Sam was not fond of the circus folk, but he worked with them, just as his father and his father’s father before him.

He was unlike them in every way that mattered – where they favored flash and flair, he looked ordinary, and even forgetable. He was fit and athletic, but could lay no claim to actual good looks – he favored practical garb and put appearance second, while for them, nothing else mattered.

They were a product of civilization, filled with a desire to entertain and soothe the masses. Sam was only at home in the stillness of a savannah night, alone and at peace with the natural world.

His father had looked on their calling as a burden. The gift of Speaking had been passed down from generation to generation, given to them from an old gypsy seer. None could remember if it had been a curse for offense given or a blessing for aid granted.

Sam’s grandfather had looked on it as an opportunity, and it was he who entered into a contract with the most famous circuses around the world, offering to find them the perfect lions for their shows and exhibitions. It had made him a wealthy man, but he made his firstborn swear to continue the tradition.

Which Sam’s father did, but he lived an unhappy life, and died with bitterness in his heart. This didn’t stop him from passing on the same oath his father had given him, and ensuring Sam would continue the family business.

Which Sam did. For him, the gift was natural and a part of who he was – it was the entirety of who he was, in truth. He would wander the savannah, speaking with the lions. He would find the weak ones among them. The prideful and the vain. He would offer them a chance for another life of luxury, where all their needs where provided for. And he would take them away, and give them to be put on show, to train with men who knew there was no danger in the acts they did, no chance these fangless beasts would ever risk endangering their easy lives.

Sam didn’t care about them. The people were foolish, in his minds. The lions that went to them were weak. He did it out of duty… but once it was done, he returned to the sprawling plains, and ran with the pride. They were the ones he was like – the proud ones, full of a sense of family and responsibility, of tradition and remembrance.

Sam ran with the lions, and knew he would do so until the day he died.

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