Her thoughts were interrupted by snoring; she had found who she sought. Puppy or Cricri as she preferred, was resting under a Healing Tree when Siri finally came. Cricri yawned and stretched her furry body before rising to her legs and padding over to the fellow hunter. Her appearance was canine except for the colouring: her underside was white as snow and her back blue as a lake, with darker stripes running over her ribs. She greeted Siri with a look only puppies and small girls mastered.Cricri is a wurmtail hound – a canine creature with two snakes for tails, originally born out of a magical mishap. The legend goes that a young wizard wanted a unique pet and tried to dye his dog blue with a simple spell. Something went wrong and instead he found himself the proud owner of something even more unique: a snake-tailed talking blue dog. The first wurmtail hound was born.
Since then the hounds have bred stubbornly in the woods of Verannia, despite the obstacles. Reproduction has never been easy for wurmtail hounds, since each individual houses three personalities in one body. On top of that the personalities of the tails are often completely opposite: atheist-true believer, social butterfly-hermit, chaste-lecherous etc. Cricri’s tails Pink and Blue are a bimbo-scholar pair:
“I didn’t hear anything,” Siri searched her memories for something she might have heard, but found nothing worth notice.“You're human,” Blue noted. “That's near deaf.”“I thought snakes were near deaf,” Pink interrupted.“Just because we don't have outer ears doesn't mean we can't hear, Pinkie.” Blue rolled her eyes, and gave Pink a sidelong glance of embarrassment.“How could I know that!” She protested. “We're a woodland creature, not a biology student.”“Well how then can I hear you ask about most obvious things, and question, and question and question my answers until I'm insane!” Blue hissed with fury.Pink answered by sticking her pink, forked tongue at her.
“Technically, I've got three persons in one body,” Cricri said and glanced over her shoulder at Pink and Blue, “though it feels like I'm mothering two morons.”So it is not very difficult to understand why wurmtail hounds usually prefer a solitary life. Every spring they gather to the annual Wurmtail Hound Courtship Gathering, an event the Elder Hounds have created to ensure the survival of the species. After two weeks of pairing up, the hounds sigh in relief and return to their solitary lives.“Oi!” Blue snapped.“Huh?” Pink lifted her head from a patch of ice. “Sorry, but what did she say? I was busy admiring me eyelashes.”“We don't have eyelashes.” Blue hung her head in chagrin, then added: “We don't even have eyelids.”“Stop that!” Cricri bellowed, before giving chase to her tails.
Wurmtail hounds never consent to become pets, even though they may sometimes outsource hunting to a Foodmaster in return for their services. Cricri’s Foodmaster Siri provides her with leftovers and in return the hound protects Siri from possible threats and warns if either of her uncles is searching for her. Though Cricri is no one’s pet, she has become attached to her young Foodmaster.
She was distracted by a cold, wet touch on her shoulder, followed by a warm body curling against her back.“Stop eavesdropping and go to sleep,” Cricri muttered. “You know you can’t look tired if you’ve been sleeping.”