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Waking the Beast

By:Lacey Thorn

Prologue


The Legend of the Paka Watu


Legend tells of a time when a tribe of nomadic people lived on the African plains. They were strong and fierce warriors, taking only what they needed from nature and always giving back. The Great Creator smiled down on the people and decided to give them a gift to show his pride in them.

Each member of the tribe would be blessed with a spirit guide who would share their form and allow them to shift at will from animal to man. They became the paka watu or cat people. The tribe leader accepted the spirit of the lion and lay the foundation for his pride. The spirits of great cats called to the people from far and wide, and the people opened their bodies offering refuge. They aligned with lions, tigers, panthers, jaguars, cheetahs, pumas, and leopards. All cat spirits who called found safe haven.

The great pride leader, with his lion spirit, guided his people with strength and cunning. They guarded the secret of the Creator’s gift from all others, understanding that jealousy and hatred could brew from those who had no such gifts. But there came a day when the jealousy and hatred brewed from within the people.

The gods found among the people a mabaya moja, or evil one, and denied him a spirit guide. His jealousy grew until it consumed him. In anger he rose up against the tribe and sought their destruction. The great lion spirit sentenced the evil one to banishment. His heart was heavy, for it wasn’t just anyone he sent away. It was his eldest son who was denied by the gods. The boy was consumed with a rage and hate his father had not realized was there.

And the lion waited and watched, always on guard against the mabaya, sensing he would return.

Then they came, with weapons of death and torture, the wawindaji kubwa nyeupe, or great white hunters, led by the mabaya moja. The pride leader fought valiantly to save his people, but they were outnumbered. His roar split the heavens when he fell under the weight of many spears, helpless to save his pride as he lay broken and dying. Many of his pride fell with him that day, and their spirits cried out to the Creator who took mercy on them and sent chaos among the hunters, scattering them from his people.

The pride leader’s youngest son, Tau, watched as the enemy fled. Then he searched among the dead and dying, finding his father there. He let his animal guide lead him and shifted from man to lion, so both could mourn the loss. He poured out his grief to the heavens, his roar shaking the earth as he expressed his sorrow and anger. Then the night filled with the growls of many cats as the remaining pride joined him. The Great Creator came to him in the night and told Tau what must be done.

When morning came, Tau went to his pride with a heavy heart and explained how the paka watu must no longer be. It wasn’t safe for them to remain. To save the spirits that guided them, they must do the unthinkable. They must sing their spirit guides into a deep sleep. The remaining pride members would flee to different parts of the world, finding solace in blending with those around them.

Tau began chanting the words whispered to him in the night as his pride stood quietly and waited. Each could feel their guides fading deeper and deeper inside them, until they were but the warmth of memory in their chests. With hearts broken from sorrow, they bid each other safari ya salama, safe journey. Each took a different path, walking alone on a voyage that would see them spread across the earth. To protect them, the passage of time would allow the knowledge of what slept within them to fade away.

But there was hope still in their hearts. For the Creator promised a time would come when one who bears the mark of the beast would search out the new Tau. The marked one would wake the beast, and the pride would rise again. There would even be those sent by the gods to watch over them, generation to generation, offering guidance and protection when most needed.#p#分页标题#e#

But as with most things, there would be challenges as well. The hunters, though scattered, would never forget the paka watu and what they represented. With each new generation, they would seek to destroy the descendents, in hopes the Tau would never awaken.

Perhaps they should have searched for the one carrying the mark of the beast instead.





Chapter One





From the journal of Abby Lane





I found the best story ever today when looking through old books in my mom’s office. I’m hoping she won’t notice it missing, until I get the time to devour every word. It tells of the African legend of the paka watu. Cat people! I can’t believe it! Since I first discovered ailuranthropy, I wondered why I found them so enchanting. Most girls my age don’t care about things like werecats. They’d laugh at me if they knew about my obsession.

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