Disclaimer: This work is based on Walt Disney's film "The Lion King". Elements and characters taken from this movie are property of Walt Disney, I don't take any credit, and no profit is made out of this story.
Any character that you don't recognize from the movie was made up by me. If you would like to use them for a story of your own, just drop me a note! :)
I wrote this story sometime back in 1997-1998. You might find it archived in other sites; however, in this version, some of the grammar, punctuation and character flaws have been fixed (or at least tried to!) Then again, I repeat I am not a native English speaker, so, if you have any comments or see a recurring grammar problem that I've missed, please let me know.
Note: This story is not canon, so some names and situations will be different.
Enjoy the story!
Mufasa and Scar: The Broken Legacy
By Niche Eenhoorn
A New King is Born
It was almost sunset. The heat decreased little by little as the sun hid behind the horizon. The intense blue of the sky started turning violet with the arrival of the night, and the shadows began falling slowly over the great African Savannah, a wonderful place in which life and death show up at every moment, a place where you must fight arduously to survive, and where you must faithfully obey, without distinction, the laws of the great Circle of Life.
This beautiful place was divided in a great number of territories, invisible to human sight, but easily identified by the animals living in it. The lands that belonged to the prides of lions were the most spectacular ones; they were located close to a water hole, which helped refresh the lions every time they wanted to. Their territories were big and spacious, covered by a soft rug made of green grass. It didn't always remain like that, but the grass never failed in regaining its splendor as soon as the rains arrived.
Among all the prides that lived in the Savannah, there was one which turned out to be more special than the rest, because of all the events that occurred in it. Some were good things, some were bad things. But all of them marked the history of new generations of animals that were still about to come.
This pride was healthy, strong and powerful. Their territory spanned a great extension of the Savannah. It was so wide that the pride members referred to their kingdom as "Everything the light touches." These lands had belonged to countless generations of lions. One of these generations had decided to give their territory the name of "Pride Lands". It seemed that this name was appealing to the lions, and they kept it through times to come.
An imposing rock stood right in the middle of the Pride Lands. There was a small cave in its base, that the lions used to protect themselves from the rain and the sun. They called that rock "Pride Rock". The enormous stone was exceedingly beautiful and majestic, worthy of being occupied by the Lion King of the Pride Lands and his pride. The rock had a great promontory which allowed the lions to observe a wide part of their territory. The whole kingdom could be appreciated while standing on the peak of Pride Rock, where the lions could climb up to without difficulty. It was also possible to see part of the pride's boundaries: the elephant graveyard at the Northern border.
Pride Rock was no ordinary stone. It had seen the birth and death of many lions; it had lived and shared with them their triumphs and misadventures, their happiness and their sadness. Now it was about to witness, once again, the miracle of life - but at the same time the tragedy and pain of death.
The stars were already visible, and one lion, sitting at Pride Rock's promontory, was looking at them intently. There was an adult baboon sitting by his side. He was also looking at the sky, expectantly. Both seemed to be waiting for a very important happening, and remained silent. The silence was broken by the baboon after a few seconds.
"I can see you're very thoughtful... Is something worrying you?" he asked.
The lion shook his head. "No, Rafiki, it's just... I'm a little nervous because of the birth of my son, or daughter..." the lion sighed.
The baboon smiled slightly. "Or sons..." he added, emphasizing the plural.
The Lion King returned a nervous smile.
Rafiki gave a soft pat on the lion's back, reminding him that the baboon would be there for him, always.
"Everything is going to be fine, Thembi. The Prince will be born today, that's for sure," Rafiki said.
Thembi smiled again. "I hope there won't be any complications at all," he said, and then remained silent, allowing himself be absorbed by the beauty of his kingdom.
Rafiki looked at the lion, wondering if his sons would take up to him. He stared at Thembi thoughtfully, who didn't notice, in the middle of his worries, that he was being observed by the baboon.
Rafiki analyzed the king's features. Thembi was big and brawny. His fur was darker than the fur of the rest of the lionesses of his pride. His mane was totally black, without a trace of blond. His eyes were brown, just like his father's. Thembi always wore a stern expression in his face, because he was a very serious lion. One of his biggest defects was that had a very unstable temper, not to mention that he also could be very spiteful and stubborn. Once he made a decision, nothing on earth could make him change his mind. All in all, he could also be gentle and loving, if he felt like it.
The moment of silence was interrupted when a lioness came out of the cave, smiling widely.
"Thembi..." she called, trying to get the Lion King's attention.
He turned his head rapidly and faced the lioness. When he saw her broad smile, Thembi stood up and walked to her.
"Karanga, tell me, was it a male or a female?" the lion asked, full of enthusiasm.
"It was a beautiful male lion!" she answered.
Her radiant face helped calm Thembi. The lion started walking towards the cave's entrance when, all of sudden, he heard a cry that came from inside.
"Oh, no! No!" was the exclamation of one of the lionesses from inside the cavern.
Thembi was startled, as was the lioness standing by his side.
"Karanga, come quickly!" a lioness called.
Karanga feared that something terrible was happening. She looked at Thembi and said, "Wait, don't go inside for now, I'll tell you when it is the proper time; maybe another cub is coming..."
Thembi didn't say a word and he just stood there, observing how Karanga entered the cave again. Rafiki approached him, looking confused.
"What's wrong?" the baboon asked.
Thembi sighed deeply. "That's the same thing I'd like to know," he replied, suffering greatly because of the uncertainty, not knowing what was happening to his wife or son. They kept waiting in silence for a few more minutes.
Inside the cave, the beautiful lioness Kitok was lying motionless on the floor. Her eyes were closed. Her face was pale and her expression was a painful one. The rest of the lionesses stared sadly at her. At Kitok's side, there were two small cubs that tried to look for the warmth and caressing of their mother, finding neither of them. Karanga approached the smaller one and cleaned it with her own tongue, because its mother did not have time enough to do it.
"Poor things!" Sita exclaimed with a cracking voice.
Some lionesses nodded.
"Who's going to tell Thembi?" Anasa asked.
The lionesses looked at each other, without daring to communicate the sad news to the King. Karanga looked at her pride-mates for an instant, and sighed.
"I'll do it," she said after a few seconds.
"Oh, Karanga... thank you. You have always been so strong for these things, I could never do it..." Kuuliza said as she nuzzled Karanga lovingly.
She half-smiled, her face unable to conceal her sadness. Leaving the cub by Kitok's side, Karanga left the cave, walking heavily, with head down and ears flattened. She walked to Thembi, who was waiting impatiently to know what had happened. Seeing that Karanga's face was full of sadness this time, Thembi felt a chill going through all his body, causing the fur on his back to stand on end.
"What happened, Karanga?" the lion asked, trying to keep calm.
She cleared her throat. "Actually, another cub was born, another male," Karanga replied, sighing at the end of her phrase.
Thembi tried to look in her eyes, but the lioness looked away quickly, avoiding visual contact and trying to hide from Thembi the tears that were starting to appear in her eyes. The lion's curiosity was aroused.
"And... Did the second cub make it? Or did he die when he was born?" Thembi asked, wishing to obtain a negative reply.
Karanga shook her head. "He lives," the lioness answered, feeling her eyes mist up with tears.
Thembi breathed a sigh of relief. But... if his two sons were alive, then...
"Then why do you look so worried, Karanga?", the Lion King asked, becoming alarmed once again.
Karanga looked at Thembi for an instant. She had to stare at the ground again before muttering, "It's... it's Kitok..."
Thembi looked startled after hearing that piece of news. "What has happened to my wife?" he asked, realizing, due to Karanga's painful expression, that the answer was more than obvious.
Karanga tried to speak again. "She..." the lioness started, but all of a sudden she broke down in tears.
"What's going on?", he demanded desperately.
"Kitok died when the second cub was born! She saved the baby's life, but now she's gone!", Karanga said between sobs.
Thembi felt as if Pride Rock had fallen on top of him.
"My wife!", the lion exclaimed, without even moving, not believing what he had just heard.
Thembi entered the cave hastily ignoring the fact that he had to wait until the cubs were totally clean. Once inside, his ears folded down as he found himself face to face with a lifeless Kitok. There she was, his wife, companion, friend, the Queen of the Pride Lands. Thembi approached her, slowly, crying uncontrollably.
"Kitok..." he said, his deep voice cracking, "I couldn't even say goodbye... I couldn't listen to your beautiful voice for a last time...", the lion continued, sobbing repeatedly.
He rubbed his muzzle against Kitok's, wetting it with his own tears. He continued grieving his sorrow while the rest of the lionesses walked dissemblingly out of the cave, leaving the King alone with his grief. However, there was one lioness who knew that leaving the cubs alone might not be a good idea. Thembi was obfuscated, and he could act carelessly towards them. Thus, Karanga, fearing for the safety of the two little lions, approached Kitok's body and grabbed the bigger cub with her mouth. The lion King looked at her in awe.
"Leave him there!", Thembi ordered, still looking at Karanga in a distrustful way.
She let go the cub smoothly, but was determined to not let Thembi intimidate her.
"What are you going to do?" the lioness asked, leaving aside for a moment the deep sadness she felt, knowing that her best friend had just died.
Thembi dropped his gaze, only to stare intently at the two cubs. He could easily identify the one that had been born first, being completely clean, whereas the one that had been born after still had some spots to be cleaned.
"That one," Thembi said pointing with his paw at the second cub and looking at him sideways, "that's the one you can take away. I don't want to see him. Get him out of here, now!" the lion ordered.
Karanga's eyes opened wide. "But... Thembi! He's your son-"
"No, he isn't!", Thembi interrupted Karanga. "That cub is responsible for Kitok's death. Take him away! Take him far away! If he ever stands in my way then-"
"Stop it!" the lioness shouted, looking straight at Thembi.
Both lions remained silent for a second. Lowering the tone of her voice, Karanga went on. "You can't talk like that about your own son!"
Thembi sighed, and looked at the two cubs. He approached them. Karanga felt the fur on her back bristling, fearing that Thembi would make a terrible mistake.
"Thembi, what are you going to do?" she asked fearfully.
The lion stood in front of his two sons and looked at them carefully. Both cubs were beautiful, but they were starting to feel the lack of motherly warmth and food, so they whined constantly. Thembi tilted his head as he listened to the sounds his sons were making. Shedding a tear, the lion said, "it's a pity you never got to know your mother..."
Karanga listened, paying attention to Thembi's words, realizing that the lion's posture was not threatening, and it seemed he wouldn't hurt his second son. Suddenly, Thembi's sad expression changed into a more severe one when he fixed his gaze on the smaller cub. Karanga became alarmed again. Thembi started talking to the small lion that cried and pleaded for something to eat.
"Don't cry!" Thembi said through clenched teeth. "This is all your fault!" the lion added coldly.
Karanga approached the cubs again and without caring about what Thembi might think, she took the smaller cub with her mouth, walked back a few steps, put the cub back on the ground and protected him with her own paws.
"I won't let you harm him!" Karanga exclaimed, growling softly.
Thembi looked at her and half-smiled. "That's it. Take him out of my sight. Do whatever you want with him. I've already got my son," the lion replied as he turned his back on the lioness and patted lovingly the head of the bigger cub.
Karanga couldn't help but growl at Thembi's lack of sensitivity towards his smaller son. The lioness just watched as Thembi lied down at Kitok's side one last time, and hugged the other cub to give him a little warmth.
"Kitok..." Thembi said, completely forgetting about the presence of Karanga and the smaller cub, "my love, my life, I know I will miss you so much! But I'm going to make the one responsible for your death pay for his guilt!" he muttered, hugging the bigger cub protectively, and looking resentfully at the second one, still hidden between Karanga's legs. She was looking at him, awed. Thembi frowned.
"Are you still there? I told you to take that cub away! Do it!" the ill-tempered lion growled.
Karanga froze for an instant. This was something she had never expected to happen. She knew Thembi was highly agitated because of Kitok's sudden death, so she came to the conclusion that Thembi wasn't thinking straight and he didn't know what he was saying. This excuse was a relief for her.
Surely, once he calms down, he will think carefully about what happened and will realize that the second cub isn't guilty of Kitok's death, she thought.
Carefully, she grabbed the little cub with her mouth and walked out of the cave. Thembi saw her leave. He sighed, and let his head rest on his paws as he closed his eyes. Several tears ran down his cheeks as he recalled the time he and Kitok had spent together.