If a being had been there during the first part of its suffering, it would have demanded they free it, have threatened them with claws and half realized abilities. Now it only wished for something to break the silence, to prove that there was a world beyond the black void of pain and suffering it could not escape from.
And as that last thought was formed, fear strangled anger and cast it aside. It could not escape. Not ‘it could not escape without aid’, not that it ‘could not escape yet’, no, it could not escape ever. There would be nothing more for it. It would be trapped here forever, bound to suffer and never even know what it had been. It fought now with a strength that felt impossible, scream-coughing as it flailed at nothing, claws ringing against something that made its head feel as though it was splitting open, chest shriveling into nothingness.
Instinct took over, an unforgotten rule learned in a forgotten dream as sparks began to leap from its mane to the floor below, ignored as more tricks of the shadows. They built in number, hurting its eyes though never bright enough to let it see, and with a shriek that erupted more from its body than its dried out throat, it called light into being. And it was terrible, striking it blind as it drove daggers into its eyes, all hopeful dreams of light and seeing forgotten when confronted by the terrible reality. It shattered what little presence of mind it had left, leaving it grovelling on the ground as it begged for the dark, the blessed, sweet darkness, and then the light struck it.
Most of the lighting contained within the ball struck out at the metal bars, the shackles that held its claws, illuminating for a brief moment before it struck that might have at least answered one of its prayers, revealing a tiny bit of the place it was trapped in and its wasting limbs. The branch of light that found its head sought to answer a prayer as well, each limb locking stiffly and jolting it up into a standing position for several seconds before it collapsed, twitching.
She had left the creature to its own devices for a few days, unwilling to deal with the haughtiness she had grown used to facing in Sid. The sickness that Cai’n carried was not a fatal one, or at least it had not been in his case, and the water she had left had been mixed with some powder that was apparently ideal for sick predators who could not gain nutrition any other way. Yes, it had a chalky taste that was disgusting, but it had not harmed her when she had tried it. Then again, it did not look as though the crossbreed had bothered to drink a single drop.
She had expected a lot of things upon returning after a few days. Rage, wounded pride, perhaps a hint of something she could bargain into outright obedience if not loyalty. The tat-lung in the beast made her doubt it would be capable of anything like that.
She had thought it might have broken free, especially after the clap of thunder that had set creatures many rooms away into hysterics, and waited a little longer in hopes that it would not find its way out, that it would calm down before she reached it. She did not want to have to nullify another creature so soon, especially not a crossbreed that had the blood of two more normal creatures, an odd description for the donor that was a crossbreed itself. She had thought it might be waiting for her as she turned the lights up so that she could see with a little effort, awaiting some shriek of pain that would signify that the disease did pass on the light sensitivity but not wishing to face it in the dark.
And if it did attack, she would throw the satchel of supplies at it and run, leaving it to vent its anger on roots and a bucket of slurried meat while she decided how to best deal with it.
That it was in the cage, the water untouched and still nearly to the brim, surprised her. The smell of charred meat and the half-closed eyes sent her scampering to the cage, catching herself before reaching up to the door. It was smart, could read minds. That was why she had kept everything else away from it. It might have heard her coming, the light still too faint to cause an unmissable reaction. She would look it over first.
And if it was faking, it was doing a magnificent job. Its breath rattled in its chest, scratches lining the metal floor but never very deep. There were no burn marks on the metal, no sign of them having been warped under fire or brute strength, but she figured Cai’n’s sickness would have stopped any attempt to force its way out with brute strength.
The only thing truly damaged was the creature itself, mane blackened and burnt into clumps at some spots, as were its legs where the shackles touched. She had thought the slip of paper mentioned an immunity to fire, but the creature had apparently managed to burn itself anyways.
She prodded at it, first with a stick, then her own hand, not directly on the cracked scales but by where she judged the sensitive skin of its throat to be. When she kept her hand and the cycle of wheezes showed no sign of disruption, she glared at the beast. Then, with a sign at stupidity, though she had not decided yet whether it was her own for falling for such an obvious trick or the beasts for trying to kill itself, she opened the cage and stepped inside. To the burns, she applied a salve she had meant to use on herself should its flames and lightning escape the cage encasing it, running out as she slathered the last of it onto its final leg burn.
She talked to it as she worked, inviting it to explain how it had hurt itself, how it thought it could escape through killing itself if that was indeed its goal, then moving on to simply describing the injuries and the amount the special vitamin powder had cost her.
The words did not stop as she stirred the water with a stick to make sure it was a chalk-tasting as ever, then scooped up a handful. Carefully, or rather as careful as she could be with its heavy head and locked jaws, she made it drink. The head was tucked under one arm and angled upwards, the handful of water tipped to pour it down between the gaps in its teeth. Some of it fell away to pool at her knees, mixing with the assortment of gunk that had hardened onto the floor of the cage, adding to the smells of its waste and dying body.
It was ignored. Instead, handful after handful was dumped into its mouth, always careful to rub its throat in between each paltry amount of liquid to be sure it drank it rather than inhaled it. An hour later saw its jaws loosen so that less water spilled to the floor, her having drunk a few handfuls herself as the constant talking dried out her throat, and, had she been looking at it rather than to the next handful of water, she might have seen its eyes move, blink, then slide shut.
She noticed that they closed a few handfuls later, asking herself aloud if she had shut them for the beast at some point, perhaps by accident as she maneuvered the head around. There was no response from the beast when asked, so she continued to dump water down its throat with increased pauses between them. It had surprised her that it had not already spat up some of the water she had dumped down its throat even with all of her caution, but unwilling to stop until it proved to be a great deal less dehydrated.
It was a few hours later, the water in the trough now shallow enough for her fingers to touch the bottom without wetting her palm when it began to cough. This was nothing special in itself, for the beast had coughed and wheezed during the time she was giving it water, having resigned herself to dealing with Styx should she catch Cai’n’s sickness. Sometimes the coughs had never even reached its jaws, leaving her to awkwardly stroke the undamaged parts of its mane and head while she waited for the fit to pass.
This time the crossbreed hawked and spat out phlegm, juicy and shiny as it should have been. She rinsed its mouth after the first few fits, dumping more water to the floor and its mouth, then left it alone. It had been hours, much longer than she had allocated for the time of dealing with the haughty offspring of a tat-lung, and if the phlegm had returned, she could leave it alone for a little while. Fresh water and mix were added to the trough after it was rinsed, the ground wiped at to remove the worst of the waste, as much so that it might realize that it had missed its only chance at escape as to keep it from getting sicker. An infection in the wounds it had given itself might cause the ailment to turn fatal.
The cage was locked, the lights dimmed back to the darkness the creature likely expected and, though she longed to witness its reaction upon finding out its death attempt had failed, she left with the supplies to deal with the rest of her kennel.
It had seen something new. Blurred shapes and colors and sounds that made no sense, the feeling of something pressed against its scales and something cool and somehow dry for its wetness that poured down its throat. It burned as it ran over dried up tissue, and had the creature not been so weak, mind drifting as its unfocused eyes pretended there was more than the shadows that encased it. The noises and colors erupted across its senses at random as it was alternatively lulled to rest and woken, twisting and refusing any attempt to be made sense of, though the being did not dare to try. For the strange noises and colors and ghost of movement, of feeling something more than the inferno and blizzards and simple pain that wracked its form, and it worried that it would be returned to the shadows.
The first time was the worst, the feeling of loss as it woke to the darkness, to the silence broken only by its own wheezing.
Its chest shuddered as it silently mourned what had been taken from it even as it slipped back to sleep, knowing that the end of the dark and the silence had been a fluke.
Then it was repeated. Sometimes there was only a brightening, soft noises made that it could barely hear under its own wheezing, sometimes there was the thick liquid being poured down its throat, or something cool or warm ran across its wings and body when in the grip of a blaze or a chill. Flem was repeatedly spat out with spasms that wracked its body, and more than once the cool liquid came back up to burn its throat. Its chest ground its teeth with every breath, and the cruel darkness was still its most common companion though once or twice it had been blinded by the too bright light that burrowed its way into its skull.
But the noises always returned to comfort it, with fluids and touch and the greenish thing that moved through the grey.
It did not dare speak to the maker of the noises. Even as its mind began to make sense of things, to connect the sounds and the touch and the water and the green blur together, it made no attempt to communicate with it. At first, before it fully understood that it had to be something, it had not done so because it had forgotten it could. It had only sputtered at the thing as it felt the pressure under its head lessen, staying awake long enough to watch as the green thing fell behind a wall of grey that grew to be as hated as the blackness.
By the time its thoughts began to knit together against the constant pain and fluctuations of its body working to repeatedly unravel what little thoughts it could form, it had not spoken for fear of finding that the green blur would be like the darkness, mindless and empty, waiting to vanish forever the moment it called out.
The being did not like to be alone however and once, when the pain had receded enough for it to realize that the green was to leave it alone once more, it had reached out in a panic. Groping blindly not understanding why the rest of its limbs were being pulled as it tried to find the green, gurgling against the fluid in its throat to beg it to stay longer, it watched as the grey returned with a noise that made it wince, eyes barely held open against the pain to watch flickers of green move along the grey.
It seemed that the green stayed away longer this time than it had ever done so before, the creature’s hopes fraying in the lengthening dark. It welcomed the pain, hoping that it would build and char it so the green would return to it. The green always returned to it after pain, and the green was the only thing that could fight off the pain and the dark.
The day it saw the green again was the happiest day of its life.
It was not just that the green returned, bringing with it sounds and sight and kindness. No, not merely that though it had thought its heart would burst as the lights began to brighten, the familiar voice calling out to it, though that was enough to blind it to the truth at first. It had stared at the green from behind the fuzzy grid of grey, watching as the green drew closer, and resolved itself into more defined shapes. Its edges swam in and out of focus, the green sometimes appearing to be many, other times to be just one, but it could see the green!
It kept still as the being before it opened the grid, sliding the grey aside to speak to it, clearly having forgiven it for its earlier insult. It was too busy drinking in the true appearance of the green, the green and black scales that glittered in the light, the golden eyes that looked into its own, the thin lines of darkness running long its back.
Some of what it saw did not make sense, and sometimes the green warped into many, or its form wove into the grey and twisted into new shapes. But it could see the green, and it fought to raise its head as the green spoke to it, watching the way its jaws opened and the throat shut as it made the wonderful noises.
It wanted to speak then, to thank the green, to beg it to never leave, but the fear held it in check. Its mind shied away from touching that of the green, fearing that now, after finally seeing the beautiful thing that had cared for it, that kept the dark and the pain away, that it would not be able to thank the green properly. It was weak, wracked by tremors so fierce that it could not even stand in the green’s presence, and the green moved about on two limbs with ease and grace. The green spoke, the sounds melodic and wide-ranging though it understood not the meaning, and it could only hack, gurgle and cough.
Not all of the sounds the green made were the melodic tones it preferred at first, but there were others that it came to crave. Once, the green had gifted it a small furry thing that moved and squeaked, that kept it company in the long dark. It cared for the gift, never crushing it with a spasm, enjoying the tiny spot of warmth on its hide when the chills tore away all the heat within. The green fed it as well, and the being forced down the surge of jealousy that threatened to break past the dullness in its mind.
Then, during one of the visits, the gift had dared to touch the green, to try to climb it. As a heat that had nothing to do with the wasting of its body rose within it, the tiny gift was grabbed and tossed back to it, spinning head over tail with a squeak that rose and dropped in pitch as it spun, before bouncing against the ground and rolling to a stop by its side. The green had left then.
Renathan: *purrumbles* Thankies for the fluffy birbdergs, Yang. :3
Sept 5, 2021 1:16:51 GMT -6
Yang: If any1 is curious, Sky is The Stat Master, so all notes about Crossbreeds (their cunning/power/etc) will all go through her before being posted :Bc it might! be a hot minute, as life is hella busy with her new job
Sept 4, 2021 14:57:15 GMT -6
Yang: thamk,thamk; streams are great for those designs that can be hashed out right quick 👈🕶️👈
Aug 31, 2021 19:18:51 GMT -6
Renathan: The Ohou extras look great! I enjoyed the stream from yesterday, as well.
Aug 31, 2021 15:23:49 GMT -6
Yang: Shout out to those on TBBs orders list! Apologies for the delay with cash-orders, been working on Ohou extra-circulars and getting them figured out xVc Ya'll should be seeing PMs in the next couple of days; big thamk for the patience!!
Aug 31, 2021 13:46:47 GMT -6
Yang: its all in the wrist
Aug 26, 2021 12:19:07 GMT -6
Renathan: They have Beauty and the Beast 'Beast' vibes- they're lovely!
Aug 26, 2021 4:08:21 GMT -6