One Horse. Two Lives.
Through cybernetics, these horses live a second life of noble service.
Abyssinians and The Karu
have a long relationship that goes back almost a thousand years. The tale says that one of the Kings of Garuda
started this unique harmony between horse and man. Some say it was the first of the Ludan Kings, Nzinga, who forged this union. Some say it was from one of the later successors. Either way, the King formed a bond with the horses not through fear or subjugation, but mutual understanding and respect. The Karu as a culture have always looked to nature for help, but it was the King that made it an institutional fact. The pairing with the Abyssinians is a unique partnership that lasted long past the King that established it. A bond unlike any in Garuda
The arrangement is simple. The Karu
protect the Abyssinian's land and young ones (known as colts) from harm or intrusion. While the Abyssinians are large horses capable of defending themselves, the large area they graze has always made this protection tenuous at best. The thought of humans protecting their land is something no one in The Animal Kingdom
had considered before. This notion has isolated the Abyssinians from other horses and much of the Kingdom. But the ebony horses also had an agenda unlike the rest as well. They wanted to transcend death in a way that usually only humans dreamed of. The prospect of doing that was worth what animals felt was a deep moral trade-off.
It's actually kind of majestic really. The way they sort of trot in is so prideful. Most humans would feel feeble and weak, being at the end of there life at all. But Abyssinians, I don't think they know the word. They sort of just trot in, head held high like they're getting a new suit or something. That's the sort of confidence I want to have.
In return for humans acting as permanent security guards, the Abyssinians offered an interesting compromise. No noble steed at the time had allowed themselves to be ridden by a human. It was seen as a loss of freedom that only more "common" horses and such allowed. But in death, things were different. Abyssinians who were willing, and at the end of their lives, would allow themselves to be cyberdized. Their failing organs and flesh would be replaced with cybernetic parts, allowing the horse to live a second life. In this second life, they would act as transportation for humans of The Divine Order of the Phoenix
. However, the converted Abyssinians were not slaves or indentured servants. They served the Order for a set period of time to pay off the modifications and that alone.
When they're cyberdized, the horse makes an arrangement or Service Detail
with the The Divine Order of the Phoenix
. This states the specific period that the Abyssinian is required to work for the nation. It also specifies the work that can be asked of the horse and which things they are unwilling to do. Just like humans, each one has its own wants, needs, and quirks. Because of this, a specific rider or group of riders is assigned to the converted steed. Being able to work with the animal is paramount. Part of the arrangement with the horses is that it can be broken if the horse is asked to violate its conditions. An Abyssinian is an ally the Order can not afford to lose, and it's up to the rider to make sure they stay in good standing.
An Abyssinian can have many duties
Leisure or War
At the start of the cybernetic enhancement process, the horse has a choice of paths. This matters most at the beginning of their change because the parts and fitting will change based on the line of work the Abyssinian wants to get into. There are lines of work for leisure, which usually means civilian work. Labor, which usually means transportation or hauling of goods, or sometimes farm work. And finally, War, the most drastic of the paths available. These are the rarest and most powerful of Abyssinians with advanced parts and/or weaponry installed. Whatever line of work they go into, it's a permanent decision. The cyberdization process is one time only, and whatever path they go on is the path they stay on.
End of Duty
The Service Detail
can end a few ways. Either through the conclusion of its natural term of 100 years or more, through the assigned rider breaking the arrangement, or the dissolution of whatever path they were on. For instance, after The Longest Night
, a large portion of the War Abyssinians were let out of their Details early as the work for them dried up. Where the converted steeds go after their Service Detail is completely up to them. The Divine Order of the Phoenix
often spends years trying to court the veterans back with better contracts and perks. Many return once the offer is good enough. But some choose to roam the land as a free horse once again. Choosing where they go, and who, if anyone, will ride them again.
The heightened senses of a horse are only increased through the process of cyberdization. The hearing of an Abyssinian is second to none, with the average one being able to hear distinct sounds from miles away. Their sight is increased to slightly greater than that of humans, fixing one of the greatest flaws the horses have while alive. For those who tow an Azurean transport, they can link with it to control it like a fifth leg or extra tail.
The Design is sketched beforehand
The Divine Order of the Phoenix Official Flag