|Dark Flower Romance
Author: Revamp PM
Given as a sacrifice to make peace among lion prides, Zahra finds herself face to face with rebel lion Tajara. Can she melt his icy heart or are their paths doomed in a fatal collision? Review and reviews will be returned.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Angst - Chapters: 4 - Words: 14,192 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 02-03-13 - Published: 12-30-12 - id: 3087422
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: It's time for my weekly update on this story, just as I have promised. In this chapter, Zahra and Tajara interact. It's mostly a dialogue chapter, so you're just going to get a lot of interesting characterization. Enjoy!
Dark Flower Romance
Book 2: Wicked
Written by: Melissa Norvell/Revamp
"Bride?" Zahra recoiled, a look of horror and shock crossed her visage. "Oh no…They didn't!" She said to herself as her anxiety piqued. Panic filled her body and she could feel her heart pounding so much that it was as if it was sounding in her eardrums. The very thought that they would just dump her off anywhere like this in her sleep was frightening, saddening and it felt like betrayal. She was a member of Savresh's pride. How could they treat her that way? Was it because she inadvertently defended Tajara? Was he truly that horrible of a lion that made his name unspeakable? She didn't even know about the legend or of his infamy, much less much else of what went on in Gir Forest. The only point that the young lioness was even trying to make was that there were two sides to every story. Now Zahra was forced to pay for her life-changing thoughts. She found herself staring into the ice cold eye of the very death of her ancestors.
Tajara frowned sternly. This was not what Savresh had told him would happen. In fact, he was a little peeved that Zahra reacted the way that she had. "I take it you're an unwilling subject?"
"What? I don't understand what's going on here." Subject? What in the world did he mean by that? What was she supposed to be a subject for?
Something was definitely up now. Did they plan this out before hand? If that was the truth, then maybe it wasn't because she inadvertently defended Tajara but because of something else? Could this have been planned for a while? What if it was planned before she was even born? Now her mind was just running away with itself. Zahra really needed to stop and think clearly. As soon as she calmed her speeding heart down. If she wasn't careful she was going to give herself cardiac trauma of some type.
"Do you know Savresh?"
She looked to him, straightening up her posture. The lionesses' voice was laced in suspicion. "Was he the one who brought me here?"
"Savresh told me that if I left Gir Forest, then he would give me a bride." That was their original pact; however, the white lion was slightly misled into believing that his bride to be was going to be a willing subject, and not a scared, young lioness that didn't have a clue as to what was going on.
Tears clung to her brown eyes. Zahra felt as if someone had stomped on her heart and ripped it to shreds. The blazing pain in her chest spread to her limbs. Of all of the situations she could have been in, this was quite possibly the worst outcome. "Are you sure it was Savresh?" At this point, her feelings picked up pace from panic to sheer disbelief. "Please tell me that it wasn't. I mean, I could understand if it was Karobi. She hated anything I said that sounded like I defended you but Savresh…no…no…" The cinnamon lioness shook her head over and over, as if to rid herself of this moment in time, or that Savresh could even be a possibility of the one who abducted her and brought her to this den of hell.
"I'd be half curious if you didn't sound so ungrateful." Honestly, this lioness treated him as if he were the most horrible thing on earth to be around. If this was the bride that had an open-mind then he didn't want to see the one whose mind was closed. Zahra was acting like a little cub instead of a dignified lioness that showed any amount of pride.
Zahra lay down, burying her head in her paws as she wept. "I didn't think they'd really do it. Savresh was my father." That last bit of information was what made this blow all the more painful. Karobi was of no real relation to her, but Savresh and Sultana were her parents. Never in a million years did she believe that they would just sacrifice her like they had.
Tajara arched an eyebrow, unmoving from his position. "So that's it. Heh, they're still the same as they were when I knew them."
The only sound that could be heard during his words was the sobs of his bride to be. Looking upon her with his cold eye, the white lion decided that it was time to give her some tough love. "No amount of tears will make them care enough to come back for you."
"This can't be real." Her voice was muffled from beneath her appendages.
"You're a puppet on a lonely string. You should know that you have no option but to turn your cheek for the sake of the show. You can cut the strings but that is your decision. It seems your parents like to cast away their problems instead of facing them." It was a trend in more ways than one, unfortunately. Zahra was merely a fragment to the whole puzzle behind her parent's motives. Tajara felt sorry for her in that aspect. However, convincing her of the true antagonist would be more than a long road to travel and the terrain was more than rugged.
Lifting her tear-stained face, she looked to the majestic one with a gaze of worry. "What are you going to do with me?" The uncertainty was killing her sentiments, and right now if she could avoid it, Zahra didn't want any more emotionally devastating blows.
Tajara took a couple of steps towards her, his gait slow but powerful. "You want to be my bride. That is what you will be, but I want you to understand that this is simply a role, a purpose in life that is fulfilled. Mates are purely there for companionship. Survival. An equal partnership. Mating was never about love."
The very dialogue and meaning of which made her blood run cold. It was as if she was in a relationship with a horrible, unfeeling monster. So, he would never love her? No matter what happened? That was just cold. It was all too much to bear.
Zahra just wanted to cry again.
She lowered her head and frowned in sorrow. "You make it sound so cruel."
Tajara walked around her in long, loping circles. "It's merely the truth. When your brain is overwhelmed with the desire to mate, you're not thinking with your head. Most of the time, you aren't even thinking. The desire to reproduce is so strong that it consumes you like a burning flame. We are fulfilling a basic urge that has been in existence since the first lion was birthed into the world. It's a release from those feelings, that consuming urge. We give each other what we need. That is how it works." No matter how much she would try to romanticize it, or make it sound like a beautiful love story, it was not. She should rid herself of such nonsensical crap, because that was not what the true mating seasons were about, nor was it what being someone's mate was about.
"So, you're saying that this isn't about love?" Zahra asked in a quivering voice as she sat up and watched her potential mate prowl around her. "That we shouldn't try to have feelings for each other?" This wasn't what she wanted. This was not her idea of a good relationship. It sounded more like abuse and manipulation.
The white one paused, closing his eye he chuckled slightly to himself. "Heh, I'll make this very clear. From this point on, you are marked as mine. You. Are. Mine. That is an undisputed claim. It is my right as a male to protect you. If anyone dares to touch what I have, I will kill them on the spot." That was a promise.
She nodded in defeat. "I understand. I guess I don't have a choice."
That blue eye, rimmed with a thick, black outline opened. "Don't make it sound so horrible. It's like I'm going to abuse you." He snorted at the very accusation.
"I want to go home."
"You are home. This is your home. Don't you get it? They sold your soul to me. I can't believe how stupid you're being." Tajara stalked up to her, nearly getting in her face. This one had a lot to learn. Even so, he was shocked that the real message wasn't registering to her brain. How dare she wish to go back to a place that so easily got rid of her. It was stupidity of the highest degree that she would think of doing such an asinine thing.
"I'm not being stupid." She argued. It was only natural to want to go home. Even if the lions gave her to him, there had to be a reason why. More than anything, Zahra longed to talk to them, to talk to him and see why he would so selfishly sacrifice her to Tajara. There were two sides to every story.
"Then what do you call it when someone tries to go back to those who cast them out?" Tajara pressed.
"I'd rather be with them."
"You're with me now."
"You're creepy and mean." Zahra shot back. She had to defend herself or the white beast was going to stomp on her feelings more than he already was. He was so cold Antarctica's temperatures failed in comparison.
"Tell me something I don't know." He had heard it all before. In fact, he had been called far worse.
"I don't love you." Nor would she ever if his promise of "love" was just companionship. That was not at all what she wanted.
"It's mutual." He couldn't make someone feel anything, nor would he try.
Zahra frowned, her sorrow turning to anger as she shot to her feet and growled. "You idiot! Why did you take me as a bride if you don't love me?"
"You wanted me away from your precious pride. That is the cost of your sacrifice." After all, she was doing it for them. No matter how lowly they may have been.
That blow felt as if her heart had finally torn in half. The tears came back, cascading down her fur and matting it to her face. "You stupid jerk."
"Why don't you stop crying? You just look like a fool." Tears were unbefitting of his bride. Not to mention, they were uselessly shed. It was not as if her loving father cared about her if he so quickly arranged for her to end up at his den. If anyone was the heartless jerk, it was him. No matter how bad his legend was, that was far lower.
Obviously, Tajara was missing the real point of her tears. "If you take someone as your bride, it should be because you love them. You just told me that you can't ever love me."
This subject again? He thought he explained it, but he would do so again, since she was being hard headed. "I took you as my bride under Savresh's rules. That's why we're mates. You'll submit to me when I want you to. I'll do what I wish to you, regardless of the feelings behind it because you are my mate. I have to make this clear to you."
"So, you you'll never love me?" Was that truly the fate that she was to be doomed to? If so, then Tajara truly was the heartless beast that her pride claimed him to be.
"I'll be your mate-"He was cut off.
"You still don't understand." Was he truly this dense?
"What am I not getting?" For once, Tajara really was confused at her cryptic round of inquisition.
Zahra glared into that ice-blue eye. "I want to love you eventually. I can't deny that. I don't even want to. I want to make it work; make the best of the situation. When we're together…I want…I just want you to…" Curse it all. She was breaking down and giving into her emotions again.
"What? Be nice to you?" That wasn't his style.
The lioness shook her head lightly. "I don't want to feel like your slave."
"We're mates. I will treat you as such. I think that you have delusions on what you think constitutes for being mates. You do not have to be in love to be someone's mate." By definition, a mate was someone who complimented you, a life partner. There was a bond that only mates held, and it was not based on love. Once Zahra understood this, she would appreciate what he was telling her now.
Zahra slowly walked into the den with her head down. "I want to just…think about things. Go away."
"I don't even know your name." Tajara took a step towards her retreating form, but then decided not to push his luck too far with her.
"It's Zahra, now go away."
"This is my den." The white one noted.
"They'll come back for me. I just know it." As much as Zahra didn't want to acknowledge it, by now she had become delusional, wanting so desperately to believe that her pride knew that they made a mistake. No matter how far she was from the truth, the lioness wanted to live with that blow-crushing faux statement; it lightened her already hard blow.
A low rumble was emitted from the white beast's throat at her statement. If that was what she chose to believe, then it would only hurt her more in the end with each day her pride did not show up for her.
"I deserve better." She murmured from within the confines of the den.
That was just crossing the line. His large, white claws dug into the earth as he shook with malice. "You ungrateful…" Tajara growled. This young one was really trailing his patience.
"You're not one of us." She added to her round of verbal blows.
"You're still a puppet." He stalked into the den and stared her down.
"So?" Zahra pouted with her back turned to him in a hunkered down, submissive posture.
"You are my mate. No matter what garbage comes from your mouth." Maybe beating her down with a possessive statement would help her realize not to talk to her superior in such a hateful tone.
"I don't understand." She never did. Zahra didn't know how to respond or what choice was right. She just wanted him to go away.
"I have a question."
"What are we?" This was still a topic on her mind. She wasn't sure if she wanted to believe her pride was coming for her, or to believe that there could be some sort of relationship between her and Tajara. Which answer was right? Zahra shook her head, praying that he would not dignify her with another cold answer as he had repetitively before.
"What kind of question is that?" Didn't he just answer this a multitude of times? How many times must he repeat himself?
"Does this make us friends?" If there was no love, then what was it? She was honestly confused.
"Ugh." How irritating. She still didn't understand what constituted as mates.
"I want to know." Zahra turned around and mustered the utmost look of honesty.
"Whatever you want." There was no use in even trying at this point. The outcome was going to be the same no matter what route he took.
"Could you love me?" She was afraid to ask it again. Zahra knew it was like asking a hunter to drive another bullet into her already bleeding heart, but she hoped and prayed that his answer would be different, that the icy barrier around his black heart would melt at least a little and expose the tender flesh that made him a living creature.
"We're mates. Be happy with that." Instead, the blow came again, but more cryptic than before.
"I want to know." The white lion came closer, so much that she could feel the warm exhale through his nose. Closing her eyes he came closer still, the fur on their bodies danced as he brushed against her, gently nuzzling the side of her face. She repeated the phrase bolder than before, which caused him to pause. "I know that you don't really love me." His affections meant nothing, no matter how rare of a moment it was for him. Actions were hollow unless there were feelings behind them. He already stated that he would not love her, therefore such actions were deemed meaningless.
"Love is subject to opinion." He said, keeping close to her and making no further moves. To justify that action with any more affection would prove deceptive.
"So, I'm just your prize? Jerk." Zahra turned her head away in anger.
"You are my companion."
"That's not what I mean." They were back to square one.
"But, you don't love me."
"I don't have to love you. Maybe one day, you'll get that." She really knew how to take his words out of context.
Zahra said nothing; just shot him a hateful glare.
"Mine to kill. Mine to have. Mine. You. Are. Mine."
The lioness gave up this verbal argument. Lowering her head, she sighed. "Fine."
"You still don't sound satisfied."
"I could have guessed."
"Tell me something, Tajara." Looking thoughtful for a moment, her hate-filled visage melted away to a skeptical one.
"Hm?" He socked his head slightly. What possible barrage of insults could she have for him now?
"Why did you do this?" As long as they were staying in the same quarters, Zahra wanted to at least find out about his legend. Was he truly a monster, or was the pride of Gir Forest wrong? Did he murder her ancestors? If he did, then why did he do it? Was the rumor true or were they all filling her head full of delusions?
"Why did I do what?" That was a broad topic of accusations. She would really simplify her question, or at least be more specific as to what exactly he was being blamed for.
"Why do you kill my people? Why did you kill Bhim, Hafiza and Shefalika? They raised you as if you were their own." That was what she didn't understand. How could someone kill the very ones who protected and raised them from a cub?
"You wouldn't understand even if I told you." It wouldn't make much difference, not if she already hated him and believed everything that was being pumped into her mind by the other members of her pride. Talking to her was already like talking to a brick wall. At this point, things couldn't be much worse.
"I asked because I want to know. I can't get to know you when you're pushing me away." Zahra knew the statement was hypocritical but she wanted to at least try. If you couldn't beat them, join them. That was how she saw it anyway.
"The truth hurts. There are some truths that are painful. Too painful for your ears or eyes to bear witness to." Among these secrets were the ones of the murder of her ancestor's pride. This would be a warning for her to heed in the future. If she chose to delve into the chasm of his past then she would be nothing but hurt when she stared down the monstrous face of certainty.
"The truth sets you free." That's how the young lioness saw it. Even if it hurt, the truth made her stronger.
"To obtain the truth, you must first be able to accept the fact that you and I are both alike." No matter how much it may have disgusted her, it was also an undisputable fact. If Zahra didn't acknowledge the simple things, then there was no way that she would get the complexity of the latter bits of information that she would soon find out.
"But we aren't and I didn't just mean that because we're two different species of lion." Zahra explained. "I mean that because we love two different lives. You're rouge and a killer. I don't understand your motives. You tell me I shouldn't know, but that doesn't make you look any better. How can you be so cold, uncontrolled and rigid? How can your heart be so small? Don't you have any feelings at all? Can't you let go of the past? If the members of my pride did something to you ages ago, can't you find it in your heart to forgive them? There's enough room for everyone to live." Surely this could all be worked out. It couldn't be beyond repair. There was a way to fix this. There had to be.
"That is up for interpretation. No, I will not forgive them and neither would you. If you knew our history. My intentions are not to go into Gir Forest and kill whomever I choose. If you must know anything, then know that, Zahra." That was final. There was no 'working things out'. There was only a sense of justice that had to be upheld. If no one but him understood that, then so be it. Tajara did not have to explain his actions to anyone.
"A reason? What reason is that? Please tell me. I want to know what we caused to make it alright to kill us."
"You say you want to love me?" The white lion danced around the topic at hand. He didn't really feel like going around on another subject with her that he wasn't truly going to answer.
"Huh? Are you changing subjects again?" She turned around to see the white beast pacing back and forth a few feet away. If he was trying to get out of answering her questions, she certainly wasn't going to let him get away with it. Sooner or later, he would have to tell her the truth.
"There's a place where few have ventures. A place that is grotesque and twisted. Darkness deeper than the depths of the underworld. It would make those sound in mind run away. Everyone has this dark side. I am the one that the others are dying to see. This life I lead is thankless, a creature raised in hatred. Forsaken by those who claimed to be my parents. I'm sure you'd like to see me burn. You all gave me this hate, the hate that makes me burn with the repulsion of not being able to stand who I am. My claws that are bathed in this blood that I am so damned. "He turned to her with a serious expression. "Tell me, Zahra…can you love that?"
His speech was so passionate that all the young lioness could do for a few moments was stare, wordless. By the time she finally snapped out of her state, she replied. "…Tajara…is that why you say that mates don't have to love each other?" She thought that she finally understood. "Is it because you think no one is capable of loving you?"
Turning silently, he walked to the opening of the den.
"Wait!" She called out, causing him to pause and glance over his shoulder at her. "I was brought here, not really knowing why. I'm past the point of no return, past the point of right and wrong, past the moment where words have definition, past the point where there is an option. I am here with you and that decision has been made. The blood will rise and the flames of the underworld will consume us. If I am your bride, then I will stand by you." Zahra paused, forcing the last sentences out. "Even if you kill my pride. Like you said, mates are not about love."
Tajara snickered before erupting into a fit of laughter. His deep voice echoed through the hollowed cave. The bouncing sounds pounded against the lioness' ears as a frown marred her face.
"What's so funny? You're a wicked soul to laugh at that. I meant what I said." Zahra folded her ears back as she preached to him. More than anything, she hated being laughed at.
"You want to leave that badly, do you?"
"I've already told you how I feel." She shot, still looking peeved at his prior laughter.
"I have an idea, if you care to entertain me." Tajara smiled.
"What's that? I'm tired of being laughed at and humiliated." Anything was better than this. All they did was argue. She was starting to resent the fact that she ever felt sorry for this arrogant jerk.
"It's been a while since I've had a good fight. So, I'll make a proposition to you. If you can overpower me, just once and pin me to the ground then I'll let you go." Even though he knew what the outcome would be, Tajara decided to let the pretty little lioness have a try at him. If nothing else, it would teach her to be stronger and allow her to learn skills that she had not yet acquired. Zahra would be a more efficient adolescent.
She cast a suspicious eye to him. "You won't come back to Gir Forest and kill more Asiatic Lions?"
"I can abide by that." Fair was fair.
"This is unfair." Not the way she saw it.
"It's designed to be that way." What good would it do to pose no real threat to her? Without challenge, it was far too easy.
"That's evil." Her eyes narrowed.
"I didn't say that it would be fair. I'll give you a day to prepare yourself. You can set yourself free from all that binds you then." The white lion told her as he slowly stalked out of the cave. Zahra followed suit, questioning him as to where he was headed. Tajara turned, the evening sunlight bounced off of his white mane, bathing it in orange. "I'm going to kill a sambar for dinner. It should be enough for the two of us. You'll need the nourishment to face me."
…To Be Continued
A/N: I hope that you all enjoyed this chapter! Please tell me what you think and I shall return the favor!