A chapter of Kipleyarren
Authored by: April L. Gerard
Her day had started well. The tribe had settled in a field that had was been home to the Nubiens. A few more days and they would skirt the outer realms of the Leain fairies. Their presence would go unnoticed, as always. The Leain Fairies barely knew anyone or anything outside of their domain. It was their tradition to send out "Messengers", traders really, to do all the neccessary business. She had thought to herself earlier in the morning that very few of the Leain traders were seen these days... and she had wondered, momentarily, how this race of faries was surviving without the knowledge and goods their messengers bring in. She let the thought go. She had let her eyes wander to the treetops nearby as she fixed herself a small portion just before full daybreak..the Griffins were settling in well. They were rather large creatures, similar to the black cats that roamed the southern areas of Kipleyarren..but they preferred to settle in treetops, allowing thier majestic wing spans to hang down for a rest. They were a loyal lot to have around. A much needed attribute these days. There was so much unrest and unpleasantries in the world...a phenomon that was growing, changing the landscape and the people in it.
Freeta had cleaned up her small area, let out the fire, and staked out an area for herself before heading out to explore the new surroundings. Her Grandfather would see to the rest. From the talks amongst her Shamans, they would be staying in the area for some time. Best get to know the prime areas of hunting before the men could beat her to it. That was one of the things she loved about her people. Men and Women alike were viewed as equals, shared duties, and swapped responsibilites. But Freeta was a natural born tracker, one of the best any Tigris tribe had ever seen. The hunt was in her blood. She had never taken a spouse nor had she born any children, there was never any interest in it for her.
Started out for the exploration, she had settled into her tracking regime and by mid day came upon something most unsettling...
Freeta looked up, the sky was getting dark. Too dark to track the creature much further. She could tell by the tracks that it was hurt and she could feel its pain, a gift of her kind. She could tell it was a large cat, a tiger perhaps? The tracks didn't quite match up with those of the black cats of the south...what was a such a creature doing in this area, she wondered. The Cats were native to the southern regions, rarely going so far north. She was sure this must be a Tiger of some sort and she could feel she was getting closer.
This tiger was determined, it moved as though it was in desperate need to reach its destination. Though for the first time in years, Freeta was not able to discern where this animal was headed or why. It frustrated her and fueled her desire to find it. It's need was pressing into her heart, painful, almost like a heart breaking at a profound loss.
As she searched in the growing darkness, she heard a faint mewling sound. She moved slowly, carefully so as not to give away her presence. The fear was shot into her so suddenly, she nearly reeled backwards. The tiger had picked up her scent and now knew that she was approaching. It was afraid of her, afraid that it could not determine what her motive was for following it.
Freeta began to see the tiger, it was slowing. Finally, it dropped to its side, panting heavily. It could go no further and Freeta saw the blood seeping out from the underbelly. She saw the fear and the furtive looks being cast about her from the Tiger, as if danger lurked in the growing darkness behind her.
As she edged her way closer, she felt a wave of relief and recognition. The tiger was familiar to her kind. She found herself breathing a sigh of relief herself, not realizing that her anticipation had mounted to greatly in her quest to reach this animal in need. She could now offer her help openly. She looked closer at this creature and saw there were distinct differences between it and ordinary Tigers. The markings were different, and she was so large. In all her travels, Freeta had never laid her eyes on such a creature. The griffins would be disheartened to know that a cat being could overshadow them in size. Where had this one come from?
She again heard the mewling sound, it was not coming from the Tiger but from somewhere else.. In shocked realization, Freeta saw that the tiger was nursing and that a cub was peeking out from some nearby bushes. The cub was tiny for its age, that much she could guess. It waqs even tinier than that of the tigers she was familiar with. Freeta looked back at the Mother and saw a soft, wise pair of yellow eyes starring intently back at her. She was being beckoned, the Tiger needed her for something... something other than what was obvious. The medical attention was secondary in the mind of this Tiger. She was being told to sit and listen, and to understand....it was a conversation she would never forget.