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Author Topic: The Greater Hummingbird (Usages and Researcher sections to go!); Nybelmar  (Read 22436 times)
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #30 on: 07 March 2007, 05:05:09 »

*looks around*

This could as well go through as a thesis judging from the size of it alone, doesn't it? grin Any plans to get this one finished, Coren? Or do you need some more years of research, then we could as well make a book out of it...  devilish
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #31 on: 07 March 2007, 18:32:56 »

I just have to finish the researcher section - where I plan to integrate Quallian's architect picture I reserved what seems like ages ago now. But to integrate that I first have to research the depths of my imagination about this guy, so it's taking a while...

Ok ok, I lie. I was just being lazy the last couple of weeks, surfing the boards rather than finishing my entries and now as the term draws to a close the tide of coursework has swollen up again, threatening to drown me under its great surge. With great effort I am managing to stay reasonably afloat these days, but sadly not watertight...
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« Reply #32 on: 15 March 2007, 03:07:54 »

Nice entry Coren... I just had to comment having read it to say - I think some of my lecturers would have an apoleptic fit thinking of the implications of a "giant hummingbird" teeheehee... I mean, without going into scientific detail, the problems to be overcome would be huge! Good job this is a fantasy world :). Really nicely written  azn.

:D :D :D
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Takór Salenár
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« Reply #33 on: 15 March 2007, 06:07:11 »

Coren, I thought my ráhaz-estár is long, but you have easily beaten me!

As I mentioned already - a wonderful entry, but a bit too advanced in the terminology in a few places. Could be well a description for a new bird in  a science fiction world. I have not yet dug for medieval sources - how Michelangelo described his works e.g. and I know your Krean are quite sophisticated people, but still I think they would express themselves a bit differently. When I now write an entry or read one, I always think if Luther would have expressed it this way. He tried of course to write in a simple and easily understandable language which surely not every medieval „scientist“ would have used. But it is a help in deciding what is possible and what we should avoid. I will colour the few the words and phrases which I think should be replaced  (Where I‘m just unsure I use   teal , where I think you need to change it   this colour .





THE GIANT HUMMINGBIRD

Note: I will change all the 'Giant's to 'Greater' once the entry is completed. :)


Basic Overview
The Giant Hummingbird, illustrious for its powerful flight facilities sounds like you are desrcibing an engine  and amazing ability to hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping its wings, was often associated with the Ancient Krean of western Nybelmar. It now constitutes an integral element in the lives of the “Lost Ones”, descendents of the Ancient Krean who refused to leave the Peninsula of Shar after the cataclysmic Breking (1649 bS), thus devoting themselves to fighting the terrors haunting their rainforests. The Lost Ones ride these joyous aerial giants to traverse the numerous echelons of their forest cities as well as making them a vital component of their military.

The Giant Hummingbird, named after the characteristic hum (and music) made by their wings, is the most important pollinator of the Tubular Chimes, colossal deep-throated flowers exclusive to the Krean jungles. Their exceptionally high metabolism has forced these birds to consume more than their own weight in food and spend considerable time sleeping everyday. Astonishing parallels can be drawn between the Giant Hummingbird and the Krean, not the least their incredible levels of activity and equally astounding need for rest. In its exquisite form, shifting splendour, swift motions and intervals of aerial suspension, the Giant Hummingbird has become a vivacious symbol of rebirth, spontaneity and the joy of existence.

I think metabolism is too advanced a concept. Mediavalpeople may have thought about „juices“ and about why the blood is important to the body, but something as complex as what modern people understand when using metabolism is too advanced

Appearance
Very few things in nature capture the eye like Lisebirds. Rinsing their resplendent feathers in the light of day, hovering with whirlwind wings, they are like rainbow bridges shimmering from flower to flower. Humans with an appreciation of beauty could marvel at the artistry of a darting Hummingbird for eras, and the Krean, a tribe possessing an equally vivid beauty and love of things beautiful, indeed have!

(Size & Plumage)
The Greater Hummingbird is more than twice the height of a Krean male, comfortably taller than two and a half peds. They have the most glittering plumage among Lisebirds; while most Lisebird species are named after their shades (like “Sapphire-Throated” or “Emaraud” Lisebirds), Greater Hummers all come in different colours. The colour spectrum of this specie’s plumage is indeed extraordinarily broad. The gemlike brilliance of their feathers and the exquisite grace with which Greater Lisebirds display those feathers in the air is breathtaking.

(Crown)
The Great Hummer wears a magnificent “crown” on its head, darker and more radiant than the rest of the plumage where sunbeams cause the feather-scales to sparkle like gemstones, sparking off into visible flakes as they fall before dissolving into nothing, flowing from tone to tone. Only the Greater Lisebird has this vibrant tiara almost as if Nature crowned her queen of the specie.

The Great Lisebird’s vibrant plumage, each feather a glittering gem, is only rivaled by the magnificence of its wing structure.

(Wings)
The Greater Hummingbirds have great, regal wings with elongated hand bones to which the flight feathers are attached. They are adapted to a bee-like hovering flight (thus the name “Malise Bird”) and can be inverted, turning upside down during the up-stroke, significantly more than an average bird. The elegance of their axial, 8-shaped movement during hovering is breathtaking, generating opposing beats the thrusts and lifts of which cancel each other out, allowing the bird to float above bright, nectar-full penstemons.




Reference researcher & Dearan!

The wings of a Great Lisebird are curved and pointed when held at rest against the bird’s side and are majestic as much in appearance as in function: The tip of the wings extend well past the joint where the tail connects to the body and in Ferry Hummers past the tip of the tail itself too.

(Feet)
Hummingbirds have very short legs. The toes of the feet conversely are quite long. There are three toes in front and one at the back, each with a long, curved nail. The relatively tiny feet of the Greater Lisebird are well-adapted to perching but are almost useless for anything else: if a Lisebird wants to travel even from one end of a branch to the other it must fly.

(Eye)
The Greater Hummers have black or deep royal blue eyes, with the irises slightly lighter than the pupils. A dark violet or green is very rare but present. There is a small (once again relatively) spot of white feathers behind the eye.

(Bill & Tongue)
Lisebird bills are very long and tapered, perfectly suited to probing the centre of tubular flowers for nectar. The long and translucent tongues are highly flexible, adept at darting out of the protracted beaks to seize several insects in midair, performing almost acrobatic moves to catch the flies even as they desperately strive to escape. The grooves on the sides of the tongues also help. These lithe tongues serve one other essential role according to some Krean priestesses: the Greater Hummingbirds use their long tongues to “smell” the rare, fragrant penstemon species. They will spill out of the bill fluttering about and licking at the air in an attempt to locate a close food source. The tongue of Great Lisebird therefore also functions as a sensory and navigational organ.

I don‘t know, if it is a good idea to use penstemon  - it is the Latin word for a certain type of flower and I‘m not sure, if everybody knows which kind of flower it is actually.  Better desecribe it somewhere in the beginning, invent a new name for this type.  We do have a small variety already in aeruillin and southern Sarvonia - the Arryi
Arryi

The extraordinary length of the Greater Lisebird’s bill makes it very hard for the lively bird to negotiate the thick canopy of Krean forests. Accordingly, Greater Hummingbirds will generally be found flying towards the top of the gargantuan trees of these forests, where the flora intertwining, hanging about and thriving between the great trunks is thinner.

(Lifespan)
Greater Hummers, just like their Krean friends, have phenomenal longevity: whereas most of the “lesser” lisebird species live for about 3 years, the lifespan of the average Great Hummingbird is around 17 years…


Special Abilities
(Flight)
Hummingbirds have the miraculous ability to fly instantaneously in any direction they wish; they are unique among birds in being able to fly forwards, backwards, right, left, up, down, and even upside down. (Read more in “Wing Structure” under Appearance).

The Giant Hummingbird, like its smaller cousins, can fly remarkably fast, flapping their wings about more times in a second blink  than even the most observant human eye can perceive. The limited capacity of our vision translates the exquisitely complex wing movement into a blur, suggesting perhaps that the human form and mind were not meant to comprehend the celestial splendour of this creature. Because of its gargantuan size, the flurry of the Giant Hummingbird can create a gale strong enough to raise a whirlwind of fallen leaves and debris from the forest floor – we are indeed fortunate that the Gods have not placed this phenomenal bird in the desert!

Despite their incredible speed, most Hummingbirds can suddenly stop and make a soft landing thanks to their equally incredible lightness. The true wonder however is how a bird comfortably twice the size of the average human can accomplish the very same feat with equal ease! Some theologically inclined researchers have suggested that the body of the Giant Hummingbird harbours the Breath of Ava (wind) and that its lightness and amazing mobility can be attributable to this wealth of celestial essence.

(Hovering)
Perhaps the Hummer’s most startling and characteristic flair is its ability to hover in perfectly still air, its quivering wings moving rapidly backwards and forwards rather than up and down (i.e. horizontally) with the tips of the primary feathers tracing a shallow figure of eight while the bird holds its body upright. This posture allows excellent positioning of the bird’s human ‘passenger’ – either in a slim “basket” on its breast (aligned with the central axis of symmetry), where the “8” trajectory of the wings glide just nailsbreaths off its sides, or in a rounder hamper tied to its relatively tiny feet.

Although immediate observation remains impossible, scholars speculate that as the wings swing back they tilt flat for a moment before the wings are drawn, easing the 8-route that seems to disagree with bird anatomy. There is a motive to this seemingly flamboyant and unreasonably difficult wing movement though:  by alternating their wings forward and backward, the up and down forces as well as the forward and backward thrusts cancel each other out  – as the Qualaris engineer-architect-mathematician [nn] (Quellion’s “Dagen the Architect”) has cleverly observed – enabling the bird to hover in one place. This ability to hover almost indefinitely and the flexibility of their flight courses gives hummingbird species a significant advantage in feeding on plant nectar over other birds with similar (thin and long like a needle) bill structures. Many aver that the only reason Hummers sometimes drink nectar up-side down is to flaunt, like the Krean love to do, this awe-inspiring flair and genially tease other birds for their inability!

(Robustness)
 Despite their playful attitude and fragile appearance, Hummingbirds are surprisingly resolute when they put something in their minds and hardy. That the same applies to the Krean who ride these aerial miracles equally dumbfounds many… The only thing they cannot tolerate is hunger and lack of rest - just like the Krean! Without these luxuries they cannot subsist much less thrive – as the Krean often say, there must be something to life to cajole one to endure the frustrating hurdles of this world…

(Beak)
The long, thin beak of the Greater Lisebird, although causing the animal some trouble in navigating through thick canopy, allows it to feast off the succulent nectar of the deep-throated Tubular Chimes.

(Memory)
The Giant Hummingbird has an excellent memory, besides remembering food sources from previous years (which becomes all the more unbelievable when bearing the fact that they visit over sixty flowers a day in mind) this aptitude can be carefully cultivated to commit intricate routes to their memory, transforming them into brilliant scouts, guides, assassin units, and generally “intelligent” transports!

(Torpor)
Hummers are capable of slowing their awfully high metabolism (as a side-note, Hummingbirds are believed to have the fastest heart-rate in the entire animal kingdom) at night or when food is not readily available. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor, quite reminiscent in fact of the trans-like sleep the Krean go into (which when disrupted leaves them in a very weary and sour mood the following day) every night. During torpor, the heart-rate and breathing are both slowed dramatically (so radically that the human ear can actually attend to the individual beats). The reduced activity, the conversion from frenzy to peaceful solitude, allows the “Life-Essence” to freely flow through the etheric body, nurturing, repairing and revitalizing the corpus, thus reducing their need for food. Incidentally, many envious mages claim that it is this “super-sleep” that endows both the Giant Hummingbird and their Krean companions their fantastic longevity.

Of course it is possible in a fantasy world to describe something which would not work in RL, but we should ask - is it necessary?  Your „fastest heart rate“ belongs here. Normally the heartrarte is faster the smaller an animal is - a tiny mouse has a very rapid heart rate where big animals have a slow . Just imagine - a fast heart rate means, that the walls of that muscle have to move very quickly. Where it is not impossible, if the heart is small - in a big heart the velocities and acceleration of  these „heart-walls“ would be enorm. Not very likely. Why don‘t you invent something which is a marvel as well, but not so obviously not working? Like a system of several hearts - maybe one sitting in each joint of the wings etc and responsible for that wing? That won‘t work either, but it is not so obvious.

(Sound)
The brisk fluttering of a Hummer’s wings generates the characteristic hum the specie derives its name from. The Giant Hummingbird, unique among other hummers, can produce different pitches and volumes by varying their flap-speeds. Drawing on this ability, they can put together mesmerizing songs – truly deserving being designated the “Master Composers” of the forest! The only sound they can’t produce being the silent interval! (Visit the Library to learn more about “The Hummingbird That Fell Flat!”) Since the bird needs to shift its wings to bring sound into being, aerial displays only the most flamboyant of Krean dancers can hope to match accompany the music. It is believed Hummers communicate through these songs.

A Giant Hummingbird utilizes its amazing memory to memorize songs from other Hummers and is expected to make around six variations on these every fortnight…

The more songs a hummer knows and the finer music it can compose, the more attractive a mate candidate he will become. An adequate aspirant is expected to know at least seventeen different songs at any given time, more than many of us can ever hope to execute from memory unfortunately…

When an egg hatches in a nest, the mother Giant Hummingbird immediately brings the “hummerling” to the designated “incubarium” (giant, warm, silent and always beautiful halls Krean architects construct that act like a gigantic nest). There in the presence of the Master Singer, a veritable genius song-bird, the chicks begin their ‘education’. They start out by purely copying the master singer, and after the successful completion of that phase, each begins to develop its own variations on the original Master Song. Once the chicks develop their own styles, the Master Singer chooses among them the next genius to succeed him in the process. Upon “graduation” the chicks are allowed to return to their home-nests, wherein they spend a handful of years before beginning their own exciting journey into life. And if the relatively simple minds of birds, no matter how large or wondrous, can learn so perfectly, then there surely is hope for us still!

When a group of Giant Hummingbirds come together they immediately begin exchanging songs as we might exchange the latest gossips at a reception. And once this chapter is completed, they commence with the composition of a cannon, where the bass-sequence of the eldest bird becomes a canvas upon which the intricate stands of melody of the young are woven (thus providing an impromptu opportunity for the furthering of their education). The birds will meet again at the same time everyday until they are satisfied with the resulting composition, their perseverance a quality we should aspire to.

The “Lost Ones” will often arrange for public concerts where Krean and Giant Hummer composers compete for mastery. These always provide an enchanting spectacle one who happens to be travelling though the dangerous Peninsula of Shar should not miss. The local populace gladly pays the exorbitant sums to see who can weave the finer melodies and improvise more gracefully on his/her feet – and not-so-astonishingly it is the birds who often win!

Some shameful composers will promote a Giant Hummingbird’s song as their own. But the results can be and often are devastating if the bird hears its song played somewhere and sees instead someone else being applauded – or worse, rewarded with Tubular Chime nectar. It will begin pecking the impostor with a ferocity otherwise not shown by this peaceful bird, and will not stop until it drives the charlatan into the central amphitheatre to make a public apology! And in this another similarity we witness between these creatures and the humans they live with: neither can tolerate someone else being credited for their hard work…

  Can these birds really understand an apology or has the poor man perform any spacial movements which mirror a behaviour a bird would show which has stolen a melidy? Does this occur? Otherwise it is a bit.... far fetched.

This paragraph is a bit long - maybe you could summarise it a bit and the rest comes in smaller letters?



Territory
The Greater Hummingbird is exclusive to the Krean jungles of the Peninsula of Shar, the south-western isthmus of Nybelmar. As one travels from north to south in the Lost Kingdom (formerly known as the “Twin Kingdom”), the colours of the plumage get brighter and “warmer”, reds, oranges and yellows becoming prominent in the vicinity of the Viaquis border.

These birds have developed a close relationship with the Krean and despite the similar weather conditions they are not found in any of the other rainforests of the Peninsula. Some say this is because these animals have developed a strong bond with their human companions and severed from their friendship cannot thrive. Another theory posits that only forest supported by the legendary growth magic of Krean priestesses can regenerate fast enough to accommodate these high-maintenance flying giants. An implication of this last premise is that once Greater Lisebirds dwelt all across the Peninsula of Shar, but as their numbers increased, the food sources grew scarce and the forests unable to provide for them, the Greater Hummingbirds there either became extinct or had to immigrate to richer Krean jungles. Whatever the true account may be, communities are thicker closer to the settlements of these mysterious humans.


Habitat/Behaviour
One will often find the Giant Hummingbird darting from flower to flower, the sunbeams reflecting off its gorgeous gorget, sparkling like a prismatic gem with colour pouring out of its fiery heart, and shimmering wings in the flurry of flight. It will hover with a magnificence worthy of a Krean Queen nimbly working at a resplendent penstemon, bathing in a shaft of light. The Hummingbird is almost always in motion, wandering off from tree to tree with an insatiable curiosity and a love of life that is most distinctive of these animals – and incidentally, Krean tribes.

(Communication & Visual Displays)
Hummingbirds communicate with one another through elaborate visual displays in the air, rather evocative of the elegant and vivacious Krean dances. Short exchanges are expressed through shuttle-flights, rapid back and forth movements in front of another bird, accompanied by shrill shouts. Anything more complicated will merit a full wing-song.

Besides nectar and music, there is nothing a Giant Hummingbird (and some cynics says the same would be true of the Krean) likes more than parading its splendour. In those rare moments between feasting, wing-singing and rest, one will find a male Hummer tossing his head from side to side, with the feathers bordering his brilliant gorget all flared up. Females and the young on the other hand favour perched displays in which the tail feathers are spread to flaunt the white tips. The cleaner the white the better the effect…

Dive displays are only performed by the males. The trajectory of the dive is U-shaped and at the top of the arc, the Giant Hummer may be remarkably high above the canopy. Buzzing, whistling, or popping sounds made with the wing feathers or the vocal cords might supplement key points of the dive such as the lowest point before the bird whirs back up the sky.

I know, it is difficult to describe what you ant to let us see...

(Guarding of Territory & Fighting)
Given their unbelievable appetites, it is little wonder that Giant Hummers are always in competition for nectar and insects. They guard their territories fiercely (especially the males, whose primary role is the securing of a reliable food source), perching high near flowering Tubular Chimes. A humorous sight, the Giant Hummingbird puffs itself up to look large and forbidding. Many Hummers also make a loud chatter when their territory is invaded.

The favourite weapons of choice of Giant Hummers are their bills and claws. They occasionally collide with a loud thud in the air as both birds are too proud to give way over a spotted food source. A struggle between these aerial giants is a scary sight: Just as one Hummer is about to hover in front of a penstemon bloom the “rightful owner” of the territory might dart from the sky, dive bombing him from above. They flap their enormous wings about, jabbing with their long bills against one another. If the bills ever get locked, the birds will start whirling in a circle of radiant colours, caught in a spinning ball slowly drifting to the ground. Palmspans from the ground the bills will come apart and one of them will fly away, recognizing the victory of the winner, who is now returning to the gargantuan penstemon plant.

We have a lot to learn from these magnificent birds however, just as the Krean realized eras ago: Other than losing a few back feather every now and then, hummingbirds are rarely harmed by these duels. Their instincts compel them not to risk damaging their precious bill; with a severely injured beak, the Giant Hummer is only hours away from an agonizing death by starvation. Although like Krean children Hummingbirds are taught to be very out-spoken and stand up for what is by right theirs, they realize the ultimate futility (and may we dare say: stupidity) of prolonged war and vengeance. Instead, they focus their limitless energy on the more pleasant aspects of life. They will not wage war when food is scarce, exterminating one another to strengthen their claims on what is already there, but will wander off, exploring new sources…

(Pollinators)
A deep-seated interdependence exists between Giant Hummingbirds and certain flowers, like the massive Tubular Chimes: The Hummer needs nectar and these blossoms need to be pollinated. As the Hummingbird licks up nectar, head burrowed into the tubular bloom, its forehead rubs against the stamens and pistils, accidentally collecting pollen. Subsequently, as they rush from flower to flower, they help the plants to reproduce. While most Hummers find the colour red especially attracting, the Giant Hummingbird also finds itself drawn to vibrant violets and amethysts.

(Bathing & Grooming)
Giant Hummingbirds are very fond of taking a bath on the cupped leafs of the gargantuan trees of the Krean jungles (parenthetically, these are the largest trees in Nybelmar). Although they are not very good swimmers and can only haul themselves off water by the air currents created by their flapping wings (which becomes all the more draining when their massive bodies are completed drenched), Hummers love playing around in shallow (for their size) pools. As they raise and spread their tails, Giant Hummingbirds wave their wings or pull them straight back, calling to mind images of little children flapping around in the bathtub. The bather hummer will then toss its head back to sprinkle droplets of cool, refreshing water on its sore back. After bathing the bird will meticulously preen and dry its feathers, just like a Krean girl would deftly brush her radiant hair.

These birds truly know how to enjoy life; they will sit in the rain on a bare branch with feathers ruffled up to catch the falling droplets. They also love to take showers while on the wing, never turning an opportunity to play in the fine mist of the sprinklers irrigating the strata-gardens or cooling Krean cities in the summer. It is not an uncommon sight to spot a Giant Hummer playfully dart through the mist of the temple gardens, as if to test the mood of the priestesses, before finally landing in one of their studies!

Sprinklers????? That needs waterpressure! 

Giant Hummingbirds in the wild use oil from a gland near their tails to groom their wings, abdomen and back. Stroke by stroke they will tend to the veins of each feather, so essential for their survival. The birds use the front three claws of their feet to groom their heads and necks like a comb or rub them against a branch. A comical sight occurs when a hovering Hummer intent on grooming its beak tries to grasp its bill and slide along it with its claws. The Krean to return the favour save the Hummingbirds they use as mounts the exertion and perform the grooming themselves, applying the many beautifully scented balms, crčmes, concoctions and solutions they are renowned for. Such Hummers are easy to spot among the bird community as their plumes shine with a healthy radiance signalling beauty and vitality. Indeed such treatment is so treasured among the birds that it is from the envious wild ones who fly into the settlements of their own accord that the Krean recruit most of their rides! In everything they do the subtle intelligence of the Krean filters through…

Hummers also enjoy taking sunbaths, positioning their breasts towards the sun and fluffing out, with eyes closed, very suggestive of ladies trying to get a tan. They derive such great pleasure from this activity – they extend their neck and spread their tail, stretching one win and then the other before lowering the head to stretch the wings upward – that one cannot help but ponder that were a mage to freeze the moment and transform these adorable creatures into any other animal, it would most certainly be a yawning cat, purring its pleasure…

  Really nice how you describe it - but didn‘t you say somewhere above that they need to feed all day to get enough?


Diet
Hummingbirds while in flight have an extraordinarily high metabolism see above in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. They have a fast breathing rate, a shocking heartbeat, and a high body temperature. Their hearts pound so many times more in a second than the human ear can distinguish that the Krean will challenge someone who thinks too highly of himself or what he can accomplish by saying something along the lines of: “Now why don’t you try to count how many times the heart of the Hummingbird beats before this hand lands flat on your face?”

  heartbeat - see above - no seconds

The Giant Hummingbird needs to feed every quarter hour or so, typically consuming more than their own weight in food each day - since the Giant Hummer is twice the size of man the reader will appreciate that this is no easy feat! To accomplish this arduous task they have to visit hundreds of equally gigantic flowers daily. (Visit the Herbarium to discover more about the gargantuan Tubular Chimes). Because of this ravenous need for food, the Giant Hummingbird is only hours away from starvation at any given moment.
you said that already 

The Giant Hummer likes bright-coloured (especially violet or vivid purple) flowers with lots of nectar. Observing their feeding patterns, Lillivear priestess-researchers have posited that the indispensable part of a Hummingbird’s diet is sugar I don‘t think we have sugar, but foridite ...and other sweeteners like honey  , which they get from flower nectar and tree sap. Another interesting hypothesis of the priestesses is that Hummers also need to eat insects and pollen to sustain their fatigued wing-muscles much like a human athlete might instinctively yearn for meat.   I thought the athletes now eat noodles and not meat  - at least for a quick recovery The tongue of the Giant Hummer has grooves on the sides, which make it easier to seize insects from the air as well as from leaves and spider webs. (To witness how flawlessly the creations of Ankriss complement each other, we recommend that you read the Compendium’s entry on the Giant Spilk Spider, now on the verge of extinction).

Some flowers of the Krean jungles, like penstemons, seem to be specifically designed to accommodate Giant Hummingbirds instead of the more widespread malise (bee) pollinators. They have no platforms for bees or other birds that can’t hover to land on. Such plants are often red, a colour the Krean Malise has difficulty making out. Hummingbird flowers typically have little or no scent as birds use vision more whereas insects use smell to spot food sources. Do we know this already?  In addition, the flowers of Humminbird plants are spaced apart to accommodate the whirring wings. One such flower is the Tubular Chime, a giant penstemon only found in Krean rainforests that has child-sized individual blooms. The corolla of these flowers is thick enough to prevent other birds from piercing their way through to get the nectar –so strong in fact that even an arrow will have a hard time penetrating the outer ‘skin’. Hummingbird flowers always bloom in daylight hours since the bustling bird is too exhausted by night to do anything other than go into torpor. Such plants also tend to bloom for a longer period of time than most flowers; however it is only the phenomenal growth magic of the Krean that allows Tubular Chimes to regenerate quickly enough to cope with the demanding appetites of the hundreds of Giant Hummers whirring about the Krean realm.

The Giant Hummingbird’s long and tapered bill neatly probes the centre of the long, tube-shaped flowers for nectar, which it takes up at – again – astonishing rates. Often one can see long translucent tongues spilling out of their long beaks, licking at the air with great enthusiasm, as they approach bright coloured Tubular Chimes. So rapid are the tongue movements of these birds that a dog vigorously licking at his water or a Krean child at his vanilla covered kitjuran fruit might be said to be “licking like a hummer”.


The Krean have also devised artificial feeders for military operations where Tubular Chimes might be scarce; however, Hummingbirds are not very fond of drinking from these contrivances for prolonged periods. Thus it is again often up to the priestesses to coax the earth into sprouting a bouquet of deep-throated flowers where one might normally expect to be none. A gorgeous upshot of this is the Penstemon Paths that precede Lost Ones’ armies in most foreign expeditions.

Also, mould is deadly to all Hummingbird species and accordingly, due care must be taken to keep artificial feeders clean!

Mating
Giant Hummingbirds communicate their desires through aerial displays and wing-songs. Usually the male first finds a ready female then courts her through posturing and music. Then he engages in a conjugal flight where he repeatedly flies in a large U-shaped pattern. Due to their size and the space needed for their elaborate flights, the courtship rituals of Giant Hummingbirds typically take place above the forest canopy. The more ostentatious Hummers sometimes also engage in a narrowly-focused shuttle dance (see “Aerial Displays” under Behaviour) where the male enthusiast flies in front of the female in short, rapid arcs. The dance field is commonly around two to three peds wide. These visual displays have inspired two traditional Krean ballroom dances which are equally elaborate and named after the birds: the “Waltz of the Hummingbird” and “The Aerial Festival”.

But the decisive vote comes from the wing-song. The male Giant Hummer establishes his appeal through the number and splendour of the songs he composed. Females love to test contenders by humming one of her favourite pieces (which she might have heard from another bird) and waits to see if her suitor can recognize the song. If the male can catch up with the tune before the she-bird stops humming (so the flow is not disrupted) he is immediately victorious. Most times however the suitor cannot pick up the tune straight away as the total number of songs available in a community is vast and the female will have to “tip him off” by humming the same or a different fragment from the song. More than three repeats automatically disqualify the male. Defeats are temporary however. The Hummingbirds, much like the Krean, are known for their persistence and accordingly the males will interpret their failure as pertaining only to that particular instant. In a few weeks time, after rehearsing and visiting other bird communities for the latest songs, he may come back to try his luck with the lady-bird once more. Krean priestesses assume that the function of this test is to assess the memory of potential mates to ensure that the next generation of Hummers will be able to remember food sources and the paths leading there.

The female can repeat the procedure until she is satisfied, although more than nine challenges is interpreted as a polite sign to the male to quit on his own terms; the female has little interest in him or perhaps mating at that time.

The paramount significance the specie places on these wing-song challenges obliges Giant Hummingbirds to remain observant and attentive to their surroundings, always on the look out for new songs that might feature up next year, as well as ensuring that young Hummers remain social creatures with ties to their community.

Once this part of the mating ordeal is dealt with, the male will begin courting his mate with songs he has prepared beforehand. This is especially important if the male suitor has not been able to dazzle the female in the earlier round. Normally, the repertoire of a male Giant Hummingbird is expected to span an average of seventeen songs, including established favourites from past Master Singers. At times when mates are scarce (for example after a war the Giant Hummingbirds had to assist the Lost Ones in) the number may be lowered to ensure the survival of the specie.

Sometimes males will gather in an esprit-de-corps and serenade together to entice females from other Hummingbird communities to come into the neighbourhood for mating.   

Our readers might be surprised to hear that the mating season of the Giant Hummingbird corresponds to that period of the year so aptly named the month of the Singing Bird!

Once mating is completed, the Krean will help the newly copulated couple to build their rather large matrimonial nest.


Myth/Lore/Origin
(Myths)
The Sun & the Moon: How the Greater Lisebird Came to Be
Long ago the Sun fell in love with the Moon. But the two were so far apart and the Moon so engrossed in her own beauty that this vane lady took little notice of his attentions. The Sun shined brighter and lingered longer in the sky everyday to prove how fervent his love for this mystical Lady of the Night and how majestic his powers were. There came a time that he burned so fiercely that nothing would grow in the earth anymore - the land had become scorched and barren. He stayed in the sky so long after the day waned to steal a glance of his darling Moon that the Lillivear could not decide when they should call it a night or the Aestera whether they should wake up. The High Goddess Ankriss was furious to see the beautiful Krean laid to waste: the Lillivear were worn out with perpetual work though all they could cultivate was a foul temper and the Aestera had developed a dangerous fondness for sloth. In Her rage the High Goddess first thought of sniffing the Sun out completely but She was a kind deity and knew how delicate and difficult matters of the heart were. So, instead, Ankriss decided to give the reckless Sun a second chance: Every time his desire for the Silver Moon flared, its radiance would spark into life as a great Hummingbird. That is why, they say, the plumage of the Greater Lisebird shimmers and glitters so: for he is actually the Sun in disguise, and every time a stray ray falls upon him, setting his brilliant feathers in fire, the great bird remembers how he came to be. The Sun, however, never learned: all day long he flutters from flower to flower calling out to the Silver Moon, declaring his blazing love; alas, when the lady he so desperately courts finally makes her appearance, he has already collapsed from exhaustion, fast asleep…

  You know, that in southern Sarvonia the sun is „she“ and the moon „male“. you need to take inot account as well, that the moon will have another cycle as the sun - as on earth he will be visible at daytime as well (like the earthen moon), just not so bright as during nighttime. Your jungle people might not see him clearly at daytime though.

The Wedding of the Great Lisebird: A Viaquis Tale
When the Krean discovered the Great Lisebirds in their recovering realm, they fell in love with the joyous spirit and otherworldly beauty of these birds. The priestesses of Ankriss decided to arrange a wedding ceremony for them: First the Violet Sky-Dancers, breathtaking butterflies from Sihitara, marked out a grove, then the priestesses made flower petals fall from the trees and wove them together with their magic into a carpet. Spilk Spiders spun webs to make the bridal pathway and the Sun sent down rays to illuminate the couple, causing their plumage to flare up with dazzling reds and yellows. Some of the guests noticed however that whenever the two turned away from the Sun, they became drab again. And so would the Krean, the Viaquis say; with the glow of prosperity removed the Krean would not be much different then the southern tribes they find so repulsive. True generosity shines not in affluence but through dearth as well.

The Search for Light: How the Year of Darkness Came to an End
After the Orcal Wars, the High Priestess was driven by grief and guilt to insanity and the whole continent plunged into perennial night. The land was drowning in darkness, all the crops failed and the Krean on the verge of extinction. What remained of the priestesses gathered together to send a Great Lisebird up to find the Creator and the Undying Wave. High above the world and indeed high above the stars, past the outer reaches of the Void and time, beyond Reality and even the Web of Dreams, the bird found the spring from which issued the Undying Wave and brought the Light of Creation back to Caelereth. Many may seek the Light but only Joy can find it, the moral of this tale seems to be. Every year, on the 3rd day of the Singing Bird, during the “Flight to the Light” (literal translation) Festival, hundreds of small hummingbirds are released to the air from the various echelons of the forest-cities of the Lost Krean commemorating the ending of the Dark Year.


(Lore)
Great Lisebirds symbolize sunshine, rebirth, spontaneity and joy. By observing these colourful sovereigns of the skies could we perhaps glean a few lessons on the art of living? Their multidirectional flight perhaps illustrates that there is more than one way of approaching a problem and that sometimes the path less travelled by leads to exhilarating sightings. The carefree, experimental spirit of this majestic bird is a reminder that we should never let the safe comforts of orthodoxy shackle and tame our wild creativity.

Just as mould is lethal to the Great Hummer, so is the decay of boredom to life. So absorbed we become into our daily gloom that the festering weariness of routines and frustrated expectations goes unnoticed. Oblivious we are to our souls putrefying, the elation of childhood perishing in apathy and boredom… Sadly, not always is a choice available to chores and obligations dragging us through the undergrowth of life with dread. Rather what the Krean, these most meticulous of humans, say what we should learn from the hummer is not to get so absorbed in the miseries of our own little world that our preoccupation blinds us to that rare glimmer of opportunity presents itself.



WoW!! I love your language!

It is a bit long and one or another reader may get a bit tired despite your colourful language, or there is somebody who just looks for something - so maybe you look through it where you could set parts apart from the rest with smaller letters, a more profound explanation of what you have in the main text.
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« Reply #34 on: 15 March 2007, 06:11:54 »

I don't know when the Researcher section will be added, but the entry's length itself looks to me as if I'd need three updates anyway to prepare it... :lol Well, maybe you can get to Takór's comments before the weekend, Coren, then I can start integrating this at this week's update and add in the rest later. - That possible?
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« Reply #35 on: 17 March 2007, 07:17:37 »

Woah, it looks like its really good to me. Great job Coren! I hope you finish just how you want it.
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« Reply #36 on: 11 June 2007, 17:17:37 »

I am sure I had responded to Talia's detailed commentary! I couldn't believe when I saw nothing here! Hmm... I will post it again.

As regards the edits: There are a huge number of small changes & cross-referencing to make. I will need to start finishing this entry in July - I need a block of time where I will not be disturbed and can work calmly. I always find that going through an entry with a comb to hunt down little inconsistencies & cross-referencing a lot more exhausting that writing the entry itself :)

I do enjoy both though! It's just that each type of development requires a different mindset & time commitment. Ok, I am babbling...

I am deeply obliged for the comments Talia!
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« Reply #37 on: 12 June 2007, 01:35:59 »

Not to be a pain Coren...but Imagery of the greater hummer is present al throughout my masterwork town remember...Could it be mentioned?
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« Reply #38 on: 12 June 2007, 01:36:52 »

I thought that was where you derived the reference from! Sure thing. I will mention the town - is there anything specific you would like me to say?
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« Reply #39 on: 12 June 2007, 01:39:54 »

Not really, as long as it is mentioned at somepoint I will be happy :D
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« Reply #40 on: 12 June 2007, 04:35:03 »

Quote
The Giant Hummingbird’s long and tapered bill neatly probes the centre of the long, tube-shaped flowers for nectar, which it takes up at – again – astonishing rates. Often one can see long translucent tongues spilling out of their long beaks, licking at the air with great enthusiasm, as they approach bright coloured Tubular Chimes. So rapid are the tongue movements of these birds that a dog vigorously licking at his water or a Krean child at his vanilla covered kitjuran fruit might be said to be “licking like a hummer”.

Would a child like to eat Kitjuran fruit....That is wax you know?

I think you are referring to one of my other trees...the Keelo tree (Keelofruit) which is very sweet and syrupy!

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« Reply #41 on: 24 June 2007, 20:46:43 »

Lord FrozenZephyr...Here be my commentary on your beast....




THE GIANT HUMMINGBIRD

Note: I will change all the 'Giant's to 'Greater' once the entry is completed.


Basic Overview
The Giant Hummingbird, illustrious for its powerful flight facilities and amazing ability to hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping its wings, was often associated with the Ancient Krean of western Nybelmar (why so? Can the Krean hover in mid air? I think you are trying to say the beast itself is related to the krean...but this is a little confusing due to the arrangement of the sentences). It now constitutes an integral element in the lives of the “Lost Ones”, descendents of the Ancient Krean who refused to leave the Peninsula of Shar after the cataclysmic Breaking (1649 bS), thus devoting themselves to fighting the terrors haunting their rainforests. The Lost Ones ride these joyous aerial giants to traverse the numerous echelons of their forest cities as well as making them a vital component of their military.

The Giant Hummingbird, named after the characteristic hum (and music) made by their wings, is the most important pollinator of the Tubular Chimes, colossal deep-throated flowers exclusive to the Krean jungles. Their exceptionally high metabolism has forced these birds to consume more than their own weight in food and spend considerable time sleeping everyday. Astonishing parallels can be drawn between the Giant Hummingbird and the Krean, not the least their incredible levels of activity and equally astounding need for rest. In its exquisite form, shifting splendour, swift motions and intervals of aerial suspension, the Giant Hummingbird has become a vivacious symbol of rebirth, spontaneity and the joy of existence.


Appearance
Very few things in nature capture the eye like Lisebirds. Rinsing their resplendent feathers in the light of day, hovering with whirlwind wings, they are like rainbow bridges shimmering from flower to flower. Humans with an appreciation of beauty could marvel at the artistry of a darting Hummingbird for eras, and the Krean, a tribe possessing an equally vivid beauty and love of things beautiful, indeed have!

(Size & Plumage)
The Greater Hummingbird is more than twice the height of a Krean male, comfortably taller than two and a half peds. They have the most (definitive adjectives such as 'most' or 'best' shouldn't be used in the bestiary...since these limit other developers)glittering plumage among Lisebirds; while most Lisebird species are named after their shades (like “Sapphire-Throated” or “Emaraud” Lisebirds), Greater Hummers all come in different colours. The colour spectrum of this specie’s plumage is indeed extraordinarily broad. The gemlike brilliance of their feathers and the exquisite grace with which Greater Lisebirds display those feathers in the air is breathtaking.

(Crown)
The Great Hummer wears a magnificent “crown” on its head, darker and more radiant than the rest of the plumage where sunbeams cause the feather-scales to sparkle like gemstones, sparking off into visible flakes as they fall before dissolving into nothing, flowing from tone to tone. Only (again words like 'only' limit future entries) the Greater Lisebird has this vibrant tiara almost as if Nature crowned her queen of the specie.

The Great Lisebird’s vibrant plumage, each feather a glittering gem, is only rivaled by the magnificence of its wing structure.

(Wings)
The Greater Hummingbirds have great, regal wings with elongated hand bones to which the flight feathers are attached. They are adapted to a bee-like hovering flight (thus the name “Malise Bird”) and can be inverted, turning upside down during the up-stroke, significantly more than an average bird. The elegance of their axial, 8-shaped movement during hovering is breathtaking, generating opposing beats the thrusts and lifts of which cancel each other out, allowing the bird to float above bright, nectar-full penstemons.

Reference researcher & Dearan!

The wings of a Great Lisebird are curved and pointed when held at rest against the bird’s side and are majestic as much in appearance as in function: The tip of the wings extend well past the joint where the tail connects to the body and in Ferry Hummers past the tip of the tail itself too.

(Feet)
Hummingbirds have very short legs for their size. The toes of the feet conversely are quite long. There are three toes in front and one at the back, each with a long, curved nail. The relatively tiny feet of the Greater Lisebird are well-adapted to perching but are almost useless for anything else: if a Lisebird wants to travel even from one end of a branch to the other it must fly. Colour of feet and claws?

(Eye)
The Greater Hummers have black or deep royal blue eyes, with the irises slightly lighter than the pupils. A dark violet or green is very rare but present. There is a small (once again relatively) spot of white feathers behind the eye.

(Bill & Tongue)
Lisebird bills are very long and tapered, perfectly suited to probing the centre of tubular flowers for nectar. The long and translucent tongues are highly flexible, adept at darting out of the protracted beaks to seize several insects in midair, performing almost acrobatic moves to catch the flies even as they desperately strive to escape. The grooves on the sides of the tongues also help. These lithe tongues serve one other essential role according to some Krean priestesses: the Greater Hummingbirds use their long tongues to “smell” the rare, fragrant penstemon species. They will spill out of the bill fluttering about and licking at the air in an attempt to locate a close food source. The tongue of Great Lisebird therefore also functions as a sensory and navigational organ.


The extraordinary length of the Greater Lisebird’s bill makes it very hard for the lively bird to negotiate the thick canopy of Krean forests. Accordingly, Greater Hummingbirds will generally be found flying towards the top of the gargantuan trees of these forests, where the flora intertwining, hanging about and thriving between the great trunks is thinner.

(Lifespan)
Greater Hummers, just like their Krean friends, have phenomenal longevity: whereas most of the “lesser” lisebird species live for about 3 years, the lifespan of the average Great Hummingbird is around 17 years… (not sure whether this fits in the appearence or special abilities section....probably SA...)


Special Abilities
(Flight)
Hummingbirds have the miraculous ability to fly instantaneously in any direction they wish; they are unique among birds in being able to fly forwards, backwards, right, left, up, down, and even upside down. (Read more in “Wing Structure” under Appearance).

The Giant Hummingbird, like its smaller cousins, can fly remarkably fast, flapping their wings about more times in a second than even the most observant human eye can perceive. The limited capacity of our vision translates the exquisitely complex wing movement into a blur, suggesting perhaps that the human form and mind were not meant to comprehend the celestial splendour of this creature. Because of its gargantuan size, the flurry of the Giant Hummingbird can create a gale strong enough to raise a whirlwind of fallen leaves and debris from the forest floor – we are indeed fortunate that the Gods have not placed this phenomenal bird in the desert!

Despite their incredible speed, most Hummingbirds can suddenly stop and make a soft landing thanks to their equally incredible lightness. The true wonder however is how a bird comfortably twice the size of the average human can accomplish the very same feat with equal ease! Some theologically inclined researchers have suggested that the body of the Giant Hummingbird harbours the Breath of Ava (wind) and that its lightness and amazing mobility can be attributable to this wealth of celestial essence.(nice touch!)

(Hovering)
Perhaps the Hummer’s most startling and characteristic flair is its ability to hover in perfectly still air, its quivering wings moving rapidly backwards and forwards rather than up and down (i.e. horizontally) with the tips of the primary feathers tracing a shallow figure of eight while the bird holds its body upright. This posture allows excellent positioning of the bird’s human ‘passenger’ – either in a slim “basket” on its breast (aligned with the central axis of symmetry), where the “8” trajectory of the wings glide just nailsbreaths off its sides, or in a rounder hamper tied to its relatively tiny feet. (This sounds a little to...maths equationy? Perhaps tone down the use of advanced mathematical terms to make that passage more comprehendable...)

Although immediate observation remains impossible, scholars speculate that as the wings swing back they tilt flat for a moment before the wings are drawn, easing the 8-route that seems to disagree with bird anatomy. There is a motive to this seemingly flamboyant and unreasonably difficult wing movement though: by alternating their wings forward and backward, the up and down forces as well as the forward and backward thrusts cancel each other out – as the Qualaris engineer-architect-mathematician [nn] (Quellion’s “Dagen the Architect”) has cleverly observed – enabling the bird to hover in one place. This ability to hover almost indefinitely and the flexibility of their flight courses gives hummingbird species a significant advantage in feeding on plant nectar over other birds with similar (thin and long like a needle) bill structures. Many aver that the only reason Hummers sometimes drink nectar up-side down is to flaunt, like the Krean love to do, this awe-inspiring flair and genially tease other birds for their inability!

(Robustness)
 Despite their playful attitude and fragile appearance, Hummingbirds are surprisingly resolute when they put something in their minds and hardy. That the same applies to the Krean who ride these aerial miracles equally dumbfounds many… The only thing they cannot tolerate is hunger and lack of rest - just like the Krean! Without these luxuries they cannot subsist much less thrive – as the Krean often say, there must be something to life to cajole one to endure the frustrating hurdles of this world…

(Beak)
The long, thin beak of the Greater Lisebird, although causing the animal some trouble in navigating through thick canopy, allows it to feast off the succulent nectar of the deep-throated Tubular Chimes.

(Memory)
The Giant Hummingbird has an excellent memory, besides remembering food sources from previous years (which becomes all the more unbelievable when bearing the fact that they visit over sixty flowers a day in mind('in mind' seems redundant to your point)) this aptitude can be carefully cultivated to commit intricate routes to their memory, transforming them into brilliant scouts, guides, assassin units, and generally “intelligent” transports! (elaboration? How can a creature which presumably doesn't know how to converse with the 'lost ones' become a guide or scout?)

(Torpor)
Hummers are capable of slowing their awfully high metabolism (as a side-note, Hummingbirds are believed to have the fastest heart-rate in the entire animal kingdom) at night or when food is not readily available. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor, quite reminiscent in fact of the trans-like sleep the Krean go into (which when disrupted leaves them in a very weary and sour mood the following day) every night. During torpor, the heart-rate and breathing are both slowed dramatically (so radically that the human ear can actually attend to the individual beats). The reduced activity, the conversion from frenzy to peaceful solitude, allows the “Life-Essence” to freely flow through the etheric body, nurturing, repairing and revitalizing the corpus, thus reducing their need for food. Incidentally, many envious mages claim that it is this “super-sleep” that endows both the Giant Hummingbird and their Krean companions their fantastic longevity.

(Sound)
The brisk fluttering of a Hummer’s wings generates the characteristic hum the specie derives its name from. The Giant Hummingbird, unique among other hummers, can produce different pitches and volumes by varying their flap-speeds. Drawing on this ability, they can put together mesmerizing songs – truly deserving being designated the “Master Composers” of the forest! The only sound they can’t produce being the silent interval! (Visit the Library to learn more about “The Hummingbird That Fell Flat!”) Since the bird needs to shift its wings to bring sound into being, aerial displays only the most flamboyant of Krean dancers can hope to match accompany the music. It is believed Hummers communicate through these songs. (perhaps the Hummers could also use their songs to gain the favour of a mate like some singing or dancing birds and lizards do?)

A Giant Hummingbird utilizes its amazing memory to memorize songs from other Hummers and is expected to make around six variations on these every fortnight…

The more songs a hummer knows and the finer music it can compose, the more attractive a mate candidate he will become. An adequate aspirant is expected to know at least seventeen different songs at any given time, more than many of us can ever hope to execute from memory unfortunately…

When an egg hatches in a nest, the mother Giant Hummingbird immediately brings the “hummerling” to the designated “incubarium” (giant, warm, silent and always beautiful halls Krean architects construct that act like a gigantic nest). There in the presence of the Master Singer, a veritable genius song-bird, the chicks begin their ‘education’. They start out by purely copying the master singer, and after the successful completion of that phase, each begins to develop its own variations on the original Master Song. Once the chicks develop their own styles, the Master Singer chooses among them the next genius to succeed him in the process. Upon “graduation” the chicks are allowed to return to their home-nests, wherein they spend a handful of years before beginning their own exciting journey into life. And if the relatively simple minds of birds, no matter how large or wondrous, can learn so perfectly, then there surely is hope for us still! (Very novel Idea...perhaps some myths may exsist about this genius bird though?)

When a group of Giant Hummingbirds come together they immediately begin exchanging songs as we might exchange the latest gossips at a reception. And once this chapter is completed, they commence with the composition of a cannon, where the bass-sequence of the eldest bird becomes a canvas upon which the intricate stands of melody of the young are woven (thus providing an impromptu opportunity for the furthering of their education). The birds will meet again at the same time everyday until they are satisfied with the resulting composition, their perseverance a quality we should aspire to.

The “Lost Ones” will often arrange for public concerts where Krean and Giant Hummer composers compete for mastery. These always provide an enchanting spectacle one who happens to be travelling though the dangerous Peninsula of Shar should not miss. The local populace gladly pays the exorbitant sums to see who can weave the finer melodies and improvise more gracefully on his/her feet – and not-so-astonishingly it is the birds who often win! 

Some shameful composers will promote a Giant Hummingbird’s song as their own. But the results can be and often are devastating if the bird hears its song played somewhere and sees instead someone else being applauded – or worse, rewarded with Tubular Chime nectar. It will begin pecking the impostor with a ferocity otherwise not shown by this peaceful bird, and will not stop until it drives the charlatan into the central amphitheatre to make a public apology! And in this another similarity we witness between these creatures and the humans they live with: neither can tolerate someone else being credited for their hard work…


Territory
The Greater Hummingbird is exclusive to the Krean jungles of the Peninsula of Shar, the south-western isthmus of Nybelmar. As one travels from north to south in the Lost Kingdom (formerly known as the “Twin Kingdom”), the colours of the plumage get brighter and “warmer”, reds, oranges and yellows becoming prominent in the vicinity of the Viaquis border.

These birds have developed a close relationship with the Krean and despite the similar weather conditions they are not found in any of the other rainforests of the Peninsula. Some say this is because these animals have developed a strong bond with their human companions and severed from their friendship cannot thrive (similar to the bond between the Krean and the Krog Draught Beast....crossreferencing grin?). Another theory posits that only forest supported by the legendary growth magic of Krean priestesses can regenerate fast enough to accommodate these high-maintenance flying giants. An implication of this last premise is that once Greater Lisebirds dwelt all across the Peninsula of Shar, but as their numbers increased, the food sources grew scarce and the forests unable to provide for them, the Greater Hummingbirds there either became extinct or had to immigrate to richer Krean jungles. Whatever the true account may be, communities are thicker closer to the settlements of these mysterious humans.


Habitat/Behaviour
One will often find the Giant Hummingbird darting from flower to flower, the sunbeams reflecting off its gorgeous gorget, sparkling like a prismatic gem with colour pouring out of its fiery heart, and shimmering wings in the flurry of flight. It will hover with a magnificence worthy of a Krean Queen nimbly working at a resplendent penstemon, bathing in a shaft of light. The Hummingbird is almost always in motion, wandering off from tree to tree with an insatiable curiosity and a love of life that is most distinctive of these animals – and incidentally, Krean tribes.

(Communication & Visual Displays)
Hummingbirds communicate with one another through elaborate visual displays in the air, rather evocative of the elegant and vivacious Krean dances. Short exchanges are expressed through shuttle-flights, rapid back and forth movements in front of another bird, accompanied by shrill shouts. Anything more complicated will merit a full wing-song.

Besides nectar and music, there is nothing a Giant Hummingbird (and some cynics says the same would be true of the Krean) likes more than parading its splendour. In those rare moments between feasting, wing-singing and rest, one will find a male Hummer tossing his head from side to side, with the feathers bordering his brilliant gorget all flared up. Females and the young on the other hand favour perched displays in which the tail feathers are spread to flaunt the white tips. The cleaner the white the better the effect…(I dont remember these physical traits (tail feathers ECT.) being mentioned in the Appearence section? Perhaps list them under- 'gender differences'- a similar subtitle as 'plumage' or 'wing structure')

Dive displays are only performed by the males. The trajectory of the dive is U-shaped and at the top of the arc, the Giant Hummer may be remarkably high above the canopy. Buzzing, whistling, or popping sounds made with the wing feathers or the vocal cords might supplement key points of the dive such as the lowest point before the bird whirs back up the sky. 

(Guarding of Territory & Fighting)
Given their unbelievable appetites, it is little wonder that Giant Hummers are always in competition for nectar and insects. They guard their territories fiercely (especially the males, whose primary role is the securing of a reliable food source), perching high near flowering Tubular Chimes. A humorous sight, the Giant Hummingbird puffs itself up to look large and forbidding. Many Hummers also make a loud chatter when their territory is invaded.

The favourite weapons of choice of Giant Hummers are their bills and claws (though I forgot to mention this above...perhaps giving some more concrete measurements for the feet,claws and beaks should be given in the appearence section...) . They occasionally collide with a loud thud in the air as both birds are too proud to give way over a spotted food source. A struggle between these aerial giants is a scary sight: Just as one Hummer is about to hover in front of a penstemon bloom the “rightful owner” of the territory might dart from the sky, dive bombing him from above. They flap their enormous wings about, jabbing with their long bills against one another. If the bills ever get locked, the birds will start whirling in a circle of radiant colours, caught in a spinning ball slowly drifting to the ground. Palmspans from the ground the bills will come apart and one of them will fly away, recognizing the victory of the winner, who is now returning to the gargantuan penstemon plant. (One technique I adopted from gean was included witness accounts of such events....this would make for a better read than a generalised description...)

We have a lot to learn from these magnificent birds however, just as the Krean realized eras ago: Other than losing a few back feather every now and then, hummingbirds are rarely harmed by these duels. Their instincts compel them not to risk damaging their precious bill; with a severely injured beak, the Giant Hummer is only hours away from an agonizing death by starvation. Although like Krean children ,Hummingbirds are taught to be very out-spoken and stand up for what is by right theirs, they realize the ultimate futility (and may we dare say: stupidity) of prolonged war and vengeance. Instead, they focus their limitless energy on the more pleasant aspects of life. They will not wage war when food is scarce, exterminating one another to strengthen their claims on what is already there, but will wander off, exploring new sources… 

(Pollinators)
A deep-seated interdependence exists between Giant Hummingbirds and certain flowers, like the massive Tubular Chimes: The Hummer needs nectar and these blossoms need to be pollinated. As the Hummingbird licks up nectar, head burrowed into the tubular bloom, its forehead rubs against the stamens and pistils, accidentally collecting pollen. Subsequently, as they rush from flower to flower, they help the plants to reproduce. While most Hummers find the colour red especially attracting, the Giant Hummingbird also finds itself drawn to vibrant violets and amethysts.

(Bathing & Grooming)
Giant Hummingbirds are very fond of taking a bath on the cupped leafs of the gargantuan trees of the Krean jungles (parenthetically, these are the largest trees in Nybelmar). Although they are not very good swimmers and can only haul themselves off water by the air currents created by their flapping wings (which becomes all the more draining when their massive bodies are completed drenched), Hummers love playing around in shallow (for their size) pools. As they raise and spread their tails, Giant Hummingbirds wave their wings or pull them straight back, calling to mind images of little children flapping around in the bathtub. The bather hummer will then toss its head back to sprinkle droplets of cool, refreshing water on its sore back. After bathing the bird will meticulously preen and dry its feathers, just like a Krean girl would deftly brush her radiant hair.

These birds truly know how to enjoy life; they will sit in the rain on a bare branch with feathers ruffled up to catch the falling droplets. They also love to take showers while on the wing, never turning an opportunity to play in the fine mist of the sprinklers irrigating the strata-gardens or cooling Krean cities in the summer. It is not an uncommon sight to spot a Giant Hummer playfully dart through the mist of the temple gardens, as if to test the mood of the priestesses, before finally landing in one of their studies!

Giant Hummingbirds in the wild use oil from a gland near their tails (perhaps put these glands in the SA or appearence section...as they seem to be rather significant) to groom their wings, abdomen and back. Stroke by stroke they will tend to the veins of each feather, so essential for their survival. The birds use the front three claws of their feet to groom their heads and necks like a comb or rub them against a branch. A comical sight occurs when a hovering Hummer intent on grooming its beak tries to grasp its bill and slide along it with its claws. The Krean to return the favour save the Hummingbirds they use as mounts the exertion and perform the grooming themselves, applying the many beautifully scented balms, crčmes, concoctions and solutions they are renowned for( perhaps this could lead to showcases of Hummers...similar to Terran dog shows). Such Hummers are easy to spot among the bird community as their plumes shine with a healthy radiance signalling beauty and vitality. Indeed such treatment is so treasured among the birds that it is from the envious wild ones who fly into the settlements of their own accord that the Krean recruit most of their rides! In everything they do the subtle intelligence of the Krean filters through…

Hummers also enjoy taking sunbaths, positioning their breasts towards the sun and fluffing out, with eyes closed, very suggestive of ladies trying to get a tan. They derive such great pleasure from this activity – they extend their neck and spread their tail, stretching one wing and then the other before lowering the head to stretch the wings upward – that one cannot help but ponder that were a mage to freeze the moment and transform these adorable creatures into any other animal, it would most certainly be a yawning cat, purring its pleasure…


Diet
Hummingbirds while in flight have an extraordinarily high metabolism in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. They have a fast breathing rate, a shocking heartbeat, and a high body temperature. Their hearts pound so many times more in a second than the human ear can distinguish that the Krean will challenge someone who thinks too highly of himself or what he can accomplish by saying something along the lines of: “Now why don’t you try to count how many times the heart of the Hummingbird beats before this hand lands flat on your face?”. (perhaps commenting on the sound of this heart may be a good idea...is it like a constant drum? Or does it hum like their wings due to its incredible speed?)

The Giant Hummingbird needs to feed every quarter hour or so, typically consuming more than their own weight( and they weigh how much...this needs to be referenced in the Appearence section if not here) in food each day - since the Giant Hummer is twice the size of man the reader will appreciate that this is no easy feat! To accomplish this arduous task they have to visit hundreds of equally gigantic flowers daily. (Visit the Herbarium to discover more about the gargantuan Tubular Chimes). Because of this ravenous need for food, the Giant Hummingbird is only hours away from starvation at any given moment.

The Giant Hummer likes bright-coloured (especially violet or vivid purple) flowers with lots of nectar. Observing their feeding patterns, Lillivear priestess-researchers have posited that the indispensable part of a Hummingbird’s diet is sugar, which they get from flower nectar and tree sap. Another interesting hypothesis of the priestesses is that Hummers also need to eat insects and pollen to sustain their fatigued wing-muscles much like a human athlete might instinctively yearn for meat. The tongue of the Giant Hummer has grooves on the sides, which make it easier to seize insects from the air as well as from leaves and spider webs. (To witness how flawlessly the creations of Ankriss complement each other, we recommend that you read the Compendium’s entry on the Giant Spilk Spider, now on the verge of extinction).

Some flowers of the Krean jungles, like penstemons, seem to be specifically designed to accommodate Giant Hummingbirds instead of the more widespread malise (bee) pollinators. They have no platforms for bees or other birds that can’t hover to land on. Such plants are often red, a colour the Krean Malise has difficulty making out. Hummingbird flowers typically have little or no scent as birds use vision more whereas insects use smell to spot food sources. In addition, the flowers of Humminbird plants are spaced apart to accommodate the whirring wings. One such flower is the Tubular Chime, a giant penstemon only found in Krean rainforests that has child-sized individual blooms. The corolla of these flowers is thick enough to prevent other birds from piercing their way through to get the nectar –so strong in fact that even an arrow will have a hard time penetrating the outer ‘skin’. Hummingbird flowers always bloom in daylight hours since the bustling bird is too exhausted by night to do anything other than go into torpor. Such plants also tend to bloom for a longer period of time than most flowers; however it is only the phenomenal growth magic of the Krean that allows Tubular Chimes to regenerate quickly enough to cope with the demanding appetites of the hundreds of Giant Hummers whirring about the Krean realm ( do the krean purposely enchant these flowers to grow faster...or is it something in that Ankriss blessed soil...a little elaboration there would be nice).

The Giant Hummingbird’s long and tapered bill neatly probes the centre of the long, tube-shaped flowers for nectar, which it takes up at – again – astonishing rates. Often one can see long translucent tongues spilling out of their long beaks, licking at the air with great enthusiasm, as they approach bright coloured Tubular Chimes. So rapid are the tongue movements of these birds that a dog vigorously licking at his water or a Krean child at his vanilla covered kitjuran Keelofruit might be said to be “licking like a hummer”.

The Krean have also devised artificial feeders for military operations where Tubular Chimes might be scarce; however, Hummingbirds are not very fond of drinking from these contrivances for prolonged periods. Thus it is again often up to the priestesses to coax the earth into sprouting a bouquet of deep-throated flowers where one might normally expect to be none. A gorgeous upshot of this is the Penstemon Paths that precede Lost Ones’ armies in most foreign expeditions (perhaps their could be stories on small oasises in the desert where these huge flowers have been conjured to satiate the birds?).

Also, again...'all' limits future development....'most' or 'a majority' should replace it)mould is deadly to all ( Hummingbird species and accordingly, due care must be taken to keep artificial feeders clean! (perhaps state that this was discovered when numerous of the majestic birds died in mid flight during an operation...leading the Krean to lament them...perhaps building a memorial?)

Mating
Giant Hummingbirds communicate their desires through aerial displays and wing-songs. Usually the male first finds a ready female then courts her through posturing and music. Then he engages in a conjugal flight where he repeatedly flies in a large U-shaped pattern. Due to their size and the space needed for their elaborate flights, the courtship rituals of Giant Hummingbirds typically take place above the forest canopy. The more ostentatious Hummers sometimes also engage in a narrowly-focused shuttle dance (see “Aerial Displays” under Behaviour) where the male enthusiast flies in front of the female in short, rapid arcs. The dance field is commonly around two to three peds wide. These visual displays have inspired two traditional Krean ballroom dances which are equally elaborate and named after the birds: the “Waltz of the Hummingbird” and “The Aerial Festival”.

But the decisive vote comes from the wing-song. The male Giant Hummer establishes his appeal through the number and splendour of the songs he composed. Females love to test contenders by humming one of her favourite pieces (which she might have heard from another bird) and waits to see if her suitor can recognize the song. If the male can catch up with the tune before the she-bird stops humming (so the flow is not disrupted) he is immediately victorious. Most times however the suitor cannot pick up the tune straight away as the total number of songs available in a community is vast and the female will have to “tip him off” by humming the same or a different fragment from the song. More than three repeats automatically disqualify the male. Defeats are temporary however. The Hummingbirds, much like the Krean, are known for their persistence and accordingly the males will interpret their failure as pertaining only to that particular instant. In a few weeks time, after rehearsing and visiting other bird communities for the latest songs, he may come back to try his luck with the lady-bird once more. Krean priestesses assume that the function of this test is to assess the memory of potential mates to ensure that the next generation of Hummers will be able to remember food sources and the paths leading there.

The female can repeat the procedure until she is satisfied, although more than nine challenges is interpreted as a polite sign to the male to quit on his own terms; the female has little interest in him or perhaps mating at that time.

The paramount significance the specie places on these wing-song challenges obliges Giant Hummingbirds to remain observant and attentive to their surroundings, always on the look out for new songs that might feature up next year, as well as ensuring that young Hummers remain social creatures with ties to their community.

Once this part of the mating ordeal is dealt with, the male will begin courting his mate with songs he has prepared beforehand. This is especially important if the male suitor has not been able to dazzle the female in the earlier round. Normally, the repertoire of a male Giant Hummingbird is expected to span an average of seventeen songs, including established favourites from past Master Singers. At times when mates are scarce (for example after a war the Giant Hummingbirds had to assist the Lost Ones in) the number may be lowered to ensure the survival of the specie.

Sometimes males will gather in an esprit-de-corps and serenade together to entice females from other Hummingbird communities to come into the neighbourhood for mating.   

Our readers might be surprised to hear that the mating season of the Giant Hummingbird corresponds to that period of the year so aptly named the month of the Singing Bird! 

Once mating is completed, the Krean will help the newly copulated couple to build their rather large matrimonial nest.


Myth/Lore/Origin
(Myths)
The Sun & the Moon: How the Greater Lisebird Came to Be
Long ago the Sun fell in love with the Moon. But the two were so far apart and the Moon so engrossed in her own beauty that this vain lady took little notice of his attentions. The Sun shined brighter and lingered longer in the sky everyday to prove how fervent his love for this mystical Lady of the Night and how majestic his powers were. There came a time that he burned so fiercely that nothing would grow in the earth anymore - the land had become scorched and barren. He stayed in the sky so long after the day waned to steal a glance of his darling Moon that the Lillivear could not decide when they should call it a night or the Aestera whether they should wake up. The High Goddess Ankriss was furious to see the beautiful Krean laid to waste: the Lillivear were worn out with perpetual work though all they could cultivate was a foul temper and the Aestera had developed a dangerous fondness for sloth. In Her rage the High Goddess first thought of sniffing the Sun out completely but She was a kind deity and knew how delicate and difficult matters of the heart were. So, instead, Ankriss decided to give the reckless Sun a second chance: Every time his desire for the Silver Moon flared, its radiance would spark into life as a great Hummingbird. That is why, they say, the plumage of the Greater Lisebird shimmers and glitters so: for he is actually the Sun in disguise, and every time a stray ray falls upon him, setting his brilliant feathers in fire, the great bird remembers how he came to be. The Sun, however, never learned: all day long he flutters from flower to flower calling out to the Silver Moon, declaring his blazing love; alas, when the lady he so desperately courts finally makes her appearance, he has already collapsed from exhaustion, fast asleep…

The Wedding of the Great Lisebird: A Viaquis Tale
When the Krean discovered the Great Lisebirds in their recovering realm, they fell in love with the joyous spirit and otherworldly beauty of these birds. The priestesses of Ankriss decided to arrange a wedding ceremony for them: First the Violet Sky-Dancers, breathtaking butterflies from Sihitara, marked out a grove, then the priestesses made flower petals fall from the trees and wove them together with their magic into a carpet. Spilk Spiders spun webs to make the bridal pathway and the Sun sent down rays to illuminate the couple, causing their plumage to flare up with dazzling reds and yellows. Some of the guests noticed however that whenever the two turned away from the Sun, they became drab again. And so would the Krean, the Viaquis say; with the glow of prosperity removed the Krean would not be much different then the southern tribes they find so repulsive. True generosity shines not in affluence but through dearth as well. 

The Search for Light: How the Year of Darkness Came to an End
After the Orcal Wars, the High Priestess was driven by grief and guilt to insanity and the whole continent plunged into perennial night. The land was drowning in darkness, all the crops failed and the Krean on the verge of extinction. What remained of the priestesses gathered together to send a Great Lisebird up to find the Creator and the Undying Wave. High above the world and indeed high above the stars, past the outer reaches of the Void and time, beyond Reality and even the Web of Dreams, the bird found the spring from which issued the Undying Wave and brought the Light of Creation back to Caelereth. Many may seek the Light but only Joy can find it, the moral of this tale seems to be. Every year, on the 3rd day of the Singing Bird, during the “Flight to the Light” (literal translation) Festival, hundreds of small hummingbirds are released to the air from the various echelons of the forest-cities of the Lost Krean commemorating the ending of the Dark Year.


(Lore)
Great Lisebirds symbolize sunshine, rebirth, spontaneity and joy. By observing these colourful sovereigns of the skies could we perhaps glean a few lessons on the art of living? Their multidirectional flight perhaps illustrates that there is more than one way of approaching a problem and that sometimes the path less travelled by leads to exhilarating sightings. The carefree, experimental spirit of this majestic bird is a reminder that we should never let the safe comforts of orthodoxy shackle and tame our wild creativity.

Just as mould is lethal to the Great Hummer, so is the decay of boredom to life. So absorbed we become into our daily gloom that the festering weariness of routines and frustrated expectations goes unnoticed. Oblivious we are to our souls putrefying, the elation of childhood perishing in apathy and boredom… Sadly, not always is a choice available to chores and obligations dragging us through the undergrowth of life with dread. Rather what the Krean, these most meticulous of humans, say what we should learn from the hummer is not to get so absorbed in the miseries of our own little world that our preoccupation blinds us to that rare glimmer of opportunity presents itself.


(NOTE ABOVE- I left the Myth Section for Mira to evaluate)



ALSO- Coren? Usages Section??? These birds seem to be an intergral part of the 'lost ones' lives and krean history.....Not only the riding of them...but their songs...perhaps the glands of these creatures are harvested from their corpses to create a prized cosmetic???

btw: there still may be a couple of grammar errors...only the openly wrong ones I corrected....and also I would like my requested Mylthis reference added in your next edit please.... grin

OVERALL- Coren!!!! This is easily the best debut to Bestiary I have ever read! A little longwinded but a great accomplishment...can I please ask...next time to write and entry for the bestiary...please write within reason buck

WELL DONE COREN!
« Last Edit: 24 June 2007, 20:48:18 by Decipher Ziron » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: 25 June 2007, 01:38:56 »

Myth/Lore/Origin
(Myths)
The Sun & the Moon: How the Greater Lisebird Came to Be
Long ago the Sun fell in love with the Moon. But the two were so far apart and the Moon so engrossed in her own beauty that this vane lady took little notice of his attentions. The Sun shined brighter and lingered longer in the sky everyday to prove how fervent his love for this mystical Lady of the Night and how majestic his powers were. There came a time that he burned so fiercely that nothing would grow in the earth anymore - the land had become scorched and barren. He stayed in the sky so long after the day waned to steal a glance of his darling Moon that the Lillivear could not decide when they should call it a night or the Aestera whether they should wake up. The High Goddess Ankriss was furious to see the beautiful Krean laid to waste: the Lillivear were worn out with perpetual work though all they could cultivate was a foul temper and the Aestera had developed a dangerous fondness for sloth. In Her rage the High Goddess first thought of sniffing the Sun out completely but She was a kind deity and knew how delicate and difficult matters of the heart were. So, instead, Ankriss decided to give the reckless Sun a second chance: Every time his desire for the Silver Moon flared, its radiance would spark into life as a great Hummingbird. That is why, they say, the plumage of the Greater Lisebird shimmers and glitters so: for he is actually the Sun in disguise, and every time a stray ray falls upon him, setting his brilliant feathers in fire, the great bird remembers how he came to be. The Sun, however, never learned: all day long he flutters from flower to flower calling out to the Silver Moon, declaring his blazing love; alas, when the lady he so desperately courts finally makes her appearance, he has already collapsed from exhaustion, fast asleep…

The Wedding of the Great Lisebird: A Viaquis Tale
When the Krean discovered the Great Lisebirds in their recovering realm, they fell in love with the joyous spirit and otherworldly beauty of these birds. The priestesses of Ankriss decided to arrange a wedding ceremony for them: First the Violet Sky-Dancers, breathtaking butterflies from Sihitara, marked out a grove, then the priestesses made flower petals fall from the trees and wove them together with their magic into a carpet. Spilk Spiders spun webs to make the bridal pathway and the Sun sent down rays to illuminate the couple, causing their plumage to flare up with dazzling reds and yellows. Some of the guests noticed however that whenever the two turned away from the Sun, they became drab again. And so would the Krean, the Viaquis say; with the glow of prosperity removed the Krean would not be much different then the southern tribes they find so repulsive. True generosity shines not in affluence but through dearth as well. 

The Search for Light: How the Year of Darkness Came to an End
After the Orcal Wars, the High Priestess was driven by grief and guilt to insanity and the whole continent plunged into perennial night. The land was drowning in darkness, all the crops failed and the Krean were on the verge of extinction. What remained of the priestesses gathered together to send a Great Lisebird up to find the Creator and the Undying Wave. High above the world and indeed high above the stars, past the outer reaches of the Void and time, beyond Reality and even the Web of Dreams, the bird found the spring from which issued the Undying Wave and brought the Light of Creation back to Caelereth. Many may seek the Light but only Joy can find it, the moral of this tale seems to be. Every year, on the 3rd day of the Singing Bird, during the “Flight to the Light” (literal translation) Festival, hundreds of small hummingbirds are released to the air from the various echelons of the forest-cities of the Lost Krean commemorating the ending of the Dark Year. Gasp! A Lost Ones reference!


(Lore)
Great Lisebirds symbolize sunshine, rebirth, spontaneity and joy. By observing these colourful sovereigns of the skies could we perhaps glean a few lessons on the art of living? Their multidirectional flight perhaps illustrates that there is more than one way of approaching a problem and that sometimes the path less travelled by leads to exhilarating sightings. The carefree, experimental spirit of this majestic bird is a reminder that we should never let the safe comforts of orthodoxy shackle and tame our wild creativity.

Just as mould is lethal to the Great Hummer, so is the decay of boredom to life. So absorbed we become into our daily gloom that the festering weariness of routines and frustrated expectations goes unnoticed. Oblivious we are to our souls putrefying, the elation of childhood perishing in apathy and boredom… Sadly, not always is a choice available to chores and obligations dragging us through the undergrowth of life with dread. Rather what the Krean, these most meticulous of humans, say what we should learn from the hummer is not to get so absorbed in the miseries of our own little world that our preoccupation blinds us to that rare glimmer of opportunity presents itself.


Uhm.. well.. that makes for a total of 1 corrections.. Of course it helps that you never needed to reasearch anything for this entry, as you made every related piece yourselves..
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Avrah Kehabhra

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« Reply #43 on: 23 February 2008, 12:15:16 »

Coren's post in the 'Year Timeline' thread made me remember this....So I was wondering...Is this ever going to be finished Coren? I would like to see this uploaded at some time.....some time....

Decipher
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« Reply #44 on: 23 February 2008, 19:03:36 »

*cue Orcish drums a la Moria*

And try to keep it short..ish ;)
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