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Horses, Unicorns and Equines in Korovia

Korovia and the fantasy world of Aoerth has a wide variety of equines, from your common quarter horses to the rare uniconrns, but there are many other fantastical creatures to be found in Korovia and the surrounding kingdoms. Especially in a world where the god of equines (Zeukal) is a thing and there is consequentially a wide variety of magical horses and equines...

In Alphabetical Order...

Constellation - This immortal magical horse usually only appears at night and can be seen in the rearing horse shaped constellation of the same name. However the horse is said to sometimes appear to those people who are in desperate need and pray to the horse god Zeukal. Some people even believe that the magical horse which appears and helps people is actually Zeukal himself, but scholars widely dispute this idea as "hogwash and poppycock". Instead many scholars, and commonfolk, rightly believe that Constellation is an agent of Zeukal sent by the god, but not Zeukal himself. Whatever the case, Constellation is always described as a jet black horse that shimmers with starlight from his mane, tail, hooves and eyes. Impressively large, the horse is nonetheless capable of incredible speeds as it flies across the terrain, over forests and mountains, never tires - and reputedly is very good at kicking both bandits and trolls.

Donkey - An equine commonly used for carrying burdens or farm labour, donkeys are the preferred beasts of burden for merchants (especially those who travel through mountainous terrain) and dwarves. The most popular breeds are the Loqland donkey (which is taller and faster) and the Stilornvian donkey (which is shorter, but very sturdy and known for its endurance).

Horses - Including standardbred, thoroughbred, quarter horses and more. These are your every day horses used by the common people of Korovia, whether they be large draft horses for working farms, riding horses, war horses, racing horses, etc. While the wealthy can afford to buy the more expensive varieties of horses, such horses can also be found amongst the lowliest bandits, horse thieves, and their bones littering the dens of trolls (horse flesh is the favourite food of trolls). Many travelers prefer to use geldings which are less likely to be spooked by monsters which inhabit the deep woods of Korovia, but still provide much of the speed and stamina that a stallion or a mare would have.

Mules - A cross between a horse and a donkey. Cheaper than a horse, very strong and reasonably fast, but not well suited for combat.

Nightmares - These beasts are frequently black, grey or charcoal with hooves licked with demonic red fires and described as having fiery red eyes. As an evil magical breed of equine they are considered to be sacred to both the red moon Xarsius and to the equine god Zeukal. Nightmares are bigger, stronger, faster and more intelligent than normal horses, capable of speech, and according to legend they are able to enter the dreams of victims to torment them. Hence the name "Nightmare". (See the novella "The Cult of the She-Bear" by Charles Moffat for one instance of Nightmare.)

Pegasi - These flying equines are slightly smaller than most thoroughbred horses, but have impressive wingspans which allow them to fly. An elusive species they often inhabit grasslands and forest glens, preferring the company of fairies, brownies, unicorns and whitetail deer. They are very peaceful and despise captivity. Despite this, young foals are often captured by miscreants and raised in captivity where they are trained to carry a human rider. A fully trained pegasus can fetch thousands of gold sovereigns on the black market. The capture and sale of pegasi is banned in many cities, but this just means there is a booming trade for such steeds in cities like Koastmark which are less worried about legal issues.

Ponies - The Habbelund Pony is the most popular breed of pony, known for its impressive endurance and speed, despite its small size. It is the preferred work animal in Habbelund, but also ideal for pony racing (see below). Other breeds of pony exist and vary in size and speed.

Pony Racing - The national pastime of Habbelund is pony racing. Habs love to gamble on the pony races, play hockey and eat poutine (a concoction of fries potatoes, cheese curds and gravy). As such many Habs consider these three things to be sacrosanct within their culture. Pony Racing in Habbelund (and southern parts of Korovia) is quite common and any large town or city has its own 2-mile long pony racing track. Unlike common horse tracks which go in one big oval shape (or a rectangle with curved corners) pony race tracks are all different shapes, providing the jockeys with a different experience at each different race track. The jockey's ability to navigate the race track (safely) is considered to be part of the challenge, and the pony's agility, endurance and speed are all being tested with tight pinhead curves and hammerhead corners (so called because they resemble a hammerhead). Some race tracks even have obstacles which need to be jumped over or circumvented, preferably without slowing down too much.

Ulmaster - This immortal black unicorn is said to be sacred to the equine god Zeukal and inhabits Ulmaster's Forest north of the mining town of Kazark. Thousands of years old, Ulmaster has ruled the forest he calls home since the Stone Age (the First Age), and during which time he has met many heroes, defeated dragons (see the Fables of the Jackalope), and enough exploits to fill an encyclopedia collection of children's books. He is frequently depicted in wooden children's toys as an unusually large black unicorn with silver eyes. Ulmaster guards the forest from intruders, especially poachers, and the saying goes that "Only a desperate poacher would be suicidal enough to hunt in Ulmaster's Forest."

Unicorns - These breed of magical equines with spiralling horns that come from their foreheads come in a variety of colourations (brown, white, grey, golden, black, charcoal and roan), but are always quite large (bigger than a Loqland war horse) and intelligent. Capable of speech, unicorns are shy around humans and avoid interacting with most humanoids in general. They will, sometimes, associate with virgin humans or elves that they sense are purehearted and don't seek to harm the unicorns - and for good reason, unicorn horns are highly valued by poachers and wizards.

Unicorn Poaching - The mining town of Kazark is particularly known for unicorn poaching, but there are rumours of other places in Korovia where unicorn poaching continues to be a problem. Ulmaster's Forest is one of the few places where unicorns are known to inhabit, safe in the knowledge that Ulmaster does a very good job of protecting the forest - many a rotting corpse has been found near the edge of the woods with clear signs that they were impaled by a single long horn. Unicorn horns sell for thousands of gold sovereigns to any wizard in need of such a horn (typically they are used for making wands, but they have other usages too).

Water Horses - These magical horses can run across water, dive beneath the waves and perform acrobatic tricks both above and below the waves - because they're made of water. They are sacred to both the water/ice goddess Karolina the Cold and the equine god Zeukal. They aren't exceptionally large or small, but it is rumoured that Water Horses can shapechange to assume the size/shape of any horse they wish to. There are even stories of water horses mimicking pegasi or unicorns, but such stories should be taken with a dram of saltwater.

Further Research: Individuals wanting to learn more about horses should check out magazines like Horse Sport Magazine or visit your local library to find books about horses, horse breeds, horse riding, etc. Charles Moffat had horse riding lessons in his youth, and has since developed a life long affection for horses. He worked at the Hanover Raceway (a horse racing track) when he was a teenager, and worked at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto during his 20s. He reports that it is his dream to someday buy a horse farm, raise horses, and teach equestrian archery.




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