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 Pride Days (IC)

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Darkel
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PostSubject: Pride Days (IC)   Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:20 am

The Pride Days

Old IC: http://roleplex.forumotion.com/t73-the-pride-days-ic-hurt

The group pushed through the field, managing to avoid the cries of the needy. Although the growl of the rabid wolves was not far beyond them, preying on the poor creatures they left behind. As they came to the end, they came across another ditch and made it to the other side, leaving the field behind. Although now they found that the remains of human carcasses were far more plentiful. Bones scattered about and some chewed on by feral, mindless hyenas that Var suspected had no perception of reality. The warthogs lay in piles of the bones and the birds pick them up and drag them about.

At past they found the Talon. To a lion, it would seem as a mountain. Although along human standards, it was not yet that height. A trail trodden by humans slithered up through the thickets of trees and bramble with a dirt surface. They moved up onto it, moving up the mountain at a stead rate all the while night still prevailing.

At last they came to the crest of the Talon, an enormous wreck of ruin at the mountain's top. Rocks and stones lie scattered about. Enormous, smooth stones stood up at the end of the mountaintop, pointing at the sky. They were seated behind an enormous glowing object that Var was amazed to see. A flower colored white with a pink center, bigger than his own body. The only grass that grew on the mountaintop was just below it. The skies above swirled with black clouds, all radiating from a single point directly above the Pawmark.

"This is it," Ramla said. "This is where they died."

Var ran quickly up to the Pawmark, because he knew that the time to do so was short. He then threw the Sodaki from his jaws, letting it fly through the air. He watched anxiously as it headed towards the flower speedily. Then the gaze was disrupted. The Sodaki's path was interrupted and it was slammed to the ground. The head of a snake clasped it tightly. The Stone immediately turned a blinding green. Then the head quickly morphed, the body of the snake billowing up into black smoke until a new form emerged. Now a paw was holding the Sodaki down onto the ground. The black-maned, green-eyed form of Snake stood over it, looking down at it. His emerald gaze then came back up at Var.

"You didn't think you'd make it, right?"

Var watched with wide, horror-filled eyes. He was pushed over, knocked onto his side and rolled several meters past. He looked up, seeing the same blood-coated Lioness figure he saw at the Shadingtree. Belabi, with her livid eyes the color of dying coals. She growled. Ramla screaming at the appearance of Belabi.

Snake tapped the Stone with his razor claws. "You came too late," he said. "It's too late."

A flash of light blasted from the black clouds, cascading from the pierced darkness were many flashes of white light that came down onto the ground and with blinding morphing transformed into new figures. The tall figure of Protheus among them. His golden figure had a luminosity to it that was of most beautiful aspect. His eyes were every color of the rainbow. His wings suddenly sprouted, forming out of the sparks spraying off of his pelt. "It's not too late," Protheus said. "Put that Stone in that flower this insant!"

"I don't think so," thundered a loud voice. The darkness replaced the light that had once shone through. With a loud thrash of the clouds, two enormous black wings spread from behind the stones that seated the flower. Dalmaa stepped onto the ridges, smiling. His wings were much larger than usual, and he was far thicker and far more muscular, differing from his usual slender structure. He spread his paw out quickly overhead the Pawmark.

"No!" Protheus said rushing forward. It was too late. The Pawmark burst into flames. Var felt the heat against his fur, as he backed up. Snake took a bit of the blast, but the fire soon vanishing from his pelt. Protheus stopped, glaring up at Dalmaa. "I'm going to kill you!"

"You can't kill an Aura, Protheus! We both know this to be true!"

Suddenly, pushing past Kyra and Subira was Kavis who stopped in the middle of the clearing and made a bow. "I'm here, master! I'm here..." Dalmaa's glare suddenly fell upon him. His eyes narrowing and his feathers ruffling. Protheus suddenly took a glance at Kavis and then back at Dalmaa.

"I must say, I expected better even from you, Dalmaa. To put a lion like this through what you did. Look at him!" Protheus said. Kavis growled at him, to no avail. Protheus then looked back up at Dalmaa. "You're a disgrace!"

"Yet my charm and my talent has been enough to win over millions of your followers, Protheus. I believe it is high time for a proper introduction to the power I possess..." Dalmaa said glaring out at the gleaming army of spirits that was behind Protheus. The stones surrounding the ash pile that was once the Pawmark suddenly burst, stones crumbling down until they were messy piles of rock shards. Smoke rose from behind him as fire burst out. Dalmaa's face smiled again as suddenly many black-furred spirits approached from behind him. Var glanced over a ledge of the mountaintop, seeing that the grounds surrounding the mountain were filled with endless black and white spirits. They stretched as far as the horizon.

Finally, Dalmaa glanced from his army and back at Protheus'. "Look at what you've caused, Protheus."

"Me? You've done this! You're a liar and a cheat!" Protheus growled.

"Then why don't you enlighten them? They've never known the real story! Even as many versions as I've spread, they've never known the whole truth!"

"It's something that mortals do not need to know, at all." Protheus said.

"Because you know that it will reflect you badly!" Dalmaa said. "Don't deny that you were jealous!"

"I was! Your creations were beautiful, but that wasn't why I did what I did," Protheus said.
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:49 pm

Kyra's body froze, standing still as what appeared to be the end of they world was unfolding before her. The Pawmark was destroyed, so the Sodaki could not be returned, but Dalmaa had also claimed wanting the Stone. What was the real meaning of this Stone, if it was heavily desired by both Protheus and Dalmaa alike? Her ears twitched, and her teeth bared at the frustration of being pulled in many directions, and as she steeled herself not to be moved by what either spirit said, even though it was to defy the very things that led to her existence. "Then what really happened?" She growled, under her breath, "What is the true story, if Dalmaa lies, and it reflects badly on Protheus? Who can tell what really happened, when you two are the only beings that were present when it happened? What is the point of this Sodaki, and using everyone like pawns in some argument?!"

The eye-shaped mark over her heart blazed into life, and behind her, a pure-white lioness with a blood-red patch of fur over her heart stood over her, a pair of wings that appeared to be formed from glittering stars spreading over her, and the faint images of snowy birds danced around them. Egret looked over at Protheus, "We have never known the true story, Protheus, but I believe it must be told, or these mortals you have chosen will surely lose faith in you and Dalmaa both. I have served you, and I will support whatever decisions that my family shall make. I have given my power to Kyra, in order to protect her. This is not, however, fair to anyone, for spirits are supposed to finally have peace, after a life filled with suffering. We have not had peace, and why is this so?"

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:38 pm

Dalmaa looked over at Egret defiantly. He slyly approached, his tail brushing the dirt below. His paw prints ignited into faint flames, yet booming upon blossom as he stepped out. "We do not fear you, Egret," he leered. "But I assure you, your heart is in the right place. Protheus, if I am such a cheat, why don't you elaborate on the story for the poor girl?"

"It's not something they need to know. No mortal, no spirit, nobody needs to know!" Protheus growled. "I've stressed this for as long as Earth has been alive! Mortals don't deserve the knowledge!" he growled. Dalmaa again smiled slyly and then perched himself onto a large rock, shattered just aside the ash pile.

"Mortals, Spirits... Auras... I give you a Tale of Two Sisters," the black leopard began.

"Dalmaa don't you dare!" shouted Protheus.

"And of what authority do you command me? Of what era did I suddenly become inferior to you, Protheus?" Dalmaa asked. He looked back at the others. "As I have said, the Auras came from a Void, and out into other Voids. Some alone, some in pairs, some in groups. Two Auras, a pair of so-called Sisters created your world and everything in it. They created time, and set it into a system of cause and effect events. They created the breath in your chest, the fire in your eyes, the fur on your skin. Yet still today no acknowledgement is given, and mortals forget those that made them. For now the tales which your elders told you have faded from your minds. Where is the faith? The fidelity? Where is your loyalty, mortals?!" Dalmaa shouted with rage.

"It was Protheus and I, who separated male and female, just a the sky is parted from the ground and the sea from the shore. We set a sun in the sky to light your way and a moon at night, to provide light even in the night, when the world would recover from the day. It was then that we created plants and mortal animals. The most superior among them, the humans. But how did the humans grow so powerful?"

"Dalmaa!" Protheus shouted mightily.

Dalmaa's desire was unwavering, and Protheus knew there wasn't much he could do to stop Dalmaa from talking. He didn't want to fight the leopard, because it might cause the mortals to die, as they stood quite closeby. Dalmaa went on. "The humans were something that Protheus and I both wished to collaborate upon. We wished to pour both of our minds into them, make them something incredibly different. But Protheus grew angry when I began to give them the gifts of fire, technology, and intelligence. What humans call science, I call my creations. For I created all of the tiny things that make up your everyday lives. While the butterfly, the dove, and the lion remain my most beautiful creations, they are not the most essential to this world. And Protheus sought to belittle the human race as all other animals, yet I reminded him that we agreed to make them the strongest. He did not like my questioning him and he silenced me by sending plague, flood, and fire upon the humans. They repented in idols in which they cast for themselves, unable to see the truth that I had promised them. But little did Protheus know, it was I who gave them these idols, these images. They prostrated themselves towards the statues if lambs, oxes, hippos, and jackals, while the form of the lion named Protheus remained forever a vague, unknown thought. I did not allow his name to enter their minds!" Dalmaa said pointing to Protheus. "In rage he struck me! Thus, it split the world apart into many continents. All the humans were split apart and their minds were distorted from the strike. They spoke in different tongues, and their hearts each desired something different. My own greed growing stronger, I twisted them and created sin, which I spread across every corner of the land. Protheus' jealousy was every clear then. He displayed envy in my craftiness, for I create something so clever that would surely destroy all that he had ever hoped to build, and no way to ever stop it. Then, he swiped out my creations. The beasts of before, which you call dinosaurs or dragons. My beautiful reptilian and avian friends, all reduced to ash, thanks to this golden-winged lion who stands before you today!"

"What about the Stone?" asked Star from the crowd of white spirits.

"The Stone served to cleanse the mortal world of its burdens. Even after the destruction of the Pawmark, it may still fulfill its purpose, but that is beyond the capability of any mortal or spirit in existence. Only Protheus may use the Stone, but how can he use it when he only programmed it to work after it was delivered to the Pawmark?"

"What are you talking about...?" Protheus said.

"Don't play ignorant, my friend. Absorb the world's sin! If you even have the arms to carry it!" Dalmaa shouted.
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:08 pm

Kyra, still sheltered by Egret's wings formed from starlight, wore what seemed to be an absence of expression on her face. "If the Pawmark has been destroyed, then as mortals, we cannot do anything other than stand and watch." She said, not saying anything about what had happened in the past. It was as though in some vague way she knew that the past was like this, and had just been looking for something that she could accept. In a strange, abstract way, she felt calm, because it felt as though she were at peace. She did not know why hearing such things brought her peace, but it did, and to have the burden of the belief that the world rested in her paws taken away made her feel as though the glittering wings of Egret were somehow her own.

She flicked her tail, "If the Stone can only be used by Protheus, or by the Pawmark, which Dalmaa destroyed, as I already suspected he would from the visions he sent, then there is no longer anything I can truly do that would change the situation. We only brought the Sodaki to the Talon, and if what is said of the Stone is true, then what happens next will rest on Protheus alone." Her eyes went to Protheus, "Dalmaa is responsible for many wicked things, Protheus, but he possesses followers because he has walked in the same world as us, and suffered from the dark things he created. The ability to stand through any pain is what mortals respect, although I could not judge why spirits follow Dalmaa, although I would suppose, he promised them something, and they follow, either because they believe, or they are certain you will lose, in the end. I am aware, Dalmaa can be charming and persuasive, and he can read hearts and predict every twist and turn they make."

She sat back on her haunches, "The reason Dalmaa has followers, is because he made an attempt to reach for them, Protheus, while you seem to have chosen to withhold the past from them, the whole truth. Everyone hungers for the truth, and a lie is just something that we want to hear, or something used to manipulate others. Protheus, the truth will always come to dispel the lies, in the end, so I will say what I believe. I cannot fully believe Dalmaa, not entirely, because he has only ever given us half-truths. I listen to him, however, because he speaks to me, and does not give me any choice but to listen."

Kyra looked over at Snake, then Belabi, and finally Dalmaa, "Protheus, I am a mortal, with a weak and sinful heart. You must forgive me for that, and all of those who wrought destruction because of it. My words would carry no weight to an Aura, I would think, but I will say it anyway. I believe that if you spoke to the spirits and mortals, they would listen. I have heard Dalmaa speak, but you have remained silent. I ask of you, what was this story, viewed through your eyes? What did you think and feel?"

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:18 am

Protheus glanced at his paws for a long moment, and then back up at Dalmaa. "I know what I've done is wrong. I've been jealous, and I belittled you. But... there wasn't any other way?!" he growled, frustrated. The black leopard only gave him a blank glare. Protheus' face tightened. "We talked about building something beautiful, something amazing!"

Dalmaa made a horrid face, it was the angriest expression Var had ever seen him utter. His lips drew back in a snarl that caused the ground to shake and his eyes, livid like fire, made the clouds thunder. The fur all over him stood up and his ears flattened. Wing wings ruffled furiously and he dug his claws into the rock. "Don't you understand?! We did make something beautiful! Look for your sake!" he said pointing at Var and Kyra with a paw. "Look at the beautiful young lioness and the handsome young lion. Both beautiful, both amazing. Both brought together only by the sin which I created! If the world was perfect, they never would have met!" Dalmaa shouted. "Look at Gamba, Layla! Mira and Kal! Shebla and Ammon! Sira and Jali! None of them would be together if it weren't for what I did!"

"You could have don't it differently! Even if I could destroy you, I can't destroy what you've created. It poisons every single life form! It's death, and they're born only to die! Only to sin and die! It has broken my heart!" Protheus said.

"Then it has fulfilled its purpose," Dalmaa said licking his claws, barely seeming to care. Protheus' eyes enraged. He looked back at Egret.

"Shield the mortals!" Protheus's wings opened, enveloping him in golden light. The sound of singing ran through the air, from his wings. He was ready to strike. Dalmaa got up, opening his wings as darkness rushed out, the color black spreading across the air and the sound of screams piercing the subtle air.
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:36 pm

As the battle between the Auras began, Egret spread her wings further, shimmering starlight descending down onto the mortals, and settling like the softest feathers or fur, like the pelt of a young creature, or the down of a chick. It was warm and comforting, recalling the feeling of what it must be like for a cub to rest by its mother's side. For all the security it brought, however, Egret's wings could not fully conceal the danger, for the tension still charged the air, before bursting into a violent scene of chaos. How the lioness spirit could protect the mortals was unknown, except that she must have been powerful, despite her comparably young age. While she shielded the mortals, she had to block all the things that could be hurled at them in the fray.

Egret's face rose above the wings, as her body became some unearthly, glowing thing, a being of light and strength, somehow a beacon in the chaos of the battle. She shimmered like crystal, her fur as white as snow, as the red mark on her chest, reminiscent of the wound that had killed her, faded, replaced by a white light that spread over her entire form. She used as much as her power as she could to protect them, somehow feeling as though this were the most important thing she could do. Her dark eyes glowed with an inner light, as she gazed into the shadows of the battlefield. "I will do my best for you." She said, although somehow, one knew she spoke more to the mortals, than to Protheus. She had shielded a helpless life before, and she would do it again.

It was what a mother did.

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:21 pm

Snake, Belabi, Star, Usizi, Isisulu, and all of the spirits surrounding all scattered as the two Auras fought. The two armies came together to fight. Spirits flew through the air, giving off their power. Light and dark clashed, building up against each other and boiling back down.

Var made sure to shield Kyra with his body. He knew that Egret would protect them and the comforting feel of her protection assured him everything would be okay, but it was instinctive as Kyra's mate. Taru shielded Magir, strangely and did so oddly devotedly, just as Skar shielded her cubs and Saber shielded them all. Odd, as it seemed that Saber seemed to still have some bone of forgiveness and reconciliation. Subira and Ramla fearfully crouched together, waiting for it all to end. Ramla's eyes streamed tears and her fur shivered. Subira knew that this event was more sad than scary to her, yet she still felt large amounts of both.

Dalmaa gave out a roar the shook the entire mountain, bolts of purple lightning struck Protheus about the wings and torso, and he gave out a horrible shriek. Fire poured out of his eyes and blasted into Dalmaa's chest, flinging him back, shooting him completely through the tall rocks that surrounded the ash pile, shattering them and throwing the ash everywhere. Dalmaa got up, burnt and wounded. He pounded the dirt, causing the ground to crack about the mountain. Shards of minerals slipped into the cracks and crevices that shot through the tip of the mountain and hordes of bats shot from the cracks, flinging themselves at Protheus. They were obviously rabid, as Snake began screaming and holding his paws over his ears.

Dalmaa stopped. "You haven't met with me in a hundred years, Protheus, I'm not the same spirit from your memory," Dalmaa said as Protheus fought off the unnatural, enormous bats. At last each faded and he looked at Dalmaa. Dalmaa cleverly grabbed the Sodaki which burnt his paw and thrust it at Egret, ripping a hole through her shield. He quickly leaped through and tackled Var. "The Chosen Ones will die!" But just as he lifted his claws to take him, Snake blasted through the hole and tackled Dalmaa, throwing his jaws at the leopard's neck and throwing him back out. He gave a glance to Var, looking at him with tearful eyes and leaping out of the hole, just as it sealed up again.

Dalmaa and Snake gave each other glares of hatred, just before Snake leaped away and Protheus resumed his post. The Sodaki stood between Dalmaa and Protheus. With one more glance to each other, they sprang forward to paw it, to grab it. They both caught it, Dalmaa flinging his tail at it and the Stone springing from both their grasps. Dalmaa caught it at last, Protheus then swiped him in the face and as he held his wound the lion of light took the Stone. Dalmaa's face was of fear, the spirits around them began to stop fighting. Dalmaa kept shaking his head, begging Protheus not to continue. The Stone glittered with bright, iridescent light, almost blinding in quality, and then suddenly faded. All of its light was gone and it was empty. It was now black and a bit transparent. With a forceful paw, Protheus smashed it, shattering it into a million pieces.

"No!" Dalmaa yelled desperately. The winds of the area suddenly took off strongly, in a swirling fashion. A whirlwind brushed up Dalmaa's fur and he suddenly lost his sense of muscularity. Protheus' body seemed to have grown in that time, his body shining brightly.

"Dalmaa, your reign in the mortal world is done. You will return to the spirit world, where all spirits belong," Protheus growled.

"You..." Dalmaa spoke out.

"You will be isolated, exiled. Sin will still roam the earth in your name, and you will still live here... But you will never take a physical form in this world ever again!" Protheus growled, with that, Dalmaa let out a loud yowl of sorrow. His head dropped as the spirits began shouting their rebukes against him, including his own followers.

At that point, Kavis fell down, yelling. He grunted, heaved, and showed his pain. Var watched, amaze as the muscles rippling Kavis' body faded and he was weaker than a cub, thinner than a giraffe, and more feeble than a gazelle, falling down and stumbling. His fur was still especially long, but it was obvious that it was only fur. Var almost felt a pang of sorrow, watching Kavis come crashing down.

"Dalmaa, shed your coat. Wipe away the Black Tears," Protheus said, pointing with his tail to Dalmaa's black pelt.

"But the mortals..." Dalmaa begged, tears welling up in his eyes.

"The mortals deserve to see a good image of you, before you go. Let them know that you left having learned something. Let them respect you again," Protheus said more calmly.

Dalmaa thought for a moment, as his tears fell onto the ground and sizzled like fire. At last his fur began to ripple, the black coloring fading off like smoke. His fur was white and luminous. He was structured strongly and elegantly. A tuft of fur hung over his right eye. His eyes themselves were every color of the rainbow, constantly shifting in appearance. His pupils were like fire, blazing brightly pure white and outlined in a fiery color. His claws were colored much like the sun, bright gold and shining. His tail was fluffy and gorgeous. He had two eagle-like wings at his back. They were full of fluffy, huge, white feathers. With every bat, fireflies emerged and swarmed all around Dalmaa. The paw prints Dalmaa left in the ground shimmered pure pink. The flesh of his ears were a cute pink color. His nose was a delightful violet. It seemed everything about him was wonderful in some way. Flowers bloomed around him wherever he walked.

It was the same image Kyra had seen long ago. Protheus gave orders to Egret that she could stop shielding the mortals, so they could see Dalmaa in his pure form. Dalmaa looked like someone new. Someone innocent, someone who was afraid. He looked nervously up at the mortals, who were just in front of him.
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:46 pm

Kyra tilted her head at Dalmaa, still unfamiliar with his original form, and even more unfamiliar with the look in his eyes. "You used to be a being of light, and stripped of the shadows, I see that when you showed me those visions, you had been telling me the truth, and that it wasn't some illusion meant to deceive me. You lied to me so much, But I had no choice but to listen, and I shouldered the dreams and messages of you, and other spirits, until I nearly collapsed under the burden. I know things about the spirits that have loyally served you, and things my friends don't even know, because they told me to keep their secrets. This should be a glorious day, because we achieved something, but it isn't. The world is still suffering, and without the Pawmark, it always will."


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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:55 pm

Dalmaa solemnly looked up at Kyra. At first he said nothing, and everything about him was still. His ears drooped and his wings were sad. He then made a noise. "Kyra, you can't stop death. You can't stop sin. I know, because I made it that way." He shook his head. "Death doesn't forgive, doesn't relent. Once you go in, you don't go back out, and it can happen a morning as regular as any. That's what makes it so scary. That's it's true power. That's how clearly I despise Protheus," he said looking over to the lion who stood sternly. "Death walks by and leaves widows, orphans, fathers without sons and mothers without daughters. It brings pain, tears, and suffering. These are what I knew would break the mortals until there was no peace and the world had forgotten the names of the spirits."

"They can never forget, not now," said Protheus.

"Perhaps," said Dalmaa. "Do you wish to condemn me?" he asked.

"I believe you have much more to say, first," said Protheus.

Dalmaa finally gained the courage to look up at Kyra. His eyes more beautiful than those of any mortal and more striking than the stars themselves. "Forgive me," he said softly, as though afraid to speak. "I do not deserve it, but this I ask."

"Why should we forgive you?" asked Saber. "By the thousand wounds you've inflicted on us--"

"Quiet yourself!" Ramla hissed. "All souls can be saved, forgiven, and understood. Even the most horrible among them. No doubt, Dalmaa is the vilest among all that exists, but that does not mean he cannot change."

Dalmaa gave a gaze to her that was mixed with thankfulness, yet he was wordless. "I will live on in my tainted form, simply because I must still live with my creation and spread it. For this is Protheus' wish, only that I provide a challenge for mortals and that they overcome me." He looked up at Kyra and Var and then over at Kavis, fallen on the ground. "But please, forgive my mortal followers. Please, take Kavis back to Ethiopia and nurse him back to health."
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:07 pm

Kyra was aware that Dalmaa would continue to spread sin in the world, but she could sense, when his eyes met hers, that there had been a change. It was faint, but it was just enough to tell her to do what she knew was right, in the end. It hurt, though, and her heart, wounded and scarred by much suffering that she had endured and witnessed, viciously fought against her will. Why was it that one could so easily do something wrong, but when they were about to do the right thing, it was painful? The answer was simple, in that it was the nature of sin; that it would make terrible, evil things seem beautiful, and make a good deed turn sour. Those who caved into sin were somehow blessed beyond measure, to those who looked, but their souls rotted from within, just as Kavis' beauty and gleaming health had faded before everyone's very eyes. No soul was beyond saving, but sin and evil took its toll, and Kavis' depravity was the physical representation of it. Those who did good suffered terribly, and became the victims of those who did evil, but their spirits emerged pure, gleaming beings of light, as Egret had. This was the challenge of life, now, to overcome sin, and prove that one was worthy of having their wings formed from stars, instead of shadows.

Dalmaa, however, the creator of this sin, would never be free from it, as he had created it, an irreversible crime. For ever and ever, he would be punished, regardless of what he truly felt inside. People would curse the Aura's name, and claim he was nothing but pure evil, even though Kyra saw the regret in his eyes, and knew what was truth, and what was not. The hatred of the rivalry still burned, but it was now the helpless anger of defeat, for Dalmaa could never again rise to power; he could only resign himself to challenging and misleading the weak mortals that walked the Earth. Kyra knew now, that there was, somewhere past the shadows, a single glowing speck of good inside the entity, the creature said to symbolize all that was bad, evil, wrong, or unjust in the world, the entity that had created sin.

Kyra for a bit wrestled within her heart, and finally her heart gave in to her will, with a painful throb that brought tears to her eyes, as she met those of Dalmaa, the defeated Aura of shadow, "I know my words couldn't change anything." She said, having to space her words to keep speaking clearly, "And it hurts so much, because of the things that were done to me, and my family. It hurts because I know that people are always going to feel pain. I have a weak heart, and I don't know why I'm crying when I say this." She said, as the tears flowed, "You'll always be punished for what you did, but I know what's right." She choked.

"I forgive you, Dalmaa, because you asked me. You would ask for the ultimate act of kindness, so I will give it to you, even after what you did to me." She then dissolved into hysterical tears, and spoke no more.

With this act, Kyra had done what one would have seen as unthinkable, or even impossible.

Kyra, a newly-gifted Seeress, fortunate enough to retain her sight somehow, had forgiven Dalmaa.

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:06 am

Dalmaa nodded, looking guiltily back at Protheus and then back to Kyra. "Thank you," he said weakly. He then looked back to the ground, just as Ramla approached.

"Protheus, Dalmaa, I came here also to ask you something. I wish to have my Sight taken from me," she said quite hastily.

Dalmaa nodded. "I give unto you mortal life," he said and Ramla's eyes widened, knowing that when she left the Talon her vision would not fade, rather continue. She stepped back, as Var came forward. "Var," Dalmaa began. "I..."

"I know you've somehow changed, you've changed your mind," Var said. "I know of your regret. But I just can't shake all the lies along the way."

"What you've heard while on this mountain is the truth, Var. Or Protheus would have silenced me," Dalmaa moaned.

"I see," said Var. "We'll take Kavis to our Pride, but I guarantee he won't enjoy that."

"He has a stubborn heart, but the boy is desperate for love. He will do anything for it, leave anyone, even kill to get it. I know, because I designed his past, his mind, and his emotions. He is nothing without love, whether it be motherly, fatherly, brotherly, sisterly, or even by mate. You know he is a fighter, and when he returns to his health he may be a valuable asset to your Pride. A defender, a hunter, a provider..."
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:27 pm

Kyra looked at Kavis, "I know that he had a will of his own hidden somewhere inside, and now we will be able to see who he truly is." Her face then clouded with worry, "We must bring him past the Dream Field, though. Is its spell broken? Are the creatures trapped there free, or is it still cursed? It might be dangerous if the spell hanging over it is still there, but it was strongly influenced by your power. I wouldn't even know, there are so many spirits here that I don't think I could tell, even though I can almost sense spiritual power, now." She said.

______________________________________________________

Outside of Cyla's den, Coglon sat, keeping vigil, as he stared into the sky. "Cyla..." He said, "Can you feel it?..." He asked. "Can you feel the energy changing? It is over..." He said. His words were vague, but there was a certainty in his gaze that couldn't be denied.

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:47 pm

Cyla did not respond for a moment. But then she slowly peeked out from the den and looked at the ground. "I knew it was over before it began. I felt the fight... It's all over... And that's what I'm worried about." Cyla looked up dreadfully. "Aziza will be here soon...."

__________________________________________________________________


Dalmaa sighed. "The spell is broken, but the energy has not had the time to fade away. It will still be dangerous, but you will not have to worry about being trapped by the spiritual water. He will dream... But he is too weak to cause you any harm. He is barely strong enough to walk. But his coat is so thick that it weighs him down. It would be too heavy for anyone to lift. But I will give him the strength to walk home, but only that much. When you make it into your pride, his health and strength will cease. I will rely on Shebla and Mabel to nurse him back to health, just as they had done with Ammon."

Dalmaa glanced around. "Is there anything you wish to say to me, before I go?"

Skar stepped forward. "Why did you kidnap my whelps? What did you do to them?" She asked, looking weary at heart. Dalmaa looked up shyly, getting cold feet.

"I believe that it is in your fate to discover that later, Skar," Dalmaa uttered weakly. Skar stepped back, with a horrified look, and hid behind the others, but growling in her jaws. Saber then moved forward, looking hotly at Dalmaa as he did everyone.

"Why did you treat me the way you did? Curse me, and when I try to do something right, I'm killed. I was never protected," Saber said.

"I'm sorry," Dalmaa began. "It had a negative affect on you, but look at the good it did in others. Your death was no good thing, but despite that, it brought families closer. Such was the will of Protheus, who spread peace in the aftermath of the war," he said. Var then stepped forward.

"Why?" he simply asked.

Dalmaa looked at Var and then back at Snake. Nithili, Barcal, and Urathi stood behind him in the distance, slowly fading away. Dalmaa returne his gaze to Var. "Without what happened to you, this day would not have come. You would never have come to Sunset Pride, fell in love, and saved the world."
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:39 pm

Coglon continued to gaze into the sky, "Aziza is a powerful opponent, but I suspect her threat will cease." He said, his glowing eyes flashing brightly, although his face showed no visible change in expression. "I fear that something else of more importance will come to trouble us in the future. I can sense it, just as though it were dawn, preparing to creep up over the horizon. I do not know what it is, however, save for that it would be found troubling to anyone. It is far off, and yet, it feels urgent, as though it were just as important as the quest that my sister and her friends chose to complete." His words became oddly like a riddle of sorts, but it seemed that this merely reflected Coglon's own uncertainty, regarding the knowledge that he had of future events. He could sense something, and yet he could not do anything, as though it were an inevitable thing.

____________________________________________________

Kyra's ears lowered, "This battle is over, and there are some things that mortals or even spirits descended from mortals will never understand. Some things, I believe, are never meant to be fully comprehended. I have had to step back and look at things in an overly-simplified way, just because it is the only way to understand the complexity at all."

She looked at Kavis, staring at him for a long while, before taking a deep breath, "If there is nothing left to say, then we should go. We have been away from home for a long time. Kavis needs care urgently, which we cannot give here."

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:59 pm

Dalmaa nodded. He stepped back and turned, facing Protheus. The spirits about the mountain began to dissipate, flying up into the skies. Dalmaa glanced over his shoulder, solemnly, at the mortals. Just as his eyes turned red once more and his body blackened, starting from his face. Then, his body rumbled and unravelled with molten black smoke, gone. Protheus then looked at the mortals.

"You have done well, and I am very proud. You've redeemed your pride, you've let the memory of the two who died here live on. I am very pleased," Protheus said as he began to turn. He stopped for a moment and slightly glanced back over his shoulder. "But your adventures do not end here...." With that, he lifted off and burst into thousands of fiery golden sparks that rushed into the clouds and fell to the ground.

Snake rushed down into the clearing, looking at Var and Kyra. For once, his form was not so horrible. Somehow his many facial scars had vanished, the foam that usually oozes from his mouth was gone. His tail no longer resembled that of a rattlesnake's and his mane was not mangled and mangey. He glanced at them both. "I just wanted to say... I'm sorry, as well. I've learned... I... I know better now."

Var's eyes began to tear up, immensely. He lunged forward, grabbing his father with his forepaws and embracing him around the neck with a huge hug. "...Dad."

"I'm sorry," Snake said, tears flowing. He pressed his nose into Var's shoulder. "I'm sorry..."

Var finally released him, and Snake stepped back, looking at Kyra. "Kyra, I'm sorry about what happened between us, too. I..." Snake bit his lip for a moment. "I just, I'm sorry," he repeated. "I hope you two forgive me. I hope you don't have to encounter anything like this again. I hope you have your cubs..." Snake continued.

"What about your prophecy?" Var asked.

Snake shook his head. "I don't want that. She will have safe delivery, I will ensure this. I just... I love you, I love you both. And when I died, I just felt so alone. Var, your brothers... they were too unintelligent, and Dalmaa had poisoned them so much that they didn't know how to speak or think. They didn't know their father, or how much he loved them, even past all of his hate. Truth be told, I missed you..."

"I thought you hated me," Var said.

"I did," said Snake. "But... A father can never stop loving his son, no matter how hard he tries. I did try. I did fail," he added. "I've never stopped thinking of you since I died." Snake's eye slipped over Var's shoulder, at Magir, who had been fearfully staring at him. She half-hid behind Taru. Snake's eyes released another wave of tears. He looked at his paws. "Magir..." he whimpered out.

Magir stepped forward. "Snake..."

"I..." Snake stammered out. His voice choked. "I'm sorry. I know it's been a while."

"I forgive you, Snake," Magir said. "You wounded me, scarred me... Broke my heart and made me never trust a male ever again. But I forgive you..."

Var looked surprised, glancing at his father curiously. Snake placed a paw on his shoulder. "Kyra will tell you, later," Snake said. He then stepped back and looked at the two of them. He looked at Kyra and waited for her response.

__________________________________________________________________

Cyla stood up, pawing Coglon to get his attention. "Coglon! I know you can see things I can't, but Aziza is going to figure out what's going on and she'll show up here in a desperate attempt to kill Shebla! Her plans failed and that's all she cares about! That's been her whole plan this entire time! She doesn't care who wins the war as long as Shebla is dead!"
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:22 pm

Kyra looked at Snake, "You did many things, Snake, which earned you so much deep hatred and loathing from others. However, what others did not know was that Dalmaa had begun to groom you at an early age for the acts that you would later commit. He subjected you to torment and his influence, just as he did to Kavis, and so it was, in many ways, that what you did was unavoidable." She said. "You did evil things, but evil, in its own way, is a sickness. You were sick when you were alive, but because you died, you got better, and now that this is over, you seem to see things more clearly than you once did." She nodded once, never taking her eyes away from his, "I forgive you, Snake, because in a way, you are no more deserving of blame than Kavis."

________________________________________________________

Coglon looked calmly at Cyla, "I am not dismissing Aziza as a threat, Cyla, nor am I saying she will not come here. However, it is not good to panic in a bad situation, because that is exactly what a foe would want. A fraying mind will not tightly retain its full capability, so I must ask that you remain calm. I never said I would sit idly by, as it is within our power to notify the appropriate individuals of the danger. Other than this, however, there is little we ourselves can do to prevent Aziza from coming, unless..." He drifted off, musing, "...Unless you would like to learn how I have managed to kill large prey, which would work just as well on a ligeress. You would have to answer quickly, however, or we may not have as much time as I would imagine. There would be materials to gather, a position to be mapped out, and of course, we would have to ensure nobody from our own party was injured."

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:38 pm

Snake smiled at Kyra. "Thank you," he said. His eyes still ripe with water, and dripping. Var looked at Snake with the same look in his eyes. Snake, without his scars, looked so similar to Var that it was almost alien. Var looked at his father with both happiness and sorrow.

"Will I ever see you again?" Var asked.

"I'll always be with you," Snake said. "In your heart and all around you." Snake paused for a moment, looking out as the moon shone down over the green forests of the mountain. The skies were clearing, the clouds vanishing. "I'll be that smell in the flower fields, that lizard slipping around the rocks, that gentle sway of the branches in the evening breeze. The friendly rattling of a snake, the feeling of morning dew..." Snake said. He smiled and looked back at them, a few teardrops splashing at the ground. Snake stared at Var for such a long time. "You're all grown up, Var. But I can still see my little cub, down by the gully..." Snake continued to smile. "Take care of your family," he added. "I love you both, and I hope that you'll remember me this way, not like I was."

"I... I love you too, Dad," Var said.

Snake gave them both a nuzzle before he turned and began to walk off, stopping at a ledge that bounded into the woods. He stopped and turned, gazing at them one last time. He smiled, still pouring tears. The wind swept through his jet black mane and starting with it, his body traveled with the wind into a gust of white smoke and bright green light that shot into the woods in a fiery fashion, gone.

Var looked out, watching Usizi and Isisulu in the other side of the clearing dissipate in the same fashion, only in the colors of silver and yellow. He saw King Star vanish, Dyna, King Osaqi, and all of his brothers. Belabi's form suddenly she'd the coat of blood, turning a blinding white, as though freed. Her black eyes lightened to a beautiful pink light and she lifted off into the skies, her wings incredibly majestic.

Var pressed his nose to Kyra's flank. He let out a sigh of freedom and peace. "It's finally over..." he said, almost as though he didn't believe it. Yet, Var could believe nothing short of it. "We can finally go home, live normal lives...." Var's attention was caught by something moving in front of him. As he turned his head, he saw Kavis standing before him. Although Kavis was nearly unrecognizable without the million ripples of muscles. Oddly, Kavis' eyes were amber and no longer dark red. His fur was still incredibly soft and incredibly long, with large quantities of fluff. Var inwardly wondered how he could stand to carry the weight. Though that thought was masked by his sudden instinct to attack, although he was able to restrain himself. He was merely spooked and looked at Kavis curiously.

Kavis said nothing.

"Kavis?" asked Var.

Kavis seemed dazed, almost as though he had not eaten and his mind was so starved of energy that he couldn't speak or think straight. Var looked at Kyra. "We should get going," he said and took to one of Kavis' sides, to guide him along.

__________________________________________________________

Cyla looked at Coglon. "I... Yes, yes, I'd like to learn. But don't you think Jali should be notified? Or someone?" Cyla asked. "What if Zalika and Nassor are with her? What about the rebel hyenas? What if they're still with her?"
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:52 pm

Coglon's tail tip twitched, "Aziza is concerned with revenge on Shebla, Cyla, as you have said. I am unaware of how deep the loyalty of the rebel hyenas is for her leadership, although I may make deductions from what I suspect. Aziza previously had power, because she was the adopted mother of Kavis; we both know this. Kavis was the Dark King, picked and groomed for the position from birth by Dalmaa himself. Because of Aziza's ties to Dalmaa in this way, and the fact that we both know Dalmaa was a powerful influence, it is possible their loyalty came more from fear, or the belief that they would not have a choice." He said. He looked at Cyla, "Based on these ideas, I would believe that they would find the notion of attacking a camp filled with a group of united hyenas, lions, and cheetahs, to be ridiculous, especially if they have reason to think it is for something as petty as revenge on a single mortal lioness. If you sensed Dalmaa's defeat, then so would have everyone else. You must take into account that these hyenas are each individuals with their own individual wants and desires. Take into account that Aziza no longer has any true spoils to offer them in return for their loyalty. Such a scenario as this would be ideal, from my own perspective."

He then proceeded to rise up to a standing position, "With this in mind, it is unlikely Aziza will bring an entire army with her, but if she does, there is little we can do about it save for remaining alert. We cannot worry about things over which we have no control; we merely have to prepare for them, and have courage to change the things that we can. We should go and speak with Jali, as you have suggested, and give warning. It would be preferable in everyone's mind if all the strife was over, although sin, the cause of all struggle and suffering, was made to be a permanent thing. The mortal world will always be filled with suffering, though now the odds are no longer stacked in a maddeningly unfair fashion against us."

He flicked his tail, making a gesture for Cyla to follow him, as per the rule of her conditional freedom that she could not wander about without Coglon's supervision. He walked over to the entrance of Jali's den, and stopped outside of it, "Jali, may we please speak with you?" He asked. His brain was already calculating the odds of any actions taken. Choosing to do nothing left plenty of time, but setting a trap left them with little to spare.

______________________________________________________

Kyra, somehow feeling only pity for Kavis' current blight, did not hesitate to take the lion's other side, so that he didn't stray. He seemed to suffer a combination of starvation and tiredness, as though during his possession with Dalmaa's unnatural influence, he had neglected the simple needs of a mortal, which required him to eat, drink, and sleep. If this were the case, then without Dalmaa giving Kavis the strength to walk, he would likely be at the very brink of death, although Kyra suspected he would already be there when his body gave out upon their arrival at Sunset Pride. He would probably wind up unable to walk for ages, as Ammon had every single time he had tried to flee from the camp. In reality, Kavis would likely be worse, because he might not even have the power to lift his head or move his jaws to eat without assistance. There was also the flickering fear about Kavis' thick fur. If Kavis was hindered during his recovery too much by it, Mabel might suggest cutting his fur short, until he had the strength to lift his heavy pelt, before allowing it to grow back out. It would already be humiliating enough for him for basic treatment, but male lions would generally feel deep shame at losing their manes, even if it was only temporary.

Kyra didn't know what Kavis was like when free from Dalmaa's influence, but she knew he was probably not the lion everyone took him to be. As a result, when she was helping this large, scrawny black lion with thick fur and amber eyes, it felt more like helping a stranger. She hoped Kavis would be okay, and seeing as his health was fragile. She also wondered if the death Kavis had suffered wasn't more symbolic or figurative, seeing as she had been bade to kill him by the Crocodiles. Brushing these thoughts aside, however, seeing as Kavis would likely be dramatically changed, she continued to help guide him.

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:43 pm

Var's tears were beginning to dry as they set off down the mountain. The forest that thinly blanketed the mountain was ruffled and filled with wind. Var felt as though the spirits had never left, but he couldn't see them anywhere. He doubted whether he'd see the spirits again, or at least any time soon. But he felt in his heart like he was very wrong. Despite this, Var continued on and guided Kavis. The black-furred lion looked dazed, having droopy eyes and trembling limbs. His paws were frail and gaunt. Sickly and ate away. His ribs could be seen through his skin, even past the shorter furs along his body. Ramla stopped and fell in step with them, walking next to Kyra. Var looked across at her.

"How does it feel to see again?" asked Var.

"It's amazing!" Ramla excitedly exclaimed. She seemed overjoyed, smiling and looking at every single thing she possibly could. Her tail was swinging gleefully and her bright eyes were wide.

"So, you're not a Seeress anymore?" asked Var.

"I lost my ability to contact spirits directly, but I'll never lose the knowledge they gave me. I can still offer my services, I just can't be a messenger anymore," Ramla smiled.

"Well, maybe you can answer a question for me. Is Kavis going to be alright?" Var asked.

"I think so. He'll lose his strength when we get home, and he'll probably be Shebla's highest priority. But with enough time and therapy he'll be quite strong. Possibly even as strong as he was when he was under Dalmaa's influence. Although, I do fear for any residue that Dalmaa's presence left behind," Ramla said.

"Residue?" Var asked.

"I have a suspicion that he might have a few personality quirks that stem from being under the influence of Dalmaa for so long, but I don't think it's anything to worry about. Definitely not now. We need to focus on him regaining his strength. Along the way home we need to hunt, both for us and for Kavis."

__________________________________________________________________


Jali came out from his den, looking rather astounded, as though he had felt the presence of the war cease as well. He looked at both of them. "Did you feel it too?" Cyla gave a single nod and Jali bit his lip. "What does it mean?"

"It means the war is over, but Jali... Aziza will be here soon to kill Shebla!" Cyla said.

Jali nodded, looking rather worried. "I'll tell the warriors to look out for her, you two should go keep a lookout."

"Really?" Cyla asked, surprised that Jali wanted her to do this, of all people. Jali looked at her.

"There is a place for rivalry, but more so a place to get rid of it. Go, and be careful." With that, the king darted into the weeds.
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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:05 pm

Coglon looked at Cyla, “It would seem that we may set our trap. This means we must promptly begin gathering our materials to construct it. First, we must collect vines, and not a small number, either. They must be as long as you can find, and have stems that are preferably wooden with age, yet still flexible enough to bend with one’s touch. There is a grove of trees on one side of camp where they grow in abundance, and we may use our claws to cut them; and we shall bring them back to camp for a proper flat workplace.” He said, appearing to already have some sort of detailed plan in his mind.

He led Cyla to a the grove, where many thick vines grew, and proceeded to precisely pick out vines, placing his front paws on the side of a trunk, even, as he proceeded to cut one, so as to sever its length. “Find vines like these, Cyla, and we will collect as much as we can carry, and make multiple trips. Make haste!” He said.

________________________________________________

Kyra thought about the concept of hunting, "When was the last time we hunted, anyway?" She mused aloud. "We haven't been hungry, although I would think we would be..."

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:38 pm

Var simply shook his head. He helped Kavis as the black-furred former king nearly stumbled. Var then gazed to Kyra. "We've been so stressed by the mission that we haven't had much time to think about our bellies, but that will catch up with us very, very soon." It was true, the Var hadn't felt quite hungry since they left home, and it was probably due to the adrenaline that constantly flowed through his veins. His worries for food and water had been diminished, but now that the sun was setting over the sky of the mission, hunger would soon be rising. Food would be important for the trip home.

Something else came to Var's mind. He thought about Shebla caring for Kavis, and was reminded of Ammon's time there. He looked at her. "Do you think your father will return, now that the war is over?"

__________________________________________________________


Cyla hurriedly began snapping vines, taking exactly as Coglon instructed and doing as he said. She was fast, though clumsy as always. In a matter of minutes she had the supplies that Coglon requested and sat them at his side, waiting.

Back at the camp, Shebla sat in the medical den. She seemed bored, laying on her belly and looking into the water of the lake that stretched with a narrow sliver into the medical den. With a paw stretched out, she tapped her own reflection with a toe, while the other foreleg was tucked under her chin. She hummed to herself, humming the same song she had sang to Kamuzu, just before he slipped away.

Jali entered the den, followed by Danzai, one of the older warriors. Kal was at their heels. Shebla sat up upon their entry and gave them a curious gaze, as she could tell it was urgent.

"Shebla, the war is over. Did you feel it?"

"I did," Shebla replied shyly. "They're coming home?"

"They're not the only ones that are on their way..." Danzai said, causing Shebla's ears to prick up curiously.

"Shebla, Aziza will be here soon. We have to protect you," Jali said.

Shebla's eyes sunk back with horror and her face grew pale. Her ears fell down with dread and her tail drooped between her hindlegs. "Please tell me there won't be any more bloodshed... I'm not prepared, I just don't have the herbs."

"Let's hope against it. Now come, we need to get you to the cave. Same goes for any female who mothers children. Danzai, spread the word," Jali ordered.

"Yes, your majesty," Danzai replied and turned, bounding out of the den. Shebla quickly took to Jali's side. There were no patients for her to tend to, at the moment, which was most opportune. The two made their way out of the den, taken by the side by Kal.

"Mabel!" Jali called to the old feline. Kal took to Mabel's side and pointed her in their direction. "Come with us to the cave, Mabel, it's urgent."

__________________________________________________________


"I was once like you, but then the times caught up with me."

"What happened?"

"Nothing."

"Is it something you did?"

"It was something I didn't do."

"What's your name?"

"Aziza."



There was a bulky figure pushing past the ferns. Strong and mighty, yet in no position to use said might. Pawsteps that were heavy, the grass giving way. The figure stepped out, Aziza's bloody eyes like hot rubies. She stepped forward, the scents of Sunset Pride overwhelming her scent glands. She was alone and she could smell Shebla not far away.

Indeed she would be detected by now, as she did not even attempt to conceal her scent and the winds took her scent into the camp. It would not be long.



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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:55 pm

Kyra's ears lowered, "I keep telling myself that he will, but I don't know. I've been having prophetic dreams, but all I'm seeing are young creatures; and all of them look like they're suffering. It has something to deal with them, and I haven't been able to find any consistency at all, except I think that they might all be...orphans..." She said, thinking carefully for a while before speaking again, "I was seeing lion cubs, but there were striped hyenas and baboons and rhinoceroses and cheetahs, too. Whatever is supposed to happen isn't focused just on lions, hyenas, and cheetahs, it's happening to creatures that wouldn't normally even associate with us." She mused for a little longer, before her eyes narrowed, "The cheetah was as pale as snow, her spots were barely there, and she was wearing the bones of a venomous snake around her neck. There was a strange vulture of a kind I've never seen before that was flying in the sky, carrying a bone in its beak."

She shook her head, "I don't know, but I have a feeling my father might somehow be caught up in all of this. A lot of the visions revolved around bones, sorrow, and I think age, too. Something incredibly old. What I saw repeatedly, though, was this cave or chamber, filled with a circle of statues with glowing blue eyes, and points of light between them, like a mark. They would whisper something, but I couldn't hear it, and the statues looked like creatures I'd never seen before. I think they were spirits, but I didn't know what they were saying." She looked disturbed, "Nothing is clear, and I don't know what happened to Ammon, except that he would go really far away from our pride to keep his promise. If he were on the run, he would move really quickly, but if he has no reason to fear being chased, then he would probably go at a more casual pace. He might not come for a long time, it he does, even though I think he will, because family is here. He might not get near the Pride, but he might walk around on the outskirts of our territory; we can't find him unless he wants us to. He's a master at it."

_______________________________________________________

Coglon lifted his head up, tasting the air, "Scratch the plan, she's coming." He said, immediately changing his course of action. "We need to watch Shebla's den." He said, a somewhat bitter note in his voice. He had possessed far less time than he had first thought. "She must have started her journey towards Sunset Pride before the war ended; perhaps she sensed it coming inevitably." He muttered, uncharacteristically expressive from his usual monotone and lack of emotion. He seemed to dislike things going against his plans.

________________________________________________________

Mabel walked next to Kal, crabby as ever, "Fine, fine, whatever! I am sick of everyone wanting to pick fights. I'm starting to think the problems are in their brains, not their bodies!"

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:58 pm

Aziza stepped out, pushing through more ferns. Her eyes downcast, her feet reluctant to move forward. Her eyes seemed to tear up, although she resisted the rising urge to cry. The sentries upon the high rocks immediately rushed out, blasting through the tall grasses at her. She only stood and took each clawful and at a certain point they wondered why she wasn't fighting back. They stopped and looked at her. She made no moves, spoke none. She did not even look up at them.

"Aziza," spoke one of the sentries. "Be gone, the war is over."

Aziza's lips finally parted. "I must speak with Shebla," she uttered coldly. The sentries all looked at each other. One fled back into the camp as the sun fell and fell, the skies growing darker, but a hint of red and orange in the horizon. As Jali was walking with Shebla, Danzai, Kal, and Mabel, the sentry came before him.

"Your majesty, Aziza has arrived. She refused to defend herself when we attacked her. She wishes to speak with Shebla."

Jali looked at the others, specifically Shebla, and then turned to the sentry. "I'll be out in a moment," he said. He looked at Kal. "Get these two into my den, for now." Kal nodded obediently as the four of them continued up to the cave. Jali turned and moved alongside the sentry until the entrance to the camp was met. He walked down the wide dirt path, deadened from all of the paws stepping across it. As his paws struck grass, he found the form of Aziza not far from him. At last he stopped just a distance away from her, in case she lashed out. "What do you want?" he asked sternly.

"Just let me speak to her..." Aziza whimpered.

"You will not come close to Shebla, Aziza. I'm not a fool."

Cyla, not out of earshot, gazed through the bushes at them. Her eyes widened as she saw Aziza again and all of the hairs on her body stood straight up. Though she did not admit her fear to Coglon, it was very obvious. She looked over at him, "She's here..." she said.

Jali's voice echoed across the hills to Aziza's back and he gave out his next words. Letting a growl slip out of his voice, he condemned her. "You're a disgrace to all lions, Aziza. I just regained the favor of the spirits, is that how I thank them? Letting you set your paws into the heart of my pride?"

"For spirit's sake shut your snout!" Aziza roared. "Let me speak to Shebla, now. I'm not in the mood for your tongue," she added.

Jali thought for a moment. "I will be with you, if you do speak to her."

"I must speak with her alone," Aziza said, frustrated. "Will you just show me her already?"

Jali thought for a moment. "How do I know that this isn't just a trap, a plan for Shebla's death."

"If I wanted to kill Shebla, I would have snuck into her den and killed her from the other side of the lake," Aziza said. "But I took the main entry, instead." Jali turned slowly and began to move back towards the camp. When he came into the royal cave, where Shebla now sat by the entrance, nervously, he stopped in front of her.

"She wants to speak to you, alone," Jali said.

Shebla's eyes widened. "Jali, that's a trap, you know it." She said. Her paws seemed to slightly tremble.

"I think she was honest. But..." he looked back over his shoulder. "They're a family of liars. They're good at it. I don't know what to do."

Shebla let out a sigh, attempting to expel her anxiety. "I'll come, but you have to keep me safe," she said.

"She won't lay a paw on you," Jali agreed. "I'll watch from a close distance, concealing my location."

"Bring her to the edge of the lake, where my den is. There's plenty of bushes for you to hide in," Shebla said as she picked herself up and began to move. Jali followed her until he parted at the entrance and came back to meet Aziza. He looked at her cautiously.

"This way," he said. Aziza followed him, boxed in by a chorus of sentries who left the group guarding the entrance. Danzai soon joined them, taking to the rear of Aziza. Jali stopped, allowing Aziza to continue to the shoreline, where Shebla sat looking towards the sunset. Jali took to the bushes while Aziza moved forward, while she was distracted. She stopped next to Shebla and sat.

"Why did you come here, Aziza?" asked Shebla.

"I've been asking myself that," Aziza replied. "But... In honesty, which I have so little of... I had to come, I had to tell you that it's over."

"I know that it's over," said Shebla. "I know what's happened. They've returned the Sodaki to its owner."

"But not to the Pawmark, so sin still lives... Obviously. It is for this reason that I will be leaving all of these lands. I will go to the far north, and return myself to the humans..." Aziza said this biting her lip, a painful look in her eyes.

Shebla gave her an aggravated gaze. "Aziza, as much as I hate you and want to see you gone, I can't stand that. You have a family. A son who loves you, a mate!"

"Nassor is no mate of mine..." Aziza growled, the furs of her neck sticking up with anger. "I put him to the grave before I came here... He is lying in my old camp, bleeding out. I ordered Zalika to feed him to her vultures. But even now, they seem to be distracted from her." Aziza paused. "And Kavis... there's nothing I can do for him anymore. He's just gone."

Shebla remained silent for a while longer, before she spoke again. "Why did you come here? Why did you really come here?" Aziza shook her head. Shebla was persistent as always. "Answer me."

"Because! It's all over, I have nothing left. I've given up," Aziza asked.

"Admit that you want forgiveness. Admit that you want love," replied Shebla, staring her down. Aziza shot her a horrid look.

"I want and need nothing of the sort, Shebla. I simply thought I might let you know why you won't hear from me ever again."

"Fair enough," said Shebla. "I'd rather you leave anyways."

"We couldn't live in the same camp," said Aziza. "One of us would die. It would be you. You know that." Shebla silently nodded. Aziza then sighed. "Zalika is not phased by the end of Dalmaa's physical form. She still seeks the old mission out. But nobody will aid her but her few remaining vultures. The rebel hyenas have abandoned us as soon as Var and Kyra took the Sodaki into Somalia."

"Are they alive?" asked Shebla.

"To my knowledge," said Aziza. "I felt the presence of Snake leave us, today. But something odd about it. I felt a sudden peace, as though Snake were happy. As though he were free, more free than he had ever been before. And I was sad, because I felt like he had betrayed me."

__________________________________________________________

Var's ears lowered. "I was hoping he would..." he paused a moment. "Protheus did say that it didn't end here." He looked up at the sky, just as they reached the foot of the mountain. The stars were out by now and the moon was rising. It had a strange, almost bluish coloring to it. Odd and unusual. Although it was barely visible at all, and it seemed like at moments the blue coloring was gone and the moon was normal. Yet at others it still had that odd tint.

Kavis let out a soft, barely audible moan under his breath which changed rates often, going from fast to slow. Var looked at Kyra. "We should all rest now, but I'll hunt. We all need food." He helped Kavis lay down, and then pushed through the ferns, vanishing. Subira took his place, sitting next to Kavis and watching him confused. She wondered if he still thought the same malevolent thoughts, if he still desired to spread through her the branches of Snake's dynasty. He looked different, but she still didn't trust him.

She looked at Kyra. "You know, Cape Lions have always been the cruelest of lions. It's said that they're evil is so great that it's been embodied in their fur, turning it black. An old mate's tale, of course, but one may never truly know..."

Taru stepped up. "Subira, leave him alone. The Dark King has some resting to do," he said. Magir took a place next to Taru. Saber, who sat at a distance from the entire group simply watched. Magir tapped Kavis' body with her paw, feeling his fur and nearly gasping at the amount. Even about his body, where his mane had not grown, there was much fur.

"How does one accommodate so much fur at such a young age?" asked Magir.

"He was gifted, you know," Taru replied.

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:50 am

Kyra shook her head, “Kavis was groomed by Dalmaa from the day of his birth, and I do not think another mortal being has ever received so much powerful influence. Kavis may have never felt true freedom before, and the chance that he would think malevolent thoughts naturally is probably not accurate. I won’t say, however, that influences during one’s time as a cub cannot sicken one’s mind and twist their ways of thinking. It would be wrong, though, to think that Kavis is pure evil by his very nature. If he committed a bad act, it would be more likely out of a lack of knowledge of what is right, or as Ramla suggested, from some sort of dark residue left behind inside of his spirit.” She said, looking at her paws.

"My father was mistreated and abused as a cub, and though he is not evil, you can still see a detriment; though it is not any fault of his own. He grew up in a very...harsh pride. I don't know much about it, except that his father abused his mother, Egret, after Ammon was illegitimately conceived. Ammon's father later murdered her; Ammon was only shown mercy because of blood relations. His pride mistreated him because he was apparently a 'dirty-blood', and that abuse was permitted by the culture. A lot of what I know is an inference, because the pride that I came from, as well as my brother's, possessed breeding programs. Ammon's white fur resulted from some sort of breeding program, but apparently, he wasn't pure enough, so they punished him for something he could not control. Ammon always claimed that Egret was also illegitimately conceived, which was why so much of this happened; her pride shunned her, and so she fell for the first lion that showed her any special attention."

Kyra sighed, as she lay down on the ground, "In a roundabout way, I am trying to tell you that Ammon is the way he is, because of all the poor treatment he received. I know his pride was wiped out by a plague of rabies, but that is it. I think Shebla may know more about Ammon than I do, she was able to carry on a better conversation with him than I ever could." She looked over at Kavis, sidelong, "Kavis would not be evil as his base nature, but he would still be handicapped by the lack of those positive experiences. Cubs can be crippled by the things that they see; not physically, but emotionally and mentally, it is a devastating blow. Kavis suffered as a cub, so what would that do to him, should he be unable to recall any happy memory in his life?"

_______________________________________________________________

Coglon twitched his ears, "There's nothing we can do, Cyla, except wait and see what happens. Our small size makes it impossible to tackle such large opponents without inflicting some sort of handicap, and it looks more like negotiation or conversation, than fighting." He backed away from the hedge, shaking his head, "Something is bothering me, besides this. I do not know what it is, but I have a feeling we might know in the future. It just hasn't made itself known, yet."

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PostSubject: Re: Pride Days (IC)   Sun Sep 28, 2014 1:20 am

Shebla grimaced. "Snake was wise then," she remarked. Aziza's eyes flashed open with rage.

"To have abandoned me?" Aziza growled.

"Yes," Shebla scoffed. "It's over Aziza. You're so wicked even now that Dalmaa himself won't spit in your direction!"

Aziza began a reply, but stopped. She looked at her paws, then back at Shebla. "I have done many things..."

"You chased out Ammon..." Shebla started. "You chased him out..." her voice began to grow shaky, her eyes softly watered, but did not release.

"That was Kavis' doing," Aziza said. "But you should thank me. Whitey is at flaw, and it is obvious. I can see his past unfolding when he looks at me. I can see mistreatment. Because people who have been abused have a certain look in their eye, and it's a symphony my ears are tuned to."

Shebla's throat grew thick with a growl. Aziza's eyes narrowed at her. Shebla raised a paw to strike her, but caught herself and stopped. "Then you'll see the same look in mine. I loved him!" Aziza gave no reply. Shebla went on. "Can't you ever care about anyone that's not you? Can't you ever show anyone kindness? I loved him!" Shebla finally have Aziza a horrid scratch across the face, Aziza yowling and stepping back. Jali tensed in the bushes. Aziza did not strike back, but simply looked at Shebla as the blood slithered down her face and spread its coat of red across her furry cheeks.

"Shebla, I..."

"You what? You're sorry? No! You're never sorry! Not now, not ever! I won't believe you if you say that to me today, because I know it's a lie! Ammon was one of the few people that actually seemed to care about me! You killed Kamuzu and then you drove him out! What have I done to deserve this?"

"You killed Calisba!" Aziza shouted. "My sister, the only one I ever loved after my parents died!" Aziza gritted her teeth, resisting the urge to attack. "My mother fled this world by starvation, and my father by my own paws... She was the only one left! And then Fokazi, that arrogant rat who forced himself on my mother... And then his son offering himself to me..."

"What?" asked Shebla.

"Nassor is the son of the lion who made my life a mess, or at least messier than it was. You killed Calisba and Nassor never truly cared about me. Like his father, he was only interested in me for my looks and my strength. He tricked me into believing he loved me only to get me where he wanted. When Calisba died, I fell... I was Nassor's, but I changed that at last..." Aziza said. She began to breathe in, taking a sigh. But then she stopped and looked up.

"Cyla?" she said. "Where... I smell Cyla..."

__________________________________________________________


Taru shook his head mournfully. "His past is undoubtedly dark. But that's for someone else to look into. I just hope he finds his heart again," he said. Some time passed when Var finally dragged a large, dead zebra through the brush. He looked extremely tired and dirty, with twigs and vines and briars in his mane. It must have been a hard chase.

"Let's feed Kavis first, then us."

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