"Good grief, Cally- where did you find that beast?"
"He attacked me."
The smaller woman recoiled in surprise.
"Seriously?! When did this happen?!"
"Last night. I had just finished dinner, and I heard a growl from the shadows. You should have seen it, Terce- he was perfectly positioned! Downwind, behind a steam grate to hide the heat and scent of his body; he wasn't hiding- he was hunting!"
"That's... really scary, Callista. An ally cur hunting... I've never heard of it. Do you really mean to train him?"
"Absolutely! Look at the magnificent creature- he's malnourished, but fighting-lean, and those scars! If this wasn't a pit-fighting animal, he was something worse!"
The tall, slender woman nodded decisively.
"I can rehabilitate him, Tercia. He was something special."
Tercia shook her head doubtfully.
"I don't know, Cally- there might not be anything but survival left in there."
Callista shook her own head in reply.
"I believe survival instinct buries personality- not destroys it."
"Well, you'd know best, " the smaller woman shrugged.
"You've turned plenty of strays into fine pets, after all... but still- a predator? It seems like a long shot."
Callista's grin was predatory in its own right.
"All the more worth the effort," she purred.
"Oh, ho- you intend to keep this one for yourself!"
Callista shrugged slender shoulders.
"And why not?" she asked, a little defensively. "I've always given my... work... as gifts- why shouldn't I keep one for myself?"
The predatory smile crept back in.
"Besides- don't you think he'd be perfect for me?"
Tercia's curls swung in a bewildered head-shake.
"You mean he's bound to be insane?" she laughed.
"No- I can see it," the smaller woman conceded. "If anyone would keep a killer on a leash, it'd be you."
Callista's smile remained.
"Oh, he won't need a leash when I'm finished."
Tercia watched the hard, scarred man in the observation room twitch in his sleep for a moment.
"Insane", she repeated under her breath.