In the fantasy story I’m working on, my main characters are islanders faced with a more technologically advanced invader. These invaders bring things which you and I would know the words for, but which my islanders don’t. In the scene in question, I have this.
Rising above the helmets of the warriors were ranks of bows and pikes. In the midst of them, towering gray animals, like horses swollen to the size of whales, with a swollen snaking vine growing from the center of their head and wicked tusks jutting from their mouths. Each whale-horse glimmered with scales of green lacquered steel. The black huts on their backs brushed the overarching trees.
So, would you be annoyed if, for the battle scene in question, I use the phrase “whale-horse” instead of elephant?