Something else, with some cameliform beasts

In our occasional series of “What I do to amuse myself”, a few snips of fantasy worldbuilding.

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In N[orthern] Bladorion, red hair is thought a sign of superior bravery, strength and nobility. A weak redhead is thought twice as wicked for having by his moral failings slid from such great beginnings; and even the bravest non-redhead is seen as fighting from beginnings that admit a good performance, but nothing superlative. The superstition is so strong that it is an unwritten law that all kings and tribal leaders are redheads — and of course getting caught with dyed hair means always social death, and often physical demise as well. As Bladorts are dimly aware of the heredity of hair color, this has created a vicious “nobility”, formed of those with the crimson color, as they and their descendants are the only ones with a shot for the highest positions. (It is a persistent rumor than some noble stillbirths are murders after a disappointment over the child’s hair color.)

What is known about the Bladort religion? Probably war- and bravery-centric. A maroon-haired god with eyes of flame? Red hair his sign, seal, gift and approval. Embattled monotheism: The Great God Blad against the endless hordes of night demons. A prophecy says at the end of time there will be a final battle, and Blad will sooner destroy the world than let it be taken by the cold creatures of night. He will be joined by the spirits of every well fallen Bladort warrior.

The view of Bladort tales tends to be that outcomes don’t matter as all is bound to die eventually; all that matters is dying well. Better still if so well that your enemies will shit themselves hearing your name for countless generations to come.

When the earth trembles, Blad is fighting the demons underground; when the skies blacken and thunder, he is fighting them in the skies; when great winds sweep in with clouds of dust from the inland plains his fight is there; when the sea is rain on froth and lightning on rain, his ship Gennilotea has taken to the water to meet the eternal attack from all directions there.

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There are a few remaining western Pales, real desert-folk — they live in the western parts of the desert (though not close to the Dead Coast), and have camel-like steeds.

If one wants to get really icky, ”camel-like steeds” means white-furred cameliform beasts whose hump is a genuine water retention device (coils of furry guts inside), who shit black bricks devoid of all moisture (good fuel, though), eat anything biological (they prefer vegs, but scavenge when given the opportunity, and have teeth than can crack bones, bellies that though slow can digest anything — effect on funerary practices?), are generally bad-tempered, and (in some breeds) can grow to half-elephantine size. Still generally cameliform.

Kneeling down they can push their heads and long necks into the sand; the biggest can easily reach two meters down to any roots or water below. Their ears clamp down and their eyes close the tough outer eyelid for this; the beast puckers its heavy-lipped mouth and pushes the tip of its very sensitive tongue out to probe.

* * *

I have heard some people watch sports for fun, but I don’t see where’s the entertainment in that. The only problem in this is that unlike sports, which culminate in some big match eventually, self-amusements like this just balloon out of control — but “more of this to explore and outline than I have time to do” isn’t a very bad problem.

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