|Official Name||Nerrin Alaan|
|Common Nicknames||Scaled Horse, Telepatían Steed|
|Habitat||Ularen Plains of Daen|
The Nerrin Alaan is a fascinating equine native to the Ularen Plains of Daen. A horse with colored scales on its neck and back and forehead, is also notable for how it can telepathically communicate with its bonded rider. Kept by the Avanthar, being revered as an animal of great and mystical ability, the Nerrin Alaan has suffered along with its riders in the chaos that has gripped the grasslands it calls home. But, elsewhere, the animal has escaped unscathed in those Avanthar exiled or living abroad, who keep their fine, strange, and beloved steeds safe and loved, just as the equine similarly cares for them too.
The Nerrin Alaan is a strange creature, rarely seen or heard even in the tales of the long-lasting Allorn Empire. There are some scant stories though, of talking horses, or animals with the ability to communicate that have long been part of the mythologies of many Races, and in this case, the Nerrin was connected to the Altalar goddess of Sei-Maan. However, this goddess was about as vague in presence as the Nerrin for much of Allorn history, her Avatar rarely prominent, and so the Nerrin is seen as having been a faded part of the background. But, in a period shortly following the Wildering, the animal grew to major prominence. While the Casecabillas Stallion was the prime vehicle of transport and combat of the Avanthar out on the Ularen Plains, they discovered the Nerrin Alaan as a stunning species of equine. However, it was delicate and seemed unable to breed with their Stallion stocks, and for a time it was ignored. But then, the Avathar say a girl called Sëlla came to nurture a Nerrin foal, which allowed the mental bridge the species is so well known for today to form. Since that time, Nerrin Alaan have become prized, exotic mounts of the Avanthar, often wielded by their most significant warriors, with few wild herds remaining as the Avanthar rapidly tamed and incorporated their numbers into the Race’s animal stock. However, already rare before the Wildering, the recent Avanthar civil war did little to improve their numbers. Easily seen in the plains, and often seeing themselves and their riders targeted as notable on the battlefield, the Nerrin Alaan is seen by some as the rarest equine in Aloria today. Despite this, Avanthar abroad have commonly possessed unique animals, likely granting them survivability where there was no chance before.
Nerrin Alaan are fairly slim and delicate horses, sitting at around seven feet tall with a length of six feet, and weights of between 300 and 400 pounds. The head is distinguished, with a narrow muzzle, two broad nostrils, two large eyes of deep blue or grey, and a pair of large, rounded ears sitting at the top of their heads. Their neck is slightly longer than those of normal horses, and their mane is made up of relatively short hair. The rest of the animal’s body is as described earlier, slim and delicate, but sturdy, with a smooth body supported by four grey hooves, and ending in a short-haired tail. What their body is covered in is often their most unique trait, as while much of their form is coated in thin white hair, which is also the color of their mane and tail, the animal also has patches of scales around the front half of their bodies. These scales, while varying shades of grey to the ordinary eye, are actually opalescent, and can shine with any color of the rainbow seemingly at the will of the Nerrin. These scales exist in patches along their forward leg haunches, parts of their back, and then along the underside and sides of their neck, before finally crowning the forehead above their large eyes.
Nerrin Alaan lack sexual dimorphism and have little variation between members of the species save where the edges of a given scale patch are on their body. However, the equine species does favor females over males, at a ratio that has recently neared three to one.
Life Span and Development
Nerrin Alaan are liveborn as lone births from their mothers with their fathers watching on and guarding the proceedings. When they emerge, scales actually take up a larger part of their body, and their eyes are closed in addition to their inability to stand. Their relatively helpless state is ultimately ended by the Awakening, an event that occurs after twenty-four hours where the Nerrin foal will snap its eyes open, stand on its legs, and easily move about. For the next six months, their mane and tail hair will come in more fully, while their scales are shed, receding off their bodies. For five years, the Nerrin Alaan will mature, remaining close to their parents and other siblings throughout this process, and rarely leaving the herd, instead mating with the offspring of other couples after this maturation has passed. Additionally, during this time, they remain unbonded to a rider when raised in domesticated circles. This process only triggers around the age of five, when the animal locks in their rider for life until death do them part. Their lifespan is stunning for equines at a staggering 100 to 120 years, equal to that of an Avanthar. While capable of mating all year round, Nerrin couples will only produce a handful of children in their lifetime, one of the issues of the species longevity.
Nerrin Alaan are often seen as quiet, reserved horses, not solitary, but generally withdrawn from the surrounding world. This is often attributed to their telepathic abilities, given that they are likely engaging with the world on a very different level than normal Races might imagine. This telepathy is extremely hard for the Avanthar to describe to others. However, it seems to shockingly be similar to other forms of telepathy, with whole conversations possible between a horse and its rider when they are together. But at the same time, the concept of these interactions being spoken, or involving words, is highly unclear. Some who ride on Nerrin claim to hear a voice in their mind, coded to the gender of the animal they ride, while others describe a litany of images or sensations conveying a message understood by those that ride the creature. Lobotomies of the Nerrin are not possible, as Avanthar everywhere, even exiles, are extremely protective of these animals, and most specimens recovered from the field by less scrupulous Ailor are damaged, or not of use to those obsessed with pulling back the animal’s literal brain layers to see if there is a mechanical explanation for these powers.
Additionally tied into their unique mental abilities are their body scales, which seem to shift somewhat at random and based on their mood. Red, orange and yellow can mean anger shifting to nervousness, grey and brown are often neutral tones, blue and green are considered calm or relaxed, while purple is viewed as the animal’s mourning color, or when they are unhappy. These colors also seem to communicate their feelings to other members of their species, who comfort those in need of it, or who stay clear when an individual is impassioned in anger. Nerrin Alaan overall, are highly protective and kind to one another, as well as their riders.
Territory and Groupings
Nerrin Alaan live in relatively large herds while in the wild, with as many as ten couples and their offspring of between two to four individuals making up these groups. When an Alaan herd creeps above the ten couple mark, the group normally splits up, but parents and children always stick together, with the female member of a herd following her male companion’s family in their journey rather than her own, as Nerrin mate for life, and have slight deference towards males. Competition between males, while rare, tends to happen between adolescents, who square off, paw the ground, and rapidly thrum their scale colors, staring each other right in the face in what most assume is a mental battle. Nerrin in domesticated surroundings have similar herd makeups and mentalities but are more used to their offspring leaving the group due to traveling elsewhere. Avanthar rarely separate a mated pair.
- The Avanthar who are closest to them never eat Nerrin Alaan meat. If any are found dead, they are buried with all the respects of an Avanthar rider, even if there is no rider nearby.
- Nerrin Alaan apparently have the ability to mentally communicate with other non-Nerrin steeds, as herds of Casecabilo Stallions have been seen to part for Nerrin after what appears to be a staring contest breaks out.