2019-11-16 - The Pale Jackal


Betty meets a Jackal in Central Park. Sadly, one of her budding powers is not talking to animals.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: November 16th, 2019
Location: {$location}

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Those dedicated to their health are oftentimes up before the slug-a-beds, this is true — and those who cannot sleep at all due to an ancient Mesopotamian curse damning them to steal life-force to remain alive often take advantage of these early risers.

Ambrose himself, bundled up warmly against the pre-dawn chill of November, has already been haunting the paths of the Park for some time. It's the last bit of nibbling he's allowing the Bane to do; a ride on the subway took majority advantage of the spread of humanity and less stolen life-force as a whole due to multiplied persons. At this point, he's simply wasting time while Kent is dead-asleep at home, the man being the slug-a-bed between the two of them.

And he's wasting time in the shifted form of a pale jackal, his base coat cream and darker marking warm-brown rather than golden and black. His eyes, gone muddy-blue, scan the path alongside the tall grass he lopes through. Time to start seeing who's going to jump out of their jogging sneakers when he pops out and into view.

But what's this? The canid pauses, large ears lifted, to hear non-English from this upcoming jogger's mouth — it sounds so familiar, he's heard it before somewhere…? Old Norse? That's more than enough to have Ambrose slink into view after the blonde young woman passes by and take up an easy lope right in her peripheral vision, his big ears lifted.

To anyone who knows their dog breeds…he's no dog, even with the diamond-studded leather collar and tag that states: MY NAME IS NOT ROSEBUD on the front and on its back, I AM NOT LOST.

Betty Brant was never good with studying. She was a good student, sure, and in school her grades were wonderful. Studying, however, just bottled up her mind and forced it into one direction. Even so, she knew what had to be done. To get better at something, one practices, and with the chaos inside her body of magic yet untapped, she was stuck to huffing and puffing lines of script under her breath. Each passages spewing white air from her lips that twists away into the crisp, dark, morning air. Dressed for the jog, the dirty-blonde's long shanks continue their steady, fluid motions. That is, until the ears and sharp white catches her attention.

Coming to a stop, she reaches up and hooks her fingers against a wire, pulling and popping a earbud out of place. Panting, she can hear her shoes crunch against the gravels below, the drumming in her ear as her pulse continues to kick. "H-hello?" She greets breathlessly before removing both headphones and turning off her music.

Ambrose immediately comes to a halt once the jogger does and then jinks to one side in order to begin a prancing circle about her. Oh, this one's brave, she's going to greet him rather than shriek or throw their water bottle. His paws make no sound on the gravel as he does a complete round-about of poor Betty, ears and tail lifted in counter to his more wild relatives.

She is a pretty one, he thinks to himself even as his tan-hued nose gets to wiggling. The jackal then seats himself and tilts his head charmingly.

Ok, that's not a dog. Well, it is, but it's not. Blinking, she eyes the tag and then turns her head away to see if anyone else was around. The pup belonged to someone, that much was apparent. Then, there's nothing, no one but her on that path with this white beast. Offering it a tender smile, she drinks in a settling breath before taking a step or two closer. Smiling, she swallows and starts to pull at the fingers of her glove.

"Hey, sweetie. You're an odd one, aren't you? Guess you belong in New York." She muses and offers her hand out, palm up. Crouching, she now sets more on his level.

Oh, little bird, you've no idea how odd… Ambrose thinks to himself even as he leans out to sniff at the offered hand. She smells pleasant enough, her laundry detergent and sweat of exercise apparent over the dampness of November air and the greenery around them. Short whiskers tickle at Betty's fingertips before he blips the very ends with a pink tongue.

His nose then gets to traveling up her wrist, her forearm, and he rises to his paws to begin sniffing along her shoulder, ears still perked forwards. Fascinating, all of what his nose tells him.

Betty Brant giggles at the tiny touch of pink to her finger tips. There's just something about canines that makes the heart melt. Allowing the beast to sniff about, she watches after it and shifts on her feet. Still down and close to his leve, the pivot brings her face to face with him again. "You aren't lost, are you?" She questions, showing him her hands once more before brushing one back across his scruff; the other takes up his tag. "Not Rosebud, ok…helpful." Then the back. "Oh, so you're not lost. Well then." With a scritch, the woman smelling of vanilla and lilac moves to stand. "Are you hungry or thirsty?"

Never lost, no. His large ears flick back for a second before remaining upright. Her fingers along his scruff is apparently pleasurable for how the jackal arcs his neck up into the touch. Shamelessly, he slinks around the back of her calves in a move very feline, though it's more to collect her scent upon his fur — what? It's nice. His pelt is sleek and well cared-for, gleaming where the ambient light hits it right.

But food? While Ambrose evinces a canine grin, tongue and all, he makes a sound more akin to a 'murrrr' than any proper canine sound. Is that a human-like nod of head?

It is, accompanied by a swish of tail. He'll never say no to free food!

Betty Brant laughs once more. "Ah, there it is. Alright, lets go see if anyone's open, hmm?" Another brush and ruffle between his large ears, the woman stands and starts walking down the footpath. "Would you like to pad along or should I carry you?" Eyes down, she smiles in the pup's direction. "I have a feeling you can understand me. Maybe my powers are talking to animals." A shrug, the last comment seems more to herself than to the jackal himself.

You do enunciate quite well.

Ambrose appreciates the ruffle and with another purrling sound in the back of his throat, he takes up an easy walk beside Betty. By all appearances, he's an attentive little creature, no doubt about it. Only herding breeds keep better eye contact.

Another jogger going past nearly trips over his shoelaces (tied as they are) to see the young woman with the exotic creature at her side. He finds his balance soon enough, though there's still a gape over his shoulder briefly before he commits to not running off the path itself.

Given Ambrose makes no movement to sit or to paw at Betty's leg, he's content to travel on all fours.

"Whoa, hey…" Brant pauses, turning toward the man who was starting to trip up. "You ok, buddy?" Staring, gaping, the man goes on about his running business leaving Betty with a confused quirk of her brow. "Huh…" Looking down, she smiles to the pup, "Do I have something on my face?" Sure, it was her that caused that reaction.

Walking forward, she checks the time and blows a steady stream of air from her lungs. "Best place I can think of is Mike's down the block. Just starting up breakfast around now, so I can grab you something."

Looking to the pale creature, she takes a moment and glances up and down the path. No one? Good. Stepping back, she lowers herself down and looks into the beast's eyes directly. Sigyn and Loki did tell her to look for odd things and patterns - a jackal in Central Park was at least odd. "So, can you understand me?"

Again, the pale-furred jackal nods in response to her musings about Mike's in particular, the motion incredibly human-like. He takes a moment to look over his shoulder at the departing jogger who nearly face-planted in his surprise and then back to Betty, who appears to be kneeling down at his level.

He tilts his head one way…and then the other…before giving another canine smile, this one…perhaps more coy than the first.

Ambrose then pads over to the dried space of a puddle's previous state and uses a front nail to scratch into the dirt, YES.

Betty Brant cants her head, watching carefully. The dig and written word causes her to fall back onto her backside. Clearing her throat, she smiles and moves up, brushing off her rump and then moving closer to the silt. "Do-do you understand everyone?" Was this the pattern? Talking? Or was it trying to befriend odd animals and animal-type-beings. Who knows.

Seated by the dirt, Ambrose then reaches out to patpat at the word YES again. Then, he squints and looks off to one side, ears half-turned flat as if he were musing. Thin shoulders lift and fall in another human-like motion — shrug — and then he lifts a paw pads-up to circle it off to one side as if to decree that it didn't matter overmuch if he didn't understand EVERYONE.

Betty Brant frowns and nods. "Oh, right." Shaking her head, she stands again and gives a soft wave of her fingers to suggest they get moving again. "So, you're a special pup. Whoever you belong to is very lucky." A finger up, she moves back to the puddle. "Wait, before we go, what is your name? Or, what should I call you?" Her brows knit before her expression goes a shock white. "Bast didn't send you, did she?"

NO ends up scratched into the dirt at the question which drained Betty's face of color. Ambrose drops his head down without losing track of his even look into her face. His paw pats at NO more than once, absolutely denying any deific interfacing today.

Then comes another word scratched out: NOT-ROSEBUD.

His tongue then lolls out and there are a few squeaky huffs, as if he were outright laughing at some inside joke — or reminding her of the tag shining at his collar.

"Thank the Gods for that…" Swallowing and standing to walk again, she notes the name and the 'chuckling' for lack of a better word. Rolling her eyes, that care and cander remaining, just not as sweet anymore. "Well, I'm going to call you Muttley, especially after that laugh." Another glance back, she keeps up her pace. "Com'on, lets get some breakfast and find out what the other Wacky Racers are up to…"

By the brisk rise to his paws and the friendly wag of that thinly-furred tail, Ambrose doesn't take offense at the nickname given to him. In fact, it amuses him enough that five more squeaking pseudo-laughs leave him even as he takes up place beside Betty again.

Muttley. How quaint? Did you hear that, my heart? I have been nicknamed 'Muttley'. Surely Kent finds it amusing down the connected line of kythe between them. The jackal lifts his chin a little higher yet, proud as a peacock as he tends to be. Oh yes: free food is the best.

"I wonder if you're magic." She comments, glancing toward the white figure moving by her side. At length, the pair will make their way out of the park proper and onto the sidewalk and into the city. Nibbling her bottom lip, there's a hesitation in the woman's body. Cars were already going, some bunching up down the street - New York was waking up. He could smell her nerves starting to spark, a stomach sickening worry.

"Sorry, Muttley, I don't want you getting hurt." Without pause, she leans down and scoops him up. Cradling him against her chest tenderly, she walks again, this time toward the cafe.

More chirrupy laughing follows her wonderment, which…maybe is an answer in itself. Ambrose pauses beside her once they've reached the sidewalk. He's undoubtedly closer to her legs than initially, if only to avoid being stepped on by the growing tide of daily foot traffic around Central Park. Granted, the heavy scent of exhaust is rank to his senses and he does curl a lip at this alone.

Then, he's off the ground! And in her arms! Ambrose blinks in surprise for a second, but ends up not making much complaint of it. If anything, he sticks his cold nose in her ear and snuffles loudly — there: complaint registered.

Betty Brant brushes down the beast's back. "Yeah, you're going to deal for now. Like I said, I don't want you getting hurt. You're not exactly the type to be walking around here." Shifting for his comfort, she keeps him close without crushing. Knowing, confident in her steps, she soon arrives at the diner and slips in. A bell signals their entry and the man behind the counter gives her a scoff. The man is large, massive and round - there's a questioning if all that size might be muscle instead of simply flab. "Hey, hey! Sweetpea, com'on, no mutts alright?"

"Sorry, Gus. Found him in the park. Can I just order for take-away? I'll get out of your hair."

"Yeah, yeah…y'lucky I like ya."

"Gods bless you."


"For me, yeah. Toss in some extra eggs and bacon?"

"You got it, doll. On your tab?"

"Please, I'll settle up on Monday."

Order taken, Betty steps away from the counter and rests by one of the massive display windows looking out toward the city street outside. "I think we'll go back and eat at the park."

If only you knew, milady, how much walking I do. However, this is nice, the jackal thinks to himself, content to put his chin down on Betty's shoulder now rather than stick his nose in her ear further. His eyes half-lid until they arrive and enter the diner.

Gus is given a few twitches of nose and then a dismissive sniff. Ambrose's ears flick back. And your mother must have taught you manners at some point, sirrah, he snarks at Gus. At this height, however, he's content to look out on the street.

Betty gets a nod of head at eating in the park itself and a glance towards her, his expression calm and relaxed rather than machinating.

As if the pup were a babe, she gently rocks Not-Rosebud. Humming now, petting and patting, she attempts to sooth and comfort the beast in her arms. It was early and the food doesn't take too long. When ready to go, Gus calls out. Betty smiles and turns, moving over to snatch up the bag and let it hang off her arm. "Thanks, honey! See you tomorrow."

Headin for the door, she pauses, "Oh! Gus, Jonah said you owe him twenty-bucks." Smirking, sly in expression, Betty skitters out just in time for Gus' temper to flare and a few choice words are slung out about a certain Jameson.

Giggling, she keeps patting the animal in her arms as she heads back to the park.

Admittedly, the gentle soothing and draw of hand down his back repeatedly has the jackal considering a doze with his chin on her shoulder. Betty can probably feel his weight sink against her further until she gets to her feet. Blunt nails cling in surprise for a second before he settles again in her arms.

His nose draws almost magnetically to the bag, however, and there's definitely some points where Betty might have to juggle him as he tries to stick his face closer for the finer nuances of breakfast. That small stomach grumbles aloud! Someone is indeed hungry!

"Tst, hey. Wait a sec, Muttley. Magic or not, we have manners sometimes." There's a light bounce in her step, a hurry in her pace, though his body is kept secure within her grip. Slinking back into the park, the woman finds a place for herself to sit.

Allowing the pup to go, she sets the bag down and starts digging in. A fork and knife are set out along with her styrofoam box of hot cakes. Massive, round, and soon to be slathered in butter. For the pup, she sets aside the smaller box of eggs and bacon.

"Dig in, but be careful. It's still hot."

At least Ambrose doesn't have a wet mouth like some domesticated species of dog. Otherwise, Betty's shoulder would be darkened with saliva. Instead, he is polite enough to quit wriggling about like a young hare at least long enough for his hostess to get comfortable.

A light hop to the space beside her and he's quick to stick his nose into the box. A nudge of its lid farther up brings total access to the food — and there it goes, his teeth scissoring through it with shocking ease.

Soft little murrs of contentment follow between each swallow. Despite himself, he swishes his tail back and forth in visible enjoyment.

"I have to stop meeting odd animals. I mean, maybe it is a pattern of some sort? All the wolves, you…" Her thoughts jumble for a moment before she shakes her head and chases them away. Butter down, a drizzling of syrup, Brant then starts in on her meal, completely undoing everything her jogging was for. Silent, content, the woman eats her triple stack from the outside-in, leaving the most saturated section until last.

"So, if I leave you, little one, are you going to be alright finding your way home?"

Admittedly, Ambrose needs to remove his head from inside the box in order to fully hear what the young woman says to him. His pink tongue slips about his black-lined lips to collect excess egg nibblets and bacon grease before he sits back with a rather content expression. Those huge ears slip a quarter-turn alongside his skull and a sigh follows.

He nods, easily enough interpreted as assurance to her question. Glancing about, he finds another empty patch of dirt and takes a blunt nail to it.

I WILL BE FINE, THANK YOU, appears after some effort. The jackal wrinkles his nose and then adds, squinting with effort, THANK YOU FOR BREAKFAST.

Betty Brant chuckles and nods. "You're welcome, Muttley. You're very welcome, and thank you for the company."

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