Haft leans against the wall that Darius has just vacated, trying to keep an eye on the man amidst the bustle, and then makes a cursory scan of others in the crowd. Catching sight of Cor during his inspection, he starts slightly, glancing again in the direction in which Darius has disappeared. He rests his hand out of habit on his sword hilt–more to reassure himself it’s there than anything else–and keeps an eye on the boy, though he makes no move to approach.
Cor does not seem to take note of any gazes upon him, far too concentrated on enjoying a fluffy buttery kind of bread he has procured from no-one-can-quite-be-sure-where and observing the crowd around him. On a second look, his clothing seems not as nice as it probably ought to be, and his hair has been mussed so that it falls into his eyes. He is perhaps doing a rather bad job of attempting to go incognito.
Lanisen makes his way out of the inner gatehouse, limping but moving with minimal dependence on his cane. He glances briefly at and is ignored by the guard on duty at the inner gate, and makes his way toward the kennels.
Haft notes Lanisen’s entrance to the ward before searching again for Darius–fruitlessly–and returning his gaze briefly to Cor. Guessing at the boy’s attempt to blend in, he smiles slightly.
Cor also seems to be moving toward the kennels, which brings him in sight of Lanisen. He stops moving when he sees the injured man, his face reflecting an uncertainty that causes him unconsciously to consume the rest of the bread with less revel than before.
Lanisen does not seem to be particularly bothered by his injury today. There’s something close to a spring in his step as he approaches the kennel’s door.
Haft’s mouth twitches unhappily as he notes Cor’s glance and wonders if he’ll be spending the next hour or so keeping watch on the kennel door. He scans the ward for Darius again.
Cor observes Lanisen’s movement and seems to find joy in his joy, as well as a decision. He follows the other man, hustling a little to catch up with him.
Lanisen’s head raises at the sound of hurried footsteps behind him. He turns around quickly, wary. “Oh,” he says, letting out a breath, and bows. “Afternoon, your highness.”
Haft only barely notes the exchange, frustrated in his attempts to catch sight of his quarry.
Cor exclaims, “Hello! Are you going to see the dogs?”
Lanisen rubs the back of his neck. “Er, um, yes, your highness. One of the new boys had to go home, family thing I guess, so they need an extra hand this week, and I’m, uh, here, so it… works out.”
Haft smiles faintly in spite of himself at the sound of Cor’s cheerful voice, but he makes no other movement other than to scan the ward.
Cor glances over his shoulder at the crowd, then back to Lanisen. “Can I help?”
Lanisen says, “Uhhhmm…”
Haft blinks a little at Lanisen’s hesitancy, though he maintains his focus.
Cor says, “Oh, I don’t– it’s all right if you’d rather not.”
Lanisen says quickly, “No, no, your highness, I meant, um–” He rubs the back of his neck, glancing helplessly around the ward. “Um. It ain’t work for a prince is what I’m meanin’, cleanin’ up after hounds.”
Haft listens attentively, but he doesn’t turn his head.
Cor shakes his head and puts a finger to his lips, lowering his voice.
Cor mumbles “Then let’s not tell anybody!”, to Lanisen.
Cor mumbles “… … not … anybody!”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen gives the prince a doubtful, incredulous grin, coughing to cover a laugh. He shakes his head, more in disbelief than outright saying ‘no’.
Lanisen mumbles “Um. Well. I s’pose there’s no harm in it.”, to Cor.
Lanisen mumbles “Um. … I … … no … … …”, to Cor.
Haft eyes crinkle a little at what he thinks the prince has said, though he can’t make out Lanisen’s response.
Cor grins back, unabashedly pleased.
Cor mumbles “Hurry, then!”, to Lanisen.
Cor mumbles something incomprehensible to Lanisen.
Lanisen, looking like he’s not entirely sure what is happening and how he got caught up in it, shrugs and grins helplessly, stepping aside to let Cor precede him into the kennels.
Haft crosses his arms over his chest, settling in for what looks like a long wait.
Cor goes on in ahead of him, looking over his shoulder like some kind of very pleased, very poor thief.
Lanisen rubs the back of his neck and follows.
Cor turns to the other man once they’ve got inside. “What do you have to do?”
Lanisen halts just inside the door, looking like he’s having second thoughts about this business. “Beggin’ your pardon but you ain’t here skippin’ out on somethin’, are you, your highness?” he asks suspiciously.
Cor perches on the edge of one of the dog beds, “Oh, Corin does it all the time, so no one’s like to bother about it if I’m gone a few hours, long as I’ve got my lessons in.” He looks up at the ceiling. “Most of my lessons in.”
Lanisen purses his lips on one side and glances at the door. He shakes his head again, muttering to himself, and gimps on into the back.
Lanisen mumbles “Lord Dar’s gonna have my head.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “Lord … … have my head.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen says, “Let’s see…”
Cor looks guilty, almost a little upset, “Will you be in trouble?”
Lanisen winces. “Um,” he says. “I don’t /think/ so?”
Cor makes a regretful face. “I guess I shouldn’t be here, though.”
Lanisen says, “No, no–I mean, you–you can be where you want, pretty sure, um…” He pauses, trying to get his thoughts in order, and offers tentatively, “If you want to give one of ’em a brushing, I reckon that’d be all right. It’s not /work/, really.”
Cor asks, “Do you think so?”
Lanisen nods. “You been gettin’ on pretty well with Sorrel?”
Cor nods attentively. “She’s easy.”
Lanisen crosses to a set of shelves and reaches down a soft-bristled brush, then heads toward the pens in the back. When he returns, Sorrel and a couple others are trotting along at his heels, ears up and tails wagging.
Cor gets up again, holding out his hand for the brush.
Lanisen doesn’t pass it over just yet. “Just a minute, your highness,” he says, serious. “Need your word on somethin’ first.”
Cor’s brows rise, and he nods with utter seriousness.
Lanisen says, “Sorrel and these others, they’re gentle. They like people and they like brushin’, you got nothin’ to fear from ’em except slobber, really. But I need your word that if one of ’em decides they don’t like it, they start growlin’ or snappin’ or some such, you leave it, all right? Just walk away for a little bit.”
Cor says, “Oh. Sure, I promise. I’ve seen mean dogs at– um, well, most everybody has, haven’t they.”
Lanisen grins faintly, some of his seriousness breaking for a second. “I figured you prob’ly had, your highness. Still, though.” He pauses. “Same goes for if they start fightin’. Most of the time it’s all right even if it sounds awful, but no matter what, you stay out of it, all right? Even if it’s one of your favorites, just stay back, don’t go near ’em, don’t touch ’em. Get me or Master Danall and we’ll sort it out.”
Cor nods. “I promise.”
Lanisen grins again, handing over the soft brush. “Try not to get yourself too terribly dog-furred up, yeah?”
Cor says skeptically, “I’ll try.”
Lanisen laughs. He bows and backs away a bit, but hovers to make sure Cor is settled.
Cor sits on the ground next to Sorrel and sets to brushing her out. He is a bit inattentive at the task, but his work is good, that of one who is familiar with more than his share of labor unequal to his skills or position, and who may therefore enjoy better the privilege of getting to choose the task and its difficulty.
Lanisen watches, a peculiar expression on his face. He turns away after a moment, shaking his head and smiling, and makes his way toward the back of the room to look after some of the less pleasant aspects of hound husbandry.