. . . Rin slept fitfully as Jot took watch, her head leaning on his paw . . .
Jot's eyes flickered to the only way out of Rin and his prison cavern; Lagiza the Weaver was there. The exit was always heavily guarded, but Lagiza the Tribe leader was giving them the honour of guarding them for a night.
He was waiting . . . waiting for them both to fall asleep. If they both succumbed to tiredness, his plan was to brainwash them both with ease, with something almost like hypnosis, for the purpose of defeating the pride he had kidnapped them from months ago - the Isu Keeney. But Jot and Rin were proving difficult customers, taking turns to look out, always one of them alert and waiting.
Jot blamed himself for their capture. He had always been a little on the eager-to-please side; he couldn't believe that he'd been tricked, into an ambush, by Lagiza the Weaver, who he had /known/ to be the Isu Keeney's most dangerous foe. Rin had come to his rescue, only to get caught herself. And now here they were, at least a mile underground, with feeble shafts of sun coming through the cavern ceiling, the only light in that dark and cold prison, shining down on . . . on those berries.
The berries . . . little red eyes, glistening. They were there, waiting to be eaten by food-deprived prisoners. If Jot and Rin ate those berries, they would sleep - oh yes! - and Lagiza's job would be much easier.
Jot heard Lagiza move; Jot's paw (the one Rin wasn't resting on) flexed and the claws slid out, shiny and sharp. He made sure they were in view of Lagiza, as a warning.
'Come on,' he growled in a whisper to the enemy. 'Come on, I dare you.'
But he knew Lagiza did not want to hurt them. Not physically anyway. He wanted to twist their minds but wounded hostages were no use to him. The only thing Jot could do, was keep awake . . .
This scene dwells upon when Jot and his mate Rin were being held captive by their pride's enemy, Lagiza the Weaver - the reason they started family life late.
This is a few months before Jot, Rin and Imani escape (with Ave's help) and before Lagiza is thought killed (and I/The Creep joins the Isu Keeney)
And it's about a year before Zeke is born. The Auni is formed when Zeke nears adulthood.