Pegasuss (bovidaeloony) wrote in originalspecies,

Turtle land...

I had an idea knocking around in my head, because we all know that every busy person needs new projects to pile on themselves just before school starts. :P Actually, it was two ideas that collided and between the two of them were able to yell "Pick me!" loud enough that I had to listen.

It's a relatively new project, and thus far doesn't have a name. The basis is a pueblo village of humans (or, possibly, humanoids) that relies on their sole domesticated animal; the turtle/tortoise. They aren't domesticated in the sense of a dog or cat, but more in the sense of a cow. They have at least ten varieties of turtles/tortoises (okay, I know the two are different things, I'm just going to refer to them collectively as turtles because it is easier to type) for various things.

The pueblo villages exist along large creeks or rivers, where they can make an artificial lake via use of dams. The pueblo houses and outbuildings are arranged in a circle around this lake; it is literally the center of the community. In the lake the turtles (the aquatic turtles) are bred and raised. Several sheds and a corral backed up to the lake house the dry tortoises.

The races of turtles include:

The pack tortoise: A very large grey flat backed dry-land tortoise capable of carrying well over 100 pounds. They are very docile and slow moving, but will follow a guide who leads them with a rope around their lower jaw or neck. They can only travel over flat land, and eat native grasses. They live roughly 80 years, and are capable of carrying a reasonable load from the time they are 50. At mature adulthood, they are large enough to carry a litter with a person inside.

The plow tortoise: A large yellow-green ridged dry-land tortoise. They have powerful forelimbs designed to dig out burrows, even in rocky soil. To plow, a harness is tied around their shell and they are heaved foreword (often by two or more men); they backpaddle against the harness, and their borrowing claws leave deep ruts in, if the handler is strong and steady, a straight line. They are very feisty, and ones of questionable temperament sometimes lunge forward instead of pulling back, knocking over their handler and possibly driving him into the ground. They live about 40 years, and are useful for plow-work for the last 10. They eat worms and rodents that they find in the soil. Their hind legs are nearly useless except for sweeping dirt out of the way, and it mainly uses its powerful tail for this. These are allowed to free range outside of the lake/corral, as no fence or wall would hold them, and they are more efficient at catching their food than the humans are. They are collected at plowing time and placed on a small artificial island, because they will not immerse their head in water and have to be rafted across.

The meat tortoise: Kept for meat; they have little more in common than their purpose. Often they are other races of turtles that didn't cut it at their respective jobs. They don't live very long, but they make very tasty soup.

The hunting turtle: These small, lithe turtles are bred for their ability to catch food. They handle very much like falcons, with a line tied around their throats to keep them from swallowing. They are trained to retrieve and return on command, and the brightest are the most valued. These are allowed to traverse the river that feeds the community lake in search of fish, to feed the other turtles and and the people. They are fish eaters.

The racing turtle: These turtles are mainly kept for sport. They are especially small, streamlined hunting turtles, valued for their speed. Often, they are too small to catch fish of any valuable size, but are kept and raced by children and young adults.

The shield tortoise: The second largest, behind the pack tortoise. These tortoises serve little purpose in life, but when they die they leave behind a human-sized breastplate and shield made of overlapping scales. Depending on their diet and strain, they can have a wild variety of markings, patterns, and colors, with the brightest and most ornate being the most sought after. Shield tortoises often live for 70 years, and never stop growing, although their growth slows as they age. After they die, the armor made of them is presented to the human warrior (of the correct size) who is deemed most deserving. It is humbling, for them to recieve armor that is older than they are. Warriors do not use armor for hunting, only when they war against other tribes or communities. The shield tortoise is omniverous, and the keepers often augment its diet with bones so the calcium will strengthen their shells. No projectile weapons known to the turtle-people can pierce it once it is mature.

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These are just sort of ramblings I worte out to put my thoughts together. Any suggestions are great since I haven't decided anything about the people, except that they are pueblo-dwellers.
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