Well hello there, child. A huge beast approaches you, his scarred face looking straight at you, but with a look of warmth in his cerulean blue eyes. He lumbers closer, and you notice faint lines of abuse running along his body. Wincing as he sits regally in front of you, he chuckles as he takes in your bewildered face. I'm assuming you want to know more, am I correct? Nodding your head shakily, he looks up at you for a split second, and then nods once.
Alright then, but let me warn you in advance- my tale is not one of happiness. It is full of lies, solitude, and the need for escape. It is a long story, one that may take awhile for you to understand. But I ask you, once I am done, will you go to others of your kind, and tell them my story? They need to hear the truth.
His voice hardens on this final note, and, a tiny bit frightened, you jerk your head yes. Alright then, he continues, his voice taking on a far away feel, this is my story...
I was destined to be king.
After all, that's what my parents were. My father, a mighty Lion, roaming wild Africa in and amongst his pride-- my mother, a beautiful tigress that could run through a forest floor without you hearing anything. Both were captured, sold between numerous businesses, and often they were put in one tiny cage. They developed trust in each other; as that was the only normal aspect in their hectic lives. Months passed, and I was born into a dirty room, in a dark alley far away from where I was supposed to live.
It smelled bad, and there were loud noises all the time. I could never sleep, and my mother's milk did not last long, as she was too skinny to support herself as well as me. I was taken away from my mother days after being born, getting bottle fed not nearly enough by an acne-ridden woman with red frizzy hair. She had a pleasant enough smile though, and I bonded with her. She loved me as a little Liger kitten, swooning and cuddling with me.
But I kept on getting bigger, and as my weight increased, her love for me decreased. I think she was afraid of me, to be honest. I outgrew my parents tenfold, and soon it was hard to keep me concealed in that smog-ridden city. I was sold again, this time to a circus, and although I got to exercise a bit more, and had a bigger cage, it was worse.
I never saw my parents again.
Name : Freuden_Noggin
Alias : Eden
Species : Kougra
Colour : RoyalBoy
Gender : Male
DOB : Thought to be around 8 years old
H / W : 11ft long & 925 lbs (underweight)
Petpet : Esprit the White Noil
+ more : Is a Liger.
It was abnormally dark tonight. The surrounding animals moaned in their sleep, the absence of light making it impossible to feel comfortable. It was dark where he lay, his breath coming out in short puffs, the hot air creating little clouds of mist above his nose and mouth. He lay on his side, as stretched out as he could be in the tiny confinement. The other animals tried their best to get as much sleep as possible in the stolen moments when no sound penetrated the night air. But then, a clank sounded and several animals awoke from slumber abruptly.
It had come from the double-headed rhinos' cage; one of their tusks must have hit the metal prongs holding them hostage. There was hardly a breeze tonight- the animals revelled in it, for the wind usually brought more chilliness than heat these days. They had been on the road for months….where they would end up was anybody's guess. Usually it was when the Master ran out of money. A faint cry rose up into the air, and several animals lifted their heads and then went back to bed. One animal in particular, did not seem as fit as the others. His fur, standing up in some places, was not as shiny or smooth as one would expect. Instead, it was fine, dull fur that thinned out in certain places, and in others, had none of it at all. He had scars on his face, delicate lines that outlined the past. They were all covered over in skin that would never look the same, but it made one think nonetheless what this beast had been through.
One thing that stood out the most, though, was a large brass ring hooked around his long tail. It gleamed in the late moonlight, casting a halo around the rest of his body. There were rub marks on the skin around it, circling it like a beacon of hate. He stirred in his sleep, and wrapped his thin slinky tail around his lean body more tightly, the cold metal ring pressed into his warm flesh. This ring also had a smaller counterpart, with a fragile looking gold chain holding them together. It made a tiny clinking noise as it hit the freezing concrete floor the animal rested upon. Then, as the first sliver of light came shining above the horizon, everything came to life at once. Animals unwound themselves from their death grip trying to stay warm; people swarmed the scene, yelling like they had twenty minutes left to live. Perhaps they did. The giant beast yawned; stretching his legs out as far as his cage would let him, and then rested his massive head on his paws. He looked around the yard without any curiosity- he was used to this.
Eden was tired of it all. No, not just tired of not being able to sleep, but tired of his given state, tired of being treated the way he was treated. In essence, tired of it all. Someone shouted behind him like he had been doing all morning, and suddenly, his cage lurched forward. Thrown off balance, the Liger was pressed up against the bars of his cage. Their frostiness burned into his warm skin. Yelping, he sprang back, whipped around and growled right into the face of the man. His greasy skin turned upward into a lazy grin. You don't scare me, you big fat lion, he drawled out. Frustrated beyond compare, the Liger whipped back around, and tried to keep his balance in the lurching imprisonment. Well, he wasn't much of a sight anymore. His once proud and fluffy mane was now flat and matted, with pieces of hay and other remnants of things clinging to every strand possible. His teeth, especially his canines, had been filed down for the safety of everyone. His claws had been removed, and his eyes were weakening as a result of being in darkness for such long periods at a time.
The tent, built some 50 feet high, flapped under the evening wind. Throughout the day, the breeze had turned into something angrier, and by sunset, had people cowering against it. It spooked some of the animals, when the tent suddenly lurched towards them. The fabric, a cheap red and yellow striped pattern, was falling apart from the use, its colour bleached from the sun. So were many of the animals. There was one grandstand enclosed in the tent- it circled three quarters of the space, holding people of all ages in its claws. Kids, sitting on the edge of their seat, stuffing buttery popcorn in their mouths, shouted to each other in excitement. Parents, scolding their hyper children, judging those around them, tried in vain to see what was happening all around them. Even grandparents hobbled around, looking somewhat out of place. But, as the Master always crows, no one is ever denied another circus.
But then again, this was no ordinary circus. This circus differentiated from all the others because this circus has a specialty- freaks. The world's extremes all lived here, from the five legged bear to the zebra with no stripes. If the animal was a freak of nature, there was no doubt that it would end up here- one way or another. The Master loved it all- but he also loved it for the wrong reasons. And Eden was the jewel of the pack; he was a true freak of nature, a birth no one could have ever predicted. And one would think that Eden would relish in this environment, for he was no longer a freak amongst other freaks. He was the norm, the average, he could melt into the crowd. But he hated it. He hated the way these animals were treated, hated the fact that the world turned a blind eye to the fact that the animals didn't want to perform half the tricks the Master demanded of them. Yet here he was, on a cold October night, putting on the show he would never forget.
Eden was back behind the excitement- his act wasn't for awhile. He circled his tiny space, paws overlapping each other in frustration. He needed to break the cycle, he needed to get away. What these people didn't know, couldn't know, was that it wasn't all fun and games at the circus. Oh no, it was mostly pain. Pain, Eden cringed, wasn't something fun to experience at all. He despised pain, hated the feel of the whip cut open a new wound in his hide. He hated the fire being thrown in his face, tiny sparks torching the tender fur on his face. But, like all the other freaks in this place, he had experienced it. Perhaps the most out of all of them. He couldn't tell you for sure though; he hardly ever got to interact with other animals. His stomach rumbled again, that was the fourth time it had within the hour. In short, he was hungry. He eyed the stained concrete at one corner of his enclosure- it was stained blood red. There was nothing there, Eden had made sure of it, by licking every particle off the cement, but it still beckoned him.
Then, cutting into his silent suffering, the Master shouted into his microphone, Now, the moment you've all been waiting for… His origins unknown, a freak of nature, ladies and gentleman, give it up for Eden the Liger! The tent began to shake; everybody was stamping their feet, or clapping their hands. They were yelling, they were hollering and they were screaming. The noise was deafening; it hurt Eden's sensitive ears. A groomsman lumbered up to Eden's cage, and, as he lifted the door that led Eden down a ramp and through a tunnel into the Lion's cage inside the tent, drawled Go get 'em, tiger. Snapping his hurting teeth at the man, Eden tugged back his upper lip and snarled. The Master wanted him to look mean, look terrifying, look dangerous and look exciting. And, if Eden pulled it off right, he may be fed tonight. Oh, what this proud beast was reduced to.
Slinking along the mesh tunnel, the metal digging into his soft pads on the bottom of his massive paws, a little flap of the tent was pulled back and Eden lunged into the ring. The response was overwhelming- thousands of lights flashed at him, and the spotlight brightened tenfold. Tens of thousands of smells crashed into his nostrils- amongst them were the repulsive smell of dung left behind from the other freaks of nature, such as the horse with three ears. It was blended in with the sweet smell of cotton candy, and the mouth watering smell of popcorn. Vendors were selling hotdogs, peanuts, and slushies. It was almost too much for the starving Liger. The sand padded Eden's paws as he jumped up onto a small platform right on cue. He was even enclosed behind bars here as well; he couldn't catch a break. The lion cage, a circular structure with a tiny door and lots of obstacles inside, provided Eden a chance to stretch his legs for once. Here at least, his legs weren't scrunched under his bony body, or curled up so uncomfortably that the blood stopped circulating. This was the easy part of the routine. Eden jumped from platform to platform, each one higher than the other. Soon he was perched six feet in the air, his tail swishing under him. The worker snapped his whip again, and Eden, as if on auto drive, roared loudly. The crowd's excitement hiked up two notches, and the Master smiled cruelly. The Liger plushies would sell great tonight, if everything else went well. What the crowd didn't see, was that Eden's teeth were worn and yellow- they were cracking in some places, causing the Liger great pain. The whip sliced through the air again, this time missing Eden's head by inches, as he hurriedly jumped down from his perch and jumped onto another, quite smaller platform. This was the part Eden despised the most- the fire.
Children screamed in delight, and together the crowd formed a collective 'Oh' as the ring of fire was brought out hurriedly by one of the groomsmen. He juggled it from hand to hand, the scorching heat of the licking flames proving to be much to hot for him. He passed the ring onto the worker that held the whip in another hand, and scurried out of the Lion's ring once more- he didn't want to be anywhere near that fire. Children's faces lit up with glee as the Master pushed the adrenaline up by telling the crowd how dangerous this was- if only they knew. Eden glared at the worker, and then slowly tilted his giant head toward the flaming ring. He eyed it, trying to figure out if tonight was the night he would get stuck in it- for every night the Master seemed to make the ring smaller. The flames bounced around in the air, the ring hot as molten rock now. Shifting his weight from one paw to another, Eden glanced at the ground, and started backing up. He didn't want to do this; it would put him in too much pain. Wincing as he heard the whip crack beside his ear a split-second later, he jumped in his place, and charred a bit of his somewhat remaining mane as he did so.
The Master scowled, but the look was quickly replaced with a soothing one and a response to the now-suspicious crowd that this wouldn't hurt Eden; he was just a bit jittery tonight because they were the best crowd ever. What a lie, Eden thought to himself. He would have liked to see the Master jump through this hoop. Another crack whistled even closer to his ear, and Eden closed his eyes and tried not to think of the pain on his sensitive skin as he pushed off the platform with his mighty back paws and sailed through the tiny hoop. Landing as graceful as one could when one was partially burned alive, Eden shook his massive body, his skin rolling over him, and looked straight into the eyes of the Master. There was no compassion there, no soul. A moment of silence pursued, and then the crowd was on their feet clapping like they had never clapped before. Eden bowed his head like he was supposed to, and finished his routine in no time, right before the next act came on.
Slinking away from the applauding crowd, Eden hurriedly made his way through the mesh tunnel once more, and prayed for his aching body that there was food waiting for him in his cage. Disappointment overwhelmed him as his regarded his empty cage; the blood stain was bare as ever. Dropping onto the hard, frozen concrete floor of his cage, Eden wept dry tears as he tried to ignore the ravenous feeling in his core. He was supposed to be a king, a beast with power, not a weakening animal with no choice. Squeezing his eyes shut, he licked his paws over, little bits and pieces of his fur burned right down to the skin. Already his sides were beginning to tingle with pain. It wasn't the actual act of jumping through a flaming hoop that caused pain- it was after that hurt the most. Eden's ears twitched as he heard the final chorus of song play- that meant the circus was over, and the people were leaving. He heard snippets of conversation around him of the groomsmen talking to one another.
Did you see th' beast tonight? 'E was more scared than a kitten, one gangly man said to another.
Oh I saw it when me own eyes, the other replied hurriedly as they scuffled along with a broom, Master won't be 'appy, that's for sure.
Just then, Eden picked up someone yelling. His ears laying flat across his head, he turned to watch the Master stomp across the yard- straight for his cage. The man walked with his belly jiggling with every step; Eden was surprised his Ringmaster costume still fit him. He was balding at the top of this head, a greasy comb-over vainly trying to hide it. His grin, void of any compassion or warmth, was not on display at this particular moment- instead it was pulled into a deep, ugly scowl. He locked eyes with Eden, and the scowl was pulled down even farther, creating a triple chin; not that he had a nice one to begin with. Stomping to the edge of the cage, he began his speech.
You ungrateful creature! I give you a home over your head, I pay for the atrocious amount of food you need to survive, and most of all I give you the spotlight. How dare you refuse to jump through the hoop for me! This is the last straw, Eden. The last straw.
Eden regarded the Master like he did all the time; with anger, and then with nothing at all. Looking bemused, he glanced around and started licking his paws, unaffected by the man's anger.
Filth! Look at me when I'm talking to you, Liger!
A few moments passed, and when it became very obvious Eden was not going to spare a second's glance at the Master, the horrendous man turned on his heel and stomped across the yard, much like a two or three year old would do during a temper tantrum flair-up. Slamming the door on his trailer, the only sound that could be heard was of the reverberating door shimmying on its rusty hinges.
Sighing, the giant Liger rested his tired head on top of his gigantic paws, and tried not to think about how much the next few hours would be hunger-filled. He really needed to escape this place.
The night air was chilly once more, the breeze a little less violent against the warm skin it was brushing up against. Eden couldn't sleep- his hunger was driving him from any attempt at submerging his mind into a dreamy state. He observed the yard around him, at his fellow freaks. After all, that is what they were, no questions asked. Shifting his weight around to his left side, he gazed into the distance, the soft halo of a moor dreamily calling him into the distance. The moon reverberated off the glass-looking lake Eden could just make out, some hundred feet away. There was no movement on this lake, the water an icy cold sheet of stillness, of tranquility, of peace. Straining his eyes, he desperately wanted to run to that lake. To run through it as well, to make the arctic cold water spray up at him. But he needed to be free.
Just then, a twinkling broke the stillness of the frosty night air. Looking around, Eden tried to locate the sad melody, but to no avail. Shuffling about, he looked to see if anyone else was hearing what protruded into his eardrums- it was so sad, and so mournful. Surely the others heard it? But no, glancing around quickly Eden realised that no one was awake. And then, looking towards the lake, he realised. A revelation occurred, and Eden realised that the twinkling was coming from the lake, now a rippling mess. The water was moving, waves to and fro, and the glass image shattered before Eden's eyes. Eden anxiously watched from his confinement, whimpering from need to get over there and figure out just what was happening. And then he saw him- at first he looked like a mirage, a white ghost from Eden's starved imagination running across the moor. But as the creature came closer, he realised that the animal was real, very much so in fact. And he was running straight for him.
Looking closer, one would come to the conclusion that the animal simply had white fur- but to Eden, a spirit was coming to visit. Pushing himself into the very corner of his cage, he squeezed his eyes shut and hoped that the animal would simply go away, and never return. But when Eden reopened his bright blue eyes, there he was, waiting outside his cage, patiently. Hesitantly, Eden eased himself away from the edge of the cage, and examined the creature closer. He was a mere foot tall, if that at all, and he gleamed in the moonlight. He sported a soft and shiny mane, and a big black nose. The insides of his little ears were tufted, but if one looked closely, one would notice the slight pink tint to the sensitive skin confined inside. Impatience broke through from the creature in the middle of Eden's examination, and the creature got up and walked to the entrance of Eden's cage, pressing against the metal door with his tiny pink-padded paw.
It won't open; the Master keeps a key with him at all times- and only the workers get to keep a copy each, Eden whispered to the creature.
But the creature just looked at him, shooting his pale icy eyes right through Eden's soul. They were almost a milky colour, too light to be normal. Eden was getting lost in them, drowning in the absence of colour that was supposed to be in this creature's irises. And then, a click. Swinging his head around, he watched, speechless, as the heavy metal swung lazily open, without creaking once. Jumping up, Eden couldn't believe his eyes as he walked towards the opening, towards freedom.
But then the creature blocked his exit. Looking up at Eden, his eyes glowing slightly, he motioned to something behind the Liger's body. Swinging his head around once more to look behind him, he noticed that the rings wrapped around his tale has took on a new look- they looked as if they had just been placed there, glowing in the moonlight without any scratches from the past on the gleaming gold. Looking back at the tiny animal, he watched aghast as the animal motioned with his nose to the rings once more- did he want them?
I cannot give them to you, they will never come off, I've had them since birth, Eden proclaimed.
But the tiny creature just shook his head, frustrated, and began closing the heavy metal gate once more.
No! Eden said without thinking, and the little animal looked up, and then began looking around anxiously. Thankfully, by standing still and by judging the noises that reached Eden's sensitive ears they both sighed as they realised no one woke up. Please, I'll do anything, Eden pleaded to the mute animal, but the tiny being just shook his head once and motioned to the rings again. Sitting down, Eden curled his tail around to reach his head, and began trying to take the rings off his thin white tail. And then gasped, as they slid effortlessly off. What kind of creature was this?
Clink, clunk. The rings slid off Eden's tail, the tiny one first and the second one falling after, the delicate metal link chain never strained. Eden's eyes were round as he examined the rings- they had always been snug on his tail, pushing into his skin and creating sensitive blisters around the gold bands. He had had them since birth- probably given to him by the acne ridden woman who had bottle fed him years ago. Up until now, taking the rings off had been a lost cause- the Master had tried to take them off him to sell for more money- but they hadn't budged. But now, under the pallor of the moon's glow, they came off as if the past didn't exist. Mixed thoughts raced through his mind at this point. What kind of creature is this, creating magic like that? Eden thought to himself, a queasiness settling in the pit of his stomach. Obviously these rings meant something, if the animal wanted them to that extent. Weighing his options, Eden thought about his life currently- the treatment he received, or rather lack of treatment, the lack of food, love and comfort. And he decided to give his rings away.
Picking them up gently with his mouth, he swung his heavy head back around to face the tiny cat once more, and immediately noticed how the cat's once bored and placid eyes had changed to sport a greedier look. Shaking his head to rid of second thoughts, he motioned the critter to move to the side, and gingerly sauntered down the wooden ramp that rested on the ground out of his metal imprisonment. Placing the two rings gently on the soft worn-down grass, he sighed as he stepped back and watch the creature. But the creature picked the rings up by the chain with his tiny mouth, and bolted to the bordering forest. Where are you going? Eden thought frantically to himself, and without pausing to think it out, ran to catch up with the small but terribly fast animal.
Running to catch up, Eden felt his body come alive at the sudden exercise. He felt his blood flow pick up, and rush through his limbs to heat his extremities. His senses sharpened as he ran, his nose picking up millions of the night's scents, and his ears sharpening to find that the midnight air- which he once thought was silent- was now alive, buzzing with reeds rustling in the soft breeze, crickets chirping merrily to each other throughout their midnight duties, and frogs croaking to the full moon above. Stars twinkled in the sky, and they seemed to be winking at Eden. He then revelled in the feel of soft earth beneath his sensitive paws- and dug his toes into the damp earth as he took a leap into the next stride. He wanted to laugh out loud, the feeling was so exhilarating. He was finally living.
But then reality sunk back in, and Eden realised he had lost the white vertebrate among the tall grasses lining the crystalline pond. Slowing down to a loping pace, he held his head high and focused his rekindled senses. All at once, he heard the tiny animal rummaging about, at the edge of the thick forest. Taking off in that direction, Eden stretched his muscles as he ran, faster, faster, faster. Pulling his body to the longest strides it would allow with his malnourished state, Eden almost ran over the creature as the grasses suddenly gave way to a looming forest, sparse of any foliage on the ground excluding the acidic needles that had fallen from it's tree. Tumbling over his body, he skidded to an abrupt stop and glanced over at the other cat, laughter in his eyes. But the smile playing upon his lips was quickly replaced with one of seriousness as he took in the sight of the very determined animal, now wrapping the gold rings around his tail.
What are you doing? the Liger asked with curiosity. The rings sparkled under the moon's glow, their reflection demonstrating to Eden the confusion that was evident on his face. Thinking to himself, Eden tried in vain to recollect anything about the rings- who had given them to him? And when? And what was their purpose? Thoughts raced through Eden's mind as he watched the creature fasten the first ring onto his small tail. Eden sat there, his rump pushed into the damp soil of the night, a few feet away from the littler creature, his head tilted a few angles to the right. He watched, wary, for he could not remember anything about those rings.
Pulling the second and smaller ring onto his petite tail, the little animal lifted his tiny head to meet the eyes of Eden, and then it happened.
A blinding flash was emitted from the rings, lasting seconds long and then going out once more. The creature cried out, and slumped his shoulders, as if under great pain. Hurriedly Eden tried to run forward to help, but the rings flashed another bright light again, and Eden was momentarily blinded. They shone like the sun, emitting rays of golden brown that danced along the large rotting trunks of the forest. Eden could hear nothing- it was as if the rings had made him become deaf as well, and he started to panic. Pacing wildly around the animal, he tried and tried again to look to see where the exact position was of the little animal. But it was no use, the rings were emitting a light that could be compared to the greatest star. Moments past, and, just when Eden was about to give up hope, the light started to dwindle, and became a soft glow surrounding the creature. Eden peaked his sore eyes open and gasped at the sight in front of him.
A Lion, white as fresh fallen snow, unwrapped himself before Eden's eyes. His fur was white as white could be- no markings penetrated the perfect coat he sported. He had a grey mane and tail, both puffy and regal, that resembled a newly brushed kitten. His paws were enormous, his belly, full, and he had a long elegant neck. Smaller than Eden, but powerful in presence. He shook his furry mane, and then rested his eyes on Eden. Eden gasped as he looked into the eyes he had gazed into just mere minutes ago- they were frost blue, a light blue that danced with the white and made you think of snowy blizzards and icy mountaintops. The tiny creature, that had set him free moment ago, had now been set free.
My name, is Esprit, the White Lion rumbled, his eyes showing warmth to the creature who had given him new life. Young one, I am much older than you. Years upon years older, in fact. I was cursed by a woman's scorn, destined to live out my life in a pitiful state of being a cat after she was through with me. Unless, she had cried wickedly to me, that I find the trinket that was Peace as well as Power. I traveled the world in search of this ever-elusive item, but I lost faith after years of searching, he paused to draw in a breath, to recollect his thoughts. And then your circus came to town. When I saw a picture of you, with those rings wrapped around your tail, I knew I had finally found the thing I had been looking for. So I thank you for freeing me, and having enough faith in me to grant me the bands. Here he paused once more, and softly pulled the rings off his tail. He placed then neatly at Eden's feet, and started murmuring again.
I freed you from that retched life, freed you from that imprisonment when no one else would. And you did the same for me. And so for that, I am thankful. The great White Lion dipped his head, for a moment's pause.
Eden, his thoughts whirling, could only focus in on one fact- that both of them were free of their past trepidations.
How ironic, Eden thought to himself.
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