Subj: [FFML][HD] Plucked from the Pride
Date: 01-02-06 12:47:11 EST
From: (Laurence H Woodruff)

This is my first post for any fanfic ever. I don't know how it's going to go. I hope it's not too long. I expect to tie it in to the other stories soon.


It was a scorcher. Gooshaki couldn't concentrate on the hunt. The sun beat down hard this time of year. He simply wanted to curl up and bask in its intensity. Unfortunately, he was too young for that, especially at this time of year. As the summer equinox approached preparations had to be made in Cosmo Canyon. Soon, they would celebrate the festival of renewal. Meditations, song, dance, plays, and feasts were prepared in honor of the circle of life and death. Each year those that were eligible formed bands of three. Each band was to seek out and return with a gift for the festival. Many returned with food, usually of some sort of game. Some however, returned with stories, tools, new found resources, and rarely, visitors.

This was the first year he was allowed to go on the great hunt. Gooshaki turned 70 this spring and with that age came new responsibilities. He inherited a crystal necklace from his father who said It was worn by a great warrior of the tribe once. Gooshaki hadn't taken it off sense it was bestowed to him. The sparkle of the crystal neckless contrasted with the rest of Gooshaki's body. He was a burnt orange color. He had a thin mane/beard under his face, and the only distinguishing marks on his body were three deep crimson stripes. One running from each eye and his snout, all the way to the tip of his tail.

When he was younger he always idolized the Great Hunt. He was mystified that the older cats of the tribe left for days on end, and returned dragging the greatest of antelopes. The elder shamans tended the bonfire and a feast was prepared. It always excited him so.

Today however, Gooshaki was not excited. He was actually afraid. He had never been so far from his home before. He had only his older brother, Haroki, and his uncle, Garounu to comfort him, and both of these cats had a tendency to be impatient. They had trekked through the high savanna grass for 2 days, and they had seen no sign of any herd of any hoofed prey. The three cats walked through the grass single file, to hide their numbers, and each day they took turns leading.

Gooshaki led yesterday, so he took the rear today. He was bored and his mind wandered. He had been staring at his brothers tail for hours and was very disinterested in his task. If he didn't know better, he would have offered to catch one of the many rabbits that lived around these parts and call it quits. As he was looking around for something furry, he thought he saw something move far to the left of him, in the grass. He stopped, but his brother and uncle kept walking. If it was game, he didn't want to frighten it, so he did not call out to his party.

Instead, he stealthily moved toward the source of the motion. It continued erratically. As he neared it, he thought he heard flapping. Hoping it was an eagle, a bird revered by his tribe, and who's feathers are said to be bringers of luck, he crept ever so quietly to a small clearing where the grass thinned. As he poked his snout through the clearing. In it was a small pool of water. On the opposite side of the pool were tracks. "Excellent. Now we're getting somewhere," he thought proudly. He would have followed them immediately if it wasn't for the flapping noise he heard again.

Within the pond there was a small jam of logs, sticks, and twigs. A white dove, VERY uncommon in this part of the world, appeared to have its foot caught, wedged between two of the logs. Naturally, Gooshaki, hating the suffering this living creature was waded into the pond. His burnt orange fur became darker as it became wet. he kept his tail above the water though, lest his tongue of flame catch fire, requiring him to spend many hours meditating on its rekindling.

When he reached the dove, it quit moving, scared stiff. "You need not worry little spirit. I am here to help you." Pushing the logs apart with his paw, the dove became free and flew out above him. It hovered above his face, facing him, and then the oddest thing happened. Gooshaki was sure he saw the eyes of the dove, flash a brilliant, bright, piercing emerald green. The dove then immideatly turned and flew at a fantastic speed along the tracks at the end of the pond.

Motivated by the reverence of his people for flying spirits, he left the pond and chased after it. It wasn't until many hours later that he caught up to it. It had made a nest in a small tree. Gooshaki, realizing his fatigue, curled up under the tree and fell fast asleep.


"Edward, do you see that?"

Edward dropped his spoon into his bowl of beans, left it near the campfire, and walked over to Braydon who was peeking through a telescope. "What's over there Braydon?"

"I think it's a firecat but I'm not sure, check his tail." Braydon passed the telescope.

"It's a firecat alright. The trip to this continent wasn't a waste after all. I'm sure we can find someone wealthy up north who would want one." Edward called for the rest of the group. Soon, after putting on some pants and crawling out of their tents, four others arrived.

As soon as he got there, the last of the new four spoke, quite irritably, "What's going on now? You dragged us all the way down here to this continent where it's hot as hell, you force us to march through deserts, and jungles, and now that the day is done, you call us out of bed! What do you want now Edward? What exotic beast have you seen now?!!"

"Our trip has paid off, There is a firecat under the tree about 500 yards to the north." As the four looked, even in twilight they could see the faint glow of the cats tail.

"Men, I don't think this will be easy. This is a noble beast with quite a bit of ferocity in him, but imagine the pretty penny he'll go for in one of the big cities."

It wasn't long before a plan was drawn out.


Gooshaki awoke with a start. He opened his eyes to see the world through a tightly knit mesh. He swiftly pivoted around and his quick reflexes and keen observational skills alerted him of the situation. He was surrounded by 6 men. evenly spaced around the tree. One had thrown a net at him. Two were carrying what appeared to be metal clubs. One had a bamboo like shaft.

As soon as he was oriented he acted. The mesh was of hemp, and already was beginning to burn near his tail, a point of shortsightedness on the part of the bandits. As the net began to loosen tongues of flame danced onto the grass, and soon a small ring of fire began to spread outward.

One of the men tackled Gooshaki from behind. Despite being flatfooted and somewhat restricted in movement, the great cat was much stronger than the man. Writhing, Gooshaki merely rolled over, crushing the wind out of the mans lungs. They were both entangled in the net, and the heat of the small but threating fire was growing.

The other men were shouting. One of the men carrying a pipe lunged forward. Gooshaki, lying on his back, exposing his belly, realized the tactical error of his move. Before he was struck he rolled again. He hoped the new aggressor would miss and strike the prone man on the ground, but to no avail. Gooshaki was struck, and struck hard on his right leg. He heard the sickening snap of broken bone and soon blood began to seep out in a quite scary pace.

Gooshaki yaouled in pain and the flame and the end of his tail flared. Feeling nothing but anger and fear, he was blinded by rage. (He had had his limit, so to speak.) He wriggled out of the net and charged the pipe carrying man. Gooshaki knocked the man down, landing on his chest. Growling a very low, guttural growl, Gooshaki looked the pinned man straight in the eyes. The expression on the mans face let Gooshaki know that this man knew every vicious thought going through the cats head.

At that moment Gooshaki felt a sharp pain in his butt. He yelped and lost his footing on the pinned man. He fell over onto his side and immediately began feeling quite drowsy. He couldn't move, but he could still hear.

"DAMMIT! It sure as hell took you long enough Braydon!" said the recently pinned man as he got up.

"Sorry Edward, I couldn't get a clean shot while Grayson was under him. And the fire, and the net and all..."

"I told you guys to dart him BEFORE you threw the net! Why must you be so incompetent!?! Nevermind. we now have quite the treasure. We'll load our new cargo and head north to....."

Gooshaki was out cold.


I hope to tie this story in with the others soon.