Maktaba took Scatha too an area near the base of the Castle Mountain, where the King and Queen lived with their attendants and the higher classes of the pride. It was huge and it was well protected, with Knights regularly patrolling the castle at different levels, protecting those above and those that lived in and around the mountain base. It was generally assumed that the higher someone lived on the mountain, the more important they were.
Scatha did not spend much time in this area, and she wondered where the other lion was taking her. She slowed her pace as they neared a guard, a gruff looking larger lion she had seen around on patrols before. He looked their way and nodded lazily at Maktaba before looking away again. Looking thoughtful, Scatha padded past him without incident, and after that no one else seemed to give them any trouble, either. She wondered who this Maktaba really was, to have so much silent respect from the Knights of the pride.
Maybe he was a Knight himself, and not a Slayer, like he said he was.
Maktaba did not look at her to catch her curious glances, mostly on purpose. Instead, he took them to a ridge in the mountain side, away from the dens and hollows. It was a flat area, looking out over the edge of the pride. It was not good for announcements or large gatherings, big enough to comfortable, and safely, hold three or four lions if they wanted some space between them. The two of them would be more than comfortable, though, and the scenery was indeed relaxing. This place, he had said, would be good for thinking, and she had to agree with him.
Sighing, the male lion sat down in a spot that looked warn, the dust and small pebbles moved around regularly. It must have been where he always sat. She opted to find a place that was undisturbed, and decided to make that her new spot. Should she come here to think again, this would be where she sat to look out over the distance, watch the sun set, or just think in the peace and quiet of the hillside. She smiled dumbly, thinking that maybe this was the simple answer she was looking for, why he seemed to have it all figured out and why he was so calm and warm. He seemed to take pleasure in the simple things. Maybe she was just too serious.
"I like to come here because no one else does," Maktaba said conversationally, and in an innocent enough way that she did not think he was reading her mind. He was a mysterious sort but he was not magical. As far as she knew, anyway. There was a God living in the pride, but that was Talfrid, and he was not shy about revealing himself. He looked like a God, and acted like one. Maktaba just acted like an older lion who had nothing to prove to anyone, who had found what made him happy and confident, and who lived his life in a fuller way than Scatha found herself living. Maybe she would talk to her dear Fio, and see what he thought about it all. She was shy about asking him, because she did not want him to think she was unhappy in any way. It was not a factor of happiness, per se. She just wanted to feel more useful.
"So... do you have a family, Maktaba?" They had formally introduced themselves along the walk, as they realized they had not covered that simple and polite part of conversation at the get go. He smiled wistfully, as if just thinking of them made him happy, and nodded his head. She smiled at that reaction, thinking it heart warming to see. She felt the same of her own family, though some of them had left the pridal lands to find their own lives already. She couldn't blame them for that, though. As long as they were happy she would always love them. And if they were not happy they better get their butts back to her so she could take care of them.
It was her job to worry and fuss, after all.
"Yes, I have cubs that are near grown now. I think I would like to have another litter with my mate, if she would like to entertain the idea. Things are quiet and peaceful here right now, and I like that quite a lot. I think it is the perfect time to raise a family. I see from your expression that you agree. Would you like to do the same? With your own mate, I mean. Not me or mine. Obviously. Oh dear that came out a little funny, but you understand my meaning." He blabbled a bit when he was nervous, and she chuckled, glad to see that he was not calm and collected all the time. He seemed easily embarrassed, which would be fun to pick on later. If they became friends, anyway.
"Oh, you don't want to mate swap? And here I was thinking that was what this was all about," she feigned disappointment, but grinned to let him know it was just a joke. The look on his face said he did not gather that on his own, and needed the reassurance. She cleared her throat and shook her head, waving her paw out toward the pridal lands. Not that she was sure Fio was out in that direction somewhere, but the gesture was just a general one. "No, I would love to have more cubs with my mate, if he wants them. I have not asked him about it... I don't know why, but I've been a little nervous. Which is strange..."
"Oh, it's natural to be nervous. I know I am. But I think, since you've already done this before, you're just getting in your own way. If your mate is like mine, they will be happy for more family. I recommend just bringing it up. Perhaps when you see him tonight, unless he is out somewhere?" She shook her head and he smiled. "If you do that, I will speak with my own mate. We'll steal each other's courage for it, as it were." He grinned and she laughed, nodding her head and then scooting closer to reach out her paw to him.
He put his paw on top of hers, looking at her and nodding his head. The pact was made. Scatha found herself grateful for having met this lion, and hoped he felt the same way. She understood now that part of what she was missing was something as simple as friendship. Not just the love of her mate, and the friend he was because of it, but other people, outside of that family bond.
( Word Count: 1,143 in Word )