A family reunited
Part one: The Journey
Setting the scene
A couple of weeks had passed since Vitani and Nassor had left their home in the Pridelands. Nassor was the son of Ni and his second mate Kula. Ni had arrived in the Pridelands with his daughter Aketch a few months after Kopa had been born. Ni had lost his first mate Katlogo during the drought not long after Aketch had been born. His eldest daughter Majani had left their old home with a pride of rouges shortly after Katlego had died. Her act and the drought had forced Ni and Aketch to seek a new life.
Time had passed Ni and Kula had fallen in love. Their son Nassor had been born at a similar time to Kiara, Kovu and Vitani. Shortly after the four had been born Imoo, Scar and Zira’s son had betrayed the Outsider and joined the Simba’s pride. In the battle that followed his treachery Scar had been killed. In his dying gaps Scar had proclaimed Zira’s son Kovu as his heir, in doing so forgiving Zira for having cubs with a rough male. Months later Kopa and Imoo had gone to the jungle to help a leopard prince retake his kingdom, which had resulted in both lions staying in the jungle.
Now over two years on the war between the prides had ended and Imoo and Kopa had returned to the Pridelands. In the aftermath of their return a long held secret had been revealed to Simba, that Scar and Zira had a daughter named Zola. Zola had vanished on the night Simba retuned and many on both sides suspected Simba had played a part in her disappearance. It was then that Nala had revealed that Zola was alive and that she had promised Zola not to reveal her existence to Simba. The revelation had sent shockwaves through both prides, causing long held beliefs to be upturned. The revelations had caused Vitani to questions her mother’s motives and her own self-worth. Nassor had been the only lion who had seemed to understand what she had been feeling, as he often wondered what his own half-sister Majani was like. In the end both had decided to leave the Pridelands to search for Majani and Zola.
The Kingdom of Bluewater
During the past two weeks of travelling Nassor and Vitani had crossed several kingdoms, some had been welcoming and in those the pair had made new friends. In others they had faced hostility where they had been forced to hurt into thieves and poachers. Now the pair were in the Kingdom of Bluewater that was ruled over by a king and queen cheetah. The cheetahs had been welcoming and happy to help the pair. To the pair’s surprise only one lion lived the kingdom. The cheetahs had suggest the pair meet him as he might have some good advice for them.
Walking through the kingdom Vitani and Nassor admired beauty surrounding them. Coming to a waterfall the pair were mesmerized by the clear sparkling water. Looking at the water Nassor jumped in, landing with a loud splash. Surfacing he was grinning from ear to ear, mischief alight in his eyes. Looking at him Vitani hesitated for a second before diving in. Surfacing she gasped for breath as the cool water hit her fur.
“Never dived in before?” Nassor asked laughing.
“We didn’t have time to play in the water,” Vitani replied.
“Oh yeah you guys spent most of the time training,” Nassor replied, flicking water at her.
“That doesn’t mean I can’t water fight,” Vitani replied jumping onto him.
As the pair fought their delighted shouts carried through the air. Surfacing after a particular powerful attack Vitani surfaced near the edge of the pool. Her eyes widened. Standing at the edge of the pool was a large male lion with dark brown fur, a lion who looked very much like Kovu. Swimming over Nassor looked at the lion with astonishment for he could see some of Vitani’s characteristics in the lion.
“Hi guys I’m Ekene (African meaning salute), you two must be the pair Hadiya (Female African name meaning gift or sacrifice) and Jengo (African male name meaning material used for building) told me about.”
Ekene looked closely at Vitani, studying her face carefully and gazing into her eyes. Memories swam to the surface, a realization dawned in his mind that sent his heart racing. In a desperate bid to remain calm Ekene spoke, his voice betraying a note of panic.
“Lioness who are and who is your mother?”
“My name is Vitani. My mother was Zira, I was born in the Outlands that border the Pridelands,” Vitani replied, a note of caution in her voice.
“Once I knew a lioness with that name who lived there. While I lived on the border of the Outlands we became close…”
“Zira died recently…my brother is the same colour as you,” Vitani asked, barely able to believe what he was implying.
“Then Vitani you are my daughter. As soon as she realized she was pregnant it was made clear that I was to get out,” Ekene replied, lowering his eyes with regret and remorse.
“Mother explain the circumstances that led to my birth. I understand….if you had tried to stay then without doubt you would have been killed. I’m happy to meet you,” Vitani replied smiling.
“I always hoped to meet you. Now tell me, what brings you and your friend here?” Ekene asked, turning to face Nassor.
Climbing out of the water Nassor and Vitani explained about their hunt for Zola and Majani. Ekene listened intently, accepting everything with question or passing judgement. Listening he felt a snap of connection to his daughter and instantly vowed to help her and her friend. Speaking up Ekene offered to help them both and to find them a place to sleep while they loved in the kingdom. Nassor and Vitani accepted with delight.
“Tell me about the Prielands,” Ekene said.
Between them Nassor and Vitani gave him a history of the recent events and the part they had played. They went back to the start of all the trouble so Ekene could fully understand the part he played. As the story ended Ekene’s heart went out to both of them, raging at Zira for what she had done to Kovu and Vitani. Ekene hung his head in shame and regret, he felt guilty that he had never gone back to find the pair.
“Ekene could you give us a tour?” Nassor asked, trying to lift the mood.
“I’d love to see more of this place,” Vitani replied gently.
“It would be my pleasure,” Ekene replied smiling.
Together the trio set off through the kingdom. Climbing the cliffs they past magnificent waterfalls, slipped under dense foliage, raced through long savannah grass and splashed through the river. Around the waterfalls they saw high caves cut into the rock, in the trees they heard the chatter of hundreds of birds and raced through herds of antelope, zebra, elephants and wildebeest on the Savanah. Laid under the tress they met leopards, ocelots and other cats though to their surprise no other lions. Noticing this Nassor brought it up.
“There used to be a pride here a few years ago. They did some bad stuff, their leader was this insane female called Fumbe. They left a big scar on the cheetahs. I had to jump over a lot of logs to be accept and even after that it look a year to be fully trusted.”
Listing to the tale Nassor and Vitani shot an uneasy look at one another as they had heard of such a pride before. A pride that had caused so much pain and suffering to so many. Pushing the thoughts from their minds they turned their attention back to the kingdom and what Ekene was showing them.
Later that day Vitani and Ekene stood alone on the top of the large waterfall. Standing together they looked out across the land both unsure what to say to each other. Looking at each other they tried to speak.
“I don’t have much to offer you Vitani. If there was any honour in me then I should have gone back to find you. I could have offered you both a different life,” Ekene said, hanging his head in shame.
“I don’t blame you. If you had tried to come back Scar would have killed you.”
“You are kinder to me than I deserve. I can’t change the past but I would love to be part of your future,” Ekene replied shifting from paw to paw.
“I’d like that a lot, Dad,” Vitani replied, laying her head on his shoulder.
Sitting side by side Ekene and Vitani looked across the magnificent kingdom. In that moment both had found something expected and answered long held questions. For the first time Vitani had a parent who loved her unconditionally. Looking his daughter Ekene felt a sense of responsibility descent.
“Great King’s only knows the kind of life Vitani has experienced growing up! I have to care for her for as long as she and Nassor are here. Damn it Zira! You used her just like you used me. I was young and naïve back then…….Well I am grown now. I’ll do what I can to help our daughter.”
The days passed. Each day Ekene taught Nassor and Vitani how the live as rouges, sharing all the tricks and wisdom he had gained. Each day was rounded off with fighting
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