Mountains – the pinnacles of nature. These inhospitable behemoths play host to many strange leagues of birds and beasts; the Yah’nork being a prime example. This hairy animal can be found mainly in the Tandala Highlands, and in the far north around the Cartash Mountains, near the Portal of Osthemangar. It may look familiar in some ways, to folk acquainted with such areas, as it is close akin to mountain goats such as the capricus or ho’loch, but its woolly bulk bears many irregularities that can cause even the most jaded ranger to pause in curiousness.
From a distance, the Yah’nork may appear as a large mountain goat. It has a
large and bulky frame, weighing on average, to around 1.5 to 2.2
pygges. The average Yah’nork
stands about a ped and one
fore in height at the neck -
but its coat of fur is a large, mangled mass of grey wool, and may fool some
into believing it is larger than it actually is. With its beady, intelligent
eyes, it can spot hazards many
strals away. A large mouth dominates its small round face; its snout is
short and blunt, similar to a pig’s, but slightly longer; the nostrils are large
and filled with green snot; and its ears are paltry and conical. A trio of short
horns crown its head in the shape of the Tharian letter ‘v’; two at the back of
its head, and one near the front.
One of the most distinguishable features of the Yah’nork is how its mouth remains continuously agape, a result of its unique physiology which allows it to inhale and exhale simultaneously. This is done by taking in air through the nose, which travels down its windpipe and is absorbed by the lungquilt. The lunquilt is a thick, spongy mass that is surrounded by long, horizontally-spaced muscles which squeeze up and down methodically, allowing the unneeded air to pass through its fogpipe and out of its mouth.
Another exceedingly unusual trait of the Yah’nork is its feet (of which it has four). They are heavily padded, but naked nonetheless, the only portion of its body (other than a patch of hairless skin on the female’s underbelly, where newborns receive milk for feeding) that is not covered with fur. Their feet are totally black, and shaped like larger, plumper versions of a human’s hand. In fact, they bear fingers of a sort on their feet, as well; five fingers with short, sharp talons, which are used to grab onto the shifting ground of their sloped homes for improved traction. Because of this, they exhibit a very peculiar walk. A front leg is lifted and then touched down onto the ground, closing its fingers around the surface; then the other front leg is placed down, then the other two back legs, all one at a time. This walk is described as being “humorously erratic and repetitive,” and “amusing to the sight.”
This outlandish animal has several traits that set it apart from the various
other mountain goats. As a result of its unusual breathing mechanism, it can
continue to inhale and exhale simultaneously, allowing it to breath without
pausing. This allows it to live at higher altitudes. Its feet allow it to grab
onto the rocky terrain easier; each toe can be bent and manipulated much like a
regular hand. The milk that the Yah’nork produces is also very rich and creamy,
and some races, namely the Black Gnomes in
Northern Sarvonia, keep and breed
them as a source of sustenance.
Territory. The Yah’nork generally prefers the cool climates of high mountains because of its thick fur coat, and as such lives primarily in Northern Sarvonia. It can be found primarily in the Tandala Highlands, as well as the Celeste Mountains and the Prominent Mountains, and as far east as the Vindel Mountains. The regions farther to the north also play host to large numbers of the beast, mainly in the mountains of Cartash and also sparsely on the Peninsula of Aden. The only region outside of Northern Sarvonia that the Yah’nork has also been spotted at is the Troll Mountains.
Habitat/Behaviour. A very solitary creature, Yah’norks can often be found traversing the mountainside on their lonesome. Most of their time is spent searching for sufficient food spots, where they will gorge themselves as much as they can, and reside in the area until it is all eaten. When all the food is consumed, they will begin trekking to another spot.
Normally passive creatures, Yah’nork mothers are very aggressive in protecting their children and any being that comes within several peds of them will be attacked without warning. It will scare and chase off anything other than another Yah’nork female. The reason other females are permitted to approach them are because the babies are wearisome to feed because of the length that they grow in the first month of development. Thus, it is very difficult to produce enough milk to feed several babies over such a timeframe. In fact, it is not uncommon for a childless Yah’nork to been seen helping to feed another’s. This behaviour is uncharacteristic to such animals, especially one that guards its youth with such vigour. However, the animals seem to respect one another’s kin, and Yah’norks rarely harm another’s infants. Yah’nork males do not stay with their mates, and they part ways after breeding.
An excerpt from the diary of an unknown scholar; believed to be a traveler from Gnorath: My beast awakes at dawn, and immediately begins to eat the surrounding shrubbery, with an air of routine. It appears he has left just enough to supply himself with a morning's supply of energy so that he can begin his journey to another feeding ground, because when he finishes there is nothing left. He shakes his head and begins to walk westward down the mountainside... After six hours of walking he arrives to more food... He has eaten for an hour and now he has fallen asleep again... In five hours he awakes, and begins to eat once more; it appears this beast can consume an enormous amount of food in one day. After another two hours of feeding he falls to sleep once again.
Diet. Because of the sharp fangs on its top row of teeth and the flat ones in the back of its mouth, the Yah’nork is capable of eating meat and herbs, and will eat almost anything. Among its prey are animals such as the Sarvonian white deer and smaller goats, but it will also feed on bushes, flowers and weeds like the goldenbell or the multliweed, as well as the common alth’ho grass in areas that are warm enough to sustain it.
Mating. Mating between two Yah’nork goats is most often observed during early spring to mid summer, when plants are most abundant on the lower slopes of their mountain homes. Because of this, a large number of the goats migrate to the food, and it is not uncommon to find half a dozen or more of them in one spot. Males and females are more likely to meet around this time of year.
In the winter months, nearly the whole population of Yah’norks living in a mountain’s vicinity will move further up the mountain, to a place near its summit. They come in large groups of males and females, and they climb regardless of age. It is unknown why exactly this “pilgrimage”, as one prominent researcher described it, occurs, but some think that it is instinct to gather and rapidly reproduce during this time, when many of the horned drakes that live in caves inside the mountains, return from their mating on the Isles of R’unor. This – of course – is only speculation, and no one has absolutely proven it to be true - in any case, the male and female mate, and then part ways curtly.
Usages. The rich milk the Yah’nork produces is very tasty and nutritious, and many Black Gnome tribes domesticate and breed it as a source of sustenance. Its meat, while very foul-tasting, is also very nutritious and is eaten by tribes when there is little of other food to be spared. When it is killed for its meat, its fur is also fashioned into various forms of clothing, such as coats or boots.