03/01-02/09 - The Escape


Kiini, lion
Kori, lion
Wingu, lion cub
Korzar, lion cub
Gadi, lion cub
Kasjari, lioness
Kikora, lioness cub
Mzohari, lion king
Onaedo, adolescent lion
Vikali, lioness
Balana, elder lioness
Mwaliko, lioness

Edge of Savannah
You reach the savannah to the southeast of the Kopje Valley. From this place you can see immense plains where the air is soft and warm. In the far distance you see something that looks like a forest. On the opposite side you see a valley, and you can hear the sound of the water. Between here and the distant forest, you can see some rocks that might be nice to sunbathe on or simply rest for a while, though they are some distance away.

[Back] to the Bottom of the Waterfall cliff
[For]ward towards the distant forest [Sou]th to the Shekwon Lands

Kiini has been resting by Mwaliko and the cubs, which shouldn't be much of a surprise. His patrol isn't for a few hours yet, and one of the pridal lionesses got lucky earlier with a wildebeest kill, so he's full and content. His tail flicks against the ground idly, suggesting he's awake if nothing else.

Making his way out towards his borders once more, Kori's eyes falls upon the small family, a frown touching over his muzzle. "Why haven't you and yours gone deeper into the pride, where it is safe?" He asks with a deep huff. "It makes my patrols out here harder."

Kiini watches Kori approach, eyeing up the other male as he nears. "Hey Kori." He replies to the rather abrupt greeting from the other male. "Don't worry, I'll get her to move soon enough. Sorry to make your life a little tougher."

His encounter with his two nephews and their father is enough to leave Wingu a little confused. While he may be bigger than the newborn cubs, he certainly isn't all grown up yet. So, the little cub has taken to wandering a little bit away from the shaded patch or the cliff. At the moment he walks in the pawsteps of Kori, without really knowing that he's going beyond what would normally be 'cub-acceptable' space. Looking down at his paws, the child just walks along in quiet echo of the dark lion.

"It's not that you're making my life tougher, just harder. I don't want to be the one who has to rush upon a scene to see your cubs or mate in danger. You're my…" Kori pauses. "You're.. my pride mate, and it would upset me." He says as he flops back upon his haunches. With a sniff to the air, he turns his attention over, noticing Wingu behind him. "See! This is what frustrates me. Where is Kasjari at? Where is Mzohari? Has /no one/ learned from what happened to me?"

Well, if one family is bad, two is… really bad? Korzar stirs awake after a long sleep, nestled next to his mom. As he shifts into consciousness, a little something in the back of his mind realizes that he doesn't feel the familiar form of his brother next to him. He'd gone to sleep near his brother, so where was he now? The thought is driven from his mind as he hears a nearby voice, raised beyond normal levels. Korzar lifts his head and yawns quietly, but doesn't move further or make any other noise. He's still getting his bearings, and trying to figure out what's going on.

Kiini inwardly groans and sits up, rolling his neck to loosen those muscles up. "Of course we have. I'll move her when she wakes up, I promise. Even if she doesn't want to move. That sound alright?"

Wingu's little ears fold backwards along his head as he's singled out by Kori. "Da's on patrol near claw-tree." He has no idea what the names of the surrounding lands are, so he names the one iconic thing he knew near the prideland border. "Mum's over there." The boy points towards where his mother, and his waking brother happen to be. His muzzle forms into a pout, perhaps a bit disappointed in the dark lion. Blowing a bit of dust out of his nose, the boy stops following Kori and makes a bee-line towards Korzar, not exactly appreciating the trouble he's apparently getting into just to get back to his family.

Letting out a heavy breath, Kori says, "Maybe I should just patrol the waterfalls, since no one seems to care for it's safety, and prefer to live out on the borders." He says, frustration evident in his voice. "He is still out there, Kiini. Until I find him dead, I won't ever have a good night's sleep. I'm just looking out for your best interests, all of your best interests."

Kiini watches the cubs head for each other for a couple of seconds, but he can't help but bring his attention on Kori. "Whoa, look.." Kiini holds up a forepaw. "Kori, no one's suggesting that we don't care about the lands being safe. I'm out on those borders just as much as you are." He reminds the other lion. "What would you have me do, go find that lion and make sure he's dead for you?"

Oh, the big lion was angry about something. He didn't know where mom and dad were. But mom's right here! And dad's… somewhere. Korzar didn't know where his dad was half the time, but that was just natural. Why was big-Kori mad about that? But soon Korzar can't miss his brother padding quickly on over to him, and he forgets about it. Let the big lions do all the talkin'. He climbs the rest of the way onto his feet, still a little unsteady and wobbly after such a long sleep. "Hiii Goooo," the cub says, yawning widely again and blinking.

Oh, there's certainly a few things Wingu could say to Kori, but he's still a cub and he's been taught better than to question adults. Instead, just continues towards his brother, his bad mood slipping away as a smile finds it's way to the boy's face. "Hey Korzar." The pale cub greets, bouncing a little on his forepaws before reaching a paw out to affectionately bat his brother's ear. "I saw Mzu's cubs. They're liiittle." He explains, nodding his head up and down as if this were a big accomplishment. Of course, he wouldn't have had to go nearly as far to see Kiini's cubs, but the journey is part of the adventure. "They're in shaded place."

"No, Kiini. Just be responsible and reinforce the rules of the borders. You're a Guard, like I am. It doesn't mean that /anyone/ including our own family, should be allowed to hang out here, sleep, and pay no mind to their cubs. The lands are /huge/, and safe, and I need you, as a fellow Guard, to enforce that, and to ensure that everyone understands that they have other places to play at." Kori says with a frown upon his face. "Being a Guard is more than just walking up and down the borders. We're the Knights of the Kopje. Our job is the most important." He motions with his paw. "Mtukutu doesn't give a damn about his borders, especially those that govern ours. I'd be more at ease if he so much as -tried- to keep his borders safe."

Kiini frowns at Kori right back now. Perhaps that's a bit strong wording there. "Look Kori, I AM responsible. I'm doing the best that I can, and if that's not good enough for you, I'm SORRY." He raises his voice now, cubs or no cubs around. "I do the best I can to keep everything that isn't supposed to be in the lands out of the lands. So lay off, alright?"

Korzar giggles as his brother bats at his ear, but for the moment still needs a little bit to fully wake up before he gets involved in some *real* play. He nods excitedly as his brother tells him about little cubs. "Yyyeah. More!" he says, and points a forepaw over toward's Kiini, who's still standing next to Mwaliko and the other little cubs. "Aaand Gadi," he adds looking around for the other, not little, but still slightly smaller cub who he'd met the other day. He doesn't spot him at first glance, though. Instead, Korzar finds himself staring towards the woods. Yeah, they're not very close, but the cub has found himself drawn more and more to them in the past few days. What was behind that first line of trees? He shoots a look to the adults, who seem pretty involved with what they're doing. "Boooored. Go trees?" he whispers softly to Wingu. It's about time they found something new to do!

The sound of the two lions raising their voice is enough to turn Wingu off of having anything to do with either of them for the moment. Instead, his brother is far more interesting than the loud sounds. Ears still folding down, the boy crouches a little, looking towards where Korzar indicates, but then he just paws at the ground, uncomfortable. Then comes the prospect of the trees. Turning his eyes towards them, Wingu seems thoughtful. Then, he whispers a quick, "Okay." And nudges at his brother's shoulder, intent on having the other boy lead the way.

Raising a brow at Kiini, Kori says, "I did not say you weren't being responsible. I'm just asking you to help me out on enforcing the safety of the borders so that everyone else understands it." As usual, he is calm, collected, and stoic as he speaks. "Why do you take everything -personal- for?" He asks. "This is a job, Kiini. It's not about you or me. Seek the wisdom in my words, and stop applying them to yourself as an insult. Look deeper into their meaning. I -care- about you. I'm just trying to help you become more aware."

Not overly excited with the idea of getting into an all out arguement, Kiini just gives in with a nod. "How's sis?" There, that should all out drop the subject of the border, right?? Kiini lets Kori take that thought on for a moment as he looks behind him to try to spot where the cubs have ventured off to.

So, he may not have planned the *perfect* time to pull of his escape, what with two adults standing a little while away. But Korzar's getting antsy. It's time to do something fun. He knows the big lions don't want him to go in that direction, and whatever the big lions prohibit has to be fun, right? Anyways, they're too busy *talking*. Blah blah blah. All they ever do is talk. And that's not fun. So, with the nudge from his brother, Korzar takes the lead, and makes his way towards the distant line of trees. He crouches, low to the ground, scrambling around the various rocks that are scattered between him and the forest, instead of climbing over them. Gotta stay low… don't want the big lions to see him, 'cuz then they'll put an end to his fun.

"The kids are escaping, Kiini." Kori says as he shifts an ear in the cub's direction, only glancing in their direction momentarily, before looking back to him. He is an obsessive guard for a reason. Movement is his best friend after all. "And Nonceba is doing as well as she can, I suppose. She's back on the hunts."

Like many times, Wingu is following in his brother's pawsteps. He's not as adventurous, but he sure could use a break from the two lions chattering away with those loud voices. So, he follows his brother's example and crouches down low, skittering quickly along the ground and trying his best to remain unnoticed. A rock or two might get displaced here or there. He could care less about if they get caught or not, he's going to make a good effort at it.

The brothers aren't the only ones trying to escape, though, one could say remaining in the lands isn't a form of escaping. Unless, you're a cub supposed to be in a cave and are now nowhere near there. His clay-colored form helps him hide, but one copper eye and one green eye peek up over the tops of the grasses, tail giving a little, impatient twitch as he scopes out the surroundings, frowning faintly at the faces he sees.

Kiini notices that the cubs have vanished from the spot they had been only a few minutes ago. Kiini clears his throat and then calls out "Korzar, Wingu, come back here or we have to go back to the caves for the rest of the day.." Wow, now that's REAL threat! What could be more boring than the caves for the WHOLE NIGHT?

Ears lifting, Kori is amused for a moment, that is, until he spies Gadi of course, here, at the borders and far away from the caves. Lurching off his paws, he heads over towards him at a fierce pace, his eyes narrowed as he rumbles deeply in his throat. "What the hell are you doing out here, Gadi? What did I tell you? Are you trying to make me angry?"

Pffft. Korzar's not scared. By this point, they are much closer to their goal, and no one's even taken a step towards them yet! He raises up now, out of his crouch, and begins to sprint in earnest, as fast as his little legs can take him. It's looking like there's a good chance they're gonna make it now. Korzar is mere feet from the edge of the forest. Soooo close!

Wingu, on the other hand, pauses a little bit when he's called out for. Busted. Then, he seems confused to hear that Gadi is out here as well. He peeks his head out of the grasses, looking over towards where Kori happens to be looking. Unfortunately, that leaves him quite a ways behind his brother. "Hey." He calls out, and then ends up a little confused on which way to go… to the trees with Korzar, or back towards the two lions. Eventually, his more curious side leads him to follow his brother, but he's quite a ways behind by now, racing to try to catch up.

Gadi scowls, the expression almost as dark as the one on his father's face. He hunkers his rump to the ground, tail jerking back and forth. "…l'nly. You here, safe." Mutters the cub as a note of reasoning as he scrapes at the ground with his claws, though the tone of his voice and flattened ears prove indication he really doesn't expect his father to agree.

Kiini groans, and mutters something under his breath as he rises up and trots off in the direction that the cubs disappeared in. "You two have to the count of three to get back here before you end up grounded for days." He tries this next, hoping that it might work. "One.." He starts, pausing after going a little ways into the grasses. "Two…"

"It doesn't matter where I am at. This place is /not safe/. It will /never/ be safe, Gadi. I told you to stay with your sister, and with the others at the cave. What if I wasn't here? What if that lion came back and hurt you, or hyenas, or jackals, or wild dogs? What if I was NOT here?" He says, his anger welling as Kori seems to be shaking, his eyes wide. "I am taking you back, now."

Korzar slips a little on a small stone as he nears the treeline. He stumbles, but at the last moment is able to keep his balance. He pauses at the edge of the forest when he hears Kiini's warning, glancing back at the lion. But then he looks towards the trees again, and his curiosity is overwhelming. "C'mon Goo!" he calls, glancing back towards his brother, and then slips between two tress at the forest's edge. Time to explore a bit…

Not as sure as his brother, Wingu certainly does seem a bit more uncertain about this adventure. "Korzar." The boy whispers, remembering how worried his mother had looked before. "I dun wanna be grounded." He tries to get his brother to come back but… it's too late. The stripey-arsed cub is gone into the treeline. While he would have gone if there wasn't adults calling for him… Wingu simply can't follow his brother with threats following him. So, the pale cub turns back, walking back towards Kiini, his ears folded back and his head drooping.

The tight set of Gadi's little jaw makes it look like he's half ready to cry and ready to yell, and when he does speak, it's with a sharply spoken blurt. "Don' /care/!" He yowls, stomping a paw onto the ground. "Show ta' fight!" Unusual words from a toddler, but then, he's seen a bit more trauma than the average cub, and his eyes are hard. If he isn't the spitting image of his father right then, than he's a hornbill.

"NO. You are not going to fight! You are not going to end up like -me-." Kori finally says, his voice hard, and edged with anger as he stares down at his cub, nose to nose with him. "You are not going to grow up like me, and become.." He trails off. "A monster." His ears flatten back upon his skull, and he points with his paw. "Move it, back to the pride lands. I don't ever want to see you out here again, understand me, son?"

Kiini watches one cub return to him with folded back ears. Good. He gives Wingu a rather irritated look, but lets the cub come to him. "Just what were you thinking anyways?" He asks, frowning at Wingu. "And just where is Korzar, anyways?"

Dense Forest
You enter a very dense forest. It's covered by what seems to be a dense white coat of frost, more dense than on the edge of the forest, and somewhat difficult to walk through. It's very cold to the touch, and occasionally there are tracks passing through it. The adventurous types may want to continue onward, but if you aren't the kind for surprises, you may want to head back across the border. Who knows what kind of trouble you may find if you keep walking around these lands!

[Back] to the border [For]ward through the forest

Korzar crouches at the base of a large tree, completely hidden by the shrubs at its roots. He looks around again, peeking his head out of the plants. Where was Wingu? Korzar's not scared… but he's definitely less confident than when he's got his brother by his side. He had been planning on jumping out of the shrubs and pouncing on Wingu when his brother finally arrived, but with the minutes dragging on, Korzar's nearly ready to give it up. He withdraws, hiding himself in the shrubs again, deciding to wait for another minute or two at most. Okay, he is also a *little* nervous all alone… but it's not too bad. What's worse is that this place is sooo cold. Brrrr. He shivers slightly from within his hiding spot.

Kiini is not happy at all. With Wingu returning home like an 'in trouble but still semi good little cub', Kiini has set on to find the root of the problem. He walks through the underbrush, crushing the little plants with his paws. He uses his nose to continue in the direction of the cub.

Oooo. Korzar hears the crashing footsteps through the forest. Definitely not Wingu. Heart pounding, the cub ventures a quick look out of the shrubbery, poking as little as he can out of his hiding spot. Big lion… but it's only Kiini. He lets out an soft, but audible sigh… but then remembers how much trouble he's gonna be in if he's caught. Uh-oh, not good. Korzar crouches and stays hidden, eyes darting back and forth, looking for a way out of here. Seeing no escape route, Korzar stays where he is. At least if he's caught now, he's satisfied his curiosity, but he still wants to explore a bit more… unfortunately, it's not looking likely that that's gonna happen.

The nose is a powerful thing on a lion. It tells the lion more than their eyes do many times. As such, he continues on his way through the path until he nears where Korzar is. Smelling fresh scent of cub he sits down, clearing his throat and just waits silently.

Alright, so Kiini knows where he is. Korzar's not gonna give up that easily. In a last ditch effort, he scrambles out of his hiding spot and attempts to move around the tree trunk, and hopefully reach the other side of the tree, where he can lose the big lion again. Who knows if he's fast enough or not? Maybe the element of suprise will help him get away. But then again, Kiini is obviously much bigger and faster than the cub.

"Korzar, I'm through playing games." Murmers the lion in a voice loud enough for the cub. Oh, his ears heard the shifting of the bush branches around the tree. "Unless you want dad to make your life miserable for the next two moons, I'd suggest you get out here."

Korzar pauses in his escape attempt, ears flattening against his head. He thinks about it, considering the positives and negatives. Oh, he wanted to explore so bad! And he knows he's going to be in trouble when he's caught. But… maybe he'll be in less trouble if he comes out now? And it's inevitable that Kiini will catch him. So… Korzar knows he's beat, rises out of his crouch and slowly walks out of the underbrush. "Jus' having fffun," he grumbles, staring at the ground, not looking up at his much older brother.

Kiini continues to just sit there, and watches as the cub appears out in front of him. "I always love having fun, Korzar. But there are better ways." Kiini reaches out a forepaw to bump the cub's chin up so that Korzar would have to work pretty hard to avoid Kiini's eyes. "You have no idea how much trouble you're in, Korzar." His voice sounds like death warmed over now as he goes on. "And one word to dad and you'd be lucky to get out of the cave before your mane is grown out. So I have a deal for you."

As Korzar's forced to look up at Kiini, he cringes a bit at the mentioning of potential punishment. But… I was just having fun… he doesn't say anything, though. When Kiini mentions a deal, Korzar's ears slowly unflatten off of his scalp, and perk up a bit. He doesn't exactly know what that means… but it sounds better than being grounded to the cave for weeks and weeks. "Deeal?" he asks, tilting his head to the side questioningly.

"Mmhmm." Kiini answers with a confident voice. "But there's rules to a lion deal. Has anyone taught you about a lion deal?" He asks, his own ears perking up at the cub in front of him.

Huh? What was he talking about? Korzar slowly shakes his head no, a curious look now fixated on the big lion. It's almost like Korzar has completely forgotten that they're not even in the valley, and technically, he's being punished.

"Okay, this is how it works. Once you make a lion deal, you can't break it without tasting the other lion's blood." Kiini finds himself quite pleased with this…


"Maybe." Wingu relents at least that much. He could have gone to the falls with them but he had waited behind to see if his brother would come home. "Oh, I saw Mzu's cubs, too." The pale cub seems to be intent on filling his mother in as they go, like a child in the back seat of the car who doesn't quite want to shut up. "Kes was there. He said they're his. And he was crying. Told me not to tell the cubs he was their da."

Kasjari blinks softly, "You're growing up Wingu, Kes is talking to you like he would an adult," she says as they near the treeline. Her brow furrows and she pauses, getting a closer fix on the scent she's been tailing up to this point, picking out Kiini and Korzar's scents.

Seeming to show a mixture of both pride and confusion, Wingu nearly bumps into his mother as she starts sniffing for scents. He backsteps a few paces and looks around. "But I'm not adult. I dun wanna keep secrets. They need their da." The boy seems sure of this fact, even if his own father isn't around -that- much, he can't imagine a life without the big fuzzball lion.

Korzar is asleep, lying closely next to his much-older brother. Kiini had tracked him down last night, talked with him… and told him off a bit, and eventually had settled down to sleep here in the forest. It had been getting dark, and Kiini had muttered something about staying here until the morning. Korzar, not wanting to get in any *more* trouble, hadn't argued. But it was soooo much colder in this forest than in the valley. The cub shivers slightly in his sleep as he shifts closer to Kiini, trying to get as much warmth as he could.

Kasjari nods a little to Wingu, "Looks like I'll have to talk to Kesonam as well then," she says with a sigh. It is a sad day indeed for the Kopje pride when her mate is the sane male in the territory. She sighs softly and tucks her head down toward the ground, following the scent attentively, occasionally letting out a deep chuff into the trees to announce their presence.

"Maybe Mzu said its okay. I dunno. I fell asleep." The boy admits, perking his ears a little as he tries to listen to any replies to his mother's chuffs. On the other hand, Wingu keeps perfectly quiet, knowing that a cub trying to make mewling roars probably wouldn't help the situation. However, he does stop now and again and call out, "Kooorzar!"

The sound of his mom and brother steadily approaching is finally starting to reach Korzar. He rolls over and covers his ears with his paws, still half-asleep. "Wha? Lemme sleep," he mutters, and rolls back over again, trying to fall back into a complete, deep sleep.

Kasjari frowns softly as she keeps after the scent, glad she's got both a cub and an adult to tail, and thereby two seperate odors to track. Her chuffs take on a more agitated edge as she continues to call out to the duo now and then.

Unlike his mother, Wingu just continues to call out his brother's name as if it were a little song. He happily goes along, glad to be able to see the forest even if it's only for a little while and under the care of his mother. Once, just once, he darts sideways and paws at a passing leaf, giggling before returning to tail his mother some more.

Ugh. The noise just won't stop. Giving up on his rest, Korzar lowers his paws from his ears, and slowly allows himself to be lulled into full awakeness by the noises that are getting ever-closer. Eventually, he raises his head and blinks, recognizing the voices of his mom and Wingu. His ears flatten against his head, but he doesn't say anything yet. Was mom gonna be mad? Kiini had been a little angry, but it hadn't been *too* bad… Korzar's worried about how everyone else might react though.

Kasjari frowns softly, the scents growing more apparent and easier to follow as she nears where the pair of them are resting. She lifts her head from the trail, "Korzar? Are you out here?" she calls, her voice rasied, though not particularly upset. She has faith in Kiini, and would hope folks would chase her off on this trail sooner had there been deep concern for either's safety.

"Korzar!" Wingu chimes in after his mother once more, bobbing along just behind her tail, batting at it ocassionally as the pair move through the trees. He's not very good of a tracker yet, not really having learned that people have scents you can follow. So, he uses his eyes, jumping up now and again to try to see what lies beyond the nearest trees.

"Maaaa? Gooo?" Korzar finally responds, as he hears them getting very close. They have to be just out of sight… maybe behind that grouping of trees over there. So, the cub has gotten over his nervousness at the possibility of being punished. Either way, he misses his mom and his brother. Yeah, it's only been one night, but he's used to spending almost all of his time with his family. And with them getting sooo close, he can't help but answer their calls.

Kasjari's ears shoot straight up as she hears the cub's call. She rushes toward the source, calling a few more times before she finds the source of the voice bouncing between all the trees hereabouts. she lets out a deep sigh when she spots Kiini and korzar huddle together. She pads over to inspect the pair of them, "Are you alright?" she asks worriedly, looking back to make sure Wingu is still with her.

It certainly surprises Wingu when his mother takes off at a full run. He's got little legs! The child pumps those little paws as fast as he can, trying to keep up, but he falls at least a little bit behind. By the time his mother stops to look back, though, he's huffing and puffing into view, headfluff bobbing as he runs.

The first thing Korzar does is nuzzle against his mom's legs, albeit somewhat warily. He then backs up a step, so he can look up at her. "Yyyeah. Ok. Kiiini got me," he says, looking up at her and tilting his head, trying to decide if she was mad or not. "Where Goo?" But then Wingu comes barreling out of the trees behind his mom. Despite his worries, Korzar grins at the sight of his brother. "Look, Goo! Lot trees!" he says excitedly. He finally did figure out was behind that first line of trees… more of 'em!

Kasjari smiles softly, and is about to launch into a bit of a shout at her eldest son, when he passes her to tell Wingu of his findings. She sighs softly and lays down near Kiini, watching the brothers for the time being, and just glad to have them both before her again.

See? Wingu is good for something at least, he stalls off getting yelled at! Trying to catch his breath, the pale cub grins up at his older brother, nodding his head. "I saw. Leaves 'n branches 'n trees 'n rocks." He chimes off the words one by one, still panting as he does so. However, he does glance towards his mother, leaning over to whisper in Korzar's ear. "Is Kiini gonna ground you? I dun wanna stay in the caves but if you're stuck there I will." Aww, 'goo's willing to sacrifice his freedom if his brother gets punished. Such brotherly love.

Woohoo! No shouting! No anger! Korzar's *really* happy to see this… he just hopes it stays this way. He's got a feeling that if if… or when… Dad finds out about this, than it will be a lot worse. He shakes his head as Wingu whispers in his ear. "No. We make lion deeeal," he says importantly, repeating the words Kiini had said to him last night. He bumps his head against his brother's, glad for the support even if he's not grounded as of yet.

Kasjari sighs softly, "Want to tell me what happened Korzar?" she calls as they set to whispering so quickly, cubbish innocence fading a bit in the act. :P

"Ooooh." Wingu seems impressed by this mythical 'lion deal' whatever it happens to be. He didn't get any such deal, but then again he didn't get yelled at either, just yelled -near-. With a little laugh, he bats at his brother's ears affectionately, about to say something else when mom questions what had happened. Ut oh. Wingu tries to put on his most innocent look, and starts walking over towards Kasjari.

Yikes. Ut oh is right. Maybe he's not gonna get away with this without punishment. He puts on his most innocent look and smiles brightly over towards his mother. "Jus' havin' fun," he says. That's really all he was doin', too! Just playing. The forest had sparked his curiosity, and he couldn't resist satisfying it.

Kasjari frowns softly at that, "I understand having fun, but why did you cross the border, I've asked you not to do that Korzar… both of you," she says, spearing the pair with 'the look', having a hunch Wingu would have followed if he hadn't been caught. :P

Hey now, he'd come back! Okay sure it was because Kiini was threatening to ground him but still. Wingu's mouth drops open slightly, as if not expecting to get 'the look' from his mom. "We… wanted to see the forest." Wingu just gives up and explains, his ears drooping as he just looks downhearted. "No one wants to have fun anymore." This is an echo of what Gadi had said. Since the cubs got snatched, no one seemed all that interested in letting the cubs just be… cubs.

Kikora, both hungry and thirsty, awakened not too long ago to spot the form of a lioness moving through the grasses. It has taken her quite a while to catch up, a result of her weak state and shorter legs. She pads forward sluggishly, her pace slowing as she enters the shadow-filled forest, her ears lowering in fright—the smell of leopards is unsettling to her.

Korzar nods in agreement to his brother's words. Yeah! All that stuff. "Was bored. Treeees was… fun." He can't come up with the word he wants to use to describe his desire to go to the forest. He just wanted to do something *different* for once. His attention is still focused on avoiding trouble from his mom, so he doesn't notice another approaching cub.

The lioness and one of her cubs left a rather obvious scent trail through the forest to where she can currently be found, laying near the lion here and speaking to her two cubs. She sighs softly at their explanation, and though she agrees with them, this can not be the method by which the cubs behave like cubs. She looks between them quietly for a moment, "We will have to find better methods to let you cubs have fun, maybe I'll try to do something to help with that. But you have to have an adult go along with you," she says to them sternly. She blinks then though, at movement beyond her cubs, ears perking alertly and her head snapping up to look past her boys, she blinks to find another cub of all things. She frowns softly, scenting the little girl and not recognizing her, "Hello there," she calls kindly to the thin cub.

"I asked an adult!" Wingu complains a bit, knowing that he'd done just that. He waited until his mother had come so that they could go looking for Korzar. However, it's probably a fruitless argument. So, the boy just gives a cubbish pout and sighs. Of course, when his mother starts speaking to someone behind them… the pale cub turns and blinks a little. His head tilts to the side as he says, "See, there's other cubs out here too." Although he doesn't -really- expect this to convince his mother.

The deep-rooted urge to survive has heavily outweighed Kikora's inherited fear of strangers, leading her far from the body of her mother to this lioness — one who is moving, speaking and breathing. "Hi," she says, her voice carried easily in the calm environment of the dark forest. She looks curiously at the other two children, but her main focus is Kasjari. To her, the cub speaks: "Mama's hurt. I's scared." She cowers a bit now, the reality of her situation crashing down — she's in a dense forest with an unknown lioness, and she has no one to protect her.

Korzar sighs in relief. Unlike his brother, Korzar had not waited for an adult. He knows what he'd done was worse than what Wingu had done, so he's just happy to not be getting in any further trouble. He too turns as mom starts talking to someone behind him, and spots another cub! "Lotsa cubs," he giggles after Wingu speaks. "Hiii," he greets, but falls silent as the new cub keeps talking. He glances up to his mom for guidance. Better let her handle this… he has no idea what to do.

Kasjari blinks softly and frowns softly at the new cub's words. She rises to her paws and pads toward Kikora, nuzzling her sons gently on her way. She leans down toward Kikora and scents her curiously, "You are safe here little one. Do you know where your mother is?" she asks softly, smiling kindly.

And all it takes is the girl's words to make Wingu's little ears drop. Her mom was hurt and she was scared? Oh no. Even his mother's nuzzle doesn't help much as he seems to let it pass over him as he draws a little closer to the cub. "Its okay. We'll help." He offers, his voice dropping a little as he tries to be comforting. It's the same as when he tried to be brave and help Nonceba and Lailen when the cubs were taken from Kopje.

Kikora stays put, allowing the lioness and her cubs to approach her — it's comforting to her in a way, especially as she listens to their reassuring words. As Kasjari questions the location of her mother, Kikora nods her head and blurts out, "Savanna. Zebra kicked her." She pauses, her brow furrowing for a moment's length before adding on, "Zebra -killed- her." She says this as matter-of-factly as if she had just said that the sky was blue, and any trace of sadness has been worn away by hunger and thirst. She exhausted herself crying only a few days beforehand, and doesn't seem to have the strength to mourn anymore.

Korzar flinches at the new cub's words. That's… bad. He looks up to his mom, and moves closer to her without really thinking about it, until he is practically walking on top of her paws. If any zebra tried to kick *his* mom… well, Korzar just wouldn't let that happen.

Kasjari winces softly and frowns deeply, "I am sorry little one. I will go check on her once Kiini's awake." She sighs quietly, if this cub knows her mother is dead with such certainty she isn't looking forward to what she'll find. But she has to be sure, for the good of the cub, just in case. She swallows and sighs, leaning down to kiss the little cub between the ears, "What is your name?" she asks softly, "Do you need to nurse?" she asks kindly, but with distraction, her mind churning behind the basic questions.

Wingu's ears droop all the way down as he hears the girl say that her mother is dead. Like his brother, he draws a bit closer to Kasjari's other forepaw, nuzzling against it. While he may sneak out of the lands, he'd never want anything bad to happen to her or anyone else in his family. His comforting words are lost now as he just looks saddened, "You can stay with us… if you want. We're nice?" He tries to offer.

Kikora shifts her weight some, relaxing her ears as the lioness gives her a lick on the forehead. "I's Kikora, but mama called me Kiki and Kora lots." Her brown eyes rest curiously on Korzar and Wingu, suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious — even in her sad and desperate state, she doesn't want to be seen as a 'baby'. "Mama made me eat meat after the bad lions came. Can I do both?" She asks, curious if she can eat meat -and- nurse; she was weaned abruptly, mostly due to the fact that her mother's milk became wholly unavailable as they grew leaner and hungrier in their travels. Her eyes flit toward Wingu shyly as he speaks, but she offers him a bare smile, appreciative of his kind offer.

Korzar hesitantly smiles back at Kikora, still unsure how to react in a situation like this. "Korrrzar… 'Goo," he says motioning a paw towards himself and his brother as he states their name. "Mom," he adds, and glances up to his mother. He nods when Wingu speaks and again looks up towards his mom. "Yyyeah. With us?" he sorta asks his mom. "We niice," the less verbal Korzar repeats his brother's words, still nodding in agreement.

Kasjari smiles gently and nods to Kikora as she lays down patiently, "We don't have any meat here right now, but you can nurse for the moment and we'll get some meat when we return to the valley." She smiles as she rolls to her side invitingly, "These are my sons, Wingu and Korzar," she says, making the introductions a bit more formal.


Kikora watches the two fully-grown lions carefully, her inquisitive brown eyes gleaming like strange, dark diamonds. Her ear twitches in Wingu's direction as he speaks, and she softens her boring gaze after realizing that these are his relatives — not a pair of miscreant rogues. "Oh, okay," she says quietly, shifting a little uncomfortably at the mention of her mother. The wound is still quite fresh, though she refuses to cry about it anymore — at least in front of anyone. "Hiii…" she says in Kiini and Mzohari's direction, little ears shifted to the side. She's about to say something more, but Vikali's seemingly-sudden arrival shuts her up for the time being.

His features are calm and patient as Wingu goes about trying to both soothe and explain just who he is to the unknown girl-cub, though an ear does tip to Kiini as his son settles down beside him. But it is Wingu's question that is addressed first, as his short background story on Kikora has pulled a frown onto his face. As she pipes up with her rather shy greeting, though, an amiable smile replaces Mzohari's frown, and he says, "Hi there. Glad to see you found yourself some warm bodies to curl up to out here, since — " But he's cut off as Kiini's request finally sinks into his brain. Blinking aside to his son, he says, "YOU want to? Why — " For a second time, his words are cut short, this time thanks to Vikali approaching from behind. Nodding a greeting to her, he says with a grin, "Ask him." With a tilt of his head, he indicates Korzar.

"Sorry." Wingu says softly to the girl, seeming a little sad to have brought up her mother, but Mzohari had to know. He sighs a little bit and lays himself down next to Kikora, trying ot to draw too much attention to himself. "And that one's Vikali. She's in my dad's pride. He's a king." He explains, curling his tail close to his haunches as he just looks at the group of adults, hoping that he doesn't get singled out somehow for punishment.

Kiini rolls his eyes as Vikali shows up. Oh great, the whole pride really IS coming out this way… "Hey Vik." He remarks, nosing at her foreleg once she catches up to them. "How are you, Love?" He asks without even thinking of his father for a second or two. Hey, Vik has that affect on him. But he does come to his senses pretty quick. "Just call it a brother 'thing', I guess. 'Course, if you don't want me to I won't."

With all these voices swirling around above his head, Korzar is only gonna stay asleep for so long. He blearily lifts his head from his spot where he'd fallen asleep, nearby his mom. "Wha's goin' on?" he yawns, completely forgetting that he'd dropped off not in the valley, but in that distant forest. Why was everyone soooo upset and angry about that, anyways? He'd just gone off to play and have some fun.

Indeed all of the pride is coming out this way. Onaedo is slowly moving along, as normal on his own while he wanders along the border. His bright gaze peering towards the voices, and the fresh scents in the area while his maw twitches. Ears perk forward the closer he gets towards the group. His gaze drifting over the ones here curiously once he is near them and he then pauses.

Good Korzar, running off to play and have fun, whilst worrying the entire pride. That's what the best cubs do. That's what Vikali used to do. In response to Kiini's affection, the female nips at his mane softly and replies, "I'll explain later, honey," before lying down on the ground beside him. Kings, that's cold! She prompty scoots up from lying down on her belly to perching tentatively upon her rump.

Kikora supposes that her mother couldn't have left her in a better spot — she's surrounded by others of her own kind, all that she's spoken to have offered her safety. "Your dad's a king? Mine was, too." She says to Wingu in a quiet voice, deciding not to speak of his fate unless specifically asked. She snuggles up against Kasjari, surrounded by the lioness's two boys, trying to take in all the new arrivals. "And," she starts again in her whispery, quiet tone, "…don't feel bad 'bout mama." She hushes now, her gaze settling comfortably on the biggest lion in the group — Mzohari.

Even though he's had to deal with trying to pay attention to several things at once throughout the majority of his life, Mzohari still isn't the greatest at it. So while the affectionate terms exchanged between Kiini and Vikali do snag the lion's attention — and not in the greatest way, apparently, judging by the small scowl that flashes briefly across his features — he knows that now isn't the time to get into a discussion about the love-life of his eldest son. Refocusing his eyes upon the duo of Wingu and Kikora, he is too occupied with them to hear Onaedo coming near. Deciding to let the subject of the girl-cub's mother alone, he tells her, "We don't actually live right here. It's a bit too cold for our tastes. We live back that way, where the grasses are green and the air is warm." A nod over his shoulder is made towards the west .. and that motion leaves his eyes ultimately resting on the stirring Korzar. With lifted brows, he then shoots Kiini a pointed look that says — you wanted the job, so go do it!

Kasjari blinks awake gradually, lifting her head slowly, then blinking sharply at the number of voices around her. She looks about, counting cubs first and foremost, and remembering blearily that the number should be three and not the expected two. Seeing the appropriate number of cubs in the immediate surroundings she looks beyond them, finding some expected and some unexpected faces amongst the gathered leonines. Perhaps the biggest surprise is also the biggest lion, "Mzo? What are you doing here?" she asks softly as she wakes further, looking from her mate to the group of huddled cubs.

Glancing over at his waking brother, Wingu offers the boy a sheepish sort of smile. Afterall, he's probably the one to get into more trouble from this whole escapade. He tries to hide his brother a little, stepping infront of him as if preptending the other boy isn't there at all. "Yeah, he's king of Kopje." Wingu affirms with a nod, trying to offer a supporting smile, especially when his father starts talking about where they live. He leans over and whispers in her ear. "I think that means you can stay." The pale boy continues to sit in the little grouping of cubs, trying his best to be both support and hiding place at the same time.

"Sounds good to me." Kiini answers, pushing himself to his paws and offering the seated lioness Vikali a nuzzle before going ahead on his dad's nod of approval. "Alright Korzar." Kiini remarks firmly, padding over to and more or less towering over the cub now as he stares down at him. "See what you did? Even dad had to come out here! Now get your little tail home before I drag it home, and if you ever do it again you won't have a tail tuft left!"

The first thing Korzar notices as he pushes himself up to a sitting position is the other nearby cubs. There's Wingu, of course, and the other girl they'd met a little while ago… ummm… ummm… Kiko! Yeah, that's it. When his brother plops himself down right in front of him, cutting him off from the rest of the group, Korzar's kind of annoyed. "What you doing, Goo?" he asks, raising a paw and batting at the back of Wingu's head, trying to get him to move out of the way. Then he notices the cool air, and the cold ground beneath his bottom, and it all comes rushing back to him. Oh, yeah. They're not in the valley. He promptly leaves the back of his brother's head alone, and crouches behind Wingu, ears plastered against his head, trying to make himself as small as possible. But soon Kiini is towering over him, and Korzar gives it up, raising back to his full height and peering up at his much-older brother. "But… hooome now? Everyone here…" he says, looking pleadingly up to Kiini. What, was he supposed to go home all by himself while everyone else had a good time in the forest?

Onaedo tilts his head and lets his gaze rests on his father's for a moment before peering over the others here. He ponders a few moments before moving closer and on towards where his father is. "Hey.." Is soon offered, tail flicking a few times. "So, what's going on out here?" Well he is rather use to being kept out of the loop so he might as well try to find out what is going on. A brow lifts while he peers at Kiini a moment and smirks. "Woah.. That will certainly scare them into never leaving home again.." Not.. Ona says with a faint snort and shake of his head. Smart ass he is tonight it seems. He eyes Kiini faintly a few moments before he looks to Korzar. "Hey.. I'll go back with you Korzar." Not like he has anything else to do.

Ooh, go Kiini. Doing the whole tough brother thing. Vikali remains pretty much silent throughout the telling-off of Korzar, and only chips in after Onaedo does so. "I can go back too," she offers, rising her hind a little further off the cold ground. "I should probably go back before Balana finds out that I've ran off again. And it's cold, here."

The motherless lioness cub listens to Wingu as he speaks, snuggling up against Kasjari again — as the sun sets, the dense forest seems to be growing colder by the minute. Korzar's protests are met with a shy giggle, but as Kiini's seemingly-menacing shadow looms over her, Kikora turns her ears back and pushes her face into Kasjari's stomach, trying to hide from the lion. She's fully aware that he is the older brother of her newfound friends, but his baritone voice puts icicles through her veins. She's scared!

"I came to figure out if everyone was throwing some sort of exclusive party that I wasn't invited to," he says to Kasjari, tipping her a wink as she awakens amongst the trio of cublings. But when Kiini decides to go ahead and try his luck at discipline, Mzohari watches after him — carefully. He knows the moment he sees the younger lion's posturing over Korzar that it isn't going to go well .. and soon after, he's proven right as Kiini shouts. Mzo's ears flatten back into his heavy mane and he says in a voice that's sharp but not a shout, "Stop, Kiini .. That's definitely NOT the way to go about teaching him what he's done wrong." His point is proven by Korzar's perplexed reply to the scolding. To Korzar himself, he gives a beckoning wave of his forepaw. "Come here, Korzar." He speaks in a tone that is quiet .. but firm. One that Kiini, Vikali and Onaedo should all recognize from their younger days. To Onaedo, he hurriedly says aside, "Korzar decided to go on a little adventure with no supervision, and now we're all out here, since each followed the other to figure out what was going on." A neat little summary. "Anyone that isn't a cub who wants to go back now .. feel free. I'll return soon enough." A weary sort of look is given to Kasjari as Kikora huddles away from Kiini's hollering, and he gives a minute shake of his head.

It is certainly getting colder, and this isn't exactly the place Wingu would prefer to sleep. It's nice enough to visit for a cub's curiousity, but not exactly a place to stay. "Shhh." Wingu says to his brother, but it's too late, even as he starts getting the headfluff at the back of his head batted, Kiini starts to lay down the law with Korzar. His ears slick back as soon as his older brother starts to yell. The pale cub tries to puff up and protect not only his brother but the lioness cub. He looks resolute up at the lion until… Mzohari calls him off. Wingu's ears perk once more as he glances at his father, not really wanting to be in his paws. Instead, the fluffy boy looks up at his mother. "Mum, I wanna go home." He says, reaching his head over to lightly nuzzle at the girlcub, not liking that Kiini had scared her. "Its okay, Kikora. Kiini's just a big butt." Wingu says, obviously feeling obstinant at being yelled -near- for the second time in a short while.

Kasjari frowns at Kiini, giving him a look that says nobody but her or Mzo will be speaking to their cubs that way. She frowns softly as she feels Kikora press against her she actually gives Kiini's shoulder a bit of a shove away from where he's looming over the cubs. She sighs softly and curls over herself to nuzzle at Wingu and Kikora tenderly, purrring softly to them, "He's going away now Kikora, no need to be afraid of him anymore," she says, shooting Kiini a look that says perhaps he should return home now. Kasjari also nods gently to Wingu, "We will be going home momentarily Wingu, all of us."

Kiini watches the reactions around him and groans inwardly. Too much of a show for the others it would seem. He gives Korzar a look of mixed emotions, for the goal might have actually been accomplished anyways, though certainly not in the way he had in mind. "Guess I'll head back now." He remarks to the group, as they pretty much all want to see him go anyways. "Vik, gonna come with me?" He offers, as he assumes the cubs will stay back with Kasjari and his dad.

Korzar cringes at all the noise… too much talking and yelling! But finally, one voice does cut through the din, and it's the authoritative voice of his father. So, shooting a nervous glance towards his brother and Kikora, Korzar slowly pads over towards his dad, ears flat and tail drooping, practically tucked between his legs. He arrives in front of Mzohari, and sits down, staring towards the ground, not looking up at his father. He doesn't want to get yelled at anymore… Kiini shoulda just told everyone about the 'Lion Deal', like he'd explained to Korzar last night.

Onaedo ahs softly. "Ya.. I'm rather use to be left out of them parties as well." This said with an amused tone to his father, though he does spend a lot of time on hiw own anymore. His gaze turns towards Vik and then to the now scared female cub. "Great going Kiini.. You not only didn't get your point across, you also scared the girl." He points out with a matter-oh-fact like tone. A smirk crosses his maw as Kiini talks about leaving and just shakes his head. The tone from his father causes him to go quiet though, there was something else he wanted to say but he figures he should be quiet at the moment.

Time for her to leave. "Yup, way ahead of you Kiini," Vikali replies as she jumps up to her cold paws, eager to leave both a faintly awkward situation and the relatively freezing forest. She walks several meters away from the group, back the way she came, then waits upon the path with her head twisted backwards, waiting for Kiini to join her before she goes blundering onwards.

As the scolding lion finishes, other lower-toned, but equally as scolding voices reach Kikora's ears. She turns her head a bit, peeking out from the safe spot at Kasjari's stomach, ears slowly turning forward again. Wingu is still next to her, but Korzar as wandered off toward the large lion. "Too close," she remarks, giving her head a little shake. "Too close, too loud. Scary." She pouts a bit, and her reaction would be perfectly understandable if the others could know her life the past few weeks — harrowing and unpleasant, terrifying to the young child. "Home…?" She asks quietly, turning her brown eyes up to Kasjari pleadingly. She realizes that the word means nothing to her right now, but if she tags along with the lioness, lion and boy cubs, she'll grow to recognize a new home for herself, with them.

"No." This is said as Kasjari makes her remark that indirectly demands that Kiini be on his way, which is followed by Kiini's own readiness to head out. "No, Kiini, you'll stay. As a matter of fact .. EVERYONE stay." Mzohari straightens himself up without rising from his prone position, stretched out on his belly upon the frigid soil. Sweeping his eyes over the young adults, Onaedo included, he says, "Seeing as all of you are either a new parent, or will likely be a parent sometime in the relatively near future .. You need to know how to talk to your cubs. TALK to them. Not shout at them. Talking to them is the ONLY way that you'll get them to understand what they've done wrong .. and it's the only way to keep their love and respect. It's something you MUST learn to do." Korzar settles himself before Mzo' just as that mini-speech is finished, and it is he that gets the lion's full attention now. Opening up the circle of his forelegs, the Kopje lion invites his son to cuddle in against the thick layers of his mane. "Don't worry, Kor'. There won't be anymore shouting. But I do have to explain to you why everyone is upset." As before, his voice is gentle but stern. For the moment, it would seem that to Mzohari, everyone else save Korzar has ceased to exist.

Kasjari sighs and frowns at Mzo's words, looking aside at Kiini once more and for a brief moment the lioness is tempted to ignore her mate's edict and at least remove Kikora from this scene. The lioness is tense for a long moment then frowns softly and gathers Wingu and Kikora between her own forepaws, nuzzling at them both gently as she watches Mzo with a semi-patient expression on her face.

Wingu's face shows a mixture of emotions, stubbornness from Kiini's yelling, worry for Kikora, concern for his brother. He's not used to all of these things in what had been a relatively simple, sheltered life. As his father mentions that they will be staying… the boy's shoulders sink a little bit. As he's pulled into his mother's forepaws, he leans into her taking some comfort from her presence. Without really having much of a choice in staying or going, the cub just lays down next to Kikora, "Da won't hurt you." He says, although his voice just sounds a little sad. "He's a good lion. We'll go home to valley. You'll be safe there." He sighs to himself and just looks up over his mother's paws, feeling bad for his brother and knowing he could very well be right next to Korzar. So he listens as well, ears only lifting slightly.

Kiini gets a couple of steps towards Vikali when dad calls him back. Sighing to himself, he turns about to at least humor his father's request to watch him. If nothing else, Kiini supposes it will be interesting to see if his father's own quiet conversation is anything like the one he had the night before.

Korzar looks up to his father as he's addressed directly, ears flicking up a bit, hopeful. No shouting? That's good, at least. So, without a word, Korzar climbs up, past his dad's encircling forelegs, and snuggles in tightly against Mzo's thick mane, grateful not only for the warmth from the cold forest, but also for the comforting gesture. The cub situates himself so he can peer up directly at his father. He's still nervous, and apprehensive of potential punishment, but at least he is calm.

Onaedo can't recall him even shouting, though he isn't about to point that out as his father is doing some serious talking time after all. He glances after Kiini and Vikali curiously a few moments before humming. Shrugging his attention goes back to Mzohari and Korzar.

Vikali is quite reluctant to obey the king's command, not only because she knows how to deal with cubs - specifically Msasi - if they misbehave, but also for the fact that the frosty woods aren't getting any warmer. If anything, they're getting colder, and this lioness doesn't want to end up with frozen paws. As Kiini stays put, however, the female gives a noncommitent grunt and remains standing where she is, holding up to appease the great furry one.

Kikora doesn't protest as she swept up in Kasjari's embrace, nuzzling against her chest and neck out of gratitude and the need to stay warm. She calms down as her immediate environment does the same, though her nerves and threadbare and she's sure to start acting on her emotions rather than her common sense if anything else upsets her tonight. She paws at Wingu lightly, as if to reassure -him- that she's okay for now, lapsing into an unreadable silence.

The idea to have Kasjari and the other cubs make their way out had been a temptation for him — but seeing as the reasons why it's imperative that the cubs stay within the Valley's borders are just as applicable to them, including Kikora should she choose to stay with the pride, Mzohari figures it's easier to have one long talk rather than three separate ones after additional risky 'escapes'. Pale eyes still fastened down on Korzar, the Kopje lion says, "All the big, grown lions in the pride have a job — to keep all the lionesses and all the cubs like you safe. That's why we walk around the edge of the Valley all the time, to watch out for anybody bad that could try to come in, who might hurt you guys. It's those same bad lions .. that could be out here. But out here, there are no lions from the pride to protect you. I'm not out here. Kiini isn't out here. Neither are Kori, or Mashaka, or Ona'. Out here, you're by yourself .. and if a bad lion comes along, you'd be in very, very big trouble." This last part is said with great emphasis, though the volume of his voice is still mild. "You're too little still to be able to fight, Kor'. The same goes for your brother and sister. So you HAVE to stay home, in the Valley, where I — and all the other lions — can be sure you're safe. Because we love you, and we never want to see anything bad happen to you." A pause to let all of that sink in, before Mzo' eventually asks, "Do you understand?" And for Kiini and Vikali, it's a good thing Mzo' is not paying them a bit of attention — for had he seen the looks on their faces, as if they were only staying to placate him, he would likely have more than a few sharp words for them after Kas' departed with the cubs in tow. After all, if they are such experts at rearing cubs, neither of them would have thought Kiini's yelling was appropriate in the slightest.

"Yes Da." Wingu replies with his own voice staying somewhat low. He understood not to leave the valley with out an adult, at least at this point. He offers a small half-smile to the girl, and then just lays his head on his mother's forepaw. After this little escapade, he's just ready to go home. So the boy just leans against his mother, waiting to go home."

Kasjari turns a similar gaze upon Wingu, to make sure he understands as much as his brother is being made to understand. Though she knows Wingu was the one that stayed behind and informed her of what happened. She purrrs softly to the two cubs corraled safely between her forepaws, letting the words sink in before she smiles gently, "Can you handle the walk home tonight Wingu?" she asks, mostly hoping he'll be okay so that she'll be free to carry Kikora, expecting that the younger, thin lioness might not have the energy yet for the short trek.

His attention completely and utterly focused on his father, Korzar listens intently to every word he says. This is rare for Korzar… it is very difficult to keep him standing, or sitting, still. But he realizes the importance of his dad's words right now… and that he'll get in *major* trouble if he doesn't listen to them now. It slowly starts to dawn on the cub why everyone freaks out when he leaves the valley. He knew that he wasn't supposed to leave, but it's never been explained *why* to him before. So, that's what all those mean strangers talk and all that stuff really meant? He nods in understanding as his dad finishes. "Ok… yes," he says slowly, but then continues. "Buut can leave valleeey with big lion?" he asks. It's boring staying in the valley *all* the time. It's natural cub curiosity that he needs to explore a bit. So, by asking this question, he's trying to figure out if an adult can maybe take him on adventures from time to time.

Onaedo watches Kiini and Vik leave, his ears lowering a moment before his head shakes and he looks back to the ones still here. Well no reason to leave just yet. He grins slightly at Korzar asks that question, smart cub.. Trying to think of ways around the rules.

Kikora emits a thin, thready purr as she's cuddled with warmth, having missed this particular closeness for quite a while — and it's important for her, as she's still developing bonds and learning from her elders how to initiate and sustain any kind of relationship. She looks to Wingu curiously, taking note of his sleeping form before tilting her head back to give Kasjari a good look-over, slowly slinking from her paws with a determined look on her face. The girl-cub glances over her shoulder at the lioness, as if giving her a childish version of a 'reassuring' look, and then padding slowly toward Mzohari and Korzar. Onaedo is given a curious glance, but as he isn't saying much and doesn't seem to pose a threat, she slinks slowly past him. Not to fear, for she'll probably make his life miserable in the coming weeks and months. The little girl gets fairly close to Mzohari, a paw's length, before stretching her body out as far as possible, pressing her nosepad against the large lion's upper forearm questioni
questioningly. After a second she relaxes, pulling her face away from him, bright brown eyes alternating between King Mzohari and the little prince, Korzar.

A smile slowly blossoms across Mzohari's muzzle as Korzar seems to understand, and then asks his question. "Yes, that's alright .. but a big lion absolutely MUST be with you." With a final nod, the discussion comes to an apparent end — with a slobbery swipe of his broad tongue over Korzar's forehead. Looking towards Kikora now as the girl detatches herself from Kasjari's embrace, he watches with bright curiosity as she slowly approaches .. and carefully prods a foreleg with her nose. Nodding to her, the lion finally stands. Beneath him now lies a large patch of thawed soil, and bits of frost are stuck to his belly and the lowest portions of his mane. Blech. "I agree," he says to the girl with a crooked smile. "It's definitely time to head somewhere more comfortable." Stepping over to Kasjari and lowering his head down to hers, she is given an amused look that says, Let's Get Out Of Here! Rubbing his muzzle to her cheek, he then turns and takes gentle hold of the loose skin along the back of Wingu's neck, hoisting the boy gently. Mzo' then moves off down the path back to Kopje .. assuming that Korzar will do just fine on his paws, that Onaedo will help him if such is not the case, and that Kas' will tend to Kikora.

Kasjari smiles gently as Mzo approaches, giving him a look that says, 'I love you, but we need to talk.' She sighs and gets to her paws, "Can you get them home, love? I can see you all to the edge of the forest, but after that there's something I should see to while we're out this far," she says softly, looking past him to Kikora. She pads past Mzo and nuzzles Korzar tenderly, "Ready to go home?" she asks him with a gentle smile. She looks to Kikora next, "I have to break off on the way back, but I want you to let Onaedo here know if you need a break from walking so he can carry you, okay?" she asks, forcing a tender smile even though she's thinking ahead to when she will most likely be standing over the broken and still form of this poor cub's mother. She has to know for sure that Kikora's mother is as she says, and to learn if there was anything more to her passing than the cub says.

Korzar gives a curious glance towards Kikora as she approaches, sniffing in her direction. He hasn't gotten a chance yet to completely meet the new cub, and he would usually offer to play by this point, but the timing just hasn't been good… at all. But hopefully he'll have a better chance to meet her soon. He's distracted from thoughts of the new girl-cub, as his dad speaks up again. "Okay!" he says excitedly as Mzo finishes, and he giggles as the tongue comes sweeping over his head. He's *very* happy to hear that he's not gonna be cooped up in the valley until he's an adult. "Ready," he repeats after his mom nuzzles him. So, this adventure, despite all the yelling and noise near the end, actually hadn't ended badly. It had been a good adventure. Korzar will just make sure that he does it with a biiiig lion next time.

Onaedo a soft friendly smile is offered to Kikora, he bows his head slightly to her to show its alright and he really is no threat. Unlike his dear older brother Kiini, Ona tends to be rather quiet. As to Kikora causing him problems, his getting rather use to his younger siblings and the rest doing that and has taken in in stride really. "Just find me when ever your in the mood for a walk Korzar." He understands all to well about wanting to go exploring after all. He shifts up onto his paws to follow along after the others.

Now that the big, yelling lion and his slinky companion have departed, Kikora has been feeling her spirits lift. She isn't in peak condition yet — Kasjari's milk has certainly helped her out greatly, quieting the worst of her hunger pangs and aiding in forming a strong bond that she otherwise would be lacking — but she's strong enough now to walk on her own. She smiles brightly at the older lions, Onaedo included, before bounding after Korzar. She falls into place as the others begin to move out of the cold forest, sticking as close to the boy-cub as possible. She'd rather not get stepped on or lost, after all.

Hearing the lioness address him, his forward motion is halted — and the Kopje lion turns himself halfway around on the trampled path to look towards her. Since there's a Wingu in his mouth, Mzohari's reply is restricted to subtle motions of his head, grunts, and facial expressions. The look that Kasjari sends to him is understood, and reciprocated to some degree — though who knows if they're both wishing to speak on the same subject. Either way, they both seem to agree that the imperative thing at the moment is to get the cubs back to a place that's warm. And so Kas' is given a single nod, so as not to jostle Wingu too much. Once more, he pivots himself around to make his way towards Kopje, with Korzar and Kikora at his heels.

Kasjari smiles at the collection of lions, and falls in at the rear, letting Mzo lead…

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

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

"All things are possible, dearheart," the lioness responds, and noses at Mwaliko. "Hardly. Considering it started up again with a litter of four cubs in a small pride known as the Natamba…" Balana just smiles. "It's a pretty good dynasty, if I do say so myself. We could almost be… two or three prides."

And here comes a chunk of that overly large pride .. in the form of Mzohari, carrying a sleeping Wingu by the nape of his neck, with Korzar and Kikora tottling at his heels, followed by Onaedo. The little train would have been completed by Kasjari, had she not split off to tend to some undisclosed business just outside Kopje territory. With the tuft of his tail flitting about his heels, Mzo's underparts are a bit damp — thanks to the now-melted frost from the White Lands. Approaching the worn area that rings the pool beneath the waterfall, the lion stops in a stand of thicker grasses and carefully deposits Wingu down within it — careful not to wake his son in the process.

Mwaliko keeps her smile and nods while purring a bit as she looks back to Balana. "Well, that is how most prides start out. An that is true, the pride is large and strong which is all anyone could ask for." Even after what happeend with the loss of a cub the pride has done well from what she can tell. Her gaze turns towards the movement of more into the area, head lifting as she catches the ones there, looking for Kiini in the mix. "Evening Mzohari." This said softly as she catches sight of the sleeping cub he is carrying. Lutalo and Johari are settled between her forpaws looking very asleep as well.

And before Balana can really respond…here comes a large group. Ack! Things go from slightly crowded to a large part of the pride suddenly being present. "Dynasty I guess…" she comments alongside to Mwaliko.

Korzar is getting tired, especially after the long trek back to Kopje, but for the moment, he still clings to the waking world. "Hiii," he says, greeting everyone as he arrives at the falls, and then yawns, blinking away the sleep which is threatening to take him. He wants to stay awake for a little while longer. He turns to look at Kikora, now that they've finally reached their destination. "Sorrry… tiyered," he pauses and yawns again. "Play tomorrrrow?" he asks, a hopeful tone in his voice. More cubs, and therefore playmates, are always welcome.

Onaedo follows along after the cubs making sure they are awake enough to actually get home. He peers towards Balana and Mwaliko and offers a nod and smile to them both. "Hey grandma, Mwal." Is offered with a soft tone before he moves on over to the water and gets himself a drink.

Once he's sure that Wingu is settled and still asleep, Mzohari ambles over towards the shoreline .. where he promptly plops down. It's been something of a strenuous evening, and the lion is more than ready for a bit of rest himself. "Evening," he says to the pair of lionesses, rolling to lie on his side, his legs stretching outward. After taking a moment to stifle a yawn, he says, "Had .. a little bit of an adventure tonight. Korzar took it upon himself to check up on the White Lands. Kiini went after him, followed by Kas' and Wingu. I found their scent trails on patrol a few hours ago .. and followed. Vikali showed up, then so did Ona'. Found everybody .. and a new face. Kikora over there." A nod is made to indicate the girl-cub, without Mzo' even bothering to lift his head up from the earth. "She's without a home, so .. I thought she could rest here for awhile." Voila, Kopje Daily News.

Mwaliko looks to Kikora and offers a warm smile to the girli while nodding as she listions to Mzohari. "It does sound like an adventure. Glad everything turned out alright." She looks to Mzo once more, pondering a moment. "Did Kiini go back on patrol?" Mwal questions curiously, well she wanted to tell him that she moved the cubs back further into the land now that there somewhat older.

That… seems to pretty much get everything. "Sounds alright to me…" At least the part about Kikora staying. Her gaze drifts over the rest of the gathering. "And good evening to the rest of you…" It's Korzar her gaze settles on finally, though. "I'll keep an eye on the young wanderer for you tonight, Mzo…" Tone takes on a stern tone. "Korzar. Over here," she says, gesturing between herself and Mwaliko. "/Now/."

She does that really well… now he knows where his dad gets that commanding voice and tone. Korzar, with a last glance back towards Kikora, reluctantly leaves the other cub's side and makes his way over to his grandmom. He, like he had with Mzo, doesn't look her in the eyes at first, prefering to stare down at his own paws. But he's more confident now than he had been earlier, after his dad has already lectured him. "Know," he says softly, but ventures a glance up to Balana. "Da tol' me. I be good now."

Onaedo flops down near the water, ears perking forward and then back while a yawn escapes him. Eh his tired, a mixture of patrol and then following after everyone to see what was going on. His head settles down on a foreleg while his eyes close and he merely listions to the conversation between the others.

A look of mild discomfort appears on Mzohari's features as Mwaliko asks her question .. but he is certainly not about to make any excuses for his son. And so, he says, "I don't know where he went — but I don't think it was back on patrol. Last I saw, he and Vikali were heading back towards Kopje while the rest of us were still in the White Lands." His head tilts upward a few degrees as Balana calls over to Korzar, and he advises her, "He's already had the wrongs of his actions explained to him .. though he does still need to be dealt a punishment for what he's done." He rolls to lie on his back now, front legs stretching up towards the skies.

Kiini returns a short time later after making a short detour with Vikali. She's asleep by now, and normally Kiini would have spent a little more time with her. But after what she told him, how can he? The events of earlier tonight have already been forgotten. Kiini lets out a chuff, showing up moments after his dad mentions his name.

Mwaliko watches Mzohari a few moments at this and nods while she lowers her gaze to watch Korzar move towards she and Balana. "I see.." Is offered softly, tail flicking a few times. "I just wanted to tell him that I moved the cubs further into the lands." A soft smile is offered to Korzar to show that his alright before she up at the sound of another and looks to Kiini.

"I have no doubt that your father explained things to you," Balana says to Korzar, and also half to Mzohari. "I'm sure you'll get your punishment in time. Until then, since you haven't proven yourself to be very trustworthy to stay put, you can just stay here in plain sight," the elder says as she reaches out to pull the cub closer with a paw. "Besides, I need a place to rest my head."

Korzar looks up in suprise. Punishment? …Punishment? What? He hadn't been told anything about a punishment. He looks in dismay from his father to his grandma. Not even Mwaliko's smile towards him helps to alleviate his mood. "But… but…" he stutters over the words. Soon, Balana has pulled him close to her, and Korzar tries to scramble away, but it's too late and her paw has already got him. His eyes widen further when she says she's gonna lay her head on him. But her head was huge! It'll crush him.

Paw tugs Korzar close to her chest, and Balana lays her head down mostly next to the cub, leaning her cheek against him. It's not nearly any sort of head-squashing, more of a snuggle. Of course, should he try to go anywhere she'd probably be woken up by it. Leaving the others to do as they may, Balana settles down to sleep.

Kiini trots up along his mate first, purring as he rubs against her. He notices the cubs by her forepaws, which gets a smile of approval too. "Hey Love." He remarks, glancing to see who is all around.

Mwaliko smiles to Kiini and purrs softly while nuzzling back at his neck. "Hello Kiini." Her tail slowly sways while she tilts her head. "Mzohari told us what happened out there."

"Who, what?" Kiini asks, totally distracted now as his mind is squarely on someone else. Where the heck is he anyways?? Sighing out of frustration Kiini shakes his maned head out. "Oh, that. Yeah, that whole thing sorta backfired on me. So much for doing my baby brother a favor. You see Kori at all?"

Ugh. Now he's stuck here. At least Korzar actually is tired. Before he starts try in earnest to fall asleep, the cub leans forward as far as he can, and nibbles, not exactly softly, at his grandma's ear, which is just within reach. Gotta get retaliation somehow, right? Then, he settles down and begins to drop off to sleep fairly quickly… the day's events have exausted him.

"Stop that… naughty cub," Balana mumbles out to Korzar. She doesn't sound entirely mad though… but settles to sleep soon enough.

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