A Zurku

The zurku was found throughout Harad, particularly in the south. It was related to the gorbet of northwestern Endor. (Gorbets were especially well known in Dor Wathui.) A dull yellow color with black and red stripes on its head and neck, the zurku was a colorful creature. (Gorbets only differed in that they had black and blue speckles.) It had a bright orange, arrow-shaped patch on its back.

The zurku typically grew to a length of 12" and could be found in the summer months. The lizard had no natural enemies because it tasted terrible and secreted a mild nerve toxin from its skin. The poison was absorbed through the skin and paralyzed victims for a period of 10-20 minutes. Of course, this venom only numbed the limbs of larger attackers for a while, but for most animals it was an effective deterrent.

What was notable about this relatively harmless lizard was its reputation as a pathfinder. It was believed by most Haradrim that if they were lost and followed a zurku, it would lead them to a trail or road. (This legend was shared by the Gwathuirim and appeared to have originated among the ancient Southrons during the early Second Age.) There might have been some truth to this belief, since the zurku apparently understood that, where there were trails there were beasts (and beast-droppings), and where there are beasts there were flies.


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