Deep within the heart of the Ta’shula jungles another large female Yautja sat perfectly still in one of the jungle’s great ancient trees, stealthily stalking her latest target; Matula, a large four-legged vegetation grazing creature that usually dwelled within the densest areas of the jungles engulfing the majority of the backwater planet.
She had been watching the same one for hours, observing it, watching how it moved and how it reacted to the sounds of the surroundings around it.
Beginning to move again, she silently moved sideways across the tall canopy branches she was perched upon,
To her advantage the dense vegetation gave her covering and camouflage as she kept her eyes on her prize.
She could also see that the creature was completely oblivious to her presence as it moved directly below her.
Taking deep but silent breathes she pulled out a bow that was attached onto her back along with a long, slender stick that had been skilfully sharpened to a piercing tip.
Placing the long spear like splint into her bow she brought up her arms and positioned the tip of the spike to the creature’s eye.
She knew she didn’t have long to strike. The Matula were typical herd creatures so they were naturally always on the move, making it difficult for them to be brought down in hunts.
They also had another evolutionary feature that made them difficult in a hunt. They had the ability to run on two legs when face with real danger so she had to ensure that she did not startle it in any way so it was of vital importance that she timed this right!
Clenching her large clawed hands around her hunting weapons even tighter, she breathed in and moved closer to get a better striking range from her high position.
The female Yautja breathed in feeling her chest muscles tighten as she pulled the sharpened point back further, aiming it vertically downwards towards the still oblivious creature as it continued grazing the lush vegetation.
She was almost in perfect range! Just one more movement….
She snapped a branch.
Alarmed, the creature looked up-
She fired the shot!
Death was immediate.
The female smirked as she watched the creature collapse in a limp heap. A clean kill.
The young huntress breathed a deep sigh of relief as she looped her timber bow around her neck before leaping off the branch she was perched on, quickly reaching up in mid-air to cling to another and then another before she eventually landed firmly on her feet.
The still silent Yautja huntress looked over her body insuring her weapons were still attached. Her bow was secured around her neck, a blood-stained dagger at her ankle, as well as a number of well sharpened splints; her bows were strapped firmly around her back and from her waist there hung a round container filled with extremely poisonous darts carved from the same strong timber as her bow and arrows were and on the other side of her waist there hung a thin dart shooter with her people’s language carved into the wood.
She looked over to the creature’s now lifeless body, its face soaked in deep crimson, running down onto the vegetation, pooling beside its head.
It was a successful hunt. And it made her proud knowing that she had only hunted this jungle for a few cycles and already she could already feel herself becoming more and more knowledgeable about her surroundings and what to expect while hunting.
She was also becoming more adapted to the environment and open surroundings around her as well as using basic tools and weaponry.
She had always preferred to hunt the ‘traditional’ way instead of using the advanced technological weaponry to hunt her prey.
She preferred it this way because she had made all her weapons and tools by hand. She had taught herself everything she knew. She taught herself to hunt and she was becoming more successful.
No one had to tell her how to do what she did. She knew the hunting trade.
She knew that to succeed in an open hunt, key elements had to be learned about the prey her people hunted. She stalked her prey. She observed them, watching their every move. She had learned where they migrated during the wet and dry season. She had learned how to separate the young ones from the herd and had proved herself more than capable of hunting on her own.
She strode over to the lifeless animal and with one rough pull she retrieved her now blood soaked arrow that was embedded within its penetrated eyes. The young Yautja chirruped in satisfaction as she knelt down beside the carcass and heaved her prize over her shoulders.
It was a good kill.
The animal was a good enough size so there would be a fair amount of meat on the carcass. The hide could be put to use as clothing, roofs and containers for weapons and the bones could easily be crafted into more efficient hunting tools.
A successful hunt.
Twins?! She was carrying twins?!
Nach’she was on the verge of hyperventilating, her eyes wide with fear as panicked whimpers escaped her raw throat. She did not have the strength to carry and give birth to twins!
Whimpering, she closed her eyes as tears fell. She could not do this….
She looked to Wolf with pleading eyes.
Wolf closed his eyes, sighing deeply. He understood completely. Her body was still so weak after everything she had been through. And now she was carrying two pups! She needed so much help and without the strength to carry two unborn pups until their ready to be born, both mother and pup’s future was uncertain.
Wolf’s chest muscles clenched, he hated to think of such things but he knew that there was always a darker side to reality and the uncertain future.
A future I fear will come to pass… Wolf opened his eyes…but unclear the future still is. Everything that has not come to pass is uncertain.
The young Yautja smiled… Not come to pass.
The young blooded hunter looked down at the young female to find her asleep in his arms.
“I gave her a mild sedative. She was exhausted.” He heard a deep voice behind him, Wolf turned around to see the large female Yautja standing behind him, her muscular arms folded.
Wolf nodded, but still did not look her in the eye. For him to tell the honest truth, she scared him. Her sheer size alone intimidated him beyond belief. But he knew that she was no danger to Nach’she. She cared about her greatly and so did he.
Wolf smiled at the sudden realization; that was the only thing they had in common.
The large female, cocked her large head, seeing how this young male was reacting towards the now sleeping female, how he was massaging her hand in his, how he never took his eyes off her. How could a male be so gentle to a female?
The large female scoffed. A gentle male is too rare a sight in the times we now live in. Too rare.
She continued to stand and watch as the young hunter began to gently rub the bulge of her pregnant stomach. Then she noticed her young patient slowly move her head, towards the young male. She was beginning to stir.
The muscular female quietly stepped forward towards Nach’she and Wolf. “There is nothing more for you here now, pup.”
Nodding, but barely hearing what she had said in the first place, Wolf still continued to sit by Nach’she’s bedside, continuing to gently pet her arm as he watched the slow rise and fall of her chest underneath the thin blanket covering her body.
Seeing her voice go unnoticed, and not liking it, especially from that of a male, the large female advanced closer, placing a firm, clawed hand on Wolf’s shoulder, startling the you male. He looked straight up at her.
Satisfied at his startled reaction, the large female’s eyes narrowed “time to go.” Her voice commanding, making her point clear.
“I cannot,” Wolf admitted looking back to Nach’she.
Cannot?! The large female Yautja growled threateningly, moving slightly closer. She would not be walked over by a male.
Those days were over!
Wolf, knowing better than to start a conflict with her, sighed as he slowly rose to his feet. His eyes never leaving Nach’she, even as larger female took him firmly by his shoulder, escorting him out without hesitation.
Once he was finally ‘thrown out’ of the medical hut he brushed himself off only to see the large female leaning against the entrance, her arms folded, as if she were guarding it, waiting expectantly for him to leave.
“Take care of her,” Wolf chirruped softly as he turned around to face her. He could at least try to maintain the peace.
Neither the female nor her expression changed. “Goodbye.”
Very well, Wolf sighed as he took one last glance at the sleeping Nach’she before finally turning around and walking away into the centre of the settlement. The Yautja were now lighting the torches that lit up the village at night as dusk was fast approaching, some stars already appearing in the sky.
The young hunter looked around him as the torches laminated the settlement. Some other Yautja were sitting, growling and chirruping amongst themselves, some mothers carrying their sleeping pups.
Wolf continued to look around his surrounding as he walked, some Yautja nodding their heads to him in respect and he bowed his head to them, smiling and chirruping softly in response.
At his own, evenly relaxed pace he made his way into the very heart of the Yautja settlement, occasionally passing his fellow male Yautja, most commonly beating their chests to each other as a sign of respect and admiration to whichever hunter possessed the most trophies from their hunt or had the highest status usually earned within the hunt.
The sun had now set and the whole settlement was nearly quiet. The pups had been brought to bed for the night along with the adults, both male and female alike who had also retired for the night.
The young male smiled as he walked. The mission was complete. Nach’she was safe and receiving proper medical care. Now... Wolf thought; now he could have time to himself.
He could hear the birds still chirruping and the distant waters continuing to flow the Great Mountains. This was paradise.
“Paradise,” the young hunter breathed as he casually made his way over to a nearby camp fire just at the edge of one of the settlement’s many clearings. Settling himself down by the fires edge, he could instantly feel the heat radiating off his skin.
Sitting close to the blaze he could see the tiny embers flow from the flames, the cackling of the fire as the other Yautja around it growled and chirruped as the feasted hungrily on a large Matula that lay roasting on a spit.
Wolf continued to sit motionless and stare into the fire until he suddenly winced as he felt the pained rumble come from his stomach. He placed his large clawed hand over his stomach. He honestly remember that last time he had actually sat down and had a decent meal.
His stomach rumbled again, even louder this time, leaving him feeling slightly nauseous. He let out a growl of sudden frustration; He couldn’t take it anymore!
Making up his mind, he kept his hand still firmly placed over his stomach he hoisted his muscular bulk off the ground and over to the roasting animal. After finding a safe distance to stand away from the fire, he pulled out a hunting dagger that was tucked in a hide sheath by the side of his leg. Holding a firm grip on the blade he guided it over the creature’s blackened hide, already feeling the blade heat in his hand.
He scanned the carcass and wasn’t long before he finally found a soft looking spot just below the shoulder. Without any hesitation he drove his knife into the Matula’s roasted hide to carve out some of the tender meat inside.
It was only then he found out that the creature’s carcass was too roasted; his blade, too embedded within the carcass and refusing to retract. In an attempt to pry the knife from the body he placed on hand over the sizzling carcass, burning his hand, seething. The knife still embedded, his hand burnt.
Looking at his now blistered palm, the young Yautja rolled his eyes. He couldn’t even get a piece of food without a fight! And on top of that; this creature was already dead! And here he was fighting with it!
Minutes passed and after a few vein efforts, he stopped and let out another frustrated growl. His blade was stuck tight! As was his dinner! Neither was budging!
Sighing, he stood motionless, finally giving in.
Oh Gods. He continued to stand in the same position with his hand over his eyes as he thought. If he couldn’t do it the apparent ‘hard’ way then he guessed that he would just have to try the easy way.
Finally opening his eyes again, he walked back over the still roasting carcass and placed an extremely firm grip on the creatures front let, took a deep breath and with a loud snarl he ripped the creatures limb cleanly from the socket, retrieving his knife in the process!
Stumbling back a step as a result of the impact, he looked down to see the creature’s entire limp still sizzling in his hands, the smell of the cooked flesh making his mouth water.
Hearing his stomach growl again, he knew he couldn’t hold it off any longer! Turning around, he hastily returned to his seat by the fire before finally sinking his upper and lower teeth into the roasted meat, his large mandibles locking around the limb, pulling off a long strip of tender fat. He closed his eyes as he slowly chewed, savouring the taste of the soft, moist meat under the crisped hide.
Perfect he sighed as he eventually swallowed.
“And I thought I was the one with the appetite,” Scar quipped, slowly walking over to the roasted carcass for his second round of meat.
“...’m hungry,” Wolf said, his mouth full.
“Yes, we can see that, Wolf.” Another male Yautja, Zunte’, chirruped as he contently ate his share of the kill.
Wolf glanced briefly up at the other hunters, listening briefly in on their conversations before once again focusing on his meal, tenderly pulling off long strips of tender meat, blood still dripping from the fat. They then sat in silence until Zunte’ suddenly sat forward, pulling out his own flint-made knife to carve off another piece of roasted meat.
“How is your mate, Zunte’” another hunter sitting beside Wolf asked.
At this, Zunte’ smiled, “she is due any day.”
The reason Zunte’ had remained behind at the time of the other hunter’s departure; he had chosen to remain with his mate, with Elder Tarik’s permission. She had been over five months pregnant when the others had left and now here she was, due to give birth any day now. He was going to be a father to his first born pup. Whether it was a son or a daughter, he did not care.
“You must be proud,” one of his fellow hunters commented, stretching with a bellowing yawn.
Zunte’ smiled “I am proud of Ki’dana,”
“As are we all, brother.” Wolf replied smiling.
Zunte’ nodded his head. He knew they were, and he was proud. The older male sat and ate in silence, thinking of his beautiful mate and what their unborn pup would be.
None of the other Yautja sitting around Zunte’ brought him out of his deep thoughts. They all continued to sit around the fire, eating in silence, listening to the burning firewood cackle.
As he continued to eat at his meal, Wolf closed his eyes and just sat. Relaxed and content.
It was not long before Vitani finally reached the settlement’s location, hidden behind the canopy trees. All that could be seen were the settlement’s burning torches, which she had been relieved to see. She had been hunting for hours and still only had the one kill, but still she knew, one kill was better than no kill.
When she finally reached the settlement, she saw that the camp’s torches were still brightly lit, that gave the blackened night sky a faded glow as it illuminated tiny stars, making them clearly visible. Vitani looked up and smiled; it was a beautiful sight.
Letting out a small sigh, she secured the carcass that was tied to her back as she slowly continued on her way through the settlement. As she walked she saw other females sitting on the timber-made steps to some of their huts, some of them holding their small pups, already asleep in their arms. They were holding them tenderly but also protectively. She saw this and at the same time could not help thinking about her own mother. She had no memory of her.
Still continuing to watch the little pups, she smiled, knowing that these little ones would grow up knowing who their mother was, instead of having no memory of her at all. Shaking her head, the large female sighed deeply. She wished she had known her mother. But no matter how hard she had tried in the past, she just could not recall her nor could she memorise her. To her, her mother was lost.
Seeing it best to keep moving on, she continued on her way. Her kill and weapons securely fastened to her back, her knife carved from bone sheathed around her ankle.
The large female continued to walk at her own steady pace; passing by males who sat around their dimly lit campfires, chirruping and occasionally giving one another a respectful shake to the shoulder.
As she glanced around the quietened settlement she saw another dimply lit campfire just ahead of her and from what she could already smell, they were roasting Matula. Closing her eyes as the smell of roasted meat drifted through the air, she grimaced as she felt her stomach painfully contorted. She could not ignore it any longer. She needed to eat!
Setting her sights for the campfire ahead of her, she quickened her pace, trying to ignore the growing discomfort in her stomach.
When she finally reached the campfire, she saw that the already roasting Matula was nearly gone, only a few strips of smoked muscle and the flame charred bones remained.
Letting out a low growl, the large female Yautja gazed down to notice that the four male Yautja sitting around the fire were completely unaware to her presence.
Folding her muscular arms, Vitani stood behind them and watched. They were oblivious. The large female rolled her eyes, carefully pulling the vine-made straps securing the kill to her back towards her. Skilfully undoing the overlapping straps, she slowly loosened her fastened kill, lifting it in the air with relative ease as she took a firm hold of its hind legs and then without warning, dropped the butchered creature in front of the oblivious Yautja, startling them!
Jumping in shock as the creature hit the ground in front of them, the four male Yautja turned around, immediately looking up to see the large female’s shadowy form looming over them. Her small eyes reflecting against the small embers of the campfire.
“Vitani!” Wolf gaped in genuine surprise. The large female looked down at him, silent and expressionless. “Where have you been, sister?” The younger male asked her, shifting slightly in his seat, the warm fire radiating off his back and shoulders.
Vitani remained silent, only pointing to the kill that she had thrown before them. Wolf looked at the kill. The young male nodded, she must have been hunting in the Ta’shula region again. Large preys such as the Mautla were scarce in the areas inhabited by the Yautja.
Zunte’, however, who was now sitting beside Wolf, looked down at the kill that she had thrown before them in admiration as he inspected the kill for himself. Clean arrow shot to the eye. An instantaneous kill.
Zunte’ was impressed. He was nearly twice her age and could tell that she was learning fast for her age. He looked up at her with a smile, “an impressive kill, Vitani.”
“Thank you, Zunte’” She smiled, her voice deep, “how is Ki’dana?” She asked him as she carefully set down her hand-made weapons.
“She is due to birth any day, now.” Zunte’ chirruped in response. Immediately thinking of his beautiful Ki-dana.
Looking at Zunte’, Vitani smiled at the thought of another pup was being born. She had seen other pups born within the past few seasons and now Zunte’’s mate was due to have one. She cherished the thought.
Once again she felt her stomach painfully contort with a growl, snapping her out of her immersed thoughts as she realized the longer she went on without food, the more painful her stomach was going to feel and the more nauseous she was going to feel also.
Eventually relieving herself of her hunting tools, she looked at the nearly devoured Matula roasting on the timber-made spit.
Steadily, she walked over to the roasting carcass, slowly circling it as she searched for any sections of tender meat. There was hardly any except for the fattening flesh of the creature’s rump. It would have to do, as she was not going to slowly roast her own kill only to have to it devoured immediately after.
Seeing that the fire was dimly lit she decided that it would be best to still keep her distance from it, feeling the insulated heat remediate off her legs and ankles as she bent down to retrieve the only hunting tool that she still had fastened to her; her bone carved hunting knife.
Placing a firm grip on the handle, she held it tight as she plunged her blade swiftly into the roasted meat, feeling as her knife sank deeper into the tenderised meat and with a loud, echoing growl, she pulled the fattened rump cleanly off the backend of the carcass as well as hearing the sickening snap of its lower vertebra which came cleanly off with it.
Now, looking at the carcass which only had one half to it now, and was almost nothing but a charred skeleton, she saw that everything; the skin, the muscles, the fat and even the internal organs had been completely devoured and she would remake more of her vital hunting tools out of the creatures charred bones. Nothing was wasted on a carcass. Prey this size was too hard to come by now and whatever chance the Yautja got to hunt prey like this, they took it!
And Vitani was not going to waste the opportunity to feed, mainly fat or not. She would eat it!
Still satisfied with her luck, she turned around and slowly walked back to the other Yautja who were now just relaxing and chirruping to one another, the fire now a pleasant glow.
Eventually seeing a quite place to sit down and eat, she sat down beside Scar who was laying with his head back, his arms folded and his eyes closed.
Finally able to make herself comfortable beside the warmth of the fire, she rested the tip of her knife on one hand and held the handle in the other as she slowly began to eat the roasted rump. She closed her eyes after she took her first bite, savouring the tender taste, the crimson saliva dripping from her mouth. She purred in content. Perfect.
As she continued to eat her meal in silence, the others continued to rest. Scar had fallen asleep and Wolf was beginning to fall asleep also. Zunte’ still remained awake. He just sat staring into the fire. The fire reflecting in his eyes. Everything was silent. All that could be faintly heard was the faint cackling of the fire as it continued to burn.
Once Vitani had eventually finished off her fattening meal, she too, could almost feel her eyes beginning to close and soon, her world went black.
The night pass by slowly, the stars lit the sky when the Yautja’s burning torches faded to glowing embers. The campfires had faded to small glows in the ground, the burning wood still cackling. The Yautja slept beside the still glowing warmth of the fire. Vitnai slept on her side with her muscular arm tucked under her head. Wolf slept with his head on Zunte’’s shoulder, who rested close to Scar who was lying with his arms still folded and his head forward.
Everything was silent. No birds. No more fires burning. No chirruping from the other Yautja or their pups. There was nothing.
Zunte’ stirred slowly in his sleep, awakening Wolf as he shifted his body to make himself more comfortable against the large timber he was resting on. The younger male sat up slowly and yawned as he slowly looked around his unremembered surroundings, still half asleep before sliding himself once again into a comfortable lying position.
Scar who still had his eyes closed and his arms still folded stretched one of his legs lazily, flexing his talon toes before immediately falling asleep again.
Vitani however, did not move a muscle; the only movement she made was the steady rise and fall of her chest as she slept.
Everything was still, silent...peaceful.
As the night steadily progressed, the settlement continued to sleep...except for one. In the darkness of her bedchamber, another female Yautja had awoken suddenly from a dreamless sleep. Her entire body was now bathed in sweat, her breathing rapid as she felt another sharp, contorting pain coming from her swollen abdomen. Attempting to move herself out of her bed she was immediately struck with another sharp pain!
Slightly shaking, she slowly put her head in-between her legs as a terrible nausea came over her. Keeping her breathing steady as she waited for the nausea to pass, she slowly lifted her head, taking another deep breath as she attempted to stand only to have her hands cling protectively around her abdomen as her legs buckled from underneath her.
She let out a pained cry as she fell, only to realise her water had broke!
The female Yautja clutched her stomach shutting her eyes as more and more sharp pains struck her, making her arch her back in agony as they ceased to stop.
Letting out another pained cry, this one even louder than the last as it ruptured the silence of the settlement, waking other Yautja, both male and female as they immediately became aware of the painful sounding cry, instantly knowing that it had come from one of the females.
As another constricting pain shot through her body she let out another agonising cry, her eyes shut tightly as she felt her first contraction, her arms wrapped protectively around her swollen abdomen, she could already her chirrups and growls coming from outside her hut. The others had now awoken. Even with her eyes shut tight, she could still hear them approaching her as they entered inside her hut. They were close to her.
“She is in labour,” she heard a deep voice say, a male as he saw the large puddle of water surrounding the edge of her bed. He also noticed that her arms were wrapped around her abdomen. She kept her eyes shut as she heard them come even closer, she felt talon hands slip gently under the crook of her back.
“Lift her gently,” another voice whispered, a female, “her pup will be arriving soon.”
Feeling the pain in her womb slowly begin to subside, she did not react as she was gently lifted from her foetal position on the floor.
As her body was slowly raised, she winced as the nausea returned to her, making her feel physically ill.
They lowered her carefully onto the bed, insuring she was relatively comfortable, given her condition before Tak’lay, a large female Yautja who specialised in the medical arts stepped forward, an expressionless mask on her face.
As the larger female slowly walked though the gathering, the other Yautja stepped aside to let her though, allowing her to have a better examination of Ki’dana, her face now contorted in silent pain.
As Tak’lay gracefully strode up to her, placing the palm of her hand over Ki’dana’s forehead, she saw straight away that the poor female was going through a painful labour. That much was obvious.
“Shhhh,” Tak’lay hushed, hearing Ki-dana let out a small whimper. She continued to watch Ki’dana, tenderly stroking her forhead, keeping her calm.
“Where is her mate?! Tak’lay asked, looking at the others who were gathered behind her. “Where is Zunte’?” She got no reply, but blank, slightly confused faces, making her give a low growl of frustration. We need to find Zunte’
“You, you and you! Find Zunte!’” She ordered, pointing a talon finger in the direction of two males and a female. They looked at her but did not move.
Ki’dana cried out again in pain.
“Move! Now!” She ordered again, more sharply, making them jump, before they finally moved hastily out of the hut in search of Zunte’
“Hurry!” She called out to them what she could not stress enough, before they eventually vanished out of sight.
The Yautja who had left the hut to find Zunte’ searched fanatically around the blackened settlement, calling his name and looking around every corner, hoping to find him. Nothing. They could find no one. The settlement was now in complete blackness and they could not even make out a shadow of another Yautja.
After searching around another section of the settlement and still coming to no luck in finding Zunte’ or anyone else, to help them look for him, they were almost about to give up and hope that he had returned to Ki-dana himself, but it was not until, the small female Yautja, Ta’lay, spotted a faint glow coming from a distant campfire and around it she saw several figures laying around the fire.
It was not long before the other Yautja spotted the distant glow also, hastily making their way over to see who was there. All of them praying that one of the Yautja Zunte’.
Upon seeing him, and others; Wolf, Vitani and Scar, the weary Yautja, breathed a small sigh of relief. They had found him. Now they had to bring him to Ki-dana. His pup was coming!
Slowly kneeling down, not wanting to wake the others, one of the males, Kube’ quietly reached out his hand towards Zunte who was still asleep, gently shaking his shoulder to wake him.
“Zunte’” Kube’ whispered, still shaking his shoulder, “Zunte’, wake up...”
Zunte’? Zunte’, can you hear us? Brother, wake up...
The larger male eventually did begin to stir, subconsciously hearing distant voices saying his name. Slowly opening one eye, his infrared vision was blurry. All he could see were shapes and shadows hovering above him as they spoke to him.
Zunte’, it’s Ki’dana...
Even though his hearing his vision was blurry and his hearing sounded like echoes, his eyes immediately shot open at the mention of his mate’s name.
With his eyes now fully open, his vision was beginning to adjust bad sharpen as well as his hearing as he looked up to see the two males and female above him.
Closing his eyes, he hoisted his bulk off the ground and eventually into an upright position until he was finally facing the Yautja whom had heard calling his name.
“Oh, thank the Gods we found you!” One of the other males exclaimed, as the two others nodded in agreement. Noticing at the same time that the three other Yautja with Zunte’ were beginning to stir also.
Zunte’’s brow creased in confusion, “why? Is there anything wrong?” He asked, letting out a bellowing yawn, tiredly rubbing his eyes.
The first male, Kube’ shook his head, “not at all, Zunte’” he reassured the still tired male.
Zunte’ still continued to rub his eyes “then why wake me?”
“It is your mate,” Kube replied.
Ki’dana? Zunte’’s expression was that of confusion edged with worry at the thought of there could be something wrong with his mate, something wrong with their unborn pup! But it was then he remembered they had mentioned her name. “You spoke of her,” He recalled that much.
The smaller male nodded his head. That was true. And it was also time Zunte’ knew. It was his pup.
Closing his eyes as he took a deep breath, he looked directly into Zunte’s eyes. Now was the time.
“Ki’dana is giving birth.”
Kube’ did not have to say a single word after that, within a second Zunte’ was up and away, running as fast as his powerful legs could carry him. His pup was coming! He was going to be a father! He had to be there for his Ki’dana!
Before long he was back at his home, only to notice the crowd of Yautja, both male and female gathered outside of his hut.
Keeping his eyes ahead, he made haste in making his way through the gathering, who stepped aside to let him through, all exchanging both relieved and excited glances for the father-to-be and also for his mate.
Pushing his way through he finally made his way into his hut only to hear a loud cry of pain, echo through the hut. His eyes widened immediately at the agonizing screech. Ki’dana!
Now even more intent on being by his mate, he continued pushing his way through the remainder of the large gathering of Yautja until he eventually made it to their bed chamber.
And there she was...his beautiful Ki’dana, lying on her back, her entire body bathed in sweat. She was lying on the bed, with Tak’lay kneeling by her bedside, grasping her hand firmly and it was not long before she acknowledged his presence in the room. Looking up, he noticed that she, too, had a relieved expression across her face.
“Zunte’” She called quietly, motioning him to come closer with one of her talon hands but still holding Ki’dana’s hand with her other.
Zunte’ remained silent as he came further into the room, his eyes still on Ki’dana. She looked in so much pain. Her eyes were closed; her brow creased as low whimpers escaped her mouth.
“She has been calling out for you,” Tak’lay said softly, watching as Zunte’ slowly sat down at Ki’dana’s other side, gently taking the other hand in his own as Ki’dana cried out again in pain, weakly turning her head into Zunte’’s chest.
“The pup will be born soon,” Tak’lay quipped, moving from Ki’dana’s bedside to check on her progress; and she was pleased with what she saw.
“She is almost fully dilated,” The large female announced, making sure that her legs were still raised but being careful not to move her position, afraid it would cause her even more pain. Zunte’ looked up; Tak’lay smiled “she is almost ready.”
Nodding in understanding, the male did not move from his position, nor did her let go of her hand. If anything, he grasped it even tighter as his mate suddenly let out a sharp gasp.
“She is fully dilated,” Tak’lay confirmed as she stayed at the bottom of the bed, ready to deliver the pup.
Zunte’ nodded, still keeping a firm hold on his mate’s hand as she began to go through the painful stage of actually giving birth to the pup. She whimpered again, slowly opening one of her eyes, to see Tak’lay smiling at her from the bottom of the bed “Ki’dana,” Tak’lay spoke in a steady voice. It was important to see if she was aware of what was happening.
Ki’dana closed her eyes again, a pained whimper once again escaping her.
“Ki’dana,” Tak’lay said again “can you hear me my voice?”
The weakened female gave a feeble nod in response. Tak’lay smiled; if she could hear her then she was somewhat mentally aware and the ever present risk of a miscarriage due to lack of consciousness by the mother was slim, and she hoped to keep it that away, especially now when the pup was so close to being born. They could not lose the pup now.
As the time for the pup’s birth came even closer, Ki’dana’s labour pains increased to the stage where she could barely move. Tak’lay tried her best to comfort her, to tell her that she was alright, but it worked to no avail.
Zunte’ still remained by her side, holding her hand as well as gently stroking her forehead, still bathed in sweat. The only response coming from Ki’dana were small cries as Tak’lay levitated her legs, before moving them apart even more, for the pup to be born but at the same time, trying to be as gentle as possible. The pup would not come immediately, but they still saw it best to prepare her for it, making it both easier for Ki’dana and the pup.
Another loud, echoing cry came from Ki’dana which made her arch her back in agony. Her grip on Zunte’’s hand tightening even more, making Zunte’ himself groan at the increased pressure.
With a shocked expression on her face at K’dana’s sudden reaction, Tak’lay once again looked down to see what progress Ki’dana was making. Her eyes widened!
“The pup is coming!” She announced, before carefully placing an extra blanket over Ki’dana’s lower half in preparation for the pup’s birth but to also protect her own privacy. The pup was coming now! She had not expected to be this soon!
After making sure that Ki’dana was in the right position in order for the birth to go well, Tak’lay was satisfied before looking to Zunte’, whom was bathed in sweat also.
This was a nervous time for him, just as much as it was for Ki’dana and she understood that. But it was her job to deliver the pup and to also keep Ki’dana stable through the final stages of the birth.
Ki’dana let out another cry as the contracting pain hit her.
“Ki’dana,” Tak’lay said softly to get her attention. The weak female again opened her eyes to look at the older female in front of her. “Ki’dana, listen to me...” Tak’lay began again, keeping her voice soft but still commanding.
The last thing she wanted to do was intimidate her, but was relieved to see that Ki’dana’s eyes were still looking at her as she continued “your pup is coming, Ki’dana. That is all the pain is. It will not last but you must be prepared for this. It is going to be hard.” Unfortunately, she could promise nothing less.
Seeing Ki’dana give another weak nod, Tak’lay continued “I will be guiding you through this, Ki’dana, as will Zunte’,” She gestured towards Zunte’ “but, there is only so much we can do. In the end, you will have to give birth to this pup.”
As she spoke this, the look on Ki’dana’s face resembled a face that looked as though it had been told that once she had passed a certain stage in the birth, after that she would be on her own.
Seeing this expression, and feeling somewhat uncomfortable, Tak’lay leaned forward as she whispered “I will help you in whatever way I can.” It was the most comfort that she could give.
Now, after instructing Zunte’ to carefully lift her into a upright position, she resumed her own place at the foot of the bed.
Ki’dana now sat upright, her body leaning against Zunte’ as he sat behind her with hand still clutching hers and the other gently rubbing her abdomen, trying to take her mind of the pain. Ki’dana leaned back into Zunte’’s hold, closing her eyes as she felt the constricting below her womb increase.
“Is she alright?” Zunte’ asked as he held Ki’dana closer to him. Tak’lay nodded “the pup’s position is moving, causing her the discomfort.” She replied, her eyes never leaving the dilated opening, where the pup would soon come.
“When will she need to push?” The younger male asked, keeping his eyes still on Ki’dana, who then gave out another loud cry of pain as she leaned forward, holding her swollen abdomen.
“Soon.” Tak’lay responded, now placing her talon hands inside the blanket, now ready to deliver the pup. It was time.
“Ki’dana, your pup is about to come,” Tak’lay informed her, making sure she was aware of what was going to happen. And again to her relief, Ki’dana gave her a small nod in understanding, before closing her eyes again. The pain was getting worse!
Tak’lay then looked to her mate.
“Zunte’,” He looked wearily in her direction “I need you to keep her steady.” She instructed before she looked to Ki’dana, whom looked as though she going to pass out. Her body was bathed in even more sweat and she was taking in small intakes of breath, even as Zunte’ held her.
“Ki’dana,” Tak’lay said softly, “the pup is coming, now. So you are going to feel a few very strong pains occurring, and whenever you do I need am going to need you to push.”
Upon hearing this, there was a sudden fear in Ki’dana’s eyes. When was she going to know to push? She had never done this before. The young female whimpered, she was scared.
“I will tell you when to push,” she heard Tak’lay say in a calm voice. This gave her some relief, but she was still frightened.
“You will do just fine,” Zunte’ purred, laying her against his chest, continuing to gently rub her abdomen. Ki’dana looked up to meet her mate’s gaze, purring as she nuzzled into him, trying to ignore her labour pains, even as they steadily increased, causing her to let out a small whine.
“You are going to feel strong pains.” Tak’lay reminded.
“..h-hu-rts,” Ki’dana whimpered, her face once again creased with pain.
“I know,” Tak’lay soothed “but it will not last forever.” She knew that Ki’dana was experiencing a hard labour, but at the same time, understood that it did not make it any less painful.
And it was then that Ki’dana let out a loud scream of pain. She would have violently jerked her body upright, if Zunte’ had not have been holding her to his chest.
“Alright, Ki’dana, this is it!” Tak’lay exclaimed “I need you to push....now!”
Ki’dana did as she was told. She took a deep breath and pushed! Her eyes were closed, her brow still creased with pain as she wheezed, pushing as hard as she could.
“Alright, and...stop.” Tak’lay instructed.
Ki’dana obeyed, finally stopping. She threw her head back against Zunte’’s forearm, panting, her face covered in sweat.
“Very good, Ki’dana.” Tak’lay smiled, taking a look at the progress made. Everything was looking good.
Ki’dana, however was only beginning to recover when suddenly a sharper pain hit her, making her gasp. Her gaze turned to Tak’lay, worried.
“You will have to give another push.” The larger female explained, but as soon as Ki’dana prepared to push again, the larger female stopped her, “only push when I tell you.”
She could not let Ki’dana get ahead of herself. It was too soon. She would end up exhausting herself and potentially harming the unborn pup and she could see from Ki’dana’s face that she was going to have to push soon.
“Wait until I tell you,” Tak’lay instructed. Ki’dana waited, bracing herself in whatever ways she could, feeling the pain begin to return.
“And…Push!” Ki’dana closed her eyes and again, pushed as hard as she could, letting out a choked cry as she pushed even harder than the first time. It hurt so much.
“Take a breath, Ki’dana.” Tak’lay told her in a soft voice. She knew how hard she was trying and how much pain it was causing her at the same time, but it was still vitally important that she looked after her own health in the process. Eventually, Ki’dana stopped and took as deep breath, now utterly exhausted.
“You are doing very well,” Tak’lay soothed, reaching out and gently stroking her head.
“How is she doing?” Zunte’ asked as he pulled Ki’dana back into his arms, wrapping them protectively around her.
“She is doing remarkably well, Zunte’” Tak’lay said pleased.
“And the pup?” His voice nervous.
“The pup is crowning,” she responded, now gazing back to the pup’s visible head.
Zunte’ said nothing more, but looked down at Ki’dana and saw that the pain that was once visible in her face was slowly beginning to ease as he continued to stroke the stop of her head, wiping the sweat from her brow.
“She will need to give only a few more pushes and the pup will be born.” Tak’lay acknowledged, watching Zunte’ with Ki’dana. To say that he loved her deeply was an understatement. She was his life and more.
“Are you ready Ki’dana?” Tak’lay asked, cupping the pup’s tiny head gently in her large talon hand.
The younger female nodded, holding onto Zunte’ for support as she once again braced herself for another push.
“You know what to do, Ki’dana,” Ki’dana nodded, now more aware as most of the pain had eased.
“And…Push!” Tak’lay ordered and Ki’dana pushed as hard as long as she could, before stopping, exhaling deeply.
Again, Tak’lay looked down to check on her progress and couldn’t have been happier at what she saw; by now the tiny pup was almost out. All it was going to take was one more push. One more push and the pup would be born.
“Ki’dana,” the larger female addressed the younger one, “you are going to have to push one last time.”
Ki’dana let out a low whimper. She did not have the energy to push again. She shook her head weakly. She could not do it.
“You are almost there, Ki’dana,” Tak’lay urged her “I am holding your pup in my hands. You just need to give one more push.” She could not urge her enough! She had come this far. She could not give up now!
Ki’dana weakly opened her eyes, looking at Tak’lay and then to her mate, Zunte’, who looked down tenderly at his mate “one more push, Ki’dana. One more and it will be over.” He promised, stroking her head gently with his talon finger.
Knowing how far she had already come she slowly turned her head in Tak’lay’s direction, looking into her eyes, “one more push?” She asked weakly. She was too tired.
The older female nodded, smiling “one more.”
After a moment of silence, Ki’dana took breathed in as she nodded. Tak’lay smiled.
Ki’dana looked up at Zunte’ who nodded his head supportively. She had to do this. She knew that.
Now, looking back at Tak’lay she gave her a weak nod, closing her eyes as Tak’lay positioned her legs further apart for the pup to finally arrive.
“When I tell you to push, you push. ” Tak’lay instructed simply. This was the most curtail part of the birthing, the final step.
Ki’dana nodded her head again in comprehension.
“Good...” Tak’lay quipped before placing her hands firmly on the tiny pup's head, Ki'danan bracing herself for the final push.
Ki'danan nodded shakily, bracing herself for the final push.
And with that, she leaned forward and pushed harder than she had ever done in her life, letting out an agonising cry, her talon fingers digging into the bed and into Zunte’s hand as the sweat ran down her face as the room was once again echoed with another cry. But not her cry. It was the shrill cry of a newborn Yautja pup.
With that last push, she gave birth to the pup, as Tak’lay lifted it into her arms as she began to clean it of the green birth blood. She had already cut the umbilical cord just as Ki’dana had given birth and now had it bundled in a soft blanket as it had fallen asleep.
“Ki’dana, Zunte’, meet your little daughter.” Tak’lay whispered as she walked over to Ki’dana’s bedside, tenderly placing the tiny bundle in her arms.
Ki’dana took her tiny pup from Tak’lay, wrapping her arms around the tiny bundle as Zunte’’s large hand supported its little head.
Looking down, the tiny pup was already asleep in her mother’s arms. Her little head nestled into the blanket that she was bundled with.
“She is beautiful.” Zunte’ whispered, stroking the little pup’s head as she slept. This was his pup. This was his newborn daughter.