Legends tell of Saharan kings who could turn into lions when their tribes were endangered. The Mfalme were a race of kings, shapeshifters believed to have been descended from the gods. Their lines ran in nobility of various tribes, and they were strongly integrated with humans. Mfalme were so strongly integrated with humans that there were no wild clans at all. Despite the presence of an Asiatic subspecies of leo pantheris, there were no natural werelions found outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
A werelion is born, as are many other Shifters, but they are the product of a double-recessive gene. They must have both of the werelion genes before the traits will express and the person will be born a werelion. This means that if two Mfalme have children, they will be born a werelion, but any other combination has varying rates. Mfalme can safely parent Tau-Kin, and human children. Unlike werewolves the ability is entirely inherited, and therefor the Mfalme/Tau/Simba cannot infect a human.
Werelions are associated mildly with the sun, similarly as the werewolves to the lunar cycle, but their lives are not nearly so dictated by it. They grow weak during a solar eclipse, and solar flares can affect them. Strong solar flares can provide a peak in power, and when they are present during the birth of a child can have varying and interesting effects.
The werelions are an interesting singularity among their bretheren, in that they do not shift as often as their cousins. Their shifting was not triggered specifically by puberty or high stress situations, but by the need to protect their lands and tribe. Most Mfalme spent a lot of time as humans, but once they had experienced their first shift they could attain their beast form at-will. The leo form, an equivalent of Fire-blooded, was almost always triggered by extreme feelings of defense.
The Mfalme strike a fine line between the female-backboned prides of wild lions, and the primarily patriarchal sub-Saharan human cultures that they integrated with. The males ruled as kings, princes, and warriors, but the females demanded a level of egalitarian society that was very rarely seen. The queens and princesses took a more active role in the life of the pride, often with their own hunting parties, and being advisors and occasionally even military leaders in times of war. Mfalme born to those not of the royal houses would, if allowed, become prominent figures among their tribe, as strong warriors and hunters.
Mfalme can occasionally be found in the north as well, being descended from Tau-Kin that were taken as slaves by the Muslim traders. They are not unwelcome as long as they respect Islam, and converts are simply another member of society. Very rarely, one would be born in the Americas due to the slave trade. In the event that they ever did shift and realize their heritage, they lived solitary lives, not knowing of their lineage.
The werelions have heightened senses, with inhuman strength, but their speed is not that great, and u
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