Don't ask where this idea came from. It just sort of… did. I like it though, since it is an exploration of TLK's more spiritual side. It is heavily hinted during the series but only explicitly shown once, so here is an interjection from yours truly :D
EDIT: I now realise there's a few lines that are pretty similar to a certain scene in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Should you uncover them, let it be known this was completely unintentional (before y'all go accusing me of plagiarism :P )
Through Heaven's Eyes
The Pride Lands were just as breathtakingly beautiful during the night as they were during the daytime. When the sun was up it bathed the savannah in a beautiful golden glow, and at night there were silver stars scattered across the sky, dazzling all who looked upon them. Yet, there was a somewhat sinister air to the place too. The darkness left everything shrouded in mystery: a predator could be guaranteed virtual invisibility as it stalked its prey. A rogue or unwanted visitor would have no trouble crossing the border, and a cub without adequate protection would be snatched up in a matter of seconds.
The latter was what was causing the King Mufasa so much anxiety. Padding through the silence of the night, he held his son between his jaws. Simba was only weeks old, yet already had been prematurely removed from the safety of the den and his mother, that most cubs would perpetually remain in until they were at least a couple of moons in age. This was different, though. Simba was the future King of the Pride Lands. He didn't quite look it yet, but Mufasa was confident that he would one day grow into a fine lion and a great leader for the Pride. Still, convincing Sarabi to let him take him away for the night had been a task and a half.
"Sarabi, come on. I have to do this."
"You won't even tell me what it is!"
"That's because I can't! Believe me, I would if I could."
He hadn't been lying. This was a tradition going back generations, and part of it was that it had to remain a secret. The only ones to know were the King and the Shaman, immediately entering themselves into a contract of secrecy.
"You think I'm going to let you take Simba out of the den in the middle of the night? He's barely weeks old! Why can't this wait?"
Mufasa sighed. He understood completely why she was reacting this way, but still, it didn't make things any easier.
"It just can't Sarabi," he said, starting to get frustrated, "it'll be fine. I'll be with him the entire time."
"And why does it have to be at night, anyway? Why can't you go do it now, while the sun is out? At least that would be safer."
"I don't decide these things, Sarabi. Look, my father did the same with me, and his before him, and everything was fine."
He didn't quite know if this was true, but the fact that he was here, alive and talking to her, must have been indicative of something. However, she wasn't convinced in the slightest. Refusing to listen any more, she had picked up their son and walked off with him, back inside the den. Mufasa angrily swatted at the ground. He shouldn't have even mentioned anything: he should have just taken him in the middle of the night without Sarabi ever knowing. It surely would have made things a lot less complicated.
That night, Mufasa had awoken at just the right time. Peering out of the den entrance, he could see the moon high in the sky. Knowing Rafiki would be waiting, he stood up, stretched, and bent down to pick up Simba. The tiny cub awoke as his father lifted him, but stayed completely quiet, much to Mufasa's relief. Before he could turn around and leave, however, Sarabi was in front of him, on her feet, looking furious.
"Put him down, now," she hissed, whispering so as not to wake the rest of the pride.
"Sarabi," Mufasa quietly groaned, setting Simba onto the floor, "don't do this now."
"I didn't agree to this!"
"You don't have a choice, I have to go, and I have to take him with me."
"Of course I have a choice, for gods' sakes, I'm his mother!"
"Yes, but this is important, for me. If you knew why you'd understand."
"Then why don't you just tell me."
"I already told you I can't."
"Well then I can't let you do this! It's cold and dark and dangerous and-"
Mufasa had had enough. Before she could say anything else, he scooped up his son in his jaws and strode purposefully out of the den, Sarabi hot on his heels, the entirely awoken pride watching them go.
Now that they were outside, Sarabi had no trouble yelling at him.
"Don't you dare leave this rock, Mufasa!" she cried.
Ignoring her completely, Mufasa kept walking. She kept on shouting after him, but soon relented, realising she couldn't stop him.
"If anything happens to him," she called out finally, "I'll never forgive you!"
Mufasa regretted the argument, but he had no time to sit and try to talk her into it. Rafiki was waiting for their arrival. And so, as he progressed through the Pride Lands, he was ever on the alert. She had been right: it was much more dangerous at night time. So many of the cub-snatching predators would be out right now, he didn't dare let go of Simba. Still, he pressed on, eager to get this over with and back to the den as quickly as possible. Sarabi probably wouldn't rest until they did.
To the lions' belief, a sacred bond existed between the celestial Pride and the coronated King or Queen, as well as the shaman. Each monarch was granted the opportunity to look into their chosen heir's destiny, so as to better prepare him or her for the life they had ahead of them. It was a furtive ceremony, so important and sacred that to let anyone else in on the secret would have disastrous consequences. The belief was that to reveal it would anger the gods, since it was such a generous opportunity being granted to them, and nobody wanted to know what would happen then.
It was the Shaman's duty to disclose the ritual to the new ruler after their coronation. Rafiki had come to Mufasa not long before Sarabi became pregnant to inform him of it. The King had been surprised, having never heard anything of it before, nor remembering going through it himself. That being said, the mandrill had been very vague about it. Mufasa knew only the time, place, the purpose and not to tell anyone else about it, or else face the wrath of the gods. He had no idea what was actually going to happen, though.
He hadn't told Sarabi exactly where they were going. If he had, she would have fought Mufasa to near death to prevent him from taking Simba there. The King himself had expressed concern over the location, but Rafiki had been adamant that that was where it had to be. The place in question was right on the border between the Pride Lands and the Outlands, a hot spot for hyenas, rogues and so many other potential threats. The shaman hadn't seemed too bothered by it, though. Maybe he just didn't understand.
They finally reached the agreed spot, Mufasa on edge even more now. The cackling of the hyenas in the distance was plainly audible. Not sure if this was such a good idea anymore, he set Simba down onto the rough ground. The tiny cub looked around him for a moment, assessing the situation, looking for his mother. When he didn't find her, he shrank back to the safety that was his father's foreleg, pressing himself against it.
"Rafiki," Mufasa called into the stillness of the night, "I am here now. Reveal yourself."
In the blink of an eye, the old Mandrill had swooped down in front of him from a nearby tree. The suddenness of his arrival made the King jump, but he was relieved to see him.
"It's good to see you, old friend," he said, pulling Rafiki into an embrace. The old shaman seemed less sociable just now, probably more engrossed in the task at hand.
"Sarabi is very anxious for our return," Mufasa added, a bit nervously. Yes Rafiki was the shaman, but he had never seen him act quite so seriously as this. It was somewhat… unsettling.
"I trust you didn't tell her anything that I told you?" Rafiki replied, crouched low to get a good look at Simba.
"N-no," Mufasa stammered, "nothing."
He watched as Rafiki eyed his son, before slowly rising.
The mandrill placed his hands on Mufasa's shoulders and looked him deep in the eyes.
"You must understand, Mufasa," Rafiki began, "what you are about to see is something very few living lions do. We will be in direct contact with Aiheu himself. You must never reveal anything that happens tonight to anyone, not even Simba. Nor must you discuss it with me. Do you understand?"
Mufasa nodded, growing steadily more nervous with each passing second.
"Good, are you ready?"
The King nodded again, his heart pounding. He was so anxious he could barely speak.
Wordlessly, picking up his staff as he did so, Rafiki picked Simba up with one hand. The cub began to squirm as he was removed from his father, but Mufasa knew better than to interfere. The mandrill placed him a short distance away from where the King stood, in the centre of the clearing they had come to. He raised his staff over Simba's head, letting it oscillate backwards and forwards, and muttered the words to an incantation:
"Kuja, mkuu kidogo. Kuwaonyesha siri ya nafsi yako."
Come, Little Prince, show them the secrets of your soul…
With that, Rafiki hurriedly backed up to where Mufasa stood.
"Now," he whispered, "when this begins we mustn't interfere. This is between Simba and Aiheu now. We are merely spectators."
As ever, the lion nodded. What else could he do? He had no idea what was about to happen.
A sudden light caught his attention. It was rapidly descending from the sky, growing as it fell: a silvery water droplet hit the ground and bounced in a circle around Simba. It stopped, before rapidly forming itself into the smoky silhouette of a lion. It was tall, proud, bathing the whole of the surrounding area in soft silver light, and yet faceless. Aiheu himself had descended from heaven.
"Oh my gods…" Mufasa whispered.
Rafiki pressed a finger to his lips.
"Watch," he replied, quietly, "we can only see this once."
The ghostly figure observed the cub before it, lowering its head for a closer look. Simba began to whimper in fear, causing Mufasa to instinctively make to move forward. Rafiki put his arm out to hold him back.
"It's ok," he whispered, "he won't hurt him. But now, we must not talk anymore."
Mufasa hurriedly averted his attention back to his son. He had stopped backing away from the spirit before him. Rather, he seemed transfixed now, gazing into its silvery visage. Mufasa could only imagine what it was like, even though he had apparently once done the same himself. This image of innocence meeting the almighty was absolutely breath-taking.
The ghost looked to the sky for a lingering second, before opening its mouth and roaring, as loud and powerful as anything Mufasa had ever heard, bracing himself against the hurricane-like gust of wind that accompanied it. Yet, Simba didn't move or even flinch. A stream of colour flew from Aiheu's muzzle, soaring into the air and spreading, forming an almost half-smoke, half-water multi-coloured dome around them. Like a strange waterfall, the vapoury substance seemed to be flowing downwards, yet never spilling over onto the ground.
"I have seen your soul, Simba," a sudden omnipotent voice whispered. It didn't feel like it was a sound being heard, though.
"I have seen your hopes..."
To Mufasa, it felt like the sound was coming from right inside his head.
"I have seen your fears…"
No sound or tone of voice could be discerned from it either: the whispers were so soft it was as if the wind were the one forming the words.
"I have seen your future..."
Eyes wide with a combination of wonder, fear and bewilderment, Mufasa stared at the scene before him.
"I see greatness within you," the voice breathed. Where or whom it was coming from was a complete mystery: the ghostly lion didn't seem to be speaking.
The phantom began to move around the scene, transforming slightly so that it seemed to be made of flames as well as vapour. It half flew around in the area around where Simba stood, flashing blue as the word sounded.
The ghost rapidly turned a fiery yellow, as the dome surrounding them instantly erupted into the same colour.
The lion and dome were now shot with pink, the glow of which was contained exclusively within their encapsulated area. Simba still remained fixated upon Aiheu as he circled the air above him, almost like a strange celestial dance.
In a sudden, with a colossal explosion, the entire dome erupted into a bloody red colour, the watery smoke flowing downwards almost like actual blood. Mufasa shrank back at the sight, until it became apparent that the "blood" was now flowing across the ground upon which they stood.
"The path ahead is blocked by a great enemy, poisoning your destiny with fear…"
A sudden, second phantom appeared in the air beside Aiheu. It, however, didn't have the same dominating presence, and it was shrieking. Shrieking so loudly that the sound almost hurt.
No ghost accompanied this revelation. Instead, an invisible paw seemed to smack the cub sideways across the ground. Once again, Mufasa lunged forwards, only to be stopped again by Rafiki.
A further, this time charcoal black, apparition appeared on the ground, lying deathly still as the stream of blood continued to flow underneath it.
Mufasa's breathing was now rapid and shallow. He wasn't sure if he liked what he was hearing. Suddenly, Aiheu had vanished completely from the scene before them.
"Brace yourself…" Rafiki suddenly whispered.
Before the King could even reply to him, he was staring straight at the almighty, who had surged up in front of him. In doing this, the dome began to collapse inwards, before rapidly reforming itself into a flaming vortex that spiralled around them, pumping out an almost unbearable heat.
"Heed my words, King," came the voice, seemingly penetrating Mufasa right into his soul, "treachery lies within…"
The breath seemed to be sucked right out of him. He could barely believe what he was seeing, hearing, feeling… this was the stuff of dreams, though what he had just heard was definitely the stuff of nightmares.
There was another explosion, like a clap of thunder, and it was accompanied by an enormous flash of brilliant white light…
"Don't let the indecision of one bring suffering to so many of those you love most…"
An immense whooshing began then, the white light still ever present, as the fire tornado began to distort and spin faster.
A final, surging-with-power explosion took place. Mufasa and Rafiki were both flung backwards by the sheer force of it. The lion landed heavily on his back, his vision obscured by fire shooting past him, almost like it were being sucked back. He screwed his eyes shut, praying for the end…
He opened them when he felt the rain lashing against his body. He rolled onto his front, slipping in the mud that had suddenly appeared beneath his paws, and looked around:
The cub was lying on the muddy ground where he had moments before been standing, motionless.
"Oh my gods!" Mufasa cried.
"Don't panic, Mufasa," Rafiki said, approaching him from behind, "he's just in a deep slumber. He'll awaken in a few hours."
Mufasa looked back at him, eyes wide with panic.
"He'll have no memory of anything that just happened," the mandrill continued.
"He spoke… to me," Mufasa said, slowly, "Aiheu spoke to me… but, why? I thought you said we were just spectators?"
"I have never seen such a thing before," Rafiki replied, "in all my time as shaman Aiheu has never directly addressed a lion like that before."
"But, what did he mean? "Treachery lies within"? Within what? Within Simba? The Pride lands?"
"I cannot help you Mufasa. You must make of his words what you will."
Mufasa felt slightly sick, given everything he had just heard. He couldn't understand what any of it meant. His head was pounding – he had thought that such an experience would have reassured him, and cleared the air. But now, everything was just so mixed up and confused.
"Now remember: never tell anyone about what we just witnessed. Not Sarabi, not Simba, not anyone. Do I have your word?"
Mufasa merely nodded.
"Go back to Pride Rock;" Rafiki advised him, "I fear the hyenas are on their way."
His head still full of thoughts, Mufasa slowly turned away. He picked Simba up as Rafiki swooped away into the trees, without a goodbye. The cub was soaking wet from the rain, Mufasa could only hope he wasn't going to get sick. The King turned in the direction of home and hurried off, the sleeping cub securely held in his mouth.
Much later, after the long walk, he arrived back at Pride Rock, just as the sky was starting to shift to a pinky colour as the sun began to peer over the mountain. He padded into the den, ready to recover the sleep he had lost, only to be immediately faced by Sarabi.
"What in the gods' name did you do?" she asked, exasperatedly. It took a moment for Mufasa to realise she was referring to Simba's mud caked fur. Before he had the chance to say or do anything, she took the cub from him and set about cleaning him. His head still plagued by ugly thoughts, Mufasa settled down beside her, watching as she licked their son's fur clean once more.
He didn't say anything for the rest of the night, only lying there trying to find sleep once more. He felt so deeply dissatisfied: the gods had granted him the luxury of knowing his son's destiny and he had absolutely no idea what to do with the information. Aiheu himself had even warned him of something, and yet he still didn't know what it all meant. Sighing, he turned back over to look at Simba: sound asleep in Sarabi's paws. He was still none the wiser as to what lay in store for him. His son's face was the last thing he saw before falling into a turbulent, troubled sleep.
Hope you liked it! This felt pretty heavy at times. It was just one of those random ideas that I sometimes get. I did something I haven't done for ages today, which was watch The Lion King all the way through from start to finish. I came up with this somewhere in the middle. Anyway, thanks for reading :D