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Courage Doesn't Always Roar

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Great are the disciplines of honor and respect. Held by few, and disregarded by many. There were the leopards who held these virtues upon their shoulder, and kept them like the stars. With humbly bowed heads they pasted their leader, who without, their honor would be lost to wars. White were their coats -the purest of colors- that matched their hearts.
~

A fire blazed into the night sky, and one by one the leopards laid down for sleep. Their leader watched from the trees, her coat as white as the moon, seemed to shine. Sleep pulled at her mind, numbing her thoughts, and slurring her vision. She watched as the last of her tribe fell into sleeps waiting arms, only then did she too surrender.

She awoke four short hours later to screeches, and cries of anguish. From her tree she watched in horror at the sight below: her beautiful family, their home, was being torn to pieces by flames. The tribe that she had built was being destroyed by the thing that had murdered her mother and father. She leaped from her perch into the sea of fire, she batted at the flame trying in vain to stop it from going further. In desperation she cries out to her tribe, flea to the forest, she says, go. And because they held her up with such respect, they obeyed. They left everything, and ran.

Then there was only silence, and the crackle of flames. She heard it, small and soft, a small whimper. Her eyes searched the flames frantically, there, she could see it now. The tiny form of a cub, lying on the ground, and through the flames she was off. Ignoring the heat that melted her skin and burned her pelt. She reached the cub, and saw that its mother lay next to it. Her heart pounded, and her breathing was hard, as if she was inhaling water.

She lifted the cub onto her back, and grabbed the scruff of the mother’s neck in her mouth. Desperation fueled her body, the heat ripped at her face, scalding her eyes. Never would she forget that color, the yellow of the fire. Forever it would stay in her eyes. She dragged the mother to the edge of the clearing and into the trees as far as she could. When she could move no longer she cried out for help.

She could now feel the heat coursing across her fur that was turned black as night by the flames. Her breathing became ragged, her body screamed in pain, and yet she managed to grip to the thin shred of life. She could barely see through the smoky haze, but she could see the faint outline of cats emerging from the trees, gathering around her and the others. The mother was dead, she saw that now, but it had been her duty to return her to her family, even if it was a lifeless body she brought. The cub was breathing, just barely, but enough for it to survive, and it would.

As her tribe surrounded her, she looked at them one last time, taking in their white fur, and green eyes. She saw each of them, and remembered what it was like to be their leader. The respect they granted her, the honor of which they gave for her to rule them. In her thoughts, it was enough, they were enough. Enough to die for even, and that is what she had done. With a last breath she gave them her blessing, that they may uphold their honor and courage, and respect all who walked the world. And the last of the life came out of her, she let go of the fraying thread to the world. It was her time, her duty was done, her honor had been kept.
~

The fire was gone, only ashes remained. Each cat returned one by one to the site of their old home. They rolled through the ashes and covered their pelts with ash. Their furs became black in honor of their leader who had died for their own. Their eyes were seared as yellow as the flames, so that they would never forget what it meant to be part of the tribe. They respect, they honor, they always will.



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Serendipity_Pen said...
May 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm:
Wow!! I loved it!  It was a very creative approach to explain why felines, specifically leopards, are so intelligent and honorable (Well, not including a few domesticated cats ~.^  )
 
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Phoenix1253 said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm:
this is absolutley beautiful! great story!
 
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