Vi'el didn't know how long had passed... She'd been watching, waiting for an opening - for a chance at escape.
Varuni was far more hesitant, even if the 'tests' were horrid things to go through.
But tonight, their captor - Claudia, a black and brown canine creature - had made a mistake. Thinking there was no way her little experiments would ever think to run off into the large world of the unknown, she was apparently getting careless as at least one of them faked being asleep.
Once things had been quiet for a while, Vi'el risked opening her left eye - a scar running over it, though luckily not hindering her sight.
She gave a little smile when only the blinking lights of a few machines that never turned off were all that greeted her - reaching out to nudge Varuni's shoulder where it rested against hers. The head that had been resting on her shoulder jolted a little with a bleary, "What?"
"She's gone... And she's got to be asleep by now - we might not get another shot as good as this for ages!" Vi'el hissed softly, standing and further waking her friend.
"I'm up, I'm up!" Varuni grumbled quietly, but there was a nervous edge to her voice as Vi'el stretched and looked down at her - a silent order to get up or be left clear on her face.
Varuni pushed to her feet with a sigh - tail flicking as she looked at the only other tsabhua she knew.
"Ready?" Vi'el asked, already heading towards the exit of their... It was their bedroom, technically, but they'd both been educated enough to know it was just a cell - a prison.
"As I'll ever be..." Varuni submitted, ears laid back as she followed. Vi'el snuck up the stairway first - stopping on the first floor they came to.
Several rooms spread around them - an open-design kitchen and dining room, with two other rooms and an extra door... A window revealed a glimpse into the open plains, a tiny village dotting one of the nearby hills.
Vi'el pranced over to the door to the outside world with Varunia following close behind with more hesitant steps.
The young silver female tilted her head as she studied the lock for a moment before reaching out - carefully turning it and wincing at the sharp click that rang out, her companion's head swiveling around as if Claudia would appear at any second to send them back to their cage.
But she didn't, and the tsabhuas let out a breath of relief - the bolder of the two opening the door and letting the cool night air filter into the house. Taking what seemed to be their first breath of fresh air, Vi'el's face split into a grin and she charged off - her darker companion startling before haring away from the metal building they'd been raised in, neither one looking back.
The dawn sun was just truly beginning to rise, bringing with it the songs of morning creatures and a rising activity throughout the land - including in the village.
The two females hesitated, especially as a lavender-tinted silver tsabhua emerged from one of the huts and started their way.
"W-We should go! What if he takes us back!?" Varuni hissed in panic, tail lashing as she took a step back - muscles tensed and ready to flee.
"No, we should meet them!" Vi'el shot back, a smile pulling her mouth upwards before she trotted forward.
"Vi'el, what are you doing?" Came the hiss of panic, "Vi'el no!!" The yelp followed after the short tailed female as she kept going.
The male, as Vi'el could tell by scent as she got closer, raised his head at her approach tilting his head with a kind smile. "Hello there." He greeted softly, voice gentle.
"Hi..." Vi'el trailed, suddenly uncertain on what to do.
His smile grew as he lowered his head, tilting it a bit. Though Vi'el and Varuni were nearing adulthood by now, he was still several years older than her - still a young adult, but her senior nonetheless.
She found herself beaming back as he spoke, "What's your name? I'm Avenance."
"I'm Vi'el, and that over there is my friend Varuni." She said, shooting a small glance over her shoulder at the other female - her tail, even if shorter than the normal tsabhua's - flicking in the direction she was meaning.
Avenance (Vi'el like that name, and she liked the kind-eyed male it belonged to even more) looked over, tail flicking, "Come on over Varuni, you have no need to fear me - or this village."
Varuni was slow to do so, but she did approach - head low and tail flicking nervously.
"Tell me, where is your tribe?" He asked softly.
Vi'el shook her head, "We don't have one. Claudia..." She paused, "I guess you could say she raised us - in that big building over there."
He didn't look convinced, and a single glance at the building made him sigh softly, "Why don't you come back with me? It'll be safe there, and my friend and I can teach you how to hunt and gather and survive out here." He offered.
Varuni frowned, "What's in it for you?" She asked suspiciously, cutting Vi'el off before she could simply agree.
"Well, I'm in charge around here - and my tribe could certainly use new member. But other than that? Nothing really."
"We accept." Vi'el cut in before Varuni could continue hesitating.
Avenance smiled, "Well, then come with me and I'll help you get settled. I assume you'll want to stay together?"
Varuni nodded when Vi'el looked at her - leaving the more timid of the two with the choice. "Yes please."
Avenance nodded and helped them get settled - bringing blankets and other such things, as well as introducing them to the other inhabitant of the tribe - Hasif.
While Claudia never came to the village, she watched from a distance - one last test in place already with them, one they wouldn't know about for a while yet.
Over the coming months, the two females finished growing into adults - training hard to learn all they could. With such a small tribe, everyone helped everywhere but Varuni, always shying away from conflict, took to gathering the most while Vi'el turned mainly to hunting.
Another development was the closeness that Vi'el gained with Avenance, the two forming an unofficial mateship shortly after they truly became adults - placing the young but dutiful and kind female in a place of power in the small community.