Suddenly a small white leopard appeared
looking directly at them with curiousity.
Dream-eater took her sister’s hand;
they all just stood there for a while.
Marco resolved to do the right thing,
and his response to the stand-off was
to walk directly towards the creature
shouting and screaming, waving his arms.
Then a second leopard joined in on the
right, a fierce roar came from behind.
They were almost surrounded. Marco
continued to intimidate the small white
big cat, and the second leopard moved in
with circumspection, yet his eyes were
hunters, and his paws had claws as ends.
A third large leopard rose up behind them.
She was white as snow, furious at the threat
levelled at her younglings, hissing, roaring,
circling the four adventurers in the forest.
Marco was frightened, what else was in store?
What monsters did the night hold for them?
Dream-eater was not afraid, and she spoke up.
With level voice she let Marco know he was
overstepping, and she would take care of it.
And she did. She struck the leopard-mother
with a retracting blow; then wounded her
with her dagger. A small trickle of blood
stained her snowy fur, and she withdrew.
The young warrior just stood there in awe.
That was her leader, and she was amazing.
The sister was looking elsewhere, up above
toward the woodland canopy, seeking light.
It was getting dark in the forest, as a storm
was approaching. The leopards were still about,
around them, yet slowly moving off. A yellow light
was bathing them with fear, a sunset gone wrong.
Dream-eater stood there staring at the leopards,
angry with herself about her failings as a leader.
She was reminded of the people she had abandoned.
A whole tribe was now under the command of fools.
She was furious at her dead father, furious at
Marco, furious at her sister, angry with the
foolish young man following her… why so much
anger? Why the sudden burst of feeling? Stop.
Her heart was racing, and her mind was gone,
the whole world was spinning, and yet every
other muscle in her body was completely still.
Had it been a mistake to leave? Was she doomed?