Stories by: Mirri

The Tall Tails of Catwood

Chapter Zen

Mirri sleepily slaps the alarm clock a few seconds before it was supposed to wake her up. She has been lying and watching it for the last half hour, counting the seconds.

The young tigress throws the blanket off her and gets up, stretching out slightly in her daily morning ritual and looks around in the dim lighted room. She smiles dreamily at a newly framed picture on her desk of a very handsome lion, smiling back at her. Kesonam gave her that a few days ago, it was obviously the best picture of himself he could find.

Mirri grins to herself and finger kisses the picture, ”You handsome devil, you.” She slips on a clean skirt and is out the door, heading down to help her mom with breakfast.

After about half an hour it is her daily duty to go wake up her brother so he can come down and eat. Dad usually wakes up himself a few minutes after her, so he is not that much of a problem. She knocks twice on her brother’s door before opening it and yelling at the cuddled form under the warm blanket, ”Up and at ‘em, Tika.”

The form turns to face the wall instead and mumbles something about a cold floor. Mirri usually is not that rude, but today she just feels so happy inside and not even a sulking brother can ruin her mood. She elegantly dances over and yanks the blanket away from him with a grin, but this time making sure he notices what she is doing in time to cling to it and make himself roll out of the bed as she tugs violently.


”Oww.. what’s wrong with you!?!”

Mirri just giggles and huddles the blanket together in her lap, leaving her brother exposed to the cold morning air and aching on the floor, ”Time to get up. I’m not telling you again.”

Tika rises to his elbow and rubs his back, ”What’s with the big smile? We win the lottery or something?”

The tigress shakes her head and tosses Tika his loin cloth, ”Nopers, just that this is the last day before the weekend and I have biiig plans for the three days of freedom before school starts again.”

Tika rises to his feet so slowly that you would think he was carrying the burden of the world upon his shoulders and gets dressed, ”So.. may I ask what those big plans are?”

They both walk down the stairs for breakfast and Mirri sniggers secretly, ”I’ll tell you later.”

Tika hates that giggling-age girls have to go through.

The morning ritual of breakfast, small talk and getting lunchboxes is quickly over and the two find themselves on their way to school.

”So, you wanna tell me what you’re doing in the weekend or not?”

Mirri flicks an ear and scratches her paw at an annoying insect, ”Well, if you must know..?”

”I must, I must.” Tika dramatizes.

”..then mom and dad are out of the house for all three days. They’re going to the sandy beaches on the other side of the jungle. And I have invited Kes to our house and he’s sleeping over. Coolies, no?”

Tika nods a bit, ”I s’pose so. What are you two gonna do all weekend?”

Mirri scritches her chin, ”Well, we were thinking of watching some movies.. stuffing ourselves with food that’s bad for you.. training a bit.. go hunting.. lie kissing and fondling in front of the fireplace.”

Tika’s jaw drops and he almost trips over the tiny rock on the walking path, ”Sis!!!”

Mirri giggles and bats at her brother’s whiskers, ”I’m KIDDING!”

The leopard shoots her a sideways glance, ”I sure hope so.”

The tigress just smiles the rest of the way, but Tika keeps looking at her oddly. Mirri takes comfort in the fact that her brother is unaware of the conversation in the kitchen before he woke up:

”Mom?” Mirri stands beside her Mika and smiles a bit nervously, head bowed slightly, one footpaw stepping on the other and paws behind the back to produce a generally timid look.

Mika frowns slightly, ”Yes, hon?”

”Well.. I.. uhm.. was wondering about.. something..”

Mika puts the knife down and gives her daughter her undivided attention, ”And what would that be?”

”Well.. umm.. I’d like to invite a friend over this weekend?”

The leopardess just glances at her oddly, ”What friend?”

Mirri sighs and stomps in the floor a bit, impatiently trying to get her mother to realize what she wants to ask her, ”You *know*. That friend... the lion we had over last weekend?”

Mika’s brows raise slowly, not really seeing the big fuss about this, ”Ahhhh... okay, well, sure. I’ll add another dish on the table and we’ll have Tika borrow a mattress again.”

Another heartfelt sigh, ”Mooom.. Why do have to sleep with Tika? Don’t you think I could sleep in the same room as Kes now?”

Her mother nods slowly, feeling a bit peculiar inside. This is one of the conversations she had partly been waiting for for years, and now that it is finally here, it seems all too soon, ”Well.. um.. yes, I guess you can, sweetie.” She nods earnestly, ”I’ll have Tika pull a mattress into your room and Tika can sleep in his own room.” She winks and drags her daughter close in a hug.

Mirri just blinks and awkwardly hugs her mother back, ”Uhh.. thanks mom.”

Mika finally lets go and smiles at her for a few silent moments before returning to her cooking, ”That is, unless you both want to sleep in your bed?”

Mirri giggles and turns a slight shade of red, her ears turning back and forth in embarrassment, ”Uhm.. don’t think that’ll be necessary mom.”

Mika smiles and fuzzles Mirri between the ears, ”Okay. Now you have a good time this weekend, okay? You have the whole place to yourself. Hmm.. come to think of it, you could sleep in our bedroom if you want to? The bed is easily so large that you won’t have to lie near each other if you don’t want to.”

That seems to fit Mirri’s ideas perfectly. Lots of space so her parents will not get too worried, and she can still lie cuddled against her mate all the time without anyone knowing about it, ”Yeah, sounds even better. Thanks.”

Mika leans down with a confidential air and whispers, ”And if I were you, I’d also get something to occupy your brother with.”

Mirri nods and winks, ”Way ahead of you. I rented three movies already.”

Tika bats at his dreaming sister’s shoulder, ”Hey, what’re you thinking about?”

Mirri blinks a few times and smirks slowly, ”Nothing, Tika. Just.. pondering.”

”Yeh? Just don’t blow a fuse or anything.” They reach the school grounds and separate as usual.

The day seems to just fly away for both of them even though they look forward to the weekend, and before they know it, they are walking back home together.

”How was your day Tika?”

The leopard shrugs, ”Oh, it was a blast. The classes just seemed to glide by.” He stops for a moments and frowns softly, ”Gee, I hope we weren’t supposed to learn anything important today.”

Mirri grins and leans against his shoulder as they walk, ”You’re staying home all weekend?”

”Where would I go?”

”I dunno? How would I know what you’re brooding in your free time.”

Tika sighs softly and guesses that means the only one to talk to for him this weekend will be Senajit.

Mirri runs around frantically from her room to downstairs and up again to the bathroom, ”Oh my, he’s coming in a minute. Oh, I look awful. Gotta wash up before he gets here. No wait. Have to clean my room first. No. I’m more important. No wait. He could just wait in my room while I take a shower. Room is more important.. on the other paw, I could take the shower now and he could help clean the room.”

Tika sits on the vaulting horse in the training room and watches the blur of stripes run around in panic with amusement, ”Decisions, decisions, huh sis? You gonna make a choice soon or what?”

”Don’t rush me!!”

Tika grins and shakes his head, ”Why don’t you start with the cold shower first and then see if you have time to clean the room?”

That was all she needed, someone to make the decision for her, ”Yeah, that’s good!” She zips out into the bathroom and throws herself in the shower. Tika slowly slides off the horse and moves into his room, actually considering for a moment to do his homework. No, he is not *that* desperate yet.

Kesonam knocks on the hatch to the second floor a few times before opening it, ”Helloooo?” He steps up onto the blue mat beside it and walks over to Tika’s room, knocking on the door a few times before looking in. Tika sits and throws what looks like a big orange space hopper against the opposite wall from his bed with a pouting look, his fur still has not dried completely from the shower, but at least it is not wet enough to leave stains anymore.

Since Tika does not even deign to look at the lion, Kes continues into the next room where Mirri is busy putting things into drawers and generally tidying up her room, ”Oh, hi love. Just trying to make the place remotely livable.” She moves over to lick at his muzzle in greeting and he returns the kiss, wanting to hold her against him, but she is off cleaning again before he gets the chance.

”Hrm.. what is Tika so happy about?”

Mirri drops the pretty stone in her paw that she was about to put away, ”Who? Oh, Tika.. well.. he, umm.. I don’t know really. Better leave him alone.”

Kesonam nods slowly and sits down on the bed, dragging his duffel bag up to his feet, ”Okay.. so, where do I sleep?”

Mirri throws herself down on the bed beside him, grinning, ”Well, that’s the beauty of it all. Remember I told you my parents were gone for the weekend? Well, they let us sleep in their bedroom. Ever been in there?”

Kesonam shakes his head, ”Don’t think so.”

”It’s huge and beautiful and.. well, you’ll see. Just throw your stuff in here for the moment and we’ll look at it later. Right now I’m hungry as a four-mouthed Tarillo, so we better go down in the kitchen and fix something to eat.”

No sooner said than done, the two are buttering bread in the kitchen as if it was an Olympic discipline. Mirri’s head is buried deep in the fridge, ”You want some Salami with that?”

Kesonam moves over behind her and looks into the fridge too, ”Yeah, whatcha got?”

”Umm.. lessee.. we have Gredolian?”

”Not if it smells anything like the animal it’s made of.”

”Then there’s Rovarkion?”

Kesonam frowns, ”How the heck do they catch enough of those to make a whole salami??”

Mirri giggles, ”No idea. How ‘bout Gh’llkaren?” She grabs one salami and stares at it in disbelief, ”Wril’ageno!?! Ewwww, gross!”

Kesonam grins and grabs the salami out of her paw, ”Coooool.. I’ve always wondered what an animal that feeds on raw sewage tastes like.”

The tigress turns her torso to grab it and throws it back in the deep bowels of the fridge, ”You’re disgusting, Kes.” She blinks and spins around again as the sight she saw has finally seeped in enough to register in her mind, ”SEN!!”

Kesonam turns around and sees what Mirri seems so agitated about: Senajit is on his hindlegs and standing up against the kitchen counter, happily gobbling up all the half-finished sandwiches as quietly as he can. He jumps down and smiles innocently at both, but starts backing away at Mirri’s angry stare. The tigress barely has time to open her mouth before the tiger twirls around and bolts away upstairs to hide in Tika’s room.

”Stupid animal.” Mirri grumbles and ponders for a moment whether she should go upstairs and set fire to his tail or something.

”Maybe he was hungry? Did you remember to feed him?” Kesonam suggests.

Mirri just rolls her eyes, ”He’s *always* hungry. If we gave him food every time he begged for it he’d be so fat he couldn’t even roll over. He hardly gets any exercise, so we can’t feed him that much.”

Darkness falls over the jungle and tries to engulf the Catwood residence too, but it is kept at a distance by the dim light in the living room where Kesonam and Mirri lie cuddled up in the sofa-like beanbag and licking at each other’s muzzles. Tika sits by himself in a beanbag beside the two and sighs, seemingly the only one who is watching the movie, ”Hey, you guys mind keeping the slurping down a bit? I’m trying to hear the gunfights.”

The kissing couple just ignores him and rolls around to shift positions for gods-know-what-time-again.

”Geeez.. it’s not even a romantic movie! Hey, you guys mind if I take the rest of your popcorn?”

”Mmmmmsmack.. yes, Tika.” Mirri manages to get out in the brief moment her mouth is not covered by the lion’s muzzle.

”Then stop me.” *snatch* Tika munches away and just turns up the volume as the others continue what they are doing.

All good things come to an end, as does the movie. As the credits roll past the screen, Tika yawns and looks over at the two, ”That was okay. Except when that guy tore the monsters head off, that was pretty cheesy.”

Mirri smiles and sits beside her mate now, both watching attentively, ”I thought it was good.”

”Oh, PLEASE.. I’d be surprised if you could even tell me the name of the main character.”


”Well..?” Tika smirks as the two look at each other, but there is not help to get from either one.

”Makato!” Mirri shoots.

Tika raises a brow, ”How’d you know? You didn’t even see the movie.”

His sister giggles and cants her head at him, ”Oh, PLEASE. All strong, handsome, fearless, gun-slinging, fast-talking space explorers who fight monsters the size of small country’s name is Makato. Makato Hunter or Makato Shadowrunner or something like that. Seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all.”

Tika snorts offended, ”That’s just because you’re too stupid to see the differences.”

”Don’t make me cream your butt, Tika.”

Kesonam who has cleverly been keeping out of the sibling rivalries until now, rises to his feet and smiles to both, ”Well, should we call it a night?”

Mirri gets to her feet and follows Kesonam through the living room as they head for the stairs, ”You coming, bro?”

”Naw.. I’ll just stay and watch another movie, you two have fun.” Tika remarks dryly and grabs the untouched bag of sweets.

Mirri swallows and flicks her ears nervously, ”Shut up, Tika!” Is the first thing that flies out of her mouth and she proceeds to hurry off with the puzzled Kesonam before her brother embarrasses her again.

Tika just chuckles to himself and digs into the remains of the popcorn as the two go upstairs. For some reason right after they have left the living room Senajit is quick to join him, purring and rubbing against the leopard’s legs. The tiger lifts his head to look up at him with that expectantly anxious expression in his face and blinks at him attentively, ears perked high and twitching at every little noise both inside and outside the tree house. Tika grins and tosses the tiger a treat, which he swiftly snatches out of the air, then inclines his head slightly to the right and against the ground as he chews on it almost violently, tossing it backwards and further into the mouth with each chomp. The leopard watches with delight as his animal friend fights down the sweet.

”And don’t feed Sen!” His sister’s voice booms down across the living room just before she closes the hatch to the second floor.

”Of course not!” Tika yells back in a somewhat offended tone and flings another sugary treat at the happily obliging striped being in front of him, ”You think I’m stupid or sumthin??”

”Don’t make me answer that.”


The hollow sound of the massive wooden cover as it closes rings through the almost devoid living room. Tika sighs and makes little circles in the air with the next sweet to indicate the tiger to roll onto his back if he wants it. Senajit follows the encircling paw with his head and eyes, then just tilts his head and stares strangely at his master, almost looking as if he is frowning at him. His stare is retorted by the leopard, who cannot believe a tiger can be this ignorant.

Tika tries the more playful approach and does the circle thing again, while grinning and wiggling to get the tiger’s full attention, ”Sen, roll over.. C’mon boy, roll over.. C’mon, roll over. C’mon... c’mon... roll over when I tell you to, you half-witted waste of fur!”

Senajit just glares even more oddly at him and starts cleaning his whiskers with a paw, seemingly unaffected by the angry shouts. Suddenly he looks at something that appears to be right behind Tika, the tiger’s face twists into one of sheer terror, whiskers lower, ears lie down flat against his head and his eyes widen to the point where they look as if they were about to pop out of their sockets.

Tika gulps as his entire form seems to shrink a bit in the beanbag, ”Uh.. heh.. what do you see, boy? Something scaring you back there, hmm?”

Senajit turns tail and hides behind the adjacent beanbag. Tika swallows the lump in his throat again and slowly, veeery slowly turns his head to see what scared the tiger out of his wits. He is ready for anything, trying to remember all the combat training he got, but it all seems to fade away in the background as the chilling sensation rushes up his spine.

He turns the remaining few degrees with a jerk, just waiting for the enormous foul-smelling monster behind him, black as the deepest pit of hell, to club him senseless and rip his stomach open with its foul-smelling, venom-dripping razor claws. He can see in his mind how just one slash from the hell-beast will send his ribcage flying and have the demon feast on his entrails before it falls to the ground again...

A light shove is felt against his paw as Senajit noses the treat to the ground and quickly swallows it before Tika’s brain has time to realize he has been had. He turns back to the tiger, then back to the monster that is not there, then back to the tiger again, ”What the? Why did? What did you?”

Tika blinks, ”Why you little..”

Senajit sits in front of him, paws neatly tugged in under his body. The tiger smiles so innocently that Tika is nearly blinded by the halo over his head. The member of the ‘superior’ species just blinks at his tiger friend in disbelief and his jaw drops open a bit. The only response he gets is the usual smug smile of the tiger as he waits for next round.

Tika bares his teeth and points into the kitchen, ”Bad tiger! Go to your blanket. Go on. Go.”

His head is bowed in submission as Senajit slowly pads up the single step to the kitchen, into the backroom with the stairway and lies down in the dark spot where his worn blanket rests under the stairs.

Tika shakes his head and digs into the bag of sweets, ”Try to outsmart me, will he? Heh, you’ll be lucky if anyone ‘remembers’ to feed you tomorrow.”

Upstairs the two furs go paw in paw into the bedroom and Mirri sits down on the bed while Kesonam looks around, his duffel bag in the other paw, ”Dang.. this is like another house. I had no idea the bedroom was this big.”

Mirri smiles, ”It’s only about a quarter of the top floor actually..” She looks around, ”But quite roomy as you see.”

The lion looks around silently in awe. The bedroom is done in a very natural look, the walls consist of almost exclusively unpainted wooden planks, making the room resemble the inside of a wooden cabin and making it smell pleasantly of fresh pine. It looks like a really comfortable place to sleep, rest or simply to be in. The wooden planking of the floor before the bed is partially covered by a circular mat, woven of fine fabric into complex patterns. Maybe Mirri’s mom did this, maybe not. Kesonam does not know, he just knows it looks fabulous. A few drawers and a set mirror occupies most of the southern wall, most likely containing the parents’ personal belongings and most likely the one place you would not want to be caught red-pawed nosing through.

Kesonam advances on the large, nearly panoramic windows set in the outer walls and due to the obvious lack of neighbors out here there are no worries that others should peek in, which is most likely the reason why there are no visible curtains or anything. The tremendous tree seems to conveniently splay its leaves and branches around the windows, but never right in front of them. Mirri smiles, unnoticed by her mate as he presses his nose to the window and takes in the spectacular view from up here over the entire jungle. He has seen it before from the other rooms of the house, but never in this twilight darkness where the final setting sun just barely allows him to make out the contours of the lush tropic jungle underneath them.

”Wow...” Seems to be insufficient to describe it, so he tries again: ”Wooow...” No, that did not do it either.

Mirri moves up beside him and wraps her arm around his waist, ”Beautiful, isn’t it? Hey, watch this.” She moves over in the corner of the room beside the bed, which we are gradually coming to, and clicks something on the night table. A low humming noise comes from the ceiling as the large shutters covering practically the entire slanted roof glide to the side to reveal the skylight. The blackness of the sky unfolds on the roofing, stars twinkling into view one by one until the window covering is gone and leaves Kesonam staring breathless up at the inky sky.

”Oh my Gods...”

Mirri chuckles and moves up beside him to hug from the side, ”My mom and dad like to just lie on the bed and gaze at the stars for hours. I hear that’s what they did before they got us.”

The lion’s body appears to have ceased all activity, not even the tail is moving as he overwhelmed gawks at the skylight, ”This is too much..” He finally manages to whisper. He had always thought as this family as a bunch of half-primitive furs with little money since they had to build their own house in the top of a tree, but now he can see why. He is also quick to notice that the skylight consist of just four immense windows with the special kind of glass that casts no reflections whatsoever, and therefore offers an absolutely, perfectly flawless view of the dark sky even with the lights on in the room as they are now. Those things cost a fortune.

There are no visual reactions from the lion before Mirri gets impatient and pokes between his ribcage to tear him back to reality.

”Huh? Wha?”

”Wake up, Kes.” She smiles and lets go of his paw as she slowly lies down on the bed, looking up at him and tilting her head.

”Uh, right.” He stammers and blinks a few times before the bed comes into focus. There is no better word for that bed than ”huge”. It dominates the room fully and is constructed out of wood in the same style as the rest of the room, it has luxurious sheets made from what looks like tiger, leopard, jaguar, fox and lion skin. The pillows and the comforters are similarly styled, giving the bed as a whole a most soft and inviting appearance. All except the pattern of the linen.

Kesonam sits down a little uncomfortable, ”Did they skin all the children they had before you two to make this?”

Mirri giggles and tugs at his arm, ”No, silly. They’re just fake skins. My mom colored them herself; look pretty real, don’t they?”

The lion nods and smiles at her as he rubs her cheek slowly with a paw, ”Yeah.. your family is really something else..”

The tigress smiles up at him, doing her best to hide her nervousness, ”And me..?”

A nod, ”Yeah.. you’re really special too.” He leans down to meet her muzzle in a kiss of almost fiery proportions, which ends with Kesonam finally moving over her and stroking his paws down her slim sides without breaking the kiss.

Mirri pulls back and blinks up at him, unable to hide her uneasiness anymore. She has dreamed about this moment countless times, but she is just plain scared now, ”Kes..” She whispers hoarsely, ”I’m not sure if this was such a good idea.”

Kesonam draws back in surprise and raises a brow, baffled about the way she said that, ”Why not? We can just sleep at opposite sides if you want to. But I thought you wanted me to snuggle you asleep?”

Mirri does not say anything, she just lies very silent in the star-lit room and feels a bit silly, ”Well.. yeah..”

Kesonam’s head moves over to lick across her whiskers, ”I love you.”

Mirri starts purring, much against her will, but finally gives in and wraps an arm around his back underneath the blanket. She closes her eyes and leans up to lick her mate’s ear gently, ”I know..”

A few relatively silent moments pass where Kesonam merely concentrates on nuzzling her throat and keeping her close to him. The lion wraps his paws around her and just enjoys the warmth of her bright, silken fur against his, he cannot keep still like this for long, however, and soon his paws are rubbing down her belly and sides, delighted with the beautiful striped fur, luxurious to the touch. Mirri just lies purring happily as one of Kesonam’s paws move to her head, starting to carefully remove the strands of her hair out of her mouth and off her face. He sighs softly and just looks at her blissfully. Mirri feels she ought to do something and slowly opens her eyes to look at him. She reaches her paw up and traces it over his cheek and up to his left ear. The following lick across the side of his neck makes Kesonam feel as if a thousand little felines were grooming him all over.

Mirri feels a lot better and sits up slowly, leaning over him and frames his face in her paws as she kisses him deeply. Her lips move over his gently at first, enjoying the feel of the black edge of his mouth, then the intensity of the kiss increases as she craves the taste of him. Kesonam is not really sure what it going on here right now, but he is sure not going to spoil the moment by asking. He keeps his eyes open to see what is happening and moves both arms around her neck to try to hold her in place. Not it seems very likely she is about to move away anytime soon.

Sadly, felines also have to breathe once in a while, so Mirri pulls her face back and smiles down at him, not sure to do with all the happiness that is bubbling up inside of her.

Kesonam breathes deeper and smiles back at her with the same kind of silly happiness, ”I have something for you..”

She rolls to his side and curls up next to him, breaking out in a big smile and breathing in the delicious smell of his fur, ”Something for me? Ooooh. Let me see. What is it?” She perks an ear with interest.

Kesonam rolls to his side to face her and still feels warm and fuzzy all over, a very nice sensation. Burying his muzzle in her soft hair he inhales deeply, his nose picking up all the scents around him: the wooden walls, the colored sheets, the jungle outside, and the sweetness of his mate all add to the pleasant atmosphere in here. The lion turns his head to stare directly into her eyes and gives her nose a quick kiss, ”I’ll show you.” He ducks over the side of the bed and goes through his duffel bag, his tail lashing behind him.

Mirri giggles and sniffs the air curiously for clues, ”Whatcha got?”

Kesonam chuckles and pushes back at her belly with a paw, ”Patience. Close your eyes.”

Mirri sits back obediently on the bed and closes her eyes, smiling. She can sense Kesonam move back up to sit in front of her and he pokes her shoulder, ”Okay, you can look.” She sees him open his paw slowly and reveal... a ring.

Mirri tilts her head, her eyes sparkling as she takes in the strangely soft, green, stone-like substance of the thing. Not very much unlike dark jade, but still different in some ways. It is crafted as vines entangled in themselves, ”Ohhh, it’s beautiful...” She takes it carefully at first, weighing it in her paw and judging it to be pretty solid. It is much too big for a finger, but looks a bit too small for a bracelet too, ”What’s it for? I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Kesonam smiles a bit shyly for some reason, ”Well.. umm.. I hear it’s kinda like a tradition from the lion tribe my ancestors came from. It’s called the Ring of Lovers and it’s supposed to fit on a tail. It symbolizes the love of your mate, eternal, spiraling and never ending in the same place when it curls around itself. According to legends and stuff your mate is supposed to put it on.”

Mirri grins and hands it back to him, lifting her tail up beside her at the same time, ”Well then...?”

Kesonam swallows and blinks his eyes slowly, ”Ahem, well, you’re supposed to nuzzle and warm the tail a lot so it becomes soft enough to squeeze the ring on. It’s supposedly very sturdy and won’t just break or fall off, but it might hurt a bit putting on.”

Mirri scrunches her nose and wrinkles her forehead as she thinks and then turns her gaze from him to her tail, ”Hurt? How much will it hurt?”

Kesonam grabs her tail.

She eeps softly and shifts her weight a bit. Kesonam merely smiles and purrs comforting to her, ”It’ll only hurt for a moment when I squeeze it on. How far down do you want it to be?”

Mirri looks down at his paw and to her tail, ”Uhm.. well.. as far down as possible I guess.” She resists the urge to close her eyes and attentively watches what he is doing.

Kesonam licks her cheek, ”Don’t be afraid..” He starts rubbing her tail with both paws, rather roughly. She tries to relax a bit, his paws moving up and down her tail rapidly soothing away her fears. He speeds up, rubbing firmer and quicker now. Quite some time passes, she has no idea how long, but her tail starts feeling numb now and she thinks she could actually fall asleep like this. That is when Kesonam suddenly stops, forces the ring as far as he can down her tail and successfully gets it stuck about a foot from her tailbase. Mirri *swears* he is pulling the skin off too, and if her tail was not numb before it sure is now. She clenches her eyes and murmurs, ”It hurts.. hurts..” as she clutches her tail protectively to her chest.

Kesonam wraps his paws around her in a hug and grooms at her neckfur gently, ”It’s over now..”

Mirri nods silently with her face hidden against his chest, asking in a muffled voice, ”What is the point of this again?”

Kesonam smiles, ”I hear it’s to symbolize the pain we will go through in the name of our love.”

She lifts her head with a sniffle and smiles at him, ”That’s really.. romantic.”

The lion giggles, ”Yeah.. and you know the best part?”

She shakes her head, and a smirk slowly creeps across her muzzle as Kesonam produces another one, slightly bigger and jet-black. Without hesitation she grabs it, his tail and starts rubbing. Kesonam blinks, ”Y’know if I didn’t know any better I’d say you’re looking forward to this..”

Mirri giggles and rubrubs, ”Just try to relax.” She repeats the procedure she saw and forces the ring down to about the same distance as hers is, only difference is that lion tails are more pointed and while it slips easily over the first part, it hurts even more closer to the tailbase. Kesonam grits his teeth and clutches the blankets with his paws, ”Arrrgh..”

Mirri giggles and kisses his cheek, ”It’s over now.”

He opens his eyes and looks down at the gleaming ring, exhaling deeply as his tail trickles in pain, ”Oww..”

Mirri pushes him to his back rather sudden and forcefully, ”And now to complete the ceremony.”

Kesonam blinks dumbfounded up at her and slowly catches on, ”Umm.. yeah..”

She leans down and their muzzles meet again in the most passionate kiss they have had so far. It is the kind that Tika would have rolled his eyes at and asked them several times when they were done. They both keep their muzzles locked together for as long as they can, and Mirri feels is if her very soul is being caressed, teased and lovingly kissed. Her body goes still, Kesonam thinking she passed out on him, but he does not dare draw back.

”That way she will not notice a thing when she comes to”, Kesonam thinks to himself.

But Mirri is indeed partaking, although at a different level of consciousness. Words can never hope to describe the emotions overcoming her right now, even her body has shut down at the extreme feeling of unbridled love that claws through her heart, but she is still alive. Somewhere...

The tigress opens her eyes again and starts breathing once more. Kesonam finally rips his head away and gasps for breath. He would have thought he could hold his breath much longer than she, but apparently this is not the case.

Kesonam exhales deeply and wraps his paw over her chest to hold her close, ”Wow..” He drags her close, her back against his furry chest and his arm around her protectively. Neither of them speaks a word after this, and Kesonam is the only one whose heart and mind is still racing. He only caught a glimpse of the divine condition Mirri was in for all this time. None of them know it yet, but the lion’s unselfish love at this very moment just blasted open a gateway inside Mirri that would have been the most restraining and hardest to get through in her future quest to become a great mage. He expanded her consciousness in a way that no scholar has yet found an explanation for, let alone a term for yet. As long as they are side by side, Mirri’s abilities to learn will practically be unlimited.

The exhaustion of having conjured a doorway to another reality shows as Mirri’s slightly strained breathing disappears and is soon replaced by cute little snoring sounds. Kesonam opens an eye and looks at her, smiling as he notices her sleeping, ”Night, Mirri”, he whispers and holds her against him.

They both beat their personal records by falling asleep within less than a minute, cuddled snugly and safely against each other...


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