Welcome back to the final instalment of this three-part series of fiction, fabrication, and falsehood here at Factually Deficient! If you want to refresh your memory, or just like seeing links gratuitously dropped, here are Parts One and Two of the series.
For this final segment, I will answer a question from my friend Pixelmage, sent pursuant to last week’s question (Tohrinha’s “In a coat of gold or a coat of red, does a lion still have claws?”):
And are they as sharp as each other?
As you know, we have already established that lions’ claws are, essentially, artificial, sewn onto their coats from the bodies of their fallen prey. But this question deals with comparison: are the claws of one faction of lions as sharp as those of the other? To answer this, we must revisit in greater detail the reasons behind their split.
The gold-coated lions are, essentially, conservationist. In a dark world that is, in their eyes, ever growing darker, they want to preserve the brightest parts of what it once was. They protect the remnants of the Plant Kingdom’s rightful nobility, as they protect all that they see as good in the world. I would not go so far as to say that they are not fighters; however, their fighting is primarily defensive. They have found their patch of earth and they will fight to defend it against any onslaught.
The red-coated lions are not satisfied with preservation, and instead feel themselves driven to action. They are not enemies with their gold-coated comrades, but rather, while the gold-coated lions defend the good, the red-coated lions have taken it upon themselves to attack evil where they find it, to destroy the corruption, to uproot the Plant King’s enemies until they are no more, and thus return the world to the equilibrium that the gold-coated lions still seek.
It should come as no surprise that, just as they treat and trim and dye their prey’s pelts before wearing them, so too the lions alter the claws that they gather before affixing them to their coats. And like with the differences in dyes, the two groups of lions treat the claws in different ways, emblematic of their different chosen roles.
The gold-coated lions, who serve as defenders, protectors, coat their claws in enamel, allowing them to dry and harden into tough shield-like claws that help to repel any who come against them. The red-coated lions, in contrast, worry not about the toughness but instead clip their claws to form points and sharpen them against flinty stones, the better to slash at their enemies, the better to extract the red dye from their foes’ veins that colours their iconic coats.
So, in answer to your question, no, the sharpness of the claws is not uniform between the lions of red coats and those of gold coats. But they are harder that are not as sharp.