Here is an excerpt from my book Zootaloot. It is the beginning of adventures starring the chief of the Cow tribe. Until I can research Swahili names the way I did Gaelic names for the Pig tribe, I’ll use whatever names come to mind as placeholders.
Fabian and the Rhino Village
Three months before arriving at Zootaloot Farm, Oak stood on the periphrary of a Rhino village in on the Southern Plain. It was late spring, and it was hot, and the grasses were tall, and the crops of corn, and yams, and other delicious vegetables were in full bloom. Behind him were many of the clay brick huts of the Rhinomen, as well as many of his people going to and fro about their business. Some carrying weapons and shields, others carrying baskets of supplies. Here and there were sullen looking Rhinos, with bandages wrapped around their noses. Also going to and fro were several chocolate colored humans of the Cow tribe, some carrying buckets of water, some baskets of fruit, some had spears and swords. They all wore light, flowing robes and tunics that helped them stay cool in the hot sun of the region. A couple humans tended to the sick Rhinos, changing their bandages and washing the wasting flesh on their noses.
Two of the humans were wizards, they carried leather bound books, and their chin whiskers were twisted into thick braids that descended a foot or more, as was their custom. These two spoke with several persons: a Rhino physician who augmented his usual armaments with pouches of herb and salves; a wizard of the Horse tribe, his light, freckled faced accented with a dark and thick red beard with braids from the corners of his mouth; and last a sea elf wizard, his gaunt and petite frame decorated with assorted dried fish tails, crab claws, and other fetishes of a seafaring shaman. They all spoke Elvish, the trade dialect of the continent. “I don’t think the cause is a bacteria,” said one of the Cow Wizards. “Tree didn’t see anything unusual in her microscope.” “Could it be a fungus?” asked the Horse Wizard. “Nay, the usual anti-fungal ointments didn’t help,” answered the Rhino physician. And on they debated.
About thirty yards away, Oak stood Fabian, the chief of this group of humans. Tall, quite handsome, and hairless, he had a sincere smile devoid of stress lines or wrinkles, and wore a beaded necklace with a small golden bull head. Tied to his waist was a belt with a finely made sword, and he had a gourd of fermented punch in his hand as he talked with Oak and a large, elderly bull cow. The three spoke frankly together as old friends.
Oak said, “I appreciated your kind words at the funeral last night, Fabian. Maple really loved you.”
Fabian replied, “Let’s drink to her memory. She was a great warrior.” With that, he tilted back the gourd and took a massive gulp, and some punch ran down his chin, and handed it to Oak, who also took a large draught, and offered it to the bull.
“Nay, I shouldn’t drink alcohol,” said the Bull. “But I will instruct my cows to fertilize a coffee field in her name, as she loved coffee.”
They chatted on about this and that. The wizards and physicians were stumped as to the cause of the infection afflicting some of the Rhinos. There were healers or wizards arriving from many lands. Fabian’s people sent messages to all the tribes of free poeples, elf, men and dwarf, but none seemed to have the answer to the mysterious disease that plagued the Rhinos.
Oak had arranged to send scouts to scour the contintent for help, and would take his son and go to the land of the Pigs to find Artur.
“Artur?” asked Fabian. “I have some coffee beans for his wife. I know how much the Frogs love their coffee. Could you bring it?”
Oak said, “Of course my friend.” He caught the sight of a juvenile Rhino woman, his own daughter. “Perhaps, Fabian, you could do me a favor.” He turned and called to his daughter. “Samarra, come here girl.”
A few seconds later a Rhino female, about age 9 (they become full adults at 10), almost six feet tall, arrived. She wore two swords, two axes, and leaned on a spear. “Hello father! Hello Fabian. Hello cow?”
The bull nodded.
“Fabian,” said Oak. “I’d like you to look after Samarra, and keep her out of trouble.”
Fabain smiled, “I’ll look after her as if she were my own daughter.” And with that he put his arm around her shoulder.
Samarra was about to return the gesture, when a cow galloped around one of the huts at high speed, kicking up a cloud of dust. Standing atop the cow was Fabian’s fourteen year old daughter K’Tanga, a cute, hairless girl with round cheeks, and she let out a whoop as she approached. “Zootaloot father! Whoa!” and lost her balance as she passed the four persons, and tumbled into a gorse bush, laughing hysterically at her own clumsiness.
“Like that daughter?” Oak laughed. They all laughed, even the bull, who mooed his amusment. “If my beloved daugher can avoid standing on charging cows without a harness, I think she’ll survive.”