02/20/10 - Desert Oasis

The Players:
Badiliko - White Lion from Kopje Valley
Elimnyama - Rogue Black Lion, Mystic, and Chief Witness
Itumele - Juvenile Lion and Son of Balana
Johari - Badiliko's Mate and Kopje Valley Lioness
Kahini - Rogue Lioness and Kumalo Guide
Miiba - Wandering Hedgehog-Turned-Guide
Sanlina - Rogue Lioness and Guide

The party of explorers and truth-seekers is currently resting at an oasis, the time being the very beginning of dusk. It is a comfortable enough oasis, having a large pool of water, suitable game for hunting (albeit no larger than the Circle-sent warthog), and shade from the sun as it had beaten down on the leonines (and their hedgehog pathfinder). Given the experiences of the past week since setting out from the Volcano, this was probably the largest oasis in this desert, which was simultaneously a boon and an omen of hard times to come.

Not everybody is fully alert, however, as Elimnyama has taken it upon himself to be the first to rest, though he did not explicitly state why it should be the case. Where one lion falls short, however, another rises to take his place—Badiliko, who had been tirelessly guarding and patrolling the group thus far, was taking a drink from the oasis to continue that process in just a little bit. He looked grateful, though anxious and a little bit tired. He was beginning to hope that the possibility of clearing the desert would come sooner than later, and it was beginning to show.

Sanlina sleeps, as she normally has out here in the desert, with breathing slightly slowed and paw over nose, even here on the oasis. She soon stirs though as Badiliko is finishing his drink, sliding her eyes open and her body up into a sitting position. She takes the opportunity to groom a bit at her forepaws, awaiting Badiliko's return from the water. She glances about to see if anyone else has awoken, or might be doing so.

As such, Johari has been resting since her little chat with another one of the adventure seekers. She's up now though, and pads over towards the edge of the water. She lowers her head to drink right along side of Badiliko, saying nothing until after her throat is cooled with the sweet tasting water.

Some of them may be resting, others of them are out and about… Itumele, however, is sitting slightly away from the others, trying to do something with his fur. He's certainly far from a meticulous groomer, but the most recent trek left a significant amount of sand in his fur. No matter how much he seems to get it out of his tailtuft, between his pawpads, and his headfur, it finds its way back in. On top of that, it gets into his teeth, tongue… Bleh.

Kahini is also here tonight, though like Sanlina has been sleeping away the afternoon. As things are still rather quiet in the oasis, Kahini remains asleep for the time being. The dust certainly isn't bothering the ashen lioness, who seems right at home on this adventure.

And then there's Miiba, the adventurous little hedgehog…who is currently lying sprawled at the edge of the pool of water, lapping it lazily and hungrily. "I swear," he starts tiredly, "I thought I'd NEVER see the day when I'd have to go through this darned desert again…" His quills are slack and lying flat down him, posing no threat to anybody.

Badiliko finishes up his drink and backs up, stretching out long enough for a few audible cracks to be heard. "Ahh…that's better," he says to himself as he looks down at Miiba. "Just promise us we're on the right track, okay? The longer we're out here…well, the longer we'll be out here," he says in an uncommon move of stating the obvious. "And nobody would like that." Ditto.

Sanlina places her paws back down once she's finished grooming at them, and spotting Johari moving along side Badiliko, she decides to visit the water as well. Rising up she starts padding toward the pool, giving a light polite nod to Itumele on the way, and leans down to lap at the water near Johari.

"Evening Sanlina." Johari remarks, before she gently bumps her shoulder into her mate's side. "Sleep well this afternoon??" She asks next, knowing Sanlina isn't going to answer while she's getting a drink.

As the others start to stir and move about, Itumele apparently decides it's time to complain! "Is it like this ALL the way?" he voices towards the hedgehog. After all, this creature is the one who is leading the way. And maybe Badiliko knows a little bit too. "This is as exciting as watching grass grow."

Kahini's voice suddenly joins the living, even though the rest of her still looks as though its asleep. "Lion Itumele, there will be enough excitement after we get out of the desert. Until then…" Kahini lifts her head off the ground, "I'd suggest you enjoy the peace and quiet."

The words Kahini gives Itumele doesn't stop Miiba from putting in his two termites (perhaps unfortunately so). "As a matter of fact, no! Once we clear the desert we'll be in grasslands and mountains! You ever see a real range of mountains before, sonny boy?" Apparently the fatigue has made Miiba tired AND unmindful of his position in the Circle of life!

"Sort of…never enough sleep during the night," he replies to his mate as he rests his head on hers for a moment, his mane covering her eyes quite plainly. "And there's only going to be less and less as we get closer to Jahusi lands." Badiliko yawns mightily as he looks at the not-yet-squabble of Itumele, Miiba, and Kahini. He can't blame them, really.

Sanlina finishes up her drink and glances to Johari for a brief moment. "Good evening." Brief, because t's interrupted by a complaining lion. She holds her words while Kahini and the hedgehog give their opinion. She leans down to the hedgehog first and softly speaks to him, "Do you really want to annoy a bored young lion?" she asks him, then heads off in Kahini's direction. As she passes Itumele, she pauses and looks to him. "Here in the desert there are two choices: Bored, or exciting. But the desert's idea of exciting can be deadly to those looking for it. It's best that we keep things boring before we get to the green lands." After that she moves over to Kahini to greet the lioness with a light nosing. "Good evening Kahini."

Johari rubs the back of her neck up against Badiliko's throat for a minute, rather enjoying and even finding it amusing that she can't see at the moment. "Say, where'd the oasis go?" She giggles, and pulls her head out from the crook of her mate's neck to watch the others debate about needed excitement.

"Quiet? I don't want quiet! We got quiet at home!" Itumele turns to look at Miiba. "What's the big deal about another stupid mountain? All there is /here/ is sand! Look, Badi's got so much of it that he's almost normal-colored." The young lion looks up to Sanlina as she passes… and then snorts. "I should'a stayed in the volcano," he grumbles out. "This stopped being exciting after the second day."

Kahini eyes up the young lion for a moment, but decides to let him settle out himself. She instead watches as Sanlina comes over in her direction. "Good evening, Lioness Sanlina." The lioness grunts as she sits up. "Looks like everyone is getting restless to push on."

"I'll have you know, little lion, that the sand is just a front for the dangers of the desert! Do you KNOW how many scorpions are hiding under the sand?! How many could be under US right now?" The hedgehog gets up and moves over to the edge where there's definitely sand. "I'll take boring anyday, kiddo."

Badiliko sighs. "The others are right, Itumele. Don't worry, it'll get exciting soon enough, I promise." Well, more of a half-promise, really. "If you're that bored, why not get some sleep? We're going to need it if we want to get out of this desert tomorrow…" He freezes slightly, as if something came back to him that hadn't been there in a long time. "…that's right."

Sanlina nods softly to Kahini. "Yes. Perhaps we should do so soon so they have other things to focus on other then how bored they are." she suggests, letting the others try to get Itumele to come to his senses.

Johari doesn't seem to be so bored though. She just sits down next to Badiliko. Her attention shifts to him now as she senses him freezing in place.

Itumele snorts. "Oh sure. Sleep. I'll just go over here and take a nap." His gaze is turned upon the hedgehog, who he eyes for a long moment. "You DEFINE boring. You should title your stories as boring stories parts one through twelve." Apparently, he's taken a sort of dislike to this creature. He gets up and trots over to where Miiba's gone. "And I'm not a little baby lion. Baby lions don't go on journeys!"

Kahini motions a paw towards the hedgehog next. "Well, if it were up to me, I'd head out tonight. But its not, its up to him." To the hedgehog, of course.

Miiba doesn't take to that kindly. His quills go up and he gets all puffed in his cheeks and gut and is about to do something quite mean and retaliatory against the juvenile lion! That is, until he hears from Kahini that now might be the best time to move out. "Well…we need a LITTLE rest first…about three hours until the sun is down completely, if I remember this part right. We'll have to keep close together if we don't want to chill, though."

"It's a fair idea," the unofficial ringleader says as he yawns one more time. "And Miiba, calm down and go sleep by the water, okay?" He doesn't wait for a response as he goes over to Itumele and sits right next to him, giving Johari an inviting glance to come join them. "And who says young lions don't go on adventures? I was a third your age when I was going across this desert."

Sanlina glances between Kahini and the hedgehog. She nods gently to Kahini at the other lioness' words, then perks her ears to Miiba. "The early we get going, the more cool of night we'll have for the major part of the journey." she tells him gently, then glances once more to Itumele and the others. After Badiliko's statement, she inputs one of her own, "And when I was a cub, a trip to to the desert was almost daily taken."

Johari of course does, padding along after her mate towards the others. "Well, after how hot it got yesterday, I'm willing to travel in the cold of night." It beats the alternative.

The input from Badiliko and Sanlina don't seem to do anything to make Itumele feel better, and he straightens up somewhat indignantly. "You were running for your life. That's different. And… and baby cubs don't go on /long/ journeys. I'm NOT a baby cub!" Itumele insists again, starting to look less in the realm of irritated and more in the realm of upset.

Kahini rolls her eyes and shakes out her coat there after. "Its settled then, we leave in a little bit." Kahini heads to the water there after, filling her own dry throat. "And your adventure, young lion Itumele, will no doubt start when the grasses appear again. That's when we cross into the old border of the Kumalo Lands."

Miiba hmphs and does what Badiliko tells him, looking grouchy as he settles on a patch of sand right next to the water.

And then Badiliko, who at heart still has some of his kid-ism, nudges Itumele. "Don't worry, the boredom will be over soon. If you want a real story, though, I could tell you about the time Johari couldn't find me in the Volcano…"

Sanlina decides to move out to the edge of the sands, looking quietly over them, studying them for the journey ahead.

Johari's eyes widen as soon as she hears Badiliko bring up her tracking night in the volcano. As if telling Itumele wasn't bad enough, there are all the other ears around here too! Johari makes a nervous giggle, and nudges at Badiliko's shoulder. "Love, they don't want to hear about something like that."

"Sounds dumb," Itumele responds to Badiliko's offer for a story. Whether it's because he really thinks so or he's just being contrary, well, who knows. "And I bet there ain't even no Kumalo anymore either. Or they're just a little dinky pride who pretends they're amazing but just sucks cuz' they still wanna pretend that they are what they was." As he's prone to doing more and more often on this trip, Itumele moves a few paces off and flops his form onto the ground. "Wake me when we're going."

Kahini shifts a look towards Itumele, and pads over to the lion, who seems to be set upon staying alone. "Lion Itumele, you have much to learn on this trip. I suggest you open yourself up to it. Not all prides act in the way of what you're used to with Lioness Balana. Some…" Her voice trails off for a moment as she places a forepaw in front of the young lion. "Do things for enjoyment that others would consider dangerous or bloody." If Itumele looks close enough, he's bound to see a very deep, and very old scar that runs along the lioness's paw and up along the foreleg. Too perfect to have gotten in a battle or on a hunt. No, the only way would be something quite intentional and no doubt seriously painful. "And if this is fun, use your imagination to tell you what their defination of dangerous and bloody is."

Badiliko gives Itumele a nudge/rub on his scruff and then says, "We'll wake you when it's time." And with that Badiliko moves back towards a more central location between all the "pride members" so he can react quickly should anything arise.

Sanlina rises from her place by the desert border after a short while and makes her way to Badiliko. "How is the jouney going with you?" she asks of him. "Do you have any expectations when we cross to the green lands?"

Johari is quite thankful when the somewhat… Well, actually quite embarassing story doesn't come to light. She simply follows her mate, and settles down to the ground on her stomach to listen to the others. When the question is posed to Badiliko, she glances to Sanlina and then Badiliko to see what the white lion is thinking.

Itumele gives Kahini's paw a long, sidelong look. "Didn't say it had to be /fun/…" he mutters out after a moment, but other than that he stays silent. The youth curls up and flops a paw over his face. May as well try and get a little rest, anyway.

Kahini seems to accept the answer, and pads off several paces, picking a spot at the north end of this little oasis. From here, she promptly begins to gaze out to the desert as the sand 'changes colors' with the setting of sun.

"Me?" Badiliko asks with a little bit of a surprised tone. "Well…a little tired, being the only adult male who guards. But aside from that I'm alright." He takes a breath and responds to the next question with, "I don't know. A silent move around the territories, really."

Sanlina smiles lightly to the first statement. "You may sleep. I'll guard until we leave. As for a silent move, that would be the best. Let's hope that's what we get.'

Badiliko nods gratefully, also adding in a good "thank you" before lying down besides his mate with one final yawn. Following that Badiliko is very quickly asleep. He really did need it, after all.

~End Part 3~

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