here. You'll probably want to read that before jumping into part two. This, again, stretched on a little longer, and now it looks like it will be a three act story, so expect the finale to come very soon! Warning though, by the time you get to part three, you may realize that this is actually quite a silly thing.
It was with a great degree of consternation that the war council was broken and the great lords and ladies of the living realm parted ways. Grishla, mother bear goddess, dismissed Barnible for a fool for too much boldness. Rossum, great queen of the hives and clans of crawling things, accused the great cat of favoring treachery over strength of mandible and claw. Mis'kr, the matriarch of all flying things and great sparrow of the clouds, mocked Barnible as a coward and a fool.
Barnible, for all his measure, was unimpressed with the insults thrown his way, and a determination, both desperate and inspired, flowed through him like the waves of an incoming tide across the beach. So the great queens would abandon his mission and mock his plans. What was this to he who hunted all else with impunity? If the great powers would give up hope, perhaps it would be in the lesser lords and ladies of the living where he would find salvation for his quest. The great white lion leapt from the gathering with a deafening roar that defied his disappointment in his peers. For one terrible moment, they feared he had gone berserk with madness, and then he leapt away.
Finding his pride across the great wide plains, he took it upon himself and his many wives to devise his trickery. Cunning lay as a thick black stripe through the lines of feline heredity, and Barnible prided himself as its progenitor above all other traits. He thus spoke to his wives and the pride as a whole:
"They have forsaken a daring, intelligent plan in favor of a brute, pointless endeavor. Theirs is a practice of defeat where victory is made impossible. It is left to us, the honored pride, to conceive of a plot in which victory over the beast will be assured. We must use the wiles we have earned through years unnumbered hunting the prey of the world. Stalking, patience, and a decisive pounce are our tools. I look to my many wives to assist me in this endeavor. Mother Cougar, Mother Tiger, Mother Panther, Mother Cheetah, and the great Mother Lioness; you give the many prides across the earth life, and now I ask that you assist me in over-turning death herself."
Mother Lioness, first always among Barnible's harem, spoke. "Lord Barnible, it is your cunning that has ever impressed upon us the the honor of bearing your children into the pride. What would you have us do to aid you in your battle of wits with the great mother of all-that-isn't?"
He smiled upon them, for he knew Mother Lioness spoke for all and recognized the eagerness within her question. "If it pleases you, my many wives, I ask of you one simple labor. You five must leave the pride and embark on a journey as my emissaries to the lesser lords and ladies of all-that-lives. It will not be easy, as I fear you will encounter resistance and fear both from the lords and ladies we wish to entreaty with and the greater lords and ladies who would otherwise mock us for our goal.
Mother Lioness, you will seek out Chieftain Norn of the tribes of man. Mother Panther, I task you with seeking the Lady Smeera of the night hunters. Mother Tiger, you are to find and recruit the Matriarch Gosh'fo of the antelope and deer, and you will need to practice great caution as she will naturally fear and evade your attempts at diplomacy. Mother Cougar, you will climb the mountains and treaty with the great ram Wi'thir at the tops of the world. Mother Cheetah, youngest of my wives, you will search the land far and wide and practice caution as you approach King Josev and Queen Meredev of the vast kingdom of mice."
The five wives of Barnible then departed seeking aid and advice of the lesser gods and goddesses of the land. Neither his detractors amongst the great ones nor his potential allies amongst the lesser beings could anticipate his strategy. Never had a greater lord, much less the prideful lord of the cats, ever sought the assistance of those beneath him. The task of over-taking the great matriarch's tyrannical rule demanded such innovation.
One by one, the great Mothers of the pride returned with word of failure. Mother Lioness expressed her disgust in the short-sightedness displayed by the Chieftain and his tribes of men. Mother Panther returned with grave news indeed of the night hunters attack upon herself as a result of Lady Smeera's allying with the great beast of death and un-life. Mother Tiger shared her frustration of the fearfulness of Gosh'fo for the lady Tiger herself. Finally, Mother Cougar returned with good news of a new ally in the great ram With'ir, but alas, he had no cunning to spare as his own clans struggled to strike a living at the top of the world.
Barnible despaired and grew gaunt as one after another his wives returned, disappointed in their missions by the failures of those lesser monarchs. His mane thinned out and his fur faded to a deathly grey. His wives and many children feared he would soon fall under the rule of the great beast in his quest to ruin her. His pride looked out across the horizon, both hoping for Mother Cheetah's quick return while also loathing what final death knell would accompany her. They waited and waited, but she would not return...
To be concluded!