The mid-summer sun blazed in the sky, gripping the southern grasslands in one of the worst droughts of the year. The waterhole was shrinking day by day, forcing the parched animals to salvage what little they had.
On cloudless night, the Elder Gazelle called a meeting. All of the grassland animals gathered around the pitiful puddle that the waterhole had become, prey and predators alike.
All eyes were fixed on the Elder Gazelle, silently begging for his wisdom. “As you all know, our primary source of water is suffering from the heat. You are gathering here tonight so i can choose the three who will form the group. The group will journey to the pridelands and seek assistance from King Simba and Queen Nala.” He scanned the crowd for a minute straight, then finally he spoke. “Tomo, Shairi, Zyru, step forward.” A sandy-brown lion muscled his way through the throng, and stood by the Elder, followed by a lithe cheetah and an African wild dog.
The lion’s mane was a creamy brown, and his eyes were a striking amber. His shoulders were broad and muscular. His white claws caught the moonlight, making them shine as bright as stars.
The cheetah’s sky-blue eyes shone with excitement and determination. Her spot-dappled pelt was a pale yellow, and her white paws were caked in mud from recently crossing where the waterhole used to be.
The African wild dog’s deep green eyes gleamed with pride. His mottled pelt blended with the shadows.
The elder Gazelle turned to the lion. “Tomo, you are fierce and strong. I expect you to help defend your friends.” He then rested his gaze on the cheetah. “Shairi, you are agile and swift. Use your abilities to help your friends get the upper paw.” Finally, he looked over to the African wild dog. “Zyru, your senses are as sharp as your fangs. Use them to help warn your friends of danger.” He stepped back, and addressed the crowd. “These brave animals are the ones who will save us. Let us all wish them luck on their journey.”
Tomot felt a sharp jab in his side. “Hrm?”
“Wake up! Shairi’s waiting!”
Tomo raised his head at the sound of Zyru’s voice.
“Wha...oh right...that.” He muttered. Blinking weariness out of his eyes he rose to his paws, and slowly followed Zyru out into the dawn light.
The pale paws of light pushed against the distant hills, the bright head of the sun gazing across the land as it ascended. Small white clouds dotted the vast, brightening sky, like sheep on a field. Tomo tilted his head to admire the pink-orange skies, inhaling the crisp morning air. He turned his attention back to the white tip of Zyru’s tail vanishing behind a cluster of boulders, and padded after him.
The smooth, sandy ground became pebbly, sharp rocks jutting out of the ground here and there. A few stunted trees clung to the boulders, their branches waving weakly in the small breeze. A scrawny mouse scuttled past, it’s ribs visible under it’s ruffled pelt. Suddenly, a shadow loomed over the morsel. Squealing, it dashed for cover, but too late. A lean figure flew from a rock, killing the weak critter with a swift bite to the neck.
To be continued…