Vokhtan Bestiary – food animals

Technically the Tukti should be part of any list of food animals however as they are not common food animals – because they are only eaten by the Vokh and because there is a possibility that they may be sentient – I am not including them in this list.

Akhat

Akhat are small, flightless, bird-like creatures that resemble terran emus  with large eyes and long flexible necks. However instead of feathers akaht are covered in soft fur ranging in colour from mid purple to a soft, luminous lavender which allows them to blend in to the grassy plains where they live.

They have two very strong legs with powerful clawed toes that allow them to run very fast and change direction easily. As Akhat are herd animals they rely on safety in numbers and their running ability to get them away from predators.

Akaht are omnivores and their varied diet makes their blood taste salty and a little gamey. They are the favoured food of high ranking iVokh such as healers and seneschals.

The Vokh will feed on akaht as well but only if they are very hungry and tukti are not available, or if their eyries happen to be a long way from the great plains where the akaht herds live.

Most ordinary iVokh will feed off one or more of the following animals, depending on season and availability :

Rock lizards.   Rock lizards are six-legged, reptilian scavengers covered in scales which can change colour to match their surroundings. Similar to terran chameleons, they can go from being a drab grey when scurrying around the rocks to a brilliant purple when slinking through the rich vegetation of the ravines.

Rock lizards abound in the ravines and are always plentiful as they breed at a very fast rate. Their blood is nourishing but has a strong smell and a  slightly bitter taste.

Ahp. Ahp are fresh water snails which thrive in the small streams of the ravines and canyons. Although they have a shell they cannot retract their bodies completely like the Titi so the iVokh love eating them as snacks, sinking their sharp fangs into the body cavity and then popping the whole ahp into their mouths to suck out the rich, slightly nutty body fluids. When they are done they spit out the flesh.

Like most of the animals of vokhtah Ahp can change the colour of their shells but, as they spend most of their time in water the colour range is usually muddy brown to grey.

Titi. Titi are small barnacle-like crustaceans that spend the daylight hours clinging to rocks just below the waterline of Vokhtan lakes and streams. During the dark however they crawl across damp rocks, feeding on moss, lichen and any dead things they can find.

These scavengers are usually slow moving, creeping across the rocks by pulling themselves along with two tentacle like feet covered in suckers. When threatened they snatch their feet back inside their shells and seal themselves in.

The following short excerpt gives an insight into how the iVokh catch and eat titi when they are out in the wild.

‘By the time the Acolyte reached the shoreline the Second was already belly down on a large, flat rock that jutted out into the lake. The upper half of its body hung down into the water as it scraped at something below the surface. When it sat up a moment later it was brandishing a small slime-encrusted crustacean. Slime covered the Second’s arms as well but it looked quite pleased with itself.

“Watching for predators,” it said as it threw the titi at the young iVokh’s feet. “And keeping titi from crawling away!”

Nodding with a distinct lack of enthusiasm the Acolyte bent towards the slimy creature that was already extending two tentacled feet from within its shell and picked it up between finger and thumb. At the Acolyte’s touch the titi pulled its feet back inside and snapped its shell shut with a sharp snick.

Despite disliking titi intensely the young iVokh found that hunger could make even the most unappealing of food seem appetizing. Wasting no more time lamenting the delicacies it could not have, it stepped carefully over the slippery rocks until it found a nearby boulder that was already starting to steam in the warmth. Quickly building a corral of small stones on top of the boulder it dropped the titi inside and headed back towards the Second who already had another titi ready to be steamed.

Both suns were in the sky when the Second and the Acolyte finally sat down and began pulling the half cooked titi flesh from the shells. The meat was chewy and tough, with an unpleasant after-taste of slime but both iVokh  were so hungry they would not have noticed if it had been seasoned with mud.’

Ipti. Ipti are small, fast, rodent-like animals with six legs. It is possible they are distantly related to the tukti because they too are herbivores and have the same general body structure. Like the tukti they have four running legs and two ‘arms’ but unlike the tukti their eyes are small and they have longer snouts with large nostrils. They also lack the tukti whiskers as they do not burrow but instead nest in crevices and caves.

Because Ipti live in caves where the temperature remains fairly constant they lack the downy undercoat of the Tukti and so their bodies look smaller and sleeker – less rounded and fluffy. Another difference is that their fur is a dark grey with only the muzzle and under belly showing any colour – usually a washed out lavender or white.

Ipti teeth are generally larger than those of tukti and this may be because their diet includes the moss, lichen and fungi which must be scraped from the rocks in caves. This cave food makes them taste quite bland.

Advertisements

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

25 responses to “Vokhtan Bestiary – food animals

  • Candy Korman

    You really have imagined and entire WORLD. Fascinating. My agent is always encouraging me to outline and plan. I tend to simply spill and then go back and fill in the missing pieces. You’re on the road to an intricate and complete universe.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’m a bit embarrassed. I didn’t plan anything as such. I’d just get a flash of something and write it down. After 8 years all the bits just added up to a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces in place.

      There were times when I’d actively have to work out nuts and bolts type things – like what do the prey animals eat? How does the grass grow blah blah. That would then lead to questions about the rain needed to make the grass grow. -shrug- Mostly just pantster stuff 😀

      Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    I’ve decided to take this place off my vacation schedule. I’m not keen on my food being bigger than me.

    Like

  • metan

    Steamed titi? Glad I have already had dinner! 🙂

    Like

  • Ilil Arbel

    What I love about this book is that it is a complete environment. I can see an entire biosphere relating to the geological formations, all smoothly interconnected. The ability to create a convincing alien place is so rare, I can think of very few authors who really succeeded in doing so. Add to it the difficulty of having no humans that allow you to see through their eyes — and it is almost impossible to do. And yet it’s being done. I hope to see the book published soon.

    Like

    • acflory

      -huge hugs- Thanks Ilil!

      I actually started some editing yesterday. It’s going to take me a little while to get back into it again but I’ve taken the first step!

      This morning however I let my mind out to play. If you get a chance read the short story I wrote. I think you might get a giggle out of it.

      Like

  • Ilil Arbel

    I’ll read anything you write, I am a fan, as you know. Is it the “To-do List?” I will certainly read it… my own “To-do list” over the weekend contained 20 items or so, and at least 3 are not done on Monday morning… sad. So I can use a giggle…

    Like

    • acflory

      lol – yes, The To-do List 😀

      I’m afraid my to-do lists tend to roll over quite a bit, which is rather depressing, so I’m trying to make shorter ones that are achievable… sometimes…

      Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    Well, you’ve definitely put a lot of thought it this! I wonder though, at what point material like this becomes a distraction from versus an aide to writing.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’ve no idea how other people work but for me it was a necessity. I’d worked out the biology of the animals but knowing something is not the same as being able to see it in your head as a living, breathing creature.

      Brainstorming with my daughter [who did the concept drawings] brought all the diverse ‘facts’ together into something I could then talk about with conviction.

      It’s hard to explain but seeing how the tukti legs work in relation to the rest of the body changed my perception of the creatures from vaguely spiderlike and ‘scuttling’ to ‘delicate and graceful’.

      Like

      • Stephanie Allen Crist

        Usuable information is good! 🙂

        I put a lot of work into the development end of my novel(s) as well. I just know that, for me, there’s the temptation to keep developing long past what I can use, which keeps the story safely in my head.

        It’s a deceptively “productive” form of procrastination.

        Like

        • acflory

          -giggles- every time I re-do my Vokhtan calendar I do feel a little guilty thinking that enough is enough. And yet. The last time I did it discovered a small but glaring hole in some of my descriptions. I doubt anyone else would notice but I would have been devastated had I discovered this mistake /after/ publishing.

          -grin- And yes, I do tend to take things to an extreme.

          Like

    • Ilil Arbel

      It’s NEVER a distraction. The more research, design, and thought go into a book, the better it is. 99 percent of the books on the market would have been better if the authors did what Andrea has done. Her book is extraordinary, its stands apart from most shallow and quick writing done today, because she had created a rich tapestry, every detail in place, and so both biological and psychological functions of the beings that populate the story ring true. Had she not done so, the book would have just one more adventure story like the many alien/zombie/vampire mediocre books on the market.

      Like

      • acflory

        -grin- Thanks Ilil. I will admit to one thing though – going into such detail possibly did have something to do with how long it took me to finish the first draft. That said though, I now have a world that I can walk around in so any future stories should happen a lot faster.

        Like

        • Ilil Arbel

          You could have done it quicker, sure, but it would not have been as complete. You have a much better chance of success with this book than with one more shallow and quick mss — like 99% of books on the market, unfortunately. This one is going to stand out BECAUSE it is a complete world. It will still require a lot of publicity — all bookbs do — but it has a chance to make it big. I have a lot of faith in this weird planet… and I would not have it if I did not feel that every inch had been explored. That is why it reminds me so much of Dune, even though the subject matter is totally different.

          Like

        • acflory

          -grin- I haven’t explored all of Vokhtah yet Ilil! If inspiration strikes at some time in the future there is still a lot of territory to the south and east that I can play in.

          I’ve just started reading Robin Hobb’s City of Dragons and I love the way her world is large enough and diverse enough to contain a whole series of overlapping but still unique storylines. I wouldn’t mind being able to do something similar with Vokhtah. 😀

          And big hugs for your faith in the world!

          Like

      • Stephanie Allen Crist

        I would by no means suggest she produce a shallow, surface-y book, but I assure you research and development can be a form of distraction when it takes the author away from the book itself.

        Anything can become compulsive.

        While I have not yet read the book, despite having received a copy shortly before homelife took a tailspin, I am confident it’s good from the bits I got to read. I have full confidence in her ability as a writer. I also know she has struggled with taking herself (not her writing) seriously, and know the risk of over-development being a form of compensation for such doubts.

        Like

        • acflory

          What you say is true Stephanie, not so much with regards the writing itself but definitely with the publishing process. I admit that I’m terrified but I’ve lived through moments like these before and I know that I have to build my courage up slowly until I feel ready.

          Have you ever cleaned your house like crazy before a big event – like say an important party or an open house prior to selling – polishing and repolishing for fear that the ‘event’ will fail because you missed that one bit of skirting board?

          That’s me right now. Once the doors are open I know I’ll cope. I just have to get past this one last hurdle.

          Like

        • Stephanie Allen Crist

          Oh, I do understand–though I’m less compulsive about cleaning the house for guests. I just want to get it ALL clean before my children tear it apart again–futile, yet strangely satisfying.

          I guess–and this is just a guess–that part of the difference may be based on need. My writing supports my family, so while quality is essential, I MUST recognize the difference between improvements in quality and procrastination. Believe me, it’s been a hard lesson, and one I occasionally need to re-learn, but it’s also vital to my family’s financial well-being.

          Like

        • acflory

          Yes, need makes a huge difference. If I had to support myself by my writing then all the time I’ve spent on this would be pure self indulgence. In fact I recognize that that is exactly what my writing boils down to – I want to leave something behind, some small thing that will be my toe-hold into the future. At 59 you start to think about things like that 😀

          Like

        • Stephanie Allen Crist

          Some of us start thinking that much earlier, too. I’ve fallen in love with so many books and so many characters, long after the person who wrote them is gone. I want to keep on giving after I’m gone, too.

          Like

        • acflory

          -nods- I see that as a form of immortality if you like. A way of leaving a mark that says ‘hey world, I was here, don’t forget me’.

          Like

Don't be shy!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: