[RO] sweet desert rose whose shadow bears the secret promise

<"Mama!"> a young cry rose up amongst the destruction and remnants of what looked to be a small city reduced to rubble. Thick, heavy smoke wafted up into the pitch night sky above, choking out any light that may have filtered down from the heavens above. Flickering firelight was all that lit the ceiling of smoke above, polluting the air around for miles as the wind sighed eerily around in the silence - all that could be heard was the crackle of sparks exploding as the embers died down, hungrily searching for the next thing to feed on.

Huddled amongst the shadows was a small shaking form, tall ears flattened against her head as the obsidian colored pup stared about in wide-eyed horror at the destruction of what had been her home. Her young mind could not comprehend what had happened which made her shriek grow more desperate, <"Maaaaa-mmmaaaaaaa!"> Tears welled up in her owlish eyes once again, sliding down her already matted cheeks. Desperation rooting her to the spot when everything in her body screamed for her to flee this place and never look back.

No response came.

Her breaths began to quicken, panic setting in, and near hyperventilation when something crawled out of the shadows of the crumbled buildings flickering lights making it hard to decipher the edges of the shape. A whine built up in the young jackal's throat as she crumpled back onto the ground as if curling up in a ball would somehow hide her from the monstrous form that approached her. A wail rose up from her chest as it was soon upon her, soiling herself in her distress, but a rough warm tongue was all that was felt upon the top of her head as her eyes had been squeezed tight so as not to see the face of what she thought was going to eat her. The warmth of the breath on her head and back made a squelch in her belly, and before she knew it she felt the hot jowls wrapped around her body. This was it, this was the end and any sound that might have been left had completely left her as she just waited for the end to come.

The mouth that enveloped her was gentle though and now she could feel the wind against her face as whatever had her picked up pace and broke from the smoke that was starting to make her head feel light and dizzy. All she wanted to do was sleep, and in her half-haze of alarm and wanting to pass out from pure exhaustion over her whole ordeal, she thought she had recognized a somewhat familiar scent. Blinking open her still deep puppy blue eyes, she weakly looked up only being able to see the golden and black splotched pattern along the side of the animal that was carrying her.

The trip felt like forever, but only a few minutes had really passed by. Now the cool air of the evening could be felt on her dry, crackled nose where a moment ago it felt like she had just been sitting too close to the fire where her parents had cooked their dinners and kept warm on the cooler nights, reading her stories by the fire of great battles between gods and demons, tales of princesses and princes with happy endings and also of the stories of their own ancestors that were apparently true. It all seemed so far away now.

Then she was plopped on the ground, a raspy voice of an old woman brushed her ears the crackles of hot flickers of embers and coals.

<"You are safe now, little Akila,"> the voice whispered as she felt the warm, familiar embrace, <"but, there is still danger ahead, we must go."> It insisted as she was cradled into a wrap against the warm chest of the woman, finally gathering enough of her sense the girl blinked up at the older woman. It was her great, great auntie, an elder within their small village of people that had come to visit her a few times always bringing her and her siblings toys and tasty treats for them to snack on. A faint smile crossed the girls lips as she realized who had been the one to pick her up. Turning in the direction of the spotted cat, she let out an appreciative yip and the cheetah let out a small chirp in response. Tucked into the wrap of the woman's chest, she snuggled in close, feeling like she could not longer keep her eyes open any longer.

The older jackal situated the tiny puppy within so she would not fall out during their travels through the night and made her way over as quick as her old, arthritic joints would let her and climbed atop the camel that was laying down, awaiting for her direction, another one tied to the saddle as well carrying a few precious belongings.

Having been situated on the far end of the village, a little ways out, she had managed to hide as there had been nothing she could do when the raiders came. It had been growing more and more dangerous in the previous months, as they swept across the desert causing destruction and mayhem to those that would not submit to their orders or power. It was only a matter of time, but the village chief would not listen to reason, nor listen to her pleas to get everyone away and maybe find a place within the bigger cities far away from the boy who now pronounced himself a king. It had all been for naught, and she had hoped their would be survivors, but this pup had been all that Zahra - the king cheetah that had been hand reared from a cub by the woman - could find in the wreckage. If only she had been younger and could move quicker, maybe there was something she could have done, but she knew in her heart that they would have just killed her as well. Somehow, her little cabin on the edge and out of sight in the city, had been missed and she thanked the gods for her luck, but her old heart ached with the devastating pain of her loss.

There was something for her to live for now as the little whelp drifted off into an uneasy sleep at her breast.

Clicking her tongue, her deep azure eyes giving one last, longing look at the village that was billowing with smoke, the camel rose at her command as did its partner and with a firm jab with her heel, they moved forth over the sands. The light of the full moon lighting their way through the desert, away from the small oasis that they had spent many generations within, making it home. Tears streamed down her own cheeks, and she looked down at the small bundle if only to harden her resolve as they needed to get far away from this place. With no plan, she just pushed their way towards the largest city within riding distance, knowing that it would take a few days until they arrived. The cheetah padded along behind, her paws falling into step with the camels own, as they made their way through the moonlit night.

(1219) | NPCs: Great Great Auntie (Aziza), Camels x 2 (Terra & Cotta), and Zahra (Female King Cheetah).
A little look into Pompeii's past! c:

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