The main issue, not that the creature had the forethought really at first past being quite confused about the reaction, was to be seen afterward. After a moment of staring at the being and finally not quite deeming them a threat, the thing bends down to... Well, perhaps not sniff. That wasn't the correct thought, seeing as it was a pile of bones. It nudged one of the pieces, and glancing up at the being, picking up a single piece with it's teeth. As soon as the piece was (surprisingly delicately) 'choked down', it fell out and onto the ground. The creature glared at the piece of meat curiously at first, and then in an accusatory fashion, and looked up at the being. It didn't seem to really need to eat, but it was indeed curious about it. As if the thing had been newly formed, or at least didn't remember... Before. At that, it appeared curious. It tilted it's head one way, and then another. It seemed uncannily witty, for a beast.
She watches as the little dead thing inspects the meat, watches it nudging the meat just as a cautious youngling might do when presented with unmoving meat. Watches as it picks up the meat in it's teeth, confusion riding as the meat is 'swallowed', slipping free of its bony form without catching anywhere within it. It was horrifying, her annoyance at the priest rising and giving away to anger. Why give a puppet any matter of free will, as hinted by with it's juggling, if the maker would not also give it someway to grow stronger and live on its own one day? Cleverness could only take a being so far.
It had been slightly funny to watch though.
She kept her amusement and anger from her face, remaining neutral as it looked back up at her. How does one explain to a dead thing, a dead hatchling, what has been sloppily done to it? "[ I am not so skilled as to repair the damage done,] she starts, keeping her tone light and even as if there was anything more she could do than grind its bones to dust to free it. But she does not want to kill this dead child, not even if it meant condemning it to a life, or unlife, of servitude until whatever spell holding it together fell apart. Not even if it was only a small fraction of of the child who had been killed to make it. She slowly crouched down beside it, seeing with a slight widening of her eyes that there was not even a dried heart in its chest anymore. "[ I had never crafted one such as you. But if you point out your maker, I will rip them apart so they will lose too what they took from you. If you wish.]" An offer that she should not make, but she makes it all the same.
The halfbreed, still more curious about the meat than the dead thing and the lizard, prodded at the slithering meat as it passed, yanking its paw back in dismay as it was coated with the creatures slime. It certainly did not smell edible if the slime was anything to go by. 28
A head tilt was given, and plenty of non-understanding to be gleaned. However, it liked the person, quite a bit. It couldn't remember life outside of this area, and it had a good mastery over the understanding of the area at least. However, it spent some time looking out beyond the grounds from safely within those grounds. What would happen if it left these grounds? A sudden idea hit it, allowing it to raise it's eyes back up to the being again. Without truly knowing what lay ahead of it, but with curiosity to find out, it carefully, slowly moved forward, but not stalking. No, it walked, and then it sat, directly in front of the individual, looking up as if questioning.
Would you take it with you? It could stay here, but it would like to see the outside world.
The dead hatchling had listened patiently to her words, tilting its head to one side but otherwise not moving. It seemed confused for some reason. Was it because it had not expected an offer of that kind? It was not one to be made lightly, for any priest that could not only puppet the dead but trap some of the dead-thing’s essence within it’s lingering skeletal remains without leaving any blood on the body would not be an easy kill. For all the priests failures, or pointless cruelty, it certainly would prove to be a challenge for her to even survive such an encounter.
But the dead thing never responds in words or gestures. It does not go for the waxy pieces of meat near it, stepping on one carelessly as it finally begins to move. There is nothing inherently threatening in its movement, the walk appearing to be no more than that, though that means little when referring to an animated skeleton. She did not move, certain that the dead one would have attacked her by now if it intended to or that it easily take her down if she attempted to flee.
The halfbreed, still uninterested so long as no one was touching it, began to stalk the pocket pets. 29
The dead hatchling reached her, stared, then sat. Confused herself now, Haix looked over the skeleton a little closer as she waited for it to do something more than sit. Its bones had been blackened by some unknown method, having left her unable to clearly see it as it stood in the night. This close she would see that there were no telltale bits of bright bone poking out from the black, no smudges or bumps that would suggest that the blackness had been painted onto the bones themselves. There was no obvious hue changes as there might have been if the bones had been dyed. It was as if the dead hatchling had always had blackened bones,that once the blood and meat had sloughed off the bones had always been as dark as she saw them now.
There were no carvings or uneven surfaces catching the light, and though she thought there was a small chance that the marks might be hidden in shadow, she wondered how few runes had been carved to let that be so.
The pocket pets were still staggering or flopping around the area they had been dropped when the wolfish one looked up at the giant halfbreed that had begun to circle them. 30
So either the priest had carved the runes on the parts of the skeleton that faced inwards or were hidden by the joints, an odd and time consuming aesthetic choice that she was not sure was worthwhile, or they had somehow imprisoned a fragment of the hatchling without any runes. The first of the two choices seemed like it would have been a waste of time, insanely so considering that the dead one was nowhere near the one that had enslaved it. The second seemed impossible, unless it was some heretical soft-skin magic, but would their kind, once again, be willing to let one of their slaves wander so far and freely?
She had more questions then, but she wished to finish examining the dead hatchling first. Neither question had explained why the puppeteer to allow the dead one to travel so far alone, which suggested she would not have to search for the one who trapped the hatchling. She had no intention of letting them make a larger version using her.
The pocket pet did not flee, but barked at the halfbreed as it passed by nearer than before, the noise catching the attention of the others with it. 31
There were only two other colors she could make out on the dead hatchling. The teeth were white, catching the oddly bright light of the moon on their pointed tips, untouched by whatever had changed the color of the rest of its bones. The teeth themselves looked unmarred, no hint of yellow or black or red staining their surface. She would not grab the dead one and force its mouth open for a closer look at them yet. She did catch sight of something dark and snakelike moving behind them though. The one who had done this had taken away so much from the dead hatchling, so why would they have left it with a tongue? Could the dead hatchling speak? It had not so far, so, like the expected arrival of its owner, that would be something to be answered later.
The other color was red, but it was not the crusty mud-red of blood left to dry and flake away, nor the glittering red that fresh blood and rubies alike shared. This red was nearly white at the center, fading away to a more saturated hue the farther it extended from the source.
The other pocket pets did not do much more at first than look at the halfbreed silently, the latter continuing to circle as if it had not been spotted. 32
That red was nothing more than a glow emanating from the dead hatchling’s sockets, so bright that she could not make out much of the details of the sockets themselves, yet weak enough that it failed to illuminate more than a few inches from the reddened edges. She had assumed them to be eyes of some sort, though she was not sure how they could make out anything from behind their own blinding glow, but she would not have been surprised if they were put in place either to strike fear into those who would face it or to allow the priest to know where their puppet was looking. A slave with free will and no tells, one that was dead and would long only for death, theirs or others, might have intimidated the one making them.
The horns on its head would have been impressive on a larger specimen, the dead hatchling’s size unfortunately lessening their effect despite their relative largeness. The head also failed to show any hint as to how the hatchling had been killed beyond that it probably had not been struck on the head.
As the halfbreed continued it’s slow pace, the pocket pets began to group up towards the center, near the small discarded pile of leaves. 33
The dead hatchling bore the stares of the large green one in front of them silently, even when it was muttered and chirped at. Haix barely noticed that she was talking as she continued looking over it for some sign of violence, of an accidental line in a bone left by a knife thrust that was a little too forceful, or a spot where the bone had cracked or split as a stone hit by a pickaxe might. It’s hands were fine, the end of the digits curled and pointed like claws, and its toes were roughly the same in that regard. The bones jutting out from behind its spine by the ribs meant it much have been hunched in someway, or had a silly set of small bone spikes poking out of it’s back in life. And as for its tail-
Haix blinked. It was not because the tail contained so many bones, nor because of how flexible it appeared to be as it curled over itself as easily as a thin rope might. He confusion instead stemmed from what the closeness of the dead one to her and the light of the moon now revealed to her as she had inspected the dead hatchling. The tail, while odd, was nothing strange. The second tail, pulling away from the first as if to allow her to see it easier, was.
The halfbreed, tiredness apparently forgotten, slowed its stalking further as the pocket pets bunched up. 34
She had heard of split tailed hatchlings and those cracked from dud-eggs before, though she had never seen one that had reached adulthood. Here then was the reason the priest must have chosen it to serve them, for such a mutation suggested it had taken more than a normal share of essence from those who laid it. Still, it would have been odd to waste the energy gained by bringing back the hatchling with it, especially without a way for the dead creature to gain in strength. This one would never even have a chance to grow in strength like the corpse construct that the soft-skins crafted had. Funny though that the priest had failed in that respect when the soft-skin crafters had been more successful.
At least this one lacked the ravenous appetite of the crafted beast, or else Haix might have never walked out of the mansion grounds alive. Nor would the halfbreed have done so, her attention drifting over to the creature as it circled the mass of small creatures the dead hatchling had been juggling. “[Did the one who enslaved you leave you with the ability to understand my words?]” she asked the dead hatchling as it too turned its head to look at the drama being played out behind it. 35
There was no spoken response from either creature as she spoke. The halfbreed had slowed to a stop, butt wiggling in the air as it bent its front legs in preparation for what Haix assumed would be the end of at least one of the tiny creatures shaking before it. The oozing slime thing, it’s bright colors differentiating it from the more solid creatures it flowed around, would probably survive on account of being less solid than the rest, but the tiny barking thing that resembled a tiny buff beastkin would soon find out the folly that it’s challenges were.
The skeletal creature sitting before her did glance back at her, then continued to watch what the halfbreed was doing. So it was likely it had no understanding of what should have been its primary language, and still showed no signs of being able to speak. There was not even the momentary opening and closing of jaws like a recently de-tongued slave might have done. That led her to more questions, like what use was a slave that did not understand the language it started with? And why give it a tongue but no way to speak? It made no sense to her. 36
Oddly enough, for all the attention she had spent looking over the dead hatchling, she now failed to notice the curling and uncurling of its fingers as it watched the fate of the things it had juggled. The halfbreed, who had been steadfastly ignoring both its owner and the animated skeleton she had been talking to, also failed to notice that the lights in the dead things sockets flicked back and forth between the panicking crowd of pocket pets and the halfbreed that was going to flatten them. It also failed to notice that the dead thing leaned slightly foreward as it remained staring down its beak at the tiny barking creature and the eel like thing snaking around the pulsing slab of organ that was behind the defensive pocket pet.
Haix did notice the dead things interest in the pocket pets and other junk, but said nothing to it nor the halfbreed. Had it grown attached enough to the objects it juggled that it would try to protect them from the halfbreed? If the much more flashy beast got killed, it would be a chunk of credits to retrieve even a slim amount of whatever animated lab creatures. That would be unpleasant to pay. 37
At the same time, she was almost eager to see if the dead hatchling would fight the halfbreed, showing her just what abilities the puppeteer had endowed it with beyond glowing eyes and a will of its own. Such a fight might also draw the attention of the priest who crafted it, and therefore she would be able to see what sort of idiot had crafted such a thing. The halfbreed could easily be revived and, considering that it was incredibly weak compared to most beasts crafted by the labs, there would be little to lose when the one reviving it took their due.
The stalemate lasted for more than a few seconds, an unknown reason for the hesitation of the crossbreed. Had it noticed the dead hatchling staring at it, and now feared what the being would do if the halfbreed dared to mess with its property? Or perhaps it had something in it that made hunting living things that were not comprised of gleaming stone not quite second nature. The tiny pocket pet that had been barking never stopped though, not even as the halfbreeds raised hindquarters gave a little shake. Pocket pets were not known for their intelligence. 38
Tearing her own gaze away from what might become a very bloody battle in a matter of seconds, Haix reached for the torn sack, snagging the ripped fabric in her claws and dragging it back to herself. The light fabric was covered in dirt and sap, and had several small tears from which twigs protruded. She ignored the smaller tears, instead focusing on the jagged rip she had only made larger when she had attempted to force it on the halfbreed a second time, claws teasing the frayed fibers. Then she flipped the sack so she held the mouth, and with one last look at the still frozen group, she bunched up the fabric she held and began to tie them together.
Her actions were not enough to distract the group of pocket pets, but the flapping fabric did catch the eye of the crossbreed. It’s eyes flicked over in her and the skeletal creatures direction then back to the barking pocket pet. A moment later, as the pocket pet began to howl, it looked back in her direction again, and at the bony thing that had just taken a step towards it. It clicked twice, never fully turning its head from the pile of pocket pets. 39
Then the dead hatchling took another step forward as she watched, fingers deftly pulling more parts of the mouth of the sack into knots, practically braiding them together to erase the original mouth of the sack completely. Haix still failed to call out to the halfbreed, for why would the mining familiar listen to her now when she had trained it nothing yet, content to divide her attention between the sack and the upcoming encounter. The dead hatchling, is it was as possessive of the things it had juggled as she now guessed, hunched over slightly as it took another step. Then another, this one enough for the halfbreed to point its beak in the dead hatchling’s direction. The halfbreed clicked again, wings firmly pressed to it’s sides as it watched.
The dead hatching tilted it’s head, much in the same way it had done when Haix had spoke to it, but did not take another step towards the clicking halfbreed. The clicks slowed and stopped, the two creatures once again merely staring. Then the halfbreed turned to look at the little howling thing, and the dead hatchling took several steps closer, still silent beyond the rasp of bones moving over one another, of padded sounds of claws on dirt. 40
Twilight-Claw: Hey Ridelys, I still got a Sarane Fidelity Egg if your interested in trading your Green Drake for it, you'd have another shot in trying for it then.
May 31, 2020 1:11:44 GMT -6
Ridelys: If you can barter someone else's champion voucher off them for a gold hen, I'm happy with that too. XD \ Otherwise, I'm open to hearing offers.
May 30, 2020 21:19:39 GMT -6
Aster: Hey, if you don't want that green drake, I'd be happy to offer on him :U Alas, I don't have a gold hen either
May 30, 2020 21:18:03 GMT -6
Ridelys: Well, like I said, I'd have to get lucky.
May 30, 2020 21:13:55 GMT -6
Ridelys: I have a feeling its going to be a long one unless I get lucky.
May 30, 2020 18:19:31 GMT -6
Riku: Good luck with your golden egg hunt, BD! <3
May 30, 2020 15:40:20 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for the notice!
May 28, 2020 10:05:26 GMT -6
Darky: Heads up: there's a chance you might notice Trepuldra images having loading issues on June 3rd, for about 3h. No need to panic, Veebimajutus just notified there's going to be some scheduled maintenance, is all x3
May 28, 2020 10:05:06 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: right??? i was really hoping i could find one of those pachee before the season was out.
May 26, 2020 18:51:32 GMT -6
Fanged: Oh wow that's an awesome garden find FF
May 26, 2020 18:13:26 GMT -6
Riku: Oh how perfect! I woke up wanting to post (unexpected, but yay) and saw I had a reply. <3 Meant to be.
May 26, 2020 6:40:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6