Author: Joshua C. Templin ()

The Tales of Tanabi

“When a lion must become a King”

Dedicated to My father, who was my hero. Until I found out he was just another man.

Introduction The Storyteller TLK:TToT

Someone once told me the great kings of the past are up there … watching over us. My father, Simba, is up there watching, and he deserves it. He wasn’t considered a truly powerful king such as my grandfather, but he was known by far more than those who knew Mufasa. You see, Simba was The Storyteller.

My father’s time with Timon and Pumbaa were supposed to be spent with his father learning how to be King. However, as events may be, he never had that chance. As a result Simba was not very good at ruling a kingdom. If it wasn’t for the dedication of his pride, with Sarabi (and then Nala) leading them, Simba would not have been King for long. The pride were the ones who kept everything together, helping Simba with his decisions. He was very lucky to have them…

In the latter years of Simba’s life lions from all over Africa would make a long and perilous journey to hear his stories. Simba’s life would provide inspiration for all who heard him speak. He would sit upon Pride Rock and repeat his stories to countless listeners … and always there would be great sorrow and great joy. There was not a lion that left with a dry eye. It was this that made him a legend.

I now have to live up to my father and his past. I carry his stories with me, and I add my life to them. I only hope I do my father justice. I still cry when I remember him dying. He had said only one word to me as the life passed out of him … “Remember.”. And, to this day, I remember him. Whenever I can spare the time, I look into the night sky and search for him. One day, when the time is right, I am sure he will speak to me again. For I, like any son should, love my father with all of my heart. Father, I miss you…

Chapter 1. Exile from the Pridelands

Simba’s defeat of Scar was not the end of his problems. In fact, it was only the beginning. Scar’s rule over the Pridelands had ruined the land and driven away the herds from all around Pride Rock. Then, the fire on the night of the Reclaiming finished off Scar’s work by devastating the Pridelands. If Scar could not have the Pridelands, neither could Simba.

Simba looked about in horror as fire engulfed him. The flames leapt high and burnt his ears and face. He screamed out in pain. Above him, his father and Scar were fighting a fierce battle in the sky. Thunder boomed with every punch and lightning rained a fire storm around Simba. Scar leapt at Mufasa and hit him hard …

and suddenly they joined into one. The new lion was as big as his father, but had scar’s face. It looked down at Simba and laughed with thunder.

Simba awoke cold and wet. His dream seemed much too real. As it’s effects wore off, Simba turned to more immediate concerns. He was in the cave he was born in, at Pride Rock. However, everything was charred black from last nights fire. It smelled of burnt leaves and soot was on every surface. It was still dark, but he could seen the sleeping outlines of the lionesses, Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu nearby. Simba walked outside and climbed up to the top of Pride Rock. He sensed it was time for sunrise, but only a dull grey remained in the Pridelands. For as far as Simba could see was grey darkness and barren land. He remember his father’s words from so long ago… ‘Everything the light touches is our Kingdom…’. Only now, the light touched nothing and everywhere was a dark, shadowy place. He could not bear the sight and turned to go. He suddenly noticed his paw print in the deep, wet soot. It was as big as his father’s had been years ago.

By the time Simba had returned to the cave a motley crew had assembled. Everyone had woken and most were tending to wounds, or trying to clean mud and soot from their bodies. Everyone looked up when he arrived and Nala walked over to nuzzle him. But even after his greeting Simba hung his head low. They had yet to see the devastation that had occurred last night. Timon was busy trying to get dirt out his fur and Pumbaa was quietly staring at the ground. Zazu flew over to Simba, landed in front of him, and greeted him with a bow.

“Sire! Good morning to you! I trust you are not hurt?” “No, Zazu, I am not hurt badly.” Simba replied, trying to hide several cuts on his body.

“Good! I have taken an …” “Not now, Zazu. I think everyone needs to take a look outside.”

Gasps of horror came from many of the group when they saw what their home looked like. The sun had to be up by now, but as when Simba was alone, a dark grey persisted. There was just the blackened ground and the grey sky to greet their sad eyes and the only colors came from the group itself, the only blue in the sky was Zazu. Sarabi walked over to Simba and nuzzled him quickly.

“It’s horrible. It used to be so beautiful.” she said quietly.

“Mother … ?” Simba questioned.

“I think it’s time to go son. We no longer can live here.” Simba looked at Nala and she just dropped her head and stared at the ground.

“I know, Mother.” Simba finally said.

Preparations for leaving were done quickly. The lionesses did a quick check of everyone present to make sure they were fit to travel. Besides many surface wounds, all were in fine condition to make the trek out of the Pridelands.

“Hey! Where did Rafiki go?” Simba exclaimed, noticing he wasn’t present.

“He probably disappeared during the night. He has a habit of doing this, and you shouldn’t expect him back soon.” Sarabi said.

“Yeah, this isn’t the first time he’s done this. We will see him again sometime…” Nala joined in.

“Hmmmm… Oh well.” Simba finally said.

After a last look around of their life-long home, the lionesses were ready to leave. Simba lead the group down the rock and into the deep mud that was the remains of the once spectacular Pridelands. The whole group walked in solemn silence as the slowly made their way through the mud. Everyone but Simba kept their eyes to the ground.

A distant line of lions walking away from their home was an unusual sight, one that Rafiki had never seen before. It was even more shocking to see their bright spots of color in the grey barren landscape. In his ever present wisdom, Rafiki had deduced correctly that they would be leaving, and for a long time. He swung down the outer branches of his unharmed tree and into it’s center. This was Rafiki’s home, and it had been protected for generations from harm. Scar’s rule could not hurt his tree and the area around it. Last nights fire could not burn it. And even now, sunlight shown down upon him and his home, the only bright spot in the Pridelands. Rafiki sat down and allowed a single tear to travel down his cheek. A moment of reflection upon himself, and Rafiki got up. He picked up his shell, picked one fruit, and pulled some precious dust from behind the tree’s bark. He broke the fruit, tasted it, and then dropped some of it’s juice into the shell. He added to that the dust, and finally pulled a few of his own hairs out to place into the mixture. Rafiki mixed it all and jumped down to the small spot of green grass that surrounded his tree. Solemnly, he distributed the mixture around the edge of the green circle. Rafiki had committed himself to the protection of the Pridelands while it’s King was gone.

The group reached the edge of the Pridelands to see even more devastation. Not only had the Pridelands burned, but the Savannah for miles around looked like their ruined home. More ash, more darkness, and still the ever present lack of color. Zazu, who had been flying above the travelers, landed in front of Simba.

“It’s looks very bad Sire.” he sadly said.

“Yes. I guess we’ll just have to keep going.” Simba replied.

Simba climbed a nearby rock and looked back for the first time. “I didn’t want to believe myself. It’s all gone … all of it.” Nala joined him. “It looks so much worse than when Scar hadit. Is there any going back? Ever?” “I don’t know, but I don’t think so.” With that Nala put her head in Simba’s mane and cried. Simba could not hold his tears back either. He and Nala were the only ones to look back … ever.

And thus began their exile from the Pridelands. Hungry, thirsty, and tired, everyone marched for days without any changes in the landscape. Mud had caked itself onto everyone’s legs and underbelly. Pumbaa was the only one who didn’t seem to have a problem with this. Even Timon, who had been on top of Pumbaa for most of the trip, was exhausted from malnutrition. Not a single animal, insect, or pool of water had been seen along the way. The lions were only slightly malnourished, and more used to not eating for a few days, but Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu were getting tired and would eat just about anything. However, Zazu had taken flight hours before and had reported green Savannah was coming near. And, as a blessing, that evening they arrived in lush grass just as the sun was setting. For the first time since they left Pride Rock, the clouds cleared off to reveal a beautiful night sky. A small pond was nearby and everyone drank heartily. Pumbaa was even successful in finding himself and Timon some tasty bugs near the edge of the small water hole. A large tree nearby offered cover for them while they slept the night away.

Simba awoke from a dreamless sleep well rested and ready to move. Looking up into the sky, he noticed he had slept well past sunrise! Quickly looking around, Simba noticed that the lionesses were no longer with him. Neither were Pumbaa and Timon … and even Zazu could not be seen! Simba’s heart raced in panic. He ran out from under their nights cover and started yelling into the air for his friends. A moment later, Simba spotted Zazu flying towards him. Deftly, Zazu landed.

“Glorious morning Sire! I’m ready to give you my morning report!” Zazu happily said. It seemed he was glad to have been able to get back to schedule and deliver his morning reports as he did to Mufasa.

“Where is everyone?!” Simba demanded.

“Sire, please calm yourself. Everyone is fine. Sarabi has lead the lionesses back to the water hole in search of food. Timon and Pumbaa are off finding food for themselves, and are being quite successful I must say! If you care to follow, I do believe the lionesses have brought down a wildebeest …” Simba relaxed after Zazu had told him what was going on, and motioned to Zazu to lead the way to his breakfast. A quick walk down to the water hole confirmed Zazu’s report. Nala herself had taken the mornings breakfast down, and was proud to offer it to Simba. All the lions ate heartily.

The afternoon was spent cleaning up from their long journey through the mud. A few hours of dedicated work on their coats, the lions were looking in excellent shape. Pumbaa had cleaned off in the water hole and spent the afternoon basking in the sun. Timon had decided to take a nap in Pumbaa’s shade. During all of this Zazu had taken to the sky to get an idea what the area looked like. For the first time since the Reclaiming, everyone was happy and content. Many of the lions purred during their cleaning and basking.

Zazu returned hours later with wonderful news. His ecstatic voice interrupted Simba’s cat nap in the sun.

“Sire! Wake up Sire! I have seen it!” Zazu exclaimed loudly

while jumping up and down next to his King.

“Hu … mmm… Huh? What? Zazu! What is it!” “Sire! A valley … nearby … seems to have a suitable home! It is one the edge of the jungle as have a stream running through it! It’s wonderful!” Zazu bubbled with joy.

“Really? Wow! Let’s go!” Simba said excitedly.

Simba shook everyone else awake and told them the news. It was time to see their new home.

It was just before sunset when they had reached the valley Zazu had seen. A small, but deep, stream was at the center surrounded by rushes. Several large trees had taken root all over the valley. Various rock formations were strewn about the valley, and there was one half way up the side that would make a home for Simba and his pride. Sarabi took to cleaning out the cave with a few of the other lionesses. Simba indulged himself by taking a swim in the stream, along with Timon and Pumbaa. The lionesses, except for Nala, were shocked to see Simba do this. And eventually, Nala joined him.

In the twilight just before night, Simba made his way up to a rock on the side of the valley. Just as the stars came out, Simba looked to the night sky with sad eyes.

“Father? I miss you…” The wind picked up slightly and ruffled Simba’s mane. One star, high above him suddenly shone brighter.

“Son…” quietly rumbled Mufasa’s voice. “Son, I am proud of you.” “Father… I couldn’t save our home. I failed.” “Simba, you have taken your place in the Circle of Life. One day the Pridelands will join you in the Circle of Life and regain their splendor. And then, you will return.” The wind died down and the star returned to it’s normal brilliance. “Father, I love you.” Simba looked down at the ground, smiled, and then looked at the sky. A smile spread across his face and he roared with all his might.

At the same time another lion was looking at the night sky. Kisasian’s train of though was interrupted by the distant roar … he was not alone.

Chapter 2. Hyenas on the Prowl

In the history of Pride Rock and it’s battles one group was certainly overlooked many times. Simba didn’t just defeat Scar that fateful night, he also removed the threat that was the hyenas. Scar could have not had a more fitting death than that by the hands (or jaws) of his once faithful servants. Those who gave him his power were the ones that took it from him. Their story did not end there though. Fire and injuries from the fight claimed over half of their pack. The other half, now lead by the famous trio of Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed had to escape or end up fighting a losing battle against the lions. So, as common sense told them, as they seemed to have enough then, they left Pride Rock for better ground. By a miracle of cognitive thought, they also did not return to the elephant graveyard, for fear that Simba would hunt them down. Instead, they wandered off south for weeks. Traveling by night, they covered many, many miles … sometimes the same ones several times.

“Hey Shenzi, where ARE we?” Banzai demanded.

“Right here! Can’t cha tell?” Shenzi replied.

“Well where is here then? Haven’t we been HERE before?” “I don’t know… do you?” “I’m not sure…” “Ed?” they said in unison.

Ed’s blank stare into the night sky confirmed that he wasn’t even listening.

“Well, I think we’re LOST! I want to lead!” Banzai exclaimed.

“Hey! YOU were the one who got us lost last time! You aren’t gonna lead again! I know where I’m going!” Shenzi retorted.

“Well maybe Ed should lead?” Not only was Ed not listening, but new he seemed to be concentrating on some rock he had slobbered upon. Only his quiet giggles told Banzai and Shenzi that he was up to something.

“Ahhhhh, maybe not. But, we should at least try something different! Our followers are getting restless!” said Banzai.

“How about the jungle?” Shenzi suggested.

“Sure, I’m always in for heat and bugs…” The sun rose majestically over the Pridelands for the third time since the fire. It’s great red mass rose over the healing land and lit all to be seen with wonderful bright rays. Wispy white clouds maintained their place high in the morning sky and accented the bright light that descended upon the dark grays and one spot of beautiful green that was the ground. Rafiki blinked a few times, clearing his eyes and exhaled a long, slow breath from atop his tree. Things were looking up. For months now Rafiki had labored to restore the Pridelands, and now his work was nearing an end. It all started on the day the King left. The sacred mixture he placed upon the ground had sped the growth of the circle beneath his tree and now it had almost grown far enough to reach Pride Rock. Now that the clouds had cleared off and the sun was coming out the restoration would proceed even faster. Rafiki sighed and then smiled. His ancestors would be proud.

It was night time, the stars were out, and Simba was at the peak of Pride Rock. He looked up to see clouds moving in from all directions, and fast. The wind was getting deafening for Simba. Then, cloud bank directly in front of him formed into a huge lion’s head. The stars could no longer be seen. The giant cloud lion looked down upon Simba with hateful eyes. It certianly was not his father. It’s glare penetrated Simba and chilled him to the heart. Suddenly, the cloud lion bellowed “Your time has come!” and roared directly at Simba. The blast blew him off the top of Pride Rock and he landed much farther away on the ground. In pain, Simba looked back at the cloud lion in time to see his huge paw coming at him with it’s claws extended. Just as the paw reached him, Simba recognized the lion’s face. It was Scar.

Simba awoke shivering. He had been having these dreams more often as the months have passed. Always the same theme: Scar trying to get back at him. He shook himself awake and opened his eyes to discover it was raining heavily outside their cave. Timon was standing next to Pumbaa in the entrance looking at the rain. Simba walked over to them and sat down next to Timon.

“Hey Simba! Wonderful morning isn’t it?” said Timon jokingly. “Sure Timon …” “Wanna join us Simba? We’re going to go into the jungle for breakfast! There’s gonna be LOADS of great worms with it being all wet.” Pumbaa joined in.

“Well, I suppose. But I don’t know about eating that stuff again …” “You’ve just gotten soft eating meat! Come on, it’ll be good!” Timon said.

“All right …” Simba finally agreed.

Simba woke Sarabi and told her where he was off to for they day. The rain had lightened up a bit right before they left, and after a quick drink out of their stream, the trio went off into the jungle. Fog had encompassed the trees and made it eerie to travel through. Simba had to step carefully to avoid sliding around on the muddy forest floor. Pumbaa, on the other hand, throughly enjoyed thrashing around in the muddier holes he found. Meanwhile, Timon had been collecting grubs from some of the more rotten logs. The three had a great time playing around. It was mid-afternoon when the fog had cleared and the sun was high above them. Timon had found a bright spot on the side of a hill and the trio were sunning themselves.

“Simba, ever think about coming back to this?” Timon asked after long while.

“You know Timon, I never have. It seems like so long ago when it was just us.” “Never? Don’t you think it’d be easier to live like this?” “Well, the night I came back, I really did learn something. I’ve changed … again. In the months we’ve been here I haven’t considered once … I mean, I’ve got Nala and the pride to think about. I’m the King.” “But King of what? You don’t have much, ya know. We haven’t even been very far from that rock in the valley. Is it worth it?” “Yes. Yes it is.” With that, Simba went charging down the hill into the small lake below. Following him were Timon and Pumbaa, who was rolling down the hill laughing all the way. When his friends had gotten nearby, Simba shook out the water in his mane and sat down. “It’s nice to go back. Sometimes.” It was getting close to nightfall when Simba and his friends had started to head back to the valley. Simba had stopped midway to try and clean some of the dirt off of him before he returned to the cave, but Timon and Pumbaa had continued on further. Suddenly, Pumbaa’s loud scream ripped through the quiet evening! Simba jumped to attention, looking ahead to see what was going on. “Pumbaa?!” Simba called. “Timon? GUYS!” Simba yelled. He charged down the trail in the direction of the scream and was moving almost too fast to notice the brownish blur streak past him. In fact, he might have missed it if it hadn’t been screaming so loud. “Pumbaa!!!!” Simba yelled again. Then, on the heels of Pumbaa came three grey blurs that looked faintly like hyenas. Simba reacted fast enough to throw one off it’s feet before it got any further. Then Simba went off in chase of the other two. “Simbaaaaaaaa! Heeeeeeeelp!” Pumbaa yelled as he slid in some dirt. The hyenas’ jaws were just upon Pumbaa when Simba pounced on the remaining two. Simba stepped on one hyena’s chest and it gagged under the pressure. The other was trapped between it’s partner and Simba’s extended claws.

“Ahhhh! Please! Don’t hurt us! Please … Please …” one pleaded. Simba let up a bit on the other and it joined in on the begging.

“What are you doing … wait, I recognize you!” Simba said.

“Oh, please, please please don’t hurt us!” one hyena cried.

“Yeah, we haven’t done anything wrong! Please don’t hurt us!” the other continued.

“You helped Scar! You were at Pride Rock!” Simba growled. He moved his claws closer to the necks of the hyenas.

“We were? No we weren’t! No! You’ve got it all wrong!” “You were. I should kill you …” “Oh, no killing is sooo drastic! Please, we aren’t worth it!” “No, I won’t kill you. But you had better get out of here. NOW!” With that, the hyenas skittered off. The one Simba had hit right away had collected itself and ran off with it’s companions. Simba went over to Pumbaa and gently picked up his shaking body.

“Pumbaa?” Simba questioned.

“I-I-I-I’m O-o-o-kay …” “Where is Timon?” Just at that moment Timon ran headlong into Simba. “Hey! I lost ’em!” he exclaimed.

“Umm, Timon … well …” Simba started.

“Hey, I’m good!” Timon finished for him. Simba set Pumbaa down and started back.

Banzai, Shenzi, and Ed returned to their group and instructed them that they would have to leave the jungle. Most of the hyenas were relieved, having not liked the heat and the wetness that were ever-present here. So, setting out on the quickest way back to the Savannah, the lead trio limped their way out of the jungle. When they reached the edge another sight scared them. A group of lions was standing directly in front of them, and the lead one was huge. He approached the trio and glared into their eyes.

“Who are you.” the lion demanded.

“Hey! You can’t…” Banzai exclaimed.

“Banzai, shuddup. Were are just on our way out of here … we won’t give you any trouble.” “WHO ARE YOU!” the lion demanded again.

“We’re just hyenas.” Suddenly, Shenzi’s eyes looked more sinister. “But I think there’s another lion in your territory. We can help you find him, we’ve helped lions before.” “Yeah! And Scar treated us to dinner afterwards!” Banzai joined in.

“Hmmmmm…” the lion rumbled. “Who is this Scar?” “Aw, he’s no one … after we got through with him.” Banzai answered amid Ed’s maniacal laughter.

“Um, can we go?” Shenzi asked.

Simba had taken to heart Timon’s comment last night and had resolved to expand his territorial horizons. So, the next morning, he and Nala went exploring. They walked the Savannah and saw beautiful rolling hills, green grasses swaying in the wind, multitudes of animals, and the sun stately rising in the sky. However, the next valley was not another sun-drenched field of grass, but a gruesome scene. Dozens of hyenas were strewn over the Savannah and none of them moved. Several vultures were circling the field even as Simba and Nala approached the bodies.

“What happened?” Nala whispered.

“I don’t know … who would do this?” Simba answered.

“I’ve never seen anything like it …” Nala said, trailing off her whisper in awe.

Simba looked closely at one of the hyenas. “These are a lion’s claw marks … “.

Chapter 3. The Son

It was another glorious afternoon in the Pridelands. Rafiki stood on the edge of Pride Rock and admired the beautiful green Savannah that stretched for miles around him. Only a small amount of blackened ground remained, and animals had been slowly returning for days. Rafiki lightly bounced one of his fruits in his hand. Suddenly, the wind picked up and blew the fruit from him and off of Pride Rock. He watched it sail downward and then impact itself on a sharp stone. Rafiki gasped as the fruit’s shell broke and it’s contents slowly oozed down the sides of the rock. He looked down at his feet and somberly shook his head.

Rafiki had returned to his tree and was quickly preparing. He didn’t expect to be leaving the Pridelands so soon, but his presence was required for the upcoming event. He had a good idea where the lions had gone, but it would take a few days to get there. Hopefully he would not be too late. He tied several important objects to his staff and leapt down from his tree. Slowly, he frowned and looked to the sky. He had never liked this rite of passage ceremony.

Lisani had been wandering around in the bright afternoon for hours. It was a beautiful day and she had forgotten about hunting for a while to allow herself to enjoy it. Lisani stopped on a grass covered hillside and sat down. The sun was slightly behind her, the sky was bright blue, and the Savannah was buzzing with insects. Suddenly a shadow fell over her. Lisani jumped up and spun around to see what had happened. Before her stood a lion. He was the biggest lion she had ever seen! The lion walked up to her.

“A beautiful afternoon, don’t you agree?” he said. His voice was deep and powerful. Almost as commanding as Mufasa’s had been years earlier.

“Yes, yes it is.” Lisani responded.

“Such a beautiful day only compliments such a beautiful lioness! May I ask you name, my dear?” he continued.

“My name is Lisani. Who are you?” she said.

“Lisani, your name makes you even more beautiful. My name is Kisasian. Would you like to take a walk with me Lisani? I would greatly enjoy your wonderful presence this afternoon.” “I would be glad to.” Lisani and Kisasian walked for hours. Lisani was greatly impressed with him. He was beautiful, intelligent, and powerful. They talked most of the time. She had told him of her times with Simba’s pride, and he had told her of his past. He had been born and raised in this part of Africa. He was King of his own pride. And he truly cared for Lisani. She couldn’t help but to stay with him.

Sarabi found Simba nearby the cave and approached him in the twilight of evening.

“Simba?” “Hello Mother.” “Simba, Lisani is missing. Do you know where she is?” “I haven’t seen her since this morning. I thought she was out hunting?” “She was, but she has not returned to the valley. It’s getting late.” “What should I do?” “There’s not much to do now. We’ll never find her in the dark. Tomorrow morning we will have to form search parties and go looking for her.” “Do you think she’s in trouble?” “I don’t know.” Simba stared up into the clear night sky. The stars shown happily down upon him and the moon was full and bright. But in he back of Simba’s head, something thumped. A deep bass vibration rolled through his subconscious, getting louder. The bass intensified, bringing the vibration to the point where Simba could feel it. It was a regular pounding that felt like thunder. It was getting worse. Things around Simba were shaking. His heart raced with fear. In a blink, the moon was gone. Only a huge silhouette of a lion remained. It was as big as a mountain. Lightning ripped apart the sky around the lion. Before Simba could react, the lion charged him. The pounding of it’s monstrous feet knocked Simba off balance. The charging lion barred it’s teeth and roared. Simba was getting close to blacking out. Just as the powerful jaws reached him, Simba once again recognized the lion. As always, it was Scar.

Simba awoke breathing heavily. The dreams of his were getting worse. Recently they had been waking him up in the middle of the night, and this was no exception. Simba opened his eyes to the darkness of the cave and listened to the soft breathing of his fellow lions. He was slightly shaken by the dream so he decided to take a walk in the moonlight. It was possible that his father had a few words of wisdom for him.

Simba was becoming interested in the black and white world of the night. Everything looked so different! The moon hung low and large in the sky, telling Simba that he had not slept long. He walked a distance from his valley and sat in a dip between two hills. The cool night air was quickly calming him down. Simba looked solemnly at the stars and called softly for his father.

“Simba.” a voice returned. It was deep, bassy, but not his father’s. A chill went down Simba’s back. He looked at the moon rising over the hill and saw the source of the voice. Another lion was silhouetted in the light.

“Simba, your father cannot help you now.” the lion continued. Simba’s blood turned ice cold in his veins. He rose and started moving towards the figure on the hilltop. No matter what he tried, he could not stop himself. Simba recognized the lion … it was Scar … only bigger. Every step was an eternity for Simba. His heart had all but stopped. The green eyes of the lion looked down his long face and penetrated deep into Simba. He looked exactly like Scar, but larger. Scar’s weak frame had been replaced with large bones and rippling muscles. The only other difference was the lack of Scar’s namesake injury.

Simba reached the hilltop and stood mere inches away from the lion. The lion’s black mane moved slightly in the breeze.

“Wh-wh-who are you?” Simba stammered. The lion just stood there.

“How do you know who I am?” Simba continued.

“Oh, Simba …” the lion rumbled. “You deserve the pain.” The lion began to pace around Simba. “Those idiot hyenas died for what they had done. Now you shall pay the price.” “What?” Simba whispered. The lion reached the front of Simba again and put his face directly in front of Simba. His eyes burned with hatred. His mouth quivered slightly.

“I AM KISASIAN! THE SON OF SCAR!” the lion roared. Kisasian moved forward and Simba began backing up. Simba was visibly shaking and very scared.

“Oh, Simba! You’re in trouble now! Your past … what you have done will be your undoing!” Kisasian continued to advance. “Make peace with yourself Simba, and PREPARE TO JOIN YOUR FATHER!” Kisasian bellowed.

In a final panic, Simba turned quickly and ran down the hill. Kisasian did not follow, but instead stood where he was. Just as Simba reached the top of the next hill he heard Kisasian yell. “Simba! Running will not help you! You time has come!” followed by bassy, evil laughter.

Simba returned to the cave and collapsed from exhaustion. He had ran the whole distance from his meeting with Kisasian, and after being frightened so deeply, had no energy left. Sleep overtook him and he was out until sunrise. Upon waking up, he gathered the lionesses together and told them what had happened. After a few moments of shock, Sarabi calmly spoke.

“I was afraid of this. I suppose we had better tell you what had happened.” Sarabi sighed. The lionesses laid down and watched Sarabi. “You see, soon after the death of Mufasa, and after we had lost you, Scar had taken a mate. He had promised himself to …”. Nala grimaced suddenly and looked at Sarabi. Simba was intently watching Sarabi and didn’t notice. “He had promised himself to another lioness, but she had never achieved adulthood in the time he wanted her to. We were not supposed to know, but he seduced Ngwame into bearing a son for him. Scar’s problem came when we eventually did find out. She was beside a pool one night crying, and she told us. We had no choice.

Scar could not be allowed to continue his reign with a son. So, unbeknownst to Scar, we banished Ngwame before she gave birth. She was angry with us, mostly with me. I was the one who approved the punishment. Ngwame was sent alone and distraught out of the Pridelands.

We eventually had to tell Scar what had happened. Days of his queries about Ngwame went unanswered. I finally told him what we had done and why. I was expecting to be killed, but Scar proved to a weaker soul. He left in embarrassment and hid in his cave for days.

I feared that one day Ngwame would try to harm us. It looks like she may have her day.” “How did Kisasian find out about his father? He and Ngwame were driven from the Pridelands.” Simba interrupted.

“I’m not sure how. Someone would have had to te … Lisani!” “Kisasian kidnapped Lisani?!” Nala exclaimed.

“Well, maybe and maybe not. It’s possible that Lisani went willingly … but no matter. Lisani or not, I believe Kisasian is going to come back. And next time, to kill.” Remorsefully, the lionesses went out on their morning hunt. They had promised Simba to return quickly and hoped that Kisasian would not show up while they were gone. Zazu had taken flight to try and keep watch over the surrounding area. Only Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa remained in the valley.

“Hey, Simba, does this kind of thing always happen in your family?” Timon asked.

“I don’t think so Timon. I guess this is kind a first for our heritage.” “My biggest problem with my family was at dinner! My brothers and sisters didn’t like me very much. I’d stink up a good eating place and I was the only one to get any food!” Pumbaa chuckled.

Simba allowed himself a laugh. “Thanks Pumbaa…”. Pumbaa grunted a ‘huh?’ and looked at Simba.

“Oh, nothing Pumbaa…” The valley was quiet all day. The lions remained tense and ready for anything. The sun rose and fell without incident. Zazu had remained out all day, coming back to rest for only a few minutes. He had left again and was currently keeping watch in the direction that Simba had first seen Kisasian. Small clouds gathered over the Savannah while Simba’s pride sat at the top of the valley. Without warning, Zazu fell from the sky and stood before Simba.

“Sire! Lions! Maybe ten to fifteen!” “Did you see Kisasian?” “I think so, he’s in the lead. They’re about 5 hills away.” “Sarabi?” Simba looked at her. “Let’s go.” she responded.

The lions moved swiftly in the twilight. They ran in the direction Zazu had pointed out, hoping to catch the attackers off guard before they reached their home. Simba rounded the top of a hill and skidded to a halt. On the next hilltop Kisasian stood defiantly. Behind him were 3 lionesses … at first. The number increased quickly, adding ten more lionesses to the original group. Behind Simba his pride assembled.

“Simba! Son of Mufasa! You are charged with the spilling of Royal Blood! For this, the penalty is DEATH.” Kisasian roared.

“Sarabi! Mufasa’s mate! You are charged with the banishment of Ngwame. For this, you will DIE.” Kisasian’s group charged. Simba’s pride ran to meet the oncoming lions. Simba swallowed his fear and charged Kisasian.

Kisasian met Simba with a powerful blow to his chest. Simba recoiled from the shock and crumpled on the ground next to Kisasian. Kisasian quickly leapt on top of Simba, but Simba deftly brought his legs up and pushed him off over his head. Simba jumped up to attack and swung his paw at the still recovering Kisasian. Kisasian blocked the powerful blow with his foreleg and returned the sweep with his own paw. He hit Simba square on the muzzle, gouging him deeply. Blood welled up from the claw marks and soaked into the nearby fur. Simba jumped back grimacing in pain. Kisasian circled Simba, and Simba turned to face his movements. Without warning, Kisasian leapt at Simba with a loud roar. Simba jumped to the side, but was not fast enough to escape Kisasian’s razor sharp claws. Kisasian hit him hard and dug deep into Simba’s back, drawing blood once again. Simba struggled in the dirt and was successful in loosing his grip. He was on his feet just in time to receive Kisasian’s full weight upon him. Simba’s body gave way and fell to the ground with a sickening thud. Laughing, Kisasian sank his sleek jaws into the foreleg of Simba. Simba screamed in pain. Blood oozed from Kisasian’s mouth and sank into the surrounding fur. Kisasian released his jaws and glared at Simba’s neck. An evil smile crossed Kisasian’s bloody face as he opened his jaws again and went for Simba’s throat. Simba could only look up in horror. Suddenly, Kisasian was no longer on him. A burst of golden fur flashed past him! Nala had knocked Kisasian off Simba and was going after him now. A quick look around told Simba that Kisasian’s pride was losing, and now retreating. Doubling up his will, Simba rose and leapt at Kisasian. He sliced his claws over Kisasian’s chest and exposed lines of dark, red blood. Kisasian looked about him in fear. His pride was leaving! He turned and glared at Simba, priming himself for one last attack. He charged Simba, but not fast enough. Simba’s paw reached out and slashed his face viscously. Blood poured from his left eye and covered the side of his face. The red liquid dripped from Kisasian’s muzzle onto the ground. Lowering his head, Kisasian growled “This is not over yet!” and turned to run. Simba just watched him go.

Zazu had watched the battle from above and was happy to see Kisasian’s pride leave. He quickly did a count of the remaining lions and was even more relieved to see all of them were alive and moving about. He sailed down to Simba and bowed.

“Sire! You have been successful!” Simba looked up from his wounds. “Zazu, we were all successful.” He looked at Nala and smiled.

“Do you think they’ll be back sire?” “I hope not…” The walk back the valley was a bittersweet one. All the lions were injured to various degrees. Many limped, bled, and felt pain. Simba hung back and stayed close to Nala. The nuzzled each other the whole way home.

Rafiki watched stealth fully from a nearby jungle tree. He had counted several times and was sure that all the lions were fine. They did show signs of being hurt recently, but all would heal. A puzzled look crossed his face. Rafiki considered that he might have been wrong … but quickly dismissed the thought. Rafiki was never wrong.

Most of Kisasian’s pride was badly injured. Some even had to be carried back to their home. Kisasian was in an angry mood while he licked his wounds.

“Mother!” Kisasian growled while he brushed her face away from his eye. “I’m fine.” “That will never heal, son. You have taken your place in the Circle of Life. You have become your legacy and now must finish his work.” “I’ll get him, Mother. He won’t live.” “However, our wounds need time to heal. We can’t keep fighting like this.” Ngwame interrupted.

“We’ll move on. But, we WILL be back.” Two days later, Kisasian gathered his pride for the trip. He took one final look around his childhood home and stepped away.

“Son …” Ngwame said.

Kisasian looked back at his mother. She wasn’t moving.

“Son, I have unfinished business. I have to stay.” “I know, Mother.” Kisasian gazed upon his mother, possibly for the last time. He then looked at the rest of his pride and started walking.

Ngwame watched his son’s pride leave. She had almost completed her goals here. Only one thing remained…

Chapter 4. The Mother

A lone pair of golden eyes peered out of the brush into the dark night. They watched in silence as Simba made his way to the rim of the valley. They continued to watch as Simba sat down and called for his father. Memories overflowed the owner’s emotions as the eyes stayed with the scene. Sorrow, despair, loneliness, and pain filled the owner’s heart and spirit. The eyes blinked with the collection of new tears. Slowly, the tears rolled down the ancient face. With that, the eyes turned and left.

The golden eyes were not alone. For several days now Rafiki had been watching Simba and his pride carefully. He had to be there when it was time, and the time was coming soon. Rafiki suddenly swiveled his head around in response to a noise behind him. What he saw came as a shock. Barely visible in the moonlight was a very old male lion making his way slowly away from the valley and back into the jungle.

Kisasian watched the old lion come over the hill. The lion approached and when he was close enough to hear, Kisasian spoke.

“You’re late. The moon is already on it’s way down.” The old lion glared at Kisasian. “I tried to get here as fast as I could. I’m not as quick as I used to be.” “That is no excuse, Mwangalizi. If I hadn’t made a promise, I would have killed you long ago.” “I only wish you would have, Kisasian. I regret asking you to spare my life. It was cowardly. I would have left this life fighting, not dying of old age.” “It wouldn’t had been much of a fight back then, as it wouldn’t be now. You were getting too old for a pride. It was mine for the taking. Consider yourself lucky I did spare you.” “I don’t.” Mwangalizi narrowed his eyes at Kisasian.

“Enough. Give me your report.” The sun’s huge mass hung low in the sky and sent warming rays onto a lone lioness. She woke up and shrugged off the last vestiges of sleep. She stood up and admired the morning sunrise. “Today I will complete a lifetime of work. Today, I live for only one purpose.” she spoke out loud. Finishing this, she looked about her and started off in the direction of Simba’s valley.

Ngwame had walked for only a few hours before she found signs of recent activity. Crouching low to the ground, she examined the paw print in the soft ground and realized that it was fresh. She quickly looked up over the tall grass to try and locate the track’s source. After a moment she found what she was looking for. Four lionesses were stalking prey only a short distance away. They were so engrossed in their work that they didn’t even notice Ngwame pass behind them. She followed the group from a distance and tried to identify who she was stalking. Eventually she came to the decision that these lionesses were from the correct pride, but none of them were her target. However, these four might lead her to where she wanted to go.

The afternoon showed promise for the four hunters. A quick kill, and they were making their way back home. Ngwame still carefully watched them and followed them until they came to a large field. She watched the lionesses disappear down the side of a valley near the jungle. Ngwame deduced that this is where she would find her nemesis. A hot flash of anger surged through Ngwame and she was tempted to charge blindly into the valley, but sensible thinking took over before her anger got out of control. She made her way up the side of a hill and concealed herself so that she may watch the valley and field undetected. Patience would bring her what she wanted.

Early on Sarabi had seen Nala’s potential. She had recognized that she would eventually become queen, and have to take over the role of leading the pride. It was up to Sarabi then to teach Nala, and she had. For even before the reunion of Nala and Simba, Sarabi had instructed her on many subjects, all to make her an effective queen and leader. However, the time for her instruction was soon coming to a close, and Nala’s training would be complete.

Nala and Sarabi were quietly waiting out the hot noonday sun in the shade of a large tree. Zazu was perched in the tree and watched the horizon idly.

“Nala, do you remember Mufasa’s death?” Sarabi asked.

“Some. I remember when Scar announced his death from outside Pride Rock.

“Well, that’s part of the ritual. The King must announce one of the pride’s deaths. Death is the sacred transition from this world to the next, and every lion must face it. I am getting old and must face it soon myself.” “Are you scared?” “No. I have lived a full life, and I will welcome death. You won’t understand until you are my age, but one can only spend so much time here.” “You’re right, I don’t understand.” “And that’s natural. The world is still new to you.” Suddenly Nala moaned and laid down. Sarabi looked down at her with concern. “Are you ill?” she quietly asked.

“I don’t know. I have been feeling strange for a while now. Tired, sick to my stomach. I don’t know …” Zazu jumped down from his perch and stood next to the prone Nala. “Maybe you ate something?” Sarabi stood back and looked over Nala intently. She suddenly broke a huge smile. “Oh, Nala. I am so proud. The circle of lifecontinues …” “What’s going on?” Nala demanded.

“Nala! You are going to have a child!” It was late that afternoon before the three left the serenity of the tree. Nala had many questions for Sarabi about what was going to happen, and Sarabi was more than happy to answer them. Zazu flapped around the two congratulating Nala and going on about how he is going to have the opportunity to see four generations of this family. When they finally left the tree, Zazu had taken off to go back and tell the pride. However, Nala had stopped him before he had gotten far.

“Zazu, I want you to keep quiet about this. I want to tell Simba myself.” The trio reached the valley and Nala found Simba being playful with Timon and Pumbaa. She walked up to them and smiled at Simba with big, bright, eyes. Timon ran over and stood directly in front of Nala.

“What do you think YOU’RE doing?!” Timon demanded. “I know that look … you want to take him away from us!” “Hey Timon, maybe we should let him go, she is the queen, ya know.” Pumbaa said as he sat down next to Nala.

“Now, Timon …” Nala continued. “I really need to talk to him. ALONE. Simba, come, I want to tell you something.” Sarabi watched the couple venture into the jungle. It was beautiful to her, that she might be able to see her grandson. And how had Simba grown! She thought back to her own motherhood and was filled with joy. Reflection on past memories got the best of her and she wandered off, wanting to be alone with the past.

Nala led Simba deep into the jungle. Simba had questioned her for most of the trip, but he had since given up trying to pry her secret out of her. Nala looked down an embankment and saw a small pool glittering in the sun. Ferns covered the areas around it, except for one spot where lush grass had taken root. She led Simba down there and sat him down. She then sat directly in front of him and smiled a broad smile that covered her face. Then, she slowly nuzzled his face, which was contorted into a confused expression.

“Nala, what’s this all about?” Simba asked quietly.

“Simba, I love you. I love you so much!” “I love you too Nala, but what’s going on?” She looked him in the eyes and said “I’m going to have a son.” Simba blinked. He blinked again. Then his jaw dropped open. He made movements like he was trying to say something, but no sound came out. Nala smiled at him again. “Isn’t it wonderful?” she said.

“A son …” Simba said in awe. All the sudden he smiled as big as Nala. “Nala, oh how I love you!” he exclaimed and leapt at her.

They rolled around in the grass for a few minutes exchanging joyous cries. Finally, they stopped and laid together in the fleeting sunlight. Simba looked deep into Nala eyes and shook his head. He muttered “I can’t believe it’s true!” as a tear rolled down his cheek.

Sarabi wandered without actually thinking of where she was going. Her thoughts were inward, recalling all the joys from her life. She remembered her first night with Mufasa, the day Mufasa became King, the birth of Simba, and when Simba returned. Strangely enough, she didn’t even think about Mufasa’s death. Only happy memories filled her mind. Therefore, it was a surprise to her to suddenly hear her name.

“Sarabi” the voice said quietly. “Sarabi, it is you I want.” Sarabi snapped out of her thoughts and straightened up at the sight of Ngwame standing only a few feet in front of her. “Ngwame … “ Sarabi started. She stopped, thought, and then glared at the other lion. “I know what you want.” “Have you made peace with yourself Sarabi? You had better, for these are your last moments.” “This doesn’t have to happen, Ngwame.” “No. You had made the choice that brought you here. You are responsible for my banishment, you are responsible for my loneliness, you are responsible for ME! It’s too late though, you can’t undo what you’ve done.” “I knew you before you were like this. You can come back …” “Again, no. I am a part of my son’s pride and I will die to hold his honor. You will die to hold mine.” “So be it. But remember, I will out live you, Ngwame. You can’t kill me yet.” “Watch me!” With that, Ngwame ran at Sarabi with surprising speed. Sarabi didn’t even have time to react as Ngwame slid sideways and rolled under her, knocking her off her feet. Ngwame got up and let out a vicious roar. She charged the fallen Sarabi and opened her jaws wide for the attack. Sarabi saw this coming and scrambled to her feet, but she was not quick enough to avoid Ngwame’s sharp teeth tearing into her side. Blood rolled out of the cuts and Sarabi screamed in pain. Sarabi quickly spun around and leapt at Ngwame. Ngwame crouched to the ground and deflected Sarabi’s attack deftly. Sarabi ended up behind Ngwame and leapt again before Ngwame could turn around. This time her jaws found purchase on Ngwame’s hindquarters and the taste of hot blood filled Sarabi’s mouth. Ngwame swung her rear around and snapped Sarabi off of her. Then, both of the lions jumped at each other. Meeting in mid air, the two raked each other’s underbellies with their claws. More blood spilled to the ground. Sarabi wrenched herself sideways and flung Ngwame to the ground. She jumped on top of Ngwame and pressed her into the soft earth. Ngwame stretched her back leg and tore down Sarabi’s side with razor sharp claws. Sarabi jumped up and rolled off Ngwame. Ngwame reacted quickly and pounced on Sarabi’s head. She barred her teeth and plunged the sharp incisors into Sarabi’s neck. Sarabi howled in pain as blood splattered Ngwame’s face. Ngwame wasn’t expecting this and jumped back from the bleeding Sarabi. Sarabi saw her chance and shot out at Ngwame’s own neck. Her teeth sank deep into the other lionesses’ tender throat. Ngwame could only gasp for air. Sarabi ground her teeth in one final blow and saw Ngwame start to fade. She released and Ngwame fell to the ground. Sarabi could only barely make out Ngwame’s final words, “You were supposed to die first.” Sarabi was getting weak. Blood continued to flow from her many wounds and she was afraid she wouldn’t make it in time. Struggling to hold her head up higher, she spotted the rim of the valley ahead. She was almost there. All she could think about was her son … she must see her son. Sarabi fought back the intense pain she was feeling and made one final push for the edge. She came forward enough to see down inside and collapsed. She picked out Simba down there, standing next to Nala near the cave. She wanted him to see her, but she could only manage a whisper. “Son … Son …”. Tears welled up in her eyes as she considered that she would not have enough time to say goodbye. “Son … please…”. She had almost lost hope, but from behind here came a roar of a lion. It was weak, shallow, but loud enough to alert Simba. Her body wouldn’t move enough to turn and see the lion who had made the noise, but she didn’t care. Simba was on his way.

Simba heard the feeble roar and looked at the top of the valley. He spotted his mother, lying near the edge.

“MOTHER!” Simba exclaimed. His cry filled the valley and the other lions turned to follow Simba up the steep incline. Simba reached his mother and gasped with horror. She was bleeding from countless wounds. Her fur was red with wet blood and she barely was breathing.

“Mother …” Simba wailed. He trembled and tears of immense magnitude sprang from his eyes. He laid down in front of her and licked her face once.

“Simba … my son … I will always love you. Always and forever.” Sarabi whispered.

“Mother… don’t go. Please, don’t go.” Simba’s tears had soaked his face and turned his eyes red.

“I love you …” she whispered. She closed her eyes for the last time. Her last breath escaped her damaged body and her torso fell, never to rise again. Simba looked at her in horror.

“Noooooooooooo!” Simba screamed. He looked up at the sky and continued to cry. Rafiki had appeared out from nowhere and stopped everyone before they reached Simba and his mother. The wise monkey waved his stick in front of the oncoming lions and said “It is not time for you yet … leave them alone.” Then he had sat down to wait. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on Sarabi. He could barely feel her, but she was close to the end. And suddenly, she was gone. Rafiki shook himself and then motioned to Nala for make her way up to Simba. He leaded close to her and whispered “He needs you now.” Nala and Rafiki left the pride and made their way up to Simba. Nala reached the edge and saw Simba was not alone. She gasped as an ancient lion walked slowly towards them. He was very old and his mane was turning white with age. Simba looked up with bloodshot eyes to see the stranger.

“You did this …” Simba growled.

“No. I am not responsible for this tragedy.” the old lion’s voice softly spoke. “Kisasian’s mother has caused this. Her anger cost the life of this lioness and her own.” The lion paused. “I am Mwangalizi. I mean you no harm, and even if I did, cannot cause any.” Rafiki cocked his head and stared at the lion. He jumped up and walked to him. “Mwangalizi? I know you! But where is your pride?” “Ah! Wise Rafiki … it is awful to have to meet again under such conditions. As for my pride, I lost it. I was getting old back then …” “You lost your pride? How can that be?” “A painful story, I cannot tell. Rafiki, this is such a tragedy. I would be honored to perform The Rites.” “Ahhh, yes. The Rites. You must ask the King …” Up to this point, Simba had been standing there in shock. Nala was trying to comfort him, but was having trouble dealing with the situation. Also, the other members of the pride had gathered around and most were crying or talking in hushed tones. Mwangalizi approached Simba and bowed before him.

“Sire, let me make your sorrow easier. If it is your wish, I will perform The Rites of Passing for your mother. It is a dark day, and I would not wish you more pain by requiring you to perform The Rites yourself.” Simba looked at Mwangalizi with questioning eyes. “Oh, yes, The Rites are an ancient tradition.” Rafiki began. “When a lion passes on to the next world, it’s remains in this world need to be treated with respect. Must be done … must be done.” Simba looked down at the body of his mother. Her coat was covered with blood, dirt clung to her in many places, open cuts covered her body, and worst of all, she did not move. Simba put his head next to his Mother’s face and said “I love you too.” He looked back at Mwangalizi, nodded, and turned to walk down into the valley.

Even though every one of the lions knew of Sarabi’s death, Simba was still required to make the official announcement. Rafiki and Zazu had taken him aside and had talked in length about what his duties in these situations were. Soon after Rafiki’s talk, Simba had gathered up the shell-shocked lions, Zazu, Timon, and Pumbaa and prepared to make his speech.

“The loss of my mother is immeasurable.” Simba said softly. “She was so many things to us, and so cared for. I cannot fathom how to cope with her death. However, we must continue without her. There is no choice. She has completed her circle of life, like we all will one day. The circle itself may never end, but we shall. So it is upon this sad night that I then make two more announcements.” Simba paused. “The circle of life continues as Nala will bear my son, the heir to the throne. And now, it is time to return to the Pridelands.” Simba let his tension go as he sat down on the rock. He looked up at the sky and pleaded for his father. As before, the wind around Simba picked up slightly and one star, the same one, shone brightly down on him.

“Son, you have continued the circle of life. You are becoming all that you are.” the voice of Mufasa rumbled in Simba’s ears.

“Father! Mother DIED! How do I …” Simba cried.

“You must protect the ones you love, protect your son.” “But what about mother?” Tears were beginning to stream down Simba’s eyes.

“Continue the circle of life, Son. It is your destiny.” “Don’t you understand? She’s DEAD!” “Continue the circle of life … continue the …” the voice faded.

Simba looked at the ground and cried.

The old lion stared at Kisasian in the moonlight. “This has gone too far. You have caused much pain, and will only cause more.” “Oh, Mwangalizi, what do you know of pain? Except for that of old age.” “I know enough to recognize that you’re heading for disaster.” “How dare you say that!” “You can’t be king and carry personal vendettas around with you.” “I am King and can do whatever I want!” “If you where the king I was …” Kisasian swung at Mwangalizi and knocked his frail body to the ground. “I am ten times the King you were!” Mwangalizi looked up from the ground. “You can’t go on like this. You’re cutting your life short, Kisasian.”

Chapter 5. Prelude to War

Lisani thought she was dreaming. He life had changed so radically in the last few days that she could hardly believe what had happened. Here she was, with a new pride, and falling in love. She sighed and looked out into the downpour of rain that was happening outside the cave. It was night, and most everyone else was asleep. She was also shocked as to where she was. Kisasian had taken them all here, and somehow it didn’t bother her. She was even glad to be here. Lisani looked back into the cave at the sleeping body of Kisasian. He had been so good to her, and she couldn’t fathom that he shared Scar’s genes. Though, some doubt did remain in her. She had wondered what he had done when he took his pride off into the night and left her alone. Then, later that night, they had returned badly hurt. She had questioned him on it, but he had told her not to worry. Of course, that was not enough. She would have to find out for herself. Suddenly, lightning lit up the sky nearby and thunder boomed around her.

Kisasian had done quite a through job on the hyenas, but even he was unable to destroy them all. After he and his pride had attacked their pack, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed had left hastily. Eventually they had regrouped with a small amount of survivors and had decided to move on. Of course, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed had taken the lead. It had been a week of wandering aimlessly, thought Banzai and Shenzi claimed to know where they were going, before they arrived somewhere familiar. So, it was completely by accident that they approached the outskirts of their original home, the Elephant Graveyard. It was a happy return for only one hyena, as the rest were drenched in the rain that had been soaking them all night. The only hyena that was happy was also wet, but he wasn’t smart enough to notice he was wet. Ed continued to bounce around excitedly in all the puddles he could find. Finally, after Ed had sprayed Shenzi for the third time, she got angry.

“Ed! Knock it OFF!” she yelled. Ed gave Shenzi a quizzical look and then returned to jumping around in the puddle.

“Ed! Get over here!” Shenzi yelled again, to the same effect. In fact, Ed paused for even a shorter moment.

“Banzai, go get him out of there!” she demanded.

“Why do I have to do it?” Banzai said as he glared at Shenzi.

At that moment, Ed stopped jumping and decided to put his face in the puddle. Once he had covered his muzzle in muddy water, he began to giggle uncontrollably. This resulted in water spraying the rest of his face, and this made him laugh more. Eventually, he fell down laughing into the water.

“That’s it! Go get him.” Shenzi said to Banzai. Banzai obliged by walking into the puddle and nipping the convulsing Ed in his side. Ed jumped and ran straight off into Shenzi, knocking her to the ground.

“ED!” Shenzi yelled as she got up. She glared coldly at Ed and growled. Ed looked wide-eyed at Shenzi and stopped fighting for a moment. Then, he burst out in all out laughter. Shenzi swung her paw out and smacked him full in the face. Ed’s laughter only turned into light giggling. The area around them suddenly lit up from lightning. Thunder boomed in the confines of the canyon walls.

Words cannot express how painful the past few days had been for Simba. Even now, he sat dejectedly staring out into the cold rain. The other lions slept restfully, but Simba was having a difficult time with it. His thoughts turned back and forth between the death of his father and the death of his mother. The image of his father falling from the side of the canyon was painfully burned into his memory. And to make matters worse, the image of Sarabi’s damaged body also mixed in his thoughts. Simba sighed and continued to stare blankly into the sheet of rain. Even the good news about his son was overshadowed by his depression. And now, returning to the Pridelands had the possibility of being a painful time, not a joyous one. He also felt some irritation about his father’s message the night of Sarabi’s death. He had not said one thing about her. A slight frown crossed Simba’s face as the rain continued to fall. Something else was also bothering him. Rafiki had left with Mwangalizi to perform The Rights of Passing and had not returned. However, before he left Simba had promised to wait for Rafiki to return before they made their journey to the Pridelands. Suddenly, a noise behind him caught his attention. He turned around to see Nala walking up to him. She looked sadly at Simba and then began to nuzzle his face.

“Still not sleeping well I see.” Nala whispered.

Simba sighed and looked into Nala’s eyes. “At least I still have you.” “Come on Simba, let’s go to bed.” Just as they turned to go, a distant lightning bolt brightened the sky. Seconds later, thunder rolled though the valley.

Rafiki looked out at the downpour from the safety of a tree top. As soon as the storm would let up, he would have to get back to Simba so that they could start their journey back to Pride Rock. He had insured that Mwangalizi had treated Sarabi’s body respectfully, and then had taken the chance to gather precious items from the nearby jungle. He had collected everything he needed and now had time to reflect on the last few days turmoil. He had known one of the Pride was going to die, but he never expected it to be Sarabi. But, he was required to be strong for the King, so he had not shown much emotion when he had seen Sarabi’s body lying there. Now it was different. Away from everyone, Rafiki let the emotion wash over him. Tears streamed down his face, making him wetter than the rain had done. ‘She didn’t deserve to die, especially at the will of Ngwame’ he thought. ‘There’s so much evil in this world. And the evil continues! How could I miss something as important as Scar’s Son?’ And it was true, Rafiki had no knowledge of Kisasian. He hadn’t even known about Ngwame’s banishment. Of course, that was during the days of Scar’s rule, and Rafiki had not spent much time in the Pridelands in the first few weeks of that. Rafiki sighed and wiped his eyes. Distant lightning illuminated the jungle, and several seconds later thunder made it’s way across the water drenched forest.

In the twilight of evening, Lisani and Kisasian had taken a walk into the fields surrounding their home. They had done the same often before, and both of them enjoyed their time with each other greatly. This night they walked a good distance from their home and sat upon the top of a grassy hill. The wind was blowing the cool night air past them at a leisurely pace. Lisani moved close to Kisasian and put her head next to his. She looked off into the distance and sighed slightly.

“Kisasian, what is love?” she questioned.

Kisasian exhaled a long breath. “Mother told me once what she thought love was, but I didn’t know whether to believe her or not. She said that love is when you are willing to give your life for the sake of someone else.” Kisasian paused. “I don’t know if I can do that.” Lisani sighed again and looked into Kisasian’s eyes. “Kisasian, I’d give my life for you in a heartbeat.” Kisasian blinked at Lisani’s gaze and then looked at the ground. “I don’t think you want to do that, Lisani.” The pair were quiet as several minutes passed. Lisani continued to gaze at Kisasian. Though she did not say it, she knew she did want to do that. If it came to his life or hers, she would give her own. It was hard to deny what she had been feeling for the last few days. But in the back of her mind, something lurked. She still had questions.

“Where did you go the night you got hurt?” she asked.

Kisasian looked startled, as if being interrupted from his thoughts. “We had a job to do. It didn’t involve you.” he growled.

Lisani was took aback. She didn’t expect this from him. He own reasoning was working out the solution, and she had only one. Kisasian had attacked Simba’s pride. She looked directly into Kisasian’s eyes and said “You went after Simba, didn’t you.” Kisaisan’s eyes narrowed to slits. He continued to return her stare. “Clever. You are, of course, correct. We did attack Simba. And for what reason? To avenge my father’s death and what Sarabi did to my mother. Those crimes cannot go unpunished!” Lisani stood back and looked Kisasian over. He was breathing fast and his body was tense. She could see anger welling up in him, and for the first time, could see remnants of Scar in him. She had forgotten how much he looked like him, but now it was obvious that he was Scar’s son. She looked down at the ground and shook her head slowly. “So you still have your father in you.” “And I always will. It is for this reason you cannot love me.” She could hear the anger subsiding in him, and a deeper feeling emerging. He wanted her to love him. He may be Scar’s son, but she wanted to love him back. Lisani tried to nuzzle Kisasian’s face, but he pulled away. Instead, she tried another approach. “When you look up into he stars, can you see your father?” Kisasian turned his head away from Lisani. “No. I try to call out to him, but he’s never there. Never.” Lisani saw a single tear flash in the moonlight as it fell from Kisasian’s face. She turned to walk away from him, and back to their home. As she started down the hill, she looked back at Kisasian. He had his eyes to the stars. She whispered one phrase before she turned to leave. “I love you.” Simba awoke to a pleasant morning. He yawned, stretched, and walked out into the sunshine. He looked about and took in the green grass, the trees, the blue sky, and Rafiki sitting before him. Simba jumped slightly at the sight of the baboon. Rafiki rose and smiled as Simba. spreading his arms wide, he said “Simba!” and laughed. Simba looked back at him with a glimmer of doubt in his eyes.

“Where have you been?” Simba asked.

“It doesn’t matter! It’s time to go!” Rafiki said excitedly.

“What about my mother?” “You mother’s body has been treated with respect and dignity.” Rafiki said solemnly.

Simba stood proudly and said “Then, we shall go!” The valley bustled with activity all throughout the morning. Everyone, even including Timon and Pumbaa, were excited to go back to the Pridelands. In fact, Timon and Pumbaa had eaten surprisingly quickly, as opposed to their normal leisurely breakfast. The lions didn’t even bother to eat, wanting to get going as soon as they could. And so, with the sun climbing into the lightly clouded sky, Simba and his pride climbed out of the familiar valley for the last time. Just after they reached the edge, Simba and Nala looked back to the spot where Sarabi had died. Simba sniffed and gazed at the ground. Meanwhile, Sarabi’s voice echoed in Nala’s mind … “You won’t understand …” He and Nala were the only ones to look back … ever.

And thus began their return to the Pridelands. Time has always had a healing effect, and the journey back showed the truth of it. Memories of barren waste were replaced by beautiful rolling hills of green and gold, small trees making a start in the ash-enriched soil, and abundant animals. Flocks of beautiful birds flew over head, and heards of countless zebras, wildebeests, and more could been seen everywhere. Life had returned to the once devastated Savannah. For the first two days, no one could determine where the original Savannah had ended and the new growth had begun. However, the further they got the more convinced they were that they must be in the once burned out region that was so difficult to cross the first time. But this was different. Food was plentiful, and so was the sunshine. The whole trip went perfectly, with no reminders of their last journey through this area. Everyone was overwhelmed at the recovery the land had made.

Simba and his pride arrived at the edge of the Pridelands just as the sun was rising. It was so beautiful, the Pridelands were gleaming in the glorious morning sunshine, and it seemed that even the sun itself was smiling upon them. The new green grass swayed slightly in the morning breeze, the trees were covered in beautiful green leaves and all ranges of animals could be seen moving about the splendor. Simba led his pride to a rock on the very edge of the Pridelands and they stood upon it to take in the beauty of their long lost home. Simba looked at Nala and smiled. Then, they all looked to the center of the Pridelands to admire the glory of Pride Rock. The sun was rising perfectly behind Pride Rock and it’s silhouette stood out with glory. Something caught Simba’s eye and he looked closely at the top of Pride Rock. The silhouette of another lion could be seen, standing at the peak.

Chapter 6. Return to Pride Rock

In all of time, Simba would never forget this moment. Years will come to pass and he will still look upon this memory and shudder. Here he was on the verge of returning to his childhood home, to the sanctity of memories of his father and mother, and yet there was one more task. For as the sun rose before him and silhouetted his home, Pride Rock, it also silhouetted the one thing that could stop him. At the peak of Simba’s home was a lion. Simba could only stare, his eyes locked on the dark outline of the intruder. The other lions in Simba’s pride noticed what Simba was doing and looked to the top of Pride Rock. Gasps of horror quietly rose from the group as they too began to stare. One of the lionesses suddenly recognized the outline. Her quiet whisper was heard by everyone. “That’s Kisasian.” ‘To have come so far … ’ Simba thought. He tore his eyes away from the image of Scar’s Son and turned to face his pride. His face already told the message he was about to speak. “This has gone far enough. We will retake our home.” Simba’s pride reached Pride Rock quickly, but not quick enough to surprise Kisasian and his pride. Kisasian was standing on the end of Pride Rock defiantly while his pride was scattered among the cliffs, boulders, and outcroppings that made up Pride Rock. Simba approached and stood below Kisasian on the ground in front of Pride Rock. Kisasian glared down at Simba.

“You are NOT welcome here Simba!” Kisasian roared. “I suggest you leave … now.” he said quieter, his voice rolling deeply.

“This is not yours to take, Kisasian. You must leave Pride Rock.” Simba responded. “Never.” Simba’s pride charged Pride Rock. Kisasian’s own pride ran to meet the oncoming attackers. Near the edge of Pride Rock, the two groups met with ferocious power. Every lioness out there was there for one purpose, to save their home. It goes without saying that each one was fighting for their future.

This was not the first time Simba’s pride had fought for Pride Rock. Plus, having lived there for many years, they had no trouble using the surrounding terrain to their advantage. Kisasian’s pride was tenacious and tough, however. They made slow progress in defeating the defenders. Many lionesses from both sides were injured badly. Never had this much blood been spilled on the ground of Pride Rock.

Simba crept up on Kisasian on the end of Pride Rock. Kisasian had his back turned and was looking over the battle below aimlessly. Suddenly, Kisasian spun around and leapt at Simba. Startled, Simba jumped back, only to be hit by Kisasian. The two rolled down the slanted rock and came to a stop near it’s base. Kisasian immediately dug his black claws into Simba’s side, drawing blood. Simba scrambled backwards, not watching where he was going. He suddenly rolled over, slamming into a rock he had backed into. Kisasian was quickly on top of him, burying his ferocious teeth into Simba’s hindquarters. Simba screamed in pain. He mustered his strength and pushed the massive lion off his back. Simba stood up in time to see Kisasian charging him. Simba swung out his paw and struck Kisasian’s muzzle with his claws. Kisasian stopped his legs and rolled to the side. Simba saw that he had not even scratched his foe. Kisasian leapt again, slamming Simba down a rocky slope. Then Kisasian’s mass carried him too far, and he fell over Simba and down the slope further. Suddenly freed, Simba jumped up and ran to a nearby ledge, his cuts burning in pain. Kisasian had corrected quickly and began pursuing Simba. Leaping again, Kisasian raked his claws on Simba’s flanks. Simba turned and attempted to tear his own teeth into Kisasian, but was met with a face full of claws. Kisasian roared and jumped again, coming down on Simba’s foreleg. A sickening crunch reverberated around the rocks. Simba screamed in excruciating pain. Kisasian stood back and laughed.

Simba’s eyes went wild with fear. He could not move, every part of his body was screaming with pain and he was bleeding in so many places that he could not tell where exactly the blood was coming from. As he laid sprawled across the ledge, he stared with abject fear at Kisasian. The huge lion looked back with an evil smirk and barred his bloody teeth. Then his gaze changed. Simba could see the fire burning within his eyes as Kisasian glared with hatred at Simba. “Today, I avenge my father. Prepare to meet yours, Simba.” Kisasian growled. Simba could only quiver as he watched Kisasian’s muscles tighten for the final leap upon his ruined body. Kisasian’s iron muscles clenched tighter and tighter until it seemed they were about to burst under the pressure. Finally, with a deafening roar, Kisasian leap at the prone Simba. Simba shut his eyes and his mind began bringing up images from all over his life. He saw his father, his mother, and Nala. He saw Pride Rock and remembered the glorious morning that his father showed him the entire Pridelands. Then he remembered the stampede, his father trying to save him … and he heard his father’s roar as he fell from the cliff face. In fact, the roar shook Simba enough for him to open his eyes. The roar continued as he saw Kisasian and Mwangalizi flying over the edge of the cliff. Mwangalizi had jumped from above and knocked Kisasian off just as he had leapt at Simba.

Simba dragged his bleeding body over to the edge where Mwangalizi and Kisasian had fallen. Looking down, he could see Kisasian standing next to the twisted body of Mwangalizi. Kisasian had landed correctly, but Mwangalizi was not as lucky. His body was contorted in several directions and he was not moving. Mwangalizi’s head moved only slightly to peer up at Kisasian.

“You old fool!” Kisasian bellowed.

Mwangalizi painfully smiled up at Kisasian. “I have to regret that I can no longer serve you, Kisasian.” “How dare you! I almost … I … YOU HAVE RUINED A LIFETIME OF WORK! HE WAS LIVING HIS FINAL MOMENTS!” Kisasian’s body shook with rage.

“You will never understand, Kisasian. You will never understand that life is precious, never understand what love is. You will never understand life itself. I leave this world knowing that I have done good. I have made up for my mistakes in the past, and I have cleansed my soul. In the endless river of time, we are but droplets of water. Everything around us continues forever, with or without our presence. I cannot stop time, and neither can you. Take pride in the good of life, and give good to others. For all the droplets flowing together form the mighty river … and with that anything is possible.” Mwangalizi’s vision began to fade as his pain began to also fade into nothingness. He felt light headed, but ready to pass onto the next world. “Obey the Circle of Life, Kisasian. Fighting it will only result in ruin. The Circle of Life, like the river of time, flows into eternity.” With that, Mwangalizi closed his eyes and his body became limp.

Kisasian glared down at Mwangalizi’s body. He turned and started to stalk off. One word escaped his mouth as he turned. “Fool.” Simba watched as Mwangalizi’s life escaped the confines of his decimated body. He swallowed hard. Mwangalizi had given his own life for Simba, and Simba could not repay him. Only once, years ago, had given Simba such a gift. His father had saved him from the stampede … and had died in the process. Tears filled his eyes and he rolled himself away from the edge.

Nala had been avoiding the fight due to her ‘expecting’ condition. She had shuck behind Pride Rock and had kept a close eye on the battle from several hidden vantage points. When it seemed things were winding down she walked a ledge back to the rear of Pride Rock. Suddenly a lioness jumped down from an overhang and stood defiantly before Nala. Nala looked inquisitively at the lioness. Then she remembered.

“Lisani … you’ve returned! Where have you been? We were afraid you might have been taken by Kisasian.” Nala excitedly said.

Lisani looked sadly at Nala. “In a sense, I was.” “What do you mean? You are welcome back … we will protect you from him.” “I’m sorry Nala. I am no longer a member of your pride. I have to stay with Kisasian.” “Why?” Nala questioned.

“Nala … I love him.” Nala stepped back. “Lisani! How can you ‘love’ Kisasian? He’s caused so much pain and suffering!” “Nala, you don’t understand. I LOVE him. I will never leave his side.” “Then why are you back here? Why don’t you go fight by his side?” “I can’t hurt you. I couldn’t bring myself to fight my friends.” “Well, that I understand. It doesn’t have to be this way, Lisani.” “I have found my King. He’s everything to me.” “Then you should join your King. He and his pride seem to be leaving.” Nala said sadly.

“Nala, I’ll never forget you.” “I won’t forget you Lisani, and I hope to see you again. Someday.” Nala touched Lisani on the paw and said goodbye. Lisani silently turned and slowly walked down the ledge towards the ground.

A distant line of lions walking away from their home was an unusual sight, one that Rafiki had seen only once before. Their bright spots of color seemed at peace in the endless sea of green grass and blue sky. Of course, this was not their home and Kisasian and his pride would have to find their home elsewhere. The King had returned. Rafiki swung down the outer branches of his tree and into it’s center. It had lasted generations, through times of great prosperity and times of great despair. Nothing could harm his tree, as nothing could harm the great Circle of Life. Rafiki sat down and allowed a broad smile to cross his face. A moment of reflection upon the world around him, and Rafiki got up. He picked up his shell and several of the precious items he had gathered from the jungle and proceeded to mix various concauctions. Carefully, he used the mixtures to draw on the bark of the tree. His finger traced the outline of an infant lion. He sighed and looked up to a small patch of blue sky peeking through the branches. ‘Nothing can stop the great Circle of Life.’ Kisasian’s pride stopped their journey several days later in the midst of a large jungle. Kisasian had felt it best for them to stay hidden from the Savannah until they could recover and return to their previous home. All of his pride were in agreement. That night Kisasian walked a distance to the edge of jungle and stood in the grass of the Savannah. He looked up to the starry night sky with sadness. He quietly called for his father, and as usual, expected no answer. The wind picked up slightly, and thick, black clouds formed in front of the starfield. Kisasian looked at the sky with surprise. The clouds formed up and the face of Scar looked down upon Kisasian with disapproval.

“Son, you have failed me.” Scar’s voice boomed.

“Father! Father, no!” “You have failed yourself, and therefore, have failed me. It is time you dealt justice to Simba. He cannot live for what he has done to me, and now, what he has done to you. You will kill him.” “I will! I promise you, I will!” “Good. I expect more of you. Don’t fail me again.” Scar’s image began to fade.

“Father! Please, don’t go! Please …” Kisasian watched the clouds disappear and the stars return. His face showed determination and power. He looked at the sky once more and said “This isn’t over Simba.” Early one beautiful morning weeks later, Nala had gone into labor. Several of the pride attended to Nala’s needs while Simba ran around excitedly. Finally, when the pain of childbirth was over, Nala held the tiny infant in her forelegs and licked him clean. Simba sat next to Nala beaming. Already the preparations for the child presentation were being made. Zazu had taken to alerting the Pridelands to the event and animals were beginning to arrive outside Pride Rock. Zazu’s first stop had been Rafiki’s tree, where he had informed Rafiki of the child’s birth. Rafiki had smiled at Zazu and waved him off to continue his rounds. Meanwhile, Simba and Nala continued to remain in the cave at Pride Rock and were proudly showing the child to the remainder of the pride who had not seen him yet. Eventually Zazu had returned to report that the whole of the Pridelands was due in the next few minutes. Rafiki arrived soon after to begin the ceremony. Several minutes before the presentation, Timon and Pumbaa arrived in the cave. Simba proudly showed them the newborn. After a few moments of awe, Simba spoke to them.

“I’d really like you guys to be there at the presentation.” Simba said.

Timon looked at Simba. “We were planning on being down there with everyone else! We wouldn’t miss it for the world!” “No, you don’t understand. I want you with Nala and I. You’ve been with us all along. You are as much a part of this as anyone else.” Pumbaa bowed at Simba’s feet. “We would be honored!” The sun shone brightly on the group as they stood on the end of Pride Rock. Rafiki walked up from behind bearing the child. He thrust the infant to the sky and the crowd below cheered.

Kisasian glared at the mass of life gathered at Pride Rock. Growling deeply, he turned and walked away from the hill on the edge of the Pridelands.

That night, after the festivities of Tanabi’s presentation, Simba wandered the darkened fields of the Pridelands. He was proud of himself and his pride. They had reclaimed the beauty of the Pridelands and had returned to their home, Pride Rock. All throughout his walk, Simba wore a constant smile, because now he also had a son. Finally, after so much time, things seemed right in the world. Simba was finally back to where he should be. He came to a stop outside a small, but dense, grove of trees. He could barely see a glint of water in the moonlight in the center, and decided to wander in. Simba sat at the pools edge and looked to the sky. His face smiled even broader as he thought how proud his father must be. Suddenly, a sound much like thunder almost threw Simba off his feet. Pure white light blinded his eyes and he looked down to shield them from the source. Then, a familiar voice called to him.

“Simba …” Mufasa voice rumbled. Simba looked up to see his father standing before him. Even with the light he could see and he looked at the ghostly presence. His father looked as he remembered him, but now was only a thin apparition. Never the less, this was Mufasa standing before him.

“Father!” Simba cried. The apparition walked closer and smiled at Simba.

“Son, you have made me proud. You have taken you place in the Circle of Life, you have retaken our home, and have continued the Circle of Life into the future. You have done well, son. You have not forgotten me.” “Thank you Father.” “Son, it is time for me to go. I don’t know if I will ever see you again. Take care, son. Never forget who you are.” Mufasa’a image looked sadly at his son.

“Father? Why do you have to go?” “Goodbye, son. I love you.” “I love you too, Father.” “And Simba, always remember who you are.” With that, Mufasa’s image turned and walked proudly into the bright light behind him. And with a thunderclap, the light was gone. Simba gazed down at his image in the pool below him. A tear fell from his eyes and the pool rippled. Simba blinked and the image before him was now his father’s face.

Closing The Story Continues TLK:TtoT And so begins my story. Every day I add to the life of our heritage. I would assume that everyone has their own story, much as I have mine. It’s a great joy for me to be able to look back upon life and see what my accomplishments were, as well as the accomplishments of those around me. There will be sad times, hardships, and pain. But all of these fit together to make you whole. You are completely defined by your memories. You past makes who you are today. Don’t forget your past, for by forgetting you past, you are forgetting yourself. Each and every one of us has a story. Your life is as important as everyone else’s. Don’t deny yourself the history you deserve. Remember who you are. I will.


Written by:
Joshua C. Templin
Storyline by:
Joshua C. Templin
Scott D. Sadowski (I, 1-3), Dan R. Hauschild (4-6, C)
Scott D. Sadowski (I, 1-3), Joshua C. Templin (Total)
Plot Handling:
Scott D. Sadowski (I, 1-3), Dan R. Hauschild (4-5)
Joshua C. Templin
Joshua C. Templin (rad, WWW, aflk), Dan R. Hauschild (aflk, IRC)
Joshua C. Templin

Special Thanks to:

The Lion King, the basis for this novel.
Linus Torvalds:
Linux Operating system used.
The Internet:
USENET, IRC, WWW used for distribution.
Disney Environ Total Disney Immersion
Hans Zimmer, Lebo M:
Soundtrack to TLK, Rythm of the PrideLands; listened to exclusivally while writing.
IRC #lionking:
who always wanted to know when the next chapter would be out!

Minimal feedback:

Disney Lawyers:
Ignoring me, thanks for not hauling me into court.
Brian Tiemann:
WWW Page, first WWW Distribution, influence on my WWW Page.

Please see these people:

Joshua C. Templin:, FDCMuck Kisasian, TLKMuck Kisasian, IRC #lionking Kisasian
Brian Tiemann:, FDCMuck Timon, TLKMuck Simba
Dan R. Hauschild:, IRC #lionking Zazu

Thanks for reading The Tales of Tanabi! I certianly hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.