the nature of gifts

Selale Basin
Lantern Waste

Lanisen sits on the ground outside the cave he’s been camping in, his knees drawn up loosely and his arms resting on top. There’s a letter unfolded next to him, and another underneath, but he’s only staring at them without doing anything about them. He looks tired.

Crenna pads quietly into the basin, nose to the ground. She pauses upon seeing her friend and gives a low bark, “Hello Lanisen.”

Ayla pads tentatively into the basin, halting just inside it, her ears pricked forward, her nose close to the ground. Glancing up as she nearly runs directly into another wolf in much the same position, she yelps, startled. “Oops. Sorry!” Glancing up, her tail begins to wag slightly upon seeing Lanisen, and she yips a quiet greeting. “Lanisen, Son of Adam,” she comments, sitting in the grass and curling her tail around her feet.

Lanisen shifts and straightens a little on being addressed, glancing toward the bark. “Hey, hi,” he says, and runs his fingers through his hair quickly to try to straighten it. When Ayla joins them, he offers a small grin to include her in the greeting.

Crenna smiles at the younger Wolf, “Hello… Ayla, yes?” She moves over to sit next to Lanisen, observing his demeanor.

Ayla blinks over at Crenna, eyeing her curiously. “Have we met?” she asks. “I don’t recall giving you my name? But I don’t have the best memory either.”

Lanisen folds up the letters and puts them away, rubbing his eyes.

Crenna dips her head, “Yes, once right then I arrived to the Waste. My name is Crenna.” She smiles warmly, “Nice to see you again.”

Standing, Ayla pads quietly toward the pool, stopping more than ten paces from it before retaking her seat; she is close enough for discussion, if not close enough for physical contact, even be it accidental. “It’s nice to see you again too,” Ayla says, clearly a courtesy as she evidently does not recall their meeting. There is a beat, then, “What is your name again?” A glance to Lanisen and she sniffs the air in his direction. “Are you well, Lanisen?”

Lanisen glances up on being addressed. “Ahh– yeah, thank you, I’m fine.”

Ayla dips her head in a nod, letting the matter drop and gazing around at the tranquil setting, evidently content merely to sit there.

Crenna looks slightly confused however she answers Ayla, “My name is Crenna.” She doesn’t look like she quite believes what Lanisen says but she doesn’t say anything, “How are the lessons going?”

Lanisen says, “They’re, they’re goin’ well, thanks. Um, I’m, I’m takin’ the day today.”

Ayla presses her nose to the ground, rising and following an apparent scent back toward the entrance of the hollow. Wuffing a soft farewell, she slips out, leaving the two friends to speak.

Crenna looks a bit startled as the younger Wolf leaves. “Oh farewell….” She turns back to look at Lanisen, a bit concerned.

Lanisen looks at the ashy firepit, then reaches for a piece of wood from the pile next to the cave mouth.

Crenna looks a bit startled as the younger Wolf leaves. “Oh farewell….” She turns back to look at Lanisen, a bit concerned. “News from home?”

Lanisen asks, “Hmm? Oh…” He shrugs. “Nothin’ new, it’s– I need to write back, actually, I been… puttin’ it off.”

From the Larch Tree, Pheeobe yawns and wakes up, shaking the branch that she rests on. She smacks her mouth and then looks around before sniffing the air and seeing the two down below. Her eyes grow big as she realizes more fully where she is.

Crenna ohs. She gets up to get a drink of water. “I see.”

Lanisen starts setting up the wood for a fire, a bit listless and slow.

Crenna watches him but doesn’t press. She asks, “Would you like to be alone?”

Lanisen glances up, startled and slightly vulnerable. “Wh– I’m, I’m sorry, oh–” He blows out a breath and rubs both hands over his face. “I’m sorry, I think I ain’t quite woke up yet. I don’t mean to make you unwelcome, I’m glad to see you.”

From the Larch Tree, Pheeobe peers down from the tree and looks around carefully, making sure not to fall out but the tree does shake.

Crenna shakes her head, “I do not feel unwelcome. I understand that sometimes one wishes to be alone and I don’t want to intrude….” As the tree shakes, she looks up in the branches, scenting. She takes a few steps forward and shakes her head, chuckling. “Comfortable?”

Lanisen squints up at the tree, frowning slightly. His eyes widen in alarm.

From the Larch Tree, Pheeobe laughs, noticing that it is just Crenna and Lanisen, “Hello you two…” She makes her way down, nails scraping on the wood.

Crenna waits for Pheeobe to get down safely before going over to bump her, “You are going to give me a heart attack sometime.”

Lanisen gets to his feet as Pheeobe begins down, watching carefully for any sign that she might be about to fall. He breathes out once she is back on the ground.

Pheeobe laughs, “You guys scared me!” She bumps Crenna back..

Lanisen asks, “/We/ scared /you/?”

Pheeobe says, “I thought you might be Caileana or Virika.”

Crenna shakes her head, “Pheeobe, I don’t want you to break another leg…”

Lanisen blinks.
Lanisen mumbles “Another?”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles something incomprehensible to Lanisen.

Pheeobe shrugs, grinning, “Fine this time. Anyways…” She rolls her head, “Did I hear something about home?”

Crenna bumps her again, “Eavesdropping is rude.”

Lanisen turns away and busies himself building up the fire.

Pheeobe bumps her back, “I know…but I fell asleep. No trouble there.”

Crenna chuckles, “Ulfden must not work you hard enough.”

Lanisen strikes his flint over a little heap of tinder a few times and blows on it to encourage the little spark to catch.

Pheeobe laughs back, “Maybe not.” She looks to Lanisen, “I am sorry I scared you and that I was listening in. I didn’t mean to be intrusive.”

Crenna sits down in front of the fire, watching the spark.

Lanisen says, “No, that’s– you’re fine, I was just worried you’d, you’d fall.”

Pheeobe follows after Crenna and shrugs, “I worry about that too.”

Crenna just shakes her head.

Lanisen glances at her and grins crookedly. “Don’t sleep in trees, then?” he suggests.

Pheeobe laughs, “I wish getting over love was that easy.” She grins at Crenna and then stares at the fire.

Crenna chuckles at Lanisen’s comment and then slightly frowns at pheeobe, looking sympathetic.

Lanisen starts slightly, shooting a quick uncertain glance to Pheeobe.

Pheeobe looks at the two of them and frowns, “I was joking…” She keeps watching them and adds, “Did I say something wrong?”

Crenna shakes her head, “I’m always serious.”

Lanisen shakes his head as well, reaching for a pot.

Pheeobe frowns and then shrugs, going quiet.

Crenna yawns, “I saw Ayla today. She is very skittish.”

Pheeobe smiles, “Isn’t she? She is young.”

Crenna asks, “Is she born of the pack or joined as a rogue?”

Pheeobe says, “Rogue. Which might just explain it all to us.”

Lanisen asks, “She was rogue, she and her mum?”

Pheeobe tilts her head, “Her mum? She didn’t come with her mum.”

Lanisen pauses. “I’m… sorry, I think I spoke out of turn there.”

Crenna looks sad, “Oh I see. I am glad she made her way here.”

Concern crosses Pheeobe’s face and it holds, “I- I had no idea…”

Lanisen rubs his hand over his mouth, distressed. “I’m– I’m sorry, please don’t– I didn’t know it wasn’t common knowledge, please don’t spread it about.”

Pheeobe shakes her head, “Oh of course not. I would never.”

Crenna stands up and moves to bump Lanisen, “Hey, hey it is okay.”

Lanisen lets out a little huff of breath. “Thank you,” he says to Pheeobe.

Crenna says, “Well, I hope to get to know her better while here.”

Pheeobe nods, “I am a little unpredictable but I would never do that.” She looks to Crenna and nods in agreement.

Lanisen says, “Good, that’s, I’m glad; you’ll be good for her, both of you.”

Crenna smiles at Pheeobe, “Well, I do now know how much I can help since I do not live here however I do agree that Pheeobe will be wonderful for her.” She eyes Lanisen, “You too.”

Lanisen says, “I don’t, I don’t live here either.”

Pheeobe looks at Lanisen, “You do for the time being…” She grins at Crenna, “Maybe my history can help…” She shrugs.

Crenna nods, “I agree. I think everyone’s history can help.” She eyes Lanisen, “You said that you were going to stay until winter?”

Lanisen nods.

Crenna smirks, “Then you will be here longer than me.”

Lanisen asks, “When’re you goin’ back?”

Crenna hmms, “Probably soon. I shouldn’t stay away too long. My purpose here was simply to check in, see if any assistance was needed.”

Lanisen looks down and nods.

Pheeobe looks to Crenna and frowns, “Did anyone need assistance?”

Crenna chuckles, “No.”

Pheeobe grins, “Didn’t think so…”

Lanisen says, “Though if folks keep climbin’ trees…”

Crenna grins at Lanisen, “They will be in your capable hands.”

Pheeobe smiles sheepishly.

Lanisen says, “Lion save ’em.”

Crenna quips, “That he does.”

Pheeobe smiles at Crenna, leaning on her a bit.

Lanisen snorts and gives Crenna a wry sidelong look.

Crenna just smirks at him.

Lanisen says, “They’ll have Panacea, anyway.”

Pheeobe nods, “And thanks to your herbs, we will all be good to go till you return.”

Crenna nods. She looks up at the sky, “Speaking of, I should get going.”

Lanisen says, “‘Course. See you around, then.”

Pheeobe also looks to the sky and then nods, “See you. Crenna”

Crenna said her goodbyes before heading off.

Lanisen holds his hands out to the fire, absorbing the warmth.

Pheeobe looks at Lanisen and then snuggles up closer to the fire.

Lanisen asks, “What’re you up to today?”

Pheeobe grins, head on her paws, “I poked around the beavers den for a bit…smelled something funny…found a skunk. Went for a swim. I will be patrolling later. You?”

Lanisen pauses. “Um,” he says finally, “I don’t– I don’t know, I should prob’ly… write that letter.”

Pheeobe pops her head up, “Oh! Would you like me to leave? From what I understand those can sometime be very personal.”

Lanisen says, “No, no, that’s not, I wasn’t hintin’ you should go.”

Pheeobe nods and relaxes again, “Oh okay…just checking.”

Lanisen looks down at the pot sitting next to him, then at the pool. He sighs and gets to his feet, picking up the pot, and carries it to the pool to fill up.

Pheeobe watches him and then ahs, “Lanisen! I forgot!” She runs out of the Basin.

Lanisen straightens from where he’s knelt by the pool to fill his pot, watching Pheeobe disappear bemusedly. After a moment, he looks down at the water and makes his way back to his fire. When Pheeobe returns, he’s got the pot hung over the hottest part of the fire.

Pheeobe comes near Lanisen, “Here! I brought a squirrel for your stew. I know it isn’t rabbit but I didn’t touch it with my mouth but once.” She grins like this is a real prize.

Lanisen blinks. “Uh– ohhh, oh!”

Pheeobe smiles widely, “Or would you prefer rabbit?”

Lanisen says, “You didn’t– you don’t have to!”

Pheeobe laughs, “I said I would. I cannot break a promise!”

Lanisen says, “Thank– thank you, this is–” He draws a breath and squints at the dead squirrel, then asks a little helplessly, “Can I– um, can I do anything for you as, as… in return?”

Pheeobe shrugs, “Only if you want to…but not because you have to.” She smiles, “Or you could count it as thanks for helping us here…and getting us ready for my next broken bone.”

Lanisen lets out a breath, half-smiling a little anxiously. “I don’t– I don’t feel right takin’ this without– Please, what can I, what can I do?”

Pheeobe grins and then grows quite serious, “I just want to help you be comfortable here. If I can help you with your stew or whatever…please let me. I enjoy helping as I can.”

Lanisen moistens his lips. “Please,” he says again. “I don’t want to just take, I don’t want to just take…”

Pheeobe tilts her head and then, “You didn’t take. You were given.” She looks at him warmly, “You know…one day you are doing to have to accept the help of others.”

Lanisen avoids her eyes, swallowing.

Pheeobe watches him for just a moment before looking at the fire and settling back down to her paws.

Pheeobe looks at Lanisen and then to the sky, “I think I will head out. But remember,” She looks to him while getting up, “To accept kindness. It is a good reminder of why we are here.” She grins at him weakly.

Lanisen murmurs, “Um…” His face twists up briefly, but he says, “Thank you; I’m sorry; thank you.” He pauses, and then adds, glancing up at her, “Please, though…”

Pheeobe tilts her head, “Yes?”

Lanisen says, “If there’s anything, if it’s, if you think of somethin’ a week from now, two weeks, please…”

Pheeobe nods and smiles kindly, “Of course I will let you know..” She nods once and then heads out.

Lanisen rubs at his wrists, watching her go, then looks at the unfortunate squirrel.

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