Prologue to possible fantasty novel? (incomplete, 1300 words)

Discussion in 'Original Works' started by Azzageddi, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. Azzageddi

    Azzageddi New Member

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    Prologue to possible fantasty novel?

    So, I'd like some feedback on this little story or possible novella, or even novel.

    Prologue​


    Castle Crux had a large garden, where the king’s young sons Corvus and Serpens liked to sit and relax. It was filled with large, ancient trees from three decades ago before Crux was king; it was furnished with bushes and plants with long, smooth leaves; it was decorated with colorful flowers that filled the courtyard with delicious scents. The two boys flocked to the northwest corner of the garden, where a huge Sycamore provided shade for one hundred yards in each direction. However, this was not the reason why they liked that spot so much. There was an old stone sundial right in the middle of that spot; of course, the boys did not use it to tell time, they simply watched it and marveled at its age; for, down at the very bottom, almost hidden by the grass, was the inscription: “For King Cepheus, 266 AN.”

    For King Cepheus! Just this part of the sentence had many meanings to the boys. The ‘for’ implied that it was a gift from someone else; now, who could that be? The brothers would sometimes entertain themselves by sitting and wondering who made the sundial and gave it to the king. They would invent outlandish and fantastical characters like knights who chiseled the sundial out of the Sagitta Mountains to the west. Next came the part naming the king: King Cepheus. Who was this man?—Was he a good king?—Would anyone in town know who he was? So many questions were raised by a simple name. Some days the brothers would sit and agree that today would be the day that they asked their father about this King Cepheus, but for some reason, asking their father about a different king seemed rude, and they always decided not to ask. Yet, this did not stop them from wondering endlessly about King Cepheus.

    266 AN! Just the year 266 was enough to send them into a frenzy. The year that they would delight in going to the garden was 285 AN. That meant that the sundial had been given to King Cepheus exactly nineteen years before when the brothers enjoyed looking at it. Nineteen years were a long time! That was five years older than Corvus, the elder brother of fourteen. AN meant ‘After Navis,’ King Navis being the last king of the Sun Dynasty, in which Aji the sun god was forced upon the citizens as the only God. After Navis came King Leo, the kind man who reestablished the citizens’ right to their own religions. The ‘AN’ age was considered the Golden Age of Enlis, while that lasted.

    One day in the summer a man arrived at the doorstep of Castle Crux. The two boys answered the door and were at first frightened by this man; his most distinguishing feature was his long grey beard that reached his sternum. He was dressed very poorly, and if the king had not interfered Corvus and Serpens likely would’ve thought him a beggar and closed the door in his face; he wore a tattered brown cloak that was tied around his waste with a thin brown cloth belt. His hair looked messy and long. He walked with a cane and held a cup a parchment in his left hand. Corvus was about to say, ‘Sorry sir, we have no money to give you,’ when the bearded man put his hand on the older boy’s shoulder and said, “Ah Corvus, how you have grown!” Corvus was bewildered, and could not speak in his confusion. The bearded man then turned to Serpens and said, “And you, Serpens, last time I saw you, you were just a babe.”

    “I don’t believe I know you,” Serpens said immediately, shrugging the bearded man’s hand off of his shoulder. He never thought before he acted, which was often his downfall. Corvus, on the other hand, took time to collect his thoughts before speaking to avoid sounding unintelligent and naïve. Oh, how he detested those words! Serpens continued, “Are you sure you have the right home?” Serpens was aware of how ridiculous this sounded, for all of Enlis knew that the king and his family lived there, but what else would he say?

    “No, this is definitely the right house,” said the bearded man. He stepped back and admired the castle. “Your father really knows how to make a castle look good; ‘Even if you’re a king, you should still look good’ as Dorado used to say—but, ah, you probably know her as your mother.” He smiled and looked from Corvus to Serpens. How does he know my mother too? Corvus thought. “Yes, I am here to speak with your father, and,” he said, perceiving the confused looks on their faces, “I assume he has not told you about me.”

    “No,” said Corvus, “he has not.”

    “Well then, I best introduce myself. I am Indus—”

    “Indus!” cried Serpens, “I’ve heard stories about you. You saved King Grus from the Dragon of Vulpecula!”

    “That I did.—But as I was saying, I am Indus, a wizard from—”

    “Wizard!” cried Serpens. “I’ve never met one before. You can do magic?”

    “That I can.—But as I was saying, I am Indus, a wizard from Greengrass—”

    “Greengrass!” cried Serpens. “I’ve only ever heard of that place in legends about heroes and adventurers. They say it’s dominated by magic. You’re from there?”

    “That I am.—But I as I was saying, I am Indus, a wizard from Greengrass, and an old friend of your father’s. I met him before he was king, when we both lived in the great city of Mensa—yes, Serpens, the Mensa—and worked under the ruler, Columba. I was an advisor to Columba, and, well, advised him on what to do during battles and wars, and also with boring things like taxes and laws. Your father was on the Council, where elected ‘elders,’ if you will, met and discussed problems within the city. Ah, those were the peaceful times when Cepheus was king.”

    Corvus and Serpens looked at each other. Did he say Cepheus? they both thought. Despite their excitement, they remained calm. “Did you say Cepheus?” Corvus asked.

    Indus looked reluctant to continue speaking. “Yes,” he finally said, “Cepheus was king before your father. He was a good man: very brave and always honest. I was not on as good terms with King Cepheus as I was with your father, but I chanced to speak to him a few times.” He stood there for a few more moments, fumbling with the parchment in his hand uncomfortably. “I did happen to talk to his wife, the queen, very often though. I was a childhood friend of hers.”

    “What queen was that?” Serpens asked.

    Indus once more looked uncomfortable and reluctant. At last he said, “Norma. King Cepheus was married to Queen Norma of Peger.” Indus squinted and asked, “Why is it that you are so interested in Cepheus?”

    “Err,” said Serpens. “We’re just interested in learning about kings and Enlis. History has always been a fascinating subject to us.”

    “Ah!” said Indus, his face brightening, “I should’ve known! I myself have always been interested in Enlis history as well—in fact, right now I’m reading the biography of Plassus; he’s an interesting fellow, isn’t he?”

    The brothers were unsure of what to say. Finally, Corvus said, “Yes, yes, he is interesting, isn’t he?” Indus smiled and walked into their parlor. He looked around, seemingly surprised at how different the room looked, when the boys’ father walked in. He greeted Indus like an old friend—for he was indeed an old friend—and then asked him if they should get to business. Apparently, Crux needed to talk to Indus about ‘important matters in the west,’ involving issues with Lord Gepius of Alu, the second largest city in Enlis. The brothers were surprised at how official their father sounded—sometimes they forgot that he was king.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  2. Azrielle1024

    Azrielle1024 Aspiring teenage author

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    The one thing i have always found hard (You can check my story in fanfiction *Still doesn't know why it was moved there* if you don't believe me) Is not sayeing said, said, said. You did a decent job on that. The first few sentences in the first paragraph were a a little bit choppy.

    Maybe say:
    It was filled with large, ancient trees from three decades ago before Crux was king, furnished with bushes and plants with long, smooth leaves; and decorated with colorful flowers that filled the courtyard with delicious scents

    Thats just an idea though!
    Hava a nice day!
     
  3. Azzageddi

    Azzageddi New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, Azrielle. I don't really understand what you mean by the 'said' thing, however. I've read that 'said' and 'asked' are the two words you should almost always use after dialogue—but, hey, I'm not a professional, and I stray from that rule sometimes.

    If anyone's interested, I've written about 5000 words as of now.
     
  4. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    As a general rule of thumb, your dialogue should be strong enough to stand on its own without modifying words (shrieked, said excitedly, etc.) As another general rule of thumb, avoid using adjectives and adverbs if at all possible.

    To be quite honest, there are a number of fairly successful fantasy authors who consistently break these rules, but they're not very good writers either; it's largely because fantasy relies less on actual skill with words, and more on conveying their imagination to the audience.
     
  5. Fel Editor

    Fel Editor Writing Geek

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    Seems ok. But you might want to pay a little more attention to your logic and wordcraft.

    Just from the first paragraph:

    furnished: Rooms are furnished with furniture, sometimes people are furnished with the means to achieve an end etc. Gardens are not furnished with bushes.

    A huge Sycamore tree that provides shade in each (sic) direction?

    a) what directions?
    b) Shadows are cast directly away from their source of light. Unless there are 2 suns a tree can only provide shade in one direction.

    Why would anyone put a sundial in the shade? (ok sure, the sundial is ancient and the tree is newer. But if your reader has to stop and think about it you've lost them)

    Don't get me wrong, this is cool, but little things like this 'pop' a reader out of the story and will keep a submissions editor from reading any further.

    By the way, we're looking for submissions of short stories
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2010
  6. Azzageddi

    Azzageddi New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. It's weird, now that you mention it, those things really don't make any sense. :D

    Well I'm off to edit.
     
  7. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    interesting, but as Fel editor pointed out, a few incoherences with some laws of the universe and the human mind.
    But I believe that you should continue.
     
  8. Azzageddi

    Azzageddi New Member

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    Thanks, Druid of Lûhn (I'm wondering how to pronounce that).

    A few paragraphs of the first official chapter got deleted when my computer restarted, but it's no big deal. That's happened before with this story, but with pages instead of paragraphs.

    Thanks again, everyone who's given me feedback.
     
  9. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    pronounced like lunatic
     
  10. Azzageddi

    Azzageddi New Member

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    I stopped writing this story a long time ago, but I might as well post the rest of what I've written for the heck of it. I didn't like how drastically things changed, and so suddenly, with no explanation - but maybe I'm too critical of myself.

    Ah, whatever, here's the rest:

    Once Indus and King Crux were in the king’s parlor to discuss matters, Corvus and Serpens knew what they were going to do: it was off to the garden for them. They stepped out the entrance and, subconsciously deciding to take their trip to the sundial slowly, stopped and smelled the sweet, summer air. The scent of the flowers in the garden filled their nostrils and made them all the more excited to reach their ‘spot.’ They began to walk, stopping every now and then to inspect a bush or a flower of even, as they discovered once, a bird’s nest. Corvus picked up the fallen nest in his hands and rolled it over a few times, collecting his thoughts; just as he was about to spout some wisdom about the fragility of life, Serpens jumped up and said, “Look, an egg!” Corvus placed the nest carefully on the grass and looked where his brother was pointing. Sure enough, there sat the blue egg of a robin. Corvus picked it up gently, whispering the word ‘careful’ to his brother, and held it up inches away from his eye; then, closing the other eye, he was able to marvel at the small speckles on the egg. It was amazing to think that he was holding life in his hands! In mere weeks, nay, days, this egg would turn into a baby robin. It seemed ridiculous, almost like a joke; had Corvus not known better, he would’ve decided that it is impossible for such a small, fragile object to become such a small, fragile animal.

    “Let me see it! Let me see it!” said Serpens, reaching his hands up to grab the egg. Corvus was taller than him, and when he reached his hands out above his head, the egg was out of his brother’s reach. Serpens was just too young to handle such a vulnerable object; he did not understand just how easy it would be to erase this soon-to-be robin from existence all together. Still, Serpens shouted and reached for the egg until at one point Corvus was dangerously close to dropping it. At that point, Corvus reluctantly decided that, either way, the egg was in danger, what with his younger brother reaching for the end and throwing him off balance. Thus, he carefully placed the blue egg onto the palm of Serpens’s hand, and bared his teeth. But, to Corvus’s surprise, Serpens did nothing but stare at the egg until he wordlessly handed it back to his elder brother; then, still without a word, they continued on their trip through the garden, Corvus still holding onto the egg.

    When they finally reached the garden, they didn’t speak for some time. Corvus dropped down onto his stomach, low enough so that he could see the inscription on the sundial clearly; Serpens walked over to an old stone bench that must have been even older than the sundial itself. It was not that they had nothing to talk about, for at any time either brother could have cried out, saying, ‘Look at that butterfly!’ or ‘Don’t you love this kind of flower?’ Rather, they had no desire to talk; though they loved having conversations with each other while in the garden, they were simply too busy enjoying the garden itself. The brothers felt like they could sit (or lay) at that spot for all eternity, until they grew old and were forced to part from the garden by death itself. There was not a single thing the boys would change about—the brothers’ loved it so much; though they never spoke of something as trivial as love. Their love of the garden was an unspoken one, and though they never would discuss it with each other, they knew that they felt the same way about the spot. This place was the only thing that Corvus and Serpens agreed upon: though they’re personalities were much, much different, they could always rely on the flowers and the animals to bring them together. This was even more important in the past few years, when Corvus was growing older and distancing himself from his family, as all children tend to do at that age. Indeed, it was a great burden for him to be known for one thing and one thing only by the boys in his school: he was the son of the king. These burdens often triggered fits of rage within the young boy, especially at his younger brother, who he found could just be so bothersome at times. However, whenever he would snap at Serpens and cause great tension, he would ask him if he wanted to go to the garden, and, like magic, their troubles would be forgotten. Yes, the garden was unity; the garden was brotherhood.

    Yet, they still had their differences. This was no great problem, for no two brothers are exactly alike. Corvus had a love of all things that were intellectual; he loved to ponder over his father’s dusty old volumes on the capitol city of Mensa, or, the history of Enlis as a country, even if he did not understand a single word of them. He often entertained himself to think that he was an intellectual himself, and it was for this reason that he took time to form his words and, as such, spoke very little. Perhaps, however, this was a good thing, for the best way to appear intelligent is to say nothing at all, thus eliminating the omniscient possibility of embarrassing oneself. It was for all of these reasons that when Corvus went to the garden, it was to think and to ponder. His younger brother, Serpens, however, preferred actions to words. He was utterly confused by how is older brother could actually enjoy to look over the old books on his father’s shelf, when he could be playing a game of ‘Assassins’ outside. Still, Serpens had a great respect for his elder brother, and, though he would never admit it, aspired to be like him when he grew older. He always seemed so intelligent! Serpens could never do that, nor did he ever want to. To sacrifice fun for intellect was a fate worse than death to him. It was all of these reasons that when Serpens went to the garden, it was to look and to act.

    Finally, Corvus spoke. He rose onto his knees, reluctantly leaving the sundial, and said to his brother, “What is your favorite part about the garden?”

    “Oh,” said Serpens, “that’s a hard question.” He thought for a few moments. “I could make a long list of all of the things that I love about this place! The sundial, the flowers, the animals…”

    “Yes,” said Corvus, “but what’s your favorite part about the garden?”

    Serpens thought hard. “Ah, I don’t know. I especially love to watch how the flowers grow and develop. It’s like the egg we found—it’s unbelievable how they start out as one thing and become something entirely different. You start with a seed—a hard pellet—and bury it into the ground. Eventually, you have a flower—a colorful plant—and you don’t understand how it got there. It’s amazing, isn’t it?”

    “It is,” said Corvus. “I like to compare them to a city, or even a country like Enlis. It starts of small, just like civilizations do when they are founded by a group of people. The seed grows into a sprout, as a civilization begins to flourish and is on the verge of becoming something great. Finally, you have yourself a flower, just as our civilization has become something great: people have come to live there and it has found new life. It is made up of many different components, just as a flower is made up of its roots, stem, and colorful petals.”

    “And,” said Serpens, “like a civilization, flowers can be just as easily smitten.” Corvus was bewildered by this statement. His younger brother rose from the age-old bench and walked over to the patch of flowers and bushes that lined the corner of the castle. Corvus looked around the spot that Serpens was standing by, and could see nothing but a large bush and one huge flower, standing tall and mighty, proudly overlooking all other plants in the garden. However, when Serpens moved slightly, Corvus spotted something else. There, in a fresh patch of soil, sat a small sprout, struggling to get fully out of the ground and grow to become comparable to the mighty flower beside it. However, it was pitiful. It looked withered and dry, desperately in need of water, and it occurred to Corvus that the servants had probably missed it and not watered. It was so small and depressing that Corvus wondered whether it may as well be put out of its misery. And then, Serpens words recurred to him: ‘Like a civilization, flowers can be just as easily smitten.’ Horrified, he saw Serpens raise his foot over the meager flower, preparing to stomp on it until it was, as he put it, smitten.

    “No!” cried Corvus. “Don’t do it!”

    “Why not?” asked Serpens. “Look at it! No one would miss it if I were to,” he paused, “erase it. It is nothing like that one,” he said, pointing to the mighty flower that reached his knee. “Someone would certainly miss that one, but I’d be doing this flower a favor by stepping on it.”

    “Do you hear what you’re saying? By that logic, a murderer has the right to kill you because you’re a child, and no one would miss you because of how small you are. He could not kill an adult, because grownups are so much better and more important than young people like us.”

    Serpens laughed. “That’s much different!” He was acting very strange. There stood Corvus’s younger brother, filled with as much cheer as ever and laughing. However, he was different. He didn’t look different, and, for the most part, he wasn’t acting different. But, at that time, Corvus was aware that the person standing in front of him was not his brother. If he closed his eyes and imagined the situation that he was in, he imagined a fierce man standing in front of him, just like the villains of the old stories his father used to tell him before he went to bed. However, when Corvus opened his eyes, he was surprised to see his innocent younger brother standing in front of him. It was almost funny. Corvus laughed—but it was not the normal sort of laughter. It was like a cold, sharp bark; it was the laugh that Corvus had heard his father make whenever he was faced with a prospect that was so unfunny, it was a bit funny. Was this a dream? He had never seen his brother act like this, although, recently, he had spent less and less time with his brother. Was it possible that he had changed? A memory suddenly occurred to him: once, several months ago, Corvus had returned home from school to find his younger brother joyously stomping on ants. Corvus was disgusted and told his brother that that was a terrible thing to do, to which, Serpens simply chuckled and walked off. Was that a precursor to something much worse?

    Serpens hesitated. Maybe this is a bad idea, he thought, and was on the verge of putting his foot down when he realized how stupid that would make him look. Oh, how he hated stupidity! His brother was occasionally recognized for his cleverness, while all Serpens was ever recognized for was the fact that the king was his father. Sure, this happened to both of the brothers, but it hurt so much more when it happened to the younger brother. They barely ever discussed it, but it was known that, since Corvus was the firstborn brother, he was the heir of the kingship of Enlis. Sure, Corvus hadn’t chosen this. But there was always some resentment for it…

    Corvus was staring at him in terror and fascination. He had to act now, he had to do something! But what?—back down and look like a coward, or go through with the plan and ruin his relationship with his brother. One thought was racing through his mind, bouncing off the corners of his head wildly: Do something! Do something! Do something! He felt like a tornado was raging through his mind. At last, he felt like he had been pushed over, and fell forwards.
    It was done. The flower was no more.

    Corvus rose from his seat wordlessly and walked away. He said nothing to his brother that whole evening, or the next day; nor did he say anything to him for the next week, and the next month for that matter. King Crux had no idea what his sons were doing; he pressured Serpens to apologize for what he had done. But Serpens felt no regret. It seemed that everywhere Serpens went he wore that wicked smile on his face, and though he attempted to talk to his brother as if nothing happened, he made no attempt to say he was sorry. Corvus never replied to anything he said. His elder brother made an effort to exclude Serpens from everything he did in life, and each time he did so, his brother resented him more and more. It was, after all, Corvus who had caused the flower incident. He had started the discussion, and he had taken it too far once it was over and one with. At least, that was what Serpens had convinced himself. The more and more Corvus alienated him, the more and more Serpens hid himself away inside of his opinions and beliefs, and the more and more his wicked smile took over. His smile seemed to take over and use him as a means of transportation; the hollow shell of what used to be Corvus’s brother and friend was nothing to him now. Each day he remembered the good times, and how much he missed them—it seemed like just yesterday Serpens was marveling at all the great words Indus the wizard said.

    * * *​

    Corvus didn’t stay in the castle for very long after that. Only a few days after his fifteenth birthday the eldest brother asked to be, and was sent to a boarding school many miles away, in the lush, fabled farmlands of Enlis. With Corvus gone, Serpens was relied on as the man of the house when his father was away and his mother, the queen, would ask him to do things. But Serpens found that he did not have all that much to motivate him to help his father. It seemed to him that King Crux spent most of his time writing to Corvus, or asking about Corvus, or talking about Corvus—time that could be spent with his other son. That was all Serpens figured he was to his father—the other son. The good son, the one that his father was proud of, was the son that had overshadowed him for all of his life and caused him so much grief; he simply knew it was true, and began to realize how evil and cruel his brother was. Even his mother began to pay less attention to him, who, ever since Corvus had left for boarding school, had begun to look much older. She gained many wrinkles that could not be erased with mere makeup. Though she was already fifty, she looked sixty. At one point, a woman in town mistook her for an old hag who was begging for money when she asked for the time. Although the woman laughed and joked when she found out that the old hag was indeed Queen Dorado, the queen herself only became more depressed and wrinkled. Prominent crow’s feet emerged next to her eyes. She barely spoke anymore. Serpens couldn’t even look his mother in the face without feeling depressed, himself.

    And where was Corvus? Off at some boarding school, laughing it up and having a great time! Well, I’ll show him, though Serpens. He’ll be sorry he ever left the castle when he returns home one day and finds that I’m the new heir to the kingdom! But Serpens’s good mood upon thinking of this was altered greatly when, later that night, he returned to his room, and realized for the first time that Corvus had taken the robin’s egg with him when he left.

    Chapter I.
    The Prince of Enlis

    “Arron!—Arron! Calm down, son, you’re causing too much of a ruckus. Settle down boy, that’s not good behavior for a prince!”

    Arron scowled. How he hated the word prince. The boys and girls who attended his school always talked about how they wished that they were prince, or how much fun it would be if they were a princess. They didn’t understand how being a prince could cause so much stress. As a prince, you would never be looked upon as a normal person. Sure, you wouldn’t be looked upon as an abnormal person, but it was just as bothersome when every time Arron would walk by, he would here whispers and murmurs along the lines of, ‘Look, that boy’s the prince of Enlis!’ Arron guessed it would pay off eventually when he became the king of Enlis, but even that would come with its fair share of sadness, because usually when a new king is declared, it is due to the death of the old one. Having to deal with the death of his father almost made it not worth it to go through with the whole ordeal. Even so, some days he would fantasize about being king—minus the part about his father’s death—and what choices he would make. Would he be regarded as a good king? Would he find a suitable queen? Still, there was always the question of whether he would even be the king. He did have an older brother, whose name was Equuleus. He had decided when he turned eighteen that kingship was too much for him, and that Arron would make a better king in time. Arron, who was ten years old at the time, was shocked and a little angry about this, because he did not want other people to make his own decisions for him, but nowadays, when he was old enough to understand these things, he was thankful that his brother had passed the privilege on down the line; although being a prince did come with its ups and downs.

    Equuleus was twenty-three now; he was eight years old when Arron was born. He had always been the son that preferred to go outside and play instead of reading, like Arron did, and did not show an interest in being king from an early age. When Equuleus turned eighteen, his father, the king, gave him a trial and taught him all about what the king did everyday, even declaring him to be the legal king of Enlis for one day. Equuleus, almost predictably, turned his nose up at the job and decided that it was too much responsibility for him. Soon afterwards, feeling that, since he had turned down the kingship, he had better get a different job, he soon left home to become something called a geologist. Now, at that time, Arron was very confused. He did not understand why someone would rather go out and stare at rocks all day instead of being king: the most important job in all of Enlis. But, as he grew older, he understand that the very importance of the job was what made it imposing to Equuleus, and completely understand his decision, even though he disagreed with it. But just because Equuleus had turned down the role of king didn’t make him a bad son, and he spoke with his father very often, and took an active interest in his brother’s life. He was determined not to be estranged from his family. Both his father and his brother were surprised at how much of a mature adult Equuleus had grown to be.