The Mount System
Mounts – The Unsung Heroes
My kingdom, my kingdom for a horse. Such is the trade that many a valorous warrior would have been willing to make in the thick of battle.
Whether it is to convey a brave adventurer from one city to the next or to allow a fearless warrior to charge headlong into battle, mounts serve to greatly increase the rate of travel when speed is of the essence. Far from being frail beasts of burden, the likes of which are used by merchants and farmhands, the mighty steeds used by Galgaron’s finest are truly a sight to behold. Thoroughbred chargers raised in the heat of battle, they are accustomed to the chaos of war and are willing to protect, carry and assist their masters in even the harshest of environments.
Several species of mounts are currently known to Galgaron’s proud defenders, of which the following are but a selection. The Windsnatchers and Razorclaws are fleet of foot with razor-sharp beaks and claws. They were tamed cautiously over long periods of time in order to evolve a swift mount capable of delivering warriors into the thick of battle. Whether captured and tamed or raised by hand, Shimmerons are powerful hunters occasionally glimpsed in the darkest forests of Galgaron. Mixing natural feline grace and awe-inspiring musculature, they charge their enemies on the battlefield with relentless ferocity. Nightmares are often mistaken for simple warhorses at a distance, but the unmistakable stench of brimstone and their flaming hooves reveal the true nature of these fearsome mounts.
Through a careful process of nurturing, a mount may successfully be raised to serve an attentive master. The process by which mounts can be acquired is complex, but relatively easy to comprehend. It is divided in several stages:
Eggs can occasionally be obtained through transactions in the marketplace. Very seldom, a lucky adventurer may discover an exceptional creature, the appearance of which may vary from that of normal mounts.
Once discovered, the egg must be hatched in order to reach the larval state and, later on, the growing stage. The hatching phase of mounts is swift, often taking less than an hour, as the embryo reaches maturation within the shell. It is often claimed by scholars that this development may be further accelerated if some form of catalyst is utilized.
Emerging from the egg, the larval form (or “fledgling”) quickly reaches its adolescent stage, during which it may not yet be ridden, but may often affect the adventurer’s attributes and abilities. It is at this stage that nurturing is essential, for the bond between master and steed will truly be strengthened. It is also at this time that hidden talents and skills may first emerge. Feeding is of course now of the utmost importance, as the mount will require energy to truly develop its fullest potential. Once again, scholars claim that various accelerants, stimulants, hormones and enzymes may be used to train the mount, optimize its abilities and hasten this final growth phase before adulthood.
After a lengthy period of growth, its full potential is reached as the development culminates in adulthood. The mount may now be ridden, although its gift to learn new abilities and tricks has ended. It may nevertheless continue to grow in power and strength at its owner’s side as master and steed now face challenging battles together. Some scholars even profess that on a few rare occasions, a particularly single-minded and fierce steed may reach a final echelon of excellence and evolve into a truly mythical beast.
Excerpt from the Codex Argentum, originally penned by Tormine Silvermane:
“This much I have been able to assemble over the past months, though my eyesight has left me almost blind and our new arrival created much chaos amongst the men: It is said by many of the pandas who have assisted us in settling in this new land that the bond between beast and man has existed since the dawn of time. This I know to be true.
None knows how far back the history of symbiosis between elf and beast has existed, but it is said that the pandas were the first non-elves to domesticate the animals. Out of a desire to prevent attacks on the pandas when venturing outside of their monasteries and retreats, the elves were willing to share their knowledge and allow them to communicate with the wild beasts.
Speculation though it may be, our hosts have stated that the harmony between elf, panda and beasts was observed by the mysterious viridis and that their jealousy drove them to control their hearts and by delving into powerful sorcery, they tamed the beasts’ instincts, driving them to follow their desires.”
Prior to the 9th century, there is scant written history regarding the steeds of the ancestral inhabitants of these new shores. What does remain known is the long tradition of men utilizing beasts of burden, little more than meager warhorses, to meet their enemies in battle. It is however certain that at the advent of war, it is necessary for them to seek the wisdom of elder races and also come to domesticate the species roaming free in the wilderness of Galgaron.