eight_or_eleven: (Looking down)
All things must come to an end.

Looking at the four white lions—two male and two female—she knew that this time had come to its own end. Leo Minor desired that her children should return home, to take their proper place amongst the stars.

Some of them older siblings, likely.

A tear slid down her cheek. She'd come to know and to love them all. Fundisho, Ndia, Utani, Nuru. They'd grown from tottering cubs to majestic adults, white as the first snows of winter.

By the gods, she was going to miss them all.

Unless. Leo Minor had decided that Strength had done a commendable job and permitted one of her children to stay behind.

I hope so, she thought to herself, as Shujaa nudged his muzzle into her hand.

We must go; she does not wish to wait.

"I know. I just..."

She sighed. This would be their last day at the castle, and she wanted it to last.

Remain this way forever.

"Forever" isn't something we get to enjoy much of, even if we do last forever.

"Right."

We go. She waits.

Once again summoning the bridge connecting all the worlds of the divinatories, she stepped out into that vast star field, feeling as though it were only yesterday that she was here last.

Welcome, Strength of the tarot, Leo Minor said in her resonating voice. Strength could swear that the light of several stars seemed to flutter and dim before restoring themselves. Much time has passed.

"And yet, very little has," was Strength's reply. "For us."

Indeed.

Leo Minor seated herself down, though there was nothing about that seemed to be supporting her body.

Come forth, my children, the lioness said without preamble. Let me see you.

All but one of the lions Strength had with her strode up to their mother.

Ah. You are all big and strong and well. I approve.

Stength felt some of her anxiety and her bittersweet sadness abate, but only a little. There was still the verdict to be delivered.

The verdict she hoped would be delievered in her favour, but, from the look on Leo Minor's face, and the ones on the cubs...

You have done well, Strength, but alas, what it is you seek is not to be. I am sorry. Leo Minor spoke again, and though Strength had a resolved expression, there was a hint of sadness about her.

Leo Minor continued on.

The time has come for you to take your place in the heavens, to watch over and guide all those who seek it from the celestial kingdom.

Suddenly, the cubs began to glow, their bodies shrouded in luminosity.

Was this how they became stars?

Curiosity overrode her sadness—this was not something she had ever born witness to before in all her life.

Ndia strode up to his mother first. There was a nod from him towards Leo Minor, and the glow that surrounded him became blinding, as it swallowed his corporeal form, and he shot up and away towards a cluster that gathered together to welcome him.

One more to light the way; one more to blow away the darkness.

Fundisho stepped foreward, and like his brother, was transformed and sent to take his place in the starscape, quickly followed by Nuru.

Only Utani seemed to hesitate. Strength wondered why she did. Did she not wish to become a star herself?

Surely there is no greater honour? Strength silently wondered.

Star daughter, Leo Minor said, also having noticed the reluctance. What causes your hesitation?

Beloved mother, Utani said, voice full of respect, Brothers, sister...

The lioness' voice trailed off. Her siblings were all calling to her, telling her to come forth and join them.

No, she said. No. No. I wish to stay here. Not in the playground of the Stellar People, but here, with the one who has nurtured me until this moment.

You desire to stay with Strength?

Beloved mother, yes I do.

Utani turned to look at Strength who was trying not to appear too hopeful, lest Leo Minor overturn her daughter's choice.

But free will was the law everywhere in the Divinatories' world, and it was no less true in the Star Kingdom.

Very well then, but know that your choice is permanent. You will not be able to join your brothers and sisters, even if you desired to. You will walk the terrestrial worlds, a wandering star unable to ascend to the heavens above.

Utani did not look as though she regretted her choice.

You may speak to them, and they to you, but you will always be apart.

And lonely? Strength silently said.

Never lonely, Shujaa assured. She has us, now.

Us.

Thank you, beloved mother.

The pair was now officially a trio.
eight_or_eleven: (Windswept)
She stood in the middle of a vast star field, speckled with stars and galaxies and nebulae of all kinds. It was strange, really. Here in the depths of space there was nothing to stand on. Rather, she looked like she was standing on something very invisible to the eyes of all.

Suspended in space.

Even the lion, who paced a little, awaiting the arrival of Leo Minor.

The Great Lioness would know they were there. All the Star People knew whenever someone entered their world.

Strength just had to be patient. Like Earthen cats Leo Minor liked to take her time in matters.

And given the immortality of the divinatories and their kin, well, Strength had time to wait too.

A stellar wind picked up, ruffling the lion's mane and blowing Strength's hair every which way, creating an odd sort of halo about her head.

"She'll come Shujaa. And then we'll know if she has cubs."

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October 2012

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