The sun was crawling down the quickly darkening sky, leaving a blood-red trail behind it. A tall gray rock cut through the sky, the tip pointing up towards the heavens. There was a cave that cut into the side of this rock. Inside, a pale tan lioness lay on her side, two tiny cubs nursing at her side. Two lions stood over her. One was a dark tan male with a brown mane and pale brown eyes. The second was a pale tan cub with wide brown eyes. She looked down at the younger cubs with curiosity in her eyes.

The tan male spoke. "They're beautiful, Shari." His eyes were filled with love as he leaned down and muzzled his mate.

The tan cub looked up at her mother. "When can I play with them?" She asked, a touch of impatience in her voice.

The young mother smiled. "You'll have to wait, Kuuma. They're too young." The cub let out a dissapointed sigh. Shari looked down at her cubs carefully. "I think we should call the firstborn Vunja. You name the second one, Nyeusi."

The tan male, Nyeusi, looked at the younger one, a little tan lioness. He smiled. "We should name her Zira." The little lioness squirmed, as if responding to her name.

A few paces away, a light brown lioness lay on the ground, nursing a small brown cub while her older cub napped between her front paws. She called out warmly to Shari, "They're lovely, my friend. Congradulations."

Shari smiled. "Thank you, Uru."

Suddenly, a yellow lion with a jet-black mane and piercing green eyes padded into the cave. He said shortly to Nyeusi, "The lionesses saw some rouge lions near the border. They've requested an audiance with you."

Nyeusi sighed. "Very well. Thanks Ahadi." He turned to Shari. "I'll be back soon." He leaned down and gave his mate a lick between the ears. Then he turned and followed Ahadi out of the cave.

Nyeusi grinned at Ahadi. "I still can't believe how beautiful they are." His companion rolled his eyes, unimpressed with Nyeusi's enthusiasm.

The tan male nudged Ahadi with his shoulder. "C'mon, big brother. You can't honestly say you weren't this excited when Mufasa and Taka were born, can you?"

Ahadi answered sarcastically, "Oh yes, I was leaping off the walls with joy." He shook out his long black mane. "I remeber how it was when Mohatu and Safi had you. They were stumbling around like moon-struck fools for weeks."

Nyeusi defended his parents, "Well, they thought they'd never have a cub of their own." When Ahadi stiffened, he added hastily, "They had you, of course. I just meant that Mother thought she was barren for the longest time. That's why she adopted you."

The yellow lion changed the subject stiffly. "The rouges are waiting to speak with you. You should go."

Nyeusi nodded. "Very well. Can you get to gather a hunting party? Shari and Uru need to eat."

Ahadi answered somewhat bitterly, "Of course. Now go. Those rouges probably traveled for miles to meet the King of the Pride lands." His brother, King Nyeusi, bounded off into the distance.