|Official Name||Gallovian Geep|
The Gallovian Geep is an animal covered in dark-colored wool that has adapted to the rocky terrain of the highlands that make up the land ruled over by the dual Dunbrae and Caeren Cultures. The Geep has unknown origins. Some assume that the Altalar brought it to the region from elsewhere in Aloria, while others feel they are native to the mountains that cover the islands they inhabit. Regardless of their origins, the Gallovian Geep has provided milk, wool, and meat to many for over four centuries. In recent years, their numbers near the main cities have been reduced as the Caeren pull them back to the mountains to prevent them from being bred into average sheep and goat stocks.
The Gallovian Geep has a mysterious background due to its unknown origins. Some claim they are an Altalar creation, a crossbreed of Sheep and Goat bred into being by the Allorn Empire as a source of food. When the Cataclysm occurred, the animal was set free from the Allorn slaving outposts along the coastline of Gallovia, where they integrated themselves into the island’s habitat. Native Gallovians contest this theory, stating that the animal naturally lived on Gallovia for years before the Altalar arrived. They believe the Geep was taken by Allorn slavers along with their people back to Daen instead of the other way around. What is certain is that the Geep has remained an important local animal as it is a reliable source of meat, milk, and wool for many. The animal was also transported to areas of the Regalian Archipelago in the early decades following the Cataclysm, likely by Velheim, but also likely by traveling Caeren. This has resulted in the animal’s spread across Gallovia, Mannadh Alba and Clannadh Alba. In recent years, however, foreign herders and other groups have attempted to reverse-breed the unique mesh of Goat and Sheep and, in the process, are creating two new species using aspects from the Geep combined with that from both the Elladorian Mountain Trodder and Ceardian Wooly. This action from foreigners has resulted in many Caeren and even certain Dunbrae keeping their prize animals closer to their native habitat of the mountains for fear of losing them to those that wish to breed them with the other animals.
Resembling a mix of a Goat and Sheep, the Gallovian Geep is an odd creature. Wild Geep are noted as being larger than their tamed counterparts, but all generally sit at four feet in height, up to five feet in length, and weigh about 220 pounds when fully grown. They possess a Sheep-like face with small, velvety ears, and a prolonged mouth, coupled with a Goat’s defining beard of hairs. Horns also grow out of the top of their heads, varying in growth from small and thin to large and curled, often depending on age. Their skulls are built for headbutting and they possess hard teeth to grind up various materials. A short neck connects the head to their compact bodies, supported by four cloven feet, surefooted for their natural, rockier terrain which work well in open spaces too. Their bodies are covered in a woolen coat with a light line of hairs that begins at their chin before running down to the base of their necks and their underbelly. Their thick wool coats are shades of dark grays, blacks and dark browns, though whites are occasionally known to occur.
The Geep is found exclusively in the Highland Territories, those lands densely occupied by the Dunbrae and the Caeren. The population has an equal split gender-wise and the only obvious way to tell the sexes apart is that females have udders.
Life Span and Development
Baby Geep are known as kidlets until they mature to the point at which they are not reliant on their mother’s milk, and are referred to as a kid until they are fully grown. Geep kidlets are weak when they are born and depend on their mother for warmth as well as for milk and guidance, lacking much body hair. They grow at a normal pace, reaching full size at around ten months old, though their minds go through the different stages of maturity. From birth to three months is considered their childhood, three to seven is their adolescence, and their true adulthood starts at about ten months. The animal lives about twenty years, and feral members of the species have been noted to live slightly longer than this, at about twenty-five years.
The Gallovian Geep is a herbivore and is peaceful, even when found in the wild. The animal especially allows young people and babies close to it, tender to those younger than itself. However, when a dispute is encountered, both genders will resort to headbutting with their heads and horns. Often it is members of the same sex who tussle, yet fighting between males and females has been observed during mating season because of females not wanting the male who has selected her. Geep couples last for the several months a mother is pregnant, yet the father tends to leave or keep his distance once the mother gives birth. They are easy to herd but will panic when attacked and often flit off in different directions when startled. Despite this, Geep regroup quickly to charge their attacker with their horns if the threat maintains itself as a danger.
Territory and Groupings
As herd creatures, Geeps have a pecking order of dominance often determined by the leader’s ability to defeat others in butting heads. The leader leads the herd around, gets first pick of mates unless challenged, and is the first to eat. Wild herds rest at about ten to twenty, and those herded by civilization can reach up to 60.
- Gallovian myth speaks of the Geep-faol, a horrendously mutated Geep-human hybrid who roams the hills in search of human flesh. Some believe this to have been some archaic Altalar experiment gone awry, but to others, it is a servant of the Archdemon itself. Most scholars, however, point to the origin probably being an exaggerated Urlan encounter.
- A group of Gallovian bandits known as the Black Bahers makes use of blackened Geep heads as their sigil and wear clothing exclusively hemmed in black Geep wool.
- Children sometimes sit atop Geep in the Territories as a game to see how long they can stay on the animal. This has also sometimes led to small mock tourneys for the affection of a fair “maiden” two boys are fighting over.
- The rarity of white sheep in Gallovian Geep populations has meant a reverse of the normal aphorism “the black sheep of the family” into “the bright sheep of the family.” The context has also somewhat changed and is now instead used to insult someone acting high and mighty, or someone seen to have crazy dreams or ideas within a family unit.
- The Caeren musical instrument the Bladderpipe was originally created with a Geep bladder. However, growing sophistication has reduced such interesting original pieces largely to ceremonial roles, or decorative items in the homes of nobles.