Kenges lay in the forest with his son, gently cleaning his paws. He had made a great Hunt with his family today, killing two large Elk. His son, Harean, almost killed one of the Elk, but of course was too young, and needed Kenges's help. The mother of the family, Sumaya, killed the other, and they each ate in peace. Now blood stained his orange paws, as well as his kin's. Sumaya ate last, for even though she was Kenges's mate, the male Tiger was dominant over her.
Kenges rose to his paws, and Harean stared up at him. "Father, do you think i'll make a good hunter?" He asked. Harean was still very young, and did not understand why his Dad was such a great hunter. "Of course you will, Harean. What makes you think that you won't?" Kenges answered, giving his son's head a comforting lick. Harean shook his head. "It's just that today, I couldn't get that Elk. I needed your help. Your a much greater hunter than me." He stared down at his paws in shame. "Don't worry. You are still young, and you are not as fast as adult tigers." Laying down again, Kenges nudged Harean's head. "Soon, you will be even better than me. But now the moon is in the sky. You must sleep." Harean nodded and lay his head on his paws. Kenges rose once again and stalked over to lay down next to Sumaya. "Soon, he will forget about us." Sighed Kenges, and Sumaya brushed her head against his pelt. "You shouldn't worry. He is only a kit for now, and still has much to learn." Sumaya said comfortingly as Kenges laid down next to her. The stars shown brightly through the swaying branches of the forest, and Kenges stared up at them in hope.
In the Siberia kingdom, which consisted of a pine forest that had frequent snowfalls, all tigers believed that when they died, they went up to a place in the stars, where they would become part of the Star Pelt. Fallen warriors became bright stars which shown as the most beautiful of Star Pelt. Ancestors became those that do not twinkle like regular stars do, but shine. These made up the wisest part of the Star Pelt. And small, hardly shining stars are kits that died at birth, tiny to show how precious they were.
Kenges knew this knowledge like no other. Every night, he would look up at Star Pelt and praise them for their greatness in the Siberia kingdom. But tonight, They showed brighter then usual, seeming like all were brave warriors. "That's odd," Kenges thought out loud as he lay there. "What, Kenges?" Sumaya said, suddenly laying up. "The stars. They all show like warriors tonight." He replied inquiringly. Sumaya peered up at the sky. "It's true," she said. "What might it mean, Kenges?"
"I do not know." Kenges said as he closed his eyes. "But the moon is high in the sky. we must sleep." Sumaya nodded her head in agreement, and lay down again. And as both Tigers fell asleep, Kenges realized that this must be a sign from the ancestors, prophesizing something as they do so annually.
Kenges stalked slowly through the forest, his green eyes unnatrully gleaming against the sun's powerful rays. He was walking through a place in the forest which he had not seen, one in which the trees looked different and there was no grass. He came out to a clearing, where blood had been splattered, according to the frequent puddles of Tiger blood. There in the middle of the clearing stood one White-pelted Tiger, it's pelt glistening as it blew in the wind. Kenges wondered why a white-pelted Tiger stood in the middle of a forest in the middle of a hot sunny day. He walked toward it, avoiding the blood that stained the dirt. "Hello, Kenges," The White Tiger greeted. Why did it know his name? The Tiger went on. "I am Moon. You have seen me many times in the night sky." At this, Kenges staggered backward, unable to speak to the heavenly body. This was the moon itself; How could a thing as glorious as that be a real ancestor? Kenges's mind whirled, but the beautiful Moon talked once more. "I know you are confused, Kenges, but you must focus. Your kingdom is in danger." It said. Suddenly, the trees blew wildly, and Moon and Kenges stood in Kenges's territory. This place was also stained with blood. "Kenges, this is not a glorious place. The stars will shudder. The war will start, then the mouth of the beast will open." Moon said the grave words as she began to dissappear. "Moon, don't leave!" Kenges tried to choke out, but he could not speak. Moon soon dissolved into air, and suddenly the pools of blood expanded. They formed into one gigantic puddle of blood, and it rushed toward Kenges like an endless current.
Suddenly, Kenges awoke with a jerk. The sun shone brightly, and Sumaya loomed over him, staring at him awkwardly. "Are you okay, Kenges? You were talking in your sleep," She said, gently licking Kenges's head. Kenges nudged his head away from her and stood up, ruffling his fur. "I'm fine. Just a dream," He answered. "Where is Harean?" He asked. He had been concerned of Harean ever since last night. Now he was concerned even more, since the moon itself had told him of a prophecy no Tiger had ever heard before. "Still sleeping." Sumaya said. Suddenly, Kenges realized that he had not said good morning today. "Forgive me," He said, "I have not said good morning to you." He gave Sumaya's pelt an affectionate lick, and walked toward the place where Harean slept, not far from the tree that Sumaya and Kenges had slept near. Harean's head suddenly shot up, showing that he had heard Kenges's great pawsteps. "Good morning, Harean," Kenges said as he came to lay down next to him. "Good morning, Father," Harean greeted back, yawning away his last bits of sleep. "How did you sleep?" Kenges asked. He wondered if his son had had a dream similar to his; then, it would make his supposed war prophecy true. "Fairly well, Father," He answered. Kenges let out a sigh of relief, for the prophecy he had learned of in his dream was not shared f by his family. He gave Harean's head an affectionate lick. "How about we go hunting today, and see if we can improve your skills?" Kenges offered, hoping to raise Harean's spirits. Suddenly Harean stood up, his face lightening up. "Thank you, father!" He exclaimed, immediately beginning to run through the forest. "Hold on, Harean!" Kenges playfully said, running after him.
"Okay, pretend that leaf is a rabbit," Kenges explained, flicking his tail toward a large brown leaf among the grass. Harean nodded his head in understanding, and went into a distinctive hunting crouch. "See, now the problem is," Kenges pointed out, "That you are too noticeable. if that leaf were a real rabbit, it would see your tail and stripes and run away."
He nudged Harean's paws so that he went lower into the crouch. He then put his paw on Harean's tail, lowering it. "So like that, they won't notice me, right?" Harean asked, and Kenges nodded his head. So he creeped up on the leaf, his pawsteps lighter than air. Then, he ran foward at the last minute and pounced on the leaf, crunching it with his teeth.
"Well done!" Kenges congratulated, and Harean purred with delight. "Can we try it on a real Rabbit now?" Harean asked eagerly. Kenges beckoned Harean with his tail to follow. Harean's face twisted with delight and he followed Kenges bouncily.
"Okay, do you smell that rabbit over there?" Kenges whispered, flicking his tail over where a rabbit lay, scuffling in the grass. At a small nod of Kenges's head, Harean lowered into a hunting crouch, remembering to crouch low and to keep his tail down. Once again, he pawed like a feather toward the rabbit. The small creature lifted his head to sniff the air, but it was too late. Harean leaped foward and grabbed the rabbit, finishing it off with one swift claw swipe.
Harean turned around proudly, the rabbit laying limp in his mouth. "Great job, Harean!" Kenges exclaimed. "You are practically fast enough to get that elk!"
Suddenly, Kenges heard the leaves rustle. He instinctively lowered into a crouch, his tail lashing wildly. He glanced at Harean, who stood like a small heap of orange and black as he trembled. Kenges nodded his head toward the opposite direction, near his territory. Harean gallopped toward the direction, his panting fainting into the distance.
Kenges thought. What if this was what Moon was talking about, how a war would take place here? But he stood his ground, not moving as much as a millimeter.
Then, all of a sudden, a giant Tiger jumped out, his orange and black fur brighter than ever seen before. He had battles scars across his entire pelt, and in place of one of his eyes was a large gash. He snarled at Kenges, both their tails lashing wildly. "Who are you, and why are you in my territory?" Kenges growled, menacingly staring at the massive warrior.