***Prologue***

Motives are an interesting thing; opinions are formed and decisions are made based on the motives that others are thought to possess, though one's true motives can truly only be speculated at. The reasons behind an individual's actions can only be known by them alone, and sometimes not even then. We all think we want the same things: wealth, power, companionship, prestige, self worth; but sometimes what we think we want and what we really want, are two completely different things. We focus all our efforts, all our energy into getting what we want, but sometimes in the end, we receive what we wanted without gaining the satisfaction we thought we would. We define ourselves, and others define us by our motives. Good or bad, motives are innate to each individual, decide what we pursue, and how we obtain it.

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Sali had it all figured out. He wanted to be king and have all the perks associated with it. The sandy colored lion marched at a steady pace through the savannah towards the nearby valley that he knew to be the home of a medium sized pride. He knew what he had to do, the unwritten laws were quite clear. He would find the king, challenge him, kill him, and take the throne. It was a simple task, and if he did it right he would be king by nightfall.

He walked with a ready, almost arrogant stride past several sunbathing lionesses, drawing concerned glances from them. Sali ignored them and continued on to the Pride's main area up ahead. He had spent several weeks in the wilderness preparing for this moment, and the time had finally come. Never again would he bow down to another lion as their inferior. He was going to be king, and no one could stop him.

An old gray lion sat atop a large flat stone, clearly expecting the rogue's arrival. Sali came to a stop a few yards away from the king and his pride, and waited to be addressed.

"Hello friend." Began the older lion. "I am King Meda; is there something we could help you with? Food or shelter perhaps?"

Sali resisted the urge to smile at the old lion's naivety and looked around at the ring of lionesses forming around him. "My name is Sali, and I don't want your hospitality; I want to challenge you for the throne."

Nervous murmurs rumbled through the pride and their sounds fell upon Sali's ears like music. He liked to inspire fear in others, it made him feel powerful. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a teenage lion just barely out of cubhood. Unlike the others, the teenager did not show any signs of fear or concern. His eyes were deep with a mix of focus and anger. It was an unsettling stare to say the least, and Sali made a mental note to kill the young lion once his victory was at hand. He didn't want any competition later on down the road.

Once the murmuring had ceased, King Meda continued to address the rouge. "Please, Sali… there is no need for us to fight."

"There is if I am to be king."

The old lion sighed deeply. "Very well, I will fight you." With that, he descended his stone perch and approached his attacker slowly. "If you win… I hope that you will be a good ruler."

Sali grinned. "That is my concern." He was about to attack the old lion when movement from his left made him turn.

"Please," began the approaching lioness. ""Don't do this; we don't want you as our king."

Before she could take another step forward, Sali struck her across the jaw with enough force to send her sprawling backwards. He took pleasure in the gasp that erupted from the pride; if he was going to be their king, they were going to have to get used to his leadership style.

Meda growled angrily at Sali before lunging out at him aggressively. They younger rogue easily sidestepped the overextended attack and struck out, drawing deep gashes in the king's side. Before Meda could recover, Sali tackled the wounded lion to the ground and landed several more blows to subdue him.

The elder lion looked up at his challenger from his defeated position. He could feel his blood flowing out from his many wounds and his experience told him that his death was imminent.

Sali grinned broadly at his victory as he raised his paw over his head, claws unsheathed, to deliver the finishing blow. "I thought you would put up more of a fight than thi- Oooff!"

A golden blur knocked Sali from his victory and sent him rolling across the ground. He rose from the dirt in a sudden rage, searching desperately for the dead-man that had interfered. His eyes met a sharply focused stare that seemed to bore into him relentlessly. Sali stared in amazement as the teenage lion from the crowd took up a surprisingly good fighting stance. The rogue quickly realized what had just happened.

"You little BRAT!" he roared angrily. "You just couldn't stand to see your daddy LOSE, now could you!"

The teen's expression didn't change. "He's not my father. The reason that I'm going to kill you is that you struck my mother."

Sali shrugged as casually as he could. He hadn't known that the lioness he had struck was his mother, but it didn't really matter. "I was going to kill you anyways." He said as he lunged out, expecting the younger lion to try to dodge his larger mass. Instead, though, the teen met him head on, surprising Sali with his aggressiveness. He tried to get his footing, but the unexpected counter made Sali trip and stumble backwards. He tried to block the surprisingly strong blows, but most penetrated the rogue's defenses. Sali roared in pain as his flesh tore and his legs collapsed under his weight. He lay on the ground as more brutal hits found their mark and he grew weaker and weaker. The pain soon began to fade and Sali's face relaxed. His limbs ceased their thrashing and he lay still.

The pride stared with a mix of shock and amazement as their youngest member continued to beat the rogue's bloody corpse. He struck again and again in some frantic attempt to punish the already dead lion. Eventually, the young lion slowed his frenzy and stepped back to view his kill. He was so fixated on the body that he didn't even notice when his mother came to stand beside him.

"Kiota…" she began softly as if she was unsure if he was listening. "You may have just saved our pride from a nightmare. You did the right thing."

The teenage lion nodded numbly in response, but didn't otherwise move.

Several lionesses helped King Meda to his feet. Though he was severely wounded, the old lion managed to hobble to Kiota's side. He stayed there for several moments, staring at the corpse with the younger lion. "I owe you my life, Kiota, and I am very grateful for what you did."

He nodded again, just as numbly. A glazed look had fallen over his eyes and he seemed to look past the bloody body.

"I know how it feels to kill another lion for the first time, and I know it doesn't feel good. You probably feel guilty and even a little disgusted by what you did, but I assure you that you did the right thing… for all of us."

Kiota blinked and looked up to his king with a somewhat baffled look. "I-I don't know what to say…" he said quietly.

"You don't need to say anything. Go rest; you have earned it."

The teen nodded and walked off to a secluded spot under a nearby overhang, stealing a last glance at the rogue's lifeless body. He lay himself down in the shade of the rock and began to think about what he had done… more importantly, why he had done it. The facts were unchanging; he had killed the rogue that had threatened his family… that was good wasn't it? Kiota shook his head confusedly. His emotions were all wrong… at least according to what King Meda had told him. He didn't feel at all guilty, or the slightest bit of revulsion. He felt good. It wasn't that he had killed the lion, the blood and guts didn't interest him in the slightest, but what made him so thrilled was the challenge of it all. That was why he had done it in the first place. True, he didn't like the Rogue's intentions or how he had struck his mother, but what really drove him to attack the invader was himself. It was a challenge; one that he had never faced before. He wanted to know if he had the skill and capability to beat Sali, and he was willing to risk his life to find out. In hindsight it appeared quite foolish to throw himself at the rogue, but the energy he felt now! The achievement! For the first time in his young life, he felt truly ALIVE! He wanted more. Kiota wanted to know how far he could push himself against other challengers. He wanted another fight.

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Motives are an interesting thing because they drive common individuals to do uncommon things. We may be misled by our desires into thinking that we want something that we really don't, but it is nonetheless one of, if not the, most powerful feelings to have. We are only limited by our motivation; it is the body that follows the mind, and without a powerful motivation, we can never achieve our full potential… whatever that may be.

***Author's Note***

This is the intro to my next story that I'll be starting shortly. For those of you who have been spoiled by my almost daily updates of 3000 word chapters, this will be a serious disappointment for you. Football has started and school is soon to follow. The free time that I had this summer had dissipated as quickly as it materialized. So, I apologize in advance for slow updates, though I will do my best to keep it at least weekly.

Anyways, I like reviews and it really makes my day to read them, so PLEASE REVIEW AND COMMENT! If you like it and want more, you have the RESPONSIBILITY to COMMENT! You don't need an account to leave a remark on my stories, so please do!

-Ben