Pride Lands Online
The Pridelands

*** The One ***

The introduction to the opening song, a deceptively simple piano solo, begins.

{ The camera moves upwards from close to ground level, up and over the Wildebeest, with a few Zebra in view, onwards, over the still concealed lionesses. The travelling shot continues in one movement all the way to the rock, stopping with Simba, the King, in full view as he sits watching his lionesses. His mane gently waves in the updraught from the plain below. As the camera reaches the rock, the still sleeping pride dissolve away leaving Simba alone on a bare Priderock, the towering rock face to his back right becomes a 'screen' onto which appropriate flash-backs from The Lion King are projected as the song continues. }

{ The opening song is The One by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. This is a bit of an strange beast, it was deemed strong enough to be the title track to an album yet somehow failed to make significant impact on the music-buying public. I feel this is because the song had inherent contradictions that Elton's performance failed to resolve, in particular it counterpoints reflective lyrics with powerful accompaniment. It needs a big, powerful singer with presence. The video was particularly disappointing, looking very much like a very well known Volkswagen car advert! Somehow I feel that it just didn't sit right on Elton, though not for any want of trying. Here these problems are addressed by giving the song to a strong leonality, someone with real bite and power. The relative tenderness of the lyrics are put into relief by the attack of the backing which reflects the vigour of the lionesses out on the hunt. Thus we have given the song a very strong sense of character and background. It is the music that binds the three visual elements together into a coherent whole, Simba, the hunt and the Lion King imagery, together - The One. We even get to find out who The One is...
A late thought: This could be taken out and used as a stand alone prologue to another story such as Simba's Pride, it wouldn't be quite as closely coupled to the rest of the film but work well nonetheless. It may not be the best part of this script but it is probably the easiest to integrate into others. }

{ This a complicated scene to plan, indeed it will have to be carefully choreographed to make sure everything looks and feels right. This script can thus only be a distillation of the overall concept. The problem is that we have two and a half sequences running simultaneously. The easy one is Simba singing on the rock, no great problems there, he is seen from maybe four or five angles, in a fairly static way, trying to avoid the 'pop video' look, so no sweeping camera work, no fast zooms, not rapid cuts, just solid camera work, we must also be able to see the flashbacks behind him. This is inspired by a video, of - Can you feel the love tonight! But this is inter-cut with the rapid and dramatic and naturalistic action of the hunt. Timing is critical, to the song and to the action. The hunt is seen mostly from low angles and often from ahead of and looking towards the lionesses. This is done because most of us are familiar with the three-quarters rear view so typical of the natural history documentary style, and with good reason of course.
Here we can focus on the expressions and emotions of the hunt and see it from the preys perspective. There will be sudden changes in pace from dead slow to flat out and the shots have to keep up. This can only be done by knowing where everybody is at all times, even when out of shot. To do this the hunt must be planned and then shots selected depending on the best positioning at the time. We should concentrate on the main three; Another, who ever she is, must stay relatively in the background. It is important that our lionesses are recognisable thus they have been remodelled with additional markings to distinguish them from each other, including from the rear. It was these black markings that Simba saw amongst the grass of the plain. It may be acceptable to drop these markings to some extent after the hunt, here's where they are vital and the work involved in perpetuating them would be considerable. Once the hunt is over the style becomes slightly less naturalistic and such detail could be dealt with with a much broader brush.
________There are script difficulties in putting this across so to attempt to get around this I have done it in two sections, the first is Simba and the flashbacks, then we start again with the hunt, they are sequential on paper yet are simultaneous on film. I hope you get the idea! }

*** The One, Simba ***

{ Apologies and acknowledgements to Bernie Taupin for the original version of these words, here they are slightly modified, further valuable changes were suggested by David A. Morris, thank you. }

{ Simba sits, singing gently with feeling. }

Simba: I saw you dancing out the desert,

________running fast beneath the sky.________Thanks to David Morris }
________A spirit borne of earth and water,
________fire flying from your eyes.________{ Great this, D.M. again }
________In the instant that you love someone, { Nala come on 'look' }
________in the second that the hammer hits, { Nala lick }
________reality runs up your spine { Simba surprised/pleased }
________and the pieces finally fit.

(Chorus)And all I ever needed was the one,
________like freedom feels where wild horses run. { ?quick cutaway to zebra? }
________When stars collide like you and I, { S motions forward with his head }
________no shadows block the sun.
________You're all I've ever needed.
________Baby you're the one!

{ Simba stands up, head mid height, singing louder with a touch of humour. }

________There are vagabonds we follow; { S smiles mischievously, P+T on rock }
________Lonely nights within ourselves, { Inspired by D. M. }
________when chances breath between the silence
where life and love no longer gel { S+N arguing by log }

{ Singing more seriously and thoughtfully, loaded with memories }

________For each one of us in his time is Cain,
________until he walks along the bank { S+R looking into river }
________and sees his future in the water,
________a long lost soul within his reach. { M in the water }

________Chorus repeats, last line is Oh, baby, you're...

________Piano/orchestral verse

{ Simba steps to the very edge of Priderock, head held high and majestic, singing powerfully and with passion. }

________Chorus repeats twice, the last time ending with: Oh yes, Nala you're the

________orchestral trailer with substantial African colour, during which the
________kill is made.

{ As the music fades to allow the gentle wind to be heard we see Simba, silent now and on all fours, head up majestically in a classic 'end of Priderock' pose. From behind him on both sides his son and two daughters walk up to their father's side, joining him in looking out over the dark plain. A distant roar is heard, which Simba answers in kind. He and the cubs turn as one and walk off to share in the kill. }

*** The One, The hunt ***

{ The lionesses targets are not selected randomly nor for any personal reasons. They are the stragglers, weaklings, the isolated and unfortunate, nothing more. The lionesses eyes and ears are always forward, heads low and level, looking for any possible target. This is not an easy thing, they may have to create a target by scattering and splitting the herd, and anyway is it to be Wildebeest or Zebra this evening? Wildebeest are slower and easier to catch and are bigger, but its the wary zebra that generally spot an attack first and by bolting first often lay themselves open to attack. Only time will tell. First thing to do will be to test the conditions, get the direction of what little wind there is and assess the mood of the herd by a few tentative probing efforts, which could strike lucky, but more likely the hunt will take all night. Out on the parched plain to the south east of Pride rock, the lionesses are positioning themselves for first contact with the herds now only 50m-100m distant. They spread out down wind (i.e. the Priderock side), not because it IS down wind, lionesses rarely bother to take account of the wind, but because that is the direction they came from! The wind is there merely to ruffle Simba's mane and to give the grass some form and structure. All four four slink, low to the ground, eyes held at a constant level with seemingly unlimited patience, moving painfully slowly forward through the long grass, which makes almost ideal cover. Their ears fixed forward to catch the slightest sound, they watch the wildebeest continuously. Their undersides brush the ground, as one paw at a time is lifted, brought forward and carefully placed silently down. Will they be spotted? Possibly as this is their general strategy: get close enough to dart forward to panic a section of the herd, to split them away to see if any are weaker and slower than the rest, they will then be targeted more seriously. As this unfolds the camera switches from a rear to a low level forward viewpoint from the other, more peaceful, side of the herd, with Priderock and the sun in the background... During the early parts of the song we see the lionesses attempt a number of tentative strikes, all with no success, moving southwards between attacks using various techniques, always hampered by too great a distance between the cover and the target (only one in ten or more real attacks are successful, a lioness or group may well have to hunt all night for a kill, with no guarantee of success). During the double chorus they switch tactics and, exploiting a gap that has appeared in the herds, Sarabi and Another cut through to the north of a small group of, say, twenty zebra; it appears that the Wildebeest are too cautious this evening. They take up position some way off whilst Nala and Sarafina wait silently and invisibly (to the herd) downwind. Suddenly Another grows impatient and breaks cover, she has selected her target, she expects Sarabi to back her up without question, she does but only after a panic shout - No, Not Yet! The zebra, seeing Another, start to take evasive action. The camera joins them as they begin to run southwards. The group start to fragment as we see Another close in some 25m in front. But she has poorly selected her target who is fast and has managed to close the gap with the zebra in front as Another attempts to strike from the side. She pays the price for her inexperience and is kicked heavily by the zebra ahead. She rolls over, badly injured, onto the short, heavily grazed, dry grass. The camera passes her by, watching Sarabi slow, stop and lie low to the ground some 10m away as no target is available anymore. There is no growling, no bared teeth, no snarling, just fixed eyes and total concentration. On camera right the herd has thinned, the zebra in front have moved on ahead, splitting left and right whilst the camera concentrated on Sarabi. Suddenly there is rapid movement just 15m away at about 2 o'clock, followed moments later by a second rise from the grass at 3 o'clock. Nala is rushing forward closing on the camera at terrifying speed, she is serious, DEADLY serious. Sarafina can be seen behind to the right in close support. Nala's eyes are fixed on the camera and seconds later, now in the song trailer, she leaps up, her gaze fixed JUST BEHIND the camera line which sways left then right before Nala, her claws and teeth fully bared rushes into contact with shattering power. The camera is forced roughly over to the left, as a second, unseen, impact occurs. The sun, setting now, comes into view as we are hit a third time just as the sun finally sets beyond the right of Priderock, fading to black as the music fades. After a second or two of darkness we go back to rejoin Simba on Priderock. See notes. }

*** Main title ***

{ Just as in TLK - a simple title in modified Times New Roman on black in silence. }

*** Cubs ***

{ It is morning a day or two after the prologue. The temperature is rising fast. The cubs are playing in the care of their father, who like a true lion, is really much more interested in sleeping. He's lying forelegs ahead, head up, alert (but only just!) on a partially shaded knoll at the foot of a tree. Just beyond him are a few fallen twigs and bit of branch, probably the result of grazing by an elephant. The three cubs are just a few metres away, nearer the camera, this scene is filled with TLK references which have been transmuted by time and young minds. }

Nyala: Zeni, you be Dad. I'll be Mum and Thembi - { she looks to Thembi, whilst raising and lowering a forepaw in imitation of a bird's wing } you can be Zazu.

Thembi: Oh no, not Zazu! {protesting, fully aware that this will fall on deaf ears, he sits up looking a little annoyed}

Nyala: {ignoring Thembi} I'm having a bath {sits down and starts to wash her side somewhat haphazardly}

{ Simba looks on, thinking it not worthwhile to remind his daughter that Sarafina had actually been doing the washing. Zenani picks up the plot enthusiastically }

Zenani: Nala, Nala, I know this great place to go to {she waits with Nyala for a moment then turns to face Thembi, who is not too familiar with the script. It is Nyala who breaks the tension}

Nyala: Zazu, you're meant to ask where this place is.

Thembi: Oh, is he {shakes his head rapidly} Sorry, am I? {remains sitting, clearly intending to remain silent!}

Nyala: Kinda now Zazu!

Thembi: Eh? Ah, yes - where is this place?

Nyala: {properly} Thank you. {reverts to normal} It's down by the water hole

Zenani: {emulating Nala's 'dumb place' tone precisely, though unintentionally}
________Just where is the water hole?

Thembi: Over there. {he gestures with a raised paw and a turned head towards the real water hole}

{ Simba smiles gently to himself in the background }

Nyala: Not the real one, OUR one. Its...its... {she searches, turning round to where her father is lying} ...over there by those sticks.

Zenani: Ah, right let's go! {she bounds off, quickly followed by Nyala and a few moments later by Thembi who calls as he moves off}

Thembi: Wait for me!

{ As Thembi finishes Nyala, overtaking Zenani, trips over her father's outstretched tail with her forelegs. The king is not amused but neither is he too concerned. }

Simba: Could you lot go to the water hole a different way?

{ Simba pulls his tail from under the sprawling Nyala, forming an arch whose apex rises some 8-10" off the ground before the end springs free and is safely tucked out of the way alongside his flank. His request is, of course, ignored. Thembi is now by Nyala's side, thus just behind Simba. He is just getting the idea of this game. }

Thembi: One day you two will be married.

Zenani: Yea, when will that be Nala? I just can't wait...

{ Simba has spotted that Zeni's flank is exposed and in range; a mischievous look comes over him. Simba the cub returns! He flicks out his tail and, looking ALMOST innocently at NYALA, tickles ZENI's side, who bursts into a fit of giggles. }

Zenani: Stop - Please! {she just manages to get the words out between giggles}

Simba: Who? {pause} Me? {he quickly pulls his tail back to regain his 'lion at rest' pose}

Zenani: Yes, Dad, you. You tickled me.

Simba: {with a twinkle in his eye} Couldn't. {he stretches out a rear paw unconvincingly, the tip of his tail flicks up and back to the ground} See, I can't even reach you.

Zenani: It WAS you Dad.

{ Zeni rocks back pressing down her rear quarters before springing forward to land, forelegs outstretched and claws out, squarely on Simba's back. She scrambles for grip with her back legs, claws and all. Simba, not unsurprisingly, gives up trying to relax and reacts quickly to the sixteen stabs from Zeni. }

Simba: Hey, watch it! NO CLAWS!

{he rolls over taking Zeni with him, looking like she's enjoying the ride. He stops short of rolling onto her, depositing her on her side in the dust. Nyala and Thembi join in and a general rough and tumble develops, typical of four young cubs at play, all paws, claws and teeth. This is cut short by a familiar voice, at first behind camera. }

Timon: Hey you guys, anyone seen the hairball?

{ Simba looks out from under Nyala, who realising who Timon means, laughs before being brushed off by a paw with many times her power. Timon continues on camera. }

Timon: Ah, there you are. Pumbaa and I wondered if you would like to join us tonight, for a {does an approximation to the twist} boy's night out.

{ Simba only momentarily considers then replies firmly. }

Simba: Yes. That'll be great.

Timon: Meet you by the waterhole at sunset then. {pauses as a thought brushes past him} Hey, what about Nala? Aren't you going to ask her if you can go?

Simba: {with a resigned tone to his voice, looking slightly away} No - she'd only say no, so I won't ask - I am still the King, just. {raises his eye ridges, lions don't really have eye brows, though they did in TLK, then pauses} Er, Timon? Do you have a little time?

{ Timon, looks around quickly before cautiously and slowly replying. }

Timon: I might have.

{ Simba lightens up considerably at this, raising his head a little. }

Simba: Good, then you can take the cubs out for a while.

Cubs: Yes, please Uncle Timon. PLEASE!

{ Timon stretches both forelegs out welcomingly. }

Timon: Ok! Come on guys, lets go. Last one to the track's a Hyena!

{ Thembi untangles himself from Simba and Timon jumps on to his back. As they race off Nyala's voice is heard calling. }

Nyala: I'll be Banzai...

{ Simba is left alone to get up, stretch, make a tight half turn and curl back up, head on his front legs. He smiles gently, clawing the dust slowly, then closes his eyes to sleep. Unnoticed by all, this scene has been watched from a little way off by Immue, who we now seen from a three quarters rear view with Simba in the background and the cubs and Timon just visible at the extreme edge of the frame, running off. She turns silently to camera and walks off, a satisfied look comes over her, but why? We may never know. She heads off, probably to the water hole, in the way that only lionesses can. }

*** Rumble ***

{ It is well past sunset, somewhere deep in the bush three animals pad silently through the thick cover of trees and scrub. They are wary, alert to every rustle of the small leaves at their feet, every crack of twigs, every tiny scent wafted on the slightest breeze, at one with the environment. Hey, what is this? Wrong film! Lets try again shall we...

It is well past sunset, and the cubs sleep time, somewhere deep in the bush three animals crash recklessly through the thick cover of trees and scrub. They are enjoying themselves, safe in the knowledge that no one would dare attack the king of the Pridelands who leads the procession, followed by Timon then the substantial bulk of Pumbaa, riding shotgun; at least that's what Timon told him. They sing as they make their carefree way through the dark trees in the cool of the night. What they sing was a bit of a problem; a reprise of Hakuna Matata might have been expected but is hardly original. The Lion Sleeps Tonight could have been perfect but its been used already. The 70's glam-rock hit 'Tiger Feet' would have been fun but probably too little known outside the UK. So instead I suggest the disco anthem 'Staying Alive' (or even 'Night Fever'...) which allows Pumbaa to do the bass line, Simba to do the falsetto 'Stayin' alive, iiive, iiive line and Timon to fill it with a bit of percussion. They could also do a very plausible imitation of the 'strut' walk. This could possibly start with a close up of Simba forelegs, opening out to reveal all of him as in Hakuna Matata. Or with an initially fixed camera, as Simba, Timon and Pumbaa in turn pass through shot with suitable gagged variations on the theme, it then turns to see them heading off up the trail. Alternative songs could be the rock and roll classic 'The Wanderer' or Dire Straights 'The Walk of Life' which is very similar in style to Elton John's version of 'I Just Can't Wait to be King'. Whatever the final selection is it should be fun and slightly trivial, like its singers. Simba is reckless to what lies ahead. That particularly deep shadow isn't quite what it seems. Suddenly Timon and Pumbaa go silent and retreat in some degree of fear saying nothing. Leaving Simba, the big lad that he is, to fend for himself. He stops singing and being a flexible cat, turns his head to look behind... }

Simba: Timon? Pumbaa? {pauses for an answer, none comes} Come on guys, where are you? {he is still unconcerned when something taps him high on the shoulder} Ok, you two, that's enough. Pumbaa, that must have been you - {to one side under his breath} Timon's too short.

{ Simba turns his head to look straight ahead. Inches in front of him is a strange wrinkled dark grey thing (lions close vision is poor). The camera sees it through Simba's eyes then cuts away to show Simba in puzzlement. He starts to look upward, raising his head slowly, the camera cuts back revealing that this is just the end if it, at the other is a huge bull elephant, who is not too pleased at being woken. We cut away once more as Simba looks at the elephant and considers. He is not afraid and replies after a pause in which we too can judge the mood of the elephant: he's not putting up with any nonsense. }

Simba: Excuse me, but you're in our way.

Elephant: Your way? Who do you think you are?

{ The camera shows Simba head on, through the elephant's front legs, emphasising that Simba, however big he might be, is no match for this tusker. In the background lurk Pumbaa and Timon, hiding in the undergrowth shaking their heads furiously to indicate 'No, don't do it!'. Simba doesn't see this however. }

Simba: I'm Simba, KING of the Pridelands.

{ He talks proudly and with some dignity. Timon stares, open mouthed and Pumbaa closes his eyes in horror - he did it! The elephant replies politely whilst flapping his ears, in an obvious 'in' joke. }

Elephant: Oh yes? And I can fly!

{ He raises his trunk and trumpets loudly, even Timon and Pumbaa's fur ruffles! Simba realises his mistake just as the trunk is brought swinging down at him. He turns, and sees Pumbaa and Timon }

Simba: {shouts} RUN!

{ Simba springs away back down the trail, earth and leaves flying from his paws. Pumbaa and Timon follow as best they can but Timon lags behind. Simba looks back to see the elephant bearing down on the meerkat. Simba gathers himself and jumps at Timon, landing in front of him, picking him up in his teeth like a cub and turning, leaps a second time as the ground shakes and trembles at the bulls foot fall. Lion and Warthogs are fast enough to outrun an elephant, even so in this dense cover escape is not easy. We leave them there and look back from some way off over the grasslands, whilst various roars, crashes, shouts such as 'here he comes again!' and other sounds of pursuit echo over the otherwise serene scene - a rumble in the jungle! }

*** Gossip ***

{ Nala, Sarabi and Sarafina, resting after the heat of the day, are talking just outside the cave, which looms behind them. The cubs are safely asleep inside. Nala looks out over the Pridelands, as Sarabi licks Nala's back for no particular reason other than the physical contact. }

Nala: I expect he's out with his friends again {stress on again}. I wish he'd told me instead of leaving me to put the cubs to bed alone again. {repeated again for emphasis}

Sarabi: Alone? WE were there. {she resumes her licking, coming across a particularly matted patch} Where have you been?

{ Nala does not respond to this remark, instead she carries on her own conversation with no one in particular. }

Nala: He should be here to see his cubs are safe. Thembi IS the future King. {she looks lovingly into the cave, there is no movement from within so she looks back and goes on as if talking to the Pridelands as a whole} He never does anything, he lies around all day, he never spends any time with me any more...

Sarafina: {to Sarabi quietly} Sounds like a lion to me.

Nala: ...he's no fun any more, he only ever seems happy with his meerkat and a...a pig!

Sarafina: {sharply to Sarabi as if imitating Pumbaa} MISTER Pig!

Nala: What happened to the Simba I used to know - do all lions get {she cannot find a suitable word and tails off shaking her head slowly, eyes closed. She re-opens them and continues} I love him, but I don't know who he is any more, why has he changed? I thought that once he was king everything would be all right. The Pridelands are alive again, the herds have returned but my Simba is so far away, so alone.

Sarabi: Its not easy being a king, don't be so hard on him. You'll wake up one day and your Simba will be back beside you.

{ Nala does not respond as if she was listening to another voice. See notes. }

Nala: Simba, {not expecting any reply} come back and be MY king.

Sarafina: {interrupting gently, more to Sarabi than Nala} Looks like we may not see Nala and Simba for a while after he gets back.

Sarabi: No chance of that, the cubs are too young. Anyway how come she gets all the luck?

Sarafina: {in mock surprise} Why Sarabi, if I didn't know better I'd say you're in need of a lion of your own, and I thought you were too old for that sort of thing.

Sarabi: Too old!

{ Sarabi lifts her head up and looks squarely at Sarafina who gives a laughing smile. Sarabi closes her eyes and slowly returns to Nala's back. Nala, however, has heard something, her ears turn forward revealing their black markings as the camera shows us the three lionesses with Nala looking out. Sarafina and Sarabi look at each other, Sarafina shrugs and they look out joining Nala's intent gaze as a rather odd sound drifts up - something like a tree being pushed over on to a...a...well, some kind of pig. Then all is quiet as the slightest of wind turns away once more. }

Nala: What was that?

Sarafina: What was what? {they hear a distant panicked roar, a distress call}

Nala: Simba...He's in trouble!

Sarafina: {trying to reassure her daughter} No, he's not, he can look after himself. He's a big cub now.

Nala: Sarabi, what if he's hurt? {she is close to panic}

Sarabi: {joining Sarafina's attempts} By what? Who'd dare to attack the King?

{ All three lionesses look at one another intently, they suddenly rise to their paws as one and say together: }

All: Immue!

*** Knackered ***

{ It is the following morning, soon after dawn, the air is relatively fresh and cool, but Simba is not. He is lying licking his wounds; scratches and bruises mainly; in a frustrated self-conscious way. He is tired and fractious. He is in the traditional reporting spot away from Priderock. We see it initially from the direction of the rock, at first it is difficult to see why we're here at all until Zazu flies down. He alights on his small rock and brightly as ever starts his daily blurb as he has done since, well, he's forgotten... (author's note: this was the first scene that actually got written, though it was the concept of The One that got the ball rolling) }

Zazu: Good Morning Sire. Checking in with the morning...

{ Simba is not up to this, he cuts Zazu off, looking at him sideways piercingly. }

Simba: GOOD morning? For you perhaps. I've been up all night chasing all over the Pridelands. Remind me never to listen to Timon.

Zazu: Yes well, I'm told the elephants won't forget last night in a hurry.

Simba: That's nothing, I spent most of the night trying to avoid Nala, she wouldn't let me back on Priderock! I had to spend the night on the plain. I just can't get comfortable on that grass. Anyway why are you always so... so... {he is lost for words, or rather the effort of finding them is all too much}

Zazu: Sire? I, er, just, er, yes, well, as I was saying {pauses to remember} Yes, the Morning Report.

Simba: {snaps} Get on with it, I need to sleep!

Zazu: You know your father was never... {he sees this isn't going down too well and changes tactics} Ah, yes the leopards are complaining that the lionesses take too much of their food.

Simba: {sounding a lot like Scar} They KNOW the arrangement. If they can get it into a tree they can keep it.

Zazu: {slowly} Yes... but apparently Sarafina has been practising climbing and she's getting really rather good!

Simba: That's the problem with mates, its the mother's in law that comes with them.

Zazu: I know - there are...

Simba: {rapidly cutting Zazu off short} Don't say it! {he raises a paw towards Zazu} Two in your family - I've heard it before.

Zazu: Sire, {seriously} I, thankfully, only have ONE mother in law, I was going...

{ Another interrupts, just as in TLK, possibly this time a meerkat, we stay looking at Simba who really is not in a good mood. }

Zazu: {thankful for the interruption} Ah! Sire! Hyena in the Pridelands!

Simba: {visibly brightening up, he holds his head higher suddenly} I've been wait for ages to hear you say that.

{ We have also been waiting for him to say that! Simba rushes off west down the slope, thinking a good chase would be just the thing to help him to forget the humiliation of the previous night. However as soon as he is up and moving Zazu calls urgently after him. }

Zazu: But Sire! {no response, he calls again, louder} Simba!!

Simba: {without waiting and without turning his head} Not now, Zazu!

{ Zazu suddenly remembers that he is a bird and jumps into the air and flies up and over Simba and into his path. Simba scrambles to an untidy halt as Zazu says directly: }

Zazu: Stop Fuzzy!

Simba: {teeth bared} I WAS enjoying that Mr. Banana Beak!

Zazu: But Sire, the hyenas are over there {he points with a wing}, to the east.

{ Simba looks round slowly, his teeth covered again. He draws his head down on to his shoulders tightly, trying to show a low profile. }

Simba: The west...yes...Why didn't you tell me, that's what you're here for, isn't it?

{ Simba looks round to check if anybody's watching, turning to face camera, he looks left and right before muttering unintelligibly as he walks off slowly in an unsuccessful attempt at looking dignified. }

Simba: At least no one saw that - didn't they Zazu?

Zazu: {discretely} Saw what Sire?

{ Simba sits back suddenly and licks a fore paw in an attempt at nonchalance }

Simba: Erm, Zazu? What am I meant to do with these hyena when we find them?

Zazu: {blinking} We...?

{ We leave them for a few moments, probably for a bit of sightseeing to music. This is to allow the situation to mature a little. We rejoin the pair some little way off, Simba is now trotting along gently, feeling much better, seeming bouncing along defying his substantial bulk. Zazu flies alongside his head, barely a span away, mirroring the throw rug conversation in TLK }

Simba: Now, what else have you for me today?

Zazu: Apparently Immue has been seen lurking in the Pridelands a lot recently.

Simba: Oh yes, and what does she want I wonder?

Zazu: No one knows, but I'd watch her carefully sire. She's still dangerous.

Simba: Zazu? Even now her son's dead?

Zazu: Especially now Scar's dead sire, just DO be careful.

Simba: {smiling} Ok, I promise. Don't worry. Now is there anything else?

Zazu: Well I am told that there's a new hunting dog pack in the Pridelands.

Simba: So? {this is hardly major news} Hunting dogs eh? There's plenty of game for them. I suppose you want me to introduce myself?

Zazu: Well, yes. But I also hear that they {sighing gently} can't hunt!

{ Simba stops and laughs loudly, he thinks this is a great joke. Zazu turns round in a tight semi-circle, banking steeply. }

Simba: Can't hunt! That's very good Zazu, that's VERY good! {he laughs on}

{ Zazu alights in front of Simba, he can do nothing but shrug his wings with a sigh and wait for Simba to calm down. Simba sees Zazu is not laughing and stops suspecting Zazu might actually be serious. }

Zazu: Yes, they don't know how to hunt and, well...

{ Zazu pauses and looks at Simba who, reassured that this is a joke, starts laughing again. He drops down to the ground and rolls over on to his back in an uncontrollable fit of laughter, this is Zazu's best one yet. }

Zazu: Sire! You ARE the king of the Pridelands. I suggest you better act like it! {with imploring eyes} Please!

Simba: {regaining a little composure} I suppose you're going to say they can't eat next.{closes his eyes to imagine the scene}

Zazu: Well, as it happens, not properly - no. Really, I've never heard such a noise {he quivers, feathers flying} and the mess they leave behind - I've seen better manners from a warthog.

{ Simba rolls back and looks sharply at Zazu. Teeth slightly exposed. }

Zazu: Ah, well, {looking anywhere except at Simba} what I mean is, er, was, er, well...

Simba: {the tension gone and brightening up} I know what you mean, I've lived with one! Hey, are you serious?

Zazu: Yes, sire, I fear so.

{ Simba gets up to his paws, shakes slightly and steps away, Zazu follows, flying up and alighting on Simba's back. He folds his wings carefully, inspecting them as he does so. For a few paces Simba walks on silently, then turns his head to Zazu, still on the move. }

Simba: We shall have to something about this, won't WE.

Zazu: {with a start} Oh no, sire! Not 'we' again! {his feathers fly again!} Ooooh.

{ Zazu now reopens each wing in turn and agitatedly rechecks and re-preens the primaries, anxiously hoping for no more shocks... Simba walks on, smiling. }

*** Lugga ***

{ Some while later, as the heat builds up towards midday, we join Nyala, who has left the other cubs dozing for a while to go 'hunting' for herself. This consists of slinking, not so quietly, through the shorter grasses and hiding behind bushes (most of her shows plainly of course, particularly her tail, which likes to leave itself in the most awkward places). She reaches a substantial knoll, from the top she gets a panoramic view of the lugga, or dry river bed, below and the seemingly unending plains beyond. This to her is all new country, and not surprisingly she is impressed! }

Nyala: Wow! This is great, Zeni and Thembi have gotta see this!

{ She has already strayed too far for safety. She is, however, captivated by this scene with distant grazing impala and other animals, even perhaps an nyala or two in an acacia thicket seen through the heat haze. She is drawn onwards down the slope. Her attention is caught by the sound of a rock falling and decides it came from a short way in front and to one side. She walks in full view towards the sound, suddenly changing her mind when something flies up from a little way ahead. She lies down and inches forward towards a pile of small stones, she suddenly pounces on the unsuspecting stones that inconsiderately collapse under her. She falls, tumbling down the sandy slope beyond (which she didn't see), calls out for help and lands in a cloud of dust just beyond a rocky over-hang close to the side of the lugga. What she doesn't know, and what we don't initially see, is that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are crowded under the over-hang and that, even more seriously, her father is just a few metres out on the dry bed. The dust clears a little. Nyala picks herself up, coughing in the dust and looks, no peers, through the cloud.

{ Ed, just a shadow as yet, laughs benignly. A small fallen rock lies at Banzai's forelegs, the dust around it disturbed. }

Banzai: Uh? What is THAT?

Shenzi: {as the dust clears sufficiently to reveal Nyala's head and tail} Well looks who's dropped in for lunch.

Ed laughs again, louder and a little more sinisterly.

Simba: {heard in the background, cutting them short, he is too engrossed to have bothered to look} Quiet you three, if you want any lunch!

Shenzi: {daring to move forward a little} I think he ought to see this, don't you Banzai?

Banzai: {following his sisters lead} Yea, I think so, don't you ED?

{ Ed stays silent for once out of fear. He can see that Simba has turned from his meal and is looking at the dust cloud and through it, at the hyenas who suddenly go deadly serious. Simba is bloody and looks just a little ridiculous. }

Simba: {to his daughter who turns her head slowly, ears back, expecting to be shouted at, however he speaks slowly and surprisingly delicately} What are you doing here, young lady? Thought you might drop in on your father did you? {pauses, but no reply comes} Are you alone? Where are your brother and sister? {he waits again, Nyala is too surprised to see her father to respond} Well, where are they?

Nyala: {in some distress} They're asleep. {she manages barely a squeak, then she notices the blood and then the kill beyond her father, instantly her eyes brighten and her ears prick up in delight} Wow, I didn't know you could hunt Dad!

{ Ed laughs, unwisely }

Shenzi: {sneeringly} The King didn't hunt it, we did didn't we Banzai?

Banzai: {looking towards Shenzi, ignoring and snubbing Simba totally} Hey, I did!

Shenzi: {retorts, thus loosing the upper hand over Simba} No, it was me, I killed it!

Banzai: {getting quite agitated} Yea, but I chased it furthest.

Simba: {seizing the initiative} Quiet you lot!

Shenzi: Ooh, temper, temper.

{ Simba glares at her, the three whimper and shrink back under the over-hang, falling silent. }

Simba: It seems they've blown my cover, Yali.

Nyala: You mean its true? They gave it to you? {she thinks the hyenas might not be all that bad after all}

{ Ed laughs again. }

Banzai and Shenzi together : SHUT UP ED!

{ Ed does so, mid laugh }

Simba: Well, no, you see I, well, it's like this: they caught it and I, well, I sort of borrowed it.

Shenzi: Yea, from us! He stole our lunch!

Simba: Quiet, you'll get some of it - if you wait patiently like good hyena.

Nyala: But Dad, stealing from the hyenas! {she is disgusted to think her father could stoop so low. She turns her back on him, head low, ears back, thus turning towards the hyena trio} How could you?

Simba: Now see here Nyala. Its not like that... {Nyala walks off, back to Simba} Come back this instant. {he says firmly, she breaks into a run, he looks back at the kill, turns to the threesome, glowers at them and runs off after Nyala. Shouting as he gathers speed} I don't want to see you here when I get back! {and to Nyala ahead} Now stop at once. I won't warn you again!

{ The hyenas laugh at their luck and edge forward to the barely touched Impala carcass. Some considerable way off thunder is heard, the rains are coming... }

*** Revelations ***

{ Simba runs some distance over the lugga bed, roughly parallel to Nyala who has taken the higher, grassy, ground above the lugga, The camera waits at the foot of the bank, Simba comes into extreme right of shot and take a pace or two, then turns to head towards the dusty 1m high cliff that will soon be the water's edge. For a moment Simba runs directly towards the camera, seemingly slowly, then he leaps with all his power and strength over the camera and up to the top of the bank. The camera rises and turns, or cuts, to see Nyala with her father, who has now crossed behind and is now beyond her, overtaking with awesome speed. We see, on a hill in the near background, a group of seven or eight grazing quagga panic as Simba appears. They scatter in all directions. the emphasis in on motion, speed and movement, of Simba, of Nyala, of the quagga, of the camera.

Author's note: Quagga are a southern African species of zebra. They are, as far as I can tell from the sketchy details available to me, pony sized, smaller than most other zebra with a donkey style tail. The base colour of their coat ranges from palomino to donkey grey and is overlaid with thin, brown zebra stripes that lighten from front to back so that their hindquarters are unstriped. They enjoyed a brief period of fashionability in mid 19th C London as carriage horses! This popularity was to be part of their undoing: they became extinct in 1893. This would have been the only film in which you could have seen an apparently living Quagga (Equus Quagga Quagga). Folks would have asked what these attractive animals were and would have wanted to know where they could see them. It's too late, all we have is drawings, beautiful, accurate but lifeless.

Simba now turns and stops suddenly, forelegs slightly splayed ahead in a posture that suggests determination. Nyala, in a mixture of fear and anger can only stop as best she can to avoid running right into him. She back-pedals furiously but trips over a fallen branch and rolls forward, eyes wide in near panic. She cries out and rolls straight into her father with a bump. Her anger mutates instantly into a desperate need for reassurance, she whimpers. Simba looks down at her and drops to the ground, putting one foreleg around Nyala, gathering her in towards him. He licks her, saying quietly: }

Simba: What's the rush? Are you all right? Where does it hurt?

{ Without a sound and slightly looking away, Nyala offers, from somewhere in her tangled ball of young cubness, a forepaw. Simba looks at it for a moment and then gently licks it. Nyala whimpers again then looks up at her father, tentatively pushing her head up. Simba laughs quietly to himself, but licks her offered head between her ears two or three times. Explaining: }

Simba: You know we don't hunt all our own food. A lot comes from others, leopards, hunting dogs and yes, even hyena, especially hyena. We'd be hunting all day if it wasn't for them. Not that I do much of that {dropping low to emphasise that this is between him and Nyala alone} I've never actually made a kill, you know.

Nyala: {openly enjoying the one-to-one attention and intimacy she's getting from her father} Never?

Simba: Yes, I've never killed anything bigger than a bug. Even Scar was finished by the hyenas.

Nyala: {shyly} I want to.

Simba: {taken aback} I don't think WANTING to kill is quite the right thing for a young lioness.

Nyala: {shaking her head} No - I mean I want to hunt like Mum.

Simba: Oh, I see, she's the best. But I think you had better go and talk to Pumbaa.

{ Nyala laughs childishly }

Nyala: What, A Pig?

Simba and Nyala together: Mister Pig! {this is a continuing running joke, they laugh together, Simba goes on alone}

Simba: Yes, Pumbaa. He's the only one I know who's been hunted by Mum and survived to tell the tale. In fact that's how we met.

Nyala: {giggling} You and Pumbaa?

Simba: No, your mother, silly!

{ Simba licks Nyala powerfully but lovingly, a kind of firm and deliberate lick, which from a lions rough tongue must pack some punch. He narrows his eyes as he does so as if to say 'Don't be cheeky, you!' }

Nyala: Mum says she's why you came back to the Pridelands.

Simba: Does she now? Well, I came back because I had to protect my home and my pride (thinks: and my head!). That's what lions do.

Nyala: Is that all?

Simba: Well, there is one other thing - to be father of cubs like you! {he bumps her head with his nose} Come on, time to go and find your brother and sister. Are you Ok now?

{ Nyala gets up, extracting various legs and tail from under her. She looks around, then says: }

Nyala: Yea, I guess so, though my paw still hurts.

{ Simba carefully gets up and takes a pace backwards before turning round to head off, as he does so he says: }

Simba: Oh, you'll be all right in a minute or two, does it hurt hurt or does it just hurt? {he smiles, certainly he's unconcerned, he has judged the situation correctly}

Nyala: Oh, just hurt. Dad, why aren't there more cubs in the pride?

{ Nyala asks this in a matter of fact manner, indeed innocently. Simba reacts instantly, lifting his head and stopping dead in his tracks. He looks startled, at the very least he is surprised, in one of his 'wide-eyed' looks. }

Nyala: Dad, are you Ok? {no response} Dad? Its just that I wondered why there's no one to play with, apart from Zeni and Thembi.

{ Simba has never considered this carefully, the answer is plain but what can he say to his young daughter? He searches for some kind of answer. He shakes his head and momentarily mutters to himself }

Simba: {to himself} No, that's no good...{he shakes his head agitatedly again}

Nyala: Dad?

{ Nyala steps to her fathers side and brushes against his foreleg in a very cat-like way, tail up. Simba looks down to the ground. }

Simba: {quietly, slightly ashamed of himself as he's let the pride down} All the other lionesses are my sisters, aunts and whatever. Even your mother and I share a grandfather. I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be king, some other lion should. My father would have sent me out to find a pride of my own.

Nyala: {anxiously} With Mum?

Simba: Yes, with mum. {he smiles as he turns to Nyala who is pleased to feel that she was wanted} But Scar changed all that, he changed everything.
What we need around here is another lion.

Nyala: {surprised} Another king?

Simba: No. {he rubs Nyala's head with a forepaw} Your dad's the ONLY king of the Pridelands.

{ They walk on together through the grasses, some distant birds call, the savannah is alive. The seeds are now sown in Nyala, for a way for her to prove herself, yet as we have seen she's not yet ready to face the outside world. As they walk Nyala pushes her head against her father and steps forward, sliding her head along his flank. Simba leans his head toward her, smiling gently, and gives a very gentle growl, exposing his teeth for a moment. }

*** Homebound ***

{ It is much later in the afternoon, the repressive heat has taken it's toll, four tired lion, a father and his three cubs, are padding back to Priderock, which can be seen in the middle distance. The ground is almost bare with very short sparse grass, low boulders are strewn about randomly, probably ancient bits of a once much bigger Priderock. Nyala, the least affected by the heat, leads, periodically stopping and shouting back to her brother and sister exhorting them to catch up. The father, weary and clearly not on top of the situation (well, if he insists on going on all nighters he must expect to pay the price), lags behind. He walks steadily but never quite catches up with his cubs. The cubs conversation is inconsequential, something like (this could be improvised to good effect): }

Nyala: {Properly, would have hands on hips if she had them} Come on you two, we have to get back home.

Zenani: Yali, We're coming as fast as we can, don't keep running on ahead.

Thembi: Yea, I'm coming too.

Nyala: You too Dad!

Simba: {too tired to argue} Yes, Miss Yali. I'm on my way.

{ Suddenly Simba's eyes close and his forelegs buckle at the knees. he collapses to the ground. Clearly this is more than just fatigue. The cubs don't see this at first and run on ahead. Simba revives a little but for a moment cannot get up. He calls worriedly to his cubs. }

Simba: Stop! Help me! Nyala, please stop!

{ His strength returns quickly enough so that by the time the cubs have looked back anxiously; their father's never done this before; and run to his side. He has managed to get back up to his paws. He feels cold and shakes, starting with his head, right through his body to his tail. The cubs are really worried. }

Zenani: Dad, are you all right? {she moves forward to stand by his forelegs as if to support him, which can only be a gesture}

Simba: Yes, I'm Ok, just a bit tired that's all. Come on, let's go - not so fast this time. {he pauses expecting them to rush off, but they don't} Come on, off you go!

Zeni: But Dad, are you going to be Ok? {her concern is real and heartfelt}

Simba: Yes, yes, I'll be just fine.

{ Simba is significantly better but still feels unsteady, he is acutely aware the this is not going to just go away. He raises a paw to shush the cubs on. it feels heavy and he barely manages to complete the gesture. The cubs, their anxiety slightly reduced, turn away slowly but still do not walk on. Simba steps forward awkwardly but steadily, he gathers his strength and walks past the cubs in some distress. They follow very subdued. Suddenly all four hear a lionesses roar calling to them a little way off from the right. The cubs forget their father's problems and run towards the call, Nyala attempting to call back with modest success. When the three are some 50m off, Zenani stops on a small rock and turns to watch her father drag himself slowly behind them, she is clearly distressed. }

Nyala: {from ahead} Zeni, are you coming?

{ Zeni looks towards Nyala, unsure of whether to stay or go on. Simba sees this and calls to her: }

Simba: Go on! I'll be there in a moment.

{ Zeni takes a last look back to her father then she turns away and obeys him. We Simba stop, head down and eyes closed, he breathes heavily. He stays like this for as long as we dare, to avoid panicking the younger audience. Then he lifts up his head, opens his eyes and blinks. He steps off, clearly much recovered, the bounce is returning to his step with every stride, we now know he's going to be Ok in a while. }

*** Etiquette ***

{ Nyala reaches the edge of a roughly elliptical depression some 40m wide. To the other side, on the rising slope, she sees Sarabi and Another lioness standing by a large, as yet untouched kill, another zebra. Her mother and grandmother are just moving down another slope from the left to join them. To Nyala's right the three hyenas stand outside the depression looking on. She quickly sizes up the situation - that the kill has been stolen from the hyenas, for the second time today! This time she is less fussy. However before she can move on Thembi, closely followed by Zeni, rush past and on towards the kill. They position themselves at the inside of the kills hind thighs, this is where lion will generally start to work on a kill. }

Sarabi: {sternly} STOP! What do you think you're doing!

Thembi: {looking up} Er...eating.

Sarabi: Haven't we forgotten something?

{ Zeni looks too, feeling guilty just in case she's done something. }

Sarabi: Yes, young Zenani, that includes you. Well?

Zeni and Thembi: Er...

Sarabi: Yes, come on, where's your etiquette? Who's first?

{ Zeni and Thembi are joined by Nyala who doesn't know either. }

Nala: {now close to her cubs} I think we'll have to tell them, won't we girls?

Nyala: {to one side, away from Nala} Not me. {stress on I} I don't want any.

Nala: {realising Nyala's causing trouble} Oh, and why's that? Not hungry are you?

Nyala: {defiantly} It's zebra again, we had that yesterday AND the day before. Can't I have impala?

Nala: You'll eat what you're given young lady. If you want something else you can catch it yourself.

Nyala: {clearly upset but still determined to be defiant!} Hummmph.

{ Cue song. This one is a choice of three Lion Etiquette, Etiquette Rap and Etiquette in Action. All three involves the lionesses telling the cubs that the lion goes first, the lioness go second and the cubs get the left overs. That's lion dinner etiquette. Now, I'm no good with lyrics and had a little help here. The first two versions are based on I Just Can't Wait to be King, though one is, believe it or not, a Rap version! The third is much more like original idea of a Motown song, though in this case it is a 1985 song. All three involve strong rhythmic and melodic components and have a sing-along quality (I know, I've done tried them, over and over again), they are fun and just a little absurd! This is the main production number and has a cast of...more than ten! Simba, when he arrives, basically stays quietly in the background. He sits this one out, enjoying the view. During the latter half of the songs Nyala is singled out for a bit of teasing, she is not pleased! Timon and Pumbaa don't get involved as I feel they would prefer to distance themselves from kills, they're not to their taste!

The first possibility, a reprise of I Just Can't Wait to be King, sung to the tune of the Elton John arrangement as on the OST of The Lion King. }

_______'Lion Etiquette'

_______Music by Elton John.
_______Lyrics by David Morris and Chris Boyce

{ Nala is chiding Nyala about her etiquette as the musical fade in begins. }

Nala: ___I'm gonna teach you a lesson _______that's been passed on down the line.
_______It's about learning the finer points~
_______of taking turns to dine.

_______Now listen, kiddo; heed my words. {looks intently at Nyala}
_______Come on and sit a spell.
_______While we teach you a little etiquette -
_______why we get along so well.

{ Sarabi and Sarafina glare at each other as they lean over the kill, grinning slyly. }

Nala, Sarafina, Sarabi:

_______It's a basic fact of life, don't you fret.
_______You've got to follow lion etiquette!

Nala: Simba's gotta eat first
Sarabi: Nala's gonna eat next
Nala: The others get their turns
Sarafina: You cubs eat what's left

Nala: And if we feel generous today {grins at the hyenas}
_______The hyenas may get a bone thrown their way.

_______{musical interlude}

{ Nala rips off a lower foreleg with her teeth (you really don't want to be eaten by lions) and throws it at the hyenas who sit in a line to one side. Shenzi and Banzai just manage to duck as it passes over them; the leg smacks Ed in the cranium with a loud, musical, wooden knock. Shenzi looks up in puzzlement. }

Shenzi: Huh?

{ Banzai, quick thinking as ever, twists and catches the rebounding leg in his jaws, we hear a loud crunch as he crushes the bone. The two protruding ends fall from his mouth, Shenzi and Ed catch the ends and rush away. }

{ Later Sarabi pushes heavily against Sarafina, seemly intent on barging past her friend to the kill. }

Sarafina: {spoken} Hey Sassi!

Sarabi: {singing}
_______Now listen girl, don't call me that.
_______Sarabi's my name you hear!

{ Sarabi raises her head , pulling it back on to her shoulders, giving her a height advantage, even though Sarafina is more heavily built. She lifts a forepaw, turning on it's side, poised as if to strike Sarafina's ear. }

_______Listen well, where fresh meat's concerned,
_______I'm the Queen around here.

Hyenas: {breaking in on the quick 1-2 beat} Oh yeah!

{ Sarafina, being the younger lioness, pulls back from Sarabi. }

Sarafina: Sarabi, I'm hearing you good.
_______No argument from me.
_______There's enough food there for us to share
_______as far as I can see.

{ They bend to eat, but are interrupted by Nala. }

Nala: {Pointing to Simba who is approaching rapidly}
_______Ladies, I can't believe that you'd forget
_______That first rule of lion etiquette!

{ Simba smiles and sits down, shaking his head, he's not feeling hungry. }

All:____So take your place and wait beside this kill.
_______When your turn comes, be sure and eat your fill.
_______'Cause if you don't, then someone else sure will! {Sarafina grins}

_______Oh, I just love lion etiquette
_______Oh, I just love lion etiquette
_______Oh, I just love liiiiiiiiiion....etiquette!

{ The second possibility: Etiquette Rap.

This is similar to the first version other than the rhythm is a rather more free, it is a rap version based on I Just Can't Wait... Though it would probably not be recognisable as such!

Clouds in the sky combine with the rays of the evening sun to give a mass of greens, blues, golds and reds in the sky in angular, dramatic patterns with attitude, something like a graffiti covered city wall. }

Nala:___All right!
_______I'm gonna teach you a lesson you'll never forget,
_______One that's been passed on down the line.
_______It's about learning all the finer points
_______of whose turn it is to dine.

_______Now listen, kiddo; heed my words.
_______Come on and sit a spell
_______While I teach you a bit about etiquette
_______and how we get along so well.

Hyenas: {looking at each other in surprise, not rapping - just talking}
_______Oh, yeah? We get along real well?


{ Sarabi pushes heavily against Sarafina, clearly intent on barging past her to stake her claim at the kill. }

Sarafina: Hey Sassi!

Sarabi: Now listen girl, don't you ever call me that. _______Sarabi's my name you hear!

{ Sarabi raises her head, pulling it back on to her shoulders, giving her a height advantage, even though Sarafina is more heavily built. She lifts a forepaw, turning on it's side, poised to strike Sarafina's ear. }

_______Listen good, 'cos where fresh meat's concerned,
_______Then I'm the only Queen around here.

Hyenas: Oh, Oh, She's the queen. Yeah!

{ Sarafina, being the younger lioness, pulls back from Sarabi. }

Sarafina: Ok, Sarabi, I'm a hearing you good.

{ And so on in similar vein to 'Lion Etiquette'. }

{ Third possibility: Etiquette in Action.

This is quite different and is sung to the tune of 'Chain Reaction' by Diana Ross! Nala is the lead singer, the 'lionesses' are Nala, Sarabi and Sarafina, the 'hyenas' (backing group) are Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, 'all' is the hyenas and the lionesses with the exception of Nala who sings over the top of the backing. The only real problem is how to persuade Diana Ross to sing Nala for me. (showing all my teeth in a huge smile) Please?

_______'Etiquette in Action'

_______Music by Barry/Maurice/Robin Gibb.
_______Lyrics by Chris Boyce encouraged by David Morris. }

Nala: {to all the cubs}
_______Just take a bite you'll make me see red.
_______You'd better get back or go right home to bed.
_______I don't want to do what I might have to
_______because of what you do.

_______And there I was thinking you all knew of it.
_______If you take a little bit, you must have forgotten it.
{ Nala walks to Sarafina's side. }
_______You've set your heart on stealing our meat away.
Feeling hungry? It isn't all for you!
{ Nala points at cubs with an outstretched fore paw. }

Lionesses: { all three side by side in a line with heads and tails high }
_______You're gonna see etiquette in action!
_______We're gonna see your proper reaction.
_______But you'll be at the end of the line and then
_______you'll all get your fill.

_______We're before you in this meat transaction.
_______You're gonna be a 'mane' part of the action.
_______Simba has fist pick - not you lot, and we go next, { heads turned to Simba }
_______and then you take your place.
{ Simba nods graciously and, smiling, gestures with a paw that they can have it as he isn't really hungry. }

Nala:___I talk about food, food, food.
_______I talk about food.

Hyenas: { Slavering at the thought. }
_______We talk about meat, meat, meat.
_______We talk about meat.

{ Nala walks to and stands over the kill. }

Nala:___'Cos it's zebra you say you can't eat it.
_______You just sit there and you just don't want it.
_______You say it's impala you really want girl,
_______go catch one yourself!

{ Nala rips off a lower foreleg with her teeth (you really don't want to be eaten by lions) and throws it at the hyenas who sit in a line to one side. Shenzi and Banzai just manage to duck as it passes over them; the leg smacks Ed in the cranium with a loud, musical, wooden knock. Shenzi looks up in puzzlement. }

Shenzi: Huh?

{ Banzai, quick thinking as ever, twists and catches the rebounding leg in his jaws, we hear a loud crunch as he crushes the bone. The two protruding ends fall from his mouth, Shenzi and Ed catch the ends and rush away. }

Nala:___One day you'll wake up and then you'll find yourself
_______beside a lion who'll make you wonder. { smiles at Simba }
_______Then you will know we spent all of the nights and days
_______Slaving, slaving, only just for you!

All: When we done all...
Lionesses: ...the perspiration,
Banzai (talking): Hey, where's my agent?
Shenzi: Yeah, I'm not standing for this!

{ Simba raises a foreleg and elbows Shenzi roughly in the side who falls sideways out of shot with a blank expression on her face. }

_______What right have you to give us that declaration?
_______Gonna get yourself in that line and so
_______avoid a pretty nasty altercation!

{ Shenzi rises to her paws and glares at Simba who simply walks off smiling. }

Nala:___You've got to know your proper station.
_______You'd better apply yet more concentration.
_______Keep us girls happy! You just got to do it right
_______and stay real close to me.

All:____We talk about life, life, life
_______We talk about life.

Nala:___You've got to know your proper station.
_______Simba will protect you.
_______All we gonna see -
Hyenas: You're gonna see etiquette in action!
Nala: ____________________Etiquette in action!
Hyenas: We're gonna see your proper reaction.
Nala: ____________________Don't do me wrong!
Hyenas: But when it comes to making your presence felt
_______you'll see we're your only inspiration.

_______You've got to know your proper station.
Nala: ____________________Proper station.
Hyenas: You'd better apply yet more concentration.
Nala: ____________________Don't let me down!
Hyenas: Keep us girls happy! you just got to do it right
_______and stay real close to me.

Nala: ____________________All we gonna see - All: ____________________You're gonna see etiquette in action!
Nala: ____________________Etiquette in action!
All: We're gonna see your proper reaction.
Nala: ____________________Don't do me wrong!
All: But when it comes to making your presence felt
________you'll see we're your only inspiration.

________You've got to know your proper station.
Nala: ____________________Proper station.
All: You'd better apply yet more concentration. {begin fade to finish}
Nala: ____________________Don't let me down!
All: Keep us girls happy! you just got to do it right
________and stay real close to me.

Author's note: The idea of a song here came to me during a wedding reception of a musician friend of mine, He and his lead guitar playing musical partner do a lot of fifties/sixties rock and roll numbers. I'm trying to persuade them to allow me to sing 'I Just Can't Wait to be King!' with them, the EJ version being well within their range! }

*** Cajoling ***

{ As the song finishes, Simba quietly moves behind the trio of hyena who are engrossed in the song. Finally he steps up to and sits just behind Shenzi who so reeks of blood that she doesn't smell Simba. He waits for the right moment then strikes - verbally. This is the Simba we know and love! }

Simba: Ah, Shenzi, I've been...

{ He doesn't get a chance to finish, Shenzi jumps up into the air (hyena probably can't do this but never mind). }

Shenzi: Whoaaaa! {she lands heavily} DON'T DO THAT! Hey, can't you come from the front like everyone else! (author's note: This could be interpreted by some in a very non-Disney way! The official line would be total denial...)

{ Banzai and Ed laugh, Shenzi glares at them. Simba just sits and enjoys the spectacle! }

Simba: Yes, now Shenzi, I've to talk to you all day.

Shenzi: What about this morning? {she brushes her side with a forepaw}

Simba: Yes, well we were interrupted then.

Shenzi: Yeah, but how come I get the idea you WANT something?

Simba: What? The king doesn't do that. No, well, it's such a small thing really. Just a little favour, you know. {he is circumspect but knows what he's doing}

Banzai: A FAVOUR! For the king of Priderock?

Shenzi: Yea, a favour! A favour? Ha! He want's something!

{ Ed looks on totally bemused, this is all too much for him, as Shenzi and Banzai fall about laughing. }

Simba: Yes, well, as I was saying...AS I WAS SAYING {still they laugh} Oh, very well then, if I have to - MUFASA!

{ Shenzi shudders violently, all thoughts of laughter vanish from her mind. She sits up in obvious discomfort. Banzai shuts up, following Shenzi's lead. Ed gives one amused laugh. Everyone looks sharply at him. Simba nods graciously in his direction when he too falls silent. }

Simba: The whole of the Pridelands have a small problem... I thought you might be willing to help, if you don't have anything better to do that is?

Shenzi and Banzai: {incredulously} Uh?

Simba: You see...{he gets up and walks slowly, looking at each in turn, their heads follow his eyes}...there appears to be a new pack of...{pauses again, the hyenas push their heads forwards, stretching their long necks, straining to catch the next words}...hunting dogs...

{ Simba now turns and walks behind the hyenas. }

Shenzi: Dogs? I hate dogs, they're {she quivers in distaste}

Banzai: Hairy? Pushy? What..?

{ Simba turns once more to face the hyenas, then he stops and sits facing them. }

Simba: Yes, well, hairy or not, they don't know how to hunt and...

{ Banzai gets up and circles Shenzi and ED, barking as best he can. Shenzi and Ed huddle together feigning fear as they are his 'prey'. }

Simba: {raising his voice a little} ...their table manners, oh! {he shakes his head in mock exasperation} I thought you could teach them how to hunt.

Banzai: {standing dead still, mid walk, his bluff's been called} Hunt, we can't hunt, can we Shenzi?

Shenzi: No, no, we can't hunt at all, can't catch a cold, can we ED?

{ Ed cackles enthusiastically. }

Simba: No? Surely, {he looks beyond them to the kill} two kills in one day? You're too modest! You'll do just fine.

Shenzi: Yeah, like do we have a choice?

Simba: Why, of course you do. Either you teach the dogs to be a pack or, well {he nonchalantly raises a fore paw, exposes his claws and inspects them before going on. Scar might have turned his paw over but I suspect lions can't do that very easily so Simba will look at the top, not his pads} I shall insist you stay to dinner...

Shenzi: Ulp! Yeah, I'm sure we haven't any pressing engagements. {looking at Banzai hopefully}

Banzai: No, I'll check with Ed but I'm sure we're free to help these...{in disgust}...dogs.

{ Ed sits up straight as he grasps the situation. Simba retracts his claws and lets his paw drop. }

Simba: I'm glad we understand each other, so sorry you couldn't stay. Ah well maybe some other time. Good Bye.

{ Shenzi and Banzai run off as quickly as possible, Ed is left behind for a moment. }

Simba: Are you still here? {he raises a forepaw, claws in and swipes it at Ed who gets the point and dashes off just avoiding contact. Simba sits, smiling, watching his family feeding off the kill in the evening light while to one side other lionesses are arriving.

Author's note: A decent sized zebra will keep a good sized pride such as this, even though it has very few cubs, busy for perhaps two, three or possibly even four hours. Simba may well be the last to leave, after that all that will be left will be a few scraps and a messy pile of bones. Just enough for the vultures.... }

*** Advice ***

{ It is a cloudy night, with no visible stars. By rights we ought not to be able to see this but thanks to film lighting we can see everything as clear as in daylight: Ah, the magic of the silver screen! Simba walks to the base of Rafiki's baobab tree, he hears sounds from Rafiki's platform. Simba sits down, tucking his tail neatly round his back legs and looks up, waiting to be noticed. No response, Rafiki potters on above. }

Simba: {shouts} Rafiki! {still no reply, so he roars as loud as he feels able}

Rafiki: {from above} Who's that? {surely he knows!} Eh? Who's down there?

Simba: Come on down Rafiki! Its me, Simba.

Rafiki: {Hanging from a branch above Simba} Simba? What are you doing visiting me? Eh?

Simba: Come on, I need to talk with you, its important.

Rafiki: All right, all right. I'm... {drops down to the ground suddenly} ...coming. {he lands on his feet, stick and all, how did he do that?} There, told you!

{ Simba is slightly surprised at Rafiki's sudden arrival in front of him. }

Simba: Er, right, er...

Rafiki: Cat got your tongue? You can tell me.

Simba: {narrowing his eyes is if to say: don't rush me} Please help me, what can I do about Nala?

Rafiki: Nala? I thought you knew about all that already? You've got cubs haven't you?

Simba: No, no, not that. It's just that we never seem to get on these days. You know what I mean.

Rafiki: Me, you ask me about...them?

Simba: {puzzled and surprised} Them? What do you mean - them?

Rafiki: I don't know, you asked me.

Simba: Nala, my lioness? How do I explain to her that I still love her? How can I tell her how much I care about her? {with evident truth to his voice}

Rafiki: Don't know, never got involved with them, never. Seems to me like you should tell her.

Simba: {getting frustrated} Tell her what?

Rafiki: What you just told me, don't tell me, tell her! {he jumps back and laughs}

{ Simba sees this is getting nowhere shakes his head and starts a different topic of conversation. }

Simba: Rafiki, look, listen carefully, There's something I want you to do for me.

Rafiki: Yes, yes, {not really listening} Anything, anything at all.

Simba: When I'm gone I want YOU to teach Thembi how to be a king.

Rafiki: Yes, yes, when you're...{suddenly realising what Simba has said} What? Can't go yet. Where to?

Simba: To join my father.

Rafiki: What, are you sick?

Simba: {looking down to the ground despondently} Yes, I'm sure I am. I want to make sure Thembi is told all he needs to know about being a king. My father died before he got the chance to tell me what I needed to know. That's why Nala can't love me, she loves the king and that's not me. Oh Rafiki, what can I do? My father left me too soon, now I'm leaving my son too soon. You will do this for me? Whatever this is I think it's bad.

Rafiki: Pabbh, {dismissively} YOU will tell him yourself. Just as your father will tell you. {looking suddenly more serious} Now, let old Rafiki have a look at you, he knows many things. What happened?

Simba: {scanning his eyes over the sky half expecting another visit from the 'Ghost' of his father}

Rafiki: Simba? What are YOU looking for?

Simba: Eh? {looks back to Rafiki} Yes, well, I suddenly felt very tired and cold and couldn...

{ Simba stops suddenly as Rafiki is already fussing around him, peering and prodding and occasionally shaking his stick over him. He hums nothing in particular as he busies himself in examining Simba who stands uneasily still. At one point he notices something deep in Simba's mane and parts the dense fur with both hands and peers intently at it rocking his head from side to side in case this gives him a better view. We don't see what he's looking at. He seems to be puzzled by this, Simba gets worried. }

Simba: What is it? Have you found something? {he tries to turn to see but he can't quite make it and turns back frustrated, eyes narrowed} Hmmph. I always said he we was creepy.

Rafiki: What was that? Eh?

Simba: Oh, nothing.

Rafiki: Nothing eh? I'm not you know. {he shrugs, not knowing what to make of what ever it was that he saw} Hummph. {he moves round to the front} So you've not been feeling well?

Simba: That's RIGHT, are you done?

Rafiki: Yes, that's right, all done, all done. Just wait there.

{ Rafiki turns away as Simba says quietly: }

Simba: Good, {quietly and in a slightly worried tone to himself} because you're not taking my temperature.

{ Rafiki, hearing this, turns back at once and with a gleeful look in his eyes raises an outstretched finger as if he's had an idea, honest he has! Simba looks horrified and stands dead still with claws outstretched and shoulders tight. We watch them just long enough to form an idea of what might happen. }

Rafiki: Hold still! This will hurt you more than it hurts me!

{ Rafiki swings round his other hand, slapping it firmly on Simba's forehead, holding it there as he counts, well - mumbles something that might be counting. Simba's shoulders drop slowly and he retracts his claws, breathing out in relief. A few moments later Simba hears a strange baying sound, he turns one ear towards it, then the other, finally he turns his head round, his ears swivelling as his head turns. Rafiki, seeing Simba's attention has moved, takes away his hand and joins him in listening, his head slightly on one side. }

Rafiki: What - is that? {raising both hands, palms upmost, to just below his shoulders which rise slightly. }

{ They both listen as, below in the near distance, first Banzai then Shenzi and finally Ed run into view, in some distress, they are shouting and calling frantically. Still the noise continues to grow. We watch from behind as Simba looks puzzledly at Rafiki who is none the wiser, he just opens his mouth a little to show he has nothing to say, just then a few hunting dogs appear, hot on the trail of the hyenas, then a few more until the entire pack of twelve are in full view chasing the trio, now heading off camera right. Simba blinks and shakes his head in disbelief then both he and Rafiki burst out laughing. }

*** Parting ***

{ The camera looks on the protrusion of Priderock from the direction of Scar's cave, we see Nyala lying on Priderock alone. It is soon after sunrise. She has not slept much after her humiliation at the kill the evening before, spending most of the night brooding on her situation. We see her get up, pace up and down a few times in an unsettled way. She lies down again, but only for a moment before getting up again. She shakes and walks off the rock to nowhere in particular, the camera pulls back to reveal Immue, who must have been watching this scene for a while from the shelter of Scar's lair. She smiles to herself, not in an evil way, just a kind of 'pleased with herself' smile. }

Immue: {to herself} Upset and alone are we? This is too easy; simply too easy.

{ Immue gets up, shakes herself and then walks off ahead, down the rocks, where Mufasa once walked with Zazu by his side. We see her follow Nyala and quickly catch her. They stop and talk for a moment. Then we join them. }

Immue: ...I can help you?

Nyala: {despondently} No one can help me.

Immue: Do you mean no one will listen to you?

Nyala: {slightly suspiciously} Well yes, why? Will you listen to me?

Immue: Why of course I will. Of course, now what seems to be the trouble?

{ Nyala decides to confide a little in Immue, who seems to be genuinely interested, though Nyala can't see why. }

Nyala: Immue, Dad says...

Immue: {interrupting} Dad? You mean Simba, the king?

Nyala: {a little unsure, as Immue is her great-grandmother} ...Yes, you know my dad, don't you?

Immue: {reassuringly} Of course, of course. My dear step-grandson - I think...Go on.

Nyala: Dad says that he shouldn't be the only lion in the pride and he says he should be king of another pride.

Immue: Why, of course, my dear. He's absolutely right. Yes, we need another lion, yes, yes! {raising a forepaw for added emphasis} But, hardly any lion ever come here, do they?

Nyala: {looking down, away from Immue} Well, no.

Immue: What we need is for someone to go and find one, don't we, my dear?

Nyala: Yes, who? Will you do it?

Immue: {laughing} Oh no no, I'm much too old for that sort of excitement.
No, it needs to be someone young, adventurous and...bright. {with a paw on her chin} Like...?

Nyala: {triumphantly} Like me!

Immue: Why, yes! You'd be just perfect, and wouldn't your father be pleased? Just think what he'll think of you, such a clever little lioness and all.

Nyala: Wow, that'll be great! Yeah, he'll think I'm a real lioness at last. he'll let me hunt with mum and the others, but he'd never let me go alone.

Immue: Alone? Why my dear you wouldn't be alone. I'll get that pig, what's his name? Oh dear dear dear, I'll forgetting my own next won't I now.

Nyala: Oh, you mean Uncle Pumbaa. Yeah, he likes that sort of thing.

Immue: Yes, yes, yes, well how wonderful, the two of you off on an adventure. Tell you what, I'll get him to follow you.

Nyala: Great, I suppose I'd better get going.

Immue: What, right now my dear? Aren't YOU going to tell the king or your dear mother?

Nyala: No, Mum's off with Sarabi again and Dad's getting the morning report.

Immue: {shaking her head in disapproval} And left you all alone? Why, how thoughtless. Well he can't think much of you can he. He'll think you're something when you get back, now won't he?

Nyala: {anxious to get going} Yeah. Hey, would you tell them for me? Please? You will won't you?

Immue: Of, course my dear, only too glad to help. Only TOO pleased.

{ Nyala runs off, a few paces later she stops, looks round and then, dashes off south, turning east once past the edge of Priderock. Immue watches her run with a pleased expression. }

Immue: Only too pleased. {turning just a little unpleasant} Only too easy! Oh yes, just perfect. I think it's time for the pint sized furball to get into a little trouble...

{ A little while later and not far away we join Simba, Pumbaa and Zeni as they walk back to Priderock. }

Simba: Thanks, Pumbaa, for looking after Zeni for me.

Pumbaa: No problem, that's what friends are for, ain't it kid?

Zeni: {pushing her head against Pumbaa's side} Yeah, right Pumbi. Dad, Zazu was quick this morning.

Simba: No, I hurried him along. I want to get back to your sister, she doesn't seem very happy this morning.

Zeni: Yeah, I know, she kept me up half the night with her pacing up and down.

Pumbaa: Shouldn't that be fro and to?

Zeni: {sniggering} Or even forth and back.

Simba: What? Cut it out you two. One thing I did hear from Zazu was that there's some problem with the meerkats. Has anyone seen Timon?

Pumbaa: Yea, like I can't find him, he didn't meet me at the waterhole last night. Was it something I ate?

Simba: No, he's probably got a secret admirer. {raising his eye ridges} Bet you he's had an amorous liaison.

Pumbaa: No, I don't think he's got a son!

Simba: Yes, that as well! He'll be back to tell us all the juicy details soon enough.

Zeni: {innocently} Details of what Dad?

Simba: Never you mind! Put your paws over your ears!

{ Zeni stops and sits down, raising one forepaw after the other, looking at each in turn, trying to work out how she can raise both without falling over. Then she tries with her rear paws, nothing seems to work. She quickly gives up and runs after her father and Pumbaa. As she is almost by their side we see Immue running towards Simba who stops, sits down and waits for her to reach him. Pumbaa anxiously steps behind Simba as he's not sure of her motives. She has been known, like all normal lionesses, to catch and eat warthogs... }

Immue: {out of breath} Simba, Simba, so glad I've caught up with you at last...It's Nyala...she's been attacked!

Simba: {anxiously with little regard for grammar} Attacked? How? By who?

Immue: {still catching her breath} This was...your meerkat, he... scratched her eyes and...

Simba: What? Timon? How could he, he's not big enough. Anyway he'd never harm any of my cubs, would he Zeni?

Zeni: Timon's my friend.

Simba: {looking intently at Immue} Did he?

Immue: {laying this breath thing on a little thick for added effect} He just ...went wild, he was...playing on her when he just...went mad and attacked... her. You know how difficult it is to...get the top of your... head.

Simba: {pausing for a moment to imagine the scene, a small meerkat hurting a lion cub of Nyala's size. As difficult as it seems, it could be possible. He gets a sudden itch on one side of the top of his head. He attempts to scratch it with his hind leg, twisting tightly to reach. }

Simba: {in mid scratch} Are you sure of this? {he continues scratching}

Immue: I saw it myself. Oh yes, it happened. Nyala ran off, east I think. She was very upset, kept saying how it was all your fault. He was your friend after all.

Simba: Yes, he was. {suddenly unsure} What do you mean - was?

Immue: Well, I just couldn't sit back now could I. I just had to do something, so I got him off her. He fell. He couldn't have lasted long, I'm afraid. Best thing I suppose.

Pumbaa: You mean Timon's dead?

Simba: Dead?

{ Zeni sobs quietly in the background. Simba cannot take this in, he cannot believe Timon is dead, nor that he harmed Nyala. }

Immue: Oh yes, you won't see him again.

Simba: Have you told Nala yet?

Immue: Oh yes, quite upset she was, she said she'll be along in a while to console you in this darkest hour.

Simba: You sound as if Nyala's dead too - She's not is she?

Immue: Oh, no no. She'll be Ok, if the wound doesn't get poisoned of course. Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news but I must go and look for your daughter. She'll be back in time, of course, but a little help won't do any harm.

Simba: No, Look I'll go. Pumbaa you wait here and...

Immue: No, no, NO! I'll go. You best stay here and wait for your queen. Its no trouble, I'll do anything to help the king, simply anything.

{ Immue runs off without giving Simba the chance to change her mind. Immue is playing a dangerous game here. She has already told Nala, but not quite the same story. She said that she had already told Simba and that he was not going to do anything as Nyala probably deserved it. Simba is waiting not for a anxious mother who waits for her daughter to come back but for a lioness who thinks her lion doesn't care for his own cub. No sooner than Immue has disappeared, Nala comes into view, she's running fast, eyes fixed on Simba, her tail stretched out behind her, counter-balancing her precisely, keeping her eyes level as her spine flexes. She is clearly angry. Simba is puzzled and sits still, sure she will change mood once she reaches him. Pumbaa backs away, taking Zeni with him, distancing himself from Nala. She slows and halts in front of Simba, eyes piercing him. }
Nala: What are you doing?

Simba: {honestly as he thinks there's nothing to fear} Nothing, I...

Nala: WHAT? Our daughter may be lying hurt somewhere and you do nothing! Your meerkat nearly blinded her and you just sit there smugly?

Simba: But Immue said...{he is not given time to answer}

Nala: Get out there after her, she's your daughter, go and protect her! And don't even think of coming back without her. It's all your fault, you should look after her more, I can't be expected to do it all the time!

Simba: But I...

Nala: No 'buts'. GO ON, go and find her while you still can.

{ Simba gets up to his paws, looks at Nala in a 'what have I done now' look for a moment. Nala simply glares at him. She's not interested in Simba's excuses. He looks down at the ground then round at Pumbaa who looks back as if to say 'don't worry, I still like you.'. He runs slowly off. Nala turns to Pumbaa and Zeni. }

Nala: Zenani, come away from him at once, do you hear!

{ Zeni looks up at her mother. }

Zenani: But Mum, he's my friend.

Nala: COME AWAY! The meerkat was your friend too!

{ Zeni, realising that her mother is in a really foul mood, does as she's told. Though not without first turning back to Pumbaa. }

Zenani: {quietly so that Nala can't hear} It'll be Ok. We'll be friends always.

{ She turns back to her impatient mother and walks slowly towards her. Nala rises and without a word turns her back on Pumbaa who is left sitting alone, totally bewildered. The day had started so well. Now things couldn't be worse. }

*** Chase ***

{ We see Nyala as she runs east from Priderock with the morning light behind her. She runs through the boulder field she passed through the previous night, jumping over some and weaving round others, her young body bending supplely. She soon reaches a ridge, some four metres high, and heads for a large gap in the trees that top it. She leaps up the ridge in two bounds and pauses on the top to look back to see if Pumbaa is following her as Immue had said he would. She sees nothing and, not yet being concerned by his absence, she turns and runs to the north of Rafiki's baobab tree. She is watched by Rafiki from his vantage point in the tree. He shakes his head in dismay. }

Rafiki: No, no, this cannot be.

{ Rafiki hurriedly turns to get his stick and then climbs down the trunk and sets off for Priderock, hoping desperately to find Simba. We however keep our view on Nyala who runs on over the open plain beyond the ridge. By now she begins to have doubts about Immue. She slows and stops. For a while she sits and thinks, not looking back. Will Pumbaa follow her, does she really need him? What if she did this all by herself? Wouldn't Simba and Nala think she was really a real lioness at last. She doesn't need a pig to help her; Nyala is ready to take on the world and win. She gets up, takes one last look at Priderock, the top of which can be clearly seen above the ridge. Then she turns and takes a short look at the way ahead, the ground slopes down to the river, just a small stream which breaks into many glistening ribbons of light as it flows along the rocky bed. On each side the dry bed extends, on this side some 30m or more to low sandy cliffs. It is beyond Nyala's comprehension to understand that in just a week or so this trickle of water will be transformed into a torrent powerful enough to sweep away any unwary thing that enters it. To her left the ground slopes up a few metres, in the valley beyond lies the lugga where she tumbled down to her father and the hyenas. That too is soon to be transformed, as will the whole of the Pridelands, soon it will rain....
Nyala runs down to the cliff and stops at its top. Again she looks back, again she rejects the thought of going back. She has started on her journey, she will finish it no matter where it leads, but first it must lead out of the Pridelands, it must lead over the river, it must lead off the cliff. She gets up and boldly leaps from the top to the rough bed below, She runs across the bed and leaps the 'river', running on to the other side where the bank slopes more gently, the desiccated grasses extending down to what will become the water's edge. She reaches the familiar ground at the other side of the river bed. For a moment she considers her position, she has now left the Pridelands, she is now beyond it's boundaries, she is alone and must look after herself. This, though, is what she always wanted, this is what she feels she must do. She looks to the grasslands in front of her, they seem very dry and sparse, indeed they seem to give way to bare sand after only a little distance. What has she done, where is she going. Her nerve fails her for a moment. She looks back across the river and sees the unmistakable form of her father cresting the ridge. Enough is enough, she must go on, to give in now would ruin everything. Nyala turns forward and runs quickly up the shallow, sandy, slope away from the river. She soon leaves the grasses behind and climbs what is rapidly becoming a dune. She reaches the top, her paws sinking with every pawfall into the unpleasantly hot sand. From the top she sees a ridge of high ground a long way ahead, between her and the ridge is unending sand, there is nothing to break the barren landscape. Nothing to suggest a lion ever comes to this inhospitable sandscape. But there in the distance, the high ground, would be somewhere where lion might live. That's where she must get to, she can think of nothing else. She sets off at a slower pace over the sand as the sun beats down relentlessly, robbing everything in the desert of life giving water. We watch Nyala from over head as she makes her way towards the ridge, a series of travelling shots, emphasising the distance and effort involved in traversing the desert, it is mainly this desert that isolates the Pridelands and keeps it separate, keeps it special. It was over another part of this desert, some way off to the south, that Simba had once run over to return to the Pridelands from the lush forest that he had made his home. Nyala is going east, to a desolate region where the rock prevents any plants from gaining a precarious foothold on life, where few if any prey animals roam. Beyond this arid wall of rock lies more savannah, less populated than the Pridelands perhaps, but a viable habitat for lion nonetheless. Simba can do nothing more than chase Nyala, following her tracks over the sand, he cannot catch her. The sun relentlessly saps his strength, though his sickness seems to be leaving him alone for a while at least. But as he grows weaker he becomes more and more vulnerable, more and more at risk from the myriad of unseen assailants. He cannot return without his daughter, his daughter seems not to want to be caught, he can only run after her, on and on over sand that is too hot to stand on for more than a moment.
________Eventually we see Nyala reach the ridge, it is much bigger than she imagined. It is a massive outcropping of bare rock, it's surface has been shattered into more tiny fragments than the grains of sand in the desert. She climbs the rocks, from a high view point she appears as an insignificant spot on the face of the vast rock ridge, much as an ant appears on a tree trunk. Still Simba follows on as best he can, knowing that to stop in the desert would mean almost certain death at the merciless punishment of the sun.
Upwards and forever onwards travels Nyala, jumping from rock to rock, pulled onwards by the faintest of scent from the grasses of the plain beyond. The sun is beyond its zenith now and starts it's long fall toward night...
________With no one to see her pass Rafiki's baobab we watch Immue make her way steadily in Simba's tracks to the river. She does not look back nor hesitate, she clearly knows what she's attempting to do, she looks as if she's hunting, but what? Or is it whom?
________Some time later, as the sun sets, we see Nyala reach the edge of the rocks and start off on to the plain beyond. She is desperately thirsty and makes for a waterhole glimpsed some way off against the evening sun. A dramatic shimmering haze of water, sun, grass and animals all of whom have put aside their natural animosity as they congregate at one of the few places where water can be found until the rains come. Against the brilliant orange, golds and yellows of the sun the waterhole makes a magnificent spectacle as all the animals come together to drink, though no lion can be seen. Shortly after Nyala leaves the rocks her father appears, some way further north and somewhat closer to the waterhole. He sees her and runs down the rocks and on to the plain to catch up with her. She has travelled further and faster than he had dared to think possible, they are now as far from Priderock as he has ever been. Here he is no longer king, but just a lonely lion, one who must drink if he is to survive another day. He runs wearily to the waterhole, we see him run through the heat haze, just a shadowy version of the all powerful lion king. As he reaches the water's edge the various animals already present part to give this dangerous newcomer room, revealing a drinking lion cub, her head pushed far down, her fore legs bent as she drinks the water. Simba walks down to her, he feels, for perhaps only the second time in his life, like a true king as the animals who would expect to be his prey back away respectfully from him. They do this not because he is a king but just because he is a lion. The cub did not get this respectful treatment, she had to push and shove her way to the muddy pool. He moves to her side, looking at her for a while as she drinks intently. Then he joins her and drinks. She is distracted by the sound of the much larger male beside her and she looks up. He instantly lifts his head and looks back, noticing that her eye is quite unharmed. She can say nothing for a moment. He however has had time to rehearse this moment in his mind. }

Simba: Don't you think this is far enough young lady?

Nyala: Dad, I didn't think you would come after me. What are you doing here?

Simba: Looking after my precious cub, Immue said you had been hurt.

Nyala: {looking down at the water} Immue said she would send Pumbaa after me, she said you didn't care about me as you left me alone so long.

Simba: How can you believe that? You, Zeni and Thembi are more precious to me than the whole of my kingdom. I couldn't go on if you weren't there. I had to come after you. You are what makes the world seem bright.

Nyala: Do you really mean that? What about Mum?

Simba: Nala? She's the one who made the nights seem short. Come on, drink up we had better be thinking about how we're going to get you back home.

Nyala: But what about the other lion?

Simba: What other lion?

Nyala: The other king? You said we needed another lion for the pride.

Simba: {casting around, trying to remember} I did? Is that why you came out here, to find another lion?

Nyala: Yes. {shouts to the waiting animals} Anyone seen a lion around here!

Another: {unseen} Get on with it you lot, we don't want your sort around here!

Another: No lion around here, that's the way we want it to stay, clear off!

{ A general mumour starts amongst the crowd, clearly, though why remains a mystery, lions are not appreciated in these parts. The words '...another Zimmale...' can just be distinguished in amongst the growing clamour. Simba thinks its time to beat a hasty retreat before things get out of paw. The Pridelands were never like this! }

Simba: Are you done drinking? It's time we got out of here.

Nyala: Almost Dad, just a little...

Simba: Come on, {with growing urgency} quick, we had better get out of here while we can.

Nyala: Dad, I'm coming!

{ Nyala rises and she and Simba turn away from the water, the crowd goes quiet, all eyes are on the two lion as they slowly walk up the muddy slope, their paws slipping in the dark brown mud. They reach the short grass and run off as the sun sets behind them. Peace returns to the plains as the lions hear the loud roar of another adult lion some way off in the distance. From behind them they hear the alarm calls of many animals, frightened by the roar. }

Nyala: There's another lion! Quick, let's go find him!

Simba: NO Nyala, wait!

{ Before she can respond they both hear the lighter roars of two lionesses, much closer to them. }

Simba: See, he's already got a pride. Come on, we're probably in their territory already. We'd best be out of here. Nyala, it's time to forget about other lions. You have got to get home. I don't know what I will do. I'm sure your mother doesn't want me around anymore. I'll get you back to the river, then you're on your own.

{ Nyala says nothing and walks on, she realises she made a dreadful mistake in believing Immue and leaving the Pridelands. Now she has lead her sick father out to this place, far from home, far from Zeni and Thembi, far from her mother. Simba walks beside Nyala as the darkness envelopes them and the warm, moist, heavy air covers and oppresses them. }

*** Stars ***

{ It has cleared to become a cool, clear starlit night. Under normal circumstances perfect for lion, but these are not normal circumstances. Simba and Nyala have been travelling across the extended low grassy plain for sometime avoiding the resident lion pride at all costs. They have been forced a long way out of their way and Simba is finding it increasingly difficult to keep on the move. He is desperately tired and his body aches unremittingly, he finds moving and even breathing are painful. Nyala seems not to be very sympathetic. She is now eager to move on and get home and rectify her mistake, she thinks her father is trying it on and just doesn't want to return to the Pridelands. As he weakens so his mood becomes darker. He stops, in evident difficulty and calls to Nyala ahead. }

Simba: Stop - please. Just for a while, I can't go on like this.

Nyala: But Dad, we've got to get back home. You know Mum doesn't like us to be out after dark, come on!

Simba: {not moving, head and tail drooping low} I can't, I must stay here, I've got to rest.

{ Simba shakes his head slowly in despair then he sinks to the ground. Ahead, in the middle distance are 10m high rocks with higher ground beyond, they are close to the edge of the plain, elsewhere it is bare with a few trees, some way off a herd is seen moving, whilst it the nearest tree we can just make out a sleeping leopard and her cub - this open space is a dangerous place to stop and both Simba and Nyala know it but he cannot go on, he is exhausted. }

Nyala: {after looking around for a moment, though she doesn't see the leopard} Look, we've got to get to those rocks, it's too dangerous to stay here. There may be leopard and even those other lion around, they won't like us on their land. { Simba knows his daughter is right. He nods reluctantly and without a word summons up his last strength and gets up with difficulty. No shaking of his mane, no stretching just painful standing. He steps forward, winces and steps again. In silence the pair move to the rocks with Nyala circling her father, continuously looking at him in a concerned way. She may thus far have thought he was laying it on a bit thick but now she realises that he is seriously ill and is in great pain. Often she looks behind and around, listening for any signs of danger, luckily none come, though from a safe distance, one or two strange roars are heard. The night seems to close in, Simba keeps his gaze fixed ahead, his head low, straining with the effort of moving. They eventually reach the relative safety of the closest rocks. They take refuge amongst them and Simba drop down heavily and falls asleep. Nyala stays awake to guard her father, we see them from above, in a gap between high rocks. Whilst high above, on the top of the tallest rocks, Baboons shout and play, knowing they can easily escape if these exhausted lion dare climb their rocks. The pair stay there all night and right through the following day, Simba sleeps throughout. Occasionally Nyala scouts around, thinking she might catch something, but nothing comes close. At other times we see her resting, alert, snuggled up close to her father, or we see her licking her father clean. We see all this from above as if from a circling vulture to emphasise that Simba is close to death. It is well into the following night before he awakes. It is now over two days since they last ate and both are getting very hungry. Nyala knows their best hope of food is back home where Nala will probably have something for them, the Pridelands are still some way off. }

Nyala: Come on Dad, we'll be home by morning if we get going now.

{ Nyala is trying to be optimistic, she knows Simba is unlikely to be able to get that far. He does seem stronger though, but is by no means up to a long trek over difficult terrain on an empty stomach. Nyala fears he may die here, away from home, away from Nala. He is just a shell compared to his magnificent condition in The One. Without Nyala he would have given up and quite possibly died on the plain. It is Nyala who keeps him going, but he has doubts about returning, even though he has found Nyala. }

Nyala: {probingly} Don't you want to go home, Dad?

Simba: {unconvincingly} Of course I do. {pauses} But I don't really know where home is.

{ Nyala is puzzled, at first she searches for a reply before saying: }

Nyala: It's over this ridge of rocks and across the sands beyond, we'll be home before sunrise.

{ This literal response is not what Simba was talking about. }

Simba: No, no. I can't go back to the Pridelands, I don't belong there anymore, I never really belonged there. I'm not wanted anymore.

{ Simba looks up to the sky as if asking for help but drops his head and closes his eyes, almost in shame. }

Nyala: I don't understand Dad. Don't you want to see Mum, Zeni and Thembi again. {She speaks with maturity well beyond her age}

Simba: Well, yes, but I don't think your mother wants to see me again. I'm just, well, not enough for her anymore. {shakes his head slowly} I still love her, I really do. She just can't accept I'm not the king she wants me to be.

Nyala: {trying to encourage her father a little} Hey? I think you're a great king.

Simba: Thanks, but that's not enough. She want's me to be like my father.
When I was young, younger than you that is, I wondered what kings did. My father seemed to spend all day discussing things with Zazu and chasing hyenas. But it's not that simple. For one thing I've got to keep eight lionesses happy - it's not easy, and the hyenas, well, they get everywhere. I'm supposed to take their meat and then wait for Sarabi and the others. Then I have to keep the leopards in order, then again there's the hunting dogs who don't and the other predators and patrol for strangers and...everything! I just can't spend enough time looking after you cubs properly, nor any time with my friends any more. {he looks up again} Help me father, show me what to do.

{ Nyala is puzzled, she has always taken the stars for granted, never once considered them. She moves closer to her father's side and both look up together. Nyala suddenly feels very small as she sees the vastness of the sky. }

Nyala: But Dad, what's up there?

Simba: My father told me that all the kings of the past were up there, watching and guiding us from the stars. He's up there too, and one day, soon, I'll join him. He used to say to me...{pausing to make sure he's got it right, this may be his only chance}...We are all connected in the great circle of life.

Nyala: Circle of life? What's that?

Simba: Everything; no matter how small or great; everything is connected to everything else. Everything affects everything else. If a bug flaps its wings here then the rains might start on the Pridelands. We only see a tiny part of the circle for one moment in time. He said we eat the antelope; the antelope eat the grass and when we die we become the grass and...{pauses as this may be very soon} ...and complete the circle. We are all part of that circle. I was my father's son and you are my daughter. He lives on in me and so even though you will never see my father a part of him lives on in you, and your cubs, and your cub's cubs and on and on forever.

Nyala: {still puzzled by all this} But how can the stars guide us? They're so small they can't do anything to us.

Simba: You know, Pumbaa says the stars are great burning balls of gas, so far away that you could travel for ever and never reach them.

Nyala: Right, so how can they guide us then.

Simba: {managing a smile} Look down, {she does so} what do you see?

Nyala: {considering for a moment, then offering an answer} My paws?

Simba: Yes, but...{he thinks for moment, then gets up, flinching and moves in front of Nyala, shading her paws} Now what do you see?

Nyala: Nothing, it's all dark.

Simba: {steps back, the starlight bathes Nyala soft paws} Now what do you see?

Nyala: My paws again, it's light enough now you're not in the way Dad!

Simba: And where does that light come from?

Nyala: {in puzzlement} The stars...

Simba: But they're so small and so far away they can't affect us, right?

Nyala: Well, yes.

Simba: Nyala, they light our path. We see by their light, by the light of the great kings. When we see the stars we are looking at our past: our history, which lights our way ahead: our future.

Nyala: Our way back home, to Mum?

Simba: No, Nyala. I can't go back. It's too hard for me to tell your mother... you'll have to tell her for me. Promise me you will tell her.

Nyala: What Dad, tell her what?

{ Simba looks back up to the stars and stares for a few moments, he seems as if he hears something, all we hear is the opening of a song, an all time Elton John classic; the best he ever wrote, the words are Bernie Taupin's and are perfect for Simba. No changes are required, this one's perfect just as it is, just perfect. Its: Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word... Throughout the camera concentrates on Simba, though Nyala may be seen from time to time, listening intently. This could be done as one long take, no cutaways (Simba never fluffs a line!), with a mobile camera to add interest. This is a study in what can be achieved emotionally with animation. Well, that's my idea for what its worth! }

Simba: What have I got to do to make you love me?
________What have I got to do to make you care?
________What do I do when lightning strikes me
________and I wake to find that you're not there?

________What have I got to do to make you want me?
________What have I got to do to be heard?
________What do I say when it's all over,
________and sorry seems to be the hardest word?

(Chorus)It's sad, so sad.
________It's a sad, sad situation
________and it's getting more and more absurd.
________It's sad, so sad.
________Why can't we talk it over?
________Oh it seems to me
________that sorry seems to be the hardest word.

{ Interlude, replacing the Parisian accordion with something a little more appropriately orchestral. }

(Chorus repeats)

________What have I got to do to make you love me?
________What have I got to do to be heard? { quietly half-roars }
________What do I do when lightning strikes me?
________What have I got to do?
________What have I got to do,
________when sorry seems to be the hardest word?

{ As the music ends, Simba sighs loudly and falls to the ground, exhausted once more. Nyala lies down close beside him, they both sleep. }

*** Pumbaa's Quest ***

{ Back on the Pridelands the day has passed slowly. There is no sign of Nyala nor Simba, even Immue is thought to be missing. Rafiki said he saw Nyala making her way down to the river, he feels sure that she intended to cross it and enter the desert beyond. Even Nyala would find the desert a dangerous place. Pumbaa has been shunned all day, there is no sign of Timon, but that's expected as Immue told Nala that she had had to kill him. It has been a black day at Priderock (not a bad title, though it would frighten off the family audience, it also sounds Australian). He wanders alone over the plains aimlessly, occasionally changing direction for no obvious reason. No one approaches him, even the other animals leave him alone. Late in the afternoon he slowly wanders towards an acacia thicket. Ahead, though Pumbaa looks down at the ground and does not see, stands Rafiki. At first sight he seems to be part of a twisted trunk of an old acacia. Pumbaa passes him without noticing. }

Rafiki: {from behind Pumbaa} Lost something have you? Eh?

Pumbaa: {looks round startled} Huh? Who's that?

Rafiki: Doesn't matter. It's YOU who matters.

Pumbaa: No, nobody wants me anymore. They all think Timon did it you see.

Rafiki: Did what? I know he did nothing.

Pumbaa: {puzzled} You know he didn't do it?

Rafiki: Sure, {laughs} He never does anything.

Pumbaa: {turning away} Pah, but he didn't hurt Nyala. I know he didn't.

Rafiki: {running towards Pumbaa} Sure YOU know. I KNOW I know. We both know now, but what are you going to do? Eh?

Pumbaa: Do? What can I do, I've lost Timon, Simba and Nyala all at once.

Rafiki: {thinking} Yes, how careless, best look where you last left them.

Pumbaa: Look? how can I look for them?

Rafiki: You have eyes, you have legs? Yes?

Pumbaa: {a little agitated} Yes, I've got all those.

Rafiki: Good! {pointing west beyond Pumbaa} Use them. Go and find what you have lost and don't leave them lying around again. Someone else might pick them up and take them home!

Pumbaa: You know Rafiki, I worry about you sometimes.

Rafiki: Oh good, I worry about myself ALL the time. Come on off you go, go on!

Pumbaa: Hey, not so fast. I'm not like Simba.

Rafiki: {sniffing} Yes, I'm sure of that. Well, what are you waiting for?

Pumbaa: {suspiciously} You might hit me with your stick.

Rafiki: {in some surprise} What? Like this you mean?

{ Rafiki swings his stick just missing Pumbaa who squeals and rushes away. }

Rafiki: Yes, just like that. I knew I brought it along for some reason.

{ Pumbaa runs on into the evening and soon picks up the spoor of a young cub and two lions, one much bigger than the other. He realises that there is nothing for him in the Pridelands with out Simba and his cubs, though he does feel sad to be leaving Nala and the others behind, he really quite likes them. As he walks down to the river he is seen by Zazu as he flies home. He also sees, climbing the tree topped ridge, the fearsome threesome, chased by the inevitable hunting dogs, as noisy as ever.... }

*** Demise ***

{ It is during the afternoon of the following day. Nyala and her father are asleep at the bottom of a deep narrow gully. Both sides of the gully are steep and formed from heavily fractured rock. Small, sharp, loose fragments cover most of the surface. Nyala is a little distance away from her father, who sleeps uneasily, he is breathing heavily and he seems in considerable discomfort. The camera angle switches and we see that high above them lies Immue, who has at last found them, she has found it difficult to track them over the rocky terrain. She watches them carefully for a while, keeping dead still so as not to disturb the loose surface. }

Immue: Oh yes, yes, yes. This is too easy, simply too easy.

{ Immue laughs quietly as she gets up slowly, her paws look uncomfortable on the uneven ground, though she shows no sign of pain. She gingerly picks her way down the steep slope. Occasionally loose stones slip and slide down as her carefully placed paws dislodge them. They slide down ahead of her and pile up on a narrow ledge some way below. Luckily none fall near Nyala (or Simba, who probably wouldn't wake anyway) to reveal her presence. Immue stops just above Nyala and stands and watches her, checking that she is still asleep. She smiles, shakes her head and then jumps down on to Nyala, pinning her down to the ground with the precision of an experience huntress. Nyala wakes instantly (who wouldn't?) and looks up to Immue who looks straight into her eyes. }

Nyala: Immue! What are YOU doing here?

Immue: Why, my dear, I've come to finish you.

Nyala: {really afraid, she is powerless to defend herself, she has been taken completely by surprise} Why? What have I done?

Immue: My dear, you've DONE nothing. It's who you are you see.

Nyala: But who am I?

Immue: {feigning surprise} You don't know? Why, you're your father's daughter of course. That's a good enough reason for your death. {taps Nyala's shoulder twice with a forepaw, claws partially extended}

Nyala: Get on with it, I'm not afraid to die. {clearly she IS afraid}

Immue: No no, not just yet my dear. After all, Daddy will want to watch his dear daughter's demise, won't he now! {she roars loudly to wake Simba. Her roar reverberates around the gully, almost a canyon, some of the loose stones that she dislodged earlier slide a little further down the steep slope. Simba moves a little but does not wake fully. }

Immue: Well now, your dear Daddy IS a sound sleeper isn't he.

Nyala: He's sick, he might not live long enough to get back to Priderock.

Immue: {moving her head low to Nyala's} Oh, my dear, you're SO right. You ARE clever aren't you!

{ Immue lifts her head high and roars a second time, Simba wakes and seeing Immue tries to struggle to his feet. Above them stones slip again, this time a few fall, landing close to Immue and Nyala who brings her only free leg up to cover her eyes. Simba is up now and tries to move forward but he can hardly stand, he can do nothing to defend Nyala. He feels impotent. Immue laughs loudly. }

Immue: Well, if it isn't the KING of Priderock, all proud and such a fine lion like his father.

Simba: {weakly} Why Immue? Why?

Immue: {menacingly, thrashing her tail from side to side} What? Kill your daughter? How short your memory is. You killed my son so now I will kill your daughter. That's only fair isn't it?

Simba: {breathing heavily} But she's done nothing to you, it's me you want. It's me, spare her for pities sake.

Immue: Pity? {thrusts her head forward and down towards Simba who stands his ground) It's a pity you came back. Now it's time you paid for your mistake! Your meerkat has paid already. I DID like him you know...{pauses}...though he was a little tough. {laughs quietly, then continues slowly and deliberately} So, are you ready to join him and your father?

Simba: {head held up and steady, his tail lies still} I am always ready to go to my father, but I'll not take Nyala with me.

{ Nyala looks at her father lovingly, perhaps for the last time. }

Immue: {with a slight laugh} Oh, how touching. I DO think families ought to stick together don't {turning her head suddenly back to Nyala} you.

{ Immue raises a forepaw, exposes her claws and looks down at the helpless cub held under her remaining paws. For a moment Nyala looks back defiantly. }

Simba: {shouts loudly in desperation} NO!

{ The stones slip a third and final time, this time they do not stop, a shower of small stones fall on Immue and Nyala. Immue drops her head to shield herself but does not loose her hold on Nyala who cowers beneath her. The shower continues and intensifies. Amongst all the small stones a larger rock falls, knocking Immue heavily on her shoulder opposite her raised fore leg, she collapses, crying out in pain, and Nyala is involuntarily pushed aside. Nyala pushes Immue away with her rear legs and scrambles to her feet. Immue is clearly badly injured, she looks pleadingly at Simba as the stones continue to fall all around. She tries to rise to her paws but her injured shoulder cannot take any weight and she falls back. She tries to call out as larger rocks fall, one hits her neck just above her shoulders and she just grunts unintelligibly as her head hits the ground. Nyala, who has moved away from the stricken Immue, rushes to her father's side and the two run off as best they can. Simba runs in great pain, his head rolling as he struggles to keep on his feet. Behind the sound of falling rocks grows as dust billows out of the gully behind Nyala and Simba. We can safely assume Immue has gone to join her son. }

*** Explanation ***

{ Author's note: It's odd but I have the most difficulty with these human characters, they always seem so unreal somehow, it's probably because, as Zazu says, we're now way beyond the boundaries of the Pridelands. This is where I take something of a plunge into the abyss. Another problem is that a lot needs to be said yet they have so little time to say it. I don't feel quite right about this, but it's the only way I can achieve what I want, without the welcome help of Rafiki of course. There are also many problems, for example: to avoid 'locating' the Pridelands in a particular region of Africa it is necessary to avoid the use of any specific language, this however opens a can of worms as now I lay myself open to all sorts of accusations of racism and western bias. It is simpler to work with Simba, at least I know where I am with him! I also don't know enough of any African language for this to have been convincing. Remember folks, this is NOT meant to represent any particular reality, nor is it a mirror of life, it is entertainment! You know - fun! For a 'real' production much work would have been needed here to resolve these difficulties. }

{ It is early morning at a camp somewhere on the savannah. This is not the Pridelands, but it is difficult to see that as we are in a tent, looking towards its open end. In front stands a table cluttered with various papers in disarray. A folding chair stands in front of the table, light streams in from the open end of the tent. At the apex of the opening stands a man who looks out. He inspects his watch and goes back to looking, he is evidently waiting for something. He turns and walks slowly to the chair and sits. For a moment he does nothing. Then he distractedly pulls the chair forward to inspect some of the papers on his desk, none seem to hold his concentration. A 4WD vehicle draws up some way off outside. The doors open and a young man gets out. He stands and waits whilst the driver walks round to him. A short exchange follows after which the driver opens a rear door of the 4WD and picks up a well stuffed sports holdall. He walks off quietly. The young man walks to the tent, for a moment he stands and waits as if for permission to enter. None comes. }

PGS: Hi there, I'm your new post-grad student, I presume you're the boss around here?

Vet: No, I'm the vet. {he looks towards the 4WD outside} The boss is carrying your bag. This is a collaborative project. We're here at the invitation of the government. That 'porter' is their guy here. Well done, you certainly know how to make friends quickly.

PGS: {worriedly} Oh, I didn't think. I'm sorry. I assumed...

Vet: Never assume anything. Don't even think anything. You're the lowest form of life around here, lower than the wild dogs - Do you understand?

PGS: {looking around anxiously, there is no one to hear} Yes...{pausing, looks pleadingly at the vet}...will you smooth the waters a bit for me?

Vet: No chance lad. It's eat or be eaten here. Time to stand up and act like a man. You have got to apologise; tonight, in front of everyone. Otherwise they'll think you have no honour. I suspect they may be right.

PGS: This is a long way from home.

Vet: You're right and it's time to get to work.

PGS: Work? What's that?

Vet: You know, that thing you do between 9 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Only here you do it all the time you're not sleeping, eating or...

PGS: {uncomfortably shifting form side to side} YES, I get the idea. What I meant was what exactly do you do around here?

Vet: What we do is...well not much really - until we find our pack. As you know our wild dogs are pack animals, very highly socially organised. {he looks closely at the PGS who stands looking back blankly} You do already know all this?

PGS: Well, sort of.

Vet: SORT OF! Oh, just great, I get sent a rookie! I'd better fill you in, as there's not much else to do just now. Right, where to start?

{ We are all feeling like rookies ourselves here! What is going on, why are we watching this? }

PGS: Social organisation?

Vet: Yes - this organisation is not instinctive to dogs, well not most of it. To survive in the wild they must learn to act as a team. This requires every dog to learn and maintain it's place in the pack. It is the pack as a whole that hunts, a single dog is simply too slow to catch fast animals such zebra and all the antelope and they're too small to bring down them down if they do. It's a different thing altogether for large predators such as lion, they rely much more concealment and a lightning dash over the last few metres, for them it's the pure force of the attack that brings down their victim. Our dogs have to follow, hassle and harry their prey with DOGGED determination, they HOUND them for hours and over many miles. Eventually the unfortunate prey simply falls down from exhaustion and is smothered by dogs, not a pleasant sight. It's that persistence that requires teamwork and co-operation which can only be learned from the pack, each dog must learn it's place and role. You are following all this?

PGS: {enthusiastically} Oh yes!

Vet: Well, that's something. But captive dogs who are to be released back to the wild, such as ours, have no older generation to learn from, no pack structure, no organisation and so no hope of survival. We have to feed the pack twice a day to keep them alive in the hope that they will eventually learn to hunt for themselves. Meanwhile every other predator closes in and picks them off. It's a good time to be a lion, leopard, cheetah or even hyena. There have been several attempts like this to rehabilitate captive hunting dogs which are now endangered in the wild, only one attempt has been successful and it wasn't us.

PGS: So you've been here before?

Vet: Oh yes. Four years ago. Much the same as this time, rather better actually, the few survivors tacked on to natural pack in the end. We had more than the lion's share of problems though.

Boss: {running in to the tent} Hey, we've got last night satellite data. 2137 is not too far away.

PGS: What is 2137?

Vet: {ignoring the PGS} How far away?

Boss: About 35km to the east.

Vet: Impressive, {thinking rapidly} in just five days, they're not hanging about. Are they still moving?

Boss: It's just the one signal but it appears to have stopped for the last three fixes.

PGS: Hey, what's going on? What is 2317.

Vet: {turning to the PGS, looking at him piercingly} Two, ONE, THREE, seven is a three year old {looks to Boss for confirmation. He nods} female wild dog. To be precise 2137 is then code on her transponder. The signal is picked up by a satellite that orbits every 107 minutes. The position, time and whatever is sent back to somewhere in France every...?

{ The vet gestures to the PGS to elicit an answer. }

PGS: Eh? Oh, er, {trying to sound intelligent} every day?

Vet: It orbits every 107 minutes! Just not at the same minute every where! Now the lightning may have damaged the transponders, 'bleepers' if you like, so the satellite can't find them. We thought they must have moved away. Not really very surprising as the tree they lived under was struck by lightning.

PGS: Really, how can you tell?

Boss: {laughing heartily} All that's left is a blackened, burnt stump I think it's sure to have been lightning!

PGS: {looking down sheepishly} Ooooh.

Vet: {trying to suppress a laugh} It's odd we should suddenly pick this one up now. Well, better late than never I suppose.

PGS: Ok, so the dogs have been stationary for...three fixes...{looking up} That's 321 MINUTES! Over five hours! Why didn't we know earlier.

Boss: You, my friend, didn't know because you weren't here. The rest of us didn't know because we tend to sleep at night.

Vet: Yes, you know that time between sunset and sunrise when the big blue-black thing covers the sky. Well, now what do you think we should do?

PGS: What me?

Vet: Yes lad, you!

PGS: Wait to see if this 2..1..3..7 moves again?

Vet: {slowly as he considers the options} No, I think we should go out after it. {turning to the boss} What do you think? You call the shots.

Boss: Good. Yes, find them before the rains set in. They'll be here any day now. The land'll be almost impassable, the savannah will be awash. We'll not catch up with them then. Best get organised. I'll get the scouting party out of bed!

Vet: Right! Action! {to PGS} Come on, this is where you start to earn your pay. {looks him up and down, then turns and walks away} Why? Why did they send you? We're not that desperate!

{ They exit through the open end of the tent. It's going to be a long, tough, tedious day... }

*** Rocks ***

{ The day has been tough, a long cycle of waiting, talking on the radio to the scouting party on foot followed by short periods of moving. The vet and PGS have remained in the 4WD all day. The terrain is inhospitable, semi- desert with little, parched, vegetation. The ground is uneven and rocky with large crags and low hills all around. The ground is mainly fragmented and scree-like, broken by endless cycles of heating and cooling from the passing of the days. Tempers are frayed after miles and miles of fruitless searching in searing heat. Everyone wants to return to camp, still some distance away. Night will soon be upon them yet all that's been found is the fresh spoor (tracks) of two lion, one large, very probably a male, and the other a cub, very odd. We see this as we join the scouting team for a while. This should emphasise the tedium. This is not glamorous, this is a pain in the.... That is all that's found all day, no wild dog tracks, not one. Camp has reported that the transponder signal heard earlier is still shown as being in the area and is mobile, no other signals have been seen. The suspicion is that they are chasing a 'ghost', some kind of equipment aberration. It has been a bad day which started so promisingly. The 4WD is stationary, the vet and the PGS are waiting for the scouting party to call in. }

Vet: This is a waste of time, we've got to be looking for a false signal of some kind.

PGS: Is that possible?

Vet: Everything can go wrong, believe me. And those guys out there are good, real good. If they can't find a dog out here then that's because there is no dog out here. It's just got to be a 'ghost'!

PGS: Great, we've been out here all day and I've not seen anything.

Vet: {looking out of the open driver's window into the middle distance} There's plenty to see, lots of rocks and...Oh look, there's a very interesting...

{ The vet pauses, the PGS rises to the bait. }

PGS: What? What's so interesting?

Vet: {continuing} Yes, it's an interesting...rock.

PGS: {disappointed} But no animals!

Vet: What did you expect to see from an African car window? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plains? You can see that either side of this upland ridge, but not here!

{ Apologies to John Cleese and Connie Booth, this comes from Fawlty Towers, and no, we're not going to thrash the car with a tree - I couldn't write a tree into this semi-desert landscape, it's too dry! }

PGS: I would be happy to see just one of those two lion, just one.

Vet: No chance. They'd be just passing through. This is very poor terrain for lion, no water, no prey, no cover to hunt from, just rocks...{he looks out of the open side window} and...{looking across the front through the other window}...more rocks.

PGS: Stupid I know, but I somehow thought all Africa was populated by zebra, wildebeest, impala, leopard and lion.

{ This is an interactive section! You should add the name of your favourite documentary, for me at the moment Big Cat Diary is compulsory viewing. Its shot in the Masai Mara over each of 6 weeks, edited on site and satellite linked back for transmission the following Wednesday, action almost as it happens. Simon King is one of the presenters, he's well known for liking 'action', which translates as mating. This week (on 8:30pm 25/9/96, BBC1, our main channel) he was looking at lion, so we were treated to a lioness being mated by three different lion, two being brothers, on four consecutive days. Day three involved an unknown male, he suggested it might have been because the brothers were lying up somewhere exhausted, allowing an interloper to take advantage of her. The lioness seemed quite happy to string all three along, she probably never intended to get pregnant in the first place as none of them seemed the reliable family type. And after all that attention (every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day) she simply wandered off. Nala was never like this, well perhaps she was, who can tell? Who dares say? }

Vet: You've been watching too much {insert wildlife documentary here}. This is not The Lion King - Simba wont jump out from behind a rock singing 'I Just Can't Wait to be King!'! You'll get to see your animals, but not today and not here. Mind you if it's lizards you're interested in, maybe I CAN help you...

{ A message comes over the radio, the vet picks up the microphone and an insignificant exchange takes place, the gist of which is 'We can't see anything here, we're moving on.' }

Vet: No, they still can't find this dog. {he starts the engine and gestures towards a particularly hilly area} They're way over there, we'll have to get a move on if we want to pick them up before dark.

{ The 4WD moves off slowly, the tyres slipping at times on the dust and fragments of rock. Darkness falls quickly in these parts, they barely reach the scouting party as sun sets. They still have the long, uncomfortable drive back to camp. The vet drives cautiously over the terrain that tests the ruggedness of the 4WD to the full. This would appear to have been a wild goose chase, a waste of time, effort and fuel. The mood in the 4WD is subdued. The vet drives the vehicle way carefully around each obstacle, he hasn't realised that in darkness it is very difficult to plan ahead, all he can do is drive roughly in the right direction and hope they don't have to turn back. The rocks around the vehicle get steadily higher and more forbidding, the rock face being picked out by the lights. To the right a ridge forms, the 4WD is moving along the edge of a massive rock formation, to the left is smaller boulders, these are eventually replaced by flatter bare dusty ground, they are now close to the track that leads back to camp, just a short way then its simple. Just a short way.... }

*** Collision ***

{ All through the night Simba has been weakening still further, he struggles over and around every rock, every step is painful. Nyala is seemingly oblivious to all this, she knows his only hope of survival is to get him home, she will do whatever it takes, even if she has to resort to claws. She has no compass nor GPS but knows roughly where to go, at least the right direction through the thick blackness of night. The terrain is totally alien to both of them, it is filled with the unknown, even with fear itself. To the lions this is about as close to hell as it gets and it must be crossed. The ground slopes in all directions and is covered by loose chips and small rock fragments making their paws slip continuously. Nyala reaches a summit and looks down into the darkness. To her left she thinks she sees, or does she? Was that a flash of light from below? No, she's sure nothing could light up the night like that. She looks back, her father is some 50m behind and will soon reach the top. She runs on down the slope, keeping a group of larger rocks to her left. Below her the slope flattens out, the valley floor - beyond is darkness. A strange noise filters up from the valley, she is puzzled but is unconcerned. The light flashes again, she should be alarmed by this but she can only think of getting home. She is too young to be frightened by something as odd as this, thus she thinks it cannot be really there. To her, and Simba, the darkness is not complete, enough remains to see by, they are feline after all. Simba reaches the top, exhausted and far too tired to call out or roar to Nyala, he must follow using all the little strength he has left. He stumbles down the slope after his daughter. he's too tired, too ill, too confused to notice the sound of an engine and the light in the valley. Below, Nyala launches herself powerfully from a rock ledge just above the valley floor and out into the night. Simba sees her caught in a strong, blinding light and, disorientated, runs blindly down. He attempts to stop himself on the ledge which Nyala has just leapt from but his pads cannot grip the loose surface. Something is close, loud and bright. He slips off the ledge and falls the metre or so to the ground. He is out of the rocks at last. }

-------------- *** ----------------

Another: {from inside the 4WD as outside a young lioness jumps to the ground from the rocks to the right} Lion!

PGS: {in total amazement from the rear of the 4WD} What?

Vet: Lion! Look, there!

PGS: Where? Where?

Vet: {turning his head to the left and pointing with his left hand, his passenger holding himself into his seat to allow the vets arm to pass} There, on the left.

{ The lioness, barely more than a cub, runs off into the blackness. }

Vet: See, she's probably one of those who made the tracks we found earlier.

{ The vet, who is driving, has been distracted for too long and looks back just in time to see a pair of green eyes staring at him, caught in the headlights just 2 metres ahead. The 4WD is not going at anymore than walking pace but the collision is inevitable. To the horror of the 4WD's occupants, it happens with a jarring bump. There is no sound. Seconds pass, no one moves. }

Vet: {shaken and desperately concerned} Is everyone Ok?

{ The passengers mumour, mainly things like 'All Ok, yes, Ok' etc. }

Vet: You all sure?

{ Again the replies, though unclear, are all affirmative. He stops the engine and opens the door which bashes against the rocks, he can only open it half way. He squeezes out to see what, exactly, he has hit. He walks round the 4WD, as he passes the rear the rear door opens and Another jumps down, slings his rifle on his shoulder, closes the door and follows the vet. They reach the front. the lights are still on so they can see clearly in the stark light. The vet takes one look and turns away in horror, he slumps over the front of the 4WD and buries his head in his arms, vets should be used to this sort of thing. Another brushes past him and stands and looks, getting ready to un-shoulder his rifle. He pauses and thinks he sees a movement. }

Another: I think it's still alive.

Vet: {without moving his head from his arms} Oh no - no, not AGAIN!

{ A flash of lightning followed by a loud roll of thunder pierces the night, it's going to be wet soon.... }

{ If there were to have been an interval this would have been the place for it. The talk, apart from the price of ice-creams, would have been about whether Simba will survive, and what will happen to Nyala. Mothers would have been explaining that in real life things cannot always be as we would like. Fathers may have felt distinctly uneasy about letting their daughters leave their seats to walk down the rake to get a Coke. Teenagers would be arguing about whether the 4WD is a Toyota and if those are the Cibie rally style halogen lamps on the front. Ah well, we can dream! }

[Intro][Part 1][Part 2][Notes]

Text version of The Pridelands Part 1.

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