12/07/09 - A Missed Opportunity


Wingu - adolescent lion.
Liyana - rogue adolescent lioness.

While some things change, others stay the same. Although his return to the Kopje valley has brought news of his brother being named as heir to his father's throne, it hasn't really changed much for Wingu. For the time being, the young lion is taking his turn at border patrol, making a lazy, almost lackadaisical weaving route across the scent marked border. His paws sometimes bat out at the taller grasses, or skip a rock along his path, but mostly the lion seems a bit preoccupied on something other than what he should be doing. His tail sways behind him distractedly.

Liyana is not distracted, but instead agitated - she moves briskly through the grasses, her paws touching against the ground in silent steps. With her sides and chest heaving as she struggles to catch her breath, and a cross look on her face, it appears that the lioness has just fumbled a hunt someway or another. She isn't a great distance from Wingu, nor is she taking pains to hide herself - her ruddy fur stands out almost painfully in the greens and golds of the savannah.

Wingu's paw reaches back as if he were about to send another rock flying, but then something causes his ear to twitch around within the pale strands of his mane. His head follows a moment later, tracking the source of the sound as he spots the distinct form of a lioness. His head tilts, and his paw finally sets back down onto the ground. He straitens himself up a little, attempting to at least look the part of a pridal guard, and then takes a step forward. "Um…" Except the moment he opens his mouth, it's clear the boy still isn't quite as direct as might be required. He gets a bit of a closer look, both at the aggitated demeanor and the lioness's form, and blinks. "Are you alright?" He asks, nose twitching as he lifts one eyebrow.

Her forward motion ceases when Wingu's voice reaches her ears - Liyana turns her head to stare at the pale-furred lion through the grasses, wearing a startled expression. This is quick to fade, as the pride's presence is no surprise to her - she does have a nose, after all. "I messed up a hunt is all," she says in a cool voice, regarding the other lion with curiosity. "The herd ran off and now I've got to change location." The end of her tail whips back-and-forth, brushing slightly against the standing grass. "Those lands are empty, right?" She doesn't look away from Wingu, but merely swivels an ear in the direction of the Pride Lands

Blinking once or twice, Wingu returns the stare that he's given, although his eyebrows and muzzle show more bemusement than is probably normal for a guard. "Ahh." He replies, nodding his head as a few strands of pale fur flick down infront of his eyes with the motion. He seems at a bit of a loss for what else to say, but the question brings him around again. "Hmm?" His eyes scan over towards the pride lands, and then back to the lioness as he shrugs. "Last I've heard. Tsavo pride moved south out of there when the drought came. Probably not the best hunting there, though. I'd guess the herds haven't fully recovered yet." He pauses, and looks at her more critically before offering. "If you're hungry… I'm sure I could nab a haunch off of one of the pride's kills. We're well fed enough, I'm sure no one would miss it."

"Where is the honor in that?" Liyana asks, slouching on one side in a half-stretch. "Thank you for the offer, but I couldn't take another lioness's kill even if I were starving." The proud look on her face suggests that she will stick by this come hell or high water - but it isn't an unkind look. "Besides, I'm of no relation to your pride, and how would the King feel if he found out you were feeding a stray?"

"Honor?" Wingu raises one eyebrow again and looks at the lioness quizically. "Where is the honor in starving?" He shrugs his shoulders, as if he couldn't quite understand the logic behind such an idea. "As for the King…" At this much, Wingu smirks a little bit and shakes his head from side to side. "My father wouldn't mind as long as I wasn't letting a 'stray' as you say… through the border and into the lands." He hesitates, and then continues with some amusement, "Besides, I doubt one little morsel of food is going to turn you into a super lioness capable of taking down an entire pride."

"There is no honor in starving, but it does foster an urge to improve your hunting skills…" the lioness says in a neutral tone, one ear flicking in an attempt to ward off a fly, "…and if I were to accept the product of someone else's hard work, I might grow accustomed to an easy meal and lose that pang of hunger that keeps me going." Liyana offers Wingu a smile, dipping her head slightly. "I'm not sure a lion born within a pride would understand - not that you aren't capable of it. But what else do I have to live for? The next hunt. The planning, the stalking, the kill - those are really the only companions I have. You're a King's son, and I notice that princes aren't driven out at the onset of adolescence; you would have been shoulder-to-shoulder with me in the hunting fields by now." Long-winded much? The lioness doesn't get a chance to converse with very many of her kind, and despite her gentle protests, her expression speaks for her - she is enjoying this chat.

Wingu seems to consider this for a short while, his eyes moving as if he were tracking some internal line of thought. "You're right." He finally admits, his smile faltering a bit as he tries to come to grips with the difference between the lioness and himself. "It isn't something I've ever had to understand. I've hunted… a little. But never because I -had- to." His nose twitches a little, "As for titles… I'm no prince." He snorts and rolls his eyes. "If we were to give everyone in the pride a title, half the pride would be royalty. Me? I'm just another face in the crowd." The wry look returns to his features though, even as he settles to his haunches. "But why not have something else to live for? You could join a pride, you know. Or find someone else to travel with. Seems silly to be on your own all the time."

Liyana lowers herself to her haunches, forepaws set only a whisker's length apart - her shoulders are relaxed and she doesn't appear to be uncomfortable. Despite her confidence at the periphery of a pride's territory, however, she refuses to get any closer - out of respect, of course. "There are very few I'd keep as company out there," she begins, "mostly young males who have big aspirations of conquering or starting a pride - too optimistic for me." Liyana laughs lightly, revealing her still-white yet worn eyeteeth. "Too few lionesses, and those I've come across prefer their solitude or else they would have joined a pride - or maybe no pride will have them. As for me…well, to be honest, I've never come across a pride that's worth staying." She frowns, hoping that the lion doesn't misinterpret her words. "Some were struggling to eke out and I would have been a burden, some were filled with territorital females and the rest were just," she pauses here, lifting a forepaw to gesture idly, "…just too odd. Or overbearing, or too lax with their rules. I'd feel like a zebra in a herd of wildebeest, if you know what I mean." Perhaps her analogy will suffice - she'd be the odd one out. "But I can't pass judgement on /your/ pride just yet. I may stick around and observe, if you'd like?"

Giving a small shake of his mane, Wingu glances over his shoulder towards the valley beyond, as if he were making sure that things were still all quiet along the rest of the border. "Guess I know how that is, at least a little. One of my cousins just left to find his own fortunes." He pauses, and frowns. "At least I think he's a cousin…" Apparently, the family relations confuse him just a bit. "Anyways, I'm pretty used to the company. Big family." He smirks once more, and then shrugs his shoulders to her question about passing judgement. "Well, it's not -my- pride. You're welcome to stay at the borders if you want, though. My father has the final say on guests and that like. I'm just the dumb muscle." He puffs his chest out a little, which ends up just looking a bit silly, especially as he isn't really a broad or particularly muscular lion. "I'm Wingu, by the way. What's your name?" He asks.

Liyana is rather lanky and lean herself, and when Wingu puffs his chest, he is met with a friendy, non-criticizing look. "Liyana. It's nice to meet you, Wingu. I'm sure your father will be passing through soon enough, checking on his borders." She remains seated, tail snaking across her paws idly. "What is your pride like, if you don't mind me asking? You mentioned that you were a guard - are there any other positions?" Liyana pauses, and then adds: "Who leads the hunting party?" This seems to be of utmost importance to her - after all, each pride has their own specific techniques based on the lay of the land, and she will need to get into good graces with the other females.

"Liyana." Wingu repeats the name, and then inclines his head with a politeness that seems a bit off-set to his laid back attitude. "A pleasure to meet you." Apparently someone taught him good manners somewhere along the line. "As for my father… it may be longer than you think. There's a good nine or ten of us that trade off guard-duty. I'm still just a guard in-training. My cousin Kheri is the second in command, though. So you may want to talk to him if you can't catch my dad." He slips into the more familiar way of referring to the king, and then pauses to think over the questions about the pride. "We've got a healer, Kizingo. My brother Korzar is heir to the throne and my mom's the queen. There's a few lionesses who work as scouts. I think that's about it." He leans down to groom over one foreleg thoughtfully. "Kenta used to lead the hunts. Not sure who does now. I haven't watched a hunt since I was little."

Liyana dips her head, though she looks spent - stalking and subsequently losing her prey as left her without much energy to spare. "Your pride sounds fully functional, at least - it's refreshing to see that the King has a Queen. Very few prides extend their leadership to females around here." She does her best to stifle a yawn, lifting a paw to her mouth half-heartedly. "I suppose in that case, if your father will be taking his time, I'll try to catch a nap. I assume I'll be safe here while I rest?" She asks, turning her blue eyes to Wingu

"Functional." Wingu manages to laugh at that particular description of his father's pride, but he doesn't seem to argue it. The young lion does nod his head though as he pushes himself back up to his feet. "Should be safe enough. I'll make sure to pass along word of you to the next guard who comes on duty. I'm sure to be here until the sun sets a quarter further down in the sky." He motions upwards at the sun, with his chin. "Sleep well." He offers kindly enough, and then turns towards the rest of his patrol, glancing now and again over his shoulder towards the lioness to keep her in sight.

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