Episode one of Pride Of The Savanna!
Hope you like it!
I like SavanaTribe. I really do. I mean, a whole bunch of cats living in a giant tribe? Awesome!
I live in one of the smaller neighborhoods. You see, SavannaTribe is one really big camp. It’s where all of our dens are, and everything. Our borders, well, we don’t really have any borders. There’s no other clans, or tribes, or anything to compete with, so we basically just hunt where we want.
Of course, there are places that we avoid because they’re dangerous, or something, but we don’t go around marking borders. Buffalo will not gonna respect borders.
Speaking of buffalo…
Here comes Buffalohorn. Joy and happiness.
He’s a jerk. He yells at kits to get out of his way, and gets angry at every cat when they don’t come back with enough prey.
He’s that cat.
And, you know, we’ve hated each other since we were kits.
“Hey, Cedarwing! Stop napping and do something helpful!” For the record, I wasn’t napping. I was weaving tallgrass to fix a den. Of course, he wouldn’t understand that. He never learned how to weave.
“Ok!” I yelled back. “How about I bop your ears? It would help me.” I know, I know. It sounds mean. I’m not a mean cat. But Buffalohorn sometimes makes me snap.
“Ha ha, very funny, Cedarwing. I’m just delivering a message. Elkfoot says that you and Brightsun are going to the Capital to get some more brambles.”
Hm. Elkfoot is the head of our neighborhood. Our small little camp inside a much, much larger camp. As for Brightsun, she’s my sister. Very energetic. Optimistic.
And I know I said that there isn’t any competition, but we still need protection. There’s snakes, crocodiles, cheetahs, warthogs, jackals, and sometimes gazelles. A confused zebra can be a problem, but a good bramble usually sends it off.
And it also helps that all of our mini-camps are disguised. You won’t even see it until you get close. Woven grass keeps it from preying eyes.
And then there’s the Pride. I shook my head, willing myself not to think about that.
I turned around, flicking Buffalohorn in the nose, and padded back to my family’s den. I poked my head in. Brightsun isn’t there, classic, but my mom, Whiterose, and my dad, Cloudstrike, are there.
“Cedarwing! I thought you were going to the Capital!” My mom looked suprised.
“I am.” I told her. “But I can’t find Brightsun. Do you know where she is?” She thought for a moment, but it was Cloudstrike who answered.
“I think she’s getting fresh-kill for the elders.” I nod, and back out. I head for the elders’ part of our mini-camp. I passed cats sharing tongues, laughing, and chatting. It was peaceful here in Sunrise (it’s named that because you get the best view of the sunrise if you climb a tree that’s next to our mini-camp.
I found my sister coming out of one of the elders dens.
“You’re welcome!” She calls back in. Then she sees me.
“Hey Cedarwing! I just heard that we have to go to the Capital! Exciting, right?” I shrugged.
“I guess.” I said. “Personally, I’d rather not travel for a day just to get some brambles.”
“Yeah, but we get to go to the Capital! I mean, the University is there! And the Grand Market! And the Barracks! And the-” I cut her off there.
“Let’s just get going.” She hopped around as we headed for the entrance to camp. We padded along in silence, walking the path through the savanna tallgrass, heading to a main path that would take us to the Capital.
I gazed across the flat, wild lands. Even though we were technically walking inside SavannaTribe camp, some parts of it were wild. No one wanted to settle a mini-camp in some places.
We got to the entrance of another mini-camp. It was bigger than Sunrise. Two guards flanked the entrance. I gave them each a brief nod, and Brightsun and I forged on.
We passed through a number of mini-camps, some big, some small.
We stayed on the main roads, for the most part. But once, I caught a couple words in two cats’ conversation.
Strike force. They whispered. The Pride. My eyes widened. The Pride was scary to anycat, but less so to me, because I lived in a small camp, not big enough to attract the Pride’s attention.
The Pride is a pride of lions. They prey on SavannaTribe, stealing our food, ransacking our mini-camps. Sometimes wounding, or even killing us. But no cat has died in moons. Scratched, or bit, sure. But hey, I want to scratch and bite Buffalohorn sometimes.
As for the strike force…every moon, a group of cats is selected to try and find out why the lions are attacking us, and stop them. Sometimes, they come back with less than they had. Sometimes, they don’t come back at all.
But no one from Sunrise has been picked since, well, ever. We’re just too small, and SavannaTribe too big.
At that moment, I provided a nice distraction from these thoughts by running into a tree. Just my luck. Almost no trees in the savanna, but there has to be one right in front of me.
Brightsun is trying not to purr as I get up.
“Let’s go.” I try to pretend nothing happened.
It’s not hard to distract Brightsun, because we’re here. One of the Capital’s entrances. We’re caught in a line to get in. Everyone is always trying to get into the Capital. A dozen guards prowl the entrance. I don’t know what they’re looking for, but they make me nervous, nonetheless. But we get through. Once we’re in, all I can say is, “Wow.”
There are no other words to describe it. More cats than I’ve ever seen in one place pad around, going in and out of University, talking with families in the housing areas, doing drills at the Barracks, and trading for literally everything at the Grand Market. I see the giant Capital den, a bunch of dens connected together to form one giant one with many rooms, and stuff. It’s pretty awesome.
Brightsun is almost vibrating with excitement.
“I wanna see everything!” She meowed. “The University, the Barracks, the Grand Market, everything! Come on come on come on!” And she was gone. Just like that. Crazy.
“Hey.” I stopped a cat who was carrying a mouse. “Do you know where I can rent a den for the night?” He nodded, not wanting to drop the mouse probably, and pointed a with a paw towards a section of dens. I thanked him, and went on. I rented a den with a mouse I had brought, and then went to find Brightsun.
Knowing her, she would probably gravitate towards where the most cats were; the Grand Market. I found her chatting with some other she-cats, and I let her be.
I found a stand that had brambles.
“Hmmmm. How much for…say, five fox-lengths of bramble?” I asked.
“Dunno. Watch’a got?”
“Um. A mouse?” I bargained. He shook his head. “Uhh.” I was seriously underprepared. Then Brightsun ran over, and handed over two more mice, and a pretty rock.
“How’s this?” She asked.
The shopkeeper shrugged, and gave us five fox-lengths of spiked bramble. We thanked him, and went on.
“How did you get the mice?” I asked.
Brightsun winked at me. “I have my ways and means. So what can we see first?” She asked.
“How about the Barracks?”
“Sure!” So after leaving the brambles at our den, we headed for the barracks, where Fighters were training. Fighters can be used as guards, they keep predators away, and they’re usually the ones that are picked for the strike forces.
We went to the University next. We weren’t allowed to go in (Brightsun almost cried) so we went to see what we could trade for at the Grand Market. We traded our last mouse for some feathers, and then managed to trade those for two mice. Then traded one mouse for a snake’s fang, and traded that for another mouse and a bird.
I didn’t even know what we were going to use all these mice for.
So we traded them all away for a rose, which are super rare in the savanna. Once we were done ‘shopping’ we went back to our rented den. We made sure the brambles were safe, and then we fell asleep for the night.
In the morning, we started walking home, dragging a slick piece of wood with our brambles on it. When we got back, Elkfoot was saying something to the whole mini-camp.
“And so, for the first time ever, someone from Sunrise had been picked to join the Fighters, and be part of the strike force.” She was meowing. And yes, sometimes the people on the strike force do ‘t have a choice. But the cats in charge aren’t mouse-brains. They know what they’re looking for. I was hoping that it would be Buffalohorn.
“And the cat chosen is…Cedarwing.” Everyone looked at me.
I may have fainted.