Name: Taroch (aka Landstrider or 'Strider)

Category: Mounts

Type: Mammalians

Size: Large

Region: Originally from Dardanos?, but they are now also commonly found on the grasslands of Daire?.

Rarity: Very common

Lifespan: 13`-15 years

Appearance

Tarochs are a hybrid of camels, llamas and horses, with their physical appearance being closer to its equine ancestors, but its stamina being more that of a camel.

Tarochs essentially look like horses, but they are shorter from nose to tail and have a single hump on the back that makes them appear quite stout. The slender head is also of a similar shape but shorter than a horse's.

Taroch have shaggy but silky hair all over the body and extends under the chin like a beard, while the face is kept much shorter and more like a horse's. The length of the body hair differs between the Dardanian and Daire breeds, however, with the former being only three inches long and the latter being up to ten inches. Both breeds can be either white (which extends to a light grey or pale golden colour) or black (including charcoal).

The taroch's hump, which is smaller than that of a camel, can still be uncomfortable to ride bareback. As a result, there is a highly profitable saddling industry that specialises in landstrider requirements.

Owners often braid the taroch's long mane and tail, even decorating the silky hair with gems, jewellery, dyes and beads, and they often feature in parades and ceremonies.

Behaviour

Landstriders are fairly common as they're easy to domesticate, and very tame even in the wild. They're exotic but friendly creatures perfect for travelling within Elysia?.

They are herd animals naturally, usually led by the strongest-willed female, but domesticated taroch are happy to live alone or in stables with other equines -- as long as they are groomed daily and put to pasture at least once a week.

They are affectionate animals and fall into depression easily if not allowed to socialised, either with other animals or with their riders.

Diet: Lots and lots of grass. They can also eat anything a horse, camel or llama could eat.

Habitat: Hailing from Dardanos originally, they are now found most often in breeders' stables and pastures across Daire.

Special Information

Strengths:

  • A taroch's hump stores water and fat much like a camel's, which enables them to travel much farther than a horse between "pit stops".
  • The 'strider's silky hair keeps it warm in chilly weather, allowing it to travel and survive in harsher conditions. The longer-haired Daire breed can survive in colder climes than the shorter-haired Dardanian breed.

Weaknesses:

  • Unfortunately, the same silky hair means it cannot survive in the desert the way a camel or horse could, so riders who plan to use them in hotter climates must first shear them. They are such popular mounts, however, that in these hotter regions, stables keep a stock of sheared taroch for rent, selling the hair to local weavers for a side profit.

Uses:

  • Landstriders are a common mount in Elysia?, though their stamina is better suited to long and steady journeys; they are outpaced by horses otherwise.
  • They are used frequently in parades and ceremonial processions.
  • In hotter areas, owners and breeders can sell sheared 'strider hair to weavers for a second income.

Origin: Short-haired taroch were originally discovered on the plains of Dardanos but now can also be bought from breeders or hired from stables on the mainland? as well (although the best breeders are still in Dardanos?). As they were brought to other regions, the desire for longer-haired taroch led to a new sub-breed, called "Daire Striders" or "long-haired taroch".

Other Info: Taroch are to land what the pegasus is to the sky: beautiful animals that once upon a time only the rich could afford. Declining interest among the wealthy, and the fact that they are such tame animals and perfect mounts, has made them more affordable to the middle classes, however, and as a result more of them are appearing on city streets than ever before. They are surprisingly surefooted despite their awkward-looking bulk, and quite docile, making them the perfect ride for the less confident Elysian?.

Creator: Emma?

Creatures Mounts Grassland Large Mammalians Dardanos Daire Flatlands Very common