Sneaking Off


Darka - lion, unknown heritage.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, pride youth.
Korzar - son of King Mzohari and Kasjari.
Nabana - lion, son of Balana and Nyanya.
Royathi - serval, acquaintance of the Kopje lions.

Edge of the Kopje Valley
You have reached the edge of the Kopje Valley. The ground slopes gently down into the fertile valley. The lush green grass about you is a welcome sight that makes you want to rest there. One large Acacia tree stands not too far away from you. A smile crosses your face as you gaze upon the beauty of the distant valley. A disarming calm comes over you and a feeling of peace fills your body.

[W]est to the [B]order [K]opje [V]alley

Some (claw marks) on the trunk of the acacia tree.

Darka stretchs him self out and flexishs his sharp dark claws as he dose not respond to the other lion and with that he makes his way out of the area.

Darka crosses the border towards the Pride Lands.
Darka has left.

Snort. Well, Nabana isn't totally convinced that the male is gone for a while. So he stays where he is for a little bit… and eventually he decides he's out of range, and heads back to the tree to resume his previous posture: flopped on his side.

Korzar cautiously creeps forward, his form hunched over as he makes his way up the slight slope to the edge of the valley. He's trying to make himself look as small as possible as he leads Kikora onwards. His eyes flicker from side to side, trying to detect movement of ANY kind. Korzar does not want to get caught… he remembers the talking to and grounding all too well from *last* time. Unfortunately, he doesn't spot the lion's prone form. Taking a quick look over his shoulder, he whispers back to Kikora. "C'mon… Pride Rock's this way," he mutters, pointing a paw towards the pridelands side of the border, where his mom had taken him recently. Now it's time to show it to Kikora.

… and the last time little miss Kiko ventured out of the valley, she seemed to get away with it, except for Mashaka. Luckily he has kept the secret so far! "'kay," she whispers just as quietly to Korzar, plodding along in his 'blind spot', hunkered down as best as she can while still moving along. She is probably more intent on this destination than Korzar is — after all, he's -been there- already, she hasn't … and as a result, Nabana may be registered in her peripheral vision, but only as a big, sleeping tree root or something.

~ Not too far away, a lion roars!

As it is, Nabana's not completely relaxed thanks to the appearance of Darka just a few moments ago. Of course, when he hears the cubs, it's pretty obvious that it's the pawsteps of something much smaller. Even when he hears the roar, he can tell it's some distance off… and so he just keeps his spot in the grass, though his ear swivels about to try and catch their conversation.

Korzar continues to pad towards the pridelands, moving a little quicker and standing up straight, now that the border is so close. "You gotta see it," he says, raising his voice to a normal level. "Huge!" He's relaxed now that it seems they're in the clear and he's simply eager to show Kiko the really cool rock… and also to maybe get a *closer* glimpse of it himself.

Kor's excitement is infectious, and Kikora plods after him gleefully, following his suit and straightening out a bit as well. While she knows that she and Korzar are probably in for a great treat, something just doesn't feel right all of a sudden. "Wait!" She says in an exhaled breath, lifting a paw to touch against her friend lightly. "Last time I's out here, I found this big lion an' one without an -eye-. What'f they're still out there?" She knows that Korzar is tougher than she is, but she -also- knows that he isn't any match for that big ole lion and his cycloptic son. "They were … weird." That seems to be the best word to describe the pair, though she doesn't know them, and is more than likely just misunderstanding of them and their nomadic lifestyle. She's a pride-kid, after all.

Swell. Now she thinks he's weird! Wait… who cares? Ear continues to swivel after the pair, and the lion frowns a little. Hmm… Does he give himself away, or stay where he is? For the time being, the latter wins out. Perhaps he'll wait and see if he's discovered, or if the little critters decide to go ahead and go on anyway.

Korzar blinks and turns around as Kikora brushes him, glancing anxiously back towards the valley. He *really* doesn't want to get caught, and standing still right at the border seems like a baaaad idea. "Look," he says, reassuring his friend. To demonstrate, he turns in a complete circle on the spot, scanning the entire area. "There's no one h…" Hold that thought. He's spotted the lying-down lion.

Kikora is just getting ready to calm down when Korzar's voice drops off into elliptical silence. Naturally, this frightens her and her little ringed ears fold back, brown eyes growing wide, trying desperately to find what made her friend jump off the vocal track. Ah, there it is, that big … overgrown … bushy … stump? No — it's a big lion! And furthermore, it's the very -same- lion she was just talking about! The cub issues a high squeal and jumps, startled almost out of her fur — she lands stiffly on all four paws, her nape-fur bristled and her tail-tuft splayed out as if it had just received a big bolt of energy. Oh no!

Nabana can't quite see the cubs from where he's laying… but he's heard enough to deduced that they've seen him. It takes a very short amount of time for Nabana to get to his paws, gaze locking on the pair of cubs. He definitely recognizes the both of them, but it's Korzar he focuses on, and starts towards.

Unlike Kiko, Korzar's reaction is not very pronounced. He cringes slightly as he feels some combination of frustration, dissappointment, and worry. They had been soooo close… but now, he could get in biiig trouble. It helps that he recognizes Nabana as a 'friendly' face, or if not friendly, then one that wasn't dangerous. He remembers the lion from his first adventure beyond the borders, and later learned that Nabana was actually his uncle. "It's okay," he whispers to Kikora as he watches the big lion approach, his mind racing. "He not gonna hurt us." But how were they gonna get out of trouble?

"That … that's the -lion-," Kikora says quietly, her voice dropping away as Korzar explains to her that Nabana won't hurt them. How does he know?! She cowers at his side, her mind and paws telling her to run for it — but there's no way she's going to abandon Korzar out here, not in a million years. So she listens to her heart and stays put, though the fear she has of the unknown lion is beyond obvious — she's exuding it, which would fuel the aggression of any creature out to get her. Instead, she remains silent, staring wild-eyed at the approaching male. Gulp.

The lion is completely silent as he heads up to where Korzar and Kikora are, stopping once his forepaws are inches away from Korzar. Nabana looks down at the pair of them for a while. Well, it looks like Kikora's the petrified one here. Rather suddenly, Nabana tries to lean down and grab a hold of Korzar's nape in his maw.

"Thas' my uncle," he whispers, bumping reassuringly into the cowering Kikora. It's a good thing that Korzar's a cocky little guy, though. Nabana is very intimidating. "Uhh… hello?" the juvenile finally blurts, not liking the silence. And he *does* get nervous as the lion bends down and tries to grab him… but he doesn't react quickly enough and he's soon scooped up. "Whoooa!"

Well, that cuts it! The lion is looming over them, -staring-, and then he abruptly snatches Korzar by the scruff. Kikora is left to just boggle at the whole thing, her sides and chest heaving, her respiration trying to keep up with her thundering heart. She doesn't know whether to stay here and watch Nabana possibly maim her best friend, or run back into the valley screaming her head off. Korzar's words seem to stick with her despite all of her instincts, and she remains firmly planted where she was, just … watching. "Korrr …" she says in a low groan.

While it's true that Nabana could probably put an end to Korzar with a good bite or thrashing of his head, he does neither. Once he's got Korzar, he simply stands there and stares at Kikora for a few moments. Then, as leisurely as if he were simply out for an afternoon stroll, he turns and starts heading towards the Pride Lands, his nephew still in his jaws.

Korzar's heart is starting to beat slower, recovering from its thundering pace that the suprise and nervousness had given him a moment earlier. He's not scared of getting hurt, but he's still a little nervous, mostly because he has no idea what's going on. "Uhhh… where're we going?" he asks tentatively. "Kiko, c'mon!" he adds, shouting. He doesn't want to be all alone at the moment, especially with this crazy lion, uncle or not.

Kikora errs a bit, a thick hum issuing from her throat once Nabana plods off in the direction of the Pride Lands. Steeling her nerves and releasing one last shaky sigh, the cub bounds off after the lion who holds Korzar captive. Through thick and thin, she supposes, she'd follow Korzar to the ends of the Earth just to make sure he made it okay, and she does so now, tracking Nabana's steps just a few feet behind — safely out of his immediate reach, but close enough to keep an eye on Kor'.

There's no response to Korzar from Nabana. Of course, part of that is probably because his nephew would make it rather difficult to speak. A mawful of anything will do that to you. He only pauses once, and that's to mark a bush along the way. For what purpose is hard to say. If there's any sort of method to his madess, he's not giving away what that may be. No, he's headed into the Pride Lands.

Nabana marks this place with his scent.


_( The Pride Lands )___
(PL) Water Hole
Sometimes you gotta go where everyone knows your name…

Welcome to the Water Hole, where all the inhabitants of the Pride Lands put
aside their differences and meet amicably to have a cool refreshing drink and
to talk and gossip— since after all this is the social Mecca of the entire
kingdom. As you look around you, you notice giraffes conversing above you,
zebras all together in a group busily drinking, a couple of water buffaloes
on the far side, and even an old elephant squirting water over his head in
a dignified manner. There are also large numbers of birds flocking overhead
or perching on the backs of several of the animals, talking among themselves
and preening.

You join in the pleasant company and step up to an empty space at the water's
edge for a 'drink'.

The afternoon sky is mostly cloudy, with calm winds.

[N] Northern Border [E] Eastern Border
[ESE] Waterhole Stream (East Bank)
[SE] Water Hole Stream (West Bank) [SW] East of Pride Rock
[WSW] Meerkat Colony [W] West of the Water Hole

Korzar has resigned himself to being silently carted off to wherever his Uncle Nabana has chosen to take him. It's not like there's much he can do anyways. Every so often, he wriggles a little, squirming so he can look past his uncle, back to Kikora. He wants to make sure she keeps up… both because he doesn't want her to get lost, and because he wants company. And at least he recognizes these lands, as his mom has taken him this way already.

Kikora trundles after the two lions, trying her best to keep at a close — yet safe — proximity to Nabana. She's still young, so she doesn't have much trouble with it, but she is finding her surroundings quite distracting … they're not any better than the valley, but they're -new-, so she relaxes just enough to take a good look around her. "Wow, this place is kind'a neat!" At least she isn't clammed up with fear anymore …

Who knows just what Nabana has in mind. Each one of Korzar's little wiggles only serves as an indication to Nabana that he needs to keep a slightly firmer hold, which he does. Once they reach the waterhole, Nabana pauses, first looking off to the west, then swinging his head around to look off to the south. He could probably head in a few directions… but which one? Depends on his aim, most likely. As he debates, his tailtip gives an occasional lash, but his thoughts don't manifest to give away what else he may be thinking of doing.

Even with the firm grip, Korzar is startin' to relax too. "Yeah, and the biiig rock is that way!" he calls to Kikora, pointing a paw in the direction that he's *pretty* sure leads to Pride Rock. "Let's go there," he says to Nabana, trying to shift around just enough so that he can paw at his uncle's muzzle. Much of the nervousness is gone by now, replaced with the excitement of actually being near to their original goal… even though they'd been caught.

Kiko' follows along, wondering why the big lion won't let Korzar down — it's obvious from the boy's tone that he's looking forward to going to Pride Rock, whatever -that- is. The only thing keeping her calm is the fact that Kor' is so nonchalant about the whole thing, even though the scent of another lion is unignorable here … probably this land's King, like Mzohari. She should probably feel guilty about being outside of the valley's borders, but she at least has a good excuse — Nabana -is- Korzar's family, and he might even protect them if something evil were asunder.

At the suggestion, Nabana stiffens a little bit. He had promised himself he wasn't going to go /there/… but surely he can control himself, no? If he can, it's a good excuse to be a thorn in Mtukutu's side. If not, well… Mzohari will probably kill him. But so what? They're already out and about, and Nabana's not exactly on Mzohari's welcome list. His brother would also probably disapprove of the fact that he's doing what they want when they were caught getting into trouble. At any rate, he continues on towards the large monolith in the distance.


_( 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

Woohoo! Looks like his uncle followed his suggestion. "Look, look," he says eagerly, pointing towards the gigantic rock, and glancing towards Kiko excitedly. "Cool, huh?" And now if he could only get down… with an exceptionally wriggly squirm, he makes his best attempt to dislodge himself from Nabana's muzzle.

Kikora can't seem to enjoy the rock as much without Korzar down on her level, as she's constantly looking between it and the boy hanging, clamped, from the lion's maw. "It's … huge!" She exclaims, wondering just -how- big it is compared to the waterfall cliffs at home. "Wow … who lives in there?" Kikora asks, hoping -someone- knows the answer. She inches a bit closer to Nabana now, mostly just in case Korzar is freed, tail swishing wide arcs behind her.

His nephew's wiggling gets Korzar just what he wants… although perhaps not quite in the manner he'd liked. Nabana's jaws simply open as he deposits the cub to the ground from a couple feet in the air. Hey, cubs bounce, right? "The Tsavo pride," he answers as he speaks for the first time in the presence of the pair today. It's a simple enough statement, though it's pretty clear there's no love lost.

Oooof! Well, at least he's free. But he's also dazed, so he just lies there, recovering for a few moments before he shakes his head, trying to clear his vision. Eventually, he slowly climbs back up onto his paws. Looks like he's ok, just a little sore. He glares up at Nabana, not exactly happy with the lion. But his fascination with Pride Rock keeps him from lingering on his anger. He pads over next to Kikora. "They wasn't home last time," he says softly, eyes still fixed on the large structure.

"…Whatcha mean, -last- time?" Kikora questions her newly liberated friend, pawing at him gently with her forepaw. "Whendja come out -here-?" For the moment, Nabana is forgotten — she seems more interested in Korzar's story than anything right now. Hanging out in the grasslands of a neighboring territory isn't exactly something she's used to, so she keeps peering around for any signs of an ambush. After all, with the way Nabana told her who lives her, it's obvious that he isn't really fond of them … and they may not be particularly happy to find them in their lands. "What … what if they're watchin' us, right now?" Her paranoia leaks from her thoughts out her mouth now.

"Good," Nabana responds to Korzar's statement that they weren't home last time. Of course, that's just /his/ opinion… As to Kikora's question, he turns to peer at her. "Depends who's looking. If it's lionesses, they're probably off to find Mtukutu. If it's Mtukutu, he's probably either grumbling to himself or making his way over to gripe."

"Ma took me out here," Korzar explains to Kikora. "To show me the rock, but no ones was here then." He glances up to his uncle, after Nabana finishes speaking. "Mukututu is the king here," he comments, remembering that little fact from what his mother had told him.

Kikora alternates her attention between Nabana and Korzar, looking a little confused at the whole thing … Korzar seems -so- excited to be here, but Nabana looks like he could care less. She chalks it up to Nabana possibly being a sourpuss, but wonders if there isn't some underlying reason for the distaste the nomad carries. "Oooh … Saaa-voh, an' Mmmmtoo-koo-too?" New names for her to learn! She's already rehearsed Balana's story about Siombe about a million times, and figures there's some room left over for these two words as well. "Why would he be … griping?" Oh, youthful naivete! "Does he gots a thorn in his paw? Or his butt?" She giggles a little bit at the last bit, letting her childish nature show through.

Nabana looks vaguely amused at Korzar's slaughtering of Mtukutu's name… but he's not about to correct the kid. After all, he called him 'Muzzleful' for years. "He doesn't like me very much," the lion explains. But no, he's clearly not thrilled about being here. He's seen it before, and quite frankly, he doesn't think there's much to see! "And he almost certainly has /something/ in his butt." What, he's not sure.

Korzar giggles at the multiple mentions of butts for a few moments, but eventually manages to ask a question through his snickering. "How come," he snorts, "he don't like you?" he asks, fighting back laughter. His muzzle is still spread in a wide grin, but at least he can speak easily once again.

"Yeah," Kikora echoes, looking up at Nabana and really trying to -see- him for the first time, through curious eyes instead of frightened ones. He looks just like any other lion, really … he almost reminds her of her Uncle Kaharabu. Somewhere deep inside, she wonders if maybe she misjudged him … after all, it must be hard living out on your -own- with no mama or daddy to help take care of you. "Why does he have something up his butt?" This time she doesn't giggle, and the question is asked with real interest.

"Because I don't like him," Nabana responds to Korzar rather matter-of-factly, though he doesn't offer up any reason for this. Perhaps it's not something he's up for disclosing. "And that is merely an expression. He's… uptight. Paranoid." The lino's tail flicks across the grass beind him. "It's because he has much to lose."

Korzar doesn't understand much of the tension and annoyance that his uncle is displaying right now, especially with the non-detailed responses that he's giving. And what he says next just serves to confuse the juvenile even more. "Lose?" he asks, peering at his already decidedly weird uncle. "Lose what?"

Kikora settles to her haunches next to Korzar, looking a bit tuckered out from today's excitement — and though she's afraid that the lion will leave if she falls asleep, it just seems like too much trouble to walk back to the valley … and she'd have to follow Nabana's trail in reverse, technically, and -that- alone seems like too much trouble. Her eyes half-lid and she stifles a yawn, wired but terribly exhausted. She doesn't even press Nabana for what he means by 'too much to lose'.

Without explaining the whole thing to the pair of the kids, Nabana's probably not going to get much across. "His pride, his lands, his life… you name it, he's got it to lose." There's not a whole lot more he can probably say to explain it all, so rather than try, he simply… doesn't, though he eyes Kikora. "Are you thinking of falling asleep here and making me stay here?" he says somewhat gruffly.

Royathi quietly pops up upon the horizon in making her way casually between the water hole and .. well.. any place to take a nap anyway. Her movement doesn't seem especially focused as she walks lethargically with her ears tipped back. Only pausing a distance off in spying some other movement about the place.

The girl cub looks pointedly at Nabana, almost -scoffing- at his question … well, of COURSE! After all, she didn't get the luxury lion-carrying service that Korzar did, -plus- her fear of him at first drained away a ton of her resources. "Yup," she responds in a sassy manner, now flopping down gracelessly to her stomach next to bes'friend. Yaaaawn! Maybe Nabana will stick around … maybe not. The only thing -she's- worried about at the moment is getting her hind end whallopped by Kas, Bal or Mwal. Eeek.

Mutter mutter. Swell. Now he's stuck out here with the pair of these cubs. Can't carry them both back, after all. Of course, it /does/ place him with an excuse to be not too far from Pride Rock… Settling down to his stomach, Nabana lays and makes himself perfectly comfortable. After several moments of looking around, the serval is noted as a spot in the distance, but he can't quite make out what it is except that it's not all that large.

Royathi finds herself canting her head slightly to one side in watching things and just upon a curious whim she starts to stray closer with her tail casually flicking behind herself. In noticing a gaze pass by her she does at least make sure to offer a chirp once she's drawn closer.

Nabana stares for a while towards Royathi. Well, it's not one of the larger cats, that much he can see. Next question: can he eat it? Maybe, but it's probably not worth the effort. Besides, once she gets close enough and chirps, Nabana can see it's a serval. Well… alright. He grunts once in response.

Royathi twitches her whiskers in what seems to be a mirthful expression as she notices his prolonged gaze in identifying what she is exactly. Her movements pausing a shorter distance away as her eyes draw from the more awake lion to the other resting figures. "Out taking a nap?"

"They are," the lion responds as he nods over at the two juveniles. "I'm merely watching them. And… waiting." Not much else that can be done, is there? Nabana shrugs his shoulders somewhat absently. "I figure that big noisy beast that calls himself a king will come along at some point."

As if it hadn't already spend the last couple of moments canted to one side the serval's head soon returns the posture in a curious expression. "Oh? You're not part of the local pride then?", she has to ask, for her part retreating back enough to lower to her haunches in a more comfortable posture.

The question simply gets Royathi a glower from the male. "Perish the thought," Nabana says in a low grumble. "If I ever did, it would be merely to be a thorn in the paw, I assure you."

Royathi finds herself raising one of her eyebrows in a near critical expression that she doesn't intend it. "I don't know much about the whole lion pridal thing anyway.. So how come you're visiting, if I may ask?"

Nabana puts on something of a smug smile. "I'm hardly visiting. Trespassing is closer." A glance is cast towards Pride Rock, and then back at Royathi. "But predominantly because the cubs here, my nephew and his friend, are from the Kopje pride and wanted to come see the big rock. They got tired, and I can't carry back two sleeping cubs… so here we've got to stay."

Royathi's tailtip curls pretty sharply at the initial mentioning of the word 'trespassing' though she has to chuckle at the complete explaination, her own head turning to glance off toward the familiar landmark. "Ah.. I don't think they'd mind your presence so much, but .. who am I to say? At least I think your two prides are okay with one another."

Brow quirks slightly at Royathi's reaction. "Surely it does not make a difference to you as to whether or not I am trespassing, visiting, or here to do whatever I may. Unless you're friends with that… beast," he says with a scoff, but it seems to be aimed more at Mtukutu than Royathi. "The two prides might be, but Mtukutu and I's history is… personal."

Royathi rolls her foreshoulders in an open gesture before returning to a chuckle and a soft smile. "Oh.. I like both your prides, they're both nice to nomadic spotty cats. I just haven't heard a lion call another lion a 'beast' before!"

"Yes, well… he deserves it," Nabana responds as his tail thumps against the ground. "It's probably more than he deserves… but you never know when small ears could be listing." The male glances briefly at the pair of cubs before glancing back to Royathi. "But at least if he wanders by, I'll have an excuse for being here."

Royathi's not so small ears pretty much just have to twitch at that comment. She chuckles though, dipping her head instead in a more serene posture. "How is your pride anyway? I've been exploring quite far away recently and haven't wandered by the Kopje lands."

Nabana gives a vague nod over in the direction of Kopje. "They're managing. It's been relatively quiet, and I haven't seen much of Mzohari in quite some time. But I stay up by the border most of the time. Catching stray cubs trying to leave and moronic lions trying to enter."

Royathi huffs in amusement at that and twitches her whiskers. "Yipes, cubs always try and press out to make their own way out into the world so young?"

Nabana can't help but chuckle softly at this. "No, nothing like that. They still want that warm belly to come home to when they're done. They just… want to do a little bit of exploring, I suppose."

Royathi clucks her tongue along the roof of her mouth instead before she just ends up considers. "Actually, I guess it would explain the amount of stray cubs that seem to pop up!"

Nabana gives a slight shrug. "Well… I can't speak for all cubs, obviously. I have a feeling some of them are either abandoned or get lost. But as to cubs from the neighboring prides… yes, to my knowledge they're probably almost all looking for some excitement."

Royathi's small form sways a moment before she lifts back up onto her feet with a subtle stretch along her figure, typical feline really. ".. Still, a good thing to have someone keeping them from going astray!"

"I suppose," the lion responds as he looks over the serval. "It's not much of a life, to be honest." Nabana shrugs once again, and tilts his head slightly. "And you… what, you just kind of wander nomadically from place to place?"

Royathi nods her head in response to that before she hmms in a thoughtful manner and clarifies. "Well, I follow the food too.. But in general.. yeah. It works, heck I think some lions even go nomadic don't they?"

Nabana gives his head a nod of affirmation. "They do. I have been before… and to some extent, I still am. But it gets tiring after a while, at least in my opinion."

Royathi mmms at that in a thoughtful air which brings about a flick of her tail. "Hmm.. True.. But I'd have to find a bunch of other servals so we could form a pride and I don't think we'd do very well!"

Nabana looks somewhat amused at that thought. "I don't know… it might work. Besides, a series of small chirps would be a lot easier to deal with in the morning than all the roars that these guys make. You'd make good neighbors."

Royathi snorts at that in amusement. "Well, until someone got too hungry!"

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