A loud boom echoed through the valleys and tall peaks that peppered the land, shaking birds from the branches of the vast, jungle-like forest. The Thundercats turned their heads to the southeast, having heard the loud noise well over the sound of the Thunder Tank.
"What on Third-Earth was that?" Panthro said.
"The lizards?" Tygra wondered aloud.
"But aren't we too far north?" Cheetara pointed out.
"Well, whatever it was we should keep moving," Lion-O said. He looked up at the darkening sky. "And we should probably find some shelter soon."
The temperature dropped quickly, and a steady rain started to fall, drenching everything quickly. Eventually, the cold air turned the rain into a mixture of sleet and snow, and the wet branches, along with the Thunder tank were quickly covered in ice. Cheetara took the shivering kittens and Snarf inside, taking shelter from the cold winds.
"The weather sure turned quickly…" Tygra muttered, wrapping a blanket around his shoulders and sliding down in his seat.
"I'm going to go inside with Cheetara and the kids," Lion-O said. "Tygra, you stay out here and keep Panthro company."
"Wait, why do I have to stay out here?" Tygra complained.
"You can withstand cold better than I can," Lion-O said, with a smart-ass undertone.
"Its true; tigers are better suited for colder weather than lions," Panthro piped in.
Tygra pout-glared, and slouched even more in his seat.
Lion-O was about to open the hatch to the inside of the tank when a shape running through the storm caught his eye.
"Wait, what was that?"
Panthro stopped the tank. "What was what?"
Lion-O squinted into the white blur that penetrated even below the branches. Panthro and Tygra also sat up and squinted into the onslaught.
"What is you all looking at?" said a thickly accented voice from behind.
"There's something out there," Lion-O replied.
"There's so much snow you can't see a darn thing though," Panthro muttered.
Lion-O, Panthro and Tygra all looked at each other for a moment.
Lion-O looked over his shoulder and was met with a big pair of blue eyes staring at him.
The three boys jumped, spinning around—Lion-O falling over—reaching for their weapons.
"You are all travelers, yes?" the she-cat asked, a smile on her face. She looked irritatingly comfortable in her thick purple coat, as the wind attempted—and failed—to penetrate the seemingly impenetrable fabric.
Lion-O quickly got up, brushing himself off, trying to regain some of his dignity. "Um, yes. We were just passing through when this storm hit."
"This little wind? Oh this is nothing, you should see storms in winter," she said, waving a hand nonchalantly.
"I take it you live around here, then?" Tygra asked.
Her face lit up with a smile warm enough to melt the ice falling around them (not literally, although they wished it could…). "Yes! Come, I take you to my village. I will make special meal!" she said, jumping off of the tank and landing gracefully in a foot of snow below. She turned to look back at them. "Follow me!" she said, beckoning them with her hand.
The boys glanced at each other before Panthro gently urged the Thunder Tank to follow. By the time they reached the village, the storm had cleared, leaving the sky a bright, clear blue. Heaps of snow fell off of branches.
"Here we are!" she said as they entered the small village.
Small houses were set in a sort of circle, creating a large open space in the middle. They were nothing fancy, just large enough for a small family to live comfortably. The whole village sat at the base of a mountain that was practically a sheer cliff, steep enough to keep snow from sticking to it.
Everyone unloaded from the tank, even Cheetara and the kids, who stepped distastefully onto the cold snow. Snarf jumped into Kit's arms to avoid it.
"Oh there is more of you! I will make sure to make extra food! 'Specially for you," the snow-leopard said, gesturing towards the three who'd emerged from the tank. "You is much too skinny!" She looked at Cheetara for a moment. "And we get you clothes."
The kittens snickered and Cheetara wrapped her cloak around her midriff.
Suddenly, the pile of snow in front of them exploded, and a small creature proceeded to attach itself to their hostess. Through its big fluffy coat shone an even fluffier kitten face.
"Lynxington!" she squeed, planting kisses all over the little one's fur-covered-face. He giggled gleefully. She turned to the visitors. "This is my son, Lynxington. Say hello to our guests." He dug his face into her shoulder to hide his face. "He is shy… My name is Snopar."
"This is Panthro, Cheetara, Wily Kit and Kat, and my brother, Tygra. And I am Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats," Lion-O said, gesturing to each of his friends and them himself.
"And this is Snarf," Kit said, holding the creature up.
"Come, come, I will show you all to my home."
They walked across the large open area, where kids were laughing and throwing snowballs at each other. Many of the adults stepped outside, or stopped what they were doing to watch the new comers, waving and smiling.
"We do not get many visitors these parts," Snopar said. "Here is my home," she said stopping in front of a warm looking cottage.
"Did it stop snowing yet..?" Someone from the house next door said, poking her head out the front door. "Finally!" she said when she saw the clear blue skies. She stepped out onto the front porch, shedding the huge blanket from around her shoulders to reveal silky fur as black as night. Her green and gold skirt and shirt were obviously not made for cold weather.
"Thera!" Snopar said happily. "Look, we have visitors!"
Thera turned to look at the new group, revealing bright green eyes, made even more obvious by the even darker black spots that circled them.
Just then another cat burst through the door; he had the same dark fur that she had, but slightly darker eyes, and was still very young.
"Yes!! There's still snow on the ground too!" he said, stretching, before he jumped off the deck and into a melting pile of snow. Some of it splashed up and hit Thera, still standing on the porch.
"Baggy! Don't do that!" she said, grabbing her blanket back up and wrapping it around her shoulders. "You know I hate the cold!!" He stuck his tongue out at her, and she stuck hers out at him.
"Don't worry, I make big feast to warm you up!" Snopar said, setting Lynxington down so that he could go play in the snow with Baggy. "Bagheera, please watch him so he does not get cold."
"Yes, ma'am!" he answered back as he packed some snow into a ball.
"So, who are our guests?" Thera asked, turning to Lion-O and his group.
"Kit. Kat," the siblings said at the same time.
"And I am Lion-O, lord of the Thundercats."
"…Do you say this everytime you meet new person?" Snopar asked
"Yeah, he does," Tygra said. Lion-O glared at his brother, and Tygra elbowed him playfully.
"Well, while I prepare feast you all can rest. Girl and children can rest in Thera's home, if that is okay with you?" Snopar asked.
"Yeah, that's fine I guess."
"Good! And boys can stay in my home."
"Wait, why do we have to stay in your house?" Tygra asked.
"Because I do not trust young strapping men in small house with young thing like Thera."
"But, you're not exactly old yourself," Panthro said.
"True, but I have mace," she said pulling out a morning star mace.
"Where did you—" Lion-O started, but was interrupted by a large snowball that wanted to say hello. To his face.
He turned to see Bagheera bouncing a snowball up and down in his hand, and a smile across his face.
"Not very impressive for a lord," he said.
"Why you…." Lion-O growled. He leaned down and scooped up a hand full of snow, packing it together, but before he could stand back up, a snowball hit him in the side of the head, causing him to fall over.
"Too slow, Lion-O," Tygra said with a smirk—which was quickly erased as a huge snowball hit him straight on.
"Amateurs," Thera said, smiling wickedly, already with another snowball ready to fire. Bagheera threw one that caught her on the neck. And the fight was on.
Snowballs flew from every direction as people ran to hide behind the nearest cover. Even Panthro was drug into the battle when Kit nailed him.
Snopar shook her head with a smile and went inside to prepare dinner.
After a very intense war involving much melting snow, Snopar called for everyone to tidy up for dinner. When they came back outside a huge table was set in the center of the small village, a place for every villager and the guests. Everyone was happily chatting as they dished themselves up.
"Please, sit,sit!" Snopar said.
Everyone sat down, and as they did a horrible smelling slop was placed in their bowls. The other villagers cringed away.
"Eat up everyone!" Snopar said, a huge smile on her face.
"What," a fish head emerged from the smelly liquid in Cheetara's bowl, "is it?"
"Why, it is my famous Fish-head soup! Eat up!"
"More like infamous…" one of the villagers whispered.
The group stared at their bowl in distaste.
"Momma!" everyone turned to see Lynxington holding up his bowl. "More pweez!"
"Of course, my little growing boy!" she said, putting another spoonful of soup into his bowl.
"Tank you!" he said, gulping it down.
"That kid's got one strong stomach…" Panthro muttered.
After the feast everyone danced and had a wonderful time around the large bonfire that had been lit.
Lynxington walked up to Tygra with a small stuffed animal that had the body of a sheep and a head with a pair of antlers.
"Huhu wants to dance too," the small kitten said, holding the plush toy up to Tygra.
"Well, I –uh don't really want to dance…" Tygra said awkwardly.
Lynxington looked devastated, and his eyes filled up with tears.
"B-but he wants to dance too…!"
"Okay, okay!!" Tygra panicked and grabbed the plush toy and began to twirl with it. Lynxington's eyes dried up and he smiled happily.
The others laughed.
All too soon midnight passed and many of the partiers passed out, willingly or not.
The embers glowed warmly as everyone slept in the quiet night. So very quiet…
Snopar's eyes flew open and she sat bolt upright. Something was wrong. Getting up, she made her way to Lynxington's room and burst through the door.
A dark figure with a long snout stood in the room, with a sleeping Lynxington in his arms.
Snopar bared her teeth and the hair along her spine stood up on end. She launched at the figure, claws outstretched, but the beast used the weapon he held in his other hand to strike her, causing Snopar to fall to the ground. The figure didn't take anytime to look at her, and jumped out the window with her kitten in tow.
"Lynxington!!" she screamed. Jumping up, Snopar ran to her room and grabbed her mace.
"What's going on?" Lion-O asked.
Snopar ignored him and launched herself out the door. The figure was running across the main part of the village, and she could see other figures emerging from surrounding houses with both sleeping and crying children. Parents could be heard yelling out their kittens name's.
Suddenly, flying machines came zipping past overhead, their head-lights lighting up the village, and Snopar saw dogs—mostly hyenas and jackals—were the culprits. Several passed near her, but she was only focused on one.
He launched himself over the table, and barely dodged as Snopar brought her mace down with amazing force, obliterating a large circular portion of the table, turning it to powder. The rest of the table creaked and collapsed.
Lion-O and the others emerged into a field of chaos. He turned to see a hyena burst through the door of Thera's house, holding a screaming and kicking Bagheera in it's arms. Another came through a window holding Kit and Kat.
Lion-O launched himself after the hyena, but the cackling creature jumped up onto a passing aircraft, and out of Lion-O's reach.
"Oh no…" he murmured.
His attention was turned to the other hyena.
"Let. Me. Go!!" Bagheera said, squirming in the K-9's arm.
"Knock it off, you little brat!" He barked back.
Baggy opened his mouth and sunk his teeth deep into his kidnapper's arm, causing him to yelp and drop the cat.
"I'll kill you for that!" he yelled, starting to go after Bagheera again. Thera appeared out of the shadows and cut him down with her double swords.
"Baggy," she said with relief, wrapping him in a hug.
"You saved me….!" He said, hugging her back.
She pulled away and ruffled his hair. "No body touches my little bro. Now, lets go," she said getting up and pulling him towards the house. But suddenly Baggy was picked up by a jackal flying by on one of the machines. It happened so fast Thera didn't have time to react.
"Bagheera!!" she screamed, trying to reach up and grab him.
She stared in horror as the lights from the ship faded into the night, along with the other ones.
Thera turned around, a look of shock still on her face, and saw many parents screaming and crying.
"We have to go find them!!" one mother cried.
"No, it's too dangerous, we have to wait until morning," her husband said, trying to reassure her.
Cheetara stumbled out of the house, her hand on her head.
"Cheetara!" Tygra said, rushing over to help her. "What happened?"
"Someone broke into the room and grabbed the kids, and when I tried to attack him I got hit in the back of the head…" she said, sitting down on the steps.
"They're all gone…!" Lion-O said angrily as he walked up. "All of the children in the village… are gone."
The cries of broken hearted parents lasted the rest of the night, and by the time dawn arrived, most were exhausted, but most could still not sleep. Thera was one of these, and she sat on her porch with her arms wrapped around her knees.
Movement in the woods just outside the village made her look up, just as Snopar walked out of the brush.
"Snopar..!" Thera said, jumping up. Snopar looked absolutely defeated.
"He's gone…" she said. "He's gone… my little Lynxington…" Snopar fell to her knees and put her face in her hands. Thera fell down beside her and rested a hand on her shaking shoulder. Suddenly Snopar stopped her shaking and looked up with a determined look on her face. "I must get him back."
"We'll help you."
Both women looked up and saw Lion-O and his group.
"No, I must be going alone," Snopar said, standing up. Thera stood up as well.
"The two of us." Snopar looked over at her friend and nodded.
"Our kittens were taken too," Cheetara said.
Snopar looked at her. "I will travel at my own pace, and if you fall behind…I leave you behind. And I take children back myself.
"Trust us," Lion-O said, spinning his sword in one hand. "We won't fall behind."