"The King and His Pawn" (C) DakotaWereWolf, 2013
Nzuri, Ishonda, Nunka, Tatu (C) Khione
Sanaa (C) Namacub95
Simba, Nala, Kula, Tojo (C) Disney
All others (C) Me
As soon as the day turned to night, he departed for the den that he shared with his mate. The events of the day continued to replay in Adwin's mind.
Then the gray lion.
It had been too much excitement for one day for him, and all he wanted to look forward to was sleeping the night away with Timira and Gwandoya by his side. But he couldn't, not yet. He needed an explanation for what had happened with his mate today. She had agreed to tell him everything once everyone had fallen asleep, and he agreed to the terms. Now that the stars were coming out and the temperature was cooler, Adwin knew that there was going to be no reason for anyone to remain awake. Even Ngosi and his companion, Dawn, were fast asleep.
Adwin paused a bit before the den he shared with Timira, breathing in her scent. He was not blind to smelling her doubt and fear, and it made him sad. When Timira joined their pride, that's all she was - a young lioness who had seen too much in her short life. She was distrustful, hateful even, but Adwin had chiseled and broke through her walls to find a scared lioness deep down. He didn't want her to revisit that road again.
"Timira?" he softly called her, not daring to enter their den until she called for him.
"You're good," she answered back.
Sighing with relief, Adwin slowly entered their den, careful to step over Gwandoya, who had settled near the entrance. He found Timira curled up tightly in the back of their den.
Settling behind her, he pressed his nose against her cheek. "How are you feeling?"
"Terrible," she growled, pressing closer to him. "Really, really terrible."
"It's scary, Adwin..." Timira pushed herself so hard into Adwin that he nearly fell over onto his side. "I saw her die before my eyes, and now she's alive? I don't understand..."
"Ssh, it's okay. Just explain everything to me." Adwin laid his ear on her shoulder, his head pointed up at hers, ready to listen.
Taking a deep breath, she explained, "Lindiwe and I met a long time ago, and we got along really good after some... issues were taken care of." Adwin noted Timira slightly tilting her head back to gaze at Gwandoya. Now her history with Gwandoya was beginning to make sense to Adwin. "Then she started getting sick of being with her family. Felt that she wasn't able to experience anything in her life. So I told her that we could just run away, find some adventure, and she said sure. I didn't tell her that the big reason I suggested it was because I didn't have a family anymore."
Adwin nodded his head. That was one of the tales he got from Timira - her father, named Chumvi, had run a pride before he was killed. Timira was chased from her pride by her step-mother, but that was as far as the tale went. Timira never indulged her history with the lioness named Lindiwe, or even mentioned her name.
They must've been close, he had thought to himself. After all, why would Timira tell him about her father's death and her being run out of her own pride, and of the lion named Tojo who had given her the scars she now wore, but say nothing concerning Lindiwe?
"We traveled for a bit..." Timira went on. "But then I... there was a lion. He was being sweet, and I... kind of set him off. Lindiwe, she... The lion chased us for a while, and Lindiwe said... she said..." Timira's voice grew shaky. "G-Go, r-run. She wanted me to... I didn't want to! But she said, and then she... oh god, Adwin, it's like that all over again!" Tears began to fall freely from Timira's eyes. In alarm, Adwin leaned forward and began to lick them away.
"You don't have to tell me more," he said gently. He didn't want her to grow more upset over the matter. "I got the idea."
"S-So how can s-she b-be alive then, Adwin? How?"
Adwin couldn't offer her an explanation for that. If Timira was adamant that Lindiwe had sacrificed her life for her, who was he to say he disapproved? But, on the other hand, she did not mention she went back for Lindiwe when she fled...
"Maybe she didn't die," he offered.
Timira shook underneath him.
"Did you go back for her when she told you to run?" he gently pressed.
She shook her head. "No..."
"Then maybe she didn't die after all. She might've survived."
To his surprise, Timira scoffed, "Yeah, maybe..."
Adwin licked her ear and resumed, "But if she's living with that lion now..."
"We have to get her back, Adwin. We need to."
"In time. But we have to think about what we're going to do."
"I know someone who could help... I'll have to find him, though."
Adwin sat up and Timira rolled away to face him fully. "You know someone?" he asked, his head cocked.
She nodded. "Gray lion, red mane. His name is Judas. He's Lindiwe's father." She hesitated, then added, "And Gwandoya's as well."
Ah, now everything made sense to him.
"He never liked me though," said Timira. "Might hate me now."
"I'll go with you," Adwin offered.
"You sure? Would Mheetu like that?"
Adwin was unsure. Would Mheetu like that offer? He was still practically holding onto his title as leader since Adwin always went to him for advice. It was Mheetu's final call for everything, and Adwin was just the piece that acted on it. He could beg Mheetu to let him go.
"We'll see," was all Adwin could say. "But thank you, Timira."
She cocked her head, not quite understanding him. "For what?"
Adwin smiled. "For trusting me."
She also smiled. "I love you, Adwin."
He shuffled his paws against the ground, his body tingling as she said that. It was the first time that word had even been said between them, and Adwin always suspected that he would be the first to say it.
She rolled back down on her side, back facing him. "Tomorrow, can we go see Mheetu about this?"
"Of course," he said as he settled behind her, once again laying his head against her shoulder. "Even if he says no, we'll go anyways, okay?"
Her eyes brightened, and she laughed. "When did you stop taking orders?"
He flashed his teeth, and
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