The mother visits the nest for a few minutes each day to suckle them, then leaves.
Nidoran Information Page
By the end of their first week of life, Shinen and Musta’s kits began to grow their spots. Blotches of darker fur on the fur they had lived with for four days. Voimakas, the darkest of the litter, had spots black as ebony, and though he did nothing to make the spots appear, Shinen and Musta praised him. Neula’s marks were dark as midnight. Kani was pretty average, the regular dark pinkish purple splotches the majority of male Nidoran had. The spots that grew on Kalpea, the tiny, pale as ice runt of the litter, were barely visible. She would die for sure, and because of her colour, Musta and Shinen couldn’t care less.
What shocked and horrified them was that Aurinko grew no spots at all, not a single blue hair was to be found on her body. Even the smooth skin inside her ears was completely void of colour. When the kits opened their eyes, Aurinko’s were the bright pink of an albino.
Every day, Shinen would hop down to the nest and suckle her young, always in a specific order. Voimakas, Neula, Kani and finally Kalpea. Aurinko always got last pickings of milk from her mother, even though she could have easily pushed her brothers and sisters out of her way. Shinen kept picking her up and throwing her to the other side of the burrow. Both Musta and Shinen made sure Aurinko knew her place. For Nidoran, an albino is the lowest form of life.
However, Aurinko continued to grow, whether her parents liked it or not. Even in her young mind, Aurinko was determined to defy them, though she was not yet conscious of the fact.
Kalpea’s health began to rapidly deteriorate. Her breathing became shallow and her ribs could be seen through her dull, dirty fur. Twelve days after her birth, she became too weak even to feed. But of course, Musta and Shinen did nothing to help her. She was almost white and half the size of her brothers and sisters, no matter what they did she would die, and what was more, they really didn’t want her to live. She’d only be an embarrassment.
So for the next day and night, her thirteenth, Kalpea was ignored, both by her siblings and her parents. Voimakas, Kani and Neula curled up on one side of the burrow to sleep with their mother and father, while Kalpea and Aurinko were forced to sleep away, shivering their way through the night. Her family barely even noticed when her breathing ceased and her tiny heart stopped beating.
The next morning, Voimakas lifted her frail body and carried her out of the burrow. He carted her far from the warren and dumped her unceremoniously behind a tree, making sure to do so late enough in the day so that no other Nidos saw his hideous icy coloured daughter, as they were all dozing after feeding. He left her far enough away from the warren so that when a scavenger came to eat her, it wouldn’t be attracted to the main colony.
With Kalpea no longer there, Aurinko was the only stain in an otherwise dark family. Musta had been trying to find a reason for her colouring, or lack thereof, since she grew her fur. Both his parents had been dark, almost as dark as he was, and to his knowledge, neither of their parents were any lighter than the average Nidoran. It must have something to do with Shinen. He confronted her the night following Kalpea’s death.
“One of your parents were albino, weren’t they.” It was a statement, not a question.
Shinen turned her head away, but said nothing. She nuzzled Voimakas, sucking at her teats, hoping he could perhaps get her out of this. Neula was curled up beside him.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Musta snarled, with deadly malice. Shinen didn’t reply.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Musta’s voice rose in volume. He screamed the words, making Shinen cringe and lower her ears and the three feeding kits run to the opposite side of the burrow, eyes wide and bodies shivering. They had never seen their father so angry before, not even with Aurinko. “WHY!” he screeched, rattling dirt from the walls.
He brought his right paw back and slammed it to Shinen’s face. Shinen rolled back and hit the wall right by the kits. Musta’s black body rose like a deadly shadow over his cowering mate, and he slapped her again, and again, until the poor Nidorina was sobbing for him to stop.
“Aurinko is your fault, Shinen!” Musta roared, “If you’d told me your parent was albino, we never would have had such a thing would occur! What do you think everyone else will say? The head male of the mob has an albino for a daughter, and it’s your fault!” He drove his paw into her skull twice more and stormed out of the burrow, leaving a bruised and sobbing Shinen and three shivering kits in his wake.
Aurinko, alone away from her siblings, was completely still and calm. Both her parents had hated her from the moment she grew fur, and she knew it, seeing her mother bashed like that by her father came as no real surprise. After all, she had been hit badly against the burrow walls just for trying to feed, and could see no real difference here. She blinked once and lay down, curling up to get some sleep.
Shinen woke the next morning aching all over, and she shivered when she remembered the previous night. She reeled back from the entrance of the burrow when she saw Musta’s head peer through. Her three kits woke and pressed themselves against their mother as well.
“I just want you to know, she’s your daughter, not mine. You caused her to be white, she’s yours.” He glared at Shinen and the sleeping Aurinko, then turned his tail and left.
Shinen stared at the entrance for a while, then at Aurinko. She sighed and left the burrow, blocking the entrance as she did so, leaving the three bewildered kits behind her. They knew little about what had just happened, but had a fair idea that their father would not be returning for a while.
Shinen walked carefully around outside the warren, keeping a close eye out for Voimakas. Other females in the group asked her what was wrong, but she insisted she was okay. Any word and she was likely to be hit again. One of her closest friends, an average blue Nidorina named Saanto knew something was wrong, but knew too that Shinen was unwilling to talk about it, so she changed the subject.
“So how are the kits going?” she queried.
Shinen smiled. “They’re good, think they’re about ready for solids now,” she sighed, debating whether or not to tell her about Kalpea, but decided against it.
“Mind if I come down and take a peek?”
Shinen shook her head, “I’d rather not, wait ‘til they’re ready to come out.”
Saanto fell silent. With past litters, Shinen had always been willing to boast about the darkness of her kits due to Musta, something was definitely up with them. Could it have something to do with Musta not being around? She shook her head and went back to feeding, leaving Shinen to carry her kits’ first solid food down to them. Saanto wasn’t the kind of Nidorina to think a lot.
Shinen tried to forget about Musta for the moment, and dug out her blockage to the burrow, carrying a bunch of grass with her. Kani was dozing and Neula was watching Voimakas and Aurinko battle it out. Aurinko was, not surprisingly, on the bottom, but Voimakas left her when he heard his mother approaching. Whenever she came, she came with milk, and Voimakas was hungry.
Shinen dropped most of the grass on the floor, but munched some of it into an easier to manage paste for the kits to eat. She placed it on the ground in front of Voimakas’s nose. He sniffed at the strange green stuff and looked up, a questioning look on his face. Neula and Aurinko came over to look too, but Aurinko was shoved away by Shinen. Aurinko may have lived inside Shinen for a month, but that by no means meant she loved her. Because of what had happened last night, she hated her even more.
She turned back to Voimakas and nudged the chewed grass to him. “Go on, Voimakas, it’s good. Mummy eats it all the time.”
Voimakas wrinkled his nose as if to say, “You eat that stuff?” but he lowered his head and tentatively nibbled at the mush. His ears pricked up and he ate the remaining mushed grass, then looked up expectantly for more.
Shinen smiled and chewed up another mouthful of grass for Voimakas, which he ate with glee. When he had finished, Kani awoke and came over to sniff at the grass too, but knew he had to wait his turn to taste the strange green concoction. After seeing Voimakas and Neula’s reactions to the stuff, he was very eager to taste some of it. When his serve finally came, he rushed in on it and gulped it down, then sat up in wait for the next lump.
He ate much of the remaining grass, leaving only a mouthful for Aurinko, and Shinen had no intention of getting any more for her. If Aurinko hadn’t been born, Musta would never have found out that Shinen’s mother was an albino, she would never have been bashed, she wouldn’t have lost her mate and she wouldn’t have lost her position of head female of the mob. Shinen hated Aurinko, and she could starve for all she cared.