Inhin^kitsezhe

[ING-hin HKEE-say-zay] : The Goht

The Inhin^kitsezhe are a medium-sized, domesticated species of native mammal, raised for milk, wool fibers, meat, horn, skins, manure, and other valuable by-products. In the highly mobile Ni'kashiga culture, these animals are herded and used as beasts of burden.   Inhin^kitsezhe are also known as "Go't" (plural Go'ke) among the Southern Walkingfolk, and though they are less common in the rainy North, are called "Goht" (plural Gohts) among the Northern Walkingfolk.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

The Goht walks on four legs, with a sturdy torso, long neck, narrow muzzle, and thick horns. They have short fur that thickens during the winter, and short tails.  

Ecology and Habitats

Inhin^kitsezhe are dispersed throughout the Greater Inbound Lands, but are found most commonly in the Central and Southern areas. The majority of breeds do poorly in the cooler, wetter areas of the North, but some hardier variants have been bred for the area since the Bean War.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Inhin^kitsezhe are primarily browsing fauna, requiring a wide range of nutrients and preferring to nibble on material over large areas rather than graze.   When restricted to grazing environments, Inhin^kitsezhe will eat uniformly down through the foliage, preferring first seedpods and grassheads, before moving through lower foliage. They tend to stop before stripping the ground fully, as they do not like to eat close to the ground.   As they display an "opinionated" habit of choosing certain plants over others, Inhin^kitsezhe can sometimes be trained to avoid certain plants, making them useful weeding creatures when the training is successful. When working with young Go't, these trainers will cover otherwise desirable plants with distasteful flavors, and over time the goht will begin to avoid the plant entirely, even in new situations.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Though they are said to be opinionated, and while feral herds can be aggressive if spooked, most Inhin^kitsezhe are highly social animals and will share their social space with other creatures. It is not uncommon to find that a herd of Go'ts will have adopted smaller creatures such as fauna birds or Gekkotah (who eat insects attracted to the herd), sleep in the same resting places as inthonka and other livestock, or follow their Ni'kashiga shepherds around like pets.

Domestication

Domesticated Go'ke are known for being inquisitive, intelligent, and agile; they are fiercely loyal to fauna individuals who rise to prominence within the herd, but also to the shepherd figures they view as protective. Popular Ni'kashiga tales for youth often describe a shepherd being ambushed by enemy or fauna, only to be attacked by the nearby herd of protective Inhin^kitsezhe!   Because of this loyalty and intelligence, certain members of Ni'kashiga Caravans are often designated in shepherd roles. Gohts are rarely butchered in life - the Ni'kashiga preferring to wait until the death of the animal to harvest - but should the need arise for a butcher role (such as in cases of illness, severe injury, or other need), this job is given to an outsider if possible, or to someone who purposefully does not regularly engage with the herd.   Left alone, Go'ke will turn feral; feral Go'ke are notable for being larger in size, and more aggressive and wary. They display larger horn structures. In southern feral breeds, the fibers become shorter after several generations. If an individual is able to approach and win the favor of the Go'ke, however, the herd may choose to follow them and return to domesticated life.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Milk : Milk - and thus cheeses, butters, fermented milks such as yogurts and kifer, creams, wheys, custards, curdles and sours, sohs, and desserts - is the most plentiful product of Inhin^kitsezhe. They produce milk plentifully, peaking in milk production about 4 to 6 weeks after their litter is born, but can produce milk up to 300 days after the birth.   Wools : Native Inhin^kitsezhe provide abundant, sturdy wool for fabrics. The more pale underfur is prized for fiberworks: combed out from the permanent guardfur in the spring months, it accepts dyes easily, and its "grabby" quality" is good for spinning.   Hides : The darker guardfur lends to excellent hides and furworks, and can be stripped and tanned for leathers.   Meats : Though it is traditional to wait until end-of-life to butcher Inhin^kitsezhe, circumstances sometimes dictate earlier slaughters. If the meat is fresh and otherwise healthy, it is sometimes minimally cooked or eaten raw, or dried as jerky for preservation. Meats from older animals are either made into jerky, or stewed/curried as Huridine cuisine.   Horn : The horns of Inhin^kitsezhe, though smaller than their feral neighbors, provide material for tools, instruments, and other objects. Soaked in a strong base solution, such as ammonia, over a period of two weeks allows for the material to become soft. In this state it is easily shaped through carving and mold forms; as the horn dries and the ammonia evaporates out, the piece becomes solid again.   Brushclearing and land maintenance : Because of their tendency to browse over large areas rather than graze, and as they tend to graze "top down" in contained circumstances, Gohts are often used to clear brush and, in the North, to maintain land. By restricting them within contained pens or by tethers, small herds of Gohts will clear the area of underbrush, low foliage, and other fire dangers by eating uniformly through an area.   Manure : The manure of gohts is used in agricultural and industrial practices.

Average Intelligence

Inhin^kitsezhe are highly intelligent fauna animals, leading to a special place in Ni'kashiga culture: they are typically kept as working animals throughout life, and butchered only at end-of-life or in extreme circumstance.   As herd animals, Inhin^kitsezhe are highly loyal to both the shepherd and to othonthathe, or herd members who have risen to leadership status. As working animals, these gohts are trained together to pull small carts, or, among the larger breeds, to carry packs. A good shepherd or caravan leader is able to create rapport with and train these othonthathe to follow vocal signals, helping to move the herd across distances or give driving commands to cart teams.   Poor shepherds find that the intelligence, curiosity, and opinionated nature of Inhin^kitsezhe can be troublesome; it is said that if you want to undercover an unseen problem, you must put a Goht in it, as the goht will surely find the flaws in your design. In the often unstructured environments of nomadic life, Shepherds and Caravan leaders rely on daily routines and ritual, consistency in action, regular contact with handlers, and behavioral training to provide the structure that a Go't requires to thrive.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

The pupil of the goht is unique, appearing horizontal and vaguely rectangular in appearance. This adaptation increases peripheral depth perception, allowing them to spot potential predators from a distance without the need to move their head.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Especially among Caravans, Gohts are given names that remind the drivers of home: of flora, of fauna, of location, or objects. It is believed that by carrying the names of home with them, the caravan will return safely.   However, in Ni'kashiga beliefs, the Inhin^kitsezhe are never named with the names of loved ones or individuals. It is believed that should harm befall the animal, the original owner of the name may also experience misfortune.

OUTBOUND SIGNIFICANCE

Artifacts referencing Inhin^kitsezhe include:
  • Day 87 of the 100 Days of Oce, 2019
  • The Archeological Association (Modular Art Pod), 2019
  • forthcoming/untitled collaboration with Carrie Cox, 2018-2019
Influence for Inhin^kitsezhe includes:
Average Height
The average Go't is of medium build with long legs, shouldering at roughly 89 inches tall.
Average Weight
Most breeds top out at 140 to 200 pounds, with much of the bulk in the torso and upper legs.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Domesticated Go'ke come in many variants of breeds, but are universally known for their distinctive fur.   With their "double coat" of softer, temporary underfur and thicker more permanent guard furs, the coloration shifts throughout the year. Go'ke tend to be more blackish, brownish, yellowish, or reddish in the summer months, where the more permanent guard hairs are prominent; as the cream, grey, or white underfur begins to grow in preparation for the cooler winter seasons, Go'ke appear more mottled in winter camouflage.   Though many appear solid in a distance, most Go'ke have striping, spotting or other "freckle" marks that aid in their camouflage, particularly in breeds that are closer to feral lineages.
087/100 : Part of the #100DaysofOce series, 2019


Cover image: Kkaxe River banner by M Kelley

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