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The Darkhad are a small people group generally located somewhere in outer Mongolia and inner Mongolia. (In rare moments, one may glimpse a Darkhad or two in central Mongolia, on his way back or forth.) The Darkhad are famous not for their wine, architecture, or even their shamans, but rather, they are known for their transhumance and Shamans.
Transhumance is a particular human attribute that specifies a certain characteristic of a people. Not to be confused with inhumane, non-human, or even semi-human, transhumance is a mystical idea that sometimes surfaces in the peoples across the world. Reseachers are still attempting to determine the exact definition and reason for transhumance, but so far to no avail.
Recently, though, a breakthrough has been achieved. In a spectacular and daring mission, Bruce of the BBC travelled far into Darkhad territory in order to be the first to finally find more about the mysterious phenomenon of transhumance. While many anthropologists, archeologists, and scientologists have postulated that the term refers to a rare kind of trance (hence the name transhumance) achieved by llamas in the region that have strayed a little to far from the Andes, Bruce was not so sure about the true meaning of the word. Determined, he travelled to the heart of the Darkhad territory, to the heart of true meaning of the word transhumance.
Initially, he hired an experienced Darkhad-tracker. With the help of him, a jeep, and some raw meat to lure the Darkhad to his patented Darkhad-trap, he set out on his mission. For days and days, he drove through the vast steppes of Mongolia without seeing a single Darkhad. Finally, about 500 miles south-west of Lake Baikal, a rogue Darkhad finally blundered into one of his patented raw-meat traps. Upon questioning, though, the revealed himself to be not a Darkhad, but simply a nomad travelling the desert. Dissapointed and dejected, Bruce drove on. It was on the sixth day that he finally spotted a whole herd of Darhads travelling the vast, flat plain. They looked surprisingly human, and with gestures of friendship, quantities of raw meat and a cautionary flame thrower, Bruce slowly approached them, but returned with a rather surprised and embarassed look after finding out that it was another group of scientists searching for the true meaning of transhumance. And while on the topic, the unfortunate reader has just read a whole paragraph leading to nothing, as the unfortunate reader still does not know the meaning of transhumance.
edit Shamans in Darkhad society
Darhad society has three main pillars of existence: The Cow(or yak, for that matter), the funny hats with the flaps that go over the ears, and most importantly, the Shaman. Much has been researched about the Shaman, but not much has been found out. All that is known, though, is recorded here:
- A Shaman (or the Shamen, as the plural form is called), is a rare phenomenon that one can occasionally come across when visiting the Darkhad. They usually inhabit lone tents that from any given point take a whole days journey to approach, thus making transport there highly inconvenient.
- Shamen are usually found dancing and uttering strange and unintelligible words. If you happen to see a solitary Darkhad dancing and singing somewhere in Mongolia, the chances are high that it is a Shaman. If so, approach cautiously. Waking a dancing Shaman from his trance can have negative consequences, such as a Mongolian curse, another Mongolian curse, or another Mongolian curse. If, though, there is a fire nearby, or a hot iron, or a kitchen stove, the dancer is probably not a Shaman, but has simply burned his foot and jumping up and down yelling. Without close inspection, though, it is hard to distinguish between the two.
- The Shaman is all-powerful because he can communicate with the spirits. It is possibly for this a reason that he is so revered in Darkhad society. Many times have the faithful Darkhad silently watch a Shaman in a low-lit, quiet and tranquil tent communicate with a variety of spirits, such as wine, whisky, vodka, and once even petrol. Curiously, the petrol proved the most responsive when held above the ceremonial candle-light, even though petrol does not contain any spirit. The only reason for this can be the might of the shaman to communicate to any kind of spiritual objects. It is generally after this chat with the spirits that the shaman starts his widely revered dancing and singing. Lately, several Shamans have claimed to communicate with a variety of other substances, such as heroin, crack, and occasionally even LSD. “Wine will do, but heroin just gets the Spirits coming much faster,” commented Shaman Woo gong chuk. Surprisingly, the traditional dance and singing has become happier and louder.
- Shamen are a joyous crowd. Clearly, they obtain their happyness from the tranquil and peaceful dialogue with the spirits, as they have been noted to be particularly happy after this ritual.
edit Advanced transport
The Darkhad are also known for their energy-efficient and comfortable advanced transport technology. Always conscious of the adverse effects of the automobile, the Darhad avoid this dirt-producing vehicle whenever possible, relying instead on their energy eficient methods of travelling: the Yak. Three primary methods of transportaion exist: Riding on top of the Yak, hanging in a basket on the side of the Yak, or being pulled on a hand-crated sled behind the Yak. The latter is said to be extra comfortable, escpecially on steep mountains. The Darkhad transport research team reports that while the energy-efficience of this new technology is immense, the speed could be improved. Recent experiments have been tried with riding under a Yak, but transportation research experts say that while the speed was indeed improved, the comfort level dropped slightly. “But,” says scientist Wong-chek Plou, “being driven over by a car also happends, so why complain when a Yak trampels over you? After all, every technology has its price.” The test-driver, who is currently in hospital on life support, was unable to comment. “All the same, though, we advise this method of transport mostly for fit, able young men. Of course, it should be perfectly safe, but Grannies are advised to abstain from this modern method. The reason is simply the shock of modern technology; for some old people, this can just be too much to handle,” cautioned the transport expert, “But even if you happen to be trampled on (through entirely your own fault), there's always the Shaman down the road to help you with his spirit-consultancy.”