Posted by Pride of Dreamers

Infinitum (#94360)

Dreamboat of Ladies
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Posted on
2017-02-06 07:15:31
Okay, so this is basically going to be my pride's story, updated irregularly (i.e. whenever I feel like it). I'm just mainly writing for myself, to get the story down before I forget about it, but if anyone reads this, I'd love to have your comments and critiques.

Infinitum (#94360)

Dreamboat of Ladies
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Posted on
2017-02-06 07:25:53
It had been hard enough to accept the newcomer when he had trailed into camp, taking in everything and everyone with that odd look of his, peering into their souls and assessing their strengths, their weaknesses. But Aestas had no problem with the male, it seemed, for it was he, the pride’s king, who had brought him in. So until their king thought otherwise, they would accept the adolescent male, but that didn’t mean they had to like him.

“My name is Hangyaku-sha,” he spoke, dipping his head to Aestas and the pride’s lionesses, but his gaze remained fixed on Khione. “I came from a pride where I was not welcome, as is the custom for most sons. But Aestas is wise in breaking tradition, for we can only make a pride stronger. Is that not correct, Michi no michi and Hakken sa reta unmei?”

Surely Aestas must have told him about the other males, but all the same, Hangyaku-sha’s knowledge of them was unsettling. How much else did he know? Had he spied on them before approaching Aestas? Khione shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, glancing nervously at Helianthus. She was the eldest here, and certainly the most experienced--what she said went, perhaps even more than with Aestas. The king commanded from high above, but the females intricately knew the ins-and-outs of pride life. Helianthus wasn’t in any way the pride’s queen--Aestas had never taken one, for reasons known only to him--but ultimately she was looked up to and respected as a queen would.

Helianthus stepped forward, glancing over the newcomer coolly. “Yes, they do support Aestas in many ways. Are you here to do the same? Our king is welcoming and trusting, but only up to a point. Do not cross him, or us, if you wish to live to have children of your own. Hakken and Michi have lived here most of their lives--they know little about how other prides work, and it would not be in your best interest to coax them over to challenge Aestas. He has been kind to them, far kinder than most others would be, and they will not go against him willingly.”

The dark lion froze, anger and fear washing briefly across his face, then he pulled himself together and grinned. “Of course not, my dear. Why would I ever think to do such a thing? My good king Aestas has taken me in when no one else would, and therefore he has ensured my survival in this world.”

Aestas flashed a brief glare at Helianthus, a silent warning in his eyes. Of course--the king had already decided to let Hangyaku-sha in, so he must trust him. But, still, there was something in the dark lion’s eyes that made her think of Aestas’ naiveness.

He had led the pride well for all this time, and yet he barely understood pride custom. Perhaps it was because he had not grown up in a pride, been kicked out like so many other adolescents--little of his history was known, except that he had been one of the few survivors after the droughts and raging fires that had decimated his birth pride. So he had formed his own pride, based on what he remembered and what he thought was best. Neither Hakken nor Michi no michi had ever done anything to betray his trust, so Aestas had grown safe and comfortable in their presence. Lazy, even. But Hangyaku-sha would break that trust, one way or another. It was almost a promise.

Helianthus watched with eyes narrowed as the males departed, presumably to go patrolling or something. She desperately hoped that she had read Hangyaku-sha wrong, that her words of caution about not crossing the pride were misplaced, but… she was probably right, and that meant dark times ahead for all involved.