LYCAON Jul 23, 2012 22:15:11 GMT -5
Post by Lycaon on Jul 23, 2012 22:15:11 GMT -5
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For the most part, Rössel is a quiet, easy-going creature. He was raised as the eldest child in spirit, if not actuality - it was his job to look after his siblings and non-shifting kin. His brothers, though fine examples of wolves, did not have the human’s intelligence. And his sister, well, she acted as though she didn’t. She was reckless, flighty. Rössel, though he wasn’t called such at the time, was steady to her volatile, patient to her restlessness. He curbed her more wild impulses, and frequently dealt with the fallout of those that slipped past him.
Never one to experience extremes of emotion, he is typically mild-mannered. Even his sister’s antics rarely drew more than an eyeroll. That being said, he can be pushy when his charges are being obstinate, and downright aggressive when they are threatened. As the pack’s second, even over his older cousin, he is accustomed to obedience and responsibility. He views rank with a wolf’s simplicity - there are those who are obeyed, and those who obey. Those who protect, and those who are protected. Challenges may be made, but no matter what the result, things should settle almost immediately. He finds no shame in yielding to those above him, but expects the same courtesy from those below. This arrangement pleases him. When there is talk of democracy and equality, while it sounds pretty, it makes him distinctly uncomfortable. The idea of having no one in charge, or worse, of having everyone in charge, is foreign and strange.
Similarly, there are other human concepts that baffle or disturb him. Their morals and reasonings are obscure to him. He does not understand, for instance, deceit and cruelty. Wolves except nature’s harshness, but it is never a useless, unnecessary thing, nor is it vindictive. They also have no desire to cover their mistakes or “spare someone’s feelings.” Having witnessed all of these things, and more, since being taken captive, Rössel has decided that he is extra grateful to have been born with four legs instead of two.
However, as long as no one is upsetting the balance of the pack - or tribe, in this case - he is content with life. Though he dislikes and fears the Keepers, life in the dome is not terrible for him. True, the tribe’s range is smaller than he would like, but that can always change. The other packs in the dome present a challenge, but that is well and good, for challenges were made to be overcome. The future promises to be exciting, and he has faith in the strength of his tribe. In the meantime, there is hunting to be had, sunlight to bask in, and packmates to tussle with.
Good-humored and at ease, there is little he desires other than companionship and simple pleasures. He lives by the philosophy that what will be, will be. Unless there is immediate action that can be taken, he cares little for worries or regrets, preferring to live in the moment. On some level, he misses his old pack, but it is one of the many things he does not dwell on.
(If he has to think of himself with a name, he uses Rössel. However, when pressed to name himself to strangers or acquaintances, he uses one of the others, depending on how close he feels to them. ie, a stranger who he doesn’t like will be given Volk. The tribe mostly knows him as Lycaon.)
From birth to capture, my life was quite simple. Hunt, sleep, play, live. Mother, brother, sister, pack. I trailed crows, sang to the sky, and walked hidden paths. Our pack was supreme. What normal wolf could hope to rival the cunning of my mother, the strength of my kin? There were seven of us. My mother, my aunt and her grown son, and the children - my two brothers, my sister, and myself. My father was a loner wolf that my mother consorted with, then chased off. She had no need of an alpha male.
Of all of us, only my mother, sister, and I could take on the two-legged form, but we rarely did so. Mother and I tended to only shift when we had need of the two-legs' clever paws. My sister, however, was drawn to the other form. She would poke at it, twist and turn to look over her pale, defenseless flesh, and peer into still water. She had a fascination with the human settlements, and often wandered close, despite mother's warnings and rebukes.
During the winter that I reached my full growth, she went on such a venture. We were hungry, the cold harsh. Though my mother was wise, my aunt experienced, and my cousin and siblings strong and quick, we could not make prey appear when there was none. We had finally located a small, bedraggled herd, and my mother wanted the entire pack to hunt. Though the deer were weak, she had two reasons that I discerned, even though she did not share them with me; neither were we at our peak, after days of scraps, and a hunt was good to bond the pack in times of hardship. So I did not question her, but set off along my sister's trail to collect her.
To my anger, it led straight to human land. This time, however, I did not find her peering from the forest. No, this time she had gone too far. Driven by hunger and her own foolish courage, she had shifted and walked into their midst, thinking they would accept her as their own. They pegged her for an outcast immediately. She prowled with predatory grace, like any decent wolf, instead of walking upright and stiff, and did not wear their flat furs. They mobbed her like a flock of starlings after a hawk. She panicked, shifted, and fled.
I saw all this from the safety of distance, and joined her as she raced away. We had the sense to hide our trail as best we could, and then we rejoined the pack. Mother was furious. She nearly chased my sister out, but changed her mind at the last moment. Instead, we ran. We escaped to the very reaches of our territory, far to the north, hunters turned prey.
Still, they found us, though it took them most of the winter to do so. They struck in the dim twilight that we were living in constantly at the time, from above where we could not face them with dignity. We ran as the roar of their flying machine came closer, but they caught us easily, the wide-spaced trees providing little cover. They hit us with darts, and then darkness overtook me. When I next opened my eyes, I was caged.
- - - - -
That spring I did not see the snow melt, did not hear the birds sing, did not feel the returning sun. I was contained in the back of a large vehicle, with several other animals. I could not sense my mother, or the non-shifting members of my pack. I could smell my sister, though I could not see her. I tried to speak with her, but she responded very rarely. The other captives could speak with me - I gathered that they were all two-formed, like myself, but I had little to say to them. Most of them were prey.
As the truck rattled on, and I became increasingly weak, more of the cages were slowly filled. The jailers took care of us, to some degree. It was the lack of exercise that was doing me in the most. They gave me water, sparing food, and hosed out the cages on a semi-regular basis. Their pack consisted of an alpha male and female, their young adult son, and a little girl-pup. It was this last that fascinated me.
I suppose my sister and I had been small at some point, but I don't remember. This tiny human inspired such conflicting instincts in me. On one hand was the whisper of prey, prey, prey. But on the other? I wanted to rip the throat out of any who dared harm that helpless creature. Perhaps in the wild, the former would win out. In captivity, I came to recognize the blessing that the little one was.
The other humans treated me with carelessness at best, casual cruelty at worst. But that child would reach her hand through the bars with utter fearlessness when her father's back was turned, to grin with delight when I let her bury her hand in my fur or licked her fingers. She spoke softly to me when her family was off hunting more of my kind. I gathered that she didn't understand what her family was doing, but she loved wolves and was glad to have me. (Though I never saw her be anything but kind to the other animals.) Due to my sister's sulking and general distemper, her affections fell to me. She called me Rössel, or Knight.
Until then, I had never had a name. My mother called me 'child.' The other humans called me 'volk,' and my sister 'divja zver.' They called the girl-child Lena, but my muzzle could not form the sound. I always thought of her as little one, which I could say in my own tongue.
However, we were not destined to stay together. Sometime near midsummer, the truck rolled to a stop and the large door slid open to an unusual scene. Instead of forest, tall buildings loomed in the distance, and hard paving had replaced dirt roads. The other captives and I were taken off the truck, transferred from our current cages to new ones that were rolled away. For a moment I savored the fresh air, then I was distracted by the little one's cries. She was fighting against her father's grip, and I whined as my caged was propelled inside.
I was separated from my sister and the other animals from the truck, and put in a small enclosure. It was outdoors, at least, formed of chain link fence. Neither of my forms could find a way to escape, but other than loneliness, it was an improvement over my previous situation. It was during this time I heard them discuss names for me, and decide upon Lycaon, which I gathered was some sort of joke. Why they felt the need to name me, when they never used the name or addressed me with it, I don’t know.
Sometimes I was restrained, and humans took blood or saliva samples, but mostly I was left alone.
Until the day they took me to the labs. I have never known such pain, such misery, never been more appreciative of the sweetness of relief. The pain of claw and fang, the clench of hunger, or the ache of sore paws was nothing compared to the agony I endured. Then one day, they did something that forced me to shift. Once. Twice. Again. Again. My body screamed with protest, and eventually it stopped. I sighed with relief, but then... I was stuck. I squirmed and wriggled, trying to rid myself of the sensation. It didn't fade. That's when the horror started to set in.
I was released into the dome in my new body, and found myself shunned and attacked. Eventually, the hope that whatever they did would wear off faded, and was replaced with weary resignation. I lamented and raged over the loss of my true form. Never again would I know the sensation of a gallop on all fours, never again would I leap and run and twist with such ease. Then I met some of the others, and realized that I might be luckier than I thought.