Lanisen sits under a window, the tabletop and the page in front of him illuminated by a bright blade of sunlight that slants down through the narrow window. It catches and refracts through a glass of water at his elbow, sending wavering specks of rainbow light dancing across the table.
Peridan enters the library. He greets the librarian and says a few words before looking around. Spying Lanisen, the man heads in that direction, “Hello Lanisen.” Peridan seems much happier these days.
Lanisen looks up alertly and gets to his feet to bow. “Afternoon, sir,” he answers.
Peridan waves him to sit back down, “I hope I am not intruding?” He is still smiling.
Lanisen says, “No, sir, of course not.” He sits back down, watching Peridan curiously.
Peridan asks, “Mind if I join you? I would like to follow up with you regarding a matter.”
Lanisen gets a slightly wary look on his face, but he says, “All right, sir.”
Peridan sits down, noting the look on Lanisen’s face. “Do not worry, Lanisen. I just would like to get your account on your meeting with Tarkaan Chlamash.”
Lanisen says, “Oh– oh. It’s, it’s fine, sir, we, um, we talked about it.”
Peridan asks, “Oh?”
Lanisen says, “It’s not– it’s all right.”
Peridan says, “I am sure that it is but if it is all the same, I just want to follow up. I consider Tarkaan Chlamash a friend as much as I consider you and your fellow Archenlanders friends and want to make sure there is no misunderstandings.”
Lanisen says, “I don’t– I don’t think there are, sir.” He pauses, and turns slightly red. “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you’re askin’.”
Peridan hehs, “I apologize for not being more clear. I simply want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings regarding Tarkaan Chlamash. But it sounds like there are none.”
Lanisen says, “I know he was in the battle, if that’s what you mean, sir.”
Peridan nods. He watches the man, “How does that make you feel?”
Lanisen lifts his shoulders. He seems uncomfortable under the scrutiny, and averts his eyes from Peridan’s. He hesitates, then says, “I done things I regret too, sir.”
Peridan leans back in his chair, nodding. He gets a bit of a far away look, “That is what King Edmund said as well.”
Lanisen says, “Yes, sir.”
Peridan shakes his head and continues to smile, “Well, thank you for speaking with me. I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”
Lanisen nods. He looks down at the table, the sunshine reflecting back up onto his face. “I was–” he starts, then winces uncomfortably. “He, he lied about it, and I didn’t expect it, and I was… confused, I guess, and… angry? But it’s… I thought about it, and I understand, and– and, yeah, we talked about it, and it’s all right, now.”
Peridan taps his chin, frowning ever so slightly, “It is a tad concerning to me that he would lie however, I suppose in the circumstances, it might be an panic reaction.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah.”
Peridan rubs his head, “I will speak to him about it. I do not endorse lying even if I could understand why it happened.”
Lanisen shifts unhappily. “He said he wouldn’t again, sir.”
Peridan nods, “I would hope so.”
Lanisen says nothing else. He looks down at the tabletop.
Peridan watches him and says gently, “No one is getting in trouble.”
Lanisen pauses. “Thank you, sir.”
Peridan tips his head, “For?”
Lanisen says, “For that.”
Peridan gives a half smile, “I’m not in the habit of doling out punishment just because. Sometimes, only a chat is needed.”
Lanisen takes a breath and nods, offering a small grateful smile.
Peridan says, “Would you like some tea?” That grin appears again, “For your reading?””
Lanisen says, “Oh– I’m all right, sir, thank you. It’s a bit hot for tea just now.” He hesitates, though, and opens his mouth as though he’s working up to saying something.
Peridan chuckles, “Fair point. How about some Scones? Linor makes excellent scones.” He doesn’t pressure Lanisen to speak.
Lanisen says, “I’ve had her scones, they’re very good.”
Peridan says, “I will be sure to pass along your compliments.”
Lanisen says, “Sir… There’s somethin’ I been wantin’ to ask you.”
Peridan nods, “Of course.”
Lanisen takes a deep breath. “Um,” he says, a little shakily, and then, “Can I, can I stay?”
Peridan blinks, a bit taken aback, “Can you stay?”
Lanisen keeps his eyes down and speaks a little too quickly. “I’ve been– I’ve been talkin’ with Stormsbreath, and he reckons he could put me to work, and it’s been– I like workin’ with him and learnin’ from him, and, and I like /bein’/ here, and I won’t… I won’t cause any trouble.”
Peridan smiles a bit wider, “I am glad you like it so much. I am fond of the country myself. However…” He grows a bit serious, “I do want to know your thoughts on why. Picking up and moving to a different country has a lot of implications.”
Lanisen nods. “Um,” he says, and rubs absently at his scarred wrists. “Um– I’ve been, I’ve been goin’ to visit Jana–Adara, that is, and her son. I went earlier this spring, and I reckon I’ll go again this fall.”
Peridan nods, “I know about Adara. Are you wishing to live in the Waste or here at the castle?”
Lanisen says, “Here. I don’t– I don’t think I could live near Myrd. But it’s…” He pauses. “I been gone for long chunks of time, you see, and it’s been hard on Danall–he’s in charge of the hunts at Anvard, and every time I go off there’s got to be somebody to cover for me. So now there’s Mara who covers, she’s, she knows the work and she’s good at it, and she wants the job, but she can only have it when I’m gone. It’s not really fair to her or Danall for me to keep poppin’ in and out.”
Peridan nods, “That makes sense. What about your duties as squire?”
Lanisen blinks a couple times, and then lowers his head. “I haven’t been a squire for about a year now, sir,” he answers. “I haven’t had regular duties for… longer.”
Peridan looks slightly embarrassed, “Forgive me. That piece of news must have been lost in the mix.”
Lanisen says, “It’s all right.”
Peridan says, “What about your family? ”
Lanisen says, “My sister, she’s workin’ as a cook in the inn at Lancelyn Green. She’s– she’s doin’ well. We write, mostly. We’ll keep writin’. The rest of my family, I don’t– they’re not…”
Peridan nods, watching him, “And Sir Colin? Dame Megren? Sir Darrin?”
Lanisen says, “Sir Colin and Lady Arael are doin’ well. I haven’t– I haven’t seen either of ’em since last fall, when I went up to Neiklot, but we write a bit too. I talked to Sir Darrin a little already.”
Peridan nods, tapping his chin. “There is one other matter…” He takes a deep breath and doesn’t take his eyes off of Lanisen, “Are you aware that Darius is under the care of the Narnian Court?”
Lanisen pauses, and then sits back, his face going slightly slack. “Yes,” he says finally. “I remember– I remember hearin’ somethin’ about that…” He looks back at Peridan searchingly.
Peridan rubs his brow. Apparently, the talk of Darius makes his happy state disappear, “He is serving his sentence here in Narnia.”
Lanisen asks, “Where?”
Peridan says, “At the castle.”
Lanisen says, “He’s… he’s here now.”
Peridan nods, “He is though I have made sure that he is kept busy.” He is quick to add, “I do not want to alarm you but I do want you to have all the facts before you make your decision. We can work something out.”
Lanisen sits at a sunlit table across from Peridan. He looks pale and rather sick, and his breathing has an unsteady quality to it. “Does he– does he know I’m here.”
Peridan says firmly, “No.”
Lanisen swallows, and nods, and draws a deep careful breath. “Kept– kept busy?” he repeats.
Peridan looks concerned, “Yes.” He pushes the glass of water, “I hope I did not ruin your excitement.”
Lanisen picks up the glass to take a drink. The water sloshes unsteadily in the vessel until he has set it down again. “What do I… what should I do, so he doesn’t find out?”
Peridan says, “Absolutely nothing. We will work something out if you do stay.””
Lanisen nods again, keeping his eyes down. He is visibly shaken and trying not to be, breathing in a careful, deliberate rhythm and keeping his hands laced in his lap, but he is very pale.
Peridan still looks very concerned so he tries to lighten the mood, “You won’t be the only Archenlander staying.”
Lanisen looks up.
Peridan clears his throat, “It has not been made public quite yet as we are waiting for word to reach Chesterton first however…” He starts to smile again, “Lady Avery and I are engaged.”
Lanisen lifts his eyebrows and opens his mouth, managing a wobbly, incredulous, genuine smile. “Oh– oh, are you? I wondered if that was– I mean, congratulations, sir!”
Peridan grins back, “Thank you, Lanisen. I am quite taken with her and am very thankful, she said yes.”
Lanisen asks, “When is it– when are you…?”
Peridan says, “We have not talked about it yet. I am sure she will need to coordinate with her family.”
Lanisen says, “I suppose so.”
Peridan looks him over, “Anyway…to answer your question, I would be more than happy for you to join us.”
Lanisen looks back up at him, but his eyes skitter away. “Thank you, sir,” he answers.
Peridan taps the table with his fingers, “I will have to speak to the Council about it.”
Lanisen says, “Of– of course, yeah.”
Peridan says, “There is one thought that I want to leave you with. Though you may be an Archenlander, you will be a Narnian first.””
Lanisen glances at him, questioning.
Peridan clarifies, “I consider myself a Narnian, not an Archenlander. Yes, I am from Archenland, my family is from Archenland, and I will ride to Archenland if she is ever in danger but my heart is with Narnia.”
Lanisen says, “I see.”
Oren enters the library, and glances between the two men. “I beg your pardon. I was told that I could find Lord Peridan here.
Peridan turns his head and gets to his feet, giving a bow, “Hello Duke Oren.”
Lanisen glances past Peridan and gets quickly to his feet as well, bowing to both men. “I’ll–” he says, and gestures toward the door. He bows again and makes his way to the door, his pace picking up slightly as he gets further away.