03/03/09 - At the Border


Balana - elder lioness, mother of King Mzohari and Prince Kizingo.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, adopted into the pride.
Kizingo - lion, son of Balana.
Onaedo - adolescent lion, son of King Mzohari and Kenta.
Royathi - serval, living on the outskirts of the valley.

Edge of the Kopje Valley
You have reached the edge of the Kopje Valley. The ground slopes gently down into the fertile valley. The lush green grass about you is a welcome sight that makes you want to rest there. One large Acacia tree stands not too far away from you. A smile crosses your face as you gaze upon the beauty of the distant valley. A disarming calm comes over you and a feeling of peace fills your body.

[W]est to the [B]order [K]opje [V]alley

Some (claw marks) on the trunk of the acacia tree.

Onaedo enters, with Kikora walking along next to him.

Kikora lopes after Onaedo, at times ahead of him but more often, she's trying to keep up. The climb up the cliff path is still fairly exhausting to the girl, but she's a trooper! "Sad that Kor' can't come up here…" she says to Mzohari's son, her rounded ears turned forward in interest. Sure, she 'escaped' up here last night, but was -sooo- tired by the time she got here, she fell asleep! Now's her chance to enjoy it.

Onaedo moves along the path that leads up to the edge, his seen it over and over so its that crazy about it. Still he understands why the cubs might want to be up here. "When his not in trouble I'll bring him up as well." He offers to Kikora.

The elder lioness of the pride is lounging beneath the acacia tree, where she'd last fallen asleep. Right now she's just vaguely conscious, an ear twitching as she hears voices nearing. Who's that?

Having hung around on the border after travelling back to the familiar area, Royathi's simply asleep up in the branches of the tree. Her forelimbs dangling down to either side of the branch she's sprawled out upon as she dozes serenely enough; it was a long journey for her and all.

Kikora grins at the older lion as she plods onward, finally reaching the very edge of the valley. At first she's overcome with the desire to look at -everything- around her, sniffing at everything within her reach, jabbing a paw curiously at scattered leaves and old, dead branches from the acacia tree. Among the creatures gathered here, Kikora only recognizes one — Kiini. The others are unfamiliar to her, and so when she notices the snoozing lioness and the treed serval, the big cub glances back to Onaedo for reassurance. "Who're they?" She asks curiously.

Onaedo hums softly and tilts his head while glancing around before catching sight of the others. "Well one is my grandmother, Balana.. You should meet her." He offers while starting to move on towards where Balana is, Royathi he can't recall that one's name, maybe he never knew it?

Kizingo makes the climb from the Valley to here.
Kizingo has arrived.

Balana's head lifts as she hears the others having gotten quite close. It's Onaedo! And… that cub Mzo and the others brought back the night Korzar ran off. Other than that, Balana doesn't really know anything about her. "Hello there, Ona."

Royathi's form stirs a touch in realising she's hearing voices and it isn't part of whatever daydream she was having. A long ear flicks in swivelling down toward the conversation before she pulls her forelimbs up onto the branch too and dips her head in glancing down at folk whilst just producing a subtly sleepy chirp in 'greeting'.

No, no, no.. not this time. At least, that's what Kizingo keeps telling himself each time that feeling crops up. Besides, there's nothing indicating it's real… I haven't felt well lately, after all.. may just be ghosts. Still.. every time Kizingo lets his mind drift the sensation crops up again. What's worse, Gather is taking her sweet time in returning from the mission of information gathering to see if anything is up in the wider area that would warrent such a sensation. It has him just a bit on edge, meandering around more than usual, which bring him up to the valley's border.. maybe things will be active here to serve as a distraction. Ah! A low chuff announces himself upon noticing his mother and movement suggesting others, making his way upwards towards them. Good, better things to set his mind to.

Kikora takes a few steps away from the safety that is Onaedo, lowering herself into a stalking position — but she's not after anything, she's just creeping a bit closer to Balana out of curiosity. "Hi, Balana. I'm Kikora!" She says in greeting, unsure if this lioness will be as friendly as the others. Her gaze breaks when she hears the serval's chirp, and the girl jerks her head up, ears turning to the side. What was -that-? The -serval-? She grins toothily up at the spotted cat, brown eyes squinted against the light filtering in from the sunny sky. "Hi! Whatcha doin' up there?"

Onaedo offers a smile to his grandmother and settles down to his haunches once near her. "Hello Balana." HIs hears flick forward and he glances towards the chirping greeting and then towards a cuffing. "Hi." Is offered with a friendly tone before looking back to his grandmother and smiles. "This is the Kikora, Kas and her boys found her that night."

Balana smiles softly to Kikora as she gets closer. "Well, greetings to you, Kikora!" She's made aware of the serval up above being awake, but it's Kizingo's approach that gets her attention. She hasn't seen much of him in a while—not that it's exactly something out of the ordinary. "Kiziiii!" she greets as she gets to her paws, trotting over towards him to give him a greeting.

"I like high up spots! Something to do with being a small cat..", Royathi replies to Kikora's query with a soft smile curling the edge of her muzzle. Despite what she says she does at least twist herself to the side, hindlimbs straightening to brace behind herself and her forelimbs scooting along the branchs side carefully. A tipping forward of her body and a few lashes of her tail later and she feels comfortably to simply drop out of the tree and back to the ground with barely a thump when her small form lands.

Let's see.. there's Ona and another young leonine he isn't aware of. That right there piques Kizingo's interest as he tends to stay afloat of who's who, though he had been reverting back to his hermit-self lately, so it's not so surprising he's out of the loop. Their attention brings his eyes onto Royathi, which makes his head tilt a bit.. first time he's seen her active this time of day, but he never once thought he understood servals completely. Before any of that can be addressed, mother's call and approach sets his focus, to which he ambles his way to her and sweeps his muzzle across the side of hers with a low rumble of greeting, having the same slight limp and gradual pace he's had for awhile now, "Hello mother." he doesn't even try to disguise his troubled state as he knows she'll see through any attempt to mask it, not that he makes it obvious, either, "Who's this?" he gestures towards the young lioness, chosing the distraction tactic right off.

Kikora, having never really heard bad things about servals — or -seen one- for that matter — is naturally curious of the small, spotted cat. "I like trees too, but I'm not a good climber. I think I'm too big!" She explains without any prompting, trying to make friends with this other cat. She's distracted by the arrival and approach of Kizingo, however — she hunkers down, watching Onaedo and Balana's expressions, and once she sees that he isn't a threat, she relaxes. "I'm new to the valley. Do you live here, too?" She questions Royathi, giving Kizingo an occasional glance to make sure he isn't sneaking up on her or something.

Onaedo humms softly and ohs while glancing over to his uncle and smiles. "Hello Kizingo, how are you?" He looks to Kikora and smiles to her now. "This is my uncle Kizingo, one of my father's brother's." He offers to help her be more relaxed over a strange lion being here.

The elder's head lowers to rub warmly against that of her son. She doesn't say anything about his limp, primarily because Balana's gotten used to it. Something else does seem off-kilter, but she doesn't bring that up right now either. "Kikora," she responds as she turns about to stand alongside Kizingo, looking back towards the younger leonines. "They found her while they were bringing Korzar back from a little escapade." She's not entirely sure of other details, truth be told.

Royathi sways from side, mostly so she can stretch her long hindlimbs out behind herself one at a time in moving forward to make conversing easier and waking up from her prior nap. "Not many lions climbs trees, though if you see Vikali about here she's gotten pretty sneaky about it.." Her whiskers twitch mirthfully instead as she glances sidelong in following Kikora's gaze and in seeing her duck, "Oh, folk are pretty nice here. I don't actually live here, I'm not a lion! Are you intending too?"

Hrrm… Kizingo watches the young lioness for an extended moment before refocusing back on his mother, diping his head slowly, "I'll have a loot at her to make sure all is well." at least, once she's done bantering with the serval and Ona.. no sense interupting that. "How are things otherwise?" head inquires with a tilt of his head, remaining standing before his mother while keeping a quiet watch over the nearby small ones, equally ineterest in the state of all three.

Kikora grins boastfully, puffing her chest out a bit at Royathi's statement. "I can climb the fallen tree in the valley! Korzar and I were playing on it earlier." Of course, she has no idea if the serval is familiar with the other cubs in the nearby pride, so she drops that conversation, instead choosing to answer the other question posed to her. "Yup! Two big lionesses look after me, and I've made three friends my own age. Plus, King said it was okay, so…" she drifts off, glancing over toward Kizingo when she hears him say 'I'll have a look at her'. She wiggles a bit uncomfortably, glancing over to Onaedo to see if that would be alright. "Is big lion — Kizingo — a healer? But I'm not sick!" She protests, her ears falling back a bit.

Onaedo humms softly while looking to Kikora and nodding at the question. "Yup his a healer.. An you might not be sick, but he won't hurt you.. He'd just make sure your healthy an all that, promise." He offers while lowering his head to nose at the girl.

"Oh…" Balana considers this question from her son for a while. "Aside from cubs being cubs, it sounds like Kori's being a little overprotective of not only his cubs, but all of them…" the elder responds, a slight shake of her head following. Before she can go on, Kikora seems to take notice of Kizingo, so she looks back to the young lioness and her grandson, gaze then drifting to Royathi. "You make it sound like nobody lives here but us lions!"

"Kizingo's nice, he won't hurt you so no need to be worried..", Royathi chips in just to reassure Kikora, otherwise quite content to watch with the tip of her tail flicking back and forth in a slow metronome. "Is there lots of non-lions in your pride then?", she asks Balana though, being cuirous in that statement.

Kizingo exhales a stiff breath of mild, inward amusement at the serval's remark, tossing a wry glance her way breifly, though his attention reverts back to mother again, his mood further brightened by Ona's words of praise to console the young lioness, "Well, that's good, I suppose.. having the cubs well looked after right now wouldn't hurt pride moral, for sure." he dips his head once, eyes shifting then towards the other three. He has his own personal feelings about non-lions, which tend to conflict with the pride's view, so he lets mother handle this question, taking the moment to observe Kikora further for any extenal signs of duress.

Kikora stays as still as a stone, flicking only her eyes from Onaedo, to Royathi, to Balana and then to Kizingo. She isn't able to see them fully, depending on their position, but anyone who looks at the big cub now might find her expression rather humorous. "Is it done?" She asks, hoping there won't be any -weird- procedures, like examining her toepads or making her stretch and cough or something. "Am I healthy?" She blurts out, suddenly unsure of her status — is she sick? Does she -look- sick? Does she have a fifth arm growing out of her side? She grows more and more nervous under the examination, finally breaking her statue-like posture to give herself a good looking-over. Ack!

Onaedo blinks and grins at Kikora.. "Ah.. I don't think so.. He is way over there after all.." He looks to Kizingo and gives him a quistable look. "She alright?" Ona questions curiously, not like he knows anything about what healers do, or the non-lions of the pride for that matter.

Balana is vaguely amused at the cub's antics, but gives her head a slight shake to Royathi. "Well, no… just one, I suppose. Or maybe she's more of an ally who just kind of hangs around—a falcon." The lioness twitches her whiskers a few moments in thought. "I suppose all the non-lions that really live here are the herds. There are some panthers that visit Vikali from time to time, but most of the time I suppose we're too big and scary."

Royathi notices Kizingo's wry glance and does, of course, put on the face of innocence though her ears perk sharply a second. She giggles the next moment in watching, glancing back and forth she can talk to Balana too. "Ah! I've seen the falcon, didn't realise she was actually part of the pride .. But yes, all the 'being big' and 'roary' stuff is quite intimidating!"

Kizingo certainly doesn't mean to stare and make the young lioness uncomfortable, but the wacky mannerisms prevent him from looking away too easily, a low chortle uttered before he ventures to step past his mother and towards the flailing youth, crooning a soft note that he long ago learned does wonders to calm young ones and some old ones, too. "I can't see anything from here.. do you feel alright?" he inquires, maw parted a bit to scent the air when he comes near, his dark clay brown eyes displaying kindness while his tail bows low and arcs up in friendliness. He can't help the fact that he's a rather large lion with all the normal features, but he does his best to display his harmlessness openly. An amused glance is passed up at Royathi amid his approach, but focus stays on the young lioness.

Kikora's attention is now completely engrossed with Kizingo, finding his status as a healer both intriguing and a little odd. "I feel okay, just sore…" she says, but quickly adds, "but that's 'cause Wingu an' I were playing with Onaedo, and then me and Kor' climbed that fallen tree." She nods sagely, expecting this to explain away any maladies she may exhibit. "But I need to get strong so that when Wingu and Korzar's mama shows us how to hunt, I'll be able to do it!" She displays a rather proud expression on her face, remembering the moment that she caught Kasjari's tail — a triumphant moment indeed! It appears as though Kikora's only ailment is her chatterbox mouth, but she is otherwise the perfect picture of health.

Onaedo nods to his uncle while tilting his head while snuffling faintly while he listions and watches the cub and lion talk. Well he is curious after all. "You are going to watch her hunt, not really hunt you know.." This said softly while smirking to Kikora.

Balana keeps a vague ear on the goings-on between her pridemates, but at the moment she's focused on Royathi. "I daresay most of that is probably directed to other lions, hyenas, or leopards. Most lions probably put others into one of… oh, four categories. Friend, foe, food, or ignore. Your kind I suspect often falls into the last category, rather unfairly. From what I've seen of the cubs talking to you, you fall quite well into the first."

Royathi has to giggle a little before canting her head to one side in a thoughtful expression. "Thank you. I guess most other servals are quite .. grumpy though so we're probably best off in the ignored group! Fortunately I've always been a little odd.. I think lion cubs tend to confide in me just from seeing me as more their level… that and they seem to like batting at the ears." Naturally she swivels them subtly after saying that.

Kizingo keeps track of mother and Royathi's conversation, making a small chortle to himself as he passes a glance up at the small spotted one, not sure his view of her really falls into any of those four, but 'friend' is fitting for the most part. She's an interesting one. Attention quicker referts back to the young ones, head diping once, "Being sore usually just means you found your limit.. pushing one's limits to broaden your potential is how we better ourselves, so don't ever be affraid to be sore, unless you did nothing to deserve it, of course." he dips his head once, "Looks like you're in good shape to me." The blonde lion's visage suddenly switchs as his gaze shifts off into the distance… damn it.. the feeling again.. what's causing it? He goes silent and distracted for a few moments.

The big cub leans her head back to take in all of Kizingo — or, rather, as much as she can at any rate. When Onaedo makes his comment, Kikora turns her ears back sharply and gives him a wry little look. "Duh! But she's gonna teach me how to hunt -too-, she even -said so-." So nyeh! She sticks her tongue out playfully at the older lion, the wiggling of her ears giving away the fact that she's not being -too- serious about her retort. She turns back to Kizingo just in time to see his eyes wander off toward something unknown in the distance, and she frowns. "Kiziiingo? You 'kay?" Her tail gives a little tap against the earth, a worried and subconscious action.

Balana can't help but grin somewhat crookedly. "I suppose some of it comes from having such large families. Or it could just be that we have large families so we have some supposed excuse not to talk to non-lions. Or maybe it's just that we secretly feel like the odd ones, living in groups, so we avoid those who tend to live as individuals or in small family units so as not to be made fun of," the lioness says with a wink. Her attention is stolen as Kikora asks if Kizingo's alright, and she looks over to her son, ears perked. "What is it, Kizi?"

"Doesn't seem too bad for all of you living as a family!", Royathi notes with a soft well-meant smile before she trails off and glances toward Kizingo, more concerned to see what's up herself.

There's a plenty large enough pause before anything happens to make it evident that Kizingo's not all there, but when he does twitch and grunt, refocusing, he finds just about everyone staring at him oddly. He looks bewildered a moment then ducks his head down a touch, ears panned to the sides, "Appologies." he murmurs, the odd slur to his voice much stronger than usual, making him somewhat difficult to understand, "Just had a sensation.. I have Gather looking into it." he clears his throat and stands back up straighter, looking almost slightly dizzy but trying not to.

Kikora is fairly young, but she's old enough to know when something off-kilter is taking place — Kizingo's odd behavior after checking her over causes her to slink away, in Balana's direction, with her tail tucked between her hindlegs. "Did I make him that way?" She asks in a quiet and very guilty-sounding voice, her brown eyes seeking the older lioness's own.

No… whatever is going on with Kizingo is not normal, even for him. Sickness? Or something else that's going on with him… Balana's never quite understood everything going on with her son, although she's tried to do what she can, even at his age. "What's wrong, Kizi?"

Royathi dips her head to offer a reassuring mew toward Kikora, an ear flicking at her quiet question. "No, it's not something you've done, don't be worried!", she adds in her own lowered tone though she isn't quite able to avoid glancing over in concern toward the lion in not following things herself.

Kizingo shakes his head once, exhaling a long breath in mild flustering as he manages to upset the young lioness by his demeanor, "You've done nothing wrong, Kikora. Don't be upset." he rumbles warmly to her then addresses his mother, "I'm having another one of those… feelings. The kind I last had before the plague that nearly wiped out Utatu. I've not heard anything to suggest anything like that going on, but I have Gather checking things out." a glance up towards the serval displays thanks for her added consolingbefore he draws a deep breath and looks back off into the distance for a moment… where are you Gather?

Kikora plants herself between Balana and Royathi, suddenly overcome with exhaustion — it seems like the day's activities are still having a laggy affect on her, in addition to the climb up to the border. "…Plague?" She says in a sleepy voice, glancing between all creatures present. "Is there going to be a plague -here-?" She's only heard stories of plagues, great ones wiping out entire savannas-full of creatures. She shudders at this thought, lowering herself to her stomach and resting her chin on her forepaws.

"Don't worry about it, dearheart. We've no reason to believe there's going to be a plague here," Balana says reassuringly to Kikora. "You just get some rest." She glances briefly aside to Royathi with a furrowed brow, and then looks back to Kizingo, speaking in a slightly lower tone. "Like… what sort of thing is it this time?"

Royathi tips her head slightly a moment in her concern before giving her front body a small shake in stepping to one side. "You get some rest if you need it, there isn't going to be a plague..", she notes quietly to Kikora before giving a dip of her head instead politely to the other lions, "I'm going to have to go get a drink, having only just got up and all.." Excusing herself somewhat quickly and sheepishly in realising she's been nattering here too long instead of dealing with getting breakfast and the likes!

"Not if I have anything to do with it." Kizingo quips off-hand towards Kikora at her statement of concern. He certainly doesn't want to deal with yet another plague.. he suffered enough for the last two. The feeling he has certainly doesn't make anything so clear as it being a plauge, or even something that's a threat to anyone here… just that odd, intence sense he has for needing to be someplace, something that a few other healers he knows have in various degrees… comes in handy, if rather disruptive of life in general. "I wish I knew right now.." he states while looking back at his mother, "Hopefully Gather will find out something… we all know what happens the last time I went off and ended up far from here." shutting those birds up was harder than it should've been. A kind rumble is uttered to Royathi, hindquarters settling down to sit and just wait for his avian assistant to return.

Balana dips her head lightly to Royathi, and then glances around. Appears to be more or less just her and Kizi right now. She looks somewhat concerned at Kizingo, but has figured some time ago that there are some things about him she just doesn't get. Sigh… "Well, if you find out anything we can do to help, Kizi… I know I could sure use a distraction from all of the paranoia that's taken hold lately."

Kizingo swivels his gaze back toward shis mother and just looks at her quietly for a moment.. he knows that he's gotten quite difficult to understand, and he misses the days when his very well being depended on her dedication to raising him and teaching him to speak.. he truely would not have survived otherwise. A long breath is exhaled, wishing it wasn't so hard to explain what goes on in his mind. "I'm trying not to just up and leave for an unknown period again. I want to take more part in this pride… perhaps you can help me with that."

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