In the Solarium

Queen’s Solarium

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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This is a large, circular room with enormous diamond-paned windows facing each direction. North, the solarium looks out over the castle’s rooftop gardens, while the south and west windows provide a beautiful view of Archenland’s eastern forests. By standing at the east window, one can see down into the wards of the castle. The large door to the northwest can be propped open on pleasant days.

There are a number of plants growing here, ranging from the practical to the delicate and exotic. Several potted banks of medicinal herbs share space with a small fruit-bearing lemon tree, and a Calormene jasmine plant has been trained up an ornamental trellis near the south window.

Though the room is kept immaculately clean and the plants are well-kept and thriving, there is a sense of melancholic loneliness here. The chairs and tables arranged near the middle of the room are covered with white cloth. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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You can go: Tower Garden <NW>

Contents: A daughter of eve with dark skin and a no-nonsense demeanor; A

daughter of eve with short, copper hair (Megren); and A son of adam with a

scarred throat (Lanisen).

Lanisen glances at Sareen and begins to move hesitantly toward the west side of the room for a better view.

Sareen follows the others’ gaze.  “It’s a nice view, isn’t it?”

Megren says, “One of the perks of working in a glass room, hm?””

Sareen says, “One of many.”

Lanisen reaches the west wall and raises his arm to clear the fog off the glass with his sleeve. He takes a deep breath.

Haft enters the solarium, frowning slightly as he takes in the interior.  He has a folded piece of parchment in his hand.

Megren follows Lanisen’s path. “What’s the best bit, then?”

Sareen picks at a loose bit of thread on her shawl.  “Getting to work with flowers and trees year-round.  And staying warm.  Musn’t ignore that.”

Lanisen turns at the sound of the door, and looks slightly surprised to see Haft.

Haft looks surprised in his turn by the other occupants of the solarium.  “Good evening, Lanisen, Meg…”

Sareen asks, “No greeting for me?”

Haft turns toward Sareen, shifting awkwardly.  “Sadie, this came up to the gatehouse.  The page on duty was shirking–or sick, maybe, but we weren’t told.  Anyway…”  He rubs the back of his neck and holds out a letter.

Megren turns at the greeting and regards Haft with surprise about equal to Lanisen’s.

Lanisen dips his head to Haft to return the greeting but stays quiet, rubbing his elbow.

Sareen shuffles over to pluck the letter from Haft’s fingers.  “Thank you.”  She inserts a nail to break it open and reads quickly.  “It’s from my son, in Andale.  Company for dinner tonight, and wonders if I’ll join them.”

Megren says, “Oh, that’s nice.”

Sareen smiles.  “Yes.  It’s probably his wife’s way of telling him that she needs an extra pair of hands and he’d better send for some.”

Lanisen asks tentatively, “You want us to clear on out of here, ma’am?”

Sareen says, “Not at all.  The gardens are open to any castle folk, so long as the nobles aren’t wanting them.  Their Majesties were always free about that.”

Haft folds his arms and looks around the solarium at greater length.  “It’s changed a lot…this room.”

Megren asks, “Yeah?”

Haft nods.  “From when the queen was alive,” he says quietly.

Lanisen blinks a little at Sareen’s assertion, but nods and steps back slightly. His eyes shift to Haft.

Sareen turns to survey what is largely her and Reina’s handiwork.  “Yes, it’s changed.  Prince Cor wanted something that would remind the Lady Aravis of Calormen.”

Haft’s lips tighten briefly.

Megren says, “I’ve hardly been up here.”

Lanisen watches Haft’s face. His forehead furrows a little and he glances around the garden.

Haft’s fingers tighten on his arms.  “I used to have duty in the Queen’s Garden sometimes.”

Megren says, “His majesty and the prince must have great respect for Lady Aravis.”

Sareen smiles.  “Yes.  They’ve been very kind to Her Ladyship.”

Lanisen crosses both his arms over his stomach.

Haft nods.

Megren glances at Lanisen. “I think I… hm, Tiny. Haven’t seen her yet today and I better check in. Lanisen, want to help look?”

Haft mutters, “Check my bunk.”

Megren grins, “You’re going to steal her off me, aren’t you?”

Haft holds his hands up.  “How is your cat’s needy disposition my fault?”

Megren says, “You encourage it.”

Haft snorts.

Sareen asks, “A cat person, is he?”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders to Megren. He glances behind him at the foggy west windows, still golden with the last sunlight, and shifts slightly so that he can watch both the conversation and the sunset.

Megren frowns slightly, but lets Lanisen be. “Looks human to me but that might be deceiving. You haven’t got paws in those boots, have you, Haft?”

Haft scowls.  “I do not.”

Megren says, “Just a person person, then.”

Haft rolls his eyes.

Megren gives him a punishing look for this and sticks out her tongue.

Sareen clucks her tongue.  “I think I’ll leave you children to your conversation.  My daughter-in-law will be expecting me.  Goodnight Lanisen, Megren, Haft.”

Megren’s expression immediately turns back to its usual friendliness. “Good night. Nice to officially meet.”

Haft is suddenly staring at his toes.  “Night, Sadie,” he murmurs.

Lanisen ducks his head to her. “G’night, ma’am. Thank you.”

Sareen bobs her head and then slips out of the solarium.

Sareen walks out into the Tower Garden.

Megren looks between the two reticents shrewdly.

Haft looks up after Sareen has left, but doesn’t notice Megren’s expression.

Lanisen gives Megren a “what” look.

Megren trots over to find a good bench and watch the last of the sunset. “Haft, want to come see?”

Haft says, “Huh?  Yeah, sure.”  He walks over toward the window where the other two are observing.

Megren says, “The clouds are a bit muggy for a really good one.”

Lanisen stays by the window. He uses his sleeve to clear a little of the window-fog again and peers down at the ground.

Megren asks, “Anything good?”

Haft says, “Windows are pretty steamed.  It’s not usually this bad.”

Lanisen lifts his shoulders slightly. “Some tracks?” he offers.

Haft says, “Think I’d best take a look from outside.  Got to get back to the gatehouse anyway.  I’m still on duty.”

Megren looks downward. “Hmm.” She glances at Haft. “Oh. Sure, have a good shift.”

Haft nods and heads for the door.

Lanisen turns slightly to watch him go.

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