When you here the harsh shrill "kyaa-kree" echoing across the Mithral Mountains, you have just heard the cry of the Torán Eagle. This magnificent and regal bird has captured the hearts and minds of many that encounter it. The eagle is so well regarded that it is even represented on the official crest to the province of Manthria and is also part of the coat of arms for the coastal city of Marduran.
|Image description. Closeup on the head of the regal bird of the Mithral Mountains. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.|
The Torán is just over a palmspan short of a
ped long and has a wing
span of well over one and a half
peds in width. Its feathers
are all a dark brown except for the head, tips of the primary wing feathers and
the end of the tail feathers. These colour exceptions range from a tarnished
copper to burnished gold. It seems the older the bird becomes the more the
feathers take on a golden colour. The Torán have large feet that are almost the
size of a human hand with four toes, three
facing forwards and one toward the back. The feet and toes are a
cinnabrown in colour and
end in long curved black talons. These feet are very powerful and once prey has
been caught in them it can not wiggle free.
The legs of the Torán are about two palmspans long, muscular and covered in dark brown feathers that give them the appearance they are wearing pants. They can not walk well on these legs and move by a sideways hopping shuffle when on the ground. The Torán has a rounded head with eyes that are situated on either side of a curved beak. The eyes are a light brown to dark yellow in colour with a large black pupil. The beak is a light cinnabbark at the head and darkens until it is almost black where it hooks wickedly at its end. The beak is a good seven nailsbreadths long. There is no difference between the male and female.
The Torán are strong powerful flyers that can soar hours on end while hunting
for their food. They are able lift off and fly to their nests carrying prey that
can weigh almost as much as they do. It is also known that they have very keen
eyesight, being able to see movement at least a
ped distance from them.
These eagles are also able to snatch fish out of a lake or stream as they skim
Territory. The Torán can be found from the southern end of the Mithral Mountains north until the southern end or the Troll Mountains, and westward until the Lower Fores. There have been reports of pairs being spotted in the Tandala Highlands farther to the north and also farther south to the Caeytharin Mountains. A pair was even reported once nesting on the White Widdow near Ciosa given the unimaginative name of the ”Widdow Couple”. The largest population though, seems to be centered in the Mithral Mountains and northern Rimmerins Ring.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Torán will mate for life and these pair will stay together once they have mated. If one or the other of the pair die the survivor will not mate again. When they have mated the first time the pair will find an area where they will reside without leaving for the remainder of their lives. The only exception is when there is no more prey for them to live off of and then they will search out a new place. These territories often overlap with other couples and there are relatively few problems between sharing parts of each other’s territory. The only time they will chase another couple away is during breeding season.
|Image description. A dark brown and golden Torán Eagle landing on his eyrie. Picture by Bard Judith.|
The Toráns like high craggy places and will build their nests where other
predators can not reach them. These large raptors will often soar for hours on
end making lazy loops around their partners and sometimes doing roll over
maneuvers as one passes above the other often calling to each other. It is only
when they are hunting that they do not call to each other. Then they soar in
large spiraling circle looking for prey. When a meal is spotted the eagle will
fold up its wings and plummet out of the sky. It will only break its fall at the
last blink with its huge wings
spread out beating the air and their talons
stretched out in front of them grasping at their prey.
Diet. The Torán is a meat eater and will hunt for anything they can carry away to some higher place to dine. So all small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, small ground birds and fish can be considered part of their diet. It has been seen that the surica and fish seem to be their preferred choice. The Torán will also on occasion eat carrion when that is all that is available.
Mating. The breeding season for the Torán is in the spring and the aerial acrobatics during mating is a sight to see. Pairs that may have been mated for years do this mating ritual every spring along with first timers. It consists of the male chasing the female while she makes dips and dives while flying in a kind of wide loose circle. Whenever he gets close enough to catch her she rolls over on her back and the two will lock talons and plunge toward the earth in a flipping rolling fall. Both of the eagles have their wings half out during this fall that makes each fall different from the last. They will break off apart long before the will reach the ground with the female winging away with the male in hot pursuit.
When the ritual is completed pair will start repairing and building on their nest using twigs from any and all types of trees. They use the same nest year after year and they can become quite large. Older nests can easily reach two peds across and over three peds deep. Most of this depth is rubble consisting of old building material, feathers and eggshells and has a usable depth of a little over two palmspans. The female will lay one to three eggs, which she incubates and the male will bring her food. When the young hatch, the stronger will always deny the weaker food and may even push the weakest out of the nest. The stronger is often the first to hatch. When they hatch both parents will both forage for food and bring it back to the nest. They will tear off strips of meat and feed it to the babies for the first two months. By then the eaglets have lost their fuzz and have most of their feathers, which are all brown with none of the marking the adults have.
It is during this third month that the young start learning how to fly. When they have learned how to fly well enough the adults will chase them away. The young eagles will stay a dark brown until they fully mature. They start to get adult colouring at two and this is when they start searching for a mate.
Usages. There are really no uses for a Torán, although every so often someone attempts to make a hunting bird out of it. This is usually disastrous because the bird does not take well to this and often dies within months of the attempt. Of course there have also been many broken arms in these attempts. Mainly because the person feels they must train the Torán to land on their arms not realizing the strength these eagles have in their feet. When the eagle becomes startled or unbalanced it will squeeze its feet to secure its footing on the perch and snap goes the arm...
Myth/Lore. The Torán is said to have been created by the God of the Hunt, Arvins. When Caelereth was young the God Arvins had more time and he spent it on the hunt. He liked to run through the world hunting and found great joy in this. He thought to share his passion with the other Gods but they were set upon their ways and did not or could not find the same passion as Arvins. So he decided to create creatures that would enjoy the hunt and could go with him on his jaunts across the world. One of these creations is said to have been the Torán that so pleased Arvins that he crowned the eagle in gold.
This is the myth that is accepted by most of the people in the areas where the Torán is found. The eagle has oft been mentioned in many of the old writings of various Avennorian explorers. So it is evident the eagle has been known for a long time and their name is also very old.
However, the Arvins myth is not what the people believe that live on the eastern side of the Mithral Mountains. They believe that the Torán Eagle, this huge bird roaming the Mithrals, has its name from the venturous young man, which was lifted by one of these eagles into the air. Every time they saw the majestic bird which nested near the falls roam the skies, they said to each other: "Look, Torán‘s eagle is flying up there!" So they named the falls, Torán Falls. It is either after the bird or the young man, whichever tale you may believe.
The creek that feeds Torán Falls has its source on the eastern side of the Mithral Mountains by Chalbern Peak and is also known as Torán Creek. The locals believe the largest and oldest pair of Torán eagles to ever live had nests there regularly.
Information provided by Thuja