Mad Dog

Title: Mad Dog
Time Period: July 20, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The canine lovers of the Rookery turn away from a dog receiving its dues.

Little boys get bitten by dogs all the time. They pull on tails and ears, or grab at faces, putting hands where hands do not belong, and usually these stories end with a set of stitches and a painful lesson learned.

More unusual is when well-behaved boys are bitten by dogs that sleep in their beds with them. Such is the case with three-year-old Conor Curren whose shrill screams are still ringing out fifteen minutes after his mother tore the animal off him and dragged him inside.

Sundown smears the sky red and orange, long shadows bleeding out into the street where the dog - a large, hound-mix with sagging lips and eyes that droop - sits on the stoop of the Curren home, its sides heaving and face covered in flies sapping the moisture from the dark, wet fluid leaking from its nose.

Run and get help, the boy's mother had screamed at his older brothers. Now it seems forever ago.

The rookery in the evening has never been a place where Luna deigned to walk alone. Before venturing forth, she did stop at the Albatross to find some help and it resulted in the man following her now. She's never said much at all to him, until today it's only ever been a quick once over before scurrying to wherever her mother is. Now he's overloaded with old bread from both the castle and the inn's kitchen.

Luna is in the Rookery to make herself feel better for her new fortune. Even though by most standards, it's not all that much.

"Come along, this is the next stop," she commands, her tone haughty and rich. The dog on the step doesn't seem to phase her, well, it does but only enough to allow Idris to go ahead first and knock. "Go on, it's just a dog, it won't bite."

Idris has been fairly quiet in return, merely observing Luna with the sort of rude openness he does everyone. As she speaks, he blinks, then looks over to her with a slight smile.

"Of course, milady." He sounds… amused, at Luna's command. "I'll try to gather my courage."

He approaches the door without pausing, knocking on it. The raven that's sitting on his shoulder peers down at the dog curiously, then returns it's flitting gaze to the rest of the street.

The dog's lips curl back around a mouthful of bloodied teeth, its ears lifting at Idris' approach. The coarse hairs on the back of its neck and spine stand on end, and a low growl bubbles up wet from the pit of its chest.

It's the knock that sets it off. Idris' knuckles connect with the wood, and the hound lurches clumsily to its feet to slaver and snap at the mage.

If it was more coordinated, it might manage to trap his calf between its jaws - instead, it snags the edge of his cloak.

Immediately Luna lets off a shrill scream and hurls a dried roll at the dog, the fact that it's rock hard might lure its attention from her mother's servant. It wouldn't do to return him maimed. "Kick it! Kick it in the teeth!" Her yell can be heard echoing off the old buildings all down the street.

A few more rolls are hurled toward the mangy curr, one of them hitting Idris, the other bouncing off the side of the dog's head.

"Get away from there!" A little too late, Leonard breaks into a run down the road he's been called to, having been summoned by those cries to fetch help. Granted, he is here more for the dog, but it is a situation that he is all too familiar with. Perhaps, that is why, his face is pale, and his green eyes have taken on an almost ghastly hue. His hair is a mess, too, though that might be from running down the street towards them, waving his hands. Courage, but only for a minute. Leonard stops further away than a brave man would.

The tall she-wolf with him keeps at his heels, red and cream coat bristling when she sees the dog. Sage's hackles rise, and she lets out a high-pitched snarl, teeth showing.

"No! No kicking it! It's sick!" Leonard clutches his head with one hand, coming up behind Luna and stopping her from throwing anything else. "Stop that, you little maniac."

Idris pulls back for a moment, glancing down to see the blood on the dog's mouth, which his raven familiar, being preoccupied with the swarming flies, had missed. His familiar flies up into the air from his shoulder, and he takes Luna's advice and kicks it in the head pretty hard, before stepping back and pulling on his robe, attempting to extricate himself from the mess.

"The dog may be rabid. I hesitate to fight a rabid beast, but if it continues to attack me, I'll kill it." His eyes don't leave the dog for a second.

Idris' foot connects with the dog's skull with enough force to send it reeling. One of its hind legs buckles and it slumps onto its side to catch its breath and lick the saliva and shredded cloth fibers from its mouth.

Leonard is right; in the lull, he, Idris and Luna can see how the dog quakes and trembles, its skin shuddering, pulled taut over the skinny cage of its ribs.

The animals out here don't eat any better than the people.

If it is rabid, Idris may have to kill it regardless of what it does next.

She doesn't actually care about the dog. Or the prrivacy of the people inside the house. When the dog is thrown from Idris' leg, Luna takes the opportunity to rush inside the house. She still has quite a few rolls and loaves in her basket, she might be welcome.

"There's a mad dog outside!" The announcement might come a little late to the dirty faces of poverty inside the building, but it's yet one more thing that Luna cares little about. She does like to hear the sound of her own voice. She doesn't have much in the way off suggestions as to what to do, so the basket of bread is set down on a nearby table and she slumps. "If Duncan were here, he'd kill it."

"I'm not afraid for it, I don't want it biting anyone else!" The veterinarian is already regretting this turn of events. He is left a little at a loss when Luna scampers inside the house, turning to look for Sage, still nearby. "Watch our backs, then, is it?" A rhetorical question, of course. Leonard avoids getting in the younger man's way, at least, watching the animal as it stumbles in place.

"You may need to. Luna!? Is that the house with the injured boy?" Hopefully she hears him through the door- he doesn't want to approach the house unless they can get the dog far enough away from wanting to defend it.

"Well then. I'll put this creature out of it's misery." Idris takes several more steps back before bending down to wrench a cobblestone from the road with his fingers. He hesitates, and the raven which has been circling overhead flies down to his side, turning back into a dog - a large black one. "…But I am curious." The black dog barks, in a kind of 'what is up with you' way, to the possibly rabid one.

Inside the house, which is a cramped, one room building with little furniture except for the table upon which Luna left her bread, Conor Curren's mother hugs her youngest child to her chest in the corner, thin arms wrapped protectively around his middle with her chin resting on the top of his fair head. He weeps into her breast.

Both their clothes are soaked in the boy's blood. That there is a mad dog outside is not news to this family.

Outside, the barking familiar receives another burbling growl from the hound. It hauls itself back to its feet— or tries to. Whatever disease it's been inflicted with, it's weakened its hind legs, affecting its ability to stand. Fear and confusion roll off the hound in waves.

"Uhhhh," Luna's shout through the door is a little uncertain. There's a couple of people covered in blood but is it the boy? She hazards a guess. "Yes?" A frigid smile pastes itself onto her face and she stands quite still, perhaps the bleeding people won't notice her. Unfortunately, there's a boy crying and that just pulls at heartstrings.

Seeing little else in the place clean, Luna grips the sleeve of her dress and tugs down hard, ripping it off at the shoulder. Her scars run like streams of blood down her arm, enough to either panic the boy or comfort him that someone has experience. On her wrist is a charm that she takes off and offers to the woman. "Put this on him, I think it'll help. Now let me look to bind it, aye?"

«I think this is a lost cause. I think you should let the boy handle it.» Sage's words are, unfortunately, the voice of reason. If it doesn't have rabies, it clearly has some sort of distemper. Leonard wrings his hands, waiting to hear anything from inside. A hesitant yes, and presumably, bodies moving, people crying.

"Now isn't the time to be curious. Don't let it bite you, kill it quickly, if you can.." It is a certain judgment, even if Leonard's movements are less so. He waits for his chance to get around the animal, to the door, and goes for it in a mild panic, even though his expression is mostly just wide-eyed and rigid.

Idris pelts the rock straight at the dog's head, with good aim and full strength, but without mercy. "Make sure no one in there got bit. If it's rabies, they'll need to get to a doctor fast or it's a death sentence." He has no idea who he's talking to here, of course, but his tone doesn't sound concerned at this possible death sentence - perhaps excited would be a better word.

He takes another step back, and rips another cobblestone out of the road, taking the slower and safer way to kill the dog. The familiar by his side jumps into the air, taking wing again as a sparrow, and flits up high to look down, in case there's more to the situation than meets the eye from ground level.

The woman takes the charm from Luna, her fingers streaked with her child's blood, and loops it around his left wrist. The right she shows to the blonde, which is so badly mangled that his bone shows white under a flap of torn flesh hanging off his forearm by what looks like a few threads of skin and muscle. His hand and forearm have gone death pale, and his fingernails appear blue in what little light Luna has available to see.

Idris' rock cracks against the hound's skull, splitting skin. Rivulets of blood stream down the side of its face and give the flies something else to swarm to.

From the sky, his familiar will see windows bolted shut, neighbors turning eyes away from the drama playing out on the street below. No one wants their own children to see what's happening, regardless of how necessary it is.

"We'll need Miss Aislinn, but you're in luck, eh? I've been through something quite similar recently." Luna's voice is as calm as she can force it. Speaking in lowered tones, she begins wrapping the sleeve tightly above the wound to stop more blood from leaking out. She's fairly certain that's what Herr Hossfeld did for her. "Doctor Hightower, I don't suppose you could make your way in here and send Mister Idris for Miss Aislinn, could you?" There's a slight quiver in there, she couldn't help it.

On the plus side, she hasn't vomited all over the boy yet.

Turning her attention to the boy's mother, she nods to the charm. "It'll help, it helped me immensely when I was attacked by a giant bat. I was near death, you know… nothing like this, this is barely a flesh wound. You'll be as right as rain soon and you'll have quite a story to tell your little friends."

"There's not much to do, even if it is." Leonard's voice is grim, as he rushes to the door, pops it open, and cranks it shut behind him. "Ma Curren- Miss Owens-" He is caught off guard, by the sheer fact that it is Luna Owens that not only ran in here to hide, but seems to be- god forbid- helping. "That's his name, then? He's handling the dog…" It comes out as equal to bad news as news can get.

"I think we'll need to take him to her, Luna." He approaches the huddle of bodies, putting his hand over one of Luna's working ones to silently tell her to stop, once she's done what she can. "She has more there than the missus has here." It's not the Reach- people just don't have supplies, here. "We'll need to take him to her, will you come?" His hands are in there now, checking over the limb and Luna's strappings, but his attention is divided over to the boy's mother.

Outside, the sparrow is joined by the wolf from the ground; it flushes into the blooming of dark wings and the flat, disc face of Sage's barn owl shape.

The sparrow may realize that the other animal is a familiar as well, but that doesn't stop it from changing into a golden eagle when an owl flies up into the sky, and turn it's sharp new gaze onto the barn owl for a moment. Oh, hello there. Who are you?

Idris continues to throw rocks, until he is quite certain, with his hunter's eye, that his prey is dead, or it undergoes some other kind of movement. And as he does, he sings, an impromptu sort of melody, but with confidence, not caring who hears.
"Brave little humans,
burn down a village.
So brave, the little humans.

Brave little humans,
take slaves to their god.
So brave, the brave little humans.

Brave little humans…
they don't leave their houses,
they stay there like mouses…
So brave, the brave little humans."

It's a messy business.

By the time Idris is finished, the dog's skin is hanging off its skull, and one eye caved in. Blood and small bits of brain matter blend black into the dirt and the flies finally settle, crowding around the fleshy socket. Others, less concerned with acquiring moisture, crawl around its coat with flitting wings and hair-like legs grooming their tiny alien faces.

The boy's mother offers him up to Leonard.

A sniff and hmph! emits from Luna's nose as she stands and straightens. Her hand crosses over to cover the scarred arm that she bared when making the attempt to help the boy. She's still quite self concious about the ugly welted scars and bumpy scabs that cover her skin from elbow to shoulder. From all appearance, her injury wasn't so much different from the one the boy has now.

Without a word, she moves across the room to open the door for the doctor, assuming he takes the boy. Gross. Dead dog. "Might want to cover his eyes, aye?" she says, her voice not especially sympathetic to either the boy or the dog's plight. The boy is on his way to a healer and the dog is past any sympathy, so it would be wasted. "Mister Idris, we're going to the apothecary to find Miss Aislinn. After disposing of that creature— " be it in a dustbin or an alley "— would you care to join us?"

Sage's wings are silent, though she lets out a pitchy keen of noise to the eagle, whirling about.

«Sage. That one is mine.» She hovers, air under her wings, feet clutching at space and face turning down as Leonard comes from the front door of the small home with the little boy in his arms. His face is against the vet's shoulder, so seeing the grossly deceased animal is no issue. Not for the boy- but it doesn't stop Leonard from feeling regrettably sorry for the old thing. He is doing his best to ignore Luna, asserting his grip on the child, and looking mildly disturbed at the man's tune. Can't say nothing weird happens in Dornie, but the instant strikes foul with Leon.

Sage twirls and careens, zipping overhead to follow; and, perhaps get to Aislinn and Hush before her mage does.

The hawk turns slowly, climbing up into the sky some more. «Waits-In-Silence. The camoflauged-cloaked one is me.»

Idris glances over to Luna, and shrugs. "That dog needs to be set on fire, and we lack the materials and the time to watch it, Milady." He cups his hands to his lips, and calls out. "I've killed the dog for you, so you're free to come outside and play. Someone should burn the corpse, though, so it doesn't infect anyone else."

A shrug of his shoulders, and he falls in step next to Leonard, looking him over with new interest. "You seem disturbed, Leonard. I can't say I entirely regret invoking an emotion in you, but don't worry, I'm quite stable."

Luna's lip curls up at the thought of the beast burning. Dogs make horrible smells, it doesn't seem to matter whether they're alive or dead. "This is why all pets should be cats," she says with an air of authority, whether the poor people of the Rookery will listen to her sage advice or not is more likely to be on the side of the not. Not many people in Dornie are as intelligent as Luna seems to think she is, it doesn't help that her benefactor seems to relish in giving her compliments to the fact.

"Come along then Mister Idris, you can make sure that more dogs don't come out of the woodwork but please try not to make such a mess. Duncan likes his town clean and we don't like to make Duncan angry, it's never a pleasant thing." Luna, of course, leads the way to the apothecary. No one knows the way better than the former drug addled prostitute.

«The singer, ah?» Sage is marginally less disconcerted by the aforementioned song, coasting on the air over the street, half her attention on the larger bird. «This happened to our son too.» Her delivery, like one portion of his before, is grim. She also makes a note to herself, to check back later and make sure the dog has been burned.

Leonard is speaking, whispering something to the boy in his arms, who, while he has been tied up, is still in an astounding amount of pain. He does his fatherly duty, as he had with Dalton those years ago. It's painful, but he has to. The older man only looks up when the shorter, relative stranger comes alongside.

"Of course. That's what I'd expect you to say." Words are not as loud as actions are. "I'm a vet, it is in my nature to be disapproving of unfortunate death." Same as a people-doctor.

«Yes. We like singing.» Waits-In-Silence coasts alongside Sage. «What happened to your son?» A note of concern or sympathy, but more than that, curiousity.

Idris smiles, amused at Luna's opinion about cats. He raises an eyebrow at her mention of Duncan. "Killing a mad dog in town is a favor to Duncan, milady. I could have just left well enough alone, like everyone else was. If he's the sort of fool who takes me to task for it, then I'll just shrug, smile, and promise not to help next time."

He turns his gaze back to Leonard. "If it has rabies, it's best for everyone if it dies. We kill and eat animals, so holding particular sympathy for them will just make you sad. You're a vet, you will see animals die all the time… unfortunately. Why choose to be sad?"

When they arrive at the apothecary, Luna is still leading the way, but she pauses at the counter instead of going right in. There's all sort of bottles to look at, ones that she still yearns for most days but with no physical pain anymore, she has no excuse. Not that the excuse did her any good when she was, she was still refused. She didn't respond to Idris the entire way there, preferring to keep some sort of respect for the boy's mother. She's worried enough without Luna bickering at the barkeep.

"If he gets any milk of the poppy for his pain, I wonder if they'd give me just a bit of it. To stop my shoulder from aching at night." She sounds convincing, at least a little. "I did let him use my charm, it would be a rental fee." A really good rental fee.

Finally, when the mother and the boy are out of earshot and being tended by the healer, Luna turns to Idris. "I never said you didn't do the entire town a service, you did. I just said you were quite messy about it. Is rabies a sort of blood disease? Because if it is, you spread quite a bit of it around. That is all that I'm saying."

«The same thing. A dog. Sickness.»

"A life is a life." And that's that. Leonard doesn't even like to kill wasps if he can help it, though not because he takes offense- just because they have a place. That is not in his kitchen. Dogs have a place too, and it's still sad. He won't stay sad, though- "It's at peace now, my sadness is quite brief." After that, is silence, as they make their way to Aislinn's proper. It will be a terrible and familiar sight, for her as well.

Idris shrugs, leaning on the counter. "If I had my bow, it would have been a lot cleaner. But this town doesn't trust me quite that much, yet. So I used what was at hand. If you know of a better way to have killed it with what we had, please inform me, milady."

Without really waiting for an answer, he pushes up off the counter, walks over to Leonard, and looks him in the eyes. "I'm sorry about your son." He sounds and looks sincere, at least, compassion for Leonard's pain that he hasn't seemed to display for anything else, so far. And with that, he walks out towards the door, raising his hand in farewell, although he doesn't look back. "I'll make sure the humans burnt that corpse."

As he steps out of the door, Waits-In-Silence swoops down from the sky to perch on his shoulder.