Chronicles of the Mahirmai Khan: Lost
The golden grass of the endless plains waved in the soft
summer breeze, tickling the ears of the yellow Lupe lounging in the shade of a
tall tree. Raghidmab yawned, today was a lazy day. He was scouting on his own
away from his khan; he loved to explore and keeping track of the khans' four cubs
cut back on exploring time when he was with the khan.
Only its three cubs now, he thought guiltily;
a wildfire the summer before had claimed one of the cubs, the only red furred
person anyone of his khan had ever seen, Azureyigh. A loss Raghidmab blamed
himself for. He was supposed to lead Azureyigh to safety though the flames,
but they had gotten separated. Azureyigh had never been heard from again. Though
the rest of the khan hadn't blamed him, Raghidmab would never forgive himself.
Lazily, Raghidmab debated whether it was worth
the effort to walk down the hill to the creek for a drink. Thirst finally won
over lethargy, and Raghidmab head down the dusty path to the brush lined creek.
Nearing the dense row of brush, a patch of red
fur caught the corner of Raghidmab's eye. Curious, Raghidmab carefully walked
towards the bundle of red fur. Is that Azureyigh? he thought in disbelief,
hope rising in his chest. As he drew closer, a red muzzle poked out of the grass,
and thin long ears perked at his approach. Not Azureyigh, Raghidmab thought
with a sigh of disappointment. For one glorious moment, he had thought that
his departed nephew had returned to the khan.
"Hello?" Raghidmab asked softly to the bundle
of red fur. "Who are you?"
A lanky, half grown Lupe-like creature stood
and walked curiously up to him. "I'm Jigsagh, and I'm afraid I'm a bit lost,"
the adolescent cub said wryly. "Who are you?"
Raghidmab nodded to Jigsagh politely. "I am Raghidmab,
son of Sayyiborbo and Karumahugu, of the Mahirmai khan." Pausing awkwardly,
he curiously added, "What are you, and where did you come from?"
Jigsagh grinned. "I'm a Gelert, and I live with
my owner Eymbers, my brothers Shocker and Deama, and my sister Minare near Lenny
"Where's that?" Raghidmab asked; he'd never heard
of such a place.
"I think it's somewhere to the east. At least
I know the Endless Plain is to the west of it. But I'm not sure exactly how
to get home. If I knew that, I wouldn't be lost." Looking at Raghidmab hopefully,
Jigsagh finished, "I don't suppose you could help me?"
Raghidmab looked at the hopeful red cub with
surprise, how could he help him find his way to somewhere he'd never heard of?
Than again, he thought to himself seriously, Jigsagh was far too young to be
wandering the plains alone searching for a way home. Perhaps helping this red
cub find his way home would help atone for his loss of his khans' red cub.
"East you say?" Raghidmab asked. "I think we
can manage to find your home." Jigsagh's relieved smile shone like the sun bursting
through heavy clouds on a rainy day.
After drinking deeply from the small stream,
Raghidmab and Jigsagh headed east towards the towering mountains that defined
the edge of the Endless Plains. Raghidmab had never left the Plains before.
Feeling a surge of excitement, Raghidmab grinned. A new place to explore!
After walking for quite a bit in silence, Raghidmab's
curiosity began to get the better of him. "So, Jigsagh," he started conversationally,
"you've been on the other side of the mountains; what's over there?"
"It depends on where you come out." Pointing
to the southeast, Jigsagh continued, "If you go to the south, it's a large desert.
Straight to the east, should be a large forest; and to the northeast should
be Neopia Central, it's a large city in a plain. That's where I live."
"You know a lot about geography," Raghidmab complemented.
"Thank my sister; she's the one who drills me
on my homework. Though," Jigsagh admitted ruefully. "I never thought I'd use
what she drilled me on quite like this." But brightly he added, "Though now
I'll find out just how well she taught me."
Smothering a chuckle, Raghidmab shook his head.
He'd never met anyone who could find the bright side in everything like Jigsagh
could. Changing the subject, he asked, "So what's your family like, Jigsagh;
you mentioned siblings?"
Jigsagh grinned. "Three of them. My sister, Minare
is a yellow Bori. My brothers are Darigan colored, Shocker is a Uni and Deama
is a Lupe, like you."
Raghidmab blinked in surprise, "They aren't Gelerts
like you?" Families must work differently where Jigsagh came from; and include
things he'd never heard of, like dari-whatever and Bori.
Shaking his head, Jigsagh explained, "Min and
I've lived with Mom all of our lives; Shocker and Deama on the other hand, she
adopted much later, when they were older and had a bit of a history. Shocker
used to be a battle Uni, and we don't know where Deama came from."
"Why don't you ask him?"
"We did, but he doesn't talk." Shrugging his
red shoulders, Jigsagh explained, "He's never said a word, as far as anyone
"That must make life interesting," Raghidmab
commented dryly as he looked at the growing shadows. "It's getting late; let's
sleep for awhile, then start fresh in the morning." A yawning Jigsagh agreed.
The tired, footsore Gelert quickly fell asleep
after gobbling down some berries Raghidmab had managed to find. For Raghidmab,
however, sleep was elusive. With a sad half grin he thought how much Azureyigh
and Jigsagh would have gotten along. The two of them probably would have hit
it off right away, with Azureyigh's dry sense of humor and Jigsagh's enthusiasm.
Somberly, Raghidmab promised to himself that
he'd protect and care for the young Gelert until he managed to get him back
home where he belonged. With that decision, the yellow Lupe heaved a deep sigh
and curled up to sleep.
The next day dawned bright and clear, without
a cloud in the sky. Raghidmab woke first; while a drowsing Jigsagh mumbled to
himself in his sleep about not wanting to go to school, whatever that was. Out
of long habit, Raghidmab stretched, and checked the horizon for the day's weather.
It looked like today was going to be another warm, sunny day.
After a great deal of shaking, Raghidmab managed
to wake Jigsagh. The poor Gelert wasn't used to walking so much in a day, and
he hobbled after Raghidmab until his muscles loosened up enough to walk normally.
Like all growing youngsters, the first thing
on Jigsagh's mind after his legs stopped hurting was food. All day yesterday
they had headed northeast, and the number of berry bearing bushes had thinned.
It took a lot of berries to fill two bellies, but Raghidmab wasn't going to
risk hunting without the pack; especially with a young one depending on him.
The chance of injury was too great.
Instead they snacked as they went, eating whenever
they came across a berry bush. Unfortunately, as they reached the foot of the
towering mountains that hemmed the edge of the endless plains, berry bushes
gave way to trees. Raghidmab hoped that they could find some nut trees or underground
tubers for dinner tonight, the idea of no dinner or breakfast the next morning
was not a happy thought.
Jigsagh passed the time by telling Raghidmab
about foods found in Neopia Central; Raghidmab found the idea of cheese to be
particularly interesting, though as the day wore on, more and more of the exotic
foods sounded appetizing.
Walking up the side of the mountains was a lot
harder then walking along the flat plains, they discovered. Fortunately they
found a trail that cut through the mountains and made walking much easier. Even
so, both Raghidmab and Jigsagh were too winded to speak until they reached the
crest of the mountain, where they stopped to gaze at the spectacular view below
them. Spread beneath the foot of the mountain range was a broad river which
winded lazily like a Wadjet toward what appeared to be humongous stones in the
Perplexed, Raghidmab asked, "Jigsagh, what is
the river headed towards?"
"That's Neopia Central," Jigsagh explained. "Haven't
you ever seen a city before?"
"My people live in caves."
"They'd have to wouldn't they," Jigsagh commented
shrewdly. "There's nothing to build with out there."
"Well," Raghidmab said after a short break, "we're
not going to get any closer by sitting here. Let's get going."
Fortunately for their paws, the walk down the
mountain was much quicker than the walk up. Even though it was getting near
dusk, they decided to press on. Jigsagh assured Raghidmab that his house was
on the west side of the city and that they should make it there before dark.
Raghidmab held onto the idea of food and water as a beacon to keep himself going.
Jigsagh on the other paw, seemed to grow more energized as they grew closer
to the city; even finding the energy to friskily chase a Snowbunny.
Now that they were closer to the city, they started
coming across other pets, some familiar, and others were colors and species
Raghidmab had never seen before. The yellow Lupe did his best to keep from gaping
at the strange looking species, the strange homes made of various building materials
were probably a safer bet. The majority of the houses seemed to be made of stones
stacked on top of each other, but there were others he wasn't even going to
hazard a guess on how they were made.
Startling Raghidmab with a sharp bark of joy,
Jigsagh broke into a run towards an indigo Uni. At least Raghidmab assumed it
was an Uni, though Unis where he was from didn't have cloven hooves, burning
red eyes or membrane wings.
"Shocker!" Jigsagh crowed in delight. Bowling
into the Uni, Jigsagh nearly knocked him over in his enthusiasm. Raghidmab smiled;
it may be an unorthodox family, but Jigsagh obviously loved his 'brother'. Raghidmab
moved towards Jigsagh and the Uni, only to be intercepted by a hulking purple
form. Raghidmab stared at the new creature; he had the body of a Lupe, but large
membrane wings similar to the Uni's sprouted out of his back, and his eyes glared
a fiery red.
Fortunately, Jigsagh saw what had happened. "Deama,
he's with me!" he called, running back to Raghidmab. "This is the Lupe who helped
me find my way back home," he introduced hurriedly, "Shocker, Deama, this is
Raghidmab." Both of Jigsagh's brothers relaxed noticeably at the introduction.
Both were obviously very protective of the younger cub, to Raghidmab's approval.
"Thank you for helping him home," Shocker said
simply. With a slight grin he expanded, "Min and Eymbers were almost impossible
to live with while he was gone." Hearing his comment, Deama rolled his eyes
in emphatic agreement.
"Come home for dinner with us," Shocker urged.
"It's the least we can do after you brought Jigsagh home." Raghidmab was far
too hungry to even think about disagreeing with such a wonderful suggestion,
even though he wasn't sure what kind of food would be found in a den where an
Uni lived. Right now he was hungry enough to eat grass. Amiably, he fell into
line behind Shocker and Jigsagh as they led the way to their den.
Jigsagh, on the other paw, was too excited about
being home to realize he was hungry. He badgered Shocker with questions about
what everyone had done while he was gone; Raghidmab tuned him out, not being
able to follow the flurry of different names. He was jerked violently into the
conversation, however, when Jigsagh blurted, "I can't wait to tell Azure about
how I got to visit his old home."
Azure? As foreign as Jigsagh, Shocker, and Deama's
names were, what were the odds of one of city dwellers names being so similar
to Azureyigh's? Especially one who had lived in the Endless Plains before living
here? Keeping a firm clamp down on his emotions, Raghidmab asked carefully,
"Is Azure a Lupe too?"
Jigsagh nodded. "A red one; his real name is
longer but I can't get my mouth around it, everyone just calls him Azure."
Shocker grinned, "I can pronounce it; Azure helped
me with my report on the Endless Plains. Wild Lupes live in a clan-based culture,
and have their parents' names and khan names in their own name. Azure's full
name is Azureyigh, son of Emyrbasim and Umaymacara, of the Mahirmai khan."
Raghidmab's head reeled; Azureyigh was alive,
and Shocker knew him! Forcing himself to speak calmly he said to Shocker, "I'd
really like to talk to him, if you could introduce us."
Shocker shrugged. "Sure, we can go over to his
owner's after dinner."
Raghidmab would have preferred to see Azureyigh
right away, but his stomach managed to override his mouth when he tried to say
that. "Dinner sounds wonderful."
Arriving at Jigsagh's house, there was a note
on the door saying that Eymbers and Minare were out and wouldn't be back until
way after dinner, and that they'd just have to fend for themselves if they wanted
dinner. The four pets helped themselves to cheese omelettes out of the pantry.
Raghidmab smacked his lips, wondering if there was a way to get cheese out to
the endless plains. Cheese had been just as good as it had sounded.
After dinner, Deama made it clear that he and
Jigsagh were going to stay home while Shocker and Raghidmab went to see Azure.
"But why?" Jigsagh protested. "I want to go see
"I think Deama's right on this one, Jigsagh,"
Shocker said. "Don't worry, you can see Azure tomorrow. Let Raghidmab have a
little time with him before you start telling Azure your story."
Hopefully, Jigsagh won't have to wait that
long, Raghidmab thought. What he would prefer was Azureyigh coming back
with him tonight to say good-by on his way back home to the khan. He wasn't
going to say anything about that to Jigsagh now though; as much as he liked
the young Gelert. Family things like this shouldn't be spoken of outside the
Following Shocker down the road, Raghidmab wondered
what Azureyigh would be like after living so long away from the khan in this
strange place. He was so absorbed with his thoughts he scarcely noticed anything
around him, fortunately the streets were nearly empty.
Shocker interrupted his reverie. "We'll look
for him in the park first; it's closer and he spends lots of time there."
"How far is it?"
Shocker sent him an amused look. "Try looking
across the street."
Raghidmab chose not to dignify that with a response.
Instead he gazed across the road to a large grassy field with scattered groves
of trees. Within it was a rainbow of different colored pets playing, lounging,
and talking. Raghidmab could immediately see why such a place would appeal to
Azureyigh. In this area crowded with houses, it was the closest thing to the
plains Raghidmab had seen so far.
While he was trying to absorb the range of colors
that pets were here, something else struck Raghidmab; there were a lot of red
pets. Before he'd met Jigsagh, Raghidmab had thought Azureyigh to be unique
in his coloring; now, however, he saw that there were lots of other red pets.
That discovery was shoved to the back of his mind however, when he saw a large
Lupe with a long, thin, white scar running down his side helping some of the
younger pets climb onto a fallen log.
It took all of Raghidmab's self control to keep
himself from running over and tackling the red Lupe in a giant hug. He'd know
Azureyigh anywhere, even in the middle of a hundred red Lupes.
Heart hammering, Raghidmab crossed the street
and trotted up behind the achingly familiar red Lupe. "Azureyigh?" he croaked.
When had his mouth gotten so dry?
The red Lupe stiffened, and then turned to look
incredulously behind him. "Uncle Raghidmab?"
The next thing Raghidmab knew, he and Azureyigh
were clamped in a tight, rib breaking hug while pounding each other on the back.
"You wily son of a wind runner," Raghidmab crowed, "how in the blazing fire
faeries did you survive?"
Azureyigh grinned, pulling back. "After we were
separated, I headed to the river." Glancing at his scar, he added wryly, "I
was doing just fine until a tree landed on me."
Raghidmab winced, that must have been painful.
"Anyways," Azureyigh finished, "Nim found me
while searching for injured petpets after the fire, took me to a doctor here
to get healed, and then let me join the khan."
Raghidmab was sure there was more to the story,
but Azureyigh never said anything he didn't want to. Raghidmab grinned, "You're
brother, Brighartal, will be jealous. He's the one who always wanted a grand
"Where is the khan's den now?" Azureyigh asked
curiously. "Nim and I went back to the old den, but there was no one there."
"We're denned in Khalideld, south of the Khubilai
khan's range; Kamilarian is happy though, we live right next to her parents'
khan now, she and Abbasnar spend a lot of time visiting them."
Azureyigh grinned. "Always keep your den-mates
happy, that's a lesson I learned pretty quick."
"I'm glad you've found a pack to run with, the
leader was very kind to take you in. Pass on my thanks to him for looking after
"Her," Azureyigh corrected absently.
"Well, I'd be honored to meet her."
Azureyigh looked extremely amused. "She's rather
Azureyigh was deliberately keeping his mouth
shut on this, Raghidmab decided not to push him. He'd had too many new discoveries
today as it was. Instead he calculated, "If we start off tonight, we should
be able to make it back to the den in three or four days."
Azureyigh was visibly torn, Raghidmab saw. He
was silent for a long moment, obviously thinking hard. Finally he said, "If
I'd known where you were nine months ago, I would have rushed back with you
without a second thought. But now," he paused, "Nim needs me. I have a life
Raghidmab nodded slowly, he could see how one
could become settled in a new life in a year. While he wanted his nephew to
come back home with him, he wouldn't force Azureyigh to do anything. This morning
his nephew had be dead; he supposed he could be content with the knowledge that
he was alive with a good life in place of Azureyigh taking his place back in
Grinning slightly Azureyigh offered, "Now that
I know where you live, I can come visit you."
"We'd like that," Raghidmab said huskily.
"And you can visit any time you like," Azureyigh
added. "Just follow the road in front of this park to the very end, and ask
for me." Humor flashed in his eyes. "Though you should expect quite a few surprises
when you visit."
Raghidmab guffawed, "After everything I've seen
so far, I'd even listen to Kamilarian's crazy Faerie tales of humans." Again
there was that flash of amusement across Azureyigh's face.
Looking around, Raghidmab noticed that the park
was now nearly empty. "It's late," he said apologetically, "I should start back
while it's still cool." Now that he didn't have a cub to worry about, he'd travel
"Say hello to everyone for me?" Azureyigh asked
"Of course," Raghidmab assured him. "And you
take care of yourself and your new khan."
"I always do my best."
Fighting back tears, Raghidmab embraced his nephew
again. "Byearshte, Azureyigh."
Hugging him back tightly, Azureyigh repeated
the ancient farewell. "Byearshte, Uncle."
Azure watched Raghidmab's yellow form until he
disappeared into the shadows. He'd given up hope of ever finding his khan again
months ago, and then suddenly his Uncle showed up in the middle of the park
right by his new home. It was amazing how the world worked sometimes. Shaking
himself out of his reverie, the red Lupe trotted back to what was his chosen
"You're home late," Nim commented from her desk
as he walked into the living room. Pausing, Azure watched her busily scribble
with her quill pen; her lower lip caught in her teeth as she concentrated on
whatever she was working on, and her shoulder length mahogany hair falling into
her eyes. Human.
Should he have told Raghidmab Nim was human?
No, he decided, his family had always regarded humans as a mythological bogyman
to keep cubs in line. Raghidmab had learned about enough new things today; learning
of the existence of humans might have overwhelmed him completely.
Feeling his gaze, Nim looked up in confusion.
Azure smiled. "It's just good to be home."
Much thanks to NTAG for making my insanity coherent to the rest of the