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    Grumpy Bear
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Gods and Ancients - 9. The Lion’s Den

Four lions in military officer’s uniforms were gathered in front of a digital screen in the ALC Palace’s tactical defense office. They were tasked by the Emperor with tracking troop movement of the warriors from the surrounding kingdoms into the Imperial district, but the intelligence reports this morning led these military leaders of the Empire to believe that the status was much more critical than expected.

“Someone has to wake Emperor Kintu with this news,” one general stated flatly.

“Are you insane? Have you seen the state of King Muruthi this morning?” another replied. “He is lucky he will not be entirely blind. His left eye was completely torn from his skull by the Emperor’s own claws, and I’ve heard that Kintu has dissolved his kingdom’s sovereignty. If the Emperor is in that foul a mood, I’m certainly not going to be the one to wake him with this kind of report.”

The third lion nodded in agreement.

“They say that Muruthi’s facial scars and eye damage are beyond his ability to heal. Not that it matters if the Emperor has him executed anyway for his contemptuous behavior.”

“What do you think would worsen the Emperor’s mood today,” the fourth general asked the other three, “Being woken with bad news, or finding out over breakfast that we knew of the impending danger and chose not to wake him?”

“What impending danger are you four idiots blathering about?” Emperor Kintu bellowed as he strode into the room, a silk robe in royal purple belted loosely around his waist. He walked barefoot across the stone floor, making no noise with his footfalls that may have warned the generals of his approach.

“If I hear that any of those nine kings are defying my orders and have not begun sending me exactly half of their warrior troops overnight, they will wish for the kind of mercy that I showed to Muruthi!”

“Your Highness!” the first general exclaimed. “The troop movements from all kingdoms are proceeding as you have ordered. Many troops from the nearby lands have already arrived, and we are having new barracks erected as swiftly as possible to accommodate the arrival of the rest later today.”

“If the arrival of the Empire’s warriors is not the issue, please enlighten me with the news that have you all in fear for your very lives,” Kintu snarled, seating himself at the head of the table.

“We have finally received intelligence from our spies in Calgary, your Highness,” the second general reported. “Approximately twenty-four hours ago, there was a mass movement from the NALC Headquarters. A large exodus of both bears and wolfen warriors left the complex along with a fleet of military vehicles.”

Kintu frowned and stared at his general, awaiting the rest of the report.

“Approximately one hour following this exodus, there were reports of an unregistered C-17 Globemaster aircraft taking off from a nearby airfield.”

He turned his attention to the digital screen on the wall, which was paused on an image of a massive airplane in the process of takeoff. The plane bore no markings except the outline of a wolf’s clawed pawprint with “1st” etched in the middle.

“You say that this aircraft departed Calgary almost twenty-four hours ago?” Kintu asked, scowling. “That would give them ample time to reach our Empire and begin their invasion.”

“Indeed, your Highness,” the fourth general agreed, “In fact, we just received word a mere five minutes ago that an aircraft bearing this same description was spotted on the ground in the dry lakebed not five kilometers to the west of the Palace grounds.”

“So, you are telling me,” Kintu growled, standing up and partially shifting his right hand so that he could dig his claws into the wood of the table, “That while you slept, you have allowed the enemy to come knocking at the very door of our Empire!”

The four lion generals cringed and bowed their heads in an attempt to deflect their Emperor’s rage.

“The spies in Calgary did not inform us of this updated news until early this morning!” The second lion cried in their defense. “We are learning these things mere minutes before telling you! Please, your Highness!”

Kintu closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He retracted his claws from the wood of the table and sat back down in his chair.

“You!” he snapped at the first general, “Bring me a cup of coffee! Now! You know the way I take it.”

The lion scurried from the room to fetch coffee for the Emperor, relieved that he was not on the receiving end of any additional violence.

“Now you three,” he said, turning to the remaining generals, “Halt construction of the additional barracks immediately and order all the warriors we currently possess to form ranks and prepare to march on the invaders. I will accompany you myself to witness your ability to lead my army and see how easily our warriors dispatch these meddlesome wolves and bears.

“As soon as I get my cup of fucking coffee.” He growled, as the first general hurried at a fast walk back into the room balancing a fine porcelain cup in a saucer, placing it in front of the Emperor.

Kintu took a sip from the cup, and then raised his eyes to look at the four lions staring at him nervously.

“What are you waiting for?” he snapped, “You have your orders. Go! I expect to find my army ready to march in thirty minutes, or you four will each lose more than an eye!”

The generals scrambled from the room, taking a brief moment to bow to their Emperor before leaving, and then bowing quickly again in the hallway to one of the Emperor’s wives who entered the room after their departure.

“Good morning, my pet,” Kintu said as his wife closed the door to the office before striding silently across the room on soft feet to sit upon his lap. “Was your assignment last night illuminating?”

“More so than you can imagine, my Lord,” the lioness purred in his lap, stroking his chest beneath his robe.

“So, my suspicions are correct?” Kintu whispered into her ear, “Tau has been taking my slave Chikondi to bed?”

“Indeed,” the lioness whispered back, “But it is even more depraved than you thought. He is not simply using the cheetah slave for mere sexual pleasure; he considers him to be a lover. A Mate.”

Kintu grabbed his bride by the shoulders and pulled her slightly away, staring at her with wild and angry eyes.

“If you are playing a game,” Kintu growled, “I will have you beheaded before I finish this cup of coffee.”

“I play no game,” she replied coldly meeting her husband’s gaze. “They spoke words of… love… to each other after fornicating, and they both expressed a deep desire to be able to have the other as their eternal Mate.

“I believe the King’s exact words to Chikondi were ‘Forever and ever.’”

Kintu scowled and pushed the lioness from his lap, standing up.

“We will keep this between us for now,” Kintu said to her.

“For now, but not forever,” the lioness said with a sneer, echoing the words of King Tau. “The Empire has a right to know when one if its Kings is a sexual deviant, fornicating with male slaves outside of his species and professing his love for them. Disgusting!”

“Agreed,” Kintu replied, “But we have more pressing matters to deal with today.”

“Yes,” his bride said, “The invasion force from North America. I already knew before your so-called generals. I have taken the liberty of having your battle armor readied for you and have sent my servants to deliver appropriate armor to the other nine Kings. Come along and I will prepare you for your victorious attack!”

“Now I remember why you are my first and most trusted bride, Auryon,” Kintu said, kissing the lioness passionately.

“I wonder what bear meat tastes like?” she said with a wicked smile after her Emperor broke his kiss, “I’ll bet it’s succulent and tender, marbled with fat, like the flesh of the human’s domesticated swine. Let’s find out, shall we?”


The wolf-army of the NALC hurried to set up a basecamp on the hard ground of the dry lakebed in which they had landed. They pitched their tents far enough from the plane that it could maneuver easily to take off if necessary, but near enough to it that they could quickly board for a hasty retreat, also if necessary.

“Strategically,” Gunnar said to Apollo and Susie in the command tent, “Would it be better to wait for the lions to come here to us, or should we march into the Palace grounds to initiate contact?”

“Since we aren’t preparing for an attack,” Susie replied, “Remaining here and taking up defensive positions is the best course of action. Unless their military strategists are completely brain-dead, they must know that we’re here by now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them emerging from the tree line at any moment. I’d rather initiate negotiations out here in the open than risk getting ambushed in the jungle!”

“Agreed,” Apollo said, backing up his Mate’s strategy. “We aren’t going to hide our forces, but we aren’t facing them unarmed, either. We are prepping a neutral meeting space just outside the camp, in between us and the Palace, and as far as first contact goes, I have an idea about that as well…”

An hour later, the forces of the NALC stood at attention in three platoons of twenty in their crisp, break-away battle uniforms, framing a ring of stones containing several chairs facing each other from two opposing sides.

The forces of the ALC Empire emerged from the trees onto the flat plain of the dry lakebed. There were about one hundred warrior troops, dressed in simple leather armor and barefoot, carrying shields and spears, but with semi-automatic rifles also strapped to their backs.

After emerging from the jungle, the ranks of warriors parted in the middle allowing ten riders on horseback to come forward and take position at the front. Each rider was dressed in an elaborate costume of battle armor, each slightly different in color and style than their companions, and they flanked each side of the tenth rider whose armor was gilded in gold, and who wore a mighty helmet adorned with jewels upon his head.

The riders stopped short of the stone circle to survey the invaders, most notably the line of beasts standing in front of the uniformed soldiers.

A black bear, smaller in size than many of his companions but with creamy white-orange fur, a rare Kermode bear, stood in the center of their rank. Flanking the Kermode on either side were six grizzly bears, two Kodiaks, four black bears, four polar bears, two tigers and two wolves.

The riders also noted with amusement that one of the polar bears bore a small, orange, domestic cat upon his back as the group began to step forward together.

The block of one hundred warriors waiting behind the riders grunted in unison at the first movement forward of the enemy beasts, simultaneously lowered themselves into a defensive stance and pointed their spears, but the helmeted rider simply raised a hand in a signal to tell them to stand at ease.

When the line of bears, wolves, and tigers reached the opposite side of the stone circle, the Kermode bear in the center transformed into a muscular white human man with graying hair. He stood nude before the horde of the Empire and spoke.

“Greetings, noble werelions of the African Lycan Council! I am Ezekiel, Councilmember of the NALC, and we have come to your continent uninvited, not as a prelude to war, but in the hope that we may negotiate peace.”

The helmeted rider dismounted from his horse and removed his helmet so that he could survey the creatures assembled before him better.

“I am Kintu,” he stated, “Emperor of Africa, and ruler of the Council of Kings.”

Ezekiel waited for a few moments for the Emperor to say any other words of greeting, but when none came, he cleared his throat and continued.

“Emperor Kintu, may we sit and speak with you and your Council of Kings?”

Kintu stood rigid, staring at the white man for several long seconds before finally nodding his head and gesturing to the other riders to dismount.

The bears, tigers and wolves all took this moment to change into their human forms, and each stepped into the circle of stones, picking up their clothing from the chairs on their side of the circle and dressing themselves. All stood respectfully in front of their chairs until the ten lions had cautiously entered the circle and each found an empty chair on their own side. When all were in place staring at each other across the small space, the Emperor gave a nod of his head and the lions all sat in unison, followed quickly by the NALC delegates.

Ezekiel noted that they had placed eleven chairs on the ALC side of the circle, one for each of the ten kings and one for the Emperor, but only ten were now occupied.

“I apologize for the extra chair, your Highness,” he began, “I was told that there were eleven on your Council including yourself.”

“Before yesterday,” Kintu replied stiffly, “There were eleven.”

Ezekiel paused, awaiting more information, but once again was met with only silence from the lions.

“I see,” he said. “Well then. We would like to talk about why the ALC feel that the bears of the NALC are a threat to your Empire, enough that you felt the need to send us your deadly gift.”

Ezekiel paused again for the Emperor to respond, but received only more silence.

“You may not be aware of this,” Ezekiel continued, “But the bears are known to be peaceful protectors of all. We were not created by Odin to be warriors. We fight when we must, but we were designed to protect, guide, and advise our tribes of humans so that their way of life could continue through the ages. We have never engaged a conflict with a group who has not initiated one with us first.”

“And so,” one of the Kings to the left of Kintu spoke up, “Now you are here because we have initiated a conflict with you?”

“In a way,” Ezekiel replied, “But not with the intention of prolonging the conflict through a reprisal. Your attack was indeed deadly, but only succeeded in killing your wolf messenger and a single werebear, the eldest of our clan and Papa of another bear here in our delegation.”

Ezekiel gestured casually to his right, and Axel growled from his chest loudly enough for the Council of Kings to know of whom the Kermode was speaking.

“I tell you again,” Ezekiel said, looking directly at the Emperor, “We have come here today only with the hope that we may find peace between our people. Were-creatures are a rare enough breed that it does neither side any good to fight among ourselves.”

“Si vis pacem, para bellum,” another King, sitting at the right-hand of the Emperor said. “As I view the army at your backs, it seems to me that you have arrived with the philosophy that if you want peace, prepare for war. That is a very Roman and… American philosophy. How are we to be expected to trust a species who arrives at our doorstep under cover of darkness so heavily armed?”

“We arrived armed because we are not fools!” Axel shouted, and the warrior troops of the ALC visibly crouched and clutched their spears at the outburst.

“Axel!” Ezekiel said sternly. “Restraint.”

He turned back to the Kings.

“I apologize for Councilmember Axel’s emotions, but as I implied before, he lost more from your attack than the rest of us.”

“You say that Axel’s ‘Papa’ was the werebear killed in our attack,” another of the Kings said, “Are you referring to his biological father?”

“No,” Ezekiel replied, shaking his head, “When we bears refer to another as our ‘Papa’, we mean the one who changed us from kindred human to werebear, who cared for us and raised us in the werebear culture and way of life.”

“So, it is true,” yet another King stated, “You bears fornicate with human men to create new werebears. You are repulsive deviants. A living crime against the order of nature.”

“We are as Odin made us!” a large red-headed bear shouted from the side angrily, causing another blonde bear to grasp him by the shoulder to calm him.

“Yes… Odin…” The Emperor spoke finally, “Odin’s work is the reason for our attack. You sit there claiming that the bears are protectors and not warriors, but we know that you have a warrior demigod among your tribe. The Lord of Bears, the Heir of Odin. We have heard of his abilities and powers even before undergoing his first change. Because of Odin, the bears have grown too powerful and have thrown the world of the lycans out of balance.

“If the bears and wolves truly desire peace with the lions, you will hand over this demigod to us for execution or put him to death yourselves. There will never be peace when one species wields such power over another.”

“The Heir of Odin is his own bear!” Ezekiel exclaimed. “He is free to make his own choices and live his own life. He is no more the property of the NALC than those lion warriors standing behind you are the property of your Empire!”

For the first time in their encounter, the Emperor actually smiled.

“Foolish bears,” he said, “Our warriors are not lions. Lions are the elites and rulers of this continent. Cheetahs are our slaves and servants, and the warriors you see here are leopards, all of whom are very much the property of the Empire!

My property.”

“Then we have come to the fundamental difference between our two cultures,” Ezekiel said, “Before you, you see bears, wolves, and tigers. None rule any other, and no one is another’s slave. Even the army of wolves standing behind us are volunteers and are here to protect and defend us by their own choice.”

“Tell me, tigers,” one of the Kings said, turning his attention to Shivay and Nameer, “You are the elites and rulers of your own domain in Asia. Do you not feel degraded and unclean by living alongside these filthy, uncivilized creatures?”

“Filthy? Uncivilized?” Shivay exclaimed, “I have seen nothing of your culture thus far that would prove to me you have the superior civilization. We have abandoned slavery long ago and have even risen lycan society above the caste and class systems of the human world. We are equal in the eyes of Shiva, Odin, and the Spirits, and we are free to live our lives and to love whomever we choose.”

Shivay took Siku by the hand and gripped it tight.

“I have chosen this bear as my Mate and feel nothing but pride at the life we have together.”

“Meow!” Charlie added, punctuating Shivay’s argument.

“And you, tiger?” the King asked, turning to Nameer.

“I am that tiger’s father,” Nameer began, “His biological father. I was trapped in a life of tradition and misery until he and his Mate showed me the possibilities of the modern Western world.”

Nameer took Nukilik by the hand and held it up for the lions to see.

“It was only then that I was able to find my own bear Mate, and true happiness.”

“You see, Emperor,” Ezekiel continued, “We have no interest in conflict for the domination of one species over another. We already live in harmony with nature and the diverse lycan world of North America. There is nothing more we could want but to be allowed to live in safety and peace.”

“Enough!” the Emperor exclaimed, standing up from his chair, “I am sufficiently convinced that this delegation is not here for the purpose of attack, but I am not yet satisfied that the NALC would not entertain starting a war with the ALC should they choose to do so.

“Most importantly, we still have the problem of the living Heir of Odin, who, free bear or not, is too great a potential weapon for one side to possess.

“I invite the delegation seated here, including the two wolves who appear to be the leaders of your military forces, to the Palace for continued negotiations. We have ample space to host you in the luxury of the Empire, but you must leave the remainder of your armed forces at your encampment here.

“Do you agree to these terms? To be my guests and continue our enlightening discussions at the cost of your own defense?”

Ezekiel, looked to the left and right, and saw only nods back from the others in their small group, including Apollo and Susie, whose opinion on their safety he valued most.

“Agreed,” Ezekiel replied. “But I would like to clarify… Just because we are leaving our soldiers here, does not mean that we are defenseless.”


The entourage trudged the five kilometers from the NALC encampment to the Palace of the African Lycan Council with the Emperor and nine Kings leading the way on horseback, the bears, tigers and wolves of the NALC following closely behind, and the hundred leopard warriors of the Empire bringing up the rear, making sure the Emperor’s “guests” did not stray from the group.

King Tau pulled his horse alongside Kintu and spoke with him in a lowered voice.

“Are you certain, your Majesty, that bringing these outsiders into the Palace is the wisest choice?”

“Have no fear, my friend,” Kintu replied, not looking directly at Tau as he spoke. “It is not my intention to ever allow these outsiders to leave the Palace alive.”

“But your Highness,” Tau whispered, trying not to raise his voice, “They clearly were giving us the opportunity to declare an end to any hostilities once and for all. We could have simply agreed and sent them back on their way.”

“And I said that this is not over as long as the Heir of Odin lives,” Kintu snarled in response, still not looking at Tau. “By the time this rabble fully understands what it means to ‘negotiate’ with the lions, they will voluntarily give me the Bear Lord’s head on a platter, and I will reward their cooperation with a merciful death!”

King Tau bowed his head in deference and dropped back a few paces with his horse, allowing the Emperor to have the lead to himself again. He knew it was futile to argue once Kintu had set his mind on a course of action, he just hoped that the deaths of the NALC delegation would not spell doom for them all.

Further back along the group, Bill walked closely beside Bernie.

“What do you think, Bern? Trap?”

“Most definitely. That Kintu asshole still seems convinced that he’s not going to be satisfied until I take the big dirt-nap. We better keep my identity under wraps for now.”

“I just hope the negotiations don’t take a drastic turn once he has us inside the walls of the lion’s den where he obviously wants us.”

“Surely, he wouldn’t be fool enough to risk any harm befalling the peace delegation and face the wrath of the Supreme Alpha. We should remind him that the bears are the only ones keeping the wolves from bombing their asses off the face of the Earth.”

“I’m thinking more along the lines of him deciding to hold the peace delegation hostage until we turn you over to him for execution, but I have a plan…”

“Of course you do, Bill. I never had a doubt.”

They marched in silence for a few minutes before Bill spoke again next.

“Has anything changed with that feeling of being watched by the pissed off thing?”

“Nope. Remember Lord of the Rings and that giant red eye on top of the tower watching everyone? It’s like we’re in Mordor and that eye is challenging me to a staring contest. I can feel its hate radiating from… from everywhere… all at once. I tell you Bill, I don’t like it.”

The bear warriors continued their whispered conversation as the group entered the awe-inspiring Palace building and the doors shut behind them with an ominous bang.

Copyright © 2022 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Grumpy Bear's Werebear Tales 

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Chapter Comments

Kintu is a bigger fool than I ever considered him to be.  And his idea of racial superiority is straight out of idiocy.  I don't like any of the lions, the fact that they allowed this idiot to live and lead them doesn't speak well for any of them.  

Loved the LOTR references.  

Let's just throw down now, we are wasting time.

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I am very much looking forward to your depiction of he who wakens.

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Anyone else rooting for Tau and Chikondi ending up free and mates and outside of the reach of the weirdo emperor and his wife?

Btw., how *did* she know before the generals about the bears' arrival? Hm...

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The NALC team has safely arrived very close to the ALC's headquarters greatly upsetting the Emperor and his generals.  It is strange that Auryon, the Emperor's first mate knew of the NALC team's arrival before the generals did.  Where did she get her information?  She is a female reflection of the hate and greed of her mate, Kintu.  Her revulsion and hatred of Tau and Chikondi makes me want to do to her what Kintu threatened.  

It was obvious from the first meeting with the Emperor that he was setting up a trap.  His vitriolic rant was targeted and showed how much he wanted to kill all the bears as well as their lovers.  That buried presence is just plain creepy.  I still think it is Amun Ra, the god of the African Lions waiting to get his revenge on Odin by killing Bernie.  Great new chapter Grumpy!

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Posted (edited)

I wonder if there would be a fight between Ra and Thor

Edited by Alan2
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14 hours ago, Salerion said:

Anyone else rooting for Tau and Chikondi ending up free and mates and outside of the reach of the weirdo emperor and his wife?

Btw., how *did* she know before the generals about the bears' arrival? Hm...

She may be a priestess of he who sees all...

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3 hours ago, Alan2 said:

She may be a priestess of he who sees all...

I am of the same mind on this.  She's the kind of hateful person "he who sees all" would chose as a priestess.

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