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 A Promise For New Life

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Nako

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PostSubject: A Promise For New Life   Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:27 pm

Nako had called the Ashlands home for many months now, but in all of his time there, he had yet to experience a cleansing rain. There was enough water there for the small pride, but the dead vegetation could not reseed itself and grow again without plentiful rain. In recent days, he had noticed the clouds gathering around the highest mountains to the north, where the green vines grew in abundance and beautiful waterfalls decorated the scenery. The jungle had been inhabited for many generations though, and Nako knew he best stay away from the territory. No one had wanted the unclaimed lands below, what had become his own kingdom. For days now, ominous clouds, heavy with moisture, hugged the peaks incessantly. Rain was so close, Nako could practically smell it. And the Ashlands needed rain, badly.

Early that morning, the dark gray clouds had inched closer and closer still until they were direct overhead. Nako was accustomed to waking with the sun's first light every dawn, but today, there was an unusual coldness on the air, and the sun was hiding behind the clouds. Even still, the king woke up early and felt a great sense of anticipation. He was certain today would be the day. There was nothing to do but wait for the rain, so Nako began to pace restlessly. And finally, late in the afternoon of a cold, dreary but promising day, the first drop touched Nako's nose, quickly followed by another. Within minutes, the entire sky had opened up and the refreshing liquid rained down on the ash covered kingdom, certain to make a mess of it.

It didn't take long until Nako's hulking frame was soaking wet, but the lion was more giddy than a cub after a long awaited kill. He was at the top of the canyon, just waiting for the streams to hold the water. Waiting for the rain to wash away the ash and the filth. More than anything, Nako could hardly wait for the new life the rains were certain to bring. He had long imagined his kingdom filled with grass and new trees; new life. Perhaps along with new flora blossoming, his pride would also grow before long. He was happy that Kifu and Zivia seemed so fond of each other, and though they were both a little shy, Nako had a good feeling that the two were simply meant to be. Both had suffered, both knew loss, and both had somehow ended up in the same place, together. The thought of their blooming romance made Nako immensely happy. It gave him hope for a future he had always dreame could be real.

The day was nearly perfect, though Nako was now a few shades darker than he had been when the day began thanks to the combination of wetness and soot. There was only one thing missing from his perfect day, and Nako sighed a secret sigh as he bounced around in the storm, thinking of her.

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Heshima

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PostSubject: Re: A Promise For New Life   Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:55 pm

The atmosphere in the Ashlands was one of anticipation, every member of the pride could feel it in their bones. There was something exciting about the coming of the rains, Heshima was the most excited of them all. Finally her -not so- little boy would be able to see what the Pridelands had lost so many years ago with the death of Mufasa. Finally the lands that they now called home would be replenished and the plants could start to grow again. And finally, Heshima could feel that peacefulness returning to her as she lived out her days in the Ashlands. In fact, not just the predicted rain helped peace return to the pale lioness who was now queen. Her son Kifu had seemed to find a good friend in Zivia and honestly? Heshima couldn't see them with anyone other than each other. Their pelts were at extreme colors ends, Zivia was pale just like Heshima was, probably even paler, and Kifu. Well, he was of course his father's son in appearance. Even though he looked different than him, becoming almost seemingly stronger than the king of the forsaken Pridelands, the queen still could feel a presence of Scar whenever she looked at the boy. There were still some features that she couldn't escape, and the main thing was his eyes. A dull jade, they matched his father's except for the brightness factor. It was almost like Heshima could feel that Scar was watching over her with every look through his son's eyes. But alas, Heshima was only paranoid, there was nothing Scar could do to hurt her now.

It happened early in the morning, a soft scent was in the air as the queen lay atop the precipice of Half-Peak, a small drop of liquid hit her pelt. It was soon followed by another, and another, and another, until finally the whole sky was filled with the rains that Heshima had not seen since her cub days. The pale lioness laid silent, her violet eyes closed as she felt the rains caress her pelt. The female sighed as happiness filled her body once more, she couldn't wait for Kifu to awake and experience this wondrous thing called rain. Something that seemed so regular to others was something that Kifu had never gotten to experience, and Heshima quickly remembered than none of her cubs had seen rain. Ari, she had died before she had a chance at freedom. Tasa, she had been exiled and was probably miles away from where the storm was headed. Giza on the other hand might have experienced rain before, but the idea was most likely absurd. Her two forgotten sons, Kiasi and Makosa, they had lived in the pride right next door to the Pridelands, there was no was they could have seen rain either. But now after sitting there for a long while, Heshima opened up her eyes and stood, making her way down the outside of the den and down to the actual lands. She could feel something calling her, but she had no idea what it was. In the distance the female could see a familiar tawny figure and it brought a smile to her face. Her king, her friend; Nako.

He had taken the mother and son duo in after they had been exiled and the two now ruled as friends. Nako had comforted her every day that she broke down and the female couldn't lie, she started to feel closer to Nako. Maybe closer than she should have felt. After Scar and Kuzimu it was a wonder that the pale queen even trusted the brute of a lion that ruled these lands alongside her. But there was something different. Nako was not most lions, that was something Heshima could tell right away. Finally after a few minutes of jogging, Heshima caught up to where Nako had been seated, his coat duller than it usually was due to the rain. All the ash had been washed off thanks to the rains and she chuckled softly for no reason. "Hello your majesty," The female padded up and took a seat beside her large friend, smiling like a new mother should when first viewing her cubs. "I can't believe that it's raining, can you? I haven't seen the rains since I was a cub! Kifu hasn't seen them either," The lands were going to get better because of this, beauty would strike the areas again until the fires that were known to plague the lands came again. But Heshima didn't care about the fires or the rain, she was happy at the moment. And being next to Nako made it all the more better.

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PostSubject: Re: A Promise For New Life   Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:39 pm

It was as if Heshima had read Nako's mind, appearing at the perfect moment, right on cue. The rain made the lioness look smaller than before somehow as her fur became drenched. Nako wasn't thinking about fires or future disasters as he enjoyed the shower from the clouds above. He had paused to sit and rest a moment, his giddiness a little tiring for a lion of his size and age, when Heshima came to sit beside him. The broad grin that graced the lion's muzzle was impossible to erase, even if he had wanted to, but the joy of the moment was too much to contain. "May it rain until the Ashlands turn green! We could certainly use a few good shade trees around here, eh?" As he spoke, his enthusiasm became too much to bear, and he could no longer remain immobile as he jumped to his paws with the energy of a lion half his age. Who could sit on such a wonderful day as this? Today was a special day, like a holiday, and Nako couldn't help but celebrate.

He bounded around Heshima like a silly cub at play, laughing openly his raucous laughter that echoed through the canyon below. He looked more like a vagabond than a king as he bounced around, enjoying the moment to its fullest. "Isn't it the most wonderful thing you've ever seen, Heshi?" The caramel lion didn't even attempt to shake the wetness from his fur, instead letting it drip down, causing his mane to droop and hang down in front of his garnet eyes. And he didn't seem to care in that moment that he was acting less than regal. That didn't matter to him. He could already see in his mind's eye all of the tall grasses and the exotic flowers that would appear soon enough. All the while, the sky let loose its torrents of rain, which hit the ashy ground with soft pitter-patter sounds.

Facing Heshima, he crouched down in a playful manner, tail waving behind him as he prepared to pounce his queen. Normally, there was a certain unspoken level of distance and respect between the two, but the rain seemed to erase any inhibitions Nako may have felt around Heshima, so now he was behaving like a carefree youth instead of a respectful and dignified king. Indeed, he felt like a cub again for the first time in many, many years. With a laugh, he attempted to launch himself at Heshima, never intending to hurt her, of course. But he never got close enough to even touch the lioness. His back paws seemed to catch in the thickening mud, and instead of pouncing as he intended, he was sent tumbling towards Heshima in an ashy, muddy heap of lion. He came to a rest on his back at Heshima's front paws, eyes wide with surprise that his attempt to pounce had failed so spectacularly. A sheepish smile appeared a few seconds later. "Uhh. Oops?"

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PostSubject: Re: A Promise For New Life   Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:10 pm

Heshima smiled and nodded, agreeing with her king, "Yes! Trees! And soft, green grass, and flowers!" the queen paused for a moment, remembering the flower that Ari had given her so very long ago. It of course wilted a few days after it was picked, but the wilted flower was hidden away from all prying eyes. It probably still lay hidden in the rocks from where the pale queen hid it, waiting for its last moment before turning into dust. The thought of the flower soothed Heshima and she smiled, "Glorious red and purple flowers," Accepting Ari's death was the hardest thing for Heshima to do, but finally she was able to smile again when thinking of her daughter. It was what she would have wanted right? Thoughts of her daughter were calming thoughts now, Heshima knew that she was watching over them all, probably sitting with her uncle Mufasa and hearing all the wonderful stories that he would have to tell her. Maybe she was playing with Mheetu? What about Simba? These thoughts were the ones that made Heshima know that Ari was probably better off in a sanctuary like that and not down on earth with a horrible father searching to kill off everyone that defies him; even though the thought itself might be horrible to some. Ari was in a better place now, and with her death Heshima was able to grow one last time. She would make her daughter proud, no matter what she had to do. And being queen of a newly discovered land? That was only the first step now wasn't it?

It was yet again her king that brought her away from her constant regrets and thoughts about her deceased daughter, for his new attitude on what was transpiring here today was amazing; downright comical as well. Nako was bounding around like a little cub, laughing at everything that he was experiencing. He asked Heshima if this was the most wonderful thing she had ever imagined, and the female couldn't answer right away. Of course it was amazing to see the rains again, something that she hadn't been able to experience since she was young, almost six years ago! My, had it really been that long since she was a cub? However, maybe she was staring at something more amazing than the rains right in front of her? Heshima's feelings for Nako had changed since their first meeting, but she couldn't say that she was madly in love with him like she had once thought with Scar, but she couldn't deny that these feelings were stronger than the bonds of friendship could be. After Scar and that demon Kuzimu, how could she ever trust another lion? And yet here was Nako, breaking down those barriers. Finally Heshima broke her silence and answered Nako's question with a chuckle, "Sure Nako, sure," All the pale queen could do was watch in amusement as her friend and king bounded around like a little cub after his mother brings home the biggest kill they had ever seen in their young lives.

However what Nako did next made Heshima raise an eyebrow. He got down into a pouncing position and the female quickly braced herself to be unsuspectingly tackled to the ground by the much larger lion. However she didn't need to brace herself as the brute's foot got caught in the muck and sent him forward. Heshima then had a large heap of fur, ash and mud at her paws and it made her laugh hysterically. The first good, heartily laugh she had in a long time. She brought her paw up and tsked, "Now your technique was horrible," she said through the laughter, finally calming herself down and smiling. She got up and turned around, padding away for a small distance before turning back to face the king that was lying on the ground. "Watch and learn Nako! This is how you really tackle something," The queen, in an uncharacteristic motion, lept forward and landed on her king with all of her weight -which compared to him wasn't really much- and tugged his ear softly as she rolled back over onto the ground. Heshima felt so young, just like a cub again, and she let go of Nako's ear and let herself fall onto the ground next to her king. She laughed and sprawled out her front legs, nudging Nako with her right one as she did so. "Heh, sorry Nako, didn't know what came over me," The rain seemed to be pouring a tad bit harder now, but it wasn't noticeable. For now, all Heshima wanted to do was lay her with her king, not caring for another thing in the world.

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PostSubject: Re: A Promise For New Life   Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:19 am

Tall, inviting plants, just like the ones that grew across the border in the jungle, budding leaves and blooms in every shade imaginable: all of these things and more, Nako could see clearly in his imagination. The presence of the lioness seemed only to make the picture more beautiful, but also more real as he was pulled from his fancy to the present. He was pleased to see that Heshima was happy and smiling as well because of the rain, though her excitement was more subdued than Nako’s. This hardly seemed to faze him though as he soaked up the rain drops, allowing his fur to be cleansed of the ash that was impossible to avoid in his beloved home. Before the arrival of his pride - his new family - Nako had been quite alone there, save for the memory of a brother he had lost in a canyon at the western border, towards the place where the san disappeared and the daytime ended. The last of the fires that ravaged the Ashlands had claimed his life, and the death of his brother had marked a change in Nako’s life. The appearance of Heshima and her son was another, like the beginning of a new era.

The rainstorm was the start of yet another chapter: Nako could feel it deep inside. In his exuberance, Nako failed to take note of the thoughtful look that crossed Heshima’s face as she remembered her daughter. She had told the lion about Ari before, so that Nako wasn’t completely ignorant on the subject. Indeed, he had noticed the sad look that appeared in her soft violet eyes from time to time when she thought no one noticed, but how could he know that the same eyes had once belonged to her gentle daughter? Heshima’s past was untouchable – it belonged to Heshima, and in some part, to Kifu. But Nako knew he could never truly know what it had been like in the Pridelands. All he could do was attempt to show both mother and son everything that waited for them beyond the shadows of Scar’s reign. Zivia helped Kifu to heal in a way that Nako couldn’t, however. And try as he might, it was impossible to deny that he cared for Heshima very deeply in a way that transcended friendship… But how could he express such an intimate thought with someone who had been scarred? Still, she didn’t mock Nako for behaving in such a ridiculous manner now that they were alone, and he seemed altogether unconcerned that she would think less of him for acting so silly. He looked less than regal but he didn’t worry about that. Sometimes it was therapeutic to simply laugh aloud and be childish.

Of course, his playful attempt to pounce had failed in a messy, unintentionally comical fashion, and this was a little embarrassing. Even so, he was unaccustomed to being shorter than anyone, so he stayed down in the mud, his expression still stunned as Heshima stepped back to teach the lion a lesson. He was even more surprised when the pale lioness picked him for a target, making no attempt to defend himself. It was like being a cub again – or at least, what Nako assumed life would have been like back then, if he had been given a proper chance to be a carefree cub. It was a wonder he wasn’t a serious old grouch now, but he didn’t want to spoil the moment with these thoughts. The past had no business there that day. The rain meant a future, and though Nako knew Heshima had no intentions of leaving, something in him had to know: ”Heshi, are you happy here?” He paused for a second, his paw touching Heshima’s and distracting him briefly. ”I feel as if before your arrival, the Ashlands were never a real kingdom, never a real home. But everything has changed for the better with you here. It is hard to imagine my life without you in it now.” The sound of the rain seemed to intensify as the pair lay there, but all that Nako was conscious of was the lioness beside him and the swift beating of his heart.

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