You stand in a corner of the gardens where the courtyard meets the castle’s walls, just outside the door to the Castle Apothecary. The Royal Garden here is dominated by a variety of plants known for their healing properties, including small shrubs of blackberries, various wildflowers and assorted herbs.
The plants are well-tended and the walk is quite aromatic! Beneath your feet is a decorative path which leads south and west away from the walls. South leads to the door to the Great Hall, West leads along the wall and further into the garden, in the general direction of the main gates of Cair Paravel.
Lanisen is sitting on a bench beside the little yew tree, one leg curled up underneath him. A book is open in his lap, and a notebook and charcoal are next to him.
Chlamash comes strolling along the pathway, a pipe in his mouth. He looks very thoughtful and it is likely that the strolling is of aimless type.
Lanisen is absorbed in his reading and takes a moment to realize somebody is approaching. He glances up.
Chlamash takes a moment to breath in the aromatic fragrance of the walkway. He glances around at the profusion of plants and stoops to admire one of them, breathing in its fragrance as he does so and closing his eyes a moment as he does so. There is perhaps an unguarded look to him as he does.
Lanisen watches, and then after a small hesitation, stands up.
Chlamash rises, observing the garden. He spots Lanisen, becoming more reserved again and replies “I had not before discovered this corner of the gardens and was unaware that anyone was present.”
Lanisen bows slightly and answers, “I don’t mind, sir.” He doesn’t quite make eye contact with Chlamash.
Chlamash gives Lanisen an assesssing look, he doesn’t say anything for a few moments.
Lanisen’s expression is serious and a little worried. He closes his book over his finger and holds it in both hands, his eyes on the path between them. He looks like he’s trying to think what to say.
Chlamash waits for Lanisen to speak, stepping to the side so that he may leave if he wishes to.
Lanisen doesn’t seem to wish to, or to feel trapped, though his eyes flicker toward Chlamash’s movement in acknowledgement. “You didn’t know about the battle,” he says finally.
Chlamash takes a breath and lets it out. “So you know then.”
Lanisen’s eyes dart to his face and then away.
Chlamash bows his head, “I will hold it against should you despise me.”
Lanisen’s face twists a little, and he shifts his weight. “Sir…” he starts.
Chlamash waits for Lanisen to speak.
Lanisen pauses, moistening his lips. He doesn’t look up from the ground, and finally starts speaking. “About… ten years ago,” he says, “I ran away from home. It was– my, my brother died, my big brother, so I ran. I started stealin’ stuff, food, clothes, money, and I– about a year in I fell in with some bad folk.” He draws a breath and looks briefly up at Chlamash to see if he’s following. “There was– there was this boy, he wasn’t much older than me, he was… a grocer, he worked for the grocer. He’d made a delivery, he had the money on him, we– we knew, and we… decided we’d take it from him. It went wrong. I don’t know what happened, I don’t– I don’t remember that night very well at all, but it– he, he died, that boy, afterwards. Because we reckoned we wanted his money. And I went along with it.” He looks back up at Chlamash, though his eyes skitter to the side after a brief moment. “That’s– now you, now you know mine too.”
Chlamash nods at various times through out the story even if perhaps he is somewhat surprised to be told. When it is finished, he is quiet considering, finally at last he speaks. “It would seem that we are both recipients of grace.”
Lanisen says, “Yes.” He takes a deep breath and says without looking up, “I understand why you– why you lied, sir.”
Chlamash says, “In truth, you are not the first Archenlander I have met though I may have lead your company to believe so. And when I first met you seemingly unafraid of my presence, a Tarkaan even so, but a short time after the battle it seemed that the gods had given me another chance to make it right. But you offered me friendship, a Calormene…”
Lanisen’s face twists a little and he shifts. “That’s not,” he says, and rubs a hand over his face. “I don’t– how could anybody blame you for, for what the prince of your country’s done.”
Chlamash raises an eyebrow inquiringly as if he seems to be wondering a similar question, regarding Lanisen’s own tale, yet he seems strangely warmed by Lanisen’s compassion. “It was not only He that that raised his blade against your land. How many young men like yourself did my arrows cripple or otherwise kill? We may have had our orders but we wanted your land and your gold, the Prince Narnia’s Queen.”
Chlamash hangs his head, “It was to be the price of our obedience. It was to that end that I lied to you. I hoped that I might protect you from my past, and perhaps one day I might be your pardon. Perhaps then, perhaps you might not run from me.”
Lanisen says, “I’m not– I’m not runnin’.”
Chlamash nods, “Will you accept my pardon then, for what I and those of my homeland have done to you and yours?”
Lanisen flushes, swallowing. “For– for whatever it’s worth, sir, of course, of course I forgive you.”
Chlamash looks relieved, his whole bearing seeming to relax with it. “It is worth a great deal.”
Lanisen hesitates, thumbing at the pages of his book absently. “I wish–” he begins, and stops. “I hadn’t thought you’d lie about it.”
Chlamash swallows, he looks at Lanisen sadly. “Sometimes be a man knows not what he will do till the hour is upon him.” However even he seems to think that this is a hollow platitudes that even he is not willing to support. “It is only since I have come to Narnia, I have learned of the frankness and honestly so prized by those among the north.”
Lanisen looks down and nods.
Chlamash says, “I do not expect that my words will any long hold any assurance of truth, but I have long appreciated the friendship that has been offered to me by Lord Peridan, yourself and His Majesty, may the gods forever bless him.”
Lanisen looks troubled, and he looks back up at Chlamash searchingly.
Chlamash says, “I fought him, but he gave me life. He said to me that he knew what it was to be swayed by lies and treachery.” He looks back at Lanisen, meeting his gaze and letting him see beyond his guard. ”
Lanisen says, “I remember.”
Chlamash says, “I have no sword to offer you, only my word. Will you still accept friendship with me, such as it is? I will not hold it against you whatever you decide.””
Lanisen looks baffled by this first part. “Yes, of course?” he says. “I don’t– there’s nothin’…” He rubs his hands over his face. “I was, I was upset to think you’d… that you thought you had to lie, not– not anything else. I don’t hold the battle against you; how could I?”
Chlamash, seeing that his meaning has been somewhat misunderstood, makes to speak again more plainly. “I am immensely grateful to have not lost your friendship.”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He rubs at his elbow uncertainly. “Of, of course, yeah.”
Chlamash says, “I am sorry as well to have lied to you, I had wanted to protect you, but it seems I was perhaps only protecting myself.” He glances to the book Lanisen holds, curiously.”
Lanisen relaxes slightly at this. “So you won’t– again?” he asks.
Chlamash says, “Lie to you?””
Lanisen nods silently.
Chlamash considers this quietly and nods, “You have my word.”
Lanisen lowers his head and says softly, “Thank you, sir.”
Chlamash nods. “I pray, gods willing, that I shall from hereafter be a friend worthy of the friendship you have granted to me.”
Lanisen looks embarrassed, and a little uncertain, but he offers a smile.
Chlamash glances to the book Lanisen is holding. “I had not meant to disturb you from your reading.” He offers.
Lanisen says, “No, I– no.” He shifts his weight. “Sir– I’m grateful for your friendship too.”
Chlamash smiles, “I am glad.”
Chlamash looks up at the setting sun. “I think I shall head in now. Have you seen a Narnian sunset over the ocean? Perhaps if Lieutenant Bracken is willing, we may both watch it upon the shore.”
Lanisen says, “I have, but it’s– every sunset’s different.”
Chlamash nods, “Indeed so.” and makes his way towards the door to the infirmary
Lanisen picks up his notebook and charcoal and follows after him.