one bake

In the Northern Woods
Lantern Waste

The dense and varied woodland of the Northern Wood has been broken up a little here, and a real glimpse of the sky is finally visible. The oak and white pine trees still dominate the area, but a small plot of land has been cleared for a sort of garden-meadow. A goat stands in a pen near the edge of the clearing, and a deep well has been dug there as well, walled up so that no one will stumble in. Set back into the trees and brush, where it would be almost hidden if it did not have the goat pen to mark it, is a small cottage-like house.

Because of the thick undergrowth, it’s rather hard to see any distinct paths leading out of the clearing.

Lanisen wanders to the edge of the clearing in the late afternoon, peering through the trees toward the house. He has a stained cloth bag mostly full of fresh herbs slung across his body.

Jana is emptying scraps into the goat trough.

Lanisen hesitates, glancing toward the windows of the house, then heads that way, in no particular hurry. “Hey,” he says once he’s near enough.

Jana looks up as she bangs on the bottom of her bucket. “Oh, hey.”

Lanisen asks without preamble, “You want peaches?”

Jana says, “Huh?” Her brows draw together. “Oh, uh, sure.”

Lanisen takes off his bag and lowers it to the ground, shifting some of the herbs out of the way to get to a half-dozen carefully-wrapped peaches at the bottom of the bag. “Went by and got some for the Beavers,” he explains ruefully. “But then I went to give ’em them and they weren’t in.”

Jana asks, “Ain’t leave them at the door?”

Lanisen shrugs, not seeming particularly distressed to have failed to think of this.

Jana narrows an eye but simply says, “Let me get a crate for ’em.”

Lanisen says agreeably, “All right.”

Jana watches the goat as she unlatches the gate, scolding it the whole time she’s through.

Lanisen wanders over to the fence to distract the goat with a handful of clover from outside its wandering area while she does so.

Jana latches the gate behind her and then goes inside, reemerging with an apple crate.

Lanisen is scritching the goat behind the ears when she returns. He glances up and turns to get his bag.

Jana rests the crate on the fence, balancing it lightly with a hand.

Lanisen unwraps the peaches and sets them each neatly in the crate.

Jana leans her hip against the fence.

Lanisen asks, setting the last two in, “How’re you?”

Jana says, “Feedin’ goats.”

Lanisen grins.

Jana says, “And you’re… pickin’ peaches, I guess.”

Lanisen shrugs, glancing away. “There was a tree, I was passin’ by.”

Jana asks, “What’d she say about the poisons?”

Lanisen says, “Hmm? Oh. I wasn’t meant to pick it, I was meant to tell her if I found any.”

Jana asks, “So?”

Lanisen says, “I didn’t find any.”

Jana says, “Hm.”

Lanisen says, “She clears it out when she finds it.”

Jana says, “Ain’t doin’ no harm just growin’.”

Lanisen pauses. “It’s–” he begins. “If, if somebody ate it by accident, or even– if they picked it thinkin’ it was pretty–”

Jana narrows an eye.

Lanisen says, “It’s, it’s really strong, the poison in it.”

Jana says, “Y…eah…”

Lanisen pauses, looking at her uncertainly.

Jana says, “So don’t be stupid.”

Lanisen pulls his chin back. “People can’t help what they don’t know.”

Jana says, “Don’t eat things you don’t know what they are. That’s stupid.”

Lanisen says, “No, it’s– it’s one that can hurt you if you touch it.”

Jana says, “So then you’re real stupid if you eat it.”

Lanisen rubs the back of his neck.

Jana lifts her chin at the herb basket. “What’ve you got.”

Lanisen says, “‘S mostly yarrow. There was a big patch south of the river.”

Jana says, “What’s that for.”

Lanisen says, “Colds, she said, mostly. Fevers.”

Jana says, “Mm.”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders. “I ain’t learned much about ’em yet,” he says apologetically. “It’s, it’s mostly just rushin’ to get a bunch in and dryin’ before it starts frostin’.”

Jana says, “Yeah.”

Lanisen asks, “Is Tristran likin’ his book?”

Jana says, “Yeah. He can’t read it for himself yet.”

Lanisen says, “Aw, well. He can look at the pictures anyway.”

Jana says, “Sure, yeah.”

Lanisen says, “Hey–” and pauses.

Jana lifts her brows.

Lanisen pulls his lips between his teeth, a little reluctant. “Do you know about, about bakin’ things?”

Jana says, “…I guess.”

Lanisen asks, “Can you teach me one?”

Jana asks, “One…bake?”

Lanisen flushes. “Um, um, it’s– my, my friend in Anvard, she makes these apple cobblers and they’re real good and she wrote me and sent me the recipe but I don’t know how to make it and I don’t– I don’t know hardly anybody who makes things like that.”

Jana says, “Oh, uh. Myrd usually does the hard stuff.”

Lanisen says, “Oh.”

Jana says, “Also I think baking takes a long time, you’d have to find an oven wasn’t being used.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah, that’s–” He shifts and shrugs. “I’ll– when I go back I’ll talk to, there’s a, a Mink who works in the kitchens, she makes that kind of thing.”

Jana says, “The beavers’d help.”

Lanisen says, “Oh, or– yeah, maybe.”

Jana says, “Sorry.”

Lanisen says, “No, no– it’s, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll, I’ll bring you some, if it turns out.”

Jana lifts her shoulders.

Lanisen says, “It’s really good cobbler.”

Jana says, “All right.”

Lanisen says, taking a step back, “Well. Anyway.”

Jana says, “Thanks for the peaches.”

Lanisen says, “Yeah! Thanks for, thanks for takin’ ’em off my hands.”

Jana asks, “Ain’t like peaches?”

Lanisen hmms? “I love peaches, I just ain’t needin’ that many by myself. And I go by the tree about every day, no need to store ’em up.”

Jana says, “All right. Well, thanks.”

Lanisen says, “See you around.”

Jana says, “Oh–”

Lanisen pauses.

Jana says, “Uh, I got a trip to the moors in a week.”

Lanisen turns to face her more fully. “To the– oh, oh.”

Jana says, “Usually about a fortnight.”

Lanisen says, “Right, sure.” He pauses. “Do you– is there anything I can, do you need anything special?”

Jana shakes her head. “It’s pretty routine now.”

Lanisen says, “I reckoned, but is there– can I help with anything?”

Jana lifts her shoulders.

Lanisen says, “Really, if there’s–”

Jana says, “I don’t got anything, sorry.”

Lanisen says, “All right.”

Jana says, “I’ll see you before I go.”

Lanisen says, “All right.”

Jana says, “All right.”

Lanisen half-smiles and ducks his head, turning to go. “See you.”

Jana says, “Yeah. Thanks again.”

Lanisen makes a vague dismissive gesture, heading back toward the edge of the clearing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s