Gadi - lion cub, son of Kori and Nonceba.
Kasjari - lioness, King Mzohari's mate.
Kikora - juvenile lioness, pride youth.
Kori - lion, Kopje guard.

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.

After her mid-afternoon nap, Kikora seems fairly well-rested and ready to play. The cub is crouched at the base of the fallen acacia, though she isn't trying to hide from anything in particular — instead she issues a childish sounding yowl and leaps on to the crooked, lower half of the acacia with her claws extended. Her hind-claws dig in for purchase while she pulls herself up the tree, ears turned back and eyes bright and wild. She doesn't seem to have any one game in mind, she's just practicing her climbing skills!

Making his way back from patrols is Kori, lumbering slowly as always as he keeps his head, and eyes focused ahead of the path before him. His tail sways along his heels in a slow ticking motion, snapping about the blades of grass in an easy going manner. Catching the yowl in the distance, his ears prick upwards, and he ambles slowly forward to furrow his brows. Tilting his head upwards, he watches her for a few moments as he settles back upon his haunches.

Kikora seems pretty confident up on the bent body of the acacia, balancing over the narrow stream that cuts through the valley. With her claws still out, digging into the sun-bleached skin of the tree, she navigates the full length of the tree until she's in the nest of leafless boughs. From her slightly higher vantage point, the big cub spies what appears to be a grass-rat gnawing on one of the limbs that touches the ground. With motions as quick as lightning, Kikora pounces from her tree-limb look-out, but it appears that her quarry gets away. "Awww, c'mon!" She says in a cross tone, her back now facing the dark-furred lion.

Watching the child run about, trying to catch the grassrat, Kori raises a brow upwards, before saying in a deep rumble, "You should try hiding before chasing. You stuck out like a sore paw." Tilting his head to one side, he clears his throat. "You should try ducking yourself down, and breathing 'really' slowly, so that it won't hear you breathing." He says as he sniffs the air for a moment.

Huh?! Kikora turns her head sharply, believing herself to be alone in the valley with the exception of the one sleeping lioness. Instead of cowering or even running, the girl turns her ears forward and blinks at the big lion, one little shoulder rising and falling in a shrug. "Kor's mama said she'd show us how to hunt soon," she explains to the Kopje guard, nodding her head a little. "An' Ona' said he'd show me how to be a guard! So I can keep the -bad lions- out." Now she grins, her nose wrinkling a little as she does so.

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

"You want to be a guard to keep the bad lions out, huh? That's my job." Kori says as he lowers his head slowly forward to stare at her more evenly. "I've taught Onaedo how to be a really good guard. He's my favorite." He says softly as his ears fold forward. "Do you know why we want to keep bad lions out? Because in the past, they have tried to hurt our cubs." He frowns as he glances off to one side. "One of them took my child away from me. Her name was Kiokota. Kinda like your name, sort of." His muzzle twitches, if only for a moment with the memory of his lost cub.

Kikora climbs up into the thick gathering of leafless branches, stretching herself out on a few of them, completely off the ground now. She poses her forepaws right next to each other and keeps her head lifted, listening intently to the large male. "Aww, 'Goo said somethin' about bad lions. He told me that bad lion came in and took Gadi, too." She frowns now, brown eyes gleaming like hard, dark diamonds. "Bad lions came and killed my daddy, that's why mama took me 'way from there." Her tail, hanging down from the branches, twitches a few times.

Kasjari pads this way, following Kikora's scent, and Kori's, she's noticing. She perks her ears to the conversation that floats her way, lifting a brow curiously as she approaches, less than kindly eavesdropping.

"Yes.. He… he took my Gadi away from me, and I got him back." Kori explains as he paws at the grass a bit beneath him, tail swaying this way and that behind his hip. "Hyenas killed my family. Took everyone away from me until I found the Kopje'. I know what it feels like to be lonely, and to feel lost." He follows her with his bright amber gaze as she moves about, then approaches the tree slowly as he reaches out with a paw to the branch she is on, to rest it against her ears in a gentle ruffle.

Kikora takes rather kindly to the lion, as she hasn't had any reason to fear him — especially since Korzar didn't show any fear when he seemingly materialized from the grasses earlier in the day. "Yup, mama got kicked by a zebra in the grasses. I found 'Goo and Kor's mom and she and King said I could come back with them." She smiles at the mention of Kasjari, completely unaware that the golden lioness has come within earshot of the unlikely pair. "She's kind'a like my mama now, I think. And… Mwa-leeko?" She says tentatively, picking up on what Kiini and others have called the lioness.

Kasjari smiles softly, watching the pair quietly. She sighs softly, knowing it is good for Kikora to form relationships with the other members of the pride, though she's not so sure that Kori is the best candidate for that… he's not exactly been in the best of moods lately.

"They are good lionesses. I hope you listen to them, and follow their example." Kori says as he strokes her ears back slowly, once, before resting his paw back upon the ground, settling his weight back once more. "I'm sorry to hear about your mother though. I remember losing mine.. it was hard. I've.. never got close to any other lioness since." His tail ticks about as he sighs softly. "What was your father like?"

Kikora glances up to the sky, but she isn't looking at anything up -there- … she's thinking. She slips her tongue out of her maw and curls it up as she contemplates her father, her ears swishing back some. "Daddy was big… and he was King, just like Kor and 'Goo's dad. He taught me how t'swim! He played with his other kids lots, more'n me. I heard my aunt Kifani say that his other cubs were important, 'specially my brother Kiangazi, 'cause he was gonna be King after daddy." She nods resolutely, peering curiously to Kori. "What was yooour daddy like?" She gives him a small, unsure smile, still unaware of Kas' lurking in the grasses.

Kasjari smiles gently and makes her way around the tree, approaching from opposite Kori, letting him know she's there, but not making her presence obvious to Kiko.

"I can't remember my father anymore, it's been too long." Kori admits as he shifts his stance a bit more as his paws rest upon the ground. "You're lucky you can remember him, and you should.. it's important that you remember where you came from." He rumbles deeply in his throat, his voice trailing off a bit. "If you ever… need someone to talk to.." He trails off as he catches sight of Kasjari coming upon them from behind the cub. His brow furrows some, and he settles back once more upon his haunches.

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

Something that Kori says resonates in Kikora, and her ears turn back as it sinks in. She should remember them? She has already started to deconstruct her memories from her homeland, instead filling those empty pockets with new memories here in the Valley. She doesn't say anything on that matter, instead giving Kori a rather grown-up look of sympathy, taking one of her little paws and reaching out to bat at him playfully. "Talk, 'kay? If I need a dad?" She smiles unsurely again, continuing, "And you promise to teach me how to guard from bad lions?" When Kori sits and peers over her shoulder to something unseen, the cub furrows her brow in confusion. "What's wrong?" It doesn't dawn on her to actually … you know … turn around and see for herself.

Kasjari sits there patiently, letting them have their talk, watching Kori attentively, only a mild smile stretched over her muzzle. A smile nonetheless. "I believe Kori will echo my thoughts when I say that for now you should focus on having fun, playing, and growing up strong and happy.

Voices in the not-so-far distance inevitably draw Gadi towards their source. Big paws carry the cub through the grass, the black tip of his tail sticking up over the line of the grasses, waving like the scope on a submarine. Perhaps it's an announcement of his presence. See, he's not sneaking around. He's doing nothing at all wrong. The tail finally comes to a standstill, the boy's parti-colored eyes looking over the vegetation to try and spy the sources of the voices.

Furrowing his brows, Kori turns his attention back to the girl. He stares at her for a moment, before saying, "Yes, you should.. have fun." He says as he pushes himself upwards to his paws, before starting off through the grass once more slowly, angling over to Gadi as he catches sight of his son rustling about in the grass.

Kikora's ears swivel around as Kasjari begins to speak, turning her head to give the lioness a boggle-eyed look. Kas is quiet! When Kori climbs to his paws and moves off after speaking his rather short sentence, Kikora's ears droop and her brown eyes turn back to the lioness. "Did I make him mad? Did I say somethin' wrong?" She looks genuinely worried about having offended or upset Kori, so much so that she misses the entrance of a potential playmate.

Kasjari smiles gently as she pads closer to the tree Kiko is perched in. She smiles up at the little girl and shakes her head, "No, if anything upset him, it would be me, dear." She forces a warm smile, "I didn't know you climbed trees."

Gadi catches familiar voices and then a familiar face and he looks up to his father, expressions somewhat hesitant. "Hey." He murmurs to the dark-maned lion, giving a soft puff of breath as he comes to a stop by his father's paws. "Um.. I heard you all talking… do I… gotta go back?" He mumbles, casting a glance over his shoulder towards the falls and then back to Kori, expressions quiet but faintly hopeful.

"No, you don't have to go back. You should play with Kikora. She is a very nice girl." Kori says as he leans down to push his muzzle against Gadi's neck for a moment, nudging him over in the girl's direction. "I have already done my patrol, so I can watch you two if you want me to." He says as he settles back to his haunches, glancing over towards Kasjari and Kikora's direction.

Kikora grins down at Kasjari from the branches, though she isn't too high up — the snarl of the acacia's boughs have settled since it fell, a product of gravity, the weather, and the lounging bodies of other, heavier lions. "I wanna learn how to climb so I can talk with Royathi!" She says in a proud voice, speaking about the friendly serval at the valley's border. "She said Vikali climbs too…I was gonna ask yesterday if she wanted to show me, but she went off with Kiini." She frowns a little, not understanding -why- she'd rather be with her mate than showing a rascally cub how to climb. One ear is turned back to listen to Kori's voice, but it's too faint. Curious about who he's talking to, Kiko' turns her head and spots him with his son, Gadi. "Hey! It's Gadi!" She says excitedly, looking toward Kasjari with a bright grin.

Kasjari smiles and nods softly to Kikora's explanation, then blinks at her outcry, looking over toward where Kori went, "Well, don't just sit there in your tree, go say hi to Gadi," she says with a warm smile.

"Kikora?" Gadi murmurs up to Kori, briefly blinking as he's pushed forward before his eyes begin seeking out the young lioness in question. When he finally spots her treeside, the boy's muzzle cracks in a grin as his ears cup forward. "Hey Kikora!" He calls out cheerfully, seeming in better spirits than when she last met him, perhaps inspired by the taste of freedom. He ambles towards the tree, giving Kasjari a brief smile by way of greeting, though his attentions are on the juvenile.

Watching his son bound off for his play pal, Kori settles back once more into the shadow of the trees next to him as his dark eyes lower slowly. Taking in a deep breath, he curls his tail around his haunches into a tight hug, before leaning his weight into the thicker truck next to him. He casts a look towards Kas' for a moment, before drifting his gaze silently back to his large black paws.

Kikora smiles down at Kasjari, ready to get away from all the serious business of the day and really be able to -play-. It seems like Korzar was just too tuckered out to play tonight, but now Gadi is here to romp around with her — under the supervision of Kas' and Kori, of course. After Balana's promise last night, the big cub sure isn't in any mood to destroy a chance at visiting the volcano! She carefully lowers her bottom half, her hindlegs dangling, forepaws digging into the tree with her scythe-like claws. She remains this way for a few comical seconds before getting up enough nerve to let go, landing expertly on all four paws. "Whatcha been up to?" She asks the boy, cocking her head to the side curiously, a goofy grin plastered across her maw.

Gadi scoots back just to make sure she's got enough space to land, a lopsided grin planted on his face as she comes back down to earth. "Uh, me? Er… nothing, really. Just… hanging out with Lailen." He mutters, suddenly feeling a bit lame. He's lived a rather boring life as of late. "Guess nothing exciting… but, uh, what've you been up to?" He says by way of a conversation change as he clears his throat faintly, tail twitching behind him. "Haven't seen you since we met."

Kasjari smiles gently, leaving the cubs their space as she pads over and lays down at Kori's side, "Seems you've made a friend," she teases playfully to the male, bumping her shoulder to his.

At the bump to his shoulder, Kori furrows his brows a bit, before saying, "Yes, well.. she reminds me of Kio'," He says softly as he clears his throat softly, before shifting his weight down to his stomach, resting his chin down upon his large paws. "I really miss her." That of what he can still remember of her.

Oh, what -hasn't- Kikora done lately? She shakes herself out a bit, plopping down on her haunches without any of the hunter's grace she'll more than likely acquire as she grows. "I met Kizingo and a serval… caught a fish for Kor… and yesterday, I saw a -volcano-!" As she says this, she rises up, balancing on her hindlegs as she raises her forearms in a faux-menacing manner. She can't maintain this position for long and drops back down, giggling sheepishly. "And t'day, your dad told me an' Kor how cubs are made. With love and will power!" She announces this without any shame, still relatively innocent on the whole subject. "An' Bal' promised us she'd take us to the volcaaano as soon as Kor isn't grounded anymore. I hafta be good too, though." She nods sharply a few times, as if displaying her complete and utter understanding — just in case Balana is lurking about in the grasses too. She did say she had eyes everywhere, after all. She pays no mind to Kasjari and Kori's conversation, focusing on her new playmate wholly.

Kasjari smiles gently and nods softly to Kori, giving one of his ears a gentle stroke of her tongue, "I'd worry more for you if you didn't miss her. Kikora could use someone like you around, but then, so could your own cubs," she says softyl, leaving the cubs out of this particular conversation. She smirks softly at Kikora's words, "Love and willpower, eh? You make it sound like some chore to be undertaken," she says, trying to lighten the mood a little.

Gadi blinks as he sinks back to his haunches, green and copper eyes widening at her busy lifestyle unfolds in a flurry of excitement. "Wow." He mutters, ears slinking back as his eyes shift, perhaps trying to run through his own itinerary and finding it sorely lacking. "A.. volcano?" He then mutters, nose wrinkling with a note of bewilderment as he regards the older youngster. "Wassat?" Nevermind the announcement of how cubs are mad seems to take the boy by as much surprise as a Mac truck to the face, and he gapes briefly at the girl as his mind no doubt… stops, if but momentarily. "Um.. okay." Ew, she said love. that's mushy, right? "Er… think I can come to the.. volcano.. too?"

"I told them the truth. It is love and willpower that brings cubs into our lives." Kori says as his ears twitch a bit at the swipe to his ear, wiggling it a bit as he turns his attention towards her. "I've been trying to be more in my cub's lives. I think I'm.. coming around, slowly again." He says as he lets his tail swish out to gently bat against the lion's hip.

Kikora may be a tomboy, but she's still a girl, after all … the prospect of love doesn't seem to gross her out as much as Gadi. She's still too young to harbor any feelings other than love for her parents and affection for her friends, and has a hard time wrapping her mind around the concept of romance. Still, the explanation sated her curiosity for the time being and she drops the subject completely once Gadi asks about the volcano. "My mama told me stories about 'em a long time ago. They're biiiig and sometimes really hot stuff s'plodes out of 'em. This one wasn't hot, though, so we'll be safe." She pauses to grin at the boy, puffing her chest out in a proud display. "Balana said I was in the same cave where King Si-om-be's cubs were born long time 'go." When Gadi asks about coming along, she tilts her head and glances slyly toward Kori, dropping her voice to a low whisper — but whispers aren't something she's perfected just yet. "Do you think your dad would let you? Balana said we'd hafta take Ona or Kiini with us, too."

Kasjari smiles gently and nods, "I believe you, for I think if that weren't the case, you would have run for the hills rather than chat with Kiko about her plans for the future, or where cubs come from." She clears her throat then, "Regardless of my own opinion and request on the matter," she says faux-haughtily as she gives that ear a gentle tug.

Gadi seems rather uncertain about the prospects of something large and explosive, but, he's a boy and he certainly can't look intimidated, especially in front of his father. "Well, as long as it's safe." He murmurs to the girl, tail curling and tapping at his forepaws. "Um, maybe?" He murmurs in regards if he would be permitted to go, casting a glance over to his dad. "If I go, he'll probably wanna come. I guess I can ask him if he'll let me go, as long as there's grownups with us."

Amused for a moment, Kori shakes his head a bit as his ears continue to train on the faint conversation in the distance. "Should I let him go to the volcano?" He asks Kasjari as he turns his head over towards the lioness, before leaning in to press his large frame gently into hers, rubbing his muzzle against her neck.

Kikora nods enthusiastically, her sharp little teeth peeking out in an eager grin. "Yeah! Balana said that the cave goes to the -inside- of the volcano. She said it was … " she pauses now, trying to find the right word for it. "She said it was -celestial-!" Whatever -that- means, but the way the elder lioness said it, well, it just sounds fantastic! Her tail thumps playfully against the earth and she leans forward to bat at Gadi's ear lightly. "I bet there's all kindsa fun stuff for us to do!"

Kasjari smirks softly, "I trust Balana not to put them at risk, but I will make certain there is an adult to keep an eye on each cub in a place like that."

"Shell-es-teel?" Gadi works his tongue over the unfamiliar word, whiskers flaring as he tries to digest the sound. "Huh. Sounds important and I bet there -is- some pretty fun and cool stuff there!" He remarks with a pricking of his ears, tail giving an eager thump against the ground. The swat to his ear brings a brief yelp from the boy as he tries to duck under the swipe, a grin spreading across his muzzle in a toothy smile as he swings out a paw in a returning playful blow towards her nose, it's force little more than a bap of a tailtuft.

Kikora's eyes cross as she watches Gadi go for her nose, his paw making contact as she's too busy trying to watch it happen. "Aww!" She cries out, but her voice carries no sign of pain or anger — instead she cracks a wider grin, dropping her forequarters to the ground with a series of cubbish growls. She's inviting him to what appear to be a good-natured tussle, her tail waving about in the air. Gonna get Gadi!

"Hah!" Comes the sharp bark of sound from Gadi, green and copper eyes bright with mischief and delight. It's been ages since he got a good bit of rough-housing on. Afterall, one isn't allowed to beat up on one's only remaining sister. Forehalf to the ground, Gadi's hips wiggle side to side in the universal symbol of a cat preparing to pounce, shoulders shifting and tail shivering and smacking against the ground. And then comes the pounce, paws flinging wide as he yowls a joyous note of challenge.

Uh oh! Gadi pounces toward her with great prowess, and Kikora has to act fast to get out of this one. She tries to hop off to the side but is tackled by the odd-eyed cub, knocked to the ground with some force. She breathes out a loud "Oof!" and then bursts into giggles, wriggling around beneath Gadi until she's able to pull back a forearm and swat at his head, claws-in. "You're heavy!" She struggles out around her compressed body and her breathless laughter.

Gadi oofs at the swat to his head, but it only brings out a burst of laughter from the boy as he sprawls his bulk across the older youngster, playfully nipping at her ears as he tries to ward off her attempts to free herself from some good-natured squishing. "Means I win!" He chimes out with a goofy sort of grin, "You can't get uuu-uup, you can't get uuuuu-uup!" Serious at times he might be, a mirror image of his father, but there are those times where the cub comes out and maybe some of his mother's old cheer.

Kikora acks! She's trapped beneath the bulkier male, doing as much wriggling as possible to free herself from the grasp of Gadi. "I can't, I can't!" She agrees in a strained voice, still alternating between wiggling frantically and laughing, using up a lot of her oxygen. It isn't long before she stops moving so wildly, instead focusing on breathing — but as soon as Gadi lets her up, he'll have a squishing of his own!

Gadi keeps up his stubborn sprawl, at least, that is, until Kikora seems to give up the battle. Call him a sucker, as with a triumphant grin he pulls himself up and hops over her, tail playfully bapping at her ear as he hops over her prone form, his chest puffed up in a measure of pride - if only he had a mane to fluff. Alas, the puff atop his head will have to do. Nevermind he's leaving his back wide open to a counterassault.

Despite her burning lungs, Kikora scrambles to her feet and executes a sloppy leap at Gadi's hindside, releasing a loud 'rawr!' as she does so. Her combative skills aren't terribly refined yet, but she's trying her best to work on them — she'll need all the practice she can get so she can impress the older lionesses with her amazing hunting skills. She's aimed right for Gadi, but there's a chance that he could sidestep her leap and leave her pouncing on nothing but air and earth.

Gadi isn't exactly a top hunter himself, or even a bit of a guard, just a cub with a big head due to a seeming victory. Until, that it, he finds himself eating dirt as Kikora lands square on his back. A loud whuff of air is blasted from his lungs, quickly being sucked back in with a cough and a splurt of surprise. "Whatth'? Augh!" He yowls and sets up a squirming, soon laughing as he tries to fend off the little lioness.

We were all tired and decided to go to sleep after this!

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