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The Rise of the CLA
"I must say, Dozer, you've truly outdone yourself this time around." said one of the many high-class canines attending this luxurious gala thrown by none other than Dozer himself. "If I may be so forward, what was the inspiration behind this meeting of the more gilded members of our society?" Dozer took a small sip of his chardonnay, as calm as a sedated Corgi.
"Simple. I want to accentuate our distinguished lifestyle compared to those mutts on the countryside."
"Ahh, I see. You are speaking of the CLA, yes?" Dozer stopped mid-drink, setting his glass down on the somewhat frilly tablecloth and scoffing lightly.
"Indeed. Oh, the Canine Liberation Army. They see themselves as the messiahs of this tattered land, when in reality, they are only prolonging their inevitable demise." The dog let out a short laugh.
"You couldn't have put it better, sir. Well, I should let you mingle with the rest of the crowd, should I not? Adieu, my friend."
The dog tipped his black fedora, and disappeared into the sea of Labrador's, Poodle's, and Schnauzer's. Dozer began to pace, taking in the extravagance of the party. The walls were adorned with high-end portraits of renowned figures, and crystalline chandeliers dangled from the ornate, marble ceilings. Tables were lined with gourmet cuisine, like roast pheasant and lobster with a filet mignon side, and even a small dish of bone-shaped treats as party-favors. The crowd was made up of only the most high-end canines in the country, as well as some special guests brought along by those attending. He let out a contented sigh, reaching for his chardonnay again. Could this be any better?
From the corner of his scarred eye, Dozer noticed a particular figure perched in the corner, eyeing him inconspicuously. From her short stature and small frame, he figured her a female, with short, wiry fur to boot. Atop her head rested an elegant sun hat with a feather jolting from the middle of it. She was draped in a long, red dress with three buttons dotting the top half, and tight, double-laced high heels fitting over her larger-than-average paws. As he turned his head to more closely observe the mysterious being, Dozer felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned again. Before him stood another well-to-do looking canine, chatting him up about recent events and other sociable drivel. He responded exactly as he should, until his guest finally let him be. As he turned again to observe the canine that was actually piquing his interest, he almost jumped back. She was right before him.
"Hello, Dozer. It is Dozer, correct?" The way she spoke was of German descent, higher pitched.
"Yes, I am Dozer." He said, still taken aback by her sudden appearance. "I don't believe we've been acquainted before, have we?" The prissy-looking pooch contemplated for a moment.
"Not that I can recall." She extended a short, furry paw, which Dozer casually accepted. "I am Cynthia Settlesbrooke of the Bukinhearst province."
"Charmed to meet you, Ms. Settlesbrooke."
"I could say the same for you. You're very well renowned for your immense military prowess, specifically the suppression of the CLA."
"Well, if I wouldn't have stepped up to put those puppies in their place, who would have?" Cynthia inched closer to Dozer, making him feel slightly uncomfortable.
"Who would have, indeed?"
As the words left Cynthia's tongue, a slow, orchestral song began to resound through the room. She eyed Dozer promiscuously, placing her paw on his shoulder and her other on his hip. "May I?" She asked softly, tentatively.
"It would be my pleasure." He responded, slowly matching her movements and swaying slightly.
"You know, I heard the CLA has a very powerful leader within its ragtag militia. A kingpin, if you will."
"Make that queenpin. Yes, I know of her. She goes by 'The North Star', but her real name is Dixie." Cynthia looked into Dozer's milky eyes, visibly confused.
"The North Star? What kind of name is that?"
"She uses it to try and symbolize that she is the light that will lead their resistance to victory, or something along those lines." Cynthia nodded knowingly. "Of course, her light is fading fast."
"Hmm, I see. Have you ever seen her? I mean, is she as deadly as I've heard?"
"I couldn't tell you. In all my skirmishes, I've never once seen hide nor hair of this mysterious 'Dixie'. For all I know, ger existence may very well be a myth." Cynthia pressed close against Dozer, whispering lightly by his pointed, golden ear.
"Don't be so sure. From what I hear, the CLA was built from the ground-up by this 'Dixie'. I hear she once took out an entire platoon using nothing more than a ramshackle shiv and her own wits." She leaned in even closer to his ear now, practically mouthing out her words. "I hear the CLA is always closer than we'd like to think." She pulled back, looking in his eyes and giving him a devilish grin that made all his hair stand on end. Then, without warning, Cynthia yelled. "NOW!"
Within an instant, the tranquility of the gala was torn to shreds, being replaced by metallic gunfire and horrified barks and screeches. Dozer quickly turned, sprinting for the nearest table and kicking it over, vaulting it to take cover. He could only listen as he heard the clang of bullets demolishing the walls, the screams and yells piercing the air, and the numerous battle cries that seemed all too familiar. "The CLA shall rise!"
Dozer looked above, and saw the blunt barrel of a gun sticking above the table. Without a second thought, he reached up, grabbing the cold metal and yanking hard, effectively revealing the holder of the weapon. Dozer rose to his feet, using his free paw to quickly strike the gunman, and then freeing the gun from his grasp. Before he could fire, though, he felt a firm press of another gun barrel against his temple. "Drop it." said the familiar voice. Dozer did as the voice commanded, slowly turning his stocky head. "Good boy. Now, heel."
Before Dozer could think, he heard the gunshot. He collapsed to the ground, groaning out in agony as he felt the bullet tear through his left leg, leaving a small, yet unearthly painful hole. He looked up as best he could, saying through his gritted teeth and burning tears. "You're CLA, aren't you, Cynthia? You're..." He could hardly choke out the first sentence, let alone finish his full thought. Cynthia finished it for him.
"Please." she spoke softly, leaning down by him. "Call me Dixie." She rose again, barking out a short order to her cohorts and heading for the exit. Before she left, she stopped before a large mural adorning the wall. Holding her claw up to it, she made quick, precise cuts, with Dozer watching the whole process. She turned back to him, smirking again. "Remember the name."
As she trotted out, Dozer struggled to stay concious. Just before he blacked out, he saw what Dixie had inscribed on the mural. It was a large, five-pointed star with a twinkle adorning the top. Below it was, from what he could make out, a quick scribbling of the letters C, L, and A, with the C being done in a way that it could be mistaken for a D. Dozer sighed, groaning out another painful breath. This was the start of the war. This was the time where regimes would fall and history would be written. This was MY time, Dozer thought. And with that, he slipped quietly into unconsciousness.