Cheval du Ciel
|Cheval du Ciel|
|Official Name||Cheval du Ciel|
|Common Nicknames||Hassus Horse|
|Habitat||Ithania, Azoras, and the Regalian Archipelago|
The Cheval du Ciel is an impressive steed in the equestrian world and a beloved symbol of Ithanian society. A lithe but athletic horse with large wings and long tail hairs, the Cheval can both fly through the air with grace and speed, and gallop on the ground. It has been utilized by the advanced aerial units of the Ithanian Sovereignty known as the Chevaux de l’Aïr for over two centuries, and today is found in a variety of Ithanian spawn-off Cultures or those heavily influenced by their society.
Whether the Cheval du Ciel is an ancient creature or something more modern is up to fierce debate. Many ancient sites of the Allorn Empire and even the Ailor depict an array of strange creatures and winged horses are among them. But, most suspect that these images are merely fanciful creations of the mind, as are a host of other, so far wholly mythical, creatures. But it is certain that by 400 BC, the Cheval du Ciel existed, scant reports of it coming out of Ithania. But with the Allorn Empire badly decayed by this point, these reports were indeed minor, hearsay that wasn’t proven until after the Cataclysm when the Cheval spectacularly erupted onto the scene. In 40 AC, a group of Asha pirates united with rogue Ailor criminals and unscrupulous Velheim to sack a series of coastal and riverland cities of Ithania. However, they were soon set upon by what later became known as the Chevaux de l’Aïr, warriors atop the Cheval du Ciel that beat back the shocked and ill-equipped raiders to their land. While proper knighthood for these warriors later became a facet of their existence, units of the Chevaux now traveled where Ithanian efforts did as well in the meantime, reaching the Azoras and the Tolonne, and into lands colonized by Ithanians in the Regalian Archipelago that later diversified into the host of offspring Cultures known today. The Cheval du Ciel followed them, and can now be found across these lands, units of the Chevaux de l’Aïr serving in the Regalian Military but also the forces of the Ithanian Sovereignty. The animals have not just appeared on the battlefield, though also in circuses and more performance-based work.
Chevals du Ciel uniformly stand at five and a half feet tall, with a wingspan of twelve to fifteen feet, and a weight of between 250 and 300 pounds. Their head is slender with a small mouth and pair of nostrils, as well as a pair of surprisingly small eyes with various shades of blue possible. Their ears are short but highly flexible. Their neck is sleek and elegant with a thick mane and connects the head to the wider body sturdily. Their form is lithe but athletic, with strength and hints at this muscle mass shown off most prominently in their legs, which each end on a pale grey hoof. The animal’s wings are located on their upper shoulders and are broad, feathered tools of flight which many simply cannot understand how they work. Their body ends on a long-haired tail. Chevals du Ciel are either uniformly white or black, this coloration extending across their feathers, coat, mane, and tail hair.
Chevals du Ciel lack sexual dimorphism, their wing and body shape identical, while their gender ratios are equal. Their starkly different colorations have no ties to location, and cannot be blended to make a black-white Cheval.
Life Span and Development
Chevals du Ciel are liveborn as single foals on the ground, surrounded by females of the herd who have outstretched their wings to protect and shield the process from outsiders. Rapidly on their feet, with small downy wings and a high-pitched tone of voice, the Cheval foal is then slowly exposed to the world as the females all fold their wings back, exposing it to greater light and allowing it to run about, occasionally flapping its nonfunctional wings. Over three years, the animal gradually matures, their downy feathers molted out for proper feathers, and their voice deepening. It is at this point that their wings begin to function, and over an additional three years, they complete their physical and mental maturation, gaining full control of their flying ability. Chevals du Ciel can live for up to fifty years.
Chevals du Ciel are friendly, communal, and cautious equines with many unique traits, being entirely domesticated decades ago and are thus firmly attached to the earth and their trainers despite the ease of flying away. Among their own number, Chevals are gentle and caring, helping one another as needed with mothers sometimes given a break with other females briefly fostering Cheval foals for a few days before they are returned to their mother’s side. Males also play a part in raising the offspring, often being the ones to first train a young foal on their flight abilities, while also standing ceremonial guard, their back turned and their wings also outstretched, to the process of birth occurring behind them, even if the offspring is their own. The equines also engage in communal cleaning as while they often have a host of groomers to help them keep their manes, tails, and coats clean, the feathers are harder to consistently maintain, though the Chevals have developed their own ways of ensuring continued beauty in these essential limbs. Chevals du Ciel interact well with other horses, as well as the sentient Races of Aloria, but it is mainly their owners and not so much the animal that restricts who may own one. Proud symbols of Ithania, seen as physical representations of the full and eclipsed moon, Chevals may never be sold or kept by those deemed unworthy by Ithanian standards.
Territory and Groupings
Chevals du Ciel are believed to be wholly domesticated (though rumors do claim the existence of the odd feral Cheval over the years) and as such, are found within the territories of the Ithanian, Leutz-Vixe, Burdigala, and Tolonne Cultures. Their herds are often large and communal, capable of numbering as much as sixty, but the main issue of their tending is their size. Their wings, even when folded into their bodies, present a problem, and so strict guidelines have developed for the tending to and caring of these beloved winged mammals.
- Prince Peirene is perhaps the most famous Cheval du Ciel rider in history. A leader of the Chevaux de l’Aïr, Paladin of the Viridian Order, and youngest brother to Séphora Marsalle-Terrois Rose Coeur Hibella de Bijoux, 7th Sovereign of Ithania, his death at the young age of 34 (in what is largely considered a homicide) is considered a deep tragedy in Ithanian Culture. Six entire operas exist on the subject, along with countless other literary pieces.
- The most famous reports of a feral Cheval du Ciel come out of Fendarfelle where, following the Bone Horror Crisis, a scattering of reports on a black Cheval known as Lightning emerged. Strangely aggressive, this equine attacked Bone Horrors, saving those in danger, but not sticking around long enough to be corralled or calmed.
- Efforts to develop proper armor for the Cheval du Ciel have been largely fruitless, as what armor does exist is often show armor, and severely limits or curtails the Cheval’s ability to fly.