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Contents: A son of adam wearing ornate garb of superior nobility; A weasel with a batter soaked pink ribbon on her tail; and Peridan.

(Oren is invited into the library for tea.)

Oren enters the room from where he had been lingering just outside. “I’d certainly enjoy some tea, if my presence is no intrusion, that is.” He gives Peridan a questioning glance.

Peridan looks up and dips his head, “Hello Duke Oren. Please, join us.” He stands up from his chair to make proper introductions, “May I Introduce Tarkaan Chlamash?”

Oren strides forward. “Ah, a pleasure, Tarkaan.” He bows in a style unusual to Narnia.

Linor uses her tail to gently tip the teapot over a cup, and then uses the same apendage to hand a cup to the duke.

Chlamash rises just after Peridan to greet the newcommer. Surprise dawning on his face at the Duke’s bow to which he returns in kind. “Well met, My Lord Duke.”

Oren straightens from the Calormene-style bow. “We have the occasional visitor from your country in Terebinthia. I took the ooportunity to be instructed on a few of your customs.”

Peridan sits back down and observes quietly. He sips his tea.

Linor makes sure that all three tea cups are topped off and then climbs off of the table.

Chlamash says, “Indeed so? There are not many of the northern lands with an interest to the culture of my country.”

Chlamash nods his thanks to the mink as she refills the cups of tea for all and climbs off the table.

Oren says, “I try to take an interest in all our visitors.”

Peridan also thanks Linor. He smiles a bit at this but says nothing.

Linor gives a bow to all of the inhabitents of the chamber. “You are very welcome sirs. Is there anything else that you would like? I’ll be returning to the kitchens shortly.

Oren nods his thanks to the mink, then adds. “I don’t believe I caught your name when we met earlier.”

Chlamash replies to the Duke, “Such is most gratifying to hear.”

Linor says, “My name is Linor, sir. It was a pleasure to meet you yesterday, it’s always good when the castle visitors decide revel with the rest of is.”

Oren says, “Mustn’t let you have all the fun.”

Peridan watches this exchange interestingly.

Linor nods enthusiastically “That was how the Four ruled. There’s no reason to not have fun because of titles and duties.”

Linor says, “I’d best be off to the kitchen now. It is always a pleasure serving you, Lord Peridan. And it was lovely getting to see you again as well, Duke Oren.”

Oren inclines his head again.

Peridan dips his head to her, “Thank you, Miss Linor. I hope you have a lovely day.”

Linor crosses to the east end of the library, disappearing through the southeast door.

The Tarkaan also takes his leave, excusing him from the Library to go attend to other duties.

Peridan looks up at the Duke, “Please, feel free to join me.” On the table beside the table, there is a large book of Narnian History.

Oren glances at the table. “Light reading?”

Peridan says plainly, “Studying the Monarchy of Narnia.”

Oren takes a seat. “Something I’m quite familiar with. What have you learned?”

Peridan rubs his chin, “That many monarchs have sat on this throne.”

Oren says, “Aye. Almost nine hundred years of Frank’s descendants in a line unbroken until the Winter.”

Peridan assesses the man, “Indeed. Do you mind me asking how you and your family ended up in Terebinthia?”

Oren says, “Ah, yes, you missed that part of the story. Well, it’s simple enough. My great-grandsire was the second son of the grandfather of Narnia’s last monarch. He visited the islands and fell in love with a Terebinthian woman.”

Peridan ahs, “I see.” He taps his finger on the book, debating something.

Oren gives him a questioning look.

Peridan says, “Why did you submit your name for consideration? ”

Oren tilts his head to one side, considering his answer. “I grew up on my grandfather’s stories of Narnia while Narnia was yet a realm of frozen ice. In how many boyhood imaginings did I return to rescue her from her oppressors? But the way remained shut. When the first messengers reached us my father made inquiries, but it swiftly became clear that the country’s new liberators had been acclaimed by the Lion. What was there to do then? To return would have caused confusion and chaos, debate among the people over the proper succession. We remained in Terebinthia. I had a wife, a beautiful daughter of the islands, and a young son, but amidst my joy in my family my blood ached for Narnia. I kept an ear open for news from home as I thought of it, and heard of the exploits and virtues of your monarchs. Five years ago my son and I embarked on a trip to visit the land, your monarchy by then being well-established and our arrival less likely to cause consternation.”

Peridan just listens, his hand swirling around the rim of the teacup.

Oren says, “We explored much of the country, beyond our visit proper to court. It is a remarkable place. Terebinthia cannot rival such beauty.”

Peridan grins a bit, “I agree. There isn’t such beauty as Narnia.”

Oren says, “I suspect you are right. In any case I had hoped to have the excuse to return–at least to visit more frequently if my duties back at the manor permitted. I hoped that your Valiant queen might take a liking to my son. It would have been good, I thought, to unite the two houses. Had it been so, well, perhaps the kingdom would not have faced the same confusion that plagues it now.”

Peridan sips his teacup, “I suppose. Succession has never been more importance especially since it will affect the future of Narnia for decades and even centuries to come.”

Oren says, “Yes. Nothing came of it, sadly, to my mind. I thought they might be fairly well-matched. Well, there’s no accounting for what attracts the young, I suppose. The heart goes where it will. My son sent a few letters over the years, but none of your queen’s responses seemed encouraging enough to warrant another visit too soon. In truth I had hoped to come about a year ago, but I was prevented.”

Peridan asks, “Prevented?”

Oren says, “My wife passed.”

Peridan ohs, looking sympathetic, “My condolences, Duke.”

Oren says, “Thank you. Her loss left a great hole in our family.”

Peridan dips his head, “A loss of a family member is a terrible one to bear.”

The door opens and a guard comes in. He makes a respectful bow to both men before saying, “Lord Peridan, you are needed in the Hall.” Peridan nods to the guard, “I see. Thank you for coming to get me.”

Oren sips hs tea.

Peridan stands to his feet and give a slight bow, “I fear I must attend to my duties.”

Oren says, “Of course. I hope to discuss this further with you later. My reasons, I mean.”

Peridan dips his head, “Yes, I would like so as well. Until next time.” He follows the guard out.


One thought on “On Staying Away

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