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Disney and The Lion King

Scar's Revenge (Story)

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The Lion King 3: Scar’s Revenge

(incomplete version)

 

By Matthew Sorenson

 

                It was a time of reckoning.  The pridelands resembled a proverbial hell.  Lightning had produced flames that were all too eager to engulf the already parched grasses of the plains.  It was a time of political turmoil.  A battle on the north side of Pride Rock was coming to an end.  The hyenas and the lionesses had been engaged in fierce battle, but now an end seemed near.  The lionesses were winning.

                On the opposite of the landmark, however, the story was different.  The final confrontation had just begun.  Two male lions, an uncle and a nephew, were on the ledge of the rock.  The uncle was much older, emaciated, and normally had a look of great intelligence.  However, now his orange fur was splotched with his and his nephew's blood, his normally well kept black mane was tangled beyond comprehension, and his usually distinguished green eyes were glazed with pure terror.  The nephew, being the stronger of the two, had cornered his uncle.  The elder pleaded for mercy, and in doing so also accused the hyenas of being the true enemy.  The three most important hyenas in the clan overheard this, and welcomed the curse with sneers.  The nephew agreed to grant mercy on one condition:

                “Run.  Run away, Scar…and never return.”

                The former king’s words came back to haunt him.  He remembered when he had said that to Simba, when he had had the upper hand.  Now everything had been inverted.  His biggest mistake was his near-silent confession on the cliff.  He should have let Simba go to his grave not knowing the truth.  Let Simba die believing that he was responsible for his father’s death, instead of himself, who had been glad he did it from the day of the deed.

                “Y-yes,” Scar said, starting to leave both his home and his throne.  “Of course.”  Then he realized what he was leaving behind.  He knew he couldn’t live with the shame.  “As you wish, your MAJESTY!!” 

                At that instant, Scar kicked burning gravel into his nephew’s face, and while he was temporarily blinded, he struck.  From there a deadly struggle continued.  At first, no one could get a strike at the other.  Then Simba swept his mighty paw and cuffed Scar hard in the face.  Scar responded with claws, drawing blood, and then knocking Simba to another ledge.  As Simba lay prone, the scarred one leaped, claws outstretched, towards his foe. 

                The newly discovered king was ready.  When Scar pounced, he flipped him completely over the cliffside.  Scar tumbled down the rockface and landed in a motionless heap on the rock floor.  Luckily for him, the fall had been slowed down by his gradual fall.  He regained his composure, knowing he had lost, but also knowing that his hyena friends would welcome him nonetheless.

                Seeing them, he called out in a rasping voice, “Ahh!  My friends!”

                However, his heart shrank when he heard the female leader of the hyenas say “Friend??  I thought he said we were the enemy!”

                To this her brother responded “Yeah.  That’s what I heard.”  Then they both said in unison, “Ed?”, referring to their youngest brother.

                Ed, who usually had nothing more to say than a stupid laugh, answered with a devilish cackle that froze Scar to the bone, and helped him realize what a terrible demise he was to have.  It had been on the spur of the moment, that he had accused them.  He had been left without option.  However, that one second had sealed his fate.

                “No!  Let - let me explain!  You don’t understand!!  No!  No!!!!”  were the last words that the old lion was able to get out of his mouth before Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and every other hyena in his army pounced on him and began ripping at his flesh.

               

After he was sure he had won, and with a little prodding from Rafiki, who was the wise old baboon, Simba perched himself on the ledge of Pride Rock and let out a triumphant roar.  The lionesses joined in right away.  The hyenas knew that they dare not stay for very long, lest Simba destroy them for their associations with Scar.  They carried the bloody and maimed carcass of their former leader back to the elephant graveyard for a meager feast. 

                Inside the cave at the front of Pride Rock, a golden lioness with golden eyes had been listening to the commotion outside in terror.  She knew what was happening, but she couldn't do anything about it.  She had to watch her young son, who was very eager to get out there and help his father.  Nuka was always very impetuous, but he was too young to make a difference.  He kept saying, "Mom, Dad needs me!"  She would console him and say, "He'll be all right."  However, she knew this was a lie.  He was a strong lion, but he could not possibly hold up against a strong opponent who was in his prime like Simba.  She knew what Scar’s plan would be:  he would escape the pridelands, and then she and her cubs would be banished to the Outlands, where Scar would reunite with them.  He was intelligent, and good at thinking things out, but she also knew he would never make it off Pride Rock alive.  To make matters worse, Zira was pregnant.  She would give birth in a few more months.  It saddened her to think that her child would grow up never knowing her father.  Then a large form appeared in the entrance to the lair.  The form was incredibly muscular with golden fur and a brown mane.  It was Simba, who had just taken over the throne.  His words were dark and somber, yet strangely sympathetic.  “Zira…your mate…Scar…is dead.”

                Although she had been expecting this news, the shock of actually hearing it hit her like a lightning bolt.  “D-dead?”, she said, choking through tears.  “My beloved is dead…”  Then her words turned to pure rage.  “You killed him!!”

                “I didn’t.  The hyenas did.  They betrayed him like he betrayed them and you.”

                “Liar!!”, shouted the tear-drenched lioness.

                “Stop this at once,” Simba commanded.  Then he continued with his statement.  “You may stay here with us on Pride Rock on only one condition…you must forget about him and never speak of him again.”

                “I can only stay if I forget my one true love?”, Zira asked in an angry tone.  “I won’t!  I’d rather slit your throat, you bastard!”  However, she was too tired and sad to make good on this threat.  The last statement had produced quite an effect on Simba, who now stood growling in the entrance.

                “That does it.  You had your chance, Zira and you tossed it into the dirt.  I am your king now, and I am forced to pass judgment on you.  There is only one way to deal with a traitor like you…”  Simba paused as if for effect.  Zira knew that there were two punishments for traitors.  The treacherous lion was either banished to the Outlands (a desolate place where no lions dared live) or they would be put to death by the claw of the king.  Nuka, who had been listening intently, also looked scared as Simba passed the sentence. 

                “EXILE!”

 

                Scar attempted to open his eyes, but he couldn’t.  They seemed to be sealed shut.  Was he dead yet?  He assumed so, since there was something carrying him.  Obviously some kind of supernatural soul deliverer, or something like that.  That got him to thinking.  “Where is my soul going?  Will it be put in the sky with the great kings of the past?”  He was a king, but he wasn’t sure as to what great is defined as.  “It means so many things.  It could mean strong, smart, courageous, or (gods-help-me) righteous.  Will I be left to float around with the common lions in wherever they go?”  He had never truly figured out exactly where the ordinary lions and other animals were supposed to go.  It was always “the kings go here” without “the mouse you just ate goes here.”  “Oh, gods.  What if I’m doomed to live in the underworld?  To live in hell!!??  Oh, what will I…”

                THUD!

                The feeling of himself being dropped suddenly interrupted the old lion's thoughts.  “Hmm…”, he pondered.  “I always thought that the spirits would be a little bit gentler.”  Then he felt the rocky ground beneath him.  He recognized the feel of it.  Scar was back in the elephant graveyard!  He quickly assessed the situation.  He was mauled by the hyenas but carried off here to be…finished off.  He had to get away, but how?  His eyes wouldn’t even open.  Putting all his strength into one quick movement, he was able to get both of his eyes open, but he almost vomited at what he saw.  Crimson.  Scarlet.  BLOOD.

 

                Simba, Nala, Sarabi (mother of Simba), and Sarafina all watched from the same part of Pride Rock as the expecting Zira and her young cub began the long journey to the Outlands, which was their new “home.”  From the first steps off of lower rocks until they were both out of sight, Zira didn’t look back once.  As she neared the edge of the pridelands, being still within shouting range, she screamed from the top of her lungs, “ALL HAIL THE GREATEST KING OF THEM ALL:   SCAR!!!”  In their anger, neither Simba nor Nala noticed that Sarafina, the mother of Nala, was crying.  Sarabi brought her to one side and asked her what was wrong.  “He’s dead, Sarabi.  I can’t believe he’s actually dead.”

                Sarabi knew exactly what Sarafina was talking about and tried to console her.  “You need to try to forget about him.  It was all in the past.  I know it’s hard.  Don’t forget that I’m a widow too.  Eventually you will forget about him, and he hasn’t loved you since he took Zira as his mate.”

                “No!  I still loved him and him me, and how can I forget him when the proof of our love walks among us?” she bawled, motioning towards Nala.  Then she dried her tears and said with a determined face, “I’m going to tell her.”

                “Sarafina, no!!  If you ever tell her, which I advise you to never do, don’t do it now.  It would be an incredible shock to her to find out that Scar is her father after he has just been killed.”

                Sarafina agreed.  “All right, but I have to tell Simba.  He must know.  Simba?”  She called the king to come to see her for a moment.  Sarabi walked back over and sat beside Nala, while Sarafina and Simba went into the cave for privacy.

                “What is this about, Sara?”

                “It’s about your mate, my daughter.  There is a secret that has been unknown to her but known to everyone else so as to protect her from it.  If everyone else knows it, they will know not to ever mention it to her.”

                Simba was rather confused by all this talk.  He scratched his head and said, “Let me get this straight.  There’s a secret about Nala that I need to hear, but I shouldn’t tell her.”

                Sarafina nodded.  “Yes.  Also, this secret may shock you as well.”

                “Well, what is it?”  The leader of the pride was now more intrigued then ever.

                His mate’s mother leaned in and whispered into his ear.  “Scar is her father.”

                “WHAT??”, roared Simba, in a very loud voice which, luckily, did not fall on Nala’s ears.  Quieting his voice he said again “What did you say?”

                “Scar is Nala’s father.  She is the result of our mating.”

                “Oh, by the gods…and she doesn’t know this?”

                “No, and I would prefer it stay that way.”

                Simba shook his head in disbelief and shock.  “This will be hard to keep secret, but I will try.”

                “Thank you, Simba.  Thank you so much.”

 

                Scar was soaked in blood from his head to his foot.  The sanguine fluid covered his body in an uncomfortable warmness.  He was hot, sticky, and sweaty.  He could see cuts all over his body.  They could heal, but only if he could survive.  Then he saw a couple of hyenas with their backs turned to him.  In the distance, the former king could hear many others laughing devilishly.  The three hyenas were the trio that he knew all too well: Banzai, Shenzi, and Ed.  Scar knew that his death would be horrible if he stayed where he was. 

He attempted to stand up, but his legs felt like small saplings that would snap if too much pressure were put on them.  Luckily, his arms felt sturdy, and so he incited all his strength into them.  He started to drag himself towards the part of the graveyard that was a boundary of the desert.  The ground was very rough and some of the stones were jagged.  They tore at his flesh making the red trail behind him get larger and broader.  However, Scar didn't care.  He would probably die outside of the graveyard, but he would definitely die here.  He pushed himself on, for what must have been many miles, until he had completely exited the elephant graveyard, and was lying in the middle of a dry desert plain.  His belly was now ripped into shreds, and he was still bleeding, a pool forming around his body.

As the heat finally started to take its toll, he passed into unconsciousness…

 

                "I think we should just eat him!"

                "No!  He was our leader.  The least we can do is show him some respect and give him a proper burial." 

A male spotted hyena was arguing with two others of his species: a male and a female.  He was very angry, and it could be seen in his eyes.  "I'm not showing that…traitor any respect!  We deserve a meal after the hell he put us through!  I hope he goes straight to hell!"

"Shut up!", screamed the female.  Her features were basically the same as her angry brother's, but more feminine (in a hyena way).  Her long ruff of hair hung down in her face.  "I am your leader and I say he gets a burial!"

"Oh, aren't we all high and mighty.  If you weren't matriarch I would rip you to shreds.  You're too emotional to be a leader…Let me guess…you had feelings for Scar."

"What?  No…I just…"

"I think you had affection for him…"

Ed, the crazy younger brother started to laugh crazily at this.  Even though he had a microscopic IQ, he knew what Banzai was getting at.

"Shut up, Banzai!"

Banzai just smiled a wicked grin and continued with his vile accusation.  "I think you may have enjoyed…a few good times together, eh, Shenzi?  A little bit of a relationship?  Did he ever take you…"

Shenzi was scared out of her mind by these accusations.  How could they say these things?  She yelled at the top of her lungs, "Shut up now!"

Ed immediately shut up and held completely still.  Banzai also silenced his curse, but chuckled to himself.  He had done what he had set out to do.  He had crushed Shenzi mentally.  He would get what he wanted.  He looked over towards his next meal.

“I don’t know where you get these ideas…” Shenzi started.

“Shenzi,” interrupted Banzai.  “Did we order this meal to go?”

Shenzi froze.  She had heard these words before.  Nervously she asked, “Why?”

“It’s gone…” Banzai sighed.  “Well, looks like you got what you wanted.  But you ain’t gonna have it long.  Let’s get him!!”

                The female hyena held him back.  “Let him go.  He’s as good as dead out there anyway.”

                Banzai’s eyes narrowed at this cliché.  “Oh, I’ve never heard THAT before!  Like hell I will!  I remember last time!” By this time, Ed was doing his extremely nervous laugh.  He was scared.  “You said that ‘bout Simba and he came back and kicked our…”

                “Think, brother,” said Shenzi.  “Two differences.  First of all, Simba was a cub.  Lion cubs have way more energy than anything else in the world.  You could throw a cub off Pride Rock and it would still skip back up to the top.  Scar is one of the oldest lions alive.  He would probably die soon, even if we hadn’t cut him up like we did - which brings up my second point:  Simba was in tip-top condition when we chased him away.  Scar isn’t in nearly as good condition.  What do you think that huge red streak is, berry juice?  Use your brain!”

                Ed, of course, was in his usual completely confused state, but Banzai was nodding in agreement.  “Good thinking, sis.  Maybe you can be a good leader yet.”  He started to walk off to his lair, but turned around after walking a slight distance.  He looked towards the spot where Scar escaped and said “Damn you, Scar.”  He turned back around and finished his walk to his lair, with Ed tagging along behind.

                Shenzi didn’t move.  She just kept looking out towards Scar’s escape route.  She hated to admit it, but Banzai had been so right.  She did care for Scar.  They had gone through so much together.  She remembered when her brothers and her took him in.  He needed a family and some kindness.  They needed a friend and someone to get food for them, now that their mother had been killed.  When they originally met him, he had been Taka, the mistreated cub.  When he was accepted into the pack, he was Scar, the independent lion.  He became so much a part of the pack, he was considered to be practically a hyena with a mane.  At one point, this similarity to the hyenas changed Shenzi’s life.  Banzai had been much more correct than he had known.  If she thought she hadn’t loved him, she would hate to think about it.  When they were both teenagers, they had been talking about their needs and wants.  They eventually got into talk on a certain subject and both were disappointed at their inexperience, and together they solved that problem.  She had truly loved him, and at the time, at least, he had truly loved her.  When she got older she felt a little sorry for that decision, and she knew that Scar did too.  She wondered if that could be what caused him to turn against her…

                “What am I thinking?  It’s over, and it’s his fault.  I have no reason to be sorry.  He betrayed us,” she asserted herself.  She tried to turn around to follow her brothers, but she couldn’t.  She felt frozen in place, as if an unknown presence was compelling her to stay.  Also, her face felt strange and moist.  Then she realized what was happening…she was crying.   She had never cried for anybody since her mother died.  She had cared for her mother, so did she also care for him?

                This thought, she broke down and fell to the ground crying the only words on her mind:  “Forgive me, Scar!!  Forgive me!!”

 

He lay now, half dead, in the middle of the desert.  He was unconscious, but his mind was still racing.  The deposed king just lay there, floating in his own fluids of life.  While his body was incapable of movement, Scar’s brain remembered his life, possibly as a preparation for his next.  He remembered his childhood:  how he was isolated from the pride, and how he got the namesake that now brazened his left eye.  The beautiful wildebeest stampede that had changed his life.  The stampede that stirred his animosity towards his brother, Mufasa, whom sent the fear-crazed animals charging in his direction.  A fight with his father, the great king Thembi, had sent him running off to the elephant graveyard to join his friends. 

Once he had joined the hyenas, they had catered to his every need.  He silently chuckled as he remembered how one need arose during his early years…Shenzi had taken care of that one so perfectly.  Eventually he returned to the Pridelands, where he mated with Sarafina.  Ahh…the golden crafter of lies.  She had managed to completely destroy him when she would not allow her relationship with him to be acknowledged.  Even worse, the fruit of their love never knew that he was halfway responsible for her.  Poor little naïve Nala.  He had hoped that one day he would have been able to tell her the truth, but now that he was about to die, there was no truth in sight.

At first because of spite for Sarafina, Scar became mates with Zira, a rogue lioness with a strange name.  However, soon he began to love Zira more than he had loved anyone else.  Zira.  Zira.  Zira.  The one he would miss more than anyone.  He would never see her again, either.  She was a good and righteous lioness, while he…was more than likely damned for all time.  Their love for each other had been so great, that it had reaped Nuka ( a strange name indeed), who looked almost exactly like his father.  Scar would never see his son again, or his beautiful mate’s unborn child.  Whether it would be a boy or a girl…he didn’t care; he just wished they would have the chance to see their dad.  Scar’s head was feeling very light, and he knew that death was near.  He started to hear close by, the footsteps of Death coming towards him…

 

In the middle of the desert, two golden forms could be seen, one smaller than the other.  The larger one was a lioness, and the smaller one was obviously her cub.  Her cub was a young male lion who had a tuft of black hair on his head that would, over time, grow into a mane.  The cub was very confused as to why they were both there.

“Mommy…”, said the cub, “Why did we have to leave our lair and walk around here?”

“Because Karanga is very sad right now, little one.  She needs some time by herself.  She just found out that the king died.”

“He died?  But how?”

The lioness shook her head and then looked out into the horizon.  “He was killed by the same hyenas that used to be his minions.”

Now the cub was really confused.  “Minions?  What are those?”

As the mother was about to answer, the cub shouted out “Hey!” and started running away from his mother.

The worried lioness called after her cub.  “Ujono!  Where are you going??”

“I see something!”  The mother followed her son and eventually, from a distance, saw him sitting next to what seemed to be the corpse of a lion.

“Good gods, Ujono!  Get away from that!”

“But Mom…he’s still alive!”

“What?”  She was absolutely stunned.  Anything that ever wandered into the desert that wasn’t up and walking was usually buzzard food.  She ran over to the body and got an even bigger shock.  “My word!  It’s…”

Ujono finished her phrase.  “King Scar!….Cool!…We have a king here!”

The lioness frantically looked around to see if somebody else was nearby to help.  “He’s more than that, my young cub.  Oh, look at all the blood…”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll explain later.   For now, help me carry him.”  The lioness hoisted the bleeding mass onto her back, while the cub supported his front right paw, and informed her if the lion started to fall.

“I hope we can help him”, said the young cub.

Eventually, the trio made it to the lioness’s lair in the plains. 

 

*The lions of the plains lived in a virtual limbo compared to the other two respective groups: The Pridelands and the Outlands.  The whole of the plains-dwellers were ostracized kings, childless lionesses too old to mate, and the runaways.  Scar’s saviors didn’t fit into any of the categories.*

 

The cave was one of the best in the entire kingdom, being spacious even by Prideland standards.  It was perfectly situated with a water hole right outside, and a tree in front that would provide shade to those who wanted to sit outside, but didn’t want the sun torturing them.  Once the lioness got home with her cub and their new “friend”, she called out “Karanga!” and laid the lion down on the floor.  She had Ujono fetch some water from the waterhole and once he returned, she splashed it in his face, reviving him.

His eyes opened partially, and he looked at his female rescuer.  “Who are you?”

“My name is Shada the lioness, good King Scar.”

“Shada…where have I heard that name before?”, he said as he started to come to his senses.

“I am your sister.”  At this, both Ujono and Scar looked straight at her with wide eyes.  Then Scar remembered.  “Ah, yes.  When I returned to the Pridelands, you were just a cub, and you had a twin sister…umm….”

“Tahali.”, she responded.  “Yes, she is my twin.  But I don’t know where she lives now.  I live here and have a cub of my own, who, I might add, is responsible for saving your life.  Say hello, Ujono.”

“Hello, Unca Scar.”, said the young lion, who now understood the lineage that was going on.

“Uncle….how wonderful that sounds…I wish I could have savored that sound from my other nephew…”  Then suddenly the sounds of another lioness interrupted his words.

“What is it?”, cried the voice, which must have been that of the aforementioned Karanga.  “Didn’t I tell you that I’m lamenting over…”  Her words stopped abruptly and Scar knew that she must have seen him.  Suddenly he heard crying.  It was not tears of sadness, but of happiness.  Who would be crying for him like that?  His questions were answered when the lioness came beside Scar so that he could see her.  She looked quite old, possibly the oldest lioness in the kingdom.  Karanga was truly crying and choking out the words “Oh, Taka…oh, I’ve missed you so much….”

Upon hearing his old name, the old lion was thunderstruck.  “Taka?  Nobody calls me Taka…no one has ever been allowed to call me that, except my…”  Then reality struck, and the tears of the lioness were joined by those of Scar.  He smiled and cried tears of joy.  Then he hugged the old lioness.  “….mother.  Mother.”

Karanga hugged him back and said consolingly, “Don’t cry, my son.  You’re home now.”

 

In a truly surprising short time, Scar fully recovered from his attack.  After his rescue, he thought he would be covered with thousands of scars, and while he had been indeed torn to ribbons, only one scar remained to add truth to his name.  That one was a very long gash down his right hind leg.  The only other physical damage that he maintained was a slight limp in that same leg that didn’t slow him down very much, but still made it much more comfortable for him to walk, other than run.  He felt that the lack of permanent damage was a sign that he was supposed to live, and that maybe this was the life he was supposed to live.

Their lair could also be called his lair now, and after he had recovered, he got to know his rescuers.  His first encounter with Shada during his life had been when he had returned to Pride Rock and seen her and her twin, Tahali.  Some of his most enjoyable moments during that time in his life consisted of sitting and talking to both of them about whatever little adventures they were embarking on.  After Scar became king, and once the Pridelands started to become a wasteland, he had sent the pregnant Shada and his mother Karanga off into the plains.  He feared for them, because he wasn’t sure of the fate of the land.

Scar felt like Ujono was the gods’ present to him.  Ujono had basically been responsible for finding him.  It gave Scar a great feeling every time Ujono called him “Uncle.”  He realized that it was obviously his sacred duty to be a good uncle…like he should have been.  Now he could do it, because he had no reason to be envious of this child.  Him and Ujono became like a father and a son.

However, while Ujono was responsible for saving Scar’s body, the deposed ruler would no doubt have died had it not been for the shock of seeing his mother.  Over time, and with the pressures of royalty, he had forgotten about her and had assumed that she had died.  The sheer shock of seeing the only creature who had always loved him…the one who had saved him from the wrath of his angry father on many an occasion…and the one who had adopted him when his mother died…she saved him.  He owed everything to her.  After his recovery, Scar was a cub again, listening to every word his mother said intently, and doing without question.

Scar was truly happy now, and he felt that the circle of life had been generous to him.

 

                It had been two days since the great victory, and for some reason, Simba still had to stay up and patrol.  “I come back and save the pridelands, and I’m already on guard duty,” Simba said to himself.  He chuckled at the prospect.  The usual time for patrol was almost over, and Simba decided to get a little bit of a head start.  “A few minutes won’t make a difference, and besides, I need my rest.”  Simba went into his lair and took his place by his mate, Nala.  He looked at her, and thought about how beautiful she truly was.  He also thought back to the night before his return…would he see the products of that soon?  As the king laid down next to his mate, the queen, perhaps knowingly, cuddled next to him.  He returned the favor, closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep…

 

                Simba knew he was dreaming.  He was reliving the night of his victory.  The dream started after he had flung Scar from the cliff, and right now he sat and saw the hyenas attack him.  He relived his climb up Pride Rock, and everything was as it was then.

                Then time skipped to the next morning, during which he started a new ritual of going to the waterhole in the morning before everyone else to bathe.  The walk to the waterhole was just as it was the day before, except the sky was even more beautiful.  Simba realized that this dream would probably be a recreation his day, with all things better.  The water at the hole was clearer and cleaner then it had ever been before, and as he walked into the shallow water at the edge of the hole and sat down , he wondered when Nala would show up and beg for his love. 

However, his thoughts were interrupted when he felt the water start to get suddenly cold.  An icy, freezing cold…he had never known such frigidity.  He tried to get out of the water and back onto the bank so he could warm up, but he couldn’t.  For some reason, he was stuck.  Then he saw it.  A little ring of water around him had turned to the darkest black, and the black water now held him down.  Suddenly the black liquid started to crawl up his sides, and it slowly coated his flanks.  It slowly climbed up his body, and every part that the goop covered, that part would be frozen in place.  As it reached his neck, Simba flung his head back in a futile attempt to fling off the “creature.”  His head froze in a back position.  As the fluid covered his eyes and blocked out his vision, the king let out a roar for help.  This proved to be a mistake, as the blackness proceeded to enter his open mouth and coat the insides of his throat.  Then it went down his throat and windpipe, and he could feel the cold coating his insides.  He could still hear everything that went on outside of him, but he could not see or talk. 

Suddenly, the icy black liquid stopped moving.  Simba soon began to doubt whether he could see or not, for in front of him, in otherwise darkness were two distinct pairs of eyes.  Both obviously belonged to lions.  The first set was unknown to him.  They were a piercing blue, and he could tell that these belonged to a young male lion in his prime.  The eyes reflected hate and contempt, yet appeared to be wise.  As Simba looked over towards the second pair, he gasped.  He knew this pair all too well.  The color of the eyes was green, with yellow pupils, a trait only found in the royal family.  Even there, it was a rarity.  The second to last possessor of this trait was his grandfather, the great king Thembi.  These eyes obviously belonged to the last owner of this most noble feature, for the left eye was graced by a long, thin mark.  A gash - a cut - a scar.

As soon as he realized this, a sound broke the silence.  Laughter starting echoing from the same place that the eyes were.  The laughter must have belonged to the first lion, for it was foreign to his ears.  It started out as a small chuckle, then gained speed and pitch, and became a loud cackle.  A sound of madness, one can be sure.  More laughter came, and it also seemed unfamiliar to Simba, until he realized that he had never heard his uncle laugh.  When Scar was with him, he had always been bitter and resentful, never carefree or happy, unless hatching a diabolical plan.  This was certainly the laughter of the great mad king, for it was a sound of greed, of hatred, and of evil.  As the laughter of his dead uncle blended with that of the unknown lion, Simba felt the black creature pull him down to the bottom of the waterhole.  He attempted to scream, but no roar left his lips, and no one could save him as he was pulled under…

 

Simba awoke in a bath of his own sweat.  While he gasped for breath, he looked around at his surroundings.  He was in his own lair, with his sleeping mate by his side.  It had just been a nightmare.  An awful nightmare.  But, what did it mean?  Simba thought about this for a little while as he was trying to get back to sleep, but eventually it left his mind, and he passed off into a dreamless slumber.

 

Time did its horrible dance, and things continued.  Scar got more accustomed to living with this new found family, Ujono grew up a little, Shada continued to search for mates near the border, and a cub was born to Simba and Nala.  On the day of the presentation of young Kiara, Shada went off with Karanga to go see it, for Ujono had no interest in it, and Scar could have thought of nothing less enjoyable.  Upon asking Scar to baby-sit Ujono, Shada saw a look of anxiety on Scar’s face.  “I can’t do it…I’ve never taken care of a child by myself…”

“You can handle this, Scar…”

Scar didn’t answer.  He just sat there in the lair pouting.

Shada answered impatiently, “Well, come on!  I’m not proposing marriage!  I’m asking you to take care of one cub, spend a few hours watching over him in a perfectly luxurious lair.  Now you don’t have to think about that, just nod.”

Rather taken aback by Shada’s sudden outburst, Scar could only nod in agreement.

“That’s good.  We’ll be back later.”

                After the ceremony ended, the two returned to find Ujono asleep and Scar standing watch in front of the lair. 

                “Was he any problem?”

                “No problem at all…I never realized it could be so…fun…to watch a cub.”

                “You’ll learn, Scar.  You’ll learn.”

 

                At night, near the border of the plains, a lone scraggly hyena wandered.  She was young, but malnourished.  Her coat, which was once soft and beautiful (by hyena standards) had become rough and tattered.  She was still strong, and her load was light, as her body had obviously been starved.  She blew the long ruff of hair out of her face so she could see what was ahead, a lair.  Whether it belonged to a meerkat or a lion, she didn’t care.  She would take down anything that she could get, or die trying.  It would have to be less painful than starving to death.  She walked up to the lair and peered inside.  Inside she saw a little lion cub.  “Hello, little morsel,” she whispered to herself, as she prepared to jump.

                Suddenly she heard a loud growl behind her.  Had the cub’s father come to protect him?  A deep, sharp voice scowled at her.  “You picked the wrong lair to come nosing around, hyena.  Get out of here before I feast on your flesh.”

                “I don’t plan to leave, and after I have killed you, I shall proceed to the child.”  She still didn’t look behind her; she had a strategy if he attacked her first.  As she planned her next move, the lion suddenly softly called her name.

                “Shenzi?  Is that you?”

                “What if it is?” she said, turning around.  As soon as the black mane and orange pelt fell on her eyes, she screamed in joy.  “Scar!”

                “It really is you, Shenzi!”  And the two embraced as best as two of their kind can.  “What are you doing here, Shenzi, and what happened to you?” said Scar as he looked at the emaciated body of his hyena friend.

                “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?  You’re dead!”

                He grinned, “I got lucky.”

                “I’ll say you did, not a scar on you.”

                “Well, actually there’s one on my leg…but, other than that, I’m pretty much back to my usual charming self.”

                She laughed.  “So, not only did you survive, but you got out here and obviously mated…”

                Scar sighed.  “No, that’s not my son.  That’s my nephew.  The GOOD nephew.  But you still haven’t answered my question.”

                Shenzi looked upon her former leader with sadness in her eyes.  “The pack is moving on.  You were our ticket to food for so many years, that many of us don’t know how to hunt.  We have to leave.  I was just out trying to rustle up a little bit of nourishment for me and the pack.  The pressures of politics…”

                “How are the boys?”

                “They’re OK.  The pack is really split up about your death.  A few still despise you, some think it was terrible what we did, and most don’t give a care either way.  As for my brothers, Banzai is still convinced that you were the most treacherous thing ever to step into the elephant graveyard.  I think he really is sorry he did it, though.”

                “And Ed?”

                The hyena looked to the side and then sighed.  “Poor Ed…he never was really stable, and your death didn’t help.  He still wanders the graveyard most of the day, expecting to find you.  We’ve tried to tell him, but he just doesn’t understand.  He’s also been sick lately, and frankly it’s the worst I’ve ever seen him.  I don’t think he’s gonna live to the move.”  The two sat down outside the lair. 

                “What is going on out here?”, exclaimed Karanga as she walked out of the lair.  Upon seeing the hyena, Karanga gasped and froze in her tracks.  “Taka, there’s a hyena here.”

                “Yeah, mom.  Mom, this is Shenzi.”  He motioned towards his childhood friend.  “She was one of my hyena friends when I was a cub.”  Shenzi nodded towards the mother of two kings. 

                Upon hearing this, Karanga’s thoughts went back to Taka’s childhood.  She nodded back at Shenzi, saying afterwards: “I’d like to thank you, Shenzi.”

                “What for?”

                “For being a friend to my son when he needed it the most.  Although…I’m not sure if you needed to be THAT good of a friend…”  Karanga grinned at the two, and then went back into her lair.  The lion and hyena stared puzzled at each other…How did she know?

                Then the hyena stood up to leave.  “Well,” she said, “I’d better get back.  Good luck on your new life.”

                “Shenzi, wouldn’t you like some food?  We have some left over from dinner.”

                “Oh, would you?  That would be so helpful!”

                “Anything for a friend.”

                So Scar gave Shenzi a going-away present of a half-eaten antelope, said good-bye, and watched her leave, never to be seen by anyone in that region ever again.  After he saw her disappear over to the horizon, Scar went into the lair and went to sleep.

                As Scar’s dreams were filled with his memories with Shenzi, Karanga passed away quietly in the middle of the night.

 

                When the sun was in the highest point in the sky, the usually cheerful lair was one of sadness.  Laughter had been replaced by sobbing.  Shada sat by the dead body of her mother and cried, while Ujono just stood by her in a state of shock.  He felt like he had no emotions…his grandmother was dead, and he had loved her, so why didn’t he cry?  The only thing he felt was a weird feeling.  The feeling that someone who had been around all his life would never be seen again.

                Scar, however, was not in nearly as good of a condition.  He was weeping uncontrollably, his arms around his mother and his head laid on top of her stomach, as tears poured down his face.  He realized why she had died.  She had not been sick, but she had been without a doubt the oldest lioness in the savanna.  At least it had been peaceful, but that was not the problem.  While he did understand why she died, he could not condone it.  This was the greatest lioness ever to be born.  She was the first creature to ever show him love, and (of course) she was his mother.

               

*Communication was not a priority in the kingdom.  Various regions didn’t communicate with the others.   The Outlanders always kept to themselves about anything that happened, and the Pridelanders only informed other parts of the kingdom when an important event, such as a coronation, was about to be held.  The few plains lions were rarely heeded, but a death with as high a magnitude as Karanga’s would not have been able to go untold.*

 

Long after Shada and Ujono went into the Pridelands to tell the sad truth about the death of the grandmother of the king, all the way into the time when the moon is at its peak, Scar stayed with his deceased matriarch and cried.

 

                The funeral was the most elaborate one held in the Pridelands since Mufasa’s.  Everybody came - all the animals, relatives near, and relatives far.  Tahali was practically a guest of honor, as she had not been seen for some time.

                First, the eulogy was read.  The body of the dead was placed on a level rock at the base of pride rock.  Directly in the center and in front of the body sat Simba and Nala.  To their left sat Sarafina and Sarabi.  To the right of the king and queen were Tahali, who was keeping an eye on Ujono.  Behind this front row were the lions who were not related to Karanga.  Behind them were all the other animals, come to see the last rites of a former queen.  And all the way in the back, behind a bush and cleverly hidden, sat one who would have done the rites for this funeral, one who read the eulogy the last time.  He could not cry anymore, for he had been dried out from his day of sorrow.  He just sat there and watched as his mother was put to rest. 

At a funeral, the king was usually the speaker, unless someone else’s ties were closer to the deceased.  Simba barely knew his departed grandmother, so the task went to the closest relative who was, in this case, her biological daughter.  The speaker stood behind the rock with the body, and faced the crowd.  Shada’s eulogy was truly beautiful, covering Karanga’s life and importance.  She jokingly referred to the fact that Karanga had been the mother to three separate pairs of twins:  Scar and Mufasa, Sarabi and Sarafina, and Shada and Tahali. 

 

*Scar and Mufasa were the children of the great king Thembi, whose mate produced Mufasa and then died while giving birth to Scar.  The King’s unfounded anger at Scar led to his younger son’s unbridled cynicism.  Later, Thembi and his new bride Karanga adopted the twins Sarabi and Sarafina, whose mother had been killed by a pack of hyenas.  Eventually, Sarabi and Mufasa became a pair, as did Scar and Sarafina in a more clandestine manner.

Over time, however, Karanga desired to have cubs of her own, and her cry was answered.  She gave birth to twin girls, Tahali and Shada.  These had been the only children whom Karanga herself had truly birthed.*

 

After the service was over, they took her into the great expanses of the plains, and buried her in the ritual burial place, next to her husband.  After all the lions had headed back to Pride Rock for the ritual feast, Scar stayed behind, stood next to the grave of his beloved mother, and then went to the family’s lair in the plains to sleep.

                The feast, a ritual since before most lions could remember, was always a joyous occasion.  The lions ate, danced, talked, and generally socialized.  Most of the family members would stay together and discuss the services.  The food was already gotten in advance to the service, and the beverages were either water or a strange drink made of berries and left out in the sun.  This concoction was usually put into big troughs for the guests to drink, and more than a few lions would get a little tipsy.  Simba basically drifted around and talked with everybody, and Nala stayed in one place, watching over their newly introduced princess Kiara.  Tahali, Shada, Sarabi, and Sarafina were talking as Ujono played with the other cubs. 

                “It really was a beautiful service,” said Sarafina.

                Sarabi agreed, “I think everybody loved it.”

                “Thanks, sisters,” said Shada, slightly embarrassed.  “But I was just doing the basic run-of-the-mill eulogy.”

                “Basic!  Ha!” exclaimed Tahali, “That was incredible!  Absolutely the best service I have ever seen.”  Of course, this really wasn’t saying much, considering the only other service she had seen was Mufasa’s, and his service was rather rudely interrupted by hyenas. 

Plus there had been no feast.

                Referring to her speech, Sarabi said “Enjoyed by four out of six twins!”  Everyone laughed at this statement.

                Shada went so far as to say “Come now, Sarabi.  It was better than that.  I’m sure Mufasa was enjoying it much with the other great kings!”  The laughing continued.

                “And I’m sure Scar is enjoying it from hell!” Tahali said while laughing.  At that moment, a paw with claws outstretched struck Tahali in the muzzle.  The young lioness fell to the ground and clutched her nose, which was now bleeding.  “AHH!  Sarafina!  What the hell was that for?”, she screamed.  The attention of much of the crowd was focused on the scene, and all was silent to wait for the queen mother’s answer.

                “How dare you talk about your brother that way!  No matter what he may have done, he is still your brother, and mine, and you shall treat his name with respect!”  The words of the golden lioness came with great power and anger, and Tahali heard them, and understood.  She nodded in assent.  All the other lions just went back to their business; they understood why she had said this.

                However, Nala just stared at her mother assessing the words in her mind, until Kiara’s playfulness caught her attention.  By the end of the day, she had forgotten all about it.

 

                The march of time continued, and after a period of time had passed, the world saw Ujono, now starting into adolescence, approaching his uncle in their lair near the Pridelands.  Ujono’s mane was now definitely apparent.  It was black, like his uncle’s and his grandfather’s.  The hair graced the sides of his head, and while he was not the most beautiful lion in the world, he could certainly be considered attractive enough.

                “Ummm….Scar?”

                Scar turned and looked at his nephew, who had a puzzled look on his face, as if a question had been bothering him.  “Yes, what is it?”

                “I need to ask you something…lion to lion.”

                “Yes?”

                “Recently, I was walking near the waterhole, and I saw this lioness.  She was much older than me, of course, and she was very strange looking.  She looked like a cross of some sort between a cheetah and a lion.  Is that possible?”

                “Yes, it is…but I know that’s not the reason you called me aside.”

                Ujono chuckled.  “No, it isn’t.  Well, the point is…I saw her, and she was possibly the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen.  And I felt…strange…down there.”, and he pointed to a certain area on his body.  “What’s going on?”

                Scar bit his lip.  “Hmm…Ujono, I can’t pretend I have a lot of knowledge in this area, for I was kind of isolated when I was the same age as you.  I never saw any beautiful lionesses, but I think I can help a little.”  Scar proceeded to explain the basics of adolescence and many of the changes he would go through, such as his mane growing, and…other things.  Some of the things rather disgusted Ujono, while others delighted him.  “Well, did that discussion help at all?”

                “I think so, Uncle Scar.  But does this mean I should go out looking for lionesses to mate with?” Ujono asked anxiously.

                “By the heavens, no!” Scar declared.  “Just wait…you’ll know when it’s your time.  When your mane is fully grown out down to your shoulders and past, then you can go looking.”

                “It’d better grow fast!” Ujono said, and then he ran off scouting his future mates.

                “Hmmm…so impetuous…” thought Scar.  “I wish I’d had his childhood.  I didn’t see a beautiful lioness and know what to do until I came back to Pride Rock…”  Scar sighed.  It looked like another boring day looking for things to do out in the regions outside the Pridelands.  He’d already explored his new plains home to his heart’s content.  He had also explored the Elephant Graveyard more than he could bear.  It was old and the memories were too harsh.  Now that the hyenas were gone, he could explore it all he wanted, but that got rather dull after a while.  He recently had come across a new land, separated from the plains by only a river which, while it carved a canyon at its most treacherous point, was a simple getting-across-a-log job at a point closer to his home.  He made the walk over to the arboreal bridge and crossed it into the Outlands.

                The Outlands were the most treacherous stretches of land ever imaginable.  In scarcity and lack, it exceeded even the Elephant Graveyard.  This was the home of the banished lions, the traitors to the cause - where he surely would have been sent if he had been captured.  The sun was too hot, the prey was too few, and any poor creature that survived here would have the look of malnutrition and paucity on it.

                Suddenly, a noise got Scar’s attention, and he ran back up the bridge and hid in the tall grass near the plains, while keeping a close eye on the bank of the wasteland, to find out what creature could have made the sound.

                It was a lion cub.  The cub walked out of the shadows, and just sat near the log, cleaning himself with his tongue.  Scar was immediately struck by the appearance of this child, for there was something familiar about him.  The cub’s fur was darker than his own, but the face was too similar to his to be ignored.  The cub had the same sagging fur on the sides of his face, the same beginnings of a “beard”, and the same little scrap of black hair that would eventually be a mane.  on the top of his head.  Even the demeanor, a ticked-off-at-the-world frown, and the fact that the cub was obviously not extremely well fed matched those of the former king when he was a child.  Could this possibly be the child he had left behind?  He had forgotten about Zira…tried to forget about her.  He worried that if he returned, he would become his old self, and that was something he wanted to avoid.  If he could just see the cub’s eyes…

Then, his attention was caught again, as he heard the sound of two voices arguing in the opposite direction of the cub, in the plains.  Scar made up his mind to leave this fledgling behind and see what this other commotion was.  Besides, the cub looked as if he would be there for some time.

                Moving quietly through the tall grass, Scar eventually came near a clearing where a little lion cub, a meerkat, and a warthog were standing in front of a log.  The “walking rat” (as Scar liked to call them) was arguing with the pig over, of all things, the tastiest kind of bug.  Scar would have left right away if the cub had not also become bored and started to walk towards the place where Scar was.  He quickly ran down towards the border, for he did not want to be seen, and he was able to secure a good hiding place once he got there.  Scar saw that the male cub was still there, now just standing still trying to pick up any sort of commotion.  The female cub, however, followed the sound of movement down to the gorge that bordered the Outlands.  Unable to find anybody (for she had not noticed the little male cub), she proceeded to do what any normal child would do: explore the Outlands.

                She walked across the log, looking this way and that, and walking with a spring in her step.  Eventually this unusual gait took its toll, as at the end of the log, she tripped, fell, and rolled along the ground of the Outlands for a very short distance, at which point she crashed into the other cub, knocking him to the ground.

                The male cub quickly got up and faced the female, snarling.  “Who are you, Pridelander?” he said as he advanced.

                The female, obviously very frightened, backed up, but refused to back too far down from this stranger.  She jumped around from position to position, always keeping the male directly in front of her.

                The male gave her a puzzled look.  “What are you doing?”

                The female quickly retorted.  “My father says to never turn your back on an outsider,” she said seriously.

                The statement wasn’t taken nearly so seriously by the male.  “You always do what daddy says?”

                “No!” yelled the little lioness.

                Scar chuckled and whispered to himself.  “Bet she does…”

                “Betcha do!  Bet your daddy’s little girl!”  At this point, the female felt depressed, but the little lion just chuckled and jumped onto a large rock in the middle of the river.  “An outsider doesn’t need anybody.  I take care of myself.”  He was followed by the now interested female.

                “Really?  Cool!”  Suddenly, the male cub screamed as the rock revealed itself as a hungry, hell-bent crocodile!  She screamed too, and they both went running across what turned out to be the backs of other crocodiles in an attempt to escape.  Every time they thought they were safe, there was just one more of the vicious crocodilians to escape.  Scar was only able to watch helpless from the bank of the river.  He wanted to help, but with his age and physical capability, anything he tried would merely be filling the animals’ stomachs a little bit more.  He sat terrified for the two, especially him who bared his resemblence.

                 Complications arose and were fixed.  Lion cub saved lioness cub.  And eventually, both made it to the highly elevated bank (Scar had hidden himself in some grasses nearby).  Taking a look back on what they had just braved, the two cubs looked down the slope to the water and saw over twenty crocodiles growling in frustration.

                “I did it,” the little lioness said quietly to herself, thinking about what she had just done.  “I DID IT!”  She yelled in joy and stuck out her tongue in a raspberry directed towards the angry reptiles.  The male just laughed and walked away from the edge of the cliff after his new companion.  Scar just kept watching from the grasses, while listening intently to their conversation.  The girl started talking.  “Whoa, man, did you see the size of those teeth, they were like grawr…grawr…”

                --As Scar heard the girl describing their near-death experience he would have sworn that he sensed another presence nearby him in the grass…--

                “We make a good team!  And you…”the lioness paused.  “…You were really brave!”

                “Yeah?  You were pretty brave too.”  The little cub then introduced himself:  “My name’s Kovu.”  Kovu?  Kovu?  He suddenly realized the true meaning of that name and was stunned.

                Little Kovu’s friend also gave her name.  “I’m Kiara…” she said in a near-seductive manner.  This unusual action of a cub caught Kovu off guard, as he shrinked away at the sight of his new friend slinking towards him in a near-shadow of how grown lionesses introduce themselves to “interesting” males.

                Once again, the name was familiar.  Scar had heard the name Kiara used a lot as of late, and he was dying to know where…Scar’s thoughts were then interrupted by the sound of the presence, which was obviously there somewhere growling, apparently at the site of the near-intimacy growing between the two cubs.

                Kiara saw the disturbed look on her friend’s face and decided to start a game.  “Tag!  You’re it!” she shouted as she touched his leg with her paw and hopped back.  Kovu paid her back with a confused look and even went so far as to pull his leg back in disgust the next time Kiara tagged him.  Kiara laughed for a while in expectation, but then approached him.  “Hello?  You run, I tag.  Get it?”

                The former king sat in the bushes chuckling to himself.  Scar just validated Kovu’s clueless expression.  “I don’t think he gets it,” he mumbled in an inaudible joke, still laughing inaudibly.

                “What’s the matter, don’t you know how to play?”  Kiara could hardly understand why a cub would not know how to play “tag.”  However, the more she thought about it, the more she realized, “this cub is from the Outlands…he probably doesn’t know how to have fun…oh well, back to basics…”  Thus, she shifted to the simplest of cubs’ games and the least complicated:  fighting.  She started hopping around, low to the ground, growling at Kovu.  Kovu mirrored her by doing the same.

                Suddenly, a huge golden blur appeared in front of Kiara.  It roared at little Kovu, but was almost immediately shadowed by another streak of gold, which stood in front of the scared brown cub.  Another roar resounded among the four.

                Each adult scowled the name of the other.  The father of one growled the title of the mother of the other, and it was likewise done.  Neither needed no introduction for Scar.  The male was none other than Simba, king of the Pridelands.  His nephew, his king, his bane.  He had not changed, and now he was guarding Kiara; Kiara was the princess.  But at the time, Scar was not paying attention to that.

                The mother’s presence had him captivated.  The golden fur, the shape of her body…only a few things had changed.  Her eyes, though they were still reminiscent of gold had become a near red (a strange change indeed).  The most unusual addition was her right ear, which now had a large hole in it.  Her own trademark.

                When he had first met her, her name seemed like the strangest thing possible.  Even she was unclear as to why she was given that name.  She believed that her parents merely liked the word, however it seemed clear now.  By the fire in her eyes, and the clenching of her teeth, it could be found that she truly was the personification of hate.  Zira had become what she had always been and not known, and she was alive.

The Lion King 3: Scar’s Revenge

 

By Matthew Sorenson

Part II: Witness to Treachery

 

            “Zira...”  Scar choked on the words.  “She’s actually alive.”

            “These lands belonged to Scar!”  The tan lioness who had once been his mate stood in front of his greatest rival, declaring all lands the property of her supposed dead lover.  She had not abandoned him, even when he was dead.

            The mighty king Simba retorted, “I banished you from the Pride Lands! Now you and your young cub...get out!”  Scar couldn’t remember whether or not he had known about her exile.  His old life was a blur.  Still, this was his greatest enemy talking to his greatest love...or at least he thought she was.  No was not the time to sort things out.  It’s all confusion in this sort of situation.

            Zira went on to introduce her young son to the mob of angry lionesses supporting their king like the harem that they were.  “Kovu was the last born before you exiled us to the Outlands...”  These words struck Scar immediately.  Was this the cub he never got to meet?  Kovu certainly looked like his, but he remembered how both him and Zira had prayed to the gods for a girl.

            “Like the gods would listen to me...or even Zira, if they knew that this is what she’d become.  They’re in the Outlands, hmm?  No one knows them better than I.  I have to see this for myself.”

            And with that thought, the former king, the deposed leader, the royal disgrace, the orphaned son, the protective brother, the proud uncle, and the prospective father started to slowly creep out of the Borderlands, taking a small land bridge into the Outlands, where he started to look for the settlements, where he’d usually find the dying rogue, waiting for his death-blow.  Now he was searching for a different kind of quarry: his children.  After a short time of searching, he spied a scraggly lion, a shell of his own self, mumbling to himself and hobbling around, scratching and conversing with another younger lion whose name he determined to be Vitani.  Where had he heard that name before?  This couldn’t be the unborn child...Kovu was last born, she said it herself...

            But while Vitani, who appeared to be a tomboyish girl cub, was a mystery, there was no mistaking the tattered companion.  This was the cub he had once held in his paws, the one who had called him dad, and who had been such a precocious little child...this was Nuka.  As he stared at the terrible things that time does to its minions, he felt a warm tear slide down his cheek.  He watched it fall, hit the ground, and evaporate on impact with the parched ground.  And as the small cloud of dust rose, Scar took cover behind a large rock, as he saw Zira coming towards the two with Kovu in her mouth.

            “You were supposed to be WATCHING him!”  She yelled at Nuka after she had put down her younger son.  They yelled and quarreled for a short period of time.  “Friends?  You thought you'd get to the daughter. And Simba would welcome you with open arms? What an idea!”  Suddenly, a horrifying glimmer appeared in his late mate’s eyes.  “What an idea.”

            For the next few hours, Scar bore witness to some horrifying displays, as all the lionesses in the Outlands conversed with Zira in a shocking display as to a plan to get back at Simba for destroying someone who many of them didn’t know.  Kovu was to be raised for the sole purpose of revenge:  to seduce Kiara and to use her to get accepted into the pride, and then...to kill Simba.  While Scar was no great fan of Simba, he knew that what Zira was proposing was wrong.  He wanted to jump out, say “Here I am, this fight is meaningless”, and he easily could have.

            But he was slowly gaining wind of what Zira was now....and he didn’t want anything to do with it.  As soon as the Outlanders dispersed from his place of hiding, Scar followed Zira to her lair.  She slept alone, for years not having had a mate who didn’t either try to betray her or meet a cruel end at her hands.  She was so different, yet so many things were the same...how daintily she had to clean her fur just before bed, the ritual rubbing her shoulder against the wall.  He amusingly remembered how weird he had found it when they had been a royal couple.  There was a new custom, though.  On top of a large leaf in her lair lay some strands of black hair...his hair.  She had kept a token.  She leaned her head down and daintily kissed the strands, being careful not to separate them from each other.  While she was thus occupied, her former mate made a quick decision and stepped into the lair.  Zira froze.

            “Nuka, I thought I told you to leave me alone after I’ve finished my bed rituals.  I’m ready for bed now, and I’m not going to break the cycle, so if you could just go away.”  She realized that the form wasn’t leaving and turned around to growl at him.  Upon seeing Scar, she started for a second, but her look of shock was quickly turned to a coy smile.  “I haven’t seen you in a while.  And here I thought I was finally sane.  Last time I saw you it was just after I had adopted Kovu.  You’ll be pleased with him, Scar.  He’s going to avenge you and get our lands back.”

            “That’s just it, Zira.  I don’t want to be avenged.  I’m happy with the way my life is, and I regret many of my old choices.  I don’t want you to renew this stupidity.”

            “I’m positive, Scar.  Who’s making you say that?  Mufasa?  Your mom?”  Zira chuckled with the last words, and it took most of Scar’s willpower not to lash out at her.

            “It’s me.  This is your former mate and I’m speaking for myself.  I’m standing here right in front of you, telling you what I want.”  Looking down, he continued speaking.  “Maybe...if you give this insanity a rest, we can be together again.”

            Zira laughed even louder, almost menacingly.  “Scar.  Let’s get one thing straight.  I love you with all my heart, and I will never love anyone as much as I love you.  But I’m sane enough to know you’re just a figment of my desperate imagination.  I haven’t mated since you died, and every season I have, I suffer through with only emotional pain and self-gratification.  All this desperation has renewed you as a vision in my mind, and I can’t place my fate at risk for a figment of my imagination.”  She walked around in a circle, and lay down in the middle of her lair.  “You’re dead, Scar.  I’ll see you when the gods take me up to be by your side.”

            A figment?  He was nothing more than a figment?  “What if I can convince you that I am real?”  And with that, he walked up to her, outstretched his tongue and left a long lick down the left side of her face.  As he did so, her eyes closed and she tilted her head to the side and sighed happily.  “Do you believe me now?”

            She smiled pleasantly and said “I’m sorry, Scar.  But the dead don’t come back to life.  Go away and let me sleep.  I am a sane lioness.”

            As Scar walked away from her, he felt emptier than he had since Karanga’s death.  His own mate...she wouldn’t believe him.

            Thus, on a dark evening in the Outlands, a dead husband walked away from his long-suffering widow.  And if the wind that blows through every lair in the kingdom could speak, it would tell you it heard these words from the failed mate: “But you aren’t, Zira.  You were...but not anymore.”

 

            Time continued on, as it eternally will.  Ujono grew up, and became a healthy full grown lion, with a full black mane, piercing blue eyes, and a beard which was only slightly shorter than Scar’s.  According to his uncle, Ujono looked exactly like his grandfather, the great king Thembi, only more malnourished.  In many ways, this was gratifying to the old neglected, deposed king.  To feel that he could, in a way, become friends with his father, ignoring the times before when his father cast him aside, and blamed him for his original wife’s death.  Of Ujono’s traits, Scar noticed some odd ones.  He wasn’t particularly interested in sex, for one.  He had mated with a lioness once, but he was more concerned about finding a mate where the act would mean something, and, possibly because of his isolation, his mind was diverted from the usual thoughts of full-grown lions of that age. 

            He took a strange interest in the shamanic arts, and eventually hunted down one who would know.

 

            In the middle of the pridelands, there stood a giant, knarled tree.  Inside, a dark furred baboon sat both drinking and writing from a gourd.

            “Hmm...the weather, it looks like it will be hot for a long time, eh?”  He looked up towards the heavens and yelled “Do you have a problem with rain?  It’s been almost a full moon’s cycle since the last one!  I could use a drink of water!”  He shook his rattling stick at the sky, as a plea.  Rafiki was answered with a crash of thunder, and a near immediate pouring rain.  Rafiki, still outstretched towards the sky, looked around with his fur getting soaked to his very bones, and with water drenching his face, gave the heavens a look of exasperation and sighed.  “Thanks for your promptness.”  And when his tree started to rattle, he shouted out again, “Hey!  No earthquakes!  Don’t make me come up there!”

            He laughed, sat down, and said “It won’t be long, eh?”  And when the tree started to shake again, he let out an exasperated sigh and jumped down to the ground.  “Who is making this racket?”

            “It’s me, Rafiki.” said a golden lion with a wet black mane sticking to the sides of his head and neck.  The statement was just met with a quizzical look.

            “First of all, say ‘I’.  Secondly, who is ‘I’?”

            “I is Ujono.  I don’t know if you remember me.”

            “Ujono!  It is...I see...wow...I...you’re quite the big one now!  I remember when you were just a little fellow.  I don’t know if I ever saw you, to be honest.  Your mother didn’t get very involved in much of the prideland activities.  I do remember seeing her at the funeral.  She didn’t bring you, but she talked about you, and I must say, you are Thembi’s twin!”  Rafiki stood back and took a good look at him, trodding through the mud and wet grass.  “You need to eat more, boy.”  He poked Ujono in the couple of visible ribs he had.

            “I call it nutrition.”  They both laughed, but soon after, Ujono got to the point.  “I’d love to stay here and chat, but it’s starting to get really uncomfortable out here in the rain, and I came to ask you for something.”

            Impressed by the lion’s determination, Rafiki continued the dialogue.  “What do you want from me?”

            Ujono took a deep breath, and continued.  “I want you to teach me the shamanistic arts.”  Rafiki’s face was one of thoughtfulness.

            “Why exactly do you want to learn these?”

            “Well, we’re rather isolated out where we live, and we’re happy there, but my mom’s getting older, and since she used to be the one who’d obtain all the remedies to our illnesses, we all think that it would be good for me to learn to do some of it myself.”  Suddenly, Ujono realized what he had said.

            “We all?  What do you mean by that?”

            “Ummm...”

            “Does your mom have a fellow?”

            Ujono gave an inaudible sigh of relief.  “Yeah, but don’t tell anyone, we don’t want to stir any rumors.”  Rafiki raised his hand.

            “I completely understand.  Now, as for you being my student, I’ll do it.”  A little bit more thought from Rafiki.  “Besides, I’m getting older every day, and it’s getting harder for me to go to people.  If you get enough training, you could go in my place during some of the less important cases.”

            And the rain soaked lion smiled.

 

            And that rain soaked lion learned.  And learned.  And when he was done, he learned more.  Scar found Ujono disappearing rather often to tend to lions throughout the kingdom.  Whenever some creature had a mild ailment, Ujono was the one to contact.  So as time went on, and while Kovu was training for his deception of Simba, Ujono was gaining a reputation as a healer, and was gaining, in addition, some respect.

            However, at home, he broke a rule set by Rafiki quite often.  Whenever his nephew wasn’t performing his health duties on others, Scar noticed that Ujono would experiment on himself.  He had already taken to fermenting berries in a number of troughs in his room.  One time, Scar walked into Ujono’s den to ask him a question.  Not long after his installment as Rafiki’s right-hand, Ujono started pulling a large rock in front of the opening to his room.  Scar pushed it aside, and a huge cloud of gray smoke flushed out of the room, all of it stemming from a coconut half sitting in the middle of the room.  Ujono was lying flat on his back next to it, chuckling to himself, swinging his mane, and drawing symbols in the air with an outstretched claw.  Scar coughed, and the prostrate lion glanced over, laughed, and said “I believe I’ve discovered the secret of the gods.”

            The old lion’s head was starting to hurt from the smoke.  He had heard of some plants being able to have this effect, but he’d never seen it in action.  When he had been younger, it had been told to him by the hyenas that in the old times, after a great hunt, the Great Hyena would summon fire, put it to a mixture of plants, and then the entire tribe would gather around the burning embers and engage in something called “clinging to the tails of the gods.”  It was a festival where supposedly the hyenas’ spirits would be inhabited by the gods, and they would speak the wisdom, which would run their pack.  Of course, that was just a legend.  Ujono lying on the floor acting like an idiot...that was real.  Still, it wasn’t his concern.  As long as he was steering from dark powers, his stupid little rituals would only bring temporary damage to himself.  And he was still a wonderful nephew, and Scar’s best friend in the world.

            Shada’s time was spent less recklessly and with consideration of her age.  She was hardly ancient, but she was getting older by the day, and on the day that Scar found Zira again, she had not mated in ages.  Her season, at first a terrible burden to bear, was so often unsatisfied that she became used to the pain.  For more time after that fateful day, she was without mate.  There are those who have said that she engaged in the act with her aged stepbrother, who would certainly have been a convenience, but these statements are unfounded and come from unreliable mouths.  What is true, is that as Ujono grew and grew in his shamanic abilities, the daughter of Karanga went out for a walk through the plains, and came across a young rogue lion who captured her heart.  They spent entire days together, doing whatever lovers do when they agree on their futures.  There was many a night during those times where Ujono and Scar would be waken from their sleep by the sound of Shada arriving, giggling, and making far too much noise for an animal at that hour, before finally going to sleep with a large smile on her face.

            And one night, she came home especially late.  While the two males in her lair looked on with one eye open, she took everything that meant something to her, wrapped it in a small pelt, and tied it into one small bundle, about the size of a large gourd.  She then went over to Scar and kissed him on the forehead, and did the same to Ujono.  She then took the bundle into her mouth, walked to the exit, and as she walked out into the night, she issued a muffled “goodbye.”

            And Shada was never seen in the Pridelands again.  The few creatures who have gone out of range of the Pridelands and the Outlands have claimed the existence of a massive pride, supposedly founded by a lioness of Prideland royal blood.  As to whether this is Shada or Tahali (or even both), no answer is known.

 

            By this time, Scar had almost completely put the incidents with Kovu and Zira out of his mind.  He vaguely remembered Zira’s plan to raise Kovu to destroy Simba, but he had stopped spying on the Outlands for updates.  It had started getting dull long ago.  Scar knew that if something important was happening it would somehow get back to the lair in the plains, and by this time, he often spent entire days without once thinking about what sort of plans his former mate might have in store to overthrow the kingdom.  The only news that ever happened was either good news or random accidents.

            So when an unexplained fire swept part of the savannah, nearly claiming the life of the princess Kiara, the news struck Scar as interesting, but not particularly shocking.  That is, until he found out who served as Kiara’s savior: a young lion with a striking resemblance to a dead king, and one who, by a strange coincidence, had a name that meant the same as the nickname of the same king. 

            But the part about Kovu’s reemergence that bothered Scar the most wasn’t his presence; it was the nagging in the back of his mind that forced him to question the motives behind Kiara’s rescue.  He had always hoped that either Zira, or Kovu, or both, would realize that what they were doing was wrong and attempt to make amends with the Pridelanders.  He also knew that the main agenda of the scheme consisted of Kovu falling into the confidence of Simba, and using that trust against him, to deliver him into his final conflict.  On the day the knowledge of the rescue became public, the deposed king took up his old spying activities once again, this time assisted by his shaman-in-training nephew, who had taken an active interest, and perhaps a perverse delight, in what would happen next.  Scar and Ujono already knew that a party consisting of Simba, Nala, Kiara, and Kovu was slowly walking its way back to Pride Rock.  Since the group was already nearing their lair, and as evening was setting in, the pair would have to hurry if they wanted to catch a glimpse of the caravan before they retired for the night.  They immediately set off, running as fast as they possibly could, until they finally reached their destination with their legs burning.  Simba and his company had just arrived, and Ujono and Scar took shelter in a hidden position and watched the proceedings.

            As the other lionesses slowly filed into the lair behind the ledge of Pride Rock, Kovu began to slowly follow them, only to be growled away by Simba, who motioned for his daughter's rescuer to sleep outside of the lair.  As Kovu curled up next to a protruding rock, Kiara went to him and thanked him for saving her.  They bickered and argued about the lioness's hunting skills, and then Kiara dared Kovu to train her properly in the morning.  And while Ujono's eyes ran up and down the form of the princess, Scar was looking into the distance, past the ledge, at two almost invisible figures in the distance.  Zira and Nuka were standing on a log, spying just like him, except with a clear motive.

            After Kiara had gone into the lair, and it was clear that Kovu was asleep.  Scar motioned for his nephew to follow him.  He slowly ascended the staircase like rock, staying as low to the ground as he possibly could.  However, once he reached the top, he walked along the side ledge of the main rock.  After a decent distance, he stopped in front of a lair whose entrance was covered in cobwebs and whose floor was enveloped in dust.  As he stepped through the webs, into the lair, clouds of dust circled and billowed around his paws.  Ignoring the near-choking dust, he walked in a circle before lying down in the dirt, neck stretched out and eyes closed.  Ujono stopped in front of the entrance.

            "What is this place?"  He coughed as the huge cloud of dust built up from Scar's settling slowly floated out of the lair.  Scar just yawned and fell asleep almost immediately.  He had spent years of his life sleeping in that lair, and it felt wonderful to be back there again.

 

            For many nights on end, Simba had been having lovely dreams about clear streams and romps with his lioness in the moonlight.  When he went to sleep that night, he expected nothing different.  Once again, his dreams took him into the savanna, and this time, he heard his father calling out to him.  However, the tone of Mufasa's voice was desperate, and a strange force seemed to be pulling him towards the canyon.  When he reached the edge, he looked down to see his father clinging desperately to the sidewall, begging for help while hanging over the memorable wildebeast stampede of his youth.  Suddenly, he heard an evil laugh which he hadn't heard since another dream, when Kiara was just a cub.  It was Scar, cackling evilly to see both Mufasa and Simba in so dire a predicament.  As Simba stretched out towards his father, he was pulled back by his uncle, and his father slid down the canyon and disappeared beneath the hooves of the stampede.  Turning his eyes on Scar, the cackling visage changed into Kovu, complete with a scar over his left eye.  As soon as Simba made the connection, he was released and hurled down to the same fate as his father...

            Simba awoke with a start, gasping and panting.  It had been ages since he'd had a real nightmare, and this time, Kovu was involved.  He decided that the second pair of eyes he had seen must have belonged to Kovu, and Simba went back to sleep, purposely ignoring the fact that Kovu's eyes are green, and the second pair was blue.

 

            Scar and Ujono awoke just before the sun came over the horizon.  They had to make plans as to how to keep aware of current events.  After much debating, they decided that they would take a huge risk and live in the southern side of Pride Rock, in Scar's old lair.  From the amount of dust, and the cobwebs covering the entire entrance, it was easy to assume that no creature had been back there for some time.  No one would know where they were staying, as if any one in the kingdom particularly cared.  After the situation with Kovu and Zira was reconciled, they would be able to move back their usual lair in the plains.

            In the meantime, tasks needed to be assigned.  Since Ujono was much younger and in top physical condition, aside from his slight malnutrition, he would follow Kovu and Kiara in their expeditions, provided he stayed out of sight and did not interfere.  Scar agreed that he would keep a good eye and ear on Simba, to make sure nothing would happen to him.  They would meet back at the lair at sunset to share their findings with each other and possibly put together any possible happenings.  Food was the responsibility of the individual, and if one did not feed himself, it was not the other's duty to feed him.

            However, their first assignments saw them staying very close.  Simba went through his usual routine of getting up, stretching, and walking down to the waterhole for a morning drink.  Kovu followed his routine, and stalked quietly near him, and when the king stopped to lap up water, Kovu prepared to attack.  And though Scar and Kovu expected their preparation to be for nothing, Kiara innocently stepped in front of Kovu, distracting him from his mission, and allowing Simba to slip away under his nose.  The two walked away together, and this served as the cue for Scar and Ujono to go their separate ways.  "I'll see you tonight, Scar.  I'm expecting this to be a lot of fun", smiled Ujono as he stalked after the couple.

            Scar grinned.  "Lucky you."

 

            By the time Ujono got back to the lair, Scar was already half asleep, propped up against a wall, with his eyes only half open.  Some of the bones from a picked-over elephant lay on the lair.  His uncle had managed to scrounge up enough food for himself, and the extra antelope which he had brought wasn't needed.  Scar chuckled.  "I'm not quite that helpless, Ujono, but thanks for the concern.  You can take it with you tomorrow."

            "No, I got it for you.  You eat it."

            "Trust me, Ujono.  I need to at least scrounge for myself.  I'm old, and if I let you start bringing my food, I'll get old and fat.  I'm gonna get my own food until all my legs are broken, and when that happens, just kill me."  Both laughed.  "But enough small talk.  What happened today?"

            "Well, it was pretty exciting for a while.  They chased birds, got attacked by a heard of rhinos, and then they got all romantic for what seemed like forever.  By nighttime, they were looking into the stars and talking about stuff.  Then Kovu started to talk about you."

            "What?"

            "Yeah.  Kiara was talking about the great kings of the past being up there in the stars, and Kovu asked 'Do you think my father's up there?'"  Scar just sighed and shook his head.

            "I honestly don't know.  Sometimes I really wonder myself, but I keep hoping I'll be judged for what I've been doing, and not what I've done.  If I get judged eternally for my past, I wouldn't want to be with an unfair judge like that for all history."  He just looked at the ground and shuffled his feet.  "What else happened?"

            "Well, after that, they started nuzzling each other.  Really cute couple."  He bore his claws and started swiping them in the air as if swatting at something.

            Scar nodded.  "Actually, I saw that.  Simba was right above them, looking for guidance from the same kings.  Nala wanted Simba to get to know Kovu better.  Then they came back here, and I've been standing here, half asleep, waiting for your slow self to get back."

            Ujono had gotten hold of one of the smaller elephant bones and was gnawing it ruthlessly.  "Not my fault, really", he mouthed between bites.  "It really looked like they were going to leave soon until Rafiki found them and sang some stupid song about love.  I swear it was the longest, most annoying, stupidest thing I've ever seen.  But those two loved it, and they're a lovely couple, and now I want a lioness."  He snapped the bone in half with his teeth while Scar laughed.  "Then they both get back here and Simba actually lets Kovu go into the lair."

            "Are you serious?"

            "You'd know that if you had been paying attention.  He's been accepted, at least, to some degree."

            The former king nodded.  "I got to admit, I'm pretty surprised.  Didn't think that would be happening at all.  And as for me not paying attention, I had to come back here.  Simba was about to mate with Nala, and I'd rather not see my own daughter violated by that creature, thank you very much."  Scar plopped himself down on the floor of the cave.  "I don't know about you, but I'm going to sleep, and hopefully there'll be another breakthrough tomorrow."  With that, Scar closed his eyes and went to sleep.  Ujono was soon to follow his example, and he closed his eyes fantasizing about heroically getting rid of Kovu and taking his place by Kiara's side.

 

            "Wake up, Ujono!"  The young lion woke up to his uncle shaking him hard and pointing towards the wall of the cave.  He was frantic about something.

            Ujono yawned.  "What is it, Scar?  Are Kiara and Kovu going at it?"

            "Shut up and put your ear to the wall, right there."  He pointed to a specific point on the wall.  "They just left together."

            "They?  You mean Kovu and Kiara?"  But as Ujono pressed his ear to the cold rock wall, the only voice he could hear was that of Kiara. 

 

            "It's amazing.  I can't believe that Dad wants to talk to Kovu.  I know he has a questionable past, but I'm sure if Dad gets to know him, they'll love each other."

 

            He pulled immediately away from the wall and started to run out of the lair.  "Hurry, Scar!  We got to catch up to them!  This might be it!"

            Since Kovu and Simba had already gotten a head start, Scar and Ujono had to run, and as their quarries went to the site where the savanna fire had been, the cover was scarce, and they were forced to take refuge far out of earshot.  They arrived in time to see Simba talking to Kovu while looking at something in the burnt soil.  Everything seemed to be going fine between the two of them. 

            Suddenly, a pack of lionesses surrounded them.  Leading them was Zira.  And as a dust cloud moved over the pack, Scar and Ujono were able to move closer and hear what was being said.  Zira smiled evilly and congratulated her son.  “Well done, Kovu.  Just like we always planned.”  Simba turned on Kovu in that instant, but while he tried to refute the charges, Zira gave the order to attack.  Simba was forced to fight off lioness after lioness before a leap from Nuka knocked him down into the river gorge and onto his side.  Zira stood over the chasm proudly and proclaimed “We’ve got him!”  The two lions couldn’t help but notice how well trained Zira’s troops were, and they chased towards a large wall of stones and broken wood, hoping to corner him.  As he attempted to climb, Kovu was told to knock him down, from a place high atop the gorge, but when he ignored his mother, Nuka proudly stepped in.

            “I’ll do it...for you, mother!”  He leapt on to the wall, begging his mother to watch him, desperate for her attention.  As Simba neared the top, Nuka caught his hind leg and proclaimed “This is my moment of glory!”  However, Simba scrambled, and knocked down the log upon which Nuka was standing, sending him down the rock slide, and wedging him between two heavy logs.  The final steps by Simba sent down an even heavier log, which came hurtling down upon Nuka at mind-boggling speed, not even giving him enough time to scream.  As Simba crawled to safety, Kovu descended and started digging through the rubbish to find his brother, before being knocked away by his desperate mother.  She dug until she could find him, and when she found him, he apologized to her.  “I’m sorry, mother.  I tried....”  And as Zira cradled his face in her paw, Nuka’s head fell limp, and both her and Vitani stood over him, heads hung low.

            Ujono could only stare, in a fit of shock.  In a manner of seconds, he had watched a lion die.  He had never seen death like that before.  Of course, he had killed antelopes, but they were food.  He wasn’t awake when grandmother Karanga passed away.  This life had been alive one moment, jumping and eager to please its mother, and now, he was dead.  Ujono had never known Nuka, but the feeling of seeing a fellow lion die made him feel horribly uncomfortable.  He looked over his shoulder to see how Scar was taking it.  He couldn’t see him, at first glance.  Scar was lying on the ground, in a fetal position with his eyes closed tight.  He was crying uncontrollably, and murmuring to himself.

            There is no word to describe the pain that Scar felt.  He remembered the day his young son was born, and he remembered how his son went from a cute little baby to an anxious, slightly hyperactive cub who wanted to be exactly like his father.  Scar hadn’t even seen Nuka since the day he saw the new Zira for the first time.  Now, his firstborn, possibly his only son, was dead.  One of the only creatures he had loved in the world was lying in a river gorge, crushed between logs, logs sent down hurtling by the enemy who had stolen his own life.  It was Simba’s fault again.  Then a thought came to his mind.  “Kovu was right at the top of that wall.  If Kovu had obeyed Zira, Nuka would still be alive.”  That Kovu was the problem.  He was the reason for Scar’s grief.  Any disobedient creature like Kovu could not be his son, and looking upon the scene, he came to the realization that Vitani was his daughter.  She was the unborn child, and through the sadness he felt over the loss of Nuka, he vowed that he would not lose this daughter, not to Simba, and definitely not to Kovu.

            Apparently Zira felt the same way.  In one motion, she stepped away from Nuka’s grave, pulled back her claws and hit Kovu, full in the left side of the face.  When he looked back, he had received a slice that perfectly resembled Scar’s famous namesake.  Zira accused Kovu of betraying the pride, and betraying Scar.  And when Kovu replied “I want nothing more to do with him!”, Scar couldn’t help but snarl, distracting Ujono for a moment. 

            “Nuka is dead because of you!”  Zira backed Kovu into a corner as she confronted him with his crime.

            Kovu could barely get out a “no.”

            “You’ve killed your own brother!”  And with that, Kovu started to run.  Neither of the males opted to follow him, as they wanted to find out what plans Zira had in store.  She quickly gathered the other Outland lionesses around her and told them her scheme.  “Listen to me” she cooed.  “Simba is injured and weak.  Now is the time to attack!”  She slammed her paw down in a fit of rage.  “We will take his entire kingdom by force!”  And although Scar had to force away his smile, he was worried what was going to happen now.  It looked like the past playing all over again.

 

            Neither Scar nor Ujono opted to return to Pride Rock before the Outlanders made their move.  If they had, they might have been pleased to watch both Kovu’s exile and the seeds of rebellion that were growing within Kiara against her own father.  The incident with Kovu had taken a protective father and turned him into a paranoid ruler, not allowing his daughter to venture out past Pride Rock, much less find Kovu.  Eventually, she was forced to sneak out secretly through some loose rocks in the side of the main lair.  Openly defying her father, she wandered throughout the entire night, looking for him.  Just when she was giving up hope, she looked up, and saw him looking back at her.  They played together like cubs, talked together like friends, and kissed like lovers.  And while Kovu was all for the two of them running away and forming their own pride, Kiara decided that something needed to be done. 

            At the same time Kiara and Kovu sat by a watering hole and talked of love, Ujono and Scar were stalking through a cold, shallow river, secretly following Zira and her army towards Pride Rock.

            At the same time Zira and Vitani made their way towards their enemies, Simba told Zazu to assemble the lionesses for battle.

            They all met in between, on an empty stretch of dry savanna near the river gorge.  It was raining, and as the ranks moved closer and closer to each other, Zira ascended onto a monolith which has since become known as Tyrant’s Rock.  Mud dripping from her maw, Zira bared her teeth and delivered her challenge.  “It’s over, Simba.  I have dreamed of nothing else for years!”

            “Last chance, Zira.”  Simba’s voice came loud and clear, in a tone that Zira had heard years before.  “Go home.”

            “I am home.”  She smiled at Simba, and as the lightning crashed, and light reflected from her eyes and teeth, she perfectly resembled a demon.  Then she raised her head to the sky and yelled out.  “Attack!”  The prides walked, then trotted, than ran towards each other, before finally lunging at each other’s throats and attacking each other relentlessly.  Eventually, the outlanders, who had been trained at an unforgiving rate, beat down the Pridelanders, and Simba became the target of an ambush.  Six lionesses attacked him at once, and as he shook the last one off, he felt a mighty thump as he was cuffed by Zira.  When he arose, the two rivals circled each other, waiting for just the right moment.  They growled, unsheathed their claws, and prepared to lunge.

            Suddenly, Kovu and Kiara leaped into the center of the circle, blocking the fray.  As each parent told the child to move, the progeny held their ground.  “Daddy, this has to stop,” pleaded Kiara.  Zira was not making Kovu’s task an easier one.

            “You’re even weaker than I thought!  Get out of the way!”  Kovu refused to back down, and when Simba demanded the same, Kiara begged for his attention.

            “A wise king once told me, ‘We are one.’  I didn’t understand him then.  Now I do.”  She sighed and continued, drawing his attention to the collection of lionesses from both prides, who in the fray, had gotten mixed together.  “Look at them.  They are us.  What differences do you see?”  For a long time, all anyone could do was look at each other, and everything was peaceful.  The sun slowly started to come out as well, as if responding to the burden which seemed to slowly be disappearing.  Even Vitani, when ordered by her mother to attack, refused.

            “No, mother.  Kiara’s right.”  She walked over to Simba’s side, and took a place among the other lionesses.  “Enough.”  The other lionesses were soon to follow, paying no heed to Zira’s threats.  They placed themselves throughout the Prideland’s ranks, realizing the futility of the conflict.  Zira, on the other hand, would not let it go.

            Announcing that she would never let the past go, she growled to herself “This is for you, Scar”, and lunged at Simba.  Kiara jumped in the way, and together they rolled down the gorge, hitting rock after rock on the way down the incredibly steep slope.  Kiara managed to grab her claws onto a low angled ledge.  Zira caught the ledge lower, on a sheer slope, and clutched desperately onto her life.  In the meantime, Scar had all but fallen down the cliff, so caught up in a mental torment that he was physically inept.  He didn’t want to reveal himself to Simba, but he couldn’t just let Zira die...As he approached a part of the cliff a little further down from Zira, with Ujono chasing wildly after him, trying to stop him, he tripped, fell a distance, and hit his head on a stone, losing consciousness.  Ujono slid into a place right next to him, and stood by his limp body as he watched the scene unfolding over the river.  Although Kiara did her best to reach out to Zira, her paw was forced to avoid swipes and slices from a Zira too overcome with her own hate to let herself be saved.  Instead, she fell backwards into the flash flood that was rampaging through, and disappeared beneath the waves before the rest of the water disappeared further down the gorge.

            When Kiara came back onto the plain, she was reunited with everyone from both the prides, as they congratulated her for her effort and for her bravery.  Soon, the newly formed pride formed a caravan that went back to Pride Rock, where Kovu and Kiara were declared as both heirs to the throne and official mates.  As they ascended Pride Rock with Simba and Nala, they glanced over the edge and surveyed what would one day be their kingdom.  With both Scar, Zira, and their pride gone, nothing but peace seemed to be in store for the kingdom.

 

            Ujono was coughing.  In fact, he was coughing so hard, he had coughed up at least one wad of blood.  He was trying to balance waking up Scar with convincing himself he hadn’t seen what he thought he had.  He hadn’t really seen Zira disappear like that, had he?  He hadn’t seen two deaths in one day?  “Come on, Scar...wake up...please...”  As he shook his head, getting ever more frustrated, he looked down into the gorge and saw what looked like a bloody piece of fur.  He focused all his attention on the object and came to a reasonable conclusion.  Quickly he hoisted his mentor onto his back and started descending into the gorge.  The mound of fur was wedge in between two rocks and was letting more and more blood seep into the river as time went on.  As Ujono neared the patch, he knew it was Zira.  He stopped right next to her, lifted her face up, and rested it on the rock.  She was bleeding from the head and from the side of her belly, but he could tell she was still alive, so he tried talking to her.  “Zira?  Zira?  Are you okay?”

            Her eyelids fluttered slowly and she opened her eyes halfway and looked up at Ujono.  “Ah...so this is what the devil looks like.  Much more attractive than I thought he’d be.”  As she started to laugh, she suddenly groaned and attempted to shift her weight.  “If I’m dead, this shouldn’t still hurt.”

            “Zira...I have someone here who wants to see you.  He misses you more than you could ever know.”  He pulled Scar over to the rock so that she was looking straight into the closed eyes of her unconscious lover.  “He was knocked out trying to get to you, trying to save you.  He’s been alive this whole time, but he didn’t know how to approach you.”

            Zira just stared at Scar’s face, and soon the blood staining the stone mixed with her tears.  “Scar really was alive...why couldn’t he come to me?  I needed him.”

            “I think he was just frightened, of what you seemed to be.  Of what you had become.”  Ujono shook Scar hard.  “Wake up, Scar.  Zira’s alive and she’s right here.”

            The dying lioness pulled a bloody arm out from between the rocks.  It was so maimed and coated with blood that Ujono could hardly stand to look at it, but Zira took her paw and caressed the side of Scar’s face.  “My dearest, dearest Taka.  I’m sorry this had to happen, my love.  Please forgive me.”  She craned her neck, fighting the horrible pain, draining her remaining energy, and softly, yet passionately, kissed her mate on the mouth.  Ujono suddenly realized that his eyes were welling up with tears, to see the bloody, dying lioness kissing the only creature that had meant anything to her.

            “Scar....Scar!  Please!  PLEASE WAKE UP!!  PLEASE WAKE UP!!!”  He started to cry uncontrollably as he tried his best to wake up Scar in time.  It was all in vain, however, and as Zira broke the kiss, she caressed his face again (leaving the left side of his face stained with her blood), and rolled her head backwards, coughing up blood one last time, and then went motionless.  Cold.  Dead.  Ujono was left lying on the ground with his face in his arms, crying uncontrollably.  He didn’t hear Scar start to move.

            “What....what?  Where am I?”  He looked around in all directions, but when he stared straight foreward, his gaze remained fixed.  Zira was there, bleeding and dead.  “....Ujono......”

            “Yes, Scar?”

            “What happened?”

            “She was still alive, Scar.  I brought you down here you could talk one last time.  She kissed you and asked you to forgive her, but you were unconscious.  I couldn’t wake you up.”  Scar’s eyes also began to fill up.  “There’s one more thing.”  They made eye contact, each staring into the other’s sadness-filled eyes.  “She called you her dearest.  Her dearest Taka.”

            Any other lion would have immediately started crying in this situation.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for the bump he had received, Scar probably would have done the same.  Somehow, however, the tears dried up.  The sadness was gone, and it was all replaced with anger.  A desire for vengeance swelled where the tears should have been.  And before he had time to convince himself that he was choosing the wrong path...something snapped in his mind.  His mind was changing, shifting, distorting his every view.  In his brain, he saw a field of waste.  Corpses, skeletons, dead plants, hot dirt, and vultures everywhere.  At the end of the field, there stood a large elephant skull, and standing on top of it was a ravenous beast with huge, razor-sharp teeth, and giant claws.  It laughed maniacally as it gazed down at Scar and Scar found himself compelled to hate this thing.  Suddenly, the shadows covering the monster shifted, and he saw who it was.  It was Simba.

            As Ujono wiped his eyes, he could see that Scar was standing perfectly still with an empty gaze on his face.  His eyes were completely dead, as if he was obsessed with something.  For Scar, it was his nemesis.  Simba had taken so much from him: his pride, his lands, his friends, his son, his daughter, and now his mate.  When he had stood idly by, he had watched his family be taken from him, and he had not even been conscious to kiss his love goodbye, all because of Simba!  Any of Scar’s pains came from him.  No...they weren’t Scar’s pains.  They were Taka’s pains.  Scar was a corrupt individual who went from being a ruthless tyrant to a sniveling coward, hiding behind bushes and rocks, spying.  It was time...

            “Scar....what’s wrong with you?”

            The sound of the old lion’s voice came out icy and cold, in a harsh monotone.  “Scar is dead.  I have destroyed him.” 

            Ujono was completely confused.  “Destroyed?  Who...what...what are you talking about?”

            “Taka is now in control.  Taka will do what Scar was always afraid to do.  There are many debts to be repaid.”  As his uncle looked deep into the distance, Ujono could only stare at him and be shocked at what he was saying.  He knew that he had gone through a lot, but what Scar was speaking...it was becoming far too clear.  Scar had gone mad.  “If you do not help me, it is not of my concern, but I will seek my revenge, and my name will be remembered...

forever.”

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