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Name: Helion

Category: Monsters

Type: Ethereal, Mammalians

Size: Large

Region: Grassland, sparse forest.

Rarity: Rare

Lifespan: 25 `- 30 years

Appearance

The helion is so named for its assumed relation to Elysia?'s sun, Hel. Revered by the Apali for centuries as a symbol of light (back when the separation between the Anyeli factions was far more religious than political), the helion is a large, orange-red horse with a mane and tail made of "living" flames.

Each of a helion's four hooves are about the size of a watermelon, putting the animal on a par with shire horses for size, standing between 17 and 19 hands (68`-76 inches) and weighing up to 1.6 tons (1,500 kilograms). Having a helion stand on one's foot is a bad idea: crushed bones are very likely.

Much of the helion's body is a dark orangey-red colour, save for the flames of its mane and tail, the eyes, and the hooves which burn a bright orange. The belly is a darker, browner red than the rest, and here the hair is longer (up to two inches) with a feathery feel. This same long, feathery hair covers the knees, circles the ankles and hooves (much like in a shire horse), and drops from the bottom of the face and chin like a beard.

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Behaviour

Despite their kinship with the element of fire, which is known across Elysia to be violent and dangerous, helions are actually -- usually -- quite mellow, placid creatures. They are generally tolerant of other species (a good thing, since they attract light and fire blobs? as much as horses attract flies), and some herds have been seen mingling freely with both unicornns and pegasi (though not at the same time).

They do, however, have a nasty, volatile temper and are quick to anger, even after years of domestication, so they do not make either good pets or good mounts. (There was a movement toward trying to domesticate them centuries ago but, after several stable fires and countless injuries, the attempt was deemed unsuccessful and the idea trashed.)

It's a shame, really, because they are somewhat faster than both oxen and taroch, and are able to pull, in pairs, up to 20 tons. As it is, they are far too prone to violent, flammable outbursts to be of any real use as work horses, and few people want to sit on something that could set them alight at any moment.

Diet: Helions eat much the same things as many equines: grass and other such vegetation. They have also been known to barbeque fruits and nuts directly on the stem, then nibble at them while they're still steaming. In fact, they're one of few non-sentient creatures to actually cook most of their food before they eat it.

Habitat: Helions are capable of adapting to almost any terrain as long as it's fairly flat and has plenty of vegetation to eat. They tend to avoid dense forests and jungles for the obvious reason that even brushing against a tree accidentally could start a wild fire, but they seem perfectly at home in sparser woodlands as much as they do on open meadows, heaths and grasslands. They do have to be careful, of course: evidence of smouldered patches of grass are common where a helion herd has passed through, even without a display of temper, but individuals have been seen stomping out their own fires so they seem fully aware of the risks.

Breeding: Helions live in small herds of up to 6 females following a single stallion, with at least one filly and one colt in addition. These foals are the next generation: once fully grown (which takes about 10 years), they will head off together to start their own herd, although some newly matured colts have been known to try a coup instead. (Most are thwarted right away, since young stallions are no match for the fully grown leader, but they have on occasion won the right to lead their herd and exile the original stallion instead.)

Special Information

Please separate individual attributes into their own bullet points.

Strengths/Abilities:

  • The helion's mane and tail are made of living flame, which makes it an excellent Source of Fire for Nereid, especially those who have bonded as a Wanderer. Helions are not common companions, but they're not uncommon either.
  • The helion can extend the flames of its mane and/or tail in a violent and flammable outburst. These flames are not white-hot, but the damage can be catastrophic. It's their primary defence.
  • The ability to control their flames is also part of a ritual to attract mare to a stallion's side, especially in the early days of a growing herd. The male prances about the female, tossing his head this way and that to prominently display his mane, and flicks his tail about seemingly haphazardly. If she continues to show interest, he'll then extend his flames and trot in a circle around her, enclosing them in a ring of fire and continuing to dance until he's won her over. This "fire dance" has inspired a number of entertaining shows and theatrical performances put on by both Nereids and Ifriit across Elysia.
  • Helions are very strong, and very heavy. Even without their flames, they can be dangerous if backed into a corner and can easily stomp a person to death without even trying.
  • They are slower than landstriders and regular horses but have more stamina, able to cover 40 miles over the course of a 10-hour day where taroch can travel 30 miles in an 8-hour day.

Weaknesses:

  • The helion's ability to control their flames is only as strong as their ability to control their temper. They're quick to anger, at which point the flames grow out of their control and can spread rapidly in a magnificent but terrifying display of wild fire.

Uses: ...

Can the creature be used, in whole or in part, for instance as ingredients in healing potions or to make a special kind of paper, etc? If so, remember to put a Useful tag at the bottom of the profile.

Origin: ...

Where did the creature come from? Did it evolve from another species, was it one of Xanth's experiments, or something else?

Other Info: ...

This is a space to include any further information you feel would be of interest.

Creator: Emma?

Creatures Monsters Grassland Forest Large Mammalians Ethereal Rare