|Common Nicknames||Raider Monkey, Suit Monkey|
The Turbahakh is a simple housepet to many, an intellectual curiosity to some and, like its Capuchini cousin, a pest to most. Known for a tendency to scream, a nimble body, and a near-sentient mind, these monkeys are synonymous with the Asha States. Almost entirely urbanized, they prowl the streets of Bestaal, haul metal in Nakhoor for shelter, and are dutifully cared for in Ssil. Almost every person in the Asha States has a story with the Turbahakh, be it having their food thieved by a city pest or seeing a finely-dressed specimen lugging around wines in a Lord’s estate, though not as a servant as slavery is strictly illegal in the Ashal states, but because the Lord promised the Turbahakh that it could have a few bottles of its own if it performed that task. Many of the Asha-Turbahakh interactions are built upon mutually beneficial arrangements, that usually end up in the Turbahakh cutting the better deal out of the kindness of the Asha.
The Turbahakh’s initial appearance trails just after the Wildering, as the species was first documented after the claiming of Bestaar from its Altalar dominion. It is assumed that, as with most things having lived during the Dewamenet era, the Turbahakh had been cut off from the rest of the world and purged by the Altalar whenever it did show itself. Seeing as it was one of the last undocumented creatures the Asha uncovered upon their return, study into the Turbahakh only really began when the new kingdoms had independently risen to power. The monkey proceeds to spread across every single Asha kingdom. Frequent instances of it stowing away or being brought along on ships caused enough cross-pollination between subspecies to create a single, unified Turbahakh. Its domestication quickly followed as the new city-raised animal was exceptionally quick to bond to a would-be tamer with enough consistent feeding, and smart enough to recognize what tasks would grant it food. Despite this, more Turbahakh remained wild in the cities. Their usefulness as helpers around the home was eclipsed by the high cost of domestication and feeding. Most lower-class remember them as nuisances, roaming cities to steal food off merchants and unlock homes in the dead of the night.
A Turbahakh can usually be described as a mix between a dog and a monkey, with a muzzle-like face surrounded by thick tufts of fur positioned on each side of its head. Wild Turbahakh especially tend to run on all fours and growl, drawing more canine comparisons. This trait is trained out of the domestic Turbahakh, who are more comfortable standing upon two legs and making full use of their working thumbs. They range between two and three feet long, with males routinely being larger than females. Distinctive compared to most of its monkey brethren is the Turbahakh’s backside, which features a bare patch devoid of fur that is commonly colored bright red. Sometimes more muted colors are observed, but when depicted in artwork the Turbahakh’s loud red bottom is usually put on emphasis for comedic effect. The tail of the Turbahakh, positioned just near the bare patch, is used exclusively for balance and has no prehensile capabilities like most other documented monkeys.
The sole diverse features of the Turbahakh are its face, bottom, and fur, and even then they are remarkably uniform among the species. In the Brother Kingdoms, the animal has been bred for brighter colors due to its high domestication rate, giving it a patch that is brighter red in color and a face that is both wider and redder. More expensive varieties have been caught with almost white-colored fur. In Bestaal, the grime-covered wild variety is usually colored a green-grey with a smaller amount of shown face and a more muted patch color. Other kingdoms generally maintain a mix of the listed traits, such as Azzol monkeys having greater patches of fur yet brighter bottoms.
Lifespan and Development
After families are formed during mating season, Turbahakh begins to hide across the city to avoid other members of their species, as infanticide is a common practice. An adult Turbahakh male upon seeing a child that is not theirs will usually attempt to kill them, especially while raising one of their own. Being caught can be advantageous, however, as juvenile Turbahakh are keen to assist in raising children, regardless of gender. For the first two weeks, the child will cling exclusively to their mother and never leave her side, as they are usually too weak to defend themselves against would-be predators. After the second week, they are usually allowed the freedom of splitting from their mother, but ever remaining within her or their father’s vision. This period lasts for the next three to four months until the child is allowed to split off from their mother as the season ends, having survived the most challenging part of their lives. Afterward, the juvenile spends the next seven years with their chosen pack.
Remarkably intelligent, a Turbahakh is capable of faculty resembling a human child. It is capable of limited speech among its species, primarily through primal, high-pitched screaming when requesting food, loud whoops when approaching a mate, and low growls when warning of danger. There have been attempts to teach Turbahakh a variety of languages, and none have since been successful. Turbahakhs are also frequent employers of tool usage, such as using a particularly large stick to break a window or bash a predator. The full extent of this tool use hasn’t been put to much test yet, though domestic Turbahakh are often trained to carry barrels or hang up coats as a novelty.
Territory and Groupings
In the wild, the Turbahakh forms family units in a way not too dissimilar from its cousins, with small packs roaming the city, until they split apart during mating season, with a female and her mate picking a specific zone of the city to roam and hide in. So-called “raiding parties” of Turbahakh are common, invading a warehouse in the dead of night to steal food before fleeing toward the rooftops. Family units bond for life, unless one individual steals food or simply falls behind the group, in which case they are usually expelled to find a different pack. Most packs are open to expelled subjects, as expulsion is not exactly uncommon.
- Recent observations involving the Turbahakh have made strides in uncovering the psychological effects of continued exposure to certain stimuli in sentient Races. Unfortunately, many Empires interpret these ideas as unnecessary, as asylum is cheaper.
- The relative intellect of the Turbahakh have led certain freedom activists to believe keeping one as a pet is a form of slavery in its own right and decried all Asha who own these animals as hypocritical, even if they claim it is for their own good.
- The wealthy caste of the Brother Kingdoms tends to dress their Turbahakh in specially catered clothing, especially for mock fashion shows using the animal as a model, albeit always with the promise of lots of food for the models involved.