Chapter One : Memories and Waterfalls

______The sun had begun to set. He quietly crept out of the shadows which had formed with the last dying beams of the day. No one around to distract him as he glanced up at the approaching night sky. He often stole away from the others to this spot. Here, he and his father would often lie. Aside from the knowledge, it was one of the only memories of his father that he wanted to keep alive. He often resented what had been done to father. Shunned from his rightful place as king in the Pride Lands, beaten down, then left for dead. If it had not been for the compassion of his mother, Sikia, his glory would have ended there and then. It had not, however. Sikia, detached from the group of lionesses, had taken pity on his father. She left the group, found father, and helped him to safety. Surprisingly, the fire had not done much damage, his mother told him. It was the murderers who had dealt the blows which crippled him so.
______He remembered his father vividly. He had told him stories of his rule. He did not deny that certain mistakes were made. These mistakes, his father had told him, swapped his fate, changing him from the hunter to the prey. Taka spoke his mind, taught him well, so that one day he could return. He, Tokeko, would take his father's rightful place.
______He said that the downfall made him change. He was a different lion than the lion who had taken the throne. He became aware of how bad things had become when he was forced to leave. This spawned the greatest piece of advice father would give Tokeko: keep things under control. Never get too carried away with all the glory and fame.
______He missed his father. When Taka realized that he had become too weak in his elderly age to carry on, too crippled and setting the whole group behind, he chose to leave. It was a decision that Tokeko had respected. He knew that his father had been a proud lion. Yet a part of him despised himself for not stopping him. Accommodations could have been made. His father did not have to die alone. The weeks after father's departure, Tokeko came to the realization that most of his positive emotions died with father. He now preferred to live by himself, he took his meals by himself, he slept by himself.
______The only lion he felt close to was Sikia, his mother, who consoled him after father left. She promised him that all would be right, that father knew what he was doing. She told him stories of his father which he had not known. She told him of the great change in father's personality after his defeat. He was no longer ruthless, he now cared for his family, for their well being. She made brief mentions of his rule, during which she had not seen father for the lion he was. She noted that she saw him as a killer, a note which she never expanded upon. Tokeko never asked, but could never picture father as a killer, as a ruthless leader with no feelings. Surely no one could be expected to rule perfectly. She told him exactly what father had told him, that he had regretted many things. In the end, Tokeko decided, these stories came down to nothing. All that mattered was that he would one day reign. With the knowledge that father had given him, he would be careful to avoid the mistakes that he had been told of. He saw his rule as being perfect. All that stood in his way now was Simba.
______Tokeko had never stood face to face with Simba, thus never had a chance to evaluate his character. Father taught him that eyes never lied. He often looked to the eyes of others to judge their personality. It could save a considerable amount of trouble in the long run. It was one of the most important lesson that he took from his father's teachings.
______He had heard stories from the other lions about Simba's return, and his defeat of father. These stories painted father as an evil person. Stories that rapidly ended when Tokeko was spotted nearby. One lion made the mistake of insulting father. For this, he paid dearly. Tokeko's quiet nature had not robbed him of his brute strength. The insults, mixed with the recent departure of father had brought out a savage rage. Channeled, Tokeko realized, this rage could be put to good use. The battle over father's honor had left Tokeko with a sense of strength, and left the opposing lion with one less eye. No one would dare to challenge father's honor again.

______Sikia stepped out of her cave and looked to her son. A feeling hit her, a feeling that she had been dreading for all of his life. She knew that his time was coming, the time he would go and avenge his father. She had not worried about it much until he blinded that lion that spoken ill of Taka. Sikia was startled to learn of her son's strength. She had always mistaken his quietness for weakness. She had hoped that these feelings of weakness would keep him from acting out thoughts of revenge against Simba.
______She also had tried to distract him by encouraging Tokeko to make friends. "It's healthy --" she would say. She had thought that surrounding him with others would keep his mind occupied. But, alas, it didn't work. Tokeko gave his mother's suggestion a halfhearted attempt, and marginally succeeded. He made friends with a few cubs, but these friendships grew distant with time, and Tokeko soon found himself alone, again.
______He had now matured into a young adult. With time, the habits of a young cub had washed away, to be replaced with emptiness. Tokeko often stole away and fell asleep alone. Sikia worried, as any mother would have worried if her son alienated himself from the group. She felt that she had failed him somehow. She knew that the stories the other lions told were true. She detested the fact that Tokeko had crippled another lion for telling the truth. She also knew the problem. All of his life, Tokeko had been raised to believe that Taka had been the rightful heir to the throne. No one had told him that he killed his brother to get his way. She mentioned this vaguely once or twice, hoping that Tokeko would not bother probing deeper into the matter. Unfortunately, her hopes were answered.
______Sikia knew that the bond between Taka and Tokeko was greater than anything she could come up with, and she knew how much it must have hurt Tokeko to lose his father. She continued to tell him stories of Taka's rule, but she never accented the fact that he was defeated by Simba, that Simba was the rightful king. This sparked the problem, and she knew it. In Tokeko's mind, Taka was the rightful king, not Simba. She also knew that she had to do something, anything, to steer him in the right direction. Tokeko was very destructive, and would not tolerate any soiling of Taka's memory, so she knew that she would have to choose her words carefully. Anything to help him readjust to life in the Pride Lands, where he would return. It was inevitable. To keep him away from the grass of the Pride Lands was like stopping a waterfall. Impossible, but she had to try to make his journey easier. She decided that the time had come.

______Tokeko laid quietly on the outcrop of rocks where his father had taught him many lessons. He thought, he remembered father's last words: 'make me proud'. That was all he wanted to remember of father's departure. His life's mission was altered by those three words. He knew what had to be done. He knew that the time was coming. He would return soon. A rustling of leaves focused his attention. "Mother," he said without turning his head. Only she would approach him this late in the day.
______"Yes, son. I came to talk to you." She said simply.
______"About?" Tokeko inquired.
______"About your father. There are things..." She began hesitantly. "...things you must know."

______The same sun set over Pride Rock. Simba and Tanabi stood silently, and watched peace settle over the land, the land which had not long ago been savagely destroyed by the fires. Ironically, these fires had cleansed the lands of evil. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Now, all was peaceful in the land.
______Simba let out a long, quiet sigh. He remembered the ordeals that had resulted from improper rule, and was determined to teach Tanabi all he knew, all he had a chance to learn while his father had lived. He was sure that Tanabi would make an excellent ruler. He displayed all the characteristics, but one: strength. To look at them both, side by side, one would never guess that they were father and son. Tanabi had grown rapidly and had outgrew his father not too long ago. Unfortunately, despite his physical appearance, he did not have alarge reserve of physical, brute strength. Simba could not recall an instance where Tanabi had mustered strength to achieve a goal. He knew that Tanabi made up for his weakness with his inner strength. His willpower, his determination, and his forcefulness were great indeed. He had no doubt, however, that Tanabi would experience grief at the hands of his weakness. He knew that the world could be a cruel place. He knew that well enough, the Circle had dealt him this and he would have to overcome.
______The interruption startled Simba. Only now he realized that the sun had set completely. He looked back at Tanabi as he stood at the cave entrance. He gave his father a quick smile.
______"You go on ahead. I'll be right in." Simba had always liked to sit on the edge of his throne rock and gaze at the stars. He knew that Mufasa watched him from above. He also knew that he would one day take his place alongside his father. Then Tanabi would need to prove himself a true king.
______Today, however, as the darkness settled over the land, the stars were not to be seen. Simba recognized the storm approaching for what it was. He knew well enough to stay in out of the rain. He would find his father another night. He stood up and walked into the cave to his son.

______Tokeko turned his head. He saw his mother approaching carefully, almost hesitantly. He knew that something was wrong. She never hesitated to talk to him. The two were always open as all they had were each other. First the death of his sister, then departure of father, had brought them together. If that bond was falling, then what did he have left? Only the goal, nothing would matter then. If he achieved it, he would take his father's place. If not, the world would be no worse off.
______"Yes, Mother?"

______Sikia saw the look in her son's eyes. Quick, jabbing pain. She knew that hesitation would get her nowhere, but with matters dealing with Taka, she was afraid to disturb any of Tokeko's memories. All she could think of was the lion who had tried to disprove Taka's honor and his devastated eye. That was for a simple comment. What would he do when hit with the whole, dreadful truth? Sikia now was scared, not for breaking his heart, but for herself. She knew Tokeko loved her, but he loved Taka more. Would he lash out at me, his own mother? She stopped. She could not break his heart. He would learn these lessons on his own. Something, though, anything to help him.
______After a long, awkward pause, Tokeko spoke. "Mother, I also want to share something. I have will soon be time to avenge Father."
______Her heart dropped. "I -" She began, but stopped. She did not want her son to leave, but she was powerless to stop him. She knew instantly what advice to give him. "I understand. But before you do anything, let me tell you something. Something which will make your trip -- easier."
______"Anything," He prompted.
______"Your father...that that Simba is king, your father's name is not very...accepted." She was nervous, she had struggled for the right words. She had reason to be nervous now. She knew her words would hit home soon. "On your journey, do not tell anyone who your father is. It will make matters... easier." She finished and awaited a reply, verbal or physical. She no longer feared Tokeko. It was too late for that. If he was to harm her, it was irreversible now.

______Tokeko was speechless. He fought to keep his anger under control. He did not want to believe his mother.
______But in all the years they had been close, he had never known her to lie to anyone. He decided that what she told him must be the truth. The anger left him as rapidly as it appeared. He saw no need for rebuke.
______"I see. Thank you, Mother." He gave his response quite blandly, then added, "I might as well leave as soon as possible." He always lived on 'the spur of the moment'. He was too smart, however, to jump into a journey like this one without knowledge. He knew that mother had lived in the Pride Lands for a long time. He knew that she could be available source of information, too great a source to pass up. "Is there anything you could tell me about life there which could help me? matter how insignificant."
______"Yes my son. I can tell you much which might help you --"
______They talked until Sikia could no longer hold her eyes open. She had often joked that Tokeko had never seen an actual sunrise. It was true, he always slept from late at night until late hours after the sunrise. It never failed to bring a light laugh out of him. He realized he would miss his mother. She would eventually adjust to life without him, and he would find her when he became king. He had no doubt that everything would work out well. He would have invited her to join him, but he knew that the journey would dangerous. He preferred not to expose his mother to the journey. They both retired to their misty cavern. The storm had passed, all was quiet now. In minutes, all that could be heard was the soft breathing of a dedicated son and his relieved mother.

______Simba had long since drifted off to sleep. Nothing short of a major disaster would wake him tonight, for tonight he dreamt of Mufasa.
______The last time his father had appeared to him, spoke to him, he was presenting his son after his birth. But this time, he was presenting himself again, as he did after the defeat of his uncle. There had to be a reason. Mufasa appeared in a haze of blue clouds. Not in the sky this time, like the last, but at eye level to Simba.
______At first, Simba approached his father carefully. He saw the stern gaze his father shot his way, and instantly realized that all was not right. He made his way as close to father as he possibly could, yet the unseen force that played master over his dream held him back, held him away.
______"Father.." he said quickly, as if he was afraid that his father would fade away as he had years ago.
______"Simba..," interrupted Mufasa. His deep voice sent a shiver down Simba's spine. He had forgotten his father's voice. "Simba, it is not yet finished," said the specter, his voice holding a tone of advice, "Prepare yourself."
______Simba awoke suddenly. It had not taken much to wake him after all. He forced himself to his paws, and quickly looked around the cavern, almost willing himself to see his father standing behind a rock, playing hide-and-seek as they had done when he was a young cub. Mufasa, however, would not be found behind any rocks this time. He knew that he had dreamt the whole thing, his father was long dead.
______A part of him had accepted the fate of his father a long time ago. Another part, the one buried deep within, had yet to overcome the fact that he was somewhat responsible for that death. If he had not been so easily fooled, deceived, by the promises of a surprise which had never come, his father would still be alive today. This part of Simba had been suppressed so long, that it was undetectable. These memories helped unearth it, and Simba once again faced his past. More importantly now, he faced his present. What had the advice meant?
______"What's not finished?" he asked himself, so quietly that he wondered if he had said, or thought, the question. "Prepare for what?"

______Sunrise. The warm rays of the sun lightly touched Sikia's eyelids. They fluttered open. She instantly realized that something was horribly, horribly wrong. She was alone.
______Tokeko never wandered off without giving her a notice. She had thought that to be detrimental to his development. Adult lions should not have to tellanyone where they go. Tokeko, however, remained close to his mother. Now she shivered at the fact that he left without informing her. She knew that he had left for good.
______The realization that she would not see her son for a long time, if ever, hit her. It hit her hard and she was stunned. For a few minutes, all was memories. She remembered Tokeko's birth. Both she and Taka were delighted. She knew that Taka had changed. It was possibly the birth of Tokeko that had completely reformed him. He took full responsibility for Tokeko, and though crippled, he attempted to do with him what ordinary fathers taught their sons. He first taught him the physical survival skills, but as time progressed, the physical skills were replaced with more mental stimulation. They would spend hours discussing the finer, and not-so-finer, points of ruling.
______Taka's recovery was incredible. Though he was injured, the love of his son helped him overcome all but the most brutal experiences. She had no doubt that were Taka to go back to the pride, he might even manage to fit in. Not that anyone would want him there. That's why she took pity on him first. She put herself in his position. He had made some mistakes, but she knew that it was best to put the past behind him. Like it or not, he was a valuable addition to the group. He was the type who was not afraid to speak his mind. Though this 'speaking' had often carried him too far, he was not unlike anyone else. He deserved a second chance. She had quietly left the group. The others would not have understood her reasoning and she was not sure that at the time she understood it properly. She waited until the hyenas retreated to asafe distance. She approached his unmoving body. She could see that it was still breathing faintly.
______"The hyenas never did do a quality job," She remarked to herself. She walked up to Taka, and licked the blood off of his face. It was just enough to stir life back into his body. He opened his eyes, painfully, slowly. It was apparent that he struggled to amass the situation. She took no notice.
______"Careful. We must leave quickly. Before they find you..." she told him. He only looked back. His eyes showed nothing but, pain and something else. Gratefulness. Taka was sure that he had lost all, but he had not. Slowly but surely, she aided him up. His left forepaw had been chewed through, and bones showed through his gaping wounds. He fell many times on the short journey. He lost the use of his left forepaw, and his hind legs would not cooperate without the most intense concentration. They finally made it far enough to avoid the majestic fires which had sprouted. She began to clean his wounds. When he was close enough to her head, he gave her a kiss. A simple kiss was all that was needed to bind them. She knew then that she would have no other. Slowly, her deep pity was turned into love. The days that followed, Taka was still silent, as his strength had not yet returned. He made several efforts to pick himself up, but was unsuccessful. Sikia, meanwhile, gathered enough food for two. She could not go back to the others now, and decided that they should move away quickly, before anyone discovered them.
______She tended to Taka for the next few days, during which his strength returned somewhat. She had returned from gathering food. She was cleaning it, and suddenly, she heard a sound behind her. Taka had managed to pick himself up, and crawl over. The first words he uttered to her on a personal level were "Thank you, but why?" He seemed at a lack for words. His voice was still as deep as it always was, but this time it held a chord of compassion. It was clear that no one had ever gone out of their way to pay extra attention to him. She could not give him an answer. It had been a spontaneous decision on her part. A portion of her just knew that they were meant for each other, and she knew that she could not let him die that way.
______Soon after, they departed. It had been a long trip. Taka, being crippled, had slowed their journey considerably. She took no notice of this, however. All she could think about was her future with him. They soon found a spot which was suitably uninhabited. It was a beautiful place. A match, even, for the Pride Lands. Early on, they discovered that it was not all uninhabited. Luckily, the occupants understood their situation. They soon integrated themselves into the group. Taka showed no signs of wanting to go back to extract revenge. Even if he did, in his present condition, he was in no shape to extract anything. The old lifestyle had been forgotten. It died in the fires under Pride Pock.
______Soon, their love for each other produced two cubs. A son and daughter, Tokeko and Kibeti. When the king died, the pride split into groups. Taka and Sikia led a group away, not wanting more bloodshed among lions. They had had enough for a lifetime. They made their way even further from the Pride Lands. Their group found a small, yet beautiful clearing which proved an excellent home. There, Taka had taught Tokeko all he needed to know. Kibeti, meanwhile had died on the trip, as she proved to be too sick for such an expedition. She was found dead the morning after they had arrived at the new home. It was a great loss for the two, as losing a daughter would be to any parent. They wept for many days. It was not fair that one so young and lovely had died for no reason. She would have had a good life. They eventually surpassed their feelings, and coped with the death. It was, however, not easy.
______Eventually, Taka knew that he was of little use. He confided in Sikia before leaving. Sikia did not understand the reasoning of her husband. She did not see why Taka could not live out his years among the others. He had no reply. Inside she knew that it was pride. He did not want Tokeko to see him grow into a worthless old lion. She knew that she had no say in the matter, and if she did, it would be nearly impossible to convince him. She silently turned from him. She understood, and finally nodded to her mate.
______That night, Taka talked with Tokeko. Surprisingly, Tokeko seemed to understand. He did not fight as she had fought, and frankly, she could not understand. It was his father, the most important being in his life! How could he just stand by and let him die like that?
______Soon after the death of Taka, Tokeko became a recluse. He only came out publicly to collect any food which was gathered. He slept until the late morning, and stayed up late. She never understood this. She finally questioned Tokeko on the matter, and he replied simply, "I need time to reflect." She still did not understand why he could not reflect in the light of day. She never pursued the subject further as it seemed to cause pain in him. Tokeko lost whatever closeness may have existed between him and any other cubs. He now needed no one but himself. She was saddened by this. It was as if she had lost her son...lost my son!
______The thought brought her back to reality. She stood up, and proceeded very slowly to the cavern entrance. After all, time had no meaning now. It was just empty space. She was surprised to find a torn carcass, and several smaller animals laid with great care at the entrance of her cave. She knew that it was Tokeko's doing, he had not forgotten his mother. It was almost a farewell gesture. Again, she felt saddened. Tokeko must have spent hours catching this. It all finally hit. She began to cry. There was no one to be composed for, so she fell to the ground. There she laid, sobbing.

______Further away, Tokeko watched. He was never good at farewells. He decided that the best action was the one he'd taken. He felt shame for making his mother cry, she deserved better than that. She gave him life, and he swore to give her life in return. She would never be burdened again. All that remained was to begin the journey. He formulated the plan the night he went hunting. He was not very successful at the hunting, but he managed to pick off the small, the weak, and the sick. He was, however, more successful at planning. It was not a very defined plan, yet, but it would suffice. He glanced around again in his mother's direction. All his being wanted to console her, to comfort her as she had comforted him. It was too late now. He felt a deep surge of regret as he left. Quietly, he made his way through the trees. The pain was great, but he shed not one tear. It was not time for tears yet. The time would come.
______He would make his father's a satisfied soul..
______He would make his a satisfied soul..
______To put the plan into action..
______-- Now to find the help I'll need..

______The next few hours brought no enlightenment. Simba asked the same two questions over and over, almost hoping that Mufasa himself would appear and explain. He knew that the advice was not to be taken lightly. In fact, he was downright scared. His father had told him to prepare. For what? It almost hinted at a confrontation. He could not prepare for that which he did not know. He needed time to think things over. He needed a friend. He knew that he needed Rafiki.

End: Chapter One

Chapter Two : To Peace

______As the sunlight faded from the African sky, the water hole became ghostly still. Tonight was different, though, as a lone figure stood by the clear water. It was Tanabi, the future king.
______He stood at the edge of the water and peered into his clear reflection. Looking into his own eyes, he saw himself. Not only that, but to his surprise, he also saw his father and every other king that had come before him. Father had told him once that all the kings of the past not only lived in the stars, but within himself too. He hadn't totally believed him then. But now... He took a deep breath. Indeed, it was a good day to be alive. The fresh air in his healthy lungs cleared any doubt of that. These types of days were what made being king worthwhile.
______Sure, I'm not king yet. A mere formality. He straightened at the thought and took on a regal pose. He would be remembered for his time as king. He just couldn't wait. He had often wondered if his father was this anxious to become king. He took another deep breath, and proceeded to drink sloppily. Quickly, he came to a decision, he dropped all the acting, dropped the kingly pose, and drank comfortably.
______All was quiet and peaceful.

______A pair of golden eyes look out at the young prince from the grass. The owner of the eyes had been watching him since he arrived, waiting for the perfect time to strike. "Look at him, putting up that act, I'll show him who the real king is..." the owner mumbled quietly.

______The peacefulness came to an end.
______He suddenly felt a presence, like someone was watching him. He quickly turned his head just in time to see a tawny streak shoot towards him. The world turned upside down and inside out as the streak hit him. He managed not to lose too much control, yet he found himself lying in the water. Beside him, also in the water, grinning widely with golden eyes, lay his beloved. ______"You know," he began playfully, splashing her as he spoke, "this isn't making me very popular."
______"So?" Wazi replied, equally, if not more playfully. She returned the splashes, drenching him again.
______"So...what kind of king lets his love stalk him, sneak up on him, then scare him half to death?"
______"You do, silly." she said quickly with a laugh. "And you always will."
______"Oh...right" Tanabi said sarcastically. He knew that it was just her way of saying hi. "Odd...normal lionesses just say hi...or hello." he said lightly. "They don't dunk their loves in the water to get their attention."
______"Maybe I'm just not normal..."
______She wasn't. Wazi was special. She and Tanabi had been drawn together for years now. As long as Tanabi could remember, they always stuck together, never doubting that their friendship was special. Sure there were the rough spots, but what friendships didn't have their problems? During the past few years, their friendship grew into something much more as the innocence of youth faded. Then came their first kiss. Since that time, their friendship grew into a blooming romance. Funny what one kiss could do. They were inseparable now, a team, a partnership...a couple. Though both knew it, neither said it. They both knew that they would be together for the rest of their lives. Tanabi knew that sooner or later, he would ask for Wazi's heart. Better sooner than later. Not today though; today was a day like every other. No commitments, no worries, no responsibilities. Maybe tomorrow.
______"...and you know it!" Wazi finished.
______"Maybe not," he replied happily. He put his head down lazily, and it sunk below the water, leaving only his ears as a link to the world above. It was a humorous scene.
______She laughed. It was not every day that a mighty lion gave a half-convincing imitation of an alligator...and this was far from convincing. The only reply from her mate was a series of bubbles from the deep. "Come off it, lazy," she said. "Let's go see if I can't find something to eat." She slowly walked out of the water and shook to dry off.
______Tanabi pulled himself up, gave himself a second to let the water drip, then obediently followed Wazi out of the waterhole. He loved the sound of her voice. It was gentle, like his mother's, and playful, like his father's. The best of both worlds. He enjoyed being with her, in her company. Of one thing he could be sure, Wazi cared for him. She would often visit him after sunset. Surprisingly, nothing had taken place between the two. Nothing committing anyway...yet.

______Wazi slowed her pace, allowing him to pull up beside her. She knew he enjoyed the little frolic, he it. She looked over to him and saw his mane, dripping wet, covering his face. She had to use all of her strength not to break out laughing at him. She smiled instead, letting out a little giggle.
______She loved having him as her mate. She shook her head at the thought. Correction, mate-to-be, but it was only a matter of time. It wasn't just the thrill of sitting beside the future king. The power he had meant nothing to her. It stretched way beyond that. He was the first creature, aside from her mother, to have a personality even vaguely similar to hers. They were both approaching adulthood quickly. They both enjoyed the freedom that came with their age; parents not watching over them, and yet, no major responsibilities to others. Both enjoyed the freedom that came with the early morning sun. They would often leave the pride to be by themselves for hours at a time to bask in their love for each other. He was the first lion she could truly relate to.
______Growing up, Wazi found that none of the other female cubs had the spirit that she had. She was by far the most energetic of the group. Her mother had easily been able to tell that she would go far in life. Wazi's attitude was always happy, she was willing to do anything to escape the mundane routine of everyday life. She developed quickly as a cub and began hunting when she was only a few months old. Nothing big, mind you. At first it had been mere pouncing. The pouncing gave way to small rodents and any other creatures that found themselves under Wazi's playful gaze. This in turn gave way to excellent hunting skills. She quickly learned to hide herself among the become one with the landscape. Her energetic attitude helped. She would relentlessly follow her victims...they always seemed to tire rather quickly. It was never an effort for her. She quickly established her position in the pride. Her talents were unsurpassed. Her mother was proud.
______All that didn't really matter to her now. She was, and still is, proud of her hunting skill, but that pride had been surpassed by the love she felt for Tanabi. Even if he didn't have the skill of a hunter as she did, she would still be happy. All she needed was Tanabi to survive. As they approached Pride Rock, she looked to Tanabi and playfully bumped into him a few times, giggling. He looked back at her, smiling, and returned the bumps, nearly knocking her over with his force.

______From above a tired, worried king watched them play. As king, his energy was worn quicker these days. He welcomed a chance to sit and think. Rafiki was in no hurry...he would understand. Slowly, Simba sat and looked out at his son and his young love. He enjoyed watching his son develop into what he was today. Simba knew that he and Wazi had a romance which bound them. He remembered the similar romance which bound him and Nala. At first it was merely a friendship. Not until Zazu pointed out that they were intended did he have any other thoughts about Nala as anything other than just a friend. At the time, mind you, he shuddered at the thought of being stuck with a girl for the rest of his life...even if it was his best friend. Quietly, Simba chuckled to himself. If someone had told him then that he and Nala were to be paired off forever, he would have thrown a fit. Things changed drastically with time. It was only when he saw her again...saw her in the jungle, had he thought differently of her. They both lost their youthful innocence and she gained an inner beauty. A beauty which brought him closer to her.
______His thoughts traveled back to his father and his meeting with him last night. His expression changed back to the worried look that he had. What had he meant...?

______He felt that presence again. Tanabi looked up from Wazi to the the top of Pride Rock. He noticed his father looking down at him and Wazi. He looked at his father's expression and thought for a moment. The last time he had seen him like this was, he couldn't think of it. He had nearly been killed and was only saved by the kings of the past when his father happened to come by on his patrol. They were able to drive this invader from their lands, permanently this time, but at a great cost to them physically and mentally. Luckily, although it was only a few months back, all of the physical scars had healed. Unfortunately the mental scars would be with him for the rest of his years, and he knew it. He had been trying to bury it in the deep recesses of his mind, but his father's expression had brought it out to the front again.
______He sighed out loud.
______Wazi looked at him, concerned, "Tanabi, my dear, what's wrong?"
______He snapped out of his trance and shook his head to clear his thoughts. He looked to his love and saw her staring at him. He smiled to her and tried to rebury the memories. "Nothing, love. Let's go look for that food." Wazi turned her head away as they quietly walk away from Pride Rock into the savanna.

______She noticed that he had not moved for a while. Was something wrong? Nala knew that something had disturbed her mate the night before, but when she asked, he gave no response. For all she knew, it might simply be stress. No...stress would not depress him so. She knew him well enough to know that it was something serious. They never kept secrets from each other, and if he did not want something discussed, it worried her. Not that she would pry... not unless it got out of hand. When they were young and pretty much tactless, something like this would be out in the open within minutes, as children have a tendency to do. They always spoke their minds, that was until his father...
______She walked down from the cavern-like structure, then propped herself up against his body. He looked over and their eyes met. The expression set upon his face was one of fond memories. He gave her a light smile, as if he only half recognized the fact that she was there.

______The sight of his mate brought him back from his despair. Her inner beauty shone through. It was more than just appearance. What really struck him was that she cared for him. Living, for many years, among the trees with Timon and Pumbaa had made him forget about things in the past. He forgot all about the ones who cared for him back in the Pride Lands. When Nala found him, the feelings were much more than he had expected. As cubs, they shunned any feelings of love that came to be between them. Now, matured, these feelings were not pushed aside. That night, as they reacquainted themselves, the feelings reached an all time high. What a shame that his past came between him and Nala. Why did she have to bring up the past? Why did she have to bring up Scar and father? The feelings of love were quickly replaced with anger. He worked hard to put the tragic events of his past behind him. Now all those years of effort...wasted by a simple conversation. All thoughts of love faded as quickly as they had come. She didn't understand, she wouldn't understand. Why did she have to pry? Why couldn't she just have joined me in the forest and forgot about Pride Rock, like I did?
______He knew he could never had asked her to do that. He isolated himself because of grief, she would never have had the reason to abandon her life like he did. If it had not been for Rafiki's words of advice, Simba would never have built up the courage to return, to home or Nala. Scar had robbed him of everything he had: youth, a father, the chance to grow up like all the others. He was not going to let him steal Nala also. He had to put an end to...
______A sudden thought came to Simba. He remembered his father's words again: 'It is not yet finished. Prepare yourself.' Realization stepped in, and the memories quickly faded, only to be replaced with the fear of how to interpret his father's words. What had not been finished? His eyes rapidly focused...when had Nala appeared? He knew that the longer he put off the meeting with Rafiki, the worse things would become. He had to go now to speak with him.

______She felt his muscles tighten up against her body. She looked up to his face, her eyes meeting his. "What is it?" she asked with a tone of urgency in her voice.
______"I must go," he began.
______She could not remember his voice sounding this frightened before. Something was horribly wrong, she knew it. "Why? What's wrong?"
______"If I'm right, there's no time to explain."
______Nala decided that this time she would not take no for an answer. "No...there's always time," she said soothingly.
______"I've got to go see Rafiki...please, trust me," he replied coldly.
______Nala could no longer stand being in the dark. "Look," she began stiffly, "how can I trust you when I have no idea what you're talking about." She saw that this would not help. His eyes still focused beyond her. Did he hear her at all? She sighed and began again in a gentler voice. "Ever since last night, you haven't been yourself. I think you owe me at least one explanation. Please, if it hurts, tell me. I want to help you. You know I love you."
______He finally focused in on her face. The words 'I love you' brought him back. She knew she was right...he did owe her at least an explanation. She was his Queen.
______"There's no time now," he said quickly. "If you really want to know, though, come with me. We will see Rafiki together."
______Thank goodness for small miracles. "Okay...let's go then." She saw him tense up again. If he felt this bad, she knew that it was serious. Nala picked herself up and followed her king. They walked quietly towards a lone, single, towering tree in the savanna.

End: Chapter Two

Chapter 3: Allies...

______He had heard many stories of another son of Taka. Many of these stories were from rogue lions or lionesses that were lucky to have escaped with their stories. When he had first heard of the possibility that he had a brother, he asked his father about it. Judging from the expression on his mother's face, she was just as shocked to hear about this other son as was he. When confronted with the question, Taka just dropped his head and sighed. Tokeko knew that this was something from his father's former life and didn't press him when he didn't answer. Soon after this, his father left. He felt that it was this that drove his father away, and he could never forgive himself for bringing the subject up.
______The night before he left, he had to know for sure.
______Sikia looked up, barely able to keep her eyes open, "Yes, son?"
______Hesitating at first, he asked, "Is there another son of father? Do I have a brother?"
______Quiet, then a deep sigh. "Maybe son, it could be possible. I know that your father, while he ruled over Pride Rock, had promised himself to one of the cubs. She never reached maturity in his time, but there were rumors around that he had taken another mate in her place. I don't know if those rumors were true or not, but one day, one of the lionesses, Ngwame, disappeared. Since I was on the fringe of the pride, almost an outcast myself, I was usually kept in the dark about many things in the group. A few days after her disappearance, Sarabi, Taka's brother's mate, told your father about the disappearance of Ngwame. From what I could hear of the conversation between the two, she told him that she had banished her away from Pride Rock. I did not hear why she was banished and, if any of the lionesses knew, they would not tell me either. Since that was a part of your father's old life, a life that he would have much rather forgotten, I never asked him about it. If Sarabi felt threatened by an offspring of your father and Ngwame was his mate, it could be possible that she was pregnant at the time she was banished."
______Another son would be a great asset for me, he thought to himself. If he knows anything about his father, he would surely be looking to reclaim his throne that he lost unjustly. Maybe together, we both be able to fulfill our destiny. After a pause, he once again spoke, "Thank you mother. I know it must be hard for you to talk of such a subject."
______Sikia looked down and nodded lightly.
______"Now mother, I must be getting some sleep now. Thank you for everything..."
______At the pause, Sikia looked up at her son, "Son?"
______Tokeko looked into his mother's eyes, with some tears forming in his own, "I love you..."
______She smiled at her son, fighting back tears of her own, "I know son."
______He straightened up, "When I have corrected the wrong against father, I will send for you to join me."
______On those words, Sikia lost her fight and broke into tears.
______He walked out of her cave, believing her tears were for his leaving. No matter, he was now on his way...his way to complete his circle.

______He looked down from his tree at the two lions that were approaching. He had been expecting a visit from the King at any time. He had seen the vision last night as he fell asleep, and he knew it was important. It had been the first time he had seen King Mufasa since that fateful day at the gorge. Watching Simba and Nala walk towards him, he knew that the lion had also been visited. He leaped out of his tree, landing just inches from the lions.
______Simba was so deep in thought, that he barely noticed the mandrill landing only a pace away from him. Only when his mate let out a startled yelp, did he snap back to life. He slowly lifted his head to face the smiling monkey.
______Rafiki bowed slightly to him and Nala, "Sire, you look as if you heard bad news."
______Simba sighed and nodded slightly. "My father visited me last night in my sleep. I'm really worried over what he said to me. Although we have all been through so much in the past... he still said that it is not over... that we must prepare ourselves."
______Nala looked to him, as if suddenly realizing the pain he was in. She walked slowly over and nuzzled him under his chin.
______Rafiki looked to him, the smile disappearing from his face. "I know. I had same vision last night. He also told me to be prepared."
______Simba sighed sadly at this.
______Rafiki continued, "I also had another vision last night. It told me that this one will be different. This will not be a fight for revenge or out of anger. It is a fight for what is believed to be correct."
______Both Simba and Nala looked up at him. "What difference does that make?" Nala asked. "A fight is a fight, whether it is for what is believed to be right or out of anger..."
______Rafiki stopped her. "There is a difference, for if the truth can be found, there is no reason for the fighter to continue to fight."
______After a pause, Simba added, "But if the truth can not be found, and the fighter believes what he does is right, he will be twice as strong."
______Rafiki nodded slightly, "Then you must show him the truth to win this battle. This truly will be your hardest battle, even harder than retaking your home. There, Scar knew he was wrong and thus, fought like it. It will also be harder than any fight with Kisasian. He was fighting with anger and revenge on his mind. Here, you will be fighting someone who is fighting for what he believes is correct."
______Simba looked up to the mystic, "Do you know who this fighter will be?"
______Rafiki shook his head, "That is beyond my power, all I know is he is now on his way to meet his destiny."
______"Is there anything else that I should know?"
______Rafiki, once again, shook his head. "Just remember, he must be shown the truth. That is only way the fight will be won."
______"Thank you friend, I don't know where I would be without your wisdom and guidance."
______Rafiki smiled and chuckled a bit, "You still be in the jungle, with that meerkat and warthog."
______Simba smiled back, "I would also have one less knot on my head. Through all the pain, I thank you for everything. I must go now and take my father's advice."
______Rafiki bowed slightly to Simba and Nala. After righting himself, Simba grabbed him and embraced him. After the embrace, Rafiki once again bowed to the two and disappeared up his tree as quickly as he had appeared.
______From his tree, he watched the two lions quietly walk back to Pride Rock. He wished that he could tell them of the other vision that he saw, of seeing the completed circle. The King already had enough on his mind not to have to worry about death...

______This was not what he had wanted to hear. He was hoping that it might have been a bad dream, but now that Rafiki saw the same vision, he knew he could not dismiss it as such. Why was he forced to fight all the time, he thought. Could not the Circle leave him some peace! He had been fighting for what had seemed all his life. First it was a mental battle over what had happened to his father and his role in his death. Then another mental conflict, this time whether to take his responsibility and return and retake his home from his uncle. After that, it has been one battle after another, first with Scar, then with his son, Kisasian. He had been hoping that with the last battle a few months back, he might be able to get away from all the violence and death that had followed him. It would seem that the Circle had other plans for him. Was he destined to continue fighting one battle after another till he joined his father in the stars?
______He had often wondered why he came back to face all these battles. Was it the guilt of the responsibility that he was ignoring? No, he had been able to forget that for a long time. He would had been able to forget it forever. He looked over to Nala, walking besides him and smiled. He knew why he came back. It was for her, his Queen, his friend, his mate...his love. Even if Rafiki had found him and had done everything that he did again, and Nala was not there, he was sure that he would have been able to shrug the monkey off and give up on his father, if it hadn't been for her. She was to be as much praised as Rafiki, or any other, for his return.
______He turned to her, nuzzled her under her neck, purring, and whispered, "Thank you, love. You mean everything to me," into her ear.

______She had been wondering what had been bothering him all day, and now she knew. How she wished for the innocence of cubhood. Even if she had heard anything bad, she could push the thoughts back in her mind by some trivial cub game of pouncing or chasing. Now she couldn't do that anymore. She was the Queen and she must face both her troubles and the troubles of her pride. No more games, no more pushing her troubles back. She would face all of the troubles head on.
______She felt his eyes meet her body. Did he look at me and smile? Maybe he is starting to feel better. She couldn't blame him for feeling bad. He had had so many challenges in his life. Why couldn't the Circle give him a break for once? He deserved it...she deserved it.
______Some times she wished that she could run away from it all, run away and never look back. At some points, she would have, except for him. He was the reason that she stayed, through all the troubles. She turned to face him, her King, her friend, her mate...her love. Just then, he nuzzled her and whispered into her ear. She smiled, nuzzling him back, purring more loudly than him, and whispered into his ear, "And thank you, too, my love. So do you."
______They walked back to Pride Rock and disappeared into the cave.

______He had been wandering a whole day since he left his mother, and he was still no closer to finding his brother. He had asked every lion that he came across about his brother, but no one could impart any more knowledge to him. Some of them claimed that they never heard of a son of Taka. Many of them had said that they had heard that Taka had died in the great fire. Others said that they had heard stories, but they all told him the same stories that he had already heard. Throughout his journey, he had been very careful in taking his mother's advice, always dodging questions about his past, or his quest.
______Near the end of the day, he approached a lush jungle. On the edge of the jungle, he saw a lion, sitting, looking at the sunset. One last lion to talk to and he would find shelter for the night and resume his search in the morning, he thought to himself. He slowly approached the lion, watching him.
______"Excuse me, I'm looking for some information..."
______The lion turned from the sunset to face him. This was the first good look that Tokeko got of this strange lion. He was just in the middle of his adolescence, his mane starting to fill in, but he already had the body of a strong lion. He had a slight resemblance to someone he knew, but he couldn't quite put his paw on it. Tokeko looked to his eyes, noting the intelligence that he saw there. Something else stood out in his eyes, the pain and grief.
______"I'm sorry to disturb you, but I'm on a mission. I'm looking for someone and I hope you might know of him." After a slight pause, "I'm looking for the son of Taka."
______The lion looked to Tokeko, his eyes growing wide. Then, all of a sudden, his expression changed to one of sadness and his head dropped. "I know of him."
______The look of sadness had not totally surprised Tokeko. It seemed that anyone that knew of this son had been hurt in some way. A lost friend, a lost child, a lost mate. He knew that the path to his brother was covered with grief. He continued, not trying to cause anymore pain. "Do you know his name or where I might be able to find him?"
______The lion looked sadly up, nearly breaking down into tears, "His name was Kisasian, and you won't be able to find him. My father has joined his."

______As they walked through the savannah, he had been thinking only of good thoughts. He had been able to push back the memories of that day back into the back of his mind. His thoughts now were only of his beloved. As they walked over a rise, they saw it. A small herd of zebra was grazing at the bottom of the hill. Tanabi smiled to Wazi as she broke away from him, stalking the group, choosing.
______It had been a relatively quick kill as Wazi's superior hunting skills had once again shown through. The small zebra didn't have much of a chance once she had chosen it as the prey. Once the zebra was split from its group, it had only a matter of seconds to live, its time in the Circle nearly complete. As Tanabi looked on from a safe distance, as not to be seen by the herd of zebra, his love took down the zebra and quickly killed it.
______The zebra was not that big. A pride of lions would have devoured it in the matter of minutes, leaving the pangs of hunger barely quieted, but with only two lions, it was surely a feast. After over an hour, the last of the prey disappeared. Tanabi rolled over, belly filled and muzzle bloodied, and looked up to Wazi. This had to be the best part of life, he thought. No responsibilities and everything to look forward to in his life. He had his love beside him and his status in the pride was assured. He smiled up to Wazi. His life was good.
______Wazi smiled down to him, purring, as she leaned over him and licked his muzzle clean of the blood, giving him a kiss at the same time. He started purring at this and returned the grooming and kiss. Yes, his life was good, but it could be better, he thought. Maybe it was time to take some responsibility. Maybe it was time to ask for her heart. He looked up to the sky, to the setting sun. Not today though, he wanted it to be a special day. Tomorrow, he thought, he will do it. It was about time.
______Tanabi slowly pulled himself out of the grass, smiling to Wazi. "I think it's time that we head back. We don't want my father to worry, now do we?"
______Wazi looked down and sighed.
______"What's wrong, love?"
______"I was just hoping this would be a special day."
______Tanabi grinned, "Oh, you want a special day, do you?"
______Wazi looked up at him and nodded smiling.
______He leaned over to her, "Just wait till tomorrow, I think tomorrow will be special."
______"Why, what's happening tomorrow?"
______"Now, I can't tell you. You will just have to wait and see. I think you will like tomorrow."
______"Not even a hint?"
______He shook his head, "Nope, I want it to be a surprise."
______With that, Wazi jumped on top of him, pinning him to the ground. "How's that for a surprise!" she said, looking down at him. He laughed at her, batting lightly at her face with his paws. They rolled and played in the grass for another hour. As the last of the sun was disappearing below the horizon, they both righted themselves and started to slowly walk back to Pride Rock, purring loudly and nuzzling each other as they walked.
______Yes, his life was good.

______Could his life get any worse?
______He had found his brother, but he could be of no use to him and to his quest. A brother, another tie to his father, was gone. Although, he had never known him, he was still deeply saddened by his passing. He looked to the strange lion and it hit him. Did he say father? He had to know. "I'm sorry, did you say he was your father?"
______The lion looked to Tokeko. His expression went from one of sadness to one of fear. "Why...why do you want to know? Who are you?"
______Tokeko looked to the change in the lion's expression. If this Kisasian was half as brutal as the stories he heard said, some might look for revenge against his family or pride now that he is gone. Maybe if he told the lion about his father, it might make him feel easier to talk to. He smiled at the lion. "Don't worry, I have no desire to hurt you or anyone in your pride. My name is Tokeko and my father, like your father's, was also Taka."
______The lion looked to him with disbelief. "You can't expect me to believe that. My grandfather died in the fire. Both my father and my mother told me that. My mother even witnessed it."
______"Did they ever see the body?"
______The lion paused, "No...but all that means is that the hyenas dragged it off. My father told me that he dealt revenge to those dogs for betraying his father."
______Tokeko took a moment to gather his thoughts, how could he convince him. "He didn't die in the fire or the hyena attack. My mother rescued him after the hyenas attacked him and tended to his wounds. They fell in love and I'm...I'm a product of that love."
______"If he did survive, why did he not look for my father? He knew that he had a cub."
______"I wish I knew. After get deposed from Pride Rock, his life changed. Your father was part of his old life, a life he wanted to forget. I asked him once about your father,...and he drove himself off because of it. It is something that I can not, or will not, ever forgive myself for."
______The lion looked at Tokeko's eyes. He shook his head in frustration. "I don't care anymore, if you want to kill me, go ahead. I have nothing to live for anymore. I'm a failure as a king. My mother, and many in the pride, have already been killed by those looking to seek revenge against my father."
______Tokeko spoke, trying to hold back his anger and frustration, "Listen, I said I had no intention of killing you or any in your pride. I was merely looking for my brother. Now, you know my name, I think I'm due yours."
______The lion looked up to Tokeko, "My name is Kudura and I'm king of what's left of this pride."
______"Fine then, King Kudura, would you mind telling me who is responsible for your father's, my brother's, death?"
______With a pause and a sigh of despair, "It was Simba..."
______The anger flared from hearing that name in Tokeko's mind and shown through to his face.
______Kudura continued, "but it was my father's fault."
______The anger faded a bit in him, as he looked to the young king.
______"He went off to kill Simba's son, so at least Simba would be the last of his line to rule over Pride Rock. I went with him, but stood at a distance. He caught Tanabi, Simba's son, alone and attacked him. He was well on his way to killing him, but Simba came by on his patrol and beat my father off. He was able to get away but later died of his injuries."
______Perhaps I can't have my brother by my side, but maybe my nephew will help to avenge his father. "Kudura, I have a proposition for you. I'm going to meet Simba, how you like to avenge your father's death?"
______Kudura looked sadly to him, shaking his head. "No, I can't...I won't. When I saw my father viscously attacked Tanabi, for no reason other than revenge, I truly saw the evil in him. After he died, I asked my mother why he was evil. She told me the story of Taka and what she saw under his rule at Pride Rock. I then saw the evil that ran in this family. I can't bring myself to continue that evil, even for my father. I have found that revenge is a pit that you can never escape from; when you fall in it will always lead to an untimely demise."
______Lies, all lies. Our family was not the evil one, Tokeko thought to himself, it's Simba. He was the one that threw my father out. He forced him to be an outcast. How could his brother be evil if he was looking to right a wrong done by another? "Then if you won't help me, I must be on my way. Someone in this family must right the wrong done to father."
______Kudura looks to him and nodded sadly, "If you must, but I wish you luck...may you see the truth in time before you waste your life in search of revenge as did my father."
______Tokeko nodded sternly to Kudura and ran off in the direction of Pride Rock, towards his destiny.

End: Chapter 3

Chapter 4: The Truth

______Simba dropped his head and looked out of the cave. The sun was just rising above the eastern horizon. He had lost count of how many times he had been awoken during his sleep. When he slept, his thoughts were peaceful no longer, as all through the little sleep he had, his dreams were filled with images of his father and his warning. Even when he was awake, his mind was flooded with the warnings from both of his father and Rafiki. Questions started going through his mind. Who was this stranger and what did he want? What do I have to do to make him see the truth?
______Simba sighed at the thoughts and turned his head back into the cave. He noticed his mate, Nala, lying beside where he had his restless sleep, smiling and purring softly. Luckily she had not been awaken by his troubled dreams. He smiled, thinking about her and what she had done to try to make him feel better yesterday, he thought. He followed this thought with a quiet sigh. Even with her attention, he still had dark thoughts and warnings, hanging over him, like a death sentence.
______He got up and started to head out of the cave, like he had done on many previous days, both as a cub and then after his return as an adult. This time as he left, it felt different to him. He didn't know why, but he somehow knew that this day would be different.
______As he looked around the cave before her left, something hit him as odd. His son wasn't sleeping in his usual place. He must have not come back last night after he had seen him from the peak. The last time that he saw him, Tanabi had been walking away from Pride Rock with the young lioness, Wazi. Simba's heart dropped quickly.
______He ran out of the cave, out into the open, and looked around. The sun had started to light up the eastern sky, but in the west many stars were still visible. Simba turned and there he saw him. Tanabi was curled up like a cub, purring loudly, against Wazi. Simba smiled...the worst was not true. Maybe, if he was lucky, his fate would let Tanabi alone, he thought. As long as his son survived, his death, if that was truly what his fate was, would be worth it.
______He slowly walked back into the cave. He looked back to his mate and smiled. Once again, he took his place alongside her and tried to fall back asleep. It took a while but he was able to fall back asleep... and still Rafiki's and his father's warnings floated in his mind.

______It had been a long night, as he had decided to not sleep but continue on his journey through the darkness. It had paid off because as the sun rose, he could see the outline of Pride Rock in the distance. His destiny, his father's vengeance, was close at hand...
______He paused for a moment. This was when Tokeko first noticed his weariness and the weakness in his limbs. He needed to find somewhere to rest for the day. He couldn't face his destiny like this, he thought, so he hunted around for a few minutes and found a kopje on the outskirts of Simba's territory. There he felt he could sleep the day away and not be discovered by anyone. He entered the kopje's shrinking shadow and quickly fell asleep, looking for guidance from his father.

______The sun hit his eyes, prying them open from his sleep. He had had a great rest, only dreaming of his love, and his future with her. When he opened his eyes, he looked towards Wazi. He couldn't decide if this was another dream or if he was truly awake now. He reached over with his paw and lightly touched her body. He smiled as his paw touched the soft fur, realizing that this was no dream.
______When he touched her, she stirred lightly in her sleep. The sun had obviously not reached her eyes yet. He got up slowly and quietly stretched out his body quietly. After he had comfortably pulled his maturing muscles, he once again laid back down, wrapping his body lightly around her. He lightly placed his head on her own, purring lightly into her ear. That was all that was needed to wake her up, as she opened her eyes slowly. She turned her head and looked into his eyes.
______Her eyes, he thought, they are so beautiful. He could feel his body melt on the inside from her gaze. Just like his mother's, he thought. He licked her lightly on the muzzle, purring loudly to her. Yes, this was going to be a great day...

______It had been a long day for him, as he had spent most of it worrying what his future held for him. Simba had been spending the day alone, thinking. Thinking about himself, this stranger, his father's warning, and Rafiki's instruction. He worried how he would be able to show this stranger the truth. Would the stranger fight? That was what he worried about most; would he have to defend himself while trying to show this stranger the truth?
______He sighed quietly to himself. He couldn't let this hang over him. He still had to act like a king and do his duties. Today was hunting day, and he had to go out and give his blessings to the hunting party. He slowly went out to the top of Pride Rock and let out a mighty roar. This was the signal for all the lions to gather for the blessings. He sat on his haunches and waited for the gathering.
______Slowly the lioness and cubs gathered in front of Pride Rock. He swore to himself that this was the longest it had ever taken for them to gather, but then he thought it could be his distorted perspective of time. He saw Nala come closer and start to climb up Pride Rock to join him. As Queen, one of her major duties was as head of the hunting party and to accept the blessing from him for the party. She padded quietly up to him and sat down beside him, only knowing a bit of the pain that he was going through.
______He had done this hundreds of times since he became King and had also seen his father do it many times before that day. Today was different, though. What had been easy reciting of a few lines, had become a mad search in his memory for the same lines. The situation hanging over him had clouded his memory. He thought deeply for a moment and it finally hit him, at least the first part. Maybe, he thought, if I start out, the rest will come to me. He looked around quickly and noticed the others getting restless. He cleared his throat and started...
______"As the chosen one from the kings of the past, I wish to bless this hunting party. As you are the life force for all of us, our survival depends on you. May the kings look down on you in favor. My your paws be swift, may your teeth and claws be sharp, may..."
______He didn't work. He couldn't remember the rest of the blessing. He looked over to Nala, in almost panic. Nala first looked at him strangely and then realized what was going on. She mouthed off a few words and the rest came to him.
______" have mercy on your prey. Always remember without them, we would not survive. They give their life, so that we might continue ours." He turned again to face Nala, "How say you, my Queen."
______Now it was Nala's portion of the ritual. "As the chosen one and mate to the King, I accept your blessing. We will uphold our honor in face of the kings of the past and of the present." With that she gave a quick bow to him. On most days, she was to walk down Pride Rock and lead the party off, with him watching over them as they leave. This time she held back and whispered into his ear.
______"Are you sure you will be all right? You seem tense. Would you like me to stay behind? My mother could lead the party."
______He looked to her and smiled slightly. "I can't let my feelings interfere with the normal activities of the pride. Anyway, if you stay behind, Wazi will have to go on her hunt off. I think she and our son have something planned for today, and I wouldn't want to break it up. I think their time is nearing...just call it a hunch." He smiled a little more broadly to her.
______She looked at him and smiled with him. "You are right...just be careful, huh?" She nuzzled him on the way down the rock. When she reached the bottom, the other lionesses joined her and they walked off silently into the savanna, silently.
______He quietly started to walk down the same rock. Tanabi met him halfway up, out of breath. "Father...may Wazi and me go for...uh...a walk?" He looked to his father with a smile.
______He looked back to his son and smiled as well. There is no reason that he should be around, he thought. Maybe if he is wasn't at Pride Rock, his fate wouldn't become Tanabi's. Anyway, him and Wazi... His smile broadened at the thought. "Sure go ahead and have fun, son. Just promise me one thing---be careful."
______"I always am," he replied and with that he disappeared down the rock and joined Wazi. Simba slowly followed him down the side and went into his cave, lying back down, back to his private thoughts.

______The roar pierced through the late afternoon sky and reached him. He had been asleep so lightly that the faint roar had stirred him up. Tokeko got up slowly and looked around. No one had found his hiding place over the day. He walked away slowly from the kopje that sheltered him and moved quietly towards Pride Rock and his destiny.
______His sleep had been sound when he had dreamt of his father, but something in his dream had bothered him deeply though. His father had appeared to him without his scar across his eye. It wasn't that he was younger, before the scar, the origins of which was never spoken of, but that he appeared as a full grown lion in his prime.
______Not only his appearance was strange, but also what had said. He told his father that the time for vengeance was near, that he would take his rightful place atop Pride Rock. His father had dropped his head after he heard that. He mumbled something about leading his son wrong and looked back to him.
______"Son," he began, "I was wrong, I never had a claim on the throne. I let the anger of my father, who picked my brother over me to be his heir, consume me. I got so jealous of my brother because of the power that my father gave him. These feelings made me do evil things. I killed my brother...and drove off my nephew so that I could satisfy the feelings. Only when your mother helped me, did I start to take control of them. Now that I have left this world, I truly see how evil I was. Please son, don't let it consume you like it did me."
______Then the roar woke him from his dream.
______Lies, he thought angrily. Now his father was telling him lies. That can't possibly be, my father has always been honorable, how could he be evil? Those thoughts ran through his mind over and over as he thought of the dream. He finally thought of an explanation for it, and he thought that it had to be his weaker self, the part that didn't want him to avenge his father. A part of his mind was trying to get him to stop what was right. From now on, he decided, he would not listen to anymore doubts. It is time to see his father avenged, and for him to take his place on top of Pride Rock. This last bit of doubt out of his mind, he started working out how he would take his revenge.
______As he continued getting closer to Pride Rock above him, unseen, a bird circled overhead. When the bird saw the strange lion, he made a frantic race to Pride Rock, trying to warn his king.

______Simba had made it back into the main cavern of Pride Rock, still deep in thought. Just then, a frantic Zazu came flying through the entrance and collided straight into him with a thud.
______Simba looked at him, with no visible sign of pain from the collision with the hornbill, "Whoa, Zazu! What's the rush?"
______Zazu slid off of Simba to the ground and shook his head to clear his mind, "Sorry Sire...I just saw a strange lion, and he is heading this way. Should I go get the lionesses?"
______Simba sighed deeply and shook his head, "No Zazu...I am expecting him."
______Zazu brightened a bit, "Oh, very good Sire...should I go out and welcome him, in that case?"
______Simba kept his solemn expression and shook his head again, "No Zazu...he isn't friendly, at least I don't think he is. I have to make him see the truth."
______"My father came to me in a vision and told me it was not over...then Rafiki told me about this his anger comes from a misguided sense of the truth. He said the only way I could defeat him was to show him the truth. This is something that I have to do alone."
______"Yes Sire..."
______"Now leave...I don't need you hurt. If something does happen to me, I need you to tell the others what happened."
______"Of course Sire." With that, Zazu started to take off, but looked back to Simba, "Good luck." Zazu spread his wings and left the ground, heading for the exit of the cavern.
______Simba slowly started to make his way out of the cave himself, preparing himself for the visitor.

______They made their way through the savanna, heading towards their quiet area. All through the journey, he couldn't take his eyes off of her. It was like he was going to meet her all over again, not as friends this time but as loves. He knew she wanted this, but he was unsure how to bring it up. What do you do, he thought to himself, except just ask her to spend the rest of her life with me. He chuckled lightly at the thought, but loud enough for her to hear.
______"What do you find so funny, dear?" she asked as she turned to face him. "Hopefully not what your looking at."
______Her eyes met his and he lost his train of thought. "Ah...of course not. Why would I ever find you funny?" He finally decided that this was the time. "It is time that I take some responsibility in my life and take something that I have wanted for a long time. You are the one of the most important lions in my life. What started off as a friendship has grown into love, at least for me. I really want us to be together for the rest of our lives...if you will have me, of course." There, it was done. He had exposed himself for attack...and attack she did. Before he barely finished his words, she was on top of him.
______She looked into his eyes and gave him a lick on the lips, not a friendly one...but one of passion. "Do you know how long I have been waiting for you to ask that?" She smiled slightly, "and I thought you lions were brave." He smiled back to her, "We are...except to lionesses. I to assume that you accept my offer?"
______She rolled off of him and snuggled close, burying her face into his mane. "What do you think, Love?"
______There they stayed for the rest of the day...a lion and a lioness becoming one.

______The image of Pride Rock was becoming bigger as he approached the large rock formation. There he saw him, that bastard lion that stole this from his father. He saw Simba there, just sitting, looking out into the savanna beyond him. When Simba caught sight of him, he turned his eyes to his. Finally, Tokeko thought to himself, a chance to judge him.
______He began to search Simba's eyes, search his soul. What he saw he had not expected. Instead of seeing a hateful and violent creature, as he always envisioned him to be, he saw the eyes of a truly wise and caring creature. He couldn't believe it, Simba, the one that had violently threw out his father, seemed to be kind. He once again he cleared his mind of these thoughts, throwing them out as thoughts from his weaker self.
______It was time to put his plan into action. He thought that if he talked to Simba as a friend, he might be able to lower his defenses and make his fight all the easier. Tokeko hated to lie, but this was for his father.
______"Are you the one known as Simba, king of the pride that resides here," Tokeko said. Simba just nodded quietly. "Good," he continued, "I have come a long way to find you. Your name is widely known. I am a story teller in my pride, and have heard that you have a wonderful story of your life...and a lion named Taka. I would be honored to hear your story so that I might be able retell it to others."
______Simba first looked at him suspiciously, but took him for his word and began to tell him of his life. He told him about the graveyard...the gorge...and his life in the jungle. Then Simba went on to tell of Scar, how he killed his brother for control of the pride and how Scar nearly destroyed it in his rule. Finally Simba told how he came out of the jungle to save his pride and retake his place in the Circle.
______This was almost too much for Tokeko to take. It took all of his self control not to attack Simba now for his words. When Simba finished his story, Tokeko prepared himself. "There is one thing that you must name is Tokeko, and I am a son of Taka. I am here to avenge my father, and to take my rightful place as king." With that, he lunged his body at Simba, taking him by surprise. Simba let out a mighty roar as he was hit.

______A lion and lioness were spending their first hours as one when a loud roar filled the air. Tanabi looked up quickly from his love, knowing at once who's roar it was. "My father," he said as he jumped up, "he must be in trouble." He looked at Wazi, "You stay here, you'll be safe."
______Wazi jumped up alongside him, "No you don't, we are one now. If you put your life in danger, I will be by your side."
______Tanabi smiled lightly to her, "Then let's go," and the two lions ran off towards the roar.

______It had been a good hunt for the lionesses as they were able to get two gazelles in one night's hunt. They were beginning to make their way back to Pride Rock with their quarry when the roar hit their ears. Nala knew at once what it meant and quickly ran off towards the noise, leaving the other lionesses behind in confusion.

______Another lioness on a hunt was just barely able to hear the roar. She moved towards the noise, figuring what she was hunting was in that direction.

______Tokeko was fighting the hardest he had ever fought in his life. All of his battles before were in preparation for this one. It was as if this battle was the one thing that kept him living. had come down to this. This was his life, nothing to lose.
______He was soundly in control of the fight, but he could not finish it. He had struck Simba many time, producing many bleeding wounds on his body. Simba had fought back, but it seemed to Tokeko that he was holding back. Tokeko had not come through unscathed, having many cuts and bruises on his body. Many times it seemed that Simba could finish the fight in one swift move, thus ending his life. Strangely, every time Simba could have beaten him off, he backed off slightly. This allowed Tokeko, to get back into control. Yet, Simba never let him get too much into control, where it would allow Tokeko to enact the ultimate revenge. Tokeko couldn't understand why it seemed Simba was doing this.
______Almost through a stroke of luck, or perhaps a miscalculation on Simba's part, Tokeko was finally able to flip Simba on his back...exposing his neck to the final bite. Tokeko jumped at the opportunity before Simba could react. He looked down to Simba, almost triumphantly. "With this bite...I avenge my father," he announced as he reared up, preparing to finish him off. Simba could only look on in horror.

______Tanabi and Wazi were running the fastest they had ever run in their short lives. Neither had any idea of what to expect when they crested the final rise between them and Simba. When they reached the top, what they saw shocked them. Another lion had Simba flipped to the ground and was preparing to kill him. Tanabi took off towards the two, shouting out, "Father," as he ran to help him. The other lion had barely enough time after the shout to look up at him before Tanabi collided with him at full force. The blow knocked the other lion off of Simba and he landed flat on the ground, the wind escaping from his lungs.
______Tanabi looked at his father on the ground and decided it was time to prove himself a lion. He jumped over and straddled the slightly larger lion. As he prepared to end the life of the invader, he heard his father shout, "No Tanabi...don't kill him!"
______Tanabi was in near shock, as he glanced over to his father, then he had managed to pick himself up and rejoined Wazi. His mother was coming over the same ridge the he had climbed moments ago. Tanabi looked back down to the strange lion, not wanting him to take advantage of his shock. "Father...why?" he asked as he looked down to Tokeko. He could see Tokeko glancing around, trying to size up his situation.
______"Because...this is the lion that Rafiki wanted me to show the truth," Simba started. "My father came to me and Rafiki in a vision...telling us to prepare for a visitor." He looked over and down to Tokeko, "But I had no idea it was another cousin of mine."

______"How appropriate that the lion who overthrew my father would lie to me to show the truth." Tokeko had gathered up enough of his wits and strength to speak to the crowd. He might have nothing to lose, but he wasn't going to throw his life away. He decided that the odds were too great...four against one. Even he wasn't crazy enough to fight against odds like that. He nearly spat at Simba, "Just to show that my father was wronged when you took this from him."
______"I tell you...he was as I described. Ask my mate, she was with me when I overthrew and saved the pride from your father. She also lived under his rule for many long moons." Simba was looking down on him. He glanced over to Tanabi, who was still standing over Tokeko. "You can let him up...but stay near him." Tanabi followed his father's command, still visibly confused over the whole situation.
______Tokeko rose, growling slightly at the two males. "My father was not like you say...he was a honorable lion. He treated my mother and myself with care. He would never...could never... be as ruthless as you described him." He was nearly shouting out of frustration. "Why do so many see my father as dishonorable? My father was honorable and kind."
______Simba glared at him, visibly angry at Tokeko's arrogant of growling at him and his son. "How by the kings can I believe you? The Scar I knew wanted me and my father dead so he could satisfy his jealousy. The uncle I knew had no kindness in his heart. He would have rather let the pride die than leave here..."
______Tokeko interrupted him, "My father left our pride because he felt that he hurt it with his age and injuries. Can't it get through your hard head---my father was not like you describe."
______"NO...I can't...I don't see how it is possible." Simba went silent for a moment, the confusion and frustration growing on his face. Tokeko could hear him muttering to his father for guidance. As if answered...Tokeko saw another form slowly come over the rise...

______Sikia cleared the rise and looked down at the crowd. She noticed the wounds on her son and Simba. She needed no explanation of what happened and moved down and joined her son by his side. Nala looked to her in shock as she moved past. "I...we...thought you were lost to the hyenas during the fight," Nala stammered.
______Sikia looked to her, with a slight smile as she past her, "As you can see, I am well and alive." She turned to her son, losing the smile quickly, "I have been following you since you left..."
______Tokeko got a grin on his face as he interrupted his mother, "You have come to help me. Now we can both avenge father together and reclaim what is his."
______Sikia couldn't face him after that. She let her head drop and shook it slowly. "No son...that is not why I'm here..."
______Both Simba and Nala looked to Sikia in surprise at the word 'son'.
______Tokeko just looked at her, "You mean to tell me that you won't stand up for father." He glanced over to Simba, "This...lion...has been soiling father's honor with his lies." Simba stood silent at the comment.
______Sikia looked Tokeko, "What did he say, son?"
______"He said that father was dishonorable...that he killed his brother and ran him off," he motioned to Simba, "to get control of the pride. Then, he told me that father nearly starved the pride because of his unwillingness to let this place go. I know father said that he made mistakes in his rule, but I can't...I won't believe...that father was as bad as he said. must tell him that he is wrong, that father was honorable."
______Sikia just looked at him and slowly shook her head, "I can't, son...what he said was true. Your father was like that when he ruled here." She turned quickly to Simba and Nala, before they could speak, "But...after he was driven off, he did change. He did become as Tokeko described him. He became an honorable lion and a loving mate and father. The hyenas did truly kill him, his evil self. All he needed was someone to show him kindness, and I did when I healed him."
______Tokeko, Simba, and Nala stood still in silence. Tanabi, sensing that Tokeko would not fight again, moved slowly and quietly over to Wazi's side. Before any of them could speak, the other lionesses come up on the rise. They were visibly hesitant at the sight of the strange male, but after Simba gave them a slight nod, they all came closer. The ones that remembered Sikia, gathered around her, making up for lost time. The others gathered around Simba and his family, curious of the King's wounds. Only Tokeko wasn't surrounded as he stood alone, away from the group. After what seemed like hours, Tokeko spoke. "Mother?"
______Sikia moved away from the other lionesses and approached her son, "Yes son?"
______Tokeko looked to her, "Mother...if anyone else had spoken to me about my father and described him like you just did, they would be dead now." He looked down to the ground slightly, "But you have never lied to me and I can't believe that you would now. Father once told me not to get carried away with glory...and I did...his glory." He looked back up to his mother, "Why did you never tell me about this? Why did you never tell me about my father's past?"
______" idolized your father. When he left to join the kings of the past, your life changed. I didn't know what would happen, or what you might have done if you knew the truth. I couldn't kill your image of father completely." She sighed slightly, "Still...without the nearly killed someone that has suffered enough from him. For that, I am truly sorry..." She looked over to Simba, "to the both of you."
______Simba had stopped talking to the others and was listening to Sikia and Tokeko. When Sikia looked to him, he nodded to her lightly.
______"Mother...I might have idolized father, but you are still my mother. I could never hurt you." Tokeko looked slowly to Simba, swallowing his pride, "I have spilled royal life is yours to end. I will not fight my destiny."
______Everyone's eyes turned to Simba, waiting for his answer. Simba took in a deep breath and smiled lightly. "I give you back your life. You have learned the truth, as have I. In all the moons that I have ruled here, I could never think of Taka as an honorable and caring lion." He looked to Sikia, "Nala seems to trust you, so I trust you also." He turned back to Tokeko, "Go on and live your life free from your quest. It seems that the old you has been killed today. You have a new life. Since your mother was part of this pride and if you promise to stay in peace, you and your mother may stay here as my guest until you heal."
______Tokeko bowed slightly to Simba, "Thank you...but I think I will start my new life. I will head to the east, and start my new life where the new day is born."
______Sikia nuzzled his son lightly, "And I will follow you." She turned to Simba, "Thank have saved the two most important lions in my life, first my mate...and now my son. You are truly a just king."
______Simba bowed slightly to her, "I am honored by your praise for me." He looked to the both of them, "May the kings of the past be with you on your journey."
______"Thank you, Sire," Tokeko replied. "I will begin my new life now," he looked to his mother, "if we are done here."
______Sikia just nodded and together they walked off to the east, off to a new life.

End: Chapter 4 and 'Redemption'

Simple Text Version of "Redemption"

The Pride Lands Online Fan's Gallery Archive

Hello...and thank you for making it this far through my story. First off, I would like to give my most sincere thanks to Paul Kiela, Ryan McGinnis, and Jason Ahrens. They were the memebers of the group that wrote 'Of Father and Faith' that my story is the continuation of. Also big thanks to Adrian Rossi, who spent way too much time of his time pointing out my grammar mistakes and misspellings, and Joe McCauley, who gave me the idea for the ending. Finally, thanks to Nicole, Lisa, and Lara for encouragement and David Morris for the name, Kudura.

And now...the story behind 'Redemption'. I found the TLK community one weekend last April and dove right into it. I joined the TLK Muck as Huruma...which was later changed to Rama. I was at college at the time and had started reading throught some of the fanfic, finding Ryan's wonderful page. Well...I had to go back to my home and away from the muck. By then, I was hooked on the muck and about the first call I made when I got home was to get an ISP. It took forever for me to get the software and in the meantime, I was going through withdrawls. I used the wonderful AOL web browser and went to Ryan's page again. This time, I downloaded all of the fanfic I could find. This included 'Of Father and Faith', which was unfinished and dropped. When I read this story, I had a very strange strike of inspiration. I basically saw the rest of the story in my mind. I couldn't let this go, so I contacted Paul and got his permission to finish his story. He requested that I change the title, so 'Redemption' was born. The story got a quick start, me being without my Muck, but once the ISP software got to me, the work stopped. It sat on my hard drive most of the summer, til I got back to school. There...because of network problems...I couldn't get on the Muck again. With nothing else to do, I finished off the story. Being very proud...and very stupid...I released my story to the TLK mailing list and with *MANY* mistakes. So now...I'm releasing it with a new ending and a lot fewer mistakes.

Now a little about me. My name is Ian Layton, but I'm commanly known as Rama. I'm curently, as of Oct. 20, 1996 1600Z, a junior Meteorology major at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont. TLK is my faviorite movie, if you couldn't tell. If you would like to know anything else about me or would just like to drop me a line to say that you liked/hated/read my story, my email address is:
Thank you for your time and have a nice day. :)

Ian Layton 'Rama'