|Official Name||Aaltaar Bok|
|Common Nicknames||Wooly White Bison, Fousso, White Terror|
|Habitat||Plains and pens around many Polon|
The Aaltaar Bok is a wholly domesticated bovine closely tied to the Eronidas, as they brought it with them from their homeland during the Great Leaving. Of impressive size and weight, the Bok is still surprisingly quick on its hooves, and while often used as a source of meat and labor, it has also seen use as a mount in Eronidas armies. They are known for their bright white coat, but also for the impressive Lug-Bok, a mutation in the species which produces huge, impressive beasts of great size and strength which lead their herds across their grazing fields and plains. The Aaltaar Bok is heavily devoted to the Eronidas, so much so that they will become aggressive and wild should they lack the presence of one, which means that the two are always located near each other.
The Aaltaar Bok, known in the Eronidas tongue as the Sumu, originated with the Eronidas Race on Guldar. Its status before the Great Leaving is unknown, but most scholars who have studied Eronidas stories believe that the animals were likely wild and generally unhunted in the early years of Eronidas history. Their speed in the modern-day suggests that in the wild, these beasts would be quite hard to pin down, which for the brutish early Eronidas was likely difficult. However, by the time of the Great Leaving, the Eronidas had come to domesticate the creatures and brought huge pens of them with their great ships. These animals played a key role in the “strip and go” strategy of the Eronidas, as the Bok required vast amounts of grass and other vegetation to feed their large bodies. When the Eronidas reached Daen, the Aaltaar Bok remained close to them. Instead of running wild or escaping, years kept close to the Eronidas and in the confined space of ship holds had reduced the creatures to utter domestication. No herds ran wild, and the beast went on to remain closely tied to the Eronidas Race. It became a key supply of meat for the Eronidas, but also of labor power. Additionally, the animals could be mounted by Eronidas and became a powerful force on the battlefield, though Eronidas cavalry remains generally rare. The animals have proven to depend on the Eronidas far more than others first realized, as when trading attempted to begin with the Regalian Empire involving these animals, the beasts became uncontrollable. As a result today, wherever you find Aaltaar Bok, you can count on Eronidas also being nearby, whether it is in the plains that surround most Polon or in pens in the City of Regalia.
Aaltaar Bok are imposing beasts, but nothing like the mutant monsters some, especially the Altalar and Avanthar, make them out to be. They are long, anywhere between seven and thirteen feet long, with a height at the shoulder of five and a half to seven feet with weights heavily varying based on gender. Their heads are thick and vertical, with a flat face that holds a large black nose and two large, slight-setback brown or blue eyes. Below this flat face is a large herbivorous mouth with a small scruff of hair beneath that, while at the top of the animal's head, a prominent pair of horns stick out. In females, they are often quite short, if not totally nub-like, but in males they can develop to be quite long. They also all face forward at an upturned angle. Their heads are then connected to their bodies by a thick neck, which connects them to the front of their body. This area of the animal is actually even larger than the head, with a hump on their backs and a pair of thick, powerful front legs producing the bulky profile. The humped back soon tapers off towards the rear, where two powerful, though not as bulky, rear legs sit. The animal stands on four powerful black hooves, resilient to damage. Their body ends in a long, slim tail with a puff of hair on the end. The animal is covered in soft white hair, excessively so especially at the shoulders and hump, which has helped to give the animal its name.
Aaltaar Bok have some clear distinctions between the two genders. For starters, male Bok are often larger and heavier than females, while also possessing prominent white horns. The horns of the females, on the other hand, are often short and dirty-white due to their nub-like nature. Additionally, female Bok can be easily noticed for their udders, though they are far smaller than those seen on other species of bovine. However, standing above these simple gender divisions are the rare Lug-Bok. These creatures are the absolute peak of Aaltaar Bok physicality, and are the alphas wherever they go, with huge thick horns and massive bodies. They lead herds, no matter their own gender, and are perhaps the only temperamental members of the species which Eronidas have to grapple with (sometimes literally). Aaltaar Bok gender numbers tend to favor females over males, at a ratio of maybe 3:2 which as it stands is little issue for the Eronidas considering they slaughter so many of the animals year-round.
Life Span and Development
Aaltaar Bok are liveborn in groups of one to three, and in their early days are quite small and vulnerable, lacking much hair and having a distinct pink coloration as a result. Within the first month though, the animal will have gained a proper white coat, and will be up and walking around after its mother. Over the course of a year, they continue to mature and fully develop mentally, though most will only reach their peak physical shape after two years of development. Still, after a year, they are mature enough to reproduce should that be their fate, but also to be fully separate from their mother at this stage. When or if they do reach the mating season, females generally watch on as males headbutt and fight for the right to mate whom they want. However, the exception to all of this are the Lug-Bok. Regardless of gender, they choose a mate rather than the other way around, few to none ever challenging them on this. Additionally, they often mate with multiple partners rather than just one or two like other Bok do. Aaltaar Bok can live for up to thirty years, though only Lug-Bok usually reach this age milestone thanks to their unique status within Eronidas society as the kings and queens of the Sumu herds.
Aaltaar Bok are generally calm creatures, with mentalities befitting the grazing animals they have been for centuries. They are caring creatures, getting along quite well in their herds with all members of their species, and even the Lug-Bok for all their testiness generally don’t fight against other members of their species. Herds will also work together to protect themselves, positioning calves, their mothers and pregnant Bok at the center while the males and unburdened females exist in a loose circle around them. The animals are also notable for their deep connection with the Eronidas, becoming stressed, then aggressive, and finally crazed should they be removed from Eronidas care for a length of time, as short a time as two to three weeks. As a result, even though most Estates who possess Aaltaar Bok herds feature large populations of peoples who care for the beasts, those Eronidas overseeing affairs will still go out to inspect their herds to make sure that they don’t go mental. Lug-Bok, on the other hand, are generally resistant to attempts to dominate them. More than once have Polon had to deal with stampeding Aaltaar Bok because a Lug-Bok escaped its enclosure, causing the entire herd to follow after it. As a result, most Lug-Bok are carefully watched, and a level of sport has developed in wrestling and grappling the worst offenders into submission.
Territory and Groupings
Aaltaar Bok herds can vary hugely in number, ranging anywhere from twenty to two hundred individuals. Universally though, these herds are ruled over by a Lug-Bok and its Lug-offspring. It is rare for Lug-Bok to randomly develop in Aaltaar Bok populations, but it has been known to happen, and when it does, they will lead. The herd will follow them, though in the case of there being more than one Lug-Bok, the male individual or individuals will lead the group, with the females shortly behind them, indicating that even these titans of bovine power have an internal hierarchy.
- Eronidas who herd Aaltaar Bok utilize all parts of the animal when it dies or is slaughtered. Their skin and hair are used to make leather, blankets and more, the bones are used as decorations and fertilizer, and nearly all the meat is eaten, bar the heart, which is incinerated.
- Some claim that there is one Lug-Bok who escaped its pen and has gone wild in the wilderness of the Ularen Plains. It is known as Tauron, and the Avanthar see it as a beast of death while to the Eronidas, it is a creature of great power and a symbol of their expansion across the Plains.