|Official Name||Bakhshuna Jamal|
|Common Nicknames||Camel, Swaying Sand-Deer|
|Habitat||Deserts of Farah’deen and Essalonia|
Bakhshuna Jamals are unique animals in Aloria, adapted to survive the hostile dry terrain of Farah’deen. While their origins are somewhat mysterious, their adaptations to dry climates have made them essential to the Qadir caravans who use them as a central source of transportation. Songaskians are more disdainful of this species, largely due to their reputation for ugliness and having a bad mood, which is generally true. Despite that, the animal is still a remarkable piece of Farah’deen’s landscape and it will likely survive for the coming centuries under the care of those thankful Qadir, but also out in the wild.
The Bakhshuna Jamal has long been synonymous with Farah’deen, though its history on the continent is murky. Some believe that it didn’t exist until far more recently in Alorian history, migrating into western Farah’deen in the wake of the Great Storm from some eastern origin point. However, according to the Qadir the animal has always been in the region. Back when they were polytheistic, many desert gods had the symbol of the Jamal attached to them, for obvious reasons. They were used during the era of the Sariyd Empire as a form of transportation over particularly barren regions, which at the time were rare, and these animals were viewed as useful and valued creatures because of this service. In the wake of the Great Storm, their ability to retain water far longer than other mounts and to persevere in conditions Clockwork machine mounts would have suffered in, transformed them. To the surviving Qadir, they became vital and beloved animals, and to those on their Times of Tajul, essential to carrying out their duties to the home Hadritya. To the Songaskian people, however, the animal was seen as tainted. In addition to this, the creature was viewed as mangy, ugly and suitable only for the lower classes to use. As a result, the Bakhshuna Jamal was shunned by many Songaskians as they favored horses and raw manpower for their transportation. The Masaya did eventually see the error of their ways, but the stigma stuck with the animal and it still largely sees use only for menial labor by the lower classes. Bakhshuna Jamal populations remain strong across Farah’deen, with some being transferred over to nearby southern Essalonia where they have seen minimal use by the Qadir and Songaskians in the region. As a result, it is almost guaranteed that the Jamal will survive for the foreseeable future, protected by the Qadir and now spread out to two continents.
The Bakhshuna Jamal stands at an impressive eight to nine feet tall when its curved neck is extended up fully, while it has a length of ten to twelve feet when the Jamal’s neck is fully extended forward. The animal weighs anywhere from 1500 to 2000 pounds. Their heads are small and narrow, with a large sheltered mouth protected by a lip that is split into two halves, while their noses have the ability to close themselves from an open state. Two large black eyes sit further back on their heads, while a pair of large rounded ears sit at the back of the head. These two organs are most notable due to their prominent eyelashes and ear hair, both of which serve as a barrier against sand. Additionally, even if sand does get in the eyes, the Jamal has a transparent third eyelid to protect them. This uniquely developed head is attached to the body by a curved neck that rarely straightens out. Their bodies are rounded and large, with a single huge fat deposit spread out broadly on the back which gives the animal much of its huge weight. It is this fat deposit that allows the animal to go without water for days at a time. Their body is supported on four slender but strong legs, lacking hooves and instead possessing a broad two-toed foot with a thick pad that helps them walk well on the sand. Their body ends in a short, lightly haired tail. To the surprise of many, they are not lightly covered at all; their coats of short hair are thick, which helps to insulate them from the desert heat. Its coloration also varies, as during the summertime, their tan and light brown fur lightens enormously, while in the winter it darkens. Additionally, a scruff of permanently black hair exists on the top of their head and on the top of their back.
Bakhshuna Jamals have no obvious external gender dichotomy, and their gender numbers are equal.
Life Span and Development
Bakhshuna Jamal calves are lucky to be born while their mother is sitting down, or else they would have quite the drop to contend with. There can only be one born at a time, and it heavily relies on their mother during their early weeks. Over the course of two years, the animal slowly matures and is eventually weaned off its mother, though it takes until the age of four or five for the animal to be mentally and physically mature. At this point, they rejoin the wider herd, as during their pregnancy and while being raised, their mother has joined with other mothers in a “mother herd” separate from their former herd. This is often easier to do in domesticated surroundings, where Qadir owners make sure that such herds are separate from their larger, domesticated herds. Jamals can live for up to forty years, regardless of domestication.
The Bakhshuna Jamal has been described as aloof by many, and that is a good summary of their nature. Their face is such that most emotions are hard to understand to those not used to the animal, and the Jamal does not seem to care about those around it, even its own kind. To those in domesticated surroundings, this is particularly apt given that many will simply keep on walking if a rider has fallen off its back, more focused with the Jamal ahead of it and following the pattern than with the fact that they are suspiciously lighter than before. However, they can get irritated rather quickly and have been known to both hiss and spit at those who are offending them.
Territory and Groupings
Bakhshuna Jamals are naturally nomadic creatures, moving across the sand dunes of Farah’deen in ancient migration routes long locked into their fuzzy heads. Domesticated Jamals are much the same, given the nature of the Time of Tajul that they are most commonly used for, though they follow their masters in the routes that they take. Jamal herds number around 50 individuals at a time and can often run into other herds at oases, where young Jamals tend to jump ship from their home herd into a new one. Domesticated herds are often far smaller, numbering around 30, though some of the largest Qadir caravans supposedly have some 100 Jamals in them.
- Bakhshuna Jamal guano emerges dry, allowing Qadir traders to light campfires quickly in the evening as a result.
- The School of Nerettaq has a major fondness for the Jamal, though others make use of the horse in less desert-covered areas of Farah'deen, as well as in southern Essalonia.