Word count: 2214
Features: Maleficent, Briar, Oki Koishina, Moose, Cricket kileerah
Mentions: Shei, Qannik, Domino
Italics are the Tokota talking to each other or themselves
Maleficent grunted as she pulled against the force pulling back on her. The wagon refused to budge from the ditch, she was covered in mud and her mane was dripping in the nasty stuff and had twigs and leaves sticking out at every direction. She was going to kill her handler and brother when they came back. Oki had jumped up on her brother -since his side of the harness had snapped and broken- and the two of them ran from the scene quite some time ago to get help. An 850 pound bear-dog AND a caravan wagon was no easy thing to pull out of the muck, they would have needed more than one other Tokota and a frail human.
Maleficent growled again and pulled at her harness again, this time twisting and turning to pop herself out of it. At least this nasty mud is useful for something.
After a few more moments of struggling she finally was able to pull her chest and head from the caravan harness. Shaking the mud in her fur every which way she quickly pulled herself to the top of the ditch bank. She glared down at the wagon, she didn't care if the damn thing was full of crap her handler bought and traded, it could rot for all she cared.
A harsh shiver suddenly ripped through Maleficent's body, reminding her that it was raining and just exiting winter, she needed to get out of this weather before she got sick. With the reminder of one of Oki's only rules -Do not leave an area I leave you-, she luckily found an abandoned wolf den not to far from the fallen caravan. It was close enough that she could chase off any thieves stupid enough to try and take Oki's goods and that Oki shouldn't get too angry that she wiggled free of her harness.
Maleficent quickly darted into the wolf den, shading water and mud from her thing fur coat. She grunted and slumped down harshly, shivering hard enough for her teeth to clatter together. Now that she was out of the rain she would get warmer as she dried. Maleficent yawned lightly and started to lay down, a sound made her stop.
There it was again! Maleficent was immediately on her feet, a sharp growl in her throat Who's there?
The sound rang out again and she spun around to look into the den, a very small cave opening was toward the back of the den wall. Maleficent's ears set back and she started toward the small opening. The fur along her spine rose... the scent of blood oozed from the hole in the wall. What the fuck?
She made her way through the opening, slowly creeping along on her belly, her shoulders and haunches ready to spring at whatever was waiting for her on the other side of the opening. The scent of blood got stronger as she crawled deeper through the cave opening -it was actually closer to a tunnel, Maleficent could slightly see an opening on the other side that opened into a bigger room-.
Maleficent finally poked her head out of the other side of the opening, the rest of her body slowly and quietly following. She used her dark color to her advantage and stuck to the darker shadows of the cave. on the other side of the room was a dirt ramp that lead up to an overhang that was bathed in the murky, rainy day light from a large crack in the cave roof. Something was laying in the light, getting bathed in the rain that fell though the crack with the murky light.
The sound that had lured the half-mane back here sounded from the thing laying on the overhang. Being closer it almost sounded like raspy breathing and a soft whimpering. A breeze swept through the cave, carrying the sickening scent of blood to Maleficen't nose, it was nauseatingly strong now, and fresh. The raspy sound must have been a dyeing...thing.
Figuring that she was in no danger since the only other inhabit of the cave was dyeing maleficent padded up to the overhang to get a better look at whatever it was, still keeping her distance and sticking to the shadows. Getting closer she cringed when she saw it was another Tokota. It's neck was ripped open and crimson liquid spilled from the wound, it's eyes were open and staring into nothingness. This Tokota did not have a lot of time left.
Maleficent sighed softly and moved out of the shadows and stood directly within the dyeing Tokota's line of sight, calmly laying down in front of it. I'm sorry friend.
She apologized, if only for the sentiment, she would be here for the dyeing Tokota so it didn't die alone.
The Tokota gurgled out a response, it's eyes focused long enough to let Maleficent know that her presence was noticed. The sad joy that passed in the other Tokota's eyes also let her know that her presence was appreciated. No one wanted to die alone.
The Tokota suddenly pushed itself up T-take.
it rasped out harshly.
Maleficen't brow line furrowed Hey now, take it easy.
She stood herself and moved forward to push the other Tokota back down.
The dyeing Tokota shook it's head and hefted itself on all fours. T-take.... C...ca-
The Tokota started to cough up blood. The persistent Tokota moved slowly and sluggishly toward the plant frond off toward the cave wall of the overhang, it stumbled a few times and finally collapsed in front of the plant. The Tokota turned toward Maleficent T-take care.... o-of.
Maleficent slowly padded up to the large leafed bush, getting the point. There was something here that this Tokota wanted her to take care of. She pushed the leaves back and gasped...
She was certainly not expecting this, A small, sniveling, still pink, Tokota puppy laid in the dirt under that plant. God dammit maleficent cursed and gently pulled the puppy from under it's makeshift shelter and out of the rain. Maleficent curled around the puppy, sad that she could not provide food for the poor thing.
The dyeing Tokota looked up at Maleficent T-thank....
the Tokota's eye completely glazed over. It had passed.
Maleficent growled lightly in through. Fuck. I have to get this to Oki as soon as possible... we're close to Cricket's village... and that dire did just recently have a litter, she could provide milk...
Maleficent leaned down and grabbed the pup by the scruff. She paused for a second to bow her head in respect for the dead Tokota. She would bring Oki here later so they could give it a proper burial.
Maleficent quickly made her way through the tunnel and stood at the den entrance... what was she to do? The puppy in between her teeth was starting to shiver and whimper for food. Maleficent sighed and laid down, setting the puppy between her forearms. The safest thing to do was to wait for Oki to return... hopefully it would be soon. Thankfully the raid was letting up slightly.
"Maleficent!" Perfect timing!
Maleficent rose her head to the sky and let out her pack's emergency call, they needed to come to her. It was answered by Qannik's howl and heavy sound of other Tokota running to where she was.
"Mel!" Oki bolted off of Qannik's back and ran to His half-maned partner. "Are you okay? What-" Maleficent moved to the side slightly, making the puppy between her forelegs visible. The little pink thing let out a loud whine, it was getting hungry. "Shit! Crickey! Get over here" Oki yelled over his shoulder at his blond companion. This was a new thing to Oki, he'd dealt with baby Tokota before but he never had to deal with a newborn Tokota before.
The mute slid off of Moose's back and walked over. Seeing the puppy between Maleficent's paws her eyes widened and she signed something to Oki. Oki nodded and reached forward to pick the newborn up and quickly unzipped his jacket and nestled the puppy against his chest. Maleficent was on all fours in an instant and followed Oki with intense eyes. She was going to follow that puppy, and make good on the parent's last words.
"Come on Mal, we're going to take it to Shei." Oki tossed himself up onto Maleficent's back. The look on her face said that she wasn't going to leave this pup's side. And, she was faster than Qannik and could keep up with Moose better than he could as well. "Qannik" Oki quickly scrawled a note onto a scrap of paper he pulled from Qannik's saddle bag. "Take this back to mom, and make sure Nilak and Zelda do their chores while I'm gone" Qannik snorted and started the long trek back to his home village.
Cricket signed the other Tokota they had brought with them to pull the caravan out of the mud and follow the tundra Toko to Oki's village. Oki and Cricket lightly nudged the sides of their Tokota and took off to Cricket's village. Thankfully it was a short journey, and the squirming in Oki's jacket let the young man know the pup was alive and well... just very very hungry. Moose and Maleficent slowed their pace on their rider's command.
"Ooooooo" Oki suddenly said when the barn that Shei had her puppies in came into view. "I get to see that black dire you told me about don't I" Oki bounced excitedly causing Maleficent to turn and glare at him. Oki grinned sheepishly "Sorry Mel, it's just exciting! OH and that panda looking Tokota too?" Oki was bouncing again. Maleficent snorted and rolled her eyes, Moose snickered at her.
Finally the group of four came to a stop in front of the barn. Cricket swung herself off of Moose's back and walked up to Oki who was dismounting Maleficent. Signaling Oki to stay put, Cricket took the newborn from Oki's jacket and disappeared into the barn. Maleficent slowly followed, ignoring both Moose's and Oki's warnings not to.
Sticking her head into the door, seeing that the dire was busy staring at her handler. The light warning growl she gave to the pink newborn when cricket held her out made Maleficent step further into the room, giving a soft bark to announce her presence. Shei's eyes sprung up to Maleficent and she snarled and stood up, the fur on the back of her neck and back raising in anger. What are you dong in here?
She snapped her jaws at the half maned Tokota that DARED
enter her nest. She ignored Cricket's signed pleas to calm down.That pup.
Maleficent nodded toward Cricket, she lowered her head and tucked her tail to show her place below the average Dire. Please help it, the parent's last wish was for me to take care of it. So please...
Shei's body posture slowly relaxed. It's mother is dead?
At Maleficent's nod she sighed and finally laid back down next to her litter. Shei looked back up to Cricket and nodded, letting her handler place the newborn with the rest of her litter. I'll feed her until she needs to be weened, but after that, she's yours to take care of.
Maleficent nodded and turned to leave the barn. Thank you Shei
Maleficent and Moose wandered out of the village while Oki gushed over Shei's litter. The greeting between Oki and Shei was... Hilarious at the very least, the dumb human got too excited and may have gotten himself nipped at... and he may or may not have a bandage around his arm.So your a mom now.
Moose nudged his half sister before laying down and rolled over onto his back, yawning and stretching. It had been a damn long day. Wonder what Domino'll think.Hardly, and I could care less what he thinks... Qannik will be happy. It's been a while since a puppy was around.
Maleficent groaned and rolled over and stretched as well. She sighed and closed her eyes, intending to take a nap.
A few hours later, Maleficent was gently poked in the stomach, the annoyance successfully woke her up. She grunted and scowled at the grinning face of her handler. Domino was behind him, his cold green eyes looking as disinterested as ever. "Alright Mal, Crickey said that you can hang out around here until the puppy can be weened."
Maleficent turned over, her blue eyes light up with joy and her ears perked up. There was probably a catch, but who cares! She could make good on her promise! Moose jumped up next to her, showing his own excitement.
"But!" Oki poked the Halfmane's noes "Crick said she needed some help with hunting and herding. AND she said that you might be on caravan duty to the main city."
Maleficent groaned but nodded her head once, accepting the catch... but... Caravan duty suuuucked. Oki chuckled and turned to Domino and mounted the grumpy seal Tokota. "I'll probably be around next week, got a shipment of arrows I need to bring down here." and he was gone.
Maleficent sighed, getting ready for a long eight and a half weeks worth of work.