a spot of sympathetic malaise

Castle Anvard

Lanisen is seated at the table in the back of the kennels, studying the now-familiar book on hound husbandry by the insufficient light of an oil lamp. He is visibly frustrated with the limitation of his reading speed, occasionally standing to pace.

Tyren makes his way into the kennels, immediately making his way over to Elek, who raises his head and noses the knight’s hand as he approaches. Durant, as has been the case lately, keeps close to the wolfhound.

Lanisen stands immediately as Tyren enters, snatching up the book and making his way over to the knight with a sort of restless energy that betrays his worry. “Sir–” he bows. “I been keepin’ an eye on him, like you said. Can’t figure out what’s wrong with him, ‘s like he’s tired all the time, an’ he don’t want to touch his food. Says here–” He (laboriously and with many pauses and mispronunciations) reads out a passage that seems to explain the symptoms of bloat in dogs. “–but he don’t seem to be hurtin’ at all, sir. I don’t know what to do.”

Tyren drops to a knee and strokes Elek, who lays his head on the knight’s boot. He nods to Lanisen, and lets out a faint ‘heh.’ “I thank you for keeping an eye on him. And I think I might have figured out why he’s been acting somewhat abnormally lately.”

Lanisen closes the book over one finger, hovering anxiously. “Yeah?”

Tyren nods again. “Do you remember how I made mention that it seemed like he was acting how he tends to when he senses something is bothering me?”

Lanisen’s glance shifts to Elek for a moment, then back to Tyren. “Yes, sir,” he replies, skepticism mostly masked.

Tyren hehs quietly, scrathing his hound behind the ears, which causes Elek to wag his tail a little. “I think he realized it before I did.”

Lanisen shifts, staring at the knight rather incredulously. “He ain’t /eatin’/, sir,” he says, as if he suspects Tyren is slow to understand.

Tyren replies, “Worry can do that as much as disease at times. Well do I know /that/ one… but it can’t hurt to continue to keep an eye on him. I could be wrong.”

Lanisen closes the book with an audible snap, frustrated. “Think you can get him to stop worryin’ long enough to eat?” he asks dryly.

Tyren says, “I can at least try.”

Lanisen spins on his heel, returning to the table in the back. He drops the book, exchanging it for an apparently-rejected dish of meat. Crossing back to Tyren and his hound, he sets it down in front of Elek and withdraws, muttering something sarcastic about how between Tyren and Dar it’s a wonder there’s a healthy dog in the place.

Tyren seems not to have heard the comment, or if he has, he’s not reacting. The knight leans close to his hound, speaking in low tones, and Elek sniffs at the dish.

Lanisen crosses his arms, watching.

Elek tenatatively takes a few bites, and Tyren lets out a quiet breath of what seems to be relief.

Lanisen lets out a breath through his nose that might be relief. He turns away, shooing a silver-gray deerhound out of his spot by the fire, and picks up the book again.

Tyren’s hound doesn’t seem inclined to eat the entire dish, but does manage to put a good-sized dent into it. Tyren tries to coax Elek into a few more bites, but the hound just keeps his head on Tyren’s boot.

Lanisen plops down on the hearth and stirs the embers back up into flames, turning the log with a vindictive thrust of the iron poker and a picturesque shower of sparks – one of which escapes and leaves a tiny burnt hole in the knee of his trousers. This does not appear to improve his mood.

Tyren sighs a bit, and shifts into a position where Elek can make himself more comfortable against his master – which the wolfhound quickly does. The knight oofs a little (Elek, after all, is no small creature), then glances back to Lanisen. “I really do appreciate you keeping an eye on him, you know. Oftentimes I find myself wishing I could be in several places at once, and… well, I’m only one man.”

Lanisen leaves off torturing the fire and drops the poker back in its place with a metallic clang. He mumbles something incoherent in response.

Tyren frowns a bit. “You all right?”

Lanisen answers, predictably, “Yes, sir.”

Tyren does not seem particularly convinced of this answer.

Lanisen does not seem particularly inclined to change it.

Tyren lets this be for the moment, returning his attentions to Elek, who now seems to be dozing lightly against his master.

Lanisen rests his elbows on his knees, squeezing the bridge of his nose. He looks tired and grouchy – mostly like he’s got one heck of a headache.

Tyren asks, “Rough day?”

Lanisen just snorts in answer, trying to find his place in the book.

Tyren says, “I’m gathering that’s a yes.”

Lanisen sighs, dropping his hand abruptly. “Yes, sir,” he says, his tone rather deliberately longsuffering.

Tyren quirks a brow vaguely, this serving as his response.

Lanisen apparently figures this is enough of an answer. He finds his spot again and studies the page, poring over the entry and glancing occasionally at Elek.

Tyren continues to stroke Elek, clearly deciding not to press.

Lanisen stands after some time and stretches, rubbing his neck and wincing a bit. He crosses to the table and sets the book down wearily, picking up a stub of charcoal to laboriously write down some notes, referring back to the page, then leaves off and returns to the fireplace.

Tyren observes this, brow furrowing somewhat. Still he remains queit, hand still resting on his hound.

Lanisen leans back against the wall, stretching out his legs and closing his eyes. A slender bronze-colored greyhound pup drops a chewtoy of some sort in his lap, asking to play, but he ignores it.

Tyren lets out another soft sigh, and breaks his silence. “I will not press, Lanisen. However, I can speak from experience that shoving things down rather than at least attempting to get it off your chest tends to have… rather detrimental effects.” He glances to Elek, frowning slightly.

Lanisen opens his eyes and frowns at Tyren.

Tyren says, “I’ve done so often enough that I believe I can legitimately claim I have experience to that effect.”

Lanisen lets out a breath and leans back again, looking like he’d like to roll his eyes. He doesn’t.

Tyren’s tone becomes just a /hair/ more firm as he says, “I would not discredit my experiences so swiftly. I believe you’ve seen the effects of doing so before.”

Lanisen’s eyes dart immediately to Tyren’s face at the warning. His demeanor shifts, like /that/, from mildly sulky overtired teenager to still and guarded and unreadable, though he hasn’t moved so much as an elbow.

Tyren’s tone reverts back, as he says, “It is not my intention to alarm you. However, I /do/ rather appreciate being treated like I know what I’m talking about to at least /some/ degree. At least when it comes to my own past.”

Lanisen doesn’t answer for a moment, regarding Tyren silently, then lowers his eyes. “Sorry, sir.”

Tyren hehs. “Suppose I’m sorry too. Not normally one to make threats, even veiled ones, unless absolutely necessary. Don’t think it was, in this case.” He glances to Elek again, muttering something softly to himself.
Tyren mumbles “This … been affecting … more … I …”, to Tyren.

Lanisen doesn’t comment on this, only studying Tyren from the corner of his eye with the same watchful silence.

Elek nudges Tyren a bit more insistently, which causes the knight to ruffle the hound’s fur. “It’s all right, friend. At least I’ve voiced it now. That’s a start.”

Lanisen shifts into a more comfortable position, though he doesn’t quite relax.

Tyren continues to scratch Elek behind the ears, the hound wagging his tail as a result. “Not sure where to go /after/ that, but… well. As I said. It’s a start.”

Lanisen, unsurprisingly, keeps quiet. He appears to be listening, however.

Tyren says, “I’ll figure it out. Eventually. Always do.”

Lanisen finally ventures, “What, sir?”

Tyren glances to Lanisen. “It’s… rather personal…” Elek lets out a small whine, and Tyren smiles a bit as he looks to the hound again. “Come through worse trials than this. I’ll be fine, my friend.”

Lanisen nods once, then stands. He rolls his shoulders to stretch them, wincing visibly, and bows rather stiffly. “I’ll leave you to it, then, sir,” he says, his tone nothing but polite.

Tyren says, “Come to think of it, that’s probably why I buried it… didn’t feel there really /was/ anyone I could have mentioned it to.” He nods a bit. “Good eve, then, Lanisen. And thank you again.”

Lanisen goes about the last few evening chores in silence: banking the fire, stacking the dishes, cleaning up the accumulated clutter. He knocks on Danall’s door, where a light is still burning – the huntsman is apparently finishing up some work of his own – and carries the book and his notes inside when the man bids him enter. There is a brief conversation, and Lanisen leaves the room looking lighter-hearted. Perhaps unexpectedly, he heads upstairs to the loft for the night instead of out to the ward.

Tyren leans against the wall, still stroking Elek, half-dozing himself now, apparently. The hound seems content.


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