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The Kyrosian Warhorse-Sharp

Steel sang sweetly in the dawn air as fires burned, shrouding the sky in a reddish-orange haze. Tasoss reveled in this scene; a successful raid always brought a smirk to the scarred face of the pirate captain. The seaside town had been both foolish and prideful, refusing to pay him tribute, and now they paid the price. In truth, Tasoss relished their suffering; he was a sadist at heart, deriving satisfaction from seeing others broken and weeping. In his twisted mind, it justified his strength and power.   Kyrosa, the island of the Amazons, held particular allure for him. Few pirates could boast of intimidating or raiding a land inhabited by its fierce warrior women, and he sought to establish himself as a dread pirate, a man among men, by conquering these Amazons.   Tasoss sneered, dismissing the notion of women warriors as alien to his mindset. Their defeat would prove, in his eyes, that his belief was correct and that the tales of Kyrossian ferocity were mere myths.   As a hardened raider and captain of several ships, Tasoss's life had been a long, bloody journey. In his world, might made right, shaping him into a living weapon. Instinctively, he sidestepped the thrust of a woman mounted on a large black steed. He remained focused on the armored woman who wielded a spear and aimed it relentlessly at him, trying to pierce his defenses.   Tasoss had faced riders on horseback before, and though the addition of a war beast presented a challenge, it was not insurmountable. His agile movements turned the rider's spear thrusts into glancing blows against his mail shirt and kept him out of the path of the powerful hooves of her warhorse. This could prove to be a good fight, he thought.   However, Tasoss made a grave mistake when he realized the horse-like creature had turned its neck and lunged to bite his shoulder. Trusting in his mail to protect him, he allowed the bite, conserving his energy to confront the rider.   It was only then that he realized his error. The "horse" he thought he was facing was no horse at all. Its jaws were unnaturally wide, filled with razor-sharp fangs and crushing strength. Agonizing pain coursed through him as those jaws tore through his mail, shattering his collarbone like a twig beneath a boot. The creature, far from equine, jerked its powerful neck, flinging Tasoss across the ground, agony ripping through his broken collarbone as he tumbled.   Struggling to regain his senses, Tasoss locked eyes with what could only be described as a nightmare—a warhorse with lupine jaws and powerful neck muscles designed to subdue prey. Its fanged muzzle was now stained with his blood. The Amazon rider wasted no time, hurling her spear. Despite the searing pain, Tasoss tried to evade the blow, but his injury caused him to misstep. His world exploded into agony, accompanied by the sound of the steel spear shattering his knee.   Recoiling in pain, he attempted to lift his sword arm, but another horrifying crunch echoed through the city square. His sword clattered to the cobbles as his hand, once strong and dominant, was turned into a mangled mess of crushed bone and shattered fragments. His curses, a litany of pain, pride, and bewilderment, filled the air as he reeled.   "End him," the Amazon said, her voice cold and matter-of-fact. Tasoss was nothing to her—mere raider scum unwelcome on her island. His eyes widened in terror, and his last sight was the deadly fangs of the "horse" that was no horse, closing in on his windpipe.   The Kyrossian Horse   The Kyrosian Horse, a truly unique and enigmatic creature of Kyrosia, showcases the island's penchant for evolutionary marvels. Despite its initial appearance resembling a regular horse, it is a distinct species born from its own peculiar evolutionary path. These horses are renowned for their long jaws and saber-like fangs, distinguishing them from their more conventional equine counterparts. Their lineage can be traced back to carnivorous ungulates like the Andrewsarchus, yet they have assumed a more horse-like form.   In contrast to typical herd-oriented horses, Kyrosian Horses are solitary beings. They are often dubbed "flesh-eating horses" due to their omnivorous diet and scavenging habits. These formidable creatures rely on endurance, speed, and strength to hunt, pursuing prey relentlessly before delivering a decisive strike with their formidable fangs. They are opportunistic eaters, and their diet includes everything from stealing other hunters kills to grains and other plants when prey is scarce.   Interestingly, only the resourceful Kyrossian people have managed to tame these formidable creatures. Breaking a wild Kyrosian mare, especially given their larger size and increased aggressiveness, is considered a rite of passage among Amazon families. While male Kyrosian horses are tamed for labor, it is the mares that become prized warhorses, embodying the ferocity and resilience of the Amazon culture. Surprisingly, these creatures are not as challenging to care for as one might expect, primarily subsisting on grains and grasses, occasionally rewarded with bones and fresh meat as treats for their loyal service.   The legacy of the Kyrosian Horse lives on through countless myths and legends, with tales of the fearsome Flesh-Eating Mares embodying the essence of Amazonian strength and courage. Many Amazon clans proudly bear the silhouette of these awe-inspiring war animals on their shields, their bared fangs symbolizing defiance and savage determination. The Kyrosian Horse stands as a testament to the island's remarkable biodiversity and the adaptability of the Amazon warrior caste.
  (Art by Midjourny)

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