Posted by Traveler Log: Mazzikim, the Magic Chaser

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:26:25

Traveler Log


Mazzikim wanders the lands, seeing through the eyes of her three-eyed raven companion to get around. Distant but curious and quite polite, Mazzikim is pushing past her socially stunted walls for the sake of knowledge. She's on the hunt for strange phenomena, events, and magics from different prides, seeking to understand and learn. The whispers that float about, demons she's heard myths of, the solar eclipse that was one of the first things she saw through the eyes of her avian companion, the kind of whisper magic that kept thethe executioner's tunnel and cavern a secret to most...that and more are what she wants knowledge about. The world is a mysterious place, and Mazzikim hunts for answers. She may be a bit standoffish, but pay that no mind. She's not exactly warm and cuddly, but she doesn't intend to bring any harm. She does have a bit of strange luck, whether it's good or bad, at being around when something odd happens. Usually it's not very intrusive oddness, but there are exceptions.

Does your pride have knowledge behind what she's so curious about? Will they share that knowledge, even if they have it? Maybe none of the above. Maybe you want to keep her for yourself, to use her to learn about other prides and the wonders of the world without doing the work yourself. But be warned--she's a slippery one. Just because she's blind in body doesn't mean she hasn't learned enough from the one who raised her to know how to slip away sooner or later.


Mazzikim arrived at the Rustlebrush pride as a cub, chased out from her former pride before she was old enough to survive alone, and sightless, eyes pulled out by the aforementioned past pride. Or, rather, she didn't arrive at this new pride itself, but deep below ground, under it. Like many cubs before her, she was headed into the executioner's den, led by its magic despite her blindness. She bumped into him when he was stacking another body up, unable to make out his dull scent in a room full of bodies. At first, "Fodder" intended to spend a while calming her down, and then kill her, as he did with all the cubs who came into his den. After all, the shaman magic around it was intended to keep his location hidden from the lions who didn't need to know about it. Unlike other lions that he often killed, though, Mazzikim was healthy, and already weaned, she just hadn't been dropped off at the giving tree, for some reason. He gave her a choice of her own: leave, or stay. It didn't matter to him. Intrigued by this strange lion, and outcast from her original pride, she chose to stay. At least her weaned status meant he wouldn't have to worry too much about feeding her--Oh. Oh yes, lions had to eat after they were off milk, too, didn't they? It slipped his mind, sometimes. But he had never needed to learn how to hunt, seeing as he didn't eat. He had nothing to give her. Well...except for the bodies.

Mazzikim lived off of lion cub flesh for much of her cub-hood, all the while watching the almost always silent executioner while he went about his usual duties, sometimes not moving for days at a time, those breaks filled with her questions, and him answering only some of them. "Fodder" was surrounded by magics that she never would have dreamed of before stumbling blindly into his cave. The executioner was immortal, seemingly partially dead, with magic either from him, the ravens, the area outside, or all three that drew in cubs that would die a slow death without him, and that helped him calm them down when any lion in their right mind would want to avoid him. She wanted to know about this all. The rest of her questions were in part because throughout her cubhood, oddities tended to spring up. Nothing that affected "Fodder", but things that he admitted, when asked, were irregular. Lichens and fungi growing and tiny bugs stumbling into in a place where life had given up trying to appear, for instance. She stayed in the executioner's close care, until she was big enough to slip out of the tunnel to try her paw at learning to hunt on her own. She didn't enjoy the lion meat as anything more than food to survive on, after all, and she was setting out to hunt. The executioner let her leave with his third raven, a three-eyed, fat black and white bird, to look after her.

The crowing of the raven that had come with her alerted her to something being off, but she couldn't see what. She got more and more nervous about what was wrong, until an ancient lion's spirit whispered to her subconscious that she realized how it was Fodder had such a good sense of what was around him despite being blind. Looking through the eyes of the three-eyed raven, Mazzikim could see what was happening above her. At first, the sun after so many months of darkness was painful. It took time to adjust, but when she looked up again, the light was much less bad, now. It was still painfully bright, but....she glanced up, catching a glimpse of the ring of sun covered by a shadow. A shadow? Looking through the eyes of the three-eyed raven, Mazzikim could see what was happening above her. It was gone within a few minutes, but it was incredibly magical to witness. When she fled back into the executioner's tunnel, only running into a wall once on accident, she hurried to ask him about what this odd blacked out sun was, and to explain the magic of the ravens.

That incident was the sealing deal for Mazzikim's curiosity. She wanted to know more--where did the ravens get their magic from to help lions like her and Fodder? What was the explanation behind odd phenomena like that 'solar eclipse'? Were there more lions who were similarly confused like her? More prides with different kinds of magic that might help her piece together this puzzle? Mazzikim wasn't sure, but she wanted to know what made the world tick.

When she'd learned to hunt and grown into an adult, maturing and learning from her father how to behave (although her social skills were still extremely rough and unpolished, she knew how to keep a calm tone and how to address kings and queens), and had gotten the chance to practice seeing through the three-eyed raven's eyes, she made her choice. With a goodbye and a promise to return to the white and black lion who'd raised her, Mazzikim left the tunnel and cave she'd grown up in, Mazzikim left her home. She had spent too long around Fodder to be afraid of what might come next. Death was inevitable, it didn't scare her. But she wants explanations, before that time comes. And to get explanations that she can't find at home, she has to seek out wiser lions, who might know something about the strangeness of the world that she doesn't.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:27:28

User & ID: Agent Twitch #196482 [writer of this entry]
Date taken: 08/27

Written by the traveler host

Mazzakim wandered through dry lands for many days. The ground was hot, the air stale. It wasn’t until one night, a silver lioness dressed in metallic jewelry approached her with a graceful, gentle presence. “The whispers guided me to a youngling in search of their voices and power. It seems she has already experienced a taste of their gifts with a wonderful friend.” Using the three-eyed raven to see, Mazzakim would notice the silver lady sitting, frail and yet confident, only a few feet away from her. “Come with me, and I will teach you to hear their voices and commune. My name is Poiwei, Graced Lady of the Moon.“

As the two lionesses entered their minute, dying pride lands, she quietly explained the tyrant King’s horrible rule. How he killed children deemed weak. How he became obsessed with magics and immortality. “Your soul is strong, your connection to the whispers is deep. I can teach you a skill that allows you to intertwine with other lions whispers, guiding them peacefully to the Celestial Realm. Morbalis has obsessed just as Apedemak has, attempting to take the whispers from other younglings to try and immortalize himself.” Poiwei furrowed her brows at the young lioness. “Teaching you this skill requires a cost... a life for a life. You must lay with the king and gain an intimacy connection for only a moment. Become one for just that single moment to plant that thread to his Whisper. At that moment, you will poison his whisper, slowly bringing him to his belly in weakness. We will care for the rest from here..” Mazzakim was startled at this request. It was a heavy one, but on glance of the entire pride, they looked miserable and abused. He ruled with a heavy iron jaw. At first glance, one would think that Morbalis was a handsome and kind king, but he was wickedly selfish, evil, and manipulative. It seethed off of his fur. If it meant to help this pride break free of his reign at the cost of learning about this magic of communing with whispers, then so be it.

The next month spent with Poiwei were intense forms of meditation and mental exercise. Mazzakim slowly discovered the internal tie of whispers between herself and the raven bonded with her. How it could sense the whispers of others, dead and alive. On the third month of her stay, it was time. She felt her strength in Magics and her bond with her raven grow, and her strength showed too as a dark tint spread across her skin in a beautiful ombré from her face and legs. Poiwei prepared the lioness, giving her a ritual body painting for the big night while prepping the curse to place from Mazzakims Whisper to Morbalis’s. In-between training sessions, Mazzakim had been growing close to King Morbalis, although this did strain her tolerance amongst other ladies in the pride who were fond of the king. Specifically Moza, Morbalis’s personally chosen Queen. She seemed rather hostile every time she laid eyes on the blind traveler with the Raven.

On the night of their coupling, Mazzakim passed on her curse, filling the promise she made to Poiwei on plotting the King’s downfall. What Mazzakim hadn’t been aware of was that in placing the curse, she had been unaware that it pulled nearly all of the strength from Poiwei’s final days. She watched Poiwei weaken furthermore to death’s door. It wasn’t long before the entire pride was summoned to a ceremony. Poiwei’s ceremony to be specific. The beat of paws thrummed in the air as she watched through the Raven’s eyes what horrors followed. The lioness, accepting some sort of appreciation and approval, fell to the jaws of the king. Some lionesses held their heads high in pride, while others turned away in disgust and mourning. This startled Mazzakim, causing her to quickly flee from this pride now that her teacher was dead. Pregnant with the King’s children and fearful of what he may decide of them, she fled not only for protecting her own life in fear of discovery, but of her children’s lives too.

Edited on 18/10/20 @ 11:29:29 by ☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:29:12

User & ID: Bee #184778
Arrived 09/02

Written by the traveler host

Mazzakim was resting by a waterhole when she was approached by another lioness, the stranger seemed non hostile and sat a few paces away. The lioness asked who she was since she’d never been seen here before and mazzakim just quietly answered her name, the lioness could tell something was wrong as Mazzakim looked like she would fall apart any moment. The lioness introduced herself as Astria and invited Mazzakim to stay with her pride for a few days, whatever this traveler was going through she needed some time to rest and put herself together again. Mazzakim nodded her thanks and followed Astria to a den, she quickly realized she’s not the only traveler passing through right now and chose to take a spot closer to the back of the den. The cubs got excited to see a new traveler and instantly bombarded her with questions. What were the strange markings on her fur? Why was there a raven with her? What happened to her eyes? Mazzakim laughed a bit with the questions from the cubs and answered them all in turn as she told tales of her past travels. It was nearly sundown by the time the cubs had their fill of questions answered and she was glad to finally get some rest as the cubs left the den. She woke up early while everyone else was sleeping and quietly crept out of the den and began her journey again. Not wanting to stay too long and have something go wrong to this pride also.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:31:08

User & ID: Elio, Pride of the hidden Oasis #208857
Date taken: 09/10

Written by the traveler host

Mazzakim ventured far from the previous pride. Her thought of finding corrupt kings still laid in the back of her head, making her unconsciously avoid obvious pride boundaries. Because of this, she ended up wondering into the endless deserts and wastelands. She could smell the scent of one pride in this horrible place. “how could any lion live here? There is no life for miles!” Mazzakim thought to herself as she saw the world through her raven’s eyes.

Night eventually fell upon the endless deserts. Mazzakim was exhausted from the endless travel with no shade, water, or food… Even her raven was exhausted. This journey through these lands where hopeless, and everything looked the same, making it nearly impossible to turn back. When all hope seemed lost, Raven cawed as it felt life out in the distance. With tired paws and a hungry belly, she ran tripping over hard to see rocks and other strange things jutting out of the sands. With the Raven guiding her she was finally able to make it to the source of life. From what Mazzakim could see through the raven’s eye, was that the life was behind these massive jagged peaks… there seemed to be no way of getting past the rigid peeks…

The crow squawked in panic as something blue started to flow over to them… Fireflies? Aren’t they supposed to glow yellow not blue? She backed away from the fireflies trickling out of a cave entrance the raven didn’t see before. They sounded like whispering whispers, but she couldn’t understand what they were trying to say.

“Wait hold on! I can’t hear everyone at once!” she said in a panic. Suddenly they all stopped whispering, as the raven began to panic. A large Lion had stepped out of the cave and growled at Mazzakim. “Another Traveler on my territory!!” he roared, pissed off by her presence. The male walked up to her growling before suddenly stopping a foot away from her. “Wait… You’re blind? How have you even survived?” the male asked, before he noticed how extremely thin she was, if she didn’t get any food soon she might die…

Mazzakim was too spooked to answer the male’s questions and instead just looked in his direction with absolute fear in her empty hollowed out eyes. The male simply growled and commanded for her to follow him. She hesitated, wondering if it was such a good idea… “NOW!” he Roared making her scurry to her feet and try to follow him. She ended up running into his rear end instead.

“Stella take care of our… blind friend…” he simply growled, leaving Mazzakim with this beautiful blue lioness. Just seeing her through the raven’s eye was calming Mazzakim. “Wow… you’re beautiful.” She stated confusing Stella. Mazzakim quickly explained she can see through her raven’s eye. Stella gazed at the stranger baffled by her explanation. “Elio would love to hear more about that! He loves magic, he experiments with new things every day” Stella explained before explaining all the magical things Elio had done. First their home wasn’t always a lush and beautiful oasis jungle. It used to be just a crater void of life, that the previous king called home. The crater sprang to life the instant Elio became king, and it has stayed this beautiful ever since. Elio even granted power to other lions like Demonica, who is now a demonic lioness with control over fire…

“Will he be willing to show me how he does his magic Stella?” Stella hesitated and nodded her head. “Yes, he probably will… I will warn you; His methods are different…” Stella explained frightening Mazzakim. Was Elio like Morbalis, another evil king? “Ask everyone around here first before you judge Elio… his methods are not the greatest, but it was all done for his pride.” Stella exclaimed

Mazzakim did exactly that, she went to each lion and asked them about Elio. They all said he was an amazing king. They even told her the stories of how he protected his pride during the harsh drought. How he has been protecting his lands from the hungry locust with his mighty roar. And lastly chasing off the horses of apocalypse.

“How does he survive the horses let alone chase them off?! I saw famine on the way here and felt so weak after.” Mazzakim asked Demonica who was telling the story. “Well he comes back weak, but Elio is immortal so he will always be fine, especially with the power he gets from the whispers of pray and other lions.” Demonica explained before urging Mazzakim to stand. “If you have encountered a Horse of apocalypse then you need to see him immediately! No wonder you look so thin!”

Mazzakim wasn’t exactly excited to hear about Elio being immortal… let alone using whispers to make himself powerful… but she had no choice with Demonica guiding her to Elio. Her fiery paws where threatening enough to not resist.

Elio had just returned from chasing off several horses of apocalypse from the outskirts of his territory… He wasn’t looking good, as he rested his head on Stella’s back. She was singing something, that made his fireflies dance in the air. “Elio! Mazzakim encountered a horse of the apocalypse!” Demonica stated with urgency in her voice. “Great… is anyone looking bad Demonica?” Elio asked barely raising his head to glance at them. Demonica shook her head. Elio sighed with relief before forcing himself up “This will take some time… since you have been marked by one of the horses who knows how long you have left…” Elio stated weakly before going to his basket full of random items.

During this time Stella stayed with the two as Elio worked tirelessly to remove the curse of famine from not only himself but Mazzakim as well. “Heard you wanted to learn about magic? Well I’ll let you know a bit, maybe you can help heal others effected by the horses before it is too late. In exchange, tell me the knowledge you have learned.” Elio offered as he healed her. Mazzakim nodded slighty, she wanted to learn, but she was afraid of what she was going to hear from this mighty king… was he good truly? Or Evil in disguise?

The healing took longer than expected, since Mazzakim was affected by the horse for so long… But she got to learn Elio’s side of the story and some of his magic. He was a Hot headed murderer… but in a kind way? It was confusing, Because Elio would help travelers and a nearby pride when they truly needed it. He says it was Stella who grounded him, the only one who could calm his rage. Yes, he still killed lions, most where threatening his territory, or challenging him in general, while others where sick, dying, and inbred unwanted cubs. He wasn’t that evil, just doing what he thought was right for the longevity of his pride.
In the end she learned how to remove the effect of famine from a lion… quite simple, get the greediest of animals and use their whispers, along with parts of them, and say a chant to heal the afflicted. However, Mazzakim never lost the essence of famine look, but the curse was removed thanks to Elio.

“Follow the rain clouds, they’ll lead you out of the desert more than the stars.” Elio stated once it was time to say goodbye. “One last thing, do not tell others how to get here! I hate visitors…” Elio growled before going back to his territory. Stella and Demonica nuzzled Mazzakim goodbye, once Elio left.

“Yeah Elio might kill the next lion he sees loitering outside his territory, so keep the directions to here a secret.” Demonica said with a laugh.

Stella guided Mazzakim and her Raven to the first rain cloud before saying goodbye. “Be safe you two…” Stella said as she watched them leave… the rain pattered onto the ground all around Mazzakim and it begins to shroud Mazzakim in a strange fog… making her disappear into the rain, that will guide her to the next Pride.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:33:39

User & ID: Scouting for Booty #89370
Date taken: 9/16/20

Written by the traveler host

Mazzikim followed her loyal companion, who told her he was drawn to a place. A valley that was surrounded by rising red cliffs. Mazzikim could feel the rain on her fur as she entered the valley, the area silent except for the rain coming down. The raven continued on into the valley, but found flying to become impossible after a while and had to come to sit on Mazzikim's shoulder. They turned to go out of the valley, but the neither could figure out what direction they had come from, or where they had been going. They decided to just go exactly the opposite way of where Mazzikim was heading, but didn't find the sands they had entered from, even after acknowledging that they had traveled the same distance. The raven told her not to fret, that they would find their way out. Both were quickly becoming drenched to the bone, but the water wasn't the only thing that seemed to weigh them down. There was an obvious presence in the valley, though they hadn't seen or even heard any other signs of life besides them. It was a lush valley, one would think that they would have at least heard at least one bug or bird call. But the only bird to be found was the three eyed raven on Mazzikim's shoulder.

She traveled until she no longer could, finding some solace under an outcropping that got them out of the rain. There was no wind to ruffle her fur and make her shiver, but she did anyways. "I don't like this place." Mazzikim declared to no one in particular. The air seemed to respond with an audible chuff at her words. She sprang to her feet at the sound, the raven peering around the small clearing around them for whoever had made the sound. Mazzikim huddled, shivering under the outcropping and scared out of her wits. She could feel just the one presence as they always had, but the chuff couldn't have been her imagination. Her mind didn't play tricks on her like that. Come to think of it, she couldn't even sense whispers as she had been before. The raven projected that they could feel some, but they weren't around.

The stayed under the outcropping through the evening and night, huddled together in the rain that seemed to come down at a steady pace, with no signs of lightening up. During the night she had felt the presence come closer, but it didn't have the same feeling of one that was coming to be beside her, but more she could feel it in the valley and it simply was closer to her than any other part of the valley. She prayed to the sky that she would stay safe, that they would make it out of the valley. They questioned why they were drawn here, that there had to be some reasoning.

Mazzikim awoke to rustling in the nearby bushes. She quickly prodded the raven awake. With his eyes she could see a veiled lioness, just staring at them. Mazzikim rose to her paws, ready to bolt, but the lioness didn't seem like she was on the offensive, or even the defensive.

"Where did you come from? a female voice asked beside her. When Mazzikim turned, there was no one there, but she swore she had heard next to her and not from where the lioness stood a few yards away.

"Outside the valley. We were drawn here." Mazzikim confessed, deciding that the gods wouldn't have sent the lioness to them without purpose.

"Drawn here?" The lioness questioned, sitting back on her haunches. She pondered for a few moments, and the raven observed her a little more closely. Despite the bulky wraps and veil that covered most of her head, the lioness seemed frail, and her fur roughed up with caked on pastes and mud on the bared spots. "That wasn't smart of them. the lioness scoffed, coming to her feet and moving closer to them. Mazzikim relaxed a little, at least to show she wasn't there to attack but still on the defensive in case the lioness lashed out. She didn't understand what she meant by them.

"How do we get out of the valley?" Mazzikim asked, the raven following the lioness as she sat infront of the two them, unbothered by the rain coming down. Lightning flashed in the sky, followed by the rumbling of thunder that shook Mazzikim to the core.

"I can't leave, so I am unsure." the lioness said, looking over the pair just as they were her. "If the spirits brought you here, then they can get you out. But you seek something, what is it?

"Knowledge of the unknown, the supernatural." the lioness scoffed at her, stamping a paw on the ground.

"You shouldn't put your nose where it doesn't belong. Your future is not here, you must go." the lioness turned and began walking away, Mazzikim walked forward after her quickly.

"You must know something! Teach me!" Mazzikim huffed at her, the raven hopping behind them to catch up. The lioness stopped, shaking her head.

"I have nothing to teach you. You must leave before she find us both." the lioness scoffed, moving away and disappearing into the trees. Mazzikim began to run after her, but the raven cawed to her from behind. She stopped and went back to the raven who climbed up to her shoulders once more. They started going after the lioness in the same direction she had disappeared, but had no luck catching up to her or finding her. The scent of herbs and flowers filled her nose and messed with her senses, getting her all turned around and lost again in the valley that wanted and didn't want them there. They walked for what felt like days before coming upon a den. It was empty, though smelled and looked like someone had been living there. They left the den quickly, not wanting to waste time waiting for the lioness, though it didn't smell like the odd veiled lioness.

It was one night that they were curled up together that Mazzikim was visited in her dreams by gorgeous tigress that frolicked in the fields of her dreams with her. She awoke with a smile upon her maw and good feeling in her belly. They set out the next morning, but it was different. She felt different. She didn't think much of the dream, even when her stomach began to become larger and she felt a tiny being begin to kick and move around. Or even after she birthed the cub and cared for her until they finally found their way out of the rainy valley and into the sunny sands that could warm her to her soul. The odd feeling she had been carrying through the valley seemed to fade away as they got further away from the valley and the sun dried her fur.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:34:20

User & ID: Hannbells #129483
Date taken: September 23, 2020

Written by the traveler host

Mazzikim was the only traveler and outsider in providence to make it to Star Falls without guidance or being stopped by a patrol. The Eternals of the pride saw this as a good sign and welcomed her to their home. They taught her about the pride's gods, the Leos, celestial lions who watched over the pride along with their ancestors. She was mostly astounded by the Eternals themselves, for each one had a mutation. Neo, a cub with extra limbs, saved the pride from a terrible flood, so the Leos blessed him with immortality as the pride's first spiritual leader and connection to their gods. Peyj V. Fsaynt, a velvet tigon who helped form the pride's alliance with its neighbors. And Mishara, the first leopon of the pride who saved the pride from countless plagues. Mazzikim learned many things from the Eternals, enjoying their friendly company before she bid goodbye to learn about other magic in the world.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:35:30

User & ID: RavenFF #187871
Date Taken: 9/25/2020

No story
Added Messy Mane

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:36:06

User & ID: ☘ Quail Heart ☘⭑ (#207550)
Date taken: 10/01/2020

Written by the traveler host

Mazzikim wandered trought unknown lands, wandering how many time she would continue wandering like that. The last locust plague ended some days ago... But now other events started happening, things that she could see thanks to her raven. There was... Pain... Horror... Animals were being infected by rabies, she had to find a shelter to protect her and her raven companion from the bloodthristy creatures. When the dawn started, she observed a nearby pride over the distance, one that... Seemed peculiar somehow.
When she arrived she was welcomed by Lumina, a big tigon who was protecting the area, but her raven made her feel that Lumina had something of special. Mazzikim told Lumina everything, and how she is interested on knowing more about what is called "Magic".
Lumina nodded, and asked Mazzikim to follow her, so they could talk better about that. They both arrived a temple, the fresh air passed trought their skin.

"Magic... Can be something complicated" Lumina said, staring at the dark night sky, like she knew something that others didn't "Magic is not created for everyone, only certain beings... And in this case, lions have access to it, and knowledge to use it

"But... I don't have an extended knowledge about magic and... I'm still confused, why this happened exactly to me...?" Mazzikim said, now more confused than before

"You see.. Magic needs time to be comprehended, and having is something that sometimes the stars decide. If you wanna know more about magic, you need to learn to listen to the stars, as well to connect yourself to the elements"

All of this sounded kinda... fake... But magic has a lot of forms of being practiced, so she accepted Lumina's teachings. They started a day before she arrived Red Star's pride, and Lumina teached Mazzikim how to connect herself with the elements, creating medicines with plants, little firecamps were certain herbs were burned, and at her last day the time to talk to the stars had arrived.

Look, Mazzikim... Before talking with the stars, you need to call them first, fot this you need to create a ritual. Don't worry, I gathered all of the necessary materials that you'll need"

Lumina gave Mazzikim different materials, they were different herbs, animal bones, gems & some feathers. Lumina told Mazzikim exactly what to do in order to create the ritual, and call the stars. Once she finished, Lumina told her to sit in the middle of the circle she created, explaing that like that, she'll create a energy flow. Once she did that, Mazzikim closed her eyes, and Lumina kept silent so she could center. After some minutes, when Mazzikim was ready to give up, she started to listen some whispers... She could comprehend only one of them. After a while, the wispers stopped and Mazzikim opened her eyes.

"At the start, you'll not comprehend them... You will be confused... But whith the time you'll learn to comprehend them... And even to talk with them. Always call the stars if you're scared, if you need help... Or even if you just feel lonely.. They will guide you"

The night passed, and Mazzikim keep wondering what the stars wanted to tell her... That she couldn't comprehend. The day arrived, and so her time to go. Lumina said goodbye to Mazzikim, as well as the other pride-members, wishing her luck. And before going, Lumina approached Mazzikim and wispered something in her ear...

"Remember... Listen to the stars..."

Decors added: Horse Hair Body Ornament

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:36:48

User & ID: ☘ Helixagonal ☘ #179815
Date Taken: 10/8/20

Written by the traveler host

The world was a tiring place, and packed with things she didn't understand....but she was learning. The fact she was gaining context and understanding for things that had been mysteries before sent pulses of satisfaction through her, adding confidence to her steps where before there had been carefully calculated apathy so as not to draw attention to herself for being too timid or too bold. But the constant wandering, even years since she'd left her cubhood home, was wearing on her. She needed a moment to step back, breathe, and assess what knowledge she'd gained.

Home it was, then. With the help of her raven, her instincts, and the stars above, Mazzikim made the long journey home, until she felt the gentle tug of a small tunnel mouth, unchanged from the first time she'd felt it as a stumbling, abandoned cub. Whiskers splayed forwards to guide her steps in an area her raven couldn't effectively fly ahead, forcing her to stop relying on its sight, Mazzikim headed down, down, into the darkness that didn't affect her. The divots under her paws felt much smaller than they had some time ago, but still familiar. Retracing the path she'd run up and down many times as a curious cub getting the hang of functioning blind, the lioness made her way into the cavern that had become her home. Her head rose, ears pricked up, sniffing. She could hear the croaking and rustling feathers that said her three-eyed friend was reuniting with his snow-white and pitch-black. The air carried the kind of stillness only found in places deep below ground, where the air only moved when someone else was around to even notice. The scent of dried blood clung to the walls and floor. Where was Fodder? It wasn't easy to hear his breathing, he didn't need to breathe very much, and he smelled like the rest of the cavern. Finding Fodder, without him greeting her, was a matter of stepping carefully around the cave, tapping her paws once or twice before putting her weight down in case a cub or his tail was there, and knowing that sooner or later she'd bump into him. The same thing happened here. She found him at the back of the cave, still and icy as ever. But it was worth checking, if only to get his attention. "Fodder?"

No answer for a moment, but sometimes when he hadn't spoken in a while, it seemed to take some mental effort to say something. "Back alive, I see." Dry, leaden, apathetic. Nothing had changed, then. She'd long since accepted that she wouldn't be receiving love from someone who would outlive her many times over, that was a large part of why it had been such a breath of fresh air to travel and meet lions who did grow to have any kind of affection for her. Still, that didn't mean that she wasn't attached to him. He'd raised her, after all.

The blind lioness's paw flailed at the air for a moment before she felt it connect with coarse fur and brittle cloth, hooking her claws into that cloth and pulling Fodder into as close to a hug as a lion could get. The long-lived lion didn't react much, just sort of let her without complaint until she pushed herself away and sat down. "Missed you, Fodder," she commented as he fixed his headdress that had been shoved around in that gesture.

No reaction, but she hadn't expected a reaction. Instead, she continued to talk, as she'd often had to do back when she'd been growing up, with the slight awkwardness that would get into anyone's voice if they were trying to carry a conversation singlehandedly. "I've been learning. The idea worked, I've learned many things from many prides and many lions. I've found more mysteries, too, but even so, they've taught me skills I'd never dreamed of." She told him of the prides she'd visited, of learning how to communicate with the stars, heal curses from supernatural things such as the horses of the apocalypse, and of the whisper-connected magic she'd learned in Morbalis's pride. That last one got Fodder to flick an ear, the only sign of interest he chose to display in most circumstances.

"Whisper magic. Humor me: show. Focus on your raven's whisper, and outwards from there, Mazzikim," Fodder rumbled in that dry voice. Mazzikim blinked her eyelids over empty sockets, confused but willing to do as requested. She waited to hear the croak of her raven friend, at her paws after hearing Fodder's instructions and willing to help, and she did what he'd asked: focusing herself on the strangely thoughtful bird whisper, and letting her attention drift. The executioner's whisper was dull and slow within him, like a lizard that hadn't seen sun in a long, long time, but that wasn't surprising, nor was the presence of his own intelligent ravens, white and black. What was was the feeling of being surrounded by other whispers. Hundreds of tiny whispers, some that felt generations old and some younger than her, but all lazy and lacking in energy. She wanted to know what they were, to see what was around her. She sent out a silent request for her raven to let her see, but once he did, letting her focus on his own whisper and body, the whispers seemed to vanish. He opened his avian eyes, and the cavern looked no different than it regularly did. A chilly cave filled with the smell of bodies and blood and stone, lit ever so faintly by light that seemed reflected off of Fodder's fur.

Still, Mazzikim had her guesses. There were only so many things that would fill a cave this far below ground with that many whispers. Only one type of body filled this cave, where not even moss grew. "The cubs...?" Through her bird companion's eyes, she saw Fodder give a faint, confirming nod.

After a moment filled with Mazzikim's silent thinking and Fodder's usual dead silence, he spoke up. "They're the whispers of the cubs that find their way here, effectively trapped. The cubs I spare from pain here aren't suffering in death, I can promise you that. The same magic that draws them here if they won't survive keeps their whispers subdued. Think similar to sleeping." Well, that was comforting at least, but she didn't know where he was getting with this, so she stayed silent and listened. "It would still be better for them to have somewhere else to go, rather than staying eternally experiencing nothing. There's a lioness already who helps take their whispers from here, Iberar, but she is a leader of a pride in her own right, and often busy with that and the whispers closest to her. It would be better to have someone closer to prioritize the cubs here, Mazzikim, and take them to the celestial realm as you've been taught," he concluded pointedly.

Mazzikim just about wriggled in fascination with this proposal. She didn't hate being here, she wasn't scared of Fodder, and she'd have something to put her magic to use for. She doubted she'd be able to bring herself to try and join the pride up above this little cave, she wasn't skilled in social settings and it wore her out quickly. The periods of travel in between prides were a good break to rest and take a breather in, but that wasn't an option if you properly lived in the pride. She wasn't opposed to the idea of using the magic she'd learned out there to help cubs have the afterlife full of peace they wouldn't have gotten in life.

"I'm not that skilled yet," Mazzikim pointed out. Fodder nodded in agreement, as she saw through the eyes of her bird.

"I know. That's not a skill I was ever taught either. You'll need to leave again and find lions to help you train that skill. My best advise is to seek out Iberar, and go from there," Fodder rumbled, rising to his feet to move to his usual post just inside the mouth of the cave, unmoving and silent again.

Mazzikim nodded, thinking to herself to assess the situation. She'd rest here, a while, recover from her travels and perhaps even spy on the pride she'd sent her daughter to, to make sure she was okay. Then she'd head out, to find this Iberar, and probably to try and learn about other magics along the way. New ones, or perhaps explanations for the unexplained mysteries she'd been presented with in the first half of her journey.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-10-18 11:42:45

User & ID: Peyt gen3hib pie #210442
Date Taken: 10/16/20

Written by the traveler host

Mazzikim had left her home, searching for this Iberar, the one who could teach her to free the cub whispers from the cave.

She had traveled very far, and it was nearly dark when she had approached the acacia forest. Through her raven she could see the massive trees and the glow from fireflies, making the forest sparkle and glow. The forest felt like it was draped in magic, but more like it was coming from deep within, and not the forest itself. Her raven was sent ahead to search for a place to rest for the night, and any signs of other lions.

While she waited, she heard footsteps approach.

"Hello? Who's there?" The lioness questioned, sniffing the air. She heard no answer, only a large creature breathing and it tasting the air between them.

Come back she called to her raven.
"You smell like him. Him and death. They go together though, dont they?" A warm voice said the words, but Mazzikim could feel the bitter ice in it as well. She could feel the creature circle her, hear large wings ruffling against eachother, and she could feel a supernatural heat coming from it. It wasnt unbearable, but it made her feel like when she gets to sunbathe. It made her drowsy.

Mazzikim was silent. Does it mean fodder? Could this be who she was looking for?

Mazzikim let the creature circle her, and remembered what fodder had taught her. She took a deep breath, and began to try and see this creature's whisper. She heard a low chuckle, and the creature stopped its pacing.

"I could stay still, if that makes it easier," it sounded like it was smiling.

If Mazzikim could go blind again, now would've been the time. It was bright, a blinding golden whisper, and Mazzikim realizes the warmth emanating from the creature was in fact from its whisper.

A sharp caw broke Mazzikim's concentration, and she lost sight of it. Her raven had returned, and she could see through his eyes once more.

The creature was actually a large winged lioness. She was a rich hibiscus color, with black spots, golden markings, and large spots of piebald markings. Half of her face was white because of it. She had celestial dust pouring from her eyes and rising off of her back. Mazzikim recognized it as the lioness's whisper itself.
"You must be Iberar ," Mazzikim said quietly.

"Hmm," the winged lioness tilted her head, seemingly displeased. "He told you about me, did he? For what? Does he have more whispers for me to take? Of course he does, plus all the ones I couldn't bring with me last time. He could just stop killing them, you know. Bring me the cubs before they die for once. He has the right idea, I suppose, sparing the cubs from the pain of a death in the wastelands. But would it kill him to spare one? Just once? Send me a cub to care for?" Iberar huffed, shaking her head and pacing once more.

"He spared me," Mazzikim whispered quietly. Fodder didnt mention Iberar's distaste for him. Maybe convincing her to teach Mazzikim would be harder than she thought.

Iberar stopped, and turned her head back towards the lioness and her raven.

"Did he, now? What was wrong with you? Or better yet, what wasn't wrong with you? If he truly spared you," Iberar questioned, curious at what made this one worthy of life, when so many had died in that cave. The one that reeked of blood and death, with bones and bodies scattered everywhere. The one full of so many tiny whispers, their small faces void of hope and happiness, in what seemed a permanent slumber. Dull from decades of wasting away in the cave. The one that broke her, when she couldnt take them all with her. Menhit had told her that she is just one lioness after all, she cannot save every whisper. It did not make her feel any better, however. With her queenly duties she has been unable to return to the cave, failing to help the little whispers forgotten by so many.
"Nothing. I was healthy, weaned, but blind. He told me I could leave if I wanted, but I chose to stay. I wanted to learn about him. About the magic that called me to the cave," Mazzikim began to explain, and Iberar seemed to release the tension she had held in her body, relaxing more and more as Mazzikim explained the rest of her childhood to her.

It was truly dark by the time Mazzikim had explained everything to Iberar. Her travels to all of the prides, learning so much, and still craving to learn more.

"You wish to learn how to do what I do? To take the souls of the lost to the celestial realm, so that they may be reuinited with their families and memories?" Iberar couldnt hide the excitement in her voice, but there was pain in it too, "I can try to teach you more, but know this is an exhausting path. Whispers will come to you," she paused, her voice cracking, "and sometimes you wont be able to take them with you."

"I understand. It seems like it is a lot on you, and I could take the whispers from the cave to where they belong," Mazzikim took a step forward, giving the queen a pleading look "please, let me help them."

"You... Would free them from the cave? Send them home?" Iberar's voice waivered, and Mazzikim could see through the raven that small tears were falling from Iberar's face, catching bits of the dust from her whisper and leaving drops of glowing gold at her feet. After a few shakey breaths, Iberar cleared her throat. "I will teach you. Follow me."

Iberar brought Mazzikim and her companion to her pride. Large branches and roots from the trees weaved together to create nearly solid walls, secluding the pride and keeping it safe from outside dangers. Iberar led them to a large gap between two branches, and squeezed through before helping Mazzikim through as well. The raven flew over the top of the branches and gave Mazzikim a better view of the whole pride layout.
It was a large area, enclosed by the walls of brances. There were a few dens formed by more walls, and a large watering hole in the center of the pridelands. Suprisingly, other animals seemed welcome here, with no worries of becoming lunch. Cheetah cubs wrestled with lion cubs, an elephant calf rolled in the mud near the watering hole with a primal lioness, and dik diks seemed to be playing tag with the dubs who weren't weaned yet.

"I know it's not how most prides work, but any animal in our dens are off limits. If you are hungry, speak to a huntress, and she will give you a carcass. We only take what is necessary to feed ourselves, and the rest are free to visit and stay for a while," Iberar explained. Once Mazzikim had time to take it all in, Iberar brought her to a Den. "Everyone, this is Mazzikim. She's here to learn some things, and then she'll be on her way."

"A traveler? Oo!! Tell me something you've seen!"
"Have you seen anything cool?"
"Hey, I wanna hear it first!"
"No, I saw her come in first!"

A loud roar silenced the bickering cubs that were wrestling at Mazzikim's feet. An older ferus approached them and gave the cubs a look that made them scatter.

"Apologies, you know how they get around travelers," the ferus laughed to Iberar, "it is nice to meet you, Mazzikim," she bowed her head before returning to her space in the den, rounding up the unruly cubs and forcing them to take baths.

"We used to get travelers often, but I have been too busy to be a good host lately. For you, I made an exception," Iberar winked, hoping the raven saw it so Mazzikim did as well. "We can begin in the morning, for now get some rest." Iberar bowed her head and left the den.
Mazzikim settled in for the night, after being brought a few small carcasses by a huntress-in-training. She drifted off quickly with a full stomach.

Mazzikim awoke the next morning, and felt the sunlight warming her skin. She waited in the den for a while, wondering if Iberar would come get her. By mid-day, she was hungry and decided to leave the den, hoping to find a huntress to give her a meal.

Eventually she came upon an old, heavily scarred lioness. She approached her cautiously, "Excuse me, are you a huntress? I'm visiting, and Iberar told me to come find one if I need a meal, since the creatures wandering the dens are off limits."

The lioness have a hoarse chuckle, "honey, my huntin days are nearly over. But I know where the food's kept, c'mere." The lioness led Mazzikim to a smaller den and disappeared inside. Once she returned, she had an antelope carcass for her to enjoy. "My name is Kenzie. I was queen to the previous king, Deeks. Iberar told me to let you sleep in, as she had some business to attend to. She'll be back before dusk."
Mazzikim enjoyed her meal, listening to the old lioness ramble on about the pride, who gets on her nerves, who needs more training, and just general old lady complaints.

"If you dont mind me asking, do you know how Iberar got the way she is? I mean, she certainly is different," Mazzikim interrupted, eager to know what magic turned the leader into what she is. Kenzie sighed, and looked saddened by the memories the question had brought up.

"Iberar was brought to us as a cub. Deeks was still young king then, but he was so tired. My love was a gentle and kind ruler, but I think it was all too much for him. He had taken in Iberar and within a few months told me he wanted her to inherit the pride when he died. She was strong and powerful even just after weaning, and he quickly taught her how to be merciful and appreciate all life, no matter how small." Small tears lined her eyes as she cleared her throat, "Iberar was rebellious however, always wanting to learn more. She was too young to shadow the hunting parties so she went out on her own one night. Deeks had noticed she was missing and went searching for her. All he found was her small body, crumpled and mauled farther from our home than she should have been. We all grieved for her, our little heir, taken from us too soon. But not Deeks. He remembered Menhit, from the celestial kingdom. He had helped her greatly and she owed him big time in my opinion."
The lioness sighed, "long story short, Menhit gave Iberar back to us, but took Deeks in return. We had a few years together, but not nearly as much time as we would've. Menhit blessed Iberar with magic to be able to walk the celestial realm and our mortal world. Deeks spent a lot, too much if you ask me, of his remaining days teaching Iberar to be as kind as possible while still protecting those who deserve it. One day he came home from training and said she had grabbed a whisper right out of a cub as it starved to death with its mother. August was a hard time, you know. Not many creatures had food. Deeks said Iberar had carried the cub's whisper all the way back to the celestial realm, returned, and then walked the mother there as well. He announced Iberar as the new Queen and retired that night." Kenzie sighed, not seeming to want to talk more.

Mazzikim was suprised. Iberar had died and was returned by Menhit herself? It makes sense now why she is so protective of cubs and their whispers, and why she is not totally pleased with Fodder and his cave. She remembered how Poiwei had said whisper magic was a life for a life, and knows that it was not Menhit being cruel, but Deeks making a sacrifice to bring his adoptive daughter home. She was unsure if Kenzie would find any comfort in this knowledge however, and decided it best to not mention it.
"Thank you for your time, and the meal," Mazzikim bowed her head, and returned to the den to wait for Iberar's return. She only had to wait a few more hours, however, before the Queen popped her head in.

"Oh, good, you're still here. I'm sorry about the wait, I like to join the hunting parties every now and then. Keeps me from only having doom and gloom around me" Iberar gave a small smile. Speaking of doom and gloom, that is why Mazzikim is here. "To begin doing what I do, you need to work on seeing whispers. You have a good focus when you concentrate, but in order to take them to the celestial realm you're gonna need to be able to fight off things that want the whispers while still seeing them. This," the Queen lifted one of her wings as if she was now showing someone, "little gal has agreed to wait until you are ready to go home." Mazzikim took a deep breath and focused until she saw the little whisper standing next to Iberar. She seemed to notice Mazzikim could see her, and smiled before approaching her and giving a gentle head rub that sent shivers down Mazzikim's spine.

"You need to be able to see them with no effort. To walk through prides and see the whispers there as if they were just another lion in the pride. Then we will work on it in combat," Iberar smiled, excited to spar with this lioness in the future.
A few days had passed, and Mazzikim had already excelled much faster than Iberar expected. "You've learned much from Poiwe. I'm sad I didn't get to meet her," Iberar had mentioned once during training, impressed by her knowledge of whispers already. Iberar had the little whisper hide around the pride all day, and it would come out and pounce at Mazzikim and her raven once in a while, to test if she could see her without trying yet. Occasionally Mazzikim would jump and playfully swipe at the cub, until it was every time. Mazzikim would walk past the whisper and flick her tail towards her, letting her know she's been spotted.

"Aw no fair! It was funner when you couldn't see me. I felt sneaky," the small whisper protested, getting low to the ground as if she was sneaking up on something. Iberar chuckled heartily at the small cub's frustration.

"This just means you're closer to going home little one," Mazzikim said proudly. She could do this.

"Oh? Am I?" The cub tilted her head with a mischievous smile, and Mazzikim fell to the ground with a loud thud. Iberar was smiling, pinning her to the ground.
"Phase 2. Where is she?" Iberar panted.

"I-i dont know. You cant just tackle me, I'm blind" Mazzikim huffed, standing up and grooming the dust off her side.

"Oh, dont give me that. You do very well for yourself even with tha-" Iberar was cut off as she was flung on her back with a playful growl from Mazzikim.

"What? I thought we were on phase two!" Mazzikim laughed "Come on!"

The two wrestled for the rest of the day, and eventually the end of the week. Mazzikim had to focus on keeping Iberar off of her while also calling out where the cub's whisper was. It was difficult at first, but Mazzikim quickly could do it no problem. Phase 3 of the training was now with Iberar trying to catch the whisper and Mazzikim playing a game of keep-away.

The two lionesses had become close friends during the time Mazzikim had been here, and they started to wrestle again while the cub's whisper darting under their paws,
"Come on, Mazzi! Dont step on my tail!"

"Then don't," Mazzikim shoved Iberar out of the way, and grabbed the whisper in her mouth, tossing her to the side, "get in the way!"

Iberar stopped, barely able to catch her breath.
"Honestly, if you can see her even while fending me off? You're ready for the journey. Get some rest, we'll head out in the morning." Iberar gasped, before leaving for the night

That night, Mazzikim was awoken by the dim glow of the cub whisper crawling into the den.

"Mazzi?" She whispered, shoving her small face in the face of the raven.

"Mm?" Mazzikim rolled over, facing the small blue cub.

"What if I don't want to leave?" The whisper sounded nervous.

"What? What are you talking about?" Mazzikim sat up, worried, "you can't stay here." Why wouldnt the cub want to go? And why wait until now to say something? She was so close to finishing her training, she needed to take her to the celestial realm.

"Well..I-I want to stay with you longer. I want to travel with you. Please? Please please please?" The whisper begged, stomping her small feet, though they made no sound.

"What does Ibe say?" Mazzikim asked. She sighed and broke the heavy silence, "Does she even know?"

"No," the cub turned her head away, "I was hoping you'd ask her."

Mazzikim sighed deeply. She wouldn't mind the cub tagging along, but she was worried how Iberar would feel.

"I'll ask her in the morning. Now may I sleep?" Mazzikim huffed and rolled over, masking her worry.

"Yes!! Thank you thank you thank yo-" Mazzikim cut the cub off before she had to hear a million more.
"Sleep. Please." Mazzikim groaned, and slowly the blue glow left the den.

"Mazzi. Are you up?" Iberar whispered, gently pawing at the lioness's shoulder.

"Did I oversleep? Are we leaving?" Mazzikim asked with a stretch, giving herself a quick groom after. There were small specks of morning light peeking into the den.

"We would be. But it seems I have lost the little one," Iberar said nervously. "Have you seen her?"

Mazzikim remembered the night before, and how the cub had pleaded with her.

"Actually...she may be hiding. She wished to stay with me, and join me on my travels," Mazzikim said gently, worried how she'd respond.

"What? No. She HAS to go home. I will not let her be sucked up by that cave. I refuse," Iberar was panicked, darting out of the den to look for the small whisper.

"Ibe, wait!" Mazzikim chased after her, trying to calm the winged lioness down. "Iberar, please," she ran in front of Iberar, stopping her from going further, "I will keep her safe. She will not get stuck in the cave. I promise you. Teach me how to get to the celestial realm and I will take all of the cub whispers there. Including her." Mazzikim nodded in the direction of a bush, and Iberar could see the faint blue glow through the leaves.

Iberar sighed and tilted her head back, closing her eyes in thought. "Do you promise?" She asked, voice cracking, "I can't let her get stuck in the cave, Mazzi. She has to go home." Iberar sniffled, and looked at Mazzikim, needing to hear it one more time.

"I promise," Mazzikim repeated.

With a deep sigh, Iberar nodded and cleared her throat. "All right. First time in a while I take a trip without a whisper, but let's go," Iberar headed out to the edge of the pride's territory and turned to wait for Mazzikim to follow.
It was a long journey. There were demons and creatures along the way, but Iberar explained they were passive unless they're accompanied by a whisper. It's not incredibly dangerous, but Iberar explained its much like fending off a pack of hyenas who want to take your meal. Once you fend off enough of them, the rest fall in line.

She explained the dangers of the celestial kingdom itself, too. About how the kingdom had crumbled not too long ago, and some whispers had fallen through it. Menhit has since repaired a lot of the damage, but it's important to still watch for so that Mazzikim doesnt lose any of her companions when she takes this journey later.

Eventually they reached their destination. It was beautiful and Mazzikim could see many whispers walking around.

"IBE!" A loud and deep voice called, and Mazzikim saw a lion rushing up to greet them. He gave Iberar a gentle headbutt with a throaty chuckle. "Who's your friend? You don't bring the living with you."

Iberar smiled as she introduced the two, "Deeks, this is Mazzikim! I'm showing her how to get here so she can help with bringing more lions home, where they belong."

"Hmm, well it was nice to meet you!" Deeks bowed his head and trodded off.

"Oh, uh hello and goodbye, I guess?" Mazzikim mumbled with a nervous laugh.
"Dont take it personally, he gives me small greetings and then runs off each time. I think he's just checking for Kenzie each time I come up." Iberar shrugged. "When you bring whispers up here you can just leave them here. Someone who knows them will come get them, or if you have a whisper that was truly forgotten, Deeks will come take them and set them aside for me to give to lionesses for rebirth. I do it every now and then, to give them a second chance at life."

Mazzikim was curious about this process, but supposed it was much like the reverse of their trek. Taking a whisper to the pride instead of from the pride. Iberar showed Mazzikim around a little, and bowed her head once a familiar face approached. Poiwei had greeted the pair, and asked to speak to Mazzikim alone.

Mazzikim filled Poiwei in on what she had learned, and what Iberar has taught her. Poiwei was proud of her pupil, and told her she looked forward to seeing her again regularly. They said their goodbyes, and Iberar and Mazzikim started the journey home.

The small whisper was waiting for them when they arrived. "Was it pretty? Did you get there? Are you done with training?" The little one seemed full of questions.

"Yes, yes, and yes, for now" Mazzikim grinned.

"You could've known all of that if you would have come," Iberar said plainly. "There's nothing more I can teach you, Mazzi." She said with a sigh, turning to Mazzikim.

"Thank you, Iberar. I promise to do everything I can to take the whispers where they belong." Mazzi paused and looked down at the whisper sitting at their feet. "I will take care of her, too. You have my word."
"Well, let's at least get you fed before you head out again," Iberar sighed, heading to the food stores. After a large meal and a quick bath, Mazzikim had decided to head home. She said her goodbyes, and waited for the whisper to finish hers.

"You be good for her? Alright? Stay out of his cave, my love," Iberar rested her forehead against the small whisper's head, and they stayed like that for a few moments.

"I promise, mom," the cub rubbed her forehead against Iberars, in a sad goodbye.

Mazzikim was shocked. No wonder Iberar was so adamant on this cub's safety.

"Can I go now?" The cub asked, seeming to snap out of the gloom.

Iberar laughed, wiping tears out of her eyes. "Yes, you may leave now. I expect to see you with your grandpaw soon! You hear me?" She called after the cub, already bouncing to Mazzikim's side.

"She'll be safe with me!" Mazzikim called to the queen, both sharing one final goodbye before she slipped through the branches and headed for her next destination, little whisper padding along by her side.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-12-05 13:29:03

User & ID: Notarias|g3 nadir ferus #71602
Arrived 10/18/20

Written by the traveler host

Adventure: Mazzikim appeared on the edges on Clair's pridelands. She was "welcomed" by his Warlord, Asu. The scar-ridden male led the traveler back to Clair's lair where the hulking king greeted her with a feast. He typically enjoyed travelers, especially since he started allowing his own to roam. That whole night was filled with Mazzikim sharing her stories with Clair and his retired traveler, ✞ ꕷ∁𝚞ŀ𝔩Ỿ ✞ . Right before they retired to their dens, a chilling wind swept through the cave and a sinister hiss echoed around them. A blue mist snaked across the ground and slowly condensed until a ghostly spirit of a large lion appeared. The lion studied the two before him and spoke, but his mouth did not move. "I was known as Midnightstar when i was alive," the voiced boomed in their heads, "i have been waiting for a strong magic wielder to pass through these lands. I must show you something." Midnightstar placed his translucent tail over Mazzikims eyes and blue flames burst out of them. She shrieked and fell to the ground while Clair watched emotionlessly. After a few minutes Mazzikim shakily stood back up and glared in Midnightstars direction. "whats in it for me?", she askes gruffly. Midnightstar smiles "i will assist you in your journey if you help me find the one who cursed me to walk these lands. All i wish is to finally rest." Mazzikim glances at Clair who just shrugged. This was not his business and he had no intention of chatting with spirits. Mazzikim nodded "alright, i will help you," she says at last. Midnightstar dipped his head "thank you. for now, all i can do is grant you protection from low level demons who will try to get in our way." He waves his tail again and a golden snake adorned with feathers wraps itself around Mazzikim's tail. "This is a protection charm. Please do not take it off. Once you do its power will return to the one that granted it." With that, Midnightstar slowly faded from sight.

☘ Helixagonal ☘ (#179815)

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Posted on
2020-12-05 13:30:38

User & ID: morii #212942
Arrived 11/02

Written by the traveler host
(mild throw-up warning!!)

Adventure: Mazzikim followed the raven as they went together, taking in as many sights as she could. Although she was doubtful as to why it would choose to take her through a desert, she went along with it, seeing-not literally, of course-as she didn't exactly have any other options. A sandstorm seemed to be sweeping the desert horizons, but her trip through the sandy wasteland was mostly undisturbed; just her, the blistering sun and golden sands, and her seeing-eye raven companion. It only took her a few days of walking, but she eventually saw a telltale smudge of green in the distance. As she got closer, the sandstorm seemed to close in, but it seemed to stay far enough away that she was unbothered by it.

But as she took that first step onto the much cooler, softer ground shaded by overgrown leaves, a sharp shock of pain shot up her leg. Hissing, Mazzikim jumped back, the raven fluttering around her, perhaps startled by her sudden movements.

Her whole leg felt like it was burning, especially in her paw pad, which had made direct contact with the ground. Had she stepped on something? No, that wouldn't make any sense, because she hadn't felt anything really touch her. Scowling, she brought her paw up to lick the tender pad, but as her tongue came into contact, she felt a sharp zing go through her, making her tingle with the electricity of magic. Gasping, she stumbled back, the raven's caws echoing in her ears.

She felt bile rising up in her throat, an effect of water magic this place was soaked in. She didn't understand why it was reacting so harshly with her, shouldn't' her protection charm have helped her?

But no, the charm was seemingly rendered as she fought to keep herself from emptying her guts right then and there. She felt, rather than heard, a voice calling out to her, and saw a small brown figure, too slim to be a lion, even one of those dwarves she'd heard about.

Stumbling towards the creature, it led her away from the treacherous magic field and to a small cluster of rocks, where she collapsed on the cool, dank stone floor, panting breathlessly. She lay there for a while, sensing the small presence around her but not seeming to say anything more.

After a while, as Mazzikim felt the air cooling around her, she slowly heaved herself up into a sitting position, the top of her head grazing the ceiling of the small cave. Through the raven's gaze, she saw a thin, brown wolf staring at her from the other side, a small gap between them, but, small as it was, in her weakened state, the wolf was safe. She swiped her tongue around her jaws, cringing at how...aware she felt. Not aware in an awareness of danger sort of way but, she was consciously aware of every single surface touching her, something that usually didn't happen. She could almost feel each string of fur touching one another and the stone. She felt so hyperaware that it almost hurt, and she was tempted to lay back down and sleep it off.

Thankfully, the magic didn't seem to affect her vision through the raven the same way, for, thankfully, she didn't seem to be able to see every detail on the wolf's face, unlike how she felt everything and heard with painful clarity each breath, each slight rustle of movement, as well as how she could smell almost everything that had passed through this area recently on top of the dry, stale air.

She was just about to snap at it to go away, stop that awful breathing noise when he spoke, thankfully not in her mind again.

"Hello there, Traveler Mazzikim of the Rustlebrush pride. Or, as the lions of these lands greet one another, axcazi. You're quite lucky I found you, you know. Had my companion not been in the area, you surely would've died there. The magic of the Oasis is not kind to trespassers. While they are more than welcoming to outsiders, travelers are only allowed to get close with permission granted from any of the pride members. The sandstorm is to prevent outsiders from getting too close so that the pride may find them and take them home without fear of danger, as those with impure intentions will be unable to survive the sandstorm. Thankfully, most lions will simply pass out in the sandstorm, to be found asleep in the sand by the pride," the wolf explained, his dark eyes glowing dimly in the gloom, which was heightened by how night had fallen outside.

Mazzikim stared at him, trying to concentrate over the pain-but-not-pain sensation she was feeling. She would think she was dreaming if not for how vivid her surroundings were. But certainly, the talking wolf did not help matters.

"Who are you?" she rasped lowly, almost rudely, but she didn't want to focus on that. Polite or not, she really just wanted answers.

"Ah, yes of course. I am Milo. I may not look it but I am a member of the Pride of Burning Sands. We live in the Oasis where you nearly collapsed. My adopted mother is a traveler much like yourself. Perhaps she has visited your pride at some point. She adopted me on the night her eldest daughter, my sister, was born, so we grew up together."

"W-what? How did lions adopt a wolf? And how do you know all of this about me?"

The wolf, Milo, shook his head. "My story is not important. But you come seeking answers. The raven and I have spoken while you rested. You are seeking answers about magic, and I may be able to help you, if only slightly."

Mazzikim stared hard at him. She felt a small stab of betrayal, and her ears twitched slightly. She couldn't even think of any specific questions, so sensitive did she currently feel.

After a few moments, Milo seemed to catch on. "Oh, pardon me, Traveler. The magic must have shocked you. It exists as a last-ditch effort, if you will, to keep intruders out. But here, I hope this helps."

As if he'd summoned it out of nowhere, she felt a shawl draping itself around her shoulders. She flinched away slightly, not wanting even more things touching her, but to her surprise, the dark fabric only filled her with a calming warmth. She noticed a shallow, smooth bowl of stone by her paw, when she was certain it hadn't been there before. Lowering herself into a more comfortable position, Mazzikim lapped at the thick liquid it held, cuddling into the fabric. The thick, translucent blue liquid had a dim glow, and as she sipped it down, it slid warmly down her throat and had a sweet taste, but she picked up a slight hint of something minty.

Feeling much more energized, Mazzikim looked up, now feeling more comfortable and relaxed. Milo had watched her intently, sitting straight and waiting for her to finish. Only when she had looked up again, her pained expression gone, did he speak. "Very well then. Now that you're feeling better, feel free to ask away and I will do my best to answer."

The lioness considered her words carefully. There was much she wanted to know, many answers she'd traveled in search of. Hell, there were probably questions she wanted answers for that she didn't even know she had. But, maybe it would be better to start small and test Milo's knowledge.

"Well, ah, when I was younger," she started off a bit hesitantly, feeling a small prickle of self-consciousness which she did her best to ignore. "When I was younger, the first thing I saw was a solar eclipse. I can't see without this raven's help. Ever since that solar eclipse though, wherever I go, strange things seem to happen around me. That solar eclipse definitely wasn't a coincidence, as it happened almost right when I looked up at the sun for the first time."

Milo seemed to grow more intent as she spoke, leaning forward in earnest. "While neither my sister nor I were yet born to witness that event, as it was a good few years before our time, we have heard about it from the elders. They say that the Keeper of Light, who is supposed to be the sun, was fighting to protect us from the Decay. The Decay is an ancient being, older than the stars, who exists to spread their darkness against the light. Apparently, they attacked the Keeper of Light on that day and overcame her for just a moment before she fought back and fought them off. But," he was speaking so fast and eagerly Mazzikim could almost not understand him, "they say that, in that brief moment of the Decay's darkness, a lot of dark, ancient magic seeped into the world. It also apparently allowed those demons that had been wreaking havoc on the land to escape and also caused those dreadful locust plagues. "

Mazzikim tilted her head slightly, considering. So many names, and, she had never even heard of this 'Decay.' As if reading her thoughts-or, more likely, realizing she didn't know the pride tales-he continued speaking.

"The Decay, also known as the Keeper of Decay and the Blinded One, is an ancient being. Well, they're more like all the darkness in the world rather than a proper being. They are the anti-light if you will. Light exists in all creatures, from the tiniest beetle larvae to the largest elephant. But the darkness despises this light, and so it seeks to eliminate this light so that it may spread where it pleases. So, it follows around every creature, waiting for its moment to leech the life away. That is why we have our shadows. As the elders say, 'you must always be wary of the shadows.' So it will be and so it has been.

While the Keeper of Light-you know her as the sun, perhaps-and the Keeper of Dark-her, the moon-work in harmony to outshine the darkness and keep it at bay, the decay can sneak up and overtake the light even if just a little bit. Such was the case on that day. "

"Wait, so this dark magic is just...floating around out there?" The death part didn't really bother her. Everyone died, she knew, and she knew it followed around most everyone. Granted, she hadn't understood that it followed around everyone in a more literal sense, but even so, it was still the same to her.

"Yes. it gathers in shadows and is most dangerous when the darkness is at its peak when it is the Keeper of Dark's turn to rise in the sky. Do not worry though, we are in close enough proximity to the magic of the Oasis that we shall be safe from the night terrors that lurk."

Milo peered over her, eyeing the raven curiously as if he was listening. "Perhaps, when that darkness seeped out into the mortal realm, it affected you. But, at such a young age, it surely would've killed you. So, maybe, your raven friend here protected you. But that is what confuses me, you see, for I do not sense particularly strong light. While all creatures have light, it is the stronger creatures who have more light, and in order to protect you from the Decay's direct effects, one would a particularly strong light, much stronger than this bird's own. However, I do sense a good degree of an ancient magic, one we call grey magic. Grey magic used to be more common, but it was light magic that became more common over time. Furthermore, when the raven protected you, its grey magic did not shield you as fully as a being of light magic that strong would. So that could explain these oddities that happen in your presence. The black magic of the Decay touched you only slightly, not enough to harm you but enough to cause strange things in your presence."

Mazzikim felt her raven's talons on her head, and while she had some questions answered, especially about that solar eclipse, she didn't remember feeling any different afterward. Curious and excited, maybe not as if she'd been touched by some strange, new magic. However, the more she thought about this light magic, the more it sounded like the whispers she'd taken to learning about. While this whole 'Decay' thing sounded rather false, perhaps there was an element of truth, as Milo had said, to the light within creatures. Certainly, it seemed more than a coincidence to be so close to the way of whispers.

"So, this light within all of us, can it be seen or absorbed by anyone?" If she could learn more about this light magic, then perhaps she could understand more about whispers.

"Perhaps, but I do not know of anyone who has been able to see the light. However, certain beings can absorb light. There are only a select few that we know of, more or less forgotten to history. But when one absorbs the light of another, they gain that creature's knowledge, and it makes them stronger."

Mazzikim's ears flicked in interest. Perhaps this pride simply called the whispers by a different name or saw them differently. Why they would, she didn't know, but they didn't seem to know of Apedemak or Apollyon or any of the other gods that were commonly heard of elsewhere. Perhaps it was because of the isolation. "Milo, have you ever heard of whispers?"

Milo titled his head. "Mmmhm, no, I can't say I have. Are these 'whispers' something you seek?"

Mazzikim scrunched her nose slightly. "I suppose you might say that. But I was wondering, just because your stories of light sound awfully similar to these whispers I've heard tell of."

A curious, eager expression flitted across the wolf's small face. "Really? That's peculiar. Now, I would like to take you to meet our king, who can likely help you out with some questions, but, ah, he is currently...unavailable. We're actually trying to limit our interaction with outsiders right now, so technically, I shouldn't let you into the Oasis, but I'd like to show you something."

Without warning, Milo stood up, leading out into the chilled air of the desert night. Mazzikim followed hesitantly, the raven letting out a small caw atop her head as she did her best to keep the warm, soothing black fabric wrapped around her. The pair headed back to the Oasis, and Mazikim felt a prickle of dread. Now that she knew why it didn't seem to want her within, she was a little bit afraid. What if she got hurt even worse this time-or, even worse to think about it, the raven itself was injured? But Milo didn't seem to have any of the same worries as he led her through the overgrown, dark shrubbery. Once they were within the Oasis, she was surprised at how well lit-up it was. Woven balls glowed with a steady and warm glow, hanging from the trees. Flowery shrubs lined the well-trodden path she realized they were on, and she could hear water as loud as if it was beside her. Between this, the heady aroma of various flowers, and the bright lights, she felt uneasy, fearing that they may be seen, but they eventually seemed to reach the place Milo wanted to show her.

They stood before a large, calm, clear pool of water, reflecting the dark sky above it as crisply as if she were actually looking up. Even when Milo touched a paw to the water, its surface did not even break for the tiniest ripple. Mazzikim almost wished she could see it with her own eyes, but through the raven's was at least good enough to witness the breathtaking sight. She could almost see down into its depths, but it seemed to be too deep as the water was too dark.

"Welcome, Traveler Mazzikim, to the Starfall Springs Oasis. I'm sure you can guess how it gets its name."

Just then, the large pool started to glow, deep within its depths. But the glow heightened until each droplet seemed alit with light. She could almost feel whispers dancing around her, and when she stepped forward, she felt the light washing over her, filling her with the same warmth that the fabric she had draped over her shoulders had filled her with. Turning over to Milo, she saw that, to her surprise, he was no longer there. Confused, she whirled around, and, just like that, the warmth of the whisper-light left her. Circling around anxiously, she was now in a dark wood, looking and smelling completely different from the Oasis where she'd just been. She called out for Milo desperately, but to her surprise, it was not the small wolf who answered her but her raven's caw, dragging her back to the lush Oasis.

The wolf peered at her, clear concern etched across his face. "Are you alright? You must be careful, the Wisps do not take kindly to outsiders. It is their Will that we remain isolated, even now more than ever, especially after the recent horrors of the apocalypse and the demons, those foul Corruptions, that roamed over the lands."

While she now knew for sure that even this pride knew of the whispers, if by a different name, she felt shaky and scared. "What was that?" she breathed, the warmth of the fabric started to leech into her once more as if trying to calm her down.

"The Wisps took you to a land that had succumbed to the Decay, I presume. It was dark and lifeless, yes? That is what happens in the absence of light. That is why the Wisps watch over this place, and their Will follows that of the Star-Setter. They may have been trying to warn you, or threaten you, more likely. Even though I have granted you access here, you are still not wanted by the Wisps."

His brow furrowed, his tan fur looking almost golden under the light of the orbs hanging from the trees. Mazzikim would have liked to ask him about them, but just then, his ears pricked up, eyes widened. "They have followed you! Run!" he snapped, darting away through the trees. She followed clumsily, thankful that she had her raven's sight to help her more or less avoid tripping over the overgrown path they now raced down. It wasn't long before she managed to pass him, and although the wolf did his best to keep up, he was still barely up with the tip of her tail.

The raven briefly turned its head to see what could possibly be pursuing them that gave Milo that much urgency. While she did thankfully not trip, all they could see was Milo's frantic face. She didn't think that a pride member would cause that much panic, even if she was unwelcome, but she was still confused as to what could possibly be happening.

Only when lush flora gave way to bleak desert did the tiny brown wolf skid to a stop, his flanks heaving, desperate for air. The two panted breathlessly, the dark night sky starting to fade at the coming of dawn, several long paces away from the outskirts of the Oasis.

Finally, Milo looked up at her, dark eyes full of worry. "You must leave this place, and make desperate haste. They have followed you here. During the recent apocalyptic times, did you ever see a horse of the apocalypse? Death, war, famine, or even pestilence?" At her nod, he shook his head. "Those creatures are created from the Decay, and live an undead life to spread it through the living realm. Seeing one is a sure sign of your own impending doom."

"But, I saw the horse of famine, and the king of another pride 'cured' me of the curse," Mazzikim interrupted, tail-tip twitching in response from the pure anxiety sparking off the tiny creature-well, tiny compared to a fully grown lioness such as herself.

"That may be so, but that does not mean that the Decay itself has not followed you. You are likely interesting to it, with your obsession with magic. The Corruption has followed you. That must explain why the Wisps were angry with your presence. "

Milo led the way forward through the desert, and she could feel a hint of the wind of the supposed sandstorm that lurked on the horizon. She followed him, feeling rather absurd; all this talk of light, dark, and grey magic, as well as this odd Decay, she honestly felt like it was some odd dream. Or perhaps a tale told to cubs of the pride that supposedlylived in that oasis. While Milo did smell strongly of lion, she hadn't caught whiff of anything in the jungle.

By the time the sun has peaking over the horizon, they had reached the outskirts of the desert, with rocky bluffs looming up over the more firm dirt which sprouted short scrub and twisted, tangled brush. It was here that Milo slowed his brisk pace over the sand.

"You must leave here. I believe we have lost what was following you." He looked back out across the desert behind them, and, before he turned to go, stopped to face her.

"Keep the cloak. It is imbued with healing magic, and while it has done its job well, it seems to have shieleded you from the darkness around." The wolf of few words brushed past her, sloping off into the desert and leaving many more questions unanswered.

Scowling, Mazzikim huffed. "It's just us once more, hm?" Shaking her head, she set off under the rising sun. While she'd certainly learned much over the course of the night and had quite a few questions answered, that was still the strangest encounter she'd ever had. There was supposedly an entire pride of lions within that jungle, and yet, she had not meet a single lion.

Huffing, she quickened her pace, keeping up with her avian friend who was now flying alongside her. It was time to move on.