03/21/10 - His Resolution

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

The party had just witnessed the sight of a total massacre, as the area within visible sight was littered with the bones of lions young and old alike. How long it had been bones nobody except the rhino and elephant knows, but it was stated that Badiliko himself avoided this tragedy. "And by being spared, you are the Mrithi." Nice and blunt, no?

Kahini continues to look about. She's not as phased as the others in some respects, but in others, she's perhaps more on guard. "If I may, what drove them to do this?" The question is directed at the large beasts, though Kahini's eyes continue to search for something her nose might be missing.

Badiliko's horror settles after a little bit, looking to the Matriarch with that same desire to know that originally brought him and the others here. "I need to ask that, too. What was so horribly wrong that a Pride would kill itself to the last?"

Itumele seems to be somewhat in shock from the whole horrible view… and for one of few times since they've started the trek, he's got nothing to add.

Johari listens to all of this, but in the end pads over to Itumele, whispering something into his ear before settling down on the ground next to him. He seems to be taking the view even worse than Johari.

"Mrithi, you were the cause of all this." DUN DUN DUN! "Your mother was destined for another mate, but fell in love with a rogue lion who was as white as driven snow, just as you are." She breathes heavily. "You were born illegitimately, which summoned deadly wrath from the ruling brothers. Your father died protecting you and your mother as she fled with you, just days after you were born. Half of your kin thought you a curse, the other half a necessity. Their anger could not be resolved peacefully and soon blood was shed over your well being. That was when the earth claimed the rest in its terrible quakes."

Kahini listens to this, muttering something about 'if only she were still a Kumalo' to herself. Just think, what an easy victory for the Kumalo pride with such chaos going on all around here!

Badiliko looks somewhat astonished. "I…I can't believe that. Why would half the pride defend me? I'm just a lion like all others…" He begins showing signs of genuine disbelief in the matter at hand. This was NOT the reuinon he was expecting.

Despite Itumele's growing form, he's still been largely sheltered from these kinds of horrors… and certainly wasn't prepared for this. Letting out something of a stifled sob, Itumele finally turns his face away from the horrific sight and presses his face firmly into Johari's shoulder.

Johari wraps her paw around the young lion's neck, hiding his line of view from the piles of bones. All this, because of her mate? And he never knew?? How could this be? Johari is lost for words, and so stays silent to this point.

"Because of a prophecy from the mothers of my mother that a white lion of the Jahusi would bring peace to a war-torn pride." She looks at them all, considering something. "Come, I will show you the knowledge of the Jahusi, that you may better know." The elephant turns around, leaving the bones behind to remain an eyesore where they are. The rhino and Miiba follow, hinting that the others should as well.

Kahini doesn't seem to know what to make of that. Not knowing what else to do, she simply goes along, following the elephant to see what is going to be revealed to her next.

Likewise, Badiliko follows along, still in shock. He gives a slightly comforting nudge to Johari and Itumele before heading back into the caves. "It'll be okay," he says in tandem.

Itumele seems to have pretty much tuned out the rest of what's going on around him. He's too busy sobbing up against Johari's shoulder to notice.

Johari sighs just a bit. "Come on Itumele, lets keep up with the others." Truthfully, she's not sure what she really wants to hear from the elephant. So far its been nothing good. She slips her paw back away from the young lion and noses him to go on.

To make a long story short, the group is led back into the caves and they come out in another cavern. One that is particularly daunting because of two things: first of all, there's a colony of meerkats on one of the cavern walls skittering about doing some kind of work. The second thing is that the "work" is fingerpainting. The entire wall, illuminated by natural light, shows hundreds of basically-shaped lions and lionesses as well as several large pictures, as if depicting events. "Behold the Chronicle of the Jahusi, the true legacy of an ancient pride. Msani!" One meerkat, a female, pops out of the woodwork. "Yes, Matriarch?" she asks. "The Mrithi has returned. Prepare to add to the Chronicle." "Yes, Matriarch," she says meekly as she dives back into the small tunnel.

The rhinoceros pipes in. "This is the history, from the arrival of the Jahusi here to their downfall, spanning eighteen generations and growing larger. The mountain shows their arrival, the other animals show their servants…" There are rhinos, elephants, meerkats, gorillas, and even some birds. "…and the last lion is you, Mrithi." It is to be noted that ALL of the basic lion(ess) shapes are smudged, as if attempted to be erased, except for the sole white one on the wall, which is immediately followed by an image of buzzards above other lions.

Kahini stares at the the wall, amazed at what she sees. Now the Kumalo /never/ had anything like this before. Its actually quite impressive, and so the lioness begins to basically 'picture read' the history from beginning to end.

Badiliko looks over the entire wall, entirely stunned with what strength is with him. "Eighteen?" he asks with a sense of awe. "…and they all killed each other off?" The elephant nods. "No Jahusi is permitted to die of elderly age. The burden is too great."

It takes a few moments, but Itumele at least manages to trudge to his paws after the others, still letting out the occasional quiet sob, vision now blurred by tears. He follows, but he stays towards the back of the cave and is most definitely not paying attention.

Johari slips up along Badiliko as the elephant speaks, and she lets out a gasp after hearing what becomes of the lion. "Now wait a minute here, are you saying that someone has to kill Badiliko? That he can't die of old age?" Well, that's certainly not Johari's plans!

The elephant retorts, "Of course not, lioness. The Mrithi is the last of his kind—there is nobody left to kill him before his natural time. And as he IS the Mrithi, such decisions will be up to him and his heirs."

Kahini finally takes her eyes from the wall, and over to the lion. "So what, does that make Lion Badiliko now Ruler Badiliko here?" Such an interesting thought. They came all this way for him to claim rule on an almost dead land.

Badiliko…well, he hadn't thought of that. Being the last heir to a dead throne by mere proxy? Well, that's not something somebody expects to wake up to every day. Given what he's seen, though… "This might be my past, Matriarch, but this is not my present or my future. I am not your Mrithi."

Itumele eventually quiets himself entirely, save for the occasional sniffle. It's hard to tell whether he's even listening to anything else going on in the cavern.

Johari looks up to her mate in wonder, "Love, you're sure of all of this, right?" It IS an awful lot to swallow afterall. "I mean, you're a Mrithi." As far as she can tell, it sounds like a good thing.

"The lioness is right, Mrithi. You are the last of a strong line of lions and you are in a position to do good. Will you remain adamant and forfeit that birthright, ending the Jahusi name for all time until Mother Earth remakes her children? Are you willing to do this with what you know now?" The elephant seemed quite interrogationist at this point, the rhino not being much moral support (neither was Miiba).

Kahini sits back to her haunches now. The apparent danger is gone, and a choice must be made. "I did promise a safe return to the lands for everyone." If he stays, she'll apparently be here a very long time…

"No!" Badiliko replies loudly. "Ever since we arrived, this land has been nothing but death and misery. Your Mother Earth herself tried to slay us in her wrath because of my heritage. I know not what expectations you have of me, Matriarch, but I tell you know that I will not subject myself or my comrades to this insanity." He stands tall and proud, a fire burning from within him that was never seen before. "This Pride is nothing but evil and I know why my mother never spoke of them. I say now and forever: I DENY THIS PRIDE." His determination began bleeding into some manner of righteous indignation right at the end.

The smaller form of Itumele seems to register at least part of the conversation, for it slowly creeps over, and can soon be found at Badiliko's right hindleg, standing a little bit shorter than Badi's haunch. "…Can we go home now?" he asks in a quiet voice, much more tentative than he's spoken in quite some time.

Johari isn't about to object to any of this. She's ready to go home too if Badiliko's mind is made up. "Sounds good to me, Itumele." A look is taken towards her mate. "Come on, Badi, lets get out of here."

The elephant blinks. And blinks. And finishes by laughing wearily. "Badiliko, son of Theluji…you have saved us all. Msani, end the Chronicle. You and your colony are released from your service." In typical meerkat fashion: much cheering. As for Miiba, the rhino, and the elephant…well, they're all tired, but grateful looking. "You did what no ruler would ever do, and for that we are free to find our families once again." She approaches all the lions in this party and with her trunk touches all of their heads (even Itu's). "I know not your paths or your destinations, but know that in the end you shall all find the peace and joy you deserve. The Earth Mother wills this, and in her name I bid you safety. Farewell, and may you never again find this place…"

Kahini eyes the elephant as its trunk comes down on her head. She doesn't exactly scowl at it, but its clear she isn't very appreciative of it. "Thank the stars. Now lets get out of here."

Sanlina has been largely quiet during the entire explination, having more of a grave dissapointment then a horrified countenance about the entire thing. She glances up at the trunk as it touches down upon her head, but doesn't reply to the elephant. She does however nod lightly to Kahini. "My sentiments as well." she states.

Badiliko takes it at face value, himself, although he looks more than eager to leave, as well. "Farewell, Matriarch, may we never meet again." And with that he catches one last glimpse of the gigantic wall as his own visage was smudged away. "Goodbye, mother," he says softly to the wall before turning to the others. "Come on, we're going home." He moves to Itumele first and with whatever strength he has he tries to pick the juvenile up and self-place him on his maned head so Itu can recover from his sadness.

Itumele looks like he's not sure if he wants to run, just duck, or bite the elephant's trunk. As it is, he does none of the above. He does, however, clamber up across Badiliko's back as he's coaxed, and buries his face in the lion's mane. Whether it's a matter of a simple 'recovery' from sadness, time will tell.

Johari nuzzles her mate's side after the young lion has managed to get up on his mate. "Come on Love, we have a volcano that's waiting for the both of us."

The meerkats do their job in making the last piece of art on the wall while the elephant turns about and walks away, sounding tired. As for the rhino and the hedgehog, they approach the party. "I am Shujaa," the large tank says. "I wish to join you, as there is nothing for me here." Miiba then chimes, "I'd like to stay with ya too, leader."

Kahini blinks outright at this. Wait a second, she had to put up with that hedgehog the whole way here, and now they have a walking rock to come along as well? Kahini just wants to go home! "Well, who ever is coming, way back to that flush, green area is this way." Nothing more said, Kahini turns to head back the way they came in.

Sanlina glances back to the rhino as he speaks. "Be that as it may," she states, "there's dry lands and a desert we must cross. For this I would suggest caution." She then turns and heads out after Kahini.

Badiliko looks at the odd couple of animals that want to join them. "If you'd like, though the passing won't be easy. Come, we're leaving now." With that said, his friends by his side, and his little friend on his back the white lion enters the tunnels from whence they came, never to look back on a heritage that ultimately had little effect on his life.

They came all this way… for this? With nothing more to add, Itumele just keeps his silence.

And thus did the journey end and the party return to their homes, painfully aware of how fortunate they were in the grand scheme of things.

~THE END~

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