For #LineByLineTime : Inexperienced or Naive?
Striker pointed her tail at the shackled male and scowled. “Show some respect for the Den Mother!”
The male tipped his head sideways. “Den Mother? What’s a Den Mother?” His repetition of her intonation showed he understood it was a title.
Everybody in the den stared at him. He looked around and shrugged. “What? We had no mothers in the prison mines. No one was allowed to mate.”
Striker sat back on her haunches and curled her tail into a question. “Didn’t you have a pack before you were placed in the mines? Where did you live before you were sentenced?”
Loper and Shadowstalker came close to him. Their tails curled as well. “How long have you been in the mines? What was your crime, anyway?” Loper asked.
The male shrugged again. Without a tail, he could not communicate easily. “I don’t remember anything before prison. I did ask why I was there. They said I murdered a female.”
Moonsinger sucked in a breath. “You murdered a female? Who?”
“No idea. Like I said, I don’t remember anything before the prison. I know I was a lot smaller when I first woke. It’s been a while, I think.”
Moonsinger rubbed her chin with the tip of her claw. “Children are not to be placed in prison. Not even youths. Do you remember how many moltings you went through?”
The male laughed. “Too many to remember.”
Striker rocked back and forth on her tail. “You know nothing of pack life then. Nothing of a den mother, a pack leader, alphas, betas, omegas?”
The male waved a front limb, still bloody from the fight with the rogue. “I had a work team of males and females. I told them what to do and they did it. I made sure they were fed and watered, and protected them from the guards. We worked the mine, ate, drank, and slept. That’s been all I’ve known – that I can remember. Then I was taken away from my team, shackled, and told I had to go with these two. If you want me to show respect, you’ll have to explain what you want.”
Moonsinger stared at the older female. “He’s a blank slate. We’ll have to teach him EVERYTHING!”