Far beyond the edges of the colonies, beyond the forests of the Wood Elves and the plains of the tribesmen, over the ruinous deserts that only the twisted call home and across the lakes of the Old Things, there lies a mountain range unlike any in Avalon. Its peaks tower into the heavens, standing miles above the clouds. It is here no human has ever been, nor Wood Elf or Halfling. It is here that the Aaracroka make their home.
Undiscovered by Prometiia, the Aaracroka are feathered and winged men that range the skies and protect their tribes. They make massive nests where anywhere from thirty to a thousand may live together, hunting the beasts and fighting off the Drow raids from below their mountains. Where they come from none know for sure, for they do not use writing as most races do. Their oral traditions tell of Aruiak!, the Thunder Bird, whose feathers fell to the world and became the first Aaracroka. Shamans rear the young and teach them these same things, using their masteries over the element of air to prove their tales.
The Aaracroka tribes are beyond numerous; there are more than half a hundred thousand, containing millions of the birdmen. At times they war with another, but they just as easily unite against the Drow beneath them, or the other threats they face in the mountains.
Below are a number of the most powerful Aaracroka flocks:
The Pcantu!tu, translating to The Thunder Callers in common, is the most massive and powerful of the Aaracroka tribes. Their sorcerers are the most powerful, controlling lightning and thunder which gives them uncontested reign of the heavens. They leave on one of the tallest mountains, a nameless thing of black stone that is said to be the origin of all storms. A council of four lead this tribe, who are said to be able to evoke the spirit of the First Storm that has ever existed.
Whereas the Pcantu!tu are known for their shamans, the D’uuuu—translating to Whisperers—hold martial power unmatched by virtually any other clan. Their warriors are the fastest, having mastered techniques of flying and using clever contraptions to make them as fast as the lightning that their rivals wield. Likewise, they discovered gunpowder almost a hundred years ago, and have developed a number of weapons based off of it. Unlike many other tribes, the D’uuu has developed written language, giving them an edge over many of their peers. Their leader is a female Aarocroka who is said to have once slain a mighty storm demon. Her feathers, which are burnt black, give credence to this tale.
The most hated clan of the Aaracroka, the Nchannch are known for their predatory ways. They are smaller than the other two more powerful clans, with only fifty members in their nest. However, the Nchannch—a word that translates to Cannibals—wield a dark and evil magic. By harvesting the souls and flesh of their fallen enemies, they have created a powerful force of fell birdmen that cannot be killed by natural means. Likewise, by devouring their kin’s souls through their magic, they attain great power. Many of the Nchannch have lived for hundreds of years, waging an eternal war against their brothers and sisters in a bid for dominance of their mountain homes.
Below is a number of famed Aarakocra
Sallek, Who Screams
Sallek is a lone birdman that many, even those of the Nchannch, fear. It is said his power was granted to him by Aruiak! personally, turning his feathers a shining gold and his talons and beak dark as thunderclouds. With a single scream he has shown the power to hurl enemies back hundreds of feet, making him unapproachable by hunters or ranged weaponry. Sallek patrols the skies, independent from his fellows, seeking to find disturbances in his world so that he may destroy them with the Voice of the Storm.
Where as Sallek is seen as an infamous hero, Zeed Deadsky is his antithesis. A member of the Nchannch, he has lived for over a thousand years. His body has lost all feathers and flesh—he is a skeleton of what he once was, but controls a power so great that he has fought off ten armies by himself. His name, Deadsky, is a memory of that battle, where he would slaughter and then turn his foes against one another through his necromantic arts. Whatever Zeed’s purpose is, it is one that all Aarocroka dread to see in full—newborn chicks are told of his atrocities, and warriors are told to be on the lookout for when he may appear.