Something a little different today, we get to meet not only a brave animal but one who has lived and died and lived again.
Welcome to Ghost Horse, from the Sacred Band Books.
Tell Us About Yourself
Name (s): Ghost-horse; the bay. If you can hear me, you’ll know it. I have no name in the way you mean.
Age: thirteen years, interrupted by death and resurrection.
Please tell us a little about yourself: A war-horse am I. Strong and brave. Straton’s horse am I, once found, then lost, then found again. Of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons, Ace called Straton alone now rides me. When he’s astride my broad back, nothing is impossible.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less: Sixteen hands, blood bay war horse, broad backed and strong.
Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? A moral code? Bear my rider whence he must go, forever. Run far and fast. Bring my rider’s battle to his enemies. Charge boldly; never falter; never hesitate; refuse no challenge. Feel the love, hear the words of my human partner…
Would you kill for those you love? I do.
Would you die for those you love? I have done so. And been brought back to life for my human partner’s sake thereafter. Now nothing harms me, no metal cuts me; in any battle, my blood never spills. Nowadays I do not die for love; I live for love – the love of my human partner, Straton.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses. Carrots and sugar-beets, those my weaknesses, which I dearly love. Running over green grass, into battle, finding the safest path to victory for my rider, protecting him and all his Sacred Band: these are my strengths: As the only ghost-horse of the Stepsons, my place is always in the forefront: with Straton I forge new ground; I bear him everywhere, unflinching. Such service we have seen, such places far and wide, as few horses ever see.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Ace called Straton, the right rider for this broad back; the right partner for my battles.
Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? Do I like other horses? As with men, some horses are brave, some cowardly; some generous, some churls. I was bitten in the throat by a man who attacked me as if he were a dog, once. So dogs are not my friends. Sometimes a cat will bide with me, in this stall or that. I like cats: they give loyalty when deserved; they are rightly cautious.
Do you have a family? Tell us about them. I have been a cavalry horse since I was two, and chosen from a band of captured bachelors. Straton has brought me up; he is all I trust, all I love; he is my family. Sometimes he finds me a mare or two, but battle is my greatest passion: in war, Straton and I find our greatest joy. Sometimes we run for the sheer bliss, over vast plains and through forest, with no enemy in sight. Straton’s lover, Ischade, resurrected me after the dog attacked me, after the battle in which I was mortally wounded. She loves Straton; I love Straton, so Ischade is, in some ways, under my protection. Up behind Straton she sometimes rides me, and then no place is too far, no goal to loft, for us three
Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I remember the day Straton chose me, the look in his eye, the apple in his hand. He sent me to other men, to teach me the ways of war, and got me back again. We have thundered into so many battles, even the Battle of Chaeronea together. With Straton astride me, I never doubt, I never fear. Wherever he wills to go, I can carry him, be it to hell itself and back again. This I believe because Straton knows it: whatever my rider thinks, I know to be true. Wherever he wants to go, I will take him. Whatever he needs, I try to be. So Straton gives me the wants, the needs, the courage of a man, and I show him the wants, the needs, the courage of a horse, and together we are indomitable. A horse wants to fight or flee, as does a man; deciding which is my rider’s task. Making his wishes real, that is mine.
Do you have any phobias? Dogs and the men who become them.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I have a spot on my withers where men can see into hell itself, and a spot on my hip where they can see into nothing at all.
Tell Us About Your World
Please give us a little information about the world in which you live: The world in which I live is wherever my rider, Ace called Straton, wishes to go. I have fought on Wizardwall, against the black mages of Nisibis. I have fought on the battlefield of Chaeronea; I have fought in mystical Meridian. Since I was foaled in Syr, I have been adventuring: first among the other horses, until the mares cast us bachelors out; then in the high steppe country, and at last as a war-horse of first Straton and then the greater Sacred Band. We fight in the forefront; we travel by cloud conveyance from war to war. We have numinous allies to take us any place in space and time. Except for my rider and the witch who loves him, all I care for is contained in Tempus’ Sacred Band. And someday, Straton has promised me, we three will ride forever, away from witchery and angry men, in the green fields of the gods.
Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? A horse believes what he can see and feel, and is bred to tell what he can trust. We have our gods, you know: Epona, Poseidon, Hekate, and the war gods before them: a war-horse gives his life into his rider’s hands, and that rider gives all to the gods. My world is full of enemies, who’d eat a horse as soon as kill a man, and those enemies have rival gods. So we war-horses fight on the side of right, as our riders see it. And that will never change, has been the same since the first gods were foaled.
If so do you follow one of them? I follow the gods of Ace, called Straton. As long as he lives, that will never change.
Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour: I am a war-horse, so I go to war. With Ace called Straton astride, I do the needful, all his gods command, since his gods are also mine. I am a peace-keeper, so I ply angry streets. I am an explorer, so I lope where no horse has ever gone before.
Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? I go where Ace called Straton needs to go. I fight for him, with him, beside him. I keep him safe whether we are in this world or another. Anyplace a horse can go, I take him – even a world away. I have spun in whirlwinds unto foreign lands, even Thrace and Scythia and on from there. Not future or past or anywhere is barred from the Sacred Band of Stepsons, so in ranks we sortie. Even Tempus, the Riddler, has commended me in public for my bravery, when I have fought in dimensions some horses never tread, and more farther realms lie just ahead….
Name and describe a food from your world. Salt hay, tender and tan, bluest grass bitten right from the earth, roots and dirt and all; fat oats, steamed until their hulls break open; corn and molasses and flaxseed mashed. My favorites though, are carrots with their green and lacy tops, and chunks of tender sugar-beet.
Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? Magic is the necromant who resurrected me, gave me a chance to come back to this world for the rider whom I love. Some think magic is aught than natural; I say magic is the wind in your mane, yielding turf underfoot, and a rider on a mission.
What form of politics is dominant in your world? Politics are for mares and men, not for stallions. I will walk upon my hind legs to strike any enemy of my rider or my mares and foals. I will trample jackals and lions and feral dogs. I believe in giving one warning squeal, and a bellow of promise; then I strike, unashamed, to defend what is mine: that is the extent of politics for me. The rest is clacking of jaws and whistles on the air.
Does your world have different races of people? We have humans of every color and belief and shape and size, just as we have horses as diverse. In a herd of horses, as in a crowd of people, those who are alike band together against those of different nature.
Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. In ancient times, Zeus gave two horses to Tros, king of Troy, to console the king after the god had taken Ganymede for his young lover. From those great horses, the best, the strongest, the fastest horses are sprung.
What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? We have chariot with metal-bound wheels and axles fitted with scythes. Some of us wear armor, felt or scales of metal. Some of us have iron shoes upon our hooves. What item would you not be able to live without? My rider.
Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. This world is full of gods, mages, shape-shifters; and demi-gods, and elementals – even a demiurge or two and creatures who spawn weather gods and fashion fates.
Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? Horsemanship, so that we and our riders can be better partners.
Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.) Hekate, goddess of race horses. The Hippoi Athanatoi, the immortal horses of the gods themselves, offspring of the weather gods themselves; and all the Hittite god of horses, Tarhun, in and of himself a storm god.
Book(s) in which this character appears plus links
The Sacred Band
The Fish, the Fighters and the Song Girl
Author name: Janet Morris and Chris Morris
Website/Blog/Author pages etc.