Visions of Aquelae: The Redstone Band
Aerie-echers are a bird-race. They stand 4.5-5-5 feet tall and have a wingspan of 6 feet or more tip to tip. Plumage ranges seemingly based on region, gender, and even occupation, to some degree. They are more bird than human, with an Aerie-echer pictured right; most tend to a more slate color, though.
Not much is known about them, as they have little (but growing) contact with humans or other earth-bound races. They prefer high places for their nests / city-nests, or isolated places. Since their relatively recent contact with humans, they have designated a few points of trade, though. The graceful Aerie-echers are free spirits, with an easy, loose communal existence. They are, all told, fierce fighters, and masters at tactical warfare. A single Aerie-echer can lift a fully-grown human. The difficulty depends on the weight of the human and the strength of the Aerie-echer. Their sometimes tactics include grabbing a humanoid encroacher and dropping him from great height on the rest of his invading troupe. Kills two groundies with one splat, really. Weaponry is minimal – they have mastered powerful bows, and have great aim at dropping rocks and the like, but otherwise develop their ability to strike with beak, leg-claws, and wing-talons. Their trade with humans has been quite profitable for both sides: they are fascinated by bright cloth, sparkling sets of stone and beautiful jewelry, and light mail (some of their warriors employ slate mail as armor). In return, humans get valuable information: hiring an Aerie-echer for prospecting, scouting, or as a courier is often well-worth the price. They are open and honest creatures by nature, not incapable of lying but rather, the thought never occurred to them. They tend to get very angry with humans lying to them, and have been known to grab dishonest merchants and drop them from great heights when displeased. They have a deep hatred of Orcs, who like to raid their communities for bird-meat, eggs, and very fine bows. Their arrows are stone-tipped, and they had almost no worked metal until contact with humankind. The Aerie-echers live as long as they can fly – once an Aerie-echer cannot fly, they hurl themselves earthward, dying with the feel of wind in their feathers. Most find they loose the strength to fly after 50 years. They are considered adult once they can fly, which is about 2 years after they hatch. The Aerie-echers worship the sky-god, bringer of storms, obscurer of land, bellower of breath. Their voices are beautiful, and incredibly complex and heart-touching songs, ballads, and hymns are often heard where there are groups of Aerie-echers. To that end, there are a few clerics, some shamen, and a few elementalists. Te elementalists are greatly respected, as they often command the air – the strongest command the lightning. Storm-callers tend to run in a particular clan, and it is said the power is passed from quill to shell. They are omnivores, but tend to prefer meat. Their craftsmen tend to create practical things, but painters, writers, calligraphers, musicians, and storytellers are among their most revered personages. Any troubadour who can master their strange language could be assured of a richly rewarding (if strange, and minimal of material riches) life among them.