Marivan Dromemel

Write about a creature that is used as a beast of burden or transport animal.

The Marivan Dromemel is one of a number of closely related species that is notable for being significantly better tempered than its cousins - not good tempered you understand, but considerably better tempered. If hand reared they become reasonably tame at least as far as their rearer is concerned and at this point they become useful as a source of power. The Marivan Dromemel works best as a pack animal and Dromemel Caravans are one of the main transport methods used in the Marivan Empire . In addition to this, with training and the right harnesses they can also tow vehicles and are the main motive power on the canal and river network of the Empire. Compared to other beasts of burden their main advantage is that they can subsist on an unusually poor diet,

Basic Information

Anatomy

Standing as high as a man at the shoulder, the dromemel has a neck long enough to allow it to graze the ground and browse trees and taller bushes. The powerful jaw is supplied with teeth of great complexity whose ridges and wear patters are sufficiently variable that many of the traders of the empire use a dromemel tooth as a unique seal. These teeth do an unusually good job of grinding fiberous and even woody fodder which then passes to the three stomachs of the dromemel. The first of these is more like a gullet and usually contains stones that the dromemel has swallowed to further grind its food before it passes into the second chamber where a range of unique micro-organisms feed on the woody components converting most of their biomass into a form that the dromemel's own digestion can then manage. This combination of features allows it to survive on a poorer diet than any other large animal.

Genetics and Reproduction

The Marivan Dromemel is one of a number of closely related species, collectively the Dromemelia, which are found in the various environments of that continent. They appear to have originated in the southern portion of the continent (south of the Long Range ) but spread into the mountains and thence into the northern plains. Although differing significantly in size, form and character they remain sufficiently close that they can interbreed though the characteristics of these cross breeds vary wildly even between one pair of parents and no success has been had in making crossbreeds that breed true.
Once mated the dromemel cow can suspend it's pregnancy at any stage; with birth happening after anything beyond half a year after mating. Some cows have been shown to pass the bull's sperm between them - a trait which seriously compromises attempts at selective breeding and caused much consternation when it was discovered.

Growth Rate & Stages

After birth a dromemel calf is able to follow it's mother after a couple of hours but can initially only manage a league or two a day; after a forty days it can match her stride for stride and hour for hour. After a year it will have grown to adult size but the cows seldom breed before their third year and the bulls seldom before their fifth.

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Like all of its cousins the Marivan Dromemel has retained the ability to sniff out water that betrays the group's long exposure to arid conditions. Its conventional sense of smell is poor (whether this is the cause or an effect of the animal's pungent aroma is unknown) as is its sight but the animals hearing is good and it can sense low frequency vibrations in the ground through its feet - though this ability is heavily dependent on the quality of the ground: on packed earth plains it can detect another dromemel's footfall half a league away, but on soft sand it is useless.

Caravans

Caravans of these animals are a frequent sight in many parts of @Marivar, being the main form of distance transport where sea, rivers or canals are not available. Dromemel Caravans are typically family run affairs with each member owning and having care for 10 to 20 animals and a total of around 100 dromemels being typical. Although they are usually used as pack animals some are trained to haul carts though these are normally restricted to the routes with better roads for though their capacity is higher, the carts are more limited in the terrain they can manage.
Conservation Status
The Marivan Dromemel is found wild in the south eastern parts of the Marivan Empire though feral populations exist across the lands that have been under Empire control. Although domesticated dromemels tend to be better tempered and slightly stockier they are similar enough to the wild ones that the species as a whole can be considered common.

Taming a Dromemel

This is best done with a newborn and is most successful if started on the day of its birth. In the wild at birthing time the crush of cows will essentially cease moving for ten days after a group of synchronised births while the calves build up their stamina; for domesticated dromemels the mother is rigged with a birthing saddle; similar to a pack saddle which allows her to carry her calf (for in its continued contact the instinct to stay put is suppressed) and while the caravan proceeds, the human members of the caravan feed the calf with its mothers milk and habituate it to human company and contact.
Once a dromemel has been weaned it needs several hours a week of close time with a human to remain habituated to them over the first two years of its life - this is usually done by the human leading the animal and talking to it in a one sided conversation. After its second year a domesticated dromemel will usually remain well disposed to the humans it knows even if separated from one of it's rearers for years.

Dromemel Side Products

The Marivan Dromemel is not just a source of motive power; it's milk is used to make cheese and its Drom Hair is commonly used to make woven or felted cloth; the Marivan Dromemel's is a good general purpose but not as luxurious as the mountain dromemel's or as hard wearing as the southern dromemel's.
The pattern of cusps and ridges on their teeth is proverbially complicated and the Dromemel Tooth seal is a common item in any trader's equipment. Dromemel meat is not eaten: there are religious reasons for this but as dromemel meat is particularly tough this is one of the easier precepts to adhere to.
When you're cooking dromemel, put a stone in the pot with the meat. When the stone is soft the meat will be tough but digestable.
Their dried dung can be used as fuel and its smoke, not unpleasant to people, is an effective insect deterrent.

Articles under Marivan Dromemel


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