Rizardon had never been around this area before. It was warmer, for a mountainous area, than he was used to, but he at least enjoyed the feel of a rugged mountain under his paws again. He was a large lion, sure, but he was built for climbing and for hard labor, burrowing through ice and snow. Being back on an incline, climbing up and then back down again into a valley, made him feel the good kind of tired that he really liked. Of course, this was not a part of the path he had taken from his home before, which meant he had gotten lost despite his best efforts. Oh well, he would manage to make his way back to his pride in due time, and he could just chalk this up to exploring more and more for the sake of his home. Maybe he could find someone here that would want to come back to his pride with him, or he could talk to the leaders of this pride and make them allies.

He would have to get some perks from that, right? Maybe even a title! He had no real ambitions for power or status, but hey, if it came his way he certainly would not mind it.

Padding into a lower area of the valley, he looked around and smiled. It looked like a very big pride, but it all smelled the same, so he was sure he was still inside one despite how long he had been padding around. He heard some rustling nearby and stopped, looking surprised as two lions appeared from the foliage. One was a tall and lanky male with a dark brown coat, and the other was a female with a strange, bird like marking on her side. They were walking together, but it seemed that one was paying attention to their surroundings and the other was not. At the sight of the bright red lion, the male nodded his head, while the female jumped and looked taken by surprise. She did not shrink away from him, though, looking him over curiously.

“Now what sort of a lion are you? It looks like your tail is on fire!”

Reghan moved forward, the female, sniffing at Rizardon’s fiery tail with interest. He was used to creatures having that sort of reaction to his tail, so he held it still and let her sniff at him as much as she wanted to, knowing she would be disappointed to find his tail was just that. Fluff and hair, like anyone would have on their tail. His just happened to be a bit glowy and just the right colors to look like fire. He liked to look at it, sometimes, and it made him feel warm when he was cold.

Which, living in the snow like he did, happened more often than not.

He looked at her and offered her a smile, then looked over at the male, who was frowning at his companion and shaking his head apologetically.

“I am sorry about my friend, stranger. She can be a little… over excited about new things, to say the least. But she is not someone to be feared, despite her best efforts to prove herself otherwise.” His words seemed to mean more to him, and to Reghan, than to Rizardon, who had no feeling of fear from the lioness and was not quite sure what he meant. He looked at her again before shrugging his hefty shoulders at the male and shaking his big head, his mane puffing out a bit then settling back down into place neatly.

“I’m not worried about it, really. She seems nice enough. Anyway, my name is Rizardon. Where am I? Who are you guys? You live here, right? Smells like a pride.”

Rizardon was not the best at conversation but he did try. He was learning more and more about making friends, and his natural confidence, and lack of worry about looking stupid, made it easy for him to just say what was on his mind and see how it went. He knew he could be a bit thick sometimes, but that was just something he had accepted about himself, and something others would have to accept as well. if they were worth his time, then they would not mind him being a little dense sometimes.

If not, there were plenty of other lions out there, and he had all the time in the world.

“This is the Tokakinji,” the male lion said, “and I am Komboa, a Slayer here. I do my best to keep the peace… but there is a lot of turmoil right now, so it might not be the best time for visitors…”

“Oh, come off it, Komboa! This ‘war’ will blow over the same way things like this always do. Everyone will stop paying attention to the Druids and go back to living their happy, Toka blooded lives. If everyone just remembered their place, we wouldn’t be in this mess. You, stranger, are welcome here, too, and don’t let him scare you off. I’m Reghan, and I’m a Druid, but this is still my home.”

“I don’t know what any of that means,” Rizardon said blandly, but with a smile, “but I’m glad to stay for a bit if you guys don’t mind. I like exploring prides, and meeting new lions. I come from a very isolated place, and we come out into the rogue lands looking for friends and allies, and things we can bring back to help our home. Plus, it breaks up the… uh… you know. How days repeat and are always the same.”


“That’s the one,” Rizardon said, at Komboa’s word choice, though he had no idea if it was really the word he meant or not. He did not have the best vocabulary around, and had to trust this smart looking lion did, “but yeah. Dangerous or not, it’s still nice to be out here. And I think I can handle myself.”

Komboa nodded his head, not really doubting that.

The other male was built like a tank, and Komboa was pretty sure he was half the size of Rizardon, if that. Reghan padded up toward Komboa again, sitting beside him and smiling at her… friend? Rizardon was still not sure if they actually got along or not, as they were rather tough to read. They seemed happy enough, though, and he smiled.

“So what’s wrong with this place, eh? You said there’s a war?”

Komboa and Reghan took turns explaining what was going on in the pride, known as the Tokakinji. The King was angry with the ‘Druid’ blooded, who were, it seemed, mostly determined by the color of their fur and their belief in magic and things like that. Or something. The Toka blood, those that followed the King, were fighting against a Druid uprising, led by someone named Morgana and a Goddess named Afriti. Why did that seem familiar to him? And there was a God on the Toka side of things, named Talfrid, who was nicer than the King, Uther, but did not want to see the pride come to war. The Slayers, according to Komboa, worked without the King’s direct influence to try and keep peace, so they were not weighted on one side of the war or the other, but rather were just trying to keep innocent lions from being hurt.

As far as Rizardon was understanding it, anyway. He frowned, not sure why they could not all just get along. Was this what could happen if the folks in his pride that did not like Frozen pelts got together and tried to drive them out? He hoped it never came to that, at any rate, as he liked his home and thought it was a very nice and quiet and peaceful. War just did not seem to fit in there, or so he hoped.

Maybe it was just something he would not have to worry about. That was above his station, so to speak.

“Well, you two seem to get along, and if you’re a Druid, Reghan, then you seem like a nice one. I hope things get settled peacefully rather than… I mean. The other way. I don’t want you guys to get hurt. in a war or anything else.”

Reghan smiled and shook her head, looking at Komboa. He looked at her briefly as well, shaking his head knowingly, though neither shared their thoughts. Rizardon was still not sure if they were friends or not, or if Komboa was just making sure she did not cause trouble, or something. Maybe he was her jailer. Whatever, it hardly mattered. They welcomed Rizardon and he liked them for that.

“Well, can you show me around a little or do you think that’s not a good idea? I don’t want to get you guys in trouble, or start any fights just by being here.”

“Well, if you don’t mind being seen around the place with a druid, then let’s take a look around, huh? I promise, I don’t start fights with Toka, and Komboa here will vouch for me if anyone tries anything. For the most part, though, it’s the Druids you have to look out for. They’re more aggressive, even I can admit that.” Reghan grinned at Rizardon and then at Komboa, who was not looking very certain about this plan, but would clearly go along with it.

“Sounds good to me,” Rizardon said.

Word Count: 1,583 in Google Docs