THE FURNO (KANAPAN BULL)

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

A large, semi-feral species of cattle that is found only in the Kanapan lands in Northern Sarvonia, the Furno or Kanapan Bulls are hardy and tough, with a heavy coat of thick fur.

Appearance. Standing two peds at the high, humped shoulders and built like a brick wall, this massive bovine is no gentle milch-cow, but unpredictable and semi-feral at best. Though the Kanapan people do use them for milk, meat and hides, they are not particularly domestic animals and can be very dangerous, especially the bulls. The Kanapan call them the Furno, which is a reference to their black bull god, Lorfurno.

The first thing one tends to notice about these beasts is their incredible bulk. Part of this is a false impression given by the long heavy fur, which hangs barely two handspans from the ground beneath the animal’s belly. However, they are quite large, weighing between 240 to 280 hebs each. Their fur is long, thick and almost always dark brown or black. They have small yellow eyes with goat-slitted pupils. Both cows and bulls have long horns, which can measure up to nearly two fores each. These horns grow out from the sides of their heads, with the points curving forward slightly and make it clear why these are plains animals; they could not navigate between trees less than a ped apart. Their ears are nearly two handspans long and at least a handspan wide. They have large, cloven hooves, which on the bulls are very sharp and often over-grown, for the Kanapan could not trim their hooves without serious risk to life. They are slow-moving but when at a full gallop, can knock down and run over nearly anything in their path, from young trees to small buildings, without slowing down. A Furno stampede, though rare, can be one of the most dangerous and destructive natural disasters of the peninsula. When herding them, the Kanapan ride the big northern draught horses, which is the safest way to do so.

Though they have immense heads, about a fore from poll to muzzle and at least half a fore across the forehead, the Furno are not intelligent animals. They are stubborn, unpredictable, and quite fierce. Return to the top

Special Abilities. The heavy coats of the Furno make it possible for them to withstand very cold temperatures. Though the summer climate in the Kanapan lands is mild, the winters can be very cold, as everywhere in Northern Sarvonia. The Furno coat is in two layers, a thick “undercoat” of down-soft fur and a heavy, much longer furred “overcoat” of very coarse fur that keeps the warmth in. Return to the top

Territory. These animals are found only in the
Kanapan lands, which are located on the Kanapan Peninsula in Northern Sarvonia, to the east of the Kuglimz lands. Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. Furno are herd animals, and like to be in large groups of maybe twenty or more individuals. They are generally peaceable amongst themselves except during the mating season, when the bulls fight for the privilege of mating. These fights are extremely violent, noisy affairs, which always begin with an impressive display of aggression. The two bulls face off and begin bellowing loudly, shaking their heads, waving their horns threateningly and tearing up the ground with their sharp hooves. When the bulls finally do charge at each other, it is an awe-inspiring sight and the crash of their horns and heads together echoes around the plains. Often one or both bulls will be wounded, sometimes seriously, and many die from blood loss from goring. In spite of their savagery and aggressiveness, however, the bulls are never castrated. The Kanapan believe this would be a dire insult to Lorfurno and to even suggest such a thing is considered blasphemous.

It is considered an unofficial mark of Kanapan manhood to “ride the Furno”, from which only the physically crippled would be excused. This is technically not allowed, but almost every Kanapan boy over the age of 16 has had at least one try at riding a Furno bull. Some do not survive for a second try, but this does not deter others from the practise. The cows are much quieter and less temperamental but for all that, they are not easy to milk and usually they need to be tied up with the feet hobbled.
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Diet. Like most cattle, the Furno eat grass and grains of various kinds. They eat alth'ho grass, peat grass, hay and stalks from harvested bredden grain - whatever is available. Furno are most common in the northern and central areas of the Kanapan Peninsula, where the grasslands of Cahm’ha’dom are located.
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Mating. The mating season for these animals is early summer. The bulls get very aggressive and pushy with each other. If kept together, they will spar and fight. The more placid cows get livelier and a cow in heat, instead of grazing normally, will move around with head and tail up, as though to signal to the bulls that she is ready to mate. Usually two or more bulls will vie for the privilege, though while they are fighting, the object of their desire is just as likely to go off with another bull.

Once mating is accomplished, the two will go their separate ways. If fertilization has not occurred, the cow will go back into heat in about a week’s time and repeat the process until either she conceives or the heat season (covering about two months) is over. Gestation lasts about 10 months. The calves are born in early spring. They are leggy little animals with soft fine fur, the overcoat grows in by fall and they are usually considered mature by the following spring, as they have nearly reached adult size by then. This quick growth is thought to be due to the incredible richness and high fat content of their mother’s milk. Calves are allowed to nurse until the autumn, when the Kanapan separate them for weaning and begin milking the cows, until they are bred again next year.
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Usages. As before mentioned, these beasts are considered sacred animals. The rich creamy milk is used for drinking and making Kanapan cheese, which is reserved for the priesthood. It is said to be a mild but richly flavourful cheese, light coloured and pitted with small holes. The animals are allowed to die naturally and their bodies decay, thus returning complete into the ground to join Lorfurno.
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Myth/Lore. The devout Kanapan worship the bull god Lorfurno and they believe that the Furno cattle are his children, given to his people for their devotion to him. When someone is killed or seriously injured by a Furno bull or cow, the Kanapans believe that they have displeased their god in some way and offerings of appeasement are made by all households in that particular community. If someone is attacked but manages to escape unhurt, he/she is thought to be especially favoured by Lorfurno and is celebrated and made much of.
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Information provided by Alysse the Likely View Profile