King Chimalsi paced back and forth in front of the dusty cave that rose highly above the ground. He had been waiting for a long time, and he was getting worried. He looked out towards his pride; the lionesses were also waiting anxiously, they knew how important this moment was. Chimalsi was the King of an average sized pride, called the East River Pride. The land was vast and long grass blew softly in the wind. Prey was in large numbers and the life was luxuriously for the pride. Chimalsi looked out at the grassy savanna and he began to think about how he had been passed the pride by his father and his thoughts began to wander. The day he had been passed down the land the day his father had died. Chimalsi remembered looking out towards to lands thinking this is all mine? The sun was beginning to set, a blood orange sun shone brightly and suddenly an older lioness was striding slowly out of the cave. The tan of her face had slightly faded; it was more of a white color now, this was the common coloring of the pride, except for the males who were always a reddish color fur with a mane as dark as midnight. As she approached, King Chimalsi's ears pricked up, "Well?" he asked with his furry eye brows knitted together. "It is a boy," the older lion (Amadi) smiled weakly. Chimalsi's face relaxed with relief. "But…" Amadi said in a quiet whisper, "there was a second child born today," Chimalsi's eyebrows rose, and Amadi finished with, "It is a girl". Chimalsi roared with anger. His family had only born males for generations, the tradition was broken. First he paced angrily up and down the dirt path that he had made from pacing. Then Chimalsi sprinted up the rocks and into the cave, with his large chest puffing as he boiled with anger. His mate, Kiana, lay in front of him smiling, why is she smiling? He thought. "How did this happen" Chimalsi said in his gruff voice, "There has been only males in my family for generations, is unspeakable" Kiana sighed and looked away, "Chimalsi, I am sorry. We cannot change who or what they are". Chimalsi looked down and murmured, "Their names?" In a small voice Kiana answered, "The male is named Akin, and the girl, is named Sarabi."
Akin was a dark reddish color with a black tuff of fur flopped over his head, like his father. Chimalsi was a dark reddish brown color with a black man and was a proud lion, but not the best father. Sarabi looked like her mother; she was the color of cream and breath-takingly beautiful. As a cub, Sarabi didn't really get much attention from her father, Sarabi always felt as if he didn't like her, as if he resented her. Her father was always busy with her brother Akin, telling him stories about ancestors and the great kings. On occasion Sarabi would catch her father and Akin in one of their talks, staring at her, as if they were mocking her. While Akin learned about being King, Sarabi lazed around with the other lionesses in the pride, learning about hunting and pouncing.
It was a warm day on the savanna, perfect for practicing pouncing. Sarabi was a few months old now, the typical age when most lions learned to pounce. She laid with her belly grazing the ground lightly, paws set, and claws extended, ready to pounce a small rabbit. Teeth bared and ears flat Sarabi was about to pounce when her friend, Chiku, which literally means chatter box, popped up from the tall grass and said, "Hey Sarabi! Whatcha doin?" The rabbit bounded off too fast for Sarabi to catch. Sarabi sighed, "Hi Chiku… I WAS about to catch that rabbit until you came." Chiku's pleasant face suddenly turned sad, her ears went back and she whimpered a small, "Sorry". Sarabi realized she hurt her friend's feelings and put on a bright smile, "It's okay Chiku, and it's almost lunch time anyway!" Together the young lionesses came to the large rock cave where the pride slept, and in front of it laid a freshly caught wildebeest, a quite large one too. Sarabi licked her chops and waited for her father and mother to finish, after all they were the King and Queen. But after the King and Queen always came the other members of the royal family. As Sarabi bounded happily towards the slab of meat, a furiously an angry lion stepped in front of her and with a low growl said, "What do you think you're doing?" It was her father, Chimalsi staring down at the quivering cub. "I thought that I eat after you and mommy… I always have" Sarabi whimpered. Chimalsi stood up straight and snorted, "You eat AFTER your brother, he is future king, and you child will just be another lionesses. It is about time you learned your place; you will eat last, with the rest of the cubs. Sarabi slowly backed away as she whimpered to herself. Akin stepped forward, as his face glowed with pride as he stepped in front of the others. His reddish fur gleamed in the sun, reflecting his importance everywhere. He shot an evil smile towards Sarabi and began to eat. Sarabi knew her father could be mean to her sometimes, but this? She needed to be alone. Sarabi new she needed to get away, just for a while at least, so she began to run.
Sarabi ran to the man river, which was only a few miles away from her home, but she was only a cub and it was very hot out, and she was exhausted. Breathlessly, Sarabi trotted to the river and started to lap the water on her warm, dry tongue. After a moment she lifted her head, water dripping off her chin fur and she stretched. She felt so alone, nobody to comfort her she began to cry. A steady stream of tears began to flow down her pale cheeks. She sniffled and looked up to the stars, the dim sky turned to dark, and she had only been out for a few hours but knew she had to go home. Sarabi slowly started to tread home, dragging her paws every step of the way towards home and soon, she saw the dirt cave appear. Sarabi lowered her head and sighed as she saw her mother, looking very worried towards her. When Sarabi got to the cave her mother said, "Sarabi, what possessed you to run away like that?" Sarabi lifted her head, "I figured nobody would notice and dad makes me so mad sometimes, is it true what he said? Am I nothing?" Kiana shook her head, "I am sorry to say yes my dear, even the queen isn't very much. In our pride the males are everything. It doesn't matter if you are a princess or a queen; we are just ordinary females to them." Sarabi saw in her mother's face she was sad, after all the marriage was arranged, her mother had been forced to marry Chimalsi when she had become an adult lioness. Kiana's pride exchanged her for the rights to use the Eastern River Prides water, for they did not have a clean flowing river in their lands. Kiana nudged young Sarabi and said, "Come child, tomorrow is you and the other cubs first hunting lesson, we will show your father you are worth something, like you are to me". Sarabi smiled, at least her mother understood, and she would show her father she was something.