THE PAST IS THE FUTURE….

A ThunderCats Fan Fiction work by Frederick P. Kopetz.

The original copyright to ThunderCats is held by WB Productions © 2012. No infringement is intended; this is a non-profit fan work.

Chapter Four: Atonement (Part Two)

Third Earth

Approaching the Elephant Village

First Thunderian Epoch: 1506 May Tide, Thirteenth Day

Tygra was working on regaining his strength.

He now was able to hobble about on a cane as he walked with Cheetara one day.

"So, we're going to be bonded at last," said Cheetara. She kissed Tygra, but he just gave a her a look.

"You're pregnant, and you're resigning your role as a Cleric," he said flatly.

"Well, I went against my vows that day in the thicket," she said. "And I didn't see you going to stop me…"

"If your vows were that important to you, why'd you do what we did?" said Tygra. He gave her a look that made her heart stop, as he said, "Should we find a thicket again?"

"No, Tygra, not now," she said. "This is serious."

"Serious?" he said.

"I'm giving up my life to be with you," she said. "Don't you think you should take this a bit more seriously?"

"You're being silly, Cheetara," he laughed. "We used to have a thing for having fun. Ever since I got hurt, you've been acting like the dead body at your own funeral…"

"Tygra, I don't find that funny. Our King still needs our service, and I intend to serve him as long as I can…"

"Ah? Until when? When you get too fat there to carry your staff anymore?" he teased as he patted her stomach.

Cheetara looked at him hard, with tears in her eyes. "If we weren't going to be bonded today, I'd slap you across the face for that."

LionO came into the woods a moment later. "How's the happy couple doing?" he said with a slightly sardonic smile.

"All right, "said Cheetara.

"She's getting all duty-bound again, my dear Brother," he said. "She says she still needs to help us find the Stones…"

"Well, that is the reason we're out here," said LionO. "Until you two go off to set up housekeeping, as is right and proper. Any ideas where you're going, yet?"

Cheetara shook her head, but Tygra said, "I was thinking of a place by the beach, private, nice, calm, no one would bother us…"

"Yes, until we suffer from the next Lizard raid," said Cheetara.

"Nothing to worry about if I defend our casa de casas," said Tygra with a flip grin. "You'll be farming and growing our foods…"

"How exciting," said Cheetara as she rolled up her eyes.

LionO shook his head at them and shut his eyes. "Your first martial spat?"

"The second of many," said Cheetara.

"You shut up!" said Tygra. "You made your own damn bed, and now you have to go sleeping in it. Literally," said Tygra with an evil grin.

"Excuse me, guys, while I go talk to Kit about some things I have to train her in," Cheetara said with ice in her voice as she ran off, hoping the King and Tygra didn't see the tears welling in her eyes.

"What's with her?" said Tygra.

"She's with your cub," said LionO. "Legend has it that women at this time always get moody; part of the changes the body goes through."

"We're going to have to leave the team sooner rather than later if she keeps on acting like this," said Tygra.

"You could try to be more patient," said LionO.

"I treat her better than you ever did," said Tygra.

"But you can't blow hot and cold here, Brother," said LionO. "Here, you're going to be a father soon. For her, you have to be the strong one, and you have to learn how to grow up. Very fast."

"How fast?" said Tygra.

They heard yells in the distance.

Then, they heard the Thundertank's main blaster going off, along with the yells and cries of assorted Monkians.

"You're going to have to make that very fast!" said LionO. "Make sure she's all right, and then get her into the Thundertank!" he snapped.

Tygra took off at LionO's heels, going as fast as he could on his bad leg.

"I want you to finish them off!" yelled General Addicus like a maniac as drool ran from his ugly mouth. "Then I want you to bring me the dead Cats! I'm hungry today! Cat meat would go down very nicely!"

"Yessir," said another Monkian.

WilyKit was caught in a trap that one of the Monkians had sprung from a tree. "Kat!" he yelled as WilyKat tried to hold off two of them on her hoverboard, using a staff that Cheetara had made for her and which she had just began to wield.

"Don't worry, I've got your back!" she yelled bravely as she literally brained a Monkian who jumped right for her.

"Get into the Tank!" yelled Panthro over the new PA system from the cockpit.

Cheetara wheeled around when she saw Addicus coming for her.

She wielded her staff, and she held off his war club as he laughed and sneered at her and said, "How would you like to have the lights put out on you permanently, she-cat?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing!" Cheetara retorted viciously as she shoved her staff into Addicus nose; quite hard enough to break it.

"DAMN you!" roared Addicus as blood spurted from his nose.

He swung his war club hard at Cheetara as she yelled, "Tygra, where are you?"

She spotted him in the distance and said, "Hurry!"

"Doing my best!" he said as he got into the battle and swung his whip at Addicus as LionO jumped onto a rock and drew the Sword of Omens.

The war club shot missed Cheetara, and she parried it and slammed Addicus in his arm.

He bellowed, and, struggling free of Tygra's whip, he swung the war club at Cheetara again.

It hit her in the stomach.

Cheetara gritted her teeth, ignoring the pain as Tygra roared, "Cheetara!"

He threw some throwing stars at Addicus as Cheetara staggered and just avoided his grasping hands.

LionO jumped into the scene a moment later, slashing hard at Addicus as weapons fire went off all around them.

"You damn Cat!" roared Addicus as he hit LionO in the face with his club, but then LionO responded when he almost severed one of the Ape's hands with the Sword of Omens. "Where do you get that fight from? You should be defeated by now!"

"When you attack my people from ambush, you deserve what you're going to get!" LionO yelled in return.

A moment later, some missiles fired from the Thundertank, hitting the Monkian hover-vehicles both left and right.

"This isn't over, Lord of the Thundercats, so-called!" roared Addicus as he saw the carnage and began to retreat. "I'm going to get the three of you and eat you one of these days!" he snarled as LionO slashed at him again and put him to flight.

"Cheetara, help Tygra up!" snapped LionO. "Both of you get into the tank, and now! Good fighting from you both, but I don't want you two hurt!"

"Right," said Cheetara as she gritted her teeth while helping Tygra up.

AN HOUR LATER-IN THE THUNDERTANK…

The Thundertank was on the move, heading towards the Elephant Village.

Cheetara had just finished bandaging LionO's wounds, shrugging off the pain in her stomach as just a hard hit from Addicus.

"I'm fine," she said as she bandaged the bruise on LionO's cheek. "Tygra, how's your leg?"

"I can move it, and you rebandaged the wounds, but you could have done a better job with the numbing herbs," he said.

"Like we can gather more in the heat of battle?" snapped WilyKit. She looked at LionO and said, "At least none of us were killed, and we took only fairly minor wounds this time."

"I could have done better and killed Addicus," said LionO.

"Hey; you gave him a wound he'll remember, and our trip to the Elephant Village will alert Anet to the fact those Monkians are back on the move," she said. "Kat, you all right?"

"Doing fine once you got me untied from that trap," said WilyKat. "Sorry I didn't have a chance to get to the Bag, I…"

"You people did all right," said Panthro over the PA as the Tank stopped.

"Why are we stopping?" asked LionO.

"We're here," he said.

They got out of the Tank, and saw Anet and the other Elephant monks coming toward them.

LionO spoke quickly with Anet, explaining the situation.

A moment later, Anet turned to Cheetara and Tygra and smiled.

"My understanding is that there is a Bonding at hand?" said the Elephant Abbott with a smile.

"There is," said Tygra. "Cheetara and I have decided to Bond, and we are here asking you and LionO to bless our Bonding."

"That sounds well and good; there are some other Cats that have shown up in the past Moon, and they'd like to attend the ceremony," Anet said.

"What sort of Cats?" asked Panthro.

"Members of another Tiger clan," said Anet. "They came here a few days ago, seeking LionO. They must have heard of his desire to unite the animals, and they'd like to join your band."

"How many are they?" said LionO.

"About twenty-eight, and I lead them," said a white Tiger who came up to LionO and bowed to him. He had a cultured accent, like the sort that the nobles of Thundera had used. The white Tiger had on two-tone blue armor, a blue cloak, and navy-blue sandalboots of his own. He was older than LionO; about thirty-five, but he was hale and strong, and in his own way, a battle-hardened warrior like Panthro who carried himself with a similar confidence.

"Bengali!" said LionO. "I have not seen you since I was a cub! My father Claudus knew you…"

"It's about time that I gathered my people from the shadows, and decided to renew our alliance, my Thunderian King," said Bengali. "We have heard of your guerilla war against Mumm-Ra, and since Mumm-Ra and I also have…what shall you call it…issues? I will be happy to join your cause. I have with me twenty-one males of fighting age and ability, two or three females who can fight, and one female with two cubs."

"I can fight, too!" said one of the cubs, a cute white Tiger boy in pants and a jerkin who swung at Cheetara with a staff.

Cheetara laughed and said, "I don't think we need anyone to fight today. What's your name?" she said as she gritted her teeth slightly. Why was her stomach hurting like this, on this day, of all days? Was it some bad candy-fruit?

"Tambor. I'm the son of Tallet the swordsman, and my mother, Kyla, the healer."

Kyla, a gentle-looking Tiger female with a baby cub in her arms, smiled at the group; she had on a purple dress and wrap-around sandals that wound up her legs.

"Are there more of your people, Lord Bengali?" said LionO as he walked off.

"Yes; some of them inhabit the ruins of Thundera. We're helping the former slaves from Mount Plundarr clean up and rebuild. You should eventually return there, Lord LionO, and re-fortify the city as a base," said Bengali.

"That might be worth considering, except that we are in an effort to find some ancient artifacts," said LionO. "We have to be on the move."

"Yes, but you will need a base of operations," said Bengali. "A few of us have gone down the Causeway, and a few are working on retaking the ancient port city of Tineras from the Lizards so that we can re-establish trade with the rest of Third Earth by sea…and some are counseling that it might be a good idea to re-open the ancient spaceport that was once there."

"Why do you say that?" said LionO.

"The old Early-Warning net has been reactivated by a technician who works with us," said Bengali.

"And?" said Panthro. He smiled at Bengali and said, "Not that I'm complaining, Lord Bengali. You sure are a sight for sore eyes…"

"We've picked up activity on it," said Bengali. "I think it's near the edge of the star system, but there's something out there. Just another thing we have to worry about, and another reason, Lord LionO, why we need to form a common defence. And quickly."

"Bengali, you have no argument from me," said LionO as the Lord of the Thundercats clasped hands with the Lord of the Northern Tiger Clan. Unlike other Tigers, who tended to be loners, the Northern Tigers were an organized Clan who had served Thundera in the past, always allied with them as a kindred Nation of their own.

"It's my understanding we have a Bonding to attend soon," said Panthro as he nodded at LionO. He glanced at Tygra, and then at LionO and whispered to LionO, "Send them to the city with the others, LionO. Let Tygra pull his weight there as one of your Chamberlains while we continue the search. Cheetara's not going to be much good to us soon when she begins to show with cub…"

LionO looked at the couple as they argued good-naturedly, looking somewhat sad. But, Kit tapped him on the shoulder. "We move on, LionO. They move on, and so do we. Cheetara's been teaching me well, and we can take some time here, and then let them set up housekeeping in the city in the Chamberlain's House near the old Palace. When I'm trained, we can go out on the road again and resume our search for the Stones."

LionO nodded sadly, but Kit gave him a gentle nudge. "As a Team, LionO. And we can go back to the city for supplies and rest."

"Good thought," said LionO.

The bells of the village began to ring.

"It's almost time," said Kit.

The Snarf mewed and snarled as he chased a butterfly.

Cheetara had ended up in a hut in the Elephant Village with Kyla, who had undressed her, bathed her, put her hair up, and dressed her in a white dress she had that looked lovely on her slim frame.

"Should I be in white?" said Cheetara. "I'm pregnant," she said as she grunted a little.

"Are you all right?" said Kyla.

"I had a fight with some Monkians this morning; I took a blow in the stomach," said Cheetara. "I was trying to protect both my soon-to-be Bondmate and my King. I didn't do a very good job."

"It was a good effort, I'm sure," said Kyla. "I thought I saw a bruise on you in the bath, but I didn't wish to say anything. Sorry. You should have a healer look at you after the wedding. And the white is the best dress I have."

Cheetara just nodded. "Thanks for understanding. I wish my Bondmate was so…"

"And if he's not at his best, are you sure you wish to marry him?"

Cheetara thought for a moment of some of the slights she had taken from Tygra, but she also thought of his kindness…at times…and of the flower… "I'm on a road I can't turn back from now," she said. "I have to marry him, for our Cub…"

"Love is blind," said Kyla gently. "But, well….never mind…you're in love," sighed Kyla. "Let's go out."

Soft music played, and WilyKit added a melody with her flute as Tygra went up an aisle, trimmed in Day Astrids, where he met Bengali at the altar. The Northern Tiger Lord had agreed to stand with him at the wedding, and Kyla would be Cheetara's attendant.

LionO stood silent, thinking of the words that he had gone over with Anet. Both he and the Abbott would be officiating at the ceremony.

Finally, a young Northern Clan Tiger girl went up the aisle with an Elephant, both of them scattering flowers as Cheetara came up the aisle, accompanied by Kyla, who had put on a black dress. WilyKit came behind them, guarding the two women with her staff.

Cheetara looked beautiful, like other brides had in ages past, both in the days when Animals had ruled and when Humans had ruled First and Second Earth before them. Her dress was white, and she had flowers in her hair, including both a Day Astrid and a White Orchid, in memory of the Reverend Spirit of Good she had seen wearing the same sort of flower in her hair as one Age intersected with another for a moment.

Cheetara smiled at Tygra, who smiled back.

LionO began with, "Dearly beloved, Cats of all sorts, Elephants, and others. We are here today to see this Lord, Lord Tygra, plight his troth and Bond to the Lady Cheetara, Cleric who has decided to leave the Order in her time and to train WilyKit to take her place as the next of my Clerics."

"If there be anyone who objects this day to this Union, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace," said Anet.

He paused, and then, to everyone's shock, another one of the Northern Clan cats came up, in her own white dress, which matched her white fur.

"I sure object," she said with an evil grin on her face.

"Why do you object?" said Cheetara as another burst of pain hit her.

"Because, my dear little ex-cleric…there's a very good reason," said the Tigress.

"Why?" said LionO. Tygra just stood in silence. He finally said, "Chaniell, I thought you were dead…I thought you died in the attack on Thundera."

"Why is this important?" demanded Cheetara indignantly.

"Do you forget, Tygra?" said Chaniell with a voice like poisoned honey. "Or were you too fogged on wine to remember that before the Lizards came…we were Bonded that night in the Traders' Quarter? You can't bond with this warrior, Cheetara. He's mine."

"Why…you…" said Cheetara as she went to slap Chaniell across the face. But, she didn't get far.

A bolt of pain hit her in the stomach, and she collapsed, right on LionO's feet.

"Anet!" yelled LionO. "Get the healers!"

TO BE CONTINUED….