Archive for April 7th, 2022

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Flower Oxen of the Jade Plains (A to Z, F)

7 April, 2022

Suddenly it seemed as though the entire field of blooms was moving, as they crossed in front of us, it was obvious that the flowers were carried upon and growing through the pelts of hundreds of oxen.

musk_oxThe flower oxen emerged some centuries after the Sundering, the oxen had always been there of course, but the symbiotic flowers living in their fur are (in the grand scheme of things) a recent development.  It was first noticed about four centuries after the Sundering and, after an initial attempt to combat the spread of the flowers,  they usefulness was accepted and even encouraged as a helpful thing for both oxen and herders.

The flower oxen are, on average, fairly large for such animals, standing around 5 foot (1.5m) at the shoulder with the male oxen weighing in at around 770 lbs (350kg) and the female oxen at 605 lbs (275kg).  They are quite sizable and their bulky fur, especially with the plants growing out of them which adds another 45-65 (20-30kg) of weight, and making them seem much larger than they are.  The fur of the flower oxen is usually earthy brown to gray.

640px-Botanical-garden-2844202_1920The symbiotic plants grow and flower through much of the year, drawing on the body heat of their hosts to maintain activity.   Their flowers are rather lotus like in appearance and many part are edible or able to be used for other purposes, such as medicinal preparations.  The flower oxen only eat the symbiotic plants and flowers when there is no other food or when they are in need of the medicinal properties, which they seem inately aware off.  The plants provides an additional level of insulation, keep away insects and serve as an emergency source of food and medicine for their hosts and so are welcomed for all of their additional weight.

The flower oxen are raised for fur, meat and milk, and for the flowers, stalks and seeds of their symbiotic plants.  Their are carefully protected by their herders though a few groups have escaped into the wild, they have not roamed too far.  It seems that there is a narrow band of terrain that is perfects for the symbiotic plants to thrive in and the flower oxen are loath to loose the benefits of their symbiotic friends.

Notes:  Just an idea that came to me and I very much like the visual impression that it made in my mind’s eye.

Image Upper- Musk Ox, Creator: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is in the Public Domain.  Lower – Lotus photo by Ke Hugo found on Wikimedia Commons and is, also, in the Public Domain (under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication).

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