So she was here, and she was alive and they hadn't done the many things that she had dreamed about when she had still been a rogue lioness - finding her way to the Mama who had taken over from the previous. This land was something she had been dreaming of living fully in since she was younger, following them with the intensity and fluidity of . . . something .. misty, she supposed. Like the mist that danced around their paws. Whatever.
Breathing in the morning air, she padded over a hill, taking in the area, borderlands and insides into a mental map that she had in her head - the dark spot that was the actual pride's lands etched into the deepest parts of her soul now being uplocked finally.
She was home, and happy.
It had been a very, very long day.
The old Caplata had requested an array of difficult items for her latest batch- a hyena's eye, the skull of a wild dog, the paw of a monkey, and a baboon's tooth. It had taken weeks to find all the items and by then, the eye had to be replaced... of course there was a shortage of freshly killed hyenas on the savanah but he managed to find himself a gazelle kill and drive off the two hyenas that had been feasting on it. She wouldn't know the difference anyway, and he'd not say a word.
Not that he ever did.
Part of him felt her specific scavanger hunts and her outlandish demands were purposefully given to aggitate and torment her Pespete. Afterall- he was the reflection of his brother but unlike Takis, Lazarus was largely uninterested, and resentful of, his Caplata.
Trudging home, the brooding male walked almost listlessly. Thin paws brushed over the damp ground, boney shoulders rolled under a dull coat sparkling from the collected dew, and dull, uninterested eyes peered through the swirling mists.
It hadn't taken long for the arrival of another soul within the area to alert the new Guard, her pose seizing up suddenly at the sound of movements from behind her. It wasn't that she was guilty of anything anymore, she was a member of this pride, but old habits ran deep, and within a moment she had the upper ground from him, her dark pelt almost a black mark in the foggy daylight.
It felt like forever, the deafening sounds of his footfalls coming closer - or what she assumed was a lion - the footfalls were heavy like a lion's, but seemed a little off, almost too weak . . - she had been almost deadly quiet as she waited for whoever it was, hoping that she wouldn't have to extend the brunt of her new title so early in the game.
It wasn't until his body came into clear view that she came to know this not to be an intruder in to the lands, his body language and pelt slightly familiar to her internal memory of the souls that followed the ways of this land - blood born into such a pride. He felt right. She didn't wait long before she nodded a welcome to him, uncertain of how to start a conversation with another - her abilities in conversation like a rusted knife cutting rain, at best.
The striped male didn't so much as blink at the new arrival. The dark shadow through the mist was almost expected. The boarders were well guarded and the pride occupied with enough members that it was a rare day when he could return from his long, exhausting errends to silence and solitude.
He paused, his paws slowly landing on the ground beneith him. For a male, he was small. A thin frame showed clearly through a dull, unkept pelt. Lazarus was a bit of a tragic story through the pride though little else was known of him aside from the premature loss of his family and the mysterious and suspicious death of his older brother.
As she stared at him, he stared right back. His eyes dull, without accusation, inquiry, or welcome. It might have felt like she wasn't even there at all, he might have been observing an odd tree or a shape in the fog rather than a sentient being.
This was. . . peculiar. She stared him down, her mind reeling internally through the silence, her thoughts and mental calculations cutting through the mist in front of her eyes - attempting to recall whom this lion reminded her in the whispers and gossip of the other pride members that she had tailed as a youth. He just didn't fit as well as the other pridemembers, his pelt was more ashen, and not dark like most of the souls.
It was so hard for her to break the eye contact though, her tail flashing lightly from behind her, blue eyes attempting to pierce through his shelled exterior. She had so many questions for him, but could only continue to watch, hoping that he would at least break the silence a little, her own personal rock in this dead-heat a gut reaction, an ability to start conversations.
But at the same time, it was kind of nice, just sizing each other up. . . almost relaxing, no silly questions, no accusations. So she stood there, wondering and hoping.
She said nothing. He said nothing. Both lions stared at eachother wordlessly as the world moved on around them. Neither was accusing, curious, or even really all that interested. A small part of him wondered just which one of them would break first and decide to go on, find something else to spend their time on.
A guard who's job it was to stand at a boarder and stare out, waiting for someone or something to pass through the pride's lands and do something about it. A disinterested lion who actually had somewhere to be and someone to see, was quietly getting revenge on his mistress for sending him out on such a specific time consuming task.
She could wait. And so could he.
Nothing got past Lilit, which is why she had been chosen to be a guard, and she didn't miss the sudden flash of interest, and something deeper within the lion as they stood their grounds, something in his eyes that meant that the cogs were spinning in his head too. So there was a soul deep inside that striped lion's pelt. Something down deep in a dark spot that he had covered, maybe. It was nice that he still showed interest, at least.
It didn't mean it gave her a push towards trying to find more out about him, verbally, though. She was so nervous about opening her mouth to speak that she was certain that if she had started to converse, nothing would come out.
But she couldn't just keep him here, like this, could she?
She could. He had all day.
His mind was already somewhere else while his eyes anchored to hers. She was a newer member...or an older member? Perhaps she'd come and gone at one point. He didn't reconize her at least, but then again, he didn't socialize with anyone if he could avoid it. Only Mama and one other knew the sound of his voice, only they knew his private thoughts, or his ambitions for himself. Everyone else, as far as he was concerned, was part of the scenery.
He moved. A pink tongue slid over his now dry chops, wetting them somewhat before vanishing again. At least he'd not dry up.
He had moved, and then that was it, almost like a deeper magical layer breaking by his sudden movement, a dream like quality lifting slowly from her eyes. How long had it been, only a few minutes maybe?
Lifting her head and looking around the area, she figured that yes, they could do this all day and yes, he would probably have stayed in that position all day. It was almost her job, just watching, and he seemed like the lion to just stare into nothingness for parts of his days. But it wasn't a good thing for a Guard to just be watching one lion - a pridemember at that also - so she decided to get on with her day.
Taking the first daring step since they stopped in their tracks, her eyes glanced at the earthly pelted lion once more before she passed him, exhaling the breath she didn't know she had.
She moved. Her eyes drifted away from his and her interest with it. A pity... he could have burned a bit more of the day away, if only to avoid facing the old bat for a while longer... but then again, that meant that he'd be late in returning home...and he'd not caught anything for dinner just yet. Hopefully the Mama had been attending to... things.
As she began on her way, so did he, and as she glanced back, so did he. Uninterested, quiet, and completely listless. Both regarded one another before continuing with their days. One to continue watching, the other with avoiding reality.