Author: Daggermouth

Lion King 4
Chapter: I – Fallen Ash.

The unforgiving Shadowland, this place was made of pure darkness; where no bright light shone accept for the abundance of raging lightning storms. The sun here was completely blanked behind the thick black clouds. Twisters spun around from the sky towards the ground causing everlasting destruction. Dark phantoms roamed this land; black tinted spirits in the shape foxes float and dance across the land, whispers follow the spirits as they hover slowly across the charred ground. Across this desolate place a lioness walks. Her red eyes shine and gleam in the darkness, but the grey lioness was sad. Her paws padded across the deathly Shadowlands towards the body of a once beautiful queen named Zira. The deceased lioness was holding a grey scarf weaved from the undergrowth of the forest that time forgot. She is the spitting image of Uzuri and the grey lioness takes the scarf from the lioness infront of her and wraps it around her right paw. The scarf was important to her and she recognized it with mournful eyes

"Solta!" A sudden high pitched voice of the snake Joka calls impatiently from afar. Solta doesn't move, the grey lioness instead sits sadly next to the lifeless body infront of her. Her master was calling her but right now she didn't care instead she looks down and squinting her tired eyes tightly. She didn't want to cry; she promised herself she wouldn't cry. Solta trembles, shaking in fear she walks away off to find her snake master who had just killed Zira with mercy. Solta was tied to the purple snake with red stripes, many moons ago she quickly became the snakes pawn. Continuing to walk away slowly while gathering her thoughts she stops still for a second before looking over her shoulder to take one last look at the body, her fur was tainted grey just like Solta's. But they had more in common than just the colour of their fur, for the malevolent queen Zira was Solta's sister, the sister Solta never got to know or even meet; until now. Parting with a silent goodbye Solta finally leaves the scene in a white flash of raging purple lightning.
"I'm so sorry Zira, my sister,"

Book Three The Darkness and Fall of Priderock.

The whispers of the phantom foxes were carried across the wind, twisting through the air towards Priderock. The monument had just seen the turn of war, the second of which Zira incanted. The fighting raged onwards for hours through the night itself. As the wind floats by the devastation of Priderock is seen clearly. The area around Priderock was either damaged or completely dead; the grass itself was rotting away and dying from the constant scuffles of battle upon it. It was a mournful sight, from the abundant clouds surrounding the area small particles of ash fall from above covering the once green grass into a foggy powdered grey colour. The wind whistled around, swirling through the quiet air. Emerging through the dust everyone struggles to accept what happened. It seems the past had finally caught up with the present. Some were in shock and some could be heard crying in the distance. Most were too tired or injured to even stand up; it was a devastating sight especially for Simba who realises his lion pride is broken, but most of all he was covered in violent bleeding scars. The Lion King steps through the fog and ash with only an expression of complete thoughtlessness on his maw. His tail brushing through the piles of ash on the ground he marches slowly up his throne. But even the strength of the king was not enough for soon he found himself collapsing halfway up Priderock. With nobody to go towards to his aid, wounded countless times and breathing only ever so softly Simba lies on the bitter stone, and thus ends another bloody chapter of Pridelands history.

That night seemed to last forever...

The time after the fighting became mournful days of remembrance in Prideland history, not only was war fought on this soil once more but fatality was also suffered. Sarafina who was loved by so many didn't make it through this battle alive, during the fighting her life was taken before its time by Banzai the presumably harmless hyena. It's only now after the fighting subsided that everyone can mourn her death. After the gruesome task of delivering Sarafina to her last resting place was over, the survivors of the battle gathered around to say their final farewell before the winds come to claim her and take her kind and loving spirit away forever. None mourned more so than Nala. The lioness stood for hours as the pink petals twirled in the air around her. Sarafina's body had gone stiff and Nala realised her caring but playful mother was no longer inside her shell. Life had been completely drained from Sarafina. Nala knew where the spirits go after the echoes upon the wind comes to collect the deceased, all spirits return to the Great Beyond, the name of the afterlife here in the Savannah, and that's where Sarafina's spirit must have gone and that's why her body was just an empty shell now. Kissing her mother on the forehead Nala takes a deep breath before turning away. The anger Nala had was now long gone, feeling almost accustom to pain after she had lost so many as she takes the long road home. When leaving, the whistling wind was finally silenced behind her.

Several hours of despair and turmoil followed for all the inhabitants of Priderock. The clean-up of Priderock took several days more, for the first time the sun was blocked from the sky, the hunts from the lionesses ceased until the clean-up was over. As everyone cleans up the surrounding area, brushing ash away, uprooting destroyed trees or moving misplaced rocks, a group gathers underneath the main terrace of Priderock. Through the devastation Kiara lies with her fiancé Kovu licking clean his many wounds.
"Perhaps this falling ash is how the Prideland mourns." Kiara pouts referring to the ash falling from the sky like tears from above. If it wasn't for Kiara journeying to find her brother, the battle may not have been won, for some unknown reason she knew exactly where to find him, she was only saddened she had to first meet him in such dire circumstances.

Alongside the prince and princess lay Chumvi and Kula who are also resting, dragged into battle with everyone else they only came to Priderock to find a way to heal their forest home which is frozen, both of them survived the battle and now nuzzle eachother warmly while counting their blessings in the cold shadow of Priderock.

Kivuli the elder lion curses Kopa for his actions repeating to the prince what he told him on Priderock just days before:

"I know those Shadowlands Kopa. And I can assure you something much darker and stronger is growing there, sending Zira only triggered a much greater evil in the Shadowland. Everything will now be made to suffer..." Kivuli sits down sighing to himself and looks to the ground filling with despair knowing his old mate will surely meet her end over in that dark land. Kopa apologizes before walking off to find his father. Passing across the dead grass which is slowly growing once more, Kopa walks up onto Priderock, the stone under his paws feeling cold from the blotted out sun. The prince approaches his father who lies in the lion's den with a glum face.
"Did this look like a victory to you Kopa?" Simba says lowly, the bright cheeky expression once in his face, gone.
"We beat them, and Zira, so why does it still feel like we did something wrong?"
"Because Kopa, you heard Kivuli, there is something else coming for us. There's always someone trying to break us or take the Pridelands. Make no mistake my son, you did right to send Zira to her certain demise in the Shadowland. You see while Scar was made into a monster from being mistreated, Zira made herself into a monster, she unlike Scar, really did fall into darkness and when the time came I guess she just accept her fate in the Shadowland. So everyone right now just seems to be blaming eachother." And the Lion King was right, the pride needed to rest and recover. Kopa felt even Vitani hated him now, for it was her mother the prince sent to the Shadowland. It was the prince's first act to becoming a true Lion King but because of it the pride was divided on two sides.

"Dad, there is a creature I met once in the Outland, he told me: Four will die. I didn't believe him at first, but now I'm not so sure. Sarafina, what if she is the first of many," Kopa explains but his father just grabs him and holds him closely, through all the drama neither of them had the chance to talk properly. Simba speaks to his son with the same wise words Mufasa once told him:

"Whatever happens, no matter how many of us fall, no matter how many hard decisions you must take, my son: remember who you are."

Watching the father and son from afar with teary eyes Timon sits on Pumbaa snout petting the warthog as to comfort his best friend, they had missed the prince more than anyone, as a cub Kopa used to play with. Both of the best friends had missed Kopa more than anyone. Pumbaa still remember the tears he parted with when the news came swooping between Timon and Pumbaa flies Zazu who plants himself directly infront of the king.

"Sire, I can confirm Zira has gone to the Shadowland, and well, nobody ever comes back from there," Zazu gulps dreading the very mention of the Shadowlands. During the war Zazu panicked and decided to hide in an old savannah tree, he couldn't fight; Simba turns his head towards his friends, as Timon and Pumbaa run towards the king and his son Kopa to catch up on old times. The laugher of old times brings back the smile to Simba's face, with his renewed courage Simba begins to address his subjects, he leads everyone to quickly restore Priderock, Pumbaa helps by carrying water in his large snout to water the dead grass, Zazu carries seeds from nearby flowers to drop on the dirt that the lionesses dig up together. Movement finally tweaked its way across the ash stained land. Foliage finally starts to harvest, pushing through the layers of ash on the ground Simba had worried if everyone would have to migrate, the last time Priderock was attacked like this everyone had to leave Priderock and go to the location named as the Grass Wall and this time was known as the Great Migration. But Simba was headstrong, he this time had his son with him, and together the area around Priderock was starting to grow once more.

But alas it was time for Simba to say goodbye to his old friends: Chumvi and Kula. Simba's son Kopa explains that were was strange fog when he was a cub, when he was first attacked by Zira a cold icy mist appeared. Simba says that the fog comes from some underground lakes. And finally an apology from everyone, but Chumvi and Kula smile, they stayed in the Pridelands because it needed help, they wanted to help.

"How's is my best friend Afua?" Kopa had to ask about Afua as they were best friends as cubs. But as Chumvi and Kula explain, they left Afua and his mate Beba back home and days they don't know what happened after they departed. But Kula nuzzles the young Kopa telling him they'll be fine and that Afua does miss him. With the new information thanks to the Lion King, Chumvi and Kula begin the first step on their long journey back home walking out of site onto the horizon and into the sunset, to hopefully stop the icy mist there.

The scar on Kopa's right eye is fully healed now. It seemed so long ago that the two princes Kovu and Kopa were tumbling down Priderock fighting for the place to be the next king. But these are the only thoughts crossing Kopa's mind as he apologizes to the dark lion Kovu for everything. And for the first time, Kopa, Vitani, Kiara and Kovu stand together in the almost completely recovered Pridelands, for these four friends will have to manage Priderock when Simba and Nala were gone. Together the four were all talking and sharing their thoughts of the good times which have passed and the bad times which are still to come. Kopa breaks off from the rest of his friends and family and walks leisurely to the lion's den, when entering he lays down on the stone for a nice nap, but as the lion does something before him catches his eye and suddenly the air grows cold. Kopa squints at a strange rock infront of him; he picks it up just as Vitani enters the den. Kopa turns his paw to look at the stone and his heart sinks when he sees the pattern carved upon it. It's a Black Scarab.

"No... No..." Vitani frowns in disbelief, Sarafina couldn't escape the curse of the Black Scarab and now a Black Scarab had made its way to Kopa. The mysterious black stones serve as a grave warning as ancient tales declare whoever receives a Black Scarab will surely die in the ensuing days. Vitani rushes up to her mate Kopa nuzzling him for comfort in the centre of the lion's den, she never wants to let him go again. They had only just found eachother and now it seems sometime soon they will have to separate for the final time...

Meanwhile far across the Savannah and into the deepest, darkest shadows...

Purple lightning rages through the deep black sky. The Shadowland is once inhabited. In the heart of this land a purple snake with red stripes. The snake Joka gifted with second sight. The snake slivers up and down pacing; there was no questioning that this snake was more than what it seemed. It speaks with a high-pitched piercing voice and with elongated hisses,

"Zira's attack only served to break them. She did perfectly as planned; The Pridelands are broken, now we can move in. We shall deliver them all to the Great Beyond!" From behind Joka a dark coloured lioness wearing Uzuri's old grey scarf around her white paw. This is Solta the strong grey lioness and Zira's sister; she stands with Joka he eyes widened as if she'd been hypnotized.

"Bhat!" The snake hisses loudly calling the name of another one of his pawns. Suddenly a small bat-eared female fox approaches with a slight swing in stride and a devious grin on her maw. Bhat is Joka's female fox assistant, however she served him willingly, Bhat had long been a member of the Pridelands but now she was in the Shadowland. Joka speaks once more to the small fox:

"Bhat, we must prepare for the final battle. It all ends from here... " Bhat nods smiling before replying
"Yes master," she giggles almost childishly before dancing away into the darkness. Joka's red eye's gleam in the dark Shadowland he slivers away to act out his master plan, to prepare for the end of the Circle of Life.

End of Episode I.