history & memory & grace

In the Great Woods
Southern Narnia

You find yourself in the deep, vibrant forest that makes up the Great Woods of Narnia. All around you, trees and vines and bushes grow in great abundance, their leafy branches serving to block out a good deal of the sunlight that would trickle down from above. There are very few clear paths here upon which to walk, but at least you sense no real danger from the trees here. They seem to regard you with a detached curiosity, allowing you to pass by without impediment.

To the north, you can just make out the sparkling surface of the inlet of Glasswater through the dense foliage. The seawater adds a tang to the woodland scents that hang in the air here. To the south, the ground inclines sharply toward the mountains beyond, and a stone building sits nestled between two foothills. The sign above the door reads: The Splintered Axe Inn and Tavern.

Lanisen sits alone on the ground outside the inn in a puddle of sunshine that has broken through the trees, writing a letter. His left foot, extended in front of him, is bootless and wrapped up tightly in white cloth, as if it’s been hurt recently. A big black hound is flopped on his side next to him, asleep with his back pressing up against Lanisen’s leg.

Wintermoor makes his way into the clearing and towards the inn carrying with him the signs of travel.

Lanisen looks up at the sound of hooves, moving slightly in a way that suggests he’s about to get up before he changes his mind. He watches the path, keeping very still, and then breathes out in pleased relief and recognition when Wintermoor comes into view. The hound at his side raises his head.

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conflicting goals

Splintered Axe Tavern
The Great Woods
Southern Narnia

Lanisen can be heard cautiously clumping down the steps several moments before he actually steps through the door. He makes his way to the door, slightly disheveled and with a look of intense concentration on his face.

Crenna trots into the tavern, greeting the barkeep, “Hello Hergel. How’s my patient today?” As if on cue, her ears swivel to the sound of steps and her eyes widen. She picks up the pace to meet him at the door, “Lanisen! Hold onto my neck for support if you need.”

Lanisen says, slightly out of breath, “I’m okay, I’m okay, thank you.”

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bedside manners

The Splintered Axe Tavern
The Great Woods
Southern Narnia

You find yourself standing in a rustic tavern nestled deep in the Great Woods of Narnia. It appears to be much what you’d expect of such a tavern. It is not large, but there are several tables scattered about. They are rough-hewn, but clean. A beardless, young-looking dwarf can be seen behind the bar along the south wall, washing out mugs and taking orders from the patrons. The tavern appears to have a small but loyal clientele, made up mostly of talking woodland beasts.

There is a door behind the bar, but that appears to lead to private quarters.

A door to the west leads to the Inn, where travellers can stay for brief periods as they make their way from Archenland into Narnia or vice versa. The door leading out is north.

Lanisen is tucked away in a corner, trying to be invisible. This is made difficult by the massive black hound sitting on his haunches next to him, and also by the odd collection of walking sticks leaned up against the wall.

Crenna comes trotting into the inn, head to the ground. She seems like she is on a mission,

Lanisen sighs and reaches down to dig through the pack on the floor next to him. He surfaces with a notebook, which he flips through until he comes to a blank page. When the door opens, he glances up.

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Gathering Circle
Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

A wolf with grizzled coat and emerald eyes (Glyn) flashes a wry grin at Caileana. “Well and plainly put.” Aliyah’s words trouble him, though. “If there are troubling rumours, then I for one think we should chase them down. Anyone who would seize control and undermine the established order might think they have the good of Narnia at heart, but they could do untold damage on the way.”

Pheeobe nods again. “Glyn is right. We must do everything we can to keep the peace. We must put the good of all at the center.”

Caileana chimes in, “Does the Council even have any candidates to rule in mind? Of tradition, Narnia has been governed by Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, but there are few enough of those, and even fewer that could be said to be more Narnian than Archenlander.”

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writer’s block

South Side of the Caldron Pool
Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Lanisen sits on the ground near the pool, his legs drawn up. He’s using a flat-topped boulder as a table, fighting the gentle breeze for ownership of a half-written letter.

Crenna trots through the forest, looking much more rested from her journey. Upon seeing Lanisen, she smiles and barks out a greeting, “Hello Lanisen.”

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canine introductions

Selale Basin
Lantern Waste
Northwestern Narnia

Here is a wide open space carved in the rock, roughly circular and no more than twenty yards in diameter. The cliffs loom high on every side, providing shelter from wind and weather, but a great opening very far up lets in sunlight and sky. A thin jet of water, perhaps a daughter-stream of the river that pours into Caldron Pool, cascades down the western cliff face and feeds into a deep pool the color and clarity of a well-cut emerald. The ground, except for a ring of vegetation surrounding the pool, is dry and sandy. A single ancient larch tree grows tall near the north wall.

All around, the cliff face is etched and pocked with half-open tunnels and dark holes, entrances to small caves hollowed out years ago by the long work of water on stone. Some are fitted with wooden doors and appear inhabited, but many still yawn empty. Up above, ledges and crevices in the rock provide nesting spaces for eagles and hawks. In the east wall, through a wide crevice like a wound in the stone, the forests of Lantern Waste are just visible.

Aliyah points at the water. “I think it’s going to need a bath when you’re done.” She shakes her head, continuing. “Anyway, it seems he had different thoughts than I did. I said I needed to be in a place away from where my family was. My wording was off for certain as I meant where my blood family used to be. So he let out this growly noise. You know the one, I’m sure. He then said that part of growing up was figuring out who I was without my family, but I could hurt those who care about me by doing that. It’s like…” She sighs. “He thought I meant Ulfden, and maybe subconsciously I did?” She looks at Crenna for advice.

Crenna raises a paw and attempts to splash Aliyah. “Oh hush.” She leaps out, shaking out her fur before looking at her reflection, making sure that she looks semi presentable. Though how much can a drenched wolf be actually presentable. She flops a bit in the sun to dry up as she addresses her friend, “Just because Ulfden can be…different doesn’t make them any less of a family. After all, being in a pack is being in a family.” She tips her head, “Do you miss Ulfden, Aliyah?”

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last morning in the woods

In the Great Woods
Southeastern Narnia

Dreygan walks along one of the somewhat clearer paths through the woods. There are several leaves caught in his pelt, particularly across his back and one side. Despite the crisp air, his legs are wet, as if he’s been wading recently.

Lanisen is sitting on the step again, a mug of fragrant coffee cupped in his hands.

Dreygan pauses and sniffs as the scent of the coffee drifts towards him. He tips his head, then walks that way. “What’ve you got this time?”

Lanisen answers, shifting where he sits, “Coffee. I never had it. It smelled good.”

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In the Great Woods
Southeastern Narnia

Lanisen sits on the inn’s front step in the cool autumn sunshine. He has a map of Narnia unfolded on his lap, and he is poring over it with interest.

A wolf with heavy scarring over his right eye is preceded by the rustling of branches and twigs. He emerges into the area around the inn, sniffing at the ground before placing his feet.

Lanisen raises his head at the rustling and looks around until he locates its source. He shifts slightly so that he is more ready to get to his feet, watching the Wolf with a curiosity and interest that is more respectful than wary.

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how not to get lost in the woods

In the Great Woods
Southeastern Narnia

Lanisen is walking along the side of the inn, his head tilted back to see into the trees. It’s not raining, but it feels as though it might soon, and it hasn’t been very long since the last drizzle. Everything is damp and rather chilly, a little fog rising from the creek, and sounds are strangely muted under the trees.

A wolf with a white forepaw pads along the forest ground, sniffing this and that. Every so often, she pauses to dig up some of the dirt, sniffing at the ground. Her paw steps are light and to a human’s ears, it may be hard to pick up.

Lanisen keeps moving. When he reaches the north face of the building, he turns right to walk west along the path, in no particular hurry, his hands in his pockets.

Continue reading how not to get lost in the woods