Coryth dug hastily into the ground, her stiff and leathered paws tearing up the dirt at a much quicker pace than normal, as she kept an eye on the grey horizon warily. Storm clouds were coming in, and with them the start of the rainy season. Rain meant death to her passion, for mud made her digging for bone-stones nigh impossible. She had just found what looked like a beautiful specimen, too, so she was trying to get it up and out before the rain arrived, with a little less than her usual tenderness.
Finally she resorted to latching her claws onto the buried rock and trying to pull it out by sheer strength. She rarely resorted to this, as some bone-stones turned out to be rather fragile. But this was one of the dark black ones, which could usually handle the strain. It wouldn't budge, though. It was in a lot deeper than she'd anticipated. Growling, she dropped her paws back into the grooves along the side and resumed her feverish digging.
Pya had recently found his new home... and now he was on business, he needed to find a specific list of things needed the Bokor. He knew a few days ago he had seen a corpse of a antelope out this way a couple of days ago and it would have the bones it needed. As he walked Pya noticed the sky was getting darker he wondered if he would be able to collect his bones and make it back before the rain began to fall. As he started walking fasted he noticed a lioness before him, she was digging furiously he wondered what she was up to. He continued to walk towards her quickly he didn't know how he would great her but he wondered if she was perhaps a new member of the pride ... someone who who was also hunting for ingredients for a ritual.
Dodging around the rock to pick at whatever side she thought might give her the best leverage, Coryth huffed heavily in the way she'd learned that kept her from swallowing too much dust. Dirt was her life, and she'd picked up all the tricks in dealing with it, from scraping it out of her mouth to picking out the caked bit from between her feet. She barely even noticed it anymore, or bothered to clean it out of her coat except occasionally.
The black stone just wouldn't budge! She could tell by this point that it was the leg bone of some huge beast, the stone was almost as long as she was. And it was buried very deep. If she couldn't get it out soon, she'd have to bury it again to protect it against the rain, otherwise it might get damaged. But if she could get it out, she had a leather tarp waiting to cover it and keep it safe. If she could only... glancing up, she spotted the male and nearly leapt out of her skin. "Ahhh!" she hollered.
Pya leapt when the female noticed him. He hadn't anticipated that she would look up little lone exclaim as he walked along, she had seemed so into what she was doing, he hadn't thought his presence would have been noticed until he had greeted her. He felt a little off now, he wasn't sure how he should greet her, she after all he didn't often talk to others. "I'm sorry" he mumbled. To him it was as good as a greeting. He had acknowledged her, and said words that was kinda like a greating. He frowned he wished he could do better bit for some reason it was very hard for him. He instead sat down and looked at her waiting for her to tell him what she wanted.
The shock of suddenly noticing him wore off quickly enough, but left Coryth panting and heart racing as she stared at the strange new male in befuddlement, wondering where he'd popped up from so suddenly. She felt more embarrassed than anything else, to have not noticed him because of being too wrapped up in her work. No great hunter with the fine honed instincts she! If it weren't for her coloring that blended naturally into green grasses, she'd never have any success at hunting.
She grinned toothily in apology, not wanting the male to think she was frightened of him. He didn't seem aggressive. "Sorry about that. You startled me. I was just... " she paused, unsure how to explain about her work. It never really went down well with strangers. But honesty was always best, she felt. "I was just digging up this strange rock. I'm not infringing on your territory, am I? I don't mean to."
Pya nodded, he felt bad for startling the liones, she seemed kinda enough. Once he heard her speak he knew right away that she was not from his new home, his pride. "No no you are not infringing." he mummbled again, it seemed after all that he wasn't ablt to talk in anything more then a mummble, he hoped that she was able to understand what he was saying. "I was out looking for things for others in my pride." he wasn't ready to go into the fact that he was one of those that would look for recently deceased others to steal from their corpse. "What are you digging up, why this rock?" he asked. He found it a little odd that one would dig so intently for jsut a rock, rocks were everywhere and many of them were above ground.
Now that they had established that she wasn't about to be chased out for violating some pride's borders, Coryth studied the male curiously. The swirls mixed in with his dark coloring were intriguing, and she felt her eyes following them, tracing them along the fur. She swore one of them looked just like one of her favorite stones, a delicate swirl like that of a snail. It was fascinating.
She shook herself, realizing she was probably staring rudely. "Oh! Well, it's... it's a very special rock, you see. That's what I do, I travel around looking for these special rocks, so I can study them and learn more about them. See, come look." She leapt over the rock and came to the other side of it, and ran her paw inches above the black surface, pointing out the shape. "Does it remind you of anything?" she asked hopefully.
Pya came around the whole that she had dug. Looking down at the rock he smiled, he knew exactly what she was digging it up. It wasn't a rock it was an old bone a very old bone by the looks of things. Something that belonged to a very large creater. "Its not a rock, its a bone." mummbled Pya. He of course knew bones quite well, he had studied them before joining his home, and now he collected them amoung other things for rituals. "You collect bones?" he asked her his head was cocked to the side, the female before him was becoming more and more interesting. It had been a long time since Pya had been interested in anything other then death.
Coryth's fur prickled with excitement as the male labeled the bone-stone correctly. No one had recognized them for what they were before, not without her pointing it out laboriously! She usually had to argue and explain until she was winded, and still she'd get that skeptical gaze, as the other lion or animal would think she was pulling some sort of trick. But this male knew immediately! What sort of creature was he?
"Yes, it's a bone, but it's also a rock! See?" She tapped it with her claws, demonstrating how solid it was. "I call them bone-stones, since they're both. I don't know what they are or how they got there, but I find them all over the place. I've traveled a long time, in many terrains, and I keep finding them if I try hard enough." She eyed him curiously. "You knew what it was very quickly. You must be very clever."
Pya smiled, the female was flattering him. It wasn't somethign he was use to.... most did not find his knowledge of death and dying or any of the thusly related things to be amazing, infact they often made others nervous around him. "To be honest, I deal with the dead." he told her blatently. Pya wasn't one to beat around the bush. In my pride I am the one that goes out to collect the body parts for the rituals. Most often I collect bones and hair but sometimes the preists need other parts as well." he told her, he was very proud of his job. "Though I must say I never have seen a bone this all, I usually take bones from creatures that have just died, this bone is clearly very very old."
Coryth's interest perked up as he mentioned his work, and she realized just why he would so easily recognize a bone no matter what form it was in. Though death wasn't really her field of study she was always pleased to meet another lion who had a craft or passion. They were so much easier and more interesting to talk to.
"Very old?" She turned back to the bone to examine it, pondering his words. "You think this is a real bone, only rock now because it's old? I'd... I'd considered something like that, but I just didn't think it was possible, bones changing to rock. I thought it might be more likely that they came from some huge, long dead monsters that were made of rock, or that the gods cursed the bones and turned them to stone." Though it was a fascinating idea, she was distracted by his talk of his own work. "What sort of things do your priests need bones and hair for?"
``Yes I do think it is a very old bone, something from a creature larger then I have seen. I don`t think I have ever seen a bold that old, I after all do usually work with fresher materials, they are better for our rituals.`He smiled kindly at the lioness, she had him talking so much it was so odd for him to talk that much, why was he so comfortable with her? "The preists in the pride conduct the rituals for the pride, the rituals are for different purposes, I really don't follow them to closely, I just get sent out to get the ingredients." He knew his description wasn''t sufficient but it was really the best he could do, he didnt tend to attend any rituals, he wasn't one to come out of his den to join pride life often.
"I think I'd like to talk to one of your priests sometime," Coryth mused. "It'd be interesting to see what they do with the bones." She had never really done anything with her own bone-stones, except study them, drag them around, and tell other people about them. She found the idea of bones having an actual purpose and use to be a bit bizarre, but appealing somehow.
A drop of water onto her head had her throwing her eyes upwards and snarling with exasperation. The rain was coming towards them fast. Leaping over towards the pile of dirt she had removed, she started shoving it back onto the bone-stone by the clawful. "Rain can damage some bone-stones!" she explained as she worked. "I need to bury it again and cover it with the hide over there, then come back when it's dry!"
Pya didn't say anything, he knew now he had spent too much time talkign to the female and would have to come back out to get ingrediants another time. He began digging right away helping her cover, what did she call it... her bone stone. He nodded as she spoke she didn't have to tell him he knew that her bone would get damaged. "Grab the pelt, it will be safe now, its been here a long time" he told her nodding. He found himself a little sad now he knew the rain ment he should return to his pride but for one reason or another he didn't want to leave her, he wanted to stay, he didn't really have anything else to say to her, but wanted to stay by her. He shook his head lightly, this wasn't like him.
Coryth could help but feel a sort of cameraderie for the male as they buried the bone, side by side and without a word. When there was enough dirt she hopped over to the her skin tarp and dragged it over the bone with her teeth. She smoothed it out carefully, making sure it sat snug against the dirt, especially around the edges. He was right, if the bone had been here a long time it probably wouldn't be harmed too badly, and anyway it was the shell-stones that got hurt the worst by water. The black stones were usually hardy.
Her work done, she stood back and looked around, watching the rain start to come down in earnest. Her nose twitch as drops smacked against her whiskers. Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance, and she thought back to her half dug scraping of a den along the riverbank, some distance away. Probably not the best shelter, especially if it flooded. "You wouldn't know of any good places to hole up around here, would you?" She asked hopefully. Maybe he knew of something suitable just outside his prides' borders.
Pya thought hard about her question, he didn't know the lands greatly but there was a few areas that could be considered well enough for say, and there was the other option he could give her, and option that made him feel warm inside. "Well I think there might be some places outside the pride borders but you really would be safer inside the lands." he said, he tried to be smotth about it but it really wasn't in his nature, he knew that he seemed rather transparent, but perhaps she was as socially awkward as he was. "The pride is friendly and you may get a chance to talk to the preists." he added on at the end in a little more then a mumble, hoping it made him seem less pathetic.
Blinking in surprise at his offer, Coryth suddenly felt bashful for a moment, but also pleased at being invited. This male was very tolerant of her strangeness and unusual himself, though probably not that unusual for his pride, considering their practices. She liked the idea of spending the rainy season getting to learn about him better. And his pride and their priests too, of course, but something in her felt that they wouldn't keep her attention as much as he might. There was something very restful about being near him.
Patting the tarp down one final time, she nodded firmly, and set her mind to the idea of socializing for once. She grinned toothily. "Thank you, it'll be good to be around friendly lions for once. Maybe your priests and I can teach each other something." Maybe he could teach her some things as well. Surely tactics used to hunt for bones could be translated to hunting for bone stones. She padded along, letting him lead her to his people, leaving behind one discovery for another.