It’s not all dragons!
One thing is for certain - there are many more creatures in Gone Dragon than dragons. There are wyverns, worgriels, a Meliae, horses and even the mention of a unique breed of swallows (can you remember what it is that's unique about them?). In this week’s journal entry, I thought I would start looking at some of these creatures. Today, we’re looking at horses.
There are of course the common horses, such as Esmder - Magnus’s chestnut-coloured stallion. These are the most common of horses throughout the Realms of Allumbreve. There are two other breeds of horses mentioned in Gone Dragon - Book I that you will not find outside of Allumbreve, and one breed of horse you will!
The most rare of horses - the Astermeer.
The most rare and coveted of horses is the Astermeer. These white horses are bred by the Rhydermere – the elusive clan who reside north of the Ice Breach in the Ice Realm (look at your map of Allumbreve and find the Ice Realm, go north to the Ice Breach and further north again is where you will find the home of the Rhydermere).
The Astermeers are unique for more than one reason. As legend would have it, these beautiful horses are bred with the blood of the Ertwe dragons – the dragons of the Ice Realm who are believed to be extinct (although Eamon suggests otherwise!). As young foals, an Astermeer is gifted to a Rhyder. Horse and Rhyder forge a bond for life. And life it is too, for an Astermeer will live as long as its foresworn, save for a dark twist of fate that may lead to one's demise…
Astermeers use telepathy to communicate with their foresworn, meaning they and their Rhyder share thoughts and emotions with one another. This is something rarely experienced by another person, for an Astermeer will only communicate in this way with their life-long companion.
An Astermeer is a rare beast outside of the Ice Realm, yet across the plains of the Fire Realm and through the darkness of Froughton Forest, it is the Astermeer named Breona who carries Magnus. Breona is not, of course, sworn to Magnus. However, with a bit of encouragement and a shared goal, they have a meeting of minds.
How did I create the Astermeer?
In the early days if writing Gone Dragon, I knew Magnus needed a horse to traverse the lands quickly. She had to be special. I wanted her relationship with Magnus to be unique. They needed to form a bond and support one another when times got tough. In the end, it was Magnus’s mother Alavia who inspired how I shaped the horse needed to fulfil this task.
I very much shaped the Astermeer horses after Alavia’s people - the Rhyders of the Ice Realm collectively called the Rhydermere. As with her kin, Alavia is tall and fair with long blonde hair. She is astute and reserved in her manner. It was only fitting then that a Rhyder’s choice of steeds was a reflection of their own nature. The Astermeers are a pure white horse, although Breona has a silver blaze running down to her snout. They are large yet graceful, the fastest of horses and most certainly the most intelligent. Breona was Alavia’s Astermeer.
Astermeers are not the only horse bred in the Ice Realm. The Wardemeer horse is a large warhorse bred by the Rhydermere for the needs of the Knights of the Realm and later, the Knights of the Authoritarium.
Wardemeer horses come in several colours that denote their breeding. The black, brown and brindle Wardemeers have a quarter Astermeer blood and are the most common. The silver Wardemeers have half Astermeer blood but are far less common – perhaps one in ten Wardemeers are silver. This of course calls for a pop quiz:
In Book I…
Who rides a black Wardemeer? What was the horse’s name?
Who rides a brown Wardemeer? What was the horse’s name?
Who rides a silver Wardemeer? What was the horse’s name?
And finally, a Quagman stole one of the above horses. What was the Quagman’s name and which Wardemeer did he steal?
The Quag warrior’s warhorse.
Mentioned several times in Gone Dragon – Book I are the enormous warhorses ridden by the Quag. As nasty and foreboding as their riders, Magnus observes two of them in a particularly nasty scene:
“Far larger than a Wardemeer, they were broad chested with large feathered hooves like the draft horses used to pull the quarry carts back in the Uydferlands. They had a foul disposition about them with rolling blood shot eyes and drool excreting from their maws as though suffering from an insatiable appetite…”
These dark Warhorses, like the Quagmen themselves, stem from a breed of horse originating from lands beyond the Southern Gap and the Neverseas. But that's another story!
Click here (or Right Click & select 'Download') to open a printable PDF version of this Journal entry.
Happy reading... and riding!