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Chapter 1: The Body



I try to breathe

Memories overtaking me
I try to face them but…
The thought is too
Much to conceive

I only know that I can change
So now I step out of the darkness
That my life became....’Cause

I just needed someone to talk to
You were just too busy with yourself!
You were never there for me to
Express how I felt
-Staind, Fade

*Edited by JLB*

Chapter 1: The Body

"Hey wake up!"

"Huh?" Loki tried to focus his eyes. He saw the odd horns and the little balled ends of them. He smiled. "What is it Shori?"

"Loki there's something going on in the western part of the fields." Shori pointed to the dust cloud.

"Something is coming." Loki blinked. He shook his head and stretched.

In his ampharos form he walked out of the cave. He watched the distant dust cloud. He looked over his shoulder. He didn't see her around. He began to worry. Kanga was never too far away.

"Where's Kanga, Shori?" Loki turned about.

"I saw her right behind me when I came to get you." Shori turned about.

"Don't worry I know where she is." Loki smiled. It was something Kanga had waited for what seemed forever. "Let's go down there." Loki smiled and began to walk down the slope.

"Well?" Shori ran beside him and glared.

"Well what?" Loki took a step back.

"Are you going to tell me what's going on! Well!" She kept glaring.

"You'll see. It'll be a pleasant surprise I promise." Loki chuckled as he walked ahead.

He was so glad to see her happy. The Kangaskhans stood about hugging one another. Loki grinned watching the biggest one, the black one with red eyes smile widely and embrace the others. A little flaaffy was running towards them. Loki's smile faded a little. He had a great deal of love and affection for all those that dwelled in his "kingdom" and the little flaffy ram wasn't any exception to that but…there was a gap between him and Dori since Kanga had chosen him.

"Good morning Dori!" He smiled and waved to his friend.

"Morning to you as well Uncle Chari!" Dori smiled as he ran over to him. "And what brings kangis does into our valley?"

"Family." Loki smiled as he looked toward Kanga.

She was so happy that day. Her sisters found her at last and they all stood about crying and laughing, hugging and sharing stories. Loki knew she had waited for this for so long and she above all other pokémon deserved some happiness.

"Amphion! Phion!" Something tugged at his flipper.

Loki was broken from his trance, he looked down to find Kanga's child giggling softly and staring at him. Amphion the little kangis and ampharos hybrid smiled at him. He was Kanga's son. He looked up and stared at Kanga. Had he been smarter a long time ago he would have told Kanga he loved her. He could have but, he hadn't! He was younger then, and in love with an preevee. And she left him.

And during that time he had met Kanga, he had strange feelings stir within which he hadn't been able to understand till it had been too late. The doe had mated with that ampharos and now she had his child and Loki was alone. He was glad she was happy, she deserved to be happy. He looked at Dori as the little ram walked over to the gathering. Kanga laughed loudly and hugged him close and told her sisters that he was her chosen mate.

Dori was a sweet kid and he was perfect for Kanga. Loki sighed. He knelt down and faced Amphion. The little mareepiskhan giggled as Loki made a funny face. Loki himself laughed. The little hybrid wasn't Dori's son either. Loki picked him up and tickled him. Amphion laughed and squirmed about. Loki wished he was his son. He was so close to little Amphion. Even though there where times he saw the mareepis resemble his father in some ways. Loki didn't exactly hate the child's father but, there was bitterness there.

He walked with the baby clutched in his grasp. He grinned and went to push his way into the crowd. He got odd glances from the does. They looked at him then to Kanga and to the baby in his arms. He just gave them his most charming smile and began to speak.

"Good morning ladies. I hope you are all in good health and spirits. Welcome to my valley! Welcome to the Realm of Light." Loki smiled. "I am Charivari and this little fellow here is Amphion."

"Amphion-suh! Me-suh little baby-suh!" Kanga took the child from Loki. "Thisen is yose nephew."

Loki felt so out of place as the herd gathered about cuddling the baby and speaking with Kanga and Dori. There were so many questions about who the father was if it wasn't Dori's. Loki Charivari had enough! He listened to her speak of his former friend and he felt a pang of jealousy and self loathing. Why couldn't she speak about him like that! And why was Dori standing there listening to that without any sort of jealousy!

*****

Loki sat on a boulder watching the sheep graze the eastern portion of the field. He heard someone coming up behind him. He turned to find Norrie there. He smiled and turned back to the scene before him.

"What is wrong King Charivari?" Norrie asked playfully, the mareep laid down next to him and stared.

"Norrie! How many times must I tell you not to call me that!" Loki laughed, he was more amused that this lamb called him that.

"Not sure…a lot of times?" The look on her face made Loki laugh some more.

"You know when I need to be cheered up." He sighed and watched the "kingdom" below.

"I do?" The little lamb raised her head and had a thoughtful look. Then she gave him one of her huge smiles and head butted him in the side. "Beep! Beep! I'm mareep!"

Loki burst into laughter. How long had it been since he uttered those words? It had been sometime since he taught Norrie that little game. The gengar in his ampharos guise returned the lambs affection with his own gentle bump.

"Beep! Beep! I'm mareep!" He found himself giggling as he played with the lamb.

"Chari? Are you up there again?" Shori came up. The girafarig saw him and grinned to Norrie. "Playing again huh?"

"You bet!" Loki laughed and tickled little Norrie who squealed with delight.

"I hate to interrupt but, there are some matters of importance you must attend to Loki." Shori looked him in the eye.

Sighing he let the mareep go. Something was wrong. Shori would not be looking for him if there wasn't something seriously wrong in the kingdom. He motioned for the lamb to go back down to the fields. Norrie ran off to join the sheep.

"What happened?" Loki knew something was wrong from the way she looked at her hooves.

"Lupaul found something rather disturbing Loki." She looked up at him. "The smeargle found a dead lamb."

"Dead?" Lambs died from time to time Loki knew that and so did Shori and Lupaul so why was it disturbing? Unless… "Dead by what?"

"Predator." Shori answered.

"But, we have been here for months and have yet to see one single hunter. Besides the ones we've allowed here." Loki had nothing to say, he was shocked and stumped. Then the question that burned and bit the hardest came out. "Could it be one of them? Duff is rather large for an eevee. Cronk is just a baby...."

"Cronk isn't very big. Whatever did it was large Loki." Shori looked rather pale.

Ray-ray the raichu leapt over to the dead body. He studied it. He turned to Lupaul.

"When did yose find dis?" The deep riachu's voice broke the silence.

"Early this morning. This is a real ugly matter you know." The smeargle sighed, the lamb was too young to be torn apart like this.

"Geez! Dis is like…you know…Shit! Dis is like…scary!" Ray-ray fought down the urge to puke.

Ray-ray may have been tough and built like a tauros but, his stomach wasn't! He ran behind a rock and the gags followed.

Lupaul heard the raichu hurling. He grimaced. The smeargle had almost barfed himself. He motioned for one of the younger scouts to come over. The little pidgey stood awaiting orders.

"Go find our defenders. Shori has gone to tell Charivari." Lupaul stood and watched as the bird flew off.

Ray-ray hurled again and Lupaul rolled his eyes. The guy should be a defender not a scout if such sights made him barf up a lung! The smeargle was disturbed by it. The lamb was so young. He guessed no more than a day or two. He began to think, where was the mother? Lupaul looked about he sniffed the air, something had been through here last night or the day before. The mother had been as well. He saw it now a trail of dried blood leading up the slope. He almost went alone to see what was up there but, felt it would be wiser to wait for the defenders.

Devlin snoozed quietly in a patch of long grass. He wasn't expecting it when the little pidgey fell upon him and woke him up.

"What!?" He growled angrily, his blue flames sparked from his back.

"Sorry Devlin but someone has been murdered, you must come!" The little pidgey sped off back to the dead body with Devlin following behind.

Devlin approached the dead lamb short of breath but he quickly gained his breath when he saw it. being a predator by nature allowed him to get over the blood quickly but the pure fact that something had ripped the poor thing into pieces scared him.

"What's happening?" He called to Lupaul. He could hear someone throwing up behind a nearby rock.

"Trouble!" The smeargle leaped over to the cyndaquil. "I was taking a scouting pass about the valley and when I came to about right over there at that pile of stones I thought I saw something odd. So I climbed the slope and I smelled the blood and found the lamb."

"And then I went and found Ray-ray and Shori." Lupaul stared over to the rocks. "There is a trail up there. Hate to say it but, looks like whatever killed the lamb did it for fun. I think whatever did it had killed the lamb's mother and dragged the body up there."

Lupaul waited for Ray-ray to pull his stomach together so they could investigate further.

"Geeeeez! Whoa I think I like you know...feel a little better." He saw the body again and his stomach churned. Paw to his mouth he forced it down. "What are you two talking about?"

"About what I found in my investigation this morning." Lupaul answered.

"Okay...I like know that already. So what happens now?" He looked away from the body.

This guy was the scout leader! Lupaul wondered who was on what when that decision was made! He had a weak stomach, he seemed more confused about what he was doing rather than what he should be doing. But, what could Lupaul say? He just arrived in the valley two months ago. He didn't know this raichu all that well. For all Lupaul knew Ray-ray might prove him wrong today.

"I think we should see where that trail goes." Lupaul answered.

Devlin nodded.

"If we find this beast I'll have to fight!" He said to himself. "Won't that tell it we're coming?" Lupaul looked at the flames, Devlin nodded.

"It may do that but at least I’ll be ready to freeze it!" Devlin grinned.

Devlin led forward following the blood with Ray-ray and Lupaul watching for any signs of the murderer.

Lupaul watched as Ray-ray lead. He sniffed about keeping a close eye on the rocky crags on either side of them. Lupaul didn't like the narrow passage they were following. If that pred came in here it had used this area to ambush the ewe.

He saw Ray-ray stop ahead.

"What is it?" Lupaul called out.

The smeargle turned to Devlin and signaled that the raichu found something. Then he heard the retching sounds. Lupaul knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant sight. He ready himself as he clambered over the ridge.

Lupaul noticed the larger splotches of blood up here. He saw the dead sheep then. The mareep had been eaten. He smelled the mess that the killer left and he smelled the mess Ray-ray was leaving behind another rock.

Devlin had to look away for a second. Although he was a Cyndaquil he couldn't picture himself ever killing another pokémon just for food. He turned back and studied the dead body. He sniffed around, trying to catch scent of whatever had eaten the Mareep but all he was getting was blood.

"Ray-ray are you ok?" Devlin called.

"I think the killer might have left, that, or it decided stay around here with the remains of its, dinner." Lupaul put effort on the last word.

"What could do this? When we came here we hadn't seen any preds at all!" Devlin examined the body. It almost looked like it had been ripped to pieces.

"Hey, where's Loki? Shouldn't he be here, after all, this is his kingdom, did someone go get him?"

"What....ever it was....was big..." Ray-ray tried to calm his stomach. "I didn't send for him exactly. Shori went to tell him what was found but, I don't want...hold on!"

Lupaul made a face as he heard the scout leader hurl again. Ray-ray tried to pull himself together. He knew that smeargle would think he was weak or something. He walked back to the body and forced his stomach to stop churning so much.

"I was saying I don't want Loki here because we have no idea what did this and...." He put a paw to his mouth. He felt it pass. "We can't have something attacking Loki...."

"I don't think what did this is around anymore." Lupaul sniffed around the scent was weak.

"We look around some more we meet up here and then we go back to the caves and report to Loki or not?" Lupaul sat on a stone waiting for them to decide.

"Hmm, as long as Loki knows..." Devlin sniffed about again. Nothing but blood.

"I think we should scout around some more to see if we can catch a scent of whatever did this, then we'd really have something to report!" Devlin turned to Ray-ray, a slight smirk playing on his face. "That is, if Ray-ray can keep his stomach at bay."

"Oh! ahahaha! Uhhhhh...." Ray ran and you don't have to be a genius to know what sound followed.

"You....think you ...are so....funny..." Ray-ray flopped down his ears. He was really thinking his career choice over again in his mind. "Let's just get this over with...."

He walked ahead looking for more clues. Lupaul felt Ray-ray was not right for his position. He had to smirk too when Devlin spoke.

"Alright guys wanna do some real work or are we gonna sit around while Mr. Ray-ray hurls up his belly?" Lupaul grinned widely.

He saw the raichu glare and a few sparks leap from his cheeks.

"If you got somethun to say to me you come right out and say it Lupaul! I don't like to beat around the bush yose know! Now you gots a problem wid me or not?" Now he was mad, Ray-ray never did take crap from anyone. "I know pokees like yose! You all think I can't do my job! You all want my job!"

Lupaul glared back. Ray-ray didn't like this young scout. He would watch him closely, he was trouble. The raichu stood tall and waited to see if he would come clean or not.

"I got no problem! Let's just do our jobs is all I'm sayin'" Lupaul stood up as well, he knew he could do a better job than that weak stomached rat. "Lead on."

He saw the raichu leer as he walked ahead scrambling over the ridge. Lupaul sniffed he only got the faintest hint of a scent trail.

"Good! Then let's just do our job." The raichu sniffed as well.

He found little evidence to what this thing had been. He leapt on a boulder and scanned around he thought he saw something in the distance. It was moving out of the valley.

"Whatever that thing is it's big and...black..." Lupaul tried to make out details but the thing had moved too far out. "No way the three of us could take it on and win....besides it's pretty far away too."

Devlin could barely make it out. He started naming off every black pokémon he could think off.

"Err, could be a houndour, or a houndoom, maybe a ghost type, though they dont kill to eat, oh maybe an umbreon. Oh you can never tell with dark types! well anyway its leaving, maybe it won't come back." Devlin couldn't believe that, he couldn't afford too. Not with the flock to protect.

"It's rather bulky. I think a ringuma or maybe...." Lupaul tried to see and make out more details but couldn't.

"We better get back and report, though i shouldn't even be here... One of you should stay, see if it comes back!"

"You shouldn't be here? What do you mean Devlin?" Lupaul was curious now.

"Well, err." Devlin fell silent. Should he tell them about the thing with the pidgeotto who was friends with one of the newer flock members...

"I'm just not on the top of the best defenders list right now. Come on lets go." He turned to leave. He hoped that would be that though he was sure it wouldn't be.

"Yeah we better get our report back." Lupaul nodded.

This was all giving him the creeps and if Devlin might get into any trouble or already was in some kind of trouble he wanted to get out of here.

"Yeah let's go. Since Ray-ray is here I have no one I need to report to after this. I assume you have to report back to old Bujordan eh? That old ivysaur! I don't know what holds that ancient thing together!" Lupaul laughed. "He's so old he probably craps dust!"

"Yeah, can't see why he hasn't handed over his position to someone else yet, 'snot as if he can chase after any preds is it?" Devlin knew he should have held his tongue after getting into so much trouble for attacking that pidegotto but he couldn't help but make fun of the of the old guy.

"Hey! Show old Bujordan some respect! There is a reason Loki Charivari gave him that post! And there is a reason I was given my position!" Ray-ray growled.

"I was merely trying to lift some of this whole doom and gloom out of the air. Lighten up some! Laughing at a joke or two ain't gonna hurt you know!" Lupaul shook his head.

Ray-ray took a second to calm down. He didn't like these runts to be dissing the elders of the flock.

"Okay the hard part." Ray took a deep breathe. He turned to the other two.

"Time to see who the victim is." Ray-ray settled his stomach before looking. "Anyone recognize her?"

"It's Juna I think!" Ray-ray looked at the ewe. "This will be very upsetting to Loki...."

Ray-ray didn't know her too well but, he knew her older lamb played around a lot with Loki. What was her name? Lorrie? Torrie?

"Juna? Didn't know her." Devlin tried to look at her face, though, it was difficult with the blood covering everything. "Was she new?"

"She came here sometime back. She was a close friend to Chari wasn't she?" Lupaul looked over at Ray-ray. "I know her daughter is. Little Norrie is always running about under our feet and playing with Chari and Amphion."

"Juna was a respected member. She was the one who told stories sometimes. She sang on some nights. Poor Juna....her lamb gone before it even had a chance to meet the others." Ray-ray made a silent prayer before he moved on. "We...should be getting back. We should report back..."

Ray-ray thought a second.

"Now I know! You are the kid who went off attacking some pidgey or was it a pidgeot? Bujordan's been complaining about you quite a bit! I think he said you were too hot tempered or impatient!"

"I heard about that too. It was a pidgeotto I recall. Something about that and all but, when isn't old Bujordan not complaining?" Lupaul smirked. Just a tiny joke he thought to himself.

"Hey! How was i supposed to know it was friendly? I'm only supposed to protect the flock from preds. If I went around askin' if each pokémon was friends the mean ones would kill me!" Devlin said defensively.

"That's why the scouts exist. We do the askin' yose do the defendin'." Ray-ray dipped his paws into a small trickling stream, he rubbed some water over his head and shook. It would be a hot day and that sure helped.

"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't! Don't sweat! After today I don't think anyone will be talking about your mistake." Lupaul walked on. "In time everyone will forget about it."

"Next time let a scout ask before you go and try to make a name for yourself." Ray-ray yawned and drank a little bit of water. "Let's head back."

"We have a lot of bad news to report." He sighed.

"Yeah well." Devlin gave on last look at the bloodied mess that had been a ewe and followed the others on their way back to report.

*****

Loki sat watching the fields. He wondered why now had a predator decided to move in on his peaceful community here. He sat pondering his mind filled with all sorts of thoughts and solutions and the only one he came to each time was the culprit had to be found and dealt with. His orange eyes began to glow red.

Loki knew how to deal with such a killer for he too had been a killer once. What price would he pay for defending his people? A heavy one he felt.

"Loki? Uncle Loki you around?" His eyes stopped glowing as he heard Dori.

"Up here Dori." He answered. He watched as the flaffy ram climbed up to greet him.

"I heard the news....who's lamb was it?" Dori asked.

"Don't know. Shori is making the rounds to find out who's missing. I know there was four or five ewes ready to give birth any day. It could be any one of them." Loki hated to have lost any part of this flock for they had all been brought together here and made almost into a family. "You and me will take a pack of defenders once we have more details and we will handle this."

"I agree." Dori nodded. "You haven't told Kanga have you?"

"No, I don't want to upset her so soon. Let her enjoy a little more time with her sisters before we break such news to everyone. I know she has many friends among the ewes and this will upset her very much." Loki was sad today, two less lights in this valley, one he knew and one he didn't get the chance to meet.

Loki had so much on his mind again. He sat with Dori and just tried to think. Where was this all leading him too? Why had he come here and why had he begun to protect and invite pokémon here. Before he just wanted to be left alone. Then he began to make friends.

The more friends he made the more they came here. He wondered if the valley would be safe. He would protect this flock for it was his flock and in his heart he cared for them deeply.

"Get the defenders ready. I want them ready to handle anything at a moments notice. We will begin plans once the scouting party returns and we know more details." Loki turned to Dori.

"Yes, Uncle Loki I will do just that." The ram went to find the defender leader. "I will let Bujordan know of your wishes."

Dori set off. It was time they showed some action! The flaffy ram was more than ready to go deal with this predator. If the valley was to stay safe stern action was required. They had to find and kill this pred!

*****

"After all the blah, blah blah from the leaders is all over I'm gonna go relax in a mud bath or something! All this mess leaves one needing some rest! Or maybe go get some berries. Could even sneak a few of Kanga's remedies that stuff makes you feel great after you drink it!" Lupaul whispered to Devlin. "Anything to get my mind off this!"

Lupaul grinned he might even just have one hell of a time at the Moon Hall! That was one fun place to be! Berries heaped about, a large hole in the cave roof letting in the moonlight, dancing, food! Now that sounded like what he needed!

"Tonight at the Moon Hall ought to be fun!" He smirked thinking of the fun he....."No....there won't be....the news...no one will want to party."

Devlin couldn't help but think the Moon Hall would be nice right now but Lupaul was right, it would be canceled after this. All parties were bound to be canceled after this.

"That's right! Yose thinking only about yourself Lupaul! Dat's what's wrong with you youths today!" Ray-ray shook his head as he lead them on. "Lupaul! thinking of a party after what we just saw!"

He himself had to wonder if the Moon Hall was going to be canceled. Thinking about it Lupaul might be right. He could use a little of the fermented juices and berries the smeargles made.

"Hate to admit it but, I do need somethun to get my mind off dis."

"Me too. This whole mess was unexpected to say the least. They may still have a party if the news doesn't travel far but that’s unlikely..." Devlin sighed and nodded. "And smeargles make such nice food."

Lupaul looked about. They had crossed most of the plains to the south eastern corner of the valley. He saw the open central lands. He stood on a rock watching.

"Everyone is still grazing about. The news hasn't gotten past us or Charivari." Lupaul turned to the other two. "I guess he didn't want to break the news till he got all the info."

"We better go find him quick. If that thing comes back another flock member might be attack." Devlin said. "If the whole flock knows they might keep together and then the defenders can keep them safer."

"Hey! You! Who are you!" Ray-ray shouted to an ewe.

"I am Sera you jiork! Who yose goin and callin me Hey You!" The big ewe turned about glaring at Ray.

"I happen to be Ray-ray!" He shouted.

"Well Ray-ra.....Ray-ray? Sorry! Sir! Didn't recognize yose!" She lowered her head. "I'm so sorry how can I help yose?"

"Yose can start by lettin dem sheep friends of your's know that they all need to go back to the caves." Ray-ray turned to Lupaul and Devlin. He watched as they stopped grazing. They seemed to know there was some kind of danger as they began to walk back towards home. "Loki oughta be in the main hall we'll check there first."

"Right." Devlin nodded, although that was often easier said than done with Charivari wandering around alot. "Where should we look?" Devlin looked around. The grazers were pretty much moved now. some entered the moon hall, they were keeping together, that was good. Danger could come at any time.

"Ray-ray! Lupaul!" Shori trotted over to them. "You're back! I will let Chari know at once."

Lupaul watched her walk off.

"Some day! Trouble left and right." Lupaul grabbed an apple off a nearby table. He ate looking about as the sheep began to whisper to one another. "Rumors are already spreading." Lupaul whispered to the others.

*****

"Bujordan! Bujordan! Are you here?" Dori looked about the waterfall.

The Moon Hall was deserted except for a smeargle here and there setting out food. Dori watched a few minutes before he went back to his search.

"Dori. I believe Bujordan is in the west corridor. I know he was training with the new defenders there awhile ago." A smeargle spoke.

"Uhhh... thank you." Dori didn't know his name. He turned about and headed for the west corridor. As he did so he nearly knocked Shori over.

"Sir! The party has returned." Shori reported. "Where is Chari?"

"Right here." Loki entered the Grand Hall with Bujordan next to him. "Bring them here."

He sat, he awaited the worse possible news. He knew he should have kept a better patrol on the valley. He would increase the scouting. He sat thinking about all the solutions he could use.

"Uncle Chari? Are we going to kill this thing?" Dori posed the question.

"Yes, if we have to." Loki didn't like the idea but, it was necessary.

*****

Shori made her way back to the three.

"Charivari will see you now. This way please gentlemen." The girafarig lead the way to the Grand Hall.

They followed Shori as she led them to the awaiting leaders. Devlin almost fell over when he saw Bujordan. He didn't expect to see him just yet.

"Sir." He saluted.

No point in allowing more reasons than one for the old Ivysaur to hate him. Bujordan eyed him over and waited for the report.

Loki Charivari sat watching them. He had many questions, he needed many answers and he had no idea where to start. He sighed and shut his eyes. He then looked on the party that returned.

"Who was it?" To him it was the most important question.

"Juna sir." Ray-ray answered.

"Juna..." Charivari sat silent.

"Who did it!" Dori shouted.

"Dori! Please! Now is not the time." Loki held a flipper out to his adopted son. "Now is the time for mourning. I...don't want to hear the rest but....I have to. Continue your findings."

Lupaul saw the hurt in the ram's eyes. He wondered how important Juna had been to them all. He started to regret not getting to know her. She must have been something special.

"Lupaul sir found the lamb first. He waited for me to show up. He then noticed a bloody trail leading up the slope. We waited for defender back up before investigating further." Ray-ray gestured to Devlin. "Once he showed up we proceeded up the slope and found Juna's body. We saw in the distance a large black animal. I could not make it out what it was sir."

"You Lupaul, could you see what it was?" Bujordan glowered at the smeargle.

"No sir." Lupaul answered.

"Devlin?" The old ivysuar had a hint of spite in his voice.

Devlin shook his head.

"It was too far away to see what it was sir, it was leaving the valley." Devlin said, he didn't want any trouble or any reason for Bujordan to start on him again. It would have been better if they had managed to see it but if Lupaul couldn't see it with smeargle eyes how could a cyndaquil see it?

Ray-ray heard it as the ivysuar spoke. There was always a little unrest between scouts and defenders. It was amazing how Ray-ray and Bujordan showed each other such respect in public while deep down they disliked each other.

Loki sat silent listening. Ray-ray knew this was hurting the ram. He was very close to Juna and her older daughter. Ray-ray knew Charivari would give the news to Norrie in person. It was his way.

"If it is leaving then we must gather the defenders now! We must go after it!" Bujordan snarled.

"Yes! We have to kill this thing!" Dori shouted.

"We must move fast to catch this thing off guard. Gather the defenders!" Bujordan sat up tall, the spark of war in his elder eyes.

"No!" Loki stood his hoof smashing on the floor. "No!"

Though he wasn't a real ram he looked like a tired old goat. He shut his eyes. It wore down on him. The pressure of leading them, the constant wants and needs of the flock. He was expected to fix everything, expected to be there and to tell them things would be alright even if they weren't going to be.

Kanga drawn by the shouting made her way into the hall. Her eyes went to Loki as soon as he began to holler at Dori and that old ivysuar. She stood unsure if she should interrupt.

"What isen wrong-suh Chari?" She stood by Dori.

His eyes fell on them, standing there, holding one another's hand. Had he been braver in the past that should've been him there next to Kanga. He sat on the rock formation that was the seat of power in this flock. He would give it all away if it meant he was no longer alone.

"I....there is some disturbing news my dear friend. I will have no more blood shed today. Today is a day of mourning. I take my leave of you to grieve with my family. There will be a vigil tonight. Please everyone let us be very careful and aware of any strange activity in the valley. Ray-ray, I want more scouting parties to patrol the valley." He took Kanga's free paw.

"Tell the flock what has happened and to let them know we have a predator problem. We shall meet again tomorrow...we will then speak of the action we must take to ensure the flock's safety. For now...we must tell them of the deaths..."

"Death-suhs!" Kanga was horrified, what happened? Her mind reeled with many ideas. She held her son close to her.

"Ammmmphiooon?" The little baby looked at her as she held tight. He then giggled and hugged her back.

"Oh, Loki what hasen happened?" She looked at him.

"Let us go see Norrie, I will tell you both together...." He felt the darkness creep into his soul. He was tempted to go kill the predator. To torture it till it was through. To kill it slowly and painfully! But, he had left that life behind in that land he grew up in. He was older and wiser now.

To be continued.......

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