Pride Lands Online
The Pridelands

Version 1.1 - The 'complete' script, Part 2.

This version incorporates many minor corrections and revisions. It also introduces possible songs for 'Etiquette'. 'Despair' has been replaced by a new version 'Faith and Love'. 'Salvation' has been written and added after the end credits. The way in which a main character is introduced has been considerably revised.

Written by:
Chris Boyce, Summer of 1996.
Mayfield, Newport Road, Godshill, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, UK. PO38 3HR

Comments to: boycecj@aol.com

Based on and with acknowledgements to Disney's The Lion King. All original characters, situations, plot and dialogue (C) Chris Boyce.



*** Stockade ***

{ It is raining steadily, a strong, gusting wind blows, the savannah is filled with the sounds of moving grass, the clouds rush past overhead, offering the hope that the rain will soon abate. In the vet's camp life is continuing. Most of the occupants are engaged in a slippery game of (oh, well, I suppose most of you are going to be American!) soccer. The ball is covered in mud, as are most of the players. There appears to be no referee and six players on one side and seven on the other. The goals are spades, picks and various other tools pushed roughly into the ground at either end of a sizeable patch of bare ground. To one side the tents of the camp are pitched seemingly haphazardly, some way off on the other side of the pitch is a high timber wall, made up of rough cut logs placed vertically into the ground. It is a strong, if rough and ready stockade, we do not see any gate or door. By the stockade the 4WD is parked side on just two feet away from the timbers. Still the rain falls, still the game progresses. We notice a woman talking to one of the players, at least he is muddy enough to be one, she seems to be asking something. She, having found out what she wants turns away and starts walking towards one of the tents. She stops for a moment then turns back. The player she was talking to, waves at her to go on as he runs back onto the field. She turns and starts to walk again. A few moments later we see her standing at the open end of a spacious but simple tent. The material flaps noisily in the unsteady wind, the rain running off the sides forming tiny gullies in the mud at the base of the walls. The occupant has not heard her approach as the noise of the wind and rain on the sides of the tent covers any sound she makes. He sits on a folding chair at a table, the papers on the table are held down by an plastic object, about 3" by 4" and an inch thick. A label covers most of the surface, on it can, through a layer of grime, just about be made out the number 2137. He sits lazily, his muddy shoes on the edge of the table. He doesn't like soccer much. }

Researcher: Excuse me?

{ The tent's occupant hurriedly takes his feet from the table and tries to look as if he's been sitting 'properly'. }

Vet: Yes - can I help you?

Researcher: I was told you were the best person to ask.

{ The vet smiles gently. }

Vet: Yes, probably. Ask what?

Researcher: Well, can I have my lion back please?

Vet: Pardon? {laughing at the absurdity} I see, so he's yours. I suppose you gave...{he reaches forward for the paper weight}...him this?

{ The vet tosses the weight to the researcher who fumbles the catch, it flies up, she barely catches it as it falls back. She stands dead still in the catching position as if she's afraid it will try to escape again. }

Vet: {smiling} You could sit down, you know. {he looks around} If you can find another chair.

{ The researcher says nothing, but moves further into the tent close to the table. She drops the weight which falls onto the table with a dull knock. The vet starts. }

Vet: {slightly apologetically} Oh, yes...I see.

{ The vet gets up from his chair and casts around for another, he sees one and walks to it, picking it up he says, in an attempt to break the tension: }

Vet: You haven't seen any hunting dogs have you?

{ He carries the chair to the researcher who looks at it disdainfully. He sets it down. She sits and for a moment says nothing. The vet sits down uneasily. }

Researcher: {matter of factly} Chasing hyena you mean.

Vet: {a puzzled look which rapidly changes to an incredulous smile comes over him} Did you say CHASING hyena?

{ The ice is broken and our attention is drawn back to the game of football in the mud outside. }

Players: Goooal! Yea, great one! {etc., you get the idea!}

{ For a few moments the game continues, all slipping and sliding, no wonder there's no referee, the players can hardly even kick the ball! The rain stops for a while, it remains dull and overcast. In the background the vet and researcher poke their heads out of the tent and walk out picking their way around the puddles and mud patches. They walk to the 4WD and climb up to it's roof, the vet leads but does not help the researcher. Even so they both reach the top with ease, all part and parcel of working out in the bush. We see them from the ground but the camera rises and tracks in behind them, we all look over the stockade wall, below lies a bedraggled adult male lion, asleep in the lee of one of the timber walls. }

Researcher: Yes, I'm sure that's him. He seems to be in pretty good shape, considering you hit him with this. {she stamps a foot} Just how hard was it?

Vet: Only enough to cut up his shoulder and concuss him. He may have a cracked bone of two but I can't tell for certain. He doesn't seem to be in much pain. A caged lion is bad enough, one who hurts as well would be just too much to handle. That's not his biggest problem though.

Researcher: No? I'm glad you saved him, but I can't understand why?

Vet: Why? That's a long story...

{ The lion wakes and yawns loudly, a combination of a growl and a yawn. It may well be hunger that has roused him. He doesn't seem to care much about the rain, at least it gives him a respite from the flies. }

Vet: {continuing}...The locals believe that, now I've got to get this right. Ah yes, they believe that lions are some kind of messenger from God. A symbol of God's power on earth. It is taboo to kill a lion, and something of an honour to be killed by one, though they don't exactly queue up to be honoured! They believe that to kill a lion is to bring down God's wrath upon them.
To watch a lion die is to see part of God's power die. The problem is that when I hit this lion, they 'insisted' I try to keep it alive, being a vet.
Fine, I said, but I don't know anything about big cats, you see I'm a dog man - I've done a lot with wolves. Particularly relating to the spread of Rabies.

Researcher: {quite interested} Oh yes, that's getting to be a big concern with these cats. It threatens to drastically reduce lion numbers, it could upset the whole ecological balance of the savannah regions. You seem well enough equipped to handle a lion though.

Vet: True, this stockade was built to hold our wild dog pack whilst they acclimatised. We released them a few week ago, but now we've lost them, can't even pick up any of their transponders. That's how we came across our friend here. We picked up the signal from that transponder you game him. I found it when I tried to take a blood sample.

Researcher: Blood sample? What for?

Vet: Well, he didn't seem to be recovering at all, he just got weaker and weaker, he stayed under for most of the day after I hit him. Clearly there was something else wrong. Turns out to be a protozoal infection. It seems to respond to treatment well enough though, he'll be all right in a few days, if he'll stay still long enough for me to take his temperature.

{ A half roar come from below. The vet and researcher look down to the lion. }

Vet: Oh yes, I know, tea time again. I'll be glad to see the back of him.

Researcher: Been a bit of a handful has he?

Vet: No, he's almost tame, though I wouldn't go in there unless he'd been darted first. No, I'll get some sleep then.

Researcher: Sleep? I don't understand?

Vet: Oh, he's quiet enough now...{lion roars impatiently}...well mostly, but at night he makes enough noise to keep the savannah awake for miles around. I haven't slept properly for days. Our dogs were bad enough, but he's a real king and just can't wait to tell the whole world about it! {pauses} You are going to take him back aren't you? We can't keep him for long and we daren't release him around here, he'd not last long in his state. He couldn't hunt like that.

Researcher: Him? Hunt? I don't think any of us have ever seen him hunt, I doubt he'd be able to. Oh yes, we'll take him off your hands, his pride's in a mess, they've got no adult lion, if we don't get him back soon our work will be over and done with for good.

Vet: Like ours is - we've lost our dogs. I reckon the transponders must have been blown by a lightning strike. That's the second pack we've lost.

Researcher: Second pack? You've been here before?

Vet: Yes. We thought we had got it right this time around. Four years ago we tried to reintroduce another pack. After six weeks only two survived from the original twelve, and then of course there was Batian.

Researcher: {puzzled} Batian, who was that?

Vet: You said we're well equipped - we're also well practised. We've done this {he turns and motions to the lion} before. Late one evening we noticed some very odd goings on in this herd of Wildebeest, I mean have you ever heard of a large herd stampeding? Buffalo - Yes, {shaking his head} but a whole herd of Wildebeest...?

{ The conversation is disturbed by another goal. We miss most of the discussion. }

Vet: ...considering the condition in which we found him I proud to say he's still alive. We still see him from time to time out in the bush. He seems to like us. I can't think why?

Researcher: You mean he's still living around here?

Vet: Oh, he's not got a pride or anything, he lives alone. I wouldn't want this one to meet Batian, anything could happen. It would all end in bloodshed that's for sure.

Researcher: I see why you want us to take him back. How did you find this Batian?

Vet: Oh, late one evening in a gorge way off to the east. We'd been scouting for a release site for the dogs.

Researcher: A gorge you say, FOUR years ago? What had happened to him?

Vet: Probably got mixed up in those Wildebeest, looked like he'd been badly kicked and battered. He had couple of broken ribs and left femur and much else besides. I was sure he wouldn't survive the journey back. Not easy to avoid the wrath of God with that one, but we did it!

Researcher: Wow, {shaking her head in disbelief} Just a thought but you wouldn't happen to have a blood sample from him too?

Vet: {laughs loudly} What? From four years ago! You'll be lucky. {laughs on then suddenly stops} No, of course not. BUT...I do have one from a few weeks ago. He came in to my tent there one night. I don't know who was more frightened, him or me. He wasn't well at all, turned to be much the same thing your lion here was suffering from. Picked up from Impala apparently, there's been a lot of it about this year, so I'm told. Seemed like he thought I was some kind of medicine man. I mean, it's not as if I carry a ceremonial stick or anything. {raises both arms and waves them at the researcher} Anyway what do you want it for?

Researcher: The blood? Well, part of our study is to determine the relationships between pride members, this pride is very isolated and particularly inbred. You seem to have picked up your Batian in our study area, he may be the only lion we know of to have wandered through. We use DNA fingerprinting you see, to determine the relationships. It would help to give us a more complete picture. You see?

Vet: Oh, well in that case I'm sure Batian won't mind his family ties being inspected. {quietly} I'm not going to mention it to him. {turning to the lion in the stockade who stares back} And you're not going to tell, are you?

Researcher: Look, I've got to arrange transport for this one, I'll grab the sample when we pick him up. I'd best be getting back. I'll radio you tomorrow when I've got it all sorted out. You'll have to dart and prepare him for us. Will that be Ok?

{ Lion roars loudly again, followed by repeated grunts. }

Vet: Great things dart guns, never leave home without one!

Researcher: {laughing} I worry about you, I really do!

Vet: Fine, I'd best arrange some food, can't have him dying of hunger can we?

Researcher: {raising her eyebrows} Great. {looking around} Now, where did I leave my car?

{ She gets down from the roof and walks off. The football game has reached some kind of conclusion, no one can agree on the score, but that's not important. The rain begins again. The vet scrambles down from the roof of the 4WD and runs for the cover of his tent...

Time passes in the camp, the lion is fed, meals are eaten, songs are sung, card games are played, life goes on into the night. The lion, as usual, does not sleep tonight. He paces restlessly, covering the width of the stockade in less than ten paces. He is not sure of anything, all he can see is the floor, with the bones of his last meal littered about and walls of his stockade, above which the night sky, some stars fleetingly visible between the clouds, seems closer than ever before. It is almost as if he can reach out and touch the stars. He stops pacing and sits, looking up. }

Simba: Will I become a star? When will I join my father, when will I see him again? {looks down to the ground} When will I see anything again? {pauses, then lifts his head to the sky again} I am dead, and the stars come close, why else would my food just appear from nowhere whenever I think about it? {he pauses} Father, I'm on my way!

{ See notes. Simba roars loudly to call to the stars. For a few moments there is nothing, then he is answered by a distant roar he recognises instantly. }

Simba: Yes, Dad, I'm coming. {he drops his head and looks down, speaking softly} At last I'm coming.



*** Meeting ***

{ Pumbaa is seen at various points in his journey across the sands, in the rocks, on the plain, by the waterhole, where most of the residents give him a very wide berth. This is just to emphasise he is on the trail of his friends. He, like most pigs, has a very good, if selective, sense of smell. (Q: I say, I say, I say, My Warthog has no nose. A: How does he smell? R: Terrible! - and other equally ancient jokes spring to mind here). We follow him on and off, possibly during the previous scenes, over a period of a few days, during which it starts and continues to rain heavily. These glimpses culminate at night fall as he reaches a dead flat open area except for a substantial knoll rising like a lighthouse of the coast, he can see standing on the top of the knoll a lion who looks in silouhette just like Simba. Yes, he thinks it MUST be Simba. }

Pumbaa: {to himself, it's been a difficult couple of days} Found you at last, just stay there...

{ Simba obliges as Pumbaa approaches to within 50m, then he catches wind of the warthog and turns and looks intently, rather too intently, at Pumbaa. Talk of food on the hoof.... }



*** Escape ***

{ The rain pours down on the camp as a truck pulls in with it's side to the stockade. On the open flat bed lies a substantial wooden crate, with a open top, it appears big enough to hold an animal about the size of an adult male lion. Alongside the crate lie two large timber planks, tied down with a varied assortment of well used blue, orange and red ropes. The truck is battered and has clearly been used on many field trips, it's sides are scratched and bent in places. The truck clanks, creaks and clangs as it runs over the potholed ground, the water in the holes splashing high as the wheels run through them. The truck stops and the researcher open the door and jumps out. She covers her head with her hands and, bent over as if to shield herself from the rain, runs to the vet's tent. They emerge into the rain once more, with the PGS trailing behind picking his way between the potholes. The vet carries a dart rifle and a small case. The three make their way to the 4WD and, just as before, they climb to the roof. The rain is less now, though they are all quickly soaked. A relatively cold, gusting wind blows, the PGS, who is not particularly warmly dressed, wraps his arms around himself for warmth. }

Vet: {to the researcher} He's useless. He didn't think it could be cold in Africa!

PGS: Thanks, what am I doing here anyway?

Vet: Keeping your mouth shut and watching. {no reply, then he speaks again} Great, that truck's no good there! Look, make yourself useful and help the driver back it up to the gate of the stockade.

PGS: You mean me?

Vet: Yes lad, you. Come on, at least you'll be doing something useful.

PGS: {a little annoyed, well 'pissed off' really} Great. That'll make a change.

Researcher: {as the PGS climbs down} You've got the right dose? I don't want him flat out all day.

Vet: It'll be Ok. I know cats can respond unpredictably to this but I think I've got the measure of him. Once we've got him in the crate I'll give him something to bring him round just enough so that he can stand in the crate without injuring himself.

{ The vet bends down and opens the case. He takes out a metal cylinder and attaches it to the charging point on the dart gun. After a few moments he twists it free and returns it to the case. He gets up and looks around. The truck is moving slowly backwards in an arc. Behind it, standing on wooden platforms part way up the stockade walls, are the scouting crew, they ignore the rain and seem prepared for something. Between the platforms the stockade wall is formed from timbers loosely held between two pairs of horizontal rails. At the bottom the timbers stand in a shallow trench. It is clear that to open the stockade the loose timbers have to be lifted clear of the rails. A rear wheel of the truck drops into a pothole. The truck stops, the wheels spinning, throwing water everywhere. The PGS is nowhere to be seen. The lion paces tensely, he makes no sound, but clearly he's in no mood to be messed about. The vet looks down to the case and makes a mental note to increase the dose. The truck driver tries to move forwards, he merely succeeds in showering the waiting assistants on the platform with mud. For a few moments the truck stands still. }

Vet: Ok, that should do it. {he waves to the platform, one of the scouting party jumps down and walks to the truck}

{ As he's walking alongside rear of the truck the engine revs loudly, the gears suddenly engage and he is covered in muddy water as the wheels spin, much faster this time, the tyres grip a little and the truck surges backwards. As it does so we see that the PGS is driving, he has a pleased look on his face as if he feels he has achieved something worthwhile as indeed he has! The truck runs back and hits the stockade hard, some of the loose timbers give way at their centre, bending with splintered ends. The PGS pokes his head out of the window and looks back in some disarray. }

Vet: {shouting frantically} What do you think you're doing?

PGS: {shouts back} It's Ok!

{ The PGS take his head back inside the cab. The gears crash again. }

Vet: NO!!!! Somebody stop him!

{ It is too late. The truck is held back for a moment, tyres slipping, then it moves forward, taking, with the loud sounds of tearing and falling timber, a section of the stockade gate with it. The lion, cowering in the far corner, sees the trees, grass and savannah through the opening in the timber. So this is a real place after all! That means he's not dead, he sees the humans above and, to his side, he sees the vet raise his gun. The lion leaps forward and, with a roar, rushes for the gap. The vet cannot keep aim on him and fires as he leaps through the gap. The dart strikes a fallen timber. Panic breaks out, there's a fully grown, wild, male lion, possibly with a headache, loose in the camp. Most simply stand still as they are safe enough provided they stay up high, lions can leap as we've just seen, but this one is too confused and too disorientated to bother attacking anyone. He simply runs off past the truck and out onto the grasses beyond, making for a thicket. If he reaches that it will be almost impossible to track him down. The researcher starts to scramble down to the ground. She is held back by the vet who shakes his head. }

Vet: Forget him for now, we'll track him later, he'll be so scared of us he won't let us come near him for days.

Researcher: But what'll we do? I haven't got days.

Vet: It wasn't to be. I knew he was too quiet, he was just waiting for the right moment to escape.

Researcher: Come off it, you don't think he'd make plans like us do you?

Vet: No, not like us, but did that look like a simple response to you?

Researcher: {the lion is now out of view, a long way off in the thicket} Well, no but there are lots of reasons it...

Vet: No, he just wanted out. We'll get him back, if nothing else gets him first. However, first things first, I'll just reload this...

Researcher: Why?

Vet: {smiling maliciously} I'm going to put a student to sleep.



*** Wanderings ***

{ Simba is wandering aimlessly throughout the day, hopelessly lost in a strange world. The scrub is denser than he's ever seen before, making navigation even more difficult. The ground is less sandy, more clinging. It is raining heavily, as it has been for hours making the dust sticky, coating everything that moves with a layer of thick, clinging mud. Simba is a bedraggled, mud-caked, miserable, and lonely soul. He is pushed further into depression by the now evident fact that he is alive after all. He comes to the edge of a large open area, he pauses for a moment to look out before walking on. As he walks, heavily and with tired paws, the water splashes into tiny drops that fly up from his pawfall. He raises his tail that has been trailing in the water, as he does so a trail of drips is left behind in the air, precisely matching his tail tip's path. He knows he must get out of this soon: to find higher, dryer ground, to rest. }

Simba: {desperately to anything that might hear} Help - somebody - anybody? Help! {no response}

{ Soon he sees a large grassy knoll surmounted by two or three trees which seem to have appeared out of the scrub, or is it just that he didn't notice it? He is drawn to it, at least it should be dryer. Slowly the clouds break overhead as a patch of deep blue sky opens, the sun is revealed as the rains stop, for a while at least. The soaked ground 'steams' as the surface water starts to evaporate, everywhere there are glints and reflections, everything sparkles with the promise of new life from the rain, even Simba's coat releases some of the water it has taken up as he slowly BEGINS to dry out. He hauls himself up the slope of the knoll, reaching the top without noticing a clump of golden grass, about the size of a lion, under one of the trees; nor, further off in the open, the mud soaked form of a sleeping warthog. He closes to within a few metres of the grass that grows rather oddly in dense shade of the acacia. He flops to the ground, exhausted and momentarily closes his eyes to sleep. But the noise of his collapse stirs the grass, it moves just a little! Simba may be exhausted but he knows that grass shouldn't do that. He pricks up his ears, turning them to focus on the clump. His eyes follow, but it's not grass in the shape of a sleeping lion, it IS a sleeping lion!! A big male, rather like himself. He becomes worried and agitated. What should he do? He may be in grave danger if the other lion wakes. Simba is tired and still weak, his foreleg is painful. He knows he would stand little chance against a fit, healthy and rested lion. Though, perhaps this is a loner like himself whom he could join up with. There would be a little jockeying for position but he might survive. He cannot run, there's nowhere to run too, he must rest. Simba decides his only option is to try the friendly approach. There being no sign of a pride, the stranger is likely to be on his own. Before Simba wakes him he decides to have a nose round to size him up. Simba gets up carefully and as silently as he can manage (he doesn't stretch or shake in order to keep as quiet as possible). He pads round, somewhat afraid, will the stranger wake and attack him? He does not. As Simba gets round to the stranger's head, he stops dead, in total disbelief. The stranger is stretched out, head on its side on one foreleg, the other draped over loosely. Behind him, the tree trunk stands, its branches and leaves shading his great body. He looks calm and peaceful. To Simba he looks like his father did in death on the gorge floor. A phrase, heard in a flashback, floats into Simba's consciousness: 'This is how your father looked before he died.' Simba starts and closes his eyes as he remembers the unendurable pain inflicted on him by Scar's claws. He looks down to his paws and sees the three or four scars from those claws, still hairless. He fights to rid himself of the vision and looks to the stranger, looking particularly closely at his forelegs. There, on his legs just above the paws, are the same scars! The SAME marks - the same as before his father died! Simba thinks this cannot be, surely? But he is now just a cub again, he's not wet, not tired and not muddy. He crawls up to the stranger and snuggles under his upper, loose, foreleg. }

Simba: Dad...{he pauses, remembering}...Dad come on. You've got to get up. {he sounds lost and alone} Dad, we got to go home.

{ Simba stops for a few moments and closes his eyes, again beside his father for the last time. Then, partially woken by this gentle intrusion, the stranger speaks, part in dream, part in reality. A rich, familiar voice that Simba has not heard for some years, it is instantly recognisable. }

Mufasa: Ok, Ok, I'm up, I'm up. Come now Simba, lets go home to see what your mother's got for us. {he wakes, suddenly realising that this dream is rather too real. He sees the lion lying lovingly beside him and says: }

Mufasa: SIMBA!?!

Simba: {in a state of extreme excitement and total exhaustion} Dad? Is it really you?

{ For a moment there is no response, just disbelief, Mufasa raises his paw, it hovers close to Simba's head for a few moments, Mufasa's eyes narrow, possibly in anger. Then he ruffles his son's mane powerfully. }

Mufasa: Come here, you!

{ In a few short moments Simba's exhaustion overcomes him and, safe and secure with his father, the cub sleeps soundly. We leave them alone as Mufasa watches over his son, not daring to wake him. In the background the warthog sleeps on. }



*** Reunion ***

{ Some time later Simba wakes one more, remembering what he thinks were dreams of earlier with great pleasure. He knows he is alone, he cannot feel the warmth of another lion. He thinks that his father could not really have been there. He is disappointed but not really surprised, miracles don't happen, not even here on the Pridelands. (Ok, I know this isn't technically the Pridelands, but it sounds good!) In his dreamlike state of semi-consciousness his eyes open partially and see an empty knoll. He is now sure that his dreams are confirmed as being exactly that: dreams - powerful, vivid and believable, brought on by extreme tiredness. He smiles to himself and closes his eyes again, it was a pleasant dream after all. As he drifts back to sleep he thinks the dream begins again, he THINKS he hears voices. We KNOW he hears voices. }

Warthog: I don't care, I'm not taking any chances, it might not be him. He might EAT me.

Lion: Now look, it's my son all right. I should know my own son, he's a little bigger and has a mane now of course, but he's still my Simba, I'd know that smell anywhere.

Warthog: Bigger! How do I know who he is? I only ever trusted one lion.

Lion: I know, you told me - Simba, and he's over there - if it helps I'll go with you.

Warthog: Huh? Are you really sure?

Lion: {getting a little tired of this} YES! Now come on Pumbaa.

{ Simba immediately wakes fully and, in puzzlement, shouts out: }

Simba: Pumbaa? No, It can't be!

{ Simba jumps up suddenly and hits his head on a tree branch just above his head. }

Simba: OOOW! That hurt!

{ Pumbaa rushes to Simba's side, now that he's standing he's clearly recognisable. Simba rubs his head distractedly with a forepaw. }

Pumbaa: Are you all right? That looked like it hurt.

{ Simba, who has not yet realised the significance of Pumbaa's presence, replies curtly. We see Mufasa approaching steadily in the background. }

Simba: Hey, Pumbaa, I just said so didn't I.

Mufasa: {slightly concerned} Are you all right son? That looked like it hurt.

{ Simba replies on autopilot, he still hasn't grasped that this is real. }

Simba: Yes, Dad, I'm fine - I think.

Mufasa: I hear you've known Pumbaa for a while.

Simba: Yeah Dad, you know, I've known him ever since you died....

{ Simba tails off and stares at his father, standing there in front of him. he sniffs the air, the unmistakable smell of warthog convinces him that he's awake. He winces, wishing he hadn't taken such a big sniff. His throbbing head reminds him that this is no dream. He shakes his head and looks again. Then he looks away, his head down in shame. }

Simba: Dad, I'm sorry, I let the pride down - I let you down.

Mufasa: Son. {Simba does not move} SON, LOOK at me.

{ Simba lifts his head slowly not wanting to meet his father's gaze. }

Mufasa: Pumbaa has told me a lot about you....

Simba: {interrupting dejectedly} None of it good.

Mufasa: Son, I'm proud of you. I would like to meet my grandcub.

Simba: Meet or eat?

Mufasa: {surprised and a little annoyed} Simba! I said meet. Come on, let's all go home.

{ Simba is puzzled, how can his father think well of him. He has left the pride, lost his daughter, his best friend is dead and his mate hates him. He doesn't even know the way back to the Pridelands. (but he did go back and defeat Scar and give the pride three great cubs and he's restored the balance between lion and hyena, even Immue is now dead) }

Simba: Home? Where's that?

Mufasa: Priderock of course, now which way is it son?

{ The sky is now clear, the night is relatively warm and humid. Simba turns to Pumbaa for a moment then he looks up. }

Simba: {in a far away manner} You know, Pumbaa - perhaps they really are just balls of gas...

{ Pumbaa looks at Simba in total confusion. Mufasa is REALLY confused. }

Mufasa: What?

Simba: {still looking up} I don't know where Priderock is. I'm lost - I have no idea where we are.

Mufasa: You mean to tell me that I wait all this time for you to come and get me and then you tell me you don't know how to get home? Now look son, think. Remember. Are we far from Priderock?

Simba: {looking back at his father} Remember? The last thing I remember was standing on a ledge and falling off. Next thing, I'm in some...place, oh I don't know. I though I was dead. I was waiting to join you in the stars.

Mufasa: You did. Here I am, but we're not in the stars. Now, come on, then we can all get home, it's been a long time.

Pumbaa: {to Simba} Sire, I...

Mufasa and Simba: Not now Pumbaa! {they look at each other in surprise}

Pumbaa: {looking away in self pity} But I just thought...

Simba: Pumbaa, you don't think. And don't call me 'Sire', I'm not the king.

Pumbaa: You were the last time I saw you. What happened?

Simba: My father, Mufasa, happened. So he's still the king.

Pumbaa: But I thought...

Simba: There you go straining yourself again.

Mufasa: {interjecting kindly, gently rebuking his son} Come on son, let Pumbaa have his say, kings must always be ready to listen.

Pumbaa: {to Simba} Hummph. So you were king and now you're not and you...
{turns to Mufasa} were also king but then you weren't and now you are again because you {turns back to Simba} should not have been king because you {turns back once again to Mufasa} were still alive and we all thought you were dead, but you're not really as you were just here all the time. Right?

Simba: {who has not followed most of Pumbaa's speech} What? Is that it?

Pumbaa: {smugly} Yep.

{ Both lion turn away, heads low in despair and sorrow at being stuck here after all. }

Pumbaa: {carrying on triumphantly} Oh, and I know how the way back to Priderock. {turning away in a mannerism picked up from Rafiki} Bye.

{ He walks off as Simba mumbles, speaking to the ground. }

Simba: He knows the way to Priderock, really great. Pumbaa you're...{stopping, he lifts his head and turns to Pumbaa eyes wide and filled with joy. }
...a genius!

{ Pumbaa frowns, taking this as an insult. He sits heavily. }

Pumbaa: {to one side} No, I'm a warthog. Ok, so I'm a pig, there no need to be rude about it.

{ Simba rushes to him and licks him on impulse. Pumbaa recoils in surprise. in a worried fashion, his eyes flit from side to side. His ears twitch. }

Mufasa: {coughing uneasily} I wouldn't go that far son. Now Pumbaa, tell us, how do we get to the Pridelands?

{ Pumbaa sits resolutely. }

Simba: {excitedly} Come on, give, give!

Pumbaa: Not until you apologise.

Simba: For what?

Pumbaa: You called me a...something.

Simba: Come on Pumbaa, it was a compliment, that hide of yours is getting thinner as you grow old.

Pumbaa: {to Mufasa} What's a condiment?

{ Simba buries his head between his forelegs and giggles quietly }

Mufasa: {head up and with a regal tone} Salt. {turns to Simba} And kings always treat their subjects with respect.

Simba and Pumbaa together: Ooh!

{ Pumbaa is totally confused by all this, as well he might be. One day all will be clear, but not just yet. They all walk off, presumably Pumbaa will tell all in time. Let's hope so! Otherwise the rest of this script's a waste of time and effort! }



*** Buffalo ***

{ Author's note: This has been rewritten after the first version, typed direct into the editor, got lost; presumably I did not save it on exit! It could have been a windows disk cache writeback failure, either way it was a disaster. It WAS good. That's the only serious foul-up so far. I must be more careful later. Reconstruction was a soul-destroying process, the original flowed so much better, or is it that nostalgia ain't what it used to be?

It is later the same day, the two lion are getting hungry as neither have eaten since sometime before they joined up. In the background we see a towering termite mound. Simba walks alongside his father, making the difference in size between the two obvious. As they walk on Pumbaa runs up to Simba's free side. }

Simba: Hey, Pumbaa, I'm starved. Have you found anything to eat?

Pumbaa: Naa, I've had better nouvelle cuisine.

Mufasa: {slightly puzzled} What are you asking him for son? He only eats bugs.

Simba: {smiling} Yes Dad, I know - I know.

Mufasa: {looking inquiringly at Simba} Simba do you mean? - Ouugh! Gross!

{ Mufasa turns away in disgust at the thought of his son eating grubs! Then he turns back after regaining his composure. He too, it seems, is a little bit more of a cub than we had previously been led to believe! }

Mufasa: Look, there's no need for all...{cringes}...that. Now there are two of us we can hunt together.

{ Simba stops and looks around uneasily. The only animals he can see are buffalo, big, strong, horned and dangerous. }

Simba: Can't we find some scraps, there must be something around we could scavenge.

Mufasa: Son, kings do not scavenge.

Simba: Well, couldn't we wait until we found something a little easier to catch?

Mufasa: Look son, it's simple, all you have to do is go off to the right and lie up. I'll go round upwind. They'll smell me, bolt, the herd will split and some should run your way. All you have to do is wait for the right moment to strike. It need only be a small one, we've got no lionesses or cubs to feed.

Simba: Me pull down a buffalo? I'm still weak and I don't think I'd be able to do it. Couldn't you do it and I'll stalk them?

Mufasa: No, I've spent too much time around here, the prey know my smell too well. You'd have to get much too close before they bolted and they'll recognise me. It'll be much too dangerous, I'd have no chance of catching one.


Simba: I just don't think I could do it.

Mufasa: What are you son, a lion or a mouse?

Simba: {quietly and slightly away from his father} Eeek? {turns back} Why can't you do it on your own?

Mufasa: It's far too dangerous to risk hunting buffalo alone.

Pumbaa: Sire, I'm sure your father knows what he's doing.

{ Mufasa nods graciously in Pumbaa's direction. }

Mufasa: Mmmuh.

Pumbaa: Why don't you listen to what...

Simba: {sideways} Not now Pumbaa.

{ Pumbaa goes on, not heeding Simba's warning. }

Pumbaa: ...says. I could help you, these tusks don't just give me a pretty...

Simba: {as Pumbaa speaks, somewhat taken aback} Er, Dad, excuse me one moment will you.

{ Mufasa looks puzzled as Simba steps over to Pumbaa, who continues. }

Pumbaa: ...Face, Uuuugh!

{ Simba collapses sideways on to Pumbaa, who is flattened under Simba's flank. Pumbaa falls silent. }

Mufasa: Simba! Get off him at once. Kings do not sit on their subjects.

Simba: {to one side} Why? Mum always did it to me?

{ Simba gets off from Pumbaa and sits, his ears held back. Pumbaa gets up unsteadily, somewhat shaken, and un-crumples an ear (even though his ears were not crushed!) }

Mufasa: SIMBA, Kings must know how to look after themselves!

Simba: Enough already! Stop telling me what kings do and don't do. I'll never need to know, I'll never be king again. Leave me alone.

Pumbaa: I think you're the best king I've ever met.

Simba: {angrily} Pumbaa, I'm the ONLY king you've ever met.

Mufasa: {getting quite agitated at his son's attitude} Now see here you hairball, you'll get out there and do it! What is it? Are you afraid?

Pumbaa: {in background} Hairball? So Timon WAS right!

Simba: {as positively as he can manage} No, I'm not afraid to hunt.

{ Simba's tail swishes rapidly to and fro, Mufasa is clearly on the right track and probes deeper. }

Mufasa: {holding his head close to Simba's} Simba, what kind of lion are you?

{ Simba puts drops his head between his forepaws exposing the mass of his mane around his shoulders and sobs quietly. }

Simba: A poor one, I'm not fit to be king, all you do is tell me what kings should do.

{ Mufasa raises a foreleg with some difficulty and puts it over his sons shoulders reassuringly. Pumbaa steps back, somewhat embarrassed to witness such a personal scene between father and son. }

Mufasa: {quietly as if talking to a much younger Simba} Come on son, you can tell your dad, what's really wrong?

Simba: {keeping his head low} Dad...{pauses, knowing he can't hide from his father forever}...I can't hunt - I've never killed anything.

Mufasa: Simba, listen, all lion have to kill at sometime in their lives. For every new, young life that comes into this world an older animal must die to maintain the balance. Today a buffalo must die so that we may live. It's all part of the...

Simba: {raising his head a little and looking at his father} Circle of Life?

Mufasa: {smiling, glad that Simba has remembered something he told him so long ago} Yes, son, the Circle of Life. One day we will die to make way for our cubs and their cubs after them. {he moves his paw up his sons neck and ruffles his mane between his ears} But not just yet!

Simba: {in a much lighter tone} Dad, stop messing up my mane!

{ Simba lifts his head higher, his eyes narrowed, causing his father's foreleg to slip back down his neck. Mufasa lifts it off, then he looks round at Pumbaa who is some way off, then looks back to his son and says quietly: }

Mufasa: Look son, I've got an idea. Pumbaa could...

Simba: Eh? Dad, you can't be serious! He's a big pig all right but he'd need too much time to cure...

Mufasa: {laughing} No son, We're not going to eat him...though now you mention it...No, no, here's what we'll do...

{ Author's note: Now it's back to first time stuff, this has not yet got lo...

Mufasa and Simba huddle together plotting, occasionally one or other of them looks towards Pumbaa who grows distinctly uneasy... We cut to a view of Pumbaa walking steadily towards the buffalo. He seems unhappy about something, is he storming off from Simba and Mufasa, whom we don't see? The camera shows us a wide shot, to one edge we see a cluster of large rocks standing on a rise. At their base can just be seen an pair of adult male lion. One jumps up on to the lowest of the rocks, his companion follows soon after. Pumbaa look towards them and sees they're nearly in position. The Buffalo, close now, are grazing quietly. One looks up as it hears the approach of a warthog, or perhaps it smells the approach of a warthog? Whatever, it quickly goes back to grazing, warthogs are not a problem to buffalo and there are no predators around.
The lion move up the rocks and position themselves high up overlooking a grassy dead end connected to the plain below. Pumbaa is by now picking his way to one end of the peaceful herd. This is just a shortcut across the plain. Suddenly he grunts loudly and, in his best 'bowling' style voice, accompanied once more to 'Carmen' style dramatic music: }

Pumbaa: Yeeeeagh! Warthog coming through! Outa my way you...!

{ Most of what he says is thankfully and tastefully obscured. The startled herd have no idea as to what is happening, something smelly is kicking up the dust in their midst. They panic (stupid things buffalo), with a fearful racket of bellowing and pounding hooves. Some, as Mufasa predicted, run towards the rocks where the two lion lie in wait. Pumbaa follows, being as noisy and unpleasant as he can (no problem there then). After the short chase a single, fairly large, well horned buffalo, chased doggedly by a warthog, runs into the bluff. It finds his way blocked and turns round and round in panic. Pumbaa stops just outside triumphantly whooping loudly (he's enjoying himself!).

Mufasa: NOW!

{ Mufasa jumps down into the bluff blocking the buffalo's escape. He thinks Simba will follow or better still jump on to the buffalo if he can time it right. For vital seconds Simba stands, his forelegs splayed, his eyes darting left and right as he watches the buffalo run to and fro. We see him for a moment from below, we see his look of panic, we see he is just a cub again, we see he is not looking at a buffalo but at wildebeest in the gorge, his father tumbling into the stampede below. Mufasa calls urgently: }

Mufasa: Now Simba, NOW! Help me!

{ Still Simba looks frightened and alone. Suddenly the buffalo lunges at Mufasa who jumps up at it's neck. The buffalo turns his head as it approaches and Mufasa is caught by a horn and thrown violently aside. Simba sees all this and can do nothing. Suddenly from below his father calls urgently: }

Mufasa: Simba, for pities sake help me!

{ His father has survived the stampede after all! He is alive. Simba, seeing the buffalo below approaching his father to finish him off, suddenly realises he's not a helpless cub anymore. He is the King of the Pridelands, a fully grown lion. With a shattering roar he jumps down on to the buffalo directly below which falls under the massive force. Simba grips it's neck with his forepaws and bites the back of it's neck. He twists powerfully, pushing his neck and head round violently, the buffalo's neck breaks in an instant and they both drop to the ground. Simba is now a lion, he has lost his virginity, but he's not sure of his feelings. He looks to his father, who lies a little ahead, not moving, his eyes closed. Simba does not loose his hold on the buffalo's neck even though his breathing is severely restricted. Seconds pass, Simba eventually relaxes his bite and lifts his head from his prey. He looks at his father for a moment then closes his eyes. }

Simba: {close to tears} Today a buffalo must die so that WE may live.

Mufasa: {coughing in the dust} Simba?

Simba: {surprised and overjoyed} DAD! You're alive! Pumbaa! He's alive, come and look he's alive!

Mufasa: Yes son, I'm alive.

{ He stands painfully, revealing a long gash down his side. Simba is clearly shocked. }

Mufasa: Now Simba...{winces as he speaks}...next time I say now I mean now! Do you hear, not next rains!

Simba: I'm sorry Dad, I thought I was going to loose you again. Does that hurt?

{ By now Pumbaa has entered the bluff and stands by the entrance and stares at the scene, Simba lying on a dead buffalo, his father standing, evidently wounded. Evidently there must have been quite a struggle. }

Pumbaa: {looking uncertainly at Simba} You're not going to lick me again are you?

Mufasa: A little...{he breathes heavily}...it takes more than a buffalo to loose me.

{ Mufasa walks unsteadily and painfully towards the kill, Simba jumps down and moves away in respect, as the junior lion he must wait his turn. Mufasa turns to him and says: }

Mufasa: What are you waiting for? It's your kill, you're the lion now. Get in there, let's eat!

{ Simba smiles back to his father and dips his head in response. Without a word he majestically and proudly steps forward to the kill; his kill. }



*** Chaser ***

{ As father and son - no - as two regal and proud lion feed side by side one thinks he hears something, he lifts his head up for a few moments, his ears turning to catch the faint sound. No, it's nothing. He drops his head and goes back to feeding. he barely has time to rip off a piece of the flesh when they both hear something, distinct now. }

Another: ...s only Mufasa....

{ Mufasa gets up anxiously. }

Mufasa: Stay here Simba, this might mean trouble.

Simba: Trouble? Is there something you haven't told me?

Mufasa: Well son, this is Zimmale's territory. That sounded like one of his lionesses. They're friendly enough, {his eyes widen to indicate that is not what it seems} but you wouldn't want to meet Zimmale on a starlight night, or any other time of day come to that.

Pumbaa: You mean he strikes first and asks questions later?

Mufasa: {looking earnest} Pumbaa, I mean he doesn't ask questions.

Pumbaa: {looking blank} Oooh...!

{ Author's note: Warthogs are omnivorous and would probably eat buffalo if they got a chance. However I feel that I shouldn't damage Pumbaa's image!

Mufasa rushes off leaving Pumbaa and Simba somewhat unsettled, and perhaps a little vulnerable. Moments pass in which they catch snippets of conversation, leaving them both more and more confused and frightened, Simba has never encountered a dangerous AND strong lion. }

Another: ...Zimmale's d...He...we're very hun...two weeks since...smelt your ...lp us please.

{ Then silence, long moments pass, Simba starts when he hears a slight sound from the rocks above. A lionesses head appears, small and beautiful, careful and cautious. She holds her head low as she slowly edges round the rock. As soon as she sees Simba she freezes, even in her fear her eyes seems to have a glint about them. Simba stares long and hard at her. Suddenly her companion forces her way roughly past, she too sees Simba yet her reaction is quite different. }

Tana: Why, Mufasa {not taking her eyes off Simba} You never told me you had a friend.

Mufasa: {now appearing beside the beautiful Sala} My son.

Tana: Your son! Well now, he's...

{ Tana looks at Simba attentively, walking towards him, looking him over. She walks all round Simba, ignoring the kill, even trying to ignore Pumbaa, but wrinkles her nose as she passes. Simba stands and watches back, not at all sure of what to make of all this. She walks to his side, holding her head and tail high. }

Tana: Oh, yes, he's twice the lion Zimmale was. Oh I like him, why didn't you say you had a son? You know Mufasa, you SHOULD have challenged Zimmale.

{ Sala shakes her head and tail in exasperation. }

Sala: TANA - leave him alone, you've only just met him, he might already be spoken for.

Tana: {still looking at Simba} There's no harm in trying. {directly and assertively} You aren't? Are you?

Simba: {trying to retain some dignity} Madam, I have three cubs and Nala, she's the only one.

Tana: I could be the one too, If you give me the chance. by the way I'm Tana and this {raises a paw and gives a 'throwaway' gesture} is my sister Sala. So PLEASED to meet you.

{ Author's note: Ok, so Sala is Tana's half-sister. Just as Scar was Mufasa's half-brother. This 'half' bit is often of little significance in many African cultures. Even cousins are treated as brothers, Uncles as Fathers, nieces as daughters etc.. This is simply part of the extended family concept and helps to forge strong community relationships as everyone is more closely linked to everyone else. This is something we westerners have totally lost with our mobile, nuclear families with 2.4 kids, pity. I married into an Isle of Wight clan and instantly gained four brothers and one sister in law with, at the last count, eleven nephews and two nieces between them all. My own two girls brings the total count up to fifteen, the girls being outnumbered three to one, no wonder Mary is so much like Nyala! Christmas family parties require considerable planning! }

Simba: {trying really hard} Glad to make your acquaintance. It's been...good ...to meet you. This is my father, Mufasa and this {gestures with his head} is my friend Pumbaa.

Tana: {surprised and dismissive} What, that?

Pumbaa: {upset at such an insult} Huuumph.

Mufasa: Simba, they're coming with us, and you didn't tell me you had THREE cubs.

Simba: {horrified} What? Coming with us? How far? Anyway I thought Pumbaa had told you everything.

Mufasa: Home. No, of course he didn't, he only told me about Nyala.

Simba: {the thought of a journey with Tana filling him with dread} The Pridelands?...{now he is lost for words}...Just what am I going to tell Nala?

Pumbaa: {hopefully, trying to be helpful} Tana only wants your body.

{ Tana nods enthusiastically. }

Pumbaa: Nala's always saying she want's you to mate other lionesses. But no, you always say you can't, they're family. This is great, you have Nala, Sala and Ta...huh, maybe not. Your father can look after Sarabi and the others.

Simba: That's the stupidest thing I ever heard! Nala will take me apart piece by piece and feed me to the hyenas! I can hear Ed laughing already!

Sala: Er, excuse me? {respectfully} But would you mind if I eat, it's been a long time and this IS a big buffalo.

{ She moves forward to the kill. Stopping and turning to Simba, tilting her head towards Pumbaa. }

Sala: Oh, and who's the pig?

{ Mufasa and Simba turn to Pumbaa who is about to speak. }

Mufasa and Simba: NO! Not now Pumbaa!

Sala: Was it something I said? {she is momentarily silent, then asks} Did you say the Pridelands?

Simba: {looking towards her} Yes, why?

Sala: Oh, It's just that I heard the king's father died fighting his brother, or was it his uncle? And isn't the king friends with an aardvark?

Simba: {amused} No, it was the king who fought his uncle who had killed his father in a stampede.

Mufasa: No, son, he wasn't killed in the stampede. And another thing, you're the king.

Simba: No, Dad, you are now, well you were then, then I was and now you are again, or whatever. {getting confused}

Pumbaa: I'm not an aardvark! They call me...

Mufasa and Simba: WE KNOW!

Simba: {continuing alone to Pumbaa} Anyway you eat termites don't you?

Pumbaa: {Smiling} Sure! Especially the tiny little white ones.

Simba: {turning away} Same difference.

Sala: Wait up you two. Let me get this straight. You mean you're the king of the Pridelands?

Mufasa and Simba: {to each other} No! He is.

Tana: Wow, if there's one thing better than a king, it's two!

{ Tana brushes her head against Simba's flank and purrs loudly. Simba sniffs at Tana in the way lions do, all bared teeth and screwed up features - looks like he's snarling but of course it's not. Unsure, he turns to Sala. }

Simba: Hey, she's purring at me! Is she in season?

Sala: {with a resigned tone} From the start of the rains to the end of the dry...

{ Simba says nothing but looks at Sala in disbelief. Pumbaa is even more confused. Mufasa falls back to feeding. }

Mufasa: Come on, all of you. We've got a long way to go. Best we all eat while we have the chance.

{ Pumbaa sits back, going over the conversation in his mind. }

Pumbaa: {quietly to himself} he said, then she said, then he said that, now you said...No, that's not it. Now, he said...

{ We leave the foursome alone to enjoy a meal. The first of many. They would have liked a robust red wine as well, something with sulphites, to wash it all down. No, sorry that's my mind wandering again. I had thought a song could be of use here, but as it stands I think it would no longer be appropriate. The problem is that this half of the script is a bit too 'serious' for everyone to break into song! However it really needs something to break the mood a bit which would otherwise be too 'heavy' for younger viewers. A tricky problem this and one I will not attempt to solve just yet. Anyway It's the kind of thing that would have been sorted quite late in production and as the chances of this ever being produced are astronomically small I can safely throw an SEP field round it and hope it will go away. What's an SEP field? Oh dear how old are you? Don't you remember a red Chesterfield at a cricket match? Where's your towel?

Anyway, here's a short padding piece to keep the mood light, then that SEP field lifts....

The lions have just finished feeding and all are full and content and sit and lie a little way from the remains of the buffalo which are thus tastefully out of focus. The two lionesses lie full length, replete from the buffalo meat. Simba and Mufasa are sitting washing themselves. Pumbaa watches carefully as the two lion go through what is clearly a ritual learned from the same source. Simba licks the back of a forepaw and, turning it over, rubs the top of his head by an ear. }

Pumbaa: Hey, Simba, why d'ya always do that?

Simba: {without really thinking} Do what?

Pumbaa: Wash behind your ears like that?

Simba: {lifting his paw and looking up at it} Like this? {moves paw back and forth, out of focus in the background we see Mufasa doing much the same} Well, my mother said I should always wash behind my ears, and I don't mess with my mother.

Pumbaa: Ooh! {looks behind to Mufasa who stops mid-stroke and looks back} Mufasa, why d'ya...

Mufasa: If I DON'T do it I don't get to mess with his mother.

{ Tana laughs quietly to herself. We crossfade from her into... }



*** Through Faith and Love ***

{ By D.A.Morris and C.J.Boyce }

{ ...a spectacular shot of sunset in the Pridelands. We are just to the south of Priderock, the sun is hanging VERY low in the sky, and after a few seconds the camera pans right through more than 90 degrees and reveals Nyala sitting on a small hummock of grass at the foot of Pride Rock. There are tear stains on her face; it is evident she has been crying and may start again at any moment. She is sniffling quietly to herself. She is otherwise physically unharmed by her experiences though she is quite unlike the cub we saw running out of the Pridelands. The camera switches to a close-up of her left side as she sits facing the sunset. Her face, shoulder and foreleg down to the elbow can be seen in the flame red light of the falling sun. She is still sniffling when a larger, tawny leg appears camera right and is placed, strong yet comforting, softly on the ground beside her, obscuring her foreleg. Nyala slowly looks up and toward camera slowly as a voice speaks softly and intimately to her. }

Nala: Hon? What's the matter?

{ The camera switches to a front view of Nala and Nyala. Nala leans over her daughter, a concerned look on her face. Thembi and Zeni can be seen moving closer in the background to join the pair. Nyala is still sniffing a bit as she looks up to her mother. }

Nyala: I miss Dad.

{ From now on, unless otherwise specified, the camera switches back and forth to a full face view of the character speaking. }

Nala: {sadly, eyes partially closed} I do too. We all do.

Nyala: {leans against her mother's foreleg and begins crying again} I'm sorry! I tried. I tried so HARD, but Dad got sick and then the lights came and I couldn't find another lion! {she drops her head down her mother's foreleg} It's all my fault - all of it. Dad, Pumbaa and Timon they're all not coming back and it's because of me.

Nala: {lowers her head to Nyala's and licks the side and top of her head gently} Oh no, It wasn't your fault. I shouldn't have forced Simba to go after you like that, I could see he was sick but I thought kings shouldn't get sick. I should have listened to both of you more. {licks again} But you were very brave to do what you did, my big lioness. {Nyala manages a smile} C'mon now, it's past your bedtime, even big lionesses need to get their sleep.

{ Wide camera shot of Nala and the cubs from the front. All three cubs move to huddle at her feet, comforting her. She nuzzles each in turn, then leads them up the slopes of Priderock to the caves. As the cubs file inside slowly, Nala turns her head back and looks towards the eastern horizon. (Note: SFX department needs to decrease light levels throughout this scene as night falls) The sky just above the horizon still glows red and orange but as Nala looks upwards the colour fades to the deep blue-black of night to shroud the Pridelands, the stars overhead gleam tranquilly. The camera zooms in slowly to a closeup of Nala then when a small voice speaks off camera beside her. }

Nyala: Mum?

Nala: {without taking her eyes from the sky} Yes?

Nyala: If I HAD found another lion. Would you still love Dad?

{ Nala lowers her head as she turns and walks back to her daughter who is just at the cave mouth. Nala nuzzles her daughter warmly. }

Nala: Of course I would. Why wouldn't I still love him?

Nyala: That's why he wouldn't come back with me. He said you needed another lion besides him. Because he couldn't be a proper king.

Nala: {shaken, she lifts her head up and back} Oh no, no. That's not what I meant. Is that what he said to you?

Nyala: {nodding} He said to tell you he was sorry.

Nala: No Yali, I never stopped loving your father. Never.

{ Nala lifts her gaze slowly to the stars and begins to sing. This song is one that I mentioned in the notes to version 1.0. However we realised that it made a lot more sense to put it in here for Nala to sing to help explain her feelings. It is called 'Surrender to the Sun', written by Mike Batt in the late seventies and despite the marshal references is actually a rich and powerful slow love song touched by regret for past events. The camera lifts from the rock and simultaneously pans round through most of a circle whilst keeping Nala and Nyala in central view. }

________I have been out manoeuvred.
________I have been invaded.
________I have been overrun and infiltrated.
________I have offered strong resistance,
________but you brought me to my knees.

{ Nala and Nyala can be seen to one side of shot as an partially transparent overlay of Simba sitting alone with a loving and contemplative expression fades in on the other side. }

________You can lock me in your dungeon.
________You can throw away the key.

________Ooo, it's easy to surrender
________when your time has come.
________Ooo, don't leave me
________when the night surrenders to the sun.

{ Zeni and Thembi move gingerly out of the shadows of the cave and up to their mother. They look up to their mother and then ahead to the stars. All four have similar, sad, expressions suggesting their loss is indeed great and heartfelt. }

________Oh we have cried the tears,
________we have sustained the bruises,
________and though I say you win, nobody looses.
________I have tried to turn around
________and I have tried to walk away.

________But the love that flows between us
________is growing stronger every day.

________Ooo, it's easy to surrender
________when your time has come.
________Ooo, don't leave me -
________when the night surrenders to the sun.

{ Nala is seen intently looking towards a bright star low in the sky. }

________Ooo, it's easy to surrender
________when your time has come.
________Ooo, don't leave me -
________when the night surrenders to the sun. {drops he head as she finishes}

{ After the song has ended suddenly and for no obvious reason their expressions change, first to shock then to surprise and finally, for the cubs at least, joy. The camera pulls back to reveal the reason for this: standing, somewhat out of breath, forelegs stretched out to either side. }

Timon: Hey, what kind of a welcome is that? You look like you've seen a ghost.

{ Nala looks sternly at the meerkat as the cubs rush forwards towards him. }

Nala: Where have you got to? Why did Immue say she'd eaten you.

Timon: Yeeeagh! {pulling back in distaste for a moment before the cubs pile upon him}

Cubs: Uncle Timon, where have you been?

Timon: Come on you lot, {as they all turn and run off} let's all go and...

Nala: Hey, Timon! {but the cubs have run off, she tails off to herself} It's bed time...

{ Nala sits alone for a while. She shakes her head and looks back to the sky. }

Nala: Come back Simba, we all need you - I need you. {she drops her head and continues sadly} We all love you - I love you.

{ From a high viewpoint we see Nala on the rock, just below we see Timon and the cubs engaged in some kind of pouncing game, Thembi is the target. To the other side we see Sarabi and Sarafina approach and climb the rock to join Nala. Elsewhere we catch glimpses of most of the Pridelands life, including other lionesses deep in the grass.
Crossfade to a view of Mufasa and Pumbaa sleeping side by side. Pumbaa snores gently. Just beyond them lies Sala, then Simba and finally Tana who is curled up next to Simba. She is purring even in her sleep, with a half-smile on her face. Simba is lying awake, and clearly has been for some time. He's rather uncomfortable, but doesn't want to wake Tana out of politeness (and the fact she'll probably zero in on him again) He lifts his forequarters slowly and sits, looking at Tana; considering his options for a moment. Nala's visage pops into his mind, and he is instantly ashamed of himself, closing his eyes and turning his head away and down to the ground. This song is 'Sacrifice', Music by Elton John and words by Bernie Taupin modified by David Morris. }


Simba: {sings softly}
________It's simply leonine
________when things go wrong.
________When the scent of her lingers {looks at Tana beside him}
________and temptation's strong.

________Into the boundary {Simba rises and walks a few paces forwards}

________of my troubled mind,
________sweet deceit comes calling
________and negativity blinds.

{ Simba stops on a small rise just out of earshot of the other lions, here he can sing a little louder. }

________Lonesome heart,
________troubled by you. {looks at Tana again, shaking his head slowly}

________Some things look better baby,
________just passing through.

________But it's no sacrifice: {bursts into full song}

________just a simple word.
________It's two hearts living
________in two separate worlds.
________But it's no sacrifice,
________no sacrifice,
________it's no sacrifice at all.

{ Simba sings softer, but not subdued. }

________Mutual misunderstanding.
________after the fact, {shakes his head and smiles ruefully}
{ Simba sings softer, but not subdued. }

________Mutual misunderstanding.
________after the fact,
________sensitivity builds a prison
________in the final act.

________We lose direction. {looks up to the stars}
________No stone unturned.
________No tears to damn you {remembers Nala's look as she sent him after Nyala}
________when jealousy burns.

________Lonesome heart, {hold his head down}
________calling for you. {raises it suddenly and sings strongly}
________Some things look better baby,
________just passing through

________And it's no sacrifice: {full song once again}
________just a simple word.
________It's two hearts living
________in two separate worlds.
________But it's no sacrifice,
________no sacrifice,
________it's no sacrifice at all. {begins to smile}

{ Simba is smiling and thinking of only of Nala. We see sweeping pans of Nala with Nyala by her side as partially transparent overlays to one side of the shot. }

________Loving heart, {With a loving and contemplative expression}
________fulfilled by you.
________Everything looks better, baby,
________when I'm with you.

________And it's no sacrifice:
________just a simple word.
________It's two hearts living
________in one loving world.
________But it's no sacrifice,
________no sacrifice.
________it's no sacrifice at all.

________No sacrifice at all.

________No sacrifice at all.

{ Fade to black as the music fades during the final lines of the song. }



*** Return ***

{ It is late afternoon, the sun is getting low in the sky, the heat is abating. Simba, Mufasa, Sala, Tana and Pumbaa have just crossed the river that marks the western boundary of the Pridelands, technically at least they are home, though with some way still to go. With the sun at their backs all five have waded the shallows between rafts of white water hyacinth and scrambled up the steep sandy bank, the resident Carmine Bee-eaters flying over them in some distress, the air is filled with an unending kaleidoscope of red and blue. A short way up along the bank the bee-eaters holes can be seen clearly, hundreds or even thousands of rough round burrows that cover the vertical face of the bank. While Simba shakes himself dry his father stands and looks east where, just above a rise some distance away can be seen the top of Priderock. This is as far as the light touched all those years ago. (if they had bothered to look behind them!) Mufasa is, at last, home. Water drips from his coat and mane which hangs heavily. Water vapour rises in thin wisps from his back, the wisps are blown on the slightest of breeze towards the rock as if pulled from the king by the sun on his back and drawn to Priderock by the wind. He steps forward and without warning roars powerfully, probably loud enough to be heard on the rock. We see Rafiki in his tree (which lies between the river and Priderock) start as the roar drifts by on the wind. Sarabi, Nala and Nyala stop and listen as they hear a faint call of an adult lion. Sarabi's eyes open wide as, just for a moment, she thinks it sounded like her Mufasa, then she closes them and shakes her disbelieving head. They walk on past the grazing herds to the east of Priderock. Sala and Tana stand behind Simba, looking unbelievingly at the legendary Pridelands. For them this is a promised land of Wildebeest that fall obligingly at their paws and where, so they have been told the king roars at sunset from a massive thrust of rock. This they know could not be true, yet here they are standing on the threshold of a new life. A saddlebilled stork flies across the shot. Suddenly a leopard breaks cover a short distance ahead, she dashes to a nearby acacia tree and climbs up, pulling and pushing alternately on her fore and hind legs to scale the tree in steps. Her cub follows her mother's lead as soon as she's amongst the branches, but he gets two thirds of the way up before his fore claws loose grip and he tumbles head over tail to the ground below. He may be hurt, he does not move. Above the mother watches anxiously as she watches Simba and Sala run towards the cub. The mother hopes they will pass him by, she cannot stop four lion from killing him, she could attack and deter just Simba but four would be too much. Simba stops by the cub and stands over him, looking at him intently. The mother looks away, she cannot witness the death of her son. Sala stands and watches incredulously. }

Simba: Are you all right? That fall could have killed you.

Cub: {rather frightened} Yes, I guess so. Aren't you the king, we heard you we're dead?

Simba: {looking about himself} No, I don't think so. Now go on, get up there and tell your mother I'm got a few well chosen words to say to Sarafina.

Cub: {getting up awkwardly, looking beyond Simba} Who's that?

{ Simba turns his head back to see Mufasa walking slowly towards them. Sala is still at Simba's side and Tana follows Mufasa. }

Simba: Oh, this is a friend, Sala and that's my father, he's the king too. Oh yes, and Tana's another friend.

Cub: But I thought your father was killed in a stampede.

Simba: {dropping his head low to the cub} So did I. Now come on, get up that tree before I change my mind!

Tana: Oh Simba, he seems such a nice young cub.

Sala: Tana - he's a leopard!

Tana: {smiling} Nobodies perfect.

{ Simba lifts up his head, smiling broadly as the cub rushes to the tree and climbs up, this time with more success. The mother can be heard in the background as first Mufasa and Tana and finally Pumbaa join Simba and Sala at the foot of the tree. They all walk on towards a certain large baobab that grows on a mound a little way off to the south.

Author's note: Yes, you should have guessed by now. I love Some Like it Hot! And by the way lions and leopards are just about genetically similar enough to interbreed, in captivity at least, so Tana's not that bad after all! }

Mother: Now what did I tell you about talking to lion? Well, you never go near them again, you understand? They're not like us, they're not proper cats at all. Fancy living in a pride, did you ever hear of such a thing. And another thing if you ever fall off again I'll...{we never get to hear what she might do! Suffice to say young leopard cubs learn the hard way...}

{ We rejoin our quintet as they mount the hill on which Rafiki's tree stands. Simba leads, suddenly he has an idea, stops and sits back. Mufasa walks on a few paces before stopping and looking back to his son. }

Mufasa: What are you doing son?

Simba: Oh, nothing. Just thinking.

Mufasa: Come on what is it? Don't you want to see Rafiki again?

Simba: {laughing} Of course, it's just that...tell you what, why don't you just walk up and sit by the bottom of the trunk. I'll do all the talking.

Mufasa: What are you up to?

Simba: Come on Dad, let an old pro show you how it's done!

Mufasa: Pumbaa, Sala and Tana, you stay out of the way. He's up to something.

Tana: {looking at Simba} Who's Rafiki?

Simba: Tana, I think even you'd have difficulties getting to know Rafiki!

{ Mufasa walks forwards and sits quietly by the base of the baobab. Simba creeps round to one side, Pumbaa creeps with him(!). Mufasa looks over to Simba who nods once he's in a good position in amongst some long, lush grass. The lionesses stay well back out of sight. }

Simba: Rafiki, come on. It's me.

Rafiki: {shouting from inside his tree top} Eh? What me is that? Simba? Eh?

Simba: Come and look for yourself.

Rafiki: Simba, I'm too old for all these games. Where are you?

Simba: At the bottom of your tree, come on, I need to show you something.

Rafiki: {standing on a branch, holding another with his hand above his head} All right, I'm...{he looks down and sees Mufasa, he looks up and blinks and then looks down a second time. He cannot believe what he sees and he releases his hand hold on the branch above, he sways then falls to the ground below. }

Simba: Looks as if Rafiki's finally fallen out of his tree!

Tana: {to Sala, referring to Simba's earlier comment} I see what he means.

Mufasa: {rushing to Rafiki's side} I'm sorry Rafiki, my son will pay for this.

Rafiki: What? No no, paid enough already. Are you really? You know?

Mufasa: {nodding gently} Really.

Rafiki: {smiling broadly} The kings have returned. I always said the kings would return.

Pumbaa: {to Simba} No he didn't. Did he?

Simba: Not to me. Oh, forget it, come on.

{ Rafiki stands and, clearly none the worse for his fall, puts his arms around Mufasa's neck. Simba runs up and stands for a moment. Rafiki takes his arms from Mufasa and, realising he has left his stick behind, shrugs his shoulders and steps towards Simba who shrinks back. Rafiki then puts his arms around Simba saying: }

Rafiki: It's been too quiet around here without you.

{ Rafiki embraces Simba for a moment. Then he sits close to Simba. }

Simba: Thanks Fiks. Tell me, it's almost sunset but which one of us will have to roar tonight?

Rafiki: {matter of factly} The king.

Simba: But which one of us is the king?

Rafiki: Yes, that is a problem. You want me to tell you?

Simba: Oh no, I KNOW I'm not a baboon, thank you very much.

Rafiki: Ha, but are you the king?

{ Simba turns from Rafiki and looks at his father who just sits smiling gently. He turns back to Rafiki. }

Simba: Oh yes, tonight I'm the king of Priderock! {he roars fit to wake the stars, the sound echoes back from the bare face of the rock. This time it is clearly heard. Birds fly up from the trees and grass, scattering in great expanding and swirling clouds. Beyond the Priderock Nala and Nyala turn their heads as they walk. They both stop and listen. The lions by Rafiki's tree hear a loud cub call in answer to Simba's roar. }

Sala: {who has made her way with Tana to the base of the baobab is startled by the cub's response} Who was that?



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

Sarabi: {sadly} That's not Mufasa. He'll never come back to me now. For a moment just then I thought I heard him, I felt sure but that's just...

Nala: {simultaneously with Nyala} Just Simba! Nyala, you said he died!
Nyala: {simultaneously with Nala} Dad! But I thought he was killed!

Nala: Quick, now we've got to get back to Priderock. {she moves off but stops a few paces later} Come on Nyala - now!

{ Nyala turns and follows her mother, the pair running fast through the grasses, not caring what they disturb. animals, birds and insects scatter in all directions as the pair rush to get back home. Meanwhile Thembi, who was woken by the roar rushes out of the cave, gives a fair call in response, it was this call that the group at the baobab heard. }

Sarabi: {sadly to herself} I'll just stay here and wait for Mufasa....



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

{ Simba looks toward the rock from where the call came. }

Simba: That's my son, Thembi. He'll be a king of his own pride one day.

Sala: Your son? Mufasa, so you're a grandfather.

Tana: {at the thought of THREE lion} Ooooh...



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

{ Thembi runs down from Pride rock and out to the east. He knows that roar, he knows his father is coming home. He runs over the tree topped rise and on towards Rafiki's tree. Then he stops as he sees his father - and then the three other lion with him. He does not know what to do, he is at a loss, he had expected his father to be alone. }

Mufasa: Who's that on the ridge?

Simba: Your grandson. {calls loudly} Hey, Thembi! Come on there's someone I'd like you to meet.

{ Thembi hesitates as he does not want to meet another adult male, though Nyala had said that's what she went out to find that morning. He looks back to Priderock, he can just see a few lionesses coming out from the shade of the rock into the faltering sunlight of evening. He looks back towards his father's approaching group. }

Simba: Come on? They won't hurt you, they're harmless. {To Tana, quietly so that Thembi can't hear} Well, almost harmless. Now, this is my son, you understand?

Tana: Yes, O Great King, I gravel at your paws.

Simba: {looking away} Oh no, not another one.

Pumbaa: {sniffily} Madam it's grovel, not gravel.

{ Tana says nothing and simply holds her head up higher than normal. Thembi finally runs forward to his father. Kings, he has been told, must make and then stick to decisions. As he runs Simba breaks into a run. The two meeting some way ahead of Mufasa and Sala and Tana who have stepped forward a few paces with their heads held forwards, eyes wide. Mufasa motions the two lionesses to stop. They sit and watch as Simba raises a forepaw towards his father who rises and walks proudly up to his son and grandson. The three turn to face the ridge on which Thembi stood and which now shields them from the fast approaching Priderock lionesses. Simba moves forwards to the top of the ridge, standing to see Priderock in the golds of the setting sun. A breeze blows up from the east, his mane waving and glowing in the wind and sun. Nala, one of the closest lionesses, stops and smiles as she watches her mate. Sarafina steps in beside her, she stops in awe as Mufasa climbs the ridge to stand beside his son. Nyala and Zeni now reach their mother's side as, to complete the trio, Thembi, attempting, but not quite succeeding to look regal, joins his father and grandfather. }

Mufasa: Remember son, everything the light touches is ours, everything.

{ The three stand still as the lionesses move forward to meet them. We leave them, the camera flying up and pulling back to reveal Zazu soaring (Ok, so hornbills don't soar, but it would look good!) overhead. He stalls in mid flight, loose feathers trailing in his wake. He narrowly avoids falling from the sky, swooping low over the three lion. He looks down at Mufasa and, without a word checks his speed and lands on Mufasa's back. The camera pulls further back, beyond Priderock where we see Sarabi entering the cave, walking slowly and in some distress. Simba has returned for Nala but Sarabi's mate, Mufasa will never return for her. She has decided to retire to the cave where she and Mufasa once slept by each other's sides to lick her metaphorical wounds. She knows she will be alone for a while at least, though her son, Simba, and his mate Nala will return to the cave eventually. She lies still and cries to herself. Meanwhile Nala, Nyala, Zeni and Sarafina have reached the three lion. }

Nala: {brushing against Simba's side} Simba, you're back, you've got to stop doing this.

Simba: {unsure} Doing what? What have I done?

Nala: Just for once you could have stayed dead.

Simba: {taken aback, he starts to turn away} Great, If that's how you treat me I'm going back!

Pumbaa: Hey not yet, we only just got here!

Nala: No! {to Simba} You just stay here. I'm not letting any of you go again. You're too good to loose.

Pumbaa: Thank you.

Nala: {Laughing} I wasn't talking about you Pumbaa, but now you come to mention it Thembi and Zeni did get upset when you disappeared.

Zeni: Yeah, Pumbi. How about we play some games? What about 'catch the rat'?

{ Zeni, her claws extended, pulls away the protesting Pumbaa with a forepaw... }

Nyala: I'm sorry I had to leave you, I was sure you couldn't...

Simba: You were right. I couldn't survive that on my own. I had a little help. Now, off you go, you're not too old to play with your brother and sister yet.

Nyala: I guess not. {looks at Simba and Nala for a moment, then turns and runs off} Hey you two, wait for me...

{ She runs off playfully after Zeni and Pumbaa. For all she's been through she's still a real cub. }

Nala: Simba, {looking at Mufasa} Who's your friend?

Simba: My friends are...{he turns to look behind}...Sala and Tana.

Nala: What! But they're lionesses! Simba, what have you been up to?

Simba: {taking a step backwards, shaking his head with eyes wide} Nothing! Honest, I haven't laid a paw on either of them and nor has my father.

Nala: Why not? If you were a real king you would have, and anyway Mufasa is...

Mufasa: {cutting her off sharply to avoid embarrassment} Here at your service. {looking at her with glowing admiration} Why, little Nala you certainly have...grown!

Nala: Mufasa? {backing away, sounding a little like HER father} NO, you can't be, you're...

Simba: {nodding quickly, his eyes wide open, though now not in fear} Yes Nala, it really IS my father. Isn't it great, now I don't have to be king all the time!

Nala: Huh?

Mufasa: {walking away from Simba and Nala and looking around anxiously} I don't see Sarabi here. Where is she? Is she well?

Sarafina: {who has watched discreetly from one side} She's well enough, a visit from an old friend will help her a little though.

Mufasa: Saffi, where is she?

Sarafina: She's alone in the cave. Be gentle with her, she needs a soft paw.

Mufasa: {calling to his son} Look, I've got to go and see Sarabi, are you going to be all right by yourselves?

Simba: {gently to Nala} Are we?

Nala: {to Mufasa whilst still looking at Simba} Yes, we'll be just fine.

{ Mufasa runs off, the camera tracks him as he follows paths which he had thought he'd long since forgotten back to and up on to Priderock. He leaps over the rock with urgency. He reaches the shadowy entrance to the cave and peers in. From within he hears the sobs of a lonely lioness. He moves forwards slowly into the blackness. For a while we see and hear nothing. Then Sarabi's voice is heard through the velvety black. }

Sarabi: Who's that. Is that you creeping around Sarafina?

Mufasa: No, it's me, Mufasa.

Sarabi: {angrily} Mufasa, where have you been, that's the last time I leave you to look after Simba, and you smell of that PIG! {changing totally} But I don't care, Mufasa is it really you?

Mufasa: {lovingly} Yes, it's really me, it's really me.

{ The sun finally set as we leave Sarabi and Mufasa to get reacquainted, best thing really, for a little later two distinctive roars are heard from the cave. A lionesses low growl is followed by the involuntary rich rolling roar of a lion who doesn't want to draw attention to his position... }



*** Pouncing ***

{ Author's note: A pair of quickies to round things out a little. These really just tidy up a few loose ends and allow a few funnies that I couldn't resist, a little self-indulgent perhaps but they do have useful functions. Firstly they show that Simba is beginning to take being a king a little more seriously, secondly they illustrate the change in Pumbaa and finally they show that Timon is really alive after all and puts paid to speculation about his tendencies. And Zazu looses yet more feathers, where does he get them from: Primaries-r-Us?

The morning following Simba and Mufasa's return has dawned. Mufasa is nowhere to be seen. For a few days at least Simba will have to take the morning report. Sarabi has also not been seen since the previous sunset, it is strongly suspected that these two facts are connected, though no one dares to try to confirm it. Simba is taking Thembi along with him, after all kings, wherever they might reign must always be aware of the state of their kingdom. The two walk steadily out to the reporting knoll. At least Simba does, Thembi keeps on stopping and running on. Thembi has just run past his father when he, yet again, stops and turns back. }

Thembi: Dad, Will this take long?

Simba: Will what take long Thembi?

Thembi: {in a 'why do I have to do this' tone} Zazu's morning report.

Simba: Oh I hope not, I really do...but...he just loves to go on and on and on...{He stops walking and drops his head, closing his eyes slowly}...and on.

Thembi: DAD!!

{ Simba 'wakes up', smiles and walks on, past Thembi. }

Simba: But, he can be useful for some things. {laughing quietly to himself} And if I hear any more jokes about elephant's memories, leopard's spots or cheetahs I shall...well he had better have seen enough sunsets. So Thembi, did you want to do something else in particular....{notices he cannot hear Thembi at his side} Thembi! {stops and looks back} Thembi - keep up - come on, we're late already!

{ Thembi runs up to and past his father and on towards a low rise just ahead. calling to Simba as he passes. }

Thembi: Dad, you come on yourself!

Simba: Hey! {Thembi carries on over the rise and drops down out of sight} Thembi! Come back!

{ Simba gently breaks into a run, accelerating evenly and with ease and grace. He soon catches Thembi. They run on together, happy just to be father and son together. We catch up with them a little later as they reach a somewhat impatient Zazu, already perched on his rock. Notice he no longer calls Simba sire. }

Zazu: {sternly} What time do you call this?

{ Simba looks up to the sky and looks around for a moment. }

Simba: Morning.

{ Thembi giggles at his father's reply. Zazu sighs, resigned to Simba's frivolity. }

Zazu: Oh, Simba, I do wish you'd take the morning report more seriously AND be on time for once.

Simba: Do lighten up Zazu, nothing ever goes wrong in the Pridelands.

Zazu: {as sternly as he dare, Simba may not be THE king, but he is A king.} SIMBA!

Simba: Ok, Ok.

{ Simba sits up straight and stiffly, holding down a growing laugh. Thembi is less restrained and bursts out laughing at Zazu. }

Zazu: This is so humiliating. Your father always took this seriously.

Simba: {taking on a more restrained, serious look, his ears flat} I'm sorry. {turning to the still laughing Thembi} Thembi - that's enough.

{ Thembi stops for a moment then chuckles. }

Simba: {sternly} Thembekile!

{ Simba sits attentively as Thembi lies down, ears back. }

Zazu: Good. Now then, while you have been away there's been a real 'to do' with the meerkats. I'm told they are having a lot of trouble with...an interloper.

Simba: An interloper eh?

Thembi: {to himself} What's a interlooper?

Zazu: Yes, well, it would appear, and I can't be sure of this you understand, that a stranger has been...taking advantage of the Nkosi's mate while he's otherwise engaged.

Simba: A stranger? What kind of stranger?

{ Zazu looks at Thembi, who seems not to suspect anything. }

Zazu: A vagabond, a rogue male, YOU know the type. I needn't elaborate, what with the young master present.

Simba: No, of course not. I see - indeed, a tricky problem. {aside} So it WAS an amorous liaison. Do you know for sure who this rogue is?

Zazu: Well, I couldn't say, but I hear he's not far away.

Simba: {nodding his head slowly} I see. Thank you Zazu. I shall consider this most carefully.

Thembi: {bored} I don't. Dad, can we go now?

Simba: In a moment Thembi...Ah, yes, Zazu, if that's all would you turn around for a moment? I want to show my son something.

Zazu: What! Oh no, I'd rather face him.

Simba: {smiling broadly} Very well, if that's your choice.

{ Simba turns and whispers to the restless Thembi who then couches down low. Simba backs away out of shot. Thembi slinks forward to towards the vigilant hornbill who stands his ground firmly. Thembi stops and stares at his prey for a few moments before his shoulders tense as if he's about to spring. Suddenly Simba bursts running into shot from one side, he leaps at the terrified Zazu from the side landing barely inches from him. Zazu makes an emergency take off leaving a small pile of blue and grey feathers behind. }

Simba: You see Thembi, kings must maintain the element of surprise.

{ Simba and Thembi laugh together as Zazu keeps well out of the way. The two lions get up and walk off together as behind, a long way in the background we see three exhausted hyena, stumbling and falling over each other. Behind them are a pack of equally tired hunting dogs! }



*** Rebuke ***

{ Time passes, we next catch up with Simba and Thembi as they talk with Pumbaa, they are in dense scrubby cover at the edge of the main expanse of plain of the Pridelands. The grass is green, in total contrast to the browns from before the rains. }

Pumbaa: Yes, I've seen him. He said he'd meet me here. But he's not turned up yet.

Simba: He'd better, I've a bone to pick with him.

Pumbaa: {looking around} Where?

{ While Simba and Pumbaa talk Thembi sits watching the savannah. He hears a rustle but he cannot see anything. He returns to watching. Moments later he feels something sharp dig into his back. He turns his head in surprise to see Timon clambering up his back. }

Timon: Priderock kid, and run all the red lights!

Simba: {turning round suddenly} Timon - where have you been?

Pumbaa: Yeah, we thought you had been eaten by Immue.

Timon: Pah! I'd be too small to be worth her trouble.

Thembi: Come on, get those claws out!

Simba: But well worth MY trouble. Where have you been?

Timon: Oh, here and there.

Simba: {approaching Timon, he puts his head right by the meerkat} Doing what?

Timon: Hey, a meerkat's go to do what a meerkat's got to do!

Simba: But not here in my kingdom! Come on - you go off without even saying goodbye, Immue cooks up this story about you blinding Nyala. Nala forces me to go after her. I nearly get killed and I find my father - all because you wanted a bit of...excitement. I hope it was worth all the trouble.

Timon: Hey, I'm sorry, I didn't think anyone would notice.

Simba: You didn't think! No, you never do, even Pumbaa here thinks more than you do!

{ Pumbaa smiles smugly. }

Timon: Don't make me laugh, everyone knows Pumbaa doesn't...Huh, did you say you found your father? Jez, is there much of him left?

Simba: {cringing} All of him.

Timon: You mean he's alive? Great when do I get to see him?

Pumbaa: Not now, he's making a few investments for the future.

{ Thembi looks puzzled. }

Simba: Pumbaa! That wasn't bad, eh Timon? Come on, let's get going.

Timon: {as confused as Thembi} What?

{ Simba and Pumbaa get up and walk out onto the open savannah. Thembi gets up and Timon calls: }

Timon: Hey you guys, wait up!

Simba: Come on you two, kings must always be one step ahead.

Timon: Get going kid, is your meter running or what?

{ Thembi walks forwards with Timon sitting on his shoulders. Ahead we see the three hyena stumble into view, they run headlong into Simba and Pumbaa. }

Shenzi: That's it. We're dead. You had better get it over with. Please, anything to stop those dogs.

{ Banzai and Ed sit silently, totally exhausted. }

Simba: Dogs? What dogs?

Banzai: What dogs? Those ravenous mangy hounds chasing us, can't you see them?

{ Simba, now joined by Thembi and Timon, looks around and listens intently. }

Simba: I can't see any dogs? Can you Timon?

Timon: Nope, nothing. {he climbs up to the top off Thembi's head} Hey, wait a minute, what's that?

{ Simba sits up, this allows him a higher viewpoint. In the middle distance he just sees a scattered pack of wild dogs sleeping in the savannah sun. }

Simba: Oh, THOSE dogs. {chuckles to himself quietly} I'd best be off to the elephant's graveyard while I'd got the chance if I were you.

Shenzi: You're letting us go! Why?

Simba: {lying graciously, tail twitching} I'm stuffed, couldn't eat another thing.

Shenzi: Food! Man, I'm starved, I haven't eaten for days.

Banzai: I haven't done anything for days. That's the last time I'm doing any favours for the king!

Simba: Which king is that?

Banzai: Which king? YOU, it's not as if your father had come back to the Pridelands.

Shenzi: {tilting her head at Thembi} Yeah, and he don't count.

{ Ed manages a single ah-ha but no more. Simba and Pumbaa get up and walk off laughing together. Timon is left open mouthed. }

Simba: {to Pumbaa} I think they've got to play a lot of catch up.

Shenzi and Banzai: Huh? {Ed just looks blank}

{ They leave the hyenas to catch their breath and get away. Thembi hangs back with them. Timon is getting anxious and pulls Thembi's ears as he really HATES hyena. }

Thembi: Dad, can I go with them to the graveyard, it sounds really great.

Simba, Pumbaa, Timon, Shenzi and Banzai together: {all looking at Thembi sternly} NO!



*** Nala ***

{ Simba and Nala are out on the plain to the north east of Priderock, they walk side by side, Nala pushes herself against Simba's mane which almost envelops her head. They are alone.... }

Nala: Nyala will be all right. It'll take time, but she'll recover. {almost laughing} I heard Timon moaning earlier that you think Pumbaa's cleverer than him. Thembi's happy that he doesn't have to be king yet. You'll have to go away like that more often.

Simba: Do I have to? {he closes his eyes for a moment thinking of the pain and sadness}

Nala: No, not really.

Simba: Great, for a moment I thought you wanted me to...

Nala: Shsss. That's enough, just listen.

Simba: {quietly} To what?

{ Nala pushes herself close to Simba who stands dead still, unsure of what to do. }

Simba: But there's nothing to hear.

Nala: I know, isn't it beautiful? There's just us, no cubs, no meerkats, no warthogs, no hyenas, nobody but the two of us.

Simba: What should I do?

Nala: Don't DO anything. Just sit back and enjoy the evening with me.

Simba: No, I mean about the pride, I suspect Sala is, well you know...

{ Nala is a little upset that Simba has ruined the mood. Simba sits down slowly and Nala sits beside him, they are some way from Priderock in the open savannah as the sun sets. }

Nala: Simba, I know, she told me. All you have to do is sort her out and do your duty to the pride.

Simba: Heh? Sort Sala out? Do I have to? You're enough for me!

Nala: {rebuking him gently} Simba! I'm asking you to mate with her, not love her!

Simba: Oh? There's a difference? Dad never told me that.

Nala: There's many things he didn't tell you - many things I didn't tell you. {gently and lovingly} Simba, you know you're the one....

{ Nala lifts her hindquarters from the ground, lowers her head (steady now, don't go getting any ideas!) and pushes it under Simba's chin. She moves forward rubbing her head and neck against him, her tail held high. Simba is at first pleasantly surprised, this soon changes to a knowing and loving smile. He says nothing as the camera moves away to leave them in peace together at last. With the couple barely distinguishable amongst the vegetation of the plain we hear Simba's voice for the last time: }

Simba: Nala?

Nala: Yes Simba.

Simba: Nala, there's something important I've always wanted to ask you.

Nala: {softly, lovingly and with understanding} Yes Simba, anything, anything at all.

Simba: Nala, What exactly IS chicken?

Nala: SIMBA!

Simba: Oow!



*** End titles ***

{ While the titles run we hear Lea Halalela, and possibly, if required, It's Time. When each character animation team is credited we should see a vignette of the relevant character in a typical pose, either as 'wallpaper' or as an insert to one side of the text. }

Scene running order:

Part 1

________Prologue
________The One (inc. song)
________Main Title
________Cubs
________Rumble
________Knackered
________Lugga
________Revelations
________Homebound
________Etiquette (inc. song)
________Cajoling
________Advice
________Parting
________Chase
________Stars (inc. song)
________Pumbaa's quest
________Demise
________Explanation
________Rocks
________Collision


Intermission

Part 2

________Stockade
________Meeting
________Escape
________Wanderings
________Reunion
________Buffalo
________Chaser
________Through Faith and Love (inc. songs)
________Return
________Pouncing
________Rebuke
________Nala

________End Titles (Lea Halalela/It's Time)

________Salvation - Nobody will ever see this, they'll have left by then!



*** Salvation ***

{ It is a hot and humid day, heavy with cloud, as we join the vet and the PGS in the 4WD. The vet drives carefully into the shallows of a substantial river, this is a shallow if wide crossing of swiftly flowing water. All along the gently sloping bank we can see large logs, some almost whole trees, which have been washed up by the power of the river. The water rushes and foams over the boulders littering the river bed. The water laps around the tyres as the 4WD stops for a moment as the vet considers his route. Neither speaks. The water flows on relentlessly. The 4WD moves forwards and deeper into the river we see logs and other debris float by showing the speed and power of the flow. The 4WD rocks from side to side as it inches across the uneven river bed. It keeps on going for some time, continuously getting lower in the water as it moves to the centre of the river channel. We switch to an inside view. }

Vet: Now, she did say when you get to the centre the bed gets soft?

PGS: Yeah, that's what I heard.

Vet: Ok, though this goes against my instinct. Graghhh!

{ He puts is foot hard down on the accelerator pedal, the 4WD lurches forward pushing the water ahead in a substantial wave. It's forward movement is momentarily checked, steam rises from the engine compartment as the water splashes over the (probably diesel) engine. The front wheels move up and suddenly over an underwater obstruction and the whole 4WD ploughs forward. It sinks slightly into the reportedly soft sand as it runs as quickly as the vet dare drive it and for a few seconds the water covers the wheels entirely. Then, second by second, the steaming 4WD climbs up out of the deepest channel in the river up on to the far bank. To the right the sandy bank rises unclimbably out of the river, to the left the muddy shallow slope of the bank is covered with large boulders, this is the only 'safe' ford of this river for some distance in either direction. In the distance ahead and some way off to the right the vet can see a massive thrusting outcrop of bare rock rising forbiddingly up from the savannah. The 4WD, now above the water line stops and water pours and drips from every part of the underside. The front doors open and a small flood of water flows out from the door openings. The vet sits and raises his feet, shaking them as best he can to 'dry' them. }

PGS: {off camera} Hey, what's that rock?

Vet: {looking up from his feet} Eh? {looks towards rock} That must be the home of the pride she's studying, she calls it The Pride Rock. Pretty dramatic eh?

PGS: Sure is. Hey how are your feet?

Vet: {closing the door} Need you ask? Come on, let's get out of here before we slip back in...there.

{ The 4WD moves forwards, still steaming and dripping, up on to an ill-defined track away from the river. We see the 4WD as it crests a steep ridge before the track drops down again to a plain. The track runs some way to the north of the rock, passing some 50m from a small knoll topped by a boulder, as the 4WD passes a small blue hornbill rises dramatically up from the grass and flies away towards the rock. A short distance on a large warthog crosses the track, the 4WD slows and stops. }

PGS: Stop, that's a warthog!

Vet: You don't get any more observant, do you?

{ The warthog stops in the short grass to their right and looks back. It seems unconcerned and unhurried. It turns forward again and trots on. The grass to the left of the 4WD moves unnaturally and the Vet and PGS watch intently as a young lioness, a cub still in her first year, moves forward watching the warthog. }

Vet: {stopping the engine} Shussh. This is what you came to Africa to see.

PGS: Yeah, will she catch it?

Vet: How do I know? Shut up and watch.

{ The warthog, disturbed by some sound, stops again. The lioness stops and waits for him to move on. The warthog grunts and walks forwards slowly. As it hears no sound and smells no scent of pursuit it speeds up, it's tail held high. The lioness pushes forwards and comes close to the 4WD, which it ignores totally. As it passes just a few metres from the front it suddenly stops and turns to look inside. For a moment the vet feels certain he recognises those eyes, then they are gone once more as the lioness moves off to the right. The warthog notices something for sure this time and doesn't wait to find out what it was, he bolts forward. Even though he is a substantial male he manages to get some way ahead before the lioness can manage to break into a run. She is clearly too young to have developed a powerful spring from a stand, or perhaps she was simply taken by surprise while she was still thinking about the 4WD. However she now runs after the warthog who, it seems, can easily outrun her. He runs for some 50m then turns suddenly west, his pursuer, not letting her eyes wander from him, turns easily, her tail flying out behind her, and manages to close the gap significantly. Then the chase quickens as two other much older lionesses rise from the grass as the warthog passes them. First a large sandy coated, well proportioned lioness with dark black ear marks, then a second, rich gold, smaller and more rugged lioness which follows after the first. The warthog still seems to be on top of the situation, twisting and turning unpredictably, all three cats following as best they can, only the largest, the most lightly coloured seems capable of catching it; if she made that last extra effort. The warthog runs back across the track ahead of the 4WD, tripping on its forelegs as it crosses the small ridges. It somersaults onto the short grass just to the left and the large lioness rushes onto it. Before she can do anything the second lioness crashes in to the side of the first, knocking her onto her side to slide roughly over half a length across the ground. She lashes out with a hind paw as she falls catching her assailant across the nose with an extended claw, drawing a little blood. The Warthog, now unexpectedly free, gets up and steps back, shaking his head to rid himself of the dust. The cub reaches the others just as the fallen lioness gets up and glares at the darker one with bared teeth who draws back and, seeing the error of her ways, turns and bounds off. The warthog just stands still, seeming oblivious to the danger he's in. }

Vet: Stupid things warthogs, look at him, just standing there. What's he waiting for, someone to put an apple in his mouth?

{ The darker lioness has moved off to a relatively safe distance and lies watching the others, blood dripping slowly from her cut nose. The sandy lioness growls after her. The warthog at last realises his peril and turns and runs off. The cub stands close to the sandy lioness in an almost protective manner for a moment before the two walk off towards the third. The Vet and the PGS watch this extraordinary sight for as long as they can. Then, the show over, the Vet restarts the engine and drives on. They have entered The Pridelands.

A little while later we join the researcher in the well equipped, darkened, air-conditioned interior of a fully fitted out container. This is her workroom the walls are covered with photographs (the far end of the container is partitioned off by thick black material suggesting a darkroom beyond) and field notes of all kinds. On a whiteboard, in red and blue are the names and numbers of her study subjects joined by various lines, at the top is, heavily ringed in red, a large question mark. From this most of the others are joined in one colour or another. Ahead of her, on a raised workbench, is a lightbox generally used for studying transparencies and negatives but on this occasion on it is a clear plastic film with three vertical lines comprised of numerous fuzzy horizontal bars, some thick and dark, some thin and light, some thick and light. There is no obvious pattern to them, at least at a glance. There is a loud knock at the door. The researcher gets up from her chair and pushes on the door release bar. The door flies open flooding the container with bright light. She steps back holding her left arm out to welcome in the visitors who step in gingerly. She closes the door behind them. The darkness returns, for a few moments it seems totally dark and one of the visitors stumbles into something with a thud. }

Vet: Er, excuse me but can we have our dogs back?

Researcher: {laughing} Keep still while your eyes adjust to the light.

PGS: What light?

Researcher: Not again! Yes, I think I've got them somewhere around here.

{ There is a knock as she kicks something close to the floor. The lightbox flashes before coming on permanently as overhead the light comes on. }

Researcher: Sorry about that, I get so used to working in the dark I forget that others can't do the same.

Vet: Yes, well we're not like your cats. We saw three on our way in.

Researcher: Yes? Your male I presume, and his, well, I'd better show you this.

Vet: What, and no they were three females and a warthog.

Researcher: {laughing as if she's heard this before} Oh, not that pig again.

{ She walks over to the light box and looks at the sheet. The vet moves closer and peers at the marks on it. }

Vet: That, I presume is a DNA fingerprint.

Researcher: Close. It's a copy of three DNA fingerprints. In track one we have the line from your Batian. The next track is blank, then in track three we have a control sample, and in the fourth we have the print of my lion.

{ There is an uncomfortable silence. }

Vet: And?

Researcher: Ah yes, well, there's a problem.

Vet: What kind of a problem?

Researcher: Well, either you got cross-contamination between these samples...

Vet: Hey! Wait a minute, we may not be equipped like this but we do know our job.

Researcher: ...or these two are very closely related.

Vet: How closely is 'closely'?

Researcher: Brothers or more probably, judging by the ages, father and son.

Vet: FATHER AND SON! Do you mean Batian is your lion's father?

Researcher: That seems to be the best explanation IF you can rule out contamination.

Vet: I can. You can tell that from all these lines?

Researcher: {laughing} Yes, I'll tell you all about it. If you tell me about how you found Batian.

Vet: All right, but first you tell me yours...

{ We leave them to expound on the technicalities of DNA fingerprinting, very boring. We join them later as they sit outside in the open watching the spectacle of sunset beyond Priderock. They each have a cold can of Coke. }

Vet: ...so, after that we decided to call it a day and go home. {swigs from his can} That's when we noticed, hey we couldn't miss it, this mass of wildebeest stampeding across our path. I mean have you ever heard of it?

PGS: What, twenty, thirty?

Researcher: two hundred, three hundred? Well?

Vet: More, thousands. I've seen tens of thousands stretching out over the savannah before, but never seen this many on the move, they just kept on and on.

Researcher: Why?

Vet: {drinking again, but the can is empty, he puts it down carefully on a table just behind him} I don't know, we did see a pack of hyena in there somewhere, almost as if they were driving them.

PGS: Hyena driving Wildebeest! Give over.

Vet: That's what we saw. Anyway eventually they were gone, the ground ahead was stripped bare, all the grass gone, just bare rough earth was left behind. We drove on.

Researcher: Where to?

Vet: Back down from the plateau. You know, if we'd known about that river crossing we wouldn't have bothered. As it was, as far as we knew the gorge was the only way off this plateau to the west.

Researcher: Oh yes, those are the only two easy ways off, off to the east, the mountains rise up. There's a big river to the north of us and the desert forms the southern and western borders. This is a isolated patch of savannah, rich and fertile but inherently unstable. It could probably support three or four prides but as it is there's only my one.

Vet: Ok, whose telling this story?

{ The researcher keeps silent and lets the Vet continue. }

Vet: Right, now, oh yes. We had to follow the gorge down from this end, you know right behind the rock, we can't see it from here.

PGS: Where? I can't see anything.

Researcher: I'll take you there tomorrow.

Vet: Hey, quiet now.

PGS: {in a 'huff'} Sorry.

{ The camera switches to the scene in the gorge. The Vet is heard as a voice over: the narrator. }

Vet: Ok, so off we go, the gorge tapers out quite shallowly at this end and we drive down. At first all seems normal. The sun's about to set when we see the ground has been churned up like above, so the stampede must have come down here. We go on for a little while when suddenly someone, I forget who, sees something, possibly a body he says by the remains of a tree. We go over there and it's not easy to see what it was, every things covered in a blanket of dust. We all get out and I walked over to it. It was a body, but not of a man, much too big for that, it was a lion, a big lion...

{ The v/o stops as we switch to 'live' sound. Which means I must switch to being the narrator. Most of the occupants of the 4WD gather round the 'body' some, the local guides etc. talk agitatedly amongst themselves. The vet moves in closer and blows some of the dust away from the ears of the body to reveal it's head. It moves, just a little. The talk immediately stops as all turn to the lion. The vet feels it's neck for a pulse and feeling a faint and slow pulse rises and looks him over for signs of injury. His right foreleg and left hindleg are twisted unnaturally; his left shoulder is badly cut, the dust being stained purple by the blood. He makes no movement and is clearly unconscious. He is alive but only just. }

Vet: It's alive. Someone load a rifle, we can't leave him like this.

{ There is the sound of a rifle being loaded off camera. }

Vet: Ok, who's going to do it? {turns to the sound of the rifle, however he sees it is pointed at him} What's this? Eh, Put that thing down, we don't want to kill anybody?

{ We know the holder of the rifle as the Boss, though he wasn't then, he was younger, of course, with little more hair... }

Boss: {calmly and without malice} You will save him - not kill him. Do you understand?

{ The Vet is clearly in distress, he is wide-eyed and shakes in terror. }

Vet: What? He's practically dead as it is. All I can do is prolong his pain.

Boss: If you don't try we will have to send you after him. We don't want to do that, it would not be right.

Vet: What is this? Are lions special or something?

Boss: They are from God. All things are from God, but lions are part of God himself. You can save this lion from death - you must try. You cannot let God die without doing what you can to save him.

Vet: Look, I can't promise anything. I could do everything possible and still he may well die.

Boss: Then you will have tried your best and you will have honoured God.

Vet: Ok, Ok, just put that down.

Boss: You will do what you can?

Vet: Yes, you have my word. I'll do all that I can but I know little about lion.

Boss: Very well. {raises the gun from the Vet who is clearly much relieved}

Vet: Thanks, I work better if I know I'm not about to be killed.

Boss: You weren't. My rifle isn't loaded.

Vet: {looking around anxiously} Someone's was...

{ Somewhere up above they all hear the howls and chatters of handful of hyena echoing around the gorge walls. The vet takes two deep breaths and shrugs his shoulders. }

Vet: Great, now which end do I start?

{ The camera pulls up and way from the group as the vet starts on the lion. We watch the sun as it finally sets beyond a rock, known to us as Priderock. }

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

Text version of The Pridelands Part 2.

The Pride Lands Online Fan's Gallery Archive