11/28/09 - Shrouded Intentions


Khairi - lion, nephew of King Mzohari, son of Nabana and Nakomis.
Kiini - lion, son of King Mzohari and Nyunya.
Kikora - adolescent lioness, member of the Kopje Valley pride.
Nabana - lion, son of Balana and Nyanya, brother of King Mzohari.

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 of the Pride Lands [K]opje [V]alley
[V]alley [R]idge

A lone lion stands up on the edge of the valley, gaze cast down into it, around towards the valley ridge, and further on towards the opposite portion of the border. Well… he doesn't /see/ anyone else at the moment… as such, the male takes a few steps further towards the slope of the valley.

Khairi moves up the slope towards the top of the ridge. It doesn't take long to catch sight of the lion. Letting out a slight roar-chuff to announce himself, upon closer inspection he frowns deeply. Stopping out a safe distance from the lion, one he recognizes very well and considers basically nothing to him now.

A gaze is cast up towards Khairi as the lion comes closer. Nabana slows his pace a little bit. Ultimately, however, the male continues on with his pace, dropping his gaze from Khairi and down to the well-traveled trail. The border he's been respecting for so many moons is now trespassed.

Khairi watches the lion closely, "I'm sure you are here for a purpose. What is it you want, Nabana?" That was the first time he has ever called the lion by name. Taking a step or two forward to try and keep him from trespassing much further.

"I'm tired," Nabana responds simply. "I'm tired, and I'm finished with my exile." The lion continues on his way, changing his course slightly as Khairi moves closer, but still headed down the valley slope towards the floor.

Khairi moves to step in front of him and shoves his shoulder into his chest. "You aren't welcome here lion! Finished or not you are not welcome here. I suggest you turn around and move on before I drag you back to the Pridelands and cast you into the gorge myself."

The older of the two males responds by bracing himself and pushing into Khairi's shoulder with his weight. "Yeah, so kill me. I'm sure Mzohari would still love to treat you as his little minion if he knew you murdered your own father."

"I don't have a father!" the lion growls out bracing and pushing back. Khairi wasn't about to give in to this, "You deonounced me remember! Why would it even matter to you anyway? There is no place for you here. Go back to the Pridelands or hell where you belong. I won't see you hurt anyone from these lands! Not Grandma, Uncle Mzo, Usafidi, or even me… You're better off just staying lost old lion."

"Ha," Nabana half-spits, half laughs. "You can't forget your sire, boy. Even in death you wouldn't be able to forget. First when you dream… and then when you wake. The only way you're getting rid of me in this life is to send me to the next… and if you do that, I guarantee you that you will have no peace."

Khairi turns from him then bellows a roar out across the valley. "So you thought I'd be a pushover then? Allow you to just walk right on back into the land. My loyalties lie with the pride. Uncle Mzohari has made me his second in command. You breech the line that he set I'm sure he would understand if I /have/ to attack you." his voice drops low. "You sired me and gave me life. But that doesn't make you my father." Again turning to face him walking into they are nose to nose, "Turn around and walk away."

~ Khairi holds his head high and ROARS!

~ Very close to you, from 'Western Kopje Valley', Kikora roars!

~ In the distance, the faint roar of a young lion can be heard.

Kikora makes the climb from the Valley to here.

Kikora has arrived.

"Ah yes… he made you his little bitch," Nabana says dryly. "I played that role for a while myself. But you know… his approval is useless. Bullshit. It's arbitrary. When he decides you don't fit into his little mould anymore, he'll cast you out again." As Khairi goes nose-to-nose with him, Nabana simply stands there and peers wearily back. "And should you choose to fight me, you just keep in mind who's the more experienced."

Kikora moves slowly up the valley trail, one paw set in front of the other gently, tail swishing leisurely at her hocks. When she finally crests the edge of the valley, her ears are immediately assaulted with the vulgarity of a familiar lion — Nabana. Not only Nabana, but Khairi … and they're in each others' faces. Gulp. Unsure whether or not she should retreat back into the Valley, Kiko' stands at a distance with her ears turned to the side, tail lashing. Finally, the girl lowers her head beneath her shoulders and issues a series of low chuffs — not only to alert them to her presence, but maybe to distract them from whatever argument they're engaged in.

Khairi eyes narrow towards the lion. The chuffs aren't enough to distract him at the moment, "His bitch.. Your bastard.. Whatever! It just pisses you off huh? No you aren't proud that your son is doing well, you are jealous and do what you will to make life more miserable for him. Get this through your thick head, I'm sure there is a brain inside of there somewhere. I don't need you, don't want you. The day you denounced me is the day you died to me. Now you are nothing but a trespassing rogue that has the stench that makes my stomach churn. A hyena smells like a wildflower compared to you right now. You are just another version of Mtukutu. A control freak that won't go away for his own good."

"Mmm… I should've gone ahead and killed him," Nabana muses over the former neighbor. "And if you think I'm going to fall for insults, you don't know me very well." His ear twitches. "And why should I give a damn what position you've got in this pride? Mzohari made it clear a long time ago that Kopje's business was none of my concern, despite the fact that he kept calling on me to do his dirty work for him. He wouldn't know what living a hard life was if it bit him." The lion leans to look around Khairi as Kikora comes moving in, and an apparently genuine smile crosses his face. "Korzar's girlfriend. How is my nephew doing these days? He must be getting rather large."

Kikora keeps her posture low, brown eyes watching the argument between the two with apprehension. She isn't sure if Mzohari has made it back from the volcano yet, …but even if he had, there would still be aggression afoot. Huffing a few puffs of breath from her mouth and nose, she blinks as Nabana mentions her — but not by name. Simply as 'Korzar's girlfriend'. Urrr, yeah. The uncomfortable look on her face tells the tale — she still isn't used to others knowing, even if Nabana meant no harm by it. "Errmm, yeah, quite big. Big and fluffy-maned," she says nervously, dropping her body lower — a true crouch now, not just a slouch. "Why are you two fighting up here?" She ventures.

"He is just leaving." Khairi says sternly towards the lion in answer to Kikora. Eyes locked upon Nabana's a light growl rumbles deep within his throat. Surely he'd love to make the first strike but then that would play into Nabana's game. "You are the reason that you have been dealt this life. Uncle Mzo has never needed you. Have you ever /thought/ just maybe he was trying to give you chances to redeem yourself? I forgot that means you have to actually think and burn the dirt between your ears. Go ahead rogue strike me! Kill me like you want to kill Mtukutu! Like you killed Sayt!!!" he grins towards him, "I was thinking about it. Sayt probably was pushed away too by you. You probably didn't care about him either. So it wasn't the Tsavo that killed him. It was probably you!"

Even that, Nabana doesn't get rilled over. "Not technically, no. Which is probably why I never actually went and killed that idiot. It was members of some other pride, I think they said the Plains Pride," the lion says with a vague dismissal of a shrug to Khairi, looking at Kikora. "Actually, I'm not leaving. I'm done leaving. My exile is finished, one way or another." He lifts a paw to paw idly at his chest, dropping to his haunches. "As for Mzohari, he sure seemed to need me once upon a time. To protect things here because he was too young and granddad was too old. Wanting me to do the gruntwork. Of course, I can't say I blame them—I've fought more than a few in my time." He focuses back in on Kikora. "I have not so much as raised a paw towards anyone in Kopje and he's behaving like this. Don't you think it's a little bit excessive?"

"I can't be sure, Nabana…" Kikora says quietly, brown eyes flashing. She knows when somebody's got her tail. "…I don't know what happened /before/ I came up here." She shuffles her forepaw into the dirt nervously, ears flattened neatly against her skull. "B'sides, you're his /dad/, he's….tied to you. Of course things would upset him more." She gulps, whiskers fanning out.

Khairi just stares at him for the moment. He can't just allow the lion to stay here, either way isn't looking good for him at the moment. No matter what he does it seems his father is intent on him being exiled again. "He is nothing to me. He plainly told me to go live my life, to forget that he exists and that he'd do the same about me. Now he shows up and what? I'm supposed to step aside and forget Mzohari's judgement because he self-proclaims his exile is over? NO!?!?! Until Uncle Mzohari tells me this himself you aren't going into the valley. You will have to kill me first. Why do you so desperately want to be where you aren't wanted or welcomed? This is the /last/ time I will say it. GET OUT!!!!" he roars loudly.

~ Khairi holds his head high and ROARS!

~ In the distance, the faint roar of a lioness can be heard.

"Ahh…" Nabana says with a crooked grin as he looks back to Khairi. "See? Even she recognizes it. Look into your future, boy. Like father… like son. Blood runs thicker than water… all that jazz." He looks at the younger male, giving his mane a shake. "Yeah, I told you to forget about me, which you clearly aren't doing. You try to run me off now, and so what? I lived here, Khairi. I know the ways in. All it takes is for me to slip in between patrols. Or to find someone who won't fight me. Kori, Kiini, Onaedo… Gadi? Or one of the lionesses. I'm not /completely/ despised, you know. And I haven't even lifted up a paw." In the face of Khairi's fuss, the older lion simply flops onto his side in the grasses and closes his eyes. "I'm too tired to fight anymore."

"Why do you want in so bad, Nabana?" Kikora asks, lowering herself into an uneasy position — her belly touches the ground and her chin almost touches the top of her paws, but her tail lashes and she's ready to bolt at any unkind movement. "Why did you leave in the first place?" Kiko's never really been educated on Nabana — just that he's Mzohari's elder brother and, once upon a time, allowed her and Korzar to romp around in the Pride Lands (a little).

Khairi just mostly wants to run away like a cub and cry. It's true the reason he wants this lion to go are his own. "He was thrown out with Haiba. I don't think she was the only reason behind it. I foolishly left with him then, thinking that I actually mattered. My mom died because he broke her heart. None of us had parents when we were growing up." frowing he settles to his haunches, "I don't want you in this valley. This is my home and you aren't welcome within it. I tried in the past getting through to you but you pushed me away. Every single time!!! How can I forget you when you won't just go away!! No you have to come back to torment me. Becaue you know.. You just know…."

Nabana opens a single eye to look at Kikora. "I was kicked out because I /mated/ with Haiba. She was the mate of the Natamba king at the time. Actually, they had young cubs." The lion rolls his shoulder in a shrug. "I'm not welcome anywhere else either. So… why not come back here? Best case scenario, I'll be tolerated. Hell, tolerance is better than lonliness. Worst case scenario, I'll be killed. If somebody's going to kill me, it may as well be my own flesh and blood instead of some random stranger. You know, because maybe at least /somebody/ would care. A little bit." He glances over to Khairi. "I never said I was a saint. I was a piss-poor father with my first few litters, and I was a piss-poor father by the time you came around. So I figure what the hell. If I really make you that miserable, just turn around and leave my presence. Ignore me. 's simple."

Kikora drinks all of this in, ears flickering in embarassment when Nabana mentions mating with another King's lioness — yuck. "I don't want you t'die, Nabana. Some lions are better fathers than others…" she breathes out, thinking of a certain dark-furred lion who adopted her into his life and then abruptly abandoned her to chase lionesses. Some dad. "…but, it's still Mzohari's decision, right? He's the King. And even if you don't agree with /that/, s'not gonna change, 'cause if you /did/ bully your way in like you say you could, then you'll either be cast out again or hurt." She frowns. "Please don't do that, …just wait and ask? I don't want /anybody/ to die or to get hurt." She sighs, wondering if she's just wasting her breath. After all, she's still just a kid in the eyes of the two males.

Khairi head lowers for a moment as his eyes close. "She speaks wisely. I really don't want to see you hurt either nor do I want to be the one to hurt you. You go beyond here then it's your own tail, Mzohari can deal with you upon his return. But if you touch anyone or cause trouble then I will deal with you myself. You are here to just make life hell, that includes having me kicked out along with you. Far be it that one of your own actually does good." Rising back up to his paws, "Kikora… Don't feel obligated to speak to him. Until your father says otherwise no one here has to deal with him." Turning away he glances back at the lion, "I really /hate/ you right now you know. You don't play fair." he just laughs then turns heading along the ridge a few steps.

"Again? Pff. I'm /still/ cast out. But I'm too damn tired to keep running around out there," Nabana says with a wave of his paw to indicate nowhere in particular. "Mzohari's decision? Think— " Abruptly the lion stops, and opens both eyes to set his amber gaze squarely on Kikora, glancing briefly to Khairi as he turns to move, before he sets his amber gaze back on the young lioness. "I'm sure you wouldn't deny an aging lion the opportunity to speak with his nephew's girl who is blossoming into a beautiful young lioness, would you? You can trust my opinion on that one—I've seen, oh… at least as many as are in your pride, if my nose serves me well."

Kikora wrinkles her nose at Nabana's charm, her ears swiveling back and one brow lifting. "Stop that, would'ya? Mzo' must have had a reason to exile you, and calling me beautiful isn't going to change that." She snorts, lifting a forepaw to rub against her nose idly. "Mzohari's the King. Being tired and lonely may not be reason enough to come back in, but you'll never know for sure unless you talk to him." Her tail swishes, now in an agitated manner, against the dirt. "I can tell you don't like that, but if you /really/ wanted to come back into the pride on good terms, you'd wait…"

Nabana glances up after Khairi again, and then looks back to Kikora as he rolls to his belly. "Oh fine. But it's not like I'm trying to mate you or any such thing, so don't be thinking ridiculous. And I've talked to Mzohari before. Waiting hasn't worked for me so far, so why would it serve me any better now? If I keep waiting, at this rate I'll die before he gives me forgiveness." He looks briefly into the valley, then back at Kikora. "Mzohari's not /here/ right now is he? Khairi just left, I doubt Kiini or Onaedo or Kori would try to stop me… so I tell you what. I'll turn around and go if you converse with me on two topics. The first is whether Kasjari is back here or still in the volcano. The second… is tell me about a young lion named Dakarai."

Kikora listens to Nabana and is about to speak before something … something stops her. "Don't know," she says flatly toward the lion regarding Kasjari, one ear perked and the other swept back. "…and as far as Dakarai goes, he's Kiini's kid, and I haven't seen him today." She's not /really/ lying to Nabana, as she really isn't sure if Kas is back or not — and for Dak', well, she'd rather him NOT know that he's out in the wilderness following some crazy lioness. "But you c'n ask Mzohari about 'em when he gets here. I'll let him know that you're, uh, lurking."

"Alright," Nabana says simply. He doesn't press Kikora any further. Instead, he simply gets to his paws and moves to step around her and start making his way down into the valley.

Kikora bolts to her paws, slinking longways around the lion while issuing a series of unhappy yowls. When Nabana keeps going, she has no choice but to engage her vocal chords into roaring.

~ Kikora holds her head high and ROARS!

Kiini has arrived.

Nabana turns to look over at Kikora. "Now, you know that's not going to get you anywhere. I know Kasjari's scent, and I can easily track her. And if you won't tell me, somebody else will. Well, or kill me, and then you'll have that on your pretty little head."

"And from what I've seen and heard, nobody really wants you around," Kikora says in a rush of breath, posturing herself aggressively — she knows that she isn't a match for the experienced rogue in wit or strength, but she'll do her very best to protect her pride and family, "…and I think I can see why. I know I can't stop you by myself but I'll try." She bares her teeth, tail lashing. "So get out of here!" Such bravado…but, once again, anything to protect her pride.

Boy, Kikora sure is a noisy lioness. But since it was already Kiini's turn for the border patrol as is, he is soon seen coming along from the south, trotting in the general direction. Ah, there she is! Humph, figures, and wait.. Kiini notices a male lion just in front of her. Well, that's enough for him to pick up the pace to a run. Of course, he's still got to get there..

"Oh, don't be daft," Nabana says in response to Kikora's show of strength. "I don't beat up on lionesses. You shouldn't ever have to face off against a male unless you've been left mateless, or the pride without any males of its own." An ear twitches as he sees movement coming out of the corner of his eye, and the older lion turns to look. "See? Like that," Nabana says nonchalantly to Kikora. "He's got it."

"Good," Kikora responds through bared teeth — but she doesn't back down, not yet. Kiini's approach is noted only through scent and peripheral vision, and she continues to lash her tail around angrily. Nabana wouldn't listen to Khairi, and he surely hasn't been listening to /her/; what's going to make him listen to Kiini? Maybe claws across the face, or a bite to the flank. Kiko' breathes deeply through her clenched teeth, hoping that it won't come down to that… not at this vulnerable time when the majority of the pride is traveling from one place to another.

Kiini comes to a stop next to the young lioness after coming up on the two. He doesn't bother to look at Kikora for the time being, seeing her on his approach was enough to figure out that she's upset. "Nabana, what are you doing here?" Kiini demands of the older lion.

He wasn't mauled on sight. Progress! "Kiini," Nabana says with a bit of a nod. "Korzar's girlfriend here wouldn't speak to me, so I was just going to have myself a look for someone who perhaps would." The pair are several steps beyond the marked border, along the slope. "And maybe you will walk with me and speak with me, as one… troubled father to another. If you simply do that, I'll turn and take myself back to wherever." For the time being.

"She doesn't have to speak to you." Kiini answers simply, eyeing the lion up with great displeasure. Upsetting the younger pride sisters is not good when his older daughters and son are around the same age. "No one here has to. If father says you're not welcome in the lands, then you're not welcome in the lands. Period." His eyes narrow a bit here. "So why don't you do me the favor and skip to the part about turning around taking yourself back to wherever."

Nabana lets out a heavy sigh. "Why are you all insisting on making things so difficult. But alright… suit yourself. If you want me to leave, then you'll have to kill me," he says simply. Getting to his paws, Nabana angles himself to make an attempt to circumvent the pair and head further into the valley. "It's just somewhat ironic that you would start down the same path as me… or maybe /continue/ down that path… by adding murder to your resume."

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