The Vystrian Lion
The Vystrian lion is similiar to the average lion in basic structure and overall appearance; males are usually larger than females, and males often sport manes. However, the Vystrian lion differs from traditional lions greatly - their pelts may come in any color, with any marking, and can have a vast variety of mutations and features. Abilities differ from lion to lion, and may include various magical abilties and reiatsu manipulation.
Name:: Vystrian Lion
Average Lifespan:: 500 years
Average Height:: Four feet at the shoulder
Average Weight:: 400 pounds.
Location Found:: Felnova primarily, but can now be found abroad.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Aurum's Code The aurum lions of recent legend are carefully watched by Nebrielas, god of lions; as their strength is substantial enough to kill much larger creatures than they should, any transgressions against what is commonly known as the 'Aurum's Code' is punished by a divine strike from immortality to a short and bitter mortal life. None outside the aurum prides know the exact wording to the Code, only that it is brief and spoken with great reverence by every aurum familiar with it.
Aurum and Argent Ages Dreadlions, the weak, colorless lions from which the aurum and argents sprang, had a lifespan of only five-hundred years before they were granted their unique traits and immortality. Thus, any current aurum or argent lions may be no older than five hundred years of age; those born as aurum or argent lions, when the gift was already granted, can only be around fifteen years of age.
Lions' Lost Deity Once, long ago, there existed a demigod that reigned over the lions in Felnova; this was the star-lion Nebrielas, who lived in the night sky as a constellation and watched over all, sleeping only by day. Eventually, his walks upon the earth grew longer and longer, and he forgot his immortality. Dying from mortal age, he has been reborn a hundred times, and only now resides once more in the sky. Though his powers have faded, Nebrielas the star-lion is hailed as an omen of good fortune by lions and others alike.
Lyfe's Gift Once, aurum and argent lions were small, colorless lions with weak magical affinity, shunned by their Vystrian counterparts. They walked the world hidden away for many years, until Lyfe's recent Ascention - taking pity on the lions, Lyfe granted them their beautiful pelts and spectacular strength, asking only that they uphold the honor of their code. Likewise, he grants elder aurum lions their magic, as well as mature argent lions their ability to craft defensive and purification spells. The lions that weren't included in this change have transformed into fearsome beasts called dreadlions, who retain none of the redeeming qualities their anscestors did.
Mahdros Pride This pride is the largest in Felnova, controlling massive expanse of land directly to west of the wolves' Myrlands, at the foothills of the Darklights. More information about them can be found here.
Prides Though the largest pride in Felnova is the Mahdros, there exists many prides across the Realms. Vystrian prides are led very similar in structure to the Mahdros, and subspecies generally follow suit. Aurum lions live in traditional prides like non-Vystrian lions, led by a single breeding male; argent lions are more like theeir cousins, led by a mated pair with several family units. Dreadlions live in strictly-governed prides consisting of only a few individuals, led by a single male.
Species info credited to Blazeh/Verridith and Daweia. Argent and Aurum lion concepts by Kila.
Appearance Similar to an average lion in basic structure, the male Vystrian lion has a mane to protect his throat, and is usually larger and heavier in build than females, though larger lionesses (and maned lionesses) have been recorded in the past. While occasionally cubs are born with a natural, tawny hue, they can come in any color on the visible spectrum. Vystrian lions also boast a large variety of markings and extra features such as scales, feathers, manes, horns, spines and many more. Each lion is unique, though colors, markings, and physical features are usually inherited from their parents. All varieties of wings are possible, and will sometimes appear even in cases where the parents do not have their own.
Culture Vystrian lions are typically found in large prides of up to twenty individuals, led by a dominant male (or very occasionally female) and his mate. In most smaller prides, these leaders are referred to as the King and Queen, though larger, older prides have adopted specific terms such as the Mahdros' Raizyn and Rahima. It is the King who holds the authority of the pride, and is considered a war-leader first and foremost, leading and protecting his pride from any invading rivals. In the King's absence, the Queen controls the pride; normally, she is the one who leads their hunts, an activity in which the King does not participate in.
Most prides have a healer or shaman, held in great regard for their wisdom and healing abilities; some are Seers, and may divine things such as what a future cub may look like, or where the prey will travel to next. While the shaman or healer is permitted to take a mate and have cubs, they rarely do out of respect for his or her leaders. In most prides, no other males are permitted to mate and face disfavor or potential exile if the King deems it necessary to prevent his position from becoming compromised. When this occurs, the exiled male often becomes a rogue, usually either joining another pride or creating his own, claiming lone lionesses that have no place to call home.
Abilities The magical abilities Vystrian lions boast are as varied as those found in dragons, from illusions to powerful reiatsu manipulation, and differ by each individual. Different prides may have lions with different elemental abilities; prides in the north may have more lions with ice and weather capabilities than lions in the south, who may hold more affinities towards fire and earth.
After the Realms were created, and various creatures placed upon them, the Ten were free to make occasional forays to the various Realms. It was during one of these moments that Time decided to visit Noctis. Out of courtesy, he briefly met with Seiten and Albion, then went out into the Realm on his own. During his travels, he happened upon a pride of feline creatures, and took some time to observe them.
As he watched them go about their lives, he was impressed by how well they worked together, and looked out for one another. Eventually, he grew convinced they could be just as noble as any elf or human, if their minds were as capable of rational thought. To this end, Time took the pride leader, and quickened his mind, giving him the power of speech and reason. Then he bestowed a more powerful body, with long, sharp fangs.
You shall be called stonelions, for lions you are, and you dwell within stone dens. Your minds shall be the equals of any human or elf’s, and you shall be a mighty nation he decreed. Pleased with his work, he made the rest of the pride into more stonelions, remaining for a time to watch his new creations go about their lives, before departing and leaving them to their own devices.
Many centuries after Felnova was created, several prides of stonelions came to the Realm, and settled there. However, the latent magic of their new home began to work changes upon their bodies, slowly at first, but more and more noticeable with each passing generation.
Their bodies began to grow more lithe, losing the heavier musculature of the stonelion, and their sabers shrank to normal fangs. Their pelts began to change, showing many more variations in color, and their tails grew greatly in length. They gained many more magical abilities, and the males began to grow thick, luxuriant manes.
As the changes began to truly take hold of these Vystrian lions, Nebrielas first appeared to them, and guided them, often returning to them after departing for lengthy periods of time, though he stayed with them more and more until he became more lion than god. As Time had promised their ancestors, they became a great nation upon Felnova, with the Mahdros pride establishing itself as the foremost pride of lions upon Felnova.
Classification: golden-pelted lion. Location: primarily Felnova, but found abroad.
Aurum lions are an immortal subtype of Vystrian lion gifted with metallic golden pelts of various beautiful shades. Though these lions do not mutate like their Vystrian cousins, they share some similarities in general dimorphism - females do not have manes and males do. Males are always larger and more muscular, while aurum lionesses are leaner and built more for speed. They may have any eye color, and often have darker or lighter markings in differing shades of gold.
The most stunning feature of an aurum lion is that their pelt is impenetrable by all normal weapons, save for the claws and teeth of another aurum lion. They have incredible strength, and can break the bones of a dragon with a pawswipe, and thus live by a strict code of honor watched over by their leonine god. It's well known that any aurum who breaks this code is cursed into mortality, and the complete loss of his or her powers of both armor and strength. However, aurum lions and lionesses are somewhat vulnerable to magical attacks, as well as being especially vulnerable to wasting sicknesses and diseases of magical nature.
Classification: silver-pelted lion. Location: primarily Felnova, but found abroad.
The argent lions, much like their aurum counterparts, have deeply metallic coats in all shades of silvers and greys. They are smaller than the aurums, though tend to have bolder markings and shinier, reflective coats that dazzle the eyes in sharp light. Females are around the same size as males, and argent manes are much thicker and longer than aurum's, often lighter or darker in color. A common mutation among argents is the double tail, though no other mutations - such as horns, wings, or scales - have ever been noted.
Argent lions are completely impervious to magical attacks, though they are not physically strong and do not do well against physical opponents. However, they are powerful magic users, specializing in both elemental and non-elemental magic to varying degrees. Most argents live in large prides that are seen as omens of good fortune to those that see them; travelers may feel safe when argent prides roam close by, as they are happy to lend a paw in protection for the weak and weary.
Classification: light-based lions. Location: primarily Halgia.
Long ago, a pride of Vystrian lions moved to Evylon through a great portal; but they were trapped there in a violent magestorm that made portals impossible and killed several of the lions that came through. When the halgian patrol of dragonriders found them, the remaining group was half-dead, and they had to use magic to keep them alive. The resulting lions were changed by the halgians' extensive light magic, and the volatile magestorms, to be what they are today.
Nehmians are large, light-colored lions with bright, bioluminescent markings and brightly glowing eyes. They belong to the Nehmian Pride, named after their original leader, King Nehmia - though the pride little resembles the lions that came through from Vystriana, they still hold him in the highest honor. The pride has been recognized as a client kingdom of the Empire, acknowledging their king and queen as full monarchs who officially answer only to the Imperial Throne, though they retain a lot of autonomy.
When a lion or lioness comes of age, they are gifted with a suit of specially crafted armor enchanted to protect them from Evylon's magestorms, decorated to fit their personal preferences. The armor is also enchanted so that putting it on and removing it is possible without thumbs, or true hands, typically by means of having the helmet be the only piece that remains visible when removed. These suits of armor are highly valued, and to lose a suit is seen as a great disgrace. To b stripped of their armor is the biggest punishment a member of the pride could possible endure. Adolescent lions are often assigned to a Venator, or rarely an Amicusii, to serve as an apprentice.
As any bioluminescent markings would largely be covered by their armor, Nehmian lions have a yearly ritual where they drop their armor, and celebrate life under the light of a full moon. At this time, their glowing markings are said to glow brightest, though it is unclear what exactly happens at these rituals, as only Nehmians are allowed.
Classification: pre-change aurum or argent lion. Location: abroad, though many have fled to Evylon's unexplored regions.
The uggligr lion, or dreadlion, are those argent and aurum lions not included in Lyfe's spectacular gift of change; they are those bitter lions branded as being traitors, murderers or thieves, and thus unloved by their founding god. Weak in stature and quite thin, a dreadlion is an unkempt beast slightly larger than the average Vystrian, sometimes emaciated to the point of being a walking skeleton. They have unusually broad heads and thick necks with muscular jowls that support upward-curving bottom fangs, said to be elongated by the force of their hatred towards the Five. They have slanted eyes normally red, yellow or orange in color, and males have thin manes of a jet black. On average, a dreadlion will have a grey or tan pelt, very dull, with black teeth and claws. Most specialize in magic that affects the mind, and because they lack physical strength, this is their greatest weapon.