That was the first time it heard a new sound from the green. Jealousy broke fear, and it reached out to the green to find out why the gift had merited a new sound, and it had touched the surface of the greens mind for only an instant before retreating. The surface was enough to find the amusement in the way the gift had spun through the air, the gift’s terror at hitting the ground. Laughter. It was a good sound, a positive one that meant the green was happy, that was it!
It had plenty of time to plan as it waited for the green to return. It would make the green laugh, a small gift in return for all that it had done. Perhaps the green would even stay with it forever if only it could keep the green laughing and happy. But first, it tried to figure out what would cause a laugh. It could not caper and roll around as the tiny gift had, for it was weak and bound. It had not seen enough of the thoughts to learn more of laughter, retreating as though the mind had burned it.
Of course, the gift could. It would burn the being to watch the tiny gift bring them such joy, but it was the only method it could think of, unless it could find something else. And something did surface through the sickness in its mind, something perfect that would make the green laugh and never want to leave it again.
When the green returned, the gift was being held loosely between its foreclaws, the warm body taking all of it’s attention to keep trapped as the gift tried to squirm through numbed fingers. The green came up to the cage and stopped, cocking its head to the side and staring first at the gift, then fixing those wonderful golden eyes on it. Now, now was its chance!
It opened up its hold, the gift waddling free, then struck the body with a sweep of its claws. The blow was awkward, the chains rattling across the ground as they added to the weight that it had to struggle against, but it struck true. The gift ripped apart, trailing blood as something red and white held the rolling pieces together to smack against the edge of the grey. Leg that had hit the gift was dragged back, and it stared at the quivering creature, that had kept a spot warm and the dark less lonely, as it let out a whimper and died.
It looked up at the green, suddenly unsure. It had broken the gift, its companion, and it could not fix it, not even the haze that clouded its mind could hide that there was no fixing the little gift-
And the green laughed. It watched as the green laughed and shook its head, raising a hand to its face as it did so. The being gurgled, trying, failing to mimic the laugh, but it was just so happy that the green was laughing, that it had made the green happy. Perhaps now it could speak safely to the green, to implore the free and strong to stay with it a little longer. Yes, the gift was dead, but it was sure it could find more humorous things to do with it.
It reached for the corpse, head pinned at an awkward angle as it strained to reach the body, now nothing more than a vehicle for laughs. It could do even more, had to show the green that it could entertain, but then a particularly hard series of coughs bloomed within it, causing it to jerk its claws back. When the coughing was done, the green was gone.
That was fine. The green would come back, and it would have a new trick for it. Something even better.
She had not been sure what to make of the crossbreed. There had been some reluctant pity for it, the stupid thing nearly dying so early on, but she had been at fault for not checking up on it sooner. Once she had nursed it back to a more even level of sickness, one not exacerbated by dehydration, wounds, and starvation, she had thought the head wound was a warning sign of something much deeper, the creature staring and gurgling but never once speaking into her mind. That the beast might have been a little less intelligent would not have been an issue. Then it had befriended the first piece of live food she had given it, keeping the grubble as a pet rather than eating it. At the time, she had thought it was merely not hungry, but she had caught it snuggled up against the grubble, letting the prey crawl over it without a care.
When she had thrown the grubble back to the crossbreed, she had a little laugh about it, almost daring the crossbreed to attack her for harming its pet. The crossbreed had only stared at her, something in it’s blue eyes making her uneasy, and she had left before it could launch some attack against her.
Then, upon returning to try to decide what to do with the so-called proud dragon that refused to speak to her even as the dullness left its eyes, it had killed the grubble. Not cleanly, not for food, but as though it was some kind of message. She had laughed at its warning, leaving it to hack and wheeze as she left to fetch Styx and Cai’n. The crossbreed would speak to her, if for no other reason to confirm that it had recovered from its self-inflicted suffering and for her to gauge what it would take to make the beast trainable.
The new sound was not enough to rouse it from its current slumber, having been dragged down into unconsciousness as it tried to figure out something else to amuse the green with what it had left. The sound was nothing like the soft pattering of the green’s footsteps, each a loud clop that never fell away from its pattern until a new creature stood at the doorway. They it remained, staring at the sleeping crossbreed with wide eyes, ears pinned to the sides of its head. A voice called out, just out of sight of the crossbreed had it been away and looking, this one a great deal more familiar. The creature approached the sleeper, then touched the long horn protruding from its head to the crossbreed, then neighed and reared as the crossbreed twitched and came awake.
It caught the edge of the bizarre creature's thoughts, of a fear shown with images of horrible beasts that would rip and tear at throats and bellies. Its contempt for the creature rose naturally as it gave a single cough and spat out a wad of phlegm, then slid away as it heard the sound of laughter from the doorway.
Joy radiated from it as it heard the sound, its only regret that the prey had not stayed long enough for it to allow it time to do something that would entertain the green even more. It shuffled about on its limbs, trying to angle its body to the door so that it might watch the green enter and froze for a heartbeat.
Now its limbs moved easily, if perhaps a bit uncertainly after being unused for so long. Each was pulled under its body, pushing its body slowly into the air until its wings pressed against the roof of the cage. It’s head remained close to the ground not out of any wooden feeling of heaviness but the weight around its neck, the haze that had lingered and kept its thoughts muddled and drifting was gone.
Its surprise was such that it almost missed the pair that walked into the room, one some miserable grey thing and the other, its green.
Clear-headed and standing for the first time in its life, the crossbreed was at a loss. Should it greet green, thank them for all that they had done? Beg green to stay with them, to tell them what made the green laugh, do a trick of some kind? Tell the green how it needed them, how it cared, how it loved them?
Lost in thought as it held the golden gaze, suddenly shier now than ever before though it could stand, the tattered thing that launched itself into the space between them with a clicked tongue startled it. Then it was enraged, for the grey thing, so much like the grey thing that it now knew for a wall, was daring to block it from the green. It roared at the tattered thing, sending it reeling back, but then it launched itself in between its green and itself. It reached into the offenders mind, raging and-
It learned that the thing daring to separate it from the green for even a moment was a he, and that he hated it. He hated it for its wellness, images of wished for ruin passing to it, of its body wasted and weak, of a sickness that would leave it drowning in its own lungs and banishing it from the world of light. It saw thoughts of all the horrible things the wasted creature wished upon it, and it found in its posturing and threats one to blame for the suffering it had been through. It might have pressed its head as closely against the bars as it could then, burning the damned thing into a cinder, but there was another thought, a reason for the hatred beyond its strength and health.
He was a jealous, spiteful thing, and he would keep her safe as she had done for him in his illness. The only living thing that his blackened head cared about, that could shift his mind from the singular goal of making all suffer as he had done. The one who protected him, cared for him when he was weak, the memories of kindness that the tattered thing involuntarily recalled as it touched his mind and directed thoughts about her.
The mother. The one who cared for him when he was small and weak, who would be obeyed and in return grace him with attention and a treat. The mother who had been there since he could remember, who could be as deadly and cruel as he himself was at times, but also far too kind.
Its dreams, first forgotten at its first true awakening, the lessons they had imparted fading away over the course of its suffering had not included a mother. It had not known of any such thing, but it recognized several pieces of memory that were similar to its own. Now it had a name to give to the green who had cared for it, that it loved and would never abandon, that it would strive to listen to as the silly tattered thing had done. Yes, the green was mother, its Mother, and it swore to love her as it met her eyes, feeling magnanimous enough to spare the stupid clicking thing for giving it such knowledge. Surely she would love it more than that tiny thing of spite and bones, and it would serve her far better than it ever had. After all, the stupid thing did not even think to make her laugh.
It met her eyes, nervous but hopeful, knowing that if the tattered thing could gain her affection, then it would gain her love. Had mother not already shown how much she loved it, caring for it, clearly having something to do with the terrified creature that had taken the sickness with it? That she should have only such cowards and weak things under her command was unacceptable. She deserved more.
Haix was equally nervous, though more for Cai’n than the creature in the cage, and she called him back from his showing off with a sharply barked command. She would not lose him because the creature managed some lucky hit through the bars. She did not take her eyes from it, willing Cai’n to interfere only if it lashed out as the weaver had done years ago. The description had not said it could do much more than pick at a mind, so she strove to keep her thoughts buried of the threat it could pose, hiding what she would do to it should it fail to be tractable. Instead, as the book on mind tricks had instructed, she kept only a greeting at the top of her thoughts, waiting to see if the creature would speak this time.
Hello, it heard from her thoughts, or an approximation of a greeting. She was greeting it, expecting it. It should never have waited so long, never have doubts that she would welcome the poor sickly one being it had been.
Greetings mother! It broadcasted to her with no attempt to hide its joy and excitement, careful to exclude the trash sitting by her feet. This one was so nervous, I thought, oh forgive me for the silence, I was not well and an idiot! Oh, a stupid, pathetic thing, it dropped its head looking mournful and penitent. Then it bounced back up to the fullest height allowed to it. But, here I am now, this faithful creature ready to listen, ready to speak, ready to obey, yesyesyes-
As it blathered on, Haix found it difficult to hide her thoughts and produce a response to the creatures nonsense, settling for doing her best to hide her confusion. The mind speech of the beast was, well, had it been aloud, she would have described it as quickly changing tone and pitch nearly at random as it swung through different moods, body straining to follow them. It sagged as it bemoaned its loneliness, then tried to flex its way free of its bindings as it told her that it was strong now, very useful and clever and so much better, the mind voice dropping into a snarl, than the piece of trash cowering beside her.
She might have responded differently had she been given the choice of what words to use, but the meaning that the crossbreed took from her thoughts amounted to Do not dare insult my favored one, unproven.
The effect was immediate, its blathering slowing in place as its body drooped as though the illness had returned, but clearly not reason enough to end his flattery. Sorry, my mother. I-this one should not have presumed- Its chin touches the floor of the cage, eyes fixing on the spot where the floor met the grid. I wish to serve you, my dearest mother. Please oh please, let me gain your favor. This one can- What could it do, bound and caged as it was? Oh, of course, the laughter! It thought quickly, words tumbling into Haix’s mind. I can make jokes, make laughter. This pathetic, unproven one can entertain you in any way. Will serve you in any way I can. Still no response from her, its beloved mother hiding her words from it! Oh, it had been so foolish to presume that she had not formed favorites that could already caper and find creatures to kill for her.
Not your birther she informed it finally, trying to figure out why the creature was mocking her so. Did it really think she would let it go so easily? Then again, it had not asked for any freedoms yet. She had expected more demands, more insults beyond the one directed at Cai’n. And carefully, she put her name to the front of her mind as what it could call her instead, though to have a slave call her such would be a little grating. She hoped to pull out a true reaction than the bizarre trains of thought it kept directing towards her.
She did not expect it to physically recoil, eyes widening so that she thought they might fall out. NO! NoNooOnoNonNO! I would never- How dare- Who dares to call mother that? The first part of the reaction was nearly commercial, the sliding pitch as the words overlapped nearly giving her a headache. But the end was what concerned her, the way its eyes narrowed to slits, the way its mane began to crackle with motes of blue. The tone there was not the comical overreaction of the start but something much colder, quieter, so that she might have been forced to move closer had the beast not been speaking in her head.
Her response, thought before she could think to censor it to hide her amusement, seemed to puzzle the beast. Its muscles loosened, wings that had been pressed against the walls and ceiling of the cage slowly folding against its sides. Mother, why choose- then it caught itself as her amusement soured. It was not for it to ask, unproven and trapped within the cage. Mother, you are my mother, this one is yours with what to do what you wish. It would not insult her. When she allowed that, it fell silent, trying to find some way to lighten the mood. If only the tattered one was not so far away, or so favored! Then it stiffened, and relaxed completely. Oh mother, you got me! A JOKE! I’ll need to come up with one, mother is so clever hahaha- The last part trailed away until she could no longer hear it clearly in her mind, only a faint buzzing at the edge of her consciousness before that sensation too disappeared.
Twilight-Claw: And usually I do notice those things. x3
Aug 11, 2022 8:35:50 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Lol, I honestly hadn't noticed them until you said that Darky! XD
Aug 11, 2022 8:35:38 GMT -6
Darky: With bonus feesh~
Aug 11, 2022 2:09:03 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Awesome growth! And I see they still got the birds flying around them. x3
Aug 10, 2022 13:31:10 GMT -6
Morgan: The Shabutau eyes are so expressive! I'm impressed with them. c:
Aug 9, 2022 21:09:30 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: *Dances* Yes! Primal Expertise is here! <3 Just now noticed the list with what is updated, thanks Silver! Definitely loving all those tiny updates that where made with the rest as well! <3
Aug 1, 2022 15:20:01 GMT -6
Darky: Yep, they're def 5-fingered, complete with a thumb :3 And danku~
Jul 21, 2022 4:04:19 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The Dynasty Tat-Lung looks awesome Darky! You made them look really cool! I think I even see a thumb in their design that fits their most likely one to read books in their design. <3
Jul 20, 2022 13:26:25 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like this part "and would like to remind you that lost digit reattachment is a service offered at all Labs-Aligned hospitals within the city." of them a lot for some reason, I don't think many people go to that establishment a lot. x3
Jul 2, 2022 3:42:55 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I didn't even noticed it was double headed until it got mentioned in the cbox (which was really just five seconds after seeing them! XD). :3
Jul 2, 2022 3:41:30 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: I'm glad you like them!! Seeing as they're a retired breed, I wanted the Magestorm to be extra special.
Jul 1, 2022 21:08:53 GMT -6
Morgan: Oh, the Magestorm being double headed is a really neat surprise! What a cute species. c:
Jul 1, 2022 21:02:39 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Afraid I don't have any. :C
Jun 30, 2022 14:16:45 GMT -6
Darky: Btw, still on the lookout for 1 sapling flower if anyone has any spares? (Not picky about colour~)
Jun 30, 2022 4:28:15 GMT -6