Tales from the Outlands
Volume One: The Tale of Zira
The following is the first section of the long chronicle that I am writing that will deal with all the characters from The Outlands. All characters were originally created by Disney and are used without their knowledge or consent. Aiheu and other characters not found in Simba's Pride are property of John Burkitt and David Morris and are from their masterpiece, (Chronicles of the Pride Lands) and are used with permission and the utmost respect. Rated PG for primal violence and some adult themes.
Part One: THE UNKNOWN LIONESS
PROLOGUE: SILENT VIGIL
For days and weeks she waited. She was always in the same spot, always watching the horizon. She searched day after day, hoping that this would be the day her prayers were answered. She sat atop of a tall hill and day after day she would climb it, steep though it was, it did not stop her. Upon reaching the top she would lie down in a relaxed position, but her eyes would remain fixed on the horizon. She attended this silent vigil when the sun was at its zenith and would not leave until it was about to set. From her high vantagepoint she could see the whole landscape spread out before her; not the slightest movement would escape her attention. Even in rain or a cold, driving wind, nothing would keep her from her task. Every day was the same; she would sit and wait, sit and wait. She prayed that her anguish would end and she would finally be reunited with what she was searching for. But every day remained the same and her grief and sorrow would only increase as she slowly left her spot and walked sadly back to her home as the sun fell towards the earth. Nevertheless, she would return once again the next day and continue her search. She would forever scan the horizon for the one thing that she cherished the most and the one thing she would die for. Her one and only love.
CHAPTER ONE: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
Perhaps this will be the day. How she wished for the day when see would finally see her love emerge from the grasses and come running towards her with a happy smile on his face. She would run towards him, her eyes locked on her target and finally they would be together again as they always should have been. They would draw closer and closer until finally meeting each other, nose to nose, and then they would nuzzle affectionately and caress each other's face as only their species could. For she was a lioness and he was unlike any other lion she had met before. He was THE LION! As she kept her watch, she would think thoughts such as these, her mind traveling back to happier times.
Her most cherished memory was when she saw him for the first time. She was sleeping deep in the foliage of her home in a beautiful jungle, and when she was awakened by the sounds of his passing, she remembered how her eyes gazed upon his elegant form for the first time. She was awestruck by his extraordinary, handsome mane. It was pure black like a starless night and his eyes were green as the verdant plains. His sleek pelt was the color of a sunset and his tail was tipped in black, perfectly matching his mane. She was apprehensive to make herself known but somehow she knew he was the one. The sight of him, gazed upon for the first time, must have had the same affects as seeing her had on him. She sauntered out from the foliage and walked towards him with a content grin on her face. Her pelt was a deep yellow, as radiant as the sun. Her powerful body was covered in corded, dense muscle and her shapely head was as curved as its opposite. She blushed as she saw his eyes move down her flanks and gaze upon her abdomen. Only to entice him further she walked around him, and then began to saunter away swishing her long tail provocatively in the process. With a seductive, quick turn of her head she gazed back at him and allowed his eyes to feast upon her once more. She watched him with eyes that were as dark as amber. They almost had a reddish hue, but they were so inappropriate because she had a heart of goodness and her red eyes were an ironic, veritable lie. She was purely good, no dark thoughts would ever cross her mind, and she was innocent and happy, but now gazing upon this male whom she knew to be the one only increased her happiness ten fold. He slowly smiled at her and she smiled back, then both walked towards each other and just gazed into each other's eyes for what seemed like an eternity. She could tell by his eyes that he was thinking the same thoughts as her. Ever since that day, she was no longer a skeptic of the classic clique, "Love at first sight." The hard silence was finally broken and when she heard his deep, melodic voice, it almost caused her heart to melt,
"Greetings, may I ask what is your name?"
"I am called Ushandra." She replied.
"Pleased to meet you." He backed up and swept his mane in a low bow.
"And may I have yours?" She tried to keep the formalities going a little longer.
"I am called..." He seemed to hesitate. She looked at him with a confused look.
"What is it?"
"They call me... Scar." What a strange name she thought, what sadistic parent would name there cub that?
"Yes, I know it is strange, but it suits me perfectly. I have grown to like it, it not only matches my face by my whole being as well."
He moved his mane away from his left eye and now she understood the purpose for the title, somehow she did not notice it before.
"How did that happen?"
"It is a long, sad story. I'd rather not tell you about it."
"Come on, I am always game for a good tale, and plus," she smiled at him, "It will make you feel better!" He looked back up at her and saw something he had very seldom seen in the eyes of any lioness he had known before. It was almost a look of...Love!
Scar talked for many hours, while Ushandra listened to every word. Scar, his real name was Taka, but he preferred the name Scar, told the tale of his past including all the wrongs that he had endured. During one part he broke down crying, and not knowing what to do she nuzzled him close and caressed his mane, telling him to let it out.
"Don't stop, I can tell your heart is a good one and even males cry sometimes." He looked up at her, tears streaming down his face, but he quickly looked away.
"You would never say such pleasant things if you knew what I was really like."
"Then tell me Scar! Tell everything!"
He slowly nodded his mane then all his dark secrets were brought out into the light. When he had finished she did not know what to say. All she did was look at him and shake her head, trying not to believe what she had heard. Murder, betrayal, greed, lust, envy, all the seven deadly sins, this beautiful creature could not be capable of such things, could he? She looked back at him and focused on his scar. The evil was plain as the scar on his face.
"I had better leave, I shouldn't stay here, you are not what I thought you were." She let his head fall from her embrace and slowly left his side. She began to pad away but looked back one last time. Her gaze feel on a sad, broken creature who just stared at her with a look of abandonment. Unable to take another rejection he burst into tears once again and shakily rose to his paws.
"I knew it. I knew it, you're just like all the rest! My past is a curse and a curse created it. All I touch turns to death, and everyone I meet runs away from me in fear. Oh curse you gods! Add another damn scar to my heart!"
He began to walk away, back to the place that had created him. She watched him go but then followed him, at a distance. She still could not deny what she believed was really there, a troubled lion, but deep down, a noble creature with a good heart.
* * * * *
At a close distance she followed him, until he stopped underneath the pale moonlight and wept once more.
"Another night alone, I see. Oh Sarabi, how I miss you, but I could not escape my darkness and now my brother is dead and so is his son, both slain by my paws. What lioness would want to be touched by a lion whose paws are stained with blood? Mufasa, Simba, if you can hear me please forgive me! I know that you are with the kings of the past, but I ask you for forgiveness now, because I know now that when I die I will not be with you." His crying only increased and he was now screaming his words to the heavens, trying to get them to hear him, but this was a futile task. How she wanted to run to him and kiss away his tears like a mother would kiss away the pain for her cub, but she stayed hidden where she was and only cried silently with him. His words causing her eyes to water as well.
"Damn my existence! Why was I born? My whole life was nothing but a nightmare and I tried to live but I died that day when I was scarred! I had no real friends, except for my brother and my parents, but I turned my back on them and never allowed them to love me like they tried to. Why didn't father let me be king, why did he choose Mufasa? I was always pushed to the side, and the only friend I accepted twisted my mind to evil, and blackened my heart. That so-called friend was my dark side, the only friend I thought I could trust, and I put all this trust in him. What a foolish mistake that was. It achieved my ends through horrible means and in my mad lust for power, love, and respect, I killed those who stood in my way. When I came to my senses I looked down and saw my bloodstained paws. It knew I was far too weak to kill my enemies myself, so It persuaded lower creatures on the food chain to do my dirty work. The hyenas, were my natural choice, and with the allegiance of Shenzi, and her clan of loathsome assassins, they made my wishes a dark reality. Of course I had to strike the final blow! I had to slaughter Mufasa myself!"
"I don't deserve to live, when I die The Pride Lands will no doubt live again, but I am so afraid. What will happen to me when I die? I know there will be no happiness for me, after what I have done. There will only be unbelievable torture, pain and anguish, but it will be justified, no other creature will deserve it more. Aiheu, I want to try to start again, that is why I left The Pride Lands in the first place, and then I saw HER! What a sight for my tired eyes! She was the most beautiful lioness I had ever seen, and she even made Sarabi pale in comparison. How I wanted to make a pride with her, and create a new life for me here. But that is all crushed now, my past had done it again. Somehow I'll go on, but my heart will remain empty and I'll always be alone. One day my life will end, but who will care? Whoever cared about me, I am just Scar! If only things had turned out differently, if only, if only!"
He rose to his paws and began his journey back to his homeland, wiping his face with his paws. As he moved his paw down his face he touched his scar and shook his head, sighing loudly to the skies. There was a slight shuffle of foliage and he quickly looked around to see a lioness running towards him. He squinted through his tear stained eyes and saw it was Ushandra.
"Ushan...." He was unable to finish as he was knocked on his back and licked lovingly. He gazed upon her face astounded, but then returned her kiss with a lick of his own, and then both of them kissed fully on the lips. The moon cast its light upon the two lions as they consummated their love for each other and Scar's heart finally began to heal. He looked into Ushandra's amber eyes and said the only two words that said everything he wanted her to hear,
CHAPTER TWO: DECISIONS
Ushandra and Scar became soul mates after that day, and the following days and nights were filled with their love for each other. They were never apart, they were always together. Days changed into weeks, and the activities the two lovers participated in are enough to fill an entire book; it seemed nothing would separate them. Their happiness only increased when Scar noticed their love was beginning to take form in Ushandra's belly. The two lions nuzzled each other affectionately as they spent the rest of the day dreaming up names for the cub. Scar was hopeful it would be a male, as was Ushandra, but each lion also agreed that a daughter would be a welcome addition as well. Before Ushandra became pregnant, Scar had been debating a difficult question over and over in his mind, and now, since they were to be parents, Scar decided that the answer had already been given. He slowly nodded his head and decided that this was the day when he must tell Ushandra.
He found her in her favorite spot, atop a high rock in a place where the sunlight penetrated the dense foliage. When he found her in this manner, he could only marvel at how beautiful she truly was. The sun would gleam off her pelt and make he appear as a lionine goddess. Thinking this thought through his mind, Scar smiled as he realized how true it was. She was his goddess and he would do anything to make her happy.
As he sat watching his love sleep peacefully in the sunlight, with a content grin on her face, her back slowly rising up and down as she breathed in long, slow breaths, his grin changed to a frown, and his eyes fell towards the ground. He knew what he was about to say would make her unhappy and he hated to see her cry. Plus it would make him remember his past, but to ensure the future for both of them, he had to go through with it. The sun shown down upon his love and mate, as he strode and nudged her gently with his nose so she would awaken.
"Mmmmm, wha... Oh it's you, my love. I was having such a wonderful dream."
"Was I in it?"
"Oh yes! Do you want to know what it was about?" She smiled seductively but the smile quickly vanished when she saw Scar's face.
"My love, what is it?"
"There is something I must tell you, but don't say anything until I finish, all right?" Ushandra just gazed into Scar's eyes and agreed without a sound.
"Ushandra, I told you all about my past, and it has helped me greatly. I feel I can finally turn my tail on all the terrible things that has happened to me, but far back in my mind I cannot forget who I was. I have to go back and tell them it's over. I must tell them I am no longer their king, so I can sever all ties with my past pride and start a new one with you."
"What! No! You have to stay with me, I thought you loved me!" Scar quickly placed his paws on the sides of Ushandra's face and looked deep into her eyes.
"I do love you Ushandra and I always will, nothing will ever destroy that. You and I will be united forever. We are one!"
"Then why would you leave me, especially when our cub is about to be born?"
"I want to do this before our cub is brought into the world, Ushandra, I want his father to always be there for him, and if I do this now I will. I will teach him all the things that I was never taught. He will grow into a lion, the likes of which the world has never seen, he will be the lion of all lions!"
"Promise me that you will come back to me."
"I will return as soon as I can. Our love will find a way!"
"Prove your love to me Scar!"
"What do you mean?" Scar looked down at Ushandra's belly "Haven't we already done that?"
"Pledge your love to me, Scar, just to make it official. There is no other male that I would ever love and I want to know that you feel the same!" Scar only smiled at this, no lioness had ever asked him for this. Scar licked Ushandra across the face and then allowed her to get up. She met him nose to nose and returned the lick with one of her own. Placing his left paw on her shoulder, Scar began the symbolic ritual that he had wished forever since he had first seen Ushandra.
"Ushandra, before the gods, before the stars, before the assembled host I swear to give you my protection, my life, and my comfort forever."
"Scar, till the last beat of my heart, to the last breath I sigh, our lives are one, so help me gods." Both lions looked deep into each other's eyes and Scar knew that if he stayed any longer he would never be able to leave. They nuzzled there under the sun for what seemed like an eternity, neither wanting this moment to end.
"Remember I will, and always shall love you Ushandra. You were the one who finally healed my scar!"
"I love you, Scar! Hurry back to me!"
The two lions met muzzle to muzzle in a kiss that neither of them wanted to break. They both knew that this moment would last forever in each of their minds, but still it was so hard to say good-bye.
* * * * *
With one last look Scar gazed upon his love standing on a high hill, and waved with his paw. He smiled one last time and then spinning on his claws ran back towards the place that had created him, intent on eradicating that memory so he can start anew with his love and his unborn cub. Ushandra watched him go and felt hot tears begin to well up in her eyes, but held them back.
"May Aiheu watch over you my love. A quick return is all I pray for. I will return to this spot every day and begin this silent vigil so I will see your beautiful form appear on the horizon and then we will finally be together for all time! Come back to me Scar as soon as you can!"
Ushandra felt a strong stir in her loins and knew the time was very near, she slowly padded down the mountain and went to search for a comfortable place. If only Scar knew how close she was, maybe he would not have left so soon. She began to run faster and faster as the contractions became more intense heading for the jungle that was her home. She finally reached a secluded spot, just as she felt the moment was upon her. An hour later Scar's son was born.
* * * * *
"When is father coming home?" Ushandra turned from her watch and smiled at her young son. He may be shy and quiet, but she still loved him with all her heart. He was Scar's and Ushandra's cub; that was all that mattered, and how much he looked just like his father. The same pelt, the same mane, and the same eyes. He also had the one trait, which impressed Ushandra the most, he was very intelligent and learned his first lessons of life very quickly. Ushandra knew it was only a matter of time before she would teach him to hunt.
"Soon my son," she nuzzled his face in a motherly embrace, "Scar will return very soon."
"But you said that yesterday, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after..."
"Hush my little one."
She still had not named her cub, wanting that to be done by Scar, even though she thought Taka would be a perfect name.
"How long has it been?" The innocent cub began playing with his mother's tail as it swished about reflexively. Ushandra looked back at the horizon and sighed.
"I don't know, too long. I have waited and waited but I cannot wait any longer, I have to see what has happened. I have to go to the place Scar called Pride Rock."
"Wow! That sounds really cool, can I come?"
"No, you stay here, but stay well out of sight in the jungle. Don't wander off or follow me. Do you understand?"
"Yes mother I do, bring Daddy back!"
"I love you my son!" Ushandra nuzzled her cub's cheek and nudged his rump with her nose. The cub scampered off but first waved good-bye with his paw, then disappeared down the hill. Ushandra turned her attention towards the horizon and breathed in deeply. She could not wait any longer, despite what she promised Scar. She had to see him, and find out what has happened, it must have been at least three months since he left.
"Scar, I'm coming to find you!" Looking back she saw her young cub disappear into the foliage and then with a firm nod of her head ran down the hill towards the Pride Lands, and towards her love.
CHAPTER THREE: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
Scar gazed upon the three hyenas before him and sighed deeply. On this day in Pride Rock he had told the three hyena leaders, well two if he could really count Ed as a leader, that he had a proclamation for every creature of The Pride Lands. He sighed as he realized that would be only the hyenas and the lionesses since all the rest of the creatures had fled to seek more hospitable land. Banzai and Ed attended to the task at once, but with looks of confusion especially when they saw how well fed Scar was and how he seemed... different. Scar was certainly glad to leave these three behind, especially Shenzi, who he had never trusted. Scar noticed Shenzi still had not moved, and when he walked towards her, he noticed, with a slight feeling of fear that her eyes were as cold as ice.
"Shouldn't you catch up with your brothers?"
"Where the hell have you been?"
"Why, did you miss me?"
"Don't play games with me Scar! We're damned near starving thanks to you. How can you just leave like that and leave us here to die?"
"You're the resourceful one aren't you? Figure it out yourself!"
"You know Scar, I'm getting sick and tired of you bossing me and my fellow hyenas around."
"Oh that is too bad, I am so sorry to hear that." Shenzi's muzzle began to twist into a snarl.
"You better remember..."
"What Shenzi, remember I'm king? You should do the same!"
Scar waved her away with his paw. She growled some obscenity in her own language and began to walk away, but he heard her mumble as she tramped out of his lair,
"There are ways of changing that." In a fury Scar roared and ran around in front of her, expecting to see her surprised, but she still only had that look of wrath.
"Was that a challenge?"
"Should it be?"
"Just because your mother and I were allies doesn't mean I should show you, or your two brothers, any more love than the rest of your pack."
"Oh it doesn't? You know Scar there are things about that that even you don't know. I would love to see the look on your face if you did."
"What are you saying?" Scar was the master of mind games, but he hated it when they were being used on him.
"Nothing... Your majesty." Scar could almost hear the sarcasm drip from her jaws.
"I will gather the lionesses and my pack. Just remember this, if I ever find out you were just using us for your own ends, then my pack and I will..."
"What Shenzi, what will you do?" The female hyena said nothing, only grinned wickedly then padded away. Scar watched her go and then turned his tail on her and disappeared into the shadows of his lair. Shenzi quickly spun around and when she thought he was out of earshot, she finished her sentence,
"Rip you to shreds!"
* * * * *
Scar stopped dead in his tracks when he heard the words that Shenzi thought he wouldn't hear. One thing he always had was excellent hearing. He snarled and ran back outside his lair but she was gone. He looked around but saw nothing, only the hyenas coming together below him, as well as the lionesses. He sighed once more as he saw them. They were all weak and malnourished, he could almost count the bones hanging loosely from their undersides. He sighed deeply, he could feel tears begin to well up behind his eyes as he watched them follow the hyenas in a silent line. He strode towards the edge of the path and his eyes first fell on Sarabi, and with her, a whole jumble of memories followed. Despite that she was as malnourished as the rest of the females, but she still carried the respect and dignity she had always possessed. These were the qualities that Scar had once loved, and he knew that once Sarabi had loved him too. His mind traveled back to happier times when they were both cubs and how they had always wanted to be married, their innocent laughter echoing in his tortured mind. He had called her Sassie, and she had called him her soul mate, but that was so long ago. Due to a dark prophecy, years of turmoil, decades of denial, and countless untold atrocities the two carefree lovers became estranged, and soon their love disappeared. Sarabi found comfort in the paws of another lion, and it only added more fervor to Scar's hate when he found out it was his brother. Scar always secretly knew Mufasa had eyes for Sassie and he wasn't too surprised when his fears became true. He remembered pleading with Sarabi to love him like she once did, but this became utterly futile. She would never have the same love for him that they had when they were growing up. Scar blamed Mufasa for this corrupting of Sarabi. When she attempted to rip out his left eye in a violent act of denial and hatred, he knew Mufasa was to blame. Sarabi might as well torn out Scar's heart as well that day, she unknowingly killed Taka and Scar's dark side was born. Things only became worse over time, and each day Scar's dark side became stronger until the day came when it took complete control of his mind. It, not the real noble lion underneath, slaughtered his brother, ordered the hyenas to do the same to his nephew, and then transformed his beloved homeland into a nightmare. There was nothing he could do about that now, but still not a day went by when he thought about what he, no his dark side, had done. That is why he left The Pride Lands in the first place. Thank Aiheu that he found Ushandra before he would have ended his own life; in his tortured mind there was nothing left to live for. Ushandra was his salvation who turned his life around and now as he looked upon the gathered throng, how he wanted to be back with her. Ushandra gave Scar something to live for and perhaps Aiheu and the other gods, which made up the religion of the lions of Pride Rock, had at last taken pity on him. Maybe the kings of the past were watching him after all. Just why had they taken so long?
He shook these grim thoughts away, after all they were his past and soon he was about to leave the past behind. His gaze fell upon Sassie once more, and he knew he still had an intense feeling of hate for her. She would always say he was nothing like Mufasa, and how the hate flowed through his veins when she uttered that name. He felt like striking her across the face with a backhanded paw, and as he watched her, he made a silent promise that if she ever compared him to Mufasa again he wouldn't hold back his paw. He began to snarl as he thought about her, she was no Ushandra! She wasn't even worthy to shine Ushandra's claws! She was the main reason Taka died and Scar was born. That was one truth that he would never forget.
The procession came to halt below him and Shenzi called his name to the skies. Scar walked up the path towards the presentation cliff and prepared himself for what he was about to say. He knew that his tenure as king was over and soon he would be back with his love and his cub forever. A tremendous clap of thunder shook him from his daydreams, while many bolts of lightning began to light up the skies.
"What a perfect setting for my proclamation," he thought, "Soon very soon Ushandra, you and I will be together and then what a marvelous life we shall have! Thanks be to Aiheu that I found you! Now let's get this over with."
"Saaaraaaabiiii!" Scar roared the name of the Lion Queen to the skies as another crash of thunder rolled through the skies. He saw her walk proudly towards him, ignoring the curses and snarls of the hyenas she passed. Scar leaped off his perch and met her nose to nose, then began to walk around her, studying her intently.
"Why have your hunting parties come back empty?"
"Scar there is no food..."
"No! You're just not looking hard enough!"
"There is nothing left! We must leave Pride Rock."
"We're not going anywhere." At least not you, Scar thought smugly to himself.
"Then you have sentenced us to die!"
"I am the king I can do whatever I want!"
"If you were half the king Mufasa was..." That was it she had to say it. He made his promise come true by hitting the lioness he had once loved full in the face with a backhanded paw. Every lie, every thing that had happened to him, all his decades of denial were put into that blow. Was it justified? In Scar's mind it was, after all Sarabi was the main character in killing Taka and creating Scar. Now his past was truly over, any last traces of love he had for Sarabi were now extinguished. Now he could begin his new life with Ushandra, now he could leave finally leave his guilt behind him.
"I am ten times the king Mufasa was..."
Scar was just about to continue his proclamation, when he heard a tremendous roar fill Pride Rock. He turned just in time to see the one thing that he would have never believed possible.
CHAPTER FOUR: EYEWITNESS TO MURDER
Ushandra looked up into the rolling thunder and the lightning filled skies. A storm was coming and it seemed like it would turn the entire landscape upside down. She had traveled for many days, and now Pride Rock could be seen in the distance. She was appalled by the destruction around her. Scar did not exaggerate at all. The entire landscape was a dead wasteland; there was nothing left alive. Ushandra understood Scar's dark side perhaps better than any other creature alive, but how could it be capable of this much evil? There were skeletons of great beasts strewn everywhere and they matched the dead trees, their branches hanging as if in sorrow. She saw groups of hyenas here and there, but did not stay clear of them. She followed one particular group all the way from the northern border, as they returned from their regular patrols. She followed stealthily behind them until she finally saw Pride Rock for the first time. Darting behind the ribcage of a long dead elephant, she hid when one hyena suddenly stopped and sniffed the air. He continued to breathe in the air, curious by the new scent, and then Ushandra froze as the hyena turned and looked towards the ribcage. Ushandra began to shake as she thought she would be discovered, while the hyena began to drool, and then licking his fangs, he began pacing towards her. Suddenly a large male hyena, followed by another male, almost as large as the first but with a foolish grin on his face, ran towards the group and called them together. The one hyena who had caught the scent, cursed something in his native tongue but reluctantly walked back towards the rest of the group, but occasionally looking back a few times. Ushandra watched as the one large male barked out orders to the group and then motioned for them to follow him. They all complied, even the one who had almost found Ushandra, that is after a good kick in the rump by the large male when he noticed the hyena started walking towards a rotting rib cage. Ushandra almost breathed a sigh of relief, but then that one hyena with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, and with the wild eyes, suddenly looked towards Ushandra's hiding place. He danced and jumped as he saw her tail, and tried to get the other hyenas to notice him, but when he looked for his kin they were already far away. The stupid thing then began laughing maniacally and drooling onto the ground. Ushandra tried to hold back a laugh, even in this much danger, this crazy hyena was just too funny to be afraid of .
"Ed, get your stupid carcass over here!" The hyena stopped his ravings and looked back at the large male who had called him. Ed looked back at Ushandra and then did something that almost caused Ushandra to laugh out loud, he actually waved good-bye before he ran back towards Pride Rock. Ushandra just shook her head as she watched him leave, and was starting to understand why Scar left this place. Scar! She looked towards Pride Rock as she suddenly heard her love's mighty voice sound over the lands. Her face became a giant smile as she saw her love standing there in a regal pose and her heart began to pound in her chest. She had found him at last, and he looked as magnificent as when she had last seen him disappear into the horizon. She remembered how the sun gleamed off his flanks, and how the wind caused his mane to swirl around him; now her love was equally as stunning as he stood there amidst the flashes of lightning and crashing thunder. Scar suddenly leaped from his perch and disappeared from her view. With a look of confusion she ran closer to Pride Rock and tried to see what was going on. As she was running, she realized how close to danger she truly was, then realized she was almost going to run into a group of hyenas! Thankfully she stopped just in time before she was discovered, and before one hyena turned around as he heard a slight noise behind him, she was safe behind a large rock. Well until she noticed she was right in front of another group of hyenas with their backs turned to her. She closed her eyes, and tried not to think about what the hideous beasts would do to her when they turned around and saw her, but no attack came, no enraged growls were heard. Ushandra slowly opened one eye and saw all four of the hyenas begin walking towards something that had caught their attention. Then she heard a loud squeal followed by a meerkat and a terribly plump warthog screaming as loud as they could as they were being chased by about twenty hyenas. She shook her head once more and even giggled as she watched the chase, and then smiled as she took note of the great luck that had happened to her. The meerkat and the warthog had distracted all of the hyenas from the place were she was hiding, and now, for the moment, she was completely safe, now she could make sure her love was all right.
She crept out from behind the rock and from this vantagepoint had a clear view of Scar and all the lionesses, without being seen by any of them. However, he jaw dropped open when she saw Scar talking to a female! She couldn't believe her eyes. Who the hell was she? Why was Scar talking to her like he had known her for ages? Her face was a mask of confusion as she watched Scar start to pace around the lioness, taking note that for some reason he was growing very annoyed by this female's indifferent, almost regal posture. Ushandra raised a paw to her mouth as she saw Scar suddenly strike the female full in the face, then she immediately closed her eyes when she saw the blood fly from the nasty blow. Suddenly she realized her suspicions were unjustified, Scar definitely had no love for this female! Ushandra breathed a huge sigh of relief. She knew she worried too much, now that she thought about it, what did she have to worry about? Scar would soon be with her once again, and Scar only loved one lioness, her! It was at that happy thought when she heard the roar.
* * * * *
Her eyes instantly opened and she looked towards the giant male lion at the same time the rest of the lions did. However unlike the rest, she instantly looked back at Scar, and her eyes widened when she saw his face. He had a look of intense fear, something she had never saw before, what was going on?
"Mufasa! No you're dead!"
Scar began to back up and crouched close to the earth, shaking like a scared cub. The female looked up and spoke the name Scar had used. But the male shook his head and called himself Simba.
"Simba? Simmmmbaaa! I'm a little surprised to see you... alive." Ushandra looked back and saw the familiar Scar she had grown to love. Words and sentences followed that made no sense to her, and things were made even more confusing when Scar called the male lion a murderer. She couldn't hear the rest of the "conversation" as Scar turned things around and put the male on the defensive. Scar had soon backed the male up to the edge and Ushandra almost yelped with glee as she watched Simba slip off the edge, but caught himself at the last second with his front claws. She wanted to help her love, but she couldn't move from her hiding place or she would be seen by either the lionesses, or the countless hyenas that have swarmed all around the two combatants.
"No! Murderer!" Ushandra heard Simba's enraged roar as he somehow pushed himself off the edge, and at the same time, in a stunning feat of agility, he tackled Scar to the ground.
"No!" Ushandra almost screamed, but thankfully only mouthed the word without the sound. She saw Simba say something to Scar and then she but her lip so she wouldn't scream when Simba placed his claws on Scar's throat.
"I killed Mufasa!" Ushandra shook her head in agreement when Scar told his darkest truth, she held no guilt for him. In her mind he was innocent, Mufasa had ruined sweet Taka and deserved it, but then she realized no other creature understood this. Staring wide-eyed she saw about ten hyenas save their king from certain death as they attacked Simba in a flurry of teeth and claws. Her head swung back to the left and she heard the lionesses roar in unison, led by a large, beautiful female who had these amazing blue eyes. The battle for Pride Rock began, but no one knew, or for that matter, cared about the unknown lioness who was watching the whole thing. All except for Scar. He sprang to his feet and it must have been pure coincidence that he saw Ushandra below him. He mouthed her name in absolute surprise, and nodded when he saw her motion with her head to follow him. Scar looked around frantically but saw Simba too busy fending off the hyenas to notice Ushandra move below him. Scar looked to the other side and saw the lionesses too engaged in the battle to notice Ushandra either, but then he found himself staring right into the eyes of Sarabi. Scar's jaw dropped like a stone, as he knew Sarabi must have seen Ushandra too. He squinted his eyes and cocked his head to the side when he saw Sarabi's face. There was no anger there at all, only a look of sorrow.
"Get out of here, while you still can. Go with your love, be with the lioness who could give you what I never would. Just remember that once I loved you."
Scar's eyes spread wide as he understood every word Sarabi said, even though she mouthed all of them so no one else would hear her. Scar nodded quickly then ran between a lioness and a hyena who were fighting each other tooth and claw. Safe for the moment, Scar looked back and saw Sarabi still staring at him, but now tears were streaming down her face. Scar had to say something, but in a moment like this he could think of nothing, so he said three words that came straight from his heart.
"I love you!" He saw Sarabi nod slowly and without a second look he ran down the path and after Ushandra.
* * * * *
He was almost there, just a few more feet and then he could run a fast as he could. A crash of thunder caused him to look up and he froze as he saw Simba above him. Simba had fended off the hyenas and now had found his main target. Scar looked back down and saw Ushandra, then back up at Simba. Looking back down once again, his heart broke when he saw Ushandra had tears in her eyes, she knew what was about to happen. Scar looked back up and saw Simba running towards him, that is when panic gripped his mind. He ran back up the path and tried to find another way, but lightning flashed around him and one bolt struck the ground. Flames rose from its wake, and wherever he turned he was trapped, every direction he tired to go was cut off, and the only way left was to go back up. He ran up the path and stopped as he realized there was no where else for him to run to, all of Pride Rock was surrounded by a wall of fire. He looked to the skies and realized the gods were against him, Aiheu had doomed him to death. He suddenly realized the grim truth, this was it, these were his last minutes alive! No it could not be true, Ushandra, his cub, his new life, it couldn't end like this, not now! How could he have been prepared for this? What will happen to Ushandra and their cub, how would they survive without him? Scar felt tears in his eyes, as he realized he was about to die, but his tears were not shed. Instead he wailed to the kings of the past who had forsaken him, all he could think about was that his past had finally caught up to him, and now instead of burying his past, it was going to bury him. Scar looked towards the ground and saw Ushandra looking up at him for the last time, just as Simba leaped over the flames.
* * * * *
Ushandra was paralyzed with fear. She looked this way and that as she tried to find a way to reach her love, but flames blocked every option and every path. She wailed to her love, but he was too far away to hear her, and then she gasped when she saw Scar suddenly try a surprise attack. She watched in horror as the two great lions fought each other for control of The Pride Lands. It was a brutal but short fight, both lions were easily matched but Scar made a fatal error by attempting a lunge, so he could tackle Simba to the ground. Ushandra saw the well placed kick that sent Scar sprawling over Simba and off the edge. She shook her head. No it couldn't be true, Scar couldn't lose. In desperation she ran towards the place her love had fallen but skidded to a stop as she saw it was infested with hyenas. She saw Scar try to rise, wounded but alive, and she felt a moment of hope, but then stood transfixed, frozen in fear as she saw the hyenas begin to advance towards her love. Ushandra shut her eyes as she saw three hyenas lunge at Scar all at once, but her eyes sprang open when she heard his horrible scream. Shenzi lunged towards Scar's throat and bit down with all her might. Scar fell; his eyes slowly closed. Shenzi rode her head in triumph, blood dripping off her jaws. She smiled hideously when she saw Ushandra's shocked face. The female hyena laughed out loud, and then all the hyenas ran towards the kill and feasted upon Ushandra's love. Shenzi swung her head back down and placed her jaws on the once beautiful lion's mane. She pulled with all her might, ripping out Scar's throat in a splash of blood. Ushandra began to back up, she shook her head, then covered her eyes with her paws, but when she removed them the gruesome scene was still there. Her eyes were wide and filled with tears, her body shook with grief, and her voice screamed with sorrow,
"No, No, No, No, Noooooooooo!" She ran from the scene trying to escape the memory and the wicked laughter of the hyenas.
CHAPTER FIVE: INNOCENCE SLAIN
Ushandra walked in a daze, she was in total shock, and did not even know where to go or what to do. Her mind was a jumbled mess, and her paws trembled with each step. Her eyes stayed fixed on a point ahead of her that did not even exist, as she wandered aimlessly for many minutes, to the point of walking in a whole circle. A mighty roar brought her back to reality and with it am emotion she never felt before. She swung her heads back towards Pride Rock and there he was, Scar's murderer. Ushandra stared at his distant form as he announced his victory to all the lands. The lionesses surrounding him echoed his triumphant roar, and in unison they proclaimed that a new monarch was born, Simba, the new Lion King. Ushandra continued her unblinking stare at the giant male, the pouring rain soaking her pelt, drops dripping like tears onto the ground. Her eyes began to narrow, but they remained focused on the lion as the rain poured down her face, and dripped off her whiskers. She had no need to cry; the raindrops were her tears. Her body began to quiver, her breathing began to become louder and heavier, her claws became unsheathed then retracted, her paws flexed, her tail twitched like a frenzied snake, her muzzle twisted into a snarl, her voice was a resonance of emotion, but was drowned out by the roars of the lions of Pride Rock. She roared and snarled as she kept staring at the creature who had murdered her love and destroyed everything their love had stood for. She felt emotions that had never before entered her mind, every synonym for anger that could be found coursed through her veins, but most of all she felt something for this male that would never dissipate. For her this emotion would stay with her for eternity. The best word that could describe what she was feeling would only be one. Complete, utter, and unrestrained hate. Her eyes narrowed to slits, she looked right then left, and then back up towards her enemy as she made a pact with herself that would never be compromised,
"Simba, from this day forth, you and the rest of your pride are my sworn enemies! I will never forget what you did to my love. You murdered him, and you murdered my future, and my happiness that I could have had with him. For that I can never forgive you! I just hope that one day you feel as much loss as I do now, and the I hope you'll suffer with it until you die!" She gasped and raised a paw to her muzzle. What was she doing? What was she saying? She would never think thoughts like this, let alone speak them out loud. What had happened to her? She shook her head trying to clear her mind, but then something else entered it, that was far worse than her previous hatred, understanding.
"Oh my Aiheu, Scar you're gone, I'll never see you again!" All her tears that were previously held back now burst forth from her eyes like a swollen river, and she ran from Pride Rock weeping and moaning with more grief then she ever thought possible. Only one thought remained in her mind, and no matter how much she tried, she would never forget it. Scar was gone, nothing would ever change that.
* * * * *
Through tear stained eyes, Ushandra slowly rose her head, somehow she made it back to the borders of her home. The jungle's highest trees could be seen along the horizon and the ground was moist and fertile, unlike the dead wasteland she had come from, she was finally home. She wanted nothing more then to find a nice, comfortable spot and fall asleep. She wiped her eyes with the back of her paw, her tears finally starting to cease. She ran her paw over her face, massaging it and wiping the tears off the tears. She looked back behind her and sighed, then with her head hanging low to the ground she walked towards the jungle.
Suddenly she rose her head and sniffed the air, something wasn't right. A strange scent lingered in the air, but it was too faint to recognize. She looked above her and scanned the sky. The rain had stopped but the clouds were still a dark, menacing gray, and there was a strange, ominous presence all around her. She couldn't ignore this feeling of dread as she slowly walked towards the high hill where she had once waited for Scar. She felt tears once again but held them back, immediately discarding the thought. She slowly trudged up the steep hillside, and was near the top when the scent became stronger. As she reached the crest, she immediately recognized what it was, only then she saw something much worse, but it wasn't sensed by her keen nose, but by her eyes.
Vultures, at least five of them circling in the sky caught her eye, simultaneously her nose told her the scent was unmistakably the smell of hyenas. It was at that second when her senses told her brain why,
"Oh my God no!" She sprinted off the hill and dashed down its side. She prayed to Aiheu, her mind desperately pleading with him to make it not true. The closer she reached the edge of the jungle, the worse things became, and now she could she vultures circling above and four on the ground pulling at the remains of some creature.
"No, please God, tell me it's not true!" She roared with all her might, and lunged towards the vultures causing them all to turn their beaks at her in unison. Squawking and cursing at her in their own language, they all spread their wings and ran off, soon taking to the air with their lives in tact. Ushandra skidded to a halt and almost fainted when she saw, what she prayed to be false, was indeed sadly true. Bloody, covered in feathers, and torn to pieces was a lion cub, but the color of the pelt and the color of the eyes could not be mistaken. It was Scar's and Ushandra's cub! Now he was with his father.
"Oh Aiheu, why! Why, why, why? My flesh and blood, my poor son, look what they did to you!" She cradled the bloody corpse with her paws and kissed her son's forehead. She looked down and began to cry as she could hardly recognize her once beautiful cub. His once brilliant green eyes, so like his father, had lost their light and were glazed over in death. His entire body was covered in long, nasty wounds, and his neck was broken in half. His head dangled from his body, the skin and the fur the only things keeping it together. These were the good things. The rest of was either ripped apart or had been devoured. Who was to blame for this? Ushandra cradled her cub in her paws, absently stroking his head with her paw as she looked around. She already knew the answer as the scent of hyenas hung in the air around her, but tracks were everywhere and small clumps of hyena fur fluttered in the breeze. Ushandra looked back towards what was left of her cub and wept silently, but her crying intensified as she suddenly realized everything that had once given her happiness was gone. Scar, her love, her mate, and her husband was slain before her eyes, and now her child was lost to her, before her had barely begun to live. There was nothing left for her to love anymore! Ushandra suddenly screamed towards the skies, cursing all she was, all she knew, all she understood, and all she had once believed in. Aiheu had forsaken her, so now she would abandon all her beliefs in him. There was nothing left, there was only hate. Ushandra died that tragic, day but in her place a new lioness was born.