The Brinn'si is a wild horse-like animal that lives in Southern Santharia, in and around the Aj'Nuvic Grounds. It is very small, being only about 8 or 9 palmspans high, but sturdy and strong. The Shendar people will often catch Brinn'sis to teach their smaller children how to ride. A Brinn'si is the perfect mount for a very young child since they are usually gentle and easy-going, not prone to spooking or meanness.
Brinn'sis are attractive
little animals. They resemble a horse in their general
build, but their ears are proportionately much bigger, about a
palmspans and a half long,
with wider, rounded tips that are darker at the ends. They have wide foreheads
and delicate little white muzzles, with faces somewhat shorter than that of a
common horse. Their almond-shaped eyes are large,
fringed with long thick lashes like most desert animals, dark indigo, and always
seem slightly wistful, giving them a deceptively quiescent look. Males, called
Brinns, are usually about 9
palmspans high- few are as tall as a
ped. Females, called
Brynnas, are slightly smaller, though rarely below eight. Their summer coat
colours range from a solf
ithild grey to a light dun colour and they always have a pale
cinnabrown finely striped
or streaked pattern showing on their legs and a strong, dark brown dorsal stripe
running from withers to croup. Their manes are upright and bristly, extending
down over the withers and usually a shade or two darker than the coat, and the
long tufts on their cow-like tails are the same colour.
In winter they develop a thicker, snowy white coat, to which the faint stripes
contribute a slightly dappled effect. Both these coats provide them with
excellent camouflage no matter what time of year.
Their feet, however, are very different from most horses. Instead of a solid single hoof, Brinn'sis have three toes on each foot - two shorter side ones and a central middle one. This seems to provide them with greater stability when running on shifting sand or in rocky areas. Brinn'sis are not especially fast, but they are agile and sure-footed where a horse would slip.
The Brinn'si is an extremely intelligent animal, with a mischievous, playful
streak in its character. They are very curious and inquisitive animals. However,
if mistreated, a Brinn'si can prove temperamental and stubborn. The
Shendar might say of an obstinate
person that he is “behaving like a Brinn'si” or “acting like a Brinn”. Brinn'sis
are also notable for their greed, for domesticated ones will happily eat
themselves into serious colic if not watched. This does not appear to be a
problem for the wild ones, probably because they have to range a fair distance
to get to food and need to be more watchful for predators, etc.
Territory. Though they are mostly found throughout the Aj'Nuvic Grounds, and the foothills of the Nirmenith Mountains, Brinn'sis may be seen in other areas of Southern Sarvonia as well. Domesticated ones are around every Shendar camp and have found their way into the desert towns as well. The occasional bardic student, without the money for a horse, will sometimes buy a little Brinn'si from the Shendar and use it for a pack animal. However, they are too small to be of much interest as a general work-beast, most people preferring the bigger and stronger aka'pis.
Habitat/Behaviour. Like horses, Brinn'si live in small herds, but their social structure is quite different. They live in family groups of four or five couples and their offspring. Although one Brynna is usually the head or senior female, there is little aggression or fighting for dominance. Brinn'sis usually mate for life and if one of a pair dies, the other will grieve deeply. If there are no young ones to care for, the survivor may well pine away and die as well.
Diet. The Brinn'si is not a picky eater. It eats nearly everything the Aj'Nuvic Grounds flora has to offer, including the strong flavoured mil'no plant, the hard leaves of the white sisters or the pricky cacti growing in the grounds. Like the brown kara it has no difficulties in eating or digesting the biggest spikes any cactus might have. It loves especially the flowers of the falserock cactus, though it might well get stung when attacked by the tiny falserock lizard.
Mating. As previously mentioned, Brinn'sis mate for life, usually around age 3-4 years. In the spring, when the herds begin to migrate through the desert, they often come across other groups. The unmated colts and fillies of each group will interact and play together. Usually matching up occurs at one of these meetings. The new pair may join either herd, or, if there are several pairs, may join up to start their own. Mating will occur during the female’s first heat season after joining. Gestation lasts 11 months, so foals will often be born in the spring.
Usages. The Shendar people will often catch Brinn'sis to teach their smaller children how to ride. A Brinn'si is the perfect mount for a very young child since they are usually gentle and easy-going, not prone to spooking or meanness. Brinn'sis are friendly and sociable little animals and even wild ones will often be found grazing around the Shendar aj’nuvic or among the herds of aka'pis. A quiet, non-threatening person may often walk right up to a wild Brinn'si and pet it or stroke it. However, the least move that the animal perceives to be dangerous and it will disappear into the distance. A Brinn'si can often be a pest, since they love to play and will tease the Shendar animals to chase them by nipping and then galloping away. However, they are very appealing little animals and it is difficult not to like them.
Brinn'sis are also sometimes hunted for their attractively coloured hides but never for meat - they are too stringy and tough to be really edible.
Lore/Gossip. The Brinn'si, though found nowadays in many places, has its origin in the region of the Shen-Kha'si, the north-eastern sub-tribe of the Shendar. Their sister tribes claim in jest that therefore the Kha'si have taken some characteristic properties from them.
The Shen-Kha'si are the tribe which is the most settled down of all three Shendar sub-tribes, due to their pottery making, though they still follow their nomadic tradition and most of the tribe's people are still wandering with their herds of aka'pi around - at least part time. This being partly "settled down“ makes them more earth-bound, more persistent in their ways. According to the claims of their sister tribes, they are not as open to changes, not as free in coming and going, and they are the most conservative of their people - maybe because they fear the loss of their nomadic tradition. So they are often seen as stubborn and difficult to persuade, but on the other hand, very innovative and able to play around with ideas. They are very friendly. Due to their location they are the subtribe which is the most hospitable to foreigners. Most northern living people think of the Kha'si when saying Shendar.
So the Brinn'si is very much seen as an animal related to the Kha'si, and a Shen-D'auras when annoyed by a stubborn Kha'si might well refer to her or (mostly) him as Shen-Brinn'si instead of Shen-Kha'si. Especially at Rah'mat times when all the tribes meet to elect a new leader, teasing is one of the favourite entertainments, and naming the Shen-Kha'si lovingly Shen-Brinn'si is tradition.
Rah'mat is the place and the time when a special Brinn'si event takes place - the race. Children up to nine years who own a Brinn'si start for a race. It is a very difficult race, for the Brinn'sis are often distracted by the audience, which claps and shouts to incite the riders. The animals just stop running to see what is happening. So all is involved from much laughter to bruises when a Brinn'si decides suddenly that it has run enough for the day and the child flies over his head into the sand. There is no need to mention that only very rarely a child from the D'auras or Siuu is the winner.
Myth. The myth about how the Brinn'si came to be is one of the rare examples where another god apart from Baveras and Foiros is involved - Jeyriall.
Jeyriall's Gift. It is said that the
brinn'si haven't been always living in the Aj'nuvic Grounds, but that they
were created out of sympathy.