Old friends

Dawali moved quietly, his soft paws barely making any sound on the trail. He was completely accustomed to the form by now, and though much had changed he had not changed his personality. There was some bitterness, and he realized more and more how accustomed he was to leading and giving orders - it was hard to remember how to obey. Still, when times were tough, Dawali found himself walking and thinking, and this time his paws carried him out to the stables.

The new ones were a true sight; he was immensely proud. Names were carved into the beautiful buildings, the fences and the stretched canvases that covered stocks of firewood. It was a symbol of the power of AniWaya, Dawali thought, and their strong bond to Phoenix Valley. He thought with some sadness of Jefferson. Had they contacted Maska, had Maska sent their former allies away? They were almost as an extension of their own, he had thought as they built new lands together. Now, it was all different, and Dawali knew nothing anymore. He padded over to the fences in front of the building where the cattle resided, thinking to have a look at the animals. They had been steadily growing as members brought in new animals, and Liliana skillfully cared for them so they reproduced and were nurtured into adulthood.

There was little activity, as usual. The cows were still, grazing quietly. Dawali moved on, to the separate fences which held their last bull, Cow. He had been their first animal, but now there were many more. Still, the bulls stood separated from each other, to avoid trouble. So many things were changing, so many new faces coming and old faces going, but Cow remained the same. Dawali closed in on the fences and called out to the bull from the outside of the fences, not able to enter the area without hands. "Is the grass greener on the other side, eh?" he said. He wasn't really speaking to Cow.

Cow was in the grass. Or, he was standing on top of the grass. A lot of grass. Cow liked being surrounded by grass. It was all he needed to be content in life, and so this bull in particular was pretty content. But there were some things that had confused him lately. A woofer’s face had regularly visited him after he had been lured into the wrong side of the aligned, branch-free mini trees. But he didn’t mind too much, for there were greens here, and when the white rain had come from the sky a million days ago, he knew that somehow he had found easily available food. Even in the white rain time! ”Moo,” he said, not really remembering the winter, for he wasn’t sure if there was such a thing as white rain, for all he could see was green and his lady cows. But silly mini trees separated them. It would have made him sad if he had cared more, but Cow was too simple to care about many things at once.

But yes, the orange faced woofer on two legs. He had not been here lately. The man had been a reoccurring even in the highland bull’s life, and therefore the dim-witted animal reacted when he was no longer here. But grass was still good, and the large, bulky body of the shaggy giant slowly moved forward—as usual—until it hit the mini-tree line, and then he would turn a few degrees and continue in another direction. Omnomnom, every day was perfect day of tasteful pleasure. But no orange woofer. Where was orange woofer.

A woofer woofed between two mini-trees. Massive, brown ears lifted in response, and the large thing started to pace towards the woofing in a comfortable, cow-like speed. His long tail waved behind his rear, scaring away his harem of silly flies that only served to make his butt itchy. Cow didn’t like that his butt itched. Large, round nostrils sniffed at the orange woofer’s face, though it was the wrong woofer. The right woofer had more, gray and whiteish pelt on top of his head. Cow would know, for once he had inhaled a silky fur thing from the weird head thing into his nostrils, and it had tickled a lot and made him sneeze out a lot of tasty treasures. Four legged woofing thing was predator. He remembered what a predator was, maybe. ”Mooo?”


The dumb creature looked at him dumbly, as a dumb bull would. In all honesty, Dawali did understand why Liliana found them a bit annoying - but they were walking dinner, and in a way they could create it like they did with the crops. Dinner walking around waiting to be eaten was always a good thing to keep, Dawali had thought. As long as they could sustain them, they did not need fear winter in the least. He did so much admire the Utina femme for her ability to tend all those different animals, perhaps especially those as dumb as this one. The dumber the animal, wolf included, the more difficult to sway. And yet, with its tangled fur and moist nostrils, the beast was still an impressive sight. Dawali gazed at him in wonder.

Still, dumb or not, it was a strangely relaxing thing to stand close to it and study it. It served absolutely no purpose, and yet he was compelled to do so. Dawali did not fear it, despite its size. He could dart away so quickly in this form, and the bull knew him. The red wolf nodded as if in response to the bull's sound. "I know, I know." Ah, if Gvihita had seen him now, talking to a bull - how sharp her words would have been. The delight she would have taken in it would shine from her gaze, but she was no longer following him. That is, she was around, but after this form had been thrust upon him, she had kept to herself much more - Dawali interpreted it as disgust and disappointment, and it only mirrored his own feelings. "Everything is different now, you know," he continued. Seriously - speaking to dinner? He almost shook his head at himself.

The dumb thing did indeed know this woofer on the other side of the strange, imprisoning row of trees. But the significant error was that while Cow could recognize scent and bark, his eyes were unable to adjust to four legged hunter woof. The highland bull had never been designed to solve puzzles that required any amount of brainpower, and now while the peanut brain within the thick skull attempted to give it a try, it produced only white noise. What the herbivore could refer to was instincts, and they only answered that the four legged animal before him on the other side of trees was a carnivore.

He should be used to this, for he had lived with these things for so long. But Cow wasn’t very smart. Predators happened to carry the scent of their prey shortly after devouring them. Shaggy fur shook as the Cow contemplated this. His dearest, two-legged woofer had been eaten by Fourlegs. It made him upset. ”Moooo!” Everything was different now, he knew. The bull took a few steps back, and beetle eyes did their best to offer a glare at the barking woof. One could not walk into trees without getting a headache, but memories insisted that woofers had entered Cow’s area by pushing against the trees and the trees had swung. Perhaps trees would swing if Cow walked into them too. Special trees.

Cow didn’t want to be eaten. ”MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” he bellowed, revealing his thoughts on the matter. Then, with confident steps, he broke into a little run, aiming for woofer on four legs. They never were tough when he stomped on them. The bull was as tall as he was stupid, and as his thickly furred chest made hard connection with the fence that so long had kept him within this little world of grass, it was the fence that screamed and scattered in its defeat.


He spoke to it calmly, but the bull was not as placid as usual. Dawali studied him as he moo'd, curious about his behavior. Usually, when they "spoke", the bull was just standing there, sometimes grunting, eating grass and seemingly oblivious to just about anything but that fact. Sure, there were times when the bull was aware of Dawali's presence, but the red wolf felt that the creature was just as focused simply on the stuff it was eating most of the time. Now, however, the bull was clearly foused on Dawali. As he bellowed again and started moving towards the wolf at greater and greater speeds, Dawali barked with surprise and stepped sideways and away from the fence quickly. The little agility he had left in him came into play and Dawali continued to bounce away from the fences as the bull crashed into it, the wood creaking and screaming as the fibres broke and cracks began appearing. It became bent as the bull's force pushed on it, and t was not hard to guess that the old wood would not hold.

Startled, Dawali continued away from the bull, staring at his battle to either get out, or get to him. But there was no affection (if there had ever been affection) in the bull's behavior. More than anything else, Dawali felt he had reason to be worried, and as he backed away with controlled steps, the Village somewhere behind him, he kept his yellow eyes fixed on the moving bull. The cows nearby seemed to think nothing was out of the ordinary.

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