Camael lifted his head when he heard Alistair's chuckle, not surprised to see him crouched in front of Kol. The mabari's pointed ears were erect, the red tinged eyes watching Alistair with something that could almost be resigned humor.
"Alistair, try not to irritate Kol too much. While I can promise he won't kill you, I can't say the same for biting you in a few uncomfortable places." If Kol did bite, Camael doubted he would draw blood, simply leave an impression of teeth as a warning. It had been drilled into them from an early age, puppy and teenager, what was expected of a teryn's son and his hound.
A mabari could be excused from certain things, their intelligence non-withstanding, they were war hounds. Where rough housing was tolerable, blood was not.
"As if I could forget," Alistair laughed. "Who do you think first thought up the bright idea of a dog the size of a pony?"
"A brave soul, I'm sure."
Kol grunted, the stub of his tail beating twice against the packed dirt.
Alistair chuckled, offering his hand for a perfunctory sniff before rubbing between Kol's ears. "It's really no wonder Oghren keeps talking about putting a saddle on you."
"I'd like to see him try," Camael muttered as Kol huffed, though whether it was about Oghren's intentions with a saddle or because Alistair had stopped stroking his head, he wasn't sure.
He thought about it for a second. "Try not to bite Oghren too hard if he ever tries." Kol growled. "I know but think about it. Oghren is an ornery cuss when he's drunk, which is all the time, so if you're going to draw blood make sure he doesn't have that damn meat cleaver of his on him."
Alistair looked over his shoulder at the rest of the camp. "I'm pretty sure he always has that on him too."
Following his line of sight Camael could just make out a familiar sullen lump of drunk dwarf stretched out on a pallet. It wasn't uncommon to sleep next to their weapons considering there were no walls to help guard against another darkspawn raid. Trading off to stand guard during the night was no substitute for the thick walls of a fortress.
Camael didn't think unease had anything to do with the way Oghren was pillowing his head on the haft of his axe, thick fingers curled loosely further down. Considering how often Camael saw Oghren clean the thing, which was never, it was a wonder Oghren could sleep past the stench of old blood. It could be that the dwarf found the scent soothing which Camael wouldn't put past him. On the other hand, Camael was betting the constant scent of alcohol that permeated the air around Oghren's beard had something to do with it.
Camael dropped back down onto his own pallet, staring up at the clustered stars overhead. "You know Kol, if Oghren ever does try to put a saddle on you, just run."
He wasn't sure if the answering grunt was an affirmative or if Alistair's fingers had reached that special spot behind Kol's ears.