Flora And Fauna

Eastern Continent

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The Horse

Ride on, O Larusian, and never tarry, as though the mouth of Hell itself is at your back.
~ Inscription on the tomb of Larusian the Brave Messenger, Spring 1252

Thoroughly domesticated, horses are native to the Eastern Continent, where they are used primarily for light farm work and other civilian purposes. While they may bear a light rider, hey just don't have the strength to bear both a human and armour. The stirrup has also yet to be invented, and saddles themselves are rather basic, making riding a horse more difficult a prospect than one might assume. The Eastern Empire, the Shari and to some extent the Nuriani have chariots, but it usually takes two or more horses to pull a even a wicker basket with wheels and a lightly-armoured driver/soldier or two, and unless the terrain is flat and uniform, it is difficult to use chariots effectively in battle.

There exist some relatives of the horse, as well:

The Zebra is fast, and stronger than a horse. In the Eastern Empire and some of the more easterly Southern Fiefdoms, they are used to pull war-chariots, as a single Zebra can pull a wicker or even wooden chariot of two medium troops. However, they have a much nastier disposition, and are very difficult to tame enough to pull a chariot, let alone to be ridden. This ferocity does add an extra element of fear and danger to the chariots- but for the charioteers as much as those they may attempt to run down. All recorded attempts of riding zebras have ended in injury or death.

Donkeys are sturdier, but short and slow. Inefficient for war, they are used as pack animals and farm creatures, and pull carts on a yoke of two or more.

Mules are hybrids of a donkey and a horse, bred with the intention of combining a donkey's strength with a horse's speed. While this goal was not reached, they are a little taller and a little faster and make better pack and farm animals than donkeys. They can also pull carts at a greater speed in a yoke of two or greater. They can be quite stubborn, though, and the breeding is inexact. They are uncommon in the Southern Fiefdoms.

All this in mind, most carts are pulled by a work aurochs, or two on a yoke for the larger trade caravans.

The Aurochs

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The aurochs has many breeds, all of which are fairly similar. Most stand on average about 5 feet from shouldertop, with a wide head forward and below on a thick neck. A short prehensile tail with a bulbous tip ends the spine, while powerful, toed legs support a stout torso.
The skin of the aurochs is thick, with a back ridge of heavier dermal plates, forming a good natural armour. Depending on the average temperature of a region, a local aurochs will have short to long hair of varying thickness.
They are social creatures, and tend to group into herds even without human or elven intervention.
They are commonly used as draft animals, but depending on their raising, they are also good for meat, milk and leather.

Northern Continent

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