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Nightmares

The creature snorted, tongues of flame erupting from its nostrils and dissipating in twisting curls of white smoke into the cold night air. Its iron hooves thundered with each strike of the stone road, sparks flashing as it galloped ever faster. Its smooth black fur shimmered as it surged forward, its body a mass of toned muscle and sinew, its mane and tail wreathed in flame. The rider gripped her mount tighter as they reached the end of the viaduct. With a great leap, the beast launched into the sky. It seemed to hang for a moment as a shadowy miasma expelled from its body, swirling around horse and rider. The swirling shadows flattened and took form, a leathery pair of black wings beating against the air. The creature whinnied, diving down into the abyss like a bird of prey...   Nightmares are living shadows in the form of warhorses, capable of running as fast as the wind across any surface, including water. They can change forms as well, becoming pegasi, hippocampi and unicorns as needed by their riders. When not in use, they are typically bound to a magical totem, such as a gem of pure black stone or a small carved figurine or piece of jewelry.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Nightmares are constructed creatures of living shadow and flame, bound to a horse. While they lack a single, discrete form, nightmares typically resemble warhorses, such as destriers or coursers. They are muscular and solidly built, standing on four legs ending with iron hooves. They adapt to the needs to their riders, and often can be seen with draconic or feathered wings, spiraling horns or fishtails.

Genetics and Reproduction

Nightmares do not reproduce, but instead exist as living vessels of shadow and flame, bound to a living horse. The method to recreating this powerful magik is currently lost.

Ecology and Habitats

Nightmares, as constructs, have no natural habitat. They are typically found in Faerie, by virtue of their owners, although may be taken into Bedoaur with no ill effects

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Nightmares were created as mounts and warhorses for the Sidhe Courts. When not being actively used, they are typically bound to a small totem, such as a black gem or sculpture, and are summoned by their masters into corporeal form.   Notoriously willful, they will not hesitate to buck off a rider they disapprove of, turning round to trample them to death with their iron hooves. As a result, ownership of most nightmares are maintained within certain bloodlines, such as the noble houses of the Tuatha de Danaan. Vindictive, they can dissolve into shadow and mist if they choose, returning to their totem, often at the expense of an unfortunate rider.   Nightmares are shapeshifters, capable of springing shadowy wings or unicorn horns. They can run on any surface without faltering, including ice, sand and water.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Nigthmares can be found all over Faerie and Alvez, ranging from the Northern Islands of Fjallkonan to the southern deserts of Ubar, and everywhere in between. They are more common to find in northern climes, but this is more a result of the locations of owners rather than any other factor.

Average Intelligence

Nightmares are considerably more intelligent than mortal horses, possessing remarkable insight and an almost sentient understanding of their master's will.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Nightmares possess sensory capabilities on par with normal horses. They show remarkable insight at times, leading to speculation they may possess extrasensory capabilities beyond their mortal kin.

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

Nightmares must be bound to a normal horse, fusing into a singular entity to continue to exist.
Conservation Status
The are only a finite number of nightmares in the world, prized possessions of those who possess them, the binding magik that created them lost in the mists of Faerie. Great care is taken to ensure their survival, often kept in the treasure halls of Faerie.
Average Height
147-157 cm
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Nightmares typically have shiny black fur, uniformly dark for the entire body. Its mane and tail are made of unburning flames.   Pure white versions of nightmares exist, shining with blinding radiance and silver manes. These variants are exceptionally rare.

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