The Sergeant's blue eyes met the green ones of the strange dog, and there was an instant's pause before the man snorted and shook his head, setting off once again in pursuit of his sloppy new squad.
"Ye cannot stop me from killing her. It is th' only way for my troops to be freed of th' Captain's madness."
The dog kept pace with him easily, black paws making no sound on the leaflitter of the forest floor.
"No, sergeant. Killing her will not break the enchantment on your Captain. It will remain wrapped around his heart, forever after; he will be capable of nothing but sobbing at her grave until he too dies. The enchantment can only be broken by the concious will of the one of put it there."
"How d'ye know so much of magic, dog?" Esben enquired, a trace of suspicion colouring his voice. He, in common with many soldiers, did not trust those who put their faith in magic; and he had been, once, in a fight with those who called themselves Vagari. Calla regarded the man sadly, and did not answer, instead giving a canine shrug. Esben did not find this a satisfactory answer, and increased his pace, coming across his Baker's Dozen gathered stupidly in a small clearing, waiting for him with anxious eyes.
"What'll we do, now, sergeant?" asked his bold deserter, earning a flat glare from Esben.
"What we were doin' previously; d'ye use yer ears, or are they jus' for show? Come on."
He strode away, his new squad straggling after, puffing out their chests with newly discovered purpose, many of them trying to walk with a strut; this often backfired, as their ruined shoes made them limp. Sergeant Esben rolled his eyes and muttered something ungracious under his breath.
"Sergeant. You must listen."
It was the black dog once again, loping alongside him. The sergeant scowled.
"Ye'll haveta give me better reasons than before, dog. I don't trust ye. Ye're a talking dog, and that ain't natural, and ye know far too much 'bout magic..."
"That is true...but if you wish to see your troops free from their Captain's influence, you will have to listen to me. Please. My name is Calla. I will tell you what I am, if it makes you feel better..."
"Aye? What are ye, then?"
The black dog looked at him with bright green eyes and sighed.
"I am a Vagari shapeshifter, like your Captain's Khoreia. But I am trustworthy!" he cried, seeing Esben's hand jerk to his sword. "Believe me, I am nothing if not trustworthy. We are...not all like her."
"Ye better not be," Esben growled, ramming his sword back into its sheath bad-temperedly. "All right, Vagari warlock that you are, tell me what we should do, if we are not to kill the witch..."