THE HO'SHI ("JUMPING ANIMAL")

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

The Ho'shi (lit. "Jumping Animal", pluralization of the animal stays Ho'shi, this is thought to have occured due to the fact that one does not see a Ho'shi by itself) is a deer native to the Celeste Lowlands in Northern Sarvonia. It is a small, quick form of deer that sustains itself on the endless alth'ho grasses of the plains area. It is thought to be close relative of the prieta.

Appearance. The Ho'shi stands at a little over one ped, this does not include the horns wich can be up to a fore in height. Both males and femals have cloven hooves with a thick pad on the bottom. This cloven design allows them to spring forward quickly, while the padding keeps them safe from some of the thorn bushes that lay hidden in the tall alth'ho. They are both in general a tan colouration allowing them to all but dissapear in the alth'ho during the drier months. They have soft, thick fur that is prized for its warmth. The Ho'shi speed though makes this a prize that is seldom won. Bulbous golden eyes protrude from the head slightly allowing the Ho'shi to have good peripheral vision.

Male Ho'shi have lighter tan colouration on the underside of their body and their legs. Interestingly the colouration continues from the stomach up the sides in a thick triangular shape. This helps break up their colouration when they are standing amongst the
alth'ho as it appears as more swathes of grasses to a predator's eyes. This lighter colouration also surrounds their eyes and the tops of their heads. They have black, ridged horns that sweep back from their heads to curve to meet their back. These can be up to a fore in height and length. Though they at times seem ponderous, they are actually hollow allowing the animal to keep its lightness of foot.

Female Ho'shi like the males have a light colouration on the underside of the coat and upon their legs. Though in contrast it is more common that only the front two legs are lighter in colour, while the back two match the colouration of the top of the back. There are no upsweeps of colour as in the males either. There is some of the beige colouring that runs down from the eye in a line down the cheek. This same colour also surrounds their moist black nose. The females do not have any horns at all. Though less muscular in frame, they do possess a greater speed.
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Special Abilities. Like the prieta, the Ho'shi are very quick animals. It has been said that while the prieta has more endurance, it does not have quite the speed of the Ho'shi. It was most aptly named in the crude Kuglimz language. Its small size and slender build along with enlarged lungs and heart are what allows this animal to be so quick in running from predators. It must also be said that as they run they spring forward so that they more bound then truly run, and this initial spring is what first gets them up to speed. As earlier noted they do not have a lot of endurance, but their quick responses allow them to quickly outdistance any horsed hunter or warg that might be trying to attack them. Return to the top

Territory. Though ho'shi can be found roaming on occasion through the lowlands past the Quest River, they are most commonly found in the easternly section of the Celeste Lowlands ranging from the Crystal Lake to the Quest River. They have ventured into the more hill filled western areas, but do not do so often due to the higher human concentration of the area.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Ho'shi live together in small herds, this usually consists of two males and three to four females. One male is a mature male in charge of the herd, while the other is often one that is still too young to go off on its own or follows the herd in hopes of challenging the older male for leadership of the group. They roam over hundreds of stral in their yearly migrations across the lowlands. During winter is the only time of year where it is common to see several small herds come together. This is done usually for warmth and greater protection for the pregnant females. The usual migration pattern is from the Crystal Lake in winter to the Quest River by high summer. They then return to the Crystal Lake for another winter.
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Diet. The most common food of the Ho'shi is the plentiful
alth'ho grasses of the plain region of the Celeste Lowlands. They are also known to eat only rik'tyan when it is in its short bloom. It is thought that the variance in diet is so rare that the Ho'shi relish this chance. If for some reason none of these food sources are available, they will also eat the leaves off of thorny plants, or even use their hooves to dig up some tubers near the river and lake banks. Return to the top

Mating. Mating occurs during high summer near the Quest River. The young males who have reached sexual maturity will fight the males with an already established group. As their horns curve backwards, most of the fighting is done with head butting and there is rarely any animal that gets injured seriously. Whoever is the victor then takes his group and mates with each of the females. The more dominant males may try to find a nearby group and mate with its females as well. In that case those females will join the male that mated them. Gestation takes about seven months before baby Ho'shi are born. They are born singularly and are able to walk with several hours of birth. This is necessary not only for defense, but also for their mobile lifestyle.
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Myth/Lore. Most of the myths concerning this animal are of hunters who have killed hundreds, or a more famous story tells of a hunter that captured an all white Ho'shi and it granted his wishes. The other main story tells of a Ho'shi that was twice the size of a normal male and held sway over a herd of thirty. Whether this was just an abnormally large male, or just another tall tale is unknown.

The Ho'shi are also the subject of a well known Injerín children's rhyme. The original author is unknown, it was recorded for Santharian children by the wandering Bard Judith.

THE HO'SHI
by Bard Judith

Ho'shi, bounding, bouncing beast
Leaps through bush and grasses.
Ho'shi, light and lissom-legged,
Hoofmarks where it passes.

High of horn and haughty head,
Hark how Ho'shi prances!
Softly secret, soundless sweet,
Dainty deer now dances.
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