The kennel of Anvard is a fairly spacious room, well-lit by the windows in the south wall looking toward the Outer Ward. It is immediately obvious that the hounds housed here are quite well-treated: the floor is kept clean-swept; the blankets padding the dogs’ wooden beds are thick and warm; and the hounds themselves have a certain sleek, well-fed look. Several pens can be seen toward the back of the room, likely used to isolate dogs that are sick, injured, or in need of further training, but the majority of the castle hounds are allowed to roam freely about the room.
A fireplace, lit on cold days, is set into the east wall, opposite the door to the quarters of Danall, the Master of Hounds. A set of wooden stairs leads up to a second level.
Lanisen sits on the floor against the east wall late in the evening, buried in hounds. There’s one flopped across his lap, another two curled up and snoozing next to him, and a fourth sitting and getting her ears rubbed. Lanisen doesn’t look too bothered by his predicament.
Arael peeks her head in the door and looks around. When she catches sight of Lanisen, she grins and steps all the way in, shutting the door behind her.
Lanisen glances up as the door opens and grins back. “Hey.” One hound stretches sleepily and ambles over toward Arael to say hello, tail flipping.
Arael says, “G’day, Lanny.” She holds her hand out for the dog to sniff. When it deems her acceptable, she begins to pet its neck and looks back up at Lanisen. “How’re you feeling?”
Lanisen says, gesturing to the pile of hounds, “Right now? Pretty great. How’re you?”
Arael laughs and moves toward him with the hound walking alongside her. “We’ve been busy these last days. Win wants to head home in the morning.”
Lanisen’s eyes sharpen just a bit at this, but his tone stays neutral. “Ah, yeah. Makes sense.”
Arael nods and sits down on the other side of one of the hounds beside him. “Aye.” She grins a little. “Knowing everyone back home, they’ll all be worried ’til they see us. No matter we sent word we’re all fine.”
Lanisen grins lopsidedly. “Sounds about right. And it’ll be good to get home, too, yeah?”
Arael nods, but keeps her eyes on the hound that’s now sitting next to her. She rubs its ears. “Aye. It’s been quite a time since I’ve seen Mother and Father.” She looks up and grins a little. “And there’s always something to keep busy with.”
Lanisen is taken by a sudden coughing fit.
Arael frowns at him in concern. “You alright?”
Lanisen says, quickly mastering himself, “Yes! Sorry, yeah. Just, uh, something in my throat is all. It’s gone.”
Arael looks at him for a few beats more, then nods, grinning crookedly. “Last thing you need now’s to catch a chill on top of everything.”
Lanisen says, “Mm-hmm, yep. I mean, no.”
Arael half-squints at him in confusion.
Lanisen says, “Aahh, sorry. I, um. Herbs. Yeah.” He makes a vague wavy motion at his head.
Arael giggles at this and nods, though she still watches him a little more closely than before. “Are you mending alright, then?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah! Mostly, yeah. Um.” He looks down at his right hand. “Walkin’ a bit without the stick, Adrian says another few weeks I won’t need it at all, prob’ly.”
Arael grins broadly. “You’ll be glad of that, I’m sure. And your arm?”
Lanisen says, “It’s fine.”
Arael nods firmly. “Good. I’ll have to see if I can find someone to bring word on how you’re doing now and again.”
Lanisen says, “Heh. Ahh. Thanks.”
Arael looks at him a little oddly once more, but nods. She glances at the hounds. “How’ve they been? No more hunts for them for a bit, I should think?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “Nothin’ so big, not for a while.”
Arael speaks to the hound she’s been petting and rubs behind one ear a little more vigorously. “Just have to make the best of it, then, shan’t you?”
Lanisen says, “Oh, they’ll get out a bit. There’ll be smaller hunts without the pomp and such.”
Arael grins. “You been on any of them?”
Lanisen asks, “Me? No!” He pauses. “Except this last one, I mean.”
Arael’s eyes twinkle teasingly. “You’d better stay away, I think. Too much excitement and all that.”
Lanisen says, “Right. Can’t be having that.”
Arael says, “Princes coming at you out of the woods everywhere.”
Lanisen leans back against the wall. “Hate that.”
Arael pats the hound’s side. “Talking Beasts all over the place before you know it.”
Lanisen adds, “And some donkeys that don’t.”
Arael bursts into giggles.
Lanisen doesn’t laugh out loud, but his mouth makes the trying-not-to-smile-but-very-pleased-with-himself sort of twisty grimace. “Almost feel bad for him,” he remarks. “/Almost/.”
Arael wrinkles her nose. “I might if he’d not been so dreadful toward the King and Aslan and all.”
Lanisen says, “And, I mean. The battle.”
Arael nods and bites her lip. “Aye. Somehow I didn’t quite know how dreadful it all was. I mean, I /knew/, but… it was different, seeing him for myself. How horrid he was.”
Lanisen says, “To think he’ll be Tisroc one day.”
Arael grimaces. “Eugh.”
Lanisen snickers suddenly. “S’pose he’ll go back all the way normal right away, or d’you think he’ll have… habits?”
Arael snorts and claps a hand over her mouth, wide-eyed. She looks sidelong at Lanisen after a moment and lowers her hand. “Eating grass?”
Lanisen says, “Or somebody asks him a question and he’s all–” He makes a passable imitation of a loud donkey bray, and one of the hounds uncurls from its nap to give him a reproachful look.
Arael bursts into helpless laughter, clutching her knees. When she calms a little, she manages, “Or–” she snickers– “if someone startles him and he just–” her shoulders shake and she bites her lip– “goes charging around for a bit ’til he’s calmer.”
Lanisen wheezes, laughing. “Or or or somebody comes to fetch him to some kind of prince-y thing and he plants his feet and won’t move until they bring him a carrot!”
Arael shrieks, “Yes!” A couple more of the hounds turn to look dubiously at her. “/Or/ if he makes them bring buckets and troughs to the table for him, and he won’t eat with a fork and knife.”
Lanisen nearly falls over at this. “Just sort of–” He demonstrates face-planting into a mimed bowl of food, making whuffly grazing sort of noises.
Arael nods, giggling madly. “Splashing water all over the table linens.”
Lanisen says, “Disappears from court one day, they find him off havin’ a chat with the goats.”
Arael asks, “Think he’ll try to bite people who make him cross?”
Lanisen snorts. “Already did, shouldn’t wonder.”
Arael snickers and nods. “/Emperor/. Who I’m sorry for is the poor souls who had to take him back.”
Lanisen says, “Aw, they just gotta scritch him behind his ears is all.”
Arael snorts now. “Aye, I’ll believe /that/.”
Lanisen says, “Wonder how he feels about sugar.”
Arael says, “I half think he’d pretend not to like it, just to be ornery.”
Lanisen snickers again, running his left hand through his hair. “Has there ever been a more ridiculous end to a battle?”
Arael giggles quietly. “I should hope so? And I’d hope /not/. I don’t know.”
Lanisen says, “At least it–worked out.”
Arael grins and pushes some hair behind her ear. “Aye. Who could’ve thought?”
Lanisen says quietly, rubbing the ears of a dog who has come over to see what all the fuss is about, “I didn’t really–I mean, it was all sort of…sudden, and then it was over, and I was asleep through half of it anyway. I didn’t really think about how bad it might have been until after.”
Arael nods. “I think I had a little idea when Sir Colin came down to the hall that night, after you’d got hurt. He was… a sight.” She bites her lip. “But then, the next day…” She looks up at Lanisen. “Could you hear the ram, when they were at the gates?”
Lanisen shakes his head. “No, I was still… they gave me some pretty strong stuff.”
Arael grins lopsidedly. “I’m glad. We’d no way of knowing what was going on out there, but you can still /think/.” She shakes herself a little and straightens where she sits. “But none of the things we thought were what /happened/, and that’s what counts.”
Lanisen asks, “You could hear it in the hall, then?”
Arael nods. “Not as loud as out here, I’m sure, but aye.”
Lanisen bites his lip. “Must’ve been awful,” he says quietly.
Arael scrunches up her face a little. “Aye. Lord Tyre tried to help distract us–got everyone singing and all–but we could still hear it. And then there was all sorts of roaring during the battle, and of course none of us knew then the Narnians had come. /That/ makes you wonder, I can tell you.”
Lanisen asks, “That the Narnians came?”
Arael says, “Well, I suppose. But no, I meant…” She waves her hand. “Hearing all that roaring, when you thought ’twas just supposed to be men out there.”
Lanisen says, “Oh!” He blinks and raises his eyebrows. “Hadn’t even thought about that.”
Arael giggles and nods. “Aye, just so.”
Lanisen casts a glance at the dark window. “You’ve got an early start tomorrow, haven’t you?”
Arael follows his gaze and starts a little. “Oh! Aye.” She turns back toward Lanisen, grinning ruefully. “Dwarf skip a rope, listen to me go on. Just came to say goodbye, and here I’m talking about battles and all.”
Lanisen grins, shoving a hound off his knees and beginning the process of standing up. “And donkeys, don’t forget.”
Arael giggles, getting to her feet and turning to offer her hand, should he need it. “Nay, never.”
Lanisen seems to have a system by now and doesn’t have too much trouble finding his feet. He brushes himself off a bit once he’s up and grabs his stick from where it’s been leaning on the wall, then looks at Arael for a moment. “Hey. Travel safe.”
Arael grins. “Aye, we’ll do that.” She gestures vaguely toward him and his stick. “And you try and get better quick. I’ve no notion when I’ll see you again, but sure and I hope ’tisn’t another three years.”
Lanisen grins, his eyes glinting with happy mischief, and ducks his head to hide it, but all he says is, “I don’t suppose it will be.”
Arael looks at him in confusion for a moment, with one eye squinted and the other eyebrow raised, but she just grins and shakes her head. “G’bye, Lanny. Take care of yourself.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah. You too.”
Arael pets the top of the one hound’s head one more time, lifts her hand in a little wave, and turns to go.