Mzohari
MZOHARI
Mzohari.jpg
Name Meaning One who is habitually late
Gender Male
Species Lion
Age Adult
Father Chiboa
Mother Balana
Birth Pride Natamba
Past Prides Natamba, Kopje Valley
Aliases Mzo
Current Rank King of the Kopje Valley
Current Status Healthy overall but beginning to feel his age

APPEARANCE

Without a doubt, he is a brawny and powerful lion. He truly stands tall, the crown of his head reaching almost a foot past an average male's height. As a result, he towers over all but the largest felines. But as if that weren't imposing enough, his body is knit heavily with layer upon layer of muscles. Well-developed and thick with strength, his frame is the result of a lifetime of lengthy patrols and extensive training. His chest is wide, barrel-like; his shoulders are square and broad; his midsection and haunches are toned with fighting flesh. Even his legs are somewhat oversized with an abundance of tendons, ending in paws that are strikingly large. Overall, his physical presence is on the verge of being overwhelming — yet he still moves with the coveted ease and smoothness of a feline.

The majority of his pelt is colored a pale mahogany, a pleasant mixture of a lighter tan and a subdued red. But in contrast, segments of unblemished white are found: wrapping his muzzle, painting his belly, surrounding his eyes, and tipping the digits of all four paws. As a final touch, a dorsal stripe has been painted along the curve of his spine, a blackened brown in tone. But the faintest hints of a wispy, ghostly gray are creeping their way into his coloration — finding places around the fringes of his muzzle, the curves of his ears and the edges of his shoulder blades.

The lion has two distinct scars. The first slashes diagonally across his face — starting over his right eyebrow, across the bridge of his muzzle, finishing low on his left cheek. The other is high on his right flank, a small patch of furless skin where a chunk of flesh had been bitten out. But they are relatively hard to see now, mostly lost beneath moons of newly grown fur.

His mane is massive, to put it plainly. Its lush thickness covers the areas usual for a male — all of his head, save for his face, along with his neck and chest. But it extends further, coating his underside until finally ending at the base of his ribcage and also flowing down between his shoulder blades. It's an honest ebon in color, though not as morbidly black as some, the hue softer and more appealing to the eyes. In addition, there are occasional flaring streaks of crimson, which appear brightest when he is in sunlight. As is appropriate, the tuft at the end of his tail matches. But his mane, too, is becoming tinged with the first signs of gray — most noticeable in the strands around his face.

His eyes are a clear, pristine green — not a hazel, and not an emerald, but a distinctly light, lime green. They are the one variable that hasn’t changed across all the seasons of his life, remaining bright and lively and containing a zest that’s almost cublike in its enthusiasm.

Despite the fact that he is swiftly nearing the end of his prime, the lion still carries himself with clear confidence in his physical abilities — and the wisdom that he’s acquired. And so, after all the pieces are put together, he is a more than suitable composition for a King.

PERSONALITY

He's a laid-back lion who would much rather be paddling around in the lake beneath the waterfall than having a political discussion. Nothing pleases him more than a languid afternoon beneath the branches of his favorite acacia along Kopje's western border, watching the movement of the grasses and the patterns of the clouds overhead. He lacks any sort of self-importance, arrogance or snobbery. Those closest to him seem to think of Mzo' as a cubling in a very overgrown body .. and perhaps they aren't too far off.

Now a grandfather several times over, Mzo' is more than comfortable with the fact that he will soon be aging — for with age comes the right to pass on the more worrisome and cumbersome duties of Kingship to the next generation, and the right to enjoy the promise of a large and healthy pride that will live on long after he is gone. However, those dreams are now in danger as much of the pride has dwindled away, many of its members falling victim to the infamous sleeping sickness .. leaving Mzohari still seeking an heir and with the crown now weighing rather heavily on his head.

HISTORY

Born in the Uzima Valley and within the Natamba pride, Mzohari was the last of the litter born to Balana and Chiboa. His birth was an unusual one — as he was born a full day after the rest of his littermates. Such is how he earned his name, which means 'one who is habitually late', though it doesn't have much bearing in his adulthood.

His cubhood was passed in fairly typical fashion, though he didn't do much mingling outside his immediate family, bonding closely with his mother due to the fact that his father wasn't often around. To cement the distant tie between father and son, Chiboa disappeared when Mzo' was a young juvenile, having gone to inspect Balana's home territory — the Golden Lands, where he sustained an injury that kept him from returning for a long time. Eventually, he returned to the Uzima Valley, only to depart soon after to search for Chanika, one of Mzohari's siblings who had gone missing. As a result, Mzohari never developed much of a relationship with his father .. if any at all.

Not too long after the final disappearance of Chiboa, Mzohari's mother was forced to venture out of the Uzima Valley to search for her adopted daughter, Haiba, who had run off into Utatu. She elected to take Kizingo, one of Mzohari's older brothers, with her. Not exactly pleased at having been left behind, Mzohari went after his mother and brother — only to find that a group had gathered in Utatu by the time he got there. It consisted of Balana, Kizingo, Haiba and himself .. along with Kyoko (another lioness of the Natamba pride) and her two cublings, Sumi and Sirima .. and Siombe, Mzohari's grandfather. It was here in Utatu that Siombe first asked Balana to live with him in the Kopje Valley. She agreed, but under the condition that her cubs would be permitted to come along as well. Siombe also encouraged Kyoko and her own children to join them, and with their agreement and the addition of a few more isolated leonines from Utatu, the group made their way to the Kopje Valley.

And thus, the Kopje Valley pride was reborn, with Siombe standing in as King.

While Siombe had originally intended for both Mzohari and his brother Kizingo to step up as Kings when they were ready, it was eventually decided that Kizingo's personality wasn't suited for the role. As a result, Mzohari alone was trained rigorously — physically and mentally — by his grandfather to inherit the mantle.

But it was early in his adolescence, after there had been several new faces to join the pride, that yet another member from the Natamba left Tahzhoo's ranks to settle in Kopje — Nyoto, brother to Sumi and Sirima. He and Mzo' became close friends, and noticing their bond, Siombe began to train Nyoto as well in the hopes that the pair could step up to rule Kopje together when the time was right. It was also during this time that Mzohari's older half-brother, Nabana, appeared and joined Kopje's ranks. The two half-brothers bonded quickly, and Mzo' soon looked to him as something of a role model alongside Siombe.

Time passed, and it was during Mzohari's very early adulthood that he and Nabana recklessly ventured into the Pridelands to try to make a 'statement'. Having never been fond of the Tsavo pride, specifically Mtukutu, the two raided the Tsavo's water hole — riling those present and marking over trees and shrubbery. The gesture angered Mtukutu quite thoroughly; but it enraged the majority of Kopje that one of their future Kings would behave so foolishly. It was this that caused Nyoto to leave Kopje with his mate Zephra in tow, breaking the bond of friendship between the two lions and the potential coalition. So with Nyoto gone, it was decided that Mzohari and Nabana would form the co-Kingship of Kopje's next generation .. and the training continued. But it was also this incident in the Pridelands that caused Mzohari to severely evaluate himself — and to mature into a much more level-headed, open-eyed individual.

Moons later, a lone lion showed up on Kopje's border, named Kinoro. He claimed to be an old friend of Mzohari's mate, Kenta — and, thoroughly fooled, Mzo' granted the rogue permission to relax in Kopje. Simultaneously, Kenta had withdrawn into the depths of Kopje to give birth to her first litter .. and this litter was Kinoro's true target. The rogue, in actuality, was a lion that harbored an obsession for Kenta — and refused to accept the fact that she had birthed the cubs of another male. Hunting the lioness and her newborns down while Mzohari was on patrol, Kinoro slaughtered all but one of the litter. Arriving too late to save all of his children, Mzohari chased the rogue into the Pridelands — followed by Nabana, and the two ultimately killed Kinoro together. But after the deaths of his children, Mzo' never dealt with visitors along the border with his previous lenient attitude. He has sworn to himself that no one else in Kopje will ever experience the anguish that he suffered.

Eventually, Siombe felt that it was time to step down as King. But he surprised the entire pride when he brought Mzohari — and Mzohari alone — to the waterfall promontory with him for the coronation. The crown was handed down from grandfather to grandson, and Mzohari was elected to rule on his own, due to the continued instability of Nabana's actions when dealing with the Tsavo. And in the end, Mzohari was eventually forced to dismiss Nabana from Kopje entirely due to his half-brother's enduring unpredictability.

Despite the difficulties and adversities that he had to deal with, Mzohari settled into his place well. Unlike many Kings, he has never thought of himself as anyone special or entitled. He was raised to believe that the lionesses form the heart of the pride, and that being chosen to protect them and lead them is a gift. He lives each day with the understanding that he has no true 'power' over anyone, only the role of mediator, guard and safekeeper. He patrols the borders of Kopje quite fiercely, and sees to it that the other lions of the pride do nothing less.

As the lion came into the latter years of his prime, though still quite fit and able-bodied, Mzohari's thoughts turned toward his retirement — something that, of course, required an heir to take his place. Taking all the adolescents of the pride into the Celestial Volcano for extensive training, Mzo' used the opportunity to see how each young lion responded to their instruction; and from this, he made his decision. Upon returning to the Kopje Valley, Mzo' gathered the pride together to not only announce that he had selected an heir .. but also that he'd selected a Queen. Kasjari was named the newest Kopje monarch, and their son Korzar was given the title of heir, though it was later rescinded after he grew increasingly reclusive and eventually disappeared from the valley. His nephew Khairi, while not named a new heir, was named as Mzohari's second-in-command.

After hearing news of his eldest son Kiini's death due to hyenas, Mzohari set out to see his son's body one last time on the lands outside the volcano. While grieving, he was ambushed by his brother Nabana and a pair of younger lions, who held him captive away from the valley and causing him to grow increasingly depressed. Eventually, Khairi and Mthama came to take him home, which Nabana allowed without incident after having said his peace.

Once released from his brother's captivity, Mzohari returned to the valley and resumed his kingly duties, though the incident and lack of an heir seemed to have changed him. In the months that followed, bouts of sleeping sickness swept through the pride, one of its victims being the king himself. Whether to try and quarantine himself, under the effects of the illness, or simply facing an uncertain future, Mzohari left the valley and was not seen for quite some time. His disappearance was ultimately discovered to be due to a combination of disease and depression, but he overcame both and made a return to the Valley — only to discover it a shadow of its former state. But despite an uncertain future, Mzo' has resumed leadership duties and has not yet abandoned hope of finding an heir so that he can finally relinquish the throne.

FAMILY (Living Only)

Name Sex Age/Species Relation Rank
Siombe Male Elder Lion Grandfather (adoptive) Pridal Elder
Chiboa Male Adult Lion Father Rogue
Balana Female Elder Lioness Mother Pridal Elder

DESCENDANTS

MzoDs.jpg
Characters listed in gray have no biological relation to Mzohari. Characters listed in brackets have biological ties to Mzohari, but no longer exist on the Muck; they remain on the tree for the sake of continuity.
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