Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nomadic Tortoisefolk and Finchfolk

Some time ago in a Google+ post I asked for a nomadic race of creature that travel long distances on foot. I would like someday to draw a large banner of a caravan of them walking in the desert.


Here is our discussion, this is how I liked to use G+. <3

Benjamin F
The tortoisefolk are huge and heavy, strong as mountains, about as quick. They wander the midlands, all their possessions lashed to their shelled backs in towering heaps of chests and barrels bags sacks crates and bundles. They sway along, singing slow low songs, almost too deep for human ears to hear, felt like a rumble in the chest. When the stars are right, they unship their possessions, raise their yurts into the shape of the prevailing moon and stomp down a dancing circle in the middle, where they perform their stamp-dances to raise good fortune for the next leg of their endless migration.

Evlyn M
Ok there is a second species that follows them around. They are dependent of the tortoises. The tortoises tolerates them and may see some minor benefits in their presence.

Benjamin F
In nature, there are several small breeds of finch which follow large tortoises around and eat the bugs and other small parasites that live in and around their folds and shells. Could be something like that maybe?

Benjamin B
I really need Finchfolk in my life. I'm imagining a bright little fatbird in a hooded jerkin.

Evlyn M
Did they lose their ability to fly?

Benjamin B
flightless, but they build kites from reeds and precious waxed paper, and the tortoises will tow the lead-lines, letting the finchins soar like their ancestors.

Benjamin F
Given that they have followed the tortoise folk for generations, perhaps they simply forgot how. Perhaps it is part of their cultural history to revere the wind and sky and their ancestors who were so much closer to it.

Benjamin F
Which, with the addition of kites, I now see the long lines of tortoises having colorful banners on thin poles whipping in the wind as they travel. Sometimes it's all you can see above the dust.

Evlyn M
I am trying to draw a bunch of characters walking together. I am having a bit of difficulty finding how to draw their back shell so that it don't unbalance their walk. I am tempted now to let them walk on four legs when they do long distances. I wonder if a back shell would be of any use to a upright bipedal humanoid.

Benjamin F
In my head they were walking on all fours. Even monkeys who theoretically can walk on two legs and use their hands for everything usually travel on all fours.

Evlyn M
yeah I think this make more sense.

Benjamin B
I imagined them curved over in a hunch, short back legs, longer arms that could double as legs. Their load would sway gently, a counter motion to their stride not unlike the subtle sway of people carrying loads on their head.

Benjamin B


Evlyn M
I will try to draw them walking on four legs using their knuckles like a gorilla.

Benjamin B
Perhaps more than one can cooperate, each carrying the corner of a large palanquin or pallet. Maybe they carry their Holly of Hollies with them, a temple of driftwood timbers preserved from their ancient island home, before they crossed to the mainland.

Evlyn M
Short legs and big gorilla like forearms, I like this visually.

Benjamin B
Had an idea - you know how some bit tortoises have big spike-like forms on their shells and limbs? The tortoisfolk would carve and round these into tie-down points to lash their loads to.

Benjamin F
Pretty sure the finch-folk also hang little baskets for the young and elderly off these.
Benjamin B
this is magnificent. Nest Baskets. Kites with bright ribbon tails. Its such a great mix of dour and steadfast and bright and flighty.

Benjamin B
Finchfolk are a short-lived people. They hatch from eggs, grow to maturity in a couple of years, and are venerable in their 30's. They are incredibly verbose, chattering constantly - they maintain their oral culture not by using the elderly as a repository, but by getting everyone up to speed incredibly quickly.

By contrast, the tortoisfolk are incredibly long-lived, reproduce only rarely (and indifferently), and are tough enough that this survival strategy works for them. So they're routinely a thousand plus years old, and would have seen generation after generation of finchfolk. Perhaps each finch family considers one of the tortoises to be 'theirs' - like a senior family member. "Grandad" or "Nanna". Each finch family anchors to one tortoise. And despite being dower and grumpy, the tortoises are very protective of their finches, and endure having their shells painted gaudy colors, and their belaying horns hung with shiny found objects and ribbon and the artwork of a hundred generation of fenchlings.

Benjamin F
I bet some of the tortoises are like the Ents in Lord of the Rings; super talkative about sleep inducing subjects of utmost interest to elderly tortoise folk.


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