Chapter 1 No Rest for the Wicked
All at once they were on him, large shaggy bodies heaving
themselves upon his bruised and battered flesh. The smooth and silken
voice with which he had used to persuade his attackers to be his allies
had abandoned him. All that came from his throat was a breathless
A chance glance upwards revealed to him the young face of his enemy,
now staring down into the sea of grey-brown bodies which surrounded
Scar. A lightening bolt of anger shot through Scar's spine as he looked
into those triumphant eyes. He was going to stand there silently and
watch him die! A sudden rush of energy fueled by rage surged through
him and he lashed out with his hind paws.
His long claws found the face of one of his attackers; tearing
the beasts nose and knocking it backward into the fire scorched rocks
surrounding the fray. Rolling onto it's back it gave an agonized yelp
of pain as the hot rocks burned blisters into the it's flesh. It's
yowls cutting through the growling hum of the crowd.
In concert the clan looked toward their injured brother who was
now yelping and wildly rolling on his back trying to find relief from
the pain. The momentary distraction was all that was needed. In a
breath of time Scar was up and away, running blindly over the darkened
Savannah. Running for his life and never looking back.
He couldn't recall how long he kept running. His mind was a blur
of fear and confusion. When he finally trotted to a stop and collapsed
onto the yellow grass, the first pink rays of dawn where beginning to
creep across the land. He raised his shuddering head and looked about
him. He had come to a small waterhole; little more than a deep puddle
in the ground really. But the tall grasses surrounding it beckoned him
to skulk into their midst and drink from the pool.
He raised himself on shaky legs and staggered to the pool. Lying
prone next to the pond he caught a glimpse of his reflection. His face
was now covered by small cuts and abrasions. The fire that he and
Simba had fought beside has singed his coat and burned the whiskers on
the left side of his face. The lone scar over his eye now had many
It was all gone now. Everything was gone. The kingship, his
familiar home territory, his allies; even his dignity had taken it's
leave. The thought of how he had cowered and mewled before his nephew
came to him and he burned with shame. Like a cub in its milk he had
cried and begged for his life. Embarrassed he turned away from his
reflection. He couldn't bear to look at his face, the face of a coward.
Of a murderer and right now, he thought, a hunted beast.
He hadn't looked back when he had left the hyenas in their
confusion. He ran quickly, finding the strength to pump his legs from
some unknown wellspring inside himself. The terror of those moments
when the clan had closed around him was beyond any telling. The way
they had looked at him; their eyes seemed to be picking out just the
right place to bite. They would have torn him into still living pieces.
Tearing and eating as he screamed for mercy. He had seen what they did
to those that were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the hyenas
way when the dinner bell rang. They fed in a frenzy. Ripping the prey
into the tiniest bits; swallowing the still hot flesh whole. This time
he had been the prey and they would have taken special delight in
He returned to the pool and lowered his head into the lukewarm
water. He began lapping up the muddy liquid. It coursed a path through
his rough, dry throat. He drank until he felt he was going to be ill;
then lay down in the muddy ground by the pool. Laying his head on his
foreleg he looked up at the bright blue sky. The clan would be coming
for him. Of this he was sure. They would never allow him to live. He
had committed treason; justice would be swift and painful. The hyenas
may forgive there own, but he was a lion. They wouldn't show him the
same consideration. Death was coming and no amount of crying would
change it or avert its course. A tight knot of dread formed in his
groin. He curled up into himself, tucking his head into his belly, as
if curling into the smallest ball possible might make him disappear.
While he shut his eyes and thought about his upcoming punishment he
drifted off into a deep sleep.
It is said that those who sleep like the dead sleep dreamless,
perhaps. But Scar's sleep was fraught with the demons of the past days
events. He was back in the Pride Lands standing on the promontory and
watching the clan pick a small wildebeest from a vast herd. They took
great pleasure in harassing the small animal. Cornering it they nipped
at its flanks pecking away small bits of hide. The calf's eyes rolled
its eyes in terror; foam dripped from its mouth. It bawled; shrieking
for its fellows to come to it's aid.
Scar was watching the scene below dispassionately, until a
feeling of misgiving came over him. The calf's screech sounded less
like a wildebeest than it did like a lions scream. He leapt into the
midst of the clan and the carrion eaters scattered before him. "Stop
this! I am king and I command it!" He looked toward the calf which was
no longer a calf but the shredded remains of a dark skinned lion with a
shaggy black mane. It's bright green and yellow eyes staring lifelessly
into his own. He staggered back, his voice a breathy whisper. "Oh dear,
gods...." He spun around to find himself muzzle to muzzle with Shenzi.
At least it should have been Shenzi, except her face has now contorted
to house a muzzle of scythe like teeth, which spilled from her mouth.
Her eyes floated in deep recesses in her skull; piercing him with their
sharp yellow color. Runnels of saliva dripped from her chin.
The monstrosity laughed. "King? Oh no my friend, you are carrion.
Dead Meat!" Looking around him he now saw that the hyenas had not only
shrunk to the size of meerkats; but they had also multiplied. They
covered the land like ticks on a rhinos back. He was surrounded, a
small tawny island in a sea of grey bodies. "Dead Meat! Dead Meat!" The
tiny beasts began chanting. The Shenzi monster looked at him and
smiled. "Now my friend, we eat!" In unison they rose up and crashed
into him like a wave hitting the shore. Tiny, tearing teeth buried
themselves into his body. They ripped, chewed and tore again. They
where devouring him alive. He tried to scream but his voice was gone. A
wordless shriek filled his mind. "Oh, Gods, they're eating meeeeeeeee!"
He woke with a start the only sound that filled his ears the
thrumming of his heart in his bony chest. It was a dream, a
premonition. He looked about himself. The sky held the color of deepest
purple. He had slept the entire day and now found himself cradled in
the tall grasses covered by the velvet sky and bone white moon.
Chapter 2 Fear
The sleep had done him good. He could stand now without his knees
shaking; but his paws burned with pain as he got to his feet. Laying
back down he examined them. The pads of his paws where cracked and
covered with dried blood. All of the fighting and running had worn them
raw. He tried to lick them clean but the skin was still tender to the
touch; his rough tongue only succeeded in causing him pain. "Serve me
right if I caught an infection and died." He sighed and stopped
grooming his feet. It would be sometime before he would be able to
travel. Even as the thought came to him he wondered where he would
A lion in his position was almost certainly doomed. He was weak
and injured. Never very strong or good at hunting, mostly due to his
own laziness, he wasn't sure he could provide himself with the food he
needed to grow strong again. Even if he did try to move on, he could
very well find himself in the territory of another male. In his
condition he could never challenge for a pride, not that he wanted to.
He had already proved to himself and everyone else that he could not
lead. He was unfit to rule and a challenge would kill him.
He also knew that the clan would be sending scouting parties out
in search of him. Sooner or later his waterhole would be found. He had
to admit, he could see no way out of his current predicament. If only
he could take the past back into himself, breath life into Mufasa and
go back to his lone cave. He would be happy this time, content to be
last in line. He would welcome Simba with open arms and obey the laws
that nature and the gods had put forth.
"I'm a fool an arrogant idiot, he said to no one, a cowardly
murder." He bit his lower lip feeling the skin break and tasting blood
as he held back the torrent of emotions that threatened to burst from
his chest. "Why did I do all this? I'm going to die alone; what's
anything worth when in the end you die alone?"
As an adolescent Scar knew that all eyes had rested on his
larger, more handsome brother. They respected him, asked his advice on
matters; even more they had loved him. Their eyes never met his. To
them he was useless, not the future king. He was just an annoyance who
ate hard hunted food and made them uncomfortable with his strange ways.
The pride had always seemed wary of him. They kept their distance
from him, never initiating conversation and only giving him curt
answers to his questions. In this way he had felt himself marked as
"different" and "other than". He had never quite understood this
difference, although he had an inkling of it.
It had always seemed to him that the other lions were content to
live their lives as their forebears had. Letting one day bleed into the
next, an endless chain of eating, sleeping, birthing and dying. One's
place in life was never questioned. You were what you were and if you
happened to be at the bottom, you stayed there. The "Great Circle of
Life" they reverently called it. He was expected to swallow his pride
and stand behind his brother; never striving for more than was freely
It was something he could not bear. As soon as he had learned of
the succession of his brother a hatred of his circumstances and those
he felt caused it grew inside him. He hated his father who had chosen
Mufasa over him, he hated Mufasa who knew he was the chosen one, he
hated the lionesses who avoided him and loved his brother, and when he
was finally born, he hated Simba who was going to grow up secure in the
knowledge of his importance in the scheme of things.
Looking back at it now, miles from the Pride Lands; Scar could
see that Mufasa had tried to be kind. Where another male may have
driven his brother (and rival) off, Mufasa allowed him to stay under
his protection. While he didn't eat well, Mufasa had seen to it that he
always got a portion of the prides food. Scar had plotted and planned
his death, while Mufasa lived believing while his brother was bitter,
he would never harm him. Scar felt the biting shame rise up over him
again. His brother had been so surprised by his treachery. The look in
his eyes as hung in desperation on the rock face over the stampede had
told all. He never dreamed that his brother would kill him and when it
finally dawned on him the shock, horror and the hurt at his betrayal
Simba had taken his father's lead and was fond of his uncle;
coming to his cave and reporting to him excitedly of all the things he
saw and learned. Of all the pride Simba's love for him was the most
evident and unabashedly given. And Scar had wished him dead. Unable to
contain the feelings of guilt and shame any longer as he thought of his
young nephew looking up at him with bright, unafraid eyes, he put a
large paw over his nose and felt the first few tears of regret come to
Regret was something new to Scar and the feeling settled uneasily
over him like a sticky spider's web. In past once he had made his
resolve he never looked back or thought twice. When Mufasa had become
king he had vowed in his heart to see the death of him. When Simba was
born his resolve became stronger. He had steeled himself with the
knowledge that what he was doing was just. When the hyenas presented
themselves as allies in his campaign he had courted their favor without
hesitation. Bringing them food and giving them a measure of protection.
He never stopped to think that what he had been doing might have been
wrong or evil. It was necessary to gain him a place on high. This above
all else was paramount. Loyalty and friendship was tossed aside as
unthinkingly as one sheds an old coat of hair.
Scar smiled ruefully as he thought back on all the choices he had
made and the opportunities he had shunted aside. "What was the use if
one is to gain a kingdom at the cost of ones soul?" He laughed,
"Indeed, what is the use?"
Scar's reign over the Pride Lands had been a hard and joyless
one. The pride had greeted him and his hyena mercenaries with scorn and
distrust. Far from being the respected leader he had always envisioned,
he was a pariah. The lionesses gave him the respect born of fear, but
no true love, no true loyalty. They whispered behind his back when
they thought he couldn't hear them. Made faces of disgust as he walked
by them. He pretended not to notice their derision. Going along as if
all was well and that he was as respected and beloved a leader as
Mufasa. But it was impossible not to know where they stood on his
kingship. Impossible not to know where anyone stood on it. The herds
left the lands when the hunting pressure had become too great. Even the
weather itself seemed to show it's displeasure at his rule as the rain
ceased to fall and the ground became cracked and parched. They wanted
him out, everyone wanted him out and when Simba showed up on that
stifling stormy evening; the absolute relief and joy on their faces
made him want to run away with his tail between his legs.
"No," Scar heaved a sigh and lifted his head toward the
brilliant stars shining fiercely from their blue/black blanket, it's
over. "There will be no more running, no more trying to change what am
I or what will happen." For one last time he made a resolve he meant to
keep. Here, at this muddy puddle in the ground he would meet his fate
without struggle. His crimes were great and his body was tired. Here
was the place of punishment, where all past transgressions would be met
and answered for in full.
He settled his aching head back on his forepaws. His ears
swiveled on his head picking up the nighttime sounds of the Savannah.
The winds whispered across the darkened grasses, the constant whir of
crickets and..something else. Scar's head snapped up and he strained to
pick up the faint rustling. He leapt to his feet, ignoring the pain
which shot up his limbs. Something was moving toward him in the grass,
faintly, trying very hard to stay concealed. He swallowed hard; he was
found! In a panic he scanned the surrounding grasses for the figure
So this was it, he thought to himself, it was coming on quicker
than he imagined but he knew they would come. He tried to steady
himself for the attack that was unavoidable. He lowered his head and
bared his teeth. The rustling was almost on top of him. He splayed his
claws and made small furrows in the muddy earth. Closer. A soft growl
escaped from him. The tall fronds in front of him parted and then he
saw a garishly colored face push it's way into view. The face broke
into a wide smile showing large and somewhat crooked teeth.
Scar stood for a few confused moments in his defensive position.
How could this creature of all be here? The terrifying dream, the
darkness, his own nagging fears and now this; the night was becoming
more and more surreal as it dragged on. Then he understood what the
figure before him must mean. Simba had sent him to root him out; Scar
was surprised, he didn't realize his nephew had that much bloodlust in
him. He pulled his claws in and relaxed a little.
"So old fellow," he smiled at Rafiki, "my young nephew sent you
to find me. Go on, run back and fetch him now. I'll be waiting for you
when you get back. This is my home now you see." Scar laughed again, a
feeble cracked sound.
Rafiki looked around the dirty muddy waterhole and raised an
eyebrow. "Nice place you got here Scar." Scar came out as "Skaa" in
the baboons voice.
"Yes, yes it is. Plenty of water...dry grass, misquotoes. Quite a
treasure really, I would invite you for a drink, however I don't know
if you have a bacterial tolerance high enough for what I have to
offer." He dipped his paw in muddy water and splashed some of it onto
Rafiki found himself a dry spot on the ground and sat down; cradling
his staff between his shaggy knees he regarded the lion from under his
brows. A few uncomfortable moments passed between them and then he
"Your deeds have caught up to you Scar."
Scar sighed and looked at Rafiki coyly. "Now my old fellow, whatever
makes you say a thing like that? I'm here of my own volition. Look
around you, what lion in his right mind would pass up the chance to
vacation in such a locale as this? Where I shall be going soon is ten
times better. This is just a minor stop off you see. But soon the big
vacation is coming."
Rafiki nodded. "You're not even a little scared?"
Scar raised a paw. "Not a bit, I would do it myself if I had the
means. Scared? Well, truthfully I am a bit wary. I mean a murdering
coward has no chance of sitting with the Great Kings of the Past does
"So where do you think you will sit Scar?"
"Me? Most likely in the very place I have been all along. Although I
suspect it won't be nearly as comfortable this time around."
"You have caused much heartache and great pain to many creatures
"I have caused more pain than you know, old fellow. I know what
you're doing and don't bother. I have trotted down that path already
and I know what I must do. Now please, if I may ask one small favor, go
now. Let me meet my destiny alone."
Scar raised himself on his pained feet and walked out onto the
silent grasses surrounding the waterhole. He stumbled. Damn these paws,
he grumbled inwardly. He came to a stop and flopped down on the ground.
He looked at one of his forepaws. The skin had broken again and fresh
blood pattered onto the ground. He licked at it gently and winced.
"Scar, why are you running away?"
Scar stopped washing his foot and for a moment looked as if he had
heard the best joke of his life. He let out a gale of snickers and
giggles. Rafiki approached him and sat beside him.
He looked at the colorful ape. "Why am I running away? Have you been
paying attention? Do you remember the last few nights events? And for
your information I'm not running, I'm waiting."
"You're running from me." Rafiki took a small pouch from the many
hanging on his staff. He reached for one of Scar's paws. The lion
hissed with pain and pulled away at his touch. Rafiki insisted and took
the huge paw and laid it across his lap. He studied it carefully for a
moment and then opened the pouch. Dipping his fingers into it he pulled
out a greenish white moss and pressed it to Scar's bleeding pad.
"You're running from me as you ran from those hyenas the other night. I
saw that you know. Simba, he was afraid to watch, he left and thought
you died by their teeth."
Scar's foot stopped throbbing. The moss was deliciously cool and
soothing. He looked at Rafiki, who was now pulling another pouch from
"So they all think I died then?"
The ape nodded. "Yes, all think you're dead. All have a party
because they think you're dead.," Rafiki gave a raucous laugh, "A -big-
party because they think you're dead."
"Hmp! No need to rub it in you know." Rafiki was now applying a
paste of some kind to his injured foot. Scar fairly sighed with relief
as the soothing potion was smeared on his pad.
"You made a big mess, Scar. It will take a long time to clean it up.
Don't be surprised you being dead makes a lot of creatures happy."
Scar lowered his head. All of a sudden he felt very uncomfortable
around Rafiki and just wished to go back to the mud hole and hide. He
pulled his paw away from the ape and stood. He couldn't bear to look at
"I know that my death has brought joy and maybe it'll bring some
measure to me as well. I was a fool my entire life. But all things will
be answered for. Thank you for trying to heal my foot, but friend," he
turned to Rafiki his eyes now glistening, "my foot is but a small part
of me which is cracked and bleeding. This disease that I've been
carrying around and passing on to everyone I meet has only one cure.
You and I both know what it is. So please, go on back to Pride Rock.
Tell Simba nothing. Let him believe that the disease is gone."
The lion retreated further from the ape. He could feel the lump in
his throat growing bigger and he had no intention of letting his
brother's friend see him in such a way. He swallowed hard against the
He heard Rafiki's voice, which had now taken on a softer tone. He
didn't stop or look around. He just wished the ape would leave.
At the sound of this name he stopped. It had been a long time since
he had heard it. It brought with it long forgotten memories; memories
of home. Quietly he said. "You remember?"
"Remember when you were still Taka? Yes, I remember many things
Scar sat down his back still to Rafiki. He still didn't have the
courage to face the shaman. A breakdown threatened at the corners of
his mouth and around his eyes.
"You were a good friend to my brother, why are you here Rafiki? I
killed him. I tried to kill his son. I made his mate a widow and
decimated the lands we all had to live on. Why are you here? I don't
deserve your company. Please Rafiki, go home. I just want all this to
come to it's rightful conclusion here."
Rafiki walked to Scar's side and took the lions face in one hand.
Scar averted his eyes from Rafiki's.
"I stay, Scar, because sometimes we don't have a lot of choice about
how our lives end up and in the things we do."
"I had choices Rafiki, I just made the wrong ones."
"I'm not absolving you, I just know things sometimes tear into
the soul and make some choices too easy. How many turns of the season
have you seen since your mother birthed you Scar?"
Scar thought for a moment. "Nearly seven, now."
"Did you ever love your brother Scar?"
Scar lowered his head again. Remembering Mufasa's broad and trusting
face. "I did for a time. Yes."
"Then why did you kill him?"
"I...I killed him, because..because, I never thought..."
"You never thought what Scar?"
Scars shoulders folded in on themselves. He seemed to be trying to
make himself as small as possible. All of the feelings of the past
nights welled up in him and formed a ball at the end of his throat. The
awful truth of his actions, what he really did and why he did it came
pouring out of him in a torrent.
"I killed him, because it wasn't fair! I should have been king! I
should have had a beautiful mate and cub! I should have been respected!
His voice came in a small whine at the last. He turned and began
trotting away from Rafiki. "I killed him, because the moon was full,
because the grass was green, the sky was blue." He blurted out " What
in the name of the gods does it matter why I did it? I did it! He's
dead and I enjoyed it at the time. I smiled in his face when I killed
him. I danced a jig when I saw him fall. I loved it I tell you it was
better than having a lioness! What does it matter!"
Rafiki shook his head sadly. "Stop this Scar."
Scar turned on him, running at full speed and knocked Rafiki to the
ground. Snarling he shoved his face into the ape's.
"And you know what I said when he fell into the herd and was
crushed? I lifted my head to the sky and yelled. Look Ahadi! Look at
what your meek and weakling son has done. Mufasa is dead! Lying in the
dust with blood pouring from his mouth and wildebeest prints on his
back! And I laughed...I laughed so hard I nearly wet the ground! I
couldn't wait to see his mangled body. So proud! I ran to see it and
found his son, so like him, lying next to the body....," Scar's voice
cracked ", and I wanted him to be dead too. Mangled and ripped, like
Rafiki pushed Scar off of him and stood brushing the dirt from his
fur. He looked at the panting lion; anger playing across his vivid
features. He took a deep breath and tried to brush the rage he felt
toward the capering beast off.
"I know what you're doing Scar and it's not going to work. You think
you'll scare me off with your mad talk and larger size. But I see what
you truly are. A cub, a child whose never learned what it means to be
responsible, no I'm not afraid of you no matter what you try to make me
He looked at Scar who had now seemed to deflate. The madness which
danced in his eyes had abated and all that remained was a creature who
was tired, scared and sorry. The lion sighed and settled back onto the
"I'm sorry Rafiki, I did mean to scare you and send you on your way.
But I still don't understand what you're doing here. You were a friend
to my brother and when he died, when I killed him, you disappeared. I
never thought of you or sought your council and yet here you are."
Rafiki sat down on the grass next to him. He reached out and
fingered Scar's long black mane. "I'm here because I believe in your
own way you are coming to a place of understanding. Of realizing what
it was that you did and what things you may still have to do."
"But Rafiki, I am damned now. I killed my brother and broke the
Circle. There can be no forgiveness for those crimes. Anyway, even as
we speak a posse of hyenas are most surely on their way to take care of
me. Simba and the pride may think I'm dead, but they know the truth."
"Damned, you say? And what does this mean, this damned? Does this
mean you will never see the sun shine, never eat again, roll on the
grass? There is no soul who's past redemption Taka. None. The Circle
grants all creatures chances to regain themselves, you included."
Scar smiled. "Now Rafiki, there does come a time when crimes become
too great to be redeemed. You can't understand how I feel. I killed my
brother! I don't want forgiveness for that. I can't take forgiveness
"You can and you will." Rafiki patted the lion on the head," Look up
at the stars Taka. The Great Wheel of the Sky spins over our heads.
It's vast and changeless, do you think that your crimes have changed
how the wheel moves or stopped it on it's course in any way?"
Scar tilted his head up and stared into the black expanse above. The
stars blinked coldly from their distant beds. The sky was indeed vast
and changeless. Looking up into the blackness made him feel small and
insignificant. He shuddered feeling suddenly cold and lost in their
"You call me by my given name, the one my mother gave me, why?"
"Because, we have some work to do and this name will suit you more
where you're going."
"Where am I going? I'm tired and I need time to recuperate. I won't be
fit to travel for many days yet and I.."
Rafiki cut him off, putting a long finger up to Scar's face. "This
journey won't require your body. You may rest still. Here I want to
show you something."
As he turned to pull yet another pouch from his staff they both
heard a noisy rustling in the grass. Two or three creatures, not
bothering to stay concealed were blundering up to them. Scar's heart
leapt in his chest as the smell of the oncoming creatures hit him. He
reached out and patted Rafiki on the back.
"Seems as if we've hit endgame old boy," he pushed Rafiki's back
with his nose, "go on, get yourself out of here. No need for you to
suffer for my mistakes. Go back to Simba and tell him to be a good
king, watch over him."
Before Rafiki could answer Scar had trotted toward the rustling.
From the grasses burst three grey figures. Scar recognized them at
once. They where the original three with whom he had made his pact.
"How fitting," he thought. "that these three should be the end of me."
All three hyenas broke into wide and toothy grins at the sight of
their once ally. Shenzi stepped forward, swaggering with confidence.
"Well, well, well Banzi lookee at what we found."
Banzi walked abreast of his sister, slavering. "Yeah, looks like
we found him. Our dearly departed dinner. What do you think Ed? Is he
good enough to eat."
Ed merely laughed and joined his bigger siblings. He looked at
Scar and winked. Scar made a face as the three hyenas came up beside
him, they circled him like vultures over a dead body.
"My, I'm surprised to see you so quickly. Very surprised. You
three are usually much more disorganized than this. That knocking
around you got seems to have done you good."
"I wouldn't be so cocky lion, you ain't getting away this time."
She advanced on Scar slowly. Letting him get a good look at the many
sharp teeth in her mouth. "Come on you big coward, beg me to not kill
you. Come on, I want to see you cry, come on show me."
The other hyenas made bawling noises, mocking sorrowful moans,
cowering with their stumpy tails between their legs. Scar stood tall in
their midst. "I'll not beg you for anything you stinking flea banquet.
You came to kill so do it. Don't waste my time with your stupidity."
Shenzi stopped circling him, a look of incredulous rage on her
face. "Time is the last thing you're going to have to worry about you
mewling bag of bones. Banzi! Ed! Come here, on my word we plow into
this big pansy. We'll see who's the stupid one!"
"You tell him Shenzi," Banzi piped in, he grinning at Scar,
"you're in for it now lion," he spat the word out," we're going to rip
you like a little rabbit."
From behind the circling hyenas and defiant lion came a voice.
"No, I don't think you will."
The hyenas snapped around to see Rafiki coming toward them.
"Oh really? Who's going to stop us? You? Why would you, this
scarred freak killed your buddy. Step aside monkey and let us get on
with our work."
Rafiki walked into the midst of the hyenas. "We were in the
middle of a lesson here, now if you like you can stay and I'll teach
you one as well." He swung the staff in Shenzis direction.
She immediately jumped back and her two fellows ran to cower
behind her. Scar shook his head. "Rafiki let them be done with me
already, we've already been through this."
"Shs!," he hissed at Scar and the turned to the three hyenas who
now looked considerably less bold. "Why exactly do you want to kill
"He sold us out!" Shenzi barked. "he told Simba it was our fault the
lands got ruined. He was a horrible king and didn't hold up his end of
the bargain. Never go hungry again., yeah right."
"And for this he deserves to die?"
"He's a traitor, yes he deserves to die and he's going to." Shenzi
stared hard at Scar who only reciprocated with a brush of his paw and a
Rafiki leaned casually on his staff. "Now tell
me, has your people ever killed one of their own over such a crime?"
"Never," Shenzi nuzzled Banzi who was standing next to her. "we're
all brothers and sisters. We never hurt each other. But he's not one of
us he's a lion, for that alone he should die."
"Oh, but has a lion ever brought hyenas food?"
"No, well at least not willingly." Shenzi winked at her two
siblings who began snickering.
Rafiki rolled his eyes. "Has a lion ever had free access to your
"No way," Banzi yelped," we drive those ugly things out if they
ever trespass. Hyenas have rights too you know."
"Undoubtedly. Well from what you say, Scar here isn't a lion
after all. In fact from what you tell me he must be a hyena."
Shenzi, Banzi and Ed looked at Rafiki as if he just said the sky
was green and the grass was purple. Shenzi began laughing.
"Now you either have some serious eye problems or you've been
eating some of those funny herbs you keep on you. Take a good long
look, he is a lion."
"But you treated him like a hyena. I guess your people only
follow your own rules when it's convenient to you. All those things the
other animals say about your kind must true then, eh?"
Shenzis laughing ceased and Rafiki could see that she had stopped
to think. It was true that during their friendship with Scar, the
hyenas had afforded him all the privileges of the clan. They shared
food with him, gave him access to their lands and even just enjoyed his
company from time to time. True, they had used him for their own gain,
but in time they became more like friends than allies of convenience.
Shenzi canted her ears back. As infuriating as it was she couldn't find
an honorable way out of Rafiki's logic. And the hyenas honor was at
stake, if only in her own mind. She was well aware of what the rest of
animals said about the hyena clan. Dishonest, untrustworthy thieves and
liars. Rafiki's comment burned her. She knew the truth about her people
and did not want to add to their bad reputation. Shenzi might be an
opportunist at heart, but she loved the clan and wanted others to look
up to them. To break the most sacred of the hyenas laws would hurt her
in a way no physical injury ever could.
"I could let him go, but.."
Banzi turned to his older sister, he couldn't believe his own ears.
"Let him go! But on the way here you said you were going to kill him
yourself. You said.."
"Shut up!" Banzi quieted himself and sat down pouting. "Like I said
I could let him go, but what do I tell my people? They want his blood
and it could very well mean the end of my leadership if I don't
deliver. Gotta keep the natives happy you know."
Rafiki put an long shaggy arm across the hyenas back. "Very good
decision, you are keeping the laws of your clan as true as ever. Go
back to your people and tell them the deed is done. Scar will never
come near your lands again, that I guarantee. Now if only you could be
sure those two over there don't talk."
Rafiki gestured at her two siblings that were sitting looking
confused and angry. They had been looking forward to this moment and
now the party had been abruptly canceled.
"Don't worry about them, they'll keep their muzzles shut. Won't you
Banzi waved a paw at her. "Yeah sure, whatever you say." He was
disgusted but deferred to his sister out of habit.
"You swear he will never set foot in our lands again?"
Rafiki held up his hand. "I swear he will never trouble you again,
except in your dreams."
Shenzi nodded. "Okay then, he can have his miserable life. But I do
this only in the good name of my people and to uphold the law. Don't
think that we take pity on you Scar. We don't. We wish you nothing but
unhappiness all the rest of your days. Goodbye Scar, I won't say good
luck, I don't wish you any."
"Good, good, "Rafiki clapped Shenzi on the back, "thank you for
doing the right and honorable thing. The gods will smile on you. Go on
back to your people and don't worry Scar will get what's coming to
Shenzi motioned for Ed and Banzi to follow her. "Come on guys our
work is done here. Banzi, stop pouting, I promise we'll kill something
on the way home."
At this Banzi seemed to noticeably cheer up and he once began
telling his sister what exactly he wanted to kill and how much of it
wanted to eat. Rafiki shook his head as he watched the three move off
into the distance.
"Ah, hyenas, you can say many things about them, but they are
loyal to each other like no other creature. Lucky for you Taka, I don't
think I could have fought them off by myself."
With a sigh Scar flopped down on the grass. "I guess I should
thank you, but I won't. You just let my one chance at getting out of
this miserable world walk away."
"Stop this self-pitying talk, "Rafiki sat in the grass next to
Scar, " I told you already there will be none of that. You have some
things to do, but being dead is not one of them, at least no right
"Rafiki. why couldn't I be happy with what I had? Life in the
pride wasn't all bad. I never had a mate or any close friends, but I
never went hungry or needed shelter. Why couldn't I be like every other
animal and be happy with that?"
"For some, for you, Taka the Circle of Life causes pain not
contentment. You think too far ahead and behind at the same time, but
never now. You can see way off into the distance, but you're blind to
the things before your own nose."
"You can't change something like that."
Rafiki pulled one of the small gourds from his staff, he broke it in
two. From between the two hollow shells rolled a small brown object; he
held it in one hand..
"This," he said holding the small bit on front of Scar's nose, " may
change quite a few things."
Scar sniffed the small, shriveled object. It was pungent and earthy
and it tickled something at the back of his mind.
"What is it, a piece of fruit?"
"Something like that." Rafiki put his hand on Scar's neck. "Taka,
you're going to have to be very strong and very brave. You're going
somewhere very few creatures go, at least while they're still awake.
But you must go."
Scar got to his feet. "I'm not sure I want to do this."
"Taka you must do this if you are to live and be right with the
world. Please do not turn your back on another opportunity."
Scar looked from Rafiki to the small bit he held in his hand.
Raising an eyebrow he asked "It won't kill me will it?"
"No, but even if it did, why should you worry, you've been asking
for death since I came here."
Scar rolled his eyes and snorted. "Right you are.," He said,
suddenly feeling a bit foolish, " Very well then, what do I need to
Rafiki held the small, brown object out to Scar, who took it in his
paw. He then took Scar's face in his hands and looked into the lions
"Taka, keep in mind that everything that you are about to see and
hear and do is real, in one way. It may not change anything in the true
world, but your world will be changed. You may see and hear things that
hurt or scare you. But don't run from any of them, confront them. Now
take the fruit and put it in your mouth. Hold it there until it starts
to melt. Don't chew it, it tastes terrible, just let it melt. I will
wait for you here. Good journeying."
Rafiki let go of Scar and walked a few paces away. He sat down
facing the lion. Scar looked at the bit again and sniffed it. Strange,
it smelled like nothing else he had encountered before. He looked up at
Rafiki who made a gesture for him to put the object in his mouth. He
sighed and shrugged his shoulders. Away we go, he thought, and popped
the bit into his mouth.
Visiting Some Old Friends
As soon as Scar pushed the small, dried bit of fruit into his
muzzle, the taste of it flooded his mouth. It was like eating dried
elephant dung. "No, make that dried elephant dung with dead worms on
top", he thought. It took every bit of his restraint to keep from
spitting it to the ground and running to the muddy pool for a drink.
Fixing his gaze one Rafiki he let the horrible taste grow larger as the
bit dissolved in his mouth. Rafiki must've been able to read Scar's
thoughts or at least was able to read the expression on his face, for
he covered his mouth to avoid laughing and nodded his head in
recognition. " Apparently, Scar thought, he's done this before
At first Scar thought that hunger and exhaustion must have
overtaken him, because suddenly the quality of the light had become
different. It was more intense and everything seemed to be standing out
in sharp contrast. Rafiki now looked as if he were sitting half a mile
away instead of a few paces. But, that wasn't the only thing. Rafiki
had no taken on the appearance of thousand of fireflies. He was tiny
points of light huddled together in one spot. Twinkling on and off.
Scar smiled. "He's very, very pretty that way." The thought seemed to
be coming from somewhere other than his head. "My head is talking to my
The fireflies that had been Rafiki began taking their leave. Each
point of light twinkling out and becoming a blank space. The air around
him had changed as well. It now seemed an unbearably hot night. There
was not a breeze or a whisper of sound. Just hot, thick air. Rafiki was
gone, all that was left was darkness in his place. In fact it was all
dark. Dark and the sound of humming cicadas. Droning and hot. Thick and
pulsing. A plague of cicadas screaming in the high summer. "Oh Gods,"
Scar thought," what is this place." The thick air became close,
crushing. He felt the air being squeezed from his lungs. It was as if
the world had become a small hole the size of his own body and nothing
more. He struggled, trying desperately to draw air into his lungs. He
felt as if his entire body was being pushed down, made smaller. The
sound of the cicadas was deeper, the sound of a single heart pulsing
it's soupy blood through it veins. And then......
White, hot, blinding light that pushed all other thoughts from his
brain. He felt himself covered in something wet and lying on something
hard. He was terribly cold. Something rough passed over his body and
the shock made him take in a sudden breath of air. It hit him like a
keen slap. Looking about himself he could only make out the faintest
shadows of two huge creatures moving nearby. One of the creatures was a
monstrous beast, it loomed over him. The second was slightly smaller
and it's body lay close by. The smell from this second made him feel
warm and comfortable. A large booming voice filled his ears.
"He is very small. Oh Gods, how I had hoped there would only be one,
hunting is poor and another mouth will be a strain."
A second voice came to him. This one lighter. The sound of it made
him desperately want to move to the place the sound came from; to
nuzzle it and seek warmth from it.
"He is small, Ahadi. But he will live. He's beautiful." The
roughness went across his trembling body again.
"Hmph, he may live, but he will never be very large or strong.
Please Akase, think. How long can you make enough milk for both? If
both cubs live, both will be weaklings like this little one. I know
this must hurt you terribly; but let me take him. I promise you it will
be over quickly and he will feel no pain."
The lighter voice now became strained and seemed on the edge of
tears. He struggled again to reach it's source. But his legs wouldn't
work. He tried to answer the two voices, but all that came from him was
a soft squeaking.
"Ahadi! No! He is my cub! I have known him for many months now, I
cannot leave him for the hyenas. Please, if you love me you will let
him be. I promise no harm will come to the other cub because of his
presence. I swear it."
The large voice came again, this time resigned.
"Very well, because you are my mate and I don't want you to suffer
he may stay. But he must not interfere with the other cub. I sense
great things from this first, as if the Gods themselves made him, not
we. This little one will have to find his own place in the world."
"Yes husband, I too have sensed the power you have. The first will
grow to be strong and prosperous. But this little cub, he too should
have the chance to grow and find his way. With my help he will." He
felt himself being nudged by something warm and wet and soon found
himself pushed up against the softest and warmest place he had ever
known, "Little cub," the gentle voice whispered to him, "I promise you,
you will find your way."
His mother and father lay together in their stone cave looking down
at their two new cubs. Scar felt a deep pain in his chest as he
realized what he had just heard. Ahadi had not meant for him to live!
Mufasa was not only the one chosen for succession, but he was the one
chosen for life itself. Had it not been for his mother he would have
been left on some dark rock somewhere. To die in his milk as was the
custom with cubs born too sick or small to survive. Anger overtook his
hurt as he thought about this. He will have to find his own place in
the world. "Oh father," Scar thought, "did you even have an inkling of
how true those words you said at my birth were?" He buried his face in
the warm softness that surrounded him but still felt deeply and
However the softness was no longer there. In fact the cave and his
parents were no longer there. He saw that he was facing the northern
border of the Pride Lands, a place he would become well acquainted with
when he got older. Looking at the his feet he realized something
strange. They were no longer the huge, heavy clawed paws that he had as
an adult; but the lightly dappled paws of a cub. He was a cub! Behind
him he heard the unmistakable patter of a cub romping. Turning, half
expecting to see little Simba, he found himself looking into the face
of his brother. "He looks so much like Simba at that age" ,Scar was
struck by the similarities.
Mufasa, hopped to a stop and hit Scar on the shoulder. "Come on you
old sourpuss, lets wrestle." Mufasa chimed. He lowered his body and
wagged his tail in a gesture for Scar to pounce on him.
Scar spoke and the words seemed to fall from his mouth without
thought. "No, Mufasa, not right now. I'm just looking at the land. See
how pretty it is at this time of day."
Mufasa stopped wriggling and looked at his brother puzzled. "Why do
you always want to just sit, Taka? It's more fun to play." Mufasa
jumped on Scar and began tugging at his ear. "Come on, I'll show you."
Scar began to fight back against Mufasa. Nipping him on the face and
trying to wrestle him the ground. He had almost forgotten that it could
be fun to wrestle. Until, from the rocks below came the familiar
booming voice again. "Mufasa, are you up there son?"
Mufasa stopped struggling with Scar and called back. "Yeah, Dad I'm
Scar saw Ahadi come leaping up the rocks to where the two cubs
sat. His eyes widened when he saw Mufasa and then narrowed again when
they fixed on him. Regaining his composure he said, "What are you doing
Mufasa cheerfully answered him. "Me and Taka was wrestling. He
almost got me but I pinned him."
Ahadi smiled. "Of course you did Mufasa, you're a pretty big cub."
Mufasa apparently wasn't done teasing. "I'm lots bigger than him,"He
turned and stuck his tongue out at Scar, "I could whip him anytime."
Scar suddenly got the urge to give the little show off a lesson on
who could whip who and without thinking he ran and pounced at Mufasa.
At least he would've pounced on him if he had not found himself knocked
backward by something hard and sharp. "No!" He heard Ahadi yell as he
flew backward and slammed into one of the stone walls that surrounded
the lookout spot that would later become his hideout as an adult.
He felt the blood running down one side of his face and was
panicked. He couldn't see, he was blind! "Someone help me," he
shrieked, "I can't see!"
"Oh, what have I done," he heard Ahadi say, "quick Mufasa run and
get your mother. Oh gods it wasn't my fault I wasn't thinking. I'm
sorry. Mufasa stop staring at him and go get your mother now!"
Mufasa ran away crying, as if he had just witnessed the most
horrible act in the world.Scar could hear him calling for their mother
in a small and scared voice. He remained crumpled on the ground. The
blood from the large gash across his eye coating his face. He must not
interfere with the other cub. He had interfered . He lay on the ground
bleeding for many minutes while his father stood a few steps away
breathing heavily and shaking his head.
Scar squinted, trying to see past the blood flooding his vision and
was surprised to find that his vision was just fine. In fact he was no
longer lying on the ground near his father; but standing by the
waterhole. The relief was like a cold splash of water on his face.
He had very nearly forgotten about the incident with his father so
many years ago. He had wanted to forget. That day gave him the clear
understanding of what his place in the world was. When Mufasa had come
back with their mother, she had scooped the cub up in her mouth and
whisked him away to the sleeping caves. There she washed the blood from
his fur and tried to explain to him how his father never meant to hurt
him and that it was an accident that would never happen again. Scar
could remember her not sounding so convinced of this herself. Her voice
had been shaking and she had been on the verge of tears.
Ahadi had come to the cave soon afterward. He didn't enter but stood
by the entrance and spoke to him and his mother through the door. He
had apologized for everything that had happened, to both Scar and his
mother. Afterwards Ahadi had always made an effort to be gentle with
the cub and include him in the outings he took with Mufasa. But the
relationship and his father's kind words to him always seemed forced
and unnatural. An extremely generous soul could call their relationship
strained at best.
As Scar grew older he was content to let the relationship with his
father slip away; much to the relief of both parties. The memories of
those uncomfortable years came back to him and he shook his head sadly.
"Father, I don't think I'll ever understand what happened between us. I
don't think you understood it either."
"I did understand it Taka, but like you I wanted to forget."
Scar felt his heart leap to his throat. The voice that came to his
ears was so familiar, so like his father. But Ahadi had been dead for
over four season turns. The unmistakable feeling of another's presence
came to his senses. He could feel the large lion behind him. But still
didn't turn to see if his senses were right.
"Father? Is it really you I feel behind me?"
There was a long pause until the voice answered. "Yes, it's me. Taka
turn around, look at me."
"I'm afraid to." He spoke truthfully. He didn't want to turn around
to see Ahadi standing there. He feared what he might do.
"Don't be afraid of me Taka. I can't...I won't hurt you anymore.
Please, turn and face me."
The voice was pleading, so unlike the stern and commanding voice
he remembered. Scar sighed inwardly, bracing himself for whatever might
happen. He turned his head slowly, raising his eyes slightly to the
figure standing before him.
It was Ahadi. Ahadi as he had been in his prime. A large, fit
lion with golden brown fur and steady golden eyes. Scar couldn't help
but turn fully; taking in the image of his father. Then incredibly
Ahadi fell to the ground before him. Bowing as his subjects had bowed
to him during his reign.
"Taka, please forgive me. I did you great evil during my life. I
thought I was a great king, but I was not . How can a king call himself
great when he drives his son to madness. Please Taka forgive me."
Scar felt the anger at his father melt away as he looked at the
trembling figure laying at his feet. He backed away. To see Ahadi in
such a state made him uncomfortable. He didn't know what to say and so
blurted out the first words that came to mind.
"That's all right father. I know you didn't mean it."
Ahadi stood and looked him square in the eye. "But son the great evil
is that I did mean it."
Scar felt a knot form in his stomach. "You, you mean you did mean
all those horrible things that you did to me?" He grew flush with
anger. "But why? What did it to you? I was a cub father, I didn't do
anything to you! You loved Mufasa and treated him as if he was a star
fallen from the sky. Why did you not have the same feelings for me?
Even half of the same feelings for me!" Scar was shaking now and could
feel his claws digging in to the dirt. Oh Gods how I want to hurt you,
Ahadi sat in the grass. He looked at Scar, his eyes bright with
tears. He motioned for the younger lion to sit beside him. Scar took a
few deep breaths and tried to calm himself. He moved to where his
father sat and stood over him.
"Taka," said Ahadi, "there is much that needs telling and very little
time. Listen closely and try to understand."
Scar looked at his father appraisingly. "I will hear you father,
but know this, I'm still very angry at you." Scar sat in the grass
facing his father. He could not bear to get any closer to him.
"I understand and would expect it to remain so for a while, maybe
even forever." Ahadi let out a large breath and began speaking. "When
you were born, oh how my heart sank. You stirred in me feelings that I
hadn't felt in a long while," Scar opened his mouth to speak, but Ahadi
held up a paw, "You see I was not an only cub. I had a brother, Mwali.
So like you he was. Small and dark. My mother loved him so, as did I.
We often spent the days together, he was very clever and made up
stories to tell and would sit for hours under the acacia trees telling
them to me. He was my best friend." Ahadi stopped and drew a deep
breath, "I even miss him now as I tell you of him. Such a smart and
gentle cub. So beautiful, but also very weak. He was often sick. My
mother and father fussed over him, always giving him the best of the
kills and keeping him warm in an effort to make him strong, like I was.
I fussed over him too. I would stay in the caves with him when he
wasn't feeling well and talk with him and play. It was always just
enough to be with him, it didn't matter, as long as Mwali was there I
Scar had relaxed a bit as Ahadi told his story, falling into the gentle
rhythms of his father voice.
"One day, though, Mwali hurt his paw. He had torn the skin of his
pad on a sharp rock by the waterhole. The cut wasn't very big
but...."Ahadi trailed off and hitched in another deep breath. "Mother
cleaned him up right away and he seemed to be fine. We played right
afterward, even though Mwali had to be careful because of the wound.
Over the next few days mother noticed the cut hadn't healed right. It
smelled badly and Mwali's entire paw swelled up. She made him stay in
the cave , I stayed with him to keep him company. He was in a lot of
pain. He kept licking the wound but it didn't help. It hurt him
terribly, he didn't complain, he never did, but I could tell. The next
day, he, he just...lay there. He said he was too tired to get up and
that he felt hot. My mother told me to leave the cave, that whatever
Mwali was suffering from I might get too. I'll never forget her face
Taka. She was so frightened."
Ahadi's eyes were now full of tears, his voice coming in pained
spurts. Scar put a paw over his father's, he noticed how cold it felt.
"For days Mwali lay in the cave. Crying out in pain. I wasn't allowed
to see him, but I could hear him. The flesh of his paw had begun to rot
and the rot had spread to the rest of him. For many days he lay there,
my mother never emerged from the cave. She was heartbroken and thought
she could save him. All the pride knew what was happening, but my
mother held on, trying to fix him, to make him well. Finally my father
instructed the rest of the pride to take my mother out of the cave by
force. She cried and begged as they pulled her out. Then my father went
inside and soon........Mwali stopped crying. I will never forget the
sound of him dying. My mother was never the same after he died. She had
always been a happy lioness and enjoyed the life of a hunter. But after
she lost her son, she became withdrawn. It killed me to see her suffer
every day after he died."
Scar's mind held the image of the long dead cub. Like him, but
dead. Lying in a cave suffering for days while he brother heard his
death moans. He felt a chill run up his back. A cub like me, he
"When your mother pushed you out," Ahadi continued after
regaining some composure, "and I saw you. So small and weak. Dark
furred. I thought, it's Mwali all over again. I prayed you wouldn't
live to take you first breath. But you did live. But still the memory
of my brother's horrible death and the pain it caused my mother
hardened me to the fact that you would most likely die. Every day I
expected you to die. Every day I waited to see that terrible fear on
your mother's face. I lived like this throughout your cubhood, always
waiting for that day when you would leave and tear Akase apart. Over
time I began to hate you. Yes, Taka hate. I hated you for putting that
fear into me. For reminding me of the brother I loved and who died a
agonizing death. I felt how dare this cub live when my brother died!
How dare he make me feel so helpless and afraid. Oh Taka, please
forgive me. I shouldn't have blamed you for the feelings I had. I
should have loved you as I loved Mwali. Maybe then all this mess would
have never happened. You would have grown up strong and right. Instead
I abandoned you and planted the first seeds of hate in your heart.
Forgive me Taka."
Scar looked at his father and could now see the cub he had once
been. How Ahadi had been weak and vulnerable as he had been. His father
who had always been the vision of strength and righteousness had his
pains too. Scar touched his father's mane.
"We are very much alike you and I, father. We both made others
suffer for our weaknesses. I forgive you father, because I've been and
still am where you where."
Hi father rose to his feet and nuzzled Scar on the side of the
head. The eerie coldness of his father's touch startled him. Ahadi
smiled at him.
"Thank you son. I will walk the stars path with a lighter tread
now. Son, you must rise up as well, there is much that needs to be
done. Please, do not continue to do as I did. Clear your heart of the
things that tear at it. I must go now. You have many paths to walk
before you end your journey."
"Thank you father." Scar watched as the lion who was his father
disappeared into the grass. "My journey is well underway."
Scar stood for many moments after the apparition of his father
had disappeared. He could imagine how Ahadi could resent him and try to
erase his smaller son from his mind. In doing so he was erasing the
memories of his brother Mwali. Hatred for his father was now replaced
by pity and understanding.
Scar had rarely felt pity for any creature other than himself
before. While living under Mufasa's reign he had felt as if all the
world were plotting and scheming for his downfall. It made the act of
killing his brother seem right, almost sacred in his mind.
"Mufasa!," he called out to the sky above, "brother, I know
you're here. Please come to me." He looked about but could not see
Mufasa materializing from anywhere. His head began to feel very heavy
and buzzed as if it were full of angry hornets. "The fruit must be
doing this to me," he thought, suddenly remembering that all that had
happened wasn't truly real. He chuckled to himself. "I surely hope
Rafiki doesn't do this sort of thing very often."
He caught a slight movement out of the corner of his eye and
whipped around to face who he thought must be his dead brother.
However, when he got a full look at the vision before him he felt his
legs turn to water.
The beast before him moved with a slimy, liquid grace. It skulked
out from the shadows and stared at him, it's jaws slavering. Scar shook
his head, "How can this be? You're..." He trailed off.
"You." The beast smiled. "Ah, yes. I am what you think I am
Scar." It reeked of old flesh left to rot in the blazing noontime sun.
"I'm you, I'm everything you were, are now and will ever be. Quite
handsome aren't I?" It ran a paw over it's greasy mane.
Scar swallowed. The thing that was now sidling up to him, did
indeed look like him. A huge twisted parody of himself that was
grinning at him. He backed a step away from it.
"Why Scar, I'm offended. How can you back away from your old
friend. Very well, have it your way I won't take offense." It's voice
was the sound of water over gravel.
Scar was disgusted by the creature before him. Is this how the
world saw him? He forced himself to raise his body to it's full height
and moved closer to the beast.
"You're not an old friend and you're certainly not me anymore. Call me
Taka, it's my true name. Scar is what you are."
The beast's smile widened, then it grimaced. "Call me Taka." He
mocked. "Oh Scar you big fool. Have you been listening to what that
monkey has been telling you? I thought you were smarter than that."
"I have been listening because it's true, every word of it. I
followed you and look where it got me. I have no home, no friends,
nothing. I killed my own brother because of you."
The beast sighed. "Of course you did and you should thank me for
giving you the resolve. Do you really think Mufasa wanted you around?
A weak and shiftless lion? That's what he thought of you, you know."
Scar snarled, "If he thought that it's because that's what I had
become. Because of you."
The beast bared teeth as black as obsian and circled Scar. The
stench of it's flesh was overpowering, decay and rot played on it's
skin. It's claws were shot and it's tail lashed to and fro like an
"Because of me you lived! Because of me you didn't wander out
into the fields to die. You know this Scar." Scar began to speak but
the beast cut him off. "No, no don't bother to deny it. You welcomed me
into you like a lioness in heat my friend. You loved me and what I made
you. Come on, tell me this isn't so."
Scar hung his head as the beast nodded at him gravely. It was
true, he had reveled in his insolence and delighted in the pain he
caused. When the pride had gone hungry all those months he gloated in
the gaunt faces of the lionesses. He wished to see them suffer, to
watch them beg for him to move to pride to better hunting grounds. Each
time he had refused; drinking in the expressions of frustration and
grief the pride wore. It was his meat during those hungry months.
"I can't tell you I did not enjoy your company for a time." Scar
mumbled to the reeking apparition pacing around him. "But that's over,
I don't want you to be part of me anymore."
"Tsk, tsk, don't say anything you'll regret. The first time you
come up against some obstacle, the first time another lion beats you, a
lioness turns you down or you miss your prey you'll want me back. I
know you Scar, you're weak."
Scar's lips drew back from his teeth, he now began moving in an
opposite circle from the beast. His claws were out and he lowered his
"Not anymore "friend"," he spat in the hulking creatures
direction, "Weakness is what brought me here. I'm done with it. My life
with you as my guide is finished."
He felt a sudden stinging pain on the side of his head and found
himself sprawled out on the ground, He could feel the first warm
trickles of blood course through the fur on his face.
"You think you'll be rid of me?" The beast advanced on his prone
form. It's eyes burned with murderous rage. Scar saw red flecks on the
tips of it's extended claws. The breath of the enraged animal hit his
face. Hot and rancid. It was breathing in short puffs. "I should kill
you for that, you ungrateful son of a hyena."
It stopped and stood over him. The twisted mask of anger on it's face
melted in an equally twisted mask of pity.
"But, I won't." It drew it's claws in. "Killing you would do me no
good, would it?"
Scar righted himself and sneered at the beast.
"No, a lowly belly worm does itself no favors by killing it host."
The beasts eyes crinkled with delight. It widened it jaws in a
capering grin, giving Scar a good look at it's blackened gums and
"Names, names. There you go old fellow. Just like old times. Feel
good does it?"
Scar tensed the muscles in his shoulders, feeling them leap to
attention. His claws splayed, he stood and approached the beast. A
strangely calm smile crossed his face.
"But you know," he said, "the host does itself a world of good by
killing the lowly worm."
Without a warning growl to announce his intention, Scar hurled
himself at the leering vision before him. Caught by surprise, beast
fell heavily onto it's back. It flailed frantically with it's front
paws. One large, hooked claw caught Scar across the nose, coating the
front of his muzzle with blood. Scar paid it no mind.
"Yes," he snarled, "you are a part of me, a part that I'm taking
He clamped his jaws down on the beasts right foreleg which had
been trying desperately to find purchase. Much to Scar's surprise his
teeth broke through the rotten flesh and it fell apart with a distinct
The writhing beast shrieked as the leg fell away and blew into the
night. Panic played on it's features and it's voice took on a decidedly
"Please, Scar! Don't do this!"
Scar plowed his teeth into the belly of the screaming creature, the
flesh once so solid and heavy looking smashed under his snapping fangs.
"Scar, You'll regret this! You need me! Think of the lionesses! They
hated you, I protected you!"
Scar said nothing, he just continued working his grinding teeth into
the stinking form.
"Think! Think of Mufasa!"
Scar stopped and looked at the beast. His eyes narrowed and focused
on the muddy, pleading eyes before him. He smiled.
And then drove his teeth into the lifeless pleading eyes, puncturing
the dull light that came from them. His mouth flooded with the taste of
the beast. The taste of corruption and bitterness. He raised his head
and black sand poured from his mouth. Shuddering, he turned and vomited
onto the grass.
Looked back to where the horrible vision of himself had lain.
Nothing remained. Scar was dead, long live Scar. He laughed to
"Well, done brother. But you know, if you had listened when I tried
to teach you how to fight that would have gone much smoother."
The voice, so deep and commanding. Scar lowered his head in shame as
the soothing sound of his long dead littermate came to him.
"Mufasa...." He began and then fell silent. He felt fixed in place,
as if he turned and looked into the eyes of his brother he may die.
"Face me, brother." Mufasa sounded calm as the grass on a windless
day. Willing his body with all his strength Scar turned. He kept his
head lowered, fixed on the grass." Face me."
Raising his eyes from his paws, his gaze crept slowly over the form
before him. Crawled over the tawny, golden shape of the creature with
whom he had shared birth and then brought to death. Meeting the calm,
commanding eyes that rested in the broad and open face, Scar felt his
knees collapse under him.
"Great king, my littermate, my brother. Please forgive my evil and
betrayal of you. And...the evil I did to your son. Everything that
happened was my fault, my ignorance. I bow to you Mufasa and beg your
Scar lay at the huge feet of his older brother, shaking with both
fear and sadness. He braced himself for whatever vengeful punishment
might come from the figure before him. Instead he felt a warm, gentle,
weight rest on the back of his mane.
"Stand Taka, do not cower before me. I am not the enemy and never
have been. Part of the enemy has been challenged and conquered. Now
stand before me and face me as an equal." Scar hesitated, still a bit
afraid. "Rise!" Mufasa roared and Scar found himself yanked up roughly
by the mane. His legs were able to find the ground and prevent him
sprawling over when Mufasa let him go.
Breathing heavily with the force with which he was brought to his
feet, he steadied himself and looked squarely at Mufasa. The huge lion
looked at him sternly. Pity had no place on the lion's countenance.
"Brother, you have done some horrible things during your lifetime.
None of which I or anyone else can redeem you of."
Scar began to speak. "But..." Mufasa cut him off with a growl.
"Silence!" Mufasa showed his teeth as he spoke. "For years you've
been making excuses for your behavior. Always blaming others for when
you come up short." Mufasa began to pace back and forth in front of
Scar. "Maybe I should have cuffed you around a bit when you were
younger and began to act like a fool. But I didn't. No one did."
Scar started looking at his paws again and his tail began to twitch
uncomfortably. Mufasa's face pushed roughly into his.
"Look at me damn you!" A paw lashed out and Scar found himself
knocked back to the ground with stunning force. His brother stood over
"It's over, no more cowering, no more whining and making excuses.
Today you stand as a lion. A grown male with responsibilities. When you
miss you prey, it's your responsibility. When you make an enemy, they
are yours. When you hurt someone else, that hurt is yours. From now on
everything you do belongs to you. No more Scar, Taka. You must kill
him. Or else you'll have lived in vain."
A grown lion, Scar thought, have I really been so cub like and
foolish that I haven't become an adult yet?
"Yes, you have." Mufasa answered his unspoken thoughts. "You've
been a overgrown and very dangerous cub up until now. But unlike a
youngling that can be excused it's stupid behavior, you can't. Your
stupidity cost me my life, almost cost my son his life and brought
misery to the pride."
"But, how can I go on?" Scar asked. "I've done such evil, your
son was right I don't deserve to live."
"Maybe, maybe not. But live you will, because there are some
things that need doing. Things you need to do." Mufasa sidled up to his
brother and gestured his head toward the distance. "Out there, is where
you must go. To the place where the sun meets the earth."
Scar turned to his brother, a questioning look on his face. "What
must I do there."
Mufasa shook his head. "That you cannot know until the time
comes. Taka, do not fail me, don't make my death good for nothing." He
put his paw to his brothers face. "Taka, you must fulfill your destiny
and take -your- place in the circle of life."
"But why? I killed you, damn it! Why are you doing this, why
don't you haunt me, send me to my death! I can't take this." Scar's
body twitched in agitation. Mufasa remained nonplused.
"Guilt and self pity are indulgences you can take part in no more.
Why don't I kill you? Well I can't for one thing and even if I could
why would I? It would solve nothing. No Taka, the tasks that lie ahead
of you are much harder to accomplish than dying. And you must meet them
with strength and courage. No more crying like a cub, Taka. Today is a
new day." Mufasa's expression softened. "And more, do you think I've
forgotten what you once were?"
Scar nodded, "I know you were my friend once."
"We shared our mother's breast and learned together. I remember how
you came to me when father was...hard on you. You were my friend and
equal then. When did we grow so far apart?"
"I grew apart, Mufasa you did nothing to earn my hatred. Of all the
creatures you and mother were my world. I was the one who pushed you
aside. I'm so very sorry Mufasa. Would that I could take it back...."
Mufasa smiled and back away. "You can't. But you can fulfill your
destiny." He turned and began to melt away into the blackness. "Find
your destiny Taka and put things right. Don't fail me or yourself
His brother's form breaking up into the darkness, Scar called after
it. "I won't fail you, I swear it. Be well Mufasa and look over Simba."
Whether or not the ghostly figure heard him Scar couldn't tell, for
Mufasa was gone. He stood on the darkened plain, the wind caressing
the long dark mane which hung about his face. The place where the sun
meets the earth, he thought, what lay there? He felt a small jump of
anticipation in his belly as he thought of traveling to the land Mufasa
had said his destiny, his very redemption lay.
He stood very tall, facing the wind. A small smile, a genuine smile,
not the conniving grin he used to wear crossed his face. Taking a deep
breath of the cool night air and held it momentarily and then.....
A deep booming roar came from deep inside his gut. It echoed across
the rippling sea of grass. It hit his ears like a cry of freedom.
It was hot and the air was thick and heavy. Scar's eyes snapped
open. He was laying in the grass. The night was still around him. He
looked about for whatever new terror or phantom might be awaiting him.
A few paces away he saw a familiar shaggy grey form.
Rafiki still sat where Scar had left him, cradling his staff between
his knees, singing quietly to himself. He had heard the lion begin to
twitch and moan as he came back to the land of the living. but he sat
quietly waiting for Scar to fully come to. A cleansing could sometimes
to a tiring and terrifying experience and Rafiki had no desire to scare
the poor beast.
The lion moaned in pain as the first few thumps of what would be a
massive headache began. His paws still ached and they reached up to
touch the place where he had been wounded during the battle with his
demon. He touched nothing but whole flesh.The long gash had never
happened. He turned his head from side to side trying to work some of
the stiffness from it and audibly winced as a sharp pain ran from the
nape of his neck to his forehead. He forced himself to his feet and
began to stagger toward the waterhole. He was horribly thirsty.
Rafiki rose and pulled a large gourd made of buffalo hide from his
staff. He walked up to Scar and put an arm over his neck.
"Shh," he whispered, "lie down again." He gently pushed the lion
down. Scar hadn't the strength to resist and lay heavily back down to
"Water," he rasped, "I have to have a drink."
Rafiki uncapped the gourd, which was actually a waterskin, and
poured some of the cool liquid into his cupped palm. He held the water
under Scar's nose.
"Here, drink this," the lion began to lap up the water greedily from
his hand, "slowly, you'll sick it up if you drink too fast."
Scar licked Rafiki'palm dry and then said to him. "More, please."
Rafiki put the waterskin down and took the lions face into his
hands. He looked carefully into Scar's yellow and green eyes. He
nodded. "How does your head feel? Does it pain you?"
Scar snorted, "It feels like an elephant has been doing a mating
dance on it. Can I have some more water, please."
"In a moment," Rafiki took another gourd, broke it and a yellowish
powder, like sand poured out of it. He took the waterskin again and
mixed the powder together with the water in his palm. He held it out to
Scar. The lion sniffed his palm. The water smelled bitter and nasty.
"Just drink it." Rafiki said. Scar lapped it up, a bit less greedily
this time. The taste was awful. Afterward he belched at the nasty
bitter taste caught in his throat.
Rafiki made an exaggerated face of disgust at the sound. "Phaugh!
What an ugly sound to accompany such a momentous occasion." He ruffled
the top knot on the lion's head. "That will help your headache. May not
taste good, but it is good."
"Sure doesn't," Scar rolled onto his back and let out a large sigh,
"Gods, but I'm tired."
Rafiki laughed, "I'm not surprised, you've done a lot today."
"Rafiki, where did I go?"
"You've been to a place few have been Taka. You've been given the
chance to cleanse yourself and start anew. Where do you feel you've
Scar rolled onto his side and lay his still throbbing head on his
paws. "I'm not sure really. I feel like I've been inside myself. It's
very strange, I feel very different."
Rafiki sat down next to Scar. Taking the waterskin he offered him
more water. Very quickly the lion emptied the it. Tossing the skin
aside Rafiki put an arm over Scar's shoulder. "What do you plan to do
"Mufasa said to go to the place where the sun and earth meet. So
that's where I'm going."
Rafiki's eyes widened. "Mufasa said? Well, you better go there. Not
very good to disobey your dead brother."
Scar's head dropped and the mention of "dead brother." Rafiki chided
himself for bringing it up. "I'm sorry Taka. I didn't mean anything by
Scar looked at Rafiki and watery brightness shone in his eyes. "No,
it's okay. This is the first time in many years that I've been able to
think of my brother with anything but hate." He put a large paw on
Rafiki's face. "And I have you to thank for it."
Rafiki smiled at the lion. He looked different now. The corners of
his mouth no longer pulled downward in a derisive scowl. The old
skulking posture was replaced with a more relaxed and comfortable air.
He now looked his seven years instead of the twelve or twenty he used
"Not just me, you played a hand in this Taka and it sounds as if you
have more work to do. No matter ,time enough to think about it
tomorrow, sleep now. You need some rest." He smoothed back Scar's black
mane. Looking down he noticed no instruction was necessary for Scar had
already slipped into a deep and comfortable sleep.
Rafiki stayed through most of the night. Watching over his ward as
he stirred gently with dreams of forgotten times. As the sun began to
creep over the plains, banishing the tricky shadows of the night;
Rafiki stood and gathered up his staff. He walked over to where Scar
lay on his side, still snoring soundly, even though tick birds and
swallows had begun to sing loudly in the scattered trees. Bending he
touched the lions mane. "Farewell, Taka and good hunting." Then left
the plains without a look back.
The Cape Hunting Dogs Meet the Spirit Lion
Around the time of the high sun, Scar finally began to awake from
the long night's rest. After a bone cracking yawn and long stretch of
the front legs he began to look for Rafiki. He was no where to be
found. Scar was a little disappointed. He had begun to enjoy Rafiki's
company and was looking forward to having a companion for a little
while. It had been a long time since he had someone to talk to. Longer
than he could remember. He had to swallow back the tinniest bit of
anger that came to him. "Apparently, I still have some work to do," he
thought to himself.
Suddenly a rumble came from his stomach, along with a feeling a
nausea. It had been more than half a week since his last substantial
meal. He automatically scanned the horizon looking for a sign of a
small antelope or zebra yearling he could take down. There was none and
then he laughed to himself. Who was he trying to fool in thinking he
could do any hunting of his own. Scar had always been very lazy when it
came to learning new skills, he had always thought of himself as above
the concerns of ordinary animals. Now with the sharp pain and dizziness
he felt he realized his folly.
He looked toward the western horizon and decided that his journey
should begin. Trotting with all the briskness he could muster he left
the plain where his life began.
As he moved through the seemingly endless grassland, Scar kept his
nose to the wind for the slightest sign of carrion or a kill made by a
smaller animal. It wasn't exactly noble, but food was food. As he
passed a small stand of short, stubby trees he lifted his nose and
He caught the faint scent of fresh blood. His stomach rumbled in
anticipation. There was another scent under the blood. Something
familiar. Somewhat like a hyena, but different. It was a sharp, cunning
smell. The scent of a predator. There would be no free meal today,
unless he could be crafty enough to snatch it. He knew he was in shape
to fight for dinner.
But what was it? Scar racked his brain trying to recall where he had
smelled that scent before. It was always best to know your enemy before
rushing in. Then from a distance came four short barks, interrupting
his thoughts and bringing forth a clear memory.
The cape hunting dogs! Now he remembered. He had only seen the
predators twice during his tenure in the Pride Lands. The first time
had been when Mufasa
had just become king. They had been a small pack out scouting new
hunting grounds. With his
typical bravado and zeal Mufasa had gone out to expel the dogs by
force. It was not a wise move. Mufasa had never encountered the dogs
before and he was unprepared for the strength of the pack. Pound for
pound the dogs were the most formidable hunters in the veldt. Mufasa
had returned quickly looking somewhat chagrined and instructed the
pride to stay out of the dog's way. It was not a luxury that he had
afforded many creatures.
The second time the dogs passed through unmolested. Mufasa had a
clear memory of his earlier encounter with them and was not eager to
repeat the experience. They left without incident, but not without
first killing an impressive number of the herd living in the Pride
Lands. Their hunting skills were unquestioned. They were efficient,
organized and deadly. They did, however, have one weakness. He had
learned from the hyenas, who hated the dogs more than the lions, that
they had a strange religion. An almost fanatical one. The dogs were
firm believers in spirit animals, creatures from the Other World who
took true form and roamed the earth.
These spirits could be beneficial or malevolent. They often
encountered animals on their unknown journeys through the world and
could bestow favor on those deemed worthy. To the dogs to meet one of
these travelers was a great honor and bode well for the dog's pack. It
seemed strange to him at the time. Still did. But, it also gave him a
"If I play this right, he chuckled to himself, I shall have a
full belly, a bit of rest and a little revenge in the bargain." A
feeling of cub-like mischief filled him as he crept through the grass
trying to locate the origin of the scent. He moved slowly, careful to
stay downwind. To reveal himself too soon would wreck the plan now
formulating in his mind. He would put his cunning and slyness to good
use. He found the dogs by a small stand of trees. It was a small pack,
probably a hunting party. They were standing over the fresh carcass of
a zebra. Involuntarily he licked his chops at the sight. Quietly he lay
in the grass, listening to the dogs. "Good kill, Nabuk", said one of
the dogs to what seemed to be the leader. The larger dog nodded to
him, "Yes this one went down easy, it'll bring much meat to the pack."
Nabuk, that must be the leader. Scar readied himself. "O.k., he
thought, better make this good, or I'll have these fellows snapping at
my heels." With that he burst from his hiding place and ran into the
midst of the dogs. He panted as if he had run many miles. "Oh, great
hunting dogs, he blurted out, at last I've found you. I bring
news...grave danger." He stopped, catching his breath.
The lead dog stepped forward and spoke, "You have trespassed on
the territory of the pack ,lion. Leave at this moment and we will spare
you." The large dog flattened his ears and bared his teeth.
Scar turned his head to look at the dog. "You must be Nabuk, your
hunting prowess has not gone unnoticed to the Great Dog." He smiled at
the now bewildered looking dog.
Nabuk stepped back from the strange lion. "How do you know my
name? I've never seen you before and where did you come from?" The
other dogs now stepped forward to take a good look at the creature
"We in the Other World know many things Nabuk," Scar intoned in a
dramatic voice, "we have watched you many times from above."
Nabuk looked suspicious, this animal claimed to be a spirit lion,
but he could also be an ordinary thief out to steal the pack's kill.
"You look and smell like an ordinary lion to me stranger, perhaps you
are nothing more than a common thief." The other dogs nodded in
A look of great offense crossed Scar's face. "Common thief eh?
Very well, I will inform the Great Dog that you have no need of our
help. Good day and good luck." He turned and began to trot away.
The dogs looked to their leader. They were at a loss. What if
they just turned away a messenger from the Other World, great
misfortune would befall the pack if so. To offend a spirit offering
guidance was the greatest sin a dog could commit, generations of dogs
would pay for their insolence. The lion had indeed looked strange,
unlike any other they had ever seen. Nabuk watched the figure
retreating in the distance. His chieftain would tear him apart if he
had indeed offended a spirit. Against his better judgment he called out
to the strange lion. "Wait, great lion, please come back!"
Scar looked over his shoulder at the dogs. They seemed panicked
now. Coolly he replied, "No, I have been offended, I bring news of a
great disaster and you bare your teeth to me. No I must leave." He
turned as if to go once again.
Nabuk ran to Scar's side, "Please, I meant no offense, I was just
protecting my pack. You must understand." He was clearly frightened
now. Scar did not reply but seemed to be considering the dog's apology
carefully. Then he turned away again. The other dogs had now joined
them. They held their tails and head low, trying desperately not to
further offend the great spirit.
Nabuk felt his suspicion fall away. If this lion meant the pack
harm he would be at the kill right now, they had given him plenty of
opportunity. No, this indeed must be a spirit lion. He must make amends
to the great spirit, for the good of the pack. He bowed low before
Scar. "Great lion, please accept the offering of this zebra to make up
for any offense I caused you." The other dogs bowed in kind.
Scar looked at the carcass lying in the grass. He squelched the
urge to leap on it and begin feasting. Instead he nodded at the dogs.
"I most humbly accept your offer, all offense is forgotten." He smiled
benevolently at the dogs, trying his hardest not to laugh as he did so.
Nabuk approached him. "Great lion," he spoke reverently, "you
mentioned something about a danger to the pack. Please what is it I
must warn the chief." Scar lay himself on the grass, the dogs did the
same. Scar wondered if he jumped up and down would the dogs follow
suit. It would be interesting to see, but he was hungry he would have
his fun later.
"I wish that I could my friend," he replied wearily, "but I'm
exhausted from my long journey. The secret remains locked inside. When
this form I am in is replenished all will be told." Nabuk nodded, the
Other World must be far away, their guest must be fed. He instructed
the hunting party to tear up the carcass and feed the lion. It would
not do to have a great spirit dirty himself. Scar smiled inwardly, this
was turning out better than he thought, as the dogs lay the choicest
pieces of meat at his feet, first class service and everything!
Scar ate as he never had before. Rich liver, kidneys, all the
best pieces of the zebra found it's way down his throat. Life in a
pride had never allowed him such luxury. Finally when his belly had
reached the point of bursting he licked his paws clean and called the
dogs to gather around him.
"Now what I am about to tell you comes from the Great Dog
himself, so you all must listen carefully." He spoke gravely, looking
at all of the dogs in turn.
"You have our full attention, great lion, we will hear your
news." Nabuk said. All ears turned toward the lion, not one of them
"There is a great disaster coming for the dog pack. A terrible
horde of creatures are coming to destroy you. They hate the great
hunting dogs, they are determined to see an end of you."
All ears canted back, startled. "Who is it?" Nabuk pleaded, Who
wants the pack destroyed?"
"They are the most vile spirit animals in the Other World, filthy
beasts." Scar intoned
The dogs began whispering among themselves. Who could it be? Nabuk
persisted, "Please tell us, great spirit, the chief must know!"
Scar looked at gathered pack. They looked utterly terrified. He
almost felt bad for frightening them. But then again, it was too good
to resist. Finally he said, "It is the hyena spirits, they envy the
dogs and want to rid the world of them." The dogs gasped, the hyenas!
The dogs despised the hyenas, felt them to be lazy scavengers unworthy
"Those disgusting beasts, so they are filthy in both body and
spirit." Nabuk said, "I should have known."
"You will find these craven spirits to the east, north of a large
jutting rock. They haunt an elephant graveyard." Scar went on, "They
are gathering to send a war party to destroy the pack. They will kill
all the males and mate with your females, they will corrupt everything
the pack stands for. They are ruthless, they must be stopped!" All the
dogs jumped to their feet at once. The growled fiercely. They would
stop the hyenas, let them try to destroy the pack! "I will inform my
chief at once," said Nabuk, " we will send many dogs to the east. We
will kill the hyena spirits, they will trouble no one again!"
"No!," Taka said, "you must not try to kill the hyena spirits.
They will only come back more powerful, seeking revenge." He wanted to
play a bit of a prank he didn't want the hyenas dead.
Nabuk looked distressed. "What shall we do then great lion? How
can we rid ourselves of this danger?" The dogs were upset, all seemed
"There is one way, listen closely now." All the dogs looked at
the lion in anticipation. They were ready to do anything it took to
save the pack."You must....bite their tails!" The dogs looked puzzled,
this was a strange remedy indeed. Scar smiled, "A hyena spirit carries
all his magic in his tail, you know. That is why they carry their rumps
so close to the ground, to protect it. One good hard bite to the tail
will disable them, I know it sounds strange, but it is so."
"We do not question the wisdom of the spirits great lion, I will
tell my chief at once." Nabuk bowed at Scar. "We must go, great spirit,
thank you for your service."
Scar nodded, "Yes you must go at once, time grows short.
Remember, east to the jutting rock, then north to the elephant
graveyard. And no killing!"
"Yes great spirit, and thank you again."
At once the pack turned and began running toward their den site.
In a moment they were out of sight. Taka began to laugh, he wished for
all the world he could be their. The vision of dozens of confused
hyenas running from dozens of cape hunting dogs snapping at their rumps
came into his mind. He laughed harder. "Good hunting to you faithful
dogs!" he called into the distance. He himself would resume his own
journey to the West, that is as soon as the bulge in his belly
An Unlikely Ally
Scar stayed by the zebra carcass for two days. Gorging himself until
he felt ill and then sleeping lightly in case he needed to shoo away a
vulture or jackal who got too bold. He felt his strength returning to
He thought little of the days leading up to his wandering. He still
felt profoundly uncomfortable with his role in bringing the Pride Lands
to ruin and even though he knew his guilt was useless he couldn't help
it. Laying in the sun and eating all day afforded him a lot of time to
After the second day, he got up, stretched the sleep out of his
limbs and left the glade. The zebra had gotten too ripe for his taste,
and he was eager to move on. As he left he heard many pairs of wings
descending behind him.
"Finally!," one of the vultures shrieked, "I thought that damn lion
would never leave."
Scar stifled the urge to leap suddenly and scare the pin feathers
off the scavenger. It was something he wouldn't have hesitated to do
back in the Pride Lands. Instead he just flicked his tail up in the
direction of the scavengers. The bird that had been watching his
departure caught the gesture and grumbled something about "nasty,
minded lions" before he went back to his meal.
As he traveled he noticed that the land here was much different than
the land of his birth. It consisted of pastures, dotted with tree lined
glades and small rocky formations. Back home Pride Rock had been the
only outstanding feature in the land. He walked on silently until the
sun set and then sought out one of the formations for a place to sleep.
He leapt on a rather large formation and began searching for a place to
He began to paw at a small pile of loose stones when a sharp hissing
came from the other side of the formation. He instinctively jumped back
at the sound. It was the sound an enraged animal made right before it
attacked. When he was able to regain his composure he realized that
whatever it was lay on the other side of the formation. With a cat's
natural curiosity he made his way slowly to the other side, careful to
look around before he rounded the corner.
"Stop right there!," A sharp female voice hissed. Scar moved closer
despite the command. Then he saw the owner of the angry voice.
A female cheetah lay wedged in a pile of fallen rocks and
boulders. Her head and front paws were visible, but her hind quarters
seemed stuck. When she saw him she hissed again, louder this time, and
scrabbled her claws on the rocks in front of her. Scar could smell the
terror of the cheetah. He stopped a respectful distance from her.
"Go away lion," she snarled through bared teeth, "if you think
you have an easy kill, think again, I'll give you a wound to match the
one you already have on your face."
Scar lowered his posture, trying to make himself as unthreatening
as possible. "Relax, madam, I'm not going to kill you. What happened to
The cheetah growled again, she tried to pull herself free, scoring
the rock before her with her claws. Scar waited until she tired herself
out and then spoke again.
"I think I see how you're trapped. Are you injured?"
"Not at all lion," She spat, "Come closer and I'll show you how much
fight I have left in me." She bared her teeth again.
Scar sighed and then moved closer to the cheetah. "Look," He said,
"You're not impressing anyone. Now tell me, are you hurt, yes or no?"
The cheetah looked taken aback, but there was something in the lions
manner that demanded a polite response. "No, I'm not hurt, just
"Okay then, let me take a look here," He jumped up to where the
cheetah was trapped, she recoiled as he came near. "Quiet, relax. I'm
not going to hurt you. I already ate." He winked at the cheetah, who
returned an alarmed stare. He decided there should be more jokes about
eating right now. He looked carefully at the boulders that pinned the
cheetahs hindquarters. They were heavy, but laid so that they didn't
crush her, just kept her in place. They were far too heavy for a
cheetah to move, but perhaps if he pushed some away...
He braced his two front paws on the uppermost rock in the pile.
Extending his hind claws into the rock in which he stood he pushed the
boulder forward. It rocked slightly, but remained in place. The cheetah
let out a small bleat of fright as the rock moved. "Careful," she
pleaded, her earlier defiance had left her. Scar bunched the muscles in
his shoulders and braced the right one against the boulder. Then turn
to the cheetah and said to the . "Okay, lady keep your paws crossed."
He strained forward, with his left shoulder pushing the large rock, he
grunted as the boulder first moved slowly forward and then toppled
over. The rock fell off the formation and hit the ground with a dull
thud. The cheetah began to try to break free. "Hold it," Scar snapped,
"I still have to get these smaller rocks off here. Be patient."
The cheetah stopped struggling and looked at the lion with fearful
eyes. "I'm sorry, it's just I've been trapped here all day and..."
"You're frightened, I know." Scar said, "But wait just a bit longer
and I'll have you free, safe and sound."
It took a while longer for Scar to paw the smaller rocks slowly and
carefully from around the frightened animal. Several times he had to
stop and consider what was the next rock to be pushed off. The cheetah
stayed silent, watching him work. But from the corner of his eye he
could see her trembling.
When the last rock was pushed away Scar jumped off the formation
onto the ground. He was careful to give the cheetah enough space to get
away with having to get too close to him. The bad blood between cheetah
and lion ran deep. Scar was well aware of that and didn't want to cause
the poor thing anymore stress.
The cheetah female stood up slowly. Her limbs shook from the energy
pent up by long hours trapped in the rock prison. In turn she stretched
each leg trying to rid herself of the cramped numbness collected in
them. Scar just watched her silently, waiting for the cheetah to speak.
He was fairly sure she would bolt and he couldn't really say why he was
interested in speaking to her, or even why he had bothered to save her
for that matter. When she finally seemed satisfied that she was in
condition to run, she sighed and spoke.
"Well, that was a lovely way to spend an afternoon."
Scar raised an eyebrow, when not helpless and frightened the cheetah
had a confident, world weary air, the attitude of one who was well used
to taking care of herself. He cleared his throat
She smiled. "Oh, are you still here? Well, lets get on with it shall
we? Now on the count of three I'll start running and we'll see if you
can catch me ,eh?"
She switched her long tail back and forth in a playful manner. Scar
could tell she was no longer frightened of him and looked as if she
almost welcomed a confrontation. He set his ears back and began licking
his front paws in a nonchalant way. Seeing that the lion had no
intention of trying to catch her she sat down on the rock and regarded
"Why did you rescue me?" She asked. Scar smiled, she was certainly
blunt and to the point.
"I don't know really," he said truthfully, "it just seemed like the
right thing to do at the time."
The cheetah narrowed her eyes. "The right thing to do? Hmph, that's
the first time I've ever heard of a lion doing the "right" thing by a
"You're welcome." Scar said and then went back to grooming his paws.
The cheetah looked chagrined, after all the lion had saved her life
and now was laying quietly in the grass while she insulted him. She
leapt down from the formation and approached Scar, still a bit leery.
"Look, I'm sorry. You did save my life and I thank you. It's just,
well it was really unexpected is all. I mean your kind and my kind
rarely get along."
Scar grimaced, "Oh and we two are getting along absolutely
The cheetah looked at him and then broke out into a huge grin and
began laughing. She trotted up to where Scar lay and sat down.
"My name is Nduli.* Pleased to meet you...."
"Scar, so named for.." Scar tapped the long healed wound above his
eye. "Nduli, eh? But that means..."
The cheetah smiled broadly again, "Yes, yes it does. It was
given to me during my formal naming. It's something I do quite well, at
least when I'm not trapped by blasted rocks that is."
"How did that happen? The rocks I mean?"
"Well, I have been climbing the face of the formation to have a good
look at the plain, when I climbed onto a loose bunch of rocks. I
slipped and fell. The rocks I slipped on fell as well and a whole lot
of others came down with them. I must've loosed them when I slipped.
Lucky for me you came along and not a hungry hyena. All that bluster
and puff I gave you would have held them off a short time. But.." She
visibly shuddered at the thought.
Scar rose to his feet. "Well, I'm glad you're not injured. I guess
I'll be going now." He nodded at the cheetah, who continued to look at
him with an appraising air. He turned to walk away.
"You're a very thin lion, you know." She said.
Scar turned and gave her an icy look. He was surprised and a bit
embarrassed that she would mention his physical condition.
"Have you been away from your pride long?" She asked.
He sat down again. "Not for too long, why?"
"Come now, I know that males of lion society eat well. You must come
from a very poor band of hunters for you to be so small. No offense."
*Nduli= Swahilli for killer or bringer of death.*
Scar swallowed the angry remark that was about to come from his
mouth, instead he said, "Well, I'm not a very good hunter but I don't
think that gives you the right to..." The Nduli cut him off.
"Say no more then. One paw scratches the other. You saved my life
and now Scar I'm going to help you along with yours. I'm named Nduli
because at 6 months I killed my first gazelle. A very small and young
one yes, but large prey just the same. Hunting and breathing are one
to me, I do one as easily as the other. Come with me and I'll give you
a few lessons."
Nduli began to walk away, motioning with her tail for Scar to
follow. He paused for a moment. Then thought to himself. "A lion taking
killing lessons from a cheetah?" He looked an saw that Nduli was making
away and rushed to catch up with her.
Scar spent that first day dozing and waking underneath a large
acacia tree. Nduli had a den nearby and promptly crawled down into it
when they reached her home. Popping her head from the opening she told
Scar he could stay nearby if he was willing to take her up on her offer
and if not, "then good luck to you my friend and please don't hang
around too long you'll frighten off my game." Having said that she
pulled back into her den site(which was an abandoned honey badger
burrow that had been dug into a small incline) and Scar could soon
hear her quiet raspy snoring.
Still not sure why he chose to hang around he settled back onto the
grass under the tree. His stomach growled softly. He was beginning to
get hungry again. Funny how often you got that way when you had to hunt
for yourself. He scanned around instinctively from something that
might present itself as an opportunity, but there was nothing to be
found. It was the time of the high sun and most sensible animals were
resting in the shade. Thinking this would be good advice to follow
,Scar lay his head on his paws.
He found his mind wandering back to the Pride Lands. He wondered how
Simba and the lionesses were fairing. When he left, there hadn't been
much worth staying for. The herd animals had left long ago, their
numbers decimated from the lionesses efforts to feed both themselves
and the hyenas. It was his arrogance in his own abilities which led
him to believe he could control and manage both the hyena clan and the
lion pride. In his own inflated ego both tribes were in need of his
superior guidance. He had failed miserably. The constant fighting
between both groups, the insaitable greed of the hyenas, the
indiganance of the lionesses, even the very weather confounded his
efforts. Not that he really made much of one. He had been very content
to live off the kills of the lionesses and let things take their
course. He sighed heavily. It was useless to dwell on such things. So
thinking he drifted off into a light and fitful sleep.
A few hours before the dawn, Nduli had roused Scar and led him
across the grass. Walking silently behind her he could see why she was
a successful hunter. She was all liquid grace and confidence as she
moved. Smooth muscles rippled beneath her glossy spotted coat, the coat
of a creature who ate well and often. Occasionally she would halt and
raise her head, small ears swiveling as she tried to pick out signs of
any enemy or prey from the air.
They traveled for what seemed like a long time and Scar was just
about to ask her where they were head when Nduli crouched low and
stopped. She glanced back over her shoulder and when she saw that Scar
was still standing she hissed. Reading her message correctly Scar
followed suit and lay down next to her.
"Look there, lion straight ahead." She whispered.
Peering through the tall yellow grass he could make out faint shapes
moving slowly in front of him. Whatever they were they were well
camouflaged by the high grass.
"They're gazelles and we're downwind. Follow me, move like I move
okay." Nduli crept forward slowly walking on her haunches.
Scar tried to move forward, but the uncomfortable position
cramped his legs and he jerkily made his way behind her. Hearing the
loud rustling he made as he inched forward, Nduli spun her head around
and gave him an angry scowl.
"Stay there," She crept back to where he crouched, "Now it's time
for your first lesson." She whispered into his ear. "Look at the herd,
take your time and pick your prey. I won't interfere."
Scar wasn't sure what she wanted. He swept his eyes over the
herd. He had remembered from somewhere in the teachings of his mother
and the other lionesses that he should be looking for an animal that
stood out from the rest.
But all of them looked the same to Scar, there was nothing to
distinguish one animal from the next. They all blended together in a
sea of horns and tan hides. He looked to Nduli hoping to be able to
read her expression and perhaps pick out a clue as to which animal was
the right one. She merely shrugged and then looked at the grass between
"Okay then," he thought, "I'll just pick any one." He looked back
to herd and then saw him. The gazelle moved slowly around the
parameters of the herd, pausing every once in a while to sniff the air
about him. He was a handsome animal, with a glossy coat and a body
filled out with fat. Scar involuntarily licked his chops in
anticipation of tearing into the animal's flesh. This is was the meal
he was going to have.
The large male gazelle moved closer to the pair laying in the grass.
"Good, good," he thought, "just a little closer and...."
Breaking his train of thought when the gazelle came close enough
that he could see it's nostrils twitch he charged at the startled
animal. Fangs bared and claws shot he leapt toward the gazelle meaning
to grab hold of the animals hindquarters and pull it down.
Instead he felt a sharp pain in his chin and tongue as his teeth
snapped together violently. He fell backward onto the grass, yelping
with surprise. He regained himself in enough time to watch his intended
quarry bounce away, tail flashing and showing a white rump toward the
rest of the herd.
"Come ladies," he heard the gazelle say, "lets go. This lion is very
stupid, but there may be others around." In a great surge the gazelle
herd bounded away following their sire to a safe distance.
From behind him he could hear Nduli first chuckling and then
breaking into rollicking gales of laughter. He flattened his ears and
turned to her with all the dignity he could muster.
"Oh, goodness!", Nduli yowled, "I knew you were a poor hunter, but
how poor I could not even begin to imagine." She rolled in the grass
unable to contain her amusement.
Scar rubbed the spot on his chin that the gazelle had kicked, there
was no cut but there would be a nasty bruise.
"Hmph! Well no need to get so incredibly jolly about this."
Nduli smirked at him, "Oh Scar, do you even know what you did wrong?
Listen, you went for the head buck of that herd. The animal with the
most to loose. I mean, you do know that he gets to mate with all those
females don't you? Pretty good reason to stay fit and alert don't you
think?" She raised herself to her feet.
"Of course I do! What do you take me for an idiot?" Scar's
annoyance grew as Nduli continued looking at him with a wry grin on her
"So, then if you knew that, why did you waste precious energy
trying to kill an animal that had no intention of letting you?" She
snapped. Her tail wagged back and forth with impenitence, the corner of
her mouth raised showing a smooth, white tooth.
"Well what am I supposed to settle for some underfed, sickly
beast. That's a waste of energy if you ask me."
Nduli got up and walked over to Scar. Her shoulders raised and
head lowered. Scar got the strange feeling that he was being stalked.
Nose to nose with him she stopped and raised her eyes to meet his with
a derisive stare.
"That's exactly what you're going to do. Do you think the
Savannah gives an elephant turd that you're a lion? Do you really think
that a healthy animal quite capable of escaping you is going to lie
down and give up it's life for you? Please! This is not some pride of
obedient females that's going to bring your meals to you your majesty.
Out here you learn to settle or you die with your arrogance in tact!"
The Lonely Path
They walked back to the den site in silence. Scar was embarrassed by
his performance on the hunt. He had never realized how little he
actually knew about taking care of himself. The lionesses of his
father's pride had tried to teach him the basics of hunting. But there
had always been other things to pay attention to or think about as
these lessons were taught. A butterfly landing in the grass, a flock of
vultures flying overhead, anything seemed more interesting than what
his mother and aunt had to say. The lessons seemed pointless anyway, he
was a male in the pride and as such had no real work to do.
Now he could see that the laziness of his youth, indeed the laziness
of his entire life was going to be the end of him. Alone with no pride
and unable to bring down a meal he would soon weaken and die. He was
scared, if it wasn't for this cheetah he would have no chance at all.
He trotted up to her side.
"Umm, Nduli, I'm very sorry I acted that way. I do promise to pay
attention to you from now on." He looked shyly in her direction.
She looked back at him, there was no amusement or forgiveness on her
"Listen Scar, it matters not at all to me if you learn. Take it or
leave it. Take it and my debt to you is repaid. Leave it and there is
one less lion in the world. Now you know the way back to my den from
here don't you? Good, go there if you like, I have other business to
attend to, namely feeding myself."
She quickened her pace and veered off from Scar. He stopped walking
and watched her until she disappeared, a small buff colored shape among
other buff colored shapes. Sighing he sat down and just continued to
stare into the distance. The cool morning breeze ruffled his mane. It
was so quiet.
He had never been so alone in his life. Even though he had spent
much of his time in his cave when he was back home there had always
been someone nearby. He could leave his cave and find the lionesses
sunning themselves on the grass or hear Zazu's chatter. But here there
was no one. He wasn't sure how to react to the situation. Before he
could always rely on his acrid wit and snide comments. Here there was
no one to either hear or care.
He made his way slowly back to Nduli's den. When he reached it he
lay down and settled his chin on his paws. He had not lain there long
when he heard the beat of wings overhead. Looking up he saw two large
vultures settle on the tree that overlooked Nduli's den.
They were ugly beasts, black glossy feathers and naked heads
glistening in the early morning sun. They peered at Scar with very
beady eyes and then the larger of the two turned and addressed his
"You see brother, poor beast. He will be our next big meal I think.
Don't you agree."
The smaller vulture nodded. "Oh most definitely. Just look at the
wretched creature. Why he's just skin and bones."
Scar raised his lips showing his teeth to the vultures. The nasty
and sardonic birds had never been a favorite of Scar's or anyone else's
for that matter; given as they were to taunts and teases at the expense
of their soon to be meals. He raised a growl from his throat hoping to
two birds would scatter. They squawked and raised their wings in mock
fright and then promptly began chuckling.
"Ohhh, yess," hissed the larger vulture, "all skin...skin we shall
rip and tear and gobble down." It scuttled down the branch and craned
it's neck toward the lion in the grass.
Scar rose now, a low growl rumbling in his throat. The vultures
knowing that they were too high up to be in any danger only laughed and
began to hop up and down on the tree branch; their great weight shaking
"Yes, lion meat," shrieked the smaller, "I love lion meat! Is that
what you are lion? Dead meat?"
"Yes, he is," the larger vulture said, "Dead meat!"
Enraged and unable to take the cruel taunts any longer, Scar flung
himself at the tree. His claws scored deep furrows into the wood . The
vultures began chanting "Dead meat." over and over. After all this lion
could get as mad as he wanted, lions couldn't climb trees. It was all
far too amusing to stop.
Which of course made it all the more shocking when they realized
that the lion was now in the tree with them and looked as if he was
about to tear their still beating hearts from their chests.
"Dead meat am I?," Scar snarled, "We shall see who is meat to whom."
He swiped at the vultures with a great paw, his long claws whickered
past very close to the larger birds head. Apparently all the sport was
gone from this game and it was time to move along.
"Let's get out of here," screamed the larger, "this one can climb!"
Both birds took off in a frenzy, shedding shiny black feathers into
the air as they went. Scar watched them take off, disappointed that he
had not been able to catch one of them. Still he felt a certain
satisfaction at seeing the backs of the nasty brutes.
But after the rush of climbing the tree was gone along with the
triumphant defeat of the vultures, Scar realized he had climbed up but
wasn't at all sure how to get back down. Looking down he realized that
the ground was quite far away. He felt sick and dug his claws deeper
into the wood.
Scanning the area looking for a particularly soft place to land he
noticed a slight shape parting the grass as it moved toward the den
site. It was Nduli returning from her hunt. Even from his high perch
Scar could see that her belly swayed back and forth with the fullness
of her meal. His stomach grumbled at the thought of food. He secretly
hoped she had bought him home a little something. But closer inspection
revealed she had nothing with her. Head down and with a distinct air of
annoyance, she walked right by the tree not even bothering to turn and
look at him.
"Get down you fool or you'll let the whole area know where my home
is." She mumbled to him, voice horse and low. Without further comment
she crawled down into the badger burrow and fell asleep.
The hours before dawn the next morning found teacher and pupil
following the same ritual as the day before. Nodule led Scar far
afield, located a small herd of Tompson's gazelles, lay back in the
grass and instructed Scar to select his prey and make a go of it.
This time Scar was determined to make an effort and carefully select
his mark. Slowly moving his eyes from one animal to the next he looked
for something that would tip him off to the animals position in the
herd. Some small sign of weakness or distraction that would make the
chase an easy one. It was very discouraging. The herd was a small one,
seemingly made up of young and healthy animals. He was just about to
give up and ask Nduli what should be done when he spotted him.
A rather thin gazelle moved toward the outer parameter of the herd.
It moved with a slightly irregular gait, putting its weight heavily to
the right side as it walked. This was the one. Scar almost shot out of
the grass after it but checked himself. No, the gazelle was still too
far away. If he charged now it would slip back into the herd and be
lost. He would be patient.
With agonizing slowness the gazelle moved closer toward the two cats
in the grass; every once in a while it would raise its head and sniff
at the air. It found nothing to alarm it and it continued grazing.
"Closer," Scar thought, "Just a little....." Breaking his gaze on
the prey he glanced back at Nduli who lay silently behind him.
It was just enough noise and movement to alert the prey to the
presence of the hunter. It turned on its heels and began to jump away.
In a panic Scar bolted out of the grass after it. The gazelle was
amazingly fast for an injured animal. It bounded through the grass
effortlessly. Behind it Scar followed closely, breath coming in short
pants as he tried to close the ever widening distance between him and
It turned sharply, trying the shake the lion from its trail. It was
away from the herd now. Safety in numbers had been forgotten in its
terrified flight. Scar could feel the ache in his sides begin, but
still he pushed himself forward. He was hungry and desperate to have
the gazelle. Foam runnered back from his muzzle as he struggling to
catch his breath. From the right he heard Nduli shout.
"To me Scar! Drive him to me!" She burst from the grass and began
running head on toward the gazelle.
The little antelope snorted in surprise as it saw the second cat
coming toward it. It started to turn backward and then saw it still had
a lion on its tail and decided it would rather take its chances with
the cheetah. It sped toward Nduli and made a desperate leap into the
air as the two nearly collided.
Nduli jumped into the air at the same time the gazelle did and in
mid air grabbed hold of the animals middle with her front paws and
grasped its back with her teeth. The two slammed into the earth
heavily, rolling over and over on the grass. Desperately the gazelle
tried to escape, kicking wildly and mewling; but the cheetahs teeth
soon found its neck and with a quick snap severed the artery in the
neck. It lay for a few moments kicking and twitching as its life bled
out into the grass around it. When it finally became silent Nduli
released her grip and lay panting beside the body.
Still panting, Scar approached where Nduli and the dead gazelle lay.
He had to stifle the urge to roar at the cheetah and drive her from the
kill, pounce on it and tear it apart. It was tempting to do; it had
been a few days since Scars last meal. But better to learn how to feed
himself than indulge in this one meager gazelle. He lay next to her and
waited for her to speak.
When she had regained her composure she began to tear into the belly
of the animal. Without a word to him she tore a large portion from the
kill and tossed it to him. Then she picked up the rest of the kill and
walked away towards her den site. He looked at the piece of the kill
she gave him, then towards her. A feeling a rage came over him. He
picked up his meal and trotted after her although the pain in his sides
made it hard to run.
Catching up with her he walked side by side with her, glaring in her
direction. She ignored him for a few long moments and then stopped and
"What's the matter with you?" Her voice sounded angry even though
she still had a rather large piece of gazelle in her mouth.
Scar spat his portion to the ground towards her feet.
"Here! You can have this, I'd rather go find my own food if you're
going to be so disgustingly rude."
She rolled her eyes and then dropped her meal to the ground as well.
"Oh my, touchy aren't we lion? Would you like to have a little party
then? Share dinner beneath one of the acacia trees?"
Scar nearly cringed from the sarcasm dripping from her words. But
instead of appearing defensive, he smiled.
"Why my dear lady, there is nothing that I would find so
pleasurable. There's the perfect tree right over there, join me won't
Nduli snorted and then picked up her dinner and walked to the shady
acacia tree that Scar had indicated. She dropped down the ground in a
distinctly grumpy manner and unceremoniously began to tear off chunks
of meat. Scar joined her, making sure to sit far enough away to not
crowd the cheetah and also began tearing into his meal.
The two cats ate in silence and when both had eaten their respective
portions down to the bones began to groom. Scar watched Nduli from the
corner of his eye. She seemed more relaxed now that she had eaten and
he felt it would be safe to speak to her.
"Nduli?," he waited for her to respond in an angry manner but she
only cocked her ears toward him, "thank you for sharing your kill with
me, I was very hungry."
The cheetah nodded, "You earned part of it, you helped bring it
down. Although there are a few important things you need to work on."
Nduli stretched out on her side and gave a bone cracking yawn. She
chuckled at the sight of her rather large pupil eagerly leaning his
head forward to listen. "This will definitely be one to tell future
cubs." She thought.
"Okay, well for one thing, don't ever move once you've picked out
your prey and its close enough to ensure capture. That little move of
yours nearly spoiled the hunt. Focus your eyes on the prey and never
take them off. The rest of the world doesn't exist when you're looking
at your prey. It's you, the prey and nothing else. Once you've run for
more than a few moments it's all over."
"It was a foolish mistake I'll admit," Scar said as he gnawed on the
last of the gristle on the leg bone of the gazelle, "I've never
really hunted before this. Sure I've taken the occasional rabbit but
nothing really big. I'm afraid I've been terribly spoiled over the
years." He tossed the bone to one side with a disdainful flip of his
Nduli chuckled. "Aren't all of you lions terribly spoiled?"
"Not all of us, Nduli," Scar answered, "But you're right, pride life
doesn't do much to teach you how to look after yourself, at least not
if you're a male."
The cheetah began to clean the traces of blood from her whiskers.
She stopped after a moment and looked at Scar with a puzzled
"So, Scar I don't think you ever told me what you're doing out on
your own. It's rather unusual for a lion your age to be out on his own.
You're in your prime you should be settled down with a family by now.
Scar said nothing, he just looked at his paws. He knew sooner or
later she would ask this very question. He wasn't sure what to say; he
didn't want to lie to her, but he also wasn't sure how she would react
to his story. If she found out the truth she may very well abandon him.
So he decided a half truth was better than a lie or the truth.
"A younger male came into my pride and took it over." He avoided
her eyes afraid she would read something in the expression he wore.
"Oh, so you were ousted. Too bad. Must've been a very strong
young lion to kick you out."
Scar shrugged, "Yes, he was a very canny fighter and took me by
surprise. I'm headed toward the West to see what lies out there. Maybe
there I can find a place to spend the last of my days."
"Not interested in taking over another pride then?" Nduli asked.
"No, my days as a ruler are over," Scar lay back in the grass
feeling tired from the run and the meal, "I'll be content with a little
quiet and time for reflection. It's a been a long few seasons."
Nduli looked at Scar as he lay his head down and closed his eyes.
There was something in that last statement that made her feel cold,
there was something behind his words that he wasn't letting her know.
His eyes so full of far away sadness and regret were what gave him
away. Laying her own head down she decided she would find out this
lion's secret one way or another.
Truce and Tension
If one thing could be said about Scar, aside from anything else,
was that he was a quick study. While he was slight in size his mind
more than made up for any deficiencies he might have had. Nduli had to
admit that day by day her unusual pupil was becoming less of a
liability and more of an asset.
This was not to say he wasn't still a bit rough around the edges;
Scar often found himself either sore or bleeding after an outing. But
even though he was kicked and battered by his prey he continued taking
the lessons seriously. The hard work was paying off handsomely; more
often than not both cats would wind their way home from a hunt their
full bellies swaying as they walked.
Over time the relationship between the two also changed. Scar
found Nduli an intelligent and thoughtful creature under the abrasive
exterior she most often showed him. Late afternoons often found the two
lounging under the tree by Nduli's burrow, occasionally talking, but
mostly just laying quietly in the shade. She was still quick to anger
when he scared off the herd or tripped in chasing down his prey; but it
was a friendly sort of anger and no longer provoked him the way it used
to. He could sense that much of the discomfort she had once felt in his
presence had abated and he was glad. He liked Nduli, enjoyed her
company and for once in a very long time felt completely at ease
Scar could see why Nduli looked as well fed as she did. She never
passed up any opportunity, more like a hyena than a cheetah in that
respect. So, in addition to the hunts for the small and swift antelope
of the plain, she also instructed him on the ways of smaller game such
as rabbit and voles. She showed him how to dig into the huge termite
mounds and lap up the fat, little insects inside. While this took some
getting used to, Scar found he liked the taste quite a bit and made a
mental note to not pass up a mound when he found one. Although, he
enjoyed the variety of the menu, some experiments were better than
others. Once Nduli found a large fish (it was in fact an African
lungfish) in the mud surrounding the waterhole, it had stranded itself
and was unable to get back to the depths of the water. She quickly
slapped it onto the grass with her paw and tore into the flapping,
gasping fish. She offered Scar, who sat looking at the whole production
rather skeptically. a taste of her catch and while he politely took it,
he silently spit it out and hid it under his paw when she wasn't
looking. He made a mental note that fish were only to be eaten in
Nduli herself had to admit to a grudging liking of Scar. He was
unlike any lion she had ever seen in both looks and in temperament.
Nduli had had her run ins with the great maned cats before and none
could have been said to be positive. Lions, in her experience, were
nothing more than lazy bullies. For all their so called nobility they
had no qualms about snatching a hard caught meal or terrorizing young
Scar however seemed made of different stuff. Small in size, built
far more like her than a hulking male lion; he possessed a rather
detached and almost humble air. That's not to say he didn't have his
overbearing sense of dignity, which showed itself most strongly when he
would miss a kill, but it wasn't the same as most lions. Occasionally
she would catch herself looking at him out of the corner of her eye;
admiring his glossy, black mane and long legs. Then she would shake her
head as if to dislodge the thoughts and go about doing something else
to distract her. After all he was only a lion.
One morning Scar awoke before Nduli, he could hear her raspy
snoring coming from the burrow, and decided to surprise his teacher
with a freshly caught breakfast delivered to her door. He had been very
successful on the hunt of late and now felt really ready to try himself
without his teacher. It was a beautiful day, the mist still hanging
over the land like a soft, moist blanket. He trotted towards the
accustomed hunting grounds careful not to reveal himself to any prey
animals that might be about. He wasn't exactly sure why he wanted to
prepare a little gift for Nduli. She had been distinctly grumpy the day
before and so he felt she might like rolling out of bed with her meal
Anyway, Scar wanted to show off. He knew he had some skills and
he meant to show them. Or at least show them to her. Something in him
wanted to impress Nduli, to win her respect. Bringing home his first
solo kill he felt was sure to do it. Lifting his nose to the air he
caught the sent of a large group of hoofed animals close by. Hunkering
down to the ground he slowly inched forward until they came into sight.
They were a herd of wildebeests, a small one, no more than two
hundred strong, but there were a number of yearlings and calves that
looked his size. He locked his gaze on a young wildebeest and decided
that this would be his prize. Unfortunately in his haste he failed to
take notice of the large bull which stood beside it, so when he rushed
at the young beast the larger one turned into his attack and caught the
lion with his horns. Scar was tossed into the air like a rag doll. The
force of the blow knocked him senseless and instead of landing on his
feet he tumbled onto his side. The herd took up in flight. All at once
they rushed toward him, hooves knocking him, bodies jostling him. In a
panic he began to run with them, desperately trying to keep himself
from falling beneath the slashing hooves. Knocked back and forth Scar
barely managed to push his way to the front of the herd and veer out of
their way. They thundered away leaving him bleeding in the grass. He
watched as they ran away and then faded out. A dark crumpled shape
lying in the bloody dust.
He didn't come to right away, but when he did the pain he felt in
his body made him want to pass out again. Grunting, he pulled himself
to his feet. He examined himself closely. He had gotten a nasty cut
along his right flank and the taste of blood was strong in his mouth.
Closer inspection revealed a loose tooth and he winced with pain when
he touched it with his tongue. It would be many days until he would be
able to hunt with pleasure. He wasn't sure what to tell Nduli either.
She would certainly be angry, he was angry at himself. Some first solo
kill, he had nearly been the kill. He decided he better get moving
before his wounds made him stiff. Gathering up what little strength he
had, he began to make his way home.
He was not half a mile from the den site when he heard a high
pitched squeal. It was a shriek of pain and fear and it was very
familiar. Without thought he dashed towards the den ignoring the
screams of pain coming from his own limbs. In the distance he could see
a large tawny shape by the acacia tree by the den. The fear shriek came
again and this time he recognized it. It was Nduli! Instinctively he
lowered his head and threw himself bodily at the strange, tawny beast.
He hit it with the same strength the wildebeests used to barrel into
Giving a yelp of surprise the beast rolled over and over on the
grass; knocked a few yards by Scar's charge. He leapt at the animal and
pinned it beneath his long claws. He found himself looking into the
face of an adolescent lion. He was young, just beginning to grow a
mane; he looked up at his enraged black maned attacker with surprise.
"I'm, I...I'm sorry," he stammered, "I didn't scent any lions
around here, I didn't know this was your territory. Look let me kill
that cheetah for you, eh pal. W, We don't need to fight."
Scar roared into the youngsters' face; his rage blood red and
ready to kill. Blood from his tooth spattered onto the young lions
face. Scar looked more like a demon than a lion. Mane wild and blood
dripping from his muzzle. The young stranger sensed the danger he was
in, smelled the killing rage pouring out of his attacker and bounded to
his feet, not caring if he tore his shoulders struggling out from under
Scar's claws. Without looking back at the black maned, bloody mouthed
horror he raced over the tiny hillside. Scar thought of following, of
tearing the young lion to bits, when a soft moan bought him out of the
Nduli lay in the grass, she was panting, foam dripped from her
mouth. Without waiting for her to say anything Scar rushed to her side
and touched her head.
"Nduli, are you all right," looking at her he could see a large,
bloody gash across her side. She was breathing heavily and looked like
she was in shock.
Shaking, she turned to Scar, "I thought he was going to kill me,
oh Scar, you came...I thought he killed me....." She trailed off and fell
to licking a forepaw absently.
"Shh, I'm here, he won't be back and if he comes back I'll kill
him I swear it!" He nuzzled Nduli's head.
"But.... What am I going to do Scar? I can't hunt like this. I've
never been hurt like this before. What am I going to do?" Tears began
forming at the corners of her eyes.
He hated to see her like this, cursed himself for leaving her
alone to be mauled by the strange lion. he wanted to take her and make
her well and unafraid again. That look at he first met when he rescued
her from the rockslide had returned and it made the pit of his stomach
He touched her head with his paw. "Don't worry I'll take care of
you." But even as he said this he could feel the bruises forming from
his trampling of that morning and feared that this promise would be
impossible to keep. He bent his head down and sniffed at Nduli's side.
The tear was deep, down into the muscle, there would be no running for
her for some time. She mewled in pain as he began to clean the wound.
She would have to stay in the den until she was healed. She reeked of
blood and any opportunistic predator in the area would be drawn to her.
With some difficulty Scar urged her to her feet and guided her
into her den. She slid into the hole awkwardly, landing noisily on her
side. The small trek from the field to the den had exhausted her. Scar
followed. It was a tight fit, he had to jam his shoulders into the
small space and squeeze around until finally he burst forward into the
den. Once inside he saw that in fact it was very spacious, an
underground cave of sorts. Nduli had lined the rocky floor with grass
and branches. Already she had crawled to the far side of the den and
had curled up in her sleeping nest. Passing in and out of consciousness
she lay quietly and allowed Scar to clean her up and then go to sleep
in the far corner. In a few short moments she herself was sleeping.
The first thing Scar noticed when he woke up was that one of his
teeth was laying on the floor of the den. In the night the loose tooth
had gotten during the wildebeest attack had come off it's moorings.
Running his tongue along his gum he was relived to realize that the
hole in his mouth had also healed in the night. There was no pain and
for this he was glad.
The same could not be said of his right flank, which was stiff
and sore. He stood as much as he could in the den and tried it. He had
to quickly sit down as it cramped. Hunting for at least the next week
would be impossible; he would find food somehow, but catching it
himself was out of the question. Nduli still slept, Scar could hear her
breathing, thankfully she had not died during the night as some animals
do when in shock.
He decided to let her sleep and took leave of the den quietly. It
was dusk , the two had slept through the day. The whirring of the vast
numbers of crickets had already begun and Scar inhaled the cool night
air deeply. He was hungry; it had been a day and a half since his last
meal and he could imagine when Nduli woke she would be ravenous. In any
case if they were both to heal quickly they would have to eat well.
His flank pained him badly, but there was no smell of infection and so
decided the best course of action was to find some small game to
He spent the rest of the night digging voles out of their
underground nests. Methodically he searched out the dimples in the
grass that marked their burrow entrances and as Nduli had shown him,
plowed through the earth until he had a chance to grab the small,
cowering animals and dispatch of them with a shake of his head. The
digging was tiring work; more than once he had to stop and lie down,
feeling his wounded leg throb. He ate some of his catch right away.
Crushing the small rodents in his powerful jaws. It wasn't much of a
meal and the fur on them tickled his throat; but by the time the sun
began to slowly rise he had eaten enough of them that the whistling
hole in his belly had been stopped. Left with a small pile of the dead
voles; he had been collecting them during the night carrying them in
his mouth from place to place, he gathered them up and went back to the
Nduli was awake. She lay in the corner, head on her paws. She
neither spoke nor moved as Scar entered the den. She as obviously still
very much shaken up by the event. He dropped his cargo on the floor and
came to her side of the den. Lying quietly beside her for a moment he
listened to her breathing. It was steady and sniffing her wound
revealed no trace of infection. She allowed him to clean the wound
with no reprimand, in fact she said not a word, just lay her ears back
and flinched when he touched a sore spot. When Scar was satisfied with
it's cleanliness, he went to the other side of the cave and brought
back two of the voles he had brought with him. He dropped them in front
of the cheetah's nose.
She didn't move to take the offered rodent. Only sighed and
closed her eyes. Scar pushed the vole forward with his nose, pressing
it up against Nduli's mouth. She had to eat. Scar was terrified that
she would die and leave him alone. Alone with no training, alone to
starve. When she only made a whimpering sound in response to his
gesture, he tore into the tiny animal. He put a small piece of the
rodent in front of Nduli's face. Raising his eyebrows he silently he
implored her to eat. Looking up at him, she gave a weary half smile and
gingerly took the food from him. She ate half of what he tried to feed
her and then lay her head back on her paws. Within moments she was
sleeping. Feeling his leg flare up again Scar agreed that this was a
good idea. Lowering himself where he stood he lay next to the cheetah.
He could feel her breath on his face and the light weight of her tail
on his foot as he drifted off.
Chapter 10 The King of the River
Within two days of his mishap with the wildebeest Scar could once
again walk with comfort. Hunting was still out of the question. He
would not be able to endure the battering of the prey when he tried to
take it down, but he could at least get up to a brisk walk without
feeling faint. Nduli was still very much the same. Sullen and quiet she
lay in the den not speaking. Scar was worried about her; this behavior
was so unlike her. He had expected that she would soon be back to her
grouchy, old self. This had not happened so far. So far she had lain
like a helpless cub, allowing him to groom her and lie close by. While
he wasn't complaining it was off putting to say the least
That was something he found odd as well. Scar had never liked
cubs, never was one to show affection towards another. The one time he
had been with a lioness it had been quick and passionless with little
love lost between them. He couldn't remember the last time he had
groomed anyone other than himself and yet.....He groomed Nduli twice a
day, more than was really necessary, smoothing down her ruffled fur and
inhaling her scent. Her scent.....her wonderful scent......he wanted to roll
around in it, he wanted........
Scar shook himself and picked up the pace of his walking. The
thoughts he had at the moment lay uncomfortably on him and he walked
quickly as if to out run them. Now was not the time for such thoughts
any way. Food was what was important right now. He needed to find them
a substantial meal and soon. He could feel himself weakening. He would
most certainly collapse back into lameness if he didn't regain some
strength. He ranged farther than normal searching desperately for
carrion of some sort.
There were many prey animals around. Topi, gazelle and hartebeest
all grazed around him. They ignored him as he walked by, sensing by his
demeanor that he could do them no harm. He bristled as he passed;
annoyed that so much good meat should be around him with no way for him
to get it. He had to find real food. Mice and grubs and termites were
fine in a pinch, but both he and Nduli needed more.
He came to the river, here he stopped and drank. The day was hot
and the walk had drained him. He looked into the water trying to see if
there were any fish he could scoop out. He didn't care for the slimy,
stinky things, but at the moment he wasn't feeling very particular. He
found nothing but small frogs, which quickly darted away underwater
when they saw him. Discouraged he followed the river a small way. What
he saw gave him immediate hope and then dashed it to bits as he took a
Lying in the shallows was the large carcass of a wildebeest. The
animal lay half in half out of the water. Flies buzzed around its head
in a black cloud, the lifeless eyes stared up at the blue, cloudless
sky. His mouth watered, here was enough food to feed himself and bring
back to Nduli. He started forward eagerly and then brought up short
when he saw what lay beside the carcass.
A large crocodile lay in the shallows beside its kill. Barely
submerged in the water it silently lay, looking deceptively like a log.
Scar knew better. If he came near that log it would rear up and break
his leg. He was sure that's what the beast was waiting for. Crocodiles
could be greedy killers and he was sure this one wouldn't mind adding
lion to its menu. Instead of approaching he sat down and considered the
situation. Taking in the scene he noticed that the crocodile had
already ripped off and partially eaten the wildebeests left haunch. It
lay about two feet from the reptile's mouth. If he was uninjured he
might just try to take a stab at filching the haunch, but in his
condition he wasn't sure if his leg would'nt let him down. Crocs could
be fast on land and the day was sunny enough that the great beast had
plenty of energy. But like all cats, trying to devise a way to get the
haunch intrigued Scar. Taking care to keep his distance he strolled
towards the crocodile in a nonchalant manner.
"Ah, good day," he said giving the beast his most conniving grin,
"lovely day today isn't it?"
The croc not one to be outdone answered in his most conniving
"Why yes lion it is a beautiful afternoon. What brings you to my
river? Thirsty? Come down and have a drink"
Scar smiled inwardly. The croc didn't waste much time. "No thank
you friend. I've just had some, couldn't take another drop. Many thanks
for the offer though."
The croc nodded, "Very well. Although I'm sure you're hungry.
Please have some of my kill. It's such a very large wildebeest and I
couldn't possibly finish it all. Please, take some with compliments
from the King of the river."
The croc waved it's tail in the water stirring up mud. It soon
was camoflouged by the swirling dirt, which hid the fact that its legs
where tensed, ready for it to lunge forward when the lion moved to the
kill. Scar wouldn't be drawn. Instead he sat a respectful distance from
the river's edge.
"No thank you again, friend. I've just gorged myself to bursting
and I couldn't eat another bite. It is most kind of you to offer though
your majesty." He smiled his most sincere smile at the croc.
The croc was annoyed having failed at his second attempt to draw
the lion towards him. He didn't trust the black maned cat. No animal
ever stayed just to chat and he could see the lion eyeing the carcass.
Still he lay in the shallows gently waving his tail to and fro.
Scar got up and walked slightly towards the carcass, out of the
corner of his eye he saw the croc steady itself. He tensed his muscles
ready to dash off if it made any sudden movements. It didn't, just lay
waving it's tail.
"This is an enormous kill you've made," he nodded that the
carcass admiringly, "yes quite impressive. However this animal must
have been injured for he is way too large for anyone, even the Great
River King, to kill."
The croc huffed; he was an ancient animal and quite proud of his
skill as a hunter. Very few animals that came to the river to drink and
then had the misfortune to find themselves in his grasp managed to
escape. How dare this scrawny lion question his abilities?
"Of course I killed him and no he was not injured. This here is a
male, full in his prime and I killed him quite easily. More than you
could do I might add." The tail lashing in the water became more
violent as the croc grew agitated. Scar could tell that with a little
more prodding all pretense of pleasantry would be dropped and the beast
would be out of the water and on his heels.
"No question great King, my apologies if I ever doubted you, I
meant no offense. But, you see I've never seen your kind in action
before. Obviously those jaws are more than capable of crushing the very
life out of anyone unfortunate to find themselves in them. I would love
to see you at work my friend you are most impressive."
Scar could see the croc was taking the flattery well. He visibly
puffed up and raised his head above the water as if to give the lion a
full view of those well spoken of powerful jaws. Scar sat again and
nodded smiling at the croc wistfully.
"I wish I was even one tenth as strong as you are great King. Why
the damage I could do. I would be the terror of the plains; all the
beasts would run in fear at the very sight of me. They must do that for
you, don't they your majesty?"
The croc was no longer lashing it's tail, instead it was lying in
the shallows peacefully. Seemingly beguiled by Scars admiring tone and
the respectful looks he cast in its direction.
"Yes they do lion. In fact you are the first creature to ever
stay and talk and not run in terror. You must be very inexperienced or
else very stupid." The croc laughed, but Scar only smiled.
"Perhaps, I am a bit inexperienced. But you see I just had to
come for myself and take a good look at you. All the animals talk of
the great river King and well I just had to see what all the fuss was
about." He looked about for a moment and then turned to the croc. "I
wonder, as a request from a loyal subject, if you could perhaps show me
how those wonderful jaws of yours work."
"Why not at all, please come here and take a good look." The croc
opened his mouth very wide giving Scar full view of the rows of sharp
"No, no," Scar shook his head, "nothing like that. I mean to see
you crush something. Something big. It would be quite a show for me.
Hmmm," he looked about again and then spied what he was looking for,
"something like that piece of wood over there."
He pointed to a rather broad, flat piece of wood which was
floating in the shallows a few feet from the croc. It was about as
thick as his foreleg but not nearly so long. The croc chuffed with
"That tiny thing? No problem I'll splinter it to bits."
"I don't know, I mean break it with it lengthwise in your mouth.
That's a thick piece of wood. Even the great river King might have
trouble breaking it."
The croc swam to the floating wood and laughed. "I can snap that
quicker than I can snap your neck. I'll show you, come closer and help
me get hold of it."
Scar was now sure the croc meant to show off first and then kill
him. He walked to the waters edge cautiously, keeping a close eye on
the huge beast. It was a gamble to be sure, but he and Nduli's life
might count on it. The croc made no move to attack, only opened his
mouth and motioned for Scar to position the chunk of wood in his jaws.
He did so with some difficulty, wedging the piece in the middle of the
crocs open jaws. When he was satisfied that he had jammed it in the
right spot he moved back a step.
"Go on, break it." The croc tried to close his jaws and found he
had no space to gain any momentum. Scar shook his head. "Come on, river
King, snap it in two." The croc struggled trying to dislodge the wood
with his tongue to no avail Scar had wedged it in tight and made sure
that it wouldn't come loose easily. The reptile became furious,
twisting and rolling trying to rid itself of the strong piece of wood
holding it's mouth open. Scar chuckled.
"Well Great River King, it looks as if those powerful jaws of
yours aren't working in top condition this afternoon. Must be tired out
from all the work they did killing this wildebeest." He strolled over
to the carcass and the dismembered haunch. "Speaking of which, since
you are so disposed at the moment perhaps I will take you up on that
offer of a meal."
The croc lunged at Scar who quickly hopped away. The croc could
do him no real harm now. It shook its head back and forth; it was
tiring quickly and was terrified that it would never get the wood
jammed in its mouth free. It forgot about its meal and crawled back to
the shallows, rolling and thrashing in the water. Scar smiled and then
picked up the haunch and carried it a safe distance from the bank. Then
he returned to the carcass and began tearing into it keeping a watchful
eye on the frantic, thrashing croc.
He ate until he had gorged himself. The croc had long since given
up and now lay in the shallows eyeing the lion furiously. Every now and
again he mumbled something about tearing Scar apart, but the lion just
shrugged and went back to eating. When he had filled himself he smiled
at the now silent reptile, bowed his head and said. "Good day great
river King and thank you for your hospitality. I suspect the vultures
and jackals will be thanking you for the same in a week or two." With a
flip of his tail in the crocs direction he picked up the haunch and
left the bank.
He didn't make for the den site right away. His full belly urged
him to lie in the cool shade for a while and sleep. A few jackals came
close eyeing the haunch he carried, but when he told him of the trick
he had played on the crocodile they quickly went to investigate and
never came back. He was sure by now many carrion eaters were enjoying
the fruits of his slyness and so he let himself fall asleep in the
shade of a rock outcrop with his paw draped protectively over the meat.
He didn't awake until well after noon. The full meal still lay
heavily in his stomach and he wished he could just lie back down in the
shade and doze off. However, he knew he needed to get back. Nduli would
be awake by now and would probably be very hungry. He stretched his
long legs and then picked up the meat and ambled off in the direction
of the den site moving slowly through the yellow, brown grass. His leg
still ached and it throbbed a low reminder to him to not over work it.
The quick dodge away from the lunging croc had pulled it back out a bit
and the pain had returned. On the way home he had to stop three times
to rest and stretch the muscle when it cramped up on him. It was
already falling into dusk as he reached familiar terrain and could see
in the distance the small acacia that grew next to Nduli's home.
As he neared it he became aware of a plaintive wailing. The
crying voice was full of fright and hopelessness; it spoke of
desperation and despair. He dropped his cargo absently on to the ground
and raced towards the sound. The sight that greeted him made his heart
fall in his chest. He found Nduli walking slowly through the grass,
calling in a high pitched squeak, the sound of a mother cheetah
searching for her cubs. He could see her trembling and she moved her
head around continually as if expecting an attack at any moment. She
looked so small, as if she had shrunk inside her coat. Scar slowed,
afraid to approach her too quickly, she seemed so lost and unsure of
her surroundings and he didn't want to startle her further. She
swiveled her head around and saw him standing silently in the grass.
Her eyes widened and at once she made a halfhearted dash to him. She
stumbled and fell on her way, her hind legs giving out.
Behind him Scar heard the flutter of wings and the ribald
croaking of two rusty voices. Looking back he saw the two vultures that
had taunted him after his first hunt alight on the tree by the den.
They peered down at the shaking cheetah with their beaks open in greedy
anticipation. He raised his lip to them giving them a full view of his
long, white fangs. The birds drew back but didn't leave. They seemed
sure of their meal and weren't about to let this opportunity pass them
by. Breaking his gaze on the grey, winged horrors in the tree, Scar
looked down at Nduli. Her back legs lay limply in a tangled mess behind
her and her breath came in short pants. Without a word he grasped the
nape of her neck in his mouth and lifted her as best he could. Slowly
he walked to den, trying not to drag her too roughly. She was
frighteningly light and already had lost much of the weight the good
eating had put on her. Awkwardly he pushed her into the den headfirst,
trying to drop her gently. She landed with a thud on the rock floor but
made no cry of pain or scold in reproach. Scar was worried. She had
seemed like so much dead weight as he carried her.
He walked back to the wildebeest haunch he had dropped. Again he
looked up at the tree and vultures which roosted there looking at him
angrily. They nodded to him. "She's finished you know," the larger one
croaked, "you may as well go on lion."
"Yes, done for," the smaller concurred, "why the way she wandered
around in circles calling for you. She's gone mad you know. No good"
"What would you know about it, you filthy thieves?" Scar snarled
up at them, "She's strong and will be fine. I've been mad before too
and I'm quite strong." He clicked his claws against the ground. "Come
on down from there cowards and I'll show you."
The larger vulture laughed, "Very well, very well. Stay with the
addled beast. But mark me, in a day or two all that will be left of her
is flesh and bone and we'll be prepared." The birds flew off into the
darkening sky, leaving Scar to sit and wonder how much of their cruel
talk was true. He shuddered as he thought of her spending hours
searching for him in the same place, too far gone to realize that she
wasn't going anywhere. It was as if any part of her true personality
had taken leave and had left behind nothing, a blank space.
He entered the den slowly; Nduli was still lying where he had
dropped her, eyes tightly shut and breathing heavily. He carefully made
is way in to avoid stepping on her, then lay close to her and spoke
"Nduli?" he nuzzled her ear, talking gently into it, "Come on
spotty, time to go to bed." He nudged her trying to get her to open her
eyes. She turned her head slowly and looked at him. She seemed far
away, looking past him into some other place which lay beyond the rock
wall of the den. He licked her forehead, it was burning hot to the
touch and the sickly, sour smell of infection hung over her like a
dismal cloud. She blinked slowly and buried her head in his mane.
"I thought you left me." she said in a shaky voice, "Don't go
Scar, I don't want to die alone."
He wrapped a paw around her, "Don't talk like that, you're not
going to die. I won't let you."
He stood over her and grabbed the nape of her neck. He dragged
her to her nest and then began looking her over. The wound on her side
had taken on a nasty greenish tinge and smelled awful. She had
deteriorated much in the afternoon while he was gone. He licked the
jagged cut until it broke open again and the blood began to flow freely
from it. She lay silent, not even having the strength to whimper in
protest. She just lay in her grass nest, her glazed over eyes staring
vacantly at the rock wall .
Scar meanwhile, racked his brain to remember an incident that had
taken place in the Pride Lands long ago. When Mufasa had just become
king one of the lionesses of the pride had taken ill with an infection
in a wound in her mouth. She had gotten it after cutting her lip of the
sharp edge of a broken bone she had tried to chew. She also had taken
ill with a fever and the pride shaman had been called. Rafiki had given
her some leaves to chew to rid herself of the fever. They were bitter
and made the lioness sick to her stomach but after a few days of eating
the plant the infection had cleared up and the lioness was as good as
new. He couldn't really remember what the plant looked like (in truth
he hadn't really cared what happened to the sick lioness and so hadn't
paid much attention) but he could remember the smell. Curious, he had
gone to see what Rafiki would do for her and looked over the medicine
for himself. It was strong and distasteful; a powerful smell that
spoke of it's powerful healing ability. He was sure he could recognize
it again if he smelled it.
Looking down at his charge he could see that she had fallen into
a fitful, feverish slumber and that she would be in no mood to eat
tonight. Food could wait; he now had more pressing things to attend
to. Her sides rose and fell heavily with each labored breath. He nudged
her a couple of times to make sure she would stay asleep after he had
left the den once again. He wanted no repeat of the incident he had
returned home to. He wasn't sure where he was going to go, but he knew
he had the find that plant. It was the only thing he could think of.
He started in the immediate vicinity thrusting his nose into every
brush pile and tussock in the area. He found nothing except some thorns
that pricked his nose and made him bleed. Ranging farther he tried some
more, again to no avail. All night he wandered sniffing at every grass
and leaf he found. He walked so far that he wasn't even sure of what
direction he was going in anymore.
By the time the moon had reached it's pinnacle he was desperate
and at wits end. All of the plants looked the same to him and nothing
smelled at all like the bitter plant the lioness had taken. Maybe his
memory was faulty and he wasn't remembering right at all. Perhaps all
this searching was pointless and Nduli would die no matter how many
plants he brought back with him. He wished Rafiki were here. The old
baboon would know what to do and would fix Nduli's leg in a snap. The
old baboon always knew what to do. He was just Scar, not trained in
any of the healing ways and not at all sure what to do. He began to
believe the vultures had been right, that in a day or two he would find
Nduli cold and stiff in her sleeping nest. Overwhelmed by the
situation and long day of travel he collapsed on the ground. His throat
felt tight and he couldn't get the idea of Nduli's death from his mind.
The idea of the beautiful spotted cat laying silent forever. Exhaustion
gave way to exhausted tears and he lay in the tall grass crying because
in truth there was nothing more he could do.
"Now, now what is all this whimpering and moaning about here?" He
heard a comforting female voice from behind. Without bothering to
regain his composure he turned to the voice and saw a large female
elephant standing in the grass looking at him as one looks at a small-
injured cub. He had been so lost in thought that he hadn't noticed her
browsing nearby. "What's ever is the matter? It's not like a lion to
just lay in the grass crying, tell me what's wrong." She tilted her
head in a motherly gesture and smiled at him.
"My friend," he blurted out, " she's very sick....she..she's going
to die and I can't find the damn plant!" He collapsed once more into
tears. Embarrassed, but unable to ebb the tide of emotion that was
washing over him.
The elephant smiled and came over to him. She reached down with
her truck and patted Scar on his head. "There now, little lion, no need
to get all upset. Old Kilima will help you. Now what's wrong with your
Scar sniffled and cleared his throat and looked up at the
elephant. She had a kind face and smiled back at him warmly. "She's got
an infection and a bad fever. She's very sick and I need to find a
medicine plant. But I can't find it anywhere. I looked everywhere. She
really needs it she's going to die soon."
The elephant nodded, "Ah yes, the Afya plant, very strong
medicine. There's plenty to be found around here, no need to get
upset." She lifted his head with her trunk.
Scar looked startled, "But where? I looked everywhere, absolutely
Kilima laughed, "Why honey, you're just too short." She walked
over to a tall tree, which stood nearby and reached up with her trunk.
She pulled down a branch and threw it to him. It was as long as he was
and as thick around as his foreleg.
"Here you are darling, more than enough to cure what ails
anybody. Now dry your face and get yourself back to you friend. Make
sure she swallows at least five of the leaves a day. She may get a bit
ill in the stomach, but she must eat them."
Scar beamed up at the elephant. He couldn't believe his good
fortune. Smiling his broadest he said, "Thank you, you don't realize
what you've done for me, for both of us, my friend and me. Thank you."
The elephant waved her truck. "No problem and no thanks needed.
We elephants believe that all good deeds are rewarded here and in the
other world. It is the path to "Ema Jumu" and every creature that can
would do well to follow it. Now get yourself back home where you're
needed and good luck to you and your friend."
He bowed to the elephant and then picked the branch up in his
teeth and walked as quickly as he could back home. It took a while for
him to get his bearings and find the correct path back, but once sure
of the way he went as quickly as he could ignoring the pain in his legs
and the general fatigue of his body. Most of the night had already
slipped away during his search and time was of the essence.
Ndlui was still soundly sleeping when he returned; she lay as
still as death. He nudged her nose with his own trying to coax her
eyes open. The sooner she took the remedy the better. There was no way
for Scar to tell how far gone she was but he was not about to risk
letting another night slip past without trying to cure her. However,
she wouldn't awake, her head rolled listlessly as he nudged her. In
desperation Scar bit her ear, hard enough to draw blood.
She opened her eyes slowly. The glazed, overcast look remained.
"Kassi?", she asked, "Is that you?" She then closed her eyes again.
Frantic, Scar grabbed hold of her ear again in his teeth and shook the
"Wake up damn you!" The taste of her blood flooded his mouth and
he let her go, dropping her head on the floor hard enough to make a
Nduli's eyes snapped open and she winced. Blood flowed from her
ear and she must've received a nasty bump on the head. She looked up at
Scar and seemed to recognize who he was.
"Scar?" Her voice was weak, "What's going on?"
"I've brought something that will make you well again." He
dragged the branch over to where she was laying.
"Here, chew some of these leaves" He snapped off a section and
thrust it into her face. "Five a day I was told and you'll be better in
Nduli sniffed the offering and wrinkled her nose. "Ugh, I don't
think I can. That smells horrible, I'll be sick for days." She lay her
head on her paws and closed her eyes yet again.
Scar could feel his temper rising and without thinking growled
and leapt over the female cheetah. Straddling her he grabbed her by the
scruff of the neck and held her tightly, hard enough to hurt. Nduli
yelped and struggled to get out from underneath him but he pressed her
down to the cave floor until she quieted down.
"You will eat those leaves," he snarled through a mouthful of her
fur, "you'll either eat them yourself or I'll sit on you and shove them
down your throat. Understand?"
Nduli whimpered and Scar could smell the fear scent coming from
her in waves. Feeling a bit uncomfortable he loosed his hold and licked
her neck gently where he had held her. Still standing over her he
nuzzled her neck and groomed her ears until he had sensed that she had
Without further protest she nibbled at the leaves, slowly
swallowing one after another. It took her a while to eat the entire
dose; the taste must have been horrible indeed, but she finished them
all. When she had done Scar moved off of her and lay in the far corner
of the den. He was terribly tired, the search and the confrontation
with Nduli had worn him out, the cool floor was soothing and he was
drifting off quickly. He watched as his charge stumbled to her feet and
shambled out of the den. He was about to go after her but could hear
her being sick outside and stayed where he was. The elephant had been
Chapter 11 The Sweet Summer Scent
Nduli was slow in getting back to her old self. After the
reprimand from Scar she no longer balked at his attempts to help her
and ate the leaves without complaint. Scar himself was beginning to
feel better than he had in a long time. His leg had healed well and all
the exercise he got from hunting for two was beginning to show. His
body no longer seemed bony and ill nourished, instead he was coated
with tawny muscle. His mane had become fuller and glossy and his coat
gleamed with good health. His kills still consisted of mostly small
game but he was getting better everyday. One afternoon he proudly
presented Nduli with a freshly killed wildebeest calf and was
practically bursting with pride as he dropped it at her feet. She had
favored him with a wide smile and a tremendous appetite.
Little by little she started to come to, the wound on her side
closing up and the infection slipping away. He could now once again
count on a wise remark or a lopsided grin when he did something foolish
or in jest. But he sensed this was all good natured teasing on her part
and a cuff on his head or nip to his shoulder would confirm it. She was
becoming strong again but her demeanor had changed much since her
illness. She was more apt to nuzzle his face or playfully bite him than
to snarl at him and for this he was glad. Although it did present a
whole new set of problems
In all his life Scar had never taken a real mate or had a close
relationship with a female. There had been one time that he had tried
it, but it never really panned out. He was far too obsessed with his
drive for power to submit to chasing a female. The lioness in question
while interested soon gave up as it became apparent that the interest
was not mutual. Scar was happy to let it go. He had never been
confident in himself and that particular side of life had always made
him nervous. It was the one part of existence that he had never wished
to gain mastery over, preferring instead to concentrate on the things
he knew he could do.
But now he found himself drawn to Nduli in a way he had never
felt for any other creature. He found himself staring at her when he
knew she wasn't looking, admiring her sleek spotted coat and long tail.
When laying in the den together he imagined what it might be like to
roll her over and stand over her nipping her neck and pressing against
her back and inhaling her musky odor. More than once he had to excuse
himself on some pretense or other to go outside and run until all
evidence of his secret thoughts had subsided. Now that she had become
more friendly towards him the feelings had become more intense and it
was becoming harder and harder to control himself. He found himself
making up reasons to be close to her. The den was too drafty one night
or she had a dirty spot on her back that only he could reach. She never
questioned his intentions when he did these things, but the thought of
actually approaching her terrified him. If she where to turn and snarl
at him or worse laugh at him he didn't know what he would do. Most
likely slink off never to be heard from again. So in silence he bore
his frustration and continued to just look longingly at her and wonder.
Within a week and two days of first taking the medicine plant Nduli was
ready to get out into the field and hunt again. She disliked the fact
that she had lost quite a bit of weight and worried that her skills
would become rusty if she stayed away too long. So one late afternoon
she called Scar from the den and bade him follow her out into the
grasslands. It was obvious she was feeling good and she bounded up to
him as he came from the den and grabbed him around the neck and bit his
cheek. She let go quickly and raced away looking back over her shoulder
in an attempt to get him to follow. Scar smiled as he watched her run,
she seemed as if she were going to be just fine after all.
The two spent the afternoon playing and cashing each other
through the grass. Although, by the mid afternoon the playfulness
became more passionate and soon the two cats found themselves tangled
together in the tall grass. The intoxicating scents of musk, sweat and
fur hung in the warm summer air. For Scar it was like laying bare all
of himself and he found he liked it. The touch of Nduli's tounge
against his skin and the way her flesh jumped when he stood over her.
The afternoon rolled on slowly until each had exhausted the other and
they could only lay back smiling in the sun.
Nduli rolled over on her back and smiled at her panting suitor.
"Are you okay?" She giggled.
Scar said nothing, just nodded at her. After he had caught his
breath he gave her a weary grin and sank down into the grass. His hind
legs throbbed from the encounter. He felt a wonderful sense of calm
overtake him and he lay out full in the late afternoon sun. Nduli came
to where he was and lay down beside him resting her head on his hind
"I wondered how long it would take you to get the hint, you
know." She said.
"Me? How was I supposed to know?" He flicked his tail in her
face. "I thought if I tried anything you would be angry or laugh at
"Hmm, silly lion," she said rubbing her chin against him, "I
guess you're kind of new at this."
Scar looked at his claws. "Yes, well I never had a real mate
Nduli sat up and looked at Scar questioningly. "How could you
have not have had a mate before? You were the head of a pride, or so
you told me, that doesn't make any sense Scar."
"Well, I,....I mean," Scar stammered, he really couldn't think of
what to say.
Scar was at a loss, she had him, it didn't make any sense. There
was no way he could plausibly explain how the ruler of a pride had no
mate. He looked at her and realized he couldn't go on lying to her and
since he was caught there was no time like the present. He was afraid
she might not like what she heard. He swallowed back hard.
"Nduli, lie back," he said averting his eyes from her, "I haven't
been completely honest with you about who I am and why I'm here. I have
a lot to tell you so hear me out and afterward you can scratch me or
leave me or whatever."
"Why would I do that Scar? I mean after we..."
He waved his paw at her. "Just wait until you hear what I have to
say, then tell me what you think."
So in the fading light of evening the whole ugly tale of how Scar
became king of the Pride Lands, how he enlisted the hyenas to help him
rule, how he abused the lands and his subjects and finally how his
young nephew drove him away ,came out. Scar told the tale in a clear
and steady voice, only choking up as he told of Mufasa's death and
Simba's exile, never shifting blame away from himself or making excuses
for his actions. It was one of the hardest things he had ever had to
do, but he did it without wavering.
Nduli sat silently all the while, occasionally looking shocked or
angry at what he said, but never offering comment. When Scar finally
finished the sun was long gone and the whir of crickets filled the
silence between his words. For a long time Nduli just sat looking at
him. He couldn't read her face and it worried him. He had hoped that
she would nuzzle him and tell him that the past was behind him and
nothing mattered now. That she cared about him too much for what he
said to change the way she felt about him. She didn't, she just sat
there looking at him with that blank and unreadable expression, the tip
of her tail twitching behind her. When she finally spoke the anger and
disgust on her countenance was evident and made Scar want to creep away
with his tail between his legs.
"Scar, I have never in my life heard a story with more deceit,
dishonesty or downright nasty behavior in my life. I guess I never
really knew who you were."
"Nduli, look I'm sorry. I know I should have told you sooner, but
She stood up and rounded on him snarling. "How could you! How
could you do something like that!"
Scar flinched. "Nduli you don't understand...." He put a paw on her
foreleg but she jerked away from him angrily.
"No, you're damn right I don't understand! How could I
understand, you killed your own brother and tried to kill a cub of your
own blood!" She was pacing now, her hackles raised.
"I know, it was awful, but...."Scar began but she cut him off.
"But, nothing Scar," She was now crying and shaking her head, "I
thought you were different, I thought..."She trailed off as the tears
came in a torrent and she turned and ran toward her den. She dashed
down the hole without looking back to him.
Scar didn't follow her this time. It seemed prudent to sleep
outdoors for the night. He found shelter under the Aica tree but he
found no sleep. The afternoon which had started out so well had ended
in disaster. Scar was kicking himself for letting slip that he had
never had a mate. But more, he was sorry he had not told Nduli sooner
about what had happened in the Pride Lands. If the past had taught him
nothing else it taught him that lies were never a good idea. Now she
was closed to him again, sleeping in her den alone.
He knew what she must have been thinking as she heard what he had
to tell her. That he was just another bullying lion. Another brute bent
on destruction. There was no way she would allow him to get close to
her again, not after the many diatribes he had heard from her on lions
and their inherent worthlessness in the world. The trust that she had
in him, the trust he had fought so hard for, was now gone and it
wouldn't be back in a hurry.
Suddenly Scar lifted his head. A cool breeze was coming from the
West and it stirred something within him. He remembered something that
seemed as if it came from a long ago dream. Something that told him the
West held what he was looking for and that whatever it was it was
waiting for him. Enticing him to follow it's trail. Go to where the
sun meets the earth. He got to his feet without realizing he was doing
so. He sleepwalked a few steps forward and then stopped. He looked
toward the den and heard Nduli's soft raspy snore, the soft sound that
had been lulling him to sleep every night since he met her. He smiled
and then turned once again to the western wind. He narrowed his eyes
and set his sight to the horizon which pulled him forward.
"Goodbye, my dearest friend." He whispered in the direction of
the den. "be well and thank you, I'll never forget you."
Setting his jaw tight and blinking back stinging tears he set out
in the direction of the wind, never looking back. If he had, he would
have stayed forever. Content to be lulled to sleep for the rest of his
The next morning Nduli woke and looked for Scar first thing. She
was desperate to tell him how sorry she was for berating him, to tell
him how much she cared about him and to beg him to stay with her
forever. She called for over an hour, listening for the pad of his feet
in the grass, but her voice grew hoarse and he never materialized.
After a while she realized with certainty that he was gone for good.
She lay in the shade of the tree which still held his lingering scent
from the many times he had marked it. Turning to the direction that the
sun set she somehow knew that he had gone that way, to find whatever it
was he was looking for. She sat there for a long while, looking into
the distance and saying nothing.
Chapter 12 Strange Friends in Strange Places
When he had left Nduli he wasn't at all sure where he was going
just that something was telling him it was time for him to move on. He
had to stop himself from running back a few times, he was very much in
love with the cheetah, but the vision of her so angry and disappointed,
driven to tears by his former self , spurred him on. It hurt him
greatly to know that she thought he was just another lion, another
marauding murderer. It was not how he had wanted her to feel, indeed he
had tried his best to counter her expectations, but in the end the
story of his early life overshadowed all that. His past had come back
to haunt him and he could no more erase it's effect on her than he
could change the color of the sky. He was very sorry to have it come
to this. He had entertained in his mind the idea of spending his
remaining days with the cheetah but for one slip and few weeks of lying
that had all been dashed to pieces. He found himself more ashamed of
his role in the Pride Lands then he had ever had before and his tread
was as heavy as his heart.
The night came and with it a violent thunderstorm. Sheets of
hard, cold, biting rain pelting him from above. White claws of lighting
ripped across the skies illuminating the darkened plain in surreal
flashing light. The weather seemed to match his mood, brooding and
restless. On the open plain there was no shelter to be found. Not a
tree or rock face, bush or thicket in sight, only miles of wet, waving
grass. He plodded on through the sodden ground, occasionally startling
at the loud claps of thunder.
It was a miserable few hours until the storm subsided and the sun
rose to meet an equally grey and cheerless morning. Tired from the
nights travel he stopped at a small river. He dipped his forepaws into
the water washing off the mud which had caked between his toes. He was
about to turn away and look for a suitable place to take a nap when a
shrill screech broke the silence.
The sound had come from down river and it was full of distress.
Out of curiosity Scar followed the noise, picking his way along the
rocky bank. It didn't sound like any sort of enemy or creature he knew.
The river was a narrow one, gravel bottomed and fast running. Here and
there sharply pointed rocks broke the swift current and on one of these
tiny islands was a small animal. It was the source of the sound and it
shrieked again as it clung desperately to a slime covered rock that
poked directly out of the middle of the river.
Scar almost turned back the way he came but something in the
animals look made him stop and consider the situation. The poor little
beast(not even as large as his paw) looked so helpless amid the raging
water swollen by the past nights rain. It reminded him of Nduli when he
had found her wandering aimlessly by her den and he was moved to help
"Hello, out there," he called. "Hold on tightly and I'll come and
get you." Scar tested the current and found while it was swift and
bitterly cold it was not strong enough to sweep him away. He lowered
himself into the water and paddled clumsily out towards the creature.
It shrieked in terror at the sight of the lion coming toward it
and made to scramble away, momentarily forgetting it's original
predicament. It squeaked as it slipped off the rock and into the cold
rushing water. Quickly, Scar thrust out his paw and blocked the little
animal from floating down river. The creature tried desperately to get
out from Scar's grasp and it paddled madly trying to fight the current
at the same time.
Scar had to laugh at the ridiculous display and then gently
grabbed the little animal in his mouth and swam back to shore. It
struggled and thrashed violently in his grasp, it even tried to bite
him. Scar ignored it, the animal was far too small to bite through the
tuft of hair on his chin. He climbed onto the rocky bank and dropped
the creature with an unceremonious thud onto the gravel. He shook
himself like a dog showering the little animal with droplets of water
it squeaked and scrambled up the bank.
"Well, there you are little chap," Scar said. "safe and sound.
Next time don't go for a swim when the river is swollen ." He began
slowly picking his way up the bank. He was brought up short as the
little animal scurried in front of him and stood on it's hind legs
looking at him.
Now that he could get a good look at the animal, Scar had to
admit that it was sickeningly cute. It was covered in a thick grey pelt
with white fur on the chest and belly. It had small pink paw/hands very
much like a baboons but small and delicate. It had a tiny pink nose and
small rounded ears that twitched constantly. It's large black eyes
stared at him with a kind of awe and Scar chuckled. It was a bush baby,
but since he had never seen one before Scar decided it must be some
kind of mouse.
"Thank you big lion for saving Chaga. Much thanks, good friend to
lion from now on." The little beast had a shrill, reedy voice that
lilted at the end of each sentence.
"Yes, I'm sure," Scar nodded to the little animal, "I hope you're
okay, goodbye now." He again went to move on and now found that the
little creature had dashed up his foreleg and was now sitting on his
nose regarding him with those huge black eyes.
"Chaga best friend to lion now." It twittered. "Lion name?"
Scar was taken aback, "Uh, Scar, now about this best friend
business." He reached up and plucked the little creature from his snout
and held it by it's tail. Undaunted the creature climbed onto Scar's
paw and sat perched on his toe.
"Oh yes, Scarred lion is Chaga's best friend now." It groomed
it's ears compulsively. "Find Scarred lion lots of beetles and sausage
fruits. Good yes." It nodded it's head enthusiastically waiting for
Scar put his paw down with a thump causing the creature to flip
off into the gravel. "Oh, yes very good." He pushed Chaga with his paw.
"Why don't you run along and do that now little friend."
Chaga bowed in Scar's direction. "Good find food for new best
friend. Be back Scarred lion wait, be back in quick time. No problem"
It bounded off.
Scar shook his head as he watched the bush baby take off towards
the nearby woods. "That'll teach me," he thought. "to help strange
looking rodents." He yawned widely and went off to search for a proper
After a little bit of searching he found a fallen log which had
long ago been hollowed out by termites and curled up at the entrance.
It didn't take long for him to fall asleep. The heat of the day was
coming on and the cool shade was comforting. Aside from the buzz of
cicadas in the long grass the area was silent. He thought of Nduli as
he drifted off to sleep.
Chapter 13 Bad Omens
The night was rainy and it was cold. Scar plodded through the wet
grass feeling every step getting harder as the mud sucked him down. He
saw a familiar spotted shape in the distance and ran to try to catch
it. But he couldn't move, the mud held him firmly in place. Suddenly
the shape was joined by another. It was a lion, a monstrous one. The
small spotted shape ran toward him and he saw it was Nduli calling for
help. The lion lunged toward her and landed squarely on her, he could
hear her back snap as she was pushed down into the mud. She squealed
for help as the huge lion buried it's fangs in her back ripping her
open. He heard the sickening crunch of bones as it snapped her in two.
He tried to scream but nothing came from him. The lion looked at
him blood dripping from it's jaws. "Now it's your turn, little one." It
leapt towards him, foam and blood running back from it's muzzle.
Scar awoke and leapt to his feet, teeth bared and seeking an
enemy. It took him a while to realize that the only enemy was his
troubled mind that conjured up demons to taunt him while he slept. He
sat down and looked about, to reassure himself that it had all been a
dream and that the huge lion was nowhere to be found. But what he did
find almost caused him to break out into gales of laughter.
Placed on the ground nearby very neatly on a large leaf was a
small pile of beetles and sausage fruit. Evidently his little friend
had found him while he was sleeping and had decided to leave him
breakfast. He sniffed the offering but decided that while it was a
nice gesture the assortment was not to his taste. He also wanted to
take leave of this place before the little pest came back. He stretched
and was just preparing to do so when he felt something fall onto his
back from above.
"Oh please, please let that be a very heavy misquitoe." He
mumbled to himself.
However he soon found the small and loud little animal from the
morning's incident clambering onto his nose smiling broadly.
"Hello, hello, Scarred lion. Good sleep, you have?" It began
washing it's face.
"Now listen, I have to go hunting now and....." he tried to brush
Chaga off his nose but it held onto him tightly.
"Oh, to hunting. I know where to go to hunting." It's tail
brushed past Scar's nostril causing him to sneeze. This did nothing to
dislodge the little pest and it continued smiling brightly at him.
Finally giving up patience his grabbed the bush baby between to
two claws and pried him off his nose.
"You cannot go hunting with me." He dropped Chaga onto the ground
roughly. "Now go on, off with you." He pointed in the direction
of the trees.
"Please Scarred lion," the little animal looked up at him
pleadingly. "Want to help you. Please."
Scar looked at Chaga sternly. His tolerance for the creature was
close to an end. "No! Now get out of here you little pest."
He raised a forepaw as if to strike the little animal senseless
in the hope that it would run off in fright. Instead it cringed before
him and looked at him with wide and frightened eyes.
"Scarred lion going to eat Chaga now?" It whimpered.
"Go on Scarred lion, eat Chaga. Very sorry." It lay down on the
ground at Scar's feet looking at him and shaking.
"Now, I never said anything about eating you, so why don't..." Scar
was unable to finish as the bush baby had bounded up from the ground
and landed squarely on top of his head. It squealed with delight.
"Oh thank you Scarred lion. You are very best friend." It tugged
on Scar's mane.
"You know," Scar said to no one on particular. "if this were
happening to anyone else this would be terribly funny."
"Yes, very funny." Chaga chimed in. "Scarred lion is very funny
and very good friend."
"Um, yes, right then. Chaga is it? Listen you can stay with me a
little while but you must be very, very quiet."
"Oh yes, very quiet." The bush baby whispered as if to show Scar
how quiet he could be.
"The Scarred lion does not like a lot of noise and he must hunt
now. So you can sit up there if you can be very quiet. Don't even
whisper, you understand."
Scar got up and began walking toward the open plain. He was sure
in time that the hyperactive little animal would grow tired of his
company. At least he hoped so or he would be having a small snack
before his meal.
It didn't take him long to locate his lunch. Within the first
mile of journeying he came upon a wounded zebra colt that had been left
behind by it's herd. He dispatched the animal quickly and with little
resistance and soon found himself gorging on the tender young flesh.
He soon forgot that he had a bush baby sitting atop his head. The
little beast took Scar's direction seriously and remained silent, even
through the kill, it uttered not a squeak or spoke a word. Occasionally
Scar could feel a tug on his mane, but other than that his passenger
seemed hardly there at all. When he had eaten his fill he figured now
was as good a time as any to call the little guy down and have a chat.
"You up there, if you're awake come down here" he said. "I'd like
to talk to you."
He felt Chaga stir in his mane and then it jumped down to where
Scar sat. The tiny animal looked sleepy and it was evident that he had
found the lions mane a comfortable nest. It scratched it's ear with
it's hind foot and then straightened and attempted to look brisk and
ready for whatever the lion required of him.
"So, tell me," said Scar licking the remains of the blood from
his whiskers. "Why are you following me around then? I mean I've never
seen a creature such as yourself and I'd like to know why you decided
to become my shadow."
"You saved me from the water. Swam and pulled me out." Chaga
began grooming his ears in a decidedly nervous manner. "Want to be
Scar nodded. "Fair enough, but really, I'm a lion and you're a,
a, mouse or something."
Chaga frowned at Scar. "I'm not a mouse! I'm a bush baby."
"Oh, my apologies then. So what does a bush baby do then? I mean
besides getting themselves in trouble. Where is your family?"
The little animal looked down on the ground at it's feet,
apparently his family life was a source of discomfort that he was not
eager to talk about. "No family," he said reluctantly. "Family gone,
gone and not come back."
"So what happened to them?" He started on his forepaws, carefully
cleaning each claw.
Chaga shrugged. "Don't know, came home on day and no family no
more. I wait many days and they never come back. No eagle sign or snake
sign. Just gone. I stay a little while then go to find family. Maybe
find them, but not now."
"I see," Scar regarded the little beast sitting on it's haunches
before him, so tiny and wandering around the wild open plains looking
for his people. He couldn't imagine how it must be for him, so small
and at the mercy of any larger animal that took a notion to harass him.
It was no wonder he had latched onto him. Scar knew he must seem like a
safe haven from all the terrors of the world. First rate protection. He
grew less annoyed at Chaga as he came to realize that the little animal
most likely considered him is only chance of survival. Against his
better judgment he decided to make an offer to his fellow outcast.
"Well, I'm traveling west and if you like you can tag along.
Perhaps we'll run into your family on the way."
Chaga's eyes lit up at that last and leaping into the air he
began shrieking in his shrill voice.
"Thank you, thank you Scarred lion. I promise, be quiet. No
trouble to you."
Scar rolled his eyes. "All right, that's enough of that for now.
The only thing is I must sometimes be alone okay? I need to hunt and to
sleep and you're a loud fellow once you get going. If you think you can
manage that we have a deal."
Chaga nodded. "Very good then," Scar said. "Oh and my name is
"Yes, Scarred lion."
Scar didn't pursue the matter further, Scar or Scarred lion it
didn't really make a difference. He yawned and stretched out in the
grass, his weighted stomach making him drowsy. "I'm going to sleep now
and I'll travel again when I wake up later. Why don't you go find
yourself something to eat and meet me here later on."
The bush baby hopped up into a nearby tree. "Okay Scarred lion,
see you later."
He watched the nimble animal jump effortlessly from branch to
branch until it was out of sight. Laying his head on his paws he
wondered in amusement what Nduli would think of his new companion. She
would probably laugh her tail off he concluded and then he nodded off.
After a time Scar found that while his first impression of Chaga
had not been entirely good the bush baby was actually a fairly
intelligent and amusing traveling companion when not shrieking or
hopping madly about. His initial behavior could be attributed to the
fact that he was just so happy to find a friend that he couldn't
control himself. Now that it had become accustomed to the idea of
traveling with Scar he had quieted down considerably. From what Scar
could gather from what Chaga told him was that his people lived in the
dense forest which skirted the plains. They lived in large groups in
the boughs of tall trees, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles all
grouped together and collectively taking care of the young. When the
Chaga had gone out on his own to explore the outskirts of the forest he
had done so alone and against his better judgement. His people tended
to stick together closely and weren't given to solo outings.
But Chaga was a strong headed kit and the lure of seeing what
lay beyond the canopy of trees was too alluring to pass up. His parents
had always warned him of the frightening land that lay beyond the
trees, but he really wanted to see it for himself. To see all the big
animals he had heard stories about as a tiny kit. So quietly taking
leave one afternoon when the family group had taken to the hollows
until nightfall, he set off to see the great and dangerous land of
legend. He traveled for a couple of days alone, eating the strange
insects and seeds he found in the tall grasses of the plains and
wondering at the amazing expanse of land. He was a bit disappointed
though. The only animals he came across were migrating wildebeests, a
far cry from the huge monsters he had always been told about and so
made up his mind that the land of great and dangerous animals was
nothing more than a fancy made up by his supersistious relatives. His
opinion changed when on the way back he encountered a large and hungry
snake. Barely dodging away from the darting head of the reptile he
bounded back toward the tree canopy as quickly as he could. He was sure
he would receive a serious reprimand and perhaps punishment from his
fellows when he returned, but considering the alternative it barely
seemed an issue.
However, when he finally reached the large, knotted trees where
his family group lived, he found them barren and seemingly deserted.
At first he thought he must've come to the wrong place. The tree
hollows of his family site was always alive with noise and bush babies
hunting from branch to branch under the cool umbrella of leaves. But
here there was nothing but the sound of the wind rustling the leaves.
Finding his sleeping hollow confirmed his worst fears. This was his
family's home but his family was no longer there. No aunts, no uncles,
cousins or brothers, no one at all. He looked for signs that perhaps a
snake had raided the hollows or an eagle had moved into the area
prompting an exodus. He had found no sign of either and also no clue as
to where his group may have gone.
He waited for a few days to see if maybe they would return but no
one came. After a long night of thinking and wrestling with his
conflicting emotions of loneliness and fear of the world away from the
trees he made up his mind to look for them or at any rate find a more
hospitable place to make his home.
He had been traveling in the same direction as Scar on the night
the fearful thunderstorm had covered the sky and soaked the lands.
Being a small creature unused to travel on the ground and terrified by
the loud noises of the storm he had tried to find shelter among the
rocks and deadwood by the river. Finding a tangle of branches by the
river's edge he curled up in the middle of them and tried to sleep
through the frightening thunder and bright flashes of light.
The river swelled quickly as the black sheets of rain battered
down and before he had a chance to fully wake up and seek higher ground
Chaga found his brush pile being overtaken by the water which overrun
the bank and was swept away in the raging current. He had the presence
of mind to fight his way out from the pile and grasp the first solid
object he found before he lost all his strength and drowned in the cold
water. It was a rock which jutted out from the swiftly running waters.
He clung to it for the remainder of the night, his paws growing numb
from the cold and in danger of loosing his grip. It was here that Scar
found him miserable and frightened from the long night of rain and
thunder and the threat of being swept away under the swirling black
At first he had been scared witless by the lion as it swam toward
him. First the terrible night and now he was going to be eaten! He
tried to escape but the cat was too fast for him and he was soon
scooped up in the huge jaws, helpless. To his surprise the lion didn't
eat him, but instead deposited him on the bank.
Here was a friend worth having! No one would dare threaten him if
he stayed with a lion. So he set out to impress his benefactor and it
had worked. Now he would have a chance to look for his family and not
have to be on the jump at every turn. Scar didn't mind. Chaga was light
and now that he understood what was expected of him he often forgot the
little animal was perched on his back or head. More than that he was
amusing. During the hot afternoons when Scar would lie in the shade and
rest he would hop into the branches of any nearby tree or brush and
bounce from place to place catching insects on the wing or merely
performing acrobatics for Scar's entertainment.
Chaga provided the one thing that Scar needed most at that
moment. Respite from his thoughts of Nduli. He missed her terribly and
it showed. One afternoon Chaga noticed that the lion had seemed
pensive and preoccupied all day, neither speaking nor walking very
quickly. Just padding along looking at his paws and occasionally
heaving a heavy sigh and casting a forlorn look over his shoulder to
some unknown point in the distance. So when they stopped for their
daily break he left off hunting in the trees to sit in the grass beside
Scar lowered himself heavily onto the grass and lay his head on
his forepaws. He had now put four days of travel behind him and Nduli
was long gone. He had thought it would get over her quickly, that the
distance between them would distance her from his thoughts; it hadn't
worked. In fact with each passing day it got stronger as did the urge
to turn around and go back. That , of course, was impossible but it
didn't make the pain go away or lessen his desire to run back to her
and beg her to take him back. He was running this over in his mind when
Chaga crawled onto his paw.
"Scarred lion?" He put his small paw on Scar's muzzle. "Why sad
Scar looked at Chaga out of the corner of his eye. "Oh, no
reason. Just a bit out of sorts."
Chaga looked unconvinced. "Tell to me if want to. Scarred lion
looking very sad. Bad mind today, yes?"
"I guess that's a good way to put it, my mind does feel awfully
bad today. Chaga? Did you ever have a mate."
"Never mate, never made father." He began grooming his ears in
the fashion he had when asked an uncomfortable question. "Too young."
Scar chuckled. "Oh, well, neither have I," Scar sighed. "and I'm
certainly not too young either."
"Never?" Chaga looked surprised. "No little Scarred lions? Too
bad Scarred lion very nice. Not nasty, mean like snake."
Scar looked at the little bush baby and touched it's head with
his paw. "Little malaika, you don't know the half of it."
"So tell Scarred lion, what not that I know. Listen fine. Good
talk, makes bounce higher." It scrambled out from underneath Scar's paw
and sat looking at him expectedly.
"Well, I suppose it couldn't do any harm. Just promise me you
won't leave as soon as I'm done. I'm tired of loosing friends." He
gave a weary smile to Chaga who only patted his paw in encouragement
for him to go on.
So once again he found himself relating the story of his
betrayal, reign and subsequent dismissal from the Pride Lands. Chaga
only sat in the tall grass listening intently and nodding to Scar when
the lion paused to gulp back a knot in his throat. He told him about
his time with Nduli and the relationship that developed between them
and how in shame and fear he had run from her.
"Scarred lion have a very exciting life so far, hmm?" Chaga said
when it was evident Scar had finished what he had to say.
"You could say that again." Scar said. "Too exciting if you ask
me. But do you see what I mean? Don't look up to me Chaga. I may not
look like a snake to you, but inside of me there is one."
Chaga shook his head. "No, no, Scarred lion act stupid, do many
bad things. Get hurt bad, loose home, loose friend. But still live. Go
away, new home, new friends. Not stupid anymore. Good lesson, yes? "
Scar was surprised at the little beasts insight. "You sound like
an old friend of mine. He said the same thing, although not quite in
the same way." Chaga's strange, broken speech had taken a while for
Scar to get used to, but since large animals and small animals often
spoke differently in the same language it was to be expected.
"Sorry for loosing cheetah friend." Chaga leapt up preparing to
go after his afternoon meal. "Be other cheetahs, sometime." He then
effortlessly jumped into the shade tree and disappeared in the thick
"Yes," Scar said quietly after him. "Maybe sometime."
There and Back Again
Scar and Chaga were covering a lot of ground, although when
asked by his passenger where they were in fact headed Scar wasn't sure
what to tell him. He remembered what had happened while under the
influence of Rafiki's "magic fruit" and that the vision of his brother
had urged him to seek his destiny out west, but what that destiny was
he couldn't begin to fathom. However, Scar had faith in what was told
to him that day, by either phantom in fact or as just a manifestation
of his own troubled mind. Something was drawing him out, like an
invisible rope around his neck, tugging him forward. Each day he
covered more miles than the last, eager(but also somewhat afraid) of
whatever he might find.
Chaga on the other hand seemed less and less eager to search for
his family and more and more content with remaining Scar's confidant
and jester, whichever the situation warranted, for as long as Scar
would have him. Each afternoon and evening the two would separate to
attend to their particular needs and in the early mornings and late
nights they would rejoin up and begin their steady progress once again.
It was an unusual relationship, but both seemed to take from each other
what he needed.
Nduli's hunting lessons where as unforgettable as the teacher
herself and Scar found that he now had no trouble feeding himself.
Although, in the true way of predator and prey he failed more often
than he succeeded, he still rarely went hungry. Chaga could almost
certainly count on returning to find his friend greasy faced and
belching from a hard run meal. On these occasions Chaga would hang back
until Scar had cleaned himself up and decided to leave the remains of
the carcass to the vultures. While he would never admit it, his friends
carnivorous lifestyle and the heady smell of blood upset him. Scar
recognized this and considerately tried to shield his friend from the
worst of it.
One evening as the pink sunset was drawing to it's grand finale
the two prepared to once again part for the time leading up to the
early hours before dawn, when Scar felt something. It was like a slight
lingering scent in the air or a twitch under the skin, minimal, but
present nonetheless. He stood still as stone as if trying to feel some
current coming from underground. He scanned the quickly darkening
surroundings for whatever could be giving him the strange sensations
but nothing was there....the land was silent.
"Chaga, get off of my back will you?"
The bush baby jumped from Scar's shoulders and looked nervously
about himself. Something was making Scar edgy and he wasn't at all sure
of what his friend wanted him to do. He turned to Scar, nose twitching
"Why stopping here, Scarred lion?" Chaga stood on his hind paws
and tried to peer over the grasses. "No trees and no food animals."
Scar waved a paw at him to silence any more questions and instead
of replying he took a few steps forward raising his nose to catch the
"Chaga?" asked Scar, not looking at him but concentrating on some
far away point. "Do you think we could split up now? Not just for a few
hours but for a day or two. Something is happening here and I'm not
sure what it is."
"Okay, go back mile or two." He motioned in the direction that he
and Scar had come from. "Stay in tree that we passed." Concerned he
added. "Scarred lion okay?"
Scar nodded not turning his head. "Yes, I'm fine. Hang on a
moment and I'll take you where you'll be safe. There's something here
that worries me and it wouldn't do to have you wandering about alone."
Chaga raised his own nose to the air and sniffed. "No death
smell, no bad animal smell. What's to being bothered for?"
"I don't know, but there's something. Not dangerous, at least I
don't think so, but still I'd rather know you were safe while I'm
scouting about. No need to put both of us in danger. Now hop on and
I'll take you back."
Scar left Chaga in a small stand of trees a two miles back from
where he had gotten the strange feeling. The bush baby reluctantly
bounced from Scar's back to a low branch.
"Being careful Scarred lion, yes?"
Scar looked up and smiled at him. "I will and you do the same.
I'll be back in a day or so maybe less depending on what I find. Will
you be okay here? Find enough food I mean?"
Chaga nodded. "Oh yes, many flying things here. Eat good, no
"Very well." Scar started back. "I'll be back soon, take care."
He dashed off in the direction he had come, a sliver of dread
beginning to creep up his spine. As he neared the place once again the
sliver had turned into a bright, white sheet of fear. He hadn't
mentioned his feelings to Chaga, no sense in upsetting him, but as he
cut through the tall grass his claws shot out and a low growl issued
from deep in his throat.
The place was absolutely unlike any he had seen. The grass was
thick green coat covering the ground, very unlike the yellow/brown
grasses he was accustomed to. The landscape was dotted here and there
with low trees and rocky outcroppings. Instinctively he moved closer to
the ground as if expecting an enemy attack to come from behind the
rocks. An electric current of nervous energy ran through him as he
The air had taken on a putrid reek, the smell of something long
since dead and left to rot in the high sun. He moved a bit slower,
fearful of the scent and of the silence which surrounded him. The grass
was making him claustrophobic, becoming a suffocating blanket through
which he moved with difficulty. The scent was strong now, a choking
malaise, he parted his lips and panted through his mouth. He could now
hear his own heart beat in his ears and he crouched low, almost
crawling on his belly.
He felt it before he actually saw it and he could certainly smell
it. Something soft and cold and yelding to the touch. Looking forward
to what his paw had brushed against, he leapt up and recoiled in
horror, choking and retching as he fell backward.
A large dead lion lay before him. Not a fresh kill, no, this kill
had been around for a good long while. Even in the dark he could see
flies walking across the damp, matted fur. Crawling in and out of the
gaping holes in the lion's flesh,laying their eggs in the fetid meat.
He squinted to look into the holes. He didn't want to, but something
made him do it. It was as if he had lost all control of himself and was
being forced to peer into the dead, rotting flesh of the beast. Closer
he leaned until the rotting smell had lodged itself in his windpipe.
Before him the flesh began to shiver and he could hear a wet
ripping sound as the holes enlarged and rippled with energy. A spotted
paw thrust itself out from the gaping wound, first one then another. He
made a soft moaning sound and flattened himself to the ground. Helpless
to do anything but watch as the corpse gave birth to a monstrosity
before his eyes.
It was terrible and familiar as it pulled itself from it's
twisted birth canal. A perverted parody of a slight, spotted cat.
Maggots writhed in it's clumped and wet fur and it's jaw swung wide to
greet him in a horrible smile. Bone glistened through the fur on it's
lean legs, giving the appearance of stripped flesh, raw and angry.
"Scarrr," The awful apparition gurgled at him, a bloody spume
dripping from it's lower jaw as it forced the word out. "You killed
He could only shake his head as it advanced on him. "You did, you
left me to die Scar. But it's your turn now. You're soon going to die
and look like him."
He jerked his eyes towards the corpse and saw the face of his
brother laying on the grass. Flies buzzed as they walked in and out of
his mouth and ears. The eyes blinked once.
Scar turned the way he came and ran. He ran faster than he ever
had in his life. The grasses whipped his face as he cut a swath through
their suffocating depths. He didn't look where he was going ,he just
fled in a blind panic. Away from the cheetah and dead lion in the
grass. He didn't see the overlook as he ran towards it or he didn't
care. He pitched headlong over the side, almost running in midair.
Tumbling down the sharp incline in the darkness, bumping against
the rocky face as he went, he landed heavily on his side. He recovered
himself and looked quickly about expecting to see the shambling
apparition coming to claim him again. He saw nothing except a small
stream. He had fallen down into a gorge of some sort. He was uninjured,
but for the rest of the night he couldn't move, he just remained
flattened to the ground eyes searching and whimpering in fear.
It was a long night, one filled with chancy shadows and tricks of
the eye that made Scar turn at every rustle on the breeze. Paralyzed by
the hideous vision and his own imagination, now wild with capering
demons and vengeful corpses on some sort of divine mission to be done
with him, to root him out and destroy him. It was only what was right,
wasn't it? No matter what Rafiki had said or what visions had come to
him during an induced dream all things remained the same. He was still
at heart a coward, a murderer and a liar and now was waiting in some
desolate rocky gorge in some unknown land for his fate to catch him.
This was his destiny. To be ripped apart by decaying fangs that would
end his corrupt life as horribly as he had lived it. It was the fate he
Such where his thoughts as he lay for the long hours proceeding
dawn. His minds eye playing the scene over and over again for his
displeasure. Sometimes it was Nduli crawling from the corroded body,
sometimes Simba slithering out to condemn him of his father's murder
and sentence him to death. Just like on that stifling night when his
nephew had turned up, only this time Simba didn't give him a chance to
run. This time his nephew demanded his blood. It was so easy to forget,
wasn't it, when one wasn't actively trying to think about these things.
Too easy to forget the blood that stained one's paws or the notches
made in one's heart from false words and foul deeds. But cradled within
the steep rocky cliffs, Scar's old wounds were reopened anew and were
thrust back into view.
When dawn mercifully arrived accompanied by the trilling of tick
birds and swallows and the dusky horrors of the night had retreated
back into harmless shadows and mere illusions; Scar sat for a long time
considering what he should do next. A large part of him wanted to just
take leave of the place, forget the whole business, find a comfortable
place to stay and while away any time he might have left. The night had
left his mind weak and the eager anticipation he had had for his quest
had since dissipated with his night terrors. There could be nothing for
him in the world. His one try at happiness had failed and it had
because of what he had done. It would always be there, no matter what
he did or however far he traveled. Like the scar on his face it marked
him for life. Perhaps, Rafiki had somehow conjured the whole thing up
just to get rid of him. To send him on some useless journey to a
forsaken land, far away from Pride Rock and of no threat to anyone.
It didn't seem that outlandish of an idea as he rolled it around
his fear addled brain. They had all been against him at Pride Rock
hadn't they? Wouldn't they all be having a good laugh about him now,
fooled into believing he was needed somewhere for some purpose? Rafiki,
of course, would have come back and told them all about what had
happened and how even now the scourge of the Pride Lands was either
dying of starvation or being mauled to death by a strange lion. They
would all thank Rafiki for getting rid of him, of course, and
secretly(or openly) wish that something really horrible had happened to
him. Something fitting. That was what they all wanted wasn't it?
He felt an old and familiar sensation creeping up through his
limbs and building uncomfortably in his chest. Anger, seething and
dark, covered him like a sudden flash flood, pouring through him in
powerful torrents. Leaping up from his refuge he found his footing and
began climbing up the steep slope. Not caring if he slipped and broke
his neck ,he tore up the rock face, claws painfully digging into the
tough earth, pulling himself upward. He scrambled up out of the gorge
and the first thing he saw when he climbed out was a small herd of
zebra grazing a few yards from the overlook. They hadn't been aware of
the lion's determined but silent approach and continued browsing
unalarmed. Without a moment's hesitation or thought he launched himself
at the nearest animal.
Taken completely by surprise the zebra, a yearling and in fine
health, had no time to react to the lion's enraged charge. Scar hit the
zebra headfirst in it's shoulder knocking over onto it's side. Slashing
claws ripped into the zebra's flesh, leaving bleeding gouges in it's
neck and shoulder. It bawled in terror, but it's herd mates merely
fled, leaving the yearling to suffer the violent attack unaided. Scar's
teeth found the zebra's throat and plowed into it snapping. Battering
the flesh to bits in his jaws. Blood flew in a geyser coating his head
and neck in a coppery shower. The zebra shuddered and fell silent but
the lion continued tearing at the tender flesh of it's throat. A
beserker rage of flailing claws and worrying teeth.
In his mind Scar could see himself tearing into Simba as he now
pummeled the zebra. Pulling him to bloody rags, ripping out his life.
This time he wouldn't be afraid of the young lion. No, this time he was
strong and a hunter, capable of dealing death with his own claws. He
wouldn't need any allies this time, this time he would do what he had
meant to do himself and share the spoils with no one. He continued to
tear into the already dead animal until his blows became less powerful
and his neck and forelegs began to ache with the effort. Feeling dizzy
with exhaustion he fell back from the carcass in a blood covered heap.
Panting he looked around. The herd had gone far away and there was no
one else around. No vultures or jackals trying to stake a claim or
phantom dead lions haunting the grass. Limbs shaking he lay his head
on the zebras body and passed out.
Chapter 15 Destiny Presented
When Scar regained consciousness the sun was nesting at it's
highest point in the sky and it beat down on him fiercely. He raised
himself groggily from the blood soaked earth, stumbling as he tried to
find his footing in the slippery grass. He fell clumsily on to his
rump, legs flying out from under him. He looked about, startled by the
mess that lay scattered about him. The ruined body of a young zebra lay
in pieces around him, the ground was red and mucky. He startled to his
feet and backed away. What had he done? The carnage that lay before him
was incredible, the work of a mad beast. He had been vaguely hungry
when the morning had come but looking at the aftermath of his assault
squelched any appetite he might have had left.
He couldn't exactly remember what had happened. He had some
fuzzy recollection of being agitated and climbing out of the gorge, but
after that...... He looked back at the mangled remains of the zebra and
shuddered. A few jackals were now pacing a few yards away, sensing that
the lion would soon be leaving.
The were right, Scar turned away from the carcass and walked
slowly away. He was shaken by the scene. He hadn't realized what he was
capable of and it frightened him. He thought of Chaga alone a few miles
back in the safety of the trees and decided to leave him there for a
while longer. He didn't trust himself. It was far too easy to imagine
himself killing his friend, rending him to shreds as he had the young
zebra. He still didn't understand what the vision from the past night
had meant. Maybe Rafiki's "magic fruit" still was running around inside
of him and causing havoc with his mind. It hadn't been real, of this he
was sure. He passed close by where the strange phantom had menaced him
and saw nothing. But he skirted the place nervously in any case,
superstitiously fearing that treading the ground might awaken the
The land looked much friendlier by daylight. In fact it looked
more lush and fertile than the Pride Lands ever had. Tall, thick grass
covered the ground, alive with a myriad of insects buzzing about on
their daily business. He jumped onto a small rock formation to look
over the land and could see a vast grazing herd of wildebeest. So this
is where they migrated when they left his old homeland yearly and
disappeared. The land was certainly suited to it. The vegetation alone
was bountiful enough to support a variety of animals. The sweet smell
of blooming flowers reached him on the afternoon's gentle breeze. But
under the smell lay something else. He flared his nostrils to try and
catch the faint scent. It smelled like Pride Rock, it smelled like
lions! Not a heavy odor, but there nonetheless. He made up his mind
that any traveling he did in this strange new land would be done very
Suddenly insecure about his vantage point he jumped down and
walked along the edge of the gorge in which he had spent the night. If
attacked he could always run downward. This new land had many stands
of short, stubby bushes and rocky outcrops which hung over the
overlook. He ducked quickly behind the bushes and crept along carefully
keeping silent as he moved. He didn't see any lions or other large
predators around, but it was the time of the high sun and most of those
would be fast asleep under trees or in caves. He was wise to explore
when he did.
He cocked his ears forward as some slight sound reached him from up
ahead. It was a soft voice, low and murmured. He lowered himself
closer to the ground and crept closer, readying himself in case he
would need to run or fight. As he neared he could clearly hear the
voice of a female, a female who was very upset. Lowering his defenses
somewhat(but not too much) he moved nearer to the voice. Peering though
his shield of foliage he located the sound. It was a small lionesses
sitting with her back to him and shaking with tears. She sat in the
open, unmindful of any enemy attack or being seen by potential prey. So
self-absorbed in her grief she didn't even smell or hear him as he
pushed through the bushes. He looked carefully about as he moved toward
her, he wasn't sure if he would find himself face to face with this
lionesses mate. But there seemed to be no one else about and he emerged
fully from his hiding place.
She heard him as the branches snapped back into place and snapped
her head around eyes wide with fright. When she had had time to take
him in she visibly relaxed. It was a strange reaction. Surely she
should be afraid of an unknown male in her territory, instead she
"Hello, umm, ma'am," Scar stammered not sure of what to say.
She sniffed back hard and gave him a weary half smile. "Hello."
Scar sat down across from her but not too close he didn't want to make
her nervous. Instead of asking him his name or what he was doing in her
territory she merely turned aside seemingly uncomfortable with his
"Run far away stranger," She finally said, her voice hoarse from
crying. "This is a bad place for you to be."
Scar tried to look her in the face but she kept her gaze firmly on
"Why should I run away," He said. "This seems like a beautiful
land. Green, peaceful, plenty of prey..."
She shook her head sadly. "You say that now, but you don't know.
Trust me, get yourself as far away as possible before nightfall." She
lapsed once again into heartbroken sobs. She got up and walked away
"Wait!" He called. "Where are you going? Come back." He caught up
to her. "Please, tell me what's wrong." She stopped walking and drew
in her breath deeply. She turned full to face him.
He almost recoiled from what he saw. The left side of her face held
a long pink scar which started at her temple and ended at her cheek. It
was almost identical to his own except...she hadn't been as lucky as he
had, the blow which had marred her had not missed her eye. The tear had
long since healed over and he could see nothing as it remained tightly
shut, the wound long since fused. The injury looked as if it had been a
bad one, the type of wound only gotten in a serious fight or hunting
She regarded him steadily with her remaining eye which Scar found
himself quickly getting lost in. Aside from the scar on her face she
was stunningly beautiful. The one eye she did have was large and round,
the color of old honey flecked with shards of bright yellow. She had a
finely shaped skull ending in a gently tapered muzzle finished with
long, graceful whiskers. Her coat was the color of the yellow grass at
dusk, the golden-reddish hue of the days end. He caught himself before
he could be accused of gawking.
"What's your name?" He asked her and once again sat down. She
looked away from him uncomfortably and cleared her throat.
"My name is Makini."
Scar nodded at her. "Makini, it's a lovely name. But you don't seem to
be in a lovely mood to match. Are you okay."
She surprised Scar by giving a derisive snort of laughter. "Okay,"
She smiled and nodded her head. "Stranger, nothing is ever okay here."
Her voice was filled with a hate unrivaled by any Scar had ever
heard. Such a young lioness to be already overwhelmed with bitterness,
too young. Her voice told him that this was a lady who had seen the
worst that life had to offer and was slowly becoming defeated by it.
Moved by pity and a sense of familiarity he pressed her.
"What do you mean. This is a lovely land and the weather is beautiful,
I can't under....."
"No!" She yelled facing him again. "You -can't- understand!" She broke
out into uncontrollable sobs. "You don't know, you don't live here!
Please stranger, get out! There's been too much," She drew a hitching
breath. "there's been too much death today!"
She turned on him her face so full of unspeakable pain, the face
of someone who knows what real suffering is and no longer knows how to
deal with it. She literally reeked of fear, the acrid smell pouring out
of her. He wanted to reassure her that everything would be fine, every
cloud has a silver lining, it's always darkest before the dawn, pick
your cliché'. But he knew nothing anyone could possibly say to this
enigmatic and heartbroken lioness would help.
"There's something that's frightening you. If it's me I'm sorry,
you have no reason to fear me, I won't hurt you." She shook her head.
"Stranger, it's not you. After -him- no lion could frighten me."
He looked at her questioningly. "Him?" He asked. "Him who?"
Makini sighed. "If you must know....uh..." "Scar." He prompted. She
laughed ruefully again. "Scar? That could be my name. Well, Scar you
want to know? I'll tell you, but afterward you must leave."
"We'll see." He gazed at her again, even in the midst of her grief
she maintained an unspoken dignity, which resided in the tilt of her
head and the regal way she sat. "These lands, which you are so
enamored of, are the property of the great king of the valley. Now, I
know what you must be thinking, "so there's a lion about, so what." But
then you would be amiss of the nature of his majesty." Her tail began
to lash and she spat the word "majesty" out as one spits out a bad
piece of meat. "You see the great valley king is no ordinary lion,
content with eating and sleeping and chasing hyenas." She rubbed the
pink skin of her scar with her paw.
"What do you mean?" Said Scar. "You mean...he did that to you?"
"It was one of his kinder acts." She looked at Scar, her eye
begging him to leave or help her. Scar couldn't decide which.
"But a king doesn't do that!" He stopped himself from saying more
as his own misdeeds came to mind.
"This one does. Listen you seem a nice enough fellow. Please I don't
want to see you get killed. My sister..." She broke off again, tears
threatening. Scar reached out and touched her paw.
"Your sister? What happened to her Makini. You can tell me, after all
I'm a stranger, no worry that I will tell anyone."
"Yes, no worry." She sighed heavily. "It's been a long time since
I've been able to talk freely to someone without fear of being
overheard. Not that I care anymore, death would be welcome." She
paused for a while, regaining her composure. After a few long minutes
she began in a shaking voice. "My sister Zarai died today." She began.
"This morning my best friend was taken away from me and for no reason
other than the wounded pride of the monster that owns this land." Scar
made to speak and Makini held up a paw. The story had started and she
wouldn't stop until she was finished or she broke down. "My sister was
a little older than me and she showed me the skills of a hunter.
Everyday we would lead the hunts and relish the precious little time we
got to spend away from him. She was also a devoted mother to her little
cub. He was such a happy and gorgeous little one. Together they were
the one joy in my life" She stopped for a moment and looked at the
ground, steeling herself for what was to come. "I guess you can say
it's the only good thing that ever came from that beast. Ziara never
liked him, but he wanted her and had her. Ziara always stayed as far
away as possible from him, but soon she gave birth to her little cub,
Browntoes, it was his nickname. His paws were tipped in dark brown
fur." She smiled as she thought of him. "It always looked like he had
been dipping his feet into a mud patch. Ziara loved him so, I loved
them both. They were my light and hope everyday, my beautiful sister
and her cub, so young and full of happiness."
"Today, the beast, Kiruu is his name went out in the morning on
reports that a hunting dog pack was lairing in the eastern side of the
kingdom. There's enough for all here, we need not drive out predators
unnecessarily. But Kiruu will not compromise or allow any other animal
except prey and the pride to reside here. He ran off first thing to
kill the dog's chief. It didn't go well for him. He underestimated the
size of the pack and when he returned to the lair he was scratched and
bitten something awful. I tell you I almost fell over laughing when I
saw it. I didn't smile for long though." "Little Browntoes," She
continued. "innocent little cub. He didn't know and he asked the
monster what happened to him. "How did you get bit?" That's all he
said. It was enough, you never know when it will be, what will cause
him to snap, and Kiruu fell on him and murdered the cub without a word.
He did it like he was snapping at some bug that had gotten in his way.
His own son...a helpless cub. Dead because of words...." She trailed off
choking on the last sentence. Scar moved closer to her pressing gently
into her side. His presence bought her back and after a few moments she
"My sister, oh, she lost her mind. She ran in front of him, but it
was too late. She couldn't stop herself. Kiruu was faster than a snake
and by the time she made it to him Browntoes was dead. She went mad
when she saw him and attacked Kiruu. She tried, she really did. She got
a few good swipes in," She gave a slight smile at the thought of this.
"made the son of a hyena bleed. But...., she was too small, so small and
he was too fast. I ran away, I should've stayed, I should've died with
her..." Scar pulled her close to him. It was an impetuous act but she
neither tried to get away or protested. Instead she leaned into him,
her body limp and tired from the day's events.
"Sister," Scar said. "If what you're telling me is the truth than
truly I have been spoiled in my life. I'm so sorry, no lioness should
be treated like that, no one should."
"It doesn't matter." She said softly. "Tomorrow will be the same
and on and on until we die. This beautiful land is cursed and the curse
will never go away." She leaned into him again, slumping into him.
When the time comes you will know. The thought came to him like a
splash of cold water. The lioness began to sob again, this time softly.
The cries of one who has run out of tears but who knows that there is
no respite for her pain.
As the afternoon began to slip away and the light became less
intense Scar made his resolve. As the sun began to creep towards the
western edge of the sky; Makini's eyes snapped open and she quickly
leapt up and began switching her tail nervously.
"The night is coming," She said. "I must go, Kiruu will be awake
by now and wondering where I've gone. You must go now Scar. Thank you
for your kindness." She made to leave and head for her pride's den
site, Scar got up and stood in her way.
"Wait a moment," Scar said. "I can't just let you go back there.
Come away with me. The open plains aren't dangerous and you'll have me
to look after you." She shook her head sadly and touched his face with
"No, as much as the idea of running from this damned place appeals
to me and now with dear Ziara gone......" She trailed off. "No." She said
again firmly. "This has been my family's home for generations. We, I,
am part of this land. I must stay, I can not leave my people, Scar."
"But all that you've told me." He said incredulously. "About, about
Kiruu and your pride. Why stay here to be abused. Please reconsider."
She sighed and looked into his eyes steadily.
"Scar, my mother and her mother before her and probably her mother
before that have all harvested this land. Nurtured it and in turn it
nurtured them. They have raised their cubs here and lived and died
here. What is one lion in the span of all that time? Lions come to
power and then fade away like the waterholes during the dry season,
drying up and falling away, forgotten sometimes. But the land will
always belong to us. No matter what he does he will -never- be able to
take that from us." The unspoken pride in the these words were not
lost on Scar.
"I'm sorry, it was a stupid idea. It's just......I don't want you to go
back there. You're so...." The word "beautiful" hovered on the tip of his
tongue and he swallowed it back, afraid of what he might imply.
"I don't want to go back there. Nothing much is left. But I can't
just run away and leave my family behind. Everyday to think about how
they're suffering. This is my home."
Scar looked at his feet, thinking carefully about what he was
going to say next. "Makini, I know you have to leave but...but let me
come with you." Her eyes widened in fear.
"No! I'm sorry but you can't have understood anything that I've
said! Kiruu will kill you."
"No, I don't want to fight with him, at least not yet, but I just
want to get a good look him for myself."
She moved closer, her expression imploring him to change his mind.
"You can't get close to him. He's fast and strong..."
Scar chuckled. "I'm smart, I'll stay downwind and out of sight.
He'll never know that I'm there."
She narrowed her eyes as if trying to figure out what he had in
mind. She then looked about and the desperate and hunted look had
returned. "I must go now and find him something to eat. He'll be angry
with me for leaving the den site without permission, but if I can fill
his belly it will ease his anger a little bit."
Scar suddenly remembered the mornings incident with the zebra.
"I know where you can find something quickly. Come on and follow me,
it's not far away."
"But..." She seemed hesitant and looked back over her shoulder
Scar gave her his most sly grin and ran forward encouraging her to
follow. "Trust me."
She smiled back at him after a moment. "I do, I'm not sure why but I
"Good, now come on." He dashed off in the direction of his morning's
kill with Makini running behind him.
The sun was slipping away quickly and he could tell she was in a
hurry to be off. Cutting through the long grass he followed his path
and found that the zebra carcass was still lying where he had left it.
A few jackals and vultures surrounded the body, squabbling over small
pecks and bites. Scar jumped into their midst roaring. Time was
everything and he was about to waste time playing with the scavengers.
They fled in a flurry of feathers and yips, they scrambled out of the
lions way and lined the periphery a few feet away. The grumbled and
cursed at Scar as he carefully selected a large portion; he ignored
them. They would have their dinner back soon enough. Taking the meat he
brought it to Makini and dropped it at her feet.
"This should do it, don't you think," He asked her. He leaned
toward her sniffing. "Listen, why don't you take a good roll in the
grass over there."
She nodded. "Yes, I must have your scent on me by now and he's not
likely to miss it, especially if he's suspicious."
She walked over the where the zebra lay and her nose wrinkled.
"Goodness, this animal was torn apart, who did this!"
Scar trying not to look guilty just shrugged. "Oh, you know vultures
and jackals." He shot a look at the gathered scavengers. "Sometimes,
they're stronger than you think."
"Oh, well they've certainly made quite a mess here." She began to
roll in the grass which was fragrant with the scent of his kill, the
disgust obvious on her face. When she made sure that she must've
covered herself completely she stood and looked at Scar waiting for him
to tell her what he wanted.
"Well, you better get back now." He said, looking at the ever
darkening sky. "It's getting late." "You're sure you'll be able to
keep out of sight?" She asked, worry painted across her face. "If Kiruu
sees you , you won't have time to run..."
"I'll follow behind you, but not closely, just close enough to see
where you're headed. Just be careful and don't look as if you know that
I'm there. I just want to see what you're talking about."
She bent to pick up the meat, but stopped. "Why are you doing this
Scar? I'm not sure I've figured you out yet." She said frankly.
He laughed. "Don't be surprised if you never do." Then he added.
"I'm not sure Makini, but there's something I must do."
She looked at him confused. "Must do? I don't understand..."
He cut her off. "Come on, no time now, you'd better be off. I'll try
to talk to you tomorrow."
She bent and picked up the meat in her jaws. Suddenly remembering
Kiruu and seeing the fading light had reawakened the fear in her.
Strange new lion or no, she had to get back and soon. He would be
waiting. She walked at a brisk pace, not bothering to look back and see
if he followed. Scar, meanwhile, kept up with her from a distance;
careful to keep hidden in the tall grass.
She walked quickly; obviuosly familiar enough with the territory
that picking a path was second nature. The thick, long grasses provided
more than enough cover and she could only see the tops of his shoulders
as he moved silently behind her.
She wasn't sure why but she felt a bright spark of hope as she moved
toward her densite. The stranger was much smaller than Kiruu but there
was something about him that made her feel that everything would come
out well. That the reign of the beast would soon be at an end. She
shook the thought from her mind. Perhaps he was nothing but an empty
promise; a hope borne of desperation and her exhausted mind. More than
likely he would end up as the rest had, ripped and lifeless before the
claws of the king.
When the rocky outcropping which her pride called home came into view
she shot a quick look behind her to let Scar know that here he would
have to practice extreme caution. She caught his eye and motioned
towards the top of the alcove that he pride used for shelter. He nodded
in response and waited until she had moved out of sight to climb the
stony walls of the alcove.
When he reached the top he looked over to get a feel for the lay of
the place. Makini's den site was a collection of large boulders and
short trees which lay on the edge of the gorge. The boulders formed a
small cave, very open and spacious, around which lay nine or ten
The contrast between this pride and the one he had left behind at
Pride Rock struck him immediately. Whenever the lionesses back home
weren't hunting or looking after cubs, they would play or gossip. They
seemed to enjoy themselves immensely during their off time and would
make the most of it.
These lionesses, however, sat in subdued silence, an air or nervous
expectation pervading the gathering. There was no laughter or wrestling
matches as there had been back home; the silence was overwhelming.
Makini entered the alcove and strode into the midst of her pride
neither speaking nor receiving confirmation of her appearance. The
lionesses seemed the grow more nervous at her approach. From beneath
where he lay came a angry shout.
"Makini! Where have you been?"
Makini dropped the meat she had been carrying and made a quick,
clumsy, bowing gesture in the direction the voice had come from.
"Sire....." She stammered. "I was, I just, I, I had to get away."
A large lion bounded into view from the inside of the alcove. He
stopped just short of the lioness and stood nose to nose with her
"Had to get away did you?" He began pacing in front of her, tail
lashing, claws splayed. "And just where did you get away to?"
Makini backed a step away from the agitated lion; averting her
eyes as she spoke.
"Sire, I, I'm sorry....I meant no disrespect. It's just..."
The lion stopped pacing and thrust his face forward, teeth bared.
"What!" He snapped. "It's just what! Tell me now or you'll have a
matching pair of scars on your face." He drew his claws along the
ground, tearing long ragged furrows in the turf. Makini's eyes were
drawn to the violent tearing and she began shaking in terror.
"Zarai" She whispered
The large lions face relaxed into a broad smile. "Ah yes, Zarai."
He sat down a reached a paw out towards Makini's face. An air of false
concern crossed his countenance. She flinched as he rested his paw
under her jaw. "You miss her do you?"
She nodded her head slowly, trying to not to look into his eyes.
"Yes, it was a hard thing. But she needed to know her place. She
knows now, wouldn't you say, hmmm?"He nodded gravely to her, his paw
tightening around her face.
Once again she nodded., saying nothing.
"Yes, she does." He twisted his paw around her jaw drawing her
eyes up to meet his. "Take note of this, my ugly, little huntress. If
you ever take leave without my permission you'll know your place too."
Without warning he swung his free paw around and lashed Makini
across the face striking her to the ground. She fell in a crumpled heap
at his feet; bleeding from three new scratches on her face. Her
pridemates averted their eyes; this scene had been played out before,
far too many times to draw comment.
Chapter 16 Plans
Scar quickly climbed down from the rocky roof; careful not to make
a sound although every fiber in his body urged him to run as fast as he
could from the place. He now knew what had broken Makini and had put
the fear he sensed into her pride mates. He had not believed that any
one lion could inspire such fear but now he felt himself shaking at the
thought of the beast he had just seen.
Kiruu was larger than Mufasa had been in his prime. Deeper and
broader in the chest and more heavily muscled. But it was more than
mere size which caused him to tremble. It was the reek of madness that
hung in the air as he paced before Makini; the feeling that killing and
destroying was nothing more than a game to the beast. A game he enjoyed
playing and nearly always won.
Scar himself had intimate knowledge of this madness; he himself had
tasted it's fetid grip during his time in the Pride Lands. The love of
domination and the fear put in others. It was this knowledge that put
the icy stab of terror in his heart and urged him to leave the
business, gather up Chaga and continue on his way. It would be like
fighting his own demons, demons that this time came packaged in a
strong body and equipped with sharp claws and teeth.
"This can't be what I'm looking for, it just can't." He mumbled to
himself as he headed back toward where he had left Chaga the day
before. But even as he said the words aloud he knew them to be true;
knew that this is what Rafiki had meant as he pointed towards the
Western sky and told him to find his redemption.
He made good time back to the small stand of trees where he told
Chaga to wait for him. He panicked when he didn't see the bushbaby
hopping from branch to branch hunting insects in the still night air.
He searched the branches and called frantically for him. He needn't
have worried, Chaga poked his head out of a small depression in the
trunk where he had been asleep waiting for the night to deepen. His
eyes lit up when he saw Scar.
"Scarred lion!" He jumped down into Scar's mane. "You're to
coming back! Very happy to see; thought left and not come back." He
grabbed double fistfuls of Scar's mane and tugged happily.
Scar smiled at his friends boisterous greeting. "Now, why would
I leave you behind little one? I can't go anywhere without you to tell
me what to do."
Chaga hopped down off of Scar's head and sat on the lion's nose,
grooming his ears, embarrassed by the compliment.
"No, no, Scarred lion too smart for needing Chaga to tell." He
looked at Scar and noticed the nervous expression on his face.
"Something no good, Scarred lion?"
"Well, first thing I'd rather we found a more hidden spot for the
night and then I need to speak to you Chaga. Perhaps you can help me
with something I need to do."
"I will help if I can do." Chaga quieted down, sensing that his
friend was preoccupied and worried about something.
Scar took him a mile or two away and crawled beneath a group of
bushes he found on the edge of the gorge, mindful that if he needed to
flee, downward would be his best route. When he was sure that they were
as safe as they were going to be he told Chaga about what had taken
place while he was gone. The bushbaby listened quietly until Scar had
finished and then shook his head.
"Being foolish for female." He stated simply and then turned his
back on Scar.
"What do you mean?" He pushed Chaga with his nose but the little
animal refused to turn around. "Chaga, what do you mean "being foolish
for female" talk to me."
Chaga turned around, an angry look across his tiny features. He
crossed his forearms in front of him and raised his nose. "Scarred lion
going to act foolish for female and killing self too. No part of it."
"Come on, Chaga. You know me better than that!" He touched the
bushbaby again with his nose, this time knocking him over. Instead of
prompting a laugh and an impromptu wrestling match as it usually would
have, Chaga leap up and sat above Scar on the highest branch of the
"Knowing you well but this being stupid. Good night Scarred lion,
morning bringing senses to you maybe." He then buried himself into the
inner reaches of the bush and offered no more comment.
Scar was at a loss. He thought he could always rely upon Chaga's
support and now his friend had let him down. Unable to settle in for
the night and disregarding the ever present danger he left the safety
of the bushes and walked the grasslands restlessly.
Perhaps Chaga was right, maybe he was being foolish at the behest
of a beautiful female. But he couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling
that this was what he came to do. That for some reason he was drawn to
this place to rid this particular pride of their twisted king. How to
do this he couldn't see, however. There was no chance of him standing
and fighting the brute. He had put on quite a bit of weight himself
during his travels and the hunting had sharpened his skills and made
him quicker. But Kiruu was just too large; too bloodthirsty, Scar
himself had never been much of a fighter. No, unless some unforeseen
disaster or illness overtook Kiruu, he would have no chance.
He wandered towards the wildebeest herd which had settled in for the
night themselves. They grunted a low warning as he passed but seemed to
sense they were in no danger from the lone lion. He looked in their
direction but made no move toward them.
There were so many of them. Thousands of them. All on their yearly
migration. It was as if every wildebeest in the world had assembled in
this one spot to feast on the rich grasses and build their strength for
the remainder of their journey. It reminded him of the herd that his
once allies the hyenas had driven into the gorge at home to kill Mufasa
and Simba. Only this time there were more of them and they were well
fattened from the plentiful food.
"So much like the last time I saw a herd like this, gorge, the sheer
numbers of them." He thought and scratched absently at his ear with his
hind leg. "Only this time they won't do me any good."
One of the wildebeests closest to him made a quick running maneuver
towards him, stamping sharp hooves on the ground warning him away.
Remembering his own mishap with the large herbivores he moved a short
distance away and then sat down considering again. In his head he heard
the thrumming of thousands of hooves pounding hard packed earth. After
a few long moments he got up and raced back to where Chaga slept, a
plan already forming in his head.
"Chaga, Chaga, come on wake up! I need to talk to you." Scar pawed
the bushes roughly trying to rouse Chaga from his slumber.
The bushbaby peered out from between the leaves, eyes narrowed
angrily. "What is it Scarred lion? Sense coming to you yet?"
Scar sighed, "No, no, I still haven't a lick of sense, but I need
you Chaga. Please, get up."
"Scarred lion, what is it now? Make for sleep yes? Tomorrow talking
about this not making sense stuff", Chaga yawned, "tomorrow."
Scar slapped the bush with his front paw, the branches rattled
violently. The bushbaby lost his grip on the branch he lay on and fell
to Scar's feet. He shook the dust from his fur and sat on Scar's paw,
nose twitching with irritation.
"Please Chaga, please I need you to help me." He lifted his paw and
held Chaga up to his face and gave him what he hoped was his most
charming smile. "I never needed anyone like I need you now. Please help
me, I can't do what I have to do alone."
Chaga's expression changed from one of frustration to one of
amusement. "So," He chuckled and patted Scar's nose with a tiny paw.
"Scarred lion admitting needing Chaga for helping him."
Scar smiled in response. "Yes, I need you Chaga, is that what you
wanted to hear?"
"Well, sometimes needing to hear that from friend." Chaga smiled
sheepishly. "Always being with Scarred lion and never feeling good for
Scar placed Chaga back on the ground. "I always needed you, you've
helped me along the way. I don't know what I'd have done if I had to
travel all this way alone. Your company made all the difference, you
"Maybe, maybe not, good for you saying. So what do you want now,
"You must send a message for me Chaga. To the female, you know
the one I'm being foolish for, she'll be easy to find she has a scar
on her face like mine."
Chapter 17 Kiruu
When Makini had returned to the den site she hadn't known what to
expect. Part of her hoped that the strange lion would come roaring to
her defense and beat Kirru to the ground once and for all. It was a
foolish hope. The strange lion was much smaller than the king and if he
had shown himself that would have been the end of him. But, in her head
it was fun to imagine the beast finally getting what he deserved, just
getting a little bit back in return for all he had done to her and her
pride mates. A delicous bit of revenge if only for a moment in her
But of course that hadn't happened and she was left with the
feeling that their meeting that afternoon had been a fleeting bit of
brightness in an otherwise dreary life. After regaining her composure
from Kiruu's assault she skulked to the outlying area of the den site
to wash her new wounds and find comfort in the memory of her brief
meeting with the stranger. Kiruu had offered no more retribution and
had stalked off with the zebra meat she had brought back with her.
Kwaya, her great aunt saw her leave the alcove and followed her.
Kwaya was the matriarch of the pride and at almost twenty years old had
seen her share of both the good and bad that a lion's kingship had to
offer. Their last king, Adhama, had been a gruff but caring male, a
strong a beautiful animal in his prime and a close companion to her. A
gentle lover and a good friend, who even after all this time she ached
It pained her when she began to see Adhama age and become
vulnerable to the many wandering young males that challenged him. At
first it was easy for him to repel the strangers, posturing and roaring
would usually be enough to set them to their heels. But, with each
challenge he became weaker and more careless and she knew that it was
only a matter of time before he lost to one of the young contenders.
She had learned that it wasn't something to mourn over for long, it was
the way of her people, the path that every lion male had to walk in the
"Circle of Life". The loss of the throne to a younger male was as
preordained as the sun setting every evening.
It was in these later years that Kiruu had shown up and she knew
just by looking at him that this young male would be the one to undue
the old king's reign. He was young, strong and handsome. A sleek pelt
covering taunt muscles in a large sinewy body. A thick reddish brown
mane coursed down his back and his pale eyes were clear and steady. He
had strode into Adhama's kingdom as if he already knew the outcome of
the battle to come. So unlike the other's that had approached with
trepidation. The old lion didn't even answer the young male's
challenge when he called, he too knew in his heart that it was time to
step down and so with his blessing he turned the valley kingdom over
the the newcomer. A lion of such confidence and strength would be a
gift to his pride and it made him happy to know that he could wander
the grasslands with his people in good hands.
The peaceful passing of the mantle that Adhama wished was not to
be and to the shock and horror of Kwaya and the others the new young
male descended on the elderly king clawing and biting, he appeared to
not even hear Adhama's greeting to him as he came into view. Ignoring
the pleas of mercy from the old male ,Kiruu dispassionately tore the
throat from him. Adhama never had time to fight back. The assembled
lionesses cringed as the new male raised his dripping chin from the
fallen monarch and looked around at his new subjects.
"A new order has begun." The young male grinning through blood
stained teeth, "long live the king."
That had been almost five seasons ago and that day set the pace
for Kiruu's rule over the valley kingdom. At first the lionesses had
been restive and angry with his violent outbursts and challenged him in
ways big and small. But, no infraction, however tiny, was overlooked or
forgiven. A clawed face for a snide comment, a cub massacred for a
missed day of hunting, a broken leg and a slow death for an outright
Systematically Kiruu broke the wills of his subjects until a silent
and never ending fear invaded the mind of every pride member. To even
think of breaking the rules was enough to send one's heart racing, to
actually stand up to the beast was to risk dying from fright. Kiruu
held every heart and mind in his pride under his paw and he savored it.
That Makini had saw fit to anger him roused fear and worry in
Kwaya. She knew what Kiruu was capable of and was desperate not to see
another pride sister fall to his violent temper. She found Makini
grooming herself on the outskirts of the pride. She had to make the
young huntress see sense and quell the rebellious attitude she saw
brewing in her.
She approached her quietly knowing that she must be on edge after
what had happened. She lay down beside Makini and began washing the
blood from her niece's face.
"You were very careless this afternoon little utamu," Kwaya said,
"You know better than to go off without permission. Oh, Kiruu was
furious when he realized you were gone, had you come back earlier....."
She had no need to finish, Makini knew full well what would have
happened if she had come back at the height of Kiruu's anger.
"I know Kwaya, but I just couldn't stay not after.."
"Shhh, little utamu, no need to speak of it." She nuzzled the young
lioness. "I know, it hurts and it doesn't go away. But Ziara's
suffering is finished now and she and Browntoes are playing among the
stars and the great kings are watching over them. It may sound a little
hollow to you now but please know it to be true"
Makini lowered her head and spoke in a hoarse whisper, "I wish -
we- were watched over by the great kings sometimes."
"They are there honey, but sometimes they can do nothing but
watch until we move to help ourselves."
"Kwaya, I have to tell you something. It's a secret and it's part
of the reason I came back so late." She looked at Kwaya with a rarely
seen glint of mischief in her eye.
Kwaya glanced about quickly and automatically to see if anyone who
might be listening was around, gossip never stayed a secret very long
in any pride, "What do you mean a secret?" She shook her head, "Please
Makini cause no more trouble today, Kiruu won't stand for
"I met a male today." Said Makini in a conspiratorial whisper. "A
stranger. I met him in the Eastern pasture, oh Kwaya he was wonderful,
not like Kiruu at all."
"Makini! You did not! Say you are making this up!"
"But I did, he was here at the den site. He wanted to see Kiruu
for himself. I told him about him and he wasn't afraid. He was so kind
to me Kwaya. He's the one who gave me the meat Kiruu ate."
Kwaya stood and began pacing nervously. "Child, do you know what
will happen to you if the king finds out. He will kill you and your new
male! Please young one, don't throw your life away!"
Makini jumped to her feet and faced Kwaya. "What life! This life!"
She gestured toward the pride which lay quietly a few yards away. "This
one where I can't go were I please or know that my young will live to
see their first hunt. Why is this damn life worth protecting Kwaya?
Her aunt backed away from Makini, never before had she raised her
voice to her. "Lower your voice child, if Kiruu..."
"I will not lower my voice!" Makini shouted, "I always have to lower
my voice and walk with my head down. I'm tired of it Kwaya, there is
nothing here for us!"
"You don't understand, the land is ours..."
Makini cut her off. "So what! The lands may belong to us but we
don't enjoy them! I want to be able to run and hunt as I wish!"
Kwaya raised her head to the sky, "You hear this Ziara, your sister
has gone mad today."
"No Kwaya, I haven't." Makini sat once again and looked to her aunt
and mentor, she touched Kwaya's shoulder with her paw. "We're not
living Kwaya, we're dying here. Everyday we loose a bit more of
ourselves to that beast. Our mother's heritage means nothing if we
loose ourselves to him. We are not proud hunters anymore, but
frightened slaves. I would risk anything to be able to say that for one
moment I was free and Kiruu didn't hold me under his paw. You remember
what freedom is like. Isn't it worth the risk?"
Kwaya looked at Makini and saw the long dead spark of the young
lioness that she had once been, that they all once were. She remembered
the days of Adhama's rule, the days of boisterous hunts and feasts at
the den site, of the many cubs she and her pride sisters bore and sent
into the world. Cubs that now might be killed at a moment's provocation
or misspoken word. It struck her to the bone to hear her own long
buried thoughts come from the young one's mouth. Truths that she
herself had always know but had been frightened into forgetting about.
She touched Makini's paw with her own. "Tell me about your new
male and what happened today."
"Well, his name is Scar and......"
Chapter 18 Plans in Action
"So do you think you can remember all that Chaga?" Scar felt that
going over his message one more time would be a good idea. Chaga was
very intelligent but all the same it was crucial that he get it right.
"Thinking so Scarred lion, but how will I be finding scarred
"Just go on until you reach the stand of boulders which lie to
the northern edge of the gorge. But take care not to be seen and stay
in the trees. When you get there you'll see many lions, but the one
that has a scar like me is the one you need to talk to."
Chaga looked at Scar nervously. "Being afraid Scarred lion."
"I know little malaika, be careful. Take as much time as you need
to get there and come back here." Scar rubbed his chin against the
bushbaby. "I have every confidence in you."
"I know Scarred lion, wish me having all confidence too." He leapt
into a nearby tree. "Going now, be back soon. Wait for me Scarred
Scar waved a paw at Chaga. "I will and thank you Chaga."
"Be thanking me when I come back, Scarred lion." He mumbled and
hopped away into the night.
Scar watched him until he was out of sight. He wished he could
tag along behind and make sure he made it to Makini all right, but the
risk was too great. He could only wait nervously for his return and
hope that Makini understood his message.
Chaga took Scar's warning seriously and made sure to stick to the
dense foliage along the path. Kiruu's ferocity lost nothing in the
retelling and while Chaga wanted to appear brave to Scar in truth he
was scared witless. The thought of walking into a group of unknown
carnivores with a message he couldn't understand and that he wasn't at
all sure they would understand chilled him and it took every ounce of
resolve for him to go on with his task.
He reached the rocky alcove as dawn had just begun to creep over the
edge of the horizon. He saw a few lionesses scattered about the place,
lying quietly in the beginning rays of the sun. He scanned the area
carefully looking for a safe vantage point where he could look for the
lioness with the scarred face. He couldn't see her from where he sat
and he was none too eager to jump into the midst of the lions and ask
But he remembered how desperate Scar had looked when he sent him off
to find her. He couldn't go back and tell him he had failed. Swallowing
back hard, he leapt into the grass and crawled toward the nearest
lioness. He couldn't stop himself from shaking, the overpowering scent
of the strange lions filled his senses and his instinct urged him to
leap back in to the trees. When he reached the lionesses hind paw he
reached out and gentley touched it, barely brushing it with his tiny
In and instant he found himself pinned under four strong claws and
facing a mouthful of sharp teeth.
"SCREEEEEEEEE!," He screamed at the top of his lungs, "P,p,p, lease
don't killing, not to kill! Scarred lion! Send me!"
The lioness closed her mouth and loosed her grip, she looked at
Chaga with her head cocked. "What did you say?"
"Scarred lion sent me, talk to scarred lioness, please don't for
killing me." He crossed his forearms over his eyes, sure he was going
to be stove through by the lioness's fangs.
The strange lioness lifted her paw from Chaga. "Scarred lioness?
Do you mean Makini? Tell me!"
Chaga stood and after a moment's hesitation rushed up the nearest
tree. "Not to knowing name, only knowing scarred and needing to talk to
her." He had regained some composure now that he was out of reach.
"My name is Kwaya little one and Makini is my niece. You said you
were sent here? Who sent you."
"Scarred lion, sent me. Said talked to scarred lioness the other
day. Needing to see her again."
Kwaya reached up towards the tree and rested against the
trunk, trying to get closer to her strange visitor. "Is the lion you
speak of named Scar?" She spoke very quietly
"Yes! Yes!," Chaga squealed, "Scarred lion!"
"Shhh!" Kwaya looked around to see if anyone had noticed,
everyone seemed lost in their own thoughts. "You must not be so loud,
it's dangerous here. Come on down and we can talk more easily."
Chaga looked at Kwaya as if she had sprouted another head. "No
coming down strange lioness, almost eating Chaga last time."
Kwaya sighed, "I'm sorry, it won't happen again, I just didn't
know what you were. Come down I promise not to hurt you."
"Okay, but any growling ...I'm going." He hopped down and
landed in the grass next to Kwaya.
"No fear little one, now tell me what this lion Scar said to
you." Kwaya could hardly believe that she was allowing herself to be
led into danger like this. But, Makini's words had stuck with her,
although she had to wonder what kind of lion sent small animals on
errands for him.
Chaga had to think for a moment to remember what Scar had said,
the bad fright had erased all thoughts save survival from his mind.
After a pause he said, "Scarred lion need to meet scarred lioness in
field where meeting her first. Having plan for her and other lionesses.
Bad lion made gone. Good plan he says. Need to talk to scarred lioness
to make good."
Kwaya shook her head. "Little one, that won't be possible. Makini
is in trouble already and Kiruu is keeping a close eye on her now.
He'll find your friend for sure this time. I'm sorry but she can't
"But good plan, helping you. Must come." Chaga was crestfallen,
it seemed he would fail after all.
"Calmly little one," Kwaya chuckled, "I'll come and speak to him.
Kiruu has no reason to distrust me, I've never given him reason. Just
point to where he wants to meet and I'll come as soon as it's safe to
Chaga considered for a moment, "Okay, being okay plan.," he
pointed eastward. "That way is big tree with big knots and many branch,
Scarred lion being there and tell you what to do."
"I'll be there, maybe sometime this afternoon after Kiruu has
retired for the day. Make sure he is there little one, I won't be happy
if I'm risking my neck for nothing."
Chaga leapt back up in the tree, "He'll being there and thanks
to you strange lioness. Seeing later."
Before Kwaya could answer Chaga was out of sight and eager to
get away from the strange and dangerous place.
Kwaya was right to feel that Makini's meeting Scar would be a
death sentence to both. Since the day before Kiruu had been keeping
close tabs on the lioness and very rarely allowed her to be out of
sight for long.
Something was wrong, he could feel it. The way she had stood
up to him bothered him and he had to restrain himself from lashing out
at her whenever he saw her. There was no real reason for him not to
kill her, in fact it's what he wanted to do, but there was something
going on behind his back and perhaps if he kept an eye on her he might
find out what it was.
For over four turns of the season he had ruled the Valley
Kingdom, the lands that bordered the great gorge and in those four
years he had managed to keep any rebellion or challenges at bay. It
wasn't an easy task, the lionesses often got restive and at first had
tried to test his will. He had made sure they understood their place
right away and that put an end to most quarrels. It was the way a pride
was to be run and he was going to see to it that things stayed in
Kiruu had originally come from a small pride far to the West of
the Valley kingdom. His father , Mlezi, was a commoner in his home
pride and had taken a great risk in becoming a mate to one of the
pride's lionesses, Kiva. When Kiruu and his brother were born his
mother and father were exiled from their pride's home range. Left alone
with two cubs and a new mother to care for Kiruu's father had lost his
resolve to remain with the young family and one day simply went off on
the pretext of finding a meal and never returned.
Faced with having two cubs to look after and without the
support of the pride, Kiva slipped into a deep depression from which
she never recovered and while she looked after her cubs psychical needs
she was often unavailable and distant to them. She sorely missed her
pride and saw her cubs as the reason for her mate's desertion and her
expulsion from the pride. She couldn't bring herself to leave them but
she also couldn't being herself to love them as most mothers would.
They got by with just enough to eat and enough attention to remain
clean and nothing more.
Living out in the open without a pride's protection proved
fatal to Kiruu's littermate, who one afternoon fell prey to a wandering
hyena. The cub was ripped apart in front of Kiruu who hid in the grass
and watched without emotion. So easy to end the life of another
creature, the young cub thought as he watched the hyena rend his
brother apart. It was a lesson that imprinted itself in the cub's mind
and would come to him unbidden whenever he felt helpless and afraid.
The power he observed in the hyena that day, the strength of it's jaws
as it tore into yelding flesh and the determination unmoved by the
screams of a young cub filled him with awe and jealousy. He vowed that
one day that power would be in his own claws and teeth.
Kiruu in sharp contrast to his frail brother grew up strong and
fierce under his mother's disinterest. He took pleasure in catching his
own meals and neither sought nor yearned for the affection of his
mother. One day as his mane was just starting to grow in he took leave
of her and set off to find his own destiny. He wandered for days by
himself. He wasn't sure what he was looking for but he knew in his
heart that he was meant to be a leader. He was strong and capable of
taking care of himself; but he wanted to hold a kingdom of his own. His
mother had often spoken of her old pride and how one lion held sway
over his own patch of land and all the animals that walked upon it. He
longed to feel that power for himself, to no longer be an outsider and
to himself hold the power to banish and humiliate.
That day didn't arrive until well after his second year when he
had wandered into a lush and fertile kingdom belonging to a pride ruled
over by an elderly lion. He was now a full grown lion with a lush mane
and a full compliment of muscle. When he came upon the old lion who
was king he could see his way to the power he had wished over for so
long. He was disgusted by the sight of the decrepit old beast and when
the king had called out to him he had felt all the anger of the past
coming rushing up in a torrent. Without waiting to see what the old
male would do he dashed over and landed on him full force knocking him
to the ground.
In a rage he ran his claws into the shaggy, worn pelt,
delighting in the overpowering smell of blood which poured from the
wounds. He couldn't think of anything but ripping into the squealing,
struggling old male, tearing the life from him. Fear held no place in
his mind, pity even less. His gashing teeth found the king's windpipe
and crushed it. He felt the body shudder with it's final spasm and a
sense of pleasure and satisfaction threatened to sweep him away. "So
this is what power feels like." He thought. It was wonderful. He gave
the body a final shake as if trying to coax the life back into it so he
could repeat the experience. But the once great and just ruler was
dead, barely recognizable from the many wounds he had recieved.
Whe the feeling of power left him he finally raised his eyes
from the corpse and saw that a crowd of lionesses had gathered. They
shrunk back from him; terror gripping every countenance. He smiled,
they backed away, the feeling of pleasure returned as his cold, pale
eyes pierced them from above his blood stained muzzle. He was the new
king and none would oppose him.
"For four seasons I have kept these lands as they should be" , he
thought as he lay in the pride's alcove staring at Makini who lay a
few feet away, "but something is happening." He shifted his posistion
and drew his claws along the stone floor. He was sure Makini was part
of it and he wasn't going to let her out of his sight. Not until he
knew what it was, once satisfied the detestable female could be
Chapter 19 The Summer Storm
Kwaya waited until the sun had reached it's zenith to begin
her journey to where the strange little animal that called itself Chaga
had told her to go. She had strolled casually by Kiruu's customary
sleeping spot to ensure that the king was indeed at rest before she
started out. She needn't have worried, Kiruu was indeed fast asleep
with Makini beside him. He had ordered the young lioness to stay by his
side and so she knew nothing of her aunt's meeting with the new male's
friend. She sighed as she saw the two together. She knew that Kiruu was
just biding his time before he killed her. Makini had embedded
suspicion in the kings mind and he would not forget that. Once whatever
conspiracy he had imagined had passed he would rid himself of the
troublesome youngster, of this she was sure. This reason above all
spurred Kwaya to her clandestine meeting with the lion called Scar.
It didn't take her long to find him. He was right where the
little animal had said he would be. She approached cautiously, wanting
to get a good look at him before she introduced herself. What she saw
was a smallish lion, dark furred and dark manned. He was well muscled
but his body was more sinewy than bulky like Kiruu's. He sat under the
tree talking with Chaga who sat atop his mane.
Her heart sank. She had hoped she would find a strapping young
male, a psychical match for the tyrant of the Valley. Instead she
found a lion that while fit, would be overwhelmed by him in moments.
She felt the beginnings of tears spring to her eyes as all hope of
salvation fell away and the cruel reality that Kiruu would yet still be
king became clear.
She walked up to the lion head low, she had come to talk to him
and would, even though she thought it wouldn't do her any good. Scar
immediately looked up and smiled when he saw her approach. He stood and
nodded to her.
"Hello there, you must be Kwaya," he said, "Chaga told me you were
coming in Makini's sted."
"Yes, I am," she smiled wanly at Scar trying to keep the
disappointment from her voice, "you're friend there said you wanted to
talk about something, so I'm here." She sat down.
Scar was puzzled, the lioness seemed reluctant to speak with
him. When Chaga had reported back he had made it seem as if Kwaya was
eager to meet with him and now she had come she seemed to not want to
even look at him.
"M'am?," Scar said, "Is there something wrong, from what Makini
said....." Kwaya cut him off.
"Scar? Is that your name?," Kwaya said, "listen, I don't know
what you expect to do here, but you must be very mistaken. Not to be
rude but you're far too small to be a challenge to Kiruu. I'm sorry but
you can't be of any help to us here." She made as if to walk away when
she heard the lion start laughing. She spun around and looked at him
bewildered. Perhaps he was crazy after all.
Scar stopped laughing and shook his head at Kwaya, "Dear lady,
do you take me for an idiot? I have no intention of fighting your king.
I've seen the brute and yes, he is far too strong for me."
Kwaya sat down again, "So what do you propose?"
"Listen, there are other ways to overcome brute force than by
fighting it. I should know, trust me. No, instead I have any idea, a
way to get rid of your problem without one blow."
"I don't understand, what do you mean and can we trust you?"
Kwaya stood and fell back a step. There was something not right about
the lion that stood before her, something sly and cunning just under
the surface. She wasn't at all sure that this had been a good idea.
Scar sighed, he knew sooner or later it would come to this. He
motioned for the lioness to come closer and he himself sat down. "I had
hoped it would be Makini that I would have to tell this whole sordid
story to but since I need to make you trust me I'll have to tell you."
Kwaya was confused but came to Scar and sat beside him. "Tell
me what? Why you're here?"
"Something like that. I'll try to be brief we don't have much
time and time is of the essence. If you're here that means Makini is in
trouble and ...."
"You like her." Kwaya cut in.
Scar nodded. Kwaya gave him a sincere smile. "It's hard not to
like her I know. Go on, Scar, I'll hear you out . But once again I'm
not sure you'll be able to handle Kiruu, his strength and ferocity is
like no other lion I've ever seen, if you fail it will be the death of
So once again he found himself relating the story of his life
at Pride Rock and his subsequent wanderings. He glossed over some of
the worst of it and exaggerated some of the better of it. It would have
been easier to say all this to Makini, but he had to get Kwaya to
believe in his sincerity and his feeling that his purpose lay here.
She sat quietly saying nothing. When he had finished she broke
into a wide smile and patted Scar on the shoulder. "Well, perhaps I was
wrong a sneaky and conniving chap such as yourself may be just what is
Scar's face fell, it was Nduli all over again, he shook his head
and began his defense. "You don't understand I'm not like that
"Honey, you better still be like that if you want to have a chance
against Kiruu." Kwaya said.
Scar was taken aback. It was the first time he had ever heard
his character flaws being described as a good thing. He caught himself
laughing. "I think I can manage to be a little sneaky."
"A little!," Kwaya snorted, "Sweetie, you better be the
nastiest, most cunning beast on the plains." She patted Scar's face
with a paw. She had to admit, she found herself liking the dark manned
lion and admiring the straightforward way he had told her his story and
purpose for wanting to help her pride. Makini could do worse, she
"Well then, let me tell you what I've planned for your king and
how I'll need your help. It'll take some great timing on both of our
parts as well as a good deal of luck. But I think it can be done."
The two sat and worked out the plan for well into the
afternoon. Kwaya thought it was a good idea and added on to it and
refined it. Scar silently thanked the gods or good fortune for sending
Kwaya to him. She was very intelligent and helped him a good deal. By
the time the two got ready to depart Scar felt confident that
everything would go as smoothly as it had the last time he had tried a
trick like this. Although this time -he- was to be the lure.
"Goodnight, Kwaya and be careful going home," Scar said as Kwaya
began to make her way home, he worried that she might meet the same
fate as Makini.
"Don't worry so, Kiruu leaves me alone," She swished her tail,
"I'm not sure why, perhaps he's afraid of me." She flashed a quick grin
at Scar and went on her way.
"Lady, if he knows what's good for him , he better be!" He
called after her.
The last thing he heard was Kwaya giggling as she disappeared
into the long grass. Gathering up Chaga he went off to find a place to
sleep for the night. Tomorrow he would need his rest.
Luck was with Kwaya that evening as she slunk into her pride's
den site and lay down quietly. No one had noticed her absence; as
trapped as they almost always were in their far away thoughts it didn't
surprise her. Kiruu was where she had last seen him, napping with
Makini beside him. Soon he would awaken and call the hunters to their
task. She decided to wait until then to speak to her pride mates, doing
so now would be courting disaster.
The day drew slowly into evening and as expected Kiruu awoke and
roared for the lionesses to assemble. He gave the orders as to where
they were to hunt that evening and let them know what he would like
brought down. The pride accepted their orders as usual without
complaint and set off into the pasture lands to begin the night's work.
Kwaya, however had other plans. Trotting to the head of the
procession she called them to a halt. The pride's second, Asali,
looked at Kwaya puzzled.
"What is it Kwaya, is there some danger," Asali looked around her
trying to see what made Kwaya halt the procession, "if not we better
move on, Kiruu has been as nasty as a honey badger with a bad tooth
these past couple of days."
"No, Asali, there's no danger about but I would like to talk to
you all." Kwaya strode to a nearby boulder and leapt to the top. She
was still quite agile for her many years. "It is of utmost importance
that you hear me out my sisters. Our futures depend on it."
Asali snorted in derision, life with Kiruu had taken all the joy
from the mid-aged huntress and she was eager to get the night's task
over with, "Kwaya, you speak as if the god of all creatures has given
you a vision. Come down off of that rock, old bones and lets get back
Kwaya smiled at Asali and just shook her head. "These old bones
taught you how to hunt young lady and I am still lead huntress. You
would do well to show your elder some respect don't you think?"
Asali looked around herself as she heard the grumbles of agreement
from the other lionesses. She often forgot that Kwaya was still leader
of their hunts. Embarrassed by the disapproving looks her pride mates
gave her and the chiding from Kwaya she shrugged and lowered her head.
"I'm sorry Kwaya, I meant no disrespect, it's just, well, it's
been a rough couple of days and..."
Kwaya nodded to the younger lioness. "Yes dear, it's always a
rough day for us all. No need to apologize. I understand." She heaved a
heavy sigh. "Which is why, my sisters, I have asked for your attention.
I had a meeting today with someone who may very well help us out of our
Asali and the other lioness immediately gave Kwaya their full
attention. It had been a long time since any hope had come into their
lives and if something was able to light the fire in the old hunt
mistress then it must be well worth hearing about. All ears cocked
forward and not a sound was heard as Kwaya explained what she and Scar
Chapter 20 Thunder and Lightening
While Scar may have needed his sleep he got very little that
night. He was on edge about what was to happen the next day and didn't
feel as if his luck would be with him. The plan had worked so well the
last time, would it now? How could he be sure that Kiruu would act as
he thought he would and would the lionesses be willing or able to carry
out their part. All these questions raced through his mind as he lay
under the stand of bushes. There were so many things he was gambling on
and none that he was sure of. Mufasa he had known well, Kiruu he had
merely glimpsed. The uncertainty was gnawing at him.
The dawn came too quickly for Scar and when the first rays of sun
began to peek over the horizon he crept from his hiding place. He moved
quietly hoping not to wake Chaga who had slept soundly all night in the
branches above his head. It didn't work. Chaga had been up before dawn
searching for food and when he saw Scar emerge he leapt down onto the
"Ready for going Scarred lion? Making plan go today." He took up
his usual place on top of Scar's mane. The lion reached up and plucked
him carefully from his mane and set him on the ground.
"Not today little one," Scar smiled wanly down at Chaga, "you can't
come with me."
"But why for?" Chaga said. "Always going with Scarred lion, wanting
to help, please." He gave Scar his most endearing grin.
Scar tried to muster up a smile back but found himself lacking,
instead he lightly touched the bushbaby's head with his paw. "No, today
I have to meet my fate alone. I'm sorry little malaika, but you must
stay behind. Please wait for me."
The look on Scar's face made any protest Chaga had melt from his
throat. The lion looked so forlorn and resolute. It was as if he was
going to his death and knew it. Chaga swallowed back any objections
and touched Scar's paw in return. "Waiting for you, okay."
Without another word Scar turned and started for Makini's den
site. Chaga sat watching until the lion disappeared in the tall grass.
His whispered "Goodbye" was heard by no one.
It took all of Scar's resolve to keep moving. The bravado he
had felt as he had talked to Kwaya of his plan had completely
disappeared and all that was left was the terrible anticipation. He
went over his plan again and again in his head trying to find any
possible glitch, anything that he could've missed. He couldn't. If
everything went as planned it should run as smoothly as the first time,
better since he himself would be in charge. So why then did it feel as
if he were walking to his death. He shook his head and quickened his
No, this is what he had to do, what he was meant to do if he was
to put things right with himself. He drove all thoughts of failure
from his mind and trotted forward cutting a swath through the dewy
morning grass with his body. He would succeed he told himself and broke
into a run, everything will go fine and in the end he would have done
what he needed to do. He was now running at full speed and even now
could see the den site coming into view. Lowering his head and pulling
his lips back in a snarl he burst from the grass and rounded the corner
right into the alcove where Makini's pride lived. He jumped down
without bothering to look where he was going.
He skidded to a stop and looked up. All the lionesses were present
and everyone of them looked at him with a mixture of shock and relief.
A couple even smiled. He gave a quick look around at them and smiled
in return and then looked forward. There, in the center of the alcove,
an expression of disbelief lay Kiruu. Makini who sat beside him looked
at Scar, horror painted across her face. She had been under Kirru's
supervision and didn't know what was going on. She shook her head
wordlessly and tears sprang to her one good eye.
"King of the dung beetles!" Scar roared at Kiruu, "Your time has
come." He bowed in Kiruu's direction. "Meet your doom." He raised his
head and gave a sly grin to the huge lion who was now rising up. Black
lips peeled back from sharp, white teeth, he lowered his head. Murder
danced in the great lion's eyes as he took Scar in. Scar merely
straightened himself and continued to look unalarmed.
"Who are you!" Kiruu snarled, he moved slowly forward, low to the
ground. "What are you doing here?"
"Like I said my dear monarch, I am your doom." Scar ran a paw
through his mane. "Not quite what you where expecting? Never mind, you
don't seem a very intelligent sort, so just accept it."
Kiruu moved even closer and Scar could now smell the anger
rolling off him in waves. His own heart began to race and he kept both
eyes fixed on the lion inching his way closer. "Very important," He
thought, "that I don't take off too soon, just a little closer."
"I'll kill you," Foam dripped from Kiruu's muzzle. Scar crouched a
little and waited, just one step closer.........
As soon as Kiruu came within a foot of him Scar bolted and began
running toward the Eastern pasture. Just as quickly Kiruu was on his
heels. He could hear the lion's breath very close behind him, too
close. He dodged to the left and headed for the mouth of the gorge.
Every fiber of his being pushing forth.
When Kwaya saw Scar run she and three other lionesses made for the
wildebeest herd. Careful to stay hidden in the grass and yet moving at
a breakneck pace they circled around toward the tail end of the herd.
Kwaya and one other lioness, Asali, went to the left and the other two
went to the right. All at once they pounced out of the grass at the
surprised animals. Like a flock of birds the animals all began to turn
"Drive them toward the Western plain, to the mouth of the gorge!"
Kwaya shouted to Asali who ran with her. She turned and nipped at the
flanks of the beest closest to her. The two other lionesses on the
other end closed in herding the animals into a dagger like formation,
driving them toward the Western edge of the great canyon.
The lionesses dodged in and out of the great herd, snapping at
their heels driving them forward to the canyon mouth. The dust clotted
their eyes as the panicked animals ran in confusion. Every once in a
while a lioness would have to lunge at a straggler to keep the herd in
motion; to give the impression that many lionesses were hounding them.
As planned the great herd reached the lip of the steep canyon wall and
began pouring over the side like a brown river.
Scar turned sharply and plunged down in to the gorge. He had
carefully selected where he would enter and had tried the route once
for practice but now with Kiruu on his tail he stumbled down the cliff
side banging his sides painfully into the jutting rocks which poked out
from the rock walls. There was no time for caution and no thought now
except for saving his own skin. A quick glimpse backward revealed the
maddened face of the beast, every incentive to keep pumping his legs.
He leapt from rock to rock barely keeping ahead of the larger lion.
He hit the ground running and Kiruu landed with a thump right
behind him. He panicked. The herd wasn't here, the lionesses, did they
remember? He put on an extra burst of speed as Kiruu's forepaw lashed
out and just missed his hind ankle. "Oh Gods," He thought, "I'm going
to die." His breath came in short spurts as his sides began to ache.
Soon he would have to stop and then what?
He had just resigned himself to the possibility that he may have to
turn and fight when all of a sudden he heard a loud drumming noise, the
ground vibrating, the rocks around him jumping. "Here it is," He
steeled himself, he would have to be lightening fast, "get ready."
The herd came at the two lions from seemingly nowhere, rushing
forward like current of a swift river. Face to face with over a
thousand animals strong Scar leapt for the canyon wall. Claws out, he
landed squarely on the rocky wall and dug his claws into the unyielding
surface looking anywhere for a grip. The wildebeests rushed past only
inches away from his fear stiffened body, the occasional horn brushing
past him nicking his flesh. He held on for dear life; if he fell now it
would be over. He shut his eyes. "So this is what you went through
Mufasa," His frightened mind blurted out. He couldn't open his eyes, he
didn't want to see the mass of gray-brown bodies, the slashing hooves
and sharp horns. "Mufasa, I'm sorry, oh gods this is terrifying," His
mind wouldn't shut up, he felt himself slipping as the strength in his
forelegs gave way. He scrabbled the surface with his hind legs, looking
for any nook to gain a foothold. His toe caught on a nick in the wall
and he splayed his paws grasping the surface as best he could. The
thundering continued below. He would have to get higher up, he couldn't
hold on much longer. With the last of his reserves he reached a forepaw
upwards and pulled himself forward. Inch by inch he crept up the side
of the canyon until he reached a small shelf. Gasping for breath he
pulled himself onto it and sat down panting.
It was a long few minutes until the herd passed and the last of
the stragglers came into view. When Scar had caught his breath he made
his way up the canyon wall. Once his paws where on solid ground he
heaved a huge sigh. He had done it. His destiny was fulfilled. The
relief swept over him and he felt like rolling in the grass out of
sheer joy. It was over. He could now go find Chaga and tell him that
it was done. The weight that he had carried around his neck for the
past few months seemed to become instantly lighter.
He made for the way to the bushes where he and Chaga laired when he
heard the sound of paws on the grass behind him. Expecting to see
Makaini or Kwaya he turned with a huge smile. His expression and his
relief melted when he took in the figure before him.
It was Kiruu, disheveled, bleeding from a few wounds, but standing
and looking just as murderous as before. Scar took a step backward. His
luck had left him. He looked downward and thought for a moment about
leaping into the gorge. Perhaps he would be able to outrun Kiruu and
escape. But his aching legs told him this was no solution; he would
tumble headfirst and break his neck if he tried to run. The huge lion
smiled widely and nodded.
"There's no where left to run" He inched closer, once again low to
the ground. "It nearly worked. But I too know this gorge and knew how
to escape." His smile became a sneer and he showed Scar his full
compliment of teeth. He shot his claws and raked the earth with them
Scar lowered himself to the ground and shot his own claws from
their pads. There was nothing else to loose. Where would he go from
here? Back to wandering the plains feeling incomplete and incorrect? He
couldn't be a coward this time; the thought of simply running away
shamed him. Here he would meet his fate, death or otherwise. He would
fight because there was no other option
"You son of a hyena," Scar spat at Kiruu, "You're no king."
Kiruu shifted his weight and said nothing. His tail lashed behind
him, Scar could see he was preparing to strike. If only he could keep
Kiruu from crushing him down, he would have to keep his distance and
rely on his speed. The two lions circled each other, both seemingly
unwilling to make the first move. The air was charged with the mixed
scents of blood, sweat, fear and anger. Scar couldn't keep his eyes
from the sharp claws rending the grass.
Without warning Kiruu rushed forward and cuffed Scar across the
muzzle ripping three parallel gashes across his snout. Scar leapt
backwards just in time as Kiruu landed on the spot where he just stood.
Lunging forward Scar lashed his own paw out and hit Kirru on the side
of the head, knocking him momentarily off his feet. Jumping back he put
distance between himself and Kiruu while the lion regained his feet.
Kiruu shook his head in surprise. Never before had another lion
laid a paw on him. It was too much for him to bear. With a roar he
charged Scar who stood on his hind legs and caught his rush head on.
The two lion pushed at each other chest to chest, each trying to knock
the other over. For a moment it looked as if they were dancing, paws
rested on each other's shoulders. Kiruu buried his teeth in Scar's left
ear, causing him to yelp in pain and loose his footing. The huge lion
bore down on the smaller and pinned him to the ground. The suffocating
weight of Kiruu pushing the air from Scar's lungs.
"You should've never come here stranger," Kiruu hissed through
bloodstained teeth, "Now you're going to find out what power is really
As he said this Scar raised both hind legs up, claws out and
thrust them into Kiruus groin. He dug his eight dagger-like nails into
the inner flesh of Kiruu's hindquarters and pushing downward tore him
deeply down both sides. Kiruu quickly rolled sideways off of Scar and
growled in pain on the grass. Scar drew in a deep breath as the weight
was lifted from his chest and scrambled to his feet and moved away.
The three gashes in his muzzle where bleeding profusely and his eyes
were fast becoming clouded with his own blood. His breath was labored
and his limbs wouldn't stop shaking.
Kiruu stood shakily himself. The tears that Scar made in both hind
legs made standing difficult and painful. His mind boiled over with
rage. He was King of the Valley and here a small strange lion had
wounded him! No, he must kill this lion, that was all that mattered.
The pain in his legs was nothing to the deep wound to his pride. He
pushed himself forward, ignoring the screaming agony coming from both
Scar backed up once again when he saw Kiruu advance. He wasn't
sure how much more he could take. The run had sapped him and the loss
of blood from his ear and muzzle was making him dizzy. He looked
backward and saw that he stood close to the edge of the canyon.
"It ends here now, stranger." Kiruu took a step near Scar and he
stumbled, his back legs shook with the effort. He caught himself and
shambled forward, a bloody and snarling horror bent on one thing.
Scar shook his head , foam and blood dripped from his muzzle onto
the grass. His head buzzed and he had trouble focusing on the figure
before him. "Kill me if you must," The words bubbled forth, muddled and
labored, "but I'm not leaving without taking you with me." Any
thoughts of self preservation were long gone. The only thing left in
the world was him and the huge lion. Nothing else mattered.
Kiruu didn't reply, just hunkered down and shifted his weight
from side to side, preparing to pounce onto Scar and finish him. "I
know you too well to let you live." Scar said, his speech slurred and
distorted. The wounds across his nose made speaking painful, his mouth
was clotted with a nasty taste.
The lion's charge seemed to happen in slow motion and Scar
raised himself on his hind legs to meet it. Kiruu hit him with the
force of a buffalo and for a moment the two lions stood chest to chest
once again. Without thinking, completely on reflex, Scar drove his head
forward and buried his ruined muzzle in Kiruu's neck as if he were
killing a gazelle. He stove his fangs into flesh and heard the audible
pop as his teeth met in Kiruu's windpipe. He held for one moment more
and then Kiruu's fearsome weight became limp and Scar felt himself
falling backward, pitched bodily into space with Kiruu on top of him.
The two lions turned and twisted as they fell the length of the canyon.
Both animals hit the ground heavily. Scar lay for a long time
in the trampled dust; his head draped across Kiruu's chest, he had
landed on him when he fell. The smell of the dead lion filled his
nostrils and he rolled off of the body. His head hit the stony floor
with a loud crack and he moaned in pain.
A storm was coming. He could smell the musty scent of heavy
water laden clouds and the sharp tint of ozone in the air. Let it
come, he thought, let it wash me away. He sniffed the air without
raising his head or opening his eyes. Everything hurt, every bone,
muscle and nerve in his body thrummed a low beat of pain. He wanted to
go away, to disappear. Anything at all the make the fierce throbbing
He heard a low whispering sound in his ears and opened his
eyes with some effort. Have to get away, he thought, need to get away.
Without thinking he raised the top portion of his body up from the
blood stained ground and tried to raise his hind quarters. They were
flattened to the ground and refused to respond. He dropped his lower
half roughly to the floor once again. His hind legs wouldn't move.
Twitching his nose he caught the scent of dampness, of cool moss and
water. He again raised himself up on his shuddering forelegs and
digging his cracked claws into the earth dragged his body forward. He
grimaced and ground his teeth as a shock of pain, bright red, flashed
through him. The cool scent came to him again and bade him seek it out.
Inch by inch he crept along the canyon floor, crying out as he
went. His hind legs, twisted and useless, dragged behind him. The mossy
scent became overpowering and soon he found himself face to face with a
crack in the canyon wall, an opening roughly the size of his own body.
He braced his front paws on the lip of the crevice and with the last
bit of effort left in him pushed himself forward into it. A bright
flash of lightening lit the sky and canyon wall as he slid forward
into the cave. He landed roughly onto the rocky, damp floor and curled
up into a ball as the first heavy raindrops began to fall.
Chapter 21 Walking Alone
When Kwaya saw the last of the straggling wildebeests enter
the canyon she raced back towards the den site with Asali to tell
Makini what had just happened. When she and the others returned they
found the remaining lionesses crowded around Makini who was telling
them who the strange lion had been. All heads turned as Kwaya trotted
into their midst, sides still bellowing from the long run. Makini
pushed past the gathered lionesses and rushed up to the elder.
"Kwaya!" Makini's eye showed fear as she spoke, "What has
happened! Has Kiruu....."
"Killed Scar?" The old lioness shrugged. "Hopefully not,
if our plan went well."
Makini was confused. "Plan? What are you talking about
and how do you know about Scar?"
Kwaya flopped to the ground still breathing heavily, she
was not a sprightly three year old anymore. "I met him yesterday, I
spoke to him." Kwaya swallowed hard. "I couldn't tell you because Kiruu
had been keeping you with him. We made a plan to kill Kiruu, trample
him with the migrating herd. I think it worked, the herd went as we
The gathered pride looked from one to the other. What
they heard was unbelievable, Kiruu, the tyrant of the valley was dead.
One of the lionesses, a youngster named Maisha couldn't contain her
excitement and began laughing, lifting her head to the rain. The others
joined her, roaring their joy to the open sky and soon the pride was
gathered around Kwaya and Asali, scraping every detail that they could
about Scar and the plan. Only Makini remained quiet, she waited for the
din to die down.
"But, Kwaya where is Scar?" She ran a short way forward
and squinted through the sheets of rain. "We must go look for him. The
plan was dangerous, he might be..."
Kwaya grunted and stood. "You're right little Utamu,"
Kwaya nudged Asali's shoulder. "Come on young huntress, Makini's right,
we need to know what has happened."
The three lionesses set off through the rain and wet,
waving grass, following the path they had seen Scar take. They traveled
down through the gorge and found neither track nor scent, the rain had
long since washed away any trace that Scar and Kiruu had been there.
The walked on silently, except to call out for Scar every one in a
while. They stopped as they came upon a dark, rumpled shape lying in
the middle of the gorge.
"There he is." Kwaya slunk toward the body, head low and
tail to the ground. She went up to it cautiously as if some
superstitious fear in her expected the corpse to pop back to life and
attack her. She touched it's shoulder with a paw. "Yes, you have met
your match tyrant," She said coldly, " although whether you walk the
star's path now is anybody's guess. May the Great Kings take pity on
"But Kwaya," asked Asali, "where is the other male? I only
see the body of the tyrant here but no other. And here," She gestured
toward the wounds Scar had inflicted in Kiruu's hindquarters, "these
wounds were not made by any wildebeest. These are claw marks. There
must have been a terrible fight."
Makini called out Scar's name. "He must be here somewhere. He
couldn't have gone far. Scar!," she called again. "Answer me, I know
you're out here."
Deep in the ground Scar heard someone call him, his ear
twitched at the sound and he grunted and curled tighter into himself. "
No more", he thought, " no more, I have done what I needed to do." All
that was left was the dying. The notion comforted him and he shut his
senses to the calling outside and the pelting rain.
Makini called for a few minutes more and then felt Kwaya at her
side. "He's not here little Utamu."
Makini lowered her head and bit her lip. She shook her head and
Kwaya touched her paw. "Come on, we'll go to where I met him the other
day, perhaps he went back there."
Kwaya led the way to the large, knotty acacia tree where she and
Scar had devised the plot. There was nobody there, just a lonely tree
bending with the weight of the heavy rainstorm. The three lionesses
were just about to leave when someone cried out from the many branches
at the tree's top.
"Waiting! Female lions! Waiting, needing talking for you!" Chaga
burst into view and Kwaya trotted up to meet the little bushbaby as he
hopped to the ground.
"Where is Scar, little one? Isn't he here with you?" Kwaya asked.
"No, not seeing since this dawn," Chaga replied, "Being not
found? Oh, Scarred lion, being dead?" Chaga covered his eyes with his
paw, regretting not stopping Scar or at least going with him that
"Calmly, calmly," Kwaya hushed the now panicked bushbaby, "We
don't know where he is we've looked everywhere. There's no sign."
Makini walked up to Chaga. "You're his friend?" Chaga nodded.
"He wouldn't go anywhere without you would he? He must be here
somewhere, he may be very badly injured, Kwaya, why don't you and Asali
go home and take this little one with you. I'm going to search some
Kwaya shook her head. "No Makini, the storm is getting more
fierce. It'd be dangerous for you to go alone." She looked down at
Chaga, "Come on, hop on my shoulders you can come home with us. You're
friend may come back to the den site after this storm is over."
Makini began to protest but Kwaya silenced her. "Not another word
young one, let's be getting home. This rain as soaked me to the bone."
The three lionesses with the addition of Chaga made their way
quickly back to the den site. Fearsome claps of thunder followed them
as they went. Makini's thoughts lay with Scar. Somewhere he was out
there, possibly dying and most definately injured. "Please watch over
him." She silently prayed to the Great Kings as she and the others
crawled into the alcove and out of the wet.
"Watch over me....." Scar thought as another low hum of pain
ripped through his ruined muzzle and his sides shook with the every
breath. "Mufasa, wherever you may be, please show me the way to get to
you." His head felt hot and his muzzle burned. He desperately wanted
it to end. For his life, such as it was, to be over. Nothing he ever
did, it seemed, went right or smoothly. Mufasa, Nduli, Simba and Kiruu,
all these faces stuck in his mind's eye as reminders of deeds done
badly or in evil. Little Simba, how could anyone redeem themselves
after ruining the life of a cub? He could see no answer to this, only
the dim memory of the little cub hanging onto his fore leg and burying
his wet face in his uncle's fur. "Run away, run away and never return."
He had frightened the little one and sent him to his death. A trusting
face that knew his uncle meant him no harm. Twisted, afraid and lost,
he had dismissed it all with a sly grin and an order to kill. That
could not be redeemed. To cradle that cub now, to wash the tears from
his eyes and soothe his addled mind, that is what he longed to do. The
weight of the memory caused a shiver and another white, hot flash of
pain to run through him.
He coughed, a rattling sound coming from his chest, a thin stream
of blood coursed from between his lips and filled his mouth with an
unpleasent coppery taste. He once again called for his long dead
brother, the sound echoing in the stone womb where he lay.
"Please, death," he coughed again as another clot of blood came to
his throat. "Come for me, I'm ready."
"You are not ready." A voice like a half heard whisper came to
his ears. He shut his eyes once again and moved one forepaw feebly,
trying to move himself toward the sound.
"No son, do not move yourself." The voice was soothing and it
made the fear in his mind subside. "My littlest cub, you must not give
in now, so close to where you need to be."
"But mother," He spoke without raising his head or opening his
eyes. The vision of his mother, a soft and welcoming lioness was with
him. "I have failed in everything, the cub and Mufasa, all the
lionesses that went hungry and suffered during my rule. Simba, my
brother's son, ruined, he's ruined." The last words trailed off as the
strength left him. The thought that his long dead mother should be with
him fazed him not at all as perilously close to the end as he felt.
He felt the comforting weight of another body press against his
own, he leaned into it although it gave him no warmth. "And what of
those who now look for you my son. Even now you are worried for. What
of them , are they nothing to you in your life?"
"But the thing is done and I can't get the past to go away," He
sputtered again, coughing and shuddering. "I can not live with this,
with this wrong doing, I can't. Every time I try to forget it I see
Simba's eyes. They haunt me I can't do it mother, I can't. Please may I
come be with you and Mufasa."
"The thing is not done, Taka," The voice became firm and
authoritative. "Psychical strength is merely a trifle, strength was
with your enemy but rightness was not. You have not done what you
needed to do my son. So many things are left." A touch at his torn ear
made him cringe and he left out a low moan of pain.
"I am not who I used to be mother."
"That is what makes all the difference. The wisdom to rule and
rule well, that is what is important now. To love and put others before
yourself. That is the wisdom Mufasa had and that is the wisdom you need
Scar's eyes snapped open and he audibly drew his breath. Rule?
No, out of the question, the idea of ruling a pride sent him into a
dizzying sense of fear. He could not risk such a thing again. Power. A
very dangerous thing when held in his claws. The temptation to take it
and weld it in fear and intimidation would always be at the back of his
mind. A tantalizing promise of superiority.
He shut his eyes once again and put the thought from his mind. His
mother's presence had taken leave, he was alone again. An injured lion
in a small, wet cave, dying and glad of it.
Three suns rose and set over the valley kingdom and slowly it's
residents learned of the tyrant, Kiruu's passing. The cheetah and
hunting dogs now felt free to hunt on the lands without having to
constantly check themselves and look over their shoulders. Everything
had a more relaxed air about it. Somehow the grass seemed greener and
the prey seemed sleeker and fatter. The lionesses of Kiruu's pride took
great pleasure in chasing each other and wrestling in the grass between
hunts and they felt healthy and strong again as each got their fair
share of the kill. Every night was a celebration as the pride gathered
to hunt. Many of the quieter lionesses seemed to come out of their
shells when not oppressed by fear, indeed everyone seemed to know
everyone better than ever before. Kirru's power had extended to a far
greater reach than anyone had known or admitted.
Only Makini and Chaga seemed inconsolable. Chaga was beside himself
with the thought that he might have been able to help Scar in some way
or at least have been with his friend when he died. He spent most of
his time laying in the large knot of a tree beside the lions den, never
joining in the conversations down below. Makini couldn't bring herself
to celebrate when her own thoughts where drawn to the lion who had
given his life to give her pride freedom. And yet, somewhere in the
back of mind she entertained the notion that Scar was not dead. That
somewhere on the vast plains he still lived and that someday he would
return to her and the pride.
Kwaya understood her niece's melancholy attitude and so didn't
press her to cheer up and join the pride on their jubilant evening
outings. Her experience told her that time was what was needed for the
young lioness to forget and return to the business of living. "Young
love," She sighed to herself as she caught Makini sitting on top of the
alcove scanning the horizon, "it comes on like a thunderstorm, but
never leaves nearly as quickly."
She hopped up the rocky slope herself and sat down beside Makini.
"Still looking I see." She said gently.
Makini sighed and laid her ears back. "I know, Kwaya, it's foolish.
But I just can't get the feeling from me that he's out there somewhere.
If only I knew where, I could help him."
Kwaya rubbed her head against Makini's cheek. "Little Utamu, if
indeed he was alive why would he stay away? He would be king over all
this." She gestured toward the endless expanse of pasture teeming even
during midday with wildebeest, gazelle, topi and zebra. "What lion
wouldn't want that?"
"I suppose you're right but," Makini shrugged half-heatedly. Kwaya
patted her paw and gave her niece a weary knowing smile.
"That's okay, you keep watching out for him, I understand."
Without another word she leapt down from the roof of the alcove and
went off towards some shade trees for her midday nap. The young
huntress stayed where she was and kept looking forward in to the ocean
of grass, desperate to see what was not there.
There would be no finding him that afternoon for the figure she
sought remained underground slowly feeling the life return to his limbs
and the many wounds, small and large, knit together. The day stretching
into one another in the dark and seamless time of the cavern. The cave
had been a lucky find and he was able to gain moisture from the damp
racks around him, licking at the dripping limestone. But while he could
satisfy his thirst, his hunger tore at him like a rat in the belly. He
was still very weak on the third day but felt he should get out soon
and find something. Even a meal of insects would do if nothing else.
He had been sure on that first night that his mother had come to
him that his life was at an end but his prediction had been premature.
Slowly, with each rising sun his strength and his will to regain it
grew. By the midmorning he forced himself to stand in the small
confines. His body still ached and he had many as yet unhealed bruises
but he could stand. It was more than he had ever expected of himself.
He crept bent-legged towards the cave entrance and with great effort
hoisted himself up through the fissure and landed clumsily face first
on the dusty canyon floor. He winced as the dazzling sun hit his eyes.
Putting a paw over his face he felt the three deep gashes that still
remained in his muzzle. Startled, he drew his paw over the deep cuts
and sighed. They had stopped bleeding and had mostly healed over but
now his one scar was joined by three more. He shook his head. he had
never felt that he was an attractive lion and now he was sure he
wasn't. He avoided looking in the direction of where Kirru's body lay
although the smell told him that it still remained where it fell.
The day was a hot one and it took him much of the afternoon to
climb the length of the canyon. He had to stop every few minutes and
rest. The heat of the day was oppressive and it clung to his fur
stifling him. When he finally made it to the top he flopped down onto
the ground. He might have been a bit quick to consider himself healthy.
The climb had knock him flat and now all he could do was lie in the now
cooling, dusky air panting. He looked about himself and saw a cheetah
crossing the plain a few yards away from him. Evidently it had not seen
him yet as it continued on it's way without acknowledging him. By
chance the cheetah turned his head and now could see the lion laying in
the grass. He started for a moment and then relaxed. After a little
while he came to where Scar lay and staying a few prudent feet away
considered the lion. In spite of himself Scar smiled warmly at him,
memories of his own spotted cat coming to mind. The cheetah returned
the pleasantry and sat down.
"So," The cheetah, a male finally said, "you're the new king eh?
Well, let me be one of the first to congratulate you on your victory."
Scar shook his head, "No," He answered, "I'm not the king. I'm
only a lion and a tired one at that."
"Be that as it may," the cheetah replied, "I and many others
thank you for putting an end to that horrible Kiruu. I can't tell you
how wonderful it is to be able to just sit out in the sun without
fearing being ripped to shreds. The poor beast was bound to meet his
end early, he was just mad. Prowling the lands constantly, always
thinking the next challenge was around the corner. I almost pitied
"Yes, he was a bit mad," Scar licked a forepaw absently as he
digested what the cheetah said, "But like you I could almost pity him
as well. Power is a dangerous thing, I know from experience."
The cheetah shrugged and looked nervously back over his
shoulder. The new lion made him somewhat nervous but he didn't want to
appear rude. "Yeah, well whatever." He stood and gave a quick bow in
Scar's direction, "Anyway, thanks again."
He trotted off in the direction he had come from and Scar
watched him as he went. He realized that his little speech had made the
cheetah nervous and he was sorry for it, but he couldn't help himself.
He was still muddled from the three days he had spent in the dark cave
and his hunger. It was clear that word had gotten around about him and
that he was expected to fill Kiruu's place in the Valley.
In frustration he tore at the grass with his claws. He had no
intention of taking Kiruu's place, he had vowed many months ago by a
waterhole not too far from the Pride Lands that he would never rule
again. He hadn't forgotten that. All he wanted to do was to live out
the rest of his life without harming anyone else. Why wouldn't anyone
Feeling suddenly exposed he got up and began to head for the
large knotty tree where he had left Chaga three days earlier. His eyes
drank in the vast herds of animals which where grazing in the early
evening. "Such a rich land," He thought as he skirted the herds eyeing
the animals greedily, but knowing he couldn't hunt them. "Some lion
will be very happy here." He smiled to himself as he thought of Makin,
now free of the terrible weight of Kiruu's rule. "She must be even
more beautiful now," He once again caught himself smiling as he
imagined the young lioness's eye's free of the fear and hate that
The walk was a long one and as the tree came into view he called
out for Chaga. But the expected shrill greeting and parting of leaves
never happened. He braced his front paws on the trunk and pushed his
nose upwards trying to catch the scent of the bushbaby. Nothing and no
one responded when he called out again. He lowered himself to the
ground and set his ears back. Apparently Chaga hadn't waited for him,
or something had happened to him. Scar pushed the thought away, Chaga
was far too clever and cautious to be easy prey for anyone. He must
have given up on him when he hadn't returned. Disappointed he walked
away from the tree.
Part of him was angry at the desertion but more so he was lonely
and missed his friend. He had come to rely on the little beast as a
constant in his life of wandering and not having him perched atop his
mane made him feel incomplete. Almost unthinking he turned in the
direction of Makini's pride's den site but caught himself and turned
around. He couldn't go back there. They would expect him to take
Kiruu's place as ruler of the Valley and he knew that it shouldn't be
Memories of his brother's pride came to him. The looks of disgust
and expectation. The way the pride seemed to seethe quietly at his
back. It was something he couldn't manage to live through again. He
knew that somewhere in him the beast that had drained the Pride Lands
still lurked and the temptation to let it see the light of day would be
too great. The land of the Valley was lush and teeming with life to see
all that crumble beneath his paws? "No," Scar thought, "Never again."
He picked up his pace, desperate to put distance between himself and
After an hour or so of wandering the plains he came upon a sizable
termite mound and without hesitation proceeded to tear into it with his
sharp claws. Greedily he lapped up the fat, white grubs inside and very
quickly found his biting hunger had retreated. He silently thanked
Nduli for teaching him the trick about termite mounds and went off to
find a place to spend the night. Luck was with him and he found a
hollowed out fallen tree beside a small waterhole. Curling himself
into a tight ball he tried to sleep but found it eluded him.
The irony of his current situation didn't escape him. All during
his early life having sway over a kingdom was all he dreamed of.
Unattainable, it held the forefront of his mind and impelled his every
move. He had made the dream a reality through cunning planning and
deceit and the dream had fallen apart almost at the first. Far from
being everything he had hoped it had become everything he had feared.
The Pride Lands turned to ashes as if the land itself was rebelling
against him. Would the Valley be any different? Why should it be, he
was the same lion, that much hadn't changed. The only difference was
this kingdom was his for the taking if he wanted it. A gift perhaps,
one that he felt strangely about accepting.
Abandoning the idea of sleep he left the hollow tree and padded
out on to the grass. The night had set in and the cool, crisp air
caressed his mane and face as if danced across the plain. He inhaled
deeply, savoring the smell of the rich grasses and blooming plants
decorating the edges of the canyon. It was almost impossible to hold
onto his bad feelings as he took it all in. The winds picked up and
tousled his mane. He looked up toward the sky and took in the vast
expanse of stars above him. So many months ago he had taken in the same
sky as an afraid and demoralized murderer. What was he now? Now that he
felt the strength returning to his body and the suspicion and hatred a
thing from another life. Rafiki had said that all the foul deeds in the
world changed the star's path not at all. It was true, the same sky
bore down on him here in this fertile and welcoming land that had
winked above him in the ashes and ruin of the Pride Lands.
"Do not fail me or yourself again, brother." Mufasa's words echoed
in his head as he found himself getting lost among the countless points
of light. He swallowed hard. "Can't fail again." He whispered to the
endless night sky.
"Mufasa!" He called out and heard the word echo in the darkness.
Nothing but silence answered and he shook his head sadly. There was no
one out here but himself and the fear that plagued him. He took a few
steps towards the Western side of the Valley and at once stopped. To
be king again, the prospect filled him with dread and yet for some
reason he couldn't just turn his back and leave. He took another few
steps and lowered his head as another blast of wind coursed across the
land. He half expected another phantom to meet him but nothing but the
open plain spread before his eyes.
Somehow he knew that whatever help that Rafiki's "magic fruit"
had given him along the way had come to an end and that from this point
forward his will was completely in his paws. Perhaps that was what his
destiny was, to be able to control his will and bend it not allow
himself to be bent by it. Lifting his head into the blowing Savannah
breeze he strode forward, this time resolutely. He moved confidently
through the tall grass looking ahead to whatever might be waiting for
him. He passed many animals as he pushed on towards the pride's den
site and all of them looked at him and smiled or nodded knowingly. He
didn't notice them, his eyes remained fixed on the large alcove the
pride laired in as it came into view. He steadied himself as the pride
itself came into sight. He stopped at the edge and looked up at the
sky, a wordless plea forming on his lips. He rounded the corner and
was greeting by a dozen faces all looking at him with mixed curiosity,
wonder and just a tiny bit of apprehension. A familiar shrill screech
met his ears and he nodded in relief at the sound. He lowered his head
in a silent greeting to the gathered pride.
Far away, in a large boabob tree on the edge of the Pride Lands
an old mandrill smiled to himself as the new king of the Valley roared
his presence to the night sky.
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