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  1. As I understand it, there are several species of riding animals present in central Genertela, but some are only ridden by particular tribes, whilst others, such as sables and horses are common riding animals. I am assuming that whilst a Sartarite might be able to buy a rhino, only a Praxian could train it and ride it as a war mount successfully... Some mounts can be trained to carry their owner into a conflict, but do not fight themselves. Cavalry mounts are trained to stay calm in battle and carry their rider where they want to go amidst the noise and hubbub of a battle. They are not trained to fight in battle and because of this, they cost less to train. War mounts are trained to respond absolutely to the demands of the rider and ignore outside influences. Some can be trained to enter a battle and fight for their rider, using their natural weapons: kicking, trampling, biting, goring. This requires expensive training so that the mount can coordinate its attacks with its rider. The Praxians share a powerful relationship between rider and mount, and a member of a Praxian tribe can ride the herd beast of his tribe with ease, in peace and war, for they ride almost before they can walk. They will only ride another animal if they have no choice (this is a matter of great shame) but would never touch a horse, not even to eat it. Riding Animal Maximum Training Restrictions Augner War Extinct, save on the Red Moon. Bison War Surly and intractable, unsuitable for any but the Praxian Bison Tribe. Bolo Lizard War Ridden only by Praxian pygmies. Demi-Bird War Ridden only by Dragonewts. Demon Horse War Black Horse Troop only. High Llama War Horse War Impala Cavalry Ridden only by Praxian pygmies. Ostrich Cavalry Ridden only by Praxian pygmies. Rhino War Vicious and unpredictable, unsuitable for any but the Praxian Rhinoceros Tribe. Sable War Tusker War Ridden only by Tusk Riders. Unicorn War Ridden only by female virgins. Zebra War
  2. When discussing the Rhino tribe of Prax, I noticed that there are a number of beast folk forming human-shaped societies rather than their totemic beast's solitary life-style. For the Rhino Tribe of Prax, the problem is solved by the magic of Waha's covenant. According to @David Scott, by entering a Covenant herd the rhinos stop behaving like the solitary behemoths they are and become a flock of bad-tempered individuals tolerating others of their kind within looking distance (i.e. very close by). Which places all of the concerns of how the society adapts to the human/beast bond on the herds. How is herd leadership arranged? What about mating rights? Do you get bachelor herds for excess males and "queen cow"-led herds of females with a stud? Another difficult case are the Rathori. Bears are solitary beasts requiring quite a bit of territory to feed their bulk and get some fat for the winter. The only occasions that bears come together are salmon season or (in case of the non-Gloranthan Polar Bears) waiting for the sea to freeze over. If the Rathori pair up with bears that don't change into humans, they'll need lots of territory. Even the few people sharing a tent are way more social contact that a wild bear would tolerate. Both with Rathori and Telmori, the human organisations appear to institutionalize the pup groupings under a mother (bear) or a mated pair (wolves). (The old myth of wolf packs having alpha males and non-related adults accepting that leadership results from observations of an artificial pack in captivity.) Pup behavior allows adults to remain with their leaders instead of taking off on their own. The result of this behavior of wolves in our world was the domestic dog - with some selective breeding to adapt the dog to the human signals, which isn't required among the Telmori because they have learned the wolf signals. Still, a pack of non-man-shaped wolves accompanying a Telmori group will behave much different from feral wolves. A group of bears in Rathori company must be in it for the salmon, or whatever other goodies the humans have to offer. The human-beast bond with one specific totemic beast is another unusual relation. For most Praxians this is their personal mount, which may be awakened as an allied spirit by those strong enough in magic. Praxians, Pralori, Mraloti (?), Galanini and presumably the moose-, yak- and reindeer hsunchen form a rider-steed connection. (Thankfully the Telmori don't...) The steed benefits from an extra pair of eyes and weapons to defend it from predators. (Benefits for the riders should be obvious.) Communication between rider and steed is mostly tactile. A Sartarite riding a Praxian herd beast will have a lot less control over and communication with his steed than a Praxian riding his totemic beast - something of a problem for the mothers of the unicorn tribe, too - they get to ride the (step-?) mothers of their unicorns, or prospective heifers for mating. Makes me wonder how a "cattle" raid by unicorn riders works out - the unicorn stallion singles out a heifer, impregnates it, and makes it follow him to the waiting women who welcome it into their herd? Steeds (or beasts of burden) don't get to exhibit much of a feral beast's behavior while serving their humans. How much of a nomad's day is dedicated to letting his steed vent out it animal instincts, rolling in the dust (or mud), lazing around chewing cud or socializing with the other herd beasts? The Telmori brother bond between human and wolf is another highly artificial behavior. The Basmoli of Seshnela appear to have had a similar bond, so I would guess that the same pattern can be found with leopard, tiger or Andrewsarchus hsunchen. The term "brother" indicates a litter-mate relationship without any of the partners in a superior role, or a situation where yearling or older siblings take care of their cubs (which role division may flip back and forth between four-legs and two-legs depending on the challenge they face), at least with pack predators like wolves or lions. With tigers, it could be an emulation of the mate bond. I wonder what visiting a camp of wolverine hsunchen (after befriending at least one of them) would feel like.
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