I'm back with a new chapter! This one may seem irrelevant at the moment but I decided to might as well get it over with. Anyway, I'm sure a few of you are wondering what happened during the first two Pride Wars and when they happened, well the next two or three chapters will explain it all…I hope. Enjoy!
P.S. Special thanks to T5Tango. The OC Jolina belongs to her and the story I'm using here is very different from hers. If you haven't read her stories then you've been missing out.
Mohatu looked behind him at the small pride of lions that he had gathered. They were all tired, hungry, and thirsty from walking. It was hard to believe that he had only been walking for a little below a month and since then he had met up with the Desert Pride, gained the trust of a few rogues, and now he's joined up with the Oasis Pride as well.
"Uncle, I'm hungry" a small voice mewed next to him.
Mohatu looked down at the one month old cub. He was his nephew, Hondari, for some peculiar reason, his older brother told Mohatu to take his nephew with him. All his brother told him was that Hondari was important to some prophecy or some other shaman mumbo jumbo like that.
The large lion sighed and took one more look at the diverse pride. The Desert Pride was made up of all dark-colored lions while the Oasis Pride had contradicting light fur. The rogues varied in size, age, and color. But one thing they all had in common was hunger. He never expected that running away from home would be so difficult.
"I agree with the kid, I'm starved!" complained a lion from the Desert Pride.
"Oh, suck it up! Like the rest of us aren't!" snapped an Oasis Pride lioness irritably.
"Nooo, we're all living in luxury" a former rogue retorted sarcastically.
This wasn't good. No one had gotten much sleep so everyone was at least a little bit frustrated that they hadn't reached the 'promised land'. If this kept up then a separation or even bloodshed may occur, and that was something Mohatu just couldn't deal with right now.
"I know we're all tired and hungry but we need to keep moving. The sooner we move the sooner we reach the land my brother promised me" tried Mohatu. His voice came out a little more desperate than he intended for it to. "Please, just bear with me."
"And how do you even know if your brother was even telling you the truth about this 'land of beauty and wonder?'" lashed out a Desert Pride lioness.
"Yeah, you and he are princes of your homeland. How do you know that he just wanted you gone so he could take the throne?" asked another Oasis Pride lioness.
'Great, they finally agree on something and it's against me. This is so infuriating!' Mohatu thought angrily. "I know my brother; he would never do something like that. Besides, he's already the shaman of the Southern Kingdom; he doesn't need nor want to be king. And why would he tell me to take his son with me?"
This only resulted to everyone's breaking point. They all began to argue with each other, although many of the statements were probably directed at their leader. Mohatu had been able to settle every single fight before but this one was going a bit too far. He wasn't sure if he could-.
"Why is everybody yelling?" asked Hondari.
Mohatu looked down at his nephew and couldn't help thinking how nice it would be to be as naïve and ignorant as his nephew. "We're all just exhausted and hungry."
"Then they can just take a rest in the warm grass and hunt the wild impalas" chimed Hondari.
"Well-" Mohatu started before the full effect of his nephew's words struck him. He froze for a second and then ran ahead of the group and saw…grass! There was grass! And herds! And some strange giant rock formation in the distance…But there was grass and herds!
Mohatu couldn't help smiling and then turned back around. He ran back to the group and roared to catch their attention. "Everyone, come with me! I'm sure you'll be happy to see what my nephew has found!"
"Is it a buffet of my favorite herbivores? Because if it's not then I'm not interested" complained a former rogue.
"Well, as long as you don't mind chasing after your buffet then you should be very interested" smiled Mohatu. He took Hondari by the scruff of his neck and led them to their new home.
Everyone gasped at the sight of the eastern land. It was exactly like how it was described by Mohatu and then some. "I call the zebra!" shouted one of the Desert Pride lionesses.
They all rocketed off with their hungry stomachs and happy smiles to the food options of their choice. The cubs and younger adolescents stayed with their leader. Mohatu couldn't help chuckling at the sight of grown lions behaving like excited cubs. After so long, they had finally reached the land of their dreams.
After a couple of minutes or so, a group of Oasis Pride lionesses came back dragging a wildebeest carcass and they dropped it off in front of Mohatu. "What's this?" he asked.
"It's for you" said one of the lionesses.
"We wanted to apologize for our obnoxious behavior. You were the one that led us here and we were constantly complaining" added another.
"And our new home needs a king so we nominated you. And…It's tradition that the king takes the first bite of the kill."
Mohatu was taken aback but it seemed like his nephew had been expecting it. "M-me? King? But…I don't know, it sounds like a lot of responsibility. Why can't one of the pride leaders be king, they know more about ruling than I do."
"They only know how to rule a small minor pride. You grew up as a prince; you learned how to rule the Southern Kingdom. You are the best option. And both leaders from the two prides agreed as well."
Mohatu was still standing there, dumbstruck. He glanced over at his nephew who seemed to be looking at him with these hopeful eyes. "Hondari, what do you think? You seem to want me to be king…But why exactly?" he asked.
"I saw it in the stars!" piped up Hondari.
The lionesses glanced at each other as if expecting one of them to have the explanation to Hondari's odd statement. Mohatu was the least confused but it was still puzzling. "You're saying the Great Kings of the Past told you this?" inquired his uncle.
Hondari nodded enthusiastically. "I heard it from great grandpa! The king of the Southern Kingdom will not continue with your lineage but you will be the start the Eastern Kingdom."
"The Eastern Kingdom?" questioned a lioness with a wary expression.
"There is no Eastern Kingdom" said another. "It's obvious you were just dreaming, hallucinating, or some other strange thing."
Mohatu shook his head to show he disagreed with them. "Hondari said that I will start the Eastern Kingdom. This means that this place will be the fourth of the great kingdoms, the one my brother mentioned. I get it now! He told me that my destiny didn't belong at the Southern Kingdom, that it was somewhere else…A place where I would start something great."
It was clear that the lionesses were skeptical but it also reassured them that everything would be okay. Somehow, despite the farfetched idea that a spirit spoke to a cub and a lion could predict the future, it also gave them a sense of safety.
The leading lioness of the Oasis Pride stepped forward. "Then we are ready to follow you through anything. If all this is true, and I'm not saying it is, but if it is…Then we will put our faith in you…King Mohatu."
The band of lionesses bowed down to their new king. Mohatu was taken aback but he slowly became adjusted to it as the rest of their new pride came and bowed. He smiled to his subjects, the start of a new kingdom…The Eastern Kingdom, no, the Pride Lands.
Word got around quicker than any of them thought. Within one month of time, all of the other kingdoms were informed of their newest member of the Great Kingdoms. Although two of the three Great Kingdoms did not acknowledge this since it was unheard of for a new kingdom to just declare itself as a Great Kingdom. Already the king of the Southern Kingdom aimed to enlist his son's kingdom to assist them in the war.
Mohatu sighed, wondering how much more of this he could take. He found this new kingdom hoping to avoid conflict with other prides and kingdoms, but it seems conflict has found him once more. He looked down at the majordomo his father sent, a bird he had known his whole life.
"Let me guess, my father wants me and my pride to help him win this war" droned Mohatu. Even though he knew this was going to be the first of many, he still felt as if he had gone through this conversation dozens of times.
"Your majesty, I do not wish for you to be so frustrated with your father. He just wants to makes sure that his pride is safe from the harms of this war" said the majordomo.
"Well you can tell him to forget it. I want to protect my pride as well and I don't plan on endangering that and being a hypocrite by sending them out onto the battlefield."
"And I understand, but it is your duty as the Southern Kingdom prince to-."
Mohatu shook his head as if he couldn't believe he was hearing this. "Prince? I am king of the Pride Lands…King of the Eastern Kingdom. I no longer hold the title of prince of the Southern Kingdom."
The majordomo wilted like a dying flower. Mohatu knew he was being harsh but he knew that his father only responded to force and an assertive attitude. Kindness wouldn't get him very far. The small bird nodded and flew back to his homeland.
The king of the Pride Lands sighed. It was getting increasingly more difficult to handle every little problem. Even the other animals began to look up to him as king and they all respect him. It was a little bit shocking how fast this all happened.
"King Mohatu!" called a lioness urgently as she ran up to him. "A rogue lioness was sighted at the western border."
'Another rogue?' "Is she hostile?"
"Well, no…Even if she was, she wouldn't be able to do much to harm us."
"What do you mean?"
"She collapsed. Once we converged with her she just crumpled to the ground. Judging from how she looks, I'd say she hasn't had a decent meal in days."
Mohatu nodded to show he understood. He instructed the lioness to meet with the hunting party to get at least a leg so that they could give it to the lioness. Once that was done he went to meet up with the group of lions with an unfamiliar lioness on one of the male's back.
The rogue was gently placed onto the grass in front of Pride Rock, the odd rock formation that they had decided to make their home. Despite the dirt in her fur, the claw marks, and the sunken skin, she had a very fair face.
Hondari peeked out from under his uncle's legs to see this new lioness. He left soon after to gather various herbs to help with her injuries, accompanied by one of the lionesses. He'd been learning different things from the wisest animals in the Pride Lands so that he may follow in his father's paw steps and become a shaman.
Mohatu carefully rolled the rogue over so that he may have a better look at her face. The first thing that caught his attention was how fast her eyes snapped opened and the next thing he knew, she swiped at him with the intention to kill.
Every muscle in Jolina's body ached. To think that running away from home would be this difficult. She scanned her surroundings once more, nothing but desert. Her vision began to swim but she knew she had to stay strong. So far, she had passed by a battlefield where a fight between the Northern and Western Kingdom broke out and a band of hostile rogues.
Jolina wondered how much farther she could run. She bent to her side and licked the blood off of her recent claw marks. They were made by a rogue she had encountered only an hour ago. She didn't kill him, she didn't have the heart to despite what he had tried to do to her but it broke her ability to trust others.
She didn't know what to do now. She had been running in random circles for about two months and it wasn't getting any easier.
Just when she was about to give up and surrender herself to the buzzards flying overhead, she caught the familiar scent of gazelles. At first she wondered if her senses were playing mind games with her but then her paw touched grass.
Grass! Her paw touched grass! Her other senses may be able to trick her but her touch couldn't. It was the unmistakable feel and scent of grass!
She blinked and saw the scene ahead morph. It had changed from the desert to lush grass, masses of herds, and a huge water hole! Jolina had never been happier for a change in scenery.
Before she could stumble to the water beckoning for her, a threatening voice threw her off. She jerked her head around to face a large group of lion and lionesses, all with varying in pelts which was unusual for a single pride.
"Who are you, rogue?" asked the leading lion.
Jolina's vision began to swim once more and everything went dark around her. But the last thing she saw before losing consciousness was the change from caution and defensiveness to worry in the lions' expressions.
Mohatu saw the claw coming before realizing it. He evaded swiftly and the rogue lioness jumped to her paws. She couldn't even look threatening with the bags underneath her eyes and her labored breathing.
"Stay away from me!" she snapped.
While the rest of the pride saw her as hostile and dangerous, Mohatu saw something different. He could see the fear in her eyes. She wasn't here to hurt any of them, she was afraid of them. Maybe it was from the stress, or maybe it was because of how pretty this lioness was, but Mohatu found himself sympathizing with her. But he also saw something familiar about her, like he had met her once before.
"It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you" he said softly and slowly. "You just need to cooperate with me here. We can take you back home."
The rogue lioness seemed to calm down a bit but her muscles were still tensed up. She shook her head furiously. "No! You can't take me back there. You just can't!"
There were murmurs coming from the pride, it seemed they all had the same thought. They were all thinking that this lioness may be a little crazy. Once again, Mohatu saw different.
The king saw that she wasn't lost or even chased away because of this war. She had run away from home for a reason too. Whatever that reason may be, she desperately wanted to avoid it. "Calm down. You can stay here."
A ring of controversy erupted from the lions. They all made their own arguments and protests of letting a strange lioness stay there. And Mohatu knew that they were all right. There were possibilities that this lioness was a spy that was plotting to destroy their pride and then take the rest for soldiers of war. But there was just something different, this lioness was honestly scared of this place and she was clearly starving. There was no way he could deny her of staying.
The lioness glanced over at the narrowed eyes of the suspicious lions. She turned back to the king and shook her head again. "I can't stay…Not if everyone here doesn't like me. Besides, I don't want to trouble you with my presence."
"Stay" he repeated. "We won't hurt you…I swear it on my honor as king of the Eastern Kingdom."
The lioness searched him for anything that betrayed his kind words. When she came up with nothing, she found herself too weak to stand. She fell into his mane and he helped her stand upright. "I'm sorry…" she muttered weakly.
Mohatu saw his nephew come back with a couple of various herbs in his mouth. His escort had a makeshift bowl made of leaves holding water for the rogue. The lioness from earlier came back with the leg of a wildebeest from the hunting party. The king returned his gaze to the resting rogue. "Things are going to be just fine…" he whispered.
"Joli…You in there?" asked Mohatu. This had to be the third time he was visiting her today. For others, it would be annoying, for her, she thought it was sweet and considerate.
"Yes I'm here Mohatu" Jolina chuckled as she came out of the cave. She's been here for at least a whole month now and the change in her was incredible. She had gone from a dirty, starved rogue to a beautiful and full lioness. There were still doubts about her so she still stayed in a separate den but she had learned to trust this pride. Just not enough for her to tell them how she ended up the way she did.
"Those injuries are almost gone now" he commented. She looked at her side and saw the claw marks were only faint shadows. This was all thanks to time and Hondari's herbs. It was rather impressive for a cub to show this much capability as a shaman.
"Yeah…I guess they are."
"Are you ready to tell me how you got them in the first place?"
Jolina looked away from him and shook her head. "No…No I don't think I am."
"Come on" he urged. Mohatu took a step closer and she took a step back. This always happened, despite the fact that she trusted him; she wouldn't let him near her. He hadn't touched her since that first day. The only lions in the pride she would allow physical contact with were the lionesses and cubs.
Mohatu wondered if she was afraid of males for some reason. To test his theory he took a large risk. He swiftly stepped towards her and stroked her forearm gently.
She immediately did as he had anticipated. She jumped away as if she was just burned and backed herself to the corner. She looked at him like he was some horrendous monstrosity that wanted to eat her alive.
"I-I'm sorry" she stammered.
Mohatu shook his head. "No I'm sorry…I shouldn't have done that. I know you don't like physical contact."
"It's not that…" she sighed. Jolina looked over Mohatu's shoulder to see if there was anyone around to eavesdrop. "…I ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage my parents had set up for me. A couple for weeks later I met a rogue. He was hungry and crippled so I took care of him. Whenever I caught food, I gave him the majority of it. When it came time for us to part ways…He wanted me to mate with him…I declined of course but then…It turned out he was lying about being crippled and he jumped me. He wanted to force me into letting him use my body for his own lustful desires. I escaped before he did anything and then I ended up here."
Now Mohatu understood why she was so afraid to let any male get close to her. He approached her slowly and cautiously. He let his body touch hers. She flinched but this time she didn't retreat from his touch. Instead she found herself falling deeper into his thick mane.
"I ran away from my home because of an arranged marriage as well. My father wanted me to marry a princess from another land so that her pride could be a helping paw in this war. All he cares about is winning…He doesn't care for my thoughts or feelings" admitted Mohatu.
"I guess we have a lot more in common than we thought…My dad wanted me to marry just for the protection from the war that the larger pride offered" said Jolina. "I never even wanted to get a mate. I always believed that getting a mate would make you a fool."
"My mother fell in love with my father and they ended up as mates due to a betrothal. She got what she wanted only to have him have several lovers. He slept with countless lionesses and I had to stand back and watch as my mother deteriorated from the inside. It was awful…"
"I am so sorry…"
"It's fine…I don't think this is true for every couple but I just don't want to end up like my mother did."
"There's a simple answer. One shouldn't get married in an arranged marriage or a betrothal…You should only get a mate if there is love involved. True love is when both mates can truly become one."
"Do you think I'll find this true love one day?"
"I know you will…And when that day comes, I hope that it's the most happiest moment of your life."
"Thank you Mohatu…For everything."
It is so hard to sleep in a living room! The next chapter may still take some time. The only reason why this chapter was updated a little sooner than others is because my sister was out of the house for four to five hours so that gave me the chance to type this up. Hope you enjoyed! Leave a review!