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Lion

Lions (S."Ravath", Q."Rávi") had once populated vast regions of Middle-Earth, though in the Westlands they were rare and could only be found frequently in southern lands, such as the wilds of western Gondor or Harondor and the Ephel Dúath.They were however quite common to the lands of Harad and the northern Bay of ormal. Among the lion family were some of the largest cats of all Endor.

It was said among the Haradrim that the Dark Lord, at the dawn of time, chose the wolf as the mount for his goblin cavalry because the lion proved too proud to serve any god. The most majestic of hunting animals, the lion, in some form, once ruled the lands from Lindon across the vales of Anduin to the Easterling plains and the deserts of Harad. Man, the lion's eternal enemy, had driven him from most of his ancient hunting grounds. A few spotted lions still roamed the remote wilds of Gondor and the hill country north and east of Mordor. The tawny lion of Near Harad was a slightly smaller beast; it roamed the fringes of the desert all across Harad, eastward into the Suncrown and south to the Yellow Mountains. Most lions lived in small prides of three to six adults; young males were driven from their prides to hunt alone. Lions needed to hunt grazing animals to live. When drought burned away the sparse grass of the wadis south of the Harnen, lions followed the starving herds of antelope and sheep down nearly to the banks of the great river. The big cats risked urdwan arrows and sihadin horse-spears to take sheep, cattle, and sometimes unlucky peasants. Some lions became so adept at taking human prey that they terrorized entire provinces and became the stuff of legend. A few of these man-eaters were "Ferath", truely possessed by evil spirits, either devam or the ghosts of men. Only the bravest and most resourceful mortal hunters dared to pursue them. If the Ferath slew such a hero, his appetite might have been be sated, and he disappeared back into the desert.

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