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Census
The Pridelanders
Scar & Zira
♂04 ♀05

The Outlanders
Kiume & --
♂04 ♀02

The Coldlanders
Ismahel & --
♂03 ♀03

The Shadowlanders
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♂07 ♀03

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-- & Quanna
♂02 ♀03

The Lowlanders
Nyota & Duara
♂02 ♀09

The Ashlanders
Nako & Heshima
♂02 ♀03

The Rogues
♂04 ♀04

The Other Species
♂03 ♀00

Total: 63
♂31 ♀32

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 Sleeping Sun

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Illia

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PostSubject: Sleeping Sun   Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:39 pm

Nightfall in the desert was always so cold! Still, Illia wasn't going to let that stop her from playing. The wind would pick up now and again, biting like needles into her skin but she was determined to grab this creature in her path. She couldn't see any other cubs or adults about due to likely being back in the caves for the night. Lowering herself behind a tall dune the cub hunched down as much as she could in the sand, her tail twitching to and fro as Illia concentrated. Her sandy eyes seemed locked on this scorpion as it skittered obliviously some distance from her. 'Keep quiet...' she reminded herself. One paw in front of the other as she slowly inched her way forward, anticipating when she would victoriously leap out and catch it in her grasp.

It was hard not to get too excited. Illia often would just miss out on her quarry when her excitement betrayed her location. Smirking to herself as she was in perfect position poised to pounce, Illia's back paws seemed to do a little dance as she then sprung into action. The scorpion immediately dashed away, scurrying as fast as it could to a burrow. The cub was so ecstatic and set on capturing it, she didn't notice a partially buried rock that was just centimeters away from colliding with her left paw. As was expected, Illia tripped over it and tumbled around into the sand, completely losing sight of her prey. Landing in a bit of a crumpled heap beneath the dunes, her tail flopped gracelessly over her head, Illia frowned.

That was not how it was supposed to go! Growling to herself in frustration, she huffed and got back on her feet, shaking the sand off of her pelt. Well. There was just one way to fix that. Find another victim!
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Akili

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:40 pm

The male cub was still very young, still mastering the art of speech and walking without tumbling at every step, but from the moment his sapphire eyes had opened, Akili had been on the move. His energy seemed limitless from the start, and perhaps he was still too little to know that wandering from the den at night was a terrible idea for a helpless cub. Regardless, he had ventured out into the chilly desert air that night, eyes illuminated by the sliver of moon hanging directly overhead.

When a gust of wind ruffling his sandy coat, Akili would stop, shiver, and let the breeze pass before continuing. His mother had no tried to stop him that night; in fact, seldom disciplined her two cubs at all. Vumbi always seemed distracted, which the cubs didn't understand and seemed to think little of. He climbed over a dune and peered down the other side, where he was surprised to see another cub. Head tilting just slightly to the left in a curious manner, Akili slid down the other side of the dune, closing his eyes to keep the sandy grit out of them. Gravity did most of the work, and he slipped to the bottom noiselessly.

Granules sprayed in every direction as the cub shook off the sand. Had the other cub noticed him yet? Akili wasn't certain, but he lowered his body to the ground. In the faint moonlight, and with the sandy hue of his pelt, the cub blended into his surroundings perfectly as he inched closer to Illia, preparing a surprise 'attack' of his own. His rear end wiggled in the air as he readied himself to pounce, a tiny growl playfully rumbling in his throat as he launched himself at the older cub with a (not so) fearsome roar.
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Illia

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:57 pm

Illia had cornered another scorpion until it skittered away upon the sensing of another predator. That was when the cub was nearly swept off her paws as the ground gave way for a moment. The reason for this was latched onto her side. Illia shook off the intruder when she realized it was one of the younger cubs. "Akili! What are you doing? You just lost me my victory!" For a while she was a bit upset at this unwelcome interruption but then just sighed in defeat. Akili was probably only looking to play. She didn't want to admit it but she had a bit of a soft spot for Akili and his sister. Though the older cub attributed this to not wanting them abandoned like she was.

Flashing a grin she said, "Alright, you got me this time. Had no idea you were out here!" Illia then blinked and looked around tilting her head some. "Where's your sister? Still in the den?" Why did Vumbi treat them so horribly? What did they ever do to her?! Illia couldn't stand it. Often times she wondered if that was the same treatment she received when born. No cub, no matter who their parents are, should be treated so cruelly.

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Quanna

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:31 pm

Quanna and a few other lionesses had scouted the area for signs of any herds moving in the area. Unfortunately their scouting had turned up nothing. It seemed like most of the herds were thinning and moving elsewhere, few seeking out the Desterlander’s oasis for water and shelter, where the lions usually hunted. The Desertlanders rarely went too far from their caves and waterhole to find food, as food generally came to them and spending too long traveling in the desert would destroy any creature if they weren’t careful. But it seemed that the current trouble in the Pridelands were driving the herds towards them, but they would soon turn and linger around the Lowlands instead, where grass was abundant. On their way back from their search, Quanna had began to think she needed to set up a meeting with the queen of the Lowlands to set up an alliance so the two small prides could defend one another while war loomed on the Prideland horizon, and hopefully give the Desertlanders access to large game.

But for now she pushed the thought aside as the rest of the lionesses retired for the chilly night. Quanna, however, noted a few of the cubs were not in the caves, which wasn’t surprising. Cubs had an extraordinary amount of energy, and the chilly air only seemed to enhance it. But no one had seemed to bother to follow after the cubs, most likely knowing they were still safe within the boarders and not too far from the caves. Had it not been for the multiple slopping dunes, the cubs would be within site of the dens themselves. Still, Quanna decided it best to pad her way over to the keep a more direct eye on the cubs, especially with Vumbi’s attack still fresh in her mind, despite the months that passed. A part of her still felt guilty that she had not been able to stop the attack on the lioness, and wondered if there was something further she could have done. But dwelling on such things did no one any good, so Quanna once more pushed the thoughts from her mind and watched as Illia cornered a scorpion when Akili suddenly launched towards her.

Quanna stood at the crest of one of the dunes, blending in with the sand as it blew over the landscape with each breath of wind. She watched the two tumble and chat briefly, idly noting that Illia was in need of another hunting lesson, besides the ones the older cub gave herself. Within a year Illia would be joining the rest of the pride on hunts, so long as the herds returned, so Quanna wanted to be sure she was ready. Akili and his sister still had time, but Quanna was not ignorant of a teachable moment.

Giving the two another few minutes, Quanna finally decided to move down the dune. “You’re too excited, as usual, Illia,” She commented, but with little reprimand in her tone. Quanna couldn’t blame the cub for such a thing as excitement. It was an emotion at the core of hunting. “What are you two doing out so late? It can be dangerous out here on your own, especially for young ones.” The older lioness raised her eyebrow at Akili, who really shouldn’t have been farther than a few feet from the den at his age on his still shaky legs. “You’re not the only ones who are awake and hunting at this time of night, and other creatures wouldn’t hesitate to make a meal out of either of you.” The queen spoke seriously, wanting them to understand the dangers of their home, so they wouldn’t have to find it out for themselves.
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Akili

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:39 pm

Ignoring Illia's initial frustration, Akili only giggled, pleased when the female cub admitted that his own attack had been more successful than hers. "Sorry," he said softly as his dark blue eyes scanned the dunes for any sight of the scorpion in order to help Illia. "Adhra sleeping, so I go out," he announced as he sat down close next to Illia to shield himself from the occasional gust of cold wind, disregarding any concept of 'personal space.' His sandy pelt never seemed thick enough during the frigid nights, nor was it short enough to be of any help when the sun once again baked the desert landscape. The heat radiating from Illia was better than none, and the cub was practically sitting on top of her.

The scorpion seemed to have truly disappeared into the sand though, and instead of seeing the insect, the sight of the queen startled Akili, for he had not expected anyone to follow. Without hesitation, the cub made a beeline for Quanna, energy limitless as he now tested his pouncing skills on the desert queen's left forepaw. Still young, he was barely the same size as her paw, and slipped off rather uselessly as he cast an adoring smile up to the lioness. Where his mother failed in her responsibilities as a parent, Quanna picked up the slack, caring now only for Akili and his sister, but for any cubs that had nowhere else to call home and no family.

This came as news to the younger cub, whose head tilted just slightly to the right as Quanna explained that other creatures were lurking about once the sun had disappeared for the evening. Akili's contact with the world outside of his small pride was limited, and his own mother had never bothered to teach her offspring about the dangers of the night. He had scarcely even seen other animals besides his own species, unless it was offered as dinner or was spotted far away in the distance. "Who else?" He asked the queen curiously, once again turning his attention to the surrounding dunes. "Monsters?" Despite his youth, the idea seemed an exciting one, and he giggled. Akili would be a fearless one, no doubt. He padded back over to Illia again to ask, "You hunt for monsters?"
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Illia

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:11 pm

Illia normally would have nudged the younger cub away for being so close, yet it was bitterly cold out and he needed warmth. She was about to speak until her senses picked up on the queen's arrival. While Akili was startled and then ran over to her, Illia remained where she sat. Getting an expected (yet gentle) firm reprimand, Illia slightly huffed a sigh. She knew well enough she had gotten too excited, controlling it was another thing. Looking up at Quanna she answered, "I wanted to practice my hunting skills alone. I know shouldn't be out here so late but I felt the need to get as much practice as possible." Glancing at Akili as he ran back to her she raised an eyebrow. "Monsters? Don't be silly Akili, there's no such thing as monsters!" Illia knew Quanna would want them to return with her to the den and being the oldest of the young cubs, she felt responsible for keeping Akili and Adhra safe.

Padding back over to Quanna, who in Illia's mind was more of a mother to them than anyone, she gazed up at her thoughtfully. "I promise not to sneak out past bedtime to hunt solo. I'll stay near the den with the others. I'm sorry, Quanna." Her confidence and impatience were her own flaws, something she might need to work on as she grew older. Turning her sandy head toward Akili, she smiled some. "If you wanna play Akili, we can do that back at the den, okay?"

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Quanna

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Wed May 30, 2012 9:34 pm

As Akili ran at her, Quanna simply smiled. The attack on her paw did nothing to sway her stance, but it was always good to see the little cub smiling so brightly. The two were fairing rather well for having a more or less absent mother. Nothing Quanna had said or done had stirred the other lioness to pick up her motherly duties and cease lingering on her misfortunes. But Quanna was thankful for the small blessings, which currently included the two cub’s safety. “Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there.” She advised lightly, though her smile faded at the mention of monsters. “Yes, monsters, of a kind.”

Akili returned to Illia, who grew somewhat sheepish from her reprimand, and Quanna offered a gentle smile. “Practice is always good, Illia, but not at the expense of your safety. Especially as the eldest cub, as others are sure to mimic you,” She nodded to Akili. “Apology accepted. You can always practice your hunting, so long as it’s within sight of one of us. We don’t want any of you getting hurt.” The queen leaned down to nuzzle the girl softly before getting to her feet. But instead of walking back towards the den, she started in an opposite direction where she knew small creatures such as desert mice, lizards, and scorpions appeared once the sun went down. While Illia prompted the younger cub to play back at the den, Quanna motioned her head for them to follow her instead.

”I’m here now, so we might as well use this time to our advantage, hm? We can work on your pouncing, Illia, and Akili can practice moving silently. How does that sound?” Quanna smiled back at them, though didn’t wait for an answer and simply continued on. The night air was chilled and she kept a careful eye on the cubs to make sure it was not too much for them, but it was the air of the desert. The sand had grown cool underpaw once the sun ceased giving it warmth, and the stars shown brightly through the deep blue sky, a half moon residing over it all. She wondered if anyone had taught the two about the past kings and the Great Spirit and noted to ask later. “Now you must remember to take that excitement you feel while stalking and pull it into your core, so you can use it once you give chase. It’s all a matter of control, even when it appears wild. Understand?” 

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Akili

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PostSubject: Re: Sleeping Sun   Thu May 31, 2012 3:58 pm

Monsters were real. Quanna had confirmed in, despite Illia's insistence that such nonsense was silly. Most of the conversation was lost on the cub's short attention span, but the notion that monsters (of a kind) were indeed lurking out there was very interesting. The youngster was ready to go back to the den to play, if it meant he would not have to go to sleep so early. Much to his great surprise, Quanna began to lead the pair away, and Akili was not one to miss an opportunity to stay up late. He followed without question.

Undoubtedly, his own mother had not noticed his absence, and Akili didn't stop to wonder about her as he padded after Quanna. He felt privileged - a lesson with the queen! Hunting monsters with Quanna! Adhra would be jealous to hear what she missed the next morning. Dark blue eyes remained wide as the cub looked for any nasty critters, remaining a few paces behind Quanna. There wasn't much to hunt in the desert, aside from rodents and snakes, but Akili had not yet strayed from the borders of the kingdom and had no knowledge of what life was like in other places. He knew that such places existed, but until he was big enough to explore, he was content following his kind-hearted queen.

In the distance, his sharp eyes detected faint movement, and he gasped in anticipation. "There's one! I see it!" Akili, not being the cowardly type, couldn't resist the urge to hurry past Quanna now, over to inspect the would-be monster. Clearly, Akili needed to learn control himself, but his impulsiveness got the better of him. It was nothing more than a tortoise, hauling his heavy home across the desert, unconcerned with the rest of the world around him. The cub crouched, eyebrow arched curiously, and he batted at the wrinkled head of the creature, who withdrew back into his shell. "Some monster."

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