Developed By Incubus
The Mergala Equestors are mounts capable on both land and sea, and are fittingly called "Merquestrians" by most. They are prized for their mobility and dualistic capabilities as both land and sea mounts, and are famously known for their strangely jovial personalities. Often people call them "Man's Best Fish," as the Merquestrians are a fun-loving and loyal species of equus ferus. While the Mergala Equestor has the face of a Seahorse and the tail of a Lionfish, most people do consider them to be a part of the horse family, merely due to their internal biology that more closely resembles a horse than any known aquatic animal.
It should be noted that the Mergala are mammals, and do not actually possess scales on the majority of their body save for certain areas of their head and their intricate tail.
The Merquestrians are very fast water mounts. Travel times on water with them are half that of a boat, though they must stop and rest and will likely do so on the coast. As such, their nautical travel MUST be alongside a coast, and so they cannot do travel between large bodies of water without consistent land stops in-between. This means they are essentially completely unable to travel between oceans.
These creatures inhabit primarily Ne'haer and Scalvoris, though they are originally native to Ne'haer. They can be purchased for about Tier 7 in Ne'haer, and Tier 8 in Scalvoris (which only recently began importing them). Elsewhere, they are very rare, and due to this rarity tend to be around Tier 9 for a proper one.
The Merquestrians can live on both land and beneath the sea, and tend to prefer coastal areas, tropics, grasslands or underwater areas. They are known to get along well with Mer and Biqaj, and so can be found living among large groups of the underwater peoples, or accompanying the human-like navigators on both land and out in the ocean. Generally however they prefer to live above ground as their physiology makes it different for them to fend off large predators such as sharks.
There are an estimated 6,000 wild Equestors living in the grassy plains and coastline surrounding Ne'haer, with several thousand domesticated by breeding farms and explorers. They are a popular mount for pirates, sailors and even the military, as they can get you from a ship to land in a very short period of time. As a result, there is a large following of them growing outside of Ne'haer and so their habitat is expanding consistently.
Lifespan and Development:
The Merquestrians live to about 35 years old, slightly longer than regular horses. They reach full maturity at the age of three and remain at nearly peak condition until death.
Similarly to seahorses, the Merquestrians have their babies carried by the males of the species, eggs laying dormant in a pouch kept in the tail evident on the Merquestrian's backside. During this period they tend to be very passive and evasive of heavy duty or riding. This period is significantly shorter than the horse pregnancy duration of eleven months, generally lasting about four and a half months.
As a strange hybrid of seahorse, actual horse, and lionfish, the Merquestrians have a very diverse diet that can consist of seaweed, grass, general vegetation, plankton and other things that underwater and land-walking herbivores live off of.
Like horses in general, the Merquestrians are docile and tend to avoid conflict. When in the wild, they act much as any wild horses and can be broken in similarly, as well as trained similarly. They are very sensitive and fearful of predators, and will often bolt if they feel their life is in danger. The Equestors are also often known to grow very angry and frustrated at things being shoved forcefully into their cylindrical snout, and are no strangers to kicking veterinarians during procedures.
The Merquestrians are about as fast on land as other horses, and can swim exceptionally quickly. Their speed underwater rivals that of dolphins, giving them vast commercial usage as ferries and companions in water sports. They are slightly more durable than other horses, and slightly larger than your average horse as well. They possess no unique ability other than their biological dualism.