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Census
The Pridelanders
Scar & Zira
♂04 ♀05

The Outlanders
Kiume & --
♂04 ♀02

The Coldlanders
Ismahel & --
♂03 ♀03

The Shadowlanders
Ni & Abuto
♂07 ♀03

The Desertlanders
-- & 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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 Soft Morning Glow

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Duara

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PostSubject: Soft Morning Glow   Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:43 am

The morning was a soft, pale pink colour as the sun's first rays peaked over the horizon. It wasn't long before the sky turned a lovely orange accompanied with the pink, and naturally baby blue of the normal morning sky. It was a nice morning to wake up to after a night of something that Duara would consider torture. She hadn't pretended to enjoy it for the lion's benefit, and he knew she didn't. He knew that Duara wanted nothing to do with him after this, but the lion was well aquatinted with the jungle home and he had been willing to do it for one of the Queen's of the jungle in return for him being allowed to stay in the jungle peacefully, without worry of the jungle's lions turning on him. Duara had selected him for he was a suitable mate, and his gene's would do well in her cubs she hoped. He had the memories of a strong build on his body, for he was rather old, a lovely dark coat that resembled Nyota's (something that pleased Duara, for her cub's may take on some of the characteristics of her beloved despite not being the birth cubs of Nyota), and he was intelligent. All things that were valued in a lion's mind.

She had not enjoyed that even remotely. It had felt wrong, and all she could think about was how she wished to be curled up beside Nyota, watching her Queen sleep peacefully. An innocence was returned to Nyota as she slept, showing on her face. It was something Duara loved. Though she did adore Nyota's wisdom, and her maturity, it was nice to see that the cub she'd played with as a child still lived within Nyota. Duara's eyes opened sleepily, revealing her violet iris to the world. She shook her head, feeling a very light breeze brush over her fur. It was very early in the morning, but she had no doubt Nyota would be awake. She slowly arose and looked over at the sleeping form of the lion. She did not bother to wake him and bid him goodbye. She was far too eager to return home to even consider awakening him and spending the time talking to him. It was not something she desired to do.

Instead, Duara made the trek back to Ukingo - where the Pride would be sleeping most likely. She hoped that her efforts had succeeded, otherwise she had just gone through an experience that was up there with the worst for absolutely no reason. She shook her head at the thought and decided to push it away. She was sure that she would be with cub before long, but for now she could only hope. She enjoyed looking at the clear expanse of sky above her, a small smile on her muzzle as she thought of returning to Nyota. It was a lovely morning indeed that she could spend with her beloved. Her pace quickened and soon she could see Ukingo. She stepped out from the under-growth of the jungle and walked towards the mouth of the cave.

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PostSubject: Re: Soft Morning Glow   Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:47 pm

Waiting just inside the den, Nyota watched like a silent sentry. Sleep was miles away that night, and the queen hadn’t slept a wink. How could she rest when Duara was out there with someone else? Not that Nyota felt threatened by the male, naturally. The selection had been long and tedious. He was a loner, an aging lion with no home and no family. He had readily accepted the proposition. What lion would turn down an opportunity to sire a litter of royal cubs? The trick had been finding the right one, and given the numerous years the lion had experienced, Nyota was fairly certain he hadn’t many to look forward to. His genetics would be passed on to the next generation, and he wouldn’t come to claim any of the offspring, understanding that no better life could be offered than the one the Lowlanders could provide. The selection had been made, and now, as the sun peeked over the horizon, the deed would have been done.

Imagining the resulting cubs appearing exactly like Duara was the only thought that kept Nyota sane throughout that long night. Duara, who had lost her entire clan in the wars, would have a second chance at a family, and Nyota would have another opportunity to name an heir. She, along with all the others, still assumed Nyima would be the next queen. But there was always a possibility that the young princess would not want the title, or worse, if the unimaginable occurred and she was taken or killed. Nyota had been the youngest of three, after all, and now she was the only sibling left to rein. Life was not always easy, and seldom fair. Their circumstances were indeed something to worry about. With a number of rapidly maturing young lionesses in the jungle, it made Nyota increasingly nervous. With Upendo currently away from the Lowlands, there were now a grand total of zero lions in the jungle. They had to be extra vigilant, and Nyota couldn’t shake an ominous feeling that something bad was going to happen. Any day now, she expected disaster. But life had to go on, and the Lowlanders depended on her strength and stability now more than ever.

Finally, as the dawn colors were painting the skies to the east, she saw Duara’s form approaching. Now Nyota found herself at a loss. What could be said? There were no proper words. What was done was over with now, and with any luck, it would never have to be repeated again by either of the queens. Nyota remembered how she had felt after her second encounter with Ismahel: ashamed. But this had been an entirely diplomatic affair. And the result would once again be worthwhile. As Duara came closer, Nyota tried to picture her a few months from that moment, with a swollen belly and a swaying gait. She smiled, finally unable to resist the urge to go out and greet her companion before she reached the sleeping dens. Her paws moved carefully over the worn steps, tread upon so often by their humble pride that had once been so much larger. When she reached Duara, she bumped her forehead with her own. She tried to be gentle, as if the other was suddenly more fragile now than she had been only a day before. Smiling despite herself, Nyota felt relieved to see that Duara hadn’t been hurt in any way. ”Are you tired, love? Do you wish to sleep? I will send the others out early, if you desire it.” Already, she was turning into a sort of fretful father-to-be. ”You need not worry about patrolling. I have already made arrangements to take on your responsibilities during this time.” She knew Duara would not care for this news, but there would be no argument. The safety of her future litter-- their future litter-- was paramount.

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PostSubject: Re: Soft Morning Glow   Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:42 pm

Duara was impatient to see Nyota after a night spent of un-comfortable behaviour and a terrible sleep due to said behaviour. Only a fool would presume that Duara had enjoyed herself, for it was known throughout the entirety of the Lowlanders that Duara held affections only for Nyota. She shuddered at the thought of another lion actually enjoying what had occurred between her and the rogue lion. She hoped that her efforts had indeed succeeded and had not been in vain. After all, it would be a terrible shame to have to have gone through the experience and failed to become impregnated - but she was sure that she was in fact pregnant now. At least, she dearly hoped so. The idea of little cubs roaming around, with resemblance to both herself and Nyota - as previously mentioned, the lion whom had spent the night with Duara was of similar colouring to Nyota - was one that warmed Duara's heart and made a smile cross her muzzle.

It wasn't just the idea of having cubs roaming around, added to their small family that made Duara feel so pleased. No, this was her second chance - her second chance at a real family again. This time, she would not allow any harm to befall her or her cubs. Nyima included, for she was also Duara's daughter in her mind despite the fact that biologically, they were not related. Her babies would be loved dearly by herself, and of course Nyota. Finally, she could have a family again, someone to curl up next to at night. This time, she would get the chance to be the parent, to teach them the way of life and to sing a soft melody to them as they were lulled into sleep. Nyima had often become frightened of shadows in the night as a young one, and had to wake up the Queen's - well, mostly Nyota as Duara had often patrolled at night - so she could curl up against them and feel safe. That feeling of being needed was an addictive one - in a good way. She loved Nyima, and she would love her own cubs just as much.

Duara's smile grew as she spied Nyota, who immediately rushed to be at her side. She let a purr rumble in her chest as Nyota gently bumped her head against Duara's - far more gentle than usual, already parental instincts were kicking in, Duara thought fondly - before immediately questioning her. Duara laughed softly and sat back, nuzzling her head against Nyota's. "Do not be ridiculous, Nyota," she shook her head at the offer to kick the others out of the den. Duara was not overly tired, for the experience had been quick as Duara had insisted on it. She didn't want it to take to long, as she'd felt disgusted the moment he had advanced towards her. It had been hard to squash down her need to attack the lion ferociously. But, due to their encounter being so short it had meant Duara had not slept much less than usual. "I am fine, the encounter was short... I did not wish it to last too long. I have slept a normal amount and there is no need to waken the others. We are not those kinds of Queen's that put are own needs so much higher than the others, are we?" She regarded Nyota curiously. It was interesting how quickly she had become worrisome over her - and they didn't even know if Duara was indeed with cub or not. Duara frowned at the information that she was not needed to patrol, but it was for the best. A pregnant lioness would only be a bother to the Pride, so she nodded her head.

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PostSubject: Re: Soft Morning Glow   Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:21 pm

An immediate rumbling purr sounded in the queen's throat as she returned her mate's nuzzle with one of her own. When she was fully satisfied that Duara had not been harmed in any way during the ordeal, Nyota appeared to relax - a little. Her face contorted when Duara questioned her intentions. "No, of course not." Thinking back, Nyota could not recall acting any differently, or treating any of her subjects as such during her own pregnancy. But somehow, in this case, it was not the same at all. Nyota had not felt the need to treat herself with more gentleness or concern while she carried Nyima and Sakitu, however, her mind was immediately clouded with worry and a tenderness that was not exactly necessary just yet. Duara was not suddenly breakable or soft, but Nyota could not help but fret over her mate as a first-time expectant father fawns over his partner. "But your needs are greater now than the others', if all has gone according to plan," she said quietly, with the hint of a smile, despite all of her anxieties.

It had all been Duara's idea this time. Nyota had only needed to agree to the plan. Already, the circumstances were vastly differently from Nyima's conception and birth. There were no tricks involved, only honesty. This time, they were assured, no paternal figure would arrive to rob the family of one of their own. The cubs would not belong to anyone but Duara, and Nyota in turn. Duara's litter would be Lowlanders, from birth until the end many years from now. This was a source of great comfort to Nyota, who probably would not have agreed to the suggestion otherwise. Her heart still ached for the son she had allowed to leave with his father. Indeed, Nyota had not the faintest clue what had become of young Sakitu. She had dreams about the lost boy often though, visions of how he must look now that he had grown - if he was even still alive. Her maternal instincts insisted that the snowy son of the jungle was alright at home in the Coldlands, and hopefully thriving as his sister was in their natal kingdom.

And how would Nyima feel about her new siblings? Nyota could only hope she would be pleased, as excited as her parents were to expand the small royal family. The chocolate brown lioness glanced over her shoulder to make certain that none of the others had been roused by the quiet conversation beyond the den. She had no desire to wake the others. "Shall we join the others, or...?" Her head gestured towards the opposite direction of their nightly shelter, into the heart of their jungle home where the dawn's light was playing tricks, casting its pink-and-purple hues through the jungle vines, through the fronds of the towering palm trees. Despite her insomnia, Nyota knew she would not be able to sleep again even if she tried, feeling restless energy even though Duara had returned to her safe and sound. "Attempting to sleep now would be useless, for me anyway, and I do not wish to see anyone other than you at the moment. We could discuss cub names," she suggested with a playful nudge. It was a beautiful hour of the morning that few seldom enjoyed, but it was all too familiar to Nyota and likely to Duara as well, who spent so many hours tirelessly combing over the territory for any sign of trouble or danger. It was difficult for Nyota to keep her eyes off of Duara. The other queen was as beautiful as ever, but there was something different about her now. Nyota attributed this to the apparent success of the night's mission, but only time would tell if Duara was now expecting.

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PostSubject: Re: Soft Morning Glow   Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:38 am

Duara had never been so relieved to see that familiar, chocolate coat with the mis-matched emerald green and violet eyes that had enchanted her throughout the entirety of her life. She drank in the site of her mate, and her eyes finally came to rest on the perfectly positioned circles beneath Nyota's eyes, giving her that uniqueness that no other lioness had ever had. She felt a smile grow on her muzzle as she purred softly in response to Nyota's own. Though Nyota did not seem so worried as she had been when she first looked at her, she still looked a little tense and concerned. Already, Nyota was showing the typical signs of an over-protective mate, which was adorable in one manner, but would come to grate of the hormonal lionesses nerves as time wore on - as over protectiveness normally did. Duara had always been one to take care of herself, so letting another lion be responsible for her would not be something that the Queen would easily adjust to.

Duara let a soft laugh escape her at Nyota's behaviour, though her tone clearly showed her disapproval of such an idea as to cast out their Pride in favour of taking care of her herself. She did not think that she was above the other lionesses, and even if she HAD been tired she saw no need to have to vacate the others so she could sleep. Only a cruel lion would be able to sleep knowing they had disturbed others from their places. Duara felt her eyes darken as thoughts of cruel lions lead to those of Scar. She had never met him, nor even glanced him, but the tales of him had run through the savannah, reaching their jungle home and worrying the Queen's. However, now was not the time to be bothered by such things, and so she pushed the thoughts out of her mind and fixed Nyota with a look of disapproval. "Nyota, I know you are a wonderful lioness," she began, her tone firm. "But, I do not wish to be babied on this matter. If I am with cub as we hope, then I would appreciate it if you would not put my own needs above the Pride in future, and do not treat me like a fragile newborn." She bumped her head against Nyota's playfully.

Duara shook her head, though a fond smile had made it's way back on to her muzzle. "If you say so." She responded, deciding instead of arguing that the Pride was just as important as herself, to just nestle her body against Nyota's. She sighed softly, glad to be able to be near her mate once more instead of experiencing what had transpired between herself and the rogue the night before. She much preferred Nyota's company to any other lion that roamed these lands. Duara pulled her head away from Nyota and tilted her head. She didn't exactly desire to go and see the others, she would rather stay with Nyota and watch the sun slowly rise over their jungle heaven. "I'd rather stay here with you, to be honest." She said after a moment's pause. She grinned as Nyota suggested baby names and her ears immediately pricked up. "Oh yes, baby names sounds brilliant!" An almost cub-like excitement could be found within the Queen as she beamed at Nyota.

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PostSubject: Re: Soft Morning Glow   Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:21 am

Despite Duara's beliefs that chasing the others out would be cruel, Nyota knew there were far worse things she could do as a monarch; that being a leader meant making decisions that would not please everyone everytime. In fact, at times it was a necessity to do things that appeared downright cruel, as Nyima had learned months ago when venturing away from the safety of the jungle. But sometimes what seemed cruel was unavoidable. Sometimes it was best for kings and queens alike to make decisions that didn't seem fair or even very nice. During war times, it was especially necessary to place firm laws, sometimes restricting certain liberties, but all for the safety of the pride. A few hours of sleep lost wouldn't hurt the rest of the Lowlanders, so Nyota had no qualms about her previous offer and no remorse for making it, but she didn't push it any further. A hint of irritation flashed upon her strong features as Duara chided her for her offer and behavior. "Fair enough. I will not baby you. I will baby the cubs instead, but since they are not here yet, you will have to put up with me and all of my concerns." A coy smile replaced her momentary annoyance. She always had to have the last word on matters like these.

If asked, Nyota would say that Duara was no more important than any of the others, but what lover could truly say that about their 'other half' and mean it? Of course she cared about them all deeply; Nyota was a mother to the Lowlanders. They depended upon her wisdom and her protection. She had taken Upendo, Malaika, and Sakina under her wing after Shani's demise, and wondered now if the dead mother's two daughters would feel a similar itch to stray and explore. And Duara knew from experience that it wasn't easy to be the one faced with difficult decisions. Nyota had witnessed her own father punish traitors and spies with swift and unapologetic justice -- nine times out of ten, this meant instant death. Nyima had been shocked to see her mother severely injure another lion, and Nyota wondered now if the peaceful times in the jungle had made the heir to the throne too soft, too squeamish. A queen had to be firm, and tough. And occasionally, a queen had to be cruel, as well.

It was only a matter of time before othes awoke and found the queens enjoying their early morning respite, but Nyota decided it didn't matter and that a few minutes was better than nothing. Duara seemed pleased with the idea of coming up with cub names, but again, Nyota felt an acute worry. She knew that giving birth could be a dangerous affair. It was not unusual to lose a cub, and though it was rare to lose the mother as well, it was not unheard of. Names only served to make it all seem real. "I thought it would only be fair to let you decide what to call the first, since I was the one who named Nyima. It is hard to know before they are born, though. Will there be girls, or boys?" Her only daughter's name was obviously homage to her own name, a tradition she hoped would be carried on if Nyima ever had cubs herself someday. That thought made Nyota's skin crawl, though. "I would suggest my father's name, but I recall the young lion from the desert called Akili and it loses some of its appeal." Duara had been informed of Nyima's little adventure and the friend she had almost made at the time. Nyota's tail flicked in mild irritation, bothered that such a great name would be wasted on the undeserving Desertlander male. It was the name worthy of a king, not a scruffy runaway from the kingdom of the sun and sands.

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