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Marzel shook his head angrily; he couldn't believe he was actually going back.

When he and his siblings had left their old home, they had sworn to never go back. They had been through Hell there, and it had only gotten harder as they tried to fend for themselves in the rogue lands. He was amazed that they had managed to survive, but it was more than that - they had thrived.

The first to leave the little trio was their brother, Uchungu. It had stung, but he had to admit that he understood the reasoning. Seeing each other every day was a constant reminder of what had happened. I mean, they all kind of resembled at least one of their parents, and it was either painful or maddening to look at each other and see either the mother they missed so dearly or the father that had caused so much agony. And so, with a heavy heart, the siblings had said farewell; Uchungu went on to find a pride - the Moto-something or other, Marzel never cared to remember - and he and Zuni had continued to live together.

Then, out of the blue, Zuni had decided to leave. The large male had to admit that he never thought she'd have the courage to strike out on her own, even if it meant finding a new pride. He was even more shocked when she revealed that she planned to return to their homeland. To where it had all gone wrong. His shock quickly dissolved into rage; how dare she dredge up ancient history? Alfarrin's departure he had understood, but this he couldn't accept. There was no way it was logical to try to go back there, and for what? To face fears? She would never get over the fear!

They had fought, bitterly, for hours. He regretted that he had said things he didn't mean. Finally, in a whirl of despair, Zuni had taken off. Stubbornly, Marzel had let her go - if she wanted to risk her life to go back there, let her! For the rest of the day he fumed. The following day, he continued to sulk. By the second day, his anger had fizzled and he realized what he had allowed to happen. He couldn't believe he had let his sister - his own sister! - run back into possible danger. Who knew if their father was still around? She could be headed straight for him. And so, he took off, sprinting in the direction of the one place he promised he'd never see again.. he'd hoped he'd never see again.

The sprinting didn't last long. Now, he stalked heavily, angry at himself, at her, at their good-for-nothing father. He gave in to his negative thoughts and let them distract him from his walk. Not like it was difficult to put one paw in front of the oth- Damn it.

Marzel yowled in pain as his paw slipped into a hole - presumably a hare's warren. He pulled it out and jumped backward, shaking out his twisted ankle. After the worst of the pain subsided, he tested it out, putting gradually more and more pressure on it. It didn't seem actually injured. If anything, he'd just been startled more than actually hurt.

Well, that didn't help his mood. Now he felt foolish on top of angry. He continued on toward the ocean, letting the salty scent of the water and the faint roar of the distant waves guide him. On his journey, he had encountered a few other creatures, and one had informed him that a couple of prides actually existed in the area - he'd never even known. Based on the description of their territories, he knew which one he was headed toward - the Kizingo'Zaa, a pride of apparent "gypsies". As odd and kind of frightening as they sounded, they were supposed to be quite harmless if you proved that you had no ill intention. He hoped that his sister had found refuge in their ranks, even just for a short while, both because it meant she was safe from rogues and because it meant she was safe from them. Perhaps she had headed more toward the Bahari'mtoto, the other pride he had learned of. While their family's old home had definitely sat closer to (if not in) the Kizi lands, it wasn't impossible that his sister may have gotten mixed up and ended up with the beach dwellers. It was a slightly more comforting thought, as that pride had been described as much more relaxed and definitely less dangerous. But, knowing their luck, that isn't where she'd end up.

Marzel paused as he realized the scent of salt was much stronger, and the call of sea birds was annoyingly loud. He must be close to the pride. He hadn't realized that he had gone so far in his wanderings, but looking about, he saw that it was definitely getting darker. He kept moving, toward the smell of many lions that he only just noticed. How had he only just noticed that? It was quite strong, and most certainly not the smell a regular rogue gave off.

As he pushed his way through some thicker foliage, Marzel caught sight of two or three lions casually walking about. Although he hadn't seen a casual walk look so intimidating before. And these lions - even the female was as large as he was! And stunning.. Her dark pelt and odd markings were quite the sight to see.

"Hey! Who are you?"

So distracted by her looks, Marzel hadn't noticed that she had caught his scent. And then spotted him crouched among the trees. Her snarl was no less intimidating than her stature, and he had to admit he was flustered as she stalked up to him, claws extended and lips pulled back to reveal large, sharp fangs. Her two comrades stood behind her smirking, ready to help if necessary but obviously certain that she wouldn't need help taking him. Huh. That's a hit to the ego.

"I.. I'm sorry. I'm looking for my sister," he stuttered pathetically. Nicely done. Oh well, best to look as harmless as possible.

The female paused then, and looked at him in a distinctly weird way. Tilting her head, her eyes narrowed, she lowered her lips and retracted her claws, her body relaxing slightly but undoubtedly still ready to pounce should he present the slightest reason.

"You know..." she whispered. "Hey guys - Paranoia?" she called back to the two males.

Marzel was baffled as her friends agreed. Is that some weird gypsy way to say he looks scared? Taunting him was just unneeded. Before he could ask, she spoke again.

"Come with us. We have someone you need to meet," she said, with a grin that simultaneously excited and frightened him. She turned away and flicked his chin with her tail, her comrades moving to stand on either side of him - a clear indication that he was to proceed flanked by these strangers. As they started walking, the female paused briefly, one front paw lifted, and looked over her shoulder coyly. "Oh, I almost forgot - welcome to the Kizingo'Zaa."