Author: WinterIsComing PM
All in his quest to return home to his boy, he would encounter death, love, the rise and fall of kings, and a sorrow unimaginable to him, a simple house dog. Before he was done, his name would go down in history as one of the most courageous dogs of all time. This is his story.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure - Words: 2,382 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-01-12 - id: 3037720
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Gather close, my children so small and dear. Listen, for this is the tale of a dog who is a legend among those house-raised and wild alike. His name is whispered in prayers for courage, for strength, for the power to survive each day. There had been none like him before, and there have been none like him since. He knew much sorrow in his life, heartache and death plaguing his pawsteps. But there was happiness too; there was joy and bliss and acceptance of life throughout, all the way up to his final moment. Pay attention, my pups, for this is the story of the dog who lived.
This is the story, my children, of Dog Noname.
The concrete under his paws was cold as he was jostled awake, already chilled by the bitter cold of a winter he had only heard about in stories. His eyes opened slowly, blinking away his exhaustion, and a brilliant blue gaze was there to meet him.
"Get up!" she whispered, body wriggling from nose to tail in puppyish excitement. She nosed his shoulder again, trying to prod him to his paws. "Get up, sleepyhead! Mama's taking us to see her today."
And as soon as the last words had escaped her jaws, he was tripping over his oversized paws in eagerness to get up. "Are you sure?" he asked, shaking himself and causing his fur to stand out at wild angles. "Just the other day, she said we were too young to go see her?"
Blue Eyes gave a small shrug. "I guess we're officially old enough today. Now are you going to lay there like an old housecat or hurry up?" Her yip, still high and squeaky with youth like his own, was tinged with impatience. The female puppy shuffled her paws, fidgeting as he stretched.
He fixed her with an exasperated glance. "Okay, let's go." His dark eyes glinted in amusement as she raced off to the other side of the large cage, plumed tail flying out behind her. She's going to be as crazy as Coy in all the stories, he thought, calmly padding over to the spot where all the other puppies had congregated without him, the patch of concrete closest to a window that warmed it with morning sunlight.
They were a ragtag bunch, dogs of all shape, sizes, and breeds. Tiny, with his large eyes and ears, was a far cry from Legs, with his thin frame and brindled coat. The only thing that linked them was their youth; they were the youngest dogs in the home, too young to be kenneled with anyone but a nursing dog. He was ambushed as soon as he was close enough, bowled over and pinned down by dark, oversized paws. His lips pulled away from his teeth in a playful smile. Fang.
The large puppy scrambled off his, shoulders shaking with mirth. "You should've seen your face," he boasted. "You never saw me coming."
He scoffed. "I didn't see you because I was trying to avoid looking at your ugly muzzle. You won't get me next time, though." He proudly fluffed out his fur, rich sepia that turned obsidian on his extremeties. The larger dog had gotten the jump on him this time, but there was no way he would let it happen again.
Fang's disbelieving snort was loud enough to make the other puppies turn their heads and snicker. "We'll see about that. You couldn't stop me if you tried." The larger pup's black lips drew back in a grin, knowing that he would've succeeded in riling him.
Despite himself, he felt himself bristle and bare his teeth. "Is that a challenge?"
"Depends. Do you want it to be?"
"Boys!" The sharp bark snapped them out of there teasing, and he folded his ears against the back of his head. The female dog that ambled over fixed the two of them with a pale, piercing glare. "Are you two fighting?"
"No, Mama," he and Fang mumbled. Mama wasn't his real mother, no more than Fang was his brother or Blue Eyes his sister. She was no one's mother, except perhaps Blue Eyes. She was the only nursing dog in the shelter, the one who had raised him and fed him ever since he could remember, so all of the pups called her Mama.
He never found out her true name from the other dogs of the home, and he suspected that he never would truly know the female dog that had raised him.
"Good," the older dog said, giving them a firm nod. "Now get over there with your brothers and sisters."
When they had scurried over, his ears burning in embarrassment as he sat down beside Blue Eyes, Mama looked them all up and down with an approving eye.
"You all are getting older, too old for this kennel. Soon, the humans will move you to another cage." For a moment, her eyes glimmered with something like sorrow, and he wondered what had happened to her first pups, her true litter.
"But that is not why I've brought you here today. It's some to my attention that it's time you all heard from her. You're old enough, I think, and every pup needs to hear it before they grow up. Can I trust all of you to be on your best behavior?"
"Yes, Mama," they chorused together, excitement keeping their voices to mere whispers. Finally, after all this waiting, they would finally meet her! His pelt prickled with excitement, and he found himself fidgeting like Blue Eyes had done earlier.
"There's my good girls and boys." Mama lifted her head and jerked her muzzle in the direction of the other kennels. "Come along, then." She turned, and the pack of puppies followed.
They stopped severel paces from the bars of the cage, which Mama padded up to alone. "I'm hear to see Agatha," she called out.
There was silence, and then a lone dog padded out. He tensed without knowing why as the stranger met his mother at the bars. Mama had often told them the stories of Wolf and his wilder brother, Coy, and this dog could have passed for Coy remade. The stranger's fur was short and sandy-brown, pointed ears not unlike the pup's own pricked and alert. His eyes, however, were what made him so uneasy. The older dog's eyes were a pale yellow, and the pupil of his left was hugely dilated.
"You come to see the Moonstruck?" he asked, voice crackling like the crumpling of paper. When Mama nodded, he turned back in the direction he had come from an made a strange noise, parts yip and howl and snarl. Time seemed still for a moment, and Agatha Moonstruck padded from her kennel.
The puppy was first struck by how old she was; in his small world that revolved directly around Mama and the other puppies, she was the oldest he had ever seen. She was blind, he assumed, because her eyes were pale as still water, not the darker blue of Mama and Blue Eyes' gazes.
"Gather 'round, pups," she commanded in a voice as raspy as claws scraping against the concrete floor, her accent strange to him. "Listen, and you will hear the story of how our kind came to be."
There was silence, and not one of his siblings stepped forward. Their eyes were frozen wide in fear, the wag gone from their tails and the confidence from their faces. After a long moment of hesitation, the puppy stepped forward.
I will not be a coward.
When the other pups followed, the ancient dog settled down onto the stone floor. He waited with bated breath, and as she finally spoke, the puppy found himself being drawn from the cold comforts of the world he knew and back to a time darker and more primal than he had ever known.
"In the days before the world knew a sun's bright face, there was only the night sky. Eternally black but for its speckles of stars, all was still and silent. The brightest and best among those cold night sentinels was Sirius, the Dog Star.
"Sirius was a quick, clever star that easily outshone those that surrounded him. He was well-known by the denizens of the earth, one of the few stars to ever bear a name in those dark times. Only he and Polaris, the first star of the north, were the only ones that could be depended upon to light the eternal nights in even the occasions where shadow crept in from all sides. Sirius enjoyed his fame but, alas, soon grew lonely. The sky is a quiet place when one is the brightest.
"Polaris, the first star born and father of all the others, saw his son's light begin to wane. Some nights, he would disappear altogether, lost in the darkness that had stricken him so. Troubled by Sirius' heavy heart, he consulted with his lover, the night. Together, the two of them came up with a plan to make his son happy once more.
"Sirius had arrived in the sky one night, now-feeble light almost invisible as he was surrounded by the other stars. He was shocked to see something rising above the dusky horizon. What could it be, in this world so dark and cold?
"It was the moon, her fair, round face peering down curiously at the world. Sirius rushed to greet this shining stranger, and they were smitten with each other within in an instant. Sirius began to shine brighter than ever before, and for once, all in that fearsome night sky was light.
"When it came time to bear their children, the moon was anxious. A union between two such as them was unheard of, and there was no way to guess what form their children would take. Anxious, the moon took a mortal form, that of her most trusted friend but Sirius: the wolf. Her times came, and she bore her children well.
"They arrived, dancing lupine figures of a thousand different kinds. Some shined brightly as the moon with silver or yellow in their fur, and others were white or gray as Sirius' gleaming light. There were children black as the night and red or brown as an eerie harvest moon.
"The greatest among them was her first son, a huge wolf whose fur shown impossibly gold in the darkness. As was the birthright of the eldest, he took on a mantle of immortality and joined his parents in the sky. Forever frozen as a puppy, he constantly chases behind his mother's paws, never quite able to catch up. And to this day, he has been known as the Sun.
"The other children were left behind, abandoned to the earth. With their father's cunning and mother's wisdom, however, they survived. Their wolfish figures remained, and each found their place with man. They became the first dogs, and our kind have been blessed with the night ever since."
The dark-limbed pup, so drawn in by the old dog's story, was surprised when her speaking came to a pause. She fixed them all with her sharp, cloudy gaze. "Now, you know your past, pups. But do you know your future? There are ways in which the moon herself gifts a few special dogs, gives them the ability to see what lies beyond the blinding veil of the present. If you believe you are brave enough, come forward."
Slowly but surely, the whole of the group formed a small line to the ancient canine on the other side of the fence. Each would touch noses with her. Agatha would lean close, whisper something to them, and gesture for them to go. He watched with interest and growing anxiety as the departing pups passed them. While some held a bright gleam of happiness in their eyes, others looked as if a storm had settled over their hearts. Fang turned away and padded back to the kennel he shared with Mama and the others, his head bowed and eyes unseeing.
And then there was him, all alone but for Agatha Moonstruck. He cautiously padded forward, each pawstep light and hesitant as he approached. Her head swung towards him, and he was caught off-guard by the alert gleam of her milky eyes. She's not blind, he realized, feeling like a stone had settled in his belly. She's just seen too much.
"Come closer, pup," she ordered, shifting so that she completely faced him. "What's your name?"
"Nosy," he whispered, touching his cold nose to her warm, dry one.
A soft murmur of amusement rumbled deep up from within her chest, but before he had time to bristle or retort, her eyes closed and body became rigid. Still, he did not pull away.
"One of Sirius' own," she drawled, accented voice solemn and strange. Her eyes snapped open, and he gasped when he saw her pupils had disappeared entirely, only the milky blue-white remaining.
"You say your name is Nosy, and I call you a liar. You have no name, child of shining star. You are Nobody, and Nobody is all you will ever be. You will live long, pup, longer than any of those you call your brothers and sisters. Death will haunt you, son of Sirius. Sorrow and destruction will follow you wherever you go. Peace will never find you until your final rest. One day, every pup will know your name, but you will suffer to earn it, youngling." Her eyes closed again.
"So it is said, and so it shall be."
She lifted her head and howled a long, wordless note that sang of winters to come and deaths to pass. Agatha bayed her anguished dirge, and Nosy backed away quickly. He turned and skittered to his kennel, curling up beside Mama with the Moonstruck's wail of sorrow loud in his ears.
You are Nobody—
Death will haunt you—
Sorrow and destruction—
Peace will never find you—
So it is said, and so it shall be.