|Common Nicknames||Hopping Sheep, Nibble Sheep|
Goats have been a longstanding member of the agricultural community across Aloria. Likely originating on Ceardia with the ancient Ailor, they were spread as the Ailor spread, from within the holds of Altalar slave ships to the ships of those departing Ceardia for better pastures beyond the constant warfare. Eventually, the Goat became widespread to the point of commonality and it is now used by many Races, the result being several different breeds suiting a variety of climates, terrains, and tastes.
The Goat has been a long-time part of Alorian history, existing in many agricultural communities. Its origins are unknown, but it is generally accepted as having originated in Ceardia alongside the Ailor. These ancient people, who often dwelled in the mountains and rugged terrain herding, domesticated local mammals as they found them. The Goat was possibly one of their earliest, as ancient sites once accessible on the continent showed bones and skulls from some now long-extinct precursor. As these Ailor transitioned into agriculture, the Goat adapted alongside them, developing a more standard genetic profile and growing smaller in size. From there, the animal was further bred and altered based on the regions it found itself in, particularly after it had made its way off of the continent. Unique breeds developed in Farah’deen, Ellador and the Regalian Archipelago over the following centuries. By the time of the Cataclysm, the Goat was widespread and a key part of many farms, from Cielothar windmills to the arid, heavily irrigated operations of the Songaskia. In the three centuries since, this opinion has remained and though the days of using the physical body of Goats in tools and daily living has decreased, its milk and meat still serve a valuable purpose to many a dinner the world over.
The Goat has a standard set of characteristics despite the variety of breeds found across Aloria. They range from one and a half to four feet in height and two to five feet in length, with weights according to their size. Their heads are narrow with wide mouths, normal sized noses, with two large horizontal, slit-shaped pupils in addition to large, often somewhat floppy ears as well as two horns growing on the back-top of their head. Most are a simple curve back, with the point pointed downward, but a few have been known to twist or develop into a more complex shape. Their chins additionally tend to grow tufts of hair most comparable to beards or goatees, the latter of which derives its name from the Goat itself. The rest of their bodies are sturdily built on four legs made for climbing and jumping in the mountains as their ancestors did. While domesticated varieties of this animal don’t do that as much anymore, the feral/wild members of their species still do. Their bodies often end in a short tail. The animal is also covered head to tail in a coat of varying thicknesses and of various colors.
As mentioned above, the Goat is an extremely diverse animal. In its spread across Aloria, a wide variety of subspecies have emerged on the various continents to suit a variety of different needs. In general, their population numbers are equal between the two sexes, though sexual dimorphism does exist. Beyond females having udders, they also often have shorter facial hair and small horns in comparison to males, who usually have large horns and longer facial hair. Below can be found a listing of the various subspecies of Goat in Aloria.
- Common Farm Goat: The Common Farm Goat is the base standard for all other species of Goat and is assumed to be the oldest in Aloria. It possesses all possible coat colors, coat appearances and eye colors, with some members of the species even displaying heterochromia. They exist in countless agricultural communities, from the fields of the Regalian Archipelago to those of the Cielothar in Daen.
- Elladorian Mountain Trodder: The Elladorian Mountain Trodder is believed to be native to Ellador, though others insist it developed from animals brought by the very early Ailor who later became the Velheim. Regardless, what is known is that today, the animal has become well adapted to the white frigid climate, possessing a thick white coat and a sturdy, though stubby, frame well made for mountain living. They universally possess blue eyes and are most populous in the mountains and domesticated flocks of The North Belt and northern regions of the Regalian Archipelago.
- Jorrhildr Pygmy Goat: An apparent subtype of the Elladorian Mountain Trodder found exclusively on Jorrhildr, this species possesses many of the same features as them, save for a much smaller size and multiple eye colors. They are also known to have more “ornate” horn formations.
- Distant Desert Breed: Also known as the Sunny or Song Breed, the Distant Desert Breed of Goat is native to Farah’deen. They are some of the smallest Goats, and possess coat coloration exclusively on the dark spectrum such as dark brown and black, though rarely some dappling of white is known to occur. Their horns are often dark colored and they tend to possess a thin coat. Specimens of the Breed from the Sendrassian Ailor are also disease resistant, a trait that is steadily being bred into the Farah’deen specimens thanks to trade between the regions.
- Ithanian Délicat: The Ithanian Délicat is a breed of Goat crafted by Anglians working for Ithanians both in the Regalian Archipelago but also back in Ithania. The animal is dainty and possesses pale colorations to its coat, from white to light brown/tan, and have multiple colors possible for their eyes. They also possess the shortest ears of any Goat breed.
- Okosuto: The Okosuto is a unique Goat breed native to nowhere in Aloria. Instead, it is native to the Far East, Dexai, and has existed there for perhaps millenia. Its major features are its shaggy, dirty-white-haired body, giving it the appearance of a type of Sheep, its propensity to leap around as a source of amusement, and its unique horns. Somehow, wind running over their notched, elaborate horns produces ghostly sounds that are said to stiffen the backs and raise the hairs of even the most decorated war veterran. The animal’s horns have been used for centuries, particularly by the War Dynasty as instruments of war, and it produces valuable milk and meat for many others. Its wool is also sheared and used in clothing for poorer members of Sihai society who lack the ability to purchase silk.
Life Span and Development
The Goat is brought into the world by a mother goat, called a nanny in most Cultures, and can be in groups of one to three individual baby Goats known as kids. Kid groups can be as large as four and five, though it causes great stress on the mother, usually resulting in her death and is extremely rare. Kids emerge as small, thinly-haired versions of their parents, the major differences being size, weight, energy and most noticeably, horns. Kids do not possess them and they only grow in later in life. Most Goat breed kids are considered to have fully matured after one year, though Okosuto kids mature after a year and three months, which is when the notches form in their horns. Their mating period is often in the spring, save the Distant Desert Breed which has theirs in the fall. Their age range varies from between fifteen to twenty years, with the more long-living breeds being the Okosuto and Elladorian Mountain Trodder.
The Goat, as a herbivorous mammal which has seen extensive domestication, is often a fairly calm animal. It moves where it pleases, exploring its surroundings with a deep curiosity that sees them often climbing vertically first, as well as nibbling at organic, and even inorganic substances, unfamiliar to them. They are not as herd-mentality dominated as the Sheep, tending to spread out when eating food, with kids liable to rush around far from their mother. When danger presents itself, however, they rapidly regroup or flee. They are seen as odd animals in one way though, and that is their screams. While they do bleat, the tone and vocal level of this bleating can grow alarming. Many have noted that Goat screams can sound as if they belong to a Race, thus producing alarm in newcomers to Goat herding, which makes them rush out into the fields only to see some shrieking Goats. Wild Goats possess the same traits as their domesticated brethren, though they do tend to be aggressive towards intruders to their territory and males in particular need to be careful they don’t get headbutted off a cliff when mountain climbing.
Territory and Groupings
Goats operate is herds anywhere between twenty to fifty individuals. Equality between the genders is present, though males exist in a hierarchy of the strongest and most sturdy on top, determined through the practice of headbutting and pawing with their hooves at rivals who challenge them. These charges largely occur during the mating season, which also reinforces the hierarchy afterward, though some males have been known to challenge other males in other seasons. They are often nomadic in the wild, rotating their presence over a large territory, helping to ensure that vegetation grows up at appropriate times, while those in domestication go as directed to by their herders.
- Why Okosuto jump around so much is unknown. Some believe that they “never grow up” as Goat kids from other breeds are liable to jump around in happiness or just for fun and thus the Okosuto must possess the same child-like spirit.
- Goat cheese, made from the milk of Goats, is noticeably tarter than normal cheese, with some from Ithania in particular making wonderful varieties of cheese or culinary creations from it.