Night Encounter

Participants:

Hajima - caracal, friend of the Kopje lions.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, pride youth.


Dark Cave
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You come into a dark cave. The cavern is very deep and dry. The rock pattern
on the ground makes it seem like it was blasted out long ago. It is also
very warm, once in a while receiving a cool blast of air from the outside.
There is a comfy looking corner that appears to be safe. You look around,
somewhat nervous as you wonder how safe it is to sit in a volcano.
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{Out} of this place {D}eeper into the cavern

Kikora is snuggled up against Korzar, experiencing skimmy sleep at best — while -he- may be knocked out and enjoying his dreams, she's like a hot wire waiting to react to the faintest touch or sound. Though her curiosity to find Balana and uncover the mystery of cubs pulled her after the lioness's scent like a magnet, this is the first time that she's spent the night outside of the Valley without any kind of parental figure. Even Nabana stayed with them when they were off in the Pride Lands! So she dozes fitfully at Korzar's side, more alert than dreaming.

Hajima pads in slowly from the outside lands, not even bothering to look where he's going, knowing this route as well as he knows the back of his paw. The aged caracal, still in shape for his age, creeps in on cat's feet, long having mastered the art of silence upon this ground. He spots Kikora and flicks a long ear, a curious expression showing on his muzzle. He looks around for a sign of someone older here, but seeing none he moves silently up to the cub.

The kid knows that the atmosphere in the cave changes as soon as Hajima makes his appearance in the moon-cobwebbed shadows. The feeling intensifies as the caracal creeps ever closer to Kikora, and so it's only to be expected when her two brown eyes fly open and she cowers almost immediately against her sleeping friend. When her pupils dialate enough to see the faint outline of the smaller cat, she relaxes … but only a little. "What're you?" No, no, not 'who' are you, but -what- are you! Could it be that this is the very first caracal that Kiko's seen?!

Hajima sits down, tipping his long ears this way and that. "I was, and still am a caracal, the last time I checked." he answers. "At least, I haven't changed since I last saw you, Kikora." he says gently.

Kikora cringes visibly against Korzar when Hajima mentions her — and by name. "How do -yooou- know -mee-?" Her voice is high pitched and childish, her black-ringed ears turning back neatly. "… and whassa car-a-call?" So, she butchers his species a little, but be patient with her. She's just a young'n, after all.

Hajima chuckles lightly. "You said caracal the wrong way before as well. And I've met you before, when you were having dreams. Dreams of your mother." he answers.

"Oh…" says Kikora dejectedly when Hajima mentions her mommy. By now, it is a sore that has healed, but a little poorly — there is an obvious scar in her heart over it. She's moved on greatly with the help of her friends and her guardians, but the mention of Kinamisa obviously takes her by surprise and hurts just a bit. "That was long-time-'go. …. don't 'member." She seems to be pretty tight-lipped about it, but quickly moves forward to avoid overlong thoughts of her mother. "What doin' here? You live in volcaaaaano?"

Hajima moves up again and pads over to sit near you, leaning forward to give your muzzle a gently nosing. "It wasn't that long ago, but I'm glad it's forgotton. I don't live here, but I used to. With Siombe and Balana, when they did."

Kikora can't really get a good look at Hajima, but doesn't swat at him when he noses at her face. She simply allows him to do so, as if she accepted him immediately — much like she did with Royathi, the serval. "Reeeeally? That's why me and Kor are here! Gonna find Balana!" She grins playfully, hoping that the caracal recognizes the innocence in their quest, and their excitement to finally see … -the- Volcano.

Hajima nods gently. "So I see. So tell me young one, who did you come with? I heard you wandered off the lands already. You didn't do that again, did you?" he asks directly.

"Ummm …" Kikora says in a drawn out, 'uh, who me?' voice. "With Koooor. Korzar …" she finally says in a little voice, peering as hard as she can in the darkness at the other feline. "But, but, we're gonna see the -babies-! We waaaited and waaaited, an' then Bal leaves, and …" she huffs, "I wanna -see 'em-! And I wanna see the -volcano-!" She isn't getting snippy, but rather a little desperate. Nabana made the Pride Lands terrifying, especially when he got into an argument with Mtukutu right over their heads … and now this?! No! This is gonna work! It has to!

Hajima hmmms softly and sits back, apparently thinking for a good couple minutes, stretching the silence. Finally, "Well, to send you back home would only have you without an adult lion or lioness escort again. I suppose there's only one thing left." He then pauses for a few moments, then says "I'll have to go tell Mzohari myself and have him send one for you."

Kikora falls asleep at this point, thinking that maybe it was just a dream.

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