Well then, I've long skulked around you, and after much procrastination, here I am!

Anyhoo, about the story. Lioness is my baby. My first fic ever so I really hope you enjoy it. I love constructive critisizem to bits so feel free to pile it on.

Warnings: This story's rated 'T' mainly to be safe. There's nothing much for the few first chapters but later there will be battle scenes (mildly graphic) and some mildly sexual scenes. Also, though nothing gets really graphic there will be hinting-to-mild same-sex pairings, so if this creeps you out alot you may not want to read.

Well without further ado, here's the prologue, enjoy! And remember kids: R&R is oh-so-great, but flames will just end up in hate!

The young elf woman remained motionless on her high perch, her luminous eyes fixed on her target, a large boar that was at present wondering around some six feet below her in search of food. Her muscles were cramped from squatting for so long, but she shoved the discomfiture from her mind. This would be her second attempt at large game, and she was determined for it to end better than her last try.

After a few minutes the boar was finally close enough. Lifting her spear with her right arm she took aim. A sharp, loud whistle and the boar's eyes looked up into hers. That was all she needed to end her hunt. In a split second she launched the spear down, and ended the frozen boar's life.

With a little triumphant smile she made her way down to her kill. The boar was large and well fed; it would greatly increase the village's food supply. She picked up her spear and then with a slight gesture brought the boar up into the air and set off for the Sun-village.

She had gone a good distance when her ears, sharpened with practice, caught the sound that had haunted her dreams for centuries, the cries of jackals that had cornered their prey. Her first instinct was to throw down the boar and run for cover, to sink into the very rock if only to get away from the terrible noise. It took her a moment to calm down, to remember that she was not the beasts' prey, she was safe. Steeling herself she started towards the village, away from the sound of her nightmares, but stopped short at the noise the suddenly rang out above the voices of the jackals. Her head whipped around at the sound. It was like nothing she had ever heard before. For a moment she thought the jackals had caught a female elf, but no elf she had ever known could make a sound that horrible.

'Don't think about it! Just get back to the village, hurry!' her mind screamed at her. For several moments she stood stock still, torn between her mind and her curiosity. Curiosity won out in the end.

She rested the boar underneath a small outcropping and quickly lifted a few rocks over to keep it hidden from any wondering scavenger, she ran quickly but quietly towards the terrible sounds. She moved over the rocky land with practiced ease, until she had reached the source of the battle. Her spear held tightly in both hands she braced herself and peered around the rock wall she stood behind. The sight in front of her made her breath catch in her throat. A giant cat, as black as a starless night, was pinned in between a sheer rock wall and the jackal pack. The creature was the most beautiful and majestic creature she had ever seen in her life, despite being all but skin and bones and covered with bloody cuts and scratches. It was young and had obviously not been eating well otherwise she doubted the jackals, despite their large numbers would've attacked the large cat. As it was, the black giant clearly wouldn't last long.

Once again her mind yelled at her, telling her to leave the creature to its fate before the jackals caught sight of her and finished her to. But she couldn't move, couldn't take her eyes from the struggling animal, couldn't stop herself from hefting the spear and running from her shelter with an enraged cry the echoed the cat's own voice.

The sharp end of her spear cut down a male jackal that had jumped for the cat's throat, then shot out to slash the belly of another of the attackers. Her sudden appearance caused some of the jackals to pull back a bit, their glittering eyes taking in the sight of the massive cat and the she-elf fighting off the pack together. Scant seconds passed, jackals pressed against elf and cat who struck back with an identical hatred. Suddenly the pack leader threw his head back and gave a loud short howl, then turned and ran away with his pack in search of an easier prey.

As she watched them run the elf gave a triumphant smile, overjoyed at her victory but too tired to do anything else.

Then she became aware of the loud breathing over her shoulder. She froze, certain that the creature she had been fighting alongside mere moments ago would now kill her. Second after excruciating second passed before she dared to turn and look.

The cat stood staring at her, golden eyes so like her own fixed on her face. Slowly the giant beast made its way over to her, the way it dragged its feet making it clear that it was every bit as tired as she was. Finally it was close enough that she could feel its breath on her face. She couldn't look away. Without realizing it she reached out her hand and touched the cat's neck. A smile crossed her haggard features.

"Nightscream. That's your name." The black cat's eyes closed as it stretched out its head to rest on her shoulder. Her calloused brown hands stroked the dark fur. Slowly she turned and began to walk back to where she had left the boar, Nightscream padding alongside her. She buried the fingers of her left hand in the fur of his neck, making sure to avoid his many wounds. "Just a bit farther," she informed the cat, "once we get back to the village I'll get Leetah to heal you." The cat purred softly in response. When they reached the boar she moved the rocks away and let her new companion eat his fill, she would get another for the village later. Sitting down on a rock as she waited for Nightscream to finish his meal she wondered what the villagers would think about her new friend.

'They'll probably just see as another of the many oddities of Rayek, daughter of Ingen and Jarrah.'