A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » May 12th, 2013, 2:45 am

That was the idea. :)

Next week is still a long way away.
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » May 19th, 2013, 1:54 am

Chapter 12: show
A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu


Chapter 12: Life and Death


Several hours passed since the lions had eaten their breakfast zebra. The journey had been long and arduous ever since, without even a single cloud or tree to please the eye. There was nothing but sand: mounds, slopes, and hills of hot, bright orange sand, all across the horizon.

"Why does Earth have to be so big?" Mohatu asked sarcastically with a dry tongue. The lion then glanced behind, seeing only two lines of paw prints that faded off into infinity.

"I'm kinda surprised we haven't fallen off the edge of it already," Mari muttered with a similarly bitter tone. "And if this sand gets any hotter, we'll never reach it."

Mohatu did not speak for a minute, while he continued walking beside the lioness. As the two approached the top of a hill, he could see nothing but a vast expanse of even more scorching hot sand below.

The lion held his jaw open before speaking very slowly. "Oh. Dear. God."

"This is getting ridiculous..." Mari panted. Her eyes found no trace of anything but scattered bones, all across the horizon.

"Getting ridiculous? What are you even saying?" The male lion shook his head. "This was ridiculous yesterday."

"Well, this is worse," the lioness corrected herself.

"Hot sand or sharp barbs? I'm not too sure about that one."

The lioness groaned. "At least we had water yesterday."

Mohatu sighed as well, realizing his companion was right. The mere sound of the word 'water' made the back of Mohatu's throat tingle with an excruciating thirst. He was incredibly dehydrated, without even a shadow of doubt.

"There must be water around here somewhere," Mohatu added.

"I doubt it," Mari argued. "There's a reason why no lion ever goes out here."

Mohatu shrugged. "Well, something went out here."

In a state of confusion, Mari studied the lion's expression intently. "Uh... huh?"

"Look," the lion lifted his paw, pointing at a rib cage of a long-dead animal, far off in the distance.

"Hmm... that is weird," Mari replied, analyzing the curved bones which protruded from the sand as the two walked closer.

Mohatu stopped for a brief moment, to get a quick look at the dead animal. "Looks kinda like a hyena," he concluded, based on the general shape of the fossilized bones.

Mari dug her paw through a bit of sand, to reveal a few smaller bones that hid below the old fossil. After seeing that one piece had been fractured, the lioness's mind immediately jumped to one conclusion.

Mari began to speak softly. "I wonder if... this is one of the hyenas that Leo killed..."

Simply put, it was the only possible explanation for a fractured bone in the middle of the barren badlands.

"Actually," Mohatu interrupted, while his eyes darted across the horizon. It was not just one dead carcass that sat barely visible above the sand, but several. Perhaps there were even a dozen hyena carcasses, if he had the patience to count the skulls.

"It looks like there was a group of them," the lion concluded. A sudden realization struck Mohatu, as he gazed out at the wasteland of death. His mind began to fill with a strange vision of two young and inexperienced lions...


--- --- ---


The heavy gaze of a dark, spotted hyena fell on Leo, while the lion was tired, thirsty and exhausted.

"So, you made it out this far," the female hyena spoke with a raspy voice. "That's rather impressive for a duo of feline furballs."

Leo's eyes glanced over at his brother for a split second, to make sure Rex was still beside him. "You bastards are going to pay for what you did to Abeni," he taunted ruthlessly, despite his apparent lack of strength.

The hyena raised her paw to the rest of her clan, who had surrounded the two lions completely. "Back away," she commanded. "This is what we have been waiting for."

Leo and Rex hesitated slightly, while the many hyenas that once surrounded them followed their orders.

"It seems I have underestimated your abilities," the matriarch commented with a hint of admiration in her voice. "I have to admit, I did not expect you to survive this far away from home."

Musashi stepped forward to the two lions, with open paws. "I'll make you a deal," she continued. "If you kill me, my clan will leave the Pridelands. If I kill you, my clan owns the Pridelands. There are no terms of engagement. Winner takes all."

Leo simply clenched his teeth together and drew out his claws. "Why did you have to kill Abeni?"

"Leo..." Musashi whispered ominously while she stared deep into the lion's eyes. "Leo, Leo, Leo... don't you understand? Death is only a part of life."

"You sick bastard..." Leo crept towards the hyena with an incredibly aggressive fighting stance.

"Eventually, you will realize it is true," Musashi added, neither backing away nor preparing to fight. "I can see it now..." the hyena continued. "You're not like the rest of them."

With all the lion's energy, he struck out against the hyena. However, the battle-hardened matriarch blocked Leo's strike with a simple stroke of her forepaw.

"You walk the path of a warrior, Leo," she spoke effortlessly. "You know what must be done... unlike your idiotic father."

The hyena's words only incited more anger from Leo; he began to strike with greater and greater force, but to no avail. After several failed attempts at trying to hurt the hyena, Leo stepped back, until he stood beside his younger brother.

Musashi continued to stare deep into Leo's eyes, absorbing all the lion's hatred that he held deep within. "That is what brought us here. That is what makes us better," she growled.

The hyena raised her paw up suggestively, before turning her back on the two lions. "Look around. There's a whole world out there for warriors like us, just waiting to be conquered."

This time, it was Rex's turn to try a few attacks. After watching his older brother fail consistently with each stroke of his paw, Rex thought he could be a bit more unpredictable with his strikes. However, after several close misses, the lion only depleted his breath and energy.

"We're not too different, you and I..." Musashi continued, unfazed by the lion's attempts to kill her. "You want me to die. I want you to die. There can only be one true supremacist between us."

With frustration, Leo launched himself toward the hyena with bared teeth. Musashi simply stepped out of the way, allowing the lion to plow into the sand behind her.

"But I know there is no honor to be found in what you are doing," the matriarch retorted with condescension.

Seeing his brother on the ground, Rex stepped up to Musashi with bared teeth.

"After a time, you'll realize it's not about winning or losing," Musashi stepped back, grinning slightly while leaving herself exposed to an attack. "It's the glory and honor of battle that drives us to push forward, day after day. This is how life works."

After regaining his balance, Leo stepped closer once again. He was determined, more than ever, to go in for the kill.

"You're wrong," Leo retorted coldly, jabbing his claws into the side of Musashi's throat with the quickest, swiftest motion any lion had ever seen.

The hyena snarled in retaliation, but Rex attacked her from the other side before she could regain her balance and orientation. With the matriarch suddenly in disarray, Leo bit down using the rest of his strength, going in for the kill.

While the hyena managed to strike a heavy blow to Rex's head and knock the lion down before she felt lightheaded, her fate was inevitably sealed. Leo had her pinned to the sand and on her last breaths.

"It is about winning," Leo growled, unleashing a roar the almost blew every hyena back with a shockwave of power. "Pumzika kwa amani, mkundu!"

With a cry that pierced through the hot and dry desert air, the remaining hyenas lunged toward Leo and Rex, kicking up an enormous cloud of dirt and sand that engulfed the entire area. The two lions stood at opposite ends, protecting their backs from a continuous onslaught in all directions.

Before the dust settled, every hyena was dead.


--- --- ---


"My God..." Mohatu muttered, as the memory played through his mind. "It was Leo. He did this."

"It's terrible," Mari said, looking down at another hyena's cracked and broken skull. "I know he was upset by the death of Abeni, but I never would have imagined that he did something like this."

"He just... murdered them," Mohatu looked away out of disgust. The entire situation gave the lion a strange, eerie feeling that he could not shake away. Never before had he felt so close to death.

The lioness shook her head slowly. "After all those two did to us—his own pride—I really should have expected to see something like this."

While Mohatu was far less surprised, he did not like what he saw. "Come on, let's go," the lion muttered. He turned away, unable to bear the pain of being reminded of the bloodshed.

As the lion walked away with Mari following, Musashi's heavy words only seeped into his conscience.

It's the glory and honor of battle that drives us to push forward, day after day. This is how life works.

Mohatu pondered the thought briefly and in silence. To a great extent, it was true. Almost everything he and Mari did was a result of the situation they faced: the war with the lion kingdom.

I know there is no honor to be found in what you are doing.

Sneaking under cactus fields and going without water through the badlands was hardly honorable. With the recent and unfortunate deaths of both Narisah and Riza, Mohatu really wasn't much of a true warrior. He wasn't the lion he wanted to be.

We're not too different, you and I...

Of all the dozen hyenas that Leo and Rex confronted, every last one of them died. Of all of Usama's subordinates who burned the jungle to the ground, Mohatu killed every last one. As a frightening realization, Mohatu really wasn't all that different.

The lion jolted while he walked, suddenly caught off guard by the many similarities between him, the hyenas, and the kings. Yet, as the memory of Riza's surrender rushed into his mind, the lion relaxed slightly.

He did not kill unless it was a necessity. That is what separated Mari and him from the malevolent kings. When it came right down to it, Mari was right.

There can only be one true supremacist between us.

Mohatu's eyes widened, as the words echoed through his mind. If he remembered correctly, Leo killed Musashi before he first spoke with the ancient king Zosma, and both events obviously preceded the conquest of Mari's pride.

Had Musashi predicted the future?

There was only one supremacist, and he was the lion king. While that title once belonged to Leo, it was now Rex. As the future began to unfold, would that title be given to Mohatu?

If he killed Rex, would he even have a choice?

What would happen if Rex died, and no lion or hyena took his place?

Suddenly, Mari's logic made loads of sense: neither of the kings were ever the actual threat. Perhaps he was beginning to truly understand the situation. The lioness was actually a step ahead, and the expanse of her wisdom was certainly beyond admirable.

As Mohatu briefly glanced behind at the lioness, a second realization fell upon him. Mohatu didn't want to be a warrior like Musashi, Leo, or Rex. He wanted to be like her. While Mari wasn't the toughest lioness, she possessed remarkable qualities of strength, courage, virtue and wisdom.

Mari wasn't a king. She was better.

Look around. There's a whole world out there for warriors like us, just waiting to be conquered.

Did the world really only exist to be conquered? Even to a lion, at the very peak of the food chain, it didn't make much sense.

With animals of all shapes and sizes roaming the Serengeti, the ecosystem was much more complex than lions and hyenas simply being destined to rule it all. Many other creatures were necessary to keep a balance.

You know what must be done... unlike your idiotic father.

Looking back, it was obvious what Musashi was referring to. The lion closed his eyes, trying as hard as he could to push the thoughts of genocide out of his mind.

Leo, Leo, Leo... don't you understand? Death is only a part of life.

Mohatu looked down at the sand below his paws. There was a frightening truth to Musashi's opening words. Death was unstoppable and unavoidable. Only the kings of the past managed to figure out how to cheat death, and that was by transforming into a ghost of some sort.

Regardless, the statement had many varied interpretations. Did it mean he should not fear death? Did it justify killing?

"Mari," Mohatu began quietly, catching the lioness's attention before phrasing his question. "What do you think about... death?"

The lioness raised her head while she walked closer to Mohatu. "Like... what do you mean?"

Mohatu groaned, not entirely sure of how to phrase his question. "I don't know. Is it... necessary?"

"It's something I'd like to avoid, if at all possible. I think we've seen enough already."

"We're all going to die someday," Mohatu whispered sadly.

"Yes, that's true," Mari agreed. "But I'd rather it be from a natural cause. Sure, death is inevitable, but that doesn't mean it's okay to kill unless it's absolutely necessary. Usually, it isn't."

Mohatu almost interrupted, before the lioness continued. "But, unfortunately, those situations have been forced upon us quite frequently, as of late."

"Yeah..." Mohatu nodded.

"You know what?" Mari suggested elatedly. "Look, I'm tired of thinking about this. We've actually been pretty far today... it wouldn't hurt if we stop early tonight."

Mohatu raised a brow. "Hmm?"

"I was just thinking," the golden lioness replied. "Maybe we could just kinda relax."

Mohatu almost chuckled. "You mean, you're actually suggesting that? What's wrong with you?"

"Very funny," Mari retorted sarcastically, flattening her ears. "If that is where Leo and Rex were, there could be some water nearby. Or something. We'll stop, have a drink..."

"I don't believe this," Mohatu smirked.

"Look, after all we've been through in the past few days, I'd rather spend the night thinking about something other than death, for once."

"It's alright, we can stop early," the lion finally responded, with a bit more seriousness this time.

"Good!" the lioness exclaimed in agreement. "Be on the lookout for a nice place to rest," Mari added.

"Y'know, why don't we just stop here?" Mohatu asked. "By the time we get over those hills way out there, the sun will be going down anyway."

"Because it's too hot," Mari exclaimed. "I'd never want to sit down on this! It would burn my tail for sure."

"Okay, okay, but what about those rocks over there?" the lion inquired.

"I guess we could take a closer look," the lioness replied, veering off from her initial path to inspect the shadowed location Mohatu had pointed out.

As the two lions approached, it became obvious that the rocks were obscuring a strange sort of valley, hidden beneath the sand. Mari was first to leap down into it, suddenly feeling the relief of a gentle breeze and a dark shadow. Mohatu followed, sliding carefully down into the depression with his claws digging into the clay that lined one of the sides.

Naturally, Mari collapsed to the ground as soon as she felt the shade on her back, simply from heat exhaustion. Mohatu stepped closer to her before arching his back to stretch. After a few seconds, he sat down as well.

As the lion inched closer, he felt the electrifying jolt of Mari's fur barely touching his. He was afraid to move any closer.

Mari lifted her head up, staring at the empty blue sky above for a moment. "I wish we could have found some water here..."

Mohatu rested his chin gently above his forepaws. "Yeah," he said softly, only being reminded of the terrible sensation of dryness lingering in the back of his throat.

"We'll find water tomorrow, I guess," the lioness continued. "No big deal."

Mohatu sighed, waiting for the lioness to say something else. After what had happened the previous night, he was wondering if she decided to stop walking early to tell him something.

Or, perhaps she was waiting for him to tell her. That seemed far more likely, considering just how nervous she had been the night before.

Yet, he was not quite ready to tell her how he felt. Of all the romantic situations that he could imagine, sitting in a valley without water in the middle of a desert wasn't very high on the list. He was hardly appearing very attractive after several hours of trekking through an endless sea of sand, and the scenery wasn't all that mesmerizing either.

Of course, that was aside from the dead hyenas.

As the lion looked around, all he saw were rocks and sand. He knew he would not even be able to see the sunset, because the entire horizon hid above them, as the two rested in the shadows.

Finally, the lion gave up. "What are you thinking?" he asked, unable to bear the anticipation of silence for a more prolonged period of time.

"Oh, nothing..." she replied quietly. "Just... remembering things."

"Like what?" Mohatu inquired.

"When we were cubs." Mari answered.

"It's not a sad memory, I take it?" Mohatu asked, noting the lioness's more lighthearted tone of voice.

"It is... kinda. But only because of what happened since."

Mohatu closed his eyes, while moving one of his hindlegs to get more comfortable. "Would it make a good bedtime story?"

"Don't you think you're a little too old for that?" Mari asked rhetorically.

"Not really," the lion purred. "I'd tell you a story, but the one I have in mind is almost worse than ours."

"I doubt it," Mari replied, almost trying to force a laugh out of the situation. "The Story of Mohatu and Mari in a nutshell: everyone gets killed."

"Basically."

"Nah, this is a little bit better," Mari smiled.


--- --- ---


A female lion cub sat buried in the thick grass of the Pridelands. She began to hold her breath, trying not to make a sound. At the same time, she raised her rear end into the air, shifting her weight slightly, preparing to pounce on an unsuspecting friend.

"What are you doing, Mari?"

Or so she thought. An exasperated sigh escaped the cub's muzzle. "Ugh... nothing," she lied, raising her body above the golden line of grass.

Mari missed her chance. If only she had a few more seconds to prepare herself, she could have pounced on the other cub, like the mighty huntress she desired to be.

Even with her golden-orange fur exposed to the horizon, she remained mostly camouflaged in the savannah. Yet, the cub's former prey was still able to detect her presence. It was certainly not the first time, to Mari's continued surprise. She simply could not approach Leo without the cub knowing, almost by instinct.

"But, what are you doing?" Mari retorted, in an attempt to mask her poor hunting skills.

"I'm going to the water hole," Leo explained casually. The dusty brown tuft of fur atop his head blew in the wind as he nodded towards the direction he had been walking. "You wanna come?"

The young lioness beamed back at him. "Oh, yeah," Mari lied. "I was... ugh... going there too."

"Let's go," Leo smiled in return. He stepped carefully through the grass, carving his own trail. Mari followed in the cub's path.

Leo stepped out of the grass leading to the waterhole, where his younger brother waited for him. He noticed a strange smirk on his younger brother's face. Something was wrong, he knew that much.

The cub looked down to the mud below his forepaws. Was he about to step in something? No, that definitely wasn't it.

Rex dug his claws into the wet dirt below him carefully, hoping his brother would not notice. The cub's grin only grew wider as he deviously formed a ball of mud below his paw. So far, his plan was working perfectly.

Mari walked around to the other side of Leo, revealing herself to the various creatures drinking in harmony, and the mischievous cub Rex. The lioness cub shifted her blissfully ignorant gaze to the two brothers and twitched her eye. "I don't get it. What's going on?"

Her question was answered with a streak of brown stuff flying through the air. As Rex kicked the dirt towards his brother Leo, it split into hundreds of tiny pieces, but the largest chunk followed a trajectory leading directly under the cub's ear. Leo closed his eyes while shifting his head away to the side, out of reflex.

Splat!

Leo shook the mud out of his fur, causing bits of dirt to fly in every which direction. When he opened his eyes again, he found Rex's mouth wide open, laughing heartily at him. There would be no way the lion could get away with this; he would not be humiliated so easily. For a moment, Leo pondered saying something in return, but quickly changed his mind. His actions would speak louder than words, after all.

Leo formed a ball of mud with his paw as well. Quickly, he tossed it back at his laughing brother, aiming directly for his open mouth. "You want to fight?" Leo taunted playfully, kicking the dirt precisely at his brother's face.

Rex coughed and spat, and then looked back to find Leo ready to pounce on him. He closed his eyes and rolled into the mud with his claws unsheathed, turning his tan coat of fur into a much darker shade of brown.

In only a matter of seconds, the two male cubs grappled one another, engulfing themselves in a giant ball of violence. Mari watched from the side, until deciding to join the fray as well. It was not like she had something better to do.

As the three cubs sparred out in the open, it eventually caught the attention of several other creatures.

"Oh, great," a lioness exhaled sarcastically as she observed the fight at the waterhole. "What are you doing, Mari?" she asked, seeming disappointed with her daughter's behavior.

The three cubs put an end to their shenanigans immediately at the first sign of an adult. Mari smiled innocently, recognizing the voice of the lioness as her unhappy mother.

"You're a mess!" Karttiki exclaimed, giving the cubs a scowl. "Leo and Rex, follow me back home. Mari, you're getting a bath as soon as we get back!"

"But Mom!" Mari retorted quickly. "We were just-"

"I know... I know..." her mother sighed. "But, good God, Mari, how can you even see with mud all over your face?"

The cub attempted to wipe her eyes clean with the swipe of her muddy paw, but only made her face dirtier. "I... can't," she admitted. Careful not to trip over anything, she slowly stepped towards her mother. The other two cubs followed as well.

"That was kinda fun," Leo chuckled quietly.

"Yeah... let's do it again some time," Rex added deviously.

As Karttiki and the cubs approached their den, several old lions, including Busar, stood at the tip of Pride Rock, before a falling sun. His color almost turned to an elegant shade of red as the vibrant rays of light bathed his coat of thin, wiry fur. Another male was cleaning his the back of his ears beside Busar, while two more reclined happily on the rocky surface without a care in the world.

Mari's mother picked her daughter up in her mouth, and dragged her into the den with a group of a dozen or so lions. Leo and Rex waited by their father, outside the den.

"Time for your bath," Karttiki sighed, plopping Mari down on the hard, rocky floor. Afterward, the lioness spat out a clump of saliva-coated dirt as well. "How did you even..." she asked out of frustration, staring at the pile of mud that her daughter was in. "Damn, I don't even know where to begin!"

The lioness sat down, grabbing her daughter with her forepaws. Mari mingled around slightly, and twitched as her mother licked her neck. As her expression revealed, Karttiki wasn't particularly enjoying the situation either. With every stroke of her tongue, the older lioness ate a clump of mud.

About an hour later, Mari emerged from the shadow of the den, much cleaner than before. Noticing that her two friends were waiting for her, she crept up to the brothers slowly, until she was within pouncing distance of both.

The older brother did not turn around. "I know you're there, Mari."

"Aww..." she sighed. "How did you hear me?"

"I don't know," Leo replied. "But I thought you would have learned by now. You can't sneak up on me."

Rex chortled. "Nor me."

"Oh yeah?" Mari retorted, scowling at Leo's younger brother.

"Yeah!"

"Alright," Leo interrupted. "Let's settle this." He looked up to the top of the enormous monument almost directly above each of them. "First one to the top of Pride Rock wins."

"Hah!" Rex shouted confidently. "You know I'm going to win this." He darted off directly for the base of the cliff, and sunk his claws in to the crevasses of the rock. In only a matter of seconds, he began working his way up.

Leo and Mari each ran to find a different path upward. Between the two, Leo seemed to have more luck. After nearly a minute of strenuous climbing, he had not only caught up to Rex, but surpassed him as well.

Not after long, the very top of Pride Rock was within Leo's reach. He placed his forepaw above the plateau with dignity, then the other. With both his front paws at the top, he managed to pull himself up.

Panting, the lion cub looked back over the edge of the cliff. Rex and Mari followed behind in his path.

As Rex neared the top, Leo placed his paw out to help his brother up, grinning slightly. Later, the two did the same for Mari.

The three cubs turned around, to find all the lions distracted by the sunset below. The trio of cubs examined the horizon as well, before being mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the golden landscape.

The plains of Africa were abundant with life and movement, even at dusk. Yet, none of the creatures seemed to be aware of the greater tranquility far above.

"It's a good life we live," Leo said.

Rex corrected his brother. "The best."

"I just hope it never changes," Mari added.


--- --- ---


"And I hope it never changes us," Mohatu smiled happily, purring as he stared into Mari's sandy coat of fur.

"Yeah..." the lioness sighed, yawning dryly. "That's what y-"

The lioness stopped immediately, realizing that her tongue almost slipped. "...he was a different lion back then..."

Mohatu nodded. "Yep. He definitely changed... a lot."

Fortunately for the lioness, Mohatu did not catch what she had almost said, as evident by his response.

Mari sighed in relief, resting her head above her paws as well. During the many moments that followed, the lioness simply stared at the dirt wall in front of her, looking back at her cubhood memories with Leo and Rex.

As she was reminded of Mohatu's presence by the warmth of his gentlre breathing, she was beginning to come to a new realization. Maybe, just maybe, things could be the same again.

While she did not want to give herself any false hope, Mari could not deny that her story of redemption would be one worth telling, if it had the happy ending she began to imagine.

But, needless to say, it seemed ridiculous to be thinking about the end so soon. There was still a long, dangerous, and unpredictable journey ahead.


--- --- ---


A/N: To be honest, I really don't like the way this chapter turned out. It seems like it was just kinda thrown together, and that's because it certainly was. Part of this was written long, long ago, another part was written long ago, and yet another part was written not too long ago, so the whole thing is rather inconsistent (to me, at least).

But, I really don't want to rewrite any of it, so I'm just going to leave this as it is and say that the updates in the weeks to come will be quite a bit better, once I start getting to the meat and potatoes of this story.

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up too much, but the following chapters are proving to be much more fun to write, which should mean they'll probably be better to read.
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Dark Huntress » May 19th, 2013, 2:19 am

Wow! That was awesome! I didn't notice anything wrong with it at all!
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » May 19th, 2013, 4:35 am

It's mainly just laziness on my part. I wanted to get this chapter over and done with so I can move on with the rest of the story, and as a result, I've kinda neglected it a bit.

If it isn't that noticeable, though, I'm okay with that. :P
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby cleargreenwater » May 19th, 2013, 3:30 pm

A little chaotic reading chapter, but quite acceptable writing-treatment of hyenas :P
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » May 19th, 2013, 9:45 pm

I've been trying to decide whether or not to have the hyenas appear again, in later chapters. I'm still not sure yet, but it's always a possibility. If I do, I will certainly use the opportunity to explain the story from their point of view.
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby cleargreenwater » May 22nd, 2013, 3:41 am

LOL, no, I didn't mean it like that. Nah, by the time I read up to chapter 12 like that I'm pretty sure to check back in on it regardless of future plot points and if it has hyenas in it :P I just approach fan-writers by how they handle subtleties of characterization, it seemed like a good time to chime in that your fic doesn't read like someone smashing action figures together and writing about it XD
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » May 22nd, 2013, 4:57 am

Well, thanks, I guess. :P

But really, that scene with the hyenas was one thing I had to add in there, right from day one. This entire story itself is a prequel to the events in TLK, so it certainly wouldn't be out of place to explore that conflict a bit further. Either way, the outcome is the same.
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Regulus » May 26th, 2013, 2:40 am

chapter 13: show
A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu


Chapter 13: The Mirage


Mohatu's dry tongue rolled across the back of his teeth. It had been a rather long time since he had the pleasure of tasting a sip of water, and relieving his thirst was the only thing on his mind.

Despite suffering from a severe lack of physical energy, the lion raised himself back onto his paws, ready to continue the journey before the sun shifted any higher above the horizon. Noon was approaching, and he was about to be walking through the hottest pit of hell, if not some place even hotter.

As the lion stretched out his paws, Mari continued to lay on the dirt beside him. Her head was curled up above her forepaws, which met the tuft of her tail, forming an oval shape as the lioness slept on her side. A small mound of sand had gathered across her back from a constant wind that had lasted all night.

Before Mohatu realized it, a strange fawning mew almost escaped the lion's muzzle, as he stood still, inadvertently admiring the lioness's elegant beauty. As a full-grown lion, he was not proud of the noise he almost made.

After several seconds, he tried to widen his field of vision, but to no avail. Even in the arid desert, Mari was simply too alluring.

Finally, Mohatu brought his paw up to wipe the sleepiness out of his eyes. It was almost frightening, the extent to which Mari was occupying his thoughts. Here he was: thirsty, standing in the middle of a sandy desert, but worshiping a lioness like a rain goddess instead of actually looking for water.

It was completely inside of him, yet completely outside of his control.

With a heavy sigh, Mohatu finally managed to look away and pull himself up out of the valley in which he slept.

As the lion's eyes scanned across the morning horizon, he noticed that a small patch of weeds hid behind another cluster of dusty rocks. Mohatu approached the spot for no particular reason, other than to escape the seemingly poisonous air around the lioness.

Mohatu looked down, watching intently as his shadow began to engulf and obscure the only identifiable landmarks on the horizon. Yet, with each step of the lion's paw, his thoughts only began to return back to the lioness, regardless of his fruitless attempts to distract himself.

Since the two left the jungle several days prior, Mohatu started noticing several changes to his companion's behavior. She was more tense, more nervous, and even more thoughtful.

As the situation around them worsened, her strength, courage, and perseverance were certainly beginning to show. She wasn't just the beautiful lioness who saved his life—she was everything he desired to be.

While Mari certainly wasn't a goddess, Mohatu looked up to her as if she was. From what he could remember, she had always stood up beside him, and he could not thank the lioness enough for all she had done. Although it sounded incredibly cheesy, she had given him a new life, a place to stay, and, above all else, a reason to live.

He only wished to provide the same for her. Whether or not he was succeeding in that respect was a bit of a mystery, but the lion was left to hope Mari saw the same spark of life in him.

During the previous nights, he had been presented with several chances to tell her how he felt about the situation, but he had not been able to bring himself to do it.

He wasn't going to make the same mistake again. No, not this morning, he thought. Not anymore.

But how was he going to do it? Was he seriously just going to walk up to the lioness and tell her how he felt? Was that really the best idea?

He had already tried more subtle methods, but none worked. While Mohatu was almost certain she liked him, it was impossible to know for sure without being more direct. He had to tell her the truth.

The lion looked down, examining his paws while he pondered the possibilities. "What if she says no?" he whispered quietly to himself.

It was a thought that sent a chill down the back of his spine; he did not want to even begin thinking about that possibility. Yet, it persisted, even though he knew the chances of rejection were rather low.

The lion knew a potential rejection would completely ruin his only remaining relationship. That would be the end of it, and things would never be the same again. At least by keeping to himself, Mari would still view him as a friend.

But was she even his friend? Or was she just trying to be nice?

The lion lowered his head and closed his eyes, shrieking at that thought. He had lived in that state of agonizing ignorance for long enough. Regardless of the answer, he needed to know.

It was worth the risk.

Mohatu placed his forepaws above one of the rocks, and moved his muzzle in closer to the weeds. With a precise stroke of his claw, he cut off a small desert flower, grasping it between his pawtoes.

It may not have been as romantic of an idea as the sunset he dreamed of, but it would have to do.


--- --- ---


Mari unintentionally pushed a wall of bright, orange sand around with her paw, as she awakened from her long slumber. The feeling of the sand on her paws was oddly relaxing in a way, despite the lioness's excruciating morning thirst.

The strange substance was largely unlike anything she had ever seen before. It was fine, with almost fluid-like properties, yet its texture was coarse and rough. Needless to say, it was everywhere, and apparently, far outside of everywhere as well.

A slight gust of wind began to whirl some of the finer grains through the air. In consequence, the lioness squinted her eyes.

Suddenly, she changed her mind. Despite being able to sleep in, it was hardly what she would have called a relaxing morning. As she opened her eyes, all she found was sand in the air, and it simply wouldn't go away.

In fact, she didn't even see Mohatu.

"You there?" she called out somewhat hesitantly, as the cloud of dust blew away.

After several seconds had passed, the lioness called her companion again. "Mohatu?"

"Jeez," she muttered, not finding any trace of the lion. Knowing that the wind probably blew his tracks into oblivion within a matter of seconds, she tried not to worry.

"I'm here," Mohatu replied suddenly. His head was barely protruding from under a soft hill on the horizon.

The lion approached rather quickly, carrying a strange, nervous look on his face. "Look, Mari," he began, closing his eyes in embarrassment as he repeated his carefully chosen words. "There's something I have to tell you."

"What?" Mari asked. Clearly, she was unaware of the mental torment Mohatu was bringing himself.

"This whole time we've been together... I've really enjoyed it," Mohatu answered. There, he had already said it. He only needed to continue. The lion tried to convince himself this would be the easy part.

But it certainly wasn't easy, by any means.

"What?" asked the lioness, who began to feel the chill of nervousness as well, despite her calm voice. Although she wasn't sure what exactly Mohatu would say next, it was hardly difficult to think of a few possibilities. "You mean...?"

"Well, I guess what I want to say is..." he paused, biting his tongue to distract himself from the fluttering that built up to excruciating levels in his gut. "I... really like you. In a... certain way."

"Oh," Mari blushed. She did not seem surprised, but for some odd reason or another, her words seemed to elude her. It was beyond obvious that he acted like a lovesick puppy half the time, but she did not expect to be confronted about it.

Perhaps that was rather foolish of her.

The lioness looked down, only to see the flower Mohatu carried in his paw. She was unsure of how to react, so she only pretended not to notice.

Meanwhile, Mohatu was facing a much greater state of chaos in his mind. He had killed Usama. He was a warrior. He was willing to fight for Mari's pride, yet he could barely bring himself to tell the lioness how he truly felt about her. Apparently, allowing his weakness to be shown in such a way was another matter entirely.

It was ridiculous, but he could not help it. The tension within the lion was ripping him apart more than anything else had ever done before. He wanted Mari to say she felt the same.

But, being the emotionally distant lioness that she was, he had to tell her how much she meant to him first. There was simply no other way she would open up to him. Even after he misspoke his carefully-practiced lines, Mohatu kept repeating that thought to himself to ease his mind.

Yet, at the same time, he aspired to be strong for her. He wanted so badly for the lioness to appreciate his masculinity—essentially, his lack of weakness or dependence. Ultimately, his greatest desire was for her to know that he was worthy of being her mate.

It was all incredibly conflicting, and the awkward silence nearly made Mohatu sick from his own anxious anticipation.

He had already said it. If she had been oblivious before, she had to know at this point. All he was doing was waiting for her response, but it was taking far longer than he ever could have predicted.

He stared deeply at the lioness, trying his best to anticipate her thoughts. "If you don't feel the same, I understand..." the lion muttered sadly.

"It's not that I don't like you," Mari began, finally gathering the courage to speak in a soft tone after what seemed to be nothing short of two and a half eternities. It was incredibly difficult for her to find her words.

Mohatu felt nothing other than his pulse beating rapidly. His heart was almost about to jump out of his chest. It's continuous beat was even louder than his own thoughts, as he realized he was finally getting an answer.

"It's just that I..."

"What?" Mohatu asked.

Suddenly, Mari began to feel much more nervous than the male lion ever did, as he begged her for an answer. She did not want to tell him her deepest secret, but at this point, her options were limited. The lioness twitched her tail and lowered her head before she began to whisper. "I'm not like that."

"Huh?"

"I haven't told anyone this yet but... I don't like lions..."

Mohatu flattened his ears and stepped back. If he had heard the lioness correctly, the conversation was about to turn in a completely different direction. "You mean-"

The lioness's eyes were fixed to the dirt below her paws. "I know I don't act like it... but I'm... gay."

Both felines felt the tension between them suddenly disappear, as any sort of possible romantic relationship was quickly thrown away and set on fire like the jungle.

"Please don't tell anyone. I... I haven't even told my mother about this yet," the lioness continued.

"Oh, okay," Mohatu replied easily, more surprised than anything. Although he was saddened by the fact that Mari wasn't romantically attracted to him, he was more than relieved to know that it would never be because he wasn't good enough in her eyes.

He could forget about it.

And, perhaps in all reality, that was what he needed. He would be able to focus on the task ahead, without letting his feelings for Mari get in the way.

Mohatu also took solace in the fact that Mari probably felt a bit of relief as well. Oddly enough, he suddenly felt closer to Mari than he ever had before. She didn't trust many lions, obviously, but the fact that the lioness confided to Mohatu must have counted for something. She may not have loved him, but she apparently viewed him as a close friend.

That was just as important.

The two big cats continued to sit still, looking at one another with the most awkward expressions known to lionkind. "Yeah..." Mari finished.

Mohatu chuckled slightly. It wasn't the best outcome, but it certainly wasn't the worst, either. "You didn't have to wait all this time to tell me that," he replied.

"Well, I could say the same," Mari sighed.

"No... I mean, it's no big deal," the lion corrected himself. "It doesn't matter to me. I thought you were going to say something that was actually bad."

"We're still friends?" Mari asked.

"Yeah," Mohatu answered, raising his paw into the air. "It's cool."

Mari lifted her paw up in the air as well, placing it against Mohatu's in a high five. "Good. Let's get started, then."

The nervous state of euphoria he had been in faded away, and the lion immediately began to open his senses to the reality of the situation once again.

"We've got another long day ahead of us," Mohatu added breathlessly. As the lion suddenly noticed the morning sun scorching the land as far as he could see, he began to wonder why he accepted such an arduous mission to begin with.

"Indeed," Mari sighed. "And I don't have breakfast this time, either."

The lioness looked up to the bright yellow sun, which nearly blinded her vision. "Y'know, I don't think we'll be eating anything for a while. We are in the Badlands, after all..."

"Well, that's all the more reason to get to Lea Halalela sooner."

"Lead the way, then," Mari awaited impatiently.

Mohatu paused for a moment. Something clearly wasn't right, and he knew that much for sure. "What makes you think I know where this place is?" the lion asked. "You know, I kinda thought..."

A deep chill ran down Mari's spine. Suddenly, she realized she had much more explaining to do, and it would not be easy. It was a task she dreaded much more than attempting to find Lea Halalela itself.

"What?" Mari asked hesitantly, hoping he wouldn't beg the ultimate question.

"You wanted my help," Mohatu said neutrally. "If it's not because you like me, then why? Why am I even here? Why me?"

Mari closed her eyes in distress as a gentle breeze grazed around her fur. That was the question she could not answer. "It's just an instinct, really..."

"I don't get it, though..."

Mari chose her words carefully. "I wish I could tell you," she replied, shrugging slightly.

"You don't know any more than I do?" the lion asked.

"I'm afraid I don't. That's why we need to get to Lea Halalela. Perhaps we will find answers there."

"But... you must have known something," Mohatu insisted. "That's why you persuaded me to do this in the first place."

"Look," Mari continued with frustration. She was growing angry with her inability to explain herself properly, as well as Mohatu's constant inquiries. "How do birds know how to fly? How do fish know how to swim? I don't know... I don't think anyone knows. Some things are just innate."

"What are you suggesting?" Mohatu asked with a distinct tone of curiosity.

"I don't know how, but something told me you're the one that could help us," Mari explained. "There is something special about you... it's just... I have no idea what that is."

The lion scratched his mane. "Hmm..."

"Please, let's just go," the lioness begged. She was unarguably having a horrid morning already.

Finally, Mohatu placed the flower gently on the sand, hoping Mari didn't ever see it to begin with. He had almost forgotten that he carried it with his paw. As he let it go, it stood upright in the sand for a second, before falling to the relatively relentless gusts of wind.

Without even looking, the mere thought saddened him. Yet, he tried his best to hide it, especially in front of Mari. The least he wanted was to make her feel bad for telling him the truth.

Instead, the lion's head scanned across the horizon, taking in the scenery surrounding them. "You are right, though," Mohatu agreed. "There's something about this place... it just seems so familiar. Like I've seen this before."

"Well, do you know which way to go?" Mari asked.

"It's... ugh... that way," he answered, seemingly pointing his paw in a random direction.

The lioness was quite hesitant. "Are you sure?"

"No. But... I think I know what Lea Halalela looks like."

"You do?" Mari asked, perking her ears up with interest.

"Yeah. It's like a group of mountains made of sand-colored rock, surrounded by sand. I saw it in a dream... or something. I told you about that."

"So, what makes you think it's this way?" Mari asked curiously.

The lion scratched his head, beginning to question his own reasoning. Not after long, Mohatu managed to rationalize his initial intuition as he visualized the location in his mind. "Because the shadows line up."

"Huh?"

"The right side of the mountains were darker than the left, and the sun was going down, not up," Mohatu clarified easily. "This means that I saw the mountains from the South, which also means they are North of us."

"Oh..."

"The strange thing is, you just said you have a feeling I can find this place, and yet now you're arguing with me about it. What is this, I don't even..."

"Please. Stop." Mari commanded dryly. "I wasn't trying to argue..."

Mohatu rolled his eyes as a light groan escaped his muzzle. "Lionesses..."

"Okay, you know what?" Mari asked rhetorically, obviously hearing Mohatu's shallow comment. "Fine, I trust your judgment. Just forget about it. We have a job to do."

Mohatu stretched out his forepaws, before beginning to walk along the familiar path. He remained silent, unwilling to engage in a pointless argument. Apparently, he had done enough to irritate her already.

"Would be nice to have some water, though..." Mari whispered, following behind the larger lion. She tried to keep a respectful distance, without falling too far back into the sandy void.

"Yeah," Mohatu agreed, rubbing his dry tongue across the back of his teeth for the thousandth time. Of course, there was quite a bit of sand stuck in his jaws as well, which added a hint of crunchiness to the sensation.


--- --- ---


As the hours of the early afternoon began to pass, the lion only began to feel numb with each successive step. On the outside, his muscles were sore and tired. On the inside, his guts were nearly as dry as the sand itself.

Yet, in a strange way, he also began to feel free. He was no longer weighed down by the burden of wondering what would happen if she knew. She did know, and while the answer he received wasn't the one he wanted, it was still an answer, nevertheless. He could move on with his life.

But would he? As history had already proved, he needed her, and she needed him. The two adventurous felines were definitely not in the smoothest of situations, and their companionship had been necessary to pull through.

However, for reasons she did not wish to explain, Mari's reaction was quite different. She wasn't comfortable with what she said, but she had no other choice. Eventually, Mohatu would see through to the pure, raw truth: he was her weapon; nothing more, nothing less.

She wasn't proud of that thought, but in the back of her mind, Mari knew it was what she had to do. Some lion needed to set things straight, and being the capable warrior that Mohatu was, he was the perfect candidate.

As the duo walked further through the sandy void ahead, Mohatu couldn't help but feel a strange sympathy for the lioness. Just by the way she carried her tail, Mohatu knew that she was at her worst. Narisah's death wasn't her low point, nor were any of the nights they spent away from their pride. It was this.

Mohatu stared back at the lioness for a minute, wondering only what to say.

He had already made it clear that it was okay. Obviously, she could not control the fact that she wasn't attracted to him, any more than he could control that he was attracted to her. It was senseless to view her any differently because of it, and she had even agreed to that, albeit indirectly.

But she was quiet—unusually quiet. She was just walking, mindlessly and effortlessly. Every step was only a habit: nothing more than a continuation of the movement before it. The lioness's actions were no longer deliberate.

Eventually, Mohatu gathered the courage to speak up. "It really is fine... I mean, I don't..."

"It's not that," Mari replied quickly. "I'm just really thirsty."

The lioness's words only forced Mohatu to nod and turn back around to the path ahead.

For hours, it looked as if they were about to run into water, but the dark, reflective spots on the horizon were only mirages. It was almost mesmerizing in a way, just watching the soft, wavy motions of the blur caused by the intense heat.

The water on the horizon was never real, and the lion's thirst would never be quenched. But despite knowing this, Mohatu could not take his eyes away from the mirage.

"I'm thirsty too," Mohatu added, after his gaze returned to the horizon. The false image of water was only teasing both of them, and they were well aware of it.

"If that is actually water over there, we should be seeing something green," Mari stated with a raspy voice.

"I know. But still... I'm pretty sure this is the way we're supposed to go... even if it is misleading," Mohatu clarified, never slowing his pace or changing his path.

"If you say so," the lioness agreed. While Mari had navigated through the Pridelands easily, she knew little in regard to the Badlands.

Her only hope of survival was Mohatu. Mari was almost certain that Mohatu's visions would guide him through Leo's paw prints. She wasn't going to dispute his internal compass—in fact, it was the only compass she trusted.

Unfortunately, as the duo continued walking, a sudden grain of sand shot into the lion's eye. He winced for a moment, before stopping completely to rub his face with his paw.

As Mari caught up, a second barrage of sand hit the two lions in the face. Mohatu turned his head to the side to protect his eyes and ears, while Mari buried her face into the brown lion's mane.

As the gust stopped, Mohatu reopened his eyes and scanned across the horizon. An entire wall of dust and sand stretched all the way from the ground to the sky, covering half the horizon and approaching at an alarming rate.

A sandstorm was brewing, and there was nowhere to run.

Quickly, Mohatu pushed a mound of sand aside, before leaning into the depression he had created and covering his face with his forepaws. "Get down here," he commanded to Mari with a muffled voice.

The lioness hesitated for a second, but as she realized what was about to happen, she had no trouble convincing herself it was for the best. Before the next cloud of sand flew across the air above, Mari buried her muzzle under the lion's paws, protecting her face in Mohatu's thick but tangled mane.

The two lions were only barely protected from the elements, as a living hell within a living hell began to ensue in the air above them. The sandy bullets felt like needles poking into their skin, even with their protective layers of fur. Fortunately, they had managed to create a small degree of shelter, and not a moment too soon.

Unfortunately, nearly an hour passed before the winds finally began to die down. Obviously, it would have been an absurd understatement to say that the sandstorm was quite large. Before it passed by completely, Mari had almost fallen asleep awkwardly in the lion's paws.

Sadly, he knew all too well that the sentimental tenderness he shared with Mari was little more than a mirage.


--- --- ---


A/N: I'll admit, this chapter was a bit too sappy for my tastes, but hopefully I haven't overdone it.
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Re: A Kingdom Reborn: The Legend of Mohatu

Postby Dark Huntress » May 29th, 2013, 4:42 pm

Sorry! Busy week! Wow, it was sappy :D but necessary. Is she really gay, 'cuz that'd kinda piss me off, or is she lying. Anyway, well done, awesomely interesting. (Sorry for short assessment-kinda busy, hehe)
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