Lanisen seems to be finished with his duties for the day in the kennels below, as he is sprawled near the now-empty whelping box, tussling with several mostly-grown puppies at once. Much good-natured growling can be heard from both sides as they fight over a short length of knotted rope, ears and tails, and Lanisen’s shoes.
Elek pads into the upper room, sniffing around. The hound is soon followed by his master, who has a bit of a puzzled expression as he watches Elek.
Lanisen doesn’t even notice, as his back is to the door, and he and the puppies are making more than enough noise to cover Elek’s entrance. He cups his hand over one pup’s face, rrrr-ing menacingly and shoving it backward. The pup is clearly loving it, as it just re-pounces the hand as soon as it is removed from his eyes and nose. The rest of the pups continue to play-fight each other and Lanisen, all quite thoroughly wound up. One toddles over to greet Elek and Tyren.
Tyren chuckles a bit as Elek sniffs the puppy cautiously, then sitting in his usual regal sort of manner. The knight, for his part, kneels down and strokes the puppy’s head with a gentle hand. He smirks as he glances to his own hound. “What? Refusing to admit you were a puppy once yourself?”
Lanisen sits up immediately at Tyren’s voice, his attention leaving the pups abruptly. One continues to gnaw his sleeve and he detaches the fabric without ceremony, standing to bow. Puppies scatter.
Tyren nods in Lanisen’s direction, still absently stroking the puppy near him, who rather seems to be enjoying the attention. “Evening, Lanisen.”
Lanisen answers, “Evening, sir. Sorry, didn’t hear you come in.”
Tyren hehs. “Quite all right. I didn’t exactly make it obvious, nor was it quite my intent. Apparently Elek thought something interesting up here, though.”
Lanisen glances at the dog in question, surreptitiously shaking off a puppy waging war on his bootlaces. “Huh.”
Tyren stands again, ruffling Elek’s fur as he does so. The hound looks a hair miffed at being treated in a semi-rough playful manner, which causes the knight to chuckle again. “Oh, lighten up, will you.”
Lanisen rubs the back of his neck, looking around the room rather awkwardly. “Can I… help you with somethin’?”
Tyren considers the question a moment and opens his mouth to reply, though at the last minute seems to change his mind. He says simply, “Nothing in particular at the moment… thought to pay Elek a visit tonight. Could do with it. Seems this is where we ended up.” It could conceiveably be the case this was not quite what he’d originally intended to say.
Lanisen hehs, half-grinning to Tyren, and backs toward a stack of blankets that looks like it’s been used as a seat before. He plops and reaches down to scoop up a puppy. “‘S nice, sir.”
Tyren glances down to the puppy now sniffing curiously at his boot. “They seem to be faring well.”
Lanisen says, “Yes, sir. Weaned, and Danall’s got ’em half trained already. Not that you’d know it to look at ’em.”
Tyren chuckles a little, still watching the puppy scamper around his feet. “Do a fair job keeping you company as well, I take it.”
Lanisen glances around at each of the pups, something protective in the look, then ducks his head and grins down at the one chewing his fingers. “Yeah. They do at that.”
Tyren glances to Elek again, scratching his head, which elicits a whimper from the puppy who clearly wants more attention too. “Seems hounds have a way of doing that.”
Lanisen says, “Yes, sir. Hard not to have favorites. And easy too, at the same time and for the same reason.” This is said quietly, the words aimed down at the pup, as if he finds it easier to talk to the dog than the knight.
Tyren hehs. “It’s understandable, at least.”
Lanisen glances at him silently.
Tyren says, “Take Elek here. May not be the easiest hound to get along with, but even so I’m rather partial. Probably because he reminds me of where I’ve been, among other things.”
Lanisen hehs, giving Elek a measured look. “Seems to me they’re all… they’re… I like ’em for what they are, sir. Not ’cause they remind me of something I like, because they /are/ somebody I like.”
Tyren quirks a brow, glancing to Lanisen. “You’re assuming I like where I’ve been with that statement.”
Lanisen raises his own right back. “You don’t like your dog? Sir?”
Tyren hehs again. “Oh, I’m quite fond of Elek, for many reasons. He’s been a constant and steadfast companion, and I’ve always valued that. Loyal as anything. And he never lets me forget where I’ve come from, either. Which is a good thing.”
Lanisen says simply, “He ain’t you.”
Tyren quirks a brow. “You presume I’ve forgotten such?”
Lanisen lets out a breath and looks away. “No, sir.”
Tyren asks, “I seem to recall you accused me once of treating you as something less than a person, just an animal to be gawked at, and how indignant you were at such a thought. Does the thought of treating a hound as perhaps something more than a mere animal irk you the same way?”
Lanisen studies the ground and says carefully, “No, sir. Sorry, sir.”
Tyren glances back to Elek, who has since moved to sniff at the puppy again, who has decided to bother the hound in hopes of the attention the knight isn’t giving him. He is quiet, expression somewhat thoughtful.
Lanisen sighs and adjusts the hound pup on his lap so it doesn’t fall off. He glances back across at Tyren and starts to say something, then apparently decides against it and closes his mouth.
Tyren looks back to Lanisen. “In regard to the former, do you still think that? And I’d much prefer an honest answer, rather than the one you think I want to hear.” Neither tone nor expression gives any indication as to what might be his purpose in asking such a question.”
Lanisen raises his head, looking sharply across at the knight. He is silent for a long moment, and when he answers, it is with a question. “Should I?”
Tyren quirks his brow. Elek continues to nose the puppy, who seems to be having a wonderful time scampering about Elek’s forepaws and making little yippy noises. He replies, “Whether you should or not bears little weight on the truth of the response. And that is what I am looking for.”
Lanisen is quiet for another minute. “Rather not say, then, sir.”
Tyren draws a slow breath, turning back to Elek. His tone is a degree lower as he says, “Which I suppose is an answer in itself.”
Lanisen glances at Tyren, looking startled and half-frightened. “No– that’s not… I’m– I’m sorry.”
Tyren shakes his head a bit. “There is no need to be. I asked for the truth, and I have received it. And I suppose it is understandable.” He makes a gesture, and Elek moves back to his owner’s side, leaving the puppy whimpering a bit.
Lanisen says, a bit more insistently, “That ain’t what I meant, sir.”
Tyren asks, “Then what was it you meant?”
Lanisen lets out a frustrated breath. “Not that.”
Tyren quirks a brow, all of a reply he feels necessary.
Lanisen shifts position rather impatiently, as if his foot has fallen asleep with the dog flopped across it, and looks away from Tyren.
Tyren leaves it at this, gesturing for Elek to follow. “In any case, it would seem I have accomplished what I was hoping to this eve. I shall bid you a good eve, as a result.”
Lanisen, watching, asks, “What’s that, sir?”
Tyren hehs. “Clear my head a bit, hopefully coming to a few conclusions in the process.”
Lanisen lets down the pup on his lap, standing as well. He frowns slightly. “Conclusions?”
Tyren nods a little. “I have had much on my mind as of late.” He gestures toward Elek. “I had hoped an evening with my friend here would settle it enough to discover some answers. It seems to have been a successful attempt.” He gestures down the stairs, and Elek pads off obligingly, the knight poised to follow.
Lanisen asks, “What answers?”
Tyren says simply, “What path to take from here.” He begins to make his way down the stairs.
Lanisen stays where he is, obviously confused and more than a little worried by Tyren’s enigmatic statement.