Colin hollers up the stairs. “Lanisen, you around?”
There is a long silence, as if Lanisen is reluctant to answer. He appears at the top of the stairs a moment later and calls down, “Yeah, I’m here.”
Colin motions for him to come down the stairs.
Lanisen obeys, though reluctantly and definitely loitering on the way. He glances around the kennels once he’s low enough on the stairs to see, and looks fairly relieved at something. He bows to Colin.
Colin looks at him quizzically. “Who are you hiding from?”
Lanisen blinks at him. “Nobody?”
Colin eyes him for a moment longer. “Uh huh. You busy?”
Lanisen shakes his head once, waiting to hear what Colin’s up to.
Colin folds his arms, smirking a bit. “Do you know what time of year it is?”
Lanisen is obviously not in the best mood for Colin’s guessing game, but he glances at the window anyway. “Winter, sir.”
Colin raises an eyebrow. “Noo… try again.”
Lanisen rubs his forehead. “Sorry. Spring.”
Colin nods. “Right on. You all right?”
Lanisen says simply, “Yes, sir.”
Colin says, “Right. Do you remember what I said would happen once spring came?””
Lanisen frowns slightly, interest piqued. A little. “No, sir?”
Colin says, “Granted it has been a while since I said so but…”
Colin folds his arms and casually leans against a wall. “Got any pups up for grabs?” He says with a slow grin starting to form.
Lanisen’s forehead wrinkles as –ohhhh. His whole face lights up, the exhaustion fading almost instantly from his mien. “Yes, /sir/!”
Colin chuckles, and unfolds his arms smugly. “Lead the way, lad.”
Lanisen doesn’t lead the way anywhere, just whirls on his heel with a flourish and aims an earsplitting whistle up the stairs. The whole litter comes tumbling down within a few seconds, the one that *adopted* Colin several weeks previously among them.
Colin’s eyes widen at the sight of all the pups racing down the stairs. “Oy… they’ve grown!” He exclaims.
Lanisen grins and reaches down to scoop one up. “Pups do that, sir.”
Colin bends down and likewise nabs a puppy, who immediately attacks his face.
The puppy who owns Colin, meanwhile, attacks the knight’s boot.
Lanisen snickers and adds helpfully, “Pups do that too.”
Colin hahs. “Help!”
Lanisen grins, utterly unsympathetic to the gravity of Colin’s plight.
Colin gives him a good glare as he holds the one wiggle-worm at arms length and tries to wrestle his boot from the other one. After a few seconds of hopping on one foot, his balance goes awry and he topples against the wall, sliding to the floor amidst the squirming dogs.
Lanisen laughs out loud at this, then takes mercy on Colin. “Hey, hey, calm down, away.” Amazingly, both appear to listen, the one in Colin’s hands getting in one last lick before mostly settling down.
Colin snickers, batting puppies away in his efforts to get to his feet.
Lanisen grins and sets his down, ordering the rest fondly, “Shush, you oafs. Down.”
Colin holds out both of his hands towards the puppies. “What’s your opinion?”
Lanisen says seriously, “They’re definitely oafs, sir.”
Colin laughs. “No, which one would suit a knight of my standing the best?”
Lanisen’s eyes glint mischievously, and he glances pointedly down at the one pup ignoring the down-order to continue gnawing at Colin’s ever-so-wunnerfully-smelly boot.
Colin says, “No.”
Colin repeats, a slightly panicked look starting to form on his face. “No.”
Lanisen shrugs a little too innocently. “Well, you asked… and I just figured you’d be knight enough to handle him, but if not… well, Lillie here is a little more laid-back…” Lillie is, in fact, fast asleep.
Colin gives Lanisen a Look. “You saying I can’t handle him?”
Lanisen blinks at him and wonders, “Did I say that?”
Colin says dryly, “Yes.”
Lanisen says, “Would never. You must’ve heard wrong.”
Colin says, “I never miss-hear anyone. Thing”
Lanisen just takes a seat near the wall, looking smug, and picks up Lillie – who doesn’t appear to even notice. Real alert, this one.
Colin eyes Lanisen’s pup, then looks down at the menace attacking his boot.
The menace growllls. Boot must die.
Lanisen observes mildly, “He likes you.”
Colin snorts. “No, he likes my boot.”
Lanisen says, “Same thing if you ask him.”
Colin attempts to shake the pup off his boot.
Menace just takes this as a challenge and redoubles his attack.
Colin gives Lanisen a look. “What did you tell him about me?”
Lanisen says, “Just that your footwear is a threat to, y’know, everythin’.”
Colin says, “Oh, it looks threatening.”
Colin bends over and picks up the pup, holding him at eye level, skeptically looking him over.
Menace attempts to lick his nose.
Colin holds out at arm’s length.
Lanisen, watching, adds more seriously, “Danall says it’s the ones hardest to train that make the best hounds. He’s the smartest of the bunch.”
Colin mutters darkly, “At least all his training won’t rest on my shoulders, so I can’t mess him up too badly.”
Lanisen grins a bit. “You really worried about that, sir?”
Colin says, “Yes. No. I don’t know.”
Lanisen appraises them both. “Think you don’t have anythin’ to worry about.”
Colin mutters under his breath, and addresses the pup. “Looks like you’re it.”
Lanisen looks quite pleased with himself, but he ducks his head to hide his triumphant expression. “Try tellin’ him to do somethin’,” he suggests. “His attention’s on you.”
Colin eyes Lanisen skeptically, and sets the pup down. “Um…sit?”
The pup only wags his tail, and Lanisen snickers. “Say it like you know he’s gotta obey you.”
Colin raises an eyebrow, and points at Lanisen. “Get ‘im.”
Lanisen protests, “Hey!” The pup toddles over toward him, obviously not sure what he’s supposed to do, and looks back at Colin, tail wagging. He gives a series of short barks, dropping into a play-bow.
Colin nods enthusiastically. “That’s right. Get ‘im!”
The Menace is clearly more interested in fighting with Colin’s boot some more. He skitters backward and forward, tail in the air, and asks to play with much eloquent doggie vocabulary.
Colin says, “That worked really well.”
Lanisen says in tones of deep satisfaction, “Yuuuup.”
Colin says, “I have no faith in your training skills.”
Lanisen says loftily, “Wouldn’t be smart to train a critter to attack the trainer, would it?”
Colin’s pup pounces his boot again. He jerks in surprise and picks the pup up again. “You any better at naming?”
Lanisen grins. “You gotta name your own dog.”
Colin says, “I have no ideas.”
Lanisen says unsympathetically, “Better start thinkin’, then.”
Colin makes a face at him.
Colin asks, “Aren’t you at least going to give me some ideas?”
Lanisen says, “Already gave you the idea to get the dog, didn’t I?” Clearly, this is the extent of his duty in the matter.
Colin says, “You’re real helpful.”
Lanisen says, “That’s me.”
Colin says, “Little rat.”
Lanisen grins unrepentantly, stroking Lillie’s ears. He leans his head back against the wall and watches Colin and his pup, looking abruptly tired.
Colin affectionately rubs his pup’s ears. “You’ll be No-Name until we come up with something.”
Lanisen reaches over and nabs another puppy from a scuffle on the floor, dropping it next to Lillie. Puppy #2 gnaws his fingers contentedly. “You better come up with somethin’ soon, then. No-Name ain’t any good.”
Colin chuckles. “No kidding.:
Lanisen falls silent, quietly coaxing the second pup to calm down until both pups are fast asleep across his lap. His forehead is lined faintly.
Colin continues to get to know his pup, playing with him before he finally falls asleep with his head on Colin’s boot. He glances over at Lanisen, ready to strike up a conversation. “Something bothering you?”
Lanisen shifts position unthinkingly, accidentally waking one of the pups. “Nah. Just…” He pauses, frowning at the pups. “Nah.”
Colin watches him. “I think I know better than that.
Lanisen shrugs a little. “Just… tired. Don’t really know…”
Colin asks, “Did someone say something to bother you?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “Nah, not like… ‘Least… I don’t think they meant to…”
Colin looks confused. “What happened?”
Lanisen shrugs again, looking a little miserable. “Just… people, y’know, say stuff. And they mean well, I think, but it’s…”
Colin hehs. “Doesn’t help?” He offers.
Lanisen says, “Guess so.” He absently strokes the back of one of the pups – heaped up as they are, it’s almost impossible to tell which.
Colin asks, “Want to talk about it?”
Lanisen chews a hangnail absently. “Few months ago… when me’n Loc were in the dungeons, you know… Sir Tyren came down a lot. Brought food and talked to us and stuff. I sorta… I got mad and went off on him and stuff, ’bout how we’re just freaks to gawk at. Figured we were just somethin’ for him to philosophize about, you know? Shouldn’t’ve said it. He… asked if I still felt like that the other night.”
Colin hehs. “He does tend to philosophize everything to death… I can understand why you felt that way at that point in time. What did you tell him?”
Lanisen shrugs. “Said… said I’d rather not say. I dunno.”
Colin hehs. “I wish I could help you figure it out. I’m still working on myself.” He admits.
Lanisen glances at him, then sighs. “Anyway. Yeah. That’s all. Somebody else said somethin’ today, too. And I’m just– I’m just kinda tired. Everythin’ feels kinda pointless sometimes.”
Colin sighs quietly. “I know the feeling. All is futile and chasing after the wind.” He says in a philosophical tone.
Lanisen gives a faint snort.
Lanisen says, “Glad you got a dog. You gotta be the only knight in the castle without one.
Colin says, “That would be my luck.”
Lanisen chuckles, reaching across to rub the Menace’s ears. “He’ll be a good hound, pretty sure.”
Colin says, “I’m hoping so.”
Lanisen glances at Colin with some trepidation. “You like ‘im, right? ‘Cause seriously, if you want one that doesn’t chew on your boots…”
Colin chuckles. “I think you’re right, that he fits me. I’m just not quite ready for the challenge. But, considering all that’s happened inthe past year I could use a distraction.
Lanisen looks at the pup, hesitating. “He’s my favorite,” he finally says bluntly. “But I don’t want you to pick ‘im just ’cause of that. If you want a different one from the litter, ‘s not gonna matter to me or anythin’.”
Colin rubs the pup’s back. “That just cinches the deal.” He says with determination.
Lanisen gives him an intent look, then releases a sigh, grinning again. “Then I’m glad.”
Colin chuckles. “This is a two-edged sword, however.”
Lanisen raises his eyebrows, looking briefly worried.
Colin lifts the pup in one hand and eyebrow-waggles at Lanisen. “You’re going to have to help me with him. A lot.”
Lanisen’s eyes follow the pup. He chuckles and says wryly, “Don’t think that’s a problem, sir. He likes to chew on my boots too.”
Colin chuckles. “Good.”
Colin says, “It’s only fair.”
Lanisen snickers. “Danall says he might grow out of it,” he offers. “Like babies and teething.”
Colin says, “Let’s hope so, or we’ll be going through a lot of boots.”
Lanisen snickers again and glances around the room at the hounds milling around. He catches sight of an untidy pile of blankets, and his face falls. “Oh, drat,” he mutters. “Forgot to finish somethin’, sir, sorry…”
Colin shakes his head. “Think nothing of it.”
Lanisen gingerly scoops the pups up and deposits them in a sleepy heap next to the Menace, then stands and stretches before bowing. “Thanks, sir.”
Colin grins, and looks at the pup. “I’ll probably be thanking you. Someday.” The Menace tumbles towards Lanisen to attack his boots.
Lanisen does an odd sort of tap-dance to avoid the puppy-teeth. “Stay,” he orders firmly, and the pup plops its hindquarters down. Lanisen waves and heads toward the mess.
Colin grumbles. “Oh sure, he listens to YOU.”
Lanisen shoots over his shoulder, “Well, he knew what I meant, didn’t he?”
Colin hollers after him good naturedly.
Lanisen just snickers, going about his duties.