The Werewolves' Story
Healer and Hunter: Chapter Thirteen
The first thing Rythri said when his new bond spoke to him was...
well, not really what he would have expected, or wanted, to say.
"I am not a dog!"
The huge range of things he was feeling didn't translate itself well into words, so that's what came out: the quickest, easiest, and really rather most offended-sounding.
::Wolf, then,:: Thonyn corrected, a little impatiently. ::My point still stands.::
Since the first thing she'd said was that a "wild dog" did her no good as a bond, and "dogs" neither have need of warriors, it wasn't a point he particularly liked. He liked himself perfectly well as he was-- well, maybe he'd like himself more if he had a decent bow again, but other than that-- and he didn't need a baby-- a hatchling, a pup-- telling him to change. "I don't pick on you for being who you are, and you don't pick on me," he growled, disgruntled.
She tilted her head to one side at him, her extra tusk-things pulling apart just a little. What did an expression like that mean? Rythri had no idea. She answered the unspoken thought for him: ::It means I'm reserving judgment.:: The fact that her thought "smelled" just a tiny bit amused, though, made him feel... he wasn't sure. Both better and worse at the same time.
"How'd you learn such big words?" he asked suspiciously. "You're a baby."
That time her lips pulled away from her teeth in addition to her tusk-jaws pulling apart more widely, and it was unmistakably a smile-- a savage one, maybe, but definitely a smile. ::Some of us pay attention when we're in our shells,:: she told him dryly.
"Well, just know I'm reserving judgment on you, too," Rythri sniffed at her.
The look she gave him and the "scent" of her thought-- how weird that was, having thoughts tickling at him that weren't his; the only way he could even explain the feeling in his own mind was to equate it to scent-- were both speculative and irritable and just the tiniest bit amused, again. Still disgruntled, Rythri looked away from her too-canny stare and back to Zzandoren, who at his last glance had yet to attract anybody. To his startled delight, however, there was a half-Riihan baby-hatchling-pup-- whatever-- striding right for him. Perfect, the priest would have his bond and he wouldn't have to be locked up! And maybe he'd even be happy with it all-- the half-Riihan certainly looked purposeful enough.
Compared to the brightly white and smartly green-eyed Thonyn who was even now following his gaze to watch the second bonding, this baby was dark and ominous-looking, with black and gray skin, gray hair, and charcoal-gray eyes. His wings were a contrasting deep red, but it did nothing to make him look less dark and ominous. He-- well, Rythri guessed he was a he, since he was quite a bit smaller than Thonyn and weren't males supposed to be smaller?-- halted in front of Zzandoren and looked up with him with a click of tusks and a soft huff. Rythri couldn't hear what he said, but he did watch Zzandoren's hopeful expression slide slowly into something blanker, whether surprise or blankness that masked something else, Rythri didn't know. It didn't bode well, though. He perked his ears in an attempt to catch Zzandoren's low words in response, but it was hopeless: there was too much going on, and he couldn't pick out more than an unintelligible murmur from the priest.
Glancing down at Thonyn, he frowned at her: she didn't look particularly surprised. In fact, she had a kind of resigned-acceptance sort of scent to her thoughts, that reminded him of Zzandoren sometimes. "What?" he asked her.
::I'm just a little surprised he chose your friend, is all,:: she said with a rustle of wings and a click of tusks. ::They're not particularly well-matched.::
"How do you know?"
::We all know each other. We've been cramped in shells with nothing to do but talk to each other for weeks. Ronan isn't the type to want to follow a healer around-- he's not even the type to want to baby-sit a couple dogs.:: At his immediate fur-less bristle, she amended with a roll of her eyes, ::Excuse me, wolves.::
"If you don't like wolves, why the abyss did you bond me, anyway?" he asked, annoyed with her superiority. "There's plenty of other people here."
::Because I think you can be more than a wolf,:: Thonyn said without hesitation, ::and I like that part of you quite a bit.::
Rythri wasn't sure if he ought to be flattered or even more annoyed. He put it off by closing the distance between himself and Zzandoren, who was smiling now-- though it seemed a little off, too; Rythri knew what his real smiles looked like, and that wasn't one of them-- and who looked up with a blink as Rythri stepped up beside him. "Ah. Rythri, this is Ronan," he said, a little awkwardly. "Ronan Mei'Lerlande."
"Hullo," Rythri nodded, doing a little 'reserving judgment', himself. Ronan wasn't a good match, Thonyn said? And Zzandoren was only pretending to smile? He didn't like the sound of that.
The little dragon bobbed his head, dark eyes shaded even further by his heavy forehead and tusks held close to his muzzle. The claws at the end of them, and his little horns and the huge claws on his hind feet, were a brilliant blue. It was weird-looking. He thought he liked the way Thonyn was put together better, to be honest, but he might have been biased by already mistrusting the dark baby-hatchling-pup-thing.
::Oh, stop that,:: Thonyn huffed in his head. ::He's a good creature, just the way all of us are. It's the way we're made.::
Growling just a little at her, he thought-- since she was obviously so good at picking up those thoughts, damn her-- I don't care. If he's making Zzandoren unhappy, I'm not going to like him. She snorted indelicately at him, and he added aloud, "This is Thonyn. She doesn't like wolves." To his further annoyance, the last bit sounded sulky. Gods, he just couldn't win today.
Zzandoren looked a little surprised, eyes moving between the two of them. "Well, that's... not uncommon, I suppose." Unspoken was, as Rythri had said, she had chosen an odd bond if she didn't like wolves.
Thonyn shifted her wings again, and this time Rythri thought it was a shrug. ::We'll find a way to make it work, or we won't,:: she said noncommittally, this time to everyone; there was a more... inclusive feeling to it. She eyed Ronan a little curiously, adding, ::At least I like him.::
There it was again, that flattered-but-angry feeling. He ignored it, focusing on the darker baby who glowered at her, tusks shifting to something that looked more aggressive, but didn't answer. Zzandoren cleared his throat lightly and said, "Let's get you both fed and see about going home. We can talk things out, there."
::All right,:: Thonyn agreed. Ronan, still looking surly-- though how much of that was actual surliness and how much was just the way his face was built, Rythri didn't try to ponder; he preferred to think of the little hatchling-pup-thing as being bad-tempered-- simply stalked off towards the feeding tables, letting the rest of them simply trail along behind in various states of displeasure.
If this was the way things were going to be, maybe it was a good thing Thonyn had left things open-ended as to whether they could make it work... though he thought he'd much rather see Ronan go than Thonyn. At least she liked him.
Well, part of him. However that worked.