Conventional wisdom would have you believe that when it comes to single-rider transportation, the common horse is an adventurer’s best option. It’s an all-too-common sight: a brave knight on horseback, or a mercenary astride a galloping steed. The fact of the matter is, though, that horses make for subpar mounts by any metric. A far superior and woefully overlooked option is the giant owl.
Giant owls offer several benefits over their equine opponents. First and most obvious is, of course, the power of flight. Which would you prefer: clip-clopping along a twisting path, choking on the dust of the road while your mount clumsily thunders along, or gracefully soaring through the skies atop a beautiful bird? The answer ought to be obvious. It’s faster, the views are better, and it places you safely out of range of any would-be thieves lurking along routes less traveled. While no one truly knows how birds are able to fly (the answer almost certainly lies in the realm of the arcane), it’s undeniably a more interesting mode of transportation than a horse’s pedestrian hoofing.
Speaking of hooves, this is another area where owls have a ‘leg up’ on the competition. Were you aware that horse legs actually have more in common, structurally speaking, with a finger than with a leg? It’s true! Horse legs are basically just giant fingers, and the hooves are fingernails. A horse is just a big furry hand that likes to bite things. By contrast, an owl is equipped with powerful talons that have a myriad of uses. Do you need to swoop down and grab some hapless earth-bound creature? Perhaps you’d like to shred a foe with your owl’s massive claws? Or maybe you simply need to firmly grasp a tree branch for an extended period of time. Regardless, owls have you covered!
In terms of offense, owls have another distinct advantage over horses: a sharpened craw-bone that academics refer to as a “beak.” This bony protuberance is specifically designed for tearing flesh–and owl mounts are more than happy to rip and tear any meat you point them at! A “beak” is infinitely more deadly than the soft, round snout of a horse. There’s no comparison. Now, can a horse bite? Sure; it can, and it will. Will it bite down extremely hard and then just sort of awkwardly suck on the thing it’s biting for a long time? Of course! But at the end of the day, what sounds easier to recover from: getting chomped on by a pony, or having your arm torn off by the razor-like mouth of a giant bird?
That sounded pretty scary, didn’t it? Just imagine that happening to you–the huge winged beast looming over you, its head speeding toward you, deadly maw opened wide. Terrifying! And therein lies another benefit to the giant owl. It’s significantly more frightening than a horse! Arguably, even a regular-sized owl is creepier than a common equine; just look at those massive eyes. Watch the way the bird’s head rotates. Can a horse do that? I should think not (with the exception, of course, of Brakaltus, Bone-Steed of the Malkenwaste Reaper). Plus, there are those snowy owls that have those inscrutable mask-like visages… truly nightmarish! Meanwhile, horses look placid, even beautiful. You’re not likely to see any stallions with the same fear factor as an owl (again, aside from Brakaltus).
The benefits of an owl mount should be obvious at this point. An adventurer who plans on traveling to even a lesser degree would be a fool not to buy one! And if you’re in the market for such a beast (a wise decision) then you’re in luck–I’ve just come into possession of a rather substantial number of owls myself, and I’m willing to part with a few at very competitive prices…