Today is of the Cycle Of The Seventh Moon.
Current Season & Month:  , Year: 543 A.R. (ref)

The Bestiary
 
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[Sticky] The Bestiary


Duilliath
(@duilliath)
Citizen Noble
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 485
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Here, until such time as this tome is removed to another library, is the Bestiary of the Knowne Worlde. Herein will like secrets, rumors, legendaria and errata for the various unique lifeforms that dwell... or infest, as the case may be... The Worlde Arcane.

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Duilliath
(@duilliath)
Citizen Noble
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 485
Journey starter  

Moonwenders

 

What are Moonwenders?

In a word? Big trouble.

MoonWender Facts:

These creatures are magical abominations that arose in the Depths of the Rosewood an eon ago.  Dreaded to encounter, with a body plan similar to a centaur, but instead of an equine lower body, the ‘Wender is a catamount or puma of enormous size.  The upper body of the ‘Wender approximates that of a tall human. All known ‘Wender are female, it is not known how they reproduce.

Incredibly tough and physically strong, the Moonwenders also have potent magic of the force and necromancy schools.

Long-lived, they live in a loose collection of gens in a territory but live in on individual lairs.

Most wear armor of bone plates and wield weapons of various types, including enchanted arms and armor.

Necromantic abilities: these take a wide variety of forms, including disease, necrosis or tissue death, creation of darkness and pestilential miasma.

They have an additional terrifying power as well:  certain of their kills, typically humans and related creatures are animated after death to a sort of undead known as a ghul.  (See Ghul)

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Duilliath
(@duilliath)
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Posts: 485
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Ghul

Formed by the action of a MoonWender on the corpse of a human or humanoid they have slain, they rise again filled with violence and hunger.

Ghul use their unlives for destruction and death. They consume the flesh of the living.  Ghul bodies eventually fall apart becoming slower and less effective at killing as their body mass decreases and limbs are lost.

Decapitation kills a Ghul and releases the remnants of its soul as a member of the Unquiet Wandering Dead. These spirits are restless, but have little power to themselves. They can be banished using consecrated devices or magics.

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Irihi
(@irihi)
Villainess Noble
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 493
 

On the Nature of the Aeros

Spoiler
Physical Characteristics

Size and Weight

While it is generally known that Aeros are smaller and lighter than most of the races of Arcane, my survey of over one hundred male Aeros and eighty females indicate that the flighted people average between 80-90% of the height of equivalent Umans, but weigh just under 50% of the average, marking an exceptional reduction in density compared to the non-flighted races. 

While I was not allowed to perform a full autopsy on any deceased Aeros, I was granted access to artefacts, relics, and even a public mausoleum where I could examine bodies in various states of decomposition. I surmise that the Aeros race achieves it's lower density through air-filled bones, and a uniquely lean muscle structure. 

Skeletal

The bones of Aeros are not hollow, as was previously believed, but are rather filled with a latticework of cartilage that is suffused with gas rather than the liquid humors of most other races. This Aeros-gel is light, and exceptionally strong and flexible, which gives Aeros their world renowned limberness, as well as the ability to survive, uninjured, crashes and falls that would break the bones of heavier races. 

The drawback of this light and flexible structure are a lack of strength in compression, leading to what Aeros refer to as "hardfoot" or a sensation of discomfort after even moderate periods of walking or standing.

Musculature

Aeros muscle tissue also appears less dense than that of other races, though the underlying reasons are unclear. Anecdotal evidence indicates that Aeros have significant endurance but low overall strength, and this may be due to underlying physiological differences in their muscle makeup. 

Cardiovascular

The heart and lungs of Aeros are significantly larger, proportionally, to those of other races. They are particularly well adapted to exertion at great height and are able to fly comfortably at much higher altitudes than many birds.

Aeros blood is remarkably thick. It is postulated that this has something to do with their slower resting heartbeat. Their blood is red, as with Umans and Haflings, though it appears black unless thinly spread. Small wounds do not bleed much--though the vitae does smear easily. Anecdotes from Aeros indicate that even major wounds do not bleed freely, as with most other races, but usually ooze and sometimes spurt or eject globules rather than spray.

Gastrointestinal

I witnessed a number of feasts in my times among the Aeros in the Mountains Ethereal. Rather, I should say that feasting is the natural state of Aeros. They seem to have the ability to consume vast quantities of food at a single sitting. 

While I was not privvy to specifics of waste elimination, my indirect observations seem to indicate that Aeros digestion is quite efficient, extracting most of the mass from their foodstuffs. I postulate that most of their liquid elimination is done through respiration and perspiration from the skin.

Wings 

Aeros wings are singular in nature and the most distinguishing trait of their race. Like most birds and bats, their wings are triple jointed and fledged with primary, secondary, and humoral pinfeathers. Unlike birds and bats, these wings are a third set of individual limbs, as with some insects and--I have heard tell--with the mysterious winged race some call "celestials". 

Aeros wingspans average around twenty feet tip-to-tip and are variable in weight-to-wingspan ratio by as much as a quarter. 

Those winged people willing to be my research subjects indicated that they could feel pressure on their feathers, but not pain when the shaft was pricked with a needle. They also told me that--contrary to widely-held beliefs--Aeros pinfeathers do regrow if damaged or plucked. They indicated, however, that this process takes at least a year, and longer with increasing agedness.

During the course of my time with the Aeros I noted two distinct types of aviator. The most common type were individuals with expansive wingspans and high length-to-chord ratios that allowed them to soar in the manner of large raptors like hawks or eagles. Far less common were individuals with shorter wings with thicker chord widths compared to length. These Aeros seemed to have a greater range of motion and faster flapping speed. Their preferred manner of flight consisted of powerful flapping followed by wings tucked in while they sailed through the air, like a thrown stone, before engaging in another series of flaps. Their overall flight speed was noticeably higher. 

There may have been additional manners of aviating that I did not witness, being "ground-bound" as the winged folk called me. [/spoiler] 

Spoiler
Reproduction

My status as an outsider prevented me from learning much of the details of the Aeros reproduction beyond the commonly-held knowledge that Aeros females have only a single cycle per year that coincides with their birth month. As far as I could discern, from those willing to talk with me, the month of estrus is invariably tied to the lunar month with fertility beginning at the first quarter moon and ending with menses at the new moon if the female is not gravid. 

I postulate that this could indicate that Aeros may actually be an offshoot of celestial beings, migrated from the moon to Arcane by way of their wings, similar to the now-extinct Moon Elves. 

As with most other races, male Aeros are fertile, or not, year-round. 

While Aeros are not oviparous, they use terms, often in derogatory manner, which could lead one to believe that their reproductive cycle involves egg-laying. Gestation and live birth are similar to Umans, taking approximately nine months. Aviation while pregnant/gravid is difficult/discouraged after the first trimester and said to be nearly impossible during the third.  

What is less-commonly known about Aeros reproduction, is that Aeros are strictly forbidden from any activities that might result in a half-Aeros hybrid. Male Aeros may not consummate with other races, upon pain of death if discovered--castration and banishment if a child has already resulted from the union. In general, Aeros are strongly discouraged, by their ruling clans from leaving the Mountains Ethereal and associating with "grounders" (sometimes referred to, even in official scrolls as "worms"). There is, however, no formal punishment for liaisons between Female Aeros and non-aeros, so long as they occur outside of their fertile period. 

Possibly as a result of the strict isolationist policies of the clans, an absolute lack of factual information exists about half-Aeros hybrids. It is impossible to verify if Aeros are capable of reproduction with other races, and what the traits of such a hybrid might be. It is very possible that Aeros cannot conceive with the other races. It is also possible that wings, and other specific aviationary Aeros traits, are not a blend, but rather a completely and wholly dominant or recessive genetic trait. However this lack of hybrids does not preclude obsessive, nearly ritualized taboos and draconian punishments revolving around potential mixed-blood unions.

All features of Aeros progeny are said to be passed down from the mother, with only minor influences from the father, but this may be a result of the matriarchal structure of Aeros society, rather than scientific fact. 

Spoiler
Society

Aeros live in a society governed by the heads of their seven most powerful--and populous--clans. The clans are headed by females elected by consensus of the elder members of each group. I have been told of, but not allowed to visit, four major cultural nexi of Aeros society; The Jade Oracle, the Hall of Clans, the Lunar Redoubt, and the Vault of Histories. 

My understanding is that each of these is a mountain fortress inaccessible to the flightless through both terrain and Aeros guards. The Jade Oracle is widely known in the outside worlde as a mystical edifice or being capable of scrying past, present, and future fortunes of supplicants. The Hall of Clans is the seat of Aeros governance. The Lunar Redoubt is a voluntary retreat for unmated Aeros females during the month of estrus. The Vault of Histories is of greatest interest to me, being spoken of as the repository of written Aeros laws, records, and arcane knowledge.


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