Tales Of A Brave Lioness:
A Short Story By
It was late, and the light african breeze was refreshing on the hot Savannah that evening, and the lioness lying alone on the hard rock floor was thankful for it. She turned over and moaned a bit. In the darkness, Simba lay awake too, watching his mother. He knew she was thinking of Mufasa. He remembered them as a cub, both of them strong and regal. Everything she had been through; Scar’s reign must have been hard on her. But she was headstrong when it came to mating with Taka, and Simba knew she was all right when he was still in the jungle with Timon and Pumbaa. Sarabi managed to drift into a slumber, and flashbacks were still nightmares that haunted her mind.....
“I refuse to be your queen, Scar!”
“You’ll listen to me or you’ll end up like-” Scar stopped short.
“Never mind, you!” Taka clawed her side and pushed her harshly away before prancing off. Sarabi had always wondered what he was about to say- until Simba returned home.
“Sassi,” greeted Sarafina with a concerned look, noticing her ribs. “What happened?”
“That brute scratched me! Then, as cowardly as he is, he ran off to his hyenas for protection. He is no king, Saffi,” answered Sarabi, looking up at the sky, thinking of her beloved. She turned back to Sarafina and said, “He wanted me to be his queen!”
Sarafina nodded. “I as well.”
The two paced over to where the other lionesses rested, under the same acacia tree they had talked under when the Pride Lands was in its glory- when Mufasa was king. “I never would have thought Taka would turn out this way. Do you remember? He and Mufasa were best of friends, real brotherly love. He was our friend as well. But before Mufasa died, their friendship grew bitter, and mine with him as well,” sighed Sarabi, twitching her tail, nostalgic.
“You would think he would have learned after you gave him that scar, not to trifle with you.”
“Taka shall never learn.”
Sarabi awakened, the first rays of sunlight peeking through the entrance and hitting her face. She yawned and stretched. She paced outside and sat on the top of Pride Rock; where she once belonged; her and her beloved. “Thank Aiheu that Simba returned. Our land would be no more. This lea halalela. But Taka’s reign still lingers in my mind. And why? Because he saw something in me; not love; not joy; cubs. That is all he saw with each of us. But we knew better. As for his other pride; now there are a number of cubs on the way,” she looked out towards the horizon, then glanced over at the Elephant Graveyard. “Mufasa was such a great king, yet he did not know what went on behind his back; plotting.”
“Mother?” came a soft voice from behind. She did not turn, but she answered.
“Yes, Simba?” She had only been hearing his grown voice since last night, but she knew it by heart already.
“Who were you talking to?” he asked, approaching, the sun, making his face shine. Sarabi turned. He looked so angelic, like a savior. And he was.
“Nobody. I was just thinking.”
Simba sat on his haunches next to his mother and licked her. “I have missed you, mother. I have missed everything.”
“I have missed you as well, son. But the worst is over now. Look, since the rains last night, green is already arriving. You’ll see. Our Pridelands will be restored. Just remember everything your father taught you, and we will have a glorious future.”
“I don’t think Taka’s intentions as king were all that bad.”
“How could you say that? He killed your father and almost killed you as well,” she retorted, taken aback. She had a disturbed look on her face. “Mufasa’s intentions weren’t bad. Taka’s were.”
“I don’t think he wished droughts or anything. But I guess he has paid for his mistake.”
“Death is the greatest punishment one can have.”
Sarabi quickly changed the subject, and Simba didn’t mention it again. He knew it must have been harsh living through all that. “What will you name your cub?” It was true. Simba and Nala had cubs on the way. Simba glanced back at the cave, rustling his flowing red mane, watching Nala sleep. Simba smiled to himself.
“If the cub is a lion, he shall be named Tanabi. If we have a lioness, she shall be called Kiara,” he answered proudly. “Our little king- or queen.” Sarabi told Simba she was to do some thinking and decided to take a walk.
“I wonder if I’m becoming of no use,” she asked herself, pacing near the borders of the graveyard. Her head suddenly jerked up and she sniffed the air. She turned to see a field of grazing eland to the left. There was a smaller sickly one among them, searching for better grazing, as the others huddled together. “Fool thing,” she whispered. She crouched as she silently paced over to a boulder and there she hid. She made her way languidly towards the herd.
She knew they could easily trample her if she was seen or heard. Yet as skilled a hunter the graceful Sarabi was, she made one fatal mistake. As her paws passed lightly over a rock, loose pieces crumbled and hit the other rocks hard, making a loud clanging noise. She was not but six feet away. Things went so quickly Sarabi could not think and fled. Then there was a strong stampede, and then everything went dark.
When the lioness awoke, she was still in that old grasslands field she used to play in with Mufasa, Taka and Sarafina as a cub; but she did not remember. Not too far off was Pride Rock, where she and Mufasa reigned supreme, but she did not remember. She was in a strange world she had never seen before. Even her body was new to her. She sat with a puzzled look and studied her claws and her silky smooth golden fur with awe. It was like jumping into a complete stranger’s body and living their life.
She rose, looked around, and slowly wandered away from Pride Rock. She traveled until noon; Pride Rock was far out of view, but she didn’t care; to her, that wasn’t home. No place was home.
By the time the sun was at its hottest and at its highest point in the sky, the once great and admired queen had a very “Ed the hyena” look on her face and she seemed dazed. She heard the fierce roar of a lion behind her. She turned to see Nurarka, a massive, stern, but kind rogue lion with a full, jet black mane and deep brown eyes. Behind him were three lionesses, one of them being cubs.
Sarabi watched the lion approach, and strange thoughts entered her head. She was with other lionesses, ones she knew, it seemed. The muscular structure of Nurarka approaching, melted into a scrawny and less noble looking creature with a scar over his eye. The thought scared her and she shook her head, flinching.
“Are you all right?” asked Nurarka, with a concerned look on his face.
“I think so,” answered Sarabi, a bit surprised at the sound of her own voice. It was weak. Nurarka looked at her body.
“Have you been mistreated?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You are all bruised up. Why don’t you join us. You’ll be all right with our pride,” he led her towards the others and introduced them to her. “By the way, what is your name?”
Sarabi looked at the ground, ashamed. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” echoed Nurarka, puzzled. The other lionesses chuckled under their breath but Nurarka turned and gave them an angry look and they hushed. Sarabi shook her head. “Well, if you don’t know who you are I suppose you don’t belong to a pride, either. You may join us until your memory is revived.” He led her over to the others, and introduced the two grown lionesses, identifying the one that resembled Scar’s body color, dark, but her facial expression was kinder and her eyes shone more brightly than Taka’s. Her name was Kevana.
The other was a very light golden color by the name of Kenyora. Sarabi seemed to like her, but Kenyora did not like her back. She slit her eyes at the once great queen of The Pridelands and took a step back, revealing Syra, her much nicer looking daughter. After the introductions were complete, and they went to hunt, Kenyora pulled Sarabi aside. “I don’t know what sort of stunt you’re pulling on Nurarka, but he is mine and mine alone. Do not trifle with him unless you intend to fight for him,” she hissed, pushing her away.
Sarabi growled slightly, and Kenyora turned back at her and slashed her clean across her right ear. “I will not tolerate it any longer! One more threat and I shall scar that ear, so you shall be marked with such evilness as Taka. Then, after you have suffered, I shall kill you. Beware, lioness. There is much more to me than meets the eye,” snarled Kenyora. She turned and joined the others, leaving Sarabi standing with a bloody ear.
“Taka,” she thought to herself as Kevana, who revealed herself as Kenyora’s sister, licked Sarabi’s wound. She cringed a bit at that name for some reason; she knew not why. “Who is Taka?” asked Sarabi aloud. It was three weeks later, and Sarabi had been trying to put together distant memories; it seemed like a jigsaw puzzle missing some of the pieces.
“Well,” answered Kevana between licks, “he was brother of Mufasa. He took over the Pride Lands, that’s to the south, after Mufasa’s death. Turns out Taka killed Mufasa, while we all thought he had just died in a stampede. Then came trouble. Mufasa’s son, Simba came and threw Taka to the hyenas. He was also known as Scar,” she paused for a moment to lick the wound some more. “Because queen Sarabi gave him a scar over his eye while trying to seduce her. But that was before all that.”
“All those names ring a bell,” she answered, thinking hard. She began to repeat ‘Sarabi’ to herself, then suddenly she jumped up and shouted proudly, “I’m Sarabi! I know who I am!” she turned to Kevana. “Thank Nurarka for all he’s done, but I must be returning to the Pridelands,” she got up and began to gallop off, her paws hitting the ground hard, gaining speed. She ran into something harsh and tumbled to the ground.
“Where do you think you’re going?” growled Kenyora.
“Home,” answered Sarabi.
“No, no. I saw you heading towards Nurarka. I warned you once, lioness!” she raised her paw, extending her claws, but Sarabi ducked out of the way. All her skills, her memories, they were all coming back to her! “Dare you defy me?” she leapt to attack the old lioness while she was on her back, but she kicked Kenyora forward, directly into a tree. She hit the Acacia with a deep “Huh!”. Sarabi circled her, growling.
“Do not trifle with me, Kenyora. I am Sarabi.” With that, she walked away, heading towards her home. Kenyora watched her, stunned.
No sooner than she had arrived home, Nala saw her and greeted her. “Sarabi! We thought you had been killed in hunt. Yosana said she saw you being trampled by a few eland. She was going to go out to help you, but she was afraid they might still charge. She came and got us, and by the time we returned; you were gone. We thought for sure the hyenas had gotten you.”
“No, child. I am here, in the flesh. Where is Simba?”
“He is inside the cave. The others are hunting. Come on, I’ll take you up there,” she turned to lead her inside, but Simba had already approached.
“Mom,” he said as he pranced up. “I thought I had lost you.”
“I am not yet finished here, son. When my time is up here, that is when I shall go.” There was a sudden, startling deep roar from behind. All turned at once and the bold Nurarka stood before them. “Nuraraka,” said the old lioness, stepping back.
“King,” rumbled Nurarka, ignoring Sarabi and Nala. He stepped up to Simba, angrily. “This lioness belongs to our pride,” he said. Kenyora, Kevana and Syra stood behind him. “We accepted her, and for her, you must fight.”
“I’ll do anything it takes to get my mother back,” answered Simba. He flexed his claws and the two muscular lions circled each other, thinking out their moves. “You know you don’t even belong here, Nurarka. This is my territory.” He went to slash Nurarka’s face, but the lion ducked and leapt on Simba, getting him flat on his back. Simba struggled to get up, but Nurarka was much bigger than he was.
Nurarka tore open Simba’s left foreleg, and snarled menacingly. Simba remembered what agony The Pridelands had gone through, how much Nala, Sarabi and the others had gone through. If he didn’t win this fight, The Pridelands would be doomed. He used all his force, every muscle in his body, and pushed Nurarka off. Then Nurarka rushed at him. Simba turned and looked at Pride Rock, and an idea popped in his head. “Taka’s fate will become yours,” he whispered.
He ran off towards the tip of Pride Rock, Nurarka following him promptly. Simba stopped at the edge and looked down towards the jagged rocks below. If Simba didn’t kill him up here, surely the fall would. Simba backed to the edge. Nurarka growled as he headed towards the top. There was Simba; and all he had to do was push him off. Nurarka leapt for him, which wasn’t what Simba expected him to do. He ducked quickly, and Nurarka went over the edge to the rocks below.
Simba couldn’t even look down there. He turned, there were Kevana, Kenyora, and Syra, watching him, sadly. Simba felt sorry for the lionesses. They had no place to go. “I’m sorry,” said Simba.
“Is that all you have to say?” hissed Kenyora.
“Sister..” began Kevana.
“Pipe down!” she retorted, in a snarl. “You killed our leader, and all you have to say is sorry?” Simba stepped forward.
“You may join my pride, if that pleases you,” he answered. Kenyora looked around at the others. She had nothing to say. She simply stood there with her mouth open. Then her eyes met Sarabi’s.
“Very well,” she sighed. “We shall stay.” And that was when Kenyora began to mend her ways.