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 The Pride Days (IC): Hurt

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ViperaUnion
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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed May 28, 2014 11:48 pm

Kyra flicked one ear, and looked back into the bushes, knowing the group would catch up with her and Magir, soon. "Magir, if you truly want to find the right lion to spend the rest of your life with, then listen to what I have to say." She looked Magir in the eye, "If a lion truly loves you, he won't just shower you with compliments, and whisper sweet nothings in your ear, even though that is what most expect, and what most want. A male who loves you, who you can trust, is one who tells you who he really is, and wants you to accept him for who he is, just like how you would want him to accept you. He would tell you what he saw wrong in himself, all his faults, what he was ashamed of, because he would trust you with his own secrets."

Kyra flicked her tail, "When you find someone like that, it's up to you to encourage him, to tell him all the good things, so that he doesn't always focus on the bad, and if you do that, if he truly loves you, he will do the same for you. Look for the one who goes out of his way for your sake, to make you happy; not the one who is there when things are convenient." She had a cheerful, encouraging expression on her face. "That's what it was like when I met Var, and that's why I trust him. He never tried to pretend he was perfect for me, he actually viewed himself in the worst light possible. His actions, though, were what made me care, because he tried to do the right thing, and even when he lacked confidence, even when he didn't know me, he trusted me to be the one to help him when he didn't know what else to do."

She heard approaching footsteps, "Everyone is catching up. Remember, Magir, if you need anyone to talk to, I'm here. I understand, and I'll listen to whatever you have to say."

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Coglon nodded, "I hope that they all return safe and sound, but in the meantime," his focus shifted to an area across from the lake, where he saw what looked like a creature, or rather, the absence of a creature, moving about as though it were alive. It was as though it lacked energy, and yet, it was something that he could see. For lack of a better description, it could only be described as a shadow, even to Coglon's eye. "Jali, do you see that shadow there, across the lake? It appears to be moving, and yet, it seems to have no energy or light at all." As Coglon watched, it suddenly darted away, and his face grew perplexed, "It fled deeper into the woods..." He said, disturbed.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Thu May 29, 2014 6:59 am

Magpie looked up at Kyra, looking a bit thankful. She nodded, "thank you, Kyra. This means a lot to me." The sun was already beginning to set in the sky above, casting a fiery outline to Magir's thick soft fur. The group soon caught up with them, Ramla noting that she no longer heard Magir sniffling. She gave a thankful look somewhere near Kyra.

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Jali shook his head, looking out in the distance, but still seeming somewhat distracted. He looked back at Coglon. "I understand you're fascinated with your new abilities, but there is something very serious at hand. Your... acquaintance," Jali said looking over his shoulder briefly. "She is not to be trusted. I hope that you did not tell her anything important..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Thu May 29, 2014 1:11 pm

Coglon's ear twitched, and one might have caught a distinct gleam of annoyance in his eyes, "You underestimate me, Jali, in thinking that I would mention something like that, when I was focused on a matter that required more of my attention. Besides, Cyla is not a clueless individual, and she already knew certain things before she became a prisoner of this pride, however; she was still not told certain important details, which is largely why she was captured. She was manipulated by Aziza into attacking me, specifically, because of our similarities in size, and on her shoulder she bears self-inflicted scars, keeping a tally of the number of times she has been betrayed by her superiors." His strange eyes gleamed oddly, "The more she has learned of the lions of Sunset Pride, via observation and our conversation, the more disillusioned she has grown with Moonrise, because her quality of life was apparently very poor. I greatly doubt she is attempting to trick me, because it is extremely difficult to perfectly replicate certain behaviors and emotional responses, and I am skilled at reading them."

His ear twitched again, "When I received this strange power, it was very painful, and my eyes wept tears of blood. Cyla was the first one who saw the aftermath of whatever event occurred, and she showed great concern. I was too disoriented and weak to navigate properly, and Cyla took it upon herself to carry me back to where Shadow was waiting, so that I could receive assistance. Although she may be to a certain degree larger than myself, she does not have enough to eat, and is therefore malnourished. Therefore, she struggled to bear my weight, but regardless, she did so, and was more concerned for my well-being than her own."

Coglon's gaze bored into Jali's eyes, "If those things do not prove that Cyla wishes to renounce her ties with Moonrise, and you still believe that because of the extreme weight of her crimes she cannot be forgiven, then keep certain things in mind. I know nothing about what true selflessness is, if what she did for my sake cannot be taken into consideration. Do not forget that she does not know any special hunting techniques that would make it possible for her to survive, and that upon her arrival, and still now, she did not seem to have enough food to be healthy. She was under the influence of Dalmaa, who you are aware manipulates those in times of weakness into doing terrible things. It is also likely that much of what she did was out of desperation, because as you know, a lion cub is more defenseless than the young of our larger prey, and an easy victim."

His tail flicked, "You have pardoned and allowed those responsible for great crimes, already, and allowed them to stay as a part of our pride, so on Cyla's behalf, I ask you to pardon her, and give her a chance to prove that she no longer wishes to be a part of Moonrise Pride. What she did in the past was out of desperation, not true malice, and if she were taught the skills needed to hunt and bring down prey, despite being small, she would have never been drawn into the ranks of our foe. If she were given the power to change her situation, and take her fate into her own paws, she would not have chosen the path that she did." Coglon glanced out across the lake, "Please consider this, Jali, for if I had not figured out a way to hunt, I, too, would have likely been the same. Consider what it is like, to feel powerless to change your fate, and know that Cyla truly wishes to have a chance at freedom to choose her own path."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Fri May 30, 2014 2:07 am

Jali was silent awhile, before he spoke. "Coglon, our enemies are far more cunning than the average person. I would easily believe they are experts in faking emotions, expressions, and true selflessness. However I will trust your word on it. But if she is ever to leave that prison den, she must be with you. I will have it no other way, not until I can assess her trustworthiness myself." He looked at Coglon. "I appreciate your forgiving attitude, I respect that. I want more people with that attitude in this pride. However, with Kavis on the offensive I can hardly trust anyone that comes through those trees." Jali shook his head. "I will speak with her when I have the time, but I am very busy. I must go, and Coglon, please, just be careful. I trust your judgment, but we can never be too careful," and with that, Jali left.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Fri May 30, 2014 1:21 pm

Coglon nodded, and once again gazed out at the woods across from the lake, wondering if the darting shadow had returned, but he saw nothing strange or abnormal. With this affirmed, he turned and slowly padded back to where Cyla's prison den was, to notify her of Jali's verdict. Although he was unsure of Cyla's motives, he was at least willing to give her a chance, although having to constantly be under watch was probably only a small improvement from being constantly confined to the den. Coglon did not consider himself the best of company, either, as unless spoken to, he would seldom make conversation on his own. Others found his unusually formal speech, high level of intelligence, and deviant manner strange, and although normally very calm, when irritated or enraged, he could threaten incredibly brutal forms of violence, and would no doubt carry out those threats without any sort of elevated emotional response.

Most didn't know about Coglon's darker mannerisms, because he was very good at remaining calm, even in a bad situation. Regardless, seeing such a side of him gave most the impression that he was unstable, even though such things were just another facet of his personality. Coglon shook his head to clear his thoughts of such negative aspects of himself, and walked over to the den, sitting down at the entrance. "Jali has told me that with the current situation, he is highly suspicious of everyone who may have been affiliated with Kavis. He does not trust you, however, he has agreed to let you come and go as you please, so long as I am present to observe you, with the statement that he must judge you himself before he allows complete freedom."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Fri May 30, 2014 3:38 pm

Cyla poked her head out of the den and stretched her paws out with it. "Well, I can't blame him" she said, but seemed partly annoyed. She looked around at the pride as she stepped completely out of the den and was in silence for a while, observing it all. "I'll just wait for him to judge me then. You're alright with watching me aren't you? This isn't taking any time away from you?" She asked. Cyla's good attributes had been emphasized in the past few days, her bad ones suddenly fading out--though the still remained, and would need work in order to get them fixed. But she kept the positives out, trying to gaze solely at them instead. But it was rather hard when her old instincts would kick in, and she felt the need to do something others might view as horrid. She only hoped those bad pieces would soon be out to rest.

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A dark shape moved through dark plains. The skies above, bleak and dim as the border to Somalia approached. A creature with a blak-furred hide, great Kavis, stalked, almost weakly. His paws tired, he finally stumbled and simply lay, resting for just a moment. His eye suddenly flashed around rapidly, as if in some sort of seizure. He clearly was seeing something others could not. Then it all faded, his entire body now trembling, his ears low and an expression of pure and absolute despair. He gazed around the area, trying to take a grip onto reality, as he rose to his paws. Then all of a sudden his gaze fixed back to his emotionless state.

"Hey you!" a voice called from behind. He slowly looked over his shoulder and turning to see a Jackal standing behind him. The Jackal was male, having one of his ears badly clipped, fur mangled, and snaggletoothed. "What are you doing all the way out here?"

Kavis did not reply for a while. His silence seemed to frighten the Jackal. Then, Kavis spoke. "Would you really like to know?" he asked. The Jackal looked somewhat puzzled, but then nodded. Kavis narrowed his eyes. "Little one, do you know what it's like to be the holder of life and death? To know that your decisions will either kill someone or make them stronger?"

The Jackal looked somewhat worried now. "Uh, no sir" he said, trying not to make eye contact. Kavis' eyes had clearly boiled into the creature long enough that the frightening aura had begun to sink in.

"What I am doing out here, is of that matter. My goal, I plan, for it to save those I love and kill those I hate. And I hate... many. I do not hate enough. I must hate more. Do you know that feeling, Jackal? Do you know what it's like to hate? Truly?"

"I... I guess" the Jackal said, now turning as to walk away.

"You run from what you cannot understand?" Kavis asked. He looked down at his massive paws. "This is something I see in others, and I hate. I hate." He glanced up, his eyes like darting flames, narrowed and evil. The Jackal nervously lowered his ears, stopping. Kavis continued. "After all, you should understand. You are ugly, and you have no family. And you fear that no female will ever take you. Your looks get in the way, and the cancer in your leg is only making it more difficult to hunt."

The Jackal looked at him, ears pricked and eyes wide. "How do you know all that?" he asked. Kavis cracked somewhat a smile.

"I am of Dalmaa."

The Jackal quickly, at the name, let out a yowl and ran off into the distance. Kavis snarled out, turning again and moving on. "Petty fool," he mumbled to himself. "Mother is proud, mother is proud. Make her even prouder Kavis, make her happy." He said to himself.

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The group settled, having now already passed the border into Somalia. The lands were bleak and eerie here. Nearly everything seemed dead. The skies were even sad, as enormous gray and black splotches filled it above. Bones were scattered, and the only life that seemed to be here were the vultures. The trees were all leafless and bare, that they died from lack of sunlight.

The group had settled in a groove that dipped a bit underground, hidden by a few dead bushes. They likely wouldn't be seen here, but it was a very cramped place to sleep. Var looked at Kyra, the amount of nervousness in his eyes was apparent. He gave her a lick to the ear, before he finally settled down to sleep.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Fri May 30, 2014 5:03 pm

Coglon flicked his tail, "There is often too much time on my paws, when all I can do is idle about, wishing that I had some task that I could complete. I believe this is a solution to that issue, so it does not bother me that I have been told to watch you. I only regret that I am not the best of company, for I often confuse or frighten others, for whatever reason." There was no sense in trying to hide something that would eventually come out. If you were around a person for a long, extended period, anything you attempted to hide from them would be found out. It was impossible to keep up a charade about one's personality for days on end, and Coglon was no exception to that rule, as good as an actor that he might be.

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When Kyra fell asleep, her dreams once again became incredibly vivid flickers of images, but this time, the set was different. She saw a young lion, perhaps only an adolescent, with a brown mane and eyes that were a bright shade of greenish-grey, seeming to flicker between that color and blue depending on the light. She saw his face drawn in a look of hatred so pure, that it seemed almost unnatural, as he glared at a dark shape that seemed to be nothing more than a twisting shadow. The vision flashed to another image, of a young cub with the same colored eyes, perhaps a younger version, screaming and crying, his eyes wide as though seeing something that was horrifying. Kyra saw a flash of blood, and heard a lioness screaming, perhaps as she was being killed, before she saw a dark shadow engulf the scene.

The scene flickered to a group of lions, some among them having dark grey pelts like storm cloud, but others having regular fur colors. What was wrong, though, was that among some of the lions, their eyes were wrong. Some of them had eyes that were dead and black, having no glimmer at all, and no pupils or any sort of features, just black stones in their skulls. As Kyra watched, these unnatural dead-eyed lions began to whisper, and another group of lions appeared, also having lions with eyes that seemed dead. The whispers continued, and the normal-looking lions seemed to grow more and more agitated, until finally, the two groups began to fight each other, as though the whispers had incited war.

Kyra saw more flashes of images, an adolescent cheetah female with fur so pale it was almost white, and spots that were practically nonexistent, wearing what appeared to be the skeleton of a venomous snake wrapped around her neck, its fangs biting into the bones of the tail to hold it together. Another flash showed what looked like a young black rhinoceros calf, crying in a dark forest, all alone. She saw a young striped hyena, perhaps too small to be on his own, trying to defend the carcass of what looked like a Kudu from a flock of vultures. The image flashed to an adolescent female gelada baboon, sitting on a rock and gazing up at the moon, tears streaming down her face, seemingly with no one else around. Kyra's gaze flashed to a beautiful adolescent lioness with red eyes, staring at the bones of what appeared to be a large prey animal, her face blank, as though she weren't feeling anything.

Suddenly, her gaze flashed to the chamber with statues again, their eyes and foreheads glowing with points of blue-white light, as she heard more whispers.

Suddenly, everything faded to black.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Sat May 31, 2014 5:15 pm

Cyla nodded. "Very well then, I suppose that's fair. I don't think you'd be that bad, Coglon." Cyla gave a look of wonder to her eyes, wondering what the king would think of her. By this point, she spotted Jali walking over to Shadow.

Jali approached the Great Healer with a look of concern. "Shadow, we need your help in the medical den. Shebla is badly hurt, would you be so kind?" the King asked.

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"Kyra, Kyra, Kyra," a horrid voice whispered through he head, sounding much like the hiss of a snake. The scene lightened to a vision of the forest. "Come now, come with me," said a voice that was coming from another edge of the forest. Something was forcing Kyra to move forward, whether she liked it or not, her paws moved. Only when she looked down at them, they seemed to be standing perfectly still. Yet she was moving.

As she kept walking, she would notice horrid things grew thicker as she went along. She saw the dead bodies of lions she didn't know. She then saw the bodies of ones who she did. Var was impaled by many sharp tree branches, hanging from high above as blood dripped. Taru's head was severed from his body. Magir looked poisoned, as she lay pale with a pool of blood leaking from her mouth. Saber was shredded into so many pieces it he was almost wasn't recognizable. Large snakes were moving through the tree branches, millions of them, each with pairs of red eyes. They all seemed to be moving in the same direction as well. Spiders crawled around Kyra's paws just as several large vultures fell onto the branches to pick at Var's body.

Kyra was forced to keep walking, despite these. As she emerged out of the forest, before her was a very large field. It was barren, lonely, with no trees of bushes. Everything out here was gray. The grass seemed gray, the sky was a dark gray. The tree just in the distance was completely black. As she approached it, her vision slowly became bordered by a dark ring and at times she would see everything in shades of red. As she stopped before it, but not close to it, she would recognize it from her last dreams. The tree that grew on the very edge of the cliff, some of its malefic root hanging over. It's massive twisting limbs were so numerous and thick it blocked out all light, even if that was any light in the sky to shine down. One of the branches lowered miraculously. It appeared something was laying on the branch. It was Dalmaa, but he sunk most of his face behind some of the limb's twigs, allowing only his infuriated eyes to seep through. The only words he spoke were, "Your mind is hurt."

Kyra then was forced awake, the light of dawn searing over the sky. Var caught her before she could say anything. His eyes very worried. He made a gesture with his paw to be quiet while he pointed with his tail to the ground above the groove they were sleeping in. The scent of Kavis was fresh in the air, and his shadow was cast on the ground next to the groove as he stood on top of it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Sat May 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Shadow looked at Jali, and nodded, before rising and padding into the medical den.

Coglon twitched his ear, "I am glad you think so, but being around a person constantly tends to make it very easy to learn about them. Nobody can keep up charades about themselves forever. I am not actually as nice as people would like."
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Kyra's teeth gritted so much that she was afraid she was going to cause them to fracture, but she had to, for the time being, to keep from making any sort of strangled sound that her visions would have extracted. She was sure the first flash of images had been more prophesy, but it was different, it seemed like she had been shown multiple creatures at a younger age, and she had the feeling they were linked. What was disturbing, though, was that she was unsure of what the second set of visions was. No doubt, Dalmaa knew she and her friends were in Somalia, and he had simply decided once more to send her more horrific dreams. Of course, what he said about her mind being hurt was probably the truth, Kyra had accepted by this point that she was probably starting to lose her sanity.

These things, though, would have to be pondered later, because at the moment, something more urgent demanded her attention. Kavis was right over the group, and they had been caught sleeping on lower ground. If he spotted them, which was a huge possibility, if their attempts to disguise their smell hadn't worked, and he could still detect them. Although Kyra had a feeling that by working together, Kavis could be beaten in a fight, it wouldn't do them any good to be caught by the mortals in Somalia. Something like that would cause nothing but trouble, most likely.

Her eyes glinted fiercely, Of course, I'm probably half insane right now, but there's not much I can do about that, and I don't even know who I should be blaming anymore. She thought, Still, I know what I have to do, and that goal is not going to be lost. That dream Dalmaa sent didn't feel much like a prophesy, so I should just forget about thinking something like that's going to happen.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Sat May 31, 2014 10:08 pm

Kavis sniffed around, smelling something of herbs, but disregarding it. He was distracted as it was. He finally began murmuring to himself. "Where are they..." he grumbled under his breath. "Make Mother proud... Make her proud. Don't disappoint her, do not disappoint" he whispered. "You are strong, you are Dalmaa" he growled. "Kill, kill. Mutilate. You must kill." Var had a frightened look as he tensed against Kyra. He could see Kavis' madness clear now, almost as if it was seeping through the ground and dripping onto them. Var knew Kyra was having trouble, he wanted it to stop. Placing a paw over his, he his his face into her shoulder, trying to transport whatever help he could and push it into her.

Kavis slashed the grass above, growling. "I know you're around here... Var... I can feel it. I know... Grrrrraauuhhh, Mother... Don't disappoint Mother. Not again. Not ever again," his voice cracked, as if with some sad memory, almost sounding like he would cry. Var was astonished to see even the slightest emotion come from Kavis, let alone something like this. It was obvious that Kavis wasn't just a psychopath, he was damaged to the very core of his personality. He was smart and clear-minded, and able to see the meaning of insanity and its identity within people, within his family. He was smart, very intelligent, but he was damaged down deep. Or at least, that's how this seemed.

"Not again, not again. You must not let Mother down. Mother knows what is best. Do not shed from that, Kavis..." he said, clawing deep into the ground. Ripping his claws from the dirt, he jumped forward. He landed on the very ground in front of them, everyone shocked with widened eyes. Though Scar and Magir were still both asleep. Everyone watched Kavis from behind, his tail slashing at the dead grass below. He stepped on several skeletons, crushing bones, having not even applied the slightest pressure to them. He gazed to the side, when Var thought surely he would see them. But Kavis turned and began walking away, soon out of sight and out of earshot.

Var very slowly let go of Kyra; it seemed that his pace was trying to help him grip back into reality. His heart was beating rapidly, his fur standing on end. He let out a large sigh of relief, but was still shaking.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Sat May 31, 2014 10:36 pm

Kyra's ear twitched, "Kavis is not Dalmaa, Dalmaa knows exactly where we are, otherwise, he wouldn't force visions into my head after the prophesies." She closed her eyes tightly, gritting her teeth, "I saw more of them, so many young creatures, they should have family, but they don't." She took a deep breath, and sighed, "Dalmaa showed me visions, but they were so surreal, that I wonder if they were a prophesy, or just an attempt to make me not want to do what we're supposed to. The only thing he said, perhaps, that I think made any sense was, 'Your mind is hurt.' She opened her eyes, "I think he's expecting us to go near the Shadingtree, at some point, but that dream," Her eyes narrowed with new determination, "I can't describe it as anything more than...malefic..."

Her tail began to flick at the very tip, "Kavis knows we're here, but he didn't see us, even though we were right there. He's starting to crack, because things aren't going well, and I think his world might be falling apart. Whatever image he had in his mind is not consistent with reality, anymore, and it's causing trouble." Her snout wrinkled, "Dalmaa and Kavis seem less and less like the same entity, and more like two beings. One is the mastermind behind it all, the one responsible for this whole mess, and Kavis seems more like a puppet, acting like that."

She then seemed perplexed, "But who is he referring to? Aziza?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:56 am

Magir opened her eyes. "Yes," she said, standing up. She hadn't been sleeping, she was awake the entire time, laying low. She looked at the others. "Kavis was tormented by Aziza after she took him in. I know this, because I watched most of it. After I was captured by them, they forced me to do much of their hunting. Then they released me to all of you. I saw horrible things. His mind isn't right. He's incredibly intelligent. He could name every herb, rock, tree, and flower in the forest. But deep down he is... broke. And that's starting to show." She began to walk out of the groove, Taru getting up and following.

"We should get moving," Taru suggested.

Var looked at Kyra. "You alright? I know you've been having trouble with all of these dreams. I don't like to see you suffering."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:43 pm

Kyra looked over at Var, and shook her head, "I'm fine, Var, there's not much that can be done about my problems. All I know is that for some bizarre reason, I'm starting to see prophetic visions, that's two nights in a row that I've had them." She gazed up at the rising sun, her ear twitching, "Var, I want you to know, that no matter how confused or horrified I am by these things, I can handle it. I don't have much of a choice, and if Ramla is going to give up her Sight, it might be possible that I'm developing it because I'm supposed to replace her as the Seeress. Even though it's not pleasant, I can learn to live with it, even if it makes me live the rest of my life in a state of complete confusion, and everyone comes to believe I've gone insane, not just from the visions, but from the conversations I wind up having with different spirits."

She flicked her tail, as they all started padding on, "I was raised by one of the most powerful lions in the world, and I spent a lot of my life fending for myself, and making judgements about what I had to do. Please be confident in me, because I'm not helpless, whatever things may make me seem like. I've stood on my own before, so I'll endure this." A fierce glint came into her eye, "There's nothing to be done about my dreams or visions, but when the time comes, Var, your help will be needed to deal with our threat. You're strong, and you can fight, so whenever we have to fight Kavis, or Aziza, or some other enemy, I'm going to rely on you, because I know you've made the right choices before."

Her tail fell still, "The only thing I can't tell you, is when you'll have to make that choice, except that there isn't any right or wrong. There is only blind faith, and hoping the outcome is one that's in our favor."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:43 pm

Var nodded, "I know I can't do much, Kyra. But I'm always here to support you. I know you're going through problems, and it's only getting worse. But just remember I'm always here to comfort you," he said. He then pondered her last words and spoke on them. "I'll be there to make that choice. I'll do so in the right time."

The group began to move forward, walking through dead grass that embellished this new world of Somalia. They hugged the tree lines to escape the surveillance of the vultures high above. As bones passed their paws, Var gave a nervous look. They began setting in deeper. Ramla had been silent the entire time, having Taru help her. Then she spoke for the first time this morning.

"You had another dream last night, didn't you?" she said over her shoulder to Kyra.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:34 pm

Kyra looked at Ramla, and was silent for a long moment, before giving a small nod, "Yes," She said, not sure if Ramla could see her or not. She sped up her pace so that she was walking next to the Seeress, "I saw more visions, prophetic ones, but that's not as important as what came afterwards." She lowered her voice, "Dalmaa visited me again, and showed me horrific things, Ramla. He forced me to walk along and see the mangled corpses of everyone I cared about. Black blurred at the edges of my vision, at times, and then, there were times when everything I saw was through the color red, everything felt real, but at the same time, it was so surreal, I can't even tell if that was a prophesy, or just a trick."

Her face grew grim, "I remember being forced to walk until I stood at the base of a small cliff, where the roots of the Shadingtree were hanging over, malicious and black. One of the branches lowered, and Dalmaa was reclining there, but also hiding behind the bark of the branch, so that I could only see properly his eyes, and some of his face. He didn't say much, except, 'Your mind is hurt.'" Her snout wrinkled, "I know my mind is frayed from all of this, there is no point in denying that. I don't know, Ramla, what he's thinking, except that he's trying to scare me."

Her teeth bared, "It's possible he's trying to drive me over the edge completely."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:23 pm

Ramla gave a puzzled expression. She almost tripped over an unearthed root protruding from the ground, as Taru helped her prevent it. She went on. "It is impossible to determine Dalmaa's motives as a mortal, but my closest guess is that he is slowly revealing to you the prophecy he himself is writing. Somehow...." she said, venturing off in her thoughts. "Dalmaa may only be revealing this to you to drive you insane. He might have been kind to you before, but that was staged to cause you to feel sympathy for him. I have a feeling he purposely showed you those things to crush you and make you feel guilty for what you're about to do. He wants you to go mad. And I feel the thing he said was a proclamation that you have lost control."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:22 pm

Kyra's ear twitched, "I'm confused, and I won't claim I'm sane, but I won't say I'm completely mad, either." She said, blinking somewhat tiredly, "All sympathy I had has faded to apathy, thanks to that dream, it's clear he's playing games with everyone, just toying with them as he sees fit. Even Kavis and Snake, they were manipulated from the very beginning, and the fact is that Dalmaa isn't the only spirit who talks to me and gives me information. If it hadn't been for other spirits talking to me in the past, I might have very well lost it at this point, but I haven't. What makes Dalmaa think I would feel guilty for what I'm doing, if he intends to see my friends wind up dead if I don't? All he's done is make me realize that I can't trust anything he says, and that whatever appeals to my compassionate side are, I'm feeling compassion for something he no longer happens to be, nor does he wish to return to what he was."

Her eyes took on another fierce glint, "Dalmaa has only shown me the truth, and I won't forget it, now. He's underestimated my ability to let someone or something go, and distance myself from it emotionally. I had to distance myself from my real parents, and forget them, so now, I'll forget Dalmaa was ever a compassionate being, because he's not one anymore." Her tail flicked, "He won't manipulate me again, because if I have to be cold, and just not care, for the time being, I'll do it. I won't care what he says or does, because we're going to deliver the Sodaki, and no amount of obstacles, visions, or threats he makes is going to stop us."

Her snout wrinkled, "He tries to cover up his failures, like when he couldn't win over his own daughter. He might have killed her and the one she loved before she could be forgiven, but still, even death can't change that she was defying him. Now, we're going to defy him, because we have Protheus on our side, and that's enough to even the odds. If he wanted to mess with me so badly, consider that he's done it. Now, though, he's going to face the consequences of it, and he can watch and squirm all he wants, he deserves to feel cornered, when he felt like a mastermind all of this time. We'll cut off all manner of escape, and won't give him anywhere to run or hide."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:37 pm

Ramla nodded, staying quiet awhile. Her gaze taking the form of concern itself. "I could never be sure what his goal is, but he may be doing this simply to cause you to hate him. I'm not sure. Either he wants you to love him, or he wants you to hate him. But the prophecy he's writing is one we don't want to see happen, otherwise we'll question what goodness really is. Dalmaa may even want you to grow this feeling of opposition towards him. Though I feel he is hiding something very important from you, keeping you in the shadows where he feels he is superior to you. Dalmaa ultimately is steering you towards certain emotions, whatever they may be, because in some way, those emotions are harming you." Ramla looked directly at her, into her eyes, and flicked her tail. "You have the aura of a warrior, but maybe to wound Dalmaa we need the aura of a pacifist. Ultimately he is wounded by your emotions and state of mind. Kyra, show him you oppose him, but also show him you are above this feud."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:38 pm

Kyra took a deep breath, and sighed, "I don't really feel hate, Ramla, so much as annoyance or irritation, or temporary anger, because with the way my life is, the ones I'm around under a regular basis, I feel like I'm dealing with my brother or my father. You try to understand, but you actually can't, so you just tolerate it, even if it's not easy. I guess you could say I feel more like scolding than getting into an actual fight. You can't really think of a way to scold Dalmaa, though, but it is considered wrong to hate, so I've pretty much given up on trying to fill myself with anger that I can't sustain. I just feel sort of indifferent, which is probably the best thing."

Her tail flicked, "I care about what happens to you and everyone else, but the truth be known, I could care less what Dalmaa does, now." She looked at Ramla, "If you say it's alright for me to feel as though I'm above this feud, which I didn't think I was, then I have no problem adopting that mentality. It actually feels a lot more appealing than every other idea I've had, lately." The glint came back into her eyes, "We'll return the Stone, and then we'll do something fun to celebrate when we get back home. It might sound bizarre, but I'll be an optimist about this, because maybe we get tired of being sad or angry or hurt, but you'll never be tired if you're happy, because you never want to lose that feeling."

She then laughed a bit, "Well, I'm sure I sound crazy now, I change my mentality that easy, but being flexible is a part of life. If being peaceful and filled with joy is the solution to our problems, then I'm all for it. I'm tired of getting pulled in every direction."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:22 am

"Kyra, I will say though, that I'm a bit worried for you. If you're gaining a counterpart to the Sight, you're going to experience nightmares almost every night of your life. They only get worse and worse and there's simply no way to get used to them. If you thought those were bad dreams... you're in for a rude awakening... I am tempted to ask Protheus for something else..."

Taru looked at Ramla. "And what is that?"

"For him to spare Kyra any further horror. I don't want her to live my life, because if Dalmaa gets any ideas, he'll take away her physical vision. I can't have that for her. Not Kyra."

"Ramla," Var spoke out. He knew it was the kind thing to do to protest Ramla's offer, but he cared about Kyra too much. Ramla looked somewhere near him and then back at Kyra. "Let me tell you a bit about my life, Kyra. I was born in Kenya, and my mother was a Seeress to Dust Pride. Of course I was obligated to follow in her footsteps, but at the time I was fascinated with spirits and nature and being offered the ability to see the unseen seemed like a prize few could win, a prize I would have so easily. So all it took was my mother's teachings and an initiation at a pond at midnight. A beautiful night. After I became anointed as a Seeress, I made plans for my journey to the Talon, to receive the Sight. I'd prepare for it all my life. And the thought of being blind was scary. I spent many days outside simply staring at random objects, trying to map them, memorize their shapes inside my head so I could have those visions forever. Unfortunately one of those visions became the death of my mother. A few days before I left for the journey she became infected with rabies. She attacked most of my friends and family in Dust Pride. Many of which joined her and became rabid monsters. That day was the first time I had ever seen a spirit. Dalmaa himself, sitting in the tree limbs, just peaking through the leaves to watch everything. And at that point in time, I merely mistook him for a black leopard--which was still odd anyways. But it wasn't until he deliberately turned into a shadow that slipped down the trunk of the tree and flew away did I realize he was a spirit."

Ramla took a deep breath. "I was delayed several days, mourning for my losses. And with half of the pride dead, there was a lot of talk that I was some sort of ill-omen or a witch. Much like Shebla's story. I was banished from my home. But I went on to the Talon anyways. When I received the Sight, one of the spirits helped walk me back to Kenya, but after that, left me alone. I wondered around for so long, starving out because I couldn't hunt and I didn't know where I was going. But on a lucky turn, Star's guards found me. Jali begged his father to take me in, since they had never had a Seeress before. And here I am today. Those shapes I had once tried to memorize having dissipated in my mind. I can only see faint shapes, I can only see enough to walk along a path. Terribly, I want my vision back. I want the spirits gone. Kyra, the prophecies might seem like a luxury now, but the things to come are sinister and evil. Dark spirits visit you every night, and fill your head with thousands of things that you can't tell whether they're real or fake. Their words will screw your mind up so bad you won't know truth from lies, good from bad, right from wrong. I felt lost forever... like I'd never be happy again."



Ranks nodded, twitching an ear. "Being optimistic will give you a lot of power in these times. Though, it is alright to mourn and to weep for our losses, as long as those feelings are now dwelled on for too long. That is what Dalmaa wants, for us to dwell on those feelings, constantly feeding off of them, not growing, and only becoming weak and malnourished. We are nothing without happiness." Ramla was quiet for a while, before she looked at Kyra urgently.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:50 am

Kyra nodded, "I understand what you mean, Ramla, by the visions messing with your perception of reality. I never said it was a luxury, though, it already seems a bit like a burden. Even beforehand, maybe I was waking up well-rested, but I was still aware in my sleep, because I had so many conversations with spirits. I didn't think I would attract Dalmaa's attention, but I guess if everyone was doing it..." She flicked her tail, "I was told by the spirits to help others, and I think a large part of it was trying to keep everyone cheerful and positive, I think maybe after what you said, Ramla, that Dalmaa is trying to use this new ability of mine to make me lose sight of that, and I nearly did, had you not said something."

She looked over at Var, "I started out on this journey an optimist, so now I'll finish it the way I started. Let's go and do what we have to, and then we can go back home and celebrate. Everyone just keep that in mind, we'll have everyone coming to greet us, and everyone can just run around the camp for no reason in particular. Who cares why? We can afford to celebrate once in awhile."

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:53 am

The group moved on, the rising scent of Moonrise Pride members grew thicker and thicker. But like all scents, there was a certain feeling to them. Much like a fear-scent, but oddly, more of a sad-scent or one in despair. Regardless, the group had to move under layers of dead bushes to avoid visual detection. Their scent was thoroughly masked by another later of herbs they applied along the way. Though now herbs were growing scarce. Var was clutching the Sodaki in his mouth, just as they stopped and poked their eyes out of the bushes. Ahead of them was a slope that went upwards and then just stopped. An enormous black tree stood there. The land beyond it simply dropped off an there was nothing else that Var could see around it. He assumed it was a cliff. But the tree looked very eerie. At this angle, the branches looked like winding snakes... No, one of the branches moved.

He spotted one of the Witchdoctors approaching, just as a long black snake slithered down, so long it nearly encircled the tree. It lurched forward and uttered something to her, but the group was out of earshot. As the hyena went away, the snake was somehow gone. Var could only make out branches anymore.

Then the bushes beside them rumbled as Kavis emerged. Var's heart jumped, not knowing Kavis had been so close. As the black-furred lion moved into the clearing, Var could still hear him. Zalika limped out from behind several dead bushes, obviously still under the weather since her fight with Gamba.

"Where is she?" Kavis asked.
"Subira?" asked Zalika. Kavis only nodded. Zalika's ear twitched. "They took her to the Underroots. Aziza's down there watching her." Kavis stormed passed her. Zalika called up again. "And Kavis!" The Dark King turned his head back at her. She seemed to smile, or what passed for a smile with such scarred lips. "Welcome home."

Kavis nodded and kept walking. Zalika moved away, through the bushes again. Cobwebs could still be seen along her flank as the wounds were mended. Var kept watching as Kavis approached the tree. He looked up at it and then quickly went down and vanished. He had gone into a large opening between two roots that led underground.

Var looked at Ramla. "I thought you said the tree kills upon touch!"

"That's what the legend said! Why? What happened?" she asked.

"Kavis just went under it! We need to get down there before he gets to my sister!" Var said, nervously, and trying to keep his voice low.

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:10 pm

Kyras twitched her ear, "Var, calm down." She said, watching the tree suspiciously, "Whether or not it killed Kavis, it's still Dalmaa's dwelling place in the mortal world, that snake was proof, he sometimes seems to appear in that shape, when he's not a leopard." Her eyes narrowed, "He probably has the ability to selectively pick and choose who dies when his tree is touched, but that's not something I know for sure. Whatever the reason, to rescue Subira, we have to go right into Dalmaa's domain in order to save her. He might choose to mess with us when we go in there, he probably just chooses not to harm Subira or Kavis for his own reasons."

She looked over at Ramla, "Ramla, should we go in, or should we wait for Kavis to leave?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:28 pm

Ramla was hurriedly skimming through her mind. Var was silent, but his furs were standing on end as he sat and stared at the tree, worriedly. Ramla started again. "If we don't go in and stop him, he'll court Subira, and Dalmaa's wishes will become complete. Things will only go downhill and likely we'll all die. If we touch the tree, we may take the risk of dying anyways. So we might as well go on inside."

Var nodded. "I'll go first, just to be safe."

"Var..." Taru began. "Are you sure?"

Var nodded. "Yes, this is something I have to do," he said as he then pushed out of the bushes. He looked back at Kyra. "Kyra, no matter what happens, know that I love you." He then made his way forward until he was standing at the base of the tree. There was nobody around, to their luck. Var gulped, closing his eyes and breathing in.

He opened them.

He rushed down into the hole, down underground into the place where Kavis had gone. It was completely silent and all was still. Finally, Taru's head dropped, declaring him dead. Magir's eyes were easing tears out, as she hid her face in Taru's shoulder.

Then something happened. A shape came out from the roots. It was Var, his eyes watering with the tears of relief. He had to crack a smile as his mane brushed back with the wind. "Come on," he whisper-shouted over the clearing. "It's safe." He then went back down into the hole, stepping inside. He found himself in an enormous web of underground tunnels that turned and headed away from the cliff, going deeper and deeper and with a very sinister feeling in the air. There were a few inches of water in the floor of the tunnels. The only light that touched these caverns was from the same very strange rocks that had been found in the caverns under Jali's den. But these stones glowed dark red instead of green.

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ViperaUnion
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PostSubject: Re: The Pride Days (IC): Hurt   Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:00 pm

The fur on the back of Kyra's neck stood on end, she could feel the malignant aura of the Shadingtree den, see it in the glowing red stones, and was certain that some dark spirit magic was at work in the water that soaked into her paws. She was positive that if the water got into someone's mouth, it would be like the waters that Subira had described: the ones she was forced to drink in order to survive out in Dalmaa's dream field. Kyra also knew, however, that Subira wasn't likely to accept Kavis courting her in this place, not in a soaking wet place that was miserable to be in. There were multiple tunnels, but one of them led to wherever she was being kept prisoner. Kyra heavily suspected that whatever tunnel led at an ascending angle, one that would lift the floor of the den out of the water, was the one they should follow, because dry ground was far more comfortable than ground that was sopping and wet.

Kyra twitched one ear, and nudged Var in the lead to get his attention, "Which tunnel is ascending? He wouldn't court her in a soaking-wet cell. If he wanted her to consent to him, she would have to be in a comfortable place. The ground is dry above a certain point." She whispered

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