“I’ve always considered myself to be a horse, actually.”
It would be a gross overstatement to call Barno a mechanical horse. Automatons are amazing in many ways, but none of those ways involve beauty or physical grace. A mechanical donkey comes closer: a donkey constructed of tempered steel, pulleys, leather straps and wires. In Barno’s case, the Animator has gone to the trouble of designing a mouth, with a convincing set of rust-iron teeth. This attention to detail contrasts oddly with the almost complete lack of cover on his body; it is almost as if a metal donkey skeleton, partially muscled and bearing a complete metal head, presents itself to the onlooker.
Barno was designed and constructed by the famed animator Petar during the reign of the dark mage Nico the Harvester, and released soon after completion to become one of the Independents. After playing a small part in the eventual defeat of Nico, Barno went on to become a regular companion of the first King of the Sovereign Kingdom of Daylia.
Source: A brief history of Daylia by Tomaz Hargoz
Truth Be Told…
In real life, Barno the Automaton is the magical-mechanical sidekick of protagonist Marcus in Conversation with a Mechanical Horse. Because of the profound impact the sale and publication of Conversation had on my writing and myself as an author, this website is named in Barno’s honor.
Portrait of Barno by Matt Taggart (detail of the illustration to Conversation with a Mechanical Horse in Writers of the Future, Vol.XX)