Wandering away from camp to catch a moment of solitude was still a novelty to Alistair, after an entire life of always having someone watching over him, some orders to follow. Not that being a Grey Warden was so different, but as long as they weren't actively in battle, Elissa was fairly relaxed about discipline. So he had far more freedom than he'd ever been used to, and sometimes he went off alone just to take advantage of that.
He heard a rustling behind him, and he sighed, turned around. "I said I wanted-- oh, it's you." His irritation faded only slightly at the sight of Dog, Elissa's mabari hound, bounding out of the bushes and up to him, panting. "Well, I guess I don't mind too much if you watch me take a bath."
Dog pulled up and sat down, looked up at him with expectant eyes.
"I don't have anything for you." Alistair opened up his hands. "See, no snacks. Just soap, and I don't think you want that." Dog turned his head to the side with a whine, and Alistair sighed. "I suppose you won't believe me until you try, will you? Well, here." He held out the ball of soap; Dog sniffed at it, then jerked back, snorting and shaking his head. "See? I told you."
Undeterred, Dog nudged Alistair's other hand, looked down at a pile of sticks the ground, then let out a short sharp bark.
"What-- are you telling me you want me to throw this?" Alistair raised an eyebrow. "I thought Mabari war hounds were beyond that sort of thing." Dog simply looked up at him, and with a shrug, Alistair picked up the stick and tossed it several yards away. Dog barked again, a happy sound, and took off running, leaping into the pile of leaves where the stick had landed. He rooted around for a minute, then turned around and came back, the stick in his mouth, dropping it at Alistair's feet with a proud yip.
Alistair had to laugh. "All right, I guess we are playing this game." He threw the stick again and again, further each time, until Dog was panting, his tongue lolling from his mouth, what passed for a smile spreading on his face. The stick was a splintered, slobbery mess, and Alistair kicked it aside before kneeling down next to the mabari to scratch him behind the ears. "That was fun," he admitted. Dog barked again and began to lick Alistair's face, wet tongue over his cheeks and nose; Alistair winced and tried to back away, but the mabari followed and he toppled over onto his backside, laughing all the way.
"Off, off!" He pushed Dog away, then scrambled out from beneath. "When I said I was taking a bath, that wasn't exactly what I had in mind." Dog barked again, and Alistair shook his head. "Well, don't tell anyone, and I'll bring you along next time. All right?" Dog's next yelp seemed to signal agreement, and Alistair set off for the stream once again, his hand resting on Dog's shoulders.