|Official Name||Spotted Ceardian|
|Common Nicknames||Spotted Horse|
The Spotted Ceardian is an old horse breed that originated on Ceardia, from which it was subsequently spread across the entire Ailor world. While its homeland is now gone, consumed by dark forces, the horse still lives across the world. While not the fastest animal, it is built for endurance and is friendly with most people. It is often used by the lower class and is also noted for its large ears that help it hear very well but can lead to deafness in their old age. They are also clearly recognized by their spotted bodies.
The Spotted Ceardian has an unknown early history thanks to the mysteriousness of Ceardia’s past. There are only a few facts about the horse that are known for certain about the animal’s history. Primarily and most obviously, the Spotted Ceardian lived on Ceardia for centuries before the Cataclysm where it had many uses to the local Ailor including beast of burden, war mount, and even food source to some. The animal is also known to have been spread to nearby Yervonth in this period and survived in small pockets on the mostly forested island. The final fact known about the Spotted Ceardian is that it was spread to Daen by the Elven Empire just as the Ailor were. They took the animal as a sample of what Oldt Era had to offer them, and it soon became widely used by their lower to middle-class citizens. Thus by the time of the Cataclysm, the Spotted Ceardian lived both at home and far abroad in Daen as well as in a few locations in Corontium due to Elven Empire slaving bases found there. When the Empire began to weaken and collapse during and in the wake of the destructive world event, Spotted Ceardians found their way increasingly northward and eastward into Ailor territories and newly forming nations. The animal also survived on Daen among the lower classes of Nelfin found there.
By 200 AC, the animal was firmly established across the world in many Ailor or lower class populations as a common animal of burden, war, and companionship. However, the next century was not as kind to the animal as the Destruction of Ceardia devastated them. Their excellent hearing became a detriment to those trying to save wild specimens as with each earth tremor and curl of the Tendrils, wild Spotted Ceardians grew even more panicked. Ultimately, they had to be abandoned along with other domesticated members of their species which the boats couldn’t take. Over the following years, reports emerged of vile blackened horses, and the Spotted Ceardians of Ceardia were assumed to have been mutated by the Void. However, not all wild populations were extinguished. In Yervonth, what few herds that had lived through the Cataclysm had found an open land with the Ailor where they soon prospered. This peaceful life has remained until today, and Yervonth now protects the last wild members of this horse breed as a symbol of Ceardia. The Spotted Ceardian is still seen around the world, where it is used by the lower classes for a variety of purposes and survives as a populous breed of horse. It is unlikely that any event could impact their global spread.
The Spotted Ceardian is considered by many to be the “basic” horse, but it does have some unique features. They have a tall height of six to seven feet, a length of seven to eight feet and a weight of 1000 to 1400 pounds. The horse’s face has the same characteristics as other breeds, a narrow snout, two large eyes, a regular sized mouth but also have the notable feature of two large ears. These ears are known for being longer than the average horse and allow the animal to hear remarkably well. The ears slowly droop with age, and some older Spotted Ceardians are known to go deaf with time, or if they have been involved in intensely loud situations. The animal then has a long neck connecting it to the rest of the body, a spry study form built for running across the terrain not necessarily at high speeds, but with endurance. Four long, well-built legs support Their narrow bodies with black and beige-striped hooves. The Spotted Ceardian ends in a short rear tail. The animal’s color pattern is often a mix of black and white but brown and white are also possible, the patterning on all of them being spots. The mane and tail hair are often a dark brown or light beige depending on if the primary color of the animal is brown, white or black.
The Spotted Ceardian has an equal gender binary. Their physical appearance, while varied, is one more clearly determined by parentage. That is to say, two brown with white spotted Spotted Ceardians would produce only that combination while a brown with white spots and a white with brown spots would create a mixed group of foals.
Life Span and Development
Spotted Ceardians are live born but curiously often arrive in pairs instead of single individuals. They are then raised alongside their mother but often grow attached to their sibling as well. They rapidly grow in their yearling and two-year-old years and have reached physical maturity by the end of that period, at which point they separate themselves from their mother though if they have a sibling, one more year of development is required before they separate from their partner in birth. During these younger years, Spotted Ceardians are very tied to their family, male mates often sticking close to the family to watch them develop though how they are aware what children are theirs in the wild is unknown. The rest of their life is fairly standard in the wild, with grazing and mating at the appropriate times of day and times of the year. In domesticated Spotted Ceardians, training usually begins after their second year when they first reach their full size. From there, their lives progress in whatever path the owner has for them and they learn those specific commands or skills accordingly. They can live up to the age of 25 both in the wild and in domesticated settings.
Spotted Ceardians are very emotionally-based horses, heavily dependant on each other. Young members of the species look up to older members, and all members of a herd have at least some connection to each other. These bonds are particularly strong in families which is why mothers and siblings stay close together for as long as they do. When a predator confronts them, the herd is a united front which is difficult for those few that hunt them, but when such events do happen, the enemy targets the foals as smaller and easy to carry or drag away. To all others it encounters, the Spotted Ceardian is calm and caring. Having been spread so far and used by the lower classes, they often interact with the fringe races as well as the most populous races on at least a monthly basis. The Spotted Ceardian is also very good at hearing and understanding audible stimulation. They can be trained to heed up to fifty different audible commands and have a good understanding of their surroundings because of their excellent hearing. This trait makes them great trick animals and able to hear orders in the heat of battle. However, those same battle scenarios can also deafen a Spotted Ceardian almost permanently.
Territory and Groupings
Spotted Ceardians live in herds between twenty to thirty in the wild though those in captivity are often in much larger herds that can go up to forty. Families in these herds stay together for a long time due to the benefits it grants to physical and mental development. Solitary Spotted Ceardians are rarely seen in the wild and are likely physically or mentally scarred by a past experience. Territory wise, wild Spotted Ceardians roam the plains of Yervonth (the only location left with wild specimens) while those who are domesticated live within large penned fields. Domesticated situations also often feature solitary Spotted Ceardians but such situations are quickly rectified in being paired with at least one other of their kind.
- Spotted Ceardians are highly popular in the New Ceardian Colonies and there is some discussion of releasing a wild group of Yervonth out into the savannah found to the southeast of the Colonies.
- Some extreme Unionists believe the Spotted Ceardian has its long ears due to Elves breeding that trait in them as a reflection of their own long ears and so do not use the horse as it is “corrupted” from its original purity.