A Tale of Woe

Do you really have to go?"

Chumvi was stopped in his tracks by his mate's voice. He turned his head to look back at her. They both knew the answer to that question. Scar had been merciful enough to allow Chumvi and Tojo to stay until they were fully grown...but his mercy only extended so far.

"Yes." Chumvi replied "I wish I didn't but we both know Scar won't let us stay."

Kula's dark green eyes dropped to the ground and Chumvi grimaced. He hated seeing his mate so disheartened.

"Of course." was her barely auidible reply "But I just..." she trailed off, even from a few feet away Chumvi could see that tears were welling in her eyes.

"You know that I would if I could...you do know that?" Chumvi replied, padding back to her side.

"I know...but...our cub Chumvi...I don't want him or her to never meet their father." Kula replied, her eyes remaining on her paws.

Chumvi slipped his head under Kula's and in responce she buried her head into his mane with a choked sob.

"I promise that I'll come back for you and our cub." Chumvi murmered "You won't have to live under that tyrant anymore."

The only responce he got was another choked sob.

"... we haven't any choice." Tojo glanced at his paws and back up at Tama, her expression was unreadable "We're leaving at dawn and meeting Malka at the border...Tama?"

His mate was leaving the den, Tojo was quick to rush after her, only then did he see the absolute fury on her face. Her eyes blazed with both hate and determination in equal measure. For the first time in his life, Tojo was scared of her.

"W-What are you going to do?" he asked nervously, knowing his mate was a lioness of little words and a lot of action.

"I'm going to tell that tyrant that he can't send you and Chumvi away." she growled "He has no right!"

"He's the king..." Tojo replied quietly. He knew what Scar would do if Tama tried to stand up to him. He'd set the hyenas on her. Blue eyes jumpped from his mate's face to her slightly swollen stomach. It would be two lives lost and he knew he wouldn't survive without them.

"I don't care!" Tama replied "You were born here, these lands are your home. You shouldn't have to leave at all! Screw the 'old ways'."

Tojo bit his lip. Scar had instigated the 'old ways' very early into his reign, although he still banned the more brutal practises. The killing of cubs and exiling of teenage males weren't followed through...because cubs and teenagers did not present a threat...two adult male lions did. Scar would have been foolish to allow them to stay.

"Tama, please, think." Tojo interjected, stepping in front of her and blocking her path.

"Get out of my way, Tojo, that tyrant doesn't deserve the throne and we all know it."

"That might be true but...Tama...think of yourself...think of the cub."

A look of guilt crossed Tama's face and her eyes dropped to her paws. How could she have been so selfish? She just endangered not just her own life...but her unborn cub's as well...she should have thought.

"I...wasn't thinking." she murmered.

She didn't need to say anymore. Tojo led her back to the den murmering assurances to her...they would be ok...they would be fine.

Several Months Later...

"Zira." Scar purred at his heavily pregnant mate. The lioness gave him a smile and rubbed her head against his. Any day now, she would be leaving him to go to the birthing den with two other females, Tama and Kula. The king knew that the two females had a strong bond with the two males he had exiled months ago. It didn't take a genius to figure out who's cubs the two were bearing.

"My love." she replied.

It was a few minutes before Zira pulled herself away and Scar spoke again.

"Something has come to my attention that...troubles me greatly." he began watching Zira's fac closely. Her expression briefly betrayed shock but this was quickly schooled into a more neutral expression and so Scar continued "As I'm sure you have noticed, two young lionesses are also pregnant. The cubs are not my own...they know the penalty for betraying my hospitality...see to it that they both have a very unfortunate accident whilst giving birth."

"Of course, my king." Zira replied before padding out of the den. She didn't see the smile that graced Scar's features.

It was Tama who gave birth first. Kula and Zira helped her through the difficult first birth, one out of concern and the other faking concern for the young lioness. Soon, a healthy female was born. Her fur was a beautiful golden colour, a mixture of her parents, with a fringe of fur that flopped down over her eyes like Tama had.

"She's beautiful, Tama." Kula cooed.

"A lovely cub." Zira added "Have you thought of a name?"

"Yes...I was going to name her Shetani...after my mother." Tama replied, smiling tenderly at her little cub.

The next to birth was Kula. Her birth was both faster and less demanding than Tama's had been and she needed very little assistance from the two lionesses. Her cub was a little male. He was rather small, his fur a dark shade of chocolate brown with a few whisps of dark brown mane on his head.

"I don't know what his name is." Kula replied with a sheepish smile at Tama "I've never really thought of names..."

Zira was the last to birth and had the most difficult of all. Both Tama and Kula considered leaving their cub with the other and running to get Rafiki although Zira growled that she wanted no help. A whole day passed before she managedto give birth to two cubs...two stillborn cubs.

"I'm...so sorry, Zira." Tama murmered subconciously tightening her grip on her sleeping daughter.

Zira didn't reply, instead she wept for her cub who would never open their eyes.

That night something snapped. Zira's rage and grief overid everything and she slaughtered Kula and Tama as they slept. Her murderous crimson eyes locked on their innocent cubs, both had awakened and were mewling loudly for their dead mothers.

She approached them yet couldn't bring herself to land a blow. Her eyes travelled to the bodies of her own cubs and slowly her anger melted.

"Has what we discussed been accomplished?" Scar asked Zira when she returned to the den.

"Yes." She replied, lowering the two sleeping cubs to the ground. Her mate would never know that the cubs weren't truly theirs. Kula and Tama's cubs were her's now.

"Any males?" Scar asked.

"Yes. A male and a female...Kovu and Vitani."