Hamaki - lioness, member of the Tsavo pride.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, pride youth.
Korzar - juvenile lion, son of King Mzohari and Kasjari.
Mtukutu - lion, King of the Tsavo pride.
Mzimu - lioness, member of the Tsavo pride.
Nabana - lion, son of Balana and Nyanya.
Royathi - serval, acquaintace of the Kopje lions.

_( The Pride Lands )___
(PL) East of Pride Rock
The savannah east of Pride Rock offers one of the more famous sights of the
great monolith, with it's promontory jutting out right in your direction.
Green grasses race along the ground in wild strands, carpeting the ground
completely in a sea of emerald. The grasses here are still decent for grazing,
but no hunts are conducted here for this is sacred ground. This vast expanse
of grassland has been used by generations of lions to lay the dead to rest.
The unobstructed view of the sky ensures their spirit finds their way to the
stars with ease. The open nature of this part of the savanna is prone to gusty
bursts of wind the can vary in temperature from cooling breezes to warm
breaths. Whatever the temperature, one can always feel the peaceful
significance of this place.

The afternoon sky is mostly cloudy, with calm winds.

[N] West of the Water Hole [NE] Water Hole [ENE] Meerkat Colony
[E] Water Hole Stream (West Bank) [ESE] West of the Kopje Spring
[SE] Northern Great Savannah [S] Northwestern Great Savannah
[SW] Northern Dry Plains [W] Front of Pride Rock
[NW] Northern Savannah [A]cacia [T]ree

~ In the distance, a lion king roars!

Kikora is crouched up against Korzar, making herself as compact as possible. She doesn't move … she hardly even -breathes-. She's scared, and it's been a while since she's had anything to eat or drink. She's spent the entire day huddled as close to her friend as possible.

~ From afar, the barely discernible roar of a lion can be heard.

It's been a surprisingly good sleep on Nabana's part. He's not sure about Korzar, but relatively sure that Kikora's not inclined to go wandering. An eye cracks open upon hearing some distant roaring, but he pays it little mind. Gaze does a quick scan of the area. Sure enough, the pair of juveniles are still huddled nearby. Good! Maybe they have a little sense after all.

The dry winds have shifted, bringing the rich scents of the Kopje Spring in the distance toward Pride Rock. Among these scents, however, comes another scent that catches the attention of the Tsavo lions. Mtukutu sets out at once to investigate and can be seen approaching from the west. With Pride Rock as the backdrop, his maned visage grows larger as the distance between himself and the visitors closes. His expression is calm, though the occasional arcing of his tail suggests a hint of annoyance.

Royathi hasn't moved too far away from her conversation with Nabana before, though she's not entirely discernable when ears prick up from the long grass she's sprawled out in upon hearing a roar off in the distance. If anything it just makes her chuckle to herself in remembering a comment about leonine roars as she merely stretches her forelimbs out before herself in gradually picking herself up onto her belly rather then being led out upon her side.

… and, almost out of nowhere, the atmosphere changes. Though nothing has trekked through this section of the grasses all day long, suddenly it seems to bring two frightening things, one being Nabana's awakening. The second, still unseen to Kikora, is the patchy scent of another lion. Ohhh great. She tries to worm her way even closer to Korzar, despite the heat of the day. The distant roars from Mzohari and Kori — the kids' respective parents — just send another jolt of worry through the poor cub. Ack!

Whether Nabana actually sees Mtukutu or not is hard to say. Either way, he certainly doesn't give any indication of it. It's possible he doesn't see him, but it's equally possible he's ignoring the other lion's presence. Gaze lingers on the pair of juveniles for a while, before he eventually speaks up to Kikora. "What're you all scared for? I thought this is what you all /wanted/ to do."

Mtukutu has all but disregarded the roars from the direction of Kopje. Noisy bunch that they are. The small group that lie ahead are the focus of his attention for the time being. The lion's presence is noted and regarded cooly; yet it is to him that Mtukutu's course alters. The low rumble trailing from the depths of his chest strengthen as he draws nearer. His gaze sweeps out over the pair of young ones next, one of whom is recognized as the curious youngster that was brought here by his mother sone time back. The other is unrecognized. Royathi's presence nearby is also noted and welcomed, even managing to bring a small smile to his muzzle. The smile all but fades as his attention turns back to Nabana. "A little far from the border, aren't you?"

As unaware of the more immediate leonine activity as she is, Royathi certainly takes her time raising up onto the surface of her feet and sliding out from the long grass she took refuge in to nap. Dewdrops of moisture clinging to her tawny pelt because of such and she's just about to lift a paw to start about grooming the side of her muzzle when she notices movement nearby. Her gaze shifting sidelong to spot Mtukutu which initially cheers her before she remembers Nabana's presence from before. Oh, that can't be good..

Just before Mtukutu manages to bridge the gap between the pair of 'unwelcomed' lions, Kikora shoots him a rather dull and exhausted glance. "Not the same." What she means isn't terribly clear — it's either not the same now that Nabana is in on it, or because this land's King is now involved. She and Kor' could have been out here, played a bit, and then snuck home … but now it's complicated and almost unpleasant for the kid. As Mtukutu approaches, she shrinks down again and breathes quietly, trying not to draw attention to herself. She doesn't know if Nabana would protect her if needed.

"It's what you wanted, isn't it? Or maybe you would've preferred a less-friendly face to have found you." The rumble is heard, and Nabana casts a vague, disinterested glance in his direction, before continuing on around to catch sight of Royathi. He doesn't quite get a chance to finish whatever he was going to tell Kikora before Mtukutu's near him. "A little," he agrees simply.

"A little too much, I think." Mtukutu's tone is deep, yet calm. There's a certain edge to it, however, that suggests he is not in a mood to deal with Nabana's attitude tonight. Another glance is given toward the younger leonines, and a small frown creeps across his features. "Why have you brought them here?" he asks, turning his icy gaze back to Nabana as he slows to a halt a comfortable distance from the group. His tail jerks then sweeps across the dry grass tops.

Royathi pauses for a long moment in debating if this is one of those moments she should simply scoot off and let lions do .. whatever they do. Unfortunately she knows there's younger ones presence and it's a concerned nature that draws her still partially damp form to start loping in toward the three of them to see how things are. Admittedly she doesn't choose to announce herself with a habitual chirp, but she's pretty sure she's already been long since spotted.

Kikora frowns a bit, unable to explain to Nabana -why- it just isn't as fun with an adult present. Of course she wanted to come here, but not under these circumstances … sigh. For now, she remains huddled next to her friend, making herself as compact as possible. Mtukutu's proximity makes her tense, and though she may not understand just -why- the two aren't so fond of one another, she's not dumb … she's picking up on the vibes of displeasure, big time. Even Royathi, who she's terribly curious of, remains unnoticed at the moment.

There's no response to his statement of Nabana being too far in past the border. With young ones that aren't his own present, he's probably inclined to behave himself… at least a little bit. "My nephew's suggestion, but this is as far as we made it before they got tired. I can't carry two sleeping juveniles at once, and I wasn't about to leave one of them behind in the open." One thing he hasn't done, though, is even change his position from where he's laying, save for lifting his head to look at Mtukutu.

Korzar stirs, bumping into Kikora as he attempts to unconsciously roll over in his sleep. This contact, in addition to the rumble of voices, is enough to get the juvenile to open his eyes. "Whas' goin' on?" he groggily asks, blissfully unaware of any tension that there may be. He raises a paw to rub the sleep out of his eyes, and he cranes his neck as he begins to peer sleepily at his surroundings.

"Well, of course. A cub's suggestion is always just cause for crossing into another Kingdom without permission." Mtukutu smiles. "Perhaps I shall pay Kopje a visit of my own, in kind." Mtukutu's distaste for Nabana is evident now as he merely disregards the lion with a grunt, turning instead to the youngsters. The unease shown by the young lioness is seen and Mtukutu settles back upon his haunches to help relax her. "Hello there, young one." he offers softly, glancing to the other, recognized youth as he begins to stir. "And hello to you, Korzar."

[Kikora naps.]

Korzar is caught looking curiously as yet another new lioness makes her way over, but all of a sudden he realizes something's wrong. He looks up to see Uncle Nabana stationed protectively over him, and when he looks at Mtukutu he can see the other big lion is no longer smiling either. Somehow he has missed all the tension up until now… but he's just a cub, so he tends to be unobservant. He suddenly remembers Nabana's harsh description of Mtukutu from the other day, having forgotten it in the excitement of actually meeting him. Uh oh… he stays quiet, eyes darting back and forth between the king of the pridelands and his uncle.

Hamaki looks over to her opposite side as Mzimu comes and settles down. She gives the lioness a welcoming smile, but Mtukutu and Nabana's words are more than enough to demand the lioness's attention. If she didn't know better, she could have sworn that Nabana insulted him, if not outright challenged him. She doesn't bother to say anything, as she assumes Mtukutu's reaction will be anything but positive.

Kikora stirs now, coming out of a very thin sleep … her hunger and thirst are foremost in her mind, at least until she realizes where she is. She isn't safely tucked against Kasjari back at the waterfall — she's out in the grassy fields of another territory. She opens her eyes and finds that it has become more populated since she drifted off into uneasy dreams, and her cowering position doesn't change. Gulp.

"Well, everyone's entitled to their opinions, now aren't they?" Mtukutu's tone deepens dangerously. The fact that the lion moves to stand defensively before the cubs brings about a snort from the Pridelands King. "Just what do you take me for, Nabana? A savage? The cubs are welcomed guests here and most certainly will not be harmed! It is -you- that is not." His tail lashes firmly. "I've been incredibly patient with you thus far. Allowed you to remain here on my territory at the Water Hole. Endured the childish words you speak about me to my pridemates and other guests of the Kingdom. Even hoped that one day we could resolve our differences and at least be civil towards one another. But your blatant disregard for my pride's territory is proof enough that you're not interested. No more! Leave now!"

Mzimu's ears flick up, then back again. She ducks her head a bit and nods to Hamaki lightly as she leans lightly against her. She fidgets ever so lightly and just watches everything unfold.

A sneering smile works its way into Nabana's features. "You think you have it all figured out, don't you? It isn't your /pride's/ claim to this land I have no regard for. It's /your/ claim here that I simply refuse to recognize. My presence here with this pair is doing you no harm, and yet you insist I leave. And if you /really/ wanted to resolve our differences, you should've came and FACED me after your latest transgression against me: doing whatever you did to sway Haiba away from me when she was still /my/ mate. First there was Tia, then there was Sayt… and the latest being Haiba. Where were you to discuss THAT with me?"

Korzar eyes continue to flicker between Mtukutu and Nabana, not understanding most of what they're yelling about… there's a lotta big words being used. He only glances down as he feels something brush his side, spotting Kikora awake again, and she's clearly freaked out. He bumps his head gently into her side… one of the few things he did pick up from the shouting is that the Pridelands king wasn't gonna hurt any cubs. But still… who likes yelling? "Uncle 'Bana," he hisses, pawing at one of Nabana's forelegs. "Think we should go."

Hamaki frowns outright at the latest retort from Nabana. The lion triggers an old sensitive spot with Hamaki. Though her tone stays steady, her glare is anything but welcoming. "I've already tried with Sayt, but your selective hearing isn't going to hear what anyone has to say, Nabana. I think its pretty safe to say that the same would happen if someone tried to talk to you about Haiba. Mtukutu's right, and so is the cub Nabana. Its time for you to leave."

Whaaaat … is going on, exactly? She peers at Korzar after he nudges her and gives him a small tic of a smile, though it is quickly lost once the two males start in with it again. So … Mtukutu stole some of Nabana's mates, and Mtukutu isn't happy that Nabana is on his territory … gotcha. When the idea that it's time to get out of Dodge arises, Kikora seems almost too eager. "Home," she says in a low voice that is almost lost in the thick tension, her brown eyes wide and black-ringed ears drawn back neatly. This excursion turned out to be pretty sour!

"Again, everyone is entitled to their opinions." Mtukutu responds with an incline of his muzzle. "My claim here is just as valid as any other lion who holds territory. And rest assured, Nabana, I will back this up with claws and teeth if it comes to that. I can only hope that you have a lick of sense in you to avoid matters escalating that far." There's an early calmness in the Tsavo King's tone as he speaks. "I am sure that you would do the very same were our situations be reversed." And then it comes out. All the reasons for the animosity. These transgressions. To this, Mtukutu simply frowns. Hamaki's response hits the nail on the head. "I tried to reason with you about Sayt's death. I tried to explain what happened. But you and your damned narrow mindedness wouldn't hear anything of it. You had it set in your mind that I was responsible and that was that. Well guess what, Nabana. It was a choice. It was HIS choice to make, and HE sacrificed himself for the one he loved." His eyes narrow. "Maybe if you would look past the tip of your nose for once and see that others have the ability to make choices for themselves, rather than just -assuming- I did it all to you, myself, you'll understand why things have happened the way they have."

Though he directs his words to Hamaki, Nabana's gaze never leaves Mtukutu. "I have heard your condolences, Hamaki. Your apologies, and acknowledgements of my son's valour. I have heard who did the deed, and the circumstances under which it happened. I have heard that he chose to stand and fight. None of that is where my problems with the situation lie." He feels Korzar pawing at him, and gives him a quick mutter of, "Soon," and nothing more, before he goes back to addressing Mtukutu. "If you /truly/ want peace? Then stand up for your responsibility. You are the supposed head of this pride. The first one into battle, and the last one out of it. When you aren't there, what happens in the territory you claim should be /your/ responsibility. Until you are ready to look me in the eye and tell me that as the king you SHOULD have been there that day, and SHOULD have been the one who had his entrails spread from the gorge to the waterhole, then I sure as hell am not going to acknowledge you as a king. Hell, as his father, /I/ should have been there to perish before he. But at least I have enough recognition of myself to know I'm a sinner. You're too arrogant to even consider that a possiblity." He slowly starts to move back from his posture over the cubs, primarily so he can try and take a hold of Kikora.

Ugh, confusing! What the heck were the big lions talking about? There's a couple of names that stick out, but one in particular is repeated… Sayt. Nabana's dead son? But how'd that happen? Korzar resolves to ask Gramma Bal about *that* name when they get home… after all, she knows everything, right? Anyways, Korzar just stays close to Kikora while he waits for his uncle, the juvenile's gaze back on Mtukutu and the unknown lioness, listening intently with his head cocked to one side.

Hamaki shakes her head at the reply given by the lion, "You'll never see the light, Nabana." Hamaki answers after hearing what is replied to her. "Come on, Mtukutu, its just a wasted effort." Hamaki nudges her mate's shoulder and then rises up and stretches some. "Lets go."

Poor little Kiko resigns, allowing Nabana to grasp at her scruff — she'd probably bolt out of here on her own four paws if given the word, but since Korzie got the free ride out here, she figures it's her turn now. She casts a wild look at her friend, her eyes wide enough to fall right out of her face! She's too young to really understand what's going on between Nabana and Mtukutu, but she -does- know that it isn't good and will probably never be resolved. It isn't as if one of them shoved the other into some water while they weren't paying attention … there was talk of blood and guts! She's -ready- to get out of here, and wonders what would have happened if she and Kor had managed to sneak out without Nabana. Hmm.

"This is only further proof of your narrow mindedness, Nabana." Mtukutu replies in that low, calm tone like before. "Do you not think for one moment that I regret not being out there that night when he was attacked?" He tilts his head. "Do you not think that I would have died in his place if I could have?" The nosing to his shoulder is met with a soft grunt from Mtukutu. "No, love. I want this to end." He turns back and continues on, "I loved Sayt as a son, and I respected him for the lion he was. We were at war! And if I could have anticipated that sneak attack while he was out patrolling, I would have damn well done things differently!" He snorts. "If you think that I have no regrets for what happened, you are SORELY mistaken, Nabana! You didn't even give me a chance to explain the first time and I'm sure not going to hold my breath and hope that any of -this- has sunk in." His gaze finally pulls away from the male, instead turning to the young ones. Their expressions say it all and his features soften; looking apologetic. Great. A new generation to despise him.

Nabana has his maw around Kikora and even has her picked up a few inches off the ground when he stops to listen to Mtukutu. It's hard to tell exactly what he may be thinking, or how much he is taking in. He pauses a moment, and seems to be debating whether to set Kikora down and say something or not. Ultimately, he finishes picking her up, looks down at Korzar and gives him a muffled grunt around the juvenile he's carrying, and a nod for him to follow before he turns his back on the local monarch and starts off at a leisurely pace towards the east.

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