Skye is heading home after a long day on the Fold. The sun is going down and she’s already dreaming about hopping into bed and getting a few beautiful seconds of sleep before she’s selected again for a match. Passing the large shrubs that line the sidewalk, she’s stopped by a low growl rumbling within. A moment later, Fortress stalks out of the bush, blocking her path. His head is low with ears back and tail still.
Skye (just a tad nervous)- Hey, buddy.
Fortress– You are the one I seek.
Skye (taking a step back)- Let’s leave it on the field, you know? I’m not even wearing my suit right now.
Fortress– No, I need your help.
Skye– For what?
Fortress– This is a serious matter. I must know I can trust you.
Skye– This is getting weird. Why me?
Fortress– Two reasons: you don’t seem easily shaken, and you’ve been a hero for a few months now and haven’t yet appeared in any of these “lores”.
Skye– Hey, that’s right. Fine, I want some screen time. What do you need?
Fortress (walking closer, his voice low)- As you know, I’m once again becoming meta. My ferocity in the Fold is to be feared. Some even make me a carry of great potential. It’s more than my pack and I could ever ask for, but one thing lacks: despite being an apex predator of the Canidae family, I’ve always wanted – (looks around to make sure the coast is clear) – to be treated like a dog.
Skye (confused)- A dog.
Fortress– A big, stupid, domestic dog.
Skye– Like, you want to play fetch?
Fortress (flustered)- Whoa, let’s take it slow.
Skye– Ok, then what?
Fortress– Tell me to sit.
Fortress– No, command me to sit.
Skye– Sit dog!
Fortress– Oh, that was nice. Keep going.
Skye– Roll over!
Fortress rolls over. His form isn’t great because he’s never tried it before.
Skye– Play dead!
Fortress falls down and disappears. Moments later he reappears.
Fortress– I want bacon.
Skye– I can’t hear you!
Fortress– I’d like some bacon, please!!
Skye– Oh, you’ll get some bacon, after we go for a walk.
Skye pulls out a leash and collar.
Fortress– Where did you get that?
Skye– Sorry, too much?
Fortress– Belt it on! Let’s go!
Skye puts the leash on Fortress and they begin frolicking down the street. A squirrel comes down out of a tree and unwittingly crosses their path. Fortress let’s out a howl of delight and begins chasing the critter. Skye just barely keeps up by occasionally targeting passerbys and mailboxes for increased movement speed. They chase the squirrel to a park when it escapes up a large maple. Fortress pants at the trunk for a moment, then something catches his eye. Turning to Skye with eyes ablaze, he bends down and picks up a stick in his mouth.
Fortress (muffled)- Fro it.
Skye– You sure?
Fortress– Ell yesh.
Skye takes the stick and sends it pinwheeling through the air. Fortress bounds across the grass after it. Grabbing the stick, he runs back, his tail wagging in a way most unfamiliar to him. He presents the stick to Skye but holds on when she tries to take it.
Skye– Oh, you wanna play tug-o-war.
Fortress– Yesh yesh yesh!
Skye– Gimme that stick you naughty doggie.
Fortress– Oh aym bahd! Sho bahd!
Skye wrenches the stick free and starts running away with it. Fortress chases her, yipping and yapping like a dang ole’ puppy. Skye stumbles on an exposed root and falls to the ground. Fortress pounces on her and begins licking her face.
Fortress– Your face is so salty and delicious!
Skye (laughing)- You’re gonna get it now!
Skye rolls Fortress off of her and starts rubbing his belly.
Fortress– This is the petting of the gods!
Skye– You like a good belly rub, doggie?
Fortress– Yes, woman, I do!
Skye– Fortress is a big boy, isn’t he?
Fortress– No, no! Call me Pickles!!!
Skye– That’s my Pickles!
Fortress– I’m a dogggggg. I’m a DOG!
The snap of a twig stops both belly rubber and rubbee cold. They slowly turn to see Blackfeather and Vox walking through the park.
Blackfeather– No, there is nothing.
Skye and Fortress share a nervous glance, so do Vox and Blackfeather.
Skye– We’re just discussing…
Blackfeather– Ah yes… As were we.
Vox– We should get going.
Fortress– The Fold calls.
Skye– See you later, guys.
Blackfeather– Until we meet in combat.
Both pairs head off in opposite directions, walking quickly and full of relief.
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