A species of equine related to the unicorn. Usually carnivorous and adorned with clawed hooves, forward-set eyes and long, curved fangs. An alicorn pack is considered one of the most dangerous things to roam the face of the Realms, and encountering one can be a deadly experience.
Hands for Horses A hand is four inches and height is measured at the withers.
Species info credited to Blazeh/Verridith and Saleyne.
Appearance Alicorns are considered Death's version of the unicorn and, like them, come in a variety of colors that exist in the equine world. However, they're very different from their relatives. The defining feature of an alicorn is its fangs - and the bloodlust that accompanies them. They are also known to have spaded tails, forked tongues, barbed horns, and in rare cases, bat-like wings. Ranging anywhere from fifteen to eighteen hands* on average, the wingspan of those with the rare strain of wings is generally proportional to their size. Wings start at the shoulders and the webbing joins to the base of the tail, therefore running the length of the alicorn. They also have a bigger lung capacity and heavier chest muscles than the rest of their species.
Hooves vary from creature to creature. Some may have normal hooves with hooks on the ends while others have a pair of cloven hooves that are more alike to talons than the variant seen in a unicorn, or any variation of the two.
The alicorn also possesses a variety of horns and spikes. A single horn, positioned further down on the face than their kin's, is most common and always barbed, as are the ram and draconic ones that follow in dominance. They also possess a hidden ridge below their manes that secretes a weak poison. To most species, it isn't deadly, but definitely irritating.
Culture Much like wolves, alicorns travel in packs and primarily hunt at night, swift and silent as feline creatures. They are relatively simple-minded, focusing on their targets with dogged intensity; they won't stop until their prey is dead. However, this makes them calculating. They certainly aren't stupid by any means.
When hunting, a pack will spread out and run prey back towards the center of the area where they are positioned. They will then surround it and kill it. Who eats first is dependent on the hierarchy which, despite being a pack, functions more like a herd.
There is one lead stallion and one lead mare, though it is not defined by who is mated to whom so much as it is attitude and strength. Challenges may be made but whoever looses is run out of the pack. It is possible to survive alone, but much harder - and much riskier.
Abilities With their sabers, sharp hooves, horns, and poison, every part of their body can be used to hurt another. The weak are slain without thought or compassion, then eaten to nourish the pack - after all, alive they were only a hinderence. At least this way, they supply the energy needed for an alicorn's uncontrollable magic. When they reach a certain age, they gain access to this well and use it to dominate the others, killing their enemies. Thankfully, they rarely get the chance to live such a long time. The average lifespan is only thirty years.
Though they worked in secret, the Ten couldn’t hide their creations from Death for long, not even when those creations sought to hide themselves in the wilderness. At once both amused and irritated by such subterfuge, Death resolved to ensure the wilderness wouldn’t long remain a safe haven.
The dark god withdrew into a desolate wasteland of his own making, and drew a single drop of his own blood, letting it drip from his talon onto the ground. Then he molded an equine creature as black as his own heart, and gave it a long, sharp, barbed horn upon its forehead, clawed hooves, protruding fangs, and, beneath the long, coarse mane running down the length of its neck, a ridge of poisonous spines.
Then Death paused, and regarded his creation, not yet satisfied. He fashioned it a long, whip-like tail ending in a spade-like blade, and a pair of leathery wings, strong enough to carry it through the air. Lastly, he gave it a forked tongue with which to better track its prey. Now satisfied, he breathed life into the creature, and instilled within it an emptiness that could only be satisfied by blood.
Set loose upon the Realm, the first alicorn swiftly gained a reputation as a horrific killer, appearing without warning to slaughter travelers of all kinds. Eventually, a party of hunters set out to track and kill the creature, but Death had not been idle. Where there had been one, now an entire pack of the bloodthirsty creatures hunted. The party of hunters was surrounded, and wiped out.
Thus reinforced by a pack of fellow alicorns, the first of them personally weeded out the weak and injured, ensuring only the strongest survived. Despite this lessening of alicorn numbers, or perhaps because it left only the strongest, the bloodthirsty beasts spread, and terrorized all who were unlucky enough to cross their paths. To this day, none would lightly dare to face an alicorn pack, even though the first of their kind is long faded into legend.
This Ancient First was an alicorn of pure, untarnished black, and eyes that gleamed red in the night. Bearing wings with sparse feathers that showed through to the webbing underneath, he was a nightmarish figure who took sadistic pleasure in torturing his victims. The poison secreted from the bony ridge beneath his mane was particularly virulent; while not lethal, it inflicted a pain so strong that those affected would rather amputate the afflicted part of the body than endure.