“You don’t want to leave Zion. You’d rather kill every last one of the White Legs.”
“Given those two choices, yes. In the best of all possible worlds, they would just leave us in peace. But they won’t. I don’t enjoy killing, but when done righteously, it’s just a chore, like any other.”
Okay, other than finally meeting (and hearing) the famous Joshua Graham, the tribes of Zion Canyon were my favorite part of the “Honest Hearts” DLC. And why shouldn’t they be? From a cultural standpoint, the Dead Horses are informative and provide some cool information about their people (even if they had a little trouble fighting the White Legs…)
First off, their symbol. The icon of the Dead Horses is basically two lizards in mirrored positions, in a very simple but interesting design. While I couldn’t find a specific tribe in the American Southwest with any legends about lizards, a common belief of Southwest tribes is that lizards (if they served as spirit guides) could cure the sick. In addition, due to their habit of lying in the shadows of rocks to stay hidden, they have sometimes been referred to as walkers of dreams. Since it’s implied that the Dead Horses are a shamanistic tribe, it would be reasonable and makes sense that they may have healers; if they knew about the Pre-War symbol they were making, it seems kinda cool to me.
Secondly, their tribe’s traits and behaviors. I like how they mark their game-filled territory with chalk to let younger, less-experienced tribe members have a better chance of succeeding while they’re hunting (and while it helps other tribes take food as well, it’s an interesting characteristic). I have been curious about how they make the chalk, and other questions; do they use the chalk for drawing as the same coloring for facial and body tattoos? Have they thought about making the chalk into dye, is that possible? etc.
I like how as a tribe, their society isn’t really that heavy on currency and is focused more on trade; it’s even played as a joke with a statement made by Follows-Chalk! (“Why do you carry all those bottlecaps, anyway? They jangle like crazy.”) <– This I find extra funny considering I asked myself this the moment I found out bottlecaps were the Wasteland’s currency. Like, you’re trying to stealthily walk around the Wastes and you’ve got hundreds of metal bits clanging in your pocket, for God’s sake!
But my favorite part about the Dead Horses has got to be their language. It’s a creole language! Basically, a creole language is a stable language developed from a pidgin language, a pidgin language being a simpler form of language between two groups that don’t speak the same thing. Example of a creole language outside the Wasteland is French Creole in the Caribbean are, which was originally a pidgin language of French and African dialects that formed due to the immersion of African slaves in the French market. Eventually, the pidgin evolved and become it’s own separate language.
In the Dead Horse’s language, things get a bit more interesting. We’ve got a lot more than just two languages combined: The Dead Horse’s language is a creole of English, and German predominantly, but also bits of Dutch and even a smattering of Navajo! The reason I say German is the more dominant in the language is due to some of the vocabulary when speaking to the Dead Horses, words that sound close to their German counterparts: owslandr = Ausländer, warum = warum, zooka = suchen, tsaig= zeignen, goot = Gut etc.
So yeah, the Dead Horses are pretty cool. Sie sind super cool!