“Fangs, Flesh, and Flight” by Ebony; July 2014
Sometimes I get asked why call myself thestral fictionkin. Short answer is that they are black bat-winged horses with skeletal bodies, blank white eyes, and dragon-like heads with sharp teeth. That is my appearance in my view of self, how I appear in our multiple system’s innerworld, and what shape my phantom body takes while I front. Thestrals are also dark-liking and meat-eating, quick flying, call-out with strange sounds, have predatory instincts, familiar to being around people bat-winged horses at that. Those are my instincts, actions in our innerworld, behavior in dreams, ideas on what I would be doing if I was in the right shape as well. So if my kintype looks and acts like it, I think I can call it that. Its better than “bat-winged horse with skeletal body and dragon mouthed-kin” anyway. Not so mouthful inducing. So I call myself a thestral fictionkin. That‘s just the short answer. More details now.
Thestrals first appears in the novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The fifth book in the series, which was published on the 21st of June 2003. Our multiple system didn’t get around to reading the book until toward the end of the summer of 2005 as we remember finally thinking about reading it after the sixth book came out. The movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out in July 2007. Did not watch it until some months after it was released.
I’ve been this, known this, since at least late childhood. Memories before that, for me, are a bit too fuzzy to know much. Do remember there was a headshot of me drawn by early 2003. It wasn’t perfect. A bit too horse-like and too much flesh/muscle to the head and neck. It mostly looked like a horse with a crocodile-like mouth and glowing blank white eyes. But by the Fall 2005 drawing skills managed a better full body drawing of me head to tail with my wings kind of extended. That drawing was better at making me thinner and less horsy in the face plus showed off wings and three-toed feet. I called my species identity “hellhorse” due to lack of a better word during preteen and early teen years. Even after reading the book where thestrals were described, I didn’t think anything of it because I thought skeletal bat-winged meat-eating horsy-things where found in mythology. Learned of the term otherkin in 2006 and after noticed a lack of such creatures in myth. Than learned of fictionkin in 2007, but didn’t accept that I was a fictionkin for a little while longer.
Knowing I am a bat-winged black horse-creature with teeth rather than something other is thanks to existence of our innerworld due to being part of a multiple system. Multiple system meaning more than one mind or identity shares the same body. Put simply. Innerworld being a reality in our brain where we experience everyone in our system like we do in our physical body to people around us. In this internal reality we move about as how we have seen ourselves since anyone can remember. So I’ve gotten to know how I look, how my body feels, and how I act well over the years. Biggest experience while controlling our multiple system’s actual/physical body is the ghostly dual body trying to mimic my physical body as best can be done. Its almost always there no matter what. Sometimes very detailed and present, and sometimes more blurry and vague. Those are two of the bigger experiences which impact the every day.
Both body in our innerworld and phantom body is near size of horses. Just not much bulk from lack of muscle. Phantom body’s withers of similar height as actual bodies shoulders, but one body is smaller and on two legs while the other is bigger and on four legs. The size makes it sometimes hard to move around everyday spaces and do regular things without phantom body going through this or that. Its an unavoidable weird part of having a phantom body of a nonhuman shape. Feeling one body that isn’t there have doors close while the rest is still walking through. Feeling my phantom body run or fly near the ground in place with the car I am in while driving places. Things like that. Lots of things. The size of thestrals isn’t mentioned but how they are described pulling couches and being ridden makes it sound like they are roughly the size of a standard horse. (OotP Ch10, OotP Ch33, & OotP Ch34)
My coat is very short and all black. On my phantom body my skin is covered in a short, short coat over very boney body. Doesn’t feel like thick fur, rather its very short and fine feeling on my phantom body. Inworld, I know my coat is black because I can turn my head in lots of different ways to look. Less there is something on my head, neck, or behind, I’m all black. Thestrals are introduced as saying that they “were completely fleshless, their black coats clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone was visible.” (OotP Ch10) They’re later referred to as skeletal numerous times later on. (OotP Ch11 & OotP Ch21)
Phantom body and body in our innerworld is very boney. Extremely boney for horses but right for me. On phantom body even there is the feeling skin move over bones as steps and turns take place in time with real body. Because of this “rightness” to be all bones and skin over a horsy shape. Seeing photographs of horribly underweight horses leaves confusing feeling. One feeling is sadness for seeing any of them unnaturally boney and meatless, as real horses should not look like that. Another feeling is sense of familiarity to a horse shape so lacking in meat and so showing of bones. Both feelings lead to mixed feelings and some confusion. Right, but not right. The more underweight the more familiar the weird ways. Thestrals are described again and again being dragon-like winged horses whose bones show. One quote described them as “black coats clinging to their skeletons.” (OotP Ch10)
My overall head, is both reptile-like and horse-like too. Like someone took a horse skull, and added some more reptilian features. My mouth and eye sockets are most dragon-like, while the rest looks more like a horse’s skull. The mouth’s lips follow the jaw unlike a horse’s mouth which is just at the front of the head. The eye’s focus more forward than a horse’s eyes. That is the shape of my head on my phantom body, turning this way in that in mimic of actual head. This might not be true might not be true for thestrals, but the book nor author have said exactly how there heads look in detail to know. Only have said that thestral’s heads are described as being “dragon-like” or “reptilian” several times through the times they appear. (OotP Ch10 & OotP Ch21) How exactly their heads are reptilian has never been described.
Nose on my phantom body and body in our innerworld is like a cross of the nose of horse skull and the nostrils of some vultures. More like open holes with no fleshiness there. Phantom body breathes along with physical body and feeling fake air enter through large open and non-fleshy nostrils. Noses of thestrals are not directly described. Like rest of head, its just generally described as being draconic or reptilian in some ways. (OotP Ch10 & OotP Ch21)
Like the rest of the head, mouth is a mix of horsy and “dragon-like” too. Mouth is like an opening up horse mouth, more like a predator then prey and teeth are all sharp. Some teeth poke out of mouth almost like an alligator. On phantom body, lipless mouth with sharp teeth that clenches handles and others things when my actually hands are holding objects. Rows of sharp teeth there. Makes eating while fronting interesting because phantom body sometimes tries to mimic, leading to odd sensations. The mouth of thestrals are not described directly. Just that their heads are dragon or reptilian-like in some ways. The only thing about their mouth that is said is they have “pointed fangs” which they yes to eat meat with. (OotP Ch21)
Can’t feel eyes on phantom body of course, but in my mental image of myself my eye are not like horse’s eyes. Eyes are white. All white. In our innerworld, others in the system have told me my eyes are white as well. The eyes of a thestral are described as white and pupil-less. That they are simply blank white eyes. (OotP Ch10)
Ears on my phantom body and body inworld are like horses ears, but smaller. They swivel sometimes. Phantom ears trying to listen to sounds even if those ears don’t hear too. What thestral’s ears look like is never mentioned at all. So hard to tell or know how alike things are.
Like head, neck on phantom body is more mix of horse and something not horse. Length of neck is like a horse’s neck by thinner. Even thinner than an underweight horses’ neck would ever be. The necks of thestrals are described as “dragonish” like their head, and later a thestral is shown to be able to turn its head all the way around to continue lick a person sitting on their back. (OoTP Ch21 & OotP Ch34)
Then there is the mane draped over the long thin neck of my phantom body and body in our innerworld. The mane is like that of a horse. Coming down one side, but not passing the neck. So not very long hair. On phantom body when the wing blows I feel them rise with the breeze. Phantom mane reacting like it was real even if its not. Thestrals are described as having manes, but not how they look. Though there is enough of it for it to be grasped to help mount one’s back (OotP Ch33)
On phantom body and on body in our innerworld, large batty wings starting from boney shoulders that rest folded onto back or spread out in the way around me. Not birdie like a pegasus at all, but batty instead. Fleshy and with long digits to extant. Limbs coming from horsey shoulders to elongated out like an extremely stretched out hand and fingers with skin all in-between. I can move my phantom wings. Open them as wide as I can tell they “touch” around me, less I’m outside usually. Sometimes I get the urge to fly on them, but they’re not real. Inworld, I can actually fly on the wings I have there. Thestrals have wings that “ought to belong to giant bats.” (OotP Ch10) Their also quite good at using them too. (OotP Ch14 & OotP Ch34)
Legs on phantom body and my body in our innerworld are boney like the rest of it all. Like a horse’s legs with joints in the right place, but no muscle to it. So I feel four thin legs moving in-step to actual physical legs. Gait similar to horse’s movement cycles. The legs of a thestral are inferred to be much like the main body – boney and skeletal plus horsy in some way. (OotP Ch10 and OotP Ch21)
I am three-toed. Three large toes ending in thick large nails. Like early horse but stuck in a modern horse body. My phantom body’s feet like that and body inworld is like that. So I feel those bone long legs ending in three hard toes on the ground. In books, its not said what therstrals have. However does show that thestrals can land on streets without a sound (rather than the clopping sound of hooves hitting pavement), and can “scratch” as well as bite. (OotP Ch21, OotP Ch34, and DH Ch36)
There is a long wispy tail behind my phantom body and body inworld. It is more like a zebra’s – no long fur at the base but then long fur later down yet much longer tail fur than a zebra, and all black of course. On my phantom body, the tail I can flick, feeling hair that is not actually there flip in the wind. The tail of the thestral is never directly described though. Just noted only once, with it being said they have a “long black tail.” (OotP Ch21)
Instincts are loaded with hunting instincts. Impulsive urges toward lots of animals when they move or when I am hungry. The thought to rush on boney legs or swoop on bat-like wings to catch with teeth. Raw meat and carrion draws out food thought as well, but I know the body could not stomach such meats. Feeling like wings and body would be quiet. Like an owl hunting. Taking off and landing quietly, chasing prey if I was what I feel like. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hagrid lays out the body of a cow to attract some thestrals. Several come and eat from the carcass. Showing they are both meat-eaters and have a good sense of smell. (OofP Ch21) Later, thestrals again are attracted by just the smell of blood. (OotP Ch33) Plus later thestrals are shown to be able to move and land quietly as well. (OotP Ch21 and OotP Ch34)
Don’t really consider myself that social. Not around others nor around others like my own species identity if I was actually nonhuman. No want to be my species identity with others interacting while hunting for food. Doesn’t seem right to me. No instincts for it. Books never mention how social thestrals are. However they certainly don’t stay together even though there are nearly a hundred of them. They only ever congregate in small groups of less then a dozen any time they are described outside of pulling stagecoaches. (PoA Ch5, OotP Ch21, & OotP Ch33)
I prefer the night. Instincts call to hunt and be active at night. I see my species as “nocturnal.” Like some kinds of bats and owls. Instincts pull up thoughts of flying in the darkness only to swoop down at prey. Dark places feel rightist to me. In our innerworld, I see good at night and blend in well in the dark, so sneaking up on prey is easier there. Thestrals are only said to “prefer the dark” with no more detail given though. (OotP Ch21)
My cries are like a cross between the bugle of an elk and notes on a bagpipe. That is what instincts say anyway and I make those sounds in our inner world. Inworld, I‘m usually very quiet but when I make noise, I make those kinds of noises. Actual vocal cords can’t make that sort of sound. Hear it, any way, in my head anytime I would want to make the sound if I could though. Also sometimes make that sound, if any sound at all, in all the dreams I’ve had in my lifetime where I am how I see me. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the text notes several times how vocally quiet thestrals are, at one point being even so quiet they were able to walk up on the main characters without them noticing at first. (OotP Ch10 & Ch33) When thestrals do make sound, its implied to be something like “an odd, shrieking cry […] like the call of some monstrous bird” as that is what is used to get there attention. (OotP Ch21)
For a detail that I can’t know if it applies or not to me is the trait that could make or break calling me a thestral. Thestrals are only seeable by those who have seen death. (OotP Ch21) My body is human though, so no magical no-see-less-seen-death here possible. Not in my body image either because I am me, not someone looking at me. I can see in my mind how I see me. Also, everyone else in our multiple system can see me in our innerworld, but we’ve seen/known death of both human and nonhuman loved ones since childhood. So unknowable trait.
So, if not exactly like a thestral, therstal-like enough to use the word anyways. There are lots of similarities between how I look and they look, how they act and how I act/feel I should act. So I call myself thestral fictionkin as it fits close. Even if its not exact, its better and less a mouthful and don’t I know another detail hitting word as it is. My experiences. My thoughts. My reasoning behind the label.