01/10/09 - New Arrival


  • Balana, lioness, Queen Mother
  • Darujo, lion, from Utatu
  • Jabali, lion, Ayumi's mate
  • Kiini, lion, Mzohari and Nyunya's son
  • Korzar, lion cub, Mzohari and Kasjari's son
  • Mashaka, lion, Balana's brother
  • Mzuhali, lioness, Mzohari and Nyunya's daughter
  • Onaedo, adolescent lion, Mzohari and Kenta's son

Kopje Valley - Bottom of the Waterfall Cliff
You come to the bottom of a large cliff. Just above you is a massive promontory jutting out of the side, it sends a shadow across the waterfall. A large torrent of water comes down, creating a large 'lake' at the bottom of the cliff. Many sweet grasses grow on the edge perfect for grazing animals. As you look up the cliff face, you see a small path leading to the promontory and then stretches further along the cliff.

To the [K]opje [V]alley [Climb] up to the Promontory
[E]dge of the [S]avannah

You can see the 'end of' a runoff stream.
A sparkling and cool lake

You can see…
[IC ] Darujo is just a lion!
[IC ] Balana
[OOC] Chiboa, rogue
[ZZZ] M'tazamaji
[ZZZ] Kasjari
[IC ] Mashaka
[ZZZ] M'tangalizi
[ZZZ] Katili, Newborn Lioness.
[ZZZ] Korzar
[ZZZ] Wingu
[ZZZ] Kipofu

Mzuhali, having spent the last evening as her niece's personal pillow, is stretched out luxuriously near the waterfall, enjoying the ability to move freely. As Darujo approaches, Mzu lifts her head and stares, ears turned forward; a strange lion, here? She glances around sharply and finds her father asleep…great.

Mashaka is on his way to the waterhole after his usual rounds when he spots Darujo. He decides to change his path to intersect that of the other lion, giving a loud grunt to the stranger to let him know the large guard is on his way to meet him.

Old lionesses don't do quite as much hunting as they used to, but Balana nonetheless takes part from time to time. Now is one of those times! Or, rather, earlier was. After all, what if she somehow ends up on her own and can't hunt? That'd be no good! Padding back with a small antelope in her maw, the elder perks up when she hears Mashaka grunting, but doesn't yet see Darujo. What's going on?

Darujo knew it was only a matter of time before he'd run into some pride on their territory. But that was the purpose of exploring foreign lands and venturing into the unknown. Upon hearing the grunt, seeing the stir of activity near the waterhole, and feeling a bit of tension in the air, Darujo straightens up. Not in a menacing way, but he's just being a bit formal now. His eyes meet Mashaka's for a brief moment before he looks to Mzuhali and… Balana. She seems familiar, but it could be his imagination. "H'lo," the lion greets in a light voice. "Am I in the way? I just got here." A question, then a defensive remark. He's lacking social ettiquite.

Mzuhali climbs to her paws and moves cautiously toward Balana, never taking her eyes off of Darujo. Mashaka's presence seems to calm the lioness a bit, but she's still wary of the stranger. Though the smell of her grandmother's antelope is quite enticing, Mzu puts baser needs to rest and issues a low chuff toward Bal.

The large lion slowly pads over to Darujo, stopping a few paces away. Mashaka watches the other lion closely, but doesn't seem to be agressive. "You're on the Kopje lands, if you weren't aware. You don't have to leave, as long as your intentions are peaceful. And yes, we noticed you just got here." he states firmly.

Balana lays the antelope down by the water's edge as she draws up near the lake, and licks over her muzzle a couple times. She glances over at Mzuhali, but then looks back towards where Mashaka is, spotting Darujo when he speaks up. Her ears fold as she looks aside to her granddaughter. "I guess the pride's state of alert isn't all that high today," she murmurs.

Darujo keeps a warey eye on Mashaka so he knows where he is and what he's doing, but he doesn't look him square in the eye unless he's answering a question. "Well, cool, then. I plan on just resting right here. Not overnight or anything, but just for a quick breather," he says. His eyes drift back to Balana, then to Mzuhali, then looks upwards to watch the sky. He's checking the weather at the moment, or perhaps he's just avoiding eye contact with everyone. "I didn't think this was the Kopje lands. It's changed. But I don't really remember being here, either." He turns his attention to Balana. "I think I've seen you before. Didn't you wander near Utatu a few times?"

Mzuhali stands near her grandmother and watches Darujo intently - though the weight of her gaze has softened a little. After all, it's difficult for her to remain so stern. "Seems like everyone is catching up on as much sleep as possible, what with all the new cubs…" — her father, the King, included. She falls silent again, listening to Darujo and Mashaka converse - and then her ears perk as the unknown lion addresses Balana.

Mashaka nods lightly to Darujo. "That'd probably be best. But I'm keeping an eye on you." he says, then moves over to the water to get a drink, but remains positioned to watch Darujo closely.

Balana perks up as well when Darujo addresses her, turning to look back at the male. "I lived there on and off over the seasons. Mtunga was my—our, brother, actually," she says as she indicates Mashaka. "If I should know you, I'm afraid my memory fails me at the moment. I didn't spend a lot of time amongst most of the pride when I was there," she confesses.

Darujo's attention swings back to Mashaka for a brief moment, as if wanting to make a witty comment, but he turns back to Balana. "Oh, that must've been it then. I was in the Pride, but I'm sure you saw more of them than I did," he replies. He lifts a paw to scratch his chest lightly, tussling his mane, before he eventually just flops onto his side as if he were really exhausted. He hits the earth hard but doesn't seem phased by it too much, continuing to scratch his chest. "I'm Darujo," he finally says, introducing himself to the crowd. "Originally from the Golden Lands. I think that's what it was called, anyway. Burned up in a fire."

Mzuhali watches Darujo's scratching, turning her ears back slightly. "…you haven't brought us any kind of disease, have you?" After a moment she frowns, realizing what she's said was just plain /rude/. "I'm sorry. Shouldn't have said that." She bites her lower lip and glances sidelong at Balana. "I'm Mzuhali, Balana's granddaughter."

Mashaka finishes his drink, and pads on over to Balana's side. "And I'm Mashaka, Balana's brother, and a guard here." he says to Darujo. "The Golden Lands? That would have been a while back, wouldn't it?" he inquires.

Balana shoots alook over at Mzuhali. "Mzu!" She apparently doesn't approve of her words to the lion, and then looks back at Darujo, a brow lifting as he mentions the Golden Lands. "Who ruled there?" she asks straightforward, nodding to Mashaka's words. Unless there's been another fire, it would have to have been at least since the Kumalo occupation.

The lion looks rather indignant due to Mzuhali's words, but the expression fades as he slowly rises. He probably does smell a little strange due to the section of Utatu he lived in. It was always rainy and damp there. The scent tends to cling to his fur no matter where he travels. "I don't /think/ I have a disease," he replies back to her, lifting a brow. But Balana seems to do the scolding so he thinks no more on the issue. "Tahzhoo, I think." The male lifts his paw to scratch behind his ear lightly. "At least, I think that's who ruled there. I dunno. Laana's dad," he says. Another name-drop, and hopefully less confusion?

Mzuhali hunkers down a little at her grandmother's scoldingshe was just looking out for everyone, albeit in a straight-forward and rather childish way. "Sorry, gram'a." She casts her eyes toward Darujo and speaks a little sheepishly, "I'm sorry, Darujo. Just nervous about, well, the outside." Of course she's talking about what lies beyond the valleyher whole life has been spent in this crater and it's been a relatively safe one.

Mashaka hmmms softly as Darujo speaks. He stands there quietly now, just watching the lion, letting the others talk. He's not too familiar with that pride, but notices the scent. "You know, you smell an awful like the Utatu jungle." he remarks.

The latter name doesn't appear to ring a bell, but the elder certainly recognizes the earlier name he mentions. "Many seasons ago, but I know the time. And the fire. And Tahzhoo." This last bit is said with a bit of a grump. Apparently she's not all that fond of the lion.

"I happened to live in the Utatu jungle for quite some time," the lion remarks, giving a little tick-tock of his head. "That's where Mtunga stuck me. I suppose I should be more thankful, but really, there's no social contact at all. It's four day's journey to the Rock, so I was basically kept there to… watch it, I guess." Darujo puts his attention back on Balana and lifts his shoulders in a light shrug. "Well, I left before the fire." He quickly adds, "Didn't start it, either." Though, can a lion honestly start a fire? "But that's when I wandered into the Utatu and made a home. Now I'm leaving that home because… well, sometimes I feel like I'm the last of the Utatu pride. It's so quiet there." But any place that's a four day journey from the pride would be quiet. "Does… this make me not welcome?" he asks, looking at all three with a raised brow.

Mzuhali remains quiet as her apologies go unanswered, feeling a bit like a scolded cub. Instead, she merely listens to the banter between Darujo, her grandmother and her grand uncle. It seems as they have the 'situation' under control, with no need for her to interject; after all, she's not well-traveled to say the least and can't add to the conversation much.

"Oh, nothing like that," Balana says in response to Darujo's question of being not welcome. "Your nose could maybe use a little waking up so you don't stumble into the heart of pridal territory when you're an unknown." She shakes her pelt, and lowers to her haunches. "And you don't seem to be out to cause us any trouble…"

~ Very close to you, from 'Kopje Valley - Cliff Promontory', Vikali roars!

Darujo lifts his paw to rub gently over his nosepad, sniffing and snorting a little before he lowers it. "I haven't been on the outside of Utatu lands for a long time. I'm a bit out of practice." And can you honestly blame him? The Utatu lands are so vast that living there for any number of months or years would eventually lead to a loss of cautionary instincts. Sniff before you step isn't a common practice there. "But, like I said, I'm here just for a breather. Now I know where the Kopje lands are." The lion's attention drifts as he focuses in on Mzuhali, tilting his head to gaze at her curiously before looking back to Balana. "And… what can you tell me about the Kopje? Or its neighbors?" he asks.

Mzuhali offers Darujo a little smile as he glances at her, but makes no attempt to speak on the Valley's behalf. She leans back on her haunches, sitting, and curls her tail around her paws neatly. She listens to the conversation, happy enough not to involve herself further; for now, at least.
Balana inclines her head in light understanding. Utatu's so large that you could wander for days and still be in the same land. "Well, we've got a fairly sizable pride here at present. Not so large as Utatu was, but large enough. My son Mzohari is the king here." She flicks her tail. "And actually, one of Tahzhoo's daughters lives here. Anyhow, our neighbors are the Tsavo pride to the west. We're on more or less neutral terms, don't interact much. To be honest, I don't think we're too fond of them."

"Tsavo," the male replies, turning his head towards the west to peer at the horizon. "Familiar name, but I can't recall where I heard it." No doubt at one of the annual meetings he was required to attend with Mtunga and several others. "But, if you're not very fond of them, it must mean they're rather new…?" he asks. Now his eyes make contact with Mzuhali's, trying to see why the girl hasn't spoken up since her accidental insult. Perhaps shame is in the way? "What do you think of them?" he asks directly at Mzu. Darujo's tail lashes back and forth across the ground as he takes on a relaxed stance.

Kiini has arrived.

Mzuhali makes a quiet 'hm?' sound as she realizes she's being spoken to. "Oh," she says a little bashfully, "I have no opinion of the Tsavo lions. As long as they don't interfere with us, we leave them be. Although," she says, looking at Balana, "didn't King Mtukutu allow us to hunt on his lands during the storm?" Her tail-tuft twitches nervously.

"Mtukutu is the head of the Tsavo. They used to live next to the Golden Lands, if I'm not mistaken," Balana explains of the Tsavo. She tilts her head as he speaks up to Mzuhali, looking aside at her. "He did. He's not a bad lion, he's just… annoying," the elder says after a few moments. Her gaze then wanders back to Darujo, looking the lion over. He must not be Tahzhoo's son… but she didn't recall any other lions being in the Golden Lands at that time. Maybe he was an orphan.

Kiini wanders back into the waterfall cliff after completing his evening patrol. Nothing exciting out there, except for trees, rocks, and dirt. He never seems to get the exciting patrols. Is that good or bad? Kiini hasn't decided yet.

"Ugh," the male grunts, giving a little shake of his head. "Mtukutu. I hate that guy," the lion grumbles under his breath. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, exhaling so he can feel a little bit better. "Thought he'd be dead by now. But, I guess that's the way it goes. Figured someone would've off'd him for trampling around. He tried to take on the Utatu at one point, I think." The male rolls his shoulders in a shrug then looks westward towards where the Tsavo is supposed to be. "Guess I won't be going westward, then." With his head and ears turned towards the west, he doesn't notice Kiini approaching or anyone else for that matter. Again, Utatu-syndrome is responsible for his lack of caution.

Mzuhali lifts her head and observes Kiini, approaching from his patrols. "Heya," the girl calls out to her brother, looking a little relieved to have him around. "How was the patrol? Guess you were on the opposite side of the valley," she grins, teasing him a little, "'cause we have a visitor from Utatu."

A faint smirk crosses Balana's muzzle at Darujo's reaction to Mtukutu, though she blinks a little about him taking on Utatu. She never heard about that… though she didn't meet him until he lived at Pride Rock. "Tahzhoo's pride lives on the far side of where the Tsavo lives. We broke away from them seasons ago, and frankly, we don't think much more of him. His sons rule there now. Still the Natamba." Her shoulders shrug lightly, and she looks towards Kiini as Mzuhali points him out.

"I always end up with the boring border, you know that?" Kiini admits with a grin as he pads up to his sister. He gives Mzuhali a brotherly nuzzle and whispers something into her ear before looking up at Grandma to catch up with whatever gossip is going on.

Kiini whispers, "You feeling alright?" to you.

Mzuhali whispers, "Just a little…nervous. I guess Dad's fear of outsiders got into me, too. I asked that lion if he brought in a /disease/! How much ruder could I have been? *exasperated sigh*" to Kiini.

Darujo emits just a little huff before he rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "World would be better off without him, but if he's no longer in charge… well, I guess that isn't so bad. Unless his sons are just like him." Clearly the Utatu lion has a huge beef with the leader of the Tsavo. He takes another deep breath then exhales it, turning to focus on Balana, only to see that more have arrived. His brows lift in genuine surprise. "Oh, more company," he says. "Hello." No longer chopping his words, it appears his social skills are coming back to life now that he's communicating with others. "Anything else I should be aware of?" the male asks, speaking to Balana since she seems to be the main source of information.

Mzuhali offers her brother a goofy grin, leaning into his nuzzle affectionately. "I s'pose it's better than walking the more treacherous borders…" she shudders, a little dramatically. "I know I wouldn't want to end up face-to-face with someone who carries ill intent." She lifts up a paw and bats lightly at Kiini's mane, "Sorry I fell asleep the other night…watching Kio' fall asleep made *me* tired." Her eyes dart briefly back toward Darujo, interested in this new face with his (apparently) vast history.

"Mtukutu is. It's Tahzhoo whose sons stepped up. Mtukutu hasn't had a whole lot of luck coming up with an heir, it seems," Balana says with a smirk. As that topic falls by the wayside, though, she fills Kiini in. "This is Darujo. He's from Utatu, apparently was originally from the Golden Lands a little before your father was born. In the time of, or maybe even prior to, the Kumalo." She looks back to Darujo. "This is Kiini, my grandson. Don't be surprised at any amount of company—we get more than a little of it with a pride this size."

Jabali pads in here from the valley, looking to relax.
Jabali has arrived.

Korzar wakes up.

"Hey Darujo, nice to meet you." Kiini answers, before he decides to flop down at his sister's side and listen to the goings on around here. As to the little whisper back he gets from Mzuhali, he can't help but chuckle and remark "You're crazy, you know that, Mzu?"

"A pleasure," Darujo replies to Kiini. It's the first greeting that's sounded remotely friendly. The first was a rough warning, the second was an investigation in hygiene, and the third was of origin. With those bases covered he hopes that further introductions will be on par with Kiini's. "Well, good to know the pride is socially active." He'd make a little quip about the Utatu pride's social skills, but he decides not to appear like a grumbly lion now that more company has arrived. It's time to be formal. "Are there any disputes going on any place? I'd rather not stumble in between a large fight." Warzones are not his cup of tea, despite being the lion he is. "Or droughts, or deserts, or… that kind of stuff? Also, how often does it rain here? I'm very much used to rain."

Mzuhali's ears swivel forward and she laughs lightly at Darujo's last question. Rain, indeed! "We did have a terrible storm for quite a while…" she offers, but leaves most of the details to her grandmother - out of respect, of course. Her words are truly an understatement, but she feels slightly uncomfortable speaking to the strange lion, at least with pride-related matters. Leave that to Mzo and Bal'. She likewise lowers herself to her belly, stretching out, side-to-side with Kiini. "I wish one of our little brothers or sisters would wake up," she says pointedly, turning her eyes in Kasjari's direction. "I love all of those little monsters."

Questions, questions! Well, it's only fair, after all. At least, so long as Darujo doesn't probe too deeply. "The only dispute that I'm aware of was a potential one in the Pride Lands, where the Tsavo live. There were a couple of lions occupying part of the territory. I haven't heard anything about them lately, so I don't know if they're still there, moved on, or what." Truth be told, it doesn't really matter to Balana who is living next door so long as they leave Kopje in peace. "Don't know of any droughts, and the nearest desert is back towards the Golden Lands." She grins a little. "Water isn't much of a problem around here, although earlier this season we did have something of a flood for a while."

Jabali looks like he just woke up and nobody told him he had slept on the wrong side of the rock. That is, the lion is bleary eyed and half of his fur is sticking straight up. Not exactly the best form for any beast, much less when greeting a visitor. In his boggy eyed vision, the lion makes his way to the lake to take a drink - zombish, and nearly about to plow over anything in his way, if he hadn't been smart and taken a clear path.
"They sure go crazy when you're around." Kiini answers to his sister, letting Balana do all the explaining about territories and such. Besides, he's tried, he just finished a full patrol, even if it was the quiet border.

Darujo takes in a deep breath and closes his eyes, letting a smile drift over his face. "Mmm. I love the rain. And water, too," the lion replies. This might make him look as though his mental health should be questioned, but he continues. "I suppose that's one benefit that came out of the Utatu." He looks right to Balana as he opens his eyes. "You've been to the ocean, right?" He can't imagine a lioness of her age and experience not venturing that far to the east. "I suppose that's what made me not complain when I got put up in the lake region. But, I'm talking more about myself than I should be. I apologize." He peers at the lion trodding his way down to the waterhole for a moment, curious of the behavior, before focusing back on Mzuhali. She seems distracted now, no longer staring at him like he's diseased. "Well…" He's at a loss of words, or rather a direction to take the conversation in.

Mzuhali chuckles at her brother, "I guess I just send off waves of friendliness and love." This remark is quickly re-examined as she glances back over to Darujo, still feeling guilty for her rude greeting. "If you stay long enough to meet my father, you'll have a swimming buddy." She offers him another smile, still a little unsure about him and his intentions, though it really wouldn't take much for her to warm up to him once she had the chance to pick his brain. Her eyes drift over toward Jabali and she tries her best to stifle a laugh, covering her mouth and nose with a forepaw. "Heya, 'Bali!" She calls out to him once she's sure she won't crack up at his appearance.

Balana's gaze shifts between the other Kopje lions, particularly Jabali as he enters, but Darujo gets the bulk of her attention. "I have… but there's a difference between listening to the water and being in it. It's also nicer when it's not filling up the majority of our valley. And it's alright," she says over him talking about himself. "That's Jabali, another one of our guards."

Talk, talk, talk! The sleeping cub subconsciously tries to tune it out for a little while by burrowing tighter into his mother, but to no avail. Soon there is just too much noise, it becomes impossible for a curious cub to ignore. So, Korzar's eyes flicker open, and he blearily raises his head, mewling tiredly. He quickly shakes off the cobwebs, though, and carefully removes himself from his mother's side. But He doesn't go far. He doesn't seem to know which direction to move in, his attention torn between the number of awake leonines. So, Korzar is left standing there with an eager expression on his muzzle, eyes darting from lion to lioness, even twitching slightly in a certain direction every so often, but not actually taking a step towards anyone.

Jabali seems to snap out of his stupour when Mzuhali greets him and Balana introduces him. He checks the sky with a swint of an eye, "Morn… afternoon, Mzuhali." The lion blinks twice as he turns his head to the lioness and seems to, with a bit of embrassment to notice his state. "Excuse my appearance." He mumbles to the unfamiliar lion in a half-asleep tone, bowing his head slightly, then carries on to the water without delay.

Kiini lowers his head to the ground and closes his eyes. Yup, that was a long, tiring patrol already. Pretty soon he ends up drifting off to sleep.

And now Darujo goes a bit quiet with the exception of greeting Jabali back. "Hello. No problem," he says, remarking on his appearance. The lion's tail swishes back and forth while he observes from the opposite side of the waterhole. Or maybe the side? It isn't clear where he entered from or where his specific location is, but most likely he's on a neutral side of the 'hole where there's very few pridals. Darujo scoots his rump a bit into the earth before he flops onto his side then rolls onto his back, tucking his forepaws against his mane while he stares upwards to the sky. "I wouldn't mind a swimming buddy," he belatedly replies. "But I think it'd be awkward, too." Swimming with an unfamiliar King? Yeah, talk about awkward.

Mzuhali watches Darujo with bright, curious eyes, noting his actions and how familiar they appear to be; surely she wouldn't be in such a prone position in a group full of strangers, welcoming or not. Shrugging it off, the lioness leans more of her weight into her sleeping brother's side, eyes scanning the sleeping bodies of her family…and then, there! Korzar. She chuffs at him lowly, tapping a forepaw on the earth lightly to lure him over. Her tail swishes enticingly, tuft looking perfect for a good cub-chewing.

Now… that's a comfortable posture Darujo takes on there. If she knew him better, Balana would be tempted to pounce on him. She considers the same thing with Jabali's state of mind, but ultimately figures she's better off not pouncing on anybody. Gaze drifts briefly to Korzar once Mzuhali points him out, and back at Darujo. "There are a few around here who enjoy swimming. I can't say I understand it, myself. Some of them even like jumping in off the promontory."

And… there's something to do. The cub romps over to the lioness he now knows as 'Hali', his much-bigger sister, even though Korzar has no concept of extended family whatsoever. Even better, she has one of his favorite toys already ready! "Hayleee," he remarks idly as he rubs gently against her legs and makes his way straight for the twitching tail. Korzar has begun learning names pretty well, but as for other words… he knows almost none. Like what this twitching thing he was now trying to bat at was actually called. Whatever, he still loooves playing with it.

Onaedo pads in here from the valley, looking to relax.
Onaedo has arrived.

The lion turns his head to watch Mzuhali and the cub, extending his claws to lightly scratch his chest before setting it back on his mane. "Such a bundle of cubs around here. Looks like this pride should hopefully out live the neighbors, mm?" the male rumbles. "Quite a good thing." He then looks upwards, extending his muzzle up as far as it'll go so he can peer towards Balana. "You must be quite proud of the generations you've seen. No regrets, right?" he asks. It's hard to tell where he wants such a question to lead to, conversation-wise, but the male's enjoying the sounds of nearby talking and scuffling of paws. Compared to the ambient sound of rain that he's heard most of his life, a little diversity is a good thing.

Mzuhali smiles brightly as Korzar traipses over, still swishing her tail-tuft nonchalantly, pretending she isn't aware of her little brother's intentions. "H'lo baby Korzar! I see that you've come over to play with 'Hali." She grins, tail still a'twitching. For now her attention is focused solely on the little one, appearing more relaxed than she has all evening. "Oooh, you see my tail? You wan'a chew on it, don't you little guy?" Of course her words probably mean absolutely /nothing/ to the cub for now, but it is her duty as Sis 'Hali to teach him!

Aww… those cubs are so cute. "Yes. That one is my grandson, but I hear my great-grandchildren are here, with more on the way." Balana smiles at seeing the sibling interaction, but turns to look back at Darujo, head tilting at his question. "No regrets? Well… maybe a few. But nothing major… why?"

Of the words Mzuhali speaks, only 'Hali' and his own name register with Korzar. The rest- sail right over his head. He purrrs as he pursues his big sister's tail, waving his paws wildly at its tufted tip. He flops down and rolls onto his back, getting in a good position to keep batting at the squirming tail without getting too tired. Eventually… success! Korzar is able to capture the tuft of Hali's tail, pinning it between his forepaws. And… it seems his big sister was correct. Whenever Korzar is able to entrap a tail, he immediately begins to nibble on the tuft. So, the cub lounges on his back, gnawing a bit at his prize. He pays no attention to his grandmother and the unknown lion, as his attention is completely focused on his play.

"I'm just curious. I hope to live as long as you have and be as content with my life," the lion replies, making eye contact with Balana so she knows he's not insulting her. Or at least he hopes she knows. It isn't his intention to make himself unwelcome, after all! "I've always wanted a family of my own, but… life is not to so fortunate," he states. And while this may be an excellent opportunity for him to go into a personal monologue and discuss his past openly, the lion does not. He just watches the little cub interact with the lioness that's across the way. "Balana, do you know the name Kifalme?" he asks, looking back to the elder lioness with a curious look.

Mzuhali seems to be thoroughly enjoying her interaction with Korzar, allowing her tuft to be chewed on for a few moments before gently tugging it away, swish-swoosh-swish over his head. She exclaims, "Great, Korzar! You caught the elusive tail. Can you say tail? Tail, tail, tail…" she says this in a singsong voice, hoping that her little brother catches on. One ear tips to Darujo as he converses with her grandmother, but she makes no motion to look in his direction or speak directly to him. Seems her shy demeanor has won out tonight.

"Fortunes can change in the matter of a few short seasons. At the time you lived in the Golden Lands, my attempts had all but failed. Family scattered to the four winds. And now… now I'm related to just about everyone here, either grand or great-grandcubs, or other found family members along the way." Balana glances around the area for a moment. Yeah… things have surely changed for the better since then. Her gaze lingers on Mzuhali and Korzar for a moment before it snaps back to Darujo. "It's… familiar… I think he may have been around the Natamba pride while I was a part of it, after the fire. Why?"

Darujo gives a little shake of his head once Balana answers his question. There's a moment of silence, then he speaks up. "No reason. Was merely curious if the name was familiar or known." There's another scratch to his chest before he rolls on his side to better watch the lioness and cub at play. "It won't be a problem if I rest here for a night, will it? I haven't met the King and I'm pretty sure that's custom for most prides, but, I don't want to be in the way or stir up trouble. I'm sure there's plenty more prides out there to meet and greet, but I can only walk so far for so long," he says, letting his heavy tail rise and fall against the earth with audible thumps.

Korzar makes a soft, annoyed sound as his 'trophy' is taken away from him. But it's quickly forgotten as his older sister speaks. The cub tilts his head at the words, listening. "Taayyell. Taayl," he attempts, and it's a passable imitation of the word. He glances back at the still-twitching tail, and something clicks. Oh, that's called a 'tail'? Korzar has definitely heard that word spoken before, too. "Taayl, tayyle, taail," he repeats a few times more, and giggles. Well, Hali has perfectly performed the teaching technique, at least for how Korzar catches onto words. Repeated repition of a single word, with no other misleading and confusing other sounds piled in with it.

The pale toes of Mzuhali's forepaws wiggle in delight at Korzar's newest accomplishment! "Oh, Aunt 'Hali is so proud of her little Korzar! Tail, tail tail," she repeats again, twitching the tuft of her tail again. Of course by now it's covered in saliva, but it's her baby brother's, and that doesn't seem to bother her one bit. "Does Korzar want to learn one more thing tonight? Try this: I love you." She sweeps her tail slowly away from the child, leaning her head down to give the boy an affectionate, dry lick. "I love you!" Those are three words, possibly a little too difficult, but they're short so 'Hali gives it a shot. She grins down at him.

A brow quirks as Darujo goes on and says he asked for no reason… he must've asked for SOME reason. But Balana lets it go, and looks the male over as he asks if he can stay for the night. The elder seems to think on it a moment… and soon gets up, stepping over to the male and lowering her head near his, giving him a serious gaze. "You've given me no reason to think that you're here to cause trouble… but let me put it to you this way. If you even so much as get too close to a single one of those cubs, or display any threatening signs, Mashaka, Jabali, Kiini, as well as the other two you /haven't/ met will be on you faster than you can blink. Not to mention the lionesses. In fact, unless it's going to the border, you'd do well not to go wandering anywhere. Do we understand each other?" she says in a warning tone.

When Balana walks over he curls his tail towards himself. Not between his legs nor against any particular area of his body. He just keeps it close as if preparing to rise up, but he doesn't. Balana comes over and lays down the rules which he somewhat already knew, but it does help to have them actually spoken. "I can blink fairly fast," the lion states. "So I won't try to do anything wreckless. I may be a stranger, but I'm not /that/ kind of stranger," the male replies. Once that is said he looks back towards Mzuhali then the cub, just watching the two play for now.

Korzar grins at the praise, and accepts the lick, bouncing happily on his toes a bit. He stops fidgeting as he again listens intently to his big sister speak. "Tayyl," he mutters again, just something to idly announce as he struggles with the new words. "Iyy… Iy lllrrveee ooo," Korzar says. A bit of a mouthful for the cub, especially when it's his brother who is the one that's more inclined to talk. He cocks his head and gazes up at Mzuhali, unsure how that one went. Again, he's completely unaware of Bal and the lion, completely disregarding them as his small attention is directed at Hali.

Mzuhali dips her head encouragingly, smiling down at the little one. "You've almost got it, kiddo! Wanna try again? 'Iyyy… luhhv… you!" She tries it phonetically, breaking it down a little so it's less difficult for Korzar. She grins, thinking just how excited her family will be when Korzar toddles up to them and proclaims his love for them. She gives him another lick, one distinctively different from the ever-dreaded "bathing lick", hoping he associates affection with his new, almost-perfected phrase.

"Good. Such misfortune fell on us once before… and we intend to see that such a thing never happens within our valley again," Balana says as she keeps her serious gaze on Darujo. "I'd stay in Mashaka's vicinity as well, since he met you. You'd be less suspicious that way. She lowers down to her haunches next to Darujo, tone resuming a normal level. "We're just… cautious."

Darujo uses a forepaw and extends a claw, tapping the ground very close to where he is. "I plan on staying right here. Seems that it's the central meeting place anyway. Don't have a reason to go anywhere else." The lion's tail lifts and falls against the ground again, resuming its idle motion while he watches the pair. "Nothing wrong with caution and I appreciate you letting me know, or at least giving me a warning."

Korzar is steadily getting more and more tired, first from the play, and now from the hard work that is learning words. He's been concealing it pretty well up til now, as he's been having a lotta fun, but finally it's beginning to show itself. His eyes begin to droop as he listens to Hali again. But he still tries anyway. "Iyy luhhh… I luhhhv…," Korzar trails off, exaustion beginning to overcome him. With no other warm place to go, and mom's sleeping body a several good yards behind him, Korzar decides to flop onto big-sister Hali's paws. He's almost completely out of it now, but still trying valiently to complete the phrase. "Iy… llluhhve… yuuu…," the cub says, softly and nearly inaudibly, before he's out, sprawled across the tops of Mzuhali's forepaws.

Msasi pads in here from the valley, looking to relax.
Msasi has arrived.

Mzuhali's only gloating from teaching little Korzar his newestand longest!phrase is her contented smile. She watches him fall asleep on her paws and yawns, tongue lolling out. "Uh oh, he's found my weakness. Kiokota knows it, too…" she offers to her grandmother and the strange lion. "When cubs fall asleep on me, they seem to drag me along with them." She rests her head on the grassy ground near Korzar, one ear constantly on patrol to keep her little brother safe and sound as they both rest. Soon her breathing slows and regulates, signifying that she too has fallen asleep.

Kizingo pads in here from the valley, looking to relax.
Kizingo has arrived.

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