Connections Academy-8th Grade-Madison Sheridan

Tokens Must Count

Cold snow billowed around the vast fields, gold eyes peered from black gaps in the cliff face and only one creature stirred. Her fur was pale like ice and small rings like halos dotted her body, and through the thick sheet of snowfall her deep indigo eyes shined in a way no one could understand. A soft metallic jingle came from her but she wore no bells.

“Token, Token.” Whispered a shape huddled at the cave entrance. It was colored tan and
was small compared to the larger feline who came to its side.

“Atyucca, get away from there.” One from our life would believe they were mighty lions but they were even stronger than their later kin.

“But Mama! Token roams the plateau!” Atyucca squealed, his large paws stamping
silently on the stone.

“Then one does not speak, join your sisters.” Hate-Pare said in her gentle tone, running a
flat, rough tongue over Atyucca’s head. The cub bounced over to his two sisters, Uyan and Dina. They were much smaller than Atyucca, the size of Hate-Pare’s paw.

“Atyucca you believe too many tales.” Uyan spoke in her premature mew.

“But you are young, sister, meaning you should know and love more fables than I.”
Atyucca dipped his head thoughtfully.

“No, fables are for bears.” Dina purred, her tiny eyes fluttering.

“Fables are for the true of heart.” Hate-Pare interrupted, curling on her side around Uyan and Dina. Atyucca purred, happy with his mother’s agreement. A loud wind swirled from the entrance and as his family slept Atyucca slinked to the edge, staring at the field with wide eyes.

“Token, Token.” He whispered. “Who is broken?” The snow swirled violently. “One is
Rare, One is Fair.” He called into the darkness. “Lead us to our most Desire! One of Blood of Tiger!” Suddenly the snow stopped, the sheet disappeared and clouds of mist billowed into Atyucca’s muzzle, curling around the soft fur in his ears.

"Atyucca, cub of Heart." There she stood, her paws splayed aside, her face lowered to
the cubs. He trembled, seeing her pale fur from close, her eyes had sparkles of green he’d never seen, and small suns and pink deeper than that of a newborn’s paw pads shined in her deep indigo pools.

“Y-Yes.” Atyucca trembled. The mystifying beast turned her flank to him.

“Follow.” She meowed so strongly that Atyucca’s paws moved on their own. He
followed her odd tail, it was long unlike his family and others. His paws flew over the tip of it but she had no reaction.

The snow had stopped and as Atyucca craned his head to watch the sky stars were
sparkling awake. “Where are we going?” He asked, his front fangs aching from the cold.

“Hush.” Token answered, her round ears turning this way and that. Suddenly a roar of rage shot out from somewhere Atyucca couldn’t place.

Token stopped, Atyucca clambered under her mighty paws and let his eyes turn through the field. Paws were violently thumping across the flat land now. Then like a drop from the clouds a thick muscled tom appeared, he had two giant fangs sticking out of his lips that were peeled into a snarl.

“Ah! Panthera, matka zlodejov!” He tossed his head in rage. “You dare roam the Plateau
in Moonlit Times?” His eyes were pools of bark.

“Ah, Smilodon.” Token angled her big head. The tom had a stub tail and was shorter than the spirit of a she-cat who swayed her long tail. But he had an advantage of strength. “Have you come to lose?” Her breath billowed around them. Atyucca watched in terror as the stocky male threw himself at the giant she-cat who snarled and threw him into the snow, they fought viciously and Atyucca could no more than admire.

Soon Smilodon ran, tail tucked like a wolf into the night. “What was that?” Atyucca

“Brute of bushes and trees, Smilodon.” She had not a scratch upon her ghostly coat.
“Onward.” They padded farther and farther from the den, Atyucca stared around the dark, cold field when purrs rose.

“Oh, la madre de Panthera, rica en carne.” Atyucca turned in surprise, viewing a pretty
she-cat, much taller than he, with shimmering eyes and spotted coat, tail short and neck long.

“Oh, Serum of Valley.” Token watched the she-cat circled them. “Hunter for wealth.”

“Danos lo que más deseamos.” Squealed the lengthy beast. “I believe you feed poor!”

“No, I feed my children.”

“Are we not sisters?” Cocked her head aside, her neck arching.

“Beast of lying!” Token cried. “One knows that we do not share thick blood!”

“¡Mentiroso!” Serum cried louder. “We die for you, Mother of Panthera!”

“You die of ease and laziness!” Panthera snarled, rising onto her hind legs. “Words
coated in mother’s milk does not fool all hearts!”

Serum cackled. “¡Leche! I coat nothing in pathetic laps of tongue.”

Token was silent, falling on her paws, ears tilting in thought. “Yes, your words must be
true, so are mine, from tongue not laced.” Twitching whiskers. “Not far, by the pond lay an unfinished carcass of son of Cervidae.”

Serum cried joy. “Oh ¡celebrar! Mother has blessed her fortune on I.” She turned, small
tail curled and she raced into the snow.

“Did you lie?” Atyucca asked, worried of Serum.

“How does one defeat a liar? If not by truth than by lies.” Token replied and turned
around. “If you have listened you know truths now, Cub of Heart. Bless your fortune and return to find your mother, wish her your love and teach my ways, Strength of Smilodon, Slander of Serum and Praise of Panthera. Waste no words on Uyan and Dina, bless your loves, say goodbye
and forget fast. You teach of Token’s Fortune.”

Atyucca was confused but returned to his den, it had collapsed but mother sat, eyes of
sadness and he told her ‘bless your loves, say goodbye, forget fast.’

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