Tal’on watched the green come and go as he finished up his meal. She dragged in numerous things that looked like their skins, but were in large squares. She spread one out on the stone beneath her feet and piled the others at her side. After making several trips she appeared to tire and sweat formed on her brow to dampened the fur that fell across it. Tal’on watched with horror, his mouth full of the last morsel off his platter, as she shed her outer skin and threw it to the ground. She proceeded to pull off another layer of her skin and wiped her face with it before she tossed it to the pile on the large skin. She now stood with only a layer of green around her chest and covering her legs. The rest of her, neck, shoulders, arms, appeared as her hands and face, pale and soft. Tal’on didn’t realize it, but his mouth was hanging open in surprise.
“What?” Delevy asked when she saw the puzzled expression on the beast’s face. “You’ve never seen a girl before?”
The beast pointed at her over shirt and jacket, than pointed at her.
“I am not going to put them back on,” she protested. “It’s too hot in here.”
The creature continued to stare. It was safely secured and had finished off its meal, so she felt confident she could approach close enough to toss it a blanket or two to lie on. She picked two up and stepping tentatively forward offering them to it.
The lizard creature made no move to take them, so she plopped them down a few feet away and then pushed them closer with her broom.
The beast studied them as though it had never seen a blanket before. Where had the Sandcor kept it? In a Klay like they did the Knots? But even the Valdare gave their beasts something soft to lie upon.
The creature poked at the blankets with a long wickedly sharp looking claw. It leaned over and smelled them. Finally, as though satisfied they would not bite, it took one in its hand and ran it through its fingers feeling the texture.
“Where have they kept you?” Delevy asked. “It’s a blanket.”
She sat down on hers and pulled the ends up over her shoulders to show the beast it was to cover and warm it.
The lizard pointed again at her shirt. She cocked her head and puzzled over what it was asking. She decided it was worth a shirt to figure it out. She picked up the shirt, wadded it up in a ball and tossed it at the beast.
The creature actually flinched, its ears laying back as though she had thrown a stone at it. The shirt landed a foot short of its place on the floor. The creature reached out and with a single pointed claw drew it closer. It leaned down and smelled it. She could hear it inhale deeply and saw its nostrils flare.
“Eeewhew,” she said in discuss. “Yes, I sweat all over it.” Maybe it was getting her scent like the Knots did before tracking. She wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. But then again, the Knots also used scent to identify friend from foe.
Tal’on could tell by the texture, the large square and the green outer skin were the same. But, it wasn’t a skin. Though it smelled like her, it had never been attached to her. It was some plant based thing. With his excellent eyesight he could see that both pieces consisted of fine strands interlaced together. It was something to protect her pale, soft skin from the elements. It was used like his clan used the skins of the Crazar and other beasts they killed to lay upon. The difference was since these beings ate plants, they lay on plants too. The beings were all the same, except for gender, like his kin. They just covered themselves in these colored plant things. So the blue was probably a leader as he guessed and the reds who beat him were his guard like the Greats at home. As for the green, she was his keeper…his warden. Perhaps his only companion until he got out of here.
He smiled a toothy grin, and stuffed the large piece beneath him as best he could in his crouched position. It would be good to get off the stone. It chilled him even though at home the cold would not have bothered him at all.
“May I have my shirt back,” Delevy asked before the beast stuffed it under him or used it as a pillow.
The creature had obviously figured out what the blankets were for by her actions. She pointed at the shirt and gestured for the beast to toss it back. The lizard held it up by the arms and smiled a grin full of teeth at her. It stuck a hand up the sleeve and made to put it on.
“No!” she hollers. The beast was much too large for it and would rip it to shreds. And on second thought, she really couldn’t spare the shirt.
As though it understood, it pulled it off and obliged her by rolling the shirt back up and lobbing it her direction. It made a good pitch and she caught it mid-air.
“Okay,” she said, as she tucked the shirt behind her. “Let’s see if we can really communicate. I heard you mumble earlier.”
She placed her hand over her chest and patted it. “I am Delevy.” She patted again. “Delevy,” she repeated.
The noise that came out of the beast mouth was gravely, deep and did not sound anything like Delevy except that it did appear to start with a ‘D’ and end on an ‘E’ sound.
“De…le…vy,” she enunciated.
“Da...vey,” the beast growled.
“De…le…vy,” she tried once more.
“Daaa…vy,” it said.
“Well, I guess that would have to do,” she smiled. “Maybe you can’t wrap your tongue around an ‘L.’”
She pointed at the beast. “What’s your name?” This was like something out of one of those silly old Earther vid chips. “I’m Delevy,” she patted her chest again, than pointed at the lizard, “and you are…?”
The green was trying to communicate with him. Tal’on rocked up into a squat to pay close attention. Communication was the first step toward getting out of here.
“Delevy,” he said, repeating her name after her.
She didn’t seem satisfied with his pronunciation. She repeated her name.
“Delevy,” he said again. It sounded right to him, but she winkled her nose and went on. She wanted him to tell her his name.
“Tal’on,” he said, as he placed his hand on his chest as she had.
“tAon,” she said, putting an emphasis on the ‘A.’
“Tal’on,” he repeated.
He noticed her speech swallowed the ‘T’ and almost sounded like Aon. He could live with that. He nodded.
“Delevy spent the better part of the next three days teaching Tal’on her language,” Ruddard explained. “His ability to reproduce her speech was better than her ability to reproduce his. Our speech is actually very guttural when not enhanced by the atmosphere on this planet.”
“And was she able to see your picture thoughts,” Arr asked.
“Unfortunately, no, the Valdare are not receptive to that mode of communication. It would have been so much easier for Tal’on if she had,” Rudd’ard continued. “As it was, he managed to gain her trust and his confinement was lessened in the sense that his chain was lengthened and he luckily was able to reach the wall once more.”
“In the hours when Delevy was not with him, he carved at the blue stone until he managed to chip off the piece you now have in your position,” Mul’drak said with a nod of his wedged head at Arr. “Of course, it would take time to fashion the Sollen and frankly, time was running out for Tal’on.