Cair Paravel
Eastern Narnia

Lanisen has picked one of the very furthest seats today, one half-hidden from the view of the west door and entirely hidden from the southeast by shelves. He looks exhausted and pale, with shadows under his eyes like he hasn’t been sleeping, and he doesn’t seem entirely absorbed in his book.

Avery comes in through the west door, her footsteps quiet. Her left hand is still bandaged, but it has been kept clean and dry. She stops just inside the door, looking at the shelves.

Lanisen lifts his head immediately when the door opens, wary. There’s a sort of wide-eyed, on-edge quality to his face that sags into weariness when he recognizes the newcomer.

Avery steps further into the library. Movement catches her eye and she startles a bit when she sees Lanisen, blinking. “Lanisen. Forgive me, I did not see you there.”

Lanisen swallows and gets to his feet, bowing. “I’m sorry, my lady,” he answers. “I didn’t think to startle you.”

Avery observes his face for a moment, frowning slightly. “Lanisen…are you…are you alright?”

Lanisen says, “I’m– yes, my lady.”

Avery opens her mouth to say something, but then she closes it. “Hmm.” She fingers the edge of the bandage. “I, um, I am glad to find you here, actually…”

Lanisen crosses one arm over his middle, gripping his opposite elbow. “What can I, what can I do for you, Lady Avery?”

Avery says, “I wanted to thank you. For helping me in the infirmary the other day.”

Lanisen says, “Oh– oh, um.” He lifts his shoulders, a small quick smile lightening his face. “I was, I was happy to do it. Stormsbreath’s a good teacher.”

Avery nods, her lips turning up a little when she sees him smile. “You’ve learned a good deal from him, then?”

Lanisen says, hesitating, “Um– not, not as much as he’s told me.” He half-grins a little, self-deprecating. “Some of it’s startin’ to stick, though.”

Avery says, “I am sure there is a lot to remember.” She holds up her hand. “He seemed to approve of your poultice-making skills. The mixture was very helpful. I felt very little pain after my visit.”

Lanisen’s face lights a little more. “That’s, that’s good, I’m glad,” he answers. Somebody enters the library, and his eyes slip past her immediately to the door, dark and watchful despite his evident weariness.

Avery observes his reaction with a furrowed brow, confused and concerned. She takes a few steps closer, but leaves a good amount of space between them. Her voice is quiet as she says, “Lanisen? What is it?”

Lanisen looks back at her, a little helplessly, and blinks a couple times. “I–” He moistens his lips and swallows. “I’m sorry, I’m not– I’m sorry.”

Avery asks, “Do you feel unsafe? Or unwelcome here?”

Lanisen takes a breath, lowering his head so he doesn’t have to look at her directly. “Um,” he says again, struggling, and then finally says in a very soft voice that barely carries as far as Avery, “I– Aaron’s, Aaron’s here?”

Avery blinks. “Aaron?”

Lanisen looks lost for a moment, as if he isn’t sure what to do with this answer, but he realizes and shuts his eyes briefly, shaking his head in a slight disoriented motion. “Darius, Darius.”

Avery pales at his words. “What?”

Lanisen rubs a hand over his face, avoiding her eyes. “I knew he was in, in Narnia, bein’ held, but I never…” He breathes a quick in-and-out and shuts his eyes again for a second. “Um– I didn’t– think about it bein’ /here/ and I know it’s fine, I /know/ it’s fine, but I can’t– um…”

Avery glances away for a moment. She steps closer and, with a gentle hand on his arm, she leads him back to where he was sitting. “I promise you that you are safe here. I cannot fully understand how you must feel, Lanisen, but I do know you will not come to harm, by him or anyone else.”

Lanisen’s shoulders hunch up slightly, but he doesn’t resist her guidance. He lifts his chin and nods, his face twisting a little. “I know, thank you, I’m– I’m really sorry.”

Avery shakes her head. “You have nothing to apologize for, Lanisen.” She sighs. “You have been through so much…but I think you have an opportunity to finally find and be yourself here in Narnia. The kind and gentle person you are. I think you should pursue it.”

Lanisen goes still at this.

Avery sees his reaction and steps back, biting her lip. “I am sorry if I am making you uncomfortable…”

Lanisen shakes his head slightly and swallows, not looking up. “I’ll– try, my lady.”

Avery frowns, looking away. “Very well…” She smooths the front of her skirt even though there are no visible wrinkles. “I should go.”

Lanisen straightens immediately and nods, bowing again. “Thank you, my lady.”

Avery says, “Thank you, again, for helping me with my hand.” She bows her head. “Good evening, Lanisen.”

Lanisen nods quickly. He watches her go, then finally sits again.


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