|Common Nicknames||Fattie Goat, Black-blood Goat|
While the elite of the Shenathar Kathar are often conveyed either by slaves or exotic, Void Essence-twisted equines, there is an animal that almost all native-born Shenathar are familiar with: the Myakgërus. Strangely coldblooded, despite being mammals, they are also notable for their boney skulls. They are a common animal in the Kathar Steppes found in the southern half of Saivale, where they are herded and ridden, and exist elsewhere in the broader Dread Empire as beasts of burden. They are also a well-enjoyed food source and are broadly considered the animal second to only the Shadow Bovine in local importance.
When examining the Myakgërus, most make the instant assumption that it is wholly a product of corruption from the Void directed by the Kathar on a Goat. However, when the Allorn Empire first reached the Far West, now known as the Shadow Isles, it was explored immediately. On the island of Myakanna, practically a speck in the ocean, they encountered what was likely the ancestor of the Myakgërus. Trapped too far from the mainland to swim there, they had developed unique biology and appearance to suit their lifestyle and fragile population. The Altalar soon moved the animal back to the mainland and then onto what eventually became Saivale today; it became a staple of the southern Far West. As those regions fell away from the Allorn Empire, the creature was dragged with them. By the time of the Cataclysm, the animal had been effectively absorbed into exclusive use by the Kathar Race. When the Shadow Isles were evacuated, and the Arken mandated a centralization of all Kathar on Saivale, almost all Myakgërus were pulled as well. They came to find a new home in the Kathar Steppes, and among the Shenathar Kathar who came to herd them as a way of living. Over time, the animal was mutated by the Void, producing larger, more easily rideable variants kept for lieutenants, communications, and more while the elite retained their blighted horses. That has been the way of things ever since then, with the species now filling roles as a pack animal, source of food, and ritual objects, particularly its skull given its strange appearance.
Myakgërus are peculiar in that they possess two distinct forms: one likely their natural shape, and the other being the result of Void mutation. For the sake of clarity, their natural shape will be referred to as the Lesser Form and the Void-mutated shape, the Greater Form. Lesser Form Myakgërus are rather small, ranging from a foot and a half to two feet in height, two to three feet in length, and a weight between 100 and 150 pounds. Greater Form Myakgërus, on the other hand, stand at a menacing six feet, and are up to five feet in length, with a weight of 300 to 350 pounds. Both possess a square head with a short muzzle and broad cheeks. Their mouths hold incisors, though only along the lower jaw, accounting for their strange cheeks. They have two ears sticking out almost horizontally from the head, two eyes directed forward, and most prominent of all, two straight, four to five-inch long white horns from the top of their head. Greater Form Myakgërus often possess black horns, either slightly curved backward or push out and upward with their points, adding a fiercer form. A short neck attaches the head to the body in the Lesser Form Myakgërus, though there is a longer neck on the Greater Form.
Lesser Form Myakgërus are often chubby and almost unusually round, even without efforts to fatten them up. This is thought to be a result of the animal’s coldblooded nature. Additionally, their form has short legs, ending in small dark hooves. Its upper set of legs has a prominent hump, while the rear set was bent. Their body then ends in a surprisingly long tail, reaching up to six inches in length. Their bodies were then covered by a thin layer of brown, black, or cream-colored body hair, with some splotch patterning possible, but only between two dark colors. Greater Form Myakgërus, on the other hand, lack the plumpness of their brother breed and instead possess a leaner body more fitting of the mounted role they often play. However, if not actively exercised and kept lively, they will grow chubby. Their limbs are long and well suited for quick sprints, while their bodies also lack the humps and recesses of their shorter kin. The subgroup also has a shorter tail, more akin to that of a normal goat. Their color palette is almost exclusively black and dark grey and seldom has splotch patterning.
The Myakgërus has, as previously mentioned, two distinct forms. The Lesser Form is the one most commonly used in herding, consumption, and sacrifice, while the Greater Form is used for transportation, both in pulling supplies and in letting people ride it. It is also rarely ever killed outside of warfare. Lesser Form Myakgërus exist at a ratio of seven to one for every Greater Form Myakgërus. Additionally, male and female Myakgërus have a simple sexual dichotomy as, like with many species of Goat, males often have a small tuft of hair on their chin.
Life Span and Development
Despite the species’ division into two breeds, both Myakgërus Forms possess the same growth cycle. They are live-born with as many as two siblings, making three total kids possible from a pregnant Myakgërus mother. The kids are often surprisingly well-formed when they emerge, possessing a thin layer of black hair over a pink-flesh body. They will rapidly gain the ability to run around on their own and soon grow more hair, shedding their old original color for the one they will have as adults. At this time, they are particularly susceptible to their cold-blooded nature and must be kept warm and close to their mother as much as possible. Over three months, the kids are weaned off their mother’s milk and rapidly grow in size and mind. By four months, they are considered mature and are capable of reproducing, though they are generally only allowed to do so after six months to a year. Lesser Form Myakgërus live for up to fifteen years, while Greater Form Myakgërus can live up to thirty-five.
The Myakgërus, as a base animal, is relatively simple in mind and action; centuries of domestication have culled its fear of sentient Races, and the broad slavery profile of the Kathar has allowed the species to get used to an array of Nelfin, Human, and Gorr Races. The one species that they universally do not get along with, and appear actively afraid of, are the Haat-Maraya. Lesser Form Myakgërus will downright flee upon being approached by said race, while Greater Form Myakgërus have been known to try and kick them. For most Shenathar Kathar, this is reason enough to never trust the arachnid-like Maraya subrace. As for further divisions in action, Lesser Form Myakgërus are easily led where others want them to be, whereas Greater Form Myakgërus will generally only trust those they are familiar with. Additionally, the animal overall is difficult to startle or panic, likely due to their long relationship with the Kathar and their use of fire, blood, and more has dulled the animal’s fear of such things.
Territory and Groupings
Myakgërus are often seen in herds numbering as much as a thousand, being moved about the Kathar Steppes by their Shenathar keepers. Most herdsmen ride Greater Form Myakgërus, and so easily steer their populations around as needed. Greater Form Myakgërus themselves are often seen in urban surroundings, as mounts for Shenathar military officials lesser than the upper echelons. When not ridden, they are instead seen pulling carts and more, both in and outside the Steppes.
- Supposedly, giant rabbits were also rescued from Myakanna, but unlike the Myakgërus, proved too sought after by Altalar kitchens back in Daen. They were rendered extinct around 500 BC, for an enormous, elaborate banquet hosted by Princess Avaf’trenne.
- Myakgërus skulls look extremely alien to most Ailor, given the large incisors along the bottom. However, these are, in fact, just for grinding plants, as the Myakgërus is wholly a vegetarian.