The Friend (Prologue)

The Friend (Prologue)

Postby Rollo » March 1st, 2016, 11:20 pm


Alone was all he seemed to be these days.


Mufasa closed his stinging eyes as he lowered his muzzle toward the water. His head and heart were pounding in one steady beat. He hadn't slept at all that day, missing out on all of his usual naps. Anxiety racked his mind instead of happy, care-free thoughts, the sort of things one would expect of a young prince. Now that night was here it was tempting him to take rest, but he knew he had to force it back. He was undoubtedly exhausted, sure, but nothing had been more exhausting than the worries he was carrying on his back lately. He understood which crisis he had to make his priority, and unfortunately it was not the one nipping at his eyes and begging him to lay down in a soft bed of grass and snooze until the sun rose.

Once he had become accustomed to the temperature of the pond, he opened his maw and began to lap up the refreshing liquid it held. Relief washed over his body from his head to his auburn tail-tip. He needed that. He needed that badly.

The Pridelands were deserted around the young lion as he drank, and it was an occasion Mufasa couldn’t say he had ever witnessed since the day he first left Pride Rock with his brother in tow, barely a month old, his mother and father leading the way through a land he would one day call his own. There were no idly grazing antelopes out on the savannah, no distant bellows of elephants, no chattering of monkeys and birds in the trees. The air was silent; the smells were faint. The sky was inky and still lined with twinkling stars. It was only him and the pond he had perched at, with its tall reeds and its fresh water, and the calming effect it had on the young cub’s unsettled mind.

It was the first time Mufasa had ever experienced real solitude out here. And surprisingly, it didn’t feel so bad.

He lifted his mouth to let some air in, taking a breath that felt like his first. As he denied himself of any activity his mind instinctively cast back to the cave his family called home—warm, stuffy-aired home, where he was never physically alone, yet had become something of an outsider these past few moons. So much so that it had become unbearable to deal with, and led Mufasa to having to make an important journey.

An important journey all on his own.

The sheer thought of it had been daunting to the cub ever since he had envisioned the idea a short while ago. He had spent an hour silently padding around Pride Rock before he arrived in the grasslands, desperately convincing himself to take the first step into the world that lay beyond. Those steps would eventually lead him toward the borders, and after that, to the creature he so desperately sought.

All that talk has to be true, he told himself. If there's anyone who's going to help me, it has to be him.

Today’s journey would be the only one Mufasa had ever taken by himself. It was also the only journey he’d take without his parent’s permission or knowledge that he would not be roaming the Pridelands with the other cubs the way he usually did, the way he was instructed to. Perhaps that was why he found himself shaking, despite the subtle warmth of the summer still lingering even in dusk. Perhaps that was why his throat had grown so dry, and stopping for some respite seemed like a necessity rather than a choice.

He had expected himself to be frightened by the darkness of his surroundings, but no such thing occurred. The shapes and shadows he feared as a infant now had their mystery alleviated by his growing senses. He knew these sounds, and he knew these smells. Once you had that, there was nothing to be afraid of. Not even the night.

Maybe he was growing up.

The only disturbance to the stillness of the earth around him was a gentle breeze that rustled the reeds and the dark strands of his newly formed mane. He blinked his glistening yellow eyes as he bowed his head further toward the pond once more, taking in the circles that formed on the water as his tongue broke the surface. He wasn’t sure if he’d find any water where he was planning on going. And truth be told, it was relaxing to be able to just sit and drink without any interruptions. He felt at peace with the kingdom, the way his father once said every great king should be...

He could’ve been at peace forever if it hadn’t been for the voice.

“Mufasa?”

Mufasa jumped so greatly at the sound of his own name that he sprayed droplets of water in all directions, including over himself and the cub behind him, who skittered away from the falling water. Sarabi’s eyes widened at the chaotic scene she had caused.

“Mufasa!” she repeated, then asked, a little more mildly, “Are you alright? I didn’t mean to scare you like that.”

Mufasa curtly shook his fur and head. “You didn’t scare—“

His mouth quickly became full as he realised his soaking fur was dripping into it. He steadied his trembling body—the water’s coolness didn’t seem so refreshing when he was doused in it—and wiped a shy paw over his muzzle as he gazed at the older girl cub.

“You didn’t scare me, Sarabi,” he told her softly. “I just… I had no idea you were behind me, that’s all. I thought I was all alone out here.”

Sarabi’s eyes shone in the darkness of the night as she raised her head higher, so Mufasa could see the smile slipping across her creamy maw.

“I saw you leaving the cave a while ago.”

“You weren’t sleeping?”

Sarabi’s smile started to become a little mischievous. “Sort of hard to sleep when you were running a stampede out on the promontory, Mufasa.”

Mufasa’s gaze became awkward, and his chin dipped toward to the ground. His whiskers twitched as he dried himself. “Sorry. I was trying to clear my head. I thought walking might help.”

“There’s no need to apologise.” Sarabi assured him. Mufasa found himself brightening at her motherly ways.

“I figured that meant you were leaving, so I followed you out here. I’ve been here for a while.” The lioness exhaled softly as she took a seat beside him, her tail wrapping across her forepaws. “I was actually waiting for you to say something.”

Mufasa placed his paw back onto the dry ground and arched a dark brow. “Really? I didn’t sense you at all.”

“Mother has been telling me that my stalking techniques are coming along,” Sarabi chuckled, then relaxed her shoulders. “Are you preparing to leave?”

“Yes. I’m using the shadows to get a head-start. Mawingu will be able to see me much easier once dawn arrives, and if she realises I’m leaving the Pridelands, it’ll be the first thing on her Morning Report.”

The cub raised himself, allowing his resting hindlegs to stretch. “I’m hoping by the time Father is out on his patrol, the rest of the animals will have covered my scent,” he continued, before taking a step closer to her, his ears pricking in intent.

“Do you remember what to do, Sarabi?”

Sarabi gave a small nod to the east. “I’m going to spend all morning out by the watering hole. I’ve told Naanda to tell mother that I’m with you. Once they start the hunt, I’ll move closer to Pride Rock. I’ll do whatever I can to make sure they can’t find me.”

Sarabi’s confidence brought great reassurance to the male cub, and even inspired some of his own. He nodded firmly. “Good. You sound ready.”

And much more than I am...

The night air was suddenly filled with the shrieking call of a nearby bird, startling the cubs. Both lions couldn’t hide their widening irises and flinching bodies—even if it was only prey, it could still scare inexperienced night-dwellers. Sarabi ended the following silence with a quiet question.

“You’ll be back by the time the hunt has finished, won’t you, Mufasa?”

It wasn’t difficult to pick up on the cautiousness in her tone. Mufasa had forgotten that, even with Sarabi being a year older than he was, she could still be just as worried.

“Of course I will,” he said comfortingly. “I’m not going to stay long out there, Sarabi. I’ll be back before the sun hits its peak. I wouldn’t dare take advantage of your assistance like that.”

A tooth smile grew across his face.

“I really appreciate you helping me like this, you know. You don't have to do it.”

Sarabi’s eyes softened at the kind words, before her brows furrowed into a knot.

“But… what about your father?”

“What about him?”

“Won’t he become suspicious if two cubs are missing?”

“But we aren’t missing.” Mufasa grinned cheerfully. “We’re exploring together, aren't we? And if my father knows I’m with you, he’ll have no suspicions.”

Sarabi’s tone became playfully curious. She tilted her head. “And why is that?”

Mufasa’s large stature, despite his age, made his embarrassment all the more endearing. He nervously shifted the weight between his hindpaws, eyes averting her soft yet strong gaze.

“Well, he… enjoys the idea of us being together, I suppose,” he muttered.

Sarabi’s ears flattened against her head as she felt her cheeks heat. Mufasa cleared his throat and stepped aside.

“I should probably get going now. I don’t want the sun to rise while I’m still within the Pridelands.”

“Oh, of course.” Sarabi got onto her feet as Mufasa passed by her, turning his head to give her a final confident look before he entered the taller grass. Part of her could’ve let him go without asking anything else, but Sarabi couldn’t stop the desire to ensure he was making the right choice. She called to him once he had disappeared out of sight. His golden head popped up, red eyes alert.

“Yes, Sarabi?” he called to her. “Is everything okay?"

“Mufasa?”

“What?”

Sarabi licked her muzzle thoughtfully. “Are you... are you sure this is worth the trouble?”

The male cub paused for a moment, mouth pursing. He had asked himself the same question a thousand times as he made way into the core of the Pridelands earlier that evening. But the answer had become all too clear now. There were no other options.

“I need help,” he said lowly. “And if the Prideland’s talk is anything to go by… he’s the one to give me it.”

“But no one in Pride Rock has talked to him since his banishment,” Sarabi countered, taking a few steps toward him. “He could be dangerous, Mufasa. I’m not sure if this is a wise idea.”

“I know it isn’t.” Mufasa murmured, looking down at his paws. He sighed, wide shoulders sinking.

“But at this point, I can’t let it continue.” His wet eyes met Sarabi’s. “I don’t know if I can face another silent night.”

Sarabi was quiet for a moment. She debated telling him otherwise—that seemed to be the logical thing to do, after all. But deep in her heart, she knew logic wasn’t going to make his situation better. Logic wouldn't reassure her younger companion that things were truly alright in his world. Even she wasn’t entirely sure if the turmoil he was fixed with could be fixed. Problems that came from within were not removed by tender licking and kind words.

She walked over to the younger male, brushing his shoulder with her warmth. Silently, Sarabi gently pressed her head against his golden pelt.

“I understand. Safari salama, Mufasa. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

Mufasa smiled warmly and returned the gesture, pressing his head against the other’s.

“Asante, Sarabi. I’ll see you soon.”

With no further hesitation, Mufasa trotted into the undergrowth and toward the borders of his homeland. He didn’t know if it what he was going to do would help him. No one could predict the future. But he was firm in his belief that staying where he was wasn’t going to make things any better. He needed advice.

He needed a shaman.

Sarabi drew out a silent breath as she saw Mufasa disappear beyond a hill, out of her sight until his promised return.
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Re: The Friend (Prologue)

Postby Rollo » March 1st, 2016, 11:20 pm

Legal double post because I didn't know how to make a link that could seperate this from the fic! Here’s the prologue to my new one-chapter fanfic, The Friend. I won’t reveal what it’s about yet. This section contains a young Mufasa and Sarabi.

This is my first time writing fanfiction in what could only be years. I’d really appreciate any critiques you may have, although preferably if its to do with the actual writing and not the characterization--no one knows what a young Mufasa and Sarabi were like.

If you’d like to see more from this fanfic, let me know. Support usually makes for speedier writing!
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Re: The Friend (Prologue)

Postby Gyramuur » March 2nd, 2016, 1:11 am

I didn't spot any errors with this, and your use of the English language is very good; I'd even go as far as to call it book quality. It's a very well done story, and I'd like to see what happens next. I'm pretty sure I know who he's going to see, though. :)
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Re: The Friend (Prologue)

Postby Rollo » March 2nd, 2016, 1:14 pm

Thank you so much for the compliment! I'm flattered by your kind words. :dreamy: I'm finalizing the script for the other chapter of this story. I'll hopefully be able to start it sometime soon.

And yes, I think one line in particular did give away some element of the surprise lol! It felt fitting, though.
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Re: The Friend (Prologue)

Postby UncoordinatedPisces » March 2nd, 2016, 7:47 pm

This sounds like it's going to be a good one! Well written and the description is enough to keep you engaged, as is the dialogue :)
Newt Scamander wrote:My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice
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Re: The Friend (Prologue)

Postby Rollo » March 2nd, 2016, 8:22 pm

Thank you so much! :hug:
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Re: The Friend (Prologue)

Postby Gyramuur » March 2nd, 2016, 9:50 pm

lelizwe wrote:Thank you so much for the compliment! I'm flattered by your kind words. :dreamy: I'm finalizing the script for the other chapter of this story. I'll hopefully be able to start it sometime soon.

And yes, I think one line in particular did give away some element of the surprise lol! It felt fitting, though.


Well it's in the title. xP
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