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The Lion, The Witch and The Emperor's Citadel

By James Grant

Action / Fantasy

Prologue - Long Live The King...

A long time ago, in a realm far, far away…a small boy wakes suddenly as light from the morning sun pours in through a large, open stone window. He stirs excitedly as he dresses himself in a set of fine clothes that have been laid out already on the great bed before him. Once dressed, he grabs a large book from the bedside dresser next to him and runs out the into the tower’s hallway. A woman dressed in exquisite clothes stops him in his tracks.

Woman: “Wait there, young man!”

The woman smiles fondly as the boy reluctantly turns around.

Boy: “Mum! I have places to be!”

The woman laughs.

Woman: “Not until you’ve eaten! Today’s a big day for a young prince!”

The young boy groans emphatically.

Boy: “But Mum, the kitchens are so far away!”

The woman smiles warmly at her son.

Woman: “Then you’re lucky your mother cooks…so here you are, my son.”

The boy’s smile broadens as he takes the small basket from his mother.

Woman: “What do you say?”

The boy speaks up.

Boy: “Thanks mum, you’re the greatest!”

The boy turns to leave but stops and turns quickly around.

Boy: “Hey, Mum?”

The woman turns and raises an eyebrow at her son.

Woman: “Yes, my son?”

The boy looks at the basket briefly before speaking.

Boy: “Why do you cook? You’re the queen and we have cooks in the castle kitchens.”

The queen smiles happily.

Queen: “Because young prince, a wise ruler understands all of their subjects. And it gives me great joy to provide for those I love…”

The boy smiles warmly at his mother. She speaks as she begins to move away.

Queen: “Run along now Simba, your fathers waiting for you in his vault!”

Simba’s grin broadens again as he turns around and leaves the hallway behind. After following a series of stairs he appears outside in a small courtyard. He looks up at the towering spire above him and gasps to himself. He continues on, this time descending a flight of wide marble stairs which give way to a large room of polished stone. Huge foundation pillars line the room’s outer edge and guide Simba to a set of doors to a smaller chamber at the room’s heart. A gleaming blue sword, wedged in the floor’s stone, stands watch over the closed chamber behind it. Its pommel’s single stone sapphire glows brightly as the prince approaches the chamber. The sword begins to rock from side to side until Simba speaks.

Simba: “Zazu! How are you today?”

Zazu begins to twist eagerly as Simba moves the basket of food to his other hand. The sword settles as Simba reaches out his now free hand and pats the sword’s jewelled pommel fondly. He speaks again to Zazu.

Simba: “Where’s my father?”

The sword turns to the right and points to the Vault of The King’s doorway.

Simba: “Good! May I pass?”

The sapphire jewel glows and Zazu tips forward releasing the doors locking mechanism. The heavy doors begin to swing open and Simba smiles happily.

Simba: “Thank you Zazu!”

Simba passes by the sword and enters the brightly lit chamber. Inside, at a large table sits Simba’s father mulling over documents. In another portion of the room two men argue over the wording of a special document. Simba ignores them and moves over the King’s table and pulls up a small chair to one end. The king looks over to his boy and smiles broadly.

King: “Ah, finally you arise, my son!”

The two men stop the arguing and join them at the King’s table. The older of the two men rounds the table and grabs Simba’s shoulders in a fond embrace as Simba opens up the large book before him. The older man speaks.

Older Man: “Today is a great day to be alive, young boy! Or should I be saying young prince given today’s ceremony?”

The king laughs out loud.

King: “Yes Rafiki, old friend. Today my son becomes a man!”

The king turns to the third man and smiles. The third man smiles briefly and rests on the other edge of the table, opposite the king. Rafiki smiles warmly at Simba before inspecting his book.

Rafiki: “And what is a young prince reading this day?”

Simba slides over the book towards Rafiki, who turns the cover back over and reads its title.

Rafiki: “Once Upon A Time…I’ve not seen this book in the castle libraries.”

Simba responds as Rafiki flicks through the books glossy pages.

Simba: “A man in the market gave it to me…he said all of the stories in it a true!”

Rafiki laughs heartily.

Rafiki: “Well, how about that then! Mufusa, what do you think?”

Rafiki slides the book over to his king, who randomly chooses a page and begins to read with passion and fervour.

Mufusa: “Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest…the bandit Snow White, pursued by the Evil Queen, finds refuge in the house of seven Dwarves…

Mufusa stops reading and laughs to himself.

Mufusa: “Well, I guess she has her hands full! I’ve never heard of this Snow White, only of the Enchanted Forest…what do you think, brother?”

The King’s brother rolls his eyes before speaking curtly.

Brother: “I think it’s unwise for young princes to be accepting strange gifts from charlatans.”

The king laughs.

Mufusa: “Concise counsel as always, brother.”

The king’s brother nods and stands.

Brother: “I had best be gone. This is an auspicious day and I have much to prepare.”

Mufusa mood brightens and he stands as well.

Mufusa: “That we all do! Come Simba, I have something to show you.”

Simba closes his book, jumps to his feet and grabs the basket of food. Rafiki stands taller and speaks.

Rafiki: “I will see you all in the Palace Courtyard shortly.”

Rafiki bows to them all before making his way out of the vault. Mufusa puts his arm around Simba as he walks him towards the door.

The King’s brother’s curiosity is peeked as he rounds the table. He sees the book and flicks its pages until he nears the end of the book. He stops on an image of a dead man on hard stone cobbles wearing the king’s exact clothes and a small ball of magic hovering above him. Simba notices his uncle reading and shouts back.

Simba: “Uncle Scar! Are you coming?”

Scar startles and closes the book, placing it underneath his arm. Mufusa sees him with the book and smiles fondly.

Mufusa: “Brother, it’s a children’s book! You can read it later…”

Scar stops and glances quickly at the book before nodding reluctantly.

Scar: “Of course, sire…”

Scar moves to the nearby bookshelf and places it amongst the myriad of other books there. As he does so a hand written note falls from its pages onto the floor before him. Curiously he reaches down for it. He reads it as he walks to the door.

The note reads “When the Wronged Prince takes the heart of the Evil Queen this kingdom will be forever safe…”

Mufusa raises an eyebrow at the piece of paper in Scar’s hand.

Mufusa: “What’s that, brother?”

Scar crumples the paper quickly before placing it in one of his pockets. He smiles briefly before.

Scar: “Just the charlatan’s shopping list…he was preparing quite a meal!”

They all laugh. Mufusa speaks.

Mufusa: “I’m glad for him! Come now, Simba…so how much of this book have you read?”

Mufusa nods once to his brother before guiding Simba out of the Foundation Room. They continue to speak to one another as they leave.

Simba: “Most of it! My favourite part is when this prince turns into a lion to save a boy by climbing up a broken bridge!”

Mufusa responds with enthusiasm.

Mufusa: “Wow! You’ll have to read it to me sometime…”

Simba laughs heartily. Their voices trail away as they climb the marble stairs to the world outside. Scar smiles savagely as he turns around and walks out the other exit behind the King’s vault. He walks past an area bathed in shadows. He pauses as a tall figure concealed by darkness moves forwards. Scar speaks familiarly.

Scar: “I trust your people are in position…”

The shrouded figure grunts in ascent.

Scar: “Good, on my signal herd them into the gorge. Do not fail me again…”

Scar continues walking as the tall figure bows its mighty head once.

Mufusa and Simba ascend the last of the spire’s stairs. The tail-end of their conversation can be heard. Mufusa now carries Simba’s food basket.

Mufusa: “So, let me get this right…the Emperor’s curse turns him into a man?”

Simba shakes his head emphatically.

Simba: “No Dad, you’ve got it all wrong! The Emperor’s curse turns him into a lion…the gauntlet’s curse turns him into a man!”

Mufusa bursts out laughing.

Mufusa: “This book of yours is awfully fond of curses!”

Simba smiles at his father’s happy mood. They stop at the top floor of the spire. Mufusa takes in a deep breath of fresh air before speaking to his son.

Mufusa: “This is the Spire of Dreams son and out there is our kingdom.”

Simba looks around the flat expanse of water and lush green plains. He turns back to his father.

Simba: “Dad, how come you always come up here at daybreak?”

Mufusa moves to rest on the spire’s rampart, placing the food basket to one side.

Mufusa: “Because son, this is the one place in the kingdom that can be seen from all corners of the realm. It brings the people great comfort to know that their king is always watching over them.”

Mufusa lifts Simba up and places him on the rampart. He begins to show Simba the kingdom.

Mufusa: “Down there, is the mouth of the Great Lake…far beyond that are the foothill of the Wayward Mountains…over there are Rolling Plains, behind which the King’s Wood flourishes and behind that stands the great White Mountain.”

Simba looks out over the kingdom in awe.

Mufusa: “You see, my son, after today this tower and everything else the light touches will one day be yours.”

Simba gasps as he glances out over the vast expanse surrounding the spire.

Simba: “Really? Everything the light touches…when?”

Mufusa laughs heartily.

Mufusa: “Have patience, my son!”

Mufusa moves off the rampart and raises Simba up onto his shoulders before continuing to speak.

Mufusa: “Simba, I'm going to tell you what my father once told me. A king’s time rises and falls like the Sun. Someday, the Sun will set on my time and will rise with you as the new king.”

Simba’s mood turns grave.

Simba: “You’ll be gone?”

Mufusa draws in a heavy breathe and smiles up at Simba.

Mufusa: “Yes, my son. Do you remember what I told you that night in the King’s Wood?”

Simba nods down at his father. Mufusa speaks kindly.

Mufusa: “Then you’ll remember that if you ever feel lost or alone you can always look up and know that I’ll always be there, watching over you for all of time.”

Simba smiles to himself.

Simba: “But only at night.”

Mufusa bursts out laughing.

Mufusa: “You learn too well, my son!”

Mufusa sets Simba down before grabbing Simba’s food basket. He continues speaking.

Mufusa: “Go find your mother…I believe she’s in the Palace Courtyard with Rafiki.”

Mufusa hands Simba his food basket and ushers him to the spire’s staircase. Simba smiles warmly as he leaves his father and descends the stairs quickly.

As Simba reaches the base of the Spire of Dreams he meets Scar. Simba smiles happily at his uncle.

Simba: “Hey, Uncle Scar! Guess what?”

Scar rolls his eyes before speaking quietly.

Scar: “I despise guessing games…”

Simba continues speaking as they start walking together.

Simba: “My father just showed me the whole kingdom, and one day I’m going to rule it all!”

Scar nods unimpressed.

Scar: “Oh, he did. Did he?”

Simba nods happily, very much pleased with himself.

Simba: “Yep! Hey, when I’m king, what’ll that make you?”

Scar smiles curtly.

Scar: “A monkey’s uncle…”

Simba laughs.

Simba: “You’re so weird!”

Scar laughs to himself.

Scar: “You have no idea…so I guess if you’re going to become king, than there’ll be no more little escapades like those in the King’s Wood last month?”

Simba stops dead, ashamed.

Simba: “You know about that?”

Scar stops and leans in closer to his nephew.

Scar: “Please Simba…everybody knows about that.”

Simba swallows hard as they continue walking once more.

Simba: “Really?”

Scar laughs.

Scar: “But luckily for you your father has a wonderful surprise for you!”

Simba’s mood livens as they make their way out into the wide castle promenade. They stop beneath an apple tree full of deep red apples.

Simba: “So this surprise, what is it?”

Scar smiles sweetly.

Scar: “No…I’m sorry Simba, I just simply can’t tell you…”

Simba moves over to his uncle and begins to pull on his robes.

Simba: “Please uncle Scar?”

Scar shakes his head emphatically.

Scar: “No, it’s just for you and your daddy!”

Simba smiles sweetly, pleading with his uncle.

Simba: “If you tell me, I’ll still act surprised.”

Scar playfully laughs.

Scar: “Oh you’re such a naughty boy! Just stay here and I’ll go get him for you.”

Simba sits down with his uncle’s guidance.

Simba: “But father told me to go find mother?”

Scar pauses a moment before speaking.

Scar: “Ah, your mother already knows where you are…she’s in on the surprise as well!”

Simba’s mood brightens.

Simba: “Oh, okay…”

Scar turns around and begins to leave. Simba shouts over to him before he rounds a corner they came in through.

Simba: “Hey uncle Scar?”

Scar stops and turns around slowly. Simba continues speaking.

Simba: “Will I like the surprise?”

Scar smiles sweetly.

Scar: “Simba, it’s to die for!”

Scar turns and leaves Simba behind. He moves around the street’s corner until he is out of sight. He disappears in a cloud of dark purple magic, reappearing just below the summit of the Spire of Dreams. Now holding a purple jewelled staff, he ascends the last dozen or so steps on foot. He reaches the top floor and moves over to Mufusa who watches the last of the mass of ogres as the make their way along the castle’s main promenade. Scar rests his right side on his staff. He speaks with a twinge of disgust as Mufusa gazes downwards.

Scar: “Our…guests…have arrived in the Courtyard, sire.”

Mufusa smiles to himself.

Mufusa: “You disapprove, brother?”

Scar smiles at the king’s bluntness.

Scar: “Only when we allow our enemies to march unescorted down our city’s streets, your grace.”

Mufusa smiles to himself before turning to his brother.

Mufusa: “You would have me hold our grandfather’s grudge?”

Scar’s grip on his staff tightens as he moves his left hand into the folds of the long robes he is wearing.

Scar: “I would caution against placing faith in betrayers and insurrectionists.”

Mufusa nods slowly.

Mufusa: “You have always had a way with words, brother…would you have me slay them in the streets now? Or wait until their in their mountain keeps?”

Scar shakes his head slowly.

Scar: “Obviously not…but as Commander of the Palace Guard it is my duty to question your wishes when the city’s safety in in doubt.”

Mufusa nods slowly.

Mufusa: “We have sealed the promenade from the rest of the city at your request brother.”

Scar exhales forcefully. Mufusa sees Scar’s frustration and stands.

Mufusa: “Brother, I have weighed the scales. And while I respect your counsel, this may be the only time during my reign that we can defeat this enemy without bloodshed.”

Scar raises an eyebrow.

Scar: “By making them our friends?”

Mufusa moves in close to Scar and places his hands on both of Scar’s shoulders and speaks warmly.

Mufusa: “And through marriage…Simba is to wed their princess Nala! In one fell swoop we reunite the kingdoms and put an end this futile feud!”

Scar quickly glances from side to side. Mufusa continues.

Mufusa: “I know, older brother, that it pained you greatly when our father’s magic passed you over and chose me. I have tried my best to make up for that cruel dishonouring by seeking your counsel, heeding you counsel…and by elevating your position greatly in our society. But I fear all these fall painfully short…can you ever forgive the magic, or me, for this terrible transgression fated upon you?”

Scar pauses a moment before smiling fondly. He moves his free hand to Mufusa’s shoulder and speaks.

Scar: “Of course, little brother…in fact, I have a gift for you!”

Mufusa laughs to himself softening the mood a little.

Mufusa: “You needn’t have, brother.”

Scar smiles as he reaches into the folds of his robes.

Scar: “Nonsense! Why don’t you try these on for size?”

Scar removes a pair of white leather and fine chainmail gauntlets from behind his robes. Protruding from each of the fingertips are steel claws. Mufusa eyes the gauntlets with eagerness. He takes them and pulls the on to his hands. He flexes and moves his fingers around. Suddenly the sharp claws project forwards, startling Mufusa. Scar smiles warmly before speaking.

Scar: “I’m told that not even stone will dull those claws…try it for yourself.”

Mufusa smiles keenly and turns to the spire’s stone rampart. Scar smiles savagely as he twists his staff’s jewelled tip backwards. He fires a volley of magical blasts behind himself as Mufusa rakes the gauntlet’s claws over the hard stone of the rampart. Scar smiles sweetly as Mufusa tests the sharpness of the claws…

Simba sits beneath the shade of the apple tree eating the sweet pie his mother made for him when suddenly a volley of magical blasts rain down upon the Palace Courtyard. Simba hears the explosions and quickly glances up the promenade ahead of him. A mass of frenzied ogres start fleeing through the courtyard gates towards him. His basket beside him begins to rattle about as the ogres heavy footsteps shake the very ground he sits on. He stands quickly, grabs his basket and runs towards the barricaded side street. Simba bangs on the barricade but to no avail. Panic stricken, he turns quickly, dropping the basket. He begins to flee down the wide promenade with a hoard of ogres close afoot…

Mufusa and Scar suddenly feel the spire beneath them reverberate with the stampeding ogres below. Scar moves quickly to the spire’s rampart and peers over it. He speaks hastily.

Scar: “Look! Stampede in the Gorge…Simba’s down there!”

A grave fear fills Mufusa’s eyes as he rushes over to the rampart. He sees his son running down the promenade with a hoard of ogres in frantic pursuit. He reaches for the sword and draws it quickly. Mufusa flips the sword and catches it by the blade.

Mufusa: “Zazu! Protect my son!”

The king launches his sword towards the tangled throng below them.

As Simba continues to run ahead of the mass of surging ogres he slips over on the Gorge’s stone-floored pathway. He rolls several times before turning hastily around. His eyes fill with fear as a large ogre’s immense form robs him of the Sun’s warm light.

Suddenly a blue jewelled sword pieces the stone in front of Simba, surprising him. Its pommel lights up as wall of blue magic expands around Simba. Zazu’s shield slowly parts the stream of flowing ogres…

Mufusa makes a hasty movement towards the spire’s stairs. However Scar stops him.

Scar: “Wait there’s no time! Use the gauntlets!”

Scar points to the gauntlets on Mufusa’s hands.

Mufusa: “But how, brother? Can’t you use your magic?”

Scar moves off the rampart and shakes his head.

Scar: “No, it’s all tied up in removing your grandfather’s curse! Right now the quickest way to your son is down the outside of the spire! Stay strong and you will not fall! Trust me!”

Mufusa nods once and pulls the polished white gauntlets on tighter. He moves to the spire’s ledge.

Mufusa: “Thank you, brother…”

Scar nods once.

Scar: “Just hurry!”

Mufusa draws in a quick breath before hurling himself over the spire’s ledge. Sharp metal claws extend out from the gauntlet’s fingertips. They catch the hard stone of the spire, surprising Mufusa. Sparks fly from the gauntlets as he begins his somewhat controlled descent down the outside of the Spire of Dreams. Halfway down he lets go of the wall and lands smoothly onto a protruding bridge joining the spire to a nearby tower. He rolls once before running its length and jumping off it. He catches a much smaller tower’s outer wall and again descends swiftly. He finally comes to a rest a few stories above the castle’s mile long promenade.

Mufusa spies Simba clinging to Zazu in the middle of the throng as the confused mass of panicking ogres stampede along the castle’s main promenade. He climbs on to the rampart and runs alongside the thoroughfare. He sees a large ogre moving hastily towards the promenade’s outer wall and hurls himself at it. He lands on the unsuspecting ogre who collapses underneath his falling weight. As the ogre collides with the ground Mufusa jumps free of it. He collects Simba up in his arms and rolls away to a brief safety. Zazu removes himself from the stone floor and flies into Mufusa’s waiting hand.

The felled ogre slows the flow of ogres around him as he begins to stir amongst his stampeding cohorts. Mufusa sees a gap forming between the Gorge’s high stone walls and the recovering ogre. He throws Simba onto his back and makes a headlong dash for the ogre, running up the back of his leg and onto his shoulder. The felled ogre roars loudly as Mufusa propels himself powerfully off him and towards the wall. Mufusa draws Zazu above his head and with an almighty strike, forces Zazu three quarters of his length into the wall. Simba clings to his father’s back tightly as they hang perilously close to the stampeding hoard, but still out of reach of the wall’s rampart above.

The larger ogre manages to stand up. He grabs a smaller female ogre and hurls her over his right shoulder. He joins the throng and soon passes the dangling trio. With the larger ogre gone the bottle-neck of others behind him begins to move again. They push and pull each other until several are sandwiched against the Gorge’s stone wall. Mufusa sees them coming and grabs Simba, lifting him up effortlessly towards Zazu’s hilt. He shouts out to his son.

Mufusa: “Hold on, Simba!”

Suddenly the tangled mass of ogres steal Simba’s father away from him. Simba shouts out in fear.

Simba: “Dad!!!”

Simba loses sight of Mufusa as the mass of ogres flow smoothly past him. He clings tightly to Zazu’s hilt as he frantically searches the hoard for any sign of his father. Suddenly and with and almighty yell Mufusa surges up and out of the throng of ogres. He sinks the steel claws of gauntlets deeply into the stone wall downstream of Simba and begins to climb the steep-walled promenade. Simba’s heart fills with joy and relief as he sees his father climb up the higher portion of the Gorge’s wall. He loses sight of him as his father climbs around the other side of one of the overhead bridges that line the length of the promenade. Simba looks back towards the Palace Courtyard and notices that the ogres numbers are starting to thin out a little.

Mufusa grits his teeth hard and continues to drag his exhausted body up the height of the overhead bridge’s support tower. He gathers himself before leaping up and out to catch the jutting-out rampart.

Suddenly Scar appears in a cloud of dark purple above, startling him.

Mufusa: “Scar?”

Mufusa slips a little. The brief fall rocks him from his confusion. He pleads for help.

Mufusa: “Brother, help me!”

Scar reaches down and grabs hold of his gauntlets. Scar smiles menacing as dark magic flows from his hands over the gauntlets, colouring them deep purple. Without warning both gauntlets fold themselves onto each of Scar’s hands, releasing Mufusa. The claws flare out quickly imbedding themselves into the back of Mufusa’s shocked hands. He yells out briefly in agony.

Mufusa settles and stares up into the cold, soulless eyes of his brother as the man he thought he knew reels him in closer. He whispers gently into his ear.

Scar: “Long live the king…”

Scar hurls his brother’s scrambling mass off the rampart and into the stampeding hoard of ogres beneath him.

Simba sees his father suddenly fall and shouts out as Zazu’s jewelled sapphire pommel light’s up. Zazu tries desperately in vain to extricate himself from the hard stone of the wall. The two of them watch on helplessly as the king disappears into the last of the stampeding hoard of trolls.

Finally Zazu manages to free himself from the stone. He carries a horrified Simba towards the fallen body of his father. Simba lets go of Zazu, who drops to the ground. He rushes over to his father and grabs hold of him.

Simba: “Dad?”

Simba looks around and sees no one. He shouts out to the empty promenade.

Simba: “Help! Somebody! Anybody…”

Tears begin to well up in Simba’s eyes. He shakes the lifeless king.

Simba: “Come on, dad! We’ve got to go home…”

Simba grabs his father’s arm and tries to drag the once mighty king. When he can’t move him he curls up in a ball under his father’s arm and closes his teary eyes.

Scar appears in a cloud of dark purple magic behind them. Suddenly Zazu’s jewelled pommel lights up and he floats up off the ground. He turns his tip towards Scar and launches himself at him. Scar smiles menacingly at the sword before directing his staff at him. Scar fires three rings of golden magic at the charging sword. The rings encircle the sword and bind tightly around it. Zazu falls from the air and slides uncontrollable along the promenade’s hard stone floor. He comes to a rest at Scar’s feet. Scar smiles cruelly as he steps over the writhing blue sword.

Zazu’s collision with the pavement startles Simba. As Scar moves around in front of Simba and his limp father. Simba sees his uncle and crawls out from under his father’s arm.

Suddenly a ball of glowing white light raises itself up and out of the fallen king. Simba withdraws quickly and clambers backwards some distance before standing up. The ball hovers there silently above the lifeless king, waiting. Scar draws in a heavy breathe and exhales with relief. He moves over to the orb and extends out his hand to it. He speaks quietly to the orb.

Scar: “At last…you are mine, come to me!”

Scar moves to grab the orb of light. However, it evades his grasp and moves quickly towards Simba who turns around in a panic. He tries to outrun the orb but is too slow. It impacts him hard in back, causing him to lose consciousness. Simba’s arms, legs and head fall limp. But he does not topple over. He hovers there in the air for a moment in silence as Scar inches towards him suspiciously.

Scar places his right hand on Simba’s left shoulder. Without warning sharp claws extend from the fingernails of Simba’s right hand. He spins around quickly and opens his eyes to reveal only white light. He focuses on Scar and lashes out with his right hand. The newly formed claws rake down his uncle’s face from his left eyebrow to his right cheekbone. Scar’s fury boils over as he powers his staff and directs its tip towards his hovering nephew. He moves to attack when suddenly the invisible force suspending Simba releases hold of the boy and he falls down to the ground. A scared boy regains consciousness and looks up at his uncle. Fear flavours his mumbled words.

Simba: “Uncle? W-What’s happening to me?”

Simba’s terrified eyes fill with tears as he looks up questioningly at his uncle. Scar sees the terror in his eyes and stops his hasty assault. He powers down his staff. Simba speaks softly as he embraces his uncle tightly.

Scar looks down at his young nephew. He speaks firmly but not harshly.

Scar: “I do not know…but the King is dead. And if it weren’t for you he would still be alive.”

Simba stops crying and looks up to his uncle ashamed. Scar places his clawed gauntlets on each of Simba’s shoulders and gently pushes him away from him as several trolls gather around the pair of them. Scar speaks again.

Scar: “Oh my! What would your mother think?”

Simba begins to weep again.

Simba: “What am I supposed to do?”

Scar speaks coldly and without emotion.

Scar: “Run away! Run away and never return…”

Simba swallows hard as he turns around quickly and begins to run away. He disappears down a newly opened street. Scar smiles savagely before speaking to the gathered trolls.

Scar: “Kill him!”

The trolls roar and growl as they follow the boy down the twists and turns of the tangled side street. Simba comes to stop at the outer wall’s stone parapets. Trapped, he searches in vain for a way out as the trolls approach, they stare menacingly at the small boy. The lead troll hefts his large hammer over his shoulder and stalks threateningly towards Simba. Simba freezes in fear as the lumbering troll advances upon him. The troll swings his might hammer, striking the young prince. The force of the blow sends Simba sailing over the parapet and into the corner tower of the city’s stone wall defences. Simba impacts the wall hard, losing consciousness.

Suddenly his eyes open and glow with a bright light. He topples forward and catches the stone wall with claws that reappear on his fingertips. They cling to the hard stone as he slides down the outer wall of the city. The claws begin to grind away as Simba descends the hard stone wall. Halfway down they wear thin and he loses purchase on the wall. He once again topples from the wall unconsciously. He splashes into the city’s moat before surfacing nearby face-down. He floats slowly away from the castle and into the wide open river that winds its way through the lush green plains that stretch out endlessly as far as the eye can see…

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, James Grant
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neil101: The best story I have read online in quite some time. The casual violence is tamed down with easy going wit. It reads like a Joe Abercrombie novel .Looking forward to more. Thanks.

Olivia N J Hamel: I want this book. I love it so much. It is so enjoyable to read and to have a copy of this always, I would be very happy, to always be able to come back and look at it again.

Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!

Jean Tryon: As a beta, I found this story outstanding!! Plot, grammar, phraseology, etc Rachel gives us it all. She takes the story into the future from where due South ends. She is an exacting and thoughtful author.

Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

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