Kyera turned looking back at Talis, she could feel his tension from across the bridge. In all honesty, she couldn't blame him. Once this bridge was crossed there were so many dangers beyond the Fire Ring. Traps could be hidden beneath any patch of leaves, or hunters behind the thick tree trunks. It was easy to hide in the shadows, and no one know that better than the tiger. Humans had learned some of tricks but didn't understand the most important teaching of a tiger to her cubs.
Danger starts the moment you leave the Ring, upon that first step. Every shadow could hold a enemy, and every tree a net to catch and hold. Never pass a shadow without sweeping it with your eyes and nose first, and never take a step beyond the ring without testing for traps. If you fall prey and have not done these things it is your own folly that caused your death, not the hunter who laid in wait or Trapper who placed the snare. You knew the danger before you went walking there.
Kyera knew his fears, first steps out of the Fire Ring were terrifying, especially when you don't know what to look for… what to expect. Knowing he would need to balance himself, she centered, looking back at him and tilted her head. Softly, she chuffed at him, her airy rumbles pulling at his attention. At first he continued to stare out at the woods beyond, his instincts to turn back to safety. Kyera roared softly, not quite loud enough to scare but enough to break through his thoughts. She knew he heard her when his eyes snapped to hers, boring into her soul. Several moments passed as they connected, Verone waiting patiently behind.
He had never had this experience with Kyera, however he had seen it once or twice before. Those brilliant eyes could pull the most frightened kitten out into the depths of the abyss.
Talis took a hesitant step forward, one paw resting on the bridge and Kyera took a slow step back, her chuffing noise raising louder as she encouraged him to cross the bridge. She turned slowly and took a few sure footed steps forward. Turning her head to shoot him a daring look, Kyera roared playfully, enticing him to follow her. Seeing her carefree confidence he seemed to relax a tad, Something Verone had never seen before. Kyera reached his fears and banished them with her own confidence in him. Talis finally seemed to realize that his path was clear and leapt over the last few feet of the log. Kyera's cat form smiled as she bumped heads with him to show her pride.
"Your young, but you beat the instincts deep within. Just follow me, as long as I lead you will be fine." Kyera assured her voice more a purr than words in this form but he was able to understand. Talis nodded, ready to continue on and a bit annoyed that his fight or flight reflex was so strongly leaned toward flight. There was a certain sense of excitement at what they would find beyond.
Verone padded across the bridge and sighed at his little brother before bumping into Talis' side with his shoulder. With a jerk of his head, Verone reminded him to follow as Kyera started off into the woods. It was a longer track and they could lose her if they fell too far behind. He nodded and followed, his eyes watching the ground ahead.
Verone chuckled at his watchfulness. Kyera was right, he was just too cautious to completely trust even her eyes. However, he had grown leaps and bounds in just a hour under her wing. It was time for his kid brother to take his place among their kind. The only question left was whether or not he was truly ready for what lay in wait.
Things are about to speed up... Chapter 50 isn't far off now. I hope y'all enjoy this.
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