itsananimalthing: (dreds-confused)
[personal profile] itsananimalthing

A sizeable chunk of Richard Riddick's time in Sartmatia has not been spent in the city or at the kurgan or even at Liara's manor. Most of it has been spent prowling the suburbs, the farms and country homes beyond the busier city streets, and the untamed forests and mountain paths. So this evening, true to type, he's out with a snake coiled about his neck, a grumpy badger sniffing around his heels as he walks, and a barn cat bounding ahead and back.

The sound of a full kennel has him angling for one homestead, curiously, listening to what the dogs howling and barking inside are saying. It does send the barn cat running, of course, but his snake-friend is too old to care about stupid dogs, and the badger too gruff to worry about it. She can look after herself. What Riddick is hearing in those howls, though, is not making him feel at all happy to just walk on by. Those are not happy dogs, not any of them, and...

... and that bark is not an animal. What the hell?

He doesn't even bother hopping the fence. He melds into the ground outside the farmstead, and climbs back up out of it in the middle of the forest of kennels, his two animal friends swimming through the earth with him. Any light in the yard falls on a dirty, hooded, knee-length coat wrapped around a hulking form, face mostly hidden but framed by dredlocks, and hands that end in long, sturdy, but not terribly sharp claws. They look, really, more like dog claws than cat claws.

Date: 2015-12-19 05:28 am (UTC)
wolvering: (I cry challenge!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Inside the kennel, the ruckus changes from complaints about not enough food and not enough space (can't run, can't play-hunt-chase), to bayings of 'stranger!!' and the not-canine bark imitates them pretty well in sound. Perhaps even understanding the meaning too, but harder to guess, because it's a human throat producing the sound, and a throat gone hoarse on top of that.

Dzaghli lets her howl trail off, coughing as she does. She itches at her scratchy skin once, and hops-crawls on all fours to the fencing that makes up the individual kennels between the buildings. Unlike her family, she has clever fingers and can get them open, but the big solid door locks from the outside, so she can't get them all free (she would if she could; they could hunt without chains around their necks and keep what they catch). But she can give them a little more room.

She snaps her teeth at one of the pups as the dogs pour out into the walkway between the kennels, baying and getting into little tiffs. Someone is outside, and it's not the master. Who?

WIth a scramble, she clambers on top of the old bin that used to have food free for the taking, until the master figured out she could open it and beat her for it, and twists to peer out of the small window into the dark.

Anyone with eyes to see will see a dirty, gaunt face, framed by hair so dirty and tangled that the original color (pure white) is hard to determine) and wide, wary hazel eyes.

Date: 2015-12-20 01:54 am (UTC)
wolvering: (You are awful and terrible and--)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
The question seems to startle her for a moment. She jerks at the words, then narrows her eyes and bares her teeth at him and growls. If she had dog ears, they'd be pinned back. Then she disappears from the window.

Down on the floor amongst the other dogs, Dzaghli wrinkles her nose and buries her face in Brother's fur. It's the only way she can get his scent, and it's soothing. The others keep barking, trying to catch scent and figure out who's there and why.

Dzaghli though, thinks. She recognized most of the... words, but not the way he put them together. It was a question, she thinks, which means he wanted an answer, and she doesn't have one. Master beats her when he gets angry and Dzaghli whines at the thought. Brother licks her trying to soothe, and she licks his nose back to show that she's okay.

She will be. Stranger doesn't have a way to get past the door like Master does, so he will go away soon. Dzaghli is curious under the wariness because Stranger looked different than Master's pack. She doesn't know why and she wants to, but she doesn't want to feel pain, or make Master angry either. Grrr! It doesn't make her happy.

Date: 2015-12-22 01:35 am (UTC)
wolvering: (I wasn't born yesterday.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
The dogs understand and answer in a flurry of barks. They're so hungry, so bored. They don't get to run! When they do get let out to hunt, they don't get to keep what they were chasing, and it's curses and blows and never treats or praise.

Dzaghli hears the words and the reaction of her pack puzzles her, and the meaning she gleans even more so. She climbs back up to peek through the window, glaring with wary twitches and flinches. She licks her teeth and cocks her head. Putting words together is hard. There are too many!

"You not Master. Master open door."

She doesn't bare her teeth again, and nor does she climb back down. Dzaghli wants to see what he will do now.

Date: 2015-12-22 09:48 pm (UTC)
wolvering: (You are awful and terrible and--)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
"Master hurt you."

There's no question in Dzaghli's mind that Master will try. The pack is being very loud, and it's very dark, so Master will probably come soon, swinging his bottle of foul-smelling not-water and yelling and cursing. But, Stranger is big, and looks strong. Maybe...

"Master come. Master mad. Master hurt. You...?" Dzaghli can't remember the words for what she wants to ask, wrinkling her nose when it escapes her and growling at herself.

Is Stranger pack leader? He's smart enough to have lots of words, and maybe win fights too. If Dzaghli and her pack brothers and sisters can get away from Master, Dzaghli wants to go. But she doesn't want to get hurt if Stranger fails.

Date: 2015-12-23 12:01 am (UTC)
wolvering: (I cry challenge!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli bares her teeth back, but there's a bit of what might otherwise be a smile in there instead of a threat display. She won't question Stranger, if he says--

She falls back with a yelp at the sound, and is scrambling back, swamped by the dogs rushing forward to get scent. They're mostly scent hounds or lurchers of no clear recognized breed or cross, but there are a pair of what must be almost pure-bred sight hounds and some half-grown pups that may even have some wolf, and Caucasian Shepherd in them. The oldest of the last type stays close to Dzaghli as she pulls herself back to her feet and hands.

The girl is small, malnourished, and dressed in rags that might have been a too-large man's shirt at one point, and she shoulders her way forward with snapping of teeth and snarling. The dogs treat her as one of their own, and she moves with a peculiar crouched gait that keeps her on their level. Like the dogs, her first act is to sniff and smell, but she has to press her nose against his coat to get anything.

And of course, at that point is when the house above is alerted to the noise, and a gruff, obviously drunk shout rings out as the outside light is flicked on.

Dzaghli growls in the direction of the house, teeth bared and back hunched. Master! Oh, if she were bigger, stronger, faster--

"Want bite." She snaps her teeth on air and shakes her head and body back and forth, like a dog would with captured prey.

Date: 2015-12-23 01:58 am (UTC)
wolvering: (You are awful and terrible and--)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli isn't sure exactly what he means, but does understand wait, and she's not strong enough herself so she sits herself down where she is, growling in the direction of the house. A moment later the man bangs his way out of the house with a shotgun in one hand and a bottle in the other. Older, drunk, and furious with it. When the man sees the dogs free, and the large stranger he starts swearing out predictable curses and threats.

Then he stops, seeing the child at Riddick's feet and goes entirely still for one long moment. The bottle drops and smashes, and the gun comes up, held properly for all that the man is dead drunk.

"Bad dog! Bad! You come here, you little bitch. Come!"

Dzaghli bares her teeth at Master, spitting mad, but doesn't leave her position at Riddick's feet. "No. Master bad."

Date: 2015-12-23 02:21 am (UTC)
wolvering: (I cry challenge!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
She understands that and looks up at Riddick, surprised and even a little hesitantly happy about it. Dzaghli opens her mouth to say something, to Stranger, to Master--

The shot misses Riddick by a wide margin, but it makes Dzaghli whimper and cover her ears with her hands, and most of the dogs cower as well.

Dzaghli knows what the gun can do. Loud noises, yes, but if pointed at a dog or an animal, they bleed and hurt and sometimes die. She shrieks, because Master will not hurt Stranger.

"No!"

The man was in the middle of cursing the missed shot and trying to steady his aim when Dzaghli moves. She starts in a hop-shuffle on hands and feet, but then comes up just to her feet and launches herself at the man from an angle. He's too startled to do more than curse and try to shake her off, but she's stubborn, holding on with hands and teeth sunk into the flesh of his forearm.

Date: 2015-12-23 03:46 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Now see here!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Before Riddick gets the man down, she's shook more than shaking, but she holds on, and with more purchase is able to put her weight into shaking her head and shoulders rapidly back and forth until skin splits between her teeth.

Dzaghli pauses for a second at the taste of blood, but Stranger has his teeth (they're so sharp, not like hers!) in Master's neck, so it can't be a bad thing. So Dzaghli worries a bit more, but doesn't manage to do much damage before she decides she's proven herself and sits back to watch.

The dogs circle around, barking in excited confusion. Is this a hunt? Is the man now their prey? They can run now! Runrunrun!.

Date: 2015-12-23 04:34 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Most of the dogs don't go very far, chasing each other around and getting a well deserved run after being cooped up with not enough exercise for far too long. The eldest of the dogs that may have some wolf stays close to Dzaghli, licking at her face when she lets go, and plopping down next to her with contented panting. A little further off, the mother and her half-grown pups watch with more wariness.

Dzaghli, for her part, crawls over the still warm body to peer more closely at Riddick's teeth, and then reaches out to touch his claws.

"You what?"

She's seen others like Master before, and one even taught her words before disappearing from the kennel and never coming back, but Stranger is nothing like Master. Not just looks, but he talks to Dzaghli like she isn't a bad dog, or doesn't understand any words at all. She understands enough! Most of the time. Saying words slowly doesn't help her understand more.

But she helped, Stranger just said so. She helped him hunt and he's happy! Dzaghli yips in her excitement, wiggling in place.

"You, Dzaghli hunt-pack?"

Date: 2015-12-23 04:01 pm (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
At Riddick's words Dzaghli looks toward the kennel, bares her teeth briefly, and then reaches out to grab his offered hand. Her grip is strong but she's careful not to dig her ragged, broken nails in.

"Want," she says, and then leans in to attempt to lick at his chin, much like a puppy would.

The dogs crowd around too, making a happy racket about the prospect of food. Dzaghli is happy too, for them and for her, because this is all much better than being inside the kennel forever.

"Go now?"

Date: 2015-12-23 05:30 pm (UTC)
wolvering: (Here be dragons?!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli likes the touches now that she has them, so when he doesn't let go, she doesn't either, even if it means she's up on two feet when he stands. It's not something she does often, especially without a wall to lean against, so she's not precisely steady, but she sets her face determinedly and tries to mimic how he stands and walks. She has to put some of her weight on his arm because her knees and hips and back aren't used to the position and tremble a bit.

She wrinkles her nose at the question. "Dzaghli name?"

Then she quickly rambles off, mimicking the man's slurring accent very closely, names for the dogs around them while pointing at each one in turn.

Then she points to herself, still mimicking. "Dzaghli. Bad Dzaghli. Little bitch. Devil-child. Daughter of a whore. Witch-spawn."

"Dzaghli name Dzaghli?"

She thinks, anyway. It's what Master used to command her most often, and "dog" is shorter and easier for her to say than the others.

Date: 2015-12-24 02:43 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Like sunshine and milkweed.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
"Name like...what? Change, what?"

Dzaghli understands like, but a name isn't like food or sunshine which can be liked or or not liked. It just is. It doesn't make sense. And she doesn't know the word 'change.'

She looks up curiously as she asks the questions, hoping Stranger will show her more. Dzaghli hasn't seen the woman who taught her words in a long while, but she remembers, and that woman was patient. She thinks Stranger might be too.

Date: 2015-12-24 05:53 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Like sunshine and milkweed.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli takes a while to puzzle that out, working from the words she definitely knows and figuring out the rest as she goes.

Make new. She likes that. She wants that. No more kennel. No more Master. Hunt-pack with Stranger and Brother, yes? She very much wants that. The idea that her name could make new too... That's harder to figure out. It doesn't hurt. But Dzaghli doesn't know if she likes.

What it does remind her is that she doesn't know Stranger's name.

"You name what?" She points to his chest just to make clear what she's asking.

Date: 2015-12-24 06:15 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
"Richard." It's a mimic, copying his intonation and accent well, if in a much higher pitch.

"Richard." She says it again for herself, liking the feel of it and the sound of it. Even more what he tells her next. Smiles are not natural to her, but she has a vague idea that they sometimes mean good and not bad.

"Run? Run good. Dzaghli like!"

No kennel, going where she wants when she wants. When Richard wants anyway. The thought makes her very happy, and she almost trips, not used to expressing the joyful wiggle on two legs.

Once she's caught herself on his arm, she makes a decision. She will make new all the things.

"Richard make new? Give Dzaghli name?"

Date: 2015-12-24 07:02 am (UTC)
wolvering: (You made the Beast Healer cry.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Names are big? How can a sound be big?

But Dzaghli accepts the answer. Thinking takes time!

"Dzaghli wait."

She's very good at waiting, especially for food. Trying to beg only brought pain from Master-- But as if on cue, her stomach complains about the lack of it, and Dzaghli flinches. Hard.

Richard won't be angry that she's hungry, will he?

Date: 2015-12-24 04:33 pm (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
I’m sorry is something that Dzaghli has never heard Master say. She knows, faintly, that it means the person saying it has done a bad thing, but she doesn’t think Richard has. It’s very confusing, and she peers up at him, concerned and hesitant for a moment before the rest sinks in. Food.

“Food!” But they’re going somewhere important. Even as her stomach complains again, she frowns. “Not food here? Dzaghli wait.”

Date: 2016-01-05 02:04 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Now see here!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli leans forward to peer at the bush, sniffing at the berries. They don't smell bad, but that doesn't mean they won't hurt. She'd watched birds eat berries (looked different from these, though) before and tried... and hurt after.

So she looks up at Richard and pats her stomach. "...no hurt?"

She hopes there's no hurt, because she's hungry and maybe they'll taste better than the pellets Master gave them all.

Date: 2016-01-06 01:37 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli isn't sure what 'bitter' means. She knows different things taste different, but the woman who taught her words didn't have any food for her, and explanations with words were always hard to understand. But Richard saved Dzaghli, so she will trust him.

She reaches out, carefully mimicking his motions to pick one, and puts it in her mouth. Her eyes widen immediately. It's much better than the pellets!

Once she swallows, not quite properly chewing, she reaches out for another. "Dzaghli like!"

Date: 2016-01-11 05:43 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
He hardly needs to give the encouragement before Dzaghli is plucking them off the bush and cramming them in her mouth. The petting hardly gets a reaction, except for a little flinch at the first touch. A moment later, though, she’s smiling at him and leaning into it.

“Meat good. Dzaghli want. Hunt-pack chase?”

Date: 2016-01-18 05:59 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
Dzaghli is delighted that Richard can bring up prey with just words. If she’d had more socialization with humans, it might have been a happy squeal, but instead she vocalized with a high pitched bark.

And bolts off after the dogs. She’s left behind almost instantly, not really able to keep up with the much faster animals, but she’s also clever. She can see how the dogs move, and how the rabbits dart here and there. She seemingly abandons the chase entirely, bounding off in a particular direction with her odd gait. But there are fewer dogs that way, and some of the dogs have almost flanked the rabbits from the other side, so soon enough the rabbits are headed mostly toward Dzaghli. She watches with singular focus, and sure enough the frightened rabbits bound right past her. She leaps like a coiled spring, misses the first rabbit entirely, and only gets a very brief hold on the second. It’s not much, but enough that one of the dogs can close in, and the rabbit dies with a squeal.

One of the dogs picks up the rabbit while the rest keep chasing, and Dzaghli growls and bites until he drops it. So she can pick it up herself (in her mouth because she has trouble moving on three paws) and bring it to Richard. He said, but what if it’s a test? They have to be sure before they can eat.

Date: 2016-01-29 03:36 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Laughter is the best medicine.)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
It is theirs! Dzaghli is so happy that Richard meant what he said. They’ll all get a bite. Her own teeth aren’t very strong so she lets the dogs have at it, and bites and growls once the dogs have gotten it torn apart. The meat feels strange, but it tastes better than kibble. But the berries taste better.

So once she’s had a few bites, Dzaghli gets up, blood smeared on her chin and cheek, and goes back to the bush. She pulls off a few berries and pops them in her mouth, looking happily up at Richard.

“Richard good. Hunt-pack take care of.”

Date: 2016-02-01 05:01 am (UTC)
wolvering: (Here be dragons?!)
From: [personal profile] wolvering
“Pack take care of you too?” Dzaghli is a little dismayed at that, but she does understand that if he doesn’t have a home territory, a whole pack would be hard to lead. Not enough space to run, or running into other packs. She scrunches up her face.

“Friend? Like Richard?” If this ‘friend’ is like Richard, the rest of the pack will be happy, she thinks. “Brother stay Dzaghli.”

She won’t leave him, not for anything. The dog in question, a big shaggy thing, even leaves off the scuffles over the rest of the rabbit and goes to her side, nosing at her face and licking off the blood.

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itsananimalthing

December 2015

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