He drew near the dead horse and looked down on the human female.
“I am stuck under my horse.”
Why did she say that? Was it not obvious?
“Will you help me?”
Tonunda vaulted over the dead animal’s girth and slipped his hands under its shoulder. He gritted his teeth and strained, raising the beast enough for the human to squirm free. Natha assisted by tugging at the neckline of her dress. The human attempted to rise. Tonunda shot out a hand and pulled her to her feet. She virtually stood on one leg. Gradually, she set the full weight of her other leg on the ground, giving Tonunda his first opportunity to study her in detail.
If she is female, then she is a woman, like Zarnog.
Unlike the old woman of his mountain top, this one had no curviture of the spine. She seemed fuller of body, not almost wasted away to the bone. In fact, this woman swelled in areas that appealed to him for no apparent reason. Her features seemed so fine in comparison to himself, such as her brows, pert nose and delicate chin… he liked them; why?
He found her hair most intriguing of all. It hung in orderly wisps and bore the scent of wild flowers.
“I am Andessa.”
Tonunda yapped softly, sounding little more than a grunt. I am called Tonunda.
Andessa paused. “What is your name?”
He barked a little more shrilly. I told you, I am Tonunda.
“That is alright. You do not have to say. It is enough that you saved me from the Tiger Dog. Why does the brown dog not attack you?”
As she spoke. it became clear to him, that only he could understand her.
He knelt beside Natha and patted her.
Natha is my sister he said, hoping the gesture might convey his thoughts. Greet our new friend properly.
Moving forward, Natha sniffed. Andessa recoiled at first when she sniffed at her leg. After a moment, she realised Natha was no threat and patted her fondly. A broad grinned etched itself on Andessa’s face.
“I would never have thought it possible for a man and dog to be friends.”
Tonunda smiled warmly. If at all possible, he found Andessa’s smile to make her even more appealing.
“I have never seen a Nusallean with green eyes before. What tribe are you from?”
He nodded toward the mountain’s peak. I lead the mountain top pack.
Andessa nodded. “I am a daughter of the Dog tribe. Velhaf is king. He is also my father.”
Tonunda assumed king meant leader of the pack.
That would make me king he thought absently.
Her eyes strayed over his form. “You are hurt.”
He suddenly became aware of the caking blood in his hair and the burning pain of his chest. Shallow but long gashes showed on his upper torso where the tiger dog had raked him with its forepaws. Andessa reached for his wounds almost touching them with her extended fingers.
Tonunda let out a soft growl, detering her.