Gakoruna

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Gakoruna
Status: Historical Figure
Aliases: the Planter
Race: Gor'Tog
Gender: Female
Relatives: Kronag (father)
Pagtump says, "It's not as well known a story, and it's about as likely to be factual as any of Kronag's are, but it speaks just as strong to who we Togs are, and that's why it has been passed down."

Pagtump says, "Her name was Gakoruna the Planter. Nobody knows who her mother was, and some stories say she wasn't Kronag's daughter by blood, but a toggler without parents that he adopted when we were turned out into the Long Winter."

Pagtump says, "That wasn't an uncommon thing, mind you. Slave families, as you might imagine, weren't always kept together, and when the S'Kra turned us out, it left a lot of orphaned togglers needing to be looked after."

Pagtump says, "It's a tradition that's come down to this day, in a lot of older Tog communities in particular. An old Tog saying is, "bakai aida para lui hani li-da."

Pagtump says, "That means, "children cry so all will be able to hear," which is to say that all Togs shoulder the responsibility to look after all togglers. We don't tend to get so caught up in who's blood is in who, as most other races do."

Pagtump says, "Even togglers from other clans fall under this rule. Our children are sacred. At least for those who hold with tradition."

Pagtump says, "But I'm getting off track here.."

Pagtump says, "Gakoruna then, being the child of Kronag, was what you might call a free spirit as well. She grew up wandering with her father all across the lands."

Pagtump says, "But where Kronag's love was logging, Gakoruna found her passion was planting."

Pagtump says, "They say wherever they went she would collect seeds and saplings and spread them along the way."

Pagtump says, "When she was no longer a toggler and went her own way, the stories say she would revisit those fields and groves she'd planted before and gather anew. Always choosing the biggest and heartiest of what had grown."

Pagtump says, "In this way, she's often credited by tradition, as having developed many of the crops we Togs hold dear."

Pagtump says, "What the Common tongue calls the green Tog fist apple, for instance, is often known simply as the gakoruna, or gakoruna mansam, to many Togs. Mansam being our word for apple, of course."

Pagtump says, "This story isn't about all that though, either. This is one of the earliest stories relating to Gakoruna, back when she was still just a growing toggler traveling with Kronag."

Pagtump says, "Times were lean during the Long Winter. We had been turned out, you may recall, because of the lack of food stores the S'Kra had left."

Pagtump says, "Starvation and hunger ran rampant among the newly turned out Togs. Many had worked in fields, but few were skilled in understanding the why behind the what of the work they had done."

Pagtump says, "It was then, during that early period, as Kronag her father was working to clear a forest for one of the very first Tog villages, that Gakoruna made a great discovery."

Pagtump says, "She went wandering through the outer woods, trying to help forage the few winter plants the Togs knew they could eat."

Pagtump says, "After a while she came to the edge of the forest, where she found a curious sight."

Pagtump says, "On that rocky plain she saw a herd of strange, shaggy creatures milling around, using their muzzles to turn over the soil and dig out the roots of what looked like short, spindly weeds."

Pagtump says, "With more curiosity than caution, little Gakoruna approached the creatures, trying to see just what those large roots were."

Pagtump says, "Now the herd had never seen a Gor'Tog any more than a Gor'Tog had ever seen a tarupamki. That's what they were, by the way, and more on that later."

Pagtump says, "By nature the tarupamki are a bit gruff, even a little belligerent, and so many in the small herd started to circle the toggler."

Pagtump says, "Gakoruna wasn't one to be fearful by nature, and like most good Togs, was single-minded when it came to achieving a goal, and what Gakoruna cared about was those roots."

Pagtump says, "She didn't notice she'd been surrounded by the stamping, stomping herd until one of them nudged her arm with one of its big, broad horns."

Pagtump says, "When she realized the trouble she was in, Gakoruna was terrified and it seemed that would be the end for her."

Pagtump says, "But remember.. the children cry..."

Pagtump says, "Gakoruna's cry of fright reached high and far, and the plight of the innocent toggler trying to help her people was not lost on Truffenyi."

Pagtump says, "Truffenyi's mercy came in an unusual way, but one fortunate for Tog and tarupamki ever since."

Pagtump says, "From beneath the shaggy wall of the herd surrounding the toggler, a young tarupamki waddled, in the way only a little tarupamki can waddle, up to Gakoruna and nuzzled her on the chin."

Pagtump says, "Startled and wishing to hide from the danger somehow, Gakoruna flung her arms around the young tarupamki, heedless of the strong, well known and noble odor of the creature."

Pagtump says, "To those who have never been fortunate enough to have known a tarupamki, their name means, "cheese horse," in our language."

Pagtump says, "The name comes from the very pungent smell they have. Most non-Togs find the smells offensive, but to many of us, it is like the smell of home and loyalty, if loyalty had a smell."

Pagtump says, "Almost as quickly as it had gathered around the toggler, the herd began to disperse again, to wander and to return to its idle foraging."

Pagtump says, "Now.. Gakoruna didn't understand at first, but in time she came to realize that tarupamki and Tog both share one important quality."

Pagtump says, "Hugging the little tarupamki had covered Gakoruna in its scent. Tarupamki use smell to tell things apart, since their shaggy fur is often in the way of their eyes, and so as far as the herd was concerned, there was no more toggler, and only two little tarupamki where there had only been one."

Pagtump says, "The tarupamki then, much like a Tog, will never do harm to their young."

Pagtump says, "Gakoruna was thankful to the little tarupamki that had saved her, and shared with it some of the foods of the forest she had already gathered. Then she pulled up one of the large roots the herd had been eating, and set on her way back toward Kronag and her people."

Pagtump says, "She quickly realized though, that the little tarupamki had decided to follow her. Try though she might, she couldn't get it to return to the herd, so she went back to her people, to see if one of them could help."

Pagtump says, "Well it wasn't long before the Togs discovered that they, too, could eat the large roots, nor did it take long for them to learn to befriend the tarupamki on the plain. The Togs found that these roots grew well even in the cold of the Long Winter, and even in rocky soil where most other plants would not."

Pagtump says, "That first little tarupamki grew quickly, and was never far from Gakoruna's side all the rest of their days. Gakoruna named her Bildala, which is Princess, in our tongue."

Pagtump says, "Those roots, as the story goes, were the first turnips harvested by Togs. Though even if the story is true, it's most likely that they were more akin to rutabagas than turnips, which don't grow in times quite as cold."

Pagtump says, "Her father is given more of the credit for popularizing the turnip among Togs though, all-in-all. It's said that once he had tasted them for the first time, Kronag would eat nothing else, and so he carried with him wherever he went a great sack of turnips."

Pagtump says, "He would share them with those he happened across, and would teach them what he had learned from Gakoruna, about how to plant and look after the hearty crop, and thus put an end to much of the starvation wherever he went."

Pagtump says, "There are many other, even lesser known stories of Gakoruna and Bildala, but this is the most important one to pass down. I hope I have done it some justice, and through the telling, perhaps given you some insight into who we are, and why we are that way."