THE AENYA BESTIARY: HORG

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Horg by David Pasco

HORG (singular or plural), the very mention of the names sends shivers down the spines of both children and seasoned adventurers alike, and with good reason.

EVOLUTION: The horg may be classified as a human subspecies, having originated from human ancestors prior to the Great Cataclysm (c. 0 AGM). It is believed that post-cataclysm humans from the eastern steppes were forced to seek drastic measures to survive, and after generations of bitter cold, under the greater moon and with a scarcity of vegetation, two distinct subspecies developed: the diminutive bogren and the horg.

PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES: In the horg, evolution favored many inhuman attributes. The endless night of the dark hemisphere resulted in a dearth of plant life, forcing the horg to becoming exclusively carnivorous. Standing between ten and thirteen feet tall and weighing nearly 500 kg at maturity, the horg towers over humans and half-men alike. A drastic increase in size helped the horg to efficiently hunt and kill large prey, and a frightening set of tusks fend off other aggressors. Due to the horg’s fearsome nature, most of Aenya’s predators do not consider the horg prey, regardless of numbers. Its large size and a coat of fur also protect against the unceasing winter of the dark hemisphere. Large green eyes illuminate for low light vision, a common trait among dark hemisphere dwellers, and brighten with phosphorous whenever the beast is enraged, discouraging even intelligent hunters. Fortunately, most of the horg’s human-like intelligence has been lost to the ages. They retain the ability to use crude weapons, like clubs and throwing rocks, but the ability to make fire or anything more sophisticated is beyond them. There have been a number of scattered reports of horg possessing horns, wrapped around the sides of their head like a crown. However, the lack of any such specimen having been captured or killed makes these claims dubious, relegating them to the realm of myth, like the tale of how the Dark God Skullgrin transformed the worst and most savage of humans into horg so that they might revel in the slaughter of their kin; in retrospect, this may not be so far from the truth, considering the role evolution can play in transforming one species into another.

BEHAVIOR: Horg are solitary creatures by nature. This makes mating between them a rare occurrence. The species can go between 30 and 50 years between mating, and in their brief adolescence, the beasts have been known to be targeted by more intelligent enemies. Despite the rarity of offspring reaching maturity, their numbers are maintained due to long lifespans of up to 250 years and an accelerated healing and immune system. In an ironic twist of fate, the horg’s smaller, much less physically imposing cousins, the bogren, have managed to use this enhanced healing to their benefit. Using a crude form of surgery, bogrens manipulate horg like marionettes from strings attached to the horg’s exposed brain, allowing bogrens to use horg as weapons of war.

HISTORY: In recent history, horg have been used as siege engines on the tundra under the Pewter Mountains during the annual invasion of Northendell. Many men-at-arms have perished at the hands of the horg. On the Plains of Narth, an entire Krat’ battalion, led by the brilliant tactician Captain Dantes, was decimated by bogren armies, due, in part, to the bogren’s use of the horg.

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Thelana kills a horg on the Plains of Narth

 

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