Cub A Palooza


Gadi - lion cub, son of Kori and Nonceba.
Kesonam - lion, son of Siombe and Nalia.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, pride youth.
Korzar - juvenile lion, son of King Mzohari and Kasjari.
Kunjufu'bisi - lion cub, son of Kesonam and Mzuhali.

Kopje Valley
You come down from the edge of the Valley into a large open plain. Small baobab trees dot the landscape. You can see the cliff edge looming above you, sending a shadow over your body. To the north you can see a large cliff with a waterfall flowing from it. To the west you see some beautiful plains, and there is a large and expansive savannah to the south.

[UP] to the edge of the valley [W]aterfall [C]liff
[L]ukesia's and [S]iombe's [P]lace [P]ath of rememberance
[Sh]aded [P]atch

You can also see a 'runoff stream'.
A fallen 'umbrella thorn' tree lies across the stream.

A cloudy day provides cover from the wicked African sun, but combined with the humidity, they also promise rain. The morning had been full of fog, and even now the heavy moisture makes the day greyed and hazed, moisture clinging to every surface. Even Gadi is speckled with a layer of beaded fog, clinging to his fur and being shaken off the grasses as he walks through the valley. The growing cub is alone, his longer legs beginning to show the first signs of his oncoming growth spurt, though it has yet to really break free. He can be seen leaping up atop the fallen log, striding across to the halfway point as his mis-matched eyes scan the foggy surroundings.

Kikora hops through the dew-speckled grasses, giggling quietly to herself. She's after something, but it doesn't appear as though she's chasing it in earnest — a hop here and a hop there, another loud giggle followed by silence. Whatever she's following is leading her right toward Gadi, unbeknownest to the big cub.

Kesonam carefully pads along the trail from the waterfall cliff, mindful of where and how he steps as he's carrying a small cargo with him this time around. He's got Kunjufu's nape secured in his muzzle, and after spotting the other cubs he turns to head their way.

The cub dangling from his father's muzzle seems perfectly content, his paw in his own muzzle as has come to be his custom when his paws are idle. Occasionally he tries to look up at the larger male, but usually finds himself just staring at a nose, so he pretty much contents himself with dangling there.

From his perch atop the fallen log, Gadi spies the bouncing form of Kikora. A faint, lopsided smirk touches the boy's muzzle, ears cupping forward as he chuffs out in her direction. "Whatcha find, Kiko?" He calls out, tail curling so the black tip can twitch in interest, but he seems content enough where he is instead of moving. Kesonam and his young son are also spied, but they're as of yet too far away to greet without excess volume.

The poor, bumpy-backed toad that Kikora is following looks rather unsettled and irritated. As soon as he hops, here that thing comes after him! His golden eyes blink and he expands his throat, producing a thick and elastic-sounding 'rrrrrbbbt'. Kikora giggles again, her brown eyes gleaming gleefully despite the hanging mist. When Gadi's voice reaches her ears, she makes a 'hhuuuh?' sound and lifts her head, greeting the dark-furred cub with a grin. "Hey! Gadi! Look what -I- found!" She points a paw toward the toad, a proud look on her face. "A…a -toad-!"

Kesonam grows hesitant after getting a better look at the young pair, pausing for a moment to compare their ages against the age of his cargo. Hrm.. But eventually he shrugs it off and continues through the grasses and coming up on the other cubs. Upon arrival, he slowly lowers his head until Kunju's paws touch the ground where he releases his grip, giving the cub a nudge with his muzzle.

Three paws touch down a little before the fourth. Kunjufu looks back up at his father once he's put down, giving the older lion a rather opened-mawed grin. At the nudging, he takes notice of the pair not too far away. Sure, they're bigger than he is, but he can take it! Little paws soon have him running over towards the log that Gadi's on, bobbing somewhat comically as he does so.

Gadi peers down from him post towards the toad, blinking those odd eyes before he grins a toothy smile. "Hah, where'dja find that? It's a big one." Promise of frogs are enough to bring any proper boy running. He may not actually run, but he does hop off the log and trot over towards the older youngster. "They are uuugly, but fun when ya poke 'em! They're all squishy and they hop. Just… don't lick 'em… I learned that the hard way." he says, nose and muzzle wrinkling up. But then distraction comes in the form of Kunju', and Gadi tilts his head with curiosity. A glance is passed to the boy's father, but Kesonam has little to fear, as Gadi approaches the young cub with a grin, trying to keep between Kunju and the stream. "Hey!"

Attention span is still rather short for cubs Kunju's age. It goes towards Kikora and whatever she's looking at, but before he can really get to where she is, Gadi comes over, and his attention is drawn back to the older male, whom he also grins at. He doesn't make any sort of vocalization, but crouches down momentarily, then getting back up and reaching a paw out to swat at Gadi's whiskers.

Gadi seems rather indulgent of the younger male, but then, when you've the oldest and only got a little sister left you tend to be more patient. "I'm Gadi." He states to Kunju, and then perhaps guessing the boy's quite a deal younger, repeats as he places his paw against his chest, "Gadi." Crouching down more onto the other cub's level, he reaches out a paw to gently and slowly swat at Kunju's ear, more than enough room to skitter away.

"Kunjufu'bisi is his name.", comes the rumble from the elder lion, beginning to settle onto his belly and stretching his foreelgs out infront of him. "He's a real quiet one, to be honest. He hasn't made much noise of any kind since he was just a newborn."

The swat to his ear is taken in good humor, and he seems to register the fact that Gadi's speaking, but nothing's understood. A glance is made over his shoulder to his father before he looks back to Gadi and copies the motion of his placing a paw against his chest in a mirror-image fashion.

"Kio… my sister… she was quiet." Gadi says, a brief note of lingering grief touching his voice and dulling parti-colored eyes. "My brother was too, but, he was sick." He turns from unhappier conversation back to the youngster, grinning at the gesture. "You're Kunju…Kunju." Gadi repeats as he touches his chest. "Gadi." And then reaching out, he touches his toes to the other's chest. "Kunju." He doubts it'll get through, but, he doesn't seem to mind.

Kesonam sighs, lowering his head to rest on his paws. "I heard ab—", he cuts himself off almost immediately, pausing to reconsider his next words. He smiles however, nodding as he turns his eyes on the younger of the two. "Kunju works. His name was his mother's idea.. heck, all of them were named by their mother." The elder male abruptly snorts, muttering lightly. "..I never had a say in it."

[Kiko passes out!]

Smile fades in confusion as he detects the note of grief in Gadi's voice… what's that for? Although, yet again, short attention span kicks in and it's forgotten almost as quickly as it came up. Gaze follows Gadi's paw as it touches his own chest… and then repeats the gesture again, reaching out to touch Gadi's chest in return, a bright grin touching his face. He likes this game!

Ack, what was -that-? Kikora's eyes fly open from her little nap, one that overcame her without so much as a warning. "Aww, man!" She says, noticing that 'her' toad is now gone … but now there's a new little lion cub here, one as bright as the sun. Kikora lifts her head and yawns some, blinking her eyes a few times before calling out to Kunjufu, "Hi!"

Korzar slowly comes into view, travelling from the waterfall.
Korzar has arrived.

Hm, perhaps Kunju is too much of a mouthful, and it -is- a decidedly un cub-like sound. So, Gadi seems to get a different idea as the littler cub plants a paw against his chest. Again the gesture is repeated, a clay colored paw put against Kunju's chest, and the older male says then, "Ku. Ku." And then to his own chest, "Ga. Ga." At very least, even if the corn-colored cub doesn't get it, it's distraction enough for Gadi from the lingering thoughts of lost siblings.

More noises are being made, noises that the smaller cub doesn't get any meaning from. He does, however, seem to get that Gadi's repetition is for a purpose. He looks down at Gadi's paw going between the two of them, and slowly repeats the gesture. This is done a few times before he looks up at Gadi's face again with a smile that abruptly fades into a look of confusion. His paws go back to the ground, and he practically shoves his face into Gadi's, going eye-to-eye with the older cub in an inquisative manner. Kikora's greeting goes unanswered.

Kikora hangs back, watching the pair curiously — not sure if she should rouse Kunjufu's father to ask why the cub isn't even -trying- to talk, or if she should giggle at the display between the two boys. Instead, she observes with a comfortable silence, her eyes occasionally drifting off to the distance — but she looks content just being around her playmate, and as Kori put it, her 'little brother'.

Hazel eyes meet one green and one copper eye as Gadi returns the younger cub's gaze. "Okay, I get it, I'm confusing you." Says the clay-colored boy with a smile. "You'll get it, one day, Ku'." And there's that noise again as Gadi gently bump's the younger male's nose with his own. "Don't worry 'bout it."

It's those mismatched eyes that seem to be what Kunjufu's staring at. They get a nice long look before the smaller cub gets nosebumped. After that, his head abruptly lifts as he turns and goes scampering over to Kikora and attempting to look her in the face in the same manner he did Gadi a moment ago, rather invasively.

Cub-a-palooza! Korzar is greeted to the sight of 3(!) other cubs awake as he pads down the soft incline, coming from the waterfall. A grin breaks out on the young juvenile's muzzle, and he quickens his pace to a near-jog. He has rarely had the chance to play with so many other peers at the same, so he's more than a little excited. As he romps nearer, he begins to make out the distinctive shapes, and soon recognizes Kikora and Gadi. The third cub… he's not so sure about. He vaguely recognizes him, but can't remember a name or anything else about the younger cub. "Hey Kiko, Gadi," he greets, once he's close enough. "Who that?" he asks, looking over to the younger cub and eyeing him curiously. What was he doing?

Kikora's face is suddenly invaded by the bright-furred cub, and she lays her ears back in a non-threatening fashion, instinctively lowering her head some. She doesn't say anything, after realizing that the child didn't respond to Gadi's words, instead attempting to cross her eyes, which causes her to giggle quietly a few times. With the same Siamese-look on her face, Kiko' sluuurps at Kunjufu with her rough pink tongue, now unable to hold back her amusement at the little guy's quiet antics. When Korzar approaches, Kiko' lifts her head from the child, grinning at her friend. "This is … " She glances to Gadi now, realizing that she has no idea -who- the cub is, let alone who his parents are. Uh-oh!

Quick to his paws, the old male closes the gap between himself and the youngest of the bunch, coming up upon Kikora & Kunjufu and standing over them with a light scowl. "..He's mine. Well, mine and Mzuhali's. His name is..", he pauses to offer a quick glance to Gadi before turning back to Kikora, smiling a little. "Kunjufu. And forgive him, he's just a little bit off."

Gadi lets the cub scamper off, a grin cracked across his muzzle as he catches on to what's got Kunju so fascinated. He glances over his shoulder towards the moisture-laden vegitation near the creek, but whatever his idea seemed to have been is distracted by Korzar's arrival. "Heya Korzar." He says to the other, older male who's also his uncle, though a bit too close in age to really seem like it. "Been trying to get him to say Ku' at least. Doesn't seem to wanna talk, but, it doesn't seem to be botherin' him any."

Rather all-of-a-sudden, Kunjufu finds himself licked! He startles a little and steps back, seeming to forget his peering a moment ago as a paw lifts to bat at Kikora's whiskers, but his father distracts him. He looks waaaay up at the face above him and catches sight of Kesonam's eyes. Oh yeah! Short attention span returns to Gadi as the cub turns to run back to his cousin.

Korzar blinks as Kes suddenly arrives… he must have missed him in the fog. "Ku," he repeats after Kesonam states his son's name and Gadi soon refers to him by this shortened name as well. Better to keep things simple. But he tilts his head at the lion's next words. "Offff?" he questions, curiously. What's Kes mean by that? Anyways, when Gadi speaks, he turns to the slightly younger cub… who is also his nephew. "That ok. Talkin' is booooring," he responds. Korzar has certaintly never been one to stand around talking, he'd rather be playing or doing something, except in *very* rare situations… like Bal's stories, or, of course, the 'Where do cubs come from?' issue. As a result, he's further behind speech-wise then his brother, and other cubs his age, but that's fiiine with Korzar.

When the much-older lion looms over Kikora and her new, young playmate, she cringes — much like when Kiini did the same back in that strange, frosty forest. "We were just playin' …" she says in a dejected voice, this being her -first- encounter with Kesonam, and it doesn't seem to be a pleasant one. She slinks closer to Korzar, giving the grown male a shifty look over her shoulder. When she's near her friend, Kiko' bumps her chin against his cheek, taking the opportunity to mumble something in his ear. "And, oooh, Mwaliko an' Kiini said cooties -don't- exist!" Seems she's been doing a little research while the boys have been asleep!

You mumble "Jeez, why's he got to be such a meanie face?", to Korzar.
Kikora mumbles "Jeez, … … got to … … … … …", to Korzar.

Kesonam blinks in surprise at the young girl's tone, the adult male slowly shaking his head as he watches her. "Don't think I was mad at you.." But.. he feels it's too late, the lion's ears folding back into his mane as he lowers his head to his son, nosing at the youngling's nape before gripping it with his muzzle and pulling him off the ground.

Gadi doesn't seem too put off by Kesonam, but then, with Kori as his father he's likely able to withstand even the most severe of personalities and wilting of expressions - regardless if they were intended as such. He simply regards the elder male plainly before looking to the lion's son as Kunju comes gamboling back over, offering the young boy a lazy grin as he stretches out and settles onto his belly, only to have the smile fade as Kesonam picks the boy up. Seems playtime is over. Ears sinking slightly, his mis-matched eyes turn towards Kikora and Korzar, watching them speak, but falling silent himself.

As he draws to a stop in front of Gadi, Kunjufu makes sure the older cub is looking, and gives two very pronounced, deliberate blinks, forepaw lifting to reach out and try to touch Gadi's chest afterward. Kesonam, however, plucks him up before the paw can make contact, and the cub who is usually content to be carried around to wherever puts up an enormous struggle for one so small. He wasn't done!

Korzar grins as Kikora approaches, returning his friend's little nuzzle. But his grin freezes and slowly fades as Kikora mumbles into his ear. He lowers his head, and mumbles something back, before lifting his head back up and glaring over at Kesonam. Why'd you upset my friend! Korzar might have *used* to be scared of Kes, but that was back when he was barely older than a tiny newborn. Now he's been on all kinds of adventures, and he knows better than to be afraid of the grouchy old lion. However, Korzar immediately brightens again as Kikora reveals her next piece of information. "No cooooties!" he exclaims happily. "Yaaay!" And almost as if to prove the point that itchy little bugs won't bite him, he snugs against Kikora's side, and then raises a paw, and bats at one of the girl-cub's ears. Grrreat! That means they could play and wrestle and roll around as much as they like!

Korzar mumbles "Is ok, Kes just a old fart.", to Kikora.
Korzar mumbles "… … Kes … a old fart.", to Kikora.

Kikora's ear twitches as Korzar mumbles back to her — her eyes first grow wide, sparkling in the misty air and her jaw drops. And then? Her eyes squeeze shut and she laaaaaughs, her sides and chest heaving, lungs trying to suck in as much air as possible. It takes her a good minute or two before she calms down, giving the older lion a sneaky little look — she doesn't know him at all, but if Kor feels that way, then she'll be more than likely to adopt his outlook. After all, none of the other lions have -scowled- at her like that, not even Kiini. "Look, he won't even let us play with Kunjufu!" She cries out, her eyes sliding between Kor, Gadi and the little yellow fuzz-ball. "What kind of daddy doesn't let his own cub plaaaay?"

Kesonam blinks in surprise at the struggle the youngling gives, and immediately lowers his head back down to release the cub and let him finish whatever he was doing with Gadi. "Well, if you still want to play with 'im I can stick around for a little bit lon—" Waitasec.. did Korzar just say.. The old lion's eyes suddenly narrow, turning and starting to storm over to the other cubs. "How.. MANY TIMES.. have I told you not to.." he arrives, dropping his head to mock-snarl at the young male. "CALL ME THAT!?" But immediately afterward the old male reaches out with a paw and starts ruffling Korzar 'tween the ears, grinning. "Yer the old fart around here now, y'know!"

Gadi squints his eyes as Kunju begins to gesture, obviously catching he mean's something, but then he's in the air and struggling and then put back down. And then Kesonam is yelling, and Gadi scowls to the entire group beyond the corn-colored infant and snorts. "Shush, you'll scare 'im!" He scolds the lot, even the boy's own father, before Gadi looks back towards Kunjufu. Recalling what the boy was trying, he too blinks, slow and distinct, before reaching out a paw.

If his father had still been right next to him when he snarled, Kunjufu might've fled for the hills. Of course, it's also possible that he's been around the male enough to learn that he can sometimes be rather loud. As it is, Kesonam just gets an unsure glance over his shoulder. Gadi's scolding gets his attention soon enough, and he looks a little unsurely at the older boy before his blinking is repeated, and the paw comes out. Kunju repeats the two blinks right after, and then puts his paw against Gadi's, trying to shove it back to touch the other boy's chest along with his own.

Oops. Apparantly Korzar has forgotten how to mumble. Great, Kes was sure to be happy. Yup, soon enough Kes is storming over. Korzar continues to hold his ground as the old lion charges, only cringing at the noise as the lion yells. Korzar is unafraid of Kesonam… he now knows better than to fall for the lion's mean and grumpy act, especially after what Wingu has told him. He glances, concerned, over to Kiko, afraid that she may take Kes' loud display very differently. He glares back up to Kesonam after the big lion ruffles his little pre-mane. "You too loud," he mutters, raising a paw and rubbing at a still-ringing ear. When Gadi scolds everybody, Korzar falls silent and looks curiously over to the smallest cub of the lot's interaction with Gadi. He slides sideways towards Kikora, bumping her gently, offering her a little reassurance, in case she's been frightened by Kesonam.

Now, what's this … something a bit -out- of her character! Kikora issues a low, cubbish growl in Kesonam's direction, her muzzle and nose wrinkled as she does so. She's still behind Korzar, falling silent only when she hears Gadi's plea for them to keep it down — Kunjufu's up to something! The cub immediately loses interest in her defensive display — and it was just a big act anyway, much like Kesonam's burst of anger — and peers curiously in Kunju and Gadi's direction, her hips bumping amicably up against Korzar's, giving him a friendly little nuzzle, one that seems to mean 'thanks'. She does steal a few worried glances in the elder lion's direction, ready to run if she needs to!

Gadi seems absorbed with the silent communication between him and Kunjufu. He pays rapt attention to what the boy is trying to do. His eyes blink, against that distinct one-two with those bi-colored eyes. Then his outstretched paw is shoved, and after a moment's confusion, lets it be guided back to his own chest. "…Ga?" He offered, trying to discern what the cub is trying to convey.

"..Yeah, I guess I'm a little loud.", the old male chuckles as he moves to take a seat beside the pair, tail curling up along his side as he feels content to just watch his son play with the other cub. "I don't know if you know this, Korzar, but you've got a big responsibility now that you've got to share with your brother. You're Kunju's uncle, you know." He quickly glances briefly to the young female, flashing her a particularly goofy grin before looking back towards Gadi.

The syllable is meaningless to Kunjufu, but he catches the tone. As far as he can tell, Gadi doesn't understand. So the cub tries again, retracting his paw. Two deliberate blinks, and his paw returning to Gadi's chest the way the boy was pointing between the two of them earlier.

Korzar glances interestedly between Kesonam and his son, eyes flicking back and forth every few moments. Keeping your attention focused on two things is tough! "Res… Responsi… Resbili… wha?" Korzar doesn't know that big word. As he watches his *two* nephews, Korzar blinks. He knows he's their 'uncle' like his mom had semi-explained, but he doesn't really know what that means. It's just a word to him. "Yeaah?" he affirms uncertaintly as Kesonam asks him about being Kunjufu's uncle. Yeah, he is, but what the heck does that mean?

Kikora drops her head shyly when Kesonam gives her his cheesy grin, now feeling bashful around the strange, unpredictable elder … and so she distracts herself by trying to fill Korzar in on the details, her own mother spending what felt like -hours- explaining family relations to her. "Uncle's when you're their mommy or daddy's brother, and aunt is when you're their mommy or daddy's sister!" Ah, useless knowledge — but in a cub-populated valley like this, it seems like a good thing to know your blood relations. She flicks her eyes between Korzar and Gadi now, trying to decipher just what Kunjufu is trying to convey. The brilliantly colored child has managed to shove Gadi's paw to his own chest, and he's blinking … but what does -that- mean? She looks like she's in the dark on this one, wondering if anybody will fill her in like she did for Kor.

Gadi seems at as much of a loss with Kunju's gestures as the boy was with his words, but the clay-colored youth sets his mouth in a determined line to try and understand. He thinks he gets the blinking, he things, but the gesture doesn't seem to be sinking in yet. He looks down to his own paw against his chest, and hesitantly tries to urge the younger boy's paw against his own yellow-hued chest.

Kesonam nods, smiling warmly now at the young female. "You're absolutely right, but being an aunt or uncle at your age is much more important." His attention turns to Korzar now, trying to explain the best he can so the young male understands. "Alright.. you know when you ask an adult somethin', and you can't really understand what they say back to ya? But when you ask an older cub you get it? Well that's you, you're the older cub so they're gonna ask you stuff. Also.. you & Wingu are the best ones to show them how to play, cuz Mzu and I are way too big." The old male tilts his head, hoping he got the point across. "..Y'get it?"

The bit of Gadi trying to push his paw back against his own chest only serves to confuse Kunju. He looks down to Gadi's paw as it pushes his own paw back against his chest, looks back up at Gadi's face, and sits there in confusion. Apparently whatever it is he thinks Gadi's trying to communicate back to him is something that only leaves him wondering. He tries it all over again, putting his paw down and repeating it all. Two blinks, paw touches Gadi's chest in a deliberate manner. Two blinks, it comes back to his own chest much more hesitantly, and his head tilts.

Korzar listens as Kikora explains. Okay… so it's when his brother and sister have cubs… and Nonceba and Mzuhali are his -much- older sisters! At least he now knows what it means when someone calls him an 'uncle'. Korzar still stares blankly at Gadi's and Kunjufu's little show. He has no idea what is going on. It looks like the littlest cub was trying to convey *something*, but as for what that is, Korzar is lost. He looks back to Kes when he explains, listening hard, and pondering the words. After a few moments of silence, with his gaze becoming focused on his own front paws as he thinks, he raises his eyes back to Kes. "Uh huh," he nods, albeit still somewhat hesitantly. "Want me to teach 'em stuff?" Korzar glances to Kikora, somewhat suprised. They were supposed to tell all the littler cubs about thinks like cooties and how cubs are made? Weeeird, but he guesses it's kinda cool too…. and definitely an important job.

Kikora begins to look a little sleepy, despite her unexpected nap earlier in the day. "I can teach 'em how to fish!" She says with some excitement, peering at Korzar. He's the only one who's seen her actually catch something out of the waterfall pond, and she was quite proud of her little accomplishment. "And when Balana takes us to the volcaaaano, we can tell 'em about it and about Kwasi and Naaalia and Siombe and Zaleeema." She grins brightly, though her eyes are beginning to lid some. "And … how cubs are made, too." She grins at this last bit, having already informed Gadi and Lailen what Kori taught her. She lowers herself until her belly is touching the wet grass, and promptly spraaawls out next to Kor.

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