Vokhtan Bestiary – the Tukti

I had a rather rude awakening this morning.

“Mum? Mum!”


“Mum, there’s a huge huntsman right next to the front door!”


“It’s HUGE! And we can’t get out!”

“Mmmm…go out the back door…”


And so the day began. I got out of my nice warm bed, pulled on some daggy clothes and Ugg boots and went out to face my nemesis. To make matters even worse I could not even wait for the fortification of a cup of coffee. I knew I could not wait for the kettle to boil because that big, hairy, many legged spider could easily sneak off and hide somewhere else while I was trying to wake up. Sad to say the one thing that scares me more than a spider I can see is the certainty that there is one lurking about somewhere that I can’t see.

I won’t go into the gory details of just exactly how I killed that huntsman, let’s just say that it involved a lot of smelly Mortein and a broom. So now, while my house airs and I wait for the kettle to boil, I’m going to tell you about a different kind of many-legged creature – a Tukti. [Pronounced  ‘took’ + ‘ti’].

Of all the creatures of Vokhtah, the Tukti really are my favourites. They may look like bright red, furry, almost-spiders [see above] but they are actually one of the few truly inoffensive creatures in the Vokhtan Bestiary. Tukti do not kill anything, even bugs, because they are vegetarians and feed almost exclusively on the roots, stalk and seeds of the lush grasses that grown on the great Plains of Vokhtah.

Despite being herbivores however the Tukti are not stupid. Nor are they easy to catch, as the Vokh have long known. They are, however, quite delicious which is why they have become the preferred food of the Vokh.

One of the most distinctive things about the Tukti is that they are builders. Every colony begins as a roughly circular mound. As the colony grows the Tukti begin to build tunnels radiating out from the central mound. These tunnels connect to smaller, sister mounds and in time a truly large colony can look like a village of rounded mud huts from the air. The resemblance ends there though because there is nothing inside the mounds but dirt; all of the activity in a Tukti colony happens deep below ground.

Schematic of a tukti mound

The large white pipe shown in the schematic to the left is both an entrance and a conduit for water during the rains. It leads directly to an underground water storage basin. From there the water slowly drains away to the aquifer shown in bright blue.

To reach their storage and living areas the Tukti have to go up from the main access tunnel. All of the narrow tunnels shown in pink stay dry even in the worst of the rains.

If some water does manage to seep into these pedestrian tunnels however then it immediately drains down into the second, smaller water basin.

As an added precaution all of the short pink access tunnels leading from the main pink tunnel to each of the living or storage areas are built at an angle so again, to reach those areas the Tukti must go up. Thus the whole mound would have to fill with water before the living and storage areas could become innundated.

Fresh air is brought into the mound via air shafts that break the surface from their own, raised mounds.

The areas shown in pink are communal living areas. Those shown in beige are for the storage of grain which the Tukti harvest as a group.

In many ways the Tukti colonies could be mistaken for terran insect colonies however the Tukti are not insects. They are warm blooded, pseudo-mammalian creatures that give birth to live young – usually triplets – and care for those young until they reach adulthood. These young are called ‘Kits’.

The Tukti also possess another rare feature – they are born as either male or female and remain male or female their entire lives.

Breeding pairs of Tukti do not generally mate for life however they do stay together while their kits grow, roughly five Vokhtan cycles.

A question that has often vexed the iVokh healers of the Guild is how the Tukti manage to co-operate on these massive building projects when they are mute?

This question remained unanswered for a long time until a Vokh, the Six of Needlepoint,  discovered that the Tukti could communicate mind to mind. How it made this discovery is still a subject of debate at the highest levels of the Guild.

And there you have it. Tukti are cute, smart and very strange by Vokhtan standards. I hope you like them as much as I do.




About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

29 responses to “Vokhtan Bestiary – the Tukti

  • TimCC

    I’m totally absorbed by this.


  • AgentD32

    I too enjoyed the reading, you wrote with such care of these creatures. They must produce a smile upon your face as you are the unknown creator of them that has given them life and word that now travels to my eyes and now that ball between me ears. I will buy your published work as your talents made me feel like a child reading the Dinotopia series that I read as a child. It is not an easy feat to receive this compliment 😛 I loved the diagram of their housing network and their social stratification.



    • acflory

      -blush- Thanks D32 but I’ve read Dinotopia and I’m afraid the world of Vokhtah that I have created is a far more brutal place 😦

      Once I start introducing the Vokh and the iVokh – the two intelligent species on the planet you will know why. The Vokh are basically psychopaths and the iVokh [distant relations to the Vokh] are mostly sociopaths.

      There is wonder in Vokhtah but the brutality of survival overshadows almost everything. Not a story I would ever tell to kids :/


      • AgentD32

        I am delighted that you created a spark of a moment that brought me back to a happy moment in my childhood. As for the violence or brutality, you seem like a great story teller, no story can not be without peril and peril from within is the best kind. Like an ice cream sundae made in hell. <— see, we all want to see an ice cream sundae made in hell. This is so, even if it is dark and mildly morbid (and fun) 😛


  • johnlmalone

    very imaginative; I enjoyed reading this


    • acflory

      Thank you 😀 I’ll take that as a big compliment from the man who invented the Gnoll. You should publish your bestiary one day. It must be simply huge by now?


      • medmcn

        Oh, but sadly the gnoll ain’t mine, that’s a sort of standard critter of the Dungeons & Dragons persuasion. 😉


        • acflory

          Oh! I’ve never played D&D, not even the online version. That was the original roleplaying game wasn’t it?

          Anyway, you have to take credit for John Deskata 😉 He’s fast turning into my favourite, dark good guy.


          • medmcn

            Hmm…that may or may not last past the end of book 3. 😉

            And I’m not sure if D&D was the absolute first RPG, but pretty sure it was the first one marketed nationwide in the US, almost like a board game back in the 70s. I’m dating myself, aren’t I? 😉


          • acflory

            lmao – potential spoiler! It’s ok, I think I could get used to him as a baddie 😉

            We’re probably of a vintage but I didn’t ever play D&D. I have however been playing mmorpgs for about 10 years now so I’m aware of the legacy they owe to the original D&D and those early MUDs [90’s?]

            Anyway I like that you’re a gamer too, however you want to define that term 😀 Being a gamer probably doesn’t make anyone more imaginative but I know it’s given me the ability to /visualise/ things in a way I probably would not have been able to do otherwise.

            That said though, since starting to read your ‘Wind from Miilark’ I’ve realised that you have gone way beyond rpg’s and into the realm of the psychological. Needless to say I love that.


  • Candy Korman

    I definitely prefer my monsters (and bugs) to be fictional, so get back to that computer and write.

    LOL… I’m in full out fiction mode here in NYC, so it’s good to hear you are also there, although you are across the world.


    • acflory

      Great minds! I’ve had a brilliant day today. Got up early, turned my music on, fired up StoryBox and away I went. It’s now 5.30pm and this is the first time all day that I have looked at wordpress! I’m feeling very righteous 😀

      So how is the ‘sub-let’ coming along? No pressure but… I am running out of good things to read so I hope you stick to your July schedule :p


  • Ilil Arbel

    I WANT THIS BOOK!!!!!!!! Back to the computer, Acflory!!!!!!!! NOW! In the meantime, may I meet more of the denizens of the bestiary? I love the Tukti.


    • acflory

      lmao – gladly Ilil! Although the others are mostly predators and quite vicious. I was thinking I might do one of the main ones a week so stay tuned next Friday [your Thursday?] and I shall introduce you to the Kaa. They are my daughter’s favourite and as she drew all of them it’s only fair that I do that one next 🙂


  • metan

    Your day started with despatching a huntsman before coffee? I am surprised you could settle enough to write anything at all! I agree, the sneaky spider you know is there, but is unseen, is waaaay worse than the spider in front of you.

    Enjoyed this intro to the Vokhtan beasts 🙂 Did you do the drawing of the Tukti? I like 🙂


    • acflory

      lol – I had a lot of adrenaline flowing by the time I finally managed to put the kettle on 😉

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Tukti and no, all of the bestiary pics were drawn by my daughter. We sat down and brainstormed for about 2 hours and somehow out of all that she managed to capture the creatures I was seeing in my head.


      • metan

        I bet you didn’t really need a coffee after the spider!Your daughter obviously knows you well to be able to draw what you were thinking, she did a good job 🙂


        • acflory

          lol – yes I was pretty hyped but the coffee still tasted great!

          We’re both gamers so we probably share the same sense of the fantastical. Oddly enough the tukti creature was the hardest for her to draw, perhaps because in my head all I saw was something that should have looked scary but was in fact cute. It’s a testament to her ability that she managed to fuse those two opposing needs in one image.

          I’m ah… rather proud of her 😀


  • lorddavidprosser

    A nice introduction to friends we’ll hopefully meet when the book is published?


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