02/11/09 - Finding Gadi

Characters:

Gadi, Male Lion Cub
Kori, Male Lion
Kiapo, Male Lion
Yaro, Male Meerkat
Safiyah, Female Adol. Lioness


[Gadi]: For once, Gadi actually listened. The lion had told him to stay put, and even if the cub didn't fully realize what 'or else I'll kill you' meant, instinct alone forced his paws to keep him in place. Hunkered under the sparse and pathetic shade of a wind-blasted and herbivore-stripped pile of branches once called a bush, the filthy, sun-baked and very hungry cub is currently crunching down the last few, wriggling bites of a grasshopper he managed to squish under his paw. Loose milk teeth aren't helping his situation, and the boy's face scrunches up in absolute distaste as his tongue tries to work a crumpled wing from between his teeth. At very least, it's some moisture, and something for his empty stomach to occupy itself with.

[Kori]: As Kori races through the grass after his battle with Kinyago, his eyes are wild and desperate as he lets out another bellowing roar to the sky. He makes his way out of the Tsavo lands finally, then starts to sniff the air frantically. By now, the blood about his shoulder, and head has become caked, and covered in dirt, clumping his fur up in the sticky mess. He is tired, but still pushing himself on with the last traces of adrenaline he has stored within his veins. He searches for the old lion's scent, trying to place it as best he can. He gives another loud roar, looking to call attention to the Uzima, and the Mekauri if he must. Help me! HELP ME.

[Yaro]: It doesn't take long for the Natamban sentry to investigate the roaring. It did not sound like a request sound-roar. Indeed, it sounded exactly like the sort of roar that Yaro has been trained since a young age to investigate, being a sentry for a long time before becoming a Natamban meerkat. Though he supposes going into the neutral territory is not wise to do unaccompanied, Yaro knows his duties. And he, like any meerkat from the desert, is nothing without duty. So he scurries into the neutral territory to search for the source of the roar.

Having been isolated to the borderlands of the Uzima valley, Kiapo is easily roused by the frantic roar nearby. He may not be part of the Natamba officially, but if trouble is brewing then he certainly isn't going to sit by and let it go when it might cause harm. The brown lion appears from the direction of the valley, padding carefully on pale feet as he approaches the source of the roar. The brown lion takes a deep breath and gives his own roar of reply, closing the distance quickly. If nothing else, he does offer a sort of unknown backup to the meerkat sentry.

[Gadi]: The sounds of the roars initially make the lost boy flatten himself flat, forgetting the grasshopper wing sticking out from the front of his muzzle. His mis-matched eyes go wide, terror catching the breath in his throat as memories of the grey lion rise in his memory and his tension shaking in his muscles reacts as through he was about to be swept back up again. He doesn't recognize one as his father, possibly due to his own fright, and he shuffles back to the center of his half-baked haven and tries to hide further with a tiny whimper.

Safiyah, having heard the roar came running to the grasslands the curious young lioness that she was. The girl hadn't been an adolescent for long, heck she hadn't even had her first hunting lesson but she was eager to be a part of things around here. As she came to the neutral lands she saw a lion off in the distance, black and bloodied. She wanted to run to him and see what was the matter but she had learned in her past that all lions can't be trusted. Cautiously she made her way towards him, eyeing another lion apparently heading the same way she nods but keeps her distance.

[Kori]: As he hears the other roar in the distance, Kori straightens his ears forward as he approaches at a quick pace, having finally come into view. His eyes are wide as he glances about the barely familiar territory of the neutral lands. He's only been here twice. Once when the Natamba took him in when he was a young boy, and once when he left to go back to the Kopje. It has been so long, he is sure they have all forgot about him. "Help me!" He croaks out to Safiyah, and Kiapo as he spies the lions in the distance. "He took my son.. he.. he .. he ate my daughter… he said he dropped my Gadi around here." He is wheezing as his lungs hurt from the strain of running without pause, his entire posture trembling as it looks he can barely stand on his paws.

Yaro cautiously steps out into the distressed lion's view. It could be a deception, but the meerkat has a duty to help those in need, whether familiar or not. At any rate, the meerkat must talk to this lion. "Then you must tell me what I'd need to know to find your son… Gadi?" Yaro says. "As for your daughter, the only comfort I can give is tell you the lion who killed her will face his torment before Mungo, soon enough."

A bit of surprise shows on the chocolate colored lion's face, spotting a young lioness joining the party from Natamba coming out to investigate. Stranger and stranger the lion is finding this place to be, but he does seem rather amused by it… that is until Kori begins to speak. The brown lion's features falter and then settle into a frown, ears slicking back. "Ate?" Kiapo can't seem to wrap his mind around this, but he shakes it off quickly. "What does your son look like? We'll help you find him." He tries to be re-assuring, stepping forward to stand near the stranger.

Safiyah whinces at his words and seems a bit distressed. She lowers her ears as she listens, seeing his injuries and how Yaro has not hesiated to come near the lion she makes her way to him and begins licking at some of his wounds. Hopefully giving his injuries some needed attention.

[Kori]: "He's…he is so small.." Kori starts off, trying to explain his son, who he's only seen a few times since the birth. Tears break from his eyes as he feels the last of his adrenaline slip away, leaving only the broken shell of the lion who fought two wars at once. The war with Kinagyo, and the war with his soul in not killing the monster. "He's.. red, and .. brown. He has a black stripe along his head, and his eyes." He swallows. "They're different colors. They don't match." He says as he pushes a paw against his face. "Yellow and green I think.. I.. I only seen him twice." He admits, feeling a pang of guilt rise into his heart.

Yaro listens to this intently. "Very well, I shall find your Gadi. I suggest you head for the falls in Uzima valley. Tell them Yaro sent you for healing. They will listen." Yaro says. "I shall find your son and bring him to you."

The sadness from the injured lion seems to seep into Kiapo. He had no children of his own, but certainly it sounds heartbreaking that someone would steal away such a young cub from his parents. The brown lion looks to the meerkat sentry he'd seen only once before during his meeting with Sumi. "Yaro, right?" He asks, lowering his head a bit near the 'kat. "Climb up on me. You should be able to see a bit better from higher up." He offers, and then looks to the bleeding stranger with sympathy in his blue eyes. "We'll find him."

Safiyah continues tending to the lions wounds. As Yaro speaks and says for him to go to the falls she immediately jumps in, "I can bring him there. Just follow me…my name is Safiyah." She walks a little ahead leading him to the falls, she stopped every other step making sure he would be ok and that he could make the walk.

[Kori]: Finally realizing that the lioness is grooming him, Kori gives a noticeable flinch of his body, jerking himself away from her. He looks distracted for a moment, before his eyes turn apologetic. "I.. I should look for him too. He said he dropped him near your borders." He wheezes out, watching Safiyah move off, before rolling his tongue across his bloodied muzzle, where his teeth are still stained from the battle. He looks hesitant, before finally sighing and following after her, dragging his tail along the ground. His eyes fall upon Kiapo for a moment, looking at him for hope, as if he was a Knight of sorts.

Yaro looks over at Kiapo. "I think it would be better if I stay here. The cub could be anywhere… high or low. However, your eyes are in a high place. Two sets of eyes increase the chances of locating our lost cub. So lets split it up. You take high places, I take low… we sweep around in a bit of a circle… I'm sure we'll find him." He looks over at the injured lion. "Your duty as a father now is to get some healing. You stress yourself and expend your energy with your energies your son might not have a father to return to. You can trust me. We will find your son." And with that, the meerkat focuses his energy on seeking the cub at a low level.

Although Yaro is quite small, and Kiapo is full grown lion, it's clear that he respects the 'kat's judgement when it comes to such things. "Of course." Raising his head a little bit, he looks to Kori and tries to keep his features serious and determined. The father had enough to worry about with a lost cub, the last thing he needed would be to see others worried as well. "Go with Safiyah." The lion repeats the name he had only just heard. "I promise that if he's here, we'll find him." Moving a few steps away, the lion glances back at Yaro. "I'll start this way." Taking careful steps, the lion raises his head and calls out the boy's name, "Gadi!" As he walks, he calls again, "Gadi, come on out little warrior. Your daddy is here to take you home."

Gadi has been listening from under cover, oversized ears fixated on the series of difference voices that he picks up. Huh. Before, there'd only been one, besides his sister. His little brows furrow in a tiny spark of fury at the recollection of their stealing and ivory claws sink into the dirt, but a child's anger is short lived and the growl in his own stomach distracts him. Man… this sucks. The little cub grunts out a note, at least until he hears his name being called. It sounds different when his mother isn't yelling it, but he recognizes it. He begins to rise up off his belly, but he's quickly flattening back down. What if it's a trick? He doesn't recognize the voice calling him.

Yaro hears a sound from the cub and turns his head in that direction and slowly heads in that direction. "Gadi! I'm a friend of yours! Your father is worried about you! Come out so we can take you to him!" The meerkat heads in the direction he heard the faint sound from.

Kiapo tries to keep his voice light, friendly, moving through the grasses carefully. He's just coming around in the opposite direction of Yaro, intending to cross the 'kat's path before trying a different direction. "It's okay little guy. No one's going to hurt you. We're here to take you to your dad." The lion lifts his head high, trying to find a speck of brown within the tall grass.

Gadi hears his name again, this time from a much smaller voice, with an accent he can't recognize. Furrowing his brow, the boy shakes a bit of the spiky, unruly fluff atop his head clear from his vision and dares a brief peek from his shelter, mismatched eyes of copper and green narrowing as he looks towards the sounds of approach. Whatever it is, it's something small, something he might be able to do more against that clawing at a nose. His haunches raise up, shoulders and hips wiggling as his neck bristles. No more! He's not going to let someone else hurt him. Baring his loose milk teeth, the cub utters a warning hiss.

[Yaro]: Ah hah! The meerkat found him. He heads straight for the hiss, But he wisely keeps his distance. He's an experienced and rather fierce fighter, but he does *not* want to hurt the cub. "Gadi! There you are. Your father is worried about you." Yaro looks over at Kiapo with a look that says "I may need help with this one." Yaro looks at the cub. "Gadi… come out, I'm not here to hurt you. I'm an old-world meerkat. I hurt a cub, I get killed. I just want to help you."

Having his head raised, Kiapo catches the look from the meerkat and changes his direction, approaching slowly. He crouches down to make himself seem a bit smaller, creeping closer until his brown form is just barely visible through the grasses. "Shh, it's okay little fighter." He tries to say in a soft voice, keeping his head set on the ground. "We're not going to hurt you. I'm 'po. Your daddy asked us to find you." He uses the shorter version of his name, which is probably easier for a cub to understand.

Gadi is dirty, dishelved, hungry, and obviously rather unhappy about his treatment as of late. Can anyone really blame him? He's never seen a meerkat before, and his hesitance to move or even hiss further seems to betray he has no idea just how to react to Yaro. Kiapo, as he appears, the cub obviously recognizes as his own kind, but the unfamiliar face brings the child to fluff up from nose to tail and shrink back against the core of the bush he hides under. His first encounter with a stranger was obviously not a good one, but, Kiapo isn't behaving like that. The cub utters a faint, unhappy note, his confusion evident.

Yaro decides a little exercize in establishing small trust is in order. The meerkat comes even close to the cub. "Look… I'll make you a deal. If you think I'll hurt you, then attack me. I won't defend myself." Yaro says, now moved within striking range of the cub. "Kiapo. if he tries to hit me, do nothing." Yaro carefully reaches out a paw to touch the cub's cheek. If this succeeds, teh meerkat would begin to change the tone of his voice to sound as unhostile as he can. "I am here to help you. I am Yaro of the Natamba. My life is dedicated to protecting lives such as yours."

The lion stays perfectly still, the only motion being when his muzzle moves to talk. For the time being, he lets the meerkat do the negotiating, especially since it wouldn't due for him to get all scratched up trying to reach under the bush. Nodding his head a little, the lion just watches the small cub with the mismatched eyes, "It'll be okay little guy, I promise." He rumbles softly, his voice taking on what he hopes to be a comforting purr.

Gadi looks torn between disgust, confusion, and curiosity as Yaro reaches out a 'kat paw and touches his cheek. Augh! What is this? The boy's lip twitches, whiskers curling, but he doesn't attack even if every claw is showing. He just has no clue what Yaro is. His mismatched eyes shoot up pleadingly towards Kiapo, and at long last, the boy croaks out a loud, wailing note, "Want. Mama!!!"

Yaro reaches that paw up and strokes the cubs head gently. "I don't know what I can do about getting you to your mother… but I sent your father to the falls in my territory. Now…" Yaro says. "I know a cub like you can be strong when the need arises. You've lasted this long…. let me help you go all the way. Come out… and let my lion friend carry you to your father. I promise you no one here wants to hurt you."

"Shhh." Kiapo continues to try and make soothing sounds. He's never had cubs of his own, but he grew up with a good, caring mother who is enough of an example for him. "I don't know where your mama is little one, but I'll take you to your dad." The brown lion approaches very slowly, reaching his muzzle softly towards the boy in a gentle attempt at picking him up.

Gadi continues to look bewildered, even as tears finally well in the boy's eyes. He's obviously exhausted even if he puts up a tough front, and is just too work out to give much of a struggled as Kiapo leans in to pick him up. Like all cubs, he falls still once he's in Kiapo's jaws with just a forlorn sniffle and slumped ears, giving up and just hoping that they're actually taking him to his family.

[Yaro]: "That's right… you're in good paws." Yaro says. He looks up at Kiapo with an expression of gratitude.

As he lifts his head, Kiapo is quite careful about the little life he holds in his muzzle. Slowly, he nods his head to the meerkat and then motions with is eyes so that the sentry can lead him. He's never been beyond the borders of the Uzima valley, so he hasn't a clue where the falls might be.

—-

Yaro took the most direct route he could to get the cub and Kiapo as quickly as possible to the falls and the cub's father. The meerkat feels happy he was able to do this for the cub. The cub is safe here, as is his father. And of course, the meerkat is filled with questions. Questions as to the threat of this rogue who ate this poor cub's sister… and attacked his father. And what happened to the cub's mother.

Carefully and calmly, Kiapo follows the meerkat's path without a word. It isn't as if he could talk with a mouthful of cub. His blue eyes look around, taking in the lands that his beloved had seen but thus far had been quite a mystery to the lion. As they arrive, the brown lion quickly identifies the form of the injured male, asleep, perhaps due to a similar exhaustion to that of his poor son. Setting the boy down lightly against his father, Kiapo gives the boy one parting lick and then looks towards Yaro. "Does this sort of thing… happen often around here?" He asks, stretching his jaw now that there isn't a cub occupying it.

[Yaro]: "Well, there have been incidents. Not quite like this. But we've had our share of troubles." Yaro says. "Jinko, for example. But what matters is we do our best to resolve the problem. And you can count on me investigating just what happened."

Stepping away from father and son, the lion takes a look around the falls, and at the sleeping forms nearby. There is no discomfort for being in what is probably the heart of the pride's lands. Listening, Kiapo nods his head a bit. "You're quite a capable sentry for a meerkat. You handle yourself better than many lions I've met." He speaks softly, keeping his voice down to not wake anyone. "Do you think the one who stole this cub could be a threat here?" He asks, his mind obviously following the same line of questions at the meerkat's.

[Yaro]: "That is why I want to investigate this matter. If these two are at risk, then I need to know so I can advise the kings about protecting them." Yaro says, and crosses his arms. "It is my duty. My honor. I was born in the deep desert and grew there. It was there I learned such dedication."

"Such dedication is certainly honorable." The brown lion replies, inclining his head to the meerkat. "If I see any strange lions near the border, I'll make sure to send a roar." Kiapo gets to his feet, not wanting to wear out his welcome. Afterall, he had promised to stay near the borders until he had spoken to both king about permission for he an his beloved to enter the pride's lands. "Until then, I'm afraid I should be getting back. Your king Ghedi has yet to meet with me, so I don't really have permission to linger here."

[Yaro]: "Very well. I am grateful for your help. I'll be sure to put in a good word for you with the kings." Yaro says. "It was a very good thing you did. Farewell.

"You are quite welcome, but it was nothing. I'm just glad those two are safe and reuinited." Of course, his mind drifts to the daughter the lion had mentioned, but Kiapo quickly shoves that from his thoughts. "Thank you for showing me the way. Good day, Yaro." And with that, the brown lion gives one last look at the father and son, and then makes his way back through the underbrush towards the border lands.

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