March 4, 2002 - What can be said of the Celestial Volcano?  It is peaceful, a warm place to stay that guarantees a fresh hunt and a respite from the woes of the outside world.  Isolated and protected by strategic points, we live in an idyllic world sometimes.  Bellies full, time to lounge and play, and relative safety are luxuries we enjoy on a daily basis.  It is an accomplishment that any lion would be proud of, and I am proud of it.

But sometimes I forget that there are those not as fortunate as we are.  I was doing my rounds outside the volcano when I came upon the scent.  Evidently, she'd been there for a while since it was so strong, but I hadn't been in the area outside the volcano enough to detect her before.  I found her this time, a lioness using an old den outside.  We had an unusual meeting, to say the least. I've never quite seen a lioness so calm and collected when she's found trespassing.  Fortunate for her I did not intend any harm.

I managed to convince her to join us in the Volcano at least for a rest.  She was leery at first of entering the 'fire mountain', but I pointed out that I had not been singed at all.  When she arrived, the amazement took over and I think she was smitten with the lands. Fresh water was a small blessing, and she lapped it up with the eagerness of an excited cub.  Hajima met her, and I was pleased that the little caracal was around to advise me.  I've not quite met a lioness like her before...her name is Shira.

March 27, 2001-  Well, after much time together, Keiro and I had to part ways.  We've shared a lot in the last daily cycles, and learned much of each other.  In some respects, I feel like he is a kindred spirit.  He's told me of his pain, his insecurities, his dreams and wishes...all the things that make a young lion's heart ache and burn.  And I remember them, they are very true even up through adulthood in many ways.  Now, he and Nabana are headed back for their lands.  

Do I feel sadness?  Oh yes, most definitely, but I think I'll make sure that they are suitably away before expressing it.


March 5, 2001-  More surprises headed in my direction.  Apparently, I've gained some sort of reputation as an individual who can make the difference in the lives of troubled adolescents.  A young lion by the name of Keiro appeared in the Volcano the other day, claiming to have been sent by the lion Nabana.  It has become my duty to instruct this young lion in the ways of living in a pride, and being a king.  My initial impressions have been good, which leads me to a hopeful sentiment.  After the whole Shafala mess, I was beginning to feel my confidence wavering a little.

After spending some time with Gesten in his lands, I have returned to the volcano.  It was nice to get out for a while, but it is also nice to be back home.  I did meet Azizi, a cute young lioness that absolutely loves manes.  She slept in mine the whole time while I was there, and I didn't mind.  It felt good to have that importance again.  As for the volcano, Balana is still around, making me smile with her antics.  I also saw Hajima the other day, and the caracal seems fine.  Life is rather good right now.  


February 12, 2001-  How surprising is this?  My old son-turned brother Gesten has come back to spend some time in the Celestial Volcano!  Combined with Balana, this is a most welcome reunion; one which I have looked forward too for quite some time.  Gesten seems happy and healthy, if not just a little crazy.  But then again, I'm not quite the king of sanity either, pointed out Balana.  She was lucky that she wasn't pounced and tickled by us both.

I also saw Miakoba!  She came in with Hajima and this was fantastically exciting for me.  I hadn't seen Mia in so long that I felt tears come to my eyes as she laid her head in my mane.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that.  And get this!  She has cubs now!  Three of them!  And I am so happy at the prospect of coming to visit them that I can't keep my tail still.


January 22, 2001- It's good to be the king, even if the pride isn't exceptionally active.  I stopped smelling hyenas for a few days, but suddenly it came back.  I'm not sure what to make of the whole situation, but I do admit that it is beginning to make me apprehensive.  It's like they are there, but I can never see fighting hyena ghosts.

On a much brighter note, Balana, my beloved daughter has returned to the volcano.  My joy could have killed us both.  She looks more and more like a lioness than ever before, and I can see it in her eyes.  It's not hard to see that she's been through a lot.  I'm hoping that a little fatherly love and some cubhood memories will clear that up right away.  It certainly is doing my heart good.


December 5, 2000- It's been quiet around the volcano, a blessed change.  Shafala has been banished from returning for almost two weeks now, and the two guards have not reported his return as of late.

However, with the end of one sadness another begins. I have recently begun to scent the presence of hyenas on the winds as I do my daily rounds.  This cannot bode well for anyone, pride or no pride.  No hyena packs have been seen around the volcano in a long time, and I have reason to worry that this group might prove to be unusually strong.


November 3, 2000- I've been suffering from a sudden age-attack, it seems.  The longer the day goes on, the more and more I begin to feel my age.  It is rather frustrating, especially when so much of the world seems like it needs guidance, to suddenly be in a position where you feel like you can do nothing.

Speaking of guidance, Shafala has been around and about every once in a while.  He confuses me sometimes, considering how he has a tendency to swing violently from being angry and virile, to a sniveling cub all in a matter of seconds.  I wonder if he he really wants to learn anything in the first place sometimes.

I saw Miakoba again for the first time in a while.  It was good to see that she is doing well.  I worry about her, especially since she is one of the few cubs that I ever get to see again.


October 19, 2000- Shirrah entered the volcano the other day with a rabbit in her maw.  I could have burst with joy to see the triumph in her face, the pride, and the inkling of hope that had once been nonexistant.  She hunted, and successfully at that.  Perhaps now there is more hope for her injury to get better.

As for Shafala, he showed up next to me the other night with cuts on his body and patches of grass thrown into them as if he'd rolled around.  I was disappointed.  No...I was angry.  That young lion does not seem to understand that wishing and angstfully wanting something means nothing.  Only with self discipline and work do you get better, incessant whining only turns those who care about you against you.


October 10, 2000- I don't quite know why, but Shafala returned to the Celestial Volcano.  He looked horrible, beaten, quivering...a mess.  I did not wish to help him initially, and how could I?  After his attack, I've been reeling for the last few cycles, unable to even think straight.  And now he's back, begging for help as he's done so many times before.

Zemka did poorly by him...a strong and loving heart corrupted by itself due to lack of proper guidance.  I am ashamed that my son would produce such poor progeny.  But I could not turn my back on him, and bade him rest while I figured what to do.  In his state, it would have been nothing to end his existence once and for all.


September 25, 2000- A most unfortunate event happened a while back. Shafala, the troubled young lion that I have made my best attempts to train, has betrayed my trust in the most serious way possible. Upon returning to the Celestial Volcano after a period of wandering, we came into direct conflict over the result of his future. Unable to determine his life due to his adult status, I deferred to the lessons taught beforehand. 

He confronted, and we fought. 

When the primary dust settled, I held Shafala's neck in my trembling jaws. A simple surge of pressure would have easily eviscerated his throat and ended his life. But I could not bring myself to do it. He slunk away, cowed but not down. I sank, both agonized in the heart at what was done and crushed by the falling weight of another truth.

In all my time in the Celestial Volcano, this has been the only challenge made on my lands. It fills me with an ancient fear and sadness.


September 4, 2000- The Celestial Volcano pride has dwindled again, leaving essentially Shirrah and I as the sole remaining members. As I get older, I ponder whether or not to force a new pride, or whether I should fade into the darkness as I have been secretly wishing to do for so many seasons...



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