|Official Name||Casecabillas Stallion|
|Common Nicknames||Avant Horse|
|Habitat||Ularen Plains in Daen|
The Casecabillas Stallion has been part of the lives of Altalar since the dawn of their civilization. Evolving into a beast of war, the devastation of the Cataclysm saw their usage reduced to only the Avanthar who have remained their primary trainers and riders today. The horse is well known for its large, powerful body as well as the variety of colors its coat can come in, save white. The animal is also noted for its complex mind and high intellect, as well as for a currently unexplained fear and dislike of magic despite serving as the animal of choice for a military filled with mages for centuries. While recent military events have disrupted the balance of the Ularen Plains, it is unlikely it will hurt the animal in the long term considering how much they have survived through.
The Casecabillas Stallion has been tied to the Altalar of Daen since the very beginning of their history. While records are vague, the assorted Altalar principalities are believed to have interacted with this horse at the very dawn of their existence, and by the time the Altalar nations became an Empire, the animal was used primarily as a tool of the military but also existed in a minor capacity in the industrial sector. The animal was also still populous out in the wild, untamed and roaming free in what many considered a beautiful sight. As the centuries wore on, more and more Stallions were conscripted from the wild or bred for military use as it became seen as a horse of war, not mere labor. The Casecabillas Stallion was present as the Allorn Empire toppled the Asha, when they subjugated the Drovv and watched as their masters herded a new kind of cattle into their ships, that being the Ailor. The horse was primarily used by the prestigious Yelaäleren (known in Common as "Altalar Lancers") during this period, who bred the horse as big as they could. However, in the final centuries of the Allorn Empire, the animal increasingly became a symbol of prestige and a representation of a family’s military background instead of a practical tool of warfare. The horses had always been skittish about Magic and coupled with the increasingly turned inward hedonism the Elves practiced, the horse grew rare in domesticated conditions but still flourished out in the wilds of the Ularen Plains, ignored.
When the Fifth Void Invasion came, however, they were needed once again. Every domesticated Casecabillas Stallion was pressed into military service for use by officers, and new horses were roped in from the Ularen Plains. However, it was ultimately all for naught and in the ensuing conflict for the next decade, through the Cataclysm into the Eronidas Invasion, domesticated Casecabillas Stallions vanished. They either died in battle, were slaughtered in their stables or fled in fear back to their home. The only ones that remained were part of the future Avanthar, military horses who journeied with them into the Ularen Plains. In the following years, the Casecabillas Stallion became integral to Avanthar culture and society, the nomadic people plotting their migration pathways based on the movements of wild horses, keeping them as their primary livestock and even burying themselves with their personal steed in their graves. They also rode the Stallion into their many battles, having developed the School of Avant with an emphasis on the riding of this breed of horse. Avanthar conflicts were against the Eronidas, against the Wolathar Kathar and eventually, against their own kind and the Ailor in the years leading up and during the Ranger Crisis. In recent years, however, the Avanthar have suffered and due to the recent slaughter of their leadership enacted by the Regalian Empire, are in a state of chaos. While not directly targeting the animal, the Avanthar are already beginning to harm Casecabillas Stallion populations as their inter-tribal conflict results in the death of domesticated versions of this horse, scatters wild herds and damages the terrain both groups use as feeding grounds. However, it is likely this is only a temporary disruption as everything short of a purposeful culling of the population would do any real damage. Both groups of the animal remain populous in the Ularen Plains while domesticated versions of the animal are scattered in minimum numbers across wider Daen, primarily used by the upper class as show animals.
The Casecabillas Stallion is a well-known horse for its elegance but also its robust features. It stands anywhere between five to six and a half feet tall, six and a half feet long and a weight ranging from 800 to 1000 pounds. Their heads are large, with brown eyes, large ears, large nostrils and a large mouth. Their necks are long and broad, reaching down to their large body with a massive chest, broad hindquarters and four powerful hooved legs. Their bodies are covered in a thin coat of hair that varies greatly in color and pattern, from bay to dappled grey. Their manes and tails are often long and possess a dark coloration. The only colors outside of their range is white and any pattern combination that involves it.
Casecabillas Stallions have a wide range of different colorations, though individual herds can have up to three different colorations. No naturally occurring herds of Cascabillas have more than three colorations in their ranks, however. Aside from that, male Stallions often grow on the larger side of the size spectrum the horse occupies while females are usually on the lower side. Their gender populations are equal, and no group is favored over the other.
Life Span and Development
Casecabillas Stallions are live born from their mother and are the only horse known never to stumble after they emerge. Within minutes, they are running and cleaning themselves of the fluids of birth on the natural wind. They do return to their mother soon after however and nurse under her for the next year, being weaned at the age of nine months. At this stage, there can be a large divergence depending on if the animal is domesticated or wild. In the wild setting, the animal then grows up alongside its mother for almost another year after it has been weaned but slowly drifts away from its mother. An additional year will cement its independence as it becomes a colt/filly. They join the wider herd and continue to grow mentally and physically for an additional year though at this stage they can reproduce. During reproduction, males compete with each other over females should competition exist, which normally involves rearing, pawing, kicking and aggressive bumping. In the wild, the animal can live for up to thirty years.
As for domesticated Stallions, during their young years, they are often cared for by an Avanthar youth who has chosen them as their mount for life. This ideal is core to Avanthar society, that unless they die can you never replace your horse. As such, the selection process is carefully done at a stage where issues with the horse are often detectable so a future warrior can make an informed choice. For the rest of their life, the Avanthar that chose them will help to train them, raise them and try to arrange their breeding with other Stallions through Avanthar owners to produce strong children. Because of this, the Casecabillas Stallion lives a long life but ultimately, cannot match the 120 years Avanthar can reach, instead making it between forty and fifty years. When a Stallion dies, they are buried with respect by their owner who then goes on to choose a new mount. However, due to warfare against their many enemies, most Avanthar and their mounts die together in a horrible crashing end that is often brief in its pain. Casecabillas Stallions who survive a battle but whose rider is killed are not blamed for their master’s death and are allowed to return to the herd as a free-range mount until a warrior needs a new one or until their death when they are buried.
Casecabillas Stallions are highly complex horses, outsiders such as the Ailor even considering it “frightening.” To start, with other members of their species the Stallion is friendly but not overly attached. Individuals bump their heads against possible mates, but also the young and old as a sign of connection and care. Despite this fact, mates are not monogamous in favor of greater diversity but also ensuring that the strongest is bred with the strongest of the other gender in one wild herd. The species also displays cases of homosexuality, and while it can sometimes be an issue should Avanthar want their strong horse to mate and produce strong children with the opposite sex, they ultimately do not force their Stallions to couple. The animal is also free-spirited, disliking restricted spaces such as cities or major urban areas in favor of open spaces. When encountered by Races, their reactions vary. Generally, Avanthar are outright accepted as most Casecabillas Stallions have had at least one experience with the nomadic race, and they have spent their lives around horses, knowing how to handle a myriad of situations. A close second in positive reactions are the Yanar and Cielothar, who sometimes help raise Stallions with Avanthar but who both have strong ties to nature in their own right to help appear in a positive light to the horse. All other Races are viewed with relaxed caution, though Eronidas, Url and Naylar provoke a range of negative responses. Some can overcome their discomfort and learn to get along with these Races if exposed to them under particular conditions.
When Casecabillas Stallions are attacked, they respond aggressively in defense of themselves and especially the weak. Like many herbivore herd species, males will rush to the defense of the herd, whether it be hunters, poachers or one of several natural predators such as the Ularen Lion. They will use the same techniques they do when mating that of pawing the ground snorting, rearing and kicking as well as hard jostling when possible. Females and young Stallions keep away from danger, but if need be, some have been known to become a highly dangerous “Final Ride” when a desperate herd will round up what remains of their group and stream straightforward at their foe, often trampling them underfoot. However, in cases of minor ambushes when only one or two members of the herd are lost, they are spooked first and do not come to the defense of the dead, but if the victim is vocal, they will move into an aggressive posture of defense. Finally, the Casecabillas Stallion is known for their dislike of Magic. Breeders and scholars have yet to understand why they dislike it considering they were the mounts to many at the height of the Allorn Empire and surely often encountered it. Some posit ideas that the horse inherently knows Magic is bad, though these Unionist-influenced ideas are rarely upheld by science. Many of the mental characteristics of the Stallion exist in Avanthar culture, either through Avanthar respect and learning from the animal or by coincidence.
Territory and Groupings
Casecabillas Stallions live in herds of up to 100 members nomadically moving about the Ularen Plains on rarely changing migration patterns that bring a herd back to their starting position at least five years after they have left it. These herds are wild, but the Avanthar do “herd” some, which is where they derive their impressive mounts. These “herds” are considered semi-feral as they accept the presence of the Avanthar but are more prone to moving without the wish of the Avanthar, which occasionally happens to Avanthar camps suddenly finding horses streaming off and must rush to follow or corral them. Domesticated herds often number well over 100, and the now dissolved herd of the Ularen Valley (former capital of the Avanthar States) had 639 at its peak. These domesticated herds as directed by their Avanthar masters and are not prone to the sudden movements of semi-feral Casecabillas Stallions.
- Casecabillas Stallions are named as they are by Ailor and some Avanthar based on the old assumption that large size in animals meant something was a male. Despite this being disproven, the moniker has stuck over the last three centuries as the species is so geared toward bulk and strength.
- The modern School of Avant perpetuates the Avanthar beliefs that few outsiders are fit to tame, let alone ride, the horse. Operations to capture the horse for outside buyers are routinely pushed out of the Plains by coordinated Avanthar attacks from local warbands.
- Some Avanthar take to beading and braiding their horse’s hair, particularly Pröta’ll mounts as an added sign of distinction like their beards. Others add pigment in the form of symbols or images on the animal’s flank.
- While rare, some Avanthar make tools and weapons from the bones of Casecabillas though such items are reserved for use by the elite and leadership of a tribe as the animal’s bones are viewed with a low level of reverence.