Horseshoes of Speed
Increases the speed of a beast
These sturdy bronze horseshoes fit perfectly to any hooved beast; the magic within doubles the movement rate of the creature and improves its AC by 2. Typically these horseshoes are worn by horses, but camels, oxen or any other creature with hooves could be fitted with these shoes.
These horseshoes were once worn by a mighty stallion from Rokourd who bore many riders in its day. The horse was a prize-worthy destrier, standing easily 17 hands tall. For the first few years of its life the horse was owned by a wealthy noble who permitted his son (a boy at the time) to ride him even when the horse was as young as 1 year old. The stable master did not think it was wise to let the horse carry a rider so early in its life, but the nobleman wouldn’t have it. This did cause some trouble for the horse, as his back and legs would develop a little differently than other horses of his breed. Once he was about 3 years old he was carrying riders of any size and weight. As a result of this treatment during his growth the horse was not as fast as some of the horses, but he did become abnormally strong. The nobleman named the horse Hroldjir. Around when Hroldjir was 5 years old, the horse’s master, the nobleman’s son, was killed by orcs while out on a ride in the tundra. Hroldjir fled and made for the wilderness were it adapted to the wild cold of the north for a number of years.
By the age of 9 Hroldjir had become a mighty, but untamed beast. He was strong and had a thick coat of shaggy brown hair and black socks. The cold and snow did not bother the horse. Eventually he would come into the service of a ranger who respected his wild ways, the two became friends and went on many adventures. The ranger did not know Hroldjir’s name, so he re-named him Kathas. The ranger dressed Kathas with light armor and the two fought in many battles. Some years passed and the ranger was killed by a boulder of ice hurled by a mountain giant.
By the age of 15 the horse came to serve a paladin who had taken a crusade to purge the north of a terrible white dragon named Thraxil’esh-thina. The paladin did not know either of the horses names, so he re-named him Garon. The paladin’s quest took him all across Rokourd slaying may foes, during this time Garon wore gleaming mithril-silver barding plate armor and trampled nearly as many foes as the paladin cut down with his sword. The two made an excellent team until the paladin was slain by a deadly frost worm lurking deep within the snow. Garon was saddened by the loss of his human, but there was little else he could do. He made his way back to Drithkowl in search of another rider, hopefully one as worthy as the ranger or the paladin who he once called master. Even the nobleman’s son who called him Hroldjir loved him a great deal.
He was 21 years old now and many potential riders knew that he was passed his prime, not to mention that the horse was never as fast as the other horses of his size and age. Eventually he came to serve a wizard of the Kowl who identified the horse’s strengths and weaknesses and forged a pair of brilliant bronze horseshoes which would overcome his slower pace. The Kowled Wizard did not care much for the significance of names, so he simply called the horse “Avalanche.” The wizard was not a skilled rider, nor was he nearly as virtuous as the ranger or paladin who Avalanche had carried, but he was a decent owner and had given Avalanche an incredible gift. To a horse, the gift of speed is the greatest of gifts. Avalanche and the wizard had 2 years of meaningful travel and adventure when the wizard discovered a spell that allowed him to summon a magic steed that never tired and was faster than any real horse.
The wizard sold the horseshoes to an adventurer from the south. He let the adventurer keep the horse to “sweeten the deal.” Fortunately the adventurer had mercy and spent a little bit of extra gold and time to have the magic horseshoes removed properly before setting Avalanche free. Of course the adventurer rode the horse all the way back to his home in Moerth, so when Avalanche was “set free” he was in an unfamiliar land and was unfamiliar with the terrain. The lands of the south were hot for the shaggy-coated horse and he was not accustomed to the relative flat compared to the mountains of Rokourd. The horse felt slow without his magic horseshoes and for the first time in his life he felt old. The horse wandered in the hot sun until he found his way to a pool of water guarded by a band of goblins. In a desperate move, the horse charged the goblins and crushed any that did not flee. One of the monsters, however, struck the weary horse with a poisoned barb. Minutes after the fighting the injured horse collapsed into the pool, spoiling the water with its own blood.
Some time later, a traveling witch found the wounded horse. She was not strong enough to lift the horse from the pool, so she plucked the arrow fragment from his side and began treating the poison and the injury. It took weeks, but eventually the witch was able to nurse the horse back to health. She would visit every night and sit by the horse’s side trying to heal it and help it. Every night the witch would make guesses to figure out the horse’s name and watch for a response, but it was difficult. At one point she even said “Avalanche,” but the horse did not care for the Kowled wizard who owned him and thus pretended not to know the name. The witch called the horse Ra’gaal which meant “brave one” in an ancient tongue only known by her secret witch covey. During her visits to Ra’gaal she cut away the horse’s excess hair and rode him about on the paved roads of the south. Despite being 24 years old, Ra’gaal felt young and strong once more. He even felt fast when the witch rode him through the plains and eventually his hooves became accustomed to soft and grassy ground. Though Ra’gaal would never again wear those magic horseshoes or his brilliant mithril barding armor he found peace in the south and enjoyed his days with the witch.
Many years later the witch would be killed by a band of adventurers looking for blood sport, disappointed with the lack of treasure in the witch’s horde one of the adventurers took Ra’gaal as his own prize for victory. The horse begrudgingly carried the adventurer to Bynornuen where he planned to sell the horse to pay for a trip north. The adventurer needed to think of a name to help him sell the horse, so he called it “Hoofer” because he described the horse’s gait as being “a real hoofer.” Given his 31 years of age and his relatively slow speed the horse would not sell, so the adventurer took his frustration out on poor Hoofer by striking him repeatedly with the flat of his sword. Upset over the death of his previous master, the peaceful witch, and furious with this torment Hoofer bucked up and kicked the adventurer down cracking his skull on impact. The horse panicked and fled, but was captured by a pair of guards who snared Hoofer with ropes and dragged him outside of town to be executed. One of the guards lifted his spear above the horse’s head and prepared to drive his weapon downward when a druid approached and saw what was about to happen. The newcomer pleaded with the guards to release the horse; they did so but only after receiving a bribe and forbidding the druid or his new horse from entering the city.
During his attempted escape, the horse had injured his leg which the druid was able to heal with a curative spell. With his magic and affinity for animals, the druid was able to ask the horse what his name was, his true name. The horse cocked his head to the side and was unsure of what to say, but something within him came forth and he told the druid that his name was Furinath. It was a mighty name for a mighty horse and the druid knew that it was true. The two traveled together for a time and the druid taught the horse much about himself. The druid showed Furinath that there was a still a great deal of his wild nature from growing up away from civilization during his early years that he would need to keep in check when around people. However, he also taught Furinath how to unleash that wild energy and run faster than ever. The two had a long and prosperous career together. The druid took Furinath into Burnordraath where they did battle with centaurs and bandits. Furinath impressed the druid with his tenacity and power. About 5 years later the druid would be killed by a wyvern, however, during a quest in the Dungardt Mountains. Furinath grieved the loss of his druid and slowly wandered down out of the mountains.
When the horse found his way back to the steppe land he was captured by an archer who had lost his horse in a prior battle with a rival band. Over the next 3 years the horse was traded back and forth among steppe nomads, knights of the Horselords, or being held captive by centaurs. During this time he was the closest thing to a mercenary that a horse could be. No one owner lasted more than 3 months. Eventually the horse was set free after a band of Road Wardens destroyed a camp of nomads, they cut the saddle from the horse and slapped him along the haunches to get him running. He dashed off into the dusty horizon, he had seen enough of these bloody lands. After a year or so of ambling along the horse found his way back north. His mane was long and grey and his coat was shaggy once more. During his years away from the place he once called home Rokoud had changed, the dwarves of the east had been conquered by a terrible giant king, Drithkowl had come under rule by a wretched master, and the threat of evil loomed everywhere throughout the tundra. Now 50 years of age, older than horse he had met, the beast stepped once more into the north looking for a worthy rider to carry into battle once more.