Meeting The Cubs


Balana - lioness, Kopje Valley's Queen Mother.
Inyago - lion cub, son of Balana and Siombe.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, pride youth.
Uzo - lioness cub, daughter of Balana and Siombe.

Circular Outcropping
You walk out of the safety of the cave and look around in awe. The lands are
more beautiful than you ever imagined. An incredible view catches your eye
and has you turning your head for a moment. Looking straight ahead, the
outcropping extends into a slender raised path that creates a divide
between the two parts of the inside volcano. It seems to terminate at
the center of the volcano directly under the large circular opening.

To your right and left are gentle spiraling slopes that go down into
the two halves of the inner land. On the right, there is a large open
area of bright green that takes up the most of the view. On the left
there are higher plants that look like grasses and a rough path.
The volcano makes a natural cone as it's sides slope inward to
reach for the wide upper opening.

You can go down the gradual slope to the {right}
You can walk forward onto the slender division in the {middle}
Or you can go {back} to the inner cave
You can go down the gradual slope to the {left}

Balana is laying near her cubs, laying between them and a couple of juveniles not too far off. She looks particularly unhappy with the both of them.

Inyago looks up sadly at his mother as he sees her unpleased.

Pout, pout, pout. Kikora -knows- that she's in trouble, and she's all but wiggling in agony over it. Her curiosity has gotten her in over her head this time, and now she's starting to feel the repercussions … and not just Balana's uncharacteristic display of fury. She's hungry. She hadn't eaten much of anything since before the adventure began, save for a few -very- unlucky little volcano lizards, and they were hardly palatable! She's also been a little teary-eyed since Balana discovered them, and her desire to romp around this awesome volcano has been effectively squashed. Aww!

Balana doesn't yet take notice of Inyago waking up. She's been silent for quite some time… but finally does speak up again to Kikora, having collected herself. "Honestly, I don't know what possessed you two to come out here. You'd best be thankful to Hajima if he sends help within the next day or two, because until that time, you'd probably better get used to a hungry feeling. I don't much have the energy for bringing down very large prey by myself."

Uzo is being a peaceful cub, and has been since the start.. perhaps it's the whole 'last out' thing, but she's proving to be the most content of the bunch, nursing often and sleeping most the rest of the time, two things that are nice and worth focusing on rather than all that other weird stuff she can't make sense of.

Inyago looks up to his mommy and hears her speaking, but can't very understand what's she saying. To him, though she doesn't sound very happy and that makes his ears droop. He shifts a little to try and get even closer to Balana. It isn't until a few moments of staring later that he even sees Kikora, but he chooses to look at his mother instead soon after.

Kikora seems surprised that Balana is even speaking to her, and though her tone has cooled down from its previous fiery incarnation, it isn't any better — it's cold now, leaving the poor kid in visible discomfort. "I try finding something?" She offers, sniffling some. Luckily Korzar is sleeping, or else she'd have a hard time hiding her tears and all the nice, mucusy-things that come with it. "Likeahare?" She says a bit too fast, blending three words together nervously. "Or … or …" and then it dawns on her. She knows how to -fish-! And she -swears- she saw something glimmering farther down in the caldera, suggesting there's some body of water here. "Fish, fish! I go fishin'!"

"Anything you can catch is going to be a necessity, but I don't want you doing anything stupid and going after something that is /way/ too big for you." The lioness sighs and shakes her head. "We aren't going to face starvation or anything like that… but if it's more than a couple of days, you are probably going to know some hungry nights." Balana glances over towards the cubs after a moment, and notices Inyago's movement. She gets up, and turns to move over to where the four cubs are piled together. "Hi, kiddo," she says in a somewhat troubled tone as her tongue flicks out to groom between Inyago's ears.

Eh! Movement.. activity! Whyyyyy? Uzo rattles her head and pokes it up and around, sniffing about while her brother gets the head licks. She's late in opening her eyes, perhaps just not seeing much point to it yet, though there's definately something up, much to her chagrin.

Inyago meekly cranes his head as Balana comes close and starts grooming between his ears. He gives a little smile at that, enjoying the attention. He seems to have forgotten about his mother's unhappy tone for now, more concerned with pushing his head towards her and being closer. He doesn't even notice the wakening of his sister yet.

Though there is a considerable amount of distance between young Kiko' and Balana, the little lioness strains her eyes to get a look at the new, fuzzy-furred cubs. These are the youngest cubs she's ever seen, and there is an insatiable curiosity in her that can't be sated … at least until she gets a better look at them. Her eyes then wander away, and out to the spread of the volcano's collapsed interior. Is there anything out there that could hurt her or Korzar? Would Balana, as frustrated with them as she is, even allow them to go down to the lake? Both of them are strong swimmers, and Korzar seemed to like the fish she caught a while back. For now, she remains silent and feels total exclusion, really not liking it! She wants to crawl into Balana's arms and let the lioness tell her that everything is okay. :(

Balana sighs gently. "Hi dearheart. Did we wake you up?" Some cubs seem to be rather sensitive to emotions and such, after all, especially bad ones. "I'm sorry. But it's probably for the better anyway. I'd like to be able to get a little bit of sleep later on." Uzo gets a lick as well since she appears to be moving about, before Balana looks back over at Kikora. "It might be for the better if we move further down into the volcano."

Oof! What's that! It's good, so no problem. Uzo still tries to sniff at it, though, but it's moved away by then… more strange sensations.. hmm… sniffsniff

Inyago offers a little 'Mwah' of happiness at his mother talking to them, though he doesn't understand what she's saying. She still doesn't seem very happy, but Inyago is a little more okay with it since she's talking to them. When his mother looks over to Kikora, he stays looking at her expectantly, already having forgotten about the little lioness.

Woe is Kikora! With this new set of cubs, she's already noticing that she's going to have to plead for Balana's attention. The first signs of the green-eyed monster start to creep in, and she spares a forlorn glance at her sleeping companion. Maybe Kasjari and Mwaliko will still love on her when they get back to the valley … Aiheu knows little Kiko' needs it, especially after the last few days. She swings her heavy gaze back to Balana and expresses a breathy sigh, climbing to her paws. She doesn't stand as she normally does — peppy and excited … no, no, she's hunched and drawn, looking both tired and dejected.

Well, some of it could be the fact that she's still upset over the pair of juveniles that made their way here. And worried. She's not only looking over her own cubs, but her grandson, and Kikora too. "Now don't start like that. Yes, you did wrong, and yes, it's going to be hard until we get some help over here, and you two are going to be in plenty of trouble when we get home… but once we get a little more settled and I can bring down something, I'll tell you all about the volcano."

The air does have a fairly tence feeling to it, making Uzo a bit uncomfortable, but she's not sure why, really. A little bit of squirming is done, rubbing against her siblings in the process, but that doesn't seem to do any good, so she stops and goes back to sniffing around.

Inyago's eyes open a little bit wider as he sees that his mommy is talking to Kikora again, looking at the little lioness briefly again. When Uzo rubs against him, his attention is stolen away for a bit as he looks at her now. Seeing her sniffing, he starts sniffing lightly too in the same general area, trying to see what she's smelling.

Kikora peers distrustfully at Balana, remembering how she delivered a cuff to Korzar — and even though it appeared to be harmless and more of a warning than anything, she's not going to forget it. She hasn't forgotten Kiini's booming voice -or- when Vikali swatted her for coming out here the first time! She veers a healthy distance from the grown lioness and pauses, glancing out to the rest of the volcano. Despite Balana's promise of telling her about the volcano, Kiko's interest in it seems to have waned without the hype of Korzar — and he is blissfully sleeping, not experiencing the strange coldness exuding from the new mother. If this is what having cubs does to you, she's -never- having any! Hmmph! "…. 'kay," she says in a low voice, lifting one forepaw to wipe idly at her face and nose.

Balana simply shakes her head at the juvenile's behavior. Well… if she's going to be that way, so be it. "Look, Kikora… life is different when there's no pride around to help you out. Right now it's a matter of one rapidly aging lioness needing to look after four newborn cubs and two growing juveniles. It has the potential to be extremely dangerous if the wrong individuals were to come along."

Sniff sniff.. Bleh! Mother's scent is a good thing, gotten that down and good at recognizing it.. but there's others.. some constant, some not.. why is that? Meh, too much to figure out. The little ghostly cub thusly yawns widely, puffing cub breath in her brother's face before settling in again.

Inyago doesn't seem to catch on to as much scent just yet as Uzo. His can recognize his mothers and his siblings by now, but the others he simply doesn't know. As Uzo yawns in his face, Inyago turns his face away from the scent, licking at his nose in response before having his attention recaptured by his mother. He's a little sleepy, but he always likes watching her, keeping his little eyes on her movements and trying to get closer.

She's just pouting — but it's also a little more than that, too. She expected something completely different from Balana, thinking that the lioness would open up and show off her new litter to she and Korzar. Kikora was wrong! Besides, she feels as if she's more self-reliant than the adults are giving her credit for. Of course, the adults are 100% correct in their assumption, but Kiko' doesn't want to recognize this. She can fish, darn it. That's at least -something-. Her brown eyes roll in their sockets tiredly until they rest on Balana, and it's in them that all of her unspoken words are revealed: she's sorry, and she feels absolutely -terrible- about it all, and wishes that Bal would ease up a bit. It looks like she knows just how wrong she was to come out here.

Right now, she's not going to ease up from the look of things. She does, however, stop talking about it. "Well, either way, come on. You'll be more comfortable down in the grasses of the volcano." Since Balana can only move one at a time, and Inyago's the one who looks to the biggest wiggler, he's the one she grabs first and starts to lead the way on down one of the slopes.

Inyago lets himself be picked up by his mother with little resistance, craning his head up at first as he expects another lick between his ears. When he instead gets grabbed, he seems surprised, but okay, swaying around just a little in her grip.

Kikora thinks that the grasses Bal mentions -do- sound much nicer than this area … and she glances over her shoulder at Korzar. "Can we wake up Korzie? Can he come too?" She seems to let the situation drop as well, but isn't too keen on leaving her only friend (at least in THIS place!) behind. She shuffles her paws as she moves just a teeny bit closer to the lioness, watching the way she holds her child. It doesn't look like she'll be getting an answer just yet, maybe next round!

Celestial Gardens
As you enter as sense of awe overtakes you. Looking around you can see various
plants of magnificent colors. Flowers bloom beautifully all around you and
you are surrounded in a high amount of green. There is a large open spot
in the middle where it appears that nothing has grown and some overgrowth
provides shade there as well. You can lies out on the ground and look
about at the beautiful plants that have been made here.

Looking back you can still see the trail and the divison cutting your view
of the other side. The warm nature of this dormant volcano has made this a
spot of warmth and comfort as a cool breeze spirals down every once
in a while to cool you off.

You can climb back {up} the left slope Move on {T}oward the Lake

It's not a very long trip down the slope. A few glances around and Balana heads over to a patch of grass with a few flowers and puts Inyago down. "I'll be bringing him down too. But for the moment, keep an eye on Inyago here for me. I don't think he's going to go far, but he seems the most wiggly of the bunch."

Kikora watches Balana carefully, giving her a nervous little nod when she appoints her as Inyago's Official Watcher while she's off grabbing the other cubs. She takes this opportunity to inch a bit closer to him, knowing that she'd probably get her paw bitten off if she made to touch him … so she doesn't. She wants to keep all of her limbs, thank you! Instead, her ears push forward and she -staaaares- at him, hoping he doesn't prove to be too much of an issue. She wants to make it up to Balana, and would absolutely -die-, right here on the spot, if things went awry.

Inyago looks up and offers a "Myah" to his mommy as she sets him down and he turns around to look at her. He knows that she's talking about him, so he tries to move closer to her and rub against her. As he sees Kikora staring at him so intently, he lays an ear back, shifting closer to Balana and turning to look at her instead.

Well, it looks like Balana's going to leave Inyago to Kikora, as she heads back up the slope.

Balana has left.

Kikora blinks a bit as Inyago reacts to her and she holds her breath. What to do now that Bal is gone? She wiggles her toes a bit, trying not to stare quite -so- hard at him … allowing a few glances around, just to make the little boy feel a bit more comfortable, or so she hopes!

Inyago stares after his mother when she leaves, looking quite confused as she starts walking away and doesn't stay with him. Once she goes up the slope, he lets out a little bit of a cry for her, trying to get her to come back. He repeats the cry on and on, trying for the same result, even when she's quite clearly out of sight.

Erp! Kikora isn't quite sure how to react to this, so she simply does nothing. She doesn't get any closer and she doesn't offer to pat him like she would Korzar or Wingu, or even Katili or Lailen or Gadi! Even Kunjufu is bigger than Inyago is! She does say something, though, and drops her voice until it's as soothing as possible, though being a cub means that her voice is still pretty high-pitched. "Shh, it's okay! Your mommy will be right back!"

Inyago jumps at first as Kikora starts speaking to him, having forgotten that she was right there. He looks at her in silence for a second before he turns back to the direction his mommy went, letting our progressively louder and louder cries. Inbetween cries, he looks at Kikora to see that she's still there.

Balana walks down the left slope and joins you.
Balana enters, with Uzo walking along next to her.

Kikora can't seem to hide her relief when Balana returns with another cub. "He cried for you the whole time …" she says in a little voice, understanding that he doesn't -know- her, but still taking it a little personally anyway. She's just in that kind of mood today, it seems. "Do you think he'll stop now that the other one is here?"

Inyago does stop crying as his mother comes back down, looking at her happily. He's happy to see his sister too, but Balana is back, which means that she must have heard his calling. As she comes back down and towards them, he tries to get closer to meet them.

Balana comes padding back in with Uzo, padding over to put her down next to Inyago. "Oh, for goodness' sakes. I was just at the top of the slope." It's hard to tell just which one she's talking to. "Maybe, but I still have the other two and Korzar to bring down." She turns, and heads back up.

Oof.. okay.. back into the previous setup.. well sorta.. no, not really.. sniff sniff. Uzo smells different things here and only one of them is familiar. That familiar one, her brother, is hustled up against in a squirm.. there.. familiar is good

Balana brings down the other cubs and the juvenile one at a time, settling Sekhmet and Itumele near the other two, and Korzar a couple of steps away. There. Now at least they're all down there together. With something of a sigh, she settles herself down near the lot of them. Well… it is what it is.

Kikora feels a bit better now that Balana has returned with all four of her children, and she plods over to Korzar's prone form and plops down unceremoniously. She hasn't learned anything like tact or grace yet, nor does she have any desire for it — she's still a scabby-kneed kid, to turn a phrase. She rests her chin on her paws and tries her best to ignore her stomach pangs, figuring that it's punishment enough for the night. She'll investigate the surrounding grasses tomorrow, and hopefully (and with a little dumb luck) catch something, even if it's a toad. Yuck.

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