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Found 35 results

  1. Changelings When you can be anyone or anything, who are you? Until recently, changelings have appeared regularly only in myths, legends, and old mares’ tales. Any prior historical references were short, sparse, and lacking in detail. Since the attack on Canterlot, however, new information has come to light. The changelings that attacked Canterlot have a very characteristic appearance: their bodies are roughly equine in shape, having four legs and a mane and tail. The changelings in Canterlot were seen to have different body shapes and sizes, much like ponies. Unlike ponies, however, their bodies are not covered in hair, but instead a shiny exoskeleton-like skin, much like an insect. Changelings appear to bear the marks of decay on their bodies; their limbs are pocked with holes and dimples, their manes and tails are wispy and brittle-looking, and their wings appear torn and ragged while still granting them flight. A shell-like structure covers their backs where an ordinary pony would wear a saddle. A changeling’s key trait is his or her ability to shapeshift. Scholars of magic suggest that this ability is a “glamour,” a special spell built specifically for deception. Changelings appear to be able to cast glamours naturally. During the transformation, all of the physical features of the identity they steal are recreated perfectly, down to the last hair. The glamour, however, is merely cosmetic. It only alters the changeling’s appearance and does not grant them access to the individual’s personality, memories, or unique mannerisms. Close friends can easily unmask a disguised changeling who is acting “out of character.” Changelings appear only to be able to assume the form of somepony close to their size. Most changelings appear to be within the same size range as ordinary ponies, save for the queens. Based on what is known about Chrysalis, queens stand taller than their broods, being proportioned more similarly to alicorns than average ponies, though her physical traits remain similar to lesser changelings. Like the smaller changelings, Chrysalis showed marks of apparent decay, with pocks in her wings and her legs and a crooked twisted horn upon her head. Her wings and mane and tail were similarly ragged and worn-looking. It also appears that queens can extend their glamours into powerful charm spells, preventing all but the most strong-willed of individuals from seeing through their deception. The actions of Chrysalis and her brood left a lasting mark on Equestrian views of Changelings in general. Since the only recent contact with changelings was during the Canterlot attack, very little is understood about changeling motives other than their overwhelming hunger for love. This hunger seems to be an intrinsic part of their culture, leading scholars to ask questions about where it came from in the first place. Due to the visibility of Chrysalis’ attack on Canterlot, It is easy to assume that changelings are malicious creatures willing to do anything it takes to acquire love, even if their methods are less than scrupulous. Still, there are some scholars who are reluctant to believe that Chrysalis and her hive should serve as a benchmark for the species. Scattered reports suggest that there are other extant hives ruled by other queens whose methods differ from those of Chrysalis and her brood. Some even say that these other changelings already walk among Equestrian ponydom today! These claims, however, are unsubstantiated and require further investigation, research, and perhaps diplomacy. - Canterlot Research Journal
  2. Hello everybody! Friendly neighborhood Dubstep here with another lore article! Now as you know most all of these are written in character to give you a general idea of what a race if like. This one however is going to be a bit different. What I’ve written here is information on the mysterious Yokai race! In Character, they’re meant to be more of a mystery, not seen super often, and so I left details on their looks vague for the most part. But this has brought up many questions for people as to the limitations for their looks, size, colouration, and other odds and ends about our mischievous spirit friends. So here I’ll be doing my best to answer some of those burning questions and give you a BIT more Out of Character insight into the workings of the Yokai! As more Yokai species come to be acknowledged, this list will be updated to the best of my ability. General Yokai Information: This information applies across all Yokai! Be sure to give this a looksee first. Magic: All yokai are capable of magic. The vast majority of Yokai are of average or above power with their magic, but some (especially elders or those who dedicate themselves, or sometimes those who are just really lucky) can expect to be quite a deal more powerful than their brethren. That being said, please be responsible just as you would with Unicorns or Qilin/Longma, don’t go Alicorn Black Stallion overboard! Colouration: When making your yokai, you may feel inclined to stick with the natural colours based on the type of animal the yokai is. I want to let you all know right now that there is No Limitation on colours that a yokai can have. If you want a Jorōgumo with the colouration of the Fruit Stripes Zebra, go for it! Markings: Just like with colouration, you’re not limited on the kinds of markings your yokai can have. They can be plain and solid coloured, or they can have many swirls or polka dots or whatever you might think of. A good inspiration for markings on yokai could come from the Okami series! Hitodama: Hitodama are magical balls of fire that yokai can summon with enough power or effort. Hitodama can, among other things, drain the energy of those close to them, mesmerize those who stare into them, change colour at a whim or by mood, and can be used to hide the Yokai’s presence for a time. Passively they don’t require much effort to keep around, but actively using their magical properties take energy proportional to the magic used. Kitsune have their own unique variant known as Kitsune-bi, which they can call upon much more easily. Natural Affinity: It’s not uncommon for Yokai’s appearances to be affected by the places that they live. Some show this off in the form of flowers growing out of places, or even their steps sometimes leaving patches of short-lived blossoms. Those that live in warmer climates can sometimes shimmer like a mirage, or those in coastal or aquatic regions can appear to be damp even when completely dry. Just as some examples. Pact Magic: Yokai can form magical pacts with mortals, bestowing the mortal a portion of their power while also increasing their own. These pacts however come with a vow or a promise of some sort that the Yokai and other part of the pact agrees to, should one break this vow, an agreed upon detriment befalls the one who broke it. Such as temporary loss of magic until reparations are made, some sort of transformation, or any number of things. Even ‘bloodline’ curses that could affect generations down the road. Vows: Vows are similar to the Pact Magic that yokai can invoke, but only require the yokai making a promise to itself. So long as they keep this promise, such as protecting an area for example, they are blessed with more power or the power to keep the promise in general. In most cases there are strict stipulations that must be kept to uphold a Vow. Should they break this vow however, they’re struck with setbacks much like they would if they broke a Pact, sometimes worse as their magic turns against them. Bakeneko/Nekomata: As mentioned in the main article, Bakeneko and Nekomata take the shape of large house cats of sorts, such as Scottish Folds, Munchkins, Tabbies, etc. How large is likely to be a question however. Without going into super full detail, the average adult size is that of a large dog, with some growing larger. But still not QUITE as large as say, a lion or a tiger. The difference between a Bakeneko and a Nekomata is small, but important. A Bakeneko is a young Nekomata, due to the difference in their power and magic levels, they’re considered to be ‘semi-separate’ despite being the same race. When a Bakeneko matures, its tail splits into two indicating it’s now a Nekomata. Most Nekomata tails glow with a ghostly sort of wisp around the tips, but not always. Both Bakeneko and Nekomata can have glowing eyes or flowing bits of fur across their bodies, but not all do. Unlike some other yokai, Bakeneko nor Nekomata develop antlers or horns. Some Bakeneko/Nekomata walk on their hindlegs, but most prefer all four. Hebi: Hebi are ghostly looking snakes. As I mentioned in the article they look as though they’re made out of mist and can shift between corporeal and incorporeal at will. Just like real life snakes they have a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Cobras, pythons, anacondas, what have you. Hebi can sometimes be seen with horns or antlers, and rarely with small feathery wings that are more for hovering or gliding than actual flight. Inugami: The Inugami are floating doggos, despite not having wings, they can fly just fine! Their head appears corporeal and can resemble that of any dog breed you can think of. Their body however is different and appears almost ghostly and stretches quite a distance. This length varies based on the Inugami of course. An Inugami based on a Whippet will be a lot longer than one based on a Corgi, but both of them will be quite longer than their mundane counterparts. Head colours and body colours don’t often match. They are capable of having horns and are often seen with glowing eyes. The most common for head colour is black and eye glow/head marking is red, but this is not always the case. Feel free to go with a different choice, especially if you feel red and black is edgy! Ha-Inu: The other half of the flying doggo brothers. Ha-Inu much more closely resemble their mundane counterparts, albeit twice their size on average, larger ‘breeds’ sometimes matching ponies in size. They sport, as mentioned, large fluffy wings that allow them flight. And while white is the most common colouration, it’s perfectly normal for them to be other colours or multiple colours as well. It’s rather uncommon for Ha-Inu to have either horns or glowing eyes, but fluffy flowy bits are fairly commonplace. Kamaitachi: The mustelid yokai covers a lot of different species (save for Badgers, we’ll get to that) such as ferrets, weasels, otters, stoats, etc. They don’t sport wings or horns, nor do they have glowing eyes. But are, like all yokai, larger in size than their counterparts. Though being so small on average already, it wouldn’t be a surprise that they could be mistaken for just large mustelids. The interesting thing with Kamaitachi is that they are always born as triplets. Though not always identical. The trio almost always sticks together, and most apps will be Three-In-One, but if you feel it’s too difficult to have a Three-In-One app (as it would require some extra effort and description) you are more than welcome to app a single Kamaitachi and possibly seek out others to play the other two. Kamaitachi walk on their hind legs just fine, but are also capable of dropping to run on all fours. Kitsune: Now most of this is likely self explanatory due to the prevalence of Kitsune in various media, but for posterity's sake, I’ll write stuff down anyway. Kitsune can resemble any sort of fox. They can have any number of tails from one to nine on average, as mentioned some especially old or especially powerful Kitsune can sometimes have ten or more. It’s not super common though, so be sure to have a good reason for it if you have more than nine! Kitsune can summon Fox-Fire Will-o-Wisps, or Kitsune-bi, at will and these magical fires can be of any colours. Other yokai are able to summon something similar, called Hitodama, but not as easily as a Kitsune can. Kitsune also have a little ball they wear around a collar on their neck. No these do not actually contain the Kitsune’s Life Force nor does it magically control them against their will. It does however have a magical tie to them, containing a watered down portion of the magic they can do and can affect them aversely the longer they are away from it, but over time a Kitsune can get through this ‘withdrawal’ and be fine without it. Though some Kitsune will still do whatever they can to get it back. Kitsune can have glowing eyes and flowing bits, but horns are extremely rare. Mujina: Mujina are great shapeshifters, much like Changelings are. They could be you or me, or Frank from accounting! But as for how they look when not disguised, Mujina resemble badgers. More often than not they walk on two legs rather than four. More often still they remain disguised. Mujina are, as with other yokai, bigger than their mundane counterparts. But in their case it’s only slightly so. Mujina don’t have wings or horns, and are rarely ever seen with glowing eyes. Mujina are also often chubby. Ōkami: The majestic Ōkami resemble wolves of course! Any kind of wolf you can think of. Nearly all Ōkami’s fur is luxurious and clean, you’d be hard pressed to find an Ōkami with a dirty or messy coat. This fur is quite often blessed by wispy or billowy portions, as are their tails or the gorgeous manes they can possess. Ōkami can possess horns, antlers, or glowing eyes, but not wings. Tanuki: Tanuki, as mentioned in the main article, are chubby raccoon or raccoon-dog like yokai! Most carry around straw hats or leaves upon their forehead. These leaves aren’t actual leaves, but rather a magical construct of sorts made by the Tanuki as a conduit for much of their magics. Tanuki very rarely have glowing eyes, but aren’t seen with horns or wings, nor do they have much billow fur. Some however are seen with two tails. Jorōgumo: The spider Yokai, as one would come to expect, can look like any sort of spider. These arachnid-like yokai range in size from ‘small dog’ to ‘average pony’ with some variation. Some have almost feline like faces, while others more closely resemble that of ponies or other races. What the faces do have in common is that they have eight eyes. Occasionally Jorōgumo will also possess mandibles in addition to any other teeth they may have. Glowing eyes are sometimes seen in Jorōgumo, but not horns/antlers or wings. Flowing bits of fur happen occasionally. Some Jorōgumo also have a more ‘taur’ like appearance, having an upper body somewhat like that of a pony or griffon attached the the body of a spider. Yosuzumi: One of the possible Yokai not listed in the main article are the Yosuzumi. Yosuzumi are bird like Yokai that can resemble a number of flight-capable birds, like crows, robins, pigeons, hawks, and many many others. These Yokai are often quite larger than their mundane counterparts, but it’s rare to see any bigger than an average pony. Glowing eyes aren’t seen in Yosuzumi, but occasionally antlers or horns are. Flowing fur is...kinda out since they have feathers, but shimmery or glowing feathers are not unheard of. Sarugami: Another unlisted Yokai are the primate-like Sarugami. Most Sarugami have a monkey-like appearance, but can have the form of other primates such as apes, orangutans, or lemurs! These Yokai are fairly tall; an adult Sarugami standing up straight can match height with that of a teenage dragon on average. Glowing eyes are possible but not super common. Their fur is usually more fluffy than flowy, but again certainly possible. Wings aren’t seen, but horns and antlers show up now and again. Smugness and challenging the Serpent Council is optional. Onikuma: The Onikuma are large bear Yokai. They’re not really bigger than their mundane counterparts, as most bears are already large enough as is. Of course, they can resemble any type of bear! Onikuma are hefty and strong despite being fairly chubby looking. It’s not a good idea to pick a fight with an Onikuma. The Onikuma also possess a magical stone from birth. These stones start of as small pebble sized rocks and grow as the Onikuma ages, as it gets bigger and the Onikuma becomes more capable with their magic, they're able to resize and reshape this stone as they see fit. Onikuma can have horns, glowing eyes, and billowing fur. Wings are exceedingly rare but not impossible. However they are not proportional to the Onikuma’s size, small enough that they cannot fly, only hover at best. Sorry, no dropbears. Katakirauwa: Katakirauwa are Pig Yokai. More specifically they resemble piglets and are about the size of such. Katakirauwa sport only one ear and leave no shadows. They’re quiet but sneaky little Yokai, often stealing things of (mostly) no consequence, then returning them the next day in odd places. Katakirauwa have little in the way of fur (fuzz at best) so no billowing coats for them, alas. Glowing eyes are common, though horns and wings are not. Some Katakirauwa keep balls (or in some cases large cherry bombs they’ve found or made) to roll around on from one place to another. Bakenezumi: Rodent like Yokai, Bakenezumi cover a wide range between tiny mice to the large capybara. The smallest Bakenezumi is still a bit bigger than an average mouse, and one based off of a capybara can sometimes get as big as a pony itself. Bakenezumi are much stronger than their (usually) small appearance lets on. Even the smallest amongst them is capable of lifting swords at least three to four times their size. Bakenezumi can have glowing eyes, billowing fur, and even horns or antlers! Gyokuto: Probably among the cuddliest looking Yokai are the Gyokuto, the rabbit Yokai! These Yokai cover the Lagomorph family, rabbits, pikas, hares, etc. Their often long ears are tufted with wispy softly glowing fur. Some Gyokuto have antlers or horns, leading them to be mistaken for Jackalopes. Other parts of their fur can be wispy and have a soft glow to them, but it’s uncommon (Not impossible) for their eyes to glow. Most Gyokuto have a soft spot for Mochi and carry around large wooden mortar and pestle to make some for themselves or travelers. Nomuyagi: Nomuyagi cover sheep and goats, as such they can cover the variety of those! From the large Suffolk Sheep to the tiny Pygmy Goat! Horns and antlers are very common among Nomuyagi. Billowing fleece isn’t quite as common but can happen, as can glowing eyes. Nomuyagi often get along quite well with Tanuki as they both share a common love of the drink. So don’t be too surprised if you see a sheep carrying a keg around on its back during a visit to the outer regions of Neighpon. Koma-Inu/Shīsā: Koma-Inu and Shīsā are two separate, regional names for the same kind of Yokai. While in real life these represent the Lion Dog guardians of temples, for our purposes these cover Large Cats as well, such as tigers, lions, and panthers. Billowing fur, especially manes, is common among them. Antlers and horns are rare but not unheard of, and glowing eyes are common. Usually Koma-Inu are born as a set of twins, one male and one female, but single births aren’t impossible. Gyūki: Gyūki are bovine Yokai, covering cows and oxen and such. Just like their mundane cousins, Gyūki are hefty and strong. Horns and antlers are commonplace amongst them. Wispy fur is not particularly common, but can happen. More often than not their tails have wispy glowing fur on the tip. Eye glow is common as well. Wings are also possible. Yokai Funfact: Yokai can't say 'Moshi moshi'! A little known fact outside of Polohomo, but a 'sure fire' way to tell if someone's more than they appear is to greet them with "Moshi moshi"! If they reply back with only "Moshi" they could very well be a Yokai in disguise.
  3. Giraffes - Friends In High Places Unyasi is a beautiful country with wide open savannas, lush forests, tall peaks, and wonderfully hospitable natives. Among them are the Giraffes. The Giraffes are the tallest race that I’ve personally had the chance to meet. Standing more than a few feet taller than myself, it’s not surprising that one would have to crane their neck to be able to look a Giraffe in the eye. These long legged and long necked natives range in color from a light tan to near black with most darker color spots across their bodies. Atop their head rest two knobby horns. Their manes, much like Ponies or the Abada that are also native to Unyasi, their manes vary in style, length, and colour. Their necks and legs aren’t the only thing surprisingly long on them either! An adult Giraffe’s tongue on average can reach eighteen to twenty inches long! Like many of the natives living in Unyasi, a majority of Giraffes live in tribes or herds. A majority of those are nomadic in nature, claiming no one spot of land as their own and are more than happy to share the bounty they harvest with those who share in kind. These tribes vary in size from that of ten to a dozen members, to some nearing the hundreds. The nomadic tribes are, as often expected, lead by a chief decided upon by the other members for the wisdom and leadership. Within a tribe there’s usually one ‘Witch Doctor’. Much like their neighbors, the Zebras and Abadas, many Giraffe tend to dabble in the ‘Natural Magicks’ such as alchemy and potion making. These Witch Doctors make many poultices and tinctures for ailing travelers or tribesmen. Also like their neighbors, they too earn cutie marks for finding their unique talent. This of course is often greatly celebrated amongst the tribe, often akin to a second birthday for them. The festivities of course are different from tribe to tribe. On average, these festivities are wrote down for posterity and passed on from generation to generation, even from tribe to tribe. The Giraffe are great fans of storytelling, always willing to share a tale for a tale, that way both sides gain knowledge they hadn’t before. In a land like Unyasi, where there’s such a variety of climate, there’s no way to really quantify any of the races that live here into one small niche. But of the Giraffes I spoke to, they were all a very genial and welcoming group. Traveling through the savanna with a small tribe, it wasn’t uncommon to come across other travelers that would sit and exchange stories with everyone while spending the evening around the campfires. So if you find yourself in Unyasi and see the warm glow of a campfire off in the distance and the sound of friendly chatter and merriment, stay awhile and listen! You might just learn a thing or two. ~Savanna Nights: A Journey Through Unyasi Ashley ‘Ash’ Ravencrest
  4. Yokai - Spirit of Mystery (Art by community artist Zeig) Yokai are a truly fascinating race. At first glance, one may think them to be an average animal, such as a fox or a cat. Some may even put on an act as such, letting curious tourists and passersby of Poninawa pet the 'darling little animal' only for said travelers to discover shortly after the precious native animal has gone, that their camera is now some how hanging in the tree behind them or that their bits have been scattered across the forest floor. In truth, average would be one of the last words to describe these mysterious and magical creatures. Virtually nothing is known about the Yokai's origins; some scholars believe them to be ancient spirits that have resided in Neighpon – and possibly the whole of the world at one point – long before ponies, others think that the Yokai are the leftovers of a prank caused by Discord that has long since been forgotten. Whatever the case may be, the Yokai aren't telling. What we do know of the Yokai are only what they allow us to know. The enigmatic species never reveals more than they want us to know and in fact will often impede scholars who attempt to delve deeper into them. It's a common belief that this is done as a way of saying that not everything in the world needs to be known and that some mysterious are better left to the imagination and wonder. Though it could be as simple as their mischievous attitudes: toying with us because it's amusing. The Yokai are a clearly magical race, capable of hiding their true forms via shape shifting or glamour, disappearing, and levitating objects at will. Rumors insist that Yokai can be just as powerful as a qilin or unicorn with magic, but any attempts to find proof of this has been met with failure. After all, the Yokai never do what we want them to do unless they want to do so anyway. But common belief dictates that they are indeed just as magical, only not to our faces. Yokai come in several different distinct forms that have been given names by the Neighponese, and judging by the fact that they've not tried to expunge any writing that calls them by these names the Yokai seem to enjoy them. The Bakeneko and Nekomata appear as large house cats with very long tails. The Bakeneko is simply a young Nekomata, the older Nekomata can be distinguished from the younger Yokai by the tip of their tail which has partially split in two. While most Yokai tend to not speak in a language that the general populace can understand (simply because they don't want to), the Bakeneko and Nekomata seem to be the most common ones to speak, or at least mimic, Neighponese. Hebi look like the ghosts of snakes or ones made of mist. Despite their appearance they are completely corporeal...When they want to be that is. As mentioned, little is known about the Yokai, and the Hebi are a prime example of this. For many years Hebi were thought to be a myth even in Poninawa. Some time ago however, during a caribou raid, several dozen Hebi swarmed onto a caribou longboat and stole away with a vast majority of their supplies and equipment while the caribou were unable to even touch the 'ghost' snakes. Inugami and Ha-inu are both dog-like Yokai but are very distinct in disposition and appearance. Inugami are long bodied, flying, dog-like Yokai, not unlike Serpent Dragons with dog-like features. Their heads are often black and are marked by intricate red designs and bright glowing red eyes. Despite their fearsome appearance they're not malicious by any means, but they are more prone to pushing pranks a bit too far, though they usually appear apologetic if things go poorly. Ha-inu appear as dogs with fluffy white wings and are possibly the most helpful Yokai. While still pranksters and tricksters by nature, there have been several stories of foals riding home on the back of a Ha-inu after having gotten lost in the forests. Kamaitachi, which are musteline Yokai, are often thought of as the ninjas of the Yokai world. Not only due to their stealthy nature, but also the fact that some literally emulate the arts of ninjas with small knives and scythes and the like, though they never seem to harm anyone. Kamaitachi are often seen in groups of three and are easily one of the strongest argument for Yokai having more magic than we might realize as there have been several reports of Poninawa citizens seeing Kamaitachi casting wind magics. Kitsune are quite likely the most well known among the Yokai. These multi-tailed fox-like Yokai are often seen sporting five, seven, or nine tails although some may have more or less. While the Kamaitachi are a strong source of evidence that the Yokai secretly have strong magic, the Kitsune would all but confirm it if we could find solid proof. At the very least it's obvious that these keen eyed tricksters are master shapeshifters and cunning masters of sleight of paw. Unique to Kitsune are two interesting things, the first is their Kitsune-bi, or fox-fire, wisps of magic fire akin to will o' the wisps that they can summon at will. While other Yokai have shown this ability, Kitsune are the most common practitioners. The second is a small ball worn around a collar on their neck. Rumour has it that this ball, often adorned with a little star on it, contains the life force of the Kitsune and that if someone holds it they can control them. Whether this is true or not is unknown, but when stolen a Kitsune will often go to any means to get it back. Mujina, badger like Yokai, are another of the great shapeshifters of the Yokai. Much like the Hebi, little is known about the Mujina as often times you don't know you're faced with one until they decide to drop their illusion years later and run off to likely prank another unsuspecting soul. Some say that Mujina are able to disguise themselves as other Yokai and even cast mild hypnosis. Ōkami are wolf like Yokai with thick, luxurious fur that is oft times long and billows gently even without a breeze, giving them a beautiful and majestic appearance. Ōkami are possibly the rarest Yokai, perhaps due in part to their pelts being sought out by poachers in years long past. Though if their numbers have dwindled or they have simply become more reclusive is, as with many things about the Yokai, unknown. Ōkami are also said to be the strongest of Yokai and stories often speak of them defending those in need when lost in the woods or mountains. Nowadays it's seen as a blessing to see an Ōkami even for a brief glimpse. Tanuki are another of the more well known Yokai, chubby raccoon like Yokai often wearing straw hats or leaves on their foreheads and carrying bottles of sake, Tanuki are often called lovably hedonistic. Their love for food, drink, and companionship is well known across Neighpon. While they too are masters of shapeshifting, just like the Kitsune and Mujina, they're exceptionally good at turning themselves into inanimate objects, such as tea-kettles. Another trick they're infamous for is disguising plain, useless leaves as money and giving it to the unaware, only for it to turn back to leaves as they go to use it. Due to their reputation as cheerful and benevolent rogues, many shops in Poninawa and beyond may have statues of these little guys sitting in their storefront. Be careful though, you never know when one may be the real deal in disguise. Jorōgumo are the Spider Yokai. While thoughts of a spider ranging in size from that of a small dog to a pony would probably scare the colour out of most travelers, the Jorōgumo are not nearly as frightening as actual spiders. Their faces, while still having eight eyes, are slender and almost tiger like in nature, and their orange and black colouration adds to this. While the Yokai as a whole are not remotely a malevolent race, some stories have told of Jorōgumo siding with the wicked for long periods of time, causing their own brand of strife, if only to later betray the evil they were 'sided' with. A long web of deceit, one might say. All in all, this race of strange and wonderful creatures is a great representation of our world. That no matter how long we live or how much we study, never will we know everything, nor should we. Without that sense of mystery and wonder to drive us to learn more, we would grow complacent and never journey beyond the horizon. And bare in mind, these listed here only represent a few of the kinds of Yokai out there! Don't be surprised if you happen to run into something unexpected...or do, they like it that way after all! ~Compendium of Curious Creatures Ashley 'Ash' Ravencrest
  5. Longma - Spirited as the Sun (Art by community artist Zeig) Long Guo, a sprawling and radiant land filled with beauty and mystery. Many legends have spawned from this far Eastern land, and tales of its natives are no exception. Take for instance the Longma, a strange but elegant race that takes from both Pegasi and Dragons. Like their cousins the Qilin, Longma on average have a more lithe and agile form when compared to other pony races. They also sport various draconic features, such as patches of scales across their body, including a uniform set of scales on their underbelly. Another feature shared with the Qilin is their elongated horns, though while Qilin often have straight or deer-like horns, Longma horns tend to come in a far greater variety; short and nubby, long and curly, or anything else in between. The defining trait setting the Longma apart from the Qilin are their wings. Closer to a Pegasus’ wings than a dragon’s, Longma are easily capable of keeping up with their scaleless counterparts and have the innate magic to walk on clouds. However, they lack the weather control that their pony cousins boast. Where a Pegasus' downy feathers would be, the Longma sport light dragon-like scales that give their wings an extra layer of protection from the elements. Though their magical dragonbreath is not as strong as the Qilin, Longma are just as capable of the feat. While most schools in Long Guo focus more on cultivating their flight capabilities, young Longma are still taught the basic dragonbreaths. Those that show an aptitude for magic often go on to master the more advanced abilities that tie into their talent. When compared to their Qilin cousins, the Longma are often seen as more brash, warrior-spirited, and full of energy. This assumption often sees them painted as rushing headlong without thinking about the solution nor the consequences. And while not every Longma leads a life of hyperactivity and excess, there is always a hint of truth in every myth. This contrast between the Qilin and Longma are just part of what make Long Guo a more exciting and mysterious nation. Note: Due to linguistic and regional factors, both Longma and Ryuma are acceptable spellings. ~Journey to the Dragon Kingdom Ashley 'Ash' Ravencrest Additional concept art by Zeig:
  6. Sirens - Musicians of the Deep Sirens are commonly associated with dulcet voices calling sailors at sea to a watery grave. Beautiful and beguiling sea ponies with hypnotic voices and mesmerizing motions. This is of course, an old mare's tale, for the most part. Though considered a myth by some, and often mistaken for sea ponies, Sirens have several distinguishing features to tell them apart from their distant relatives. The first being that they have a much more aquatic appearance — sporting fins that run from the top of their head, down their back, and stopping just before their long fish-like tail, as well as a set of fins on the sides of their head and the bends of their forelegs. That, along with the series of plate-like scales that run along the underside of their upper half, sharp teeth, and slit eyes that are more akin to that of a dragon's, give excellent examples of the differences. But the most glaring difference of all is the Siren's use of magic, which is where myth and truth begin to marry. Set in the center of a Siren's chest is an apple-sized gemstone, which can come in a variety of colors, cuts, and shapes. Much like a unicorn's horn, this gem acts as the Siren's aetheric conduit and lets them channel magical energies. Unlike a unicorn, who can simply cast spells mentally, a Siren's magic consists almost entirely of verbal incantation. Some magics though come to them innately, such as their ability to levitate a small distance above the ground or their slight consistent dampness that keeps them from drying out above water. Another factor that feeds into the myth of the Sirens is their ability to feed off of emotions to empower their magics. Unlike changelings, who supposedly have a direct hunger for love, Sirens merely use their 'feeding' to amplify their magics. Positive emotions such as joy and love can improve magics that heal or help, while negative emotions like anger and hate will make their offensive or controlling magics stronger. While this type of magic does allow Sirens to use their magic to dupe unwitting ponies by playing on their distrust and anger, feeding and growing their own magic and stirring the flames of discord, your average Siren would much rather not perpetuate the stigma brought upon their race by those of ill repute. Most instead opt to use their magical music for more beneficial and recreational purposes, like their land bound neighbors. ~Creatures of the Waves: The Wet and The Wild Ashley ‘Ash’ Ravencrest Additional concept art by Zeig:
  7. Serpent Dragons - The Ancient and Wise (Art by community artist Zeig) Across the eastern sea from Equestria lives a breed of dragon that few ponies know of. Aside from their gigantic scale-covered forms, reptilian biology, and ability to wield dragonbreath, little commonality exists between the Serpent Dragons of Long Guo and their monstrous cousins from Equestria and Whitescar. Known in their mother tongue as the Long, these draconic serpents, for which an entire nation and culture are named after, are regarded as among the most revered beings to grace the earth. The first distinctive quality of a Serpent Dragon is its long snake-like physique, not too dissimilar from a Sea Serpent’s. Four slender legs with claws extend from the belly, used primarily to grab objects. Instead of spikes, hair grows on the Serpent Dragon’s back from the head down to the tail, with a prominent tuft on the tip. Antlers crown the head of all Serpent Dragons, with some males growing tendrils on their snout. Setting a Serpent Dragons further apart is its ability to fly and hover in place without the use of wings. Via magical means, it can propel itself through the air and dive underwater with the greatest of ease. In fact, Serpent Dragons have been observed to be rather fond of shooting in and out of deep bodies of water. Like Sea Serpents, the innate magic of the Long allows them to stay permanently beneath the surface. The most significant difference between a Serpent Dragon and its western brethren is an affinity for mastering a wide variety of breath magics. To obtain complete mastery in a particular school of dragonbreath, a serpent must spend an entire half-century’s worth of studying and training; learning several more requires hundreds of years. Yet when a dragon of Long Guo completes enough of its training, it will have enough knowledge and experience to manipulate the weather single-handedly! Many of the Long reside in the mountains known as the Abode of the Ancients, although some adults who’ve developed a special fondness for the outside world live as solitary guardians of nature. These protectors prefer living in concealed abodes close to water: alcoves behind waterfalls, grottoes carved out by ocean tides, snow-covered mountain hideaways, and the clouds in the sky all do the trick. Such locales are also prized by adults requiring isolation for deep meditation sessions, which last upwards to a hundred years. Young serpents have been known to live among Long Sun civilization until they come of age, although it is believed that this practice is frowned upon by their elders. Since ancient times, the Long Sun have sought out their draconic progenitors for wisdom and other blessings. Being of a benevolent nature, elder serpents will usually reveal their knowledge or summon a much-needed rainstorm for those who have upheld the Natural Balance and demonstrate sufficient deference to the Long. Those who’ve disturbed the Balance or show blatant disrespect, most notably by interrupting a deep meditation session, are liable of provoking a serpent dragon to calamity-inducing wrath. While the Long never discuss such matters with outsiders, there is also reason to believe that a serpent dragon unable to control an obsession with hoarding worldly possessions (usually gems) will become corrupted, its mind twisted into that of a ravenous beast. Few of the Long question the collective sagacity of the Serpent Council that gathers in Longri-La, or of the Serpent King that presides over the Council. In eras of peace and prosperity, the average Serpent Dragon will have few dealings with the Council, if any. When times of doom and despair come however, the Long will rally around the King and the Council to overcome a great challenge. ~Journey to the Dragon Kingdom Dr. Tong Zei & Ash Ravencrest Additional concept art (and comparisons to Equestrian dragons) by Zeig:
  8. Qilin - Mystical as the Moon (Art by community artist Zeig) When somepony envisions the eastern land of Long Guo, one of the first things that usually comes to mind are the spellbinding Qilin. Part-pony, part-deer, and part-dragon, the Qilin gracefully takes traits from all three of the former and blends them into an unique, harmonious form. Although it is inaccurate to refer to Qilin as “Long Guo Unicorns,” these draconic ungulates are certainly just as magical as their Equestrian counterparts. Like the equines of Equestria, the Qilin of Long Guo are endowed with pony-esque bodies. Shared attributes include similar sizes, vividly colored coats, and manes. Qilin are also capable of earning cutie marks through the coming-of-age rite of discovering what makes them unique, in the very same fashion as other pony foals. Other physical features of the Qilin differentiate them from equines. Deer-like characteristics include slenderer physiques than ponies, cloven hooves, and straight-growing antlers on their heads. A long, thin tail extends from a Qilin’s rear, complete with a thick tuft of hair on its underside. Additional tufts protrude from each ankle, of the same color as the rest of the Qilin’s hair. When in a gallop, it is said that a Qilin’s flowing tufts create the illusion of a creature burning with a sacred fire. What truly makes the Qilin (and their Longma cousins) remarkable are their connections to Serpent Dragons. Uniformed scaling covers a Qilin’s underbelly and snout, while miscellaneous scales are found on its back and haunches. Most important of all however is a Qilin’s dragonbreath, for that is how a Qilin manifests their magic. Even though a Qilin’s breath will never be as powerful as that of a true dragon’s, it is capable of producing a wide variety of spells. Qilin schoolchildren are taught the basics of dragonbreath, but most will go on to only master those advanced abilities that correspond to their special talent. Compared to their fellow winged Longma, Qilin have a reputation for having a greater attachment to farm work, presenting themselves as more cultivated, meditating for long periods before acting, and relying on breath sorcerery. Obviously, many Qilin cannot be pigeonholed by such expectations, but oftentimes a grain of truth exists behind each stereotype. And the truth is that the physical differences between the Qilin and Longma contribute to the duality that makes Long Guo a more dynamic and cultured nation. Note: Due to linguistic and regional factors, Qilin, Qirin, and Kirin are all acceptable spellings (although outside of Neighpon, "Kirin" generally refers to a related but distinct offshoot species of draconic equine). ~Journey to the Dragon Kingdom Dr. Tong Zei & Ash Ravencrest Additional concept sketches by Zeig:
  9. Yaks - Unforgiving Bovines from an Unforgiving Land Yaks are some of the most misunderstood species known to Equestria. An isolated group, yaks have not had much contact with the outside world. As such, the ways of these bovines may seem strange, even brutish. At the end of the day however, the yaks can be counted on as friends to all free peoples, just as long as great care is taken not to offend them. Originating from the mountainous regions north of the Crystal Empire, yaks are well-suited for life in alpine climates. Their hulking bodies and shaggy hair (usually of earthly non-pastel tones) allow the highland bovines to survive sub-zero temperatures, while their lungs are especially adapted for high altitude breathing. While herbivorous, a yak should never be crossed, as both males and females possess giant horns and incredible physical strength. When sufficiently angered, a yak in peak physical condition is potentially capable of lifting upward to 90 tons! The mountains are a very inhospitable place; to survive the challenges of unpredictable weather and hostile predators, the yaks adopt an equally inhospitable disposition. Imperfection is not tolerated, for the slightest mistake can result in one’s ruination on the blizzard-prone slopes. Yaks live a hardscrabble existence, but it can also be said that they’re as formidable as they are because they push themselves to the limit. For hundreds of years after the disappearance of the Crystal Empire, almost no outsiders have dared making the treacherous journey to the yak homeland. Left to their own devices, the yaks only have limited practice speaking in the lingua franca of Equestria and other lands. While yaks and outsiders can understand themselves just fine, yak-speech is known for its bare minimalism... and shouting. YAKS ALWAYS SHOUT WHEN THINGS NOT PERFECT! ~Equestrian Foreign Partners: Primers on Equestrian Allies, by Flowing Skies
  10. Perytons - Creatures of Enchantment (Art by community artist MudBug) Sprawling along the western rim of Cirrus Lake is a chain of low-lying islands known as the Velvet Strand. The gentle, grassy slopes which rise out of the shallow waters are home to the peryton: flightless, winged deer who have made their home in the Nimbusgait lakes since they first welled up with water. While there are no solid records of where exactly these mysterious creatures came from, a favored legend amongst them and their pegasi neighbors tells of a forbidden romance between a famed pegasus general and the princess of a herd of whitetail deer. After entering an arranged marriage under the command of her father, the princess often wished she could fly far away, to a world where she was free. Every night she gazed at the stars and wished to be one of them, and every so often, when granted a taste of freedom, she would venture to the western shores of Cirrus lake. Here the shallow waters grew so still that they perfectly mirrored the shimmering expanse of the night sky, so the whitetail princess would wade into the waters and close her eyes, dreaming that she was a star and far away from her life. One night, a pegasus general famed throughout the world for his ruthless tactics and cold command of pegasi armies spotted the princess wading through the waters. He instantly fell in love, and it was not long before his affections were returned. Once every three months they would meet in the waters surrounding the Velvet Strand, until years later they were discovered. The princess was cast out from her home in the Everfree forest and left to fend for herself in the wilderness. Desperately wishing to help her, the general abandoned his rank and his home to live at his banished princess’ side on the Velvet Strand. It was their love that gave birth to the peryton race, so the story goes. Whatever the truth may be, the peryton race has proven itself to be a vital entity in the Nimbusgait lakes. Though individually they appear to possess no supernatural talents beyond the ability to walk on clouds, in groups the peryton are armed with precious, life-giving magic unlike anything else in Equestria. Their collective magic is passive, and the larger a herd is the stronger its effect upon the world. It is difficult not to notice the change in the air and the water around a group of peryton: murky water slowly turns clear, smog and fumes transform into sweet, clean air, and wilted plants spring to life and flourish once more. Simply by coming together, peryton have the ability to purify and revitalize the world around them. It does not happen overnight, and the area of effect is limited to where the herd dwells, but this magic has been purifying the waters of the Great Nimbusgait Lakes for countless years. There is a reason the waters of Cirrus Lake are famous for being so clear and pristine, and that reason lives on the Velvet Strand. Because of their uncanny magic, life amongst a herd of peryton has a quietly enchanting atmosphere. They regain their energy faster among their own kind and are much less susceptible to illness, while the lingering feeling of magic weaves its way through everything and everypony. Indeed, it is not just peryton who feel these effects when living near a herd, and as such it is not rare for ponies and other creatures to find themselves drawn to the winged cervidae. Being near them is cleansing for all life, and for sentient species the effect is mental and emotional as well as physical. Being in the company of a single peryton is quietly uplifting, but the effect a herd has can heal many kinds of hurts. Peryton are well aware of the effect they have upon other creatures. Thanks to this, they possess a natural sense of self-importance and arrogance. Vanity and selfishness go hoof-in-hoof with peryton, so when the enchanting appeal of a herd is removed and one must deal with them individually, their charm quickly diminishes. Even so, peryton still retain a certain magnetism when separated from a herd. It is not uncommon to hear stories of those lost in the Everfree woods near the Great Nimbusgait Lakes being drawn down a safe path after catching a fleeting glimpse of a mysterious, winged deer through the trees. Even without the intention of rescuing lost wanderers, their natural allure has helped many travellers and earned them something of a heroic reputation in heavily wooded areas. Scholars who excel in the field of Aetheric Theory have long puzzled over this peculiar brand of magic. Though much of it remains a mystery, Canterlot researches have discovered that it is a peryton’s antlers which connects them to the magical community of a herd. The antlers behave similarly to lightning rods, attracting magic that is naturally present in Equestria and channelling it through the peryton. Though they are most similar to whitetail deer in appearance, unlike their wingless cousins both male and female peryton have antlers which they do not shed. It has been observed that breaking off an antler nullifies their natural magnetism and can even lead to ostracization from their herd. They are prideful creatures and their antlers are their greatest source of pride. Seeing one of their own so disconnected from the essence of what makes a peryton a peryton causes a great deal of discomfort, making it difficult for them to know how to behave around those whose antlers are broken, or worse yet those whose antlers never grew in. In modern Equestria, peryton have taken full advantage of their passive community-based magic. The Velvet Strand is famous as a spa/resort destination, where creatures from all walks of life go to relax, rejuvenate, or even to heal. They excel in careers designed to help with de-stressing, and it is common to see peryton across Equestria running spas, salons, massage therapy clinics, yoga classes, and other businesses of that ilk. The best summation one could make of peryton is that they are beautiful, irrevocably self-involved, and most importantly: they are uncommonly enchanting and irresistible. Equestrian Travels Volume 4, Journal no.137, penned by Ryx Blackwing, Aquellian Archives
  11. Saddle Arabians - Mind and Matter The most the average Equestrian knows of the horses who inhabit the land southwest of Equestria is that they are tall. Saddle Arabians do cut an impressive physical form. They stand head and shoulders above ponies, on average almost matching the height of the Princess Celestia. Arabians do not have cutie marks and do not possess any magic, relying on their own innate physical prowess. Though they are roughly just as fast as ponies are, they are on average much stronger, with more endurance; the average pack-pony would tire sooner even than a Saddle Arabian burdened with far greater weight. This superior physical form allows them to endure the harsh desert climate of their home without great need of nourishment. When compared to ponies, Arabians eat a smaller variety of foods that typically are higher in nutritional value to maintain their vigorous health. There are two cultures at work in Saddle Arabia that share a common defining trait. Their lack of any magic- unicorn, pegasi, earth or otherwise- and the ability to fly has forced them over the eons to push the limits of the mind and the imagination to compensate and both cultures have benefited. The tribes of the great desert live in a harsh landscape and their abilities and intelligence are tested not only so they may survive, but thrive. These tribes produce adventurers and wanderers renowned as much for their ability to remain kind and open despite their environment as much as their ability to conquer almost every obstacle in their path. Quick wits and an aggressively pleasant demeanor are quite common among the tribes as friendly relations are a must to survive in the desert. Food is varied and often improvised. Some of the greatest cooks in Saddle Arabia become so not out of schooling or desire, but experience with turning whatever they may have on hoof into a delicious dinner. Clothed normally in loose fitting robes and other lighter materials, they eschew titles and nobility and some of their greatest members prefer anonymity to celebrity. The Arabians of the Equinox are cut from a different cloth; born into much greater wealth and luxury than their tribal brothers, the Arabians of the Equinox turn their in-born desire for intellectual pursuit towards more theoretical ends. Arabians can be voracious readers and the great libraries of the cities provide a near endless supply of wisdom for a developing mind to grow on top of, while their opinionated and chatty natures lend themselves naturally to friendly debates. Those intellectuals considered to be the best of the best are viewed in equal parts with respect and envy. Competition arises between Arabians seeking this distinction, propelling generation after generation in the Equinox to evolve past the generation before. Older designs are improved. New and revolutionary designs come to reign supreme. Ideals of the past are debated, discussed, dissected and, if found wanting, discarded in favor of more sturdy ideas. Despite this, they still remain extremely kind and see all work that is done now as being done in the shoulders of giants, even if the competitive nature of society does breed slightly more hostility than in the tribes. An Arabian who believes in efficient actions respects the Arabian who can be creative, and the creatively gifted Arabian respects the efficient on all the same levels. Among the other races, Arabians are generally polite but very inquisitive. No topic or thought is out of bounds to them no matter how harsh the subject matter, as a common humorous anecdote from the era directly after the banishment of Luna displays. According to the story, Sultan Sulla once even asked Princess Celestia herself if she was losing sleep over sending her sister to the moon not long after the short lived Lunar Revolt took place. Despite the ensuing cooling between the two as a result of the heedless remark, Arabians generally regard the world well and are marked by a great deal of optimism. Seafarers as much for the love of knowledge as of adventure, they have made landfall and found themselves entwined to some degree in every land. Populations, if not very large, of Arabian horses are not uncommon in the big cities of the world. Despite being far from home, these travelers still retain their basic Arabian inquisitive nature. - Canterlot Research Journal
  12. A CLASH OF STEEL AND IDEALS: KNOWING THE CARIBOU FOE (Art by community artist Zeig) From the snowy north known as Whitescar beyond the perimeter of the Crystal Empire and the sea that protect it sallies forth one of the most well known of Equestria's ancient scourges. Tales of their raids and daring stretch as far back as recorded Equestrian history and even into its pre-history, when the ancient pony tribes found themselves assailed in their own lands. The griffons tell tales of four legged beasts of great size, power, and prowess. The zebra speak in hushed tones of Equestria's northern terrors who on rare occasions shatter the peace of the Unyassan savanna. Across the oceans their stories are known; the sky rings with the clash of metal; the ground shakes at their berserker Charge. No corner of the world known to the ponies of Equestria has been entirely free of their presence at one time or another. They barrel down from the capital city of Heil and before them many tremble. They are the caribou and only time will tell whether their past determines their future. The caribou hail from a harsh land where only a few things grow and fewer things grow easy; settlements can be buried by snow and large numbers of Diamond Dogs and elder dragons take up the mountain spaces. The Spine of the World Serpent cuts through the land like an ugly scar, the depths of the world's toughest and most volatile mountain terrain unbearable to all but the most hardy and well armed. In this landscape, the clans of the caribou compete for what few resources can be wrought from the land. The strongest clans get the lion's share while the weaker clans fade away. Such is as it has been since the dawn of time. This has forced them to look elsewhere for sustenance and they have found many cities around the world to provide for them, willingly or not. Their well-made longships take them across the sky and sea, primarily along the coasts of Equestria where they find many settlements to raid. In the air, retrofitted airships fly alongside longships with the aid of renegade ponies, the ancestors of those who fled Equestria and the Crystal Empire at the defeat of their former masters, Nightmare Moon and Sombra respectively. They work alongside their caribou allies, intertwined in daily life if not sharing the same level as respect. In Caribou society, the more successful the raid, the more successful the clan and captains. Occasionally, one clan will become strong enough to unite all others under a single banner and the ensuing Charge will shake the region. Whether it is launching large expeditions to the far corners of the world in the name of exploration, rooting out the diamond dogs and dragons that roost in the mountains, or breaking down the walls of a nation's resistance, the Charge of the united caribou is as awesome as it is unstable. Once the leader of the Charge dies, a plan fails, or the warriors feel fortune is not with them, their loyalty will falter and revert back to their individual clans resulting in infighting.. Many times has an invasion of Equestria been thwarted by some great fortune or a rumor in the caribou camp running out of control. The most notable of this particular instance was more than a thousand years ago, when High King Henpecked the Heavy-Bearded allied with King Sombra. In receipt of more than a thousand of each type of pony as slaves, he prepared the Charge to hammer into Equestria's unguarded flank. When Sombra was defeated however, rumors in camp blamed the Snow Spirit of Saarkaval for it, a sign that the Elements opposed the High King. Enough clans refused to move forward to bring the campaign to a halt, and when that happened, the rest left too. Often times, caribou will have clan symbols and other iconography painted on them in addition to their normal coat. Antlers of all sizes are common, with some of the most honored warriors having misshapen antlers- cutting them off is a source of minor shame until they grow back, revealing for a lifetime the scars of his combats! From birth the fawn is brought up to learn the ways of his or her clan, but there are a few constants throughout. Training for combat is a priority as both a means for sustenance as well as protection from Diamond Dogs and dragons. Almost every caribou will have mastered the axe and the shield, with the sword and spear being widely deployed as well. Arrows and javelins are also not uncommon, but except in the case of experts and marksman, are usually used by teenage caribou in their first few engagements. These often times come in the form of raids, which are mostly conducted by one captain and his crew. The crew may vary depending on the captain, the clan, and the target, but it can range from a longship full of veteran warriors preparing to launch a pincer attack against a port to loot it all the way to a single squad of 'Newfies' preparing to ambush a farming convoy. It is therefore not entirely their fault that the other races of Equestria consider the caribou to be bloodthirsty warriors bent on destruction. And while such notions are not entirely without merit, nor is it entirely correct. Caribou view this as the way of life that the strong must follow in order to prosper, with no ill intent intended towards their victims- it is just business. What began as a requirement in order to survive has evolved into a sacred tradition of their society. Another tradition is the Will Test, when a young caribou is sent into the Southern Wilds to retrieve a flower special to his clan. Through harsh winds and the forbidden magics that mark this place as well as the deadly native creatures that haunt every step, the will of a young caribou is tested. Those who return are considered adults. Those who fail this passage from childhood into adulthood are cast out until they can bring something of worth back to their clan. It is from these Clanless that Equestrians have learned of the many customs of the many clans, with the single identifying being that once an adult, a Clan member enjoys a life that is entirely supportive as well as universally loving and friendly. Civil war inside of a clan has never happened, and acts of violence are a once in a generation occurrence. It is odd that this attitude has failed to take over the species at large, which makes the current political situation all the more dramatic. Recently a new High King has been crowned, the first in over a hundred years. High King Dragonsong of Heil-Barn has proclaimed peace between the caribou and the races of the world in an effort to see a new era for his people, one where they can work with instead of against the world. This was not a popular proclamation, but his absolute annihilation of the invasion of the Shape-Changers and Emotion-Sappers (Changeling) of the Western Reaches of Whitescar as well as his daring counter-offensive that destroyed their local hive in the mountains earned him enough cache with the caribou to have his position secured. With his new found power secure for a short while, he made broad proclamations in order to soften the sharp edges of Caribou social and foreign policy, an incredibly controversial move that only somebou of such stature could attempt. Many decided to follow the new course set by the king and abandon some of the old ways for the new. From his fortress mountain city of Heil, he commands the majority to do good works. From the coastal cities of Saarvagerg and Barn to the nomads in the beating heart of the land of Snow and the Wind they call home, the caribou are turning a new leaf. Many others however oppose the reforming of the old ways. While the High King is safe in his mountain fortress and his allies are numerous, the warlike ancient traditions will not die so easily. More than a dozen clans have left the homeland in a mass exodus, flooding the seas, the air, and the neighboring regions with a tidal wave of desperate caribou with a large number settling in the northwestern Badlands. Others seek glory so they may go back to Whitescar and overthrow the High King and reverse his foolish ways. All are opposed to the High King, and the High King is opposed to them and will do everything in his power to bring them under his control in dog-like subservience and obedience. The only certainty is that nowhere in the known world is safe from either the renegade clans following the old ways or the armies of High King that seek to bring these rebellious clans back into the fold, and that the fate of the caribou hangs in the balance. - Excerpt from, "The Northern Winds: A Call to Action," By Silverwing, noted alarmist and retired Admiral
  13. Deer - Woodland Stalwarts (Art by community artist Captain McDerp) Not many ponies are familiar with their distant ungulate cousins from the deer family. Deer are most easily set apart from equines by their two-toed hooves and the prominent antlers displayed by males, typically not present with females. Part of the reason why ponies have a hard time understanding deer is because this family of creatures come in many physical and cultural flavors. While deer and ponies tend to live separately from one another, friendships between the two groups is in no way uncommon. When most ponies think of deer, they’ll most likely envision the nomadic herds of the white-tailed deer; eponymous denizens of the Whitetail Wood. Like many types of deer, male stags feature twig-like antlers, which are shed annually, which can be employed for the herd’s defense. These herds thrive by foraging for food, and tend very few possessions at all; notably tents or blankets. For the forest-dwelling deer, sleeping under the cover of tree branches is all the protection they need. The white-tailed folk are extremely non-confrontational, fleeing from suspicious outsiders rather than aggressively defending their territory in nearly all encounters. White-tailed deer make every effort to resolve most quarrels between individuals and herds through peaceful means... with the significant exception of two stags fighting for the heart of a doe. By ancient tradition, competing stags are to charge at each other and lock antlers; whoever is the better wrestler is considered the worthier companion to a doe. Many other traditions among the white-tailed deer revolve around rituals intended for the preservation of their woodland home. In many respects, the wisest members of the herds are directly comparable to the shamans of zebra tribes, safeguarding such a deep knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Whitetail Wood that most ponies can never hope to learn. The wisdom shared by the white-tailed herds is most effective at warding off corruptive forces radiating from the Everfree Forest. And make no mistake; these normally flighty beings WILL fight for the safety of their herd and their forest should it prove absolutely necessary. Of course, this describes but one famed variety of deer within Equestria’s borders, and just those ones who've moved out of the woods to live among ponies. Seaddle and the surrounding redwoods for example are home to a significant population of huge moose, renowned lumberjacks with great leaf-like antlers and a greater appreciation for civilization’s comforts. Farther north in the arctic wastes beyond the Crystal Empire, tales horrifyingly speak of battle-loving caribou clans, periodically sending ships and armed raiding parties down south for plunder. Because even females have antlers, travelers purportedly claim that “all-male” caribou do not give birth naturally, but rather spring out from holes in the ground. Caribou are practically as different from white-tailed deer as the night is from day. ~Canterlot Research Journal
  14. Areion - Denizens of the Dark, Guardians of the Night Areion are a pony race shrouded in mystery, best known for their intimidating appearance and their affinity for darkness and the night. Their bodies are equine in appearance and size, being quadrupedal and bearing wings. Like pegasi, they have a predisposition toward slimmer, more lithe forms, though variations of this exist throughout the species. Their coats and manes run the full spectrum of colors that other pony species do, though most Areion possess more subdued coats and manes. Areion have several key differences that separate them from their pegasus cousins, the most striking trait being their wings. Areion lack pegasi feathers, instead possessing bat-like wings with bony “fingers” and leathery webbing. Closer inspection also reveals subtle differences in the shape of their ears and eyes. Their ears have small tufts on them, much like a bat, and their pupils form slits, much like a dragon. Though they cannot control weather like pegasi, Areion are excellent fliers and are capable of feats of speed, agility, and stealth with practice. They retain the ability to cloudwalk as most Equestrian fliers do. Areion night vision is exceptional and they are also in possession of excellent hearing. Their daylight vision, however, is less acute. Most Areion are vegetarian, preferring fruit, though a few have taken to consuming insects to supplement their diets. Much like their colloquial name (“bat pony”) and physical features suggest, Areion are at home in the dark. They are mostly nocturnal and as such were among the few ponies that Princess Luna connected with prior to her fall to Nightmare. Most Areion revere her as their patroness with some even serving as her personal guard. As a result, Areion are most often associated with the moon, the night, and the Princess of them both. In the legends, Areion are renowned explorers, cartographers, and astronomers. It is claimed that the first comprehensive maps of Greater Equestria were penned by Areion-led expeditions and most modern star charts have their origins in Areion stellar cartography. Historical documents to prove these claims are lacking, but it is clear that modern Areion still possess a keen sense of direction, a knack for navigating at night or in bad weather, and an eye for the stars. Their association with the night sky is preserved in astronomical catalogues as the constellation “Areion,” a representative of their kind written in the stars. The most defining feature of the constellation is the belt of stars representing the saddle strap of an Areion explorer. With Luna’s fall to Nightmare and subsequent banishment, the Areion went into self-imposed exile, mourning the loss of their patroness. Forming up into bands called “colonies,” different Areion families decided to go their separate ways, though arrangements were still made to meet every year on the Winter Solstice to pay their respects to the moon. These gatherings, later named The Conclave, serve as a forum for Areion colonies to share their experiences, receive news of events that have happened throughout the land, and make provisions for future endeavors if needed. The true location of the Conclave is known only to Areion but it is speculated to be somewhere within the Forest of Leota. While relatively uncommon in central Equestria, more Areion have been making themselves known since the return of the Princess of the Night. The highest concentration of them appears to be in Canterlot. Several families of Areion have moved into the older portions of town, where they are most often seen out and about at night. A few even serve as part of Princess Luna’s personal guard. Other small colonies and individuals can be found throughout Equestria and Aquellia. Pronounced: Ah-rye-un.
  15. Zebras - Unyasi's Unique Inhabitants The existence of Zebras has been known for quite some time, but it was only recently that any studies into their culture has been conducted. Zebras share the stocky, strong build of their earth pony kin, being differentiated most strikingly by their stripes. In addition, zebra tail hair grows naturally short, only growing longer at the tip, where it forms the characteristic zebra tuft. Stripe patterns and colors are as diverse as their pony cousins, though they usually lean towards more subdued colors. The Zebra homeland, Unyasi, is largely unsettled and untamed. Letting nature run its course is a general theme in Zebra culture, encompassing everything in their worldview from dwellings to education to lifestyle habits. Native Unyasan Zebras are just as strong as Equestrian earth ponies and often just as astute at reading the earth. Their down to earth nature and their preference for natural surroundings leads many to settle in out of the way locations on the Equestrian mainland, away from large cities and controlled weather areas. Many zebras find their talents in potion brewing, dye making, and healing remedies due to the plants around them in their home being so crucial to their daily lives. Zebras of a young age learn all about the great magic that flows through the ground, and everyone that shares it. Zebras earn their cutie marks in the same manner as ponies: discovering their unique destiny that ties into their talents. Native Unyasan is its own language, but most zebras have picked up Common Equestrian over years of interactions with ponies. It is a misconception that all zebras speak in rhyme, though some might chose to do so as rhyming, rhythm, and song are pillars of their ancestral culture. Zebras bring a love of nature and their own unique cultural flair to Equestria. While their native tongue and their nature-focused lifestyles clearly differentiate them from their Equestrian cousins, they share the same desire to spread harmony and forge lasting friendships. ~Encyclopedia Equestria
  16. Chamroshes - Griffonkind's Unique and Illusive Kin (Art by community artist Zeig) Chamroshes are a rare intelligent species closely related to griffons, with the head and wings of a raptor but with the body of any variety of wolf or dog. Emphasizing their resemblance to griffonkind, they are often widely and popularly referred to by the alternate name of cynogriffons, which most are happy to accept. They vary in color, shape and size just as griffons do and are in fact often times very easily mistaken for griffons. The average chamrosh is smaller than the average griffon, being about comparable in size to a large stallion. Despite this, they are very often as physically capable as or more physically capable than their griffon cousins, but are often said to have less stamina, exhausting themselves with greater ease. Chamroshes are not native to the continent, hailing from across the Reintight sea in a land far to the west beyond the deserts of Saddle Arabia. Only small numbers have reached our shores, almost all of which have settled within Aquellia's borders where they blend in with greater ease. They are known to prefer making their homes in wooded areas and among the mountains as opposed to in the larger griffon cities. The greatest populations of charmoshes on the continent can be found in the forests just off the Clopton Shores and high in the Talonclaw and Tarpan Mountains. Though closely related to griffons and even able to interbreed with them, producing either griffon or charmosh offspring, charmoshes are known to be quite different culturally. They are known to be more in tune with the natural world than griffons and are more at home living simple and rugged lives than they are in modern cities. They have a keen respect for ponykind, who with their magics are able to direct nature, but are generally content to live apart from both ponies and griffons in small familial packs in the wilderness. They are very proud creatures, as griffons are, but value collective strength more than they do individual strength. The average chamrosh believes that none in the pack should ever be forced to stand alone and resents those who call undue attention to their accomplishments. Chamroshes also value the use of cunning and intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to resorting first to physical strength. Their philosophies dictate that violence should be used sparingly, and never against other intelligent beings, save to protect one's self or others. Confrontation with other species is thus something they actively seek to avoid, though when pushed they can prove especially ruthless. They are perhaps more aggressive carnivores than their griffon cousins, and are regarded as incredibly ferocious hunters, a good sized chamrosh pack working together in harmony even able to subdue hydras and other large feral beasts. ~Canterlot Research Journal
  17. A Pony's Farm Friends - Common Intelligent Ungulates Who Have Happy Homes on Equestria's Farms The many farms of Equestria offer the perfect opportunity for a number of other intelligent hoofed mammals to live in harmony with us ponies. In return for various useful resources we can get from them, such as milk and wool, these friends are given space to live content lives, safe from the dangerous creatures that lurk in the wildernesses across the land. The most common such creatures are cows, sheep and goats. Cattle - Cows are perhaps the hooved friends most common and most associated with Equestria's farm. They are larger and stockier than ponies and posses distinctive horns and often have spotted coats. They are plentiful in Equestria, which is good because female cattle are capable of producing great quantities of refreshing milk. Farmers throughout Equestria are happy to keep cows around for their milk, which is harvested and sold across the continent in grocery stores and markets and sometimes made into cheese. Cows are typically very friendly and talkative, but can be quite docile and easily frightened; when one is scared, they are known to start stampedes. Male cattle are called bulls and are generally tougher than the females both physically and in terms of demeanor, though are known to be even more stubborn and likely to act recklessly. Bulls are often valued by ponies for their strength, and often help us by pulling our carts. Cattle are said to be closely related to the buffalo who inhabit the western stretches of Equestria. Cattle also bear strong resemblance to minotaurs, leading some to believe there might be a connection between the two. Sheep - Sheep are also common across Equestria's farms. Sheep are shorter and smaller than ponies, and their bodies are covered in a distinctive thick white wool. This wool is what sheep give us in exchange for being able to live on our farms; it is very warm and soft, making it perfect for making into fabric which ponies can make into clothing. Sheep also produce some milk, which some farmers will gather and use as they do cow's milk. Male sheep are called rams, while the females are known as ewes and the children lambs. Due to their slow manner of speech, sheep are sometimes seen by ponies as not being very smart, despite being able to converse freely, though this is not always the case. Some sheep posess large horns on the sides of their head and can be quite strong. Following the return of the Crystal Empire, a lost variety of sheep has been rediscovered which bears wool of many bright colors and is less than half the size of the sheep of Equestria. This strange breed is not capable of speech as other sheep are. Goats - Goats are closely related to sheep, but generally somewhat larger and taller. Most posses horns on the top of their head, that sometimes grow rather large. They are not as commonly found on farms as most varieties do not possess the useful wool that sheep do. Not having quite as much to offer, goats often have to find employ elsewhere in Equestria working odd jobs. Some farmers do keep them however, making use of their milk and their work. Male goats are called billies while females are called nannies and the children are known as kids. Goats are known to prefer using nonverbal communication whenever is possible and are able to communicate effectively with one another through simple bleats. Despite this, they are fully capable of speaking when they need to and are often fairly smart. ~ The Everyday Wonders of Equestria: A Brief Guide to Common Places, Creatures and Things for Fillies and Colts of All Ages
  18. Sea Serpents - The Rulers of the Deep There is much debate regarding the powerful and imposing creatures known as sea serpents. Many scholars consider them to be simply a variety of dragon while others believe they are distinct unto themselves, the similarities between the two being mostly superficial. What is clear is that, like their possible kin the dragons, sea serpents are a type of creature of which ponykind still knows staggeringly little. Sea serpents are rare to see, their homes hidden underwater, and every bit as large, threatening and difficult to attain information from as dragons are. Like with dragons, researchers have been forced to rely heavily on conjecture based on what can be immediately observed. Sea serpents are, like dragons, reptilian in appearance and covered with razor sharp scales. They grow to similar sizes as dragons, towering over ponies and most pony built structures and are thought to be similarly long-lived. The general shape of sea serpents differs considerably from that of most dragons, however. As their name suggests, their shape is comparable more to that of a snake than other reptiles, with very long, serpentine bodies; unlike snakes however, they still posses working limbs, notably their clawed arms. Their general appearance is thought to vary widely, but often includes full manes of hair in addition to their scales, fins and spines. Though their name might suggest that they live only in Equestria's seas, sea serpents in fact are known to make use of all of Equestria's waters deep enough for them, whether fresh water or salt. In addition to all of the seas surrounding the continent, sea serpents have been spotted in the Great Nimbusgait Lakes, the swamplands of Aquellia and in most of Equestria's major rivers. Despite all the sightings, based on the lack of meaningful interactions ponies have had with them, sea serpents are still thought to be quite rare--though ponykind really has no way of knowing for sure given most likely live deep underwater. Given this choice of theirs to make homes below water, even less is known about sea serpents than their apparent land based counterparts in terms of society and manner of living. Sea serpents, like dragons, are an intelligent species, fully capable of speech. They are not known to form hoards of treasure as dragons do, though it could just be none have yet been discovered. It is unknown if they are effected by greed as dragons are. While every bit as powerful and imposing creatures as dragons, from what contact we have had with adults, sea serpents do not appear to be quite as difficult or antisocial as adult dragons almost invariably are. Though other large serpent like beasts are known to exist in and out of Equestria's waters, such as the multi-headed hydra and the quarry eels, only the sea serpents appear to be fully intelligent. ~Canterlot Research Journal
  19. Buffalo - Nomads of the Plain Buffalo are typically nomadic tribes as part of a larger community. Most buffalo tribes do not communicate with their other tribes other than for the occasional trade. Some smaller tribes have settled and become farmers, but for the most part they are nomadic gatherers who give back what they take from the land. Those tribes that are still nomadic usually have traditional paths known as “stampeding grounds,” that they have used for many generations. The structure of the tribe is very simple with a chieftain sitting at the top. The position is often passed down in lineage. The other positions of the tribe are often built upon tradition, there are those that are in charge of history and stories, maintaining camp, and naturally gathering and replanting the food they had gathered after. There are also craft based jobs, such as pottery and headdress makers, as well as the food preparers. The buffalo believe very strongly in the land, and whatever they take they put back. They are also very peaceful, choosing to often discuss their problems if the opportunity presents itself rather than take any other action. But let's talk about the buffalo themselves. like their habits what they are like and their special attributes. Buffalo are in general very stocky and muscular with horns for both males and females, though the males tend to be bigger and have bigger horns. It should be noted that buffalo calves do not have horns but they start to develop when they reach adolescence. But one shouldn’t let their size mislead, they tend to be very agile and very fast, which may surprise most ponyfolk. One could hypothesize that it is due to their natural lifestyle and constant moving about. They also sometimes wear traditional face paints and feathered headdresses (though more often the feathered headdress, with the chieftain wearing usually a more elaborate headdress). Their coats aren’t as extravagant as pony coats either. They are very rough and rugged looking, often being earthy colors, rather than colorful pastels. Their coats also get longer and more shaggy in winter months. Overall the buffalo have a rich and vibrant culture that is heavily tied to the land they live off of. The land provides for them and in turn, they protect the land. To them, family, the tribe and the land are all held in high regard and all three are treated with the utmost respect and care. ~Encyclopedia Equestria
  20. Diamond Dogs - Equestria's Stalwart Miners Diamond Dogs are rather interesting and unique creatures with features much like those of an ordinary canine, but which stand on two legs and are fully capable of speech. These creatures tend to live in dense camps in gem rich areas, sometimes staying there for years upon years, still mining in areas that their great grandparents had been mining in, only leaving when every last gem, ore, and coal has been removed from the land.Then and only then will the Diamond Dogs move on to a new area, but not before filling in their tunnels and making sure to plant trees, or whatever fauna is indigenous to the area so that the land can heal from their work. Diamond Dogs are almost always found in packs, but what they are actually like varies from pack to pack. Some packs are as big as three youngsters going off on their own, while other times a pack is a rather large group, all working together for the good of the group. An Alpha is usually always in charge, and can vary from pack to pack, usually by showing superior skill in areas that pack particularly values, be it strength and brawn, or craftiness and wit. The Alpha, be they male or female, normally shows these skills via their work ethics and is picked by the whole pack to lead them. An Alpha oversees the pack, planning places to mine, scouting them first, and in general makes sure the pack is happy and healthy. Being born to an Alpha does not assure that their pups will be given the same title. Gems are a valuable resource to the Diamond Dogs but they are not the only thing that they pursue in the mines--they also go after ores and coal to power their cities. Mostly they rely on steam and coal burning for energy, which they use for cooking, powering wind mills for flour grinding, and whatever else they need, the same way ponies rely on magic. Gems however are the bread and the butter, being used for trading, tool making, and even crafts. Young diamond dogs might display their most prized gems in a collar around their neck as a display of their findings, and mining prowess; Diamond Dogs prize gems for their beauty but also for their strength. Some clans only use diamond tipped pickaxes and spears because diamonds don’t break and last a extremely long time; some might even be using a diamond tipped pickax given to them that has been passed down for generations. Hunting and gathering is a crucial skill for any Diamond Dog worth their gems to have, since EVERYONE needs to contribute to the pack to make sure they are all healthy and happy, thus capable of doing even more work. Their diets, being omnivores, is rather diverse, and like the Diamond Dogs can vary from region to region. Some that live more near the coastal side of Equestria might live off a diet of fish and crustaceans, while those that live in packs in dense forests might survive off of produce they can forage or grow themselves due to the dense and diverse vegetation. ~Encyclopedia Equestria
  21. The Northern Pegasus is an offshoot of the Equestrian(Mainland) Pegasus, whose wings, over time, evolved to fly faster, due to co-evolution with the Northern Griffons. This evolution has caused the Northern Pegasus' wings to elongate and sharpen, and their forms to become more petite. With less mass, it is easier for the wings to pick up speed, even at low altitudes. Their maximum velocity can near that of the Sonic Rainboom, albeit this can only be reached in extremely high altitudes(nearing the upper atmosphere), where this kind of flight cannot be maintained for long, or else it is a risk for the pony's life. This extreme speed has created a culture built around being the fastest (Rainbow Dash's idea of heaven?), with constant tournaments, and challenges of speed and endurance. It seems that these pegasi were bred to race. Hey, everypony, and site admins(who I'm aiming this thread at). Pinstripe here, with an idea for a new species for use in Canterlot Chronicles, or WoE. The point of this thread is to see if people like the idea of a falcon-like pegasus, instead of the normal, what I assume to be "eagle-like" pegasus. If you have any ideas for improving this species, please feel free to post! I'm always up for constructive criticism.
  22. Donkeys & Mules - Bastions of Perseverance Surprisingly enough, some of Equestria’s most unique denizens happen to be some of the more seemingly dullish-looking. Like other equines, donkeys share the same common ancestor as ponies, but donkeys became evolutionally sundered from ponykind long ago in the mists of prehistoric time. Most donkeys don’t actually live in the Equestrian heartland, but they constitute a sizable minority in that realm, and are capable of achieving great prosperity there as well. A donkey is a stout creature, on average slightly larger than a typical pony. Donkeys are distinguished from their pony brethren with duller and tougher coats, more pronounced snouts, and long stems for tails with hair only growing on the tips. While donkeys don’t possess any particular magic and are incapable of receiving cutie marks, their physical strength and endurance frequently rivals that of sturdy earth ponies. Finally, donkeys are naturally inclined to more solitary lifestyles than ponies; this doesn’t mean they are antisocial as a whole, but they don’t tend to herd up in large settlements like more communal species do. All of these adaptations help donkeys thrive in desert areas, where resources are scarce and conditions are harsh. Even though donkeys are a distinct species, they are capable of producing foals with other ponies. Such an hybrid offspring is called a mule, which shares many physical characteristics with a donkey but is more predisposed to the herd-like behavior characteristic of ponies. On very rare occasions, a foal conceived by a donkey and pony is what’s known as a hinny; except for slightly longer ears, it is essentially a pony in every possible way, even down to having a cutie mark. For generations now, most of Equestria’s donkeys live on homesteads scattered throughout the Roughrider Ridge and the overland routes between Equestria and Aquellia. As donkeys and mules can withstand the extreme temperatures of these areas better than even earth ponies can, they comprise a vital economic backbone of the entire western frontier. But even though these tough equines reap great rewards as they construct railroads through the desert or mine in the mountains outside Bareback Gulch, many donkeys these days are choosing more relaxed ways of life in the lush Heartland and Foothills of Equestria. Thus, donkeys and mules are swiftly losing their reputation as excessively stubborn folk as they intermingle more and more with ponykind..... ~Encyclopedia Equestria
  23. Minotaur - The King Bulls If a pony were to read an old storybook about the mighty Minotaur, they would find tales about guardians of treasure and knowledge. They stand vigilant and uncompromising against adventurers and travelers alike, smoke emitting from their nostrils and eyes bright with fury. They are depicted in an almost evil light, though in reality, Equestria's Minotaurs are more neutral in disposition. Their aggressive nature usually tends to come out to outside races only in instances of territory defense, or a direct challenge of strength. They can be found in the mountainous areas of the Forest of Leota, though they generally tend to stay confined to that area. These rugged creatures have a tribal affinity, often spread throughout villages and commutes as different 'herds'. They are isolationists by nature, and extremely territorial. Most Minotaurs make their living accomplishing various tasks for the good of the tribe, such as maintaining shelters, foraging, mining and forging. The physiology of a Minotaur is consistent with ancient lore: The head of a bull and a bipedal body. They have hands much the same as monkeys do, their appendages made for fine motor movement and manipulation of objects. The primary distinction between a male and female Minotaur is the head: Males will have more pronounced horns and broader shape than their female counterparts. Females will have more pronounced chest and hip regions. The height difference between the two is often negligible. Save for appearance, there does not seem to be much difference between male and female Minotaurs in terms of their representation in their society, both genders filling all billets and jobs. The Minotaurs, while self-sufficient, can still be seen as crude and barbaric. The semi-literate mountain-folk have some speech capabilities in more educated villages. Of most recorded encounters, minotaurs are able to communicate on a basic level. For instance, many will use simple words and/or speak in the third person. It is rare for Minotaurs to have an academic interest, however these few are often kept as advisors and archivists for larger tribes. These are the most likely to be literate and open to communication with outside creatures. They are an aggressive race, and have more respect for tests of might rather than words or wisdom. Incredibly territorial, however they will often be hesitant to attack more peaceful creatures such as ponies or woodland creatures, quite simply because they see no challenge in them. They are more apt to contest amongst their own people, or a more aggressive race (such as Diamond Dogs). For example, the leaders of tribes are often selected by a show of force and prowess, a prospect challenging the current leader and his/her cadre of advisors in a last-Minotaur-standing wrestling match. Another example would be a Minotaur's right of passage into adulthood, where he/she is given minimal supplies and sent into the mountains to live on his/her own. While on this journey, they must often call upon skills and survival methods picked up in childhood, such as preparing food, fighting sickness, building shelters, tracking, navigation, and self defense. Once they complete this one-month rite of passage, they are welcomed back into the tribe with open arms, reveling in the stories the young Minotaur has to share. It is often commemorated with a great feast. Should a Minotaur give up or return too soon, they can sometimes be banished by their tribe leader, though it varies from place to place. Should a Minotaur not return from their journey at all, they are assumed lost to the mountains. Minotaurs can often be found in the fearsome regions of the Knight's Peak, though these Minotaurs are often tribe warriors tasked with defending their homes. That, or they are a young Minotaur on their rite of passage. It is highly unusual for Minotaurs to venture into those dangerous regions, or anywhere else in Equestria, for any reason, though every rule has its exceptions. If a pony should encounter these creatures, one should keep an open mind and not be offended by their assertive nature. If a pony is thinking of venturing into their domain, they should keep in mind the territorial behavior of these creatures and plan accordingly. ~Equestrian Bestiary Vol. VII
  24. Unicorns - Masters of Magic When most beings think of magical creatures, a unicorn will likely be the very first thing to crop up in their minds. While other ponies enjoy the gift of subtle magic abilities, unicorns differ in their ability to actively cast spells. As with pegasi and earth ponies, Equestria couldn’t exist without the efforts of unicorns to follow their chosen destinies and embrace friendship. As its name suggests, a unicorn’s distinguishing feature is the single horn protruding from its forehead. This protrusion, made mostly of bone surrounded by a thin coat, is what enables these ponies to perform all sorts of magical feats. Other than the horn, unicorns share the same basic type of equine body with their earth pony and pegasus brethren. Despite the allure of unicorn magic, it is perhaps the hardest type of innate magic for a pony to master. While the occasional foal experiences magic surges where they can cast incredible spells without any prior training, practically all older fillies and colts have to relearn basic spellcasting through specialized instruction, such as at a magic kindergarten. All children that graduate from magic kindergarten can be expected to perform simple telekinesis spells. To what further extent that a unicorn develops their magic gifts can vary drastically among individual ponies. Sheer will is not enough to successfully summon a spell; it takes both a knowledge of applicable scientific principles and constant practice to master a single act of magic. Therefore, the vast majority of unicorns don’t have the opportunity to learn any spells other than the ones necessary in their desired purpose in life. It takes a very unique and rare type of pony, one with an extremely studious mind and an insatiable desire to practice magic, to have the aptitude for advanced magical studies. While far from being a rarity, unicorns are the least numerous in number of the three main types of ponies. The one place in Equestria where they constitute a majority is Canterlot, the royal capital of the realm. Sizable populations also exist in the other major population centers; these communities being large enough to host magic kindergartens for unicorn children to attend. In places where basic spellcasting education is hard to come by, most unicorn families are rightfully reluctant to move to..... ~Encyclopedia Equestria
  25. Hippocamps - Equus Hippocampus Physiologically, Hippocamps are a fair bit longer than their terrestrial cousins, though that is mostly due to their long, flexible piscene tails, boasting a chest, forelegs and hooves similar to those of the common pony, as well as a similar neck and cranial structure, though their eyes are generally more sensitive to light, and their ears less capable of mobility than their land-cousins. Many Hippocamps also boast gills along the sides of their necks, allowing them to stay underwater almost indefinitely. However, like their earth and sky-bound relatives, they still boast colorful seal-like coats, manes, and cutie marks. Hippocamps are largely known to be a vivacious lot, full of playful energy, curiosity and whimsy. Living either in small communities or in families, they roam the oceans as they like, living anywhere that happens to suit their fancy. Though they lack the magical prowess of unicorns, the climate control of the pegasi, or the dexterity of the gryphons, they are nevertheless largely happy and content with their lifestyles - with, of course, the occasional exception. Just as Earth ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns each have their own realm of expertise, Hippocamps have some capacity to both empathize and communicate with other aquatic life. Their voices able to emulate a great many oceanic mammals with practice, and can do so to effectively communicate with each other and with other intelligent sea creatures. It is not uncommon to hear a Hippocamp emulate dolphins, seals, or even whales whenever the mood might strike them. Being a largely nomadic culture, usually only settling briefly to raise young, most Hippocamps lack access to technology of their distant earth-pony cousins, much less that forged by unicorn or gryphon. As such, the passing of a sea-faring vessel is always cause for more curious Hippocamps to surface and inspect the wonders passing by. Rather than relying on construction, civil services or trade, many instead make their living not by innovation, but by exploration and improvisation. Given their taste for oceanic vegetation, of which great abundance can be found, it is fairly easy for even a lackadaisical, wayward Hippocamp to keep herself fed. Finance and commerce are generally not as important to Hippocamps as they are to their land-bound relatives. Although the nature of a saltwater habitat isn't particularly easy on items of value, there is still much in the way of art to be found throughout Hippocamp culture. Although paints and parchments are rather fragile and difficult to preserve underwater, the art of mosaics, sculptures, and contained swirls of color still exist. Much of what art exists underwater is vibrant and cheery, there to keep spirits afloat amidst the depths and dark stormy days. Not that all sea-mosaic art must be cheerful, but the majority of it remains so nonetheless. As for music, much of Hippocamp performance relies on percussive instruments. Though a few undersea heat vents allow for the shaping of metals, only a small collection of steel drums, chimes and tubular bells exist, often kept under public ownership by schools and amphibiatheatres. There have been some experimental adaptations of land instruments, but very few have managed to last for more than a few years even with nearly constant maintenance in the salty seawater. As for Hippocamp history, that remains yet unexplored; not being one of the major land-races of Equestria, their part in history remains largely unwritten in Celestia's historical vaults, or even their own. Hippocamps on the whole don't keep very many records of their history or transactions, having to rely on carving and embossed scrolls in order to keep anything written down for more than a few days. Land-made paper and parchments don't really work underwater, after all, and ink is washed away by seawater over time. However, there are rumors of stashes of history and Hippocamp diaries being hidden away on secret shores. That which is important is carved or carefully assembled by those of talent and patience, but the majority of Hippocamps leave very little writing in their wake, leaving Hippocamp history largely kept by oral storytellers with legends passed from generation to generation. ~Richard Canterborough, Blue Planet
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