- Louis Sauvain
Sortin’ out the Horsin’
Asullus Anguli XXII ... [Asullus’ Corner]
Sortin’ out the Horsin’
Well, now, welcome all ye back to our chit-chat time. This week’s query ha’ been sent to us by Judithee o’ the Heights inquirin’ as to the various horses as do appear in the Scrolls here, claimin’ that their very names do be confusin’. So, to address her interest an’, possibly, set others’ concerns to rest, we’ll get busy sortin’ out the horsin’.
Now, most o’ ye’ll be aware that horses are neighry me favorite topic an’ I have spoken out on this from time to time. Though we share the same general shape an’ origin, I’m told, I be here to say that seem an uppity group taken altogether wi’ little regard fer any o’ muledom entire. Also, I ha’ noticed that those who are likely to be gi’en names seem to be willin’ to ha’ the least to do wi’ the likes o’ meself.
But, wi’ that in mind, yer old an’ faithful friend, Asullus, an’ the diligent but drowsy Spritae Morphia ha’ done our research an’ corroborated our various memories an’ come up wi’ the followin’.
Now, if me thoughts ha’ it so, I believes, principally, all the other horses wi’ names put to ‘em in the Cannon at one time or another were belongin’ to Prince, later King, Zoarr, House o’ Abdomoolano o’ Mauretesia, that land down south o’ the Middle o’ Golden Sea.
The two principal exceptions to all this, howe’er, as all knowest, be, first, the Lady Geanninia’s great chestnut brown stallion, Bucephalus. As I recalls it, the two o’ them ha’ an interestin’ story o’ getting’ together – long before she was named Headmistress o’ the Ludia. But I’m thinkin’ that’s a tale fer another time altogether.
An' second is Scrutator, the coal-black mare o’ me Master’s boy, the Emperor Akireu. She it was who deigned to introduce this old mule to the Emperor, himself, – though General he was at the time – so I could tell his Majesty-to-be how to find his father, me Master. But that, like the abo’e, is a story best-saved fer another time.
Anyway, getting’ back to horse-history in the land o’ Mauretesia, ‘tis said Folk in that part o’ the planet ha’ ha’ the habit o’ raisin’ good horseflesh fer several centuries o’ years o’ time an’ so, know, generally, what they do be talkin’ aboot.
That, an’ the fact that the Abdomoolano Family ha’ been rulin’ the local citizens down there fer some time, in a generally fair an’ harmonious way ‘tis said, an’ they ha’ their eyes often on the pick o’ the breeds as was raised by the Avenarius o’ the time.
So, the remainin’ horses we find ourselves ha’ing in question today be Diator, Riator, Viator and Xiator. Now reviewin’ the list here, ‘tis perhaps easier to see how the one may ha’ come to be mixed up wi’ the other, don’ ye know. So, let’s try to straighten all this out, then.
First off, accordin’ to me an’ Morphia’s researchin’, Viator be the only one o’ the group as ha’ any real meanin’ put to his name. Master Anders, himself, ha’ said that the other names, themselves, be non-sensical – just similar soundin’ pet names, gi’en to them fer one reason or another.
Then, another thing these several Equos did share was that they was all unfixed stallions. Fer some reason that was important to the Mauretesian Royal Family – perhaps mainly so’s they could go ahead an’ get more o’ the same o’er time.
Now, accordin’ to the King’s an’ Master Anders’ records, Diator was the first in the line as was mentioned in our scrolls, bein’ the one as was raised up wi’ the Prince durin’ the time he was goin’ from younger lad to older. The stallion was a beautiful turkmene, shiny black, with a white blaze on the forehead.
The Prince, himself, was gi’en the proud one fer his twelveth birthday, as the tale is told, wi’ the proviso that he must care fer the beast on a daily basis an’ see to his needs or else lose his mount altogether. He, apparently, took this task all to heart an’ dug right in, doin’ a goodly job wi’ his charge, e’en to o’erseein’ his stud’s fatherin’ the next generation before the young boy was hustled off to the Sorcerer’s School all secret like due to the dangerous an’ life-threatenin’ politics o’ the time.
Now, Diator was kept in the Royal Maurtesean stables an’ well-looked after durin’ the boy’s absence. But in the Prince’s second year there, after meetin’ his to-be, Molly-o’-the-Willows, he asked that Diator be sent up to the College fer him, fer his ridin’ needs.
As it happens, this was around the time that Lady Molly – later Queen Molly – did find herself fillin’ a hole in the young Prince’s heart, all un-suspectin’-like. So, since, she, herself was to be goin’ on at the the Ludia wi’ the three other Ladies, an’ would be in need o’ transport as well, the second in the line o’ stately mounts was sent up from Mauretesia as well.
Now, this animal be Riator an’ he was the son o’ his sire, Diator. As it turns out, he was the spittin’ image o’ his old man, bein’ a shiny black turkmene with a white blaze as well.
But he was no’ quite so big aboot the shoulders an’ such as his Dad an’ so was thought by some to be more o’ a match fer his mistress, Molly-o’.
So, bein’ as handsome an’ valuable a lad as he was, gi’en his breedin’ an’ all, I ha’ been told his arrivin’ at the Ludia did stir some up there to be seein’ their own transport in a lesser light an’ this leadin’ to some sharp feelin’s directed towards the future Mauretesean Queen by some o’ the other Sorceress apprentices there.
But, to her credit, an’ no’ unexpectedly, once me Mistress Marsia got her a wind o’ this, she went aboot an’ had her some quiet conversations wi’ the worst o’ the offenders an’ all the snippiness stopped – at least above-ground. Meself, I credit this to the facts that that is what me Mistress would do an’ few there were—e’en in the classes ahead o’ her -- once her inner stuffin’s got ‘roused, would wish to stand toe to toe wi’ her an’ such on most issues o’ disagreement an’ confrontation. The other fact was that it was certain to be no secret to the young ladies there that Apprentice Marsia ha’ the most closest backin’ o’ Lady Geanninia, Headmistress o’ the academy entire herself. An’ if ye’re willin’ to take on the two o’ them persons just cause ye be a wee bit jealous, then good luck to ye.
Here, I do hates to say it, but ‘tis possible one o’ the worse offenders o’ this group was the Lady Sonnia o’ Frantillia, Master Rolland’s life-love. But seein’ as how that business was settled out no’ long after an’ they became the closest o’ sisters after an’ fore’er, ‘tis no need that I sees to go into it at this time.
So, then the next in line o’ these famous mounts was Thaddeus’ own Viator. This be the stallion he rode from the earlier years up to an’ through the Cinnian Invasion an’ the Battle o’ the Linden Trees. Now this steed was also a gift to Thaddeus from King Zoarr – Prince at the time – most likely for thwarting the evil Master Perditus an’ the Daemon Morag in the Tower, afore the structure was shipped off back to Cinoton.
Now it says here that Viator was also of the turkmene breed, except he was a chestnut brown color rather than the black o’ the other two as above. To my own mulish eye, I always thought o’ him more as an Akhal-Teke, meself. So that would make him no’ a direct descendent o’ Diator, but maybe a cousin or nephew or some such. All in all, though, I don’ see how this may make any kind o’ a difference. The rider an’ his horse got along well an’ did good together. That’s as apples in the end, don’ ye know.
Well, the time I ha’ been takin’ to explain the three equines above is because all three was there When the Eight Went Out at the verra beginnin’ o’ that Linden Tree Battle. O’ course, by that time, they was all gettin’ on a bit an’ had seen better years, but their hearts were great, an’ ‘twas Sorcerers an’ Sorceresses as was ridin’ them, so they ha’ the advantage any way. An’, I suspect, it was always possible some ambrosia was shared around beforehand.
Well, though, horses do go on sooner or later, just like we all do, an’ people, too. As it turns out, King Zoar once again dug down into his horse bank an’ pulled out Xiator fer Thaddeus after the passin’ o’ Viator. It was this steed as was kept on the Tower grounds an’ is used by the Master fer as long as he’s needed, I reckons.
He’s a good ‘un fer a horse an’ we gets along reasonably well, an’ so what more can one ask fer in life?
One thing more as occurs to me to add to all that ha’ gone before. I remembers once, a group o’ the Travelin’ Peoples was camped near the Northern Tower one time, settin’ up in their various an’ colorful Vardo Romani’s. An’, as it happens, I was down there one day pokin’ around all curious-like an’ their folk, fer some reason, found a talkin’ mule o’ interest to themselves – probably related to me inherent charms an’ such. In any case, I did take up wi’ one o’ their number – a horse-talker, as I recalls. An’ he told me all in confidence that while Xiator would serve his Master well an’ faithfully, he would, in no wise, survive him by much when the Day o’ Death would present itself. That’s all he would say aboot it an’ I decided then an’ there that there’d be no useful purpose served in sharin’ that particular bit o’ future-sight wi’ either me Master, nor the good Xiator.
So, that’s the story o’ the horses an’ I hopes ye enjoyed it a bit an’ learned somewhat. But, unirregardless, Miss Morphia an’ meself will return again to take up more topics as ye ask fer. Until then, though…
The Great North Tower, Northfast