tune into the darkening sky.

Lanisen stops where he has a reasonably good view of the camp and watches for a few moments as the men go about their evening routines. At the sound of the pipe, he starts guiltily and turns around, searching for the source.

Oren continues to play, oblivious to Lanisen. One or two of the men in the camp stop for a moment to listen before continuing on their way.

Lanisen finds the Duke. He shifts in mild surprise, listening, then begins looking for an escape route.

Oren lowers the instrument, releasing a heavy sigh.

Lanisen is caught between the camp and Oren and has to choose whom to encounter. He sets his shoulders and starts down the beach toward the Duke.

Oren turns as he hears footsteps on the sand. He doesn’t say anything as Lanisen approaches.

Lanisen bows from the waist once he’s near enough, barefoot and sandy and a little bit guilty.

Oren says, “Evening.”

Lanisen says, “Evening, sir.”

Oren asks, “Taking a walk on the beach?”

Lanisen rubs his elbow. “Yes, sir,” he answers. “You too, I reckon?”

Oren says, “Went down to my ship.”

Lanisen’s eyes shift that direction, and he nods. After a moment, he bows again, and moves to withdraw.

Oren says, “You went down to the camp.”

Lanisen halts uneasily. “I didn’t bother anybody,” he says after a pause, rather than denying it.

Oren says, “No, of course not. Make any friends? I hope my company was hospitable.”

Lanisen rubs at one wrist. “I– I stayed on the beach, your grace,” he says.

Oren says, “Oh. Well, no matter. Though you might want to visit sometime. Nasi makes some fried batter balls that shouldn’t be missed.”

Lanisen shifts, half-smiling. “Batter balls, huh?”

Lanisen says, “I think I’ve had something like. It’s been… a long time, though.”

Oren says, “Go down sometime before supper and you’ll find some like as not. You can tell them I sent you.”

Lanisen says, “Oh,” and glances back the way he came. “That’s– that’s very kind of you, sir.”

Oren says, “It’s nothing.”

Lanisen says, “I’d– I’d just as soon not bother anybody, though.”

Oren says, “I doubt it’s any bother. He makes em any excuse he can get.”

Lanisen smiles politely.

Oren rises from his seat. “I’d better be getting back. Have a pleasant evening.”

Lanisen bows again. “Evenin’, sir,” he murmurs.

Oren walks away from Lanisen in the direction of the castle.

Lanisen waits a respectful distance, then follows.


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