Myths and Other Creatures Picture

There we have what I had promised, some fancy mythological beasts that I had a bunch of fun drawing. No, really. I loved doing the Centauress (?), the Timberwolves and the two Minotaurs :3 That Cockatrice was tough, though. I hate it. Aaaaanyway, I want to "lay out" this headcanon in two parts: one with what ponies believe about these creatures, and the other about what they actually are/do. Also have you seen yesterday's episode? I loved those Gryphons. Anyway, let's start :3

> They are immortal and can keep on "dying" and revive forever.
> Because of this, there's almost no need to have an offspring and Phoenix chicks are said to be the rarest thing in the world.

- Actually, Phoenixes are mortal. Their lifespan is incredibly long, but they can die because of harms, wounds or other "normal" reasons. Their dying and rising again cycle happens only most five or six times during their life and they need it to "purify" themselves and clean their soul from the blood of the victims they've made. And as odd as it sounds, Phoenixes are actually one of the most violent animals living, after felines. Not because they like to scatter blood all around while eating their prey (on the contrary: they're quite squeamish, actually), but because, much like cats (and bigger cats such as lions, or their "relatives", like Gryphons), they prefer playing with their food before eating it. (Those of you who're reading and have never had a hunter cat can't understand how so very true this sentence is) But, on the other side, they hate so much getting their feathers dirty, they become carnivorous only once in their "temporary" life, before dying and resurrecting with a purer spirit.
- Phoenixes never leave their mate and have many broods all their life long. Chicks die to then revive a few hours after the egg hatches, because without their plumage and feathers, they'd be too weak to survive, with all the dangers and risks nature offers. In fact, feathers are very important: they scatter flames and sparks any time the animal feels threatened and they can even set fire to almost anything.

> They're a barbaric society that prefers living in high mountains' caves and has contacts with the ponykind only to provide rare food or gems (they can't mine).
> They produce an extremely rare tissue, purple silk, which they sell at high prices to ponies.
> Only few of them can understand (and communicate) with ponies. The other mass still uses grunts and yelps.

- Minotaurs do prefer living in mounts' wet caverns, but they're all but a barbaric population. They're very civilized and can be compared to the most fully-developed societies such as ponies or Gryphons. They don't have many relationships with ponies and they'd rather not live or share bounds with them because they're quite hostile to other creatures and peoples.
- They represent a very important trading center because of this rare product they make. It's a secret how they do the magical tint that dyes tissues purple, but it's said they have inherited this tradition from their ancestors, the Poenycians. It's thanks to their origins that they are excellent sailors, as well.
- The Minotaurs' society is actually very very simple and has basic principles: there's a large, quite well-to-do crowd, and then there's a king which takes the throne after his father. But, even though it's much less complex than ponies' hierarchy, Minotaurs do speak ponies' language and can understand them as well as any other pony could. It's also true that their history has been written in a bloody ink and they have almost no literature or developed culture, since they're more of a warrior society.

> They're only and old legend, they don't really exist. Those who say they've seen one lie, or are talking about dreams.
> According to their myth, they are cruel and sly creatures that like "holding to ransom" ponies that dare entering their pyramids, unless they're able to solve their "underpaw" puzzles.

- Yes, Sphinxes do exist. They're very very few and they all live in Haygypt, in enormous pyramids built ages ago by the pharaons' slaves. There are mostly females which can live even an Equestrian Unit (EU), which corresponds to more or less 2'000 years. Sphinxes are extremely timid and they're easily scared. But, when they feel strong emotions (if they're in danger or if they feel very happy), some archaic, indecipherable symbols on their body start to glow bright. This usually means "You'd better go away if you don't want to be torn apart", however it can also be a sign of excitement and joy. Sphinxes are very big (more than 10 ft) and can run very fast, but they prefer not to leave the pyramid where they guard invaluable jewels and all kind of precious stones. It may happen, though, when the Sphinx is in need of water or preys to eat (only more or less twice every ten years). In these cases, the animal might be seen on the sand dunes or in huge caves, away from the sunlight. Seeing a Sphinx in a dream is considered a sign of forthcoming ruin or famine.
- If a pony manages to get into a Sphinx's territory (this means the intricate labyrinths and dark internal cells), the animal will probably be so terrified by the sight of the stranger, that it will either attack it physically, or magically. The second option consists in transforming the pony into a gold statue or a diamond spire which will never ever leave the pyramid, since Sphinxes do not take their treasures outside. However, this circumstance is so rare that it's happened only three or four times all history long. It's funny how ponies could end up saying that Sphinxes invent riddles to be solved by their victims, since those who could meet a Sphinx and come back home alive say that these God-like creatures run or hide themselves as soon as they see a stranger.

> They breath fire and destroy any living creature around their caves.
> When they enter a town or small village, they cast an evil spell that will cause all sorts of plagues.

- Manticores do breath fire, but they are in perfect harmony with the plants and animals in their territory. In fact, destroying the life around them would only ruin them: these hunters feed not only of their victims, but also heavily on the magic that surrounds them without damaging the source. It's the same mechanism used by Breezies.
- Manticores hate having contact with foreigners, so they usually spend their whole life without knowing of the existence of ponies, Gryphons and such sentient creatures. If they attack one or two houses in the outskirts of a town, they do it just because they can't find any more food or preys to sustain them. Their coming is considered to be the consequence of Flaring Fatality's rage, down in Tartarus: it's said that he keeps some Manticores to guard his kingdom, together with his Cerberus. Manticores are indeed violent and frightening animals, but they'd rather stay away from civilized populations, if not driven by necessity.

> They have many life cycles, just like Phoenixes, so they're basically immortal.
> Their gaze can turn any creature into stone.
> They live in underground caves, usually in volcanoes' chimneys.

- Cockatrices actually have just one life and they're even quite vulnerable, because the only weapons they have consist in their eyes and venomous tail. However, a Cockatrice usually changes its plumage once or twice a years (this was interpreted as their death, but it isn't). To do so, it moves to volcanic areas and lives there for some months, until every single feather is completely burnt. The scalds reveal a dark emerald green scaled skin and bat-like wings, whose tips have a red shade. This new body helps the animal fly much better and resist extreme temperatures, so it often keeps on living in the lava fields until the plumage starts growing again, after a few months. At this point, it comes back to the cave in the woods where it lived before and meets for the first time the eggs it had abandoned a year before.
- This true myth falls on Cockatrices and gives them probably the most known and hated infamy. Cockatrices are effectively able to turn anything they stare at into stone, but only if the gaze is returned and if they are in the period of the year where they have no plumage. That's because transforming creatures into rock requires an enormous quantity of energy which is usually assumed by heat, lava and fire. And if the Cockatrice still has its feathers on, it'd be difficult roosting on a burning branch and rest without getting hurt.

> They're non-sentient animals which can only fight and kill intruders.
> They have no history and no culture, it is almost impossible to say how many years ago they started spreading around the world.
> They live in total anarchy, even worse than Minotaurs.

- Centaurs, who have the torso of an animal (a lion, a gorilla, an eagle and so on) and the rest of the body of a horse, represent the two extremes of a pony: there are very intelligent, creative and gentle musicians and painters and violent, merciless warriors. There are no middle-types. Usually, only the sadist, cruel fighters show themselves to other creatures and they're probably the only known Centaur kind. Ponies do not even know of the existence of the other side of the coin, so they have stereotyped all the Centaurs.
- The "Civil" type lives in fairy-like lands, where all get along and love creating beautiful pieces of art and music. These Centaurs prefer staying alone in their "country" because they don't want their society to be defiled by discordant beings, such as ponies. The "Grim" type, on the contrary, live in caves on the peaks of mountains and live in complete chaos, fights and blood spread anywhere in their territory. They hate their blood brothers and would not think twice before killing them if they had the chance. Or, well, at least so they like saying. The feed of meat only, unlike the civil ones, and can even commit cannibalism. They're probably the most vicious creatures a pony could find, comparable only to the Guardian of Tartarus and his three-headed dog.
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