A dup? And what is this about cheese?
Dups are used as pack animals and as dairy or meat sources from Hillport to Eaglebrook.Think of something between an American bison and a rhinocerous, and that is getting close to what a dup looks like. The legs are quite stout, and the shoulders mound up behind the head. Wool hangs down in huge hunks of molding hair, which is gathered and prized in the spring to make great sweaters! These beasts are slow moving unless they are provoked. The males have horns that jut out forcefully from the skull, and they are not afraid to use them – especially in rutting season.
The tundra nomads breed dups in the far north. The dup diet is vegetarian. It’s a little bit troublesome because sometimes dups are finicky eaters when traveling, so don’t plan on them eating provisions you brought along. Also, plan on quite a large volume of food for each dup. They always like their tundra grasses though, as long as they can dig down to them through the snow. They travel better in the mountains than some pack animals, but they are much more adapted to the plains.
The shaggy coats are allowed to shed in the spring. Nomads don’t like to try to shear them, preferring to remove the shaggy wool from nettles and trees where the animals rub themselves to be rid of the heaviness before the summer heat arrives. Perhaps it is better to say the dups don’t like being sheared.
When dups are in the mating mood (early autumn), make sure you are some place else. Both sexes can be very difficult to keep under control at that time. Males will butt heads constantly until one backs down or is killed. Calves are born in the late spring, which is when the tundra is coming to life a little bit for a brief, warm summer. They are full sized and ready for mating in 2 years. The lifespan is quite long – 25 to 40 years is not uncommon.
Nomads use the milk of the dup females to make a strong cheese that smells a little bit like somebody vomited. It tastes pretty good though – especially on a cold day when you’re really hungry. Dup meat is quite rich and fortifying. One animal can feed a tribe for several weeks as needed. The meat is usually boiled down until it is very tender, and seasoned with heavy dollops of garlic, herbs, and other vegetables. The meat can be a little gamey, so additional spices are usually used. It makes for a very hearty stew!
South of the Northern Rim, dup meat is treated much the same as any other meat – jerked, smoked, fried, ground or in large cubes held briefly over a flame and consumed nearly raw.
Most of the animal can be used – including the hide, bones, teeth, horns and wool. Several internal organs are also consumed by the nomads. Perhaps if you travel there they may share their recipes with you?