The cub mewled in its sleep. Freeta dared to take a quick peek into her wrap to be be sure the cub was still nestled comfortably against her. They had to move quickly. She was still not sure who it was that was hunting the little guy. She only knew that she had to get back to her people, to determine what should be done with him. She thought then of her Grandfather. Yes, the Shaman would know best wouldn't he?
She was still dumbfounded. Why was she chosen? She knew nothing save for how to hunt and live amongst her peers. She was content with her life, there was no need to change that. But the previous night's conversation haunted her like the plague.
"Do you know what I am?"
The voice penetrated the thoughts of Freeta as she looked at the mother and her cub. It took a moment before she realized the implications. The question had been placed in her mind, not spoken aloud. "I'm not sure." she said aloud, looking at the Tiger, " I've not met a Tiger of your kind before." Her hands were busy preparing a poultice to apply to the wounds of the Mother. She worried heavily that it would not be enough to save her though and what then would become of the young one? Freeta had no experience in that area, she did not relish the thought of raising this cub herself.
She again her the voice in her head, " I am from the line of the Guardians. You are very skilled to have found us, no ordinary tracker could have without the use of magic. It is why we are being hunted. You understand what a Guardian is don't you?"
Freeta stopped her hands momentarily. She knew what a Guardian was. It was told as legend across their campfires when the nights were alive and the children were prancing around anxiously. These stories the tribe children treasured and they coveted the story telling so that they may take them to dreams in their slumbers. No one had seen the Guardians in hundreds of years. They were said to be the protectors of sacred things, closely knit somehow with a bloodline of the leain faries, and they were regarded as some of the most powerful beings in the land. Her mind was searching for more information, she knew that there was more to this story. What was it? hmmm..Ah! She remembered now. Her Grandfather once said that a Guardian will only come when the world is dying and in need of them. This caused her to frown, Freeta knew there were some things to be wary of in the worlds of the other races...but a Guardian? was there really such a need going on here in her land? She let her hands finish applying the poultice on the Tiger and allowed her thoughts to wrap around this new thought.
"You are right to be concerned. Guardians do not let themselves be known until the time is right. You were meant to find us. Now, you must listen. I have chosen you to complete what I cannot. My son, Lagashan, is very important to all the races- but he is coveted by those who seek power vainly." The tigress imprinted on her mind. "He mustn't be found by these hungry individuals."
"I don't understand. What could I do?"
"Lagashan needs your protection and your guidance Freeta. You must take him where he is needed most. It will be a long, dangerous journey as your eyes have witnessed with my current state of being." The Mother laid her paw on Freeta and gave her a long, searching look. She was entrusting her son's safety with her. "Please take care of him. The fate of so many rests on his shoulders."
And without another word, the Tigress drifted off and became still with no breaths left in her body. The wounds she had were more than Freeta could heal. The cub inched closer to his mother, nudged her several times with his head and mewled softly as though to wake her once again. He turned to Freeta and his eyes pleaded with her to bring her back. The pull she felt in her heart was more than she could bear and so she scooped him up, held him close, and tucked him inside her wrap. She would take him to her people. He would be safe with them for now. She pushed aside the sorrow she felt and began gathering her things. There would be no time for a proper burial, Guardians would be coveted by some of the most dangerous creatures in the land, she must move quickly if she was to get Lagashan to the safety of her people.
She thought anew of the task given to her. She was not equipped to carry it out, she was sure of it. She needed some guidance and counsel, but from where? Who would be able to instruct her on the ways of a Guardian when no one had seen them in a great many years. She knew at once the first place to start to find answers would be with her Shamans. They would know what was needed. Until then, she knew with an uncanny certainty that she must get this young one to her tribe before the next nightfall.. time would quickly be running out.