Vergil quickly backed down the hall, dodging into the room he’d been painting when he'd first come to the house. Someone walked rapidly past the door and up the stairs. He looked around for somewhere safe to hide should they do an all out search for him after they discovered he wasn’t in his room. There really weren’t any options, as the only object in the room was the workbench, and the closet and lavatory were both too small to hold anything he could hide under, in or behind. That left the windows. A fast check let him know that, unsurprisingly, opening them would set off the security alarms. Still, taking his chances outside the house was better than sitting where he was, waiting to be caught.
Unlocking the catch, Vergil took a deep breath, opened the window and jumped out. Look before you leap, stupid, he thought when he ended up being scratched by the bushes under the window. On the other hand they did make good cover. He worked his way between them and wall until he got to the corner of the house.
“He’s out here somewhere.”
Vergil clamped back a gasp of surprise. The voice seemed to come from right beside him—with good reason. He could see a man’s feet and legs just the other side of the bushes.
“Shall we let the dogs find him, sir?” another male voice asked.
Please do, Vergil thought. He had a special rapport with animals no matter how vicious they were. His wish was granted when the man in charge ordered his subordinate to tell the men to get back inside and the set the dogs to hunting.
Vergil waited until he was certain all the men were gone then crept out of the bushes. He sensed the dogs closing in on his location and stood very still, sending out feelings of calm and friendship. Two huge Rottweilers came into view racing towards him. Slowly Vergil lifted one hand, palm forward. The dogs came to a standstill directly in front of him, teeth bared.
“Mellon,” Vergil said softly but firmly, ‘mellon’ being the elven word for ‘friend’
Whether it was the word itself, the tone of his voice, or the feelings he sent to them, the dogs sat, a look of devotion on their faces. He petted each one in turn, wondering if there were others still out there searching, although he doubted it. Taking a chance, he moved swiftly to the trees at the edge of the property, and the wall behind them. The dogs followed, as if they were now guarding him.
Suddenly a man came into view. “Capture” he called out, an order for the dogs that they ignored. “Capture, you sons of bitches.”
Vergil almost laughed at the stupidity of the man’s words. Of course the dogs were sons of bitches, quite literally. Apparently the dogs felt the same way he did since they ignored the man while they watched Vergil leap up to grab a tree branch and use it to swing himself to the top of the wall. “Thanks, guys,” he said with a brief wave to the dogs before jumping down to the sidewalk.