Of Claws and Lilies

Uleguerand Range. Snowy and cold. A Winter lover's Nirvana, so long as they come prepared to face the unforgiving animals make their homes here such as rabbits or buffalo, even tigers. The latter being one of the less friendly residents, tigers like to keep to themselves, away from adventurers who value them for their fangs and hides. They've decided to reside in the colder and less traveled parts of Uleguerand, instinct telling them they are safer there, less likely to be hunted.

In scattered, sparse fields, Snow Lilies grow in this frozen land. Their delicate pink petals like gems, truly a gift from Altana. Something so beautiful and fragile should not grow here but the land is fertile although covered by snow.

One lone tiger took interest in these rare flowers, strange to his usual nature. He would lay near the bed of lilies, watching them sway gently in the breeze. He enjoyed the soft, pleasing aroma they emitted and the way it tickled his nose to sniff them. He cherished these as though they were his only treasure.

Food was becoming scarce in this area, the rabbits had moved on. The tiger decided he needed to find a better location although he did not want to leave his precious lilies. Deciding he wanted to be near them, he plucked one carefully with his paw, keeping it between his toes. It picked his spirits up and he walked with a lighter step. Head held high, the tiger pranced forward, grateful to have the one thing that mattered most in his innocent animal life; his Snow Lily.

Moving onward, he caught the smell of rabbits on the breeze. Finally, he found the prime hunting ground! And below his feet were tracks, recent foot prints from a rabbit who couldn't be more than a few yalms away.

Enter stalking mode, the tiger got down low to the ground, focusing only on his prey and soon to be dinner. The snow crunched softly under his paws but the rabbit paid it no mind. She continued to graze on her grass, unaware of the impending danger behind her.

As luck would have it, just before the tiger pounced, the rabbit took off. A deep, cat like sigh escaped the poor tigers mouth. He was half tempted to chase it but upon further thought, he knew he would never catch it. A rabbits only defense was it's speed and that was nothing to sneeze at. He turned to leave and resume hunting elsewhere but the sound of heavy footsteps halted him. Hesitantly, he looked to his left to see an adventurer, a Dark knight, looking at him, weapon drawn.

He pounced, knowing he would not be able to outrun this person. The tiger's adrenalin pumping through his body, he clawed and slashed and roared, trying to scare off this Dark Knight. But it seemed that the dark knight was very powerful. Just when it looked like the tiger would win, a White Mage came from behind, chanting her curing spells.

The tiger fell, the adventuring couple clearly the better fighters. The little lily in his paw came to his mind. He shuffled it from between his toes to rest in a clasped paw before closing his eyes, ready to be embraced by the Goddess.

A caring soul, the White Mage stepped forth, pity weighing heavily in her eyes. They had only attacked because they thought the tiger would. Had they been aware of it's gentle nature, they would have continued past the tiger for their mission here was not to slaughter them for crafting materials. The White Mage knelt beside the tiger, patting it's head. She wished it a safe journey to see Altana. His clenched paw caught her eye and she rested her hand upon it softly. Inside she found the Snow Lily. As a tear escaped her eye, she took it from him. Kissing it softly, she whispered an incantation that would allow it to remain as pristine as it was at that moment. The Mithran White Mage placed it in her hair as she turned to the Dark Knight, motioning for them to carry on.