Bonding: a small story of Khaasta and Obhantaa Leraa
I love seeing these two play together. It's pretty alarming to see a jungle cat nibble on someone playfully but I have finally gotten used to it.
|Leraa and khaasta when she was a cub|
The regiments of Frewyn bound to the Diras Castle keep received a general fright one morning while on their collective way to training. Their morning meal in the soldier’s mess had just ended and there were the usual groans made of wishing not to have been roused so early on the first day of the week abound. The grumbling continued as they were called toward the field but the sight of a large hangaara cat mauling a certain ashen-skinned giant had drawn their astonishment and concern. They watched the sleek, black beast attack Obhantaa Leraa with vehemence when a creature reticent and cheerful in character as the giant had deserved none. The hangaara roared and clawed Obhantaa and though they knew the cat to be subdued and subservient when at the giant’s side, they wondered why she now should be so vicious. They attempted to approach, but strident bellows and whipping paws of the cat were overpowering. The regiments were about to call for assistance when they hear the odd sounds of Obhantaa laughing. They checked his form and observed no marks of note on his arms or chest where the cat seemed to be attacking and where they believed the giant would be harmed, his skin was not broken or bleeding.
Their sentiments on the occurrence shifted from those of distress to those of confusion but their confounded expressions were soon undone by the appearance of Unghaahi. He entered the training yard from the barracks, barefooted and prepared to teach his Hophsaas session for the day when he witnessed Obhantaa Leraa and the hangaara playing with one another. He was full of smiles to see his brother able to make and maintain such a connection with so exquisite a creature. He stood and watched them for some time, enjoying the scene of innocent sport in which they participated, until Unghaahi observed his students standing beyond his brother’s position and staring at him with varied appearances of fretfulness and alarm. He immediately went to assuage their fears of the situation and assure them that such fierce behavior was customary.
“There is no need for concern,” Unghaahi said in a placid tone to his men. “Those born with the Endari Sotaa as my brother are able to speak with their companions. The hangaara and Obhantaa have been together for many years. They are Anonnaa and share what our people call Bhaliaas. This word means bond in your language. When the hangaara chose my brother as a companion with whom to practice his gift, she bound herself to him by agreeing to remain in my brother’s company for the remainder of her life. She would not harm him in any manner, you have my word.”
The men stood more at ease to hear the Den Amhadhri’s soothing explanation and listen to the fond laughter emanating from Obhantaa. A few of the solders became apprehensive when the cat and the giant began to wrestle each other into the ground but they were guaranteed that this conduct was nothing to excite them.
“My brother is honouring her with her favourite game,” Unghaahi said smilingly. “I am aware she is a very large beast for men of your size but she is not dangerous.”
Just as Unghaahi made his claims for the hangaara’s harmlessness, Obhantaa yelped with laughter as the cat latched onto his head with her immense maw. Her long fangs encased Obhantaa’s features, and though the giant seemed to be in excellent spirits and playful humour, the soldiers became apprehensive to the worrisome sight. They were urged to remark the tender relationship and the more they observed the less tremulous the solders became. The giant’s white skin was groomed to the cat’s liking, his fists were teasingly gnawed, his hair was preened and the yarn within his braids was pulled. In return, the cat was scratched when asked, thrown over during their small stints of grappling, and lifted by her front paws and made to dance. The humourous nature shared by the two companions was enough to convince of the cat docility and they were left to themselves while the regiment began their Hophsaas lessons for the day.
Obhantaa Leraa and his hangaara ended their tiring exercises with a conversation of yowling and a small embrace that led to a nap together. Their conduct may have seemed extraordinary for a colossus and a feral cat of the island jungles, but though they were seen as having a remarkable fellowship, the two honoured friends felt there could be no connection more expected. They fell asleep together in the corner of the training field and when Unghaahi led the beginning meditations for Hophsaas, the only sound heard in the yard was the sonorous sound of a giant and his greatest friend snoring in each other’s company.