The Jasiri & Sare Story
Jasiri left the cavern just as twilight was falling. She always thought the lands looked most beautiful at dusk. The vibrant colors of sunset still painted the skies, though they had faded from pinks and reds to various hues of purple, but the sun's harsh glare no longer assaulted her eyes. Padding out onto the promontory, she noticed a figure cast in shadow, sitting still like a statue and staring out over the lands.
She recognized Sare, with his lean figure and tall, proud posture, his spine erect and his shoulders squared. It came as no surprise to see him there, for he had sat in the exact same spot every single night, for as long as Jasiri could remember. But the boy had changed with time--no longer was he the sullen little cub, or the reclusive, shadowy juvenile he once had been.. Though Sare remained antisocial as ever, he had grown into a fairly respectable lion. His mane had filled out to cover his neck and shoulders with fine, wispy strands, and even trailed partially down his back. It wasn't as full or luxurious as that of his father or grandfather, but Jasiri found it unique. Little did she know that there had been some whispers around the pride that, despite his lighter coloring, Sare resembled his great-great uncle Scar in an almost uncanny way. Jasiri had never known Scar, and had only been told bits and pieces of his history with the pride, so she remained somewhat oblivious to the resemblance, and instead found Badali's son to be handsome in his own way.
"Hey, Sare," Jasiri greeted him, as she made her way toward the trail.. Every night for the past several moons she had given the same greeting, and every night the conversation had turned unfailingly in the same direction. Jasiri would say hello, Sare would nod his head and grunt. Jasiri would smile cheerfully, in a friendly manner, and Sare would nod a second time, and then turn his face away. Jasiri would then proceed down the trail and out toward the hunting flats for her nightly stroll. It had nearly become a ritual in and of itself.
But the lioness nearly tripped over her own paws, this evening, when Sare turned toward her and replied, "Good evening, Jasiri." Halting in her tracks, Jasiri hesitated and then turned toward the lion, padding slowly in his direction.
"Um, how're you?" she asked, attempting to strike up a real conversation, since he had actually responded with real words.
"I am well..." said Sare, and as he watched the lioness approaching, he even attempted to force a smile. So uncommon, it looked strange on his thin, rat-like face, and Jasiri struggled very valiantly to repress a giggle. Always perceptive--Sare did much more observing than actual participating in the daily activities of his pride--the boy noticed the gesture and looked down at his paws.
Feeling almost guilty for a moment, Jasiri moved closer and sat down beside him, settling back onto her haunches. "Hey, um... do ya wanna join me for a walk?" she offered, both in an attempt to cheer Sare up, and out of genuine hope that for once he might accept. He never had, in the past, so she had always walked alone.
"Yes. I would like that," said Sare, and he got to his paws rather abruptly. Blinking, Jasiri rose as well, her maw splitting in a wide grin.
"Great!" she said, and headed toward the trail once more. Sare began to follow, but then he halted, frowning.
"Wait, I... I must..." he mumbled, and looked back over his shoulder, intense brown eyes scanning the boulders. He squinted in the dying light of day, trying to make out the second shadow that he knew must be there, somewhere, nearby.
"Is something wrong?" wondered Jasiri, hesitating again and waiting for Sare with her tail flicking idly.
After several long moments of silence and searching, Sare seemed to give up, and gave a resigned shrug of his shoulders. "No... no, I am quite all right, I assure you." Turning his back to the rocks, he followed the princess down the trail.
A second pair of brown eyes, hidden in the gathering darkness, watched them depart.
See Chapter 2 | Chapter 3