(122-04-08) What the Dog Saw

Tellur has secured the small dog in the stables, but he is kind enough - he has provided the ammenities he himself prefers: Vis, a bed of straw with a heavy horse blanket, and a bowl of water. Due to his uncertainty and lack of experience with such things as 'human-sounding-brachets' the man has erred on the side of caution and provided chopped cooked venison - red-rare in the middle, but served with plenty of warm gravy. Now he has chased his assistant out (the poor boy is used to being sent into the house), and has Malcolm down here while he sits on another bale of hay and eyes the dog.

Malcolm is clean and has his thinking about politics look, but on seeing Tellur and the pup gives Tellur a reassuring smile, "Looks like you have made her comfortable. He gives hound and Hound space. Lady Hellan is willing to vouch for me when I report to Lord Ormund and I… They were my decisions that caused the trouble. I'm not sorry; I'd kill him again, but any fault that lands ought to rest on my shoulders and I will do want I can to protect you id trouble comes of it…. How is she?"

The animal was hungry, and eats well. She is dainty about it, neat. When she's finished she wags her tail and looks at Tellur with wise brown eyes.

Tellur says to Malcolm dryly "Nay, I rather think that the fool's own decisions caused the trouble - leaving that corpse there was a poor one, for a start. He offered insult to and slew that woman, don't you suffer for his work. It's a pity Lord Carolis isn't here, or he would sort the issue for us." He adds "The dog's in good health - the hawk is unhappy, but my mews are not what it is used to." And then he regards the dog, and says to her "My turn to look the fool. I am making a rather ridiculous guess - this is Ser Malcolm, and I am Tellur the Master of Hounds. And that? Is Dog." He nods to the wolf which is off in the corner, gnawing on a hind paw. The animal flicks ears up as Tellur says his name "My owl above is Snowy. My horse is Loathely. My hawk is Shriek. I keep many animals. But only Snowy and Dog do I truly ride, even though they are not horses."

The brachet tilts her head to one side and regards Tellur sorrowfully.

Malcolm crouches low beside Tellur to better watch the dog. He says in his calm homely soundly lilt, "You are amoung friends and folk who will believe you." He knows Tellur after all, and has met Gromm, and is not a stupid man if two exist, why not three?

Tellur says to Malcolm, as the Knight supports him "Perhaps she's not as I am, I cannot tell. She may be merely a bright beast. She may have lost most of herself." He shrugs, and offers his hand out "Shake?" he asks the brachet, and then says to her, in his terribly blunt way, the word half-hissed "Warg?" There is some embarrassment there. One cannot just assume every intelligent dog is a Warg. Even if one _does_.

The little dog makes a little sobby sound, then steps towards Tellur. She puts one forepaw out towards him, to accept the offer of a shake, it seems, and barks once, a tiny soft woof.

Malcolm nods, but asked, "Lost herself?" He studies the dog, "Maybe we should make a system: one bark for yes, two for no, three for maybe? Can you count when you are Dog, My Wolfling?" This last is clearly intended for Tellur.

The brachet barks again.

Tellur rocks back on his heels, and he says "Poor lass," to the dog "Is that why the bastard thought to kill you? He seemed to say something strange as he attacked the woman who was with us." He takes the paw, but does not scoop the dog up. Instead, he gently lowers it and says to her "I'll not treat you as a mere beast, for you are not. You've been avenged, but we are not sure at what cost. Did the blaggard know what you are?" He says to Malcolm "Dog can count, himself, but not very far - when I am him, I can do so quite well, but not as well as when I am Tellur myself. Still, she understands us. It is good the Stark house found her."

You say, "I did not note it. I was focused on trying to find proofs of him having done this terrible thing to her." He turns to the brachet, "I am terribly sorry, Mistress. We will certainly make you comfortable all your days. It's the least we can do. Best not to let on to Lady Hellan, but the other Starks will understand.""

The dog barks twice, softly, then whines and sets her chin on Tellur's knee. She looks at Malcolm bemusedly.

Tellur puts his hand on the dog's shoulder, rather than her head, and he says to Malcolm "He did not know of her. I have another idea, for more information, Mal. There are heraldry records in the citadel, and those I can read full well. We are best to look there for details on the family and the names. If we know them, we can find out the shape of the land before you ride for the Lord. I'd rather not see you beheaded - or myself hung."

Malcolm smiles crookedly, "That is a fine idea and we might take the measure of the Maesters for our Cat while we are at it. I've not seen Beesburies in the melee. I know my measure against most of the local knights who do tourney, but I've no knowledge of Beesbury beyond the look of their arms. Your head is to precious for hanging, Wolfling. If blood is wanted, it will be mine. Lord Ormund is an honorable man. I've jousted with him. Let's hope his sense will see our honesty."

The pretty dog whines softly. She scratches at the floor with one paw.

Tellur considers this with a nod, then says to the dog "I've no way to return you to your first shape - this must be the form you have forever, now." The man is blunt, as usual "I am like thee - the wolf there won't harm you, if you desire company. But out of love for our people - and you are of my people - I'll offer you a home here. It might take some time for us to come to an arrangement that leaves you comfortable. I hardly imagine anything is pleasing to you now, and more that things are grim or lonesome. Do you have ideas for how the Knight and I could ease your situation?"

Malcolm realizes this might be hard for a dog to communicate, "Would you like to stay here? Would you rather sleep with and his Tellur's beasts? Would you like a sot inside by the hearth?"

The dog sighs heavily, as dogs do, and rests her chin on Tellur's knee again, looking at the two of them sadly.

"Perhaps time will ease things," Tellur decides, and then he adds "Though, lady, it would be good if you could come with us, if you have the stomach for it. If they know of you and the…pet. Then your ease with us would help our cause."

Malcolm looks worried, "I would hate to distress you further. I… It is terrible we do not even know your name."

The dog gives an interrogative whine.

Tellur enquires "Are you a Beesbury?"

The beast growls, and then barks twice.

You say, "Were you of their household?"

Again, the double bark. The sounds are delivered snappishly, as if the question might be a little offensive.

Tellur enquires "Are you of any of the major Houses? The Minor Houses?"

The little beast barks again, twice.

Malcolm stays squatting, but approximates a bow, "Were you kidnapped? Were you tricked? Are you from Oldtown? Did you serve a major house?"

Malcolm stays squatting, but approximates a bow, "My apologies, Mistress. Were you kidnapped? Were you tricked? Are you from Oldtown? Did you serve a major house?"

Tellur is quiet, frowning to himself. Then again, Tellur usually looks as though he is frowning.

The white brachet barks once, then grumbles and turns, sniffing the air. She faces to the north and starts to bark again, not once or twice or thrice, but repeatedly.

You say, "Can you lead us to where you lived, Mistress?"

"Kidnapped from the North?" Tellur wonders to Malcolm "It's Northern blood that this runs within."

The dog gives Malcolm a skeptical look, then looks at Tellur. She barks, wagging her tail eagerly at him.

"Aye. Every Warg I know is a Northron. How far North? Wildling territory, Stark, or as far South as our Snow blood travels?" Tellur asks the beast.

Again, one bark.

Malcolm falls silent, letting the Warg talk to the warg.

Tellur considers, then he says to Malcolm "This is going to get uncomfortable. I doubt Lord Ormond is going to see our defence in the same light, with the lady not being one of the Realm…" But he still says lady, and he says to the dog "How long ago was it?" And he counts weeks, slowly. One week. Two weeks. Three weeks.

The little dog whines, looking confused and distressed now.

Tellur hesitates "Do you not know how long he had you?"

She lies on the floor and covers her muzzle with her forelimbs.

Tellur considers, and then says "I am sorry if I have upset you. Is…time difficult now?"

Malcolm looks as if he wants to pet her soothingly, but careful of her dignity and her likely loathing of a male touch just now, holds out his hand in case she might want it, but stays out of her space. She's been in this state for dayys before we found her most like, and there were a great number of wine skins in the tent.

She lifts her head and brushes the floor with her tail, wagging at Tellur. Then she presses her cold nose to Malcolm's hand, friendly.

"Aye, kept drunk so as not to flee," Tellur considers, and he half-smiles at the woman "We are of one blood, you and I, even if I am the tamer," he tells her "No more horrors. The Knight here knows what I am, and will not harm us. I am as you are - my brother is the wolf back there. We must work out what to do - I'm glad the fool is dead, but…I wish it had just been you and I, Mal. We could bury the body and be done."

The brachet barks. Evidently she approves of that idea.

Malcolm is very gentle with her, and inclined to scritch the right places what with all that practice. He has a calm and a stillness about him and patience is something he practices daily. "I was thinking to do it anyway, but it is too late now to convince the witch and I have gone to Lady Hellan and she is a Mormont _and_ a Stark. Better I go through with it now."

"Ah, gods curse it," Tellur says, sourly to himself "That witch was a born fool too. Well, it cannot be helped. We must be honest men." He grins, showing all of his white teeth "Let us tell the truth - just not all of it. We found a hunting brachet in distress, and followed her back, fearing her master was injured. I've had a hunting injury, it might be believed of me. We found a woman's body and a man who attacked a woman with us, you were forced to kill him." Maybe 'forced' is strong.

The dog rolls over for scritches.

You say, "She is indeed a fool and a dangerous one at that, Tellur. Oh I was planning to say he admitted to the crime as well, as that is certainly what it sounded like to me. He was strangling the woman who came with us and I had to kill him lest he kill her. This too is truth. A just rather wish of the two of them it was this one here we saved, but there is no helping it. Belly rubs. So many belly rubs. "I like her not. She hurt this one for trying to lead us there. There is no cause to hurt one already frightened and trying her best to do what we asked of her, and she'd not the sense to keep her mouth shut and behave sensibly. The part about her being a fool, Lord Ormund needn't know. The less I can say of her to him, the better."

Tellur asks "Do you want me to go with you? I am nothing but a Bastard, unlike you, but I am Recognised to the Starks. I simply wear no colours - I am no Knight."

Malcolm studies Tellur, "Do you think you can manage it? I know you are less comfortable with these great Southern Lords than I am. You could borrow colours and you are a Stark ad you were there…. If not, I will go. I'd not put you in danger if it can be helped."

THe pretty dog whines, at the sound of Malcolm's wish that he'd saved her, and then wiggles. Belly rubs. Just letting go.

Tellur grunts, considering it, then shrugs "Everyone who knows me, knows I speak true. I'll go to give you another witness. I don't speak well in Court, no, but I know my Heraldry - I shall be there for you. It may be useful to have one who can have many eyes present. There is little danger for me, Ser Malcolm." He grins, showing those sharp, white teeth, and then he says to the brachet "Would you like to come with us? If not, there is a life here, and there is one I can introduce you to who will keep you as you should be kept, for they have a brother who is a seal."

The dog lifts her head to look at Tellur again, stopping her wiggling to gaze at him.

You say, "As you wish, Tellur. Extra eyes are helpful and I like having you at my side at time of need. You are a good man and a good Wolf." He says gently to the dog, "What you wish is important, Mistress. We wish to make your days from here out good.""

The dog rolls onto her belly again and licks Malcolm's hand.

Tellur shrugs "The one I am speaking of is from the North," he explains to the brachet "If you stay with them, you'll not be poorly treated, nor alone. But if you wish to come with us, to see it out, you may. We'll leave in the morrow, you can decide then. For me now, I need to go to the Citadel to ask for those records."

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