THE ASH FALCON

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING  - MYTH/LORE - RESEARCHERS

The Ash Falcon lives within the harsh Stone Fields of Peat. Its superior hunting skills allow it to survive in a place where almost all the animals blend in perfectly with their environment. They are named for their gray back, and the off-white colouration of their undersides.

Appearance. Alvador Gendin, a famous researcher of the Ash Flacon describes these birds as follows:

“In the sky, stained in melancholy, a falcon drove west on a torrid current. Wings shifted in balance, and I saw that opposite the soft white plumage of the underside was a stone gray. The Falcon’s large eyes seemed not to perceive me. He rode, feeling only the lift in his wings, smelling only the eastern air, hearing only the snakeling hiss of wind, seeing nothing but that distant horizon. For a moment, I watched solitude struggle against the tide.” - Alvador Gendin (230?-? b.S.)

As this writing reveals, the Ash Falcon is of two distinct colourations: gray and white. The ash colour for which the falcon is named paints its smooth back and rounded head, as well as the top of its sharp wings and long tail. The white (typically an off-white) colours the underside of the body and rings the large black eyes. The Falcon’s beak is of a dull, grayish hue, and bends carefully downward near the end into a dangerously sharp tip. This gray colouration is replicated in the shade of the Falcon’s scaly legs, which curve under it in flight.

The body shape itself is typical for a Falcon: that is, the body, in perched position, is held upright, the head clearly able to see all around it with the turn of its large head, that seems almost too large for the body. The Ash Falcon itself is rather average for most falcons at 4.5 palmspans from head to the tip of the tail feathers, while the wingspan is almost as long, being 4.3 palmspans, approximately. The legs are extremely strong: the feet, apt to grip and hold on. The bird is a deadly hunter.
Return to the top

Special Abilities. The Ash Falcon is rather unextraordinary to look at, save the almost majestic feel it has. It seems a king in its desolate territory, its head always held high, and its face, painted with stoic watchfulness. However, the Falcon is an expert hunter. Its eyesight is sharp. It has to be to hunt in he Stone Fields of Peat, as many of the animals blend in well with the stony background. These eyes are careful, picking out the smallest bit of movement below.

The Falcon, upon spotting its prey, can dive quickly, compared by the inhabitance to a bolt of gray lighting. Its large, sharp talons extended, it falls on its prey, often killing it on impact. The sharp claws aid in the killing, and the sharp beak helps to tear away the skin to reveal the edible flesh once the bird has flown away to a recluse location.
Return to the top

Territory. The Ash Falcon is found in greatest number in the Stone Fields of Peat, where it makes its home upon the rocks. It loves to perch in high places where it can easily see the surrounding terrain, and thus can often be found, sometimes in numbers of 10 or 12, on high, stony cliffs or old, rotten trees. However, because high places aren’t common, most falcons are forced to make their real homes on the ground. Nests built from surrounding brush lie in secluded hideaways, though in the Stone Fields of Peat mostly everything seems secluded.

All Falcons, both male and female, make something similar to nests. The male Falcons ‘nest’ really isn’t a nest at all, but is referred to by many as a ‘feeding location,’ or merely a place where the Falcon goes to feed on his kill. They are often seen as nests because the collection of bones, fur, and feathers becomes almost like a nest in the secluded location. Female nests are the typical kind of nests, often carefully sculpted and far larger than the males. These nests are typically made of any brush that can be found, and are made soft by fur and feathers from the food the Falcons eat.
Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. Ash Falcons are lone hunters. They tend to depend only on themselves and whatever fate throws their way. They will stand the company of other Falcons as long as their prescence does not hinder them in their search for a meal. If two Falcons catch sight of the same prey, especially if the hunt has recently been very bad, aerial fights will break out. These fights tend to be extremely dangerous and an extraordinary thing to view.

“Two birds lifted, catching the wind beneath their gray toned wings. They sped toward something that my human eyes couldn’t see: something hiding among the rocks. The two falcons grew closer together as they neared some unidentified location, when suddenly, one on the right withdrew his claws and attacked his companion. A shriek that shook the stones and split the air echoed off the rocks. They ripped and screamed, and terror entered my heart and moved my soul. It was like viewing two furious gods locked in battle, and for a moment, I feared the very earth would crack and the sky would crumble.” - Alvador Gendin (230-? b.S.)

Such fights seem to only happen when food is scarce, and typically the fights last until one of the Falcons is dead, at which time the other will feast upon his flesh. It is a frightening thing to behold, especially in a place like the Stone Field of Peat, where it seems the Armageddon might soon come to pass. Return to the top

Diet. The Ash Falcon is not particular about food. If it is meat, it will feed, no matter what it is. In hunt, most Falcons like to feed off the stone mice that scurry in the nooks and corners of the Stone Fields. Their preferred food is the stone gynnia, though, as this prey tends to have more meat on it and can provide for the Falcon for sometimes a week or more. The feathers of this bird also tend to make the nest of the Falcon most comfortable.

Falcons will never pass up a chance to dine, though. They will happily feed of a cragok goat that is old, sick, or dead. Sometimes a few Falcons will work together to bring down a cragok goat, but such occasions are extremely rare. The Falcon will also feed off the meat of dead stone trolls, though most of the time these trolls burry the dead themselves, and will only leave the body for the Ash Falcon if the person has commit crimes in his or her lifetime that cannot be forgiven.

The Falcons will even become cannibalistic if food is scarce, turning on one another, though this, again, is rare.
Return to the top

Mating. Mating often occurs during spring, and during such periods masses of Falcons will gather on high ledges and cliffs. The males will put on displays for the females, though typically such displays don’t last long. The female will quickly choose her mate and they will return to her nests. There they will mate and both parents will hunt, adding to the nest and building up their nutrients. A few weeks after mating, the female will lay two or three grayish eggs, about 5 nailsbreadths in length. The female will spend almost all her time watching the eggs and warming them, while the male will continue to hunt.

The chicks will often hatch in late spring as furry balls of light gray feathers. The female will begin to hunt along with the male to keep the young fed. By mid-summer, the chicks will have grown in their adult feathers and will begin learning how to fly and hunt along with their parents. They will eventually leave the nests all together by the time autumn comes, and will begin to make a nest or feeding location of their own. The parents of the chicks will often stay together until death, and the male will give up his feeding location for the female’s. Another young falcon often takes up the empty feeding location.

Typically Falcons don’t mate until they are at least two years old. Most Falcons live to be about 12 years of age.
Return to the top

Myth/Lore. It is believed that the Stone Fields were once a great kingdom, but that Queprur’s jealousy caused it to be destroyed. Before this destruction of Peat into what it is today, it is said that the city was home to a young man and woman who were solemn and stern. The man had dark hair and a strong figure, while the woman had black hair and an agile form that moved like wind. They were fierce warriors, and soon, though at first great opponents, fell in love.

Then Queprur’s hand came to destroy the city, and it is said the couple tried to escape. They fled the city, out of the gates and into the open land beyond. Queprur cast her jealous eyes of them, though, and threw her clawed hand to tear them down. It is said, however, that Jeyriall took mercy on them, and not wanting them to die under the cruel hand of Queprur, turned them both into Ash Falcons. They escaped Queprur’s hand, and their kin still grace the skies above the Stone
Fields of Peat. Return to the top

Researchers. Alvador Gendin (230?-? b.S.) is the only researcher to make note of these birds. He originally set out from his Remusian home to study the stone gynnia, but while he was exploring the Stone Fields of Peat, he found a great deal of beauty and elegance in the Ash Falcon, and his great respect for the majestic bird grew to fill up a great deal of his journal and research notes. He made notes of their behavior and appearance, and it is believed he must have put a great amount of effort into describing the mating rituals of the bird. Return to the top

Information provided by Rayne Avalotus View Profile