Strigine are large birds that look much like the owls from which they were originally formed, though much more massive. They have a strong connection to the stars, and are well-known for being collectors and hoarders of knowledge.
Average Lifespan:: 500 years
Average Height:: N/A; no average recorded
Average Weight:: N/A; no average recorded
Location Found:: abroad.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Breathing and Blood Strigine do not require air to survive; therefore, they are able to traverse the space inside a Realm Sphere with ease. Instead of air, strigine employ a unique respiratory system that involves energy over air. Should a strigine run low on energy or overtax, they will find it difficult to breathe, and may display a 'cloud' of translucent reiatsu when panting, indiscernible when breathing normally. Likewise, strigine blood appears purple-blue instead of red, due to the lack of oxygen in their systems.
Breeding and Offspring Many strigine mate for life; they return together to breed and nest offspring once every few years, and tend to lay one to three eggs. However, many strigine die within their first year, sometimes before hatching, as the eggs are very fragile and are easily affected by the energies of the Sphere. When a strigine's mate dies, they will often go many years before seeking another; some may never mate again at all.
Death It is not the way of the strigine to leave behind bodies upon death. Instead, a strigine will fade into shadows and vanish, leaving only memories of their lives behind. Members of the Strigamot instead turn into pure energy, and condense into a beautiful, gleaming crystal that resembles a small star. These crystals are commonly placed within a memorial shrine, along with any journals or similar writings they left behind.
Starway Each strigine library-nest is interconnected via the Starway. Permanent portals, powered by starlight, form the foundation of the Starway, which was first designed to allow the strigine to quickly vacate a library-nest with all of their gathered knowledge. The Starway includes portals to other Realms, as well as intra-Realm portals, to ensure the preservation of gathered knowledge should any of the Realms face the risk of destruction. Any portal can be Darkened and thus made useless by any strigine, to ensure the Starway remains secure against intruders.
Strigamot The Strigamot is the ruling council of strigine, formed of the wisest of the star-owls. When a strigine is chosen to become a member of the Strigamot, they choose a pattern to grace their feathers; this can be anything from wingtips to full body, and of any color and variation. They will then have this pattern painted upon them in dyes by attendants, and must be reapplied once every few months. The final task of initiation is for the to-be Strigamot member to fly through a cloud of intense stardust - such will enhance the glittering quality of their wings, and be a permanent fixture upon them. How the dust settles and appearance manifests varies by individual.
Travel As a strigine travels through space, they propel themselves with a unique blend of wingbeats and energy manipulation; without one or the other, they are rendered unable to move. When flying inside of a Realm, they are often noted to be completely silent, often attributed similarly to the same method of flight as they employ within the Sphere.
Voidflyers Very rarely, a strigine will be born with the ability to Voidfly; to pass beyond the Veil and into the Void, without succumbing to the inherent energies within. These Voidflyers are often taken and trained by the Strigamot from an early age, and are very well respected among strigine culture.
Species info credited to Fyfergrund and Blazeh/Verridith.
Appearance Strigine resemble large owls of all kinds, and their feathers come in many different shades, varying from closely adhering to whatever species of owl they most resemble to holding bold and bright colors not found on their more natural, common kin. Their great eyes are fixed in their heads, which can rotate just like an owl's, and their wingspans are typically between twenty and thirty feet. Mutations are uncommon, but present, and may manifest in a variety of ways - from multiple wings to horns, trailing feathers, double sets of eyes, and more.
Glowing markings are common, as is a glittering quality of their feathers; stardust collects upon them in small doses, and sparkle as they fly. Both effects of glowing markings and collected stardust are diluted on the surface of the Realms except beneath the light of the stars and any moons. However, in sunlight their plumage appear to gleam and shimmer unlike traditional birds.
Strigamot members appear ethereal with their stardust, held in greater quantities that most strigine cannot achieve otherwise. They are also set apart by the dyed patterns of their feathers.
Culture Strigine culture is based around knowledge, with acquisition of and possession of all available knowledge playing an important part in strigine society. The great owls are often spotted flying from Realm to Realm, seeking out new knowledge, and occasionally claiming some artifact or other to take back to their nests, which they build out among the stars of any given Sphere. These nests float amid the Realm stars in selected places within the Sphere, and can be made out of Realm stars, Sphere energy, and stardust. When a nest is to be abandoned, it is returned to the stars - blown apart into stardust and allowed to rejoin the collective energy of the Realm's Sphere.
The wisest and most knowledgeable of strigine form the Strigamot, a loose ruling council that tends to guide the strigine as a whole, rather than rule them with strict authority. The Strigamot are distinguished by the bold, glittering stardust on their bodies and intricate dye patterns on their feathers.
Abilities A strigine's most powerful weapons are the talons affixed to the ends of their feet, which possess enormous crushing power. If the strigine's talons don't manage to tear their foes to shreds, they can usually crush the life out of them. Many strigine are gifted with magics related to the stars, usually in the form of darkness or light magics, though rarely other magics will manifest. Reiatsu control is very common, and becomes more refined as the strigine ages.
Though predatory birds, strigine rarely hunt in the way that most owls do. Instead of hunting and killing prey, they feed off of energy, and when living in a Sphere may siphon enough that they do not need to return to the surface Realm to hunt for months, if not years, at a time. Aside from this, they are perfectly capable of consuming raw meat, and may be seen dining off of the carcass of a woolyhorn or sud'r mammoth at any given time.
In the earliest decades following the creation following the destruction of the First Realm, Death's defeat, and the sealing away of the Dark Five, Gaz'in oversaw the rediscovery of knowledge among the various mortal peoples. To his pleasure, many scholars emerged among them, and his centaurs proved to be exceptionally studious. But, always, at the back of his mind lurked doubts. Should some other calamity befall the mortal Realms, much knowledge could again be lot.
In his favored guise of a great, black owl, Gaz'in wandered the Realms, pondering this even as he observed the happenings of the Realms. One night, as he perched in a tree, he was joined in his vigil by a great horned owl, which spent many hours carefully observing him. At first, he noted and dismissed it as territorial behavior conflicting with his divine aura, a simple owl not trusting an interloper but unable to actively strike at him.
But, the following night, he was joined at his new perch, a long ways away, by the same owl, which again gazed upon him through the night. Now intrigued, he noticed an unusual amount of intelligence beyond simple animal cunning within the great bird's eyes. For several nights it happened, the god's nightly vigil taking place under the watchful eye of the owl, which only reluctantly left him to hunt, only to return.
Over time, he began to notice a gradual change come over the great owl. It began to bring him things after hunting. Small offerings of prey at first, then various small, intriguing objects crafted by mortal hands. As time passed, an idea began to form in his mind. He took flight, and wordlessly commanded the owl to follow. His great, black wings carried him high into the air, far above the surface of the Realm. The stalwart owl followed, and though it began to tire, still it sought to follow.
As it flew, it was strengthened by Gaz'in's aura, and began to change. Its feathers darkened until they were a dark blue-violet, much like a clear night sky, and its body and wings grew in size and power until it no longer needed to rely on the god's power. Then, high, high above the ground, out among the stars, Gaz'in anointed the owl with gleaming stardust, and wove it a nest of star-studded stone. Its feathers sparkled with a covering of stardust, which shifted to match the night sky of whichever Realm it traveled through.
Then did Gaz'in fully awaken the First Strigine's mind, and placed around his head a free-floating circle of miniature stars. My blessing upon thee, who have been my companion for many nights. To thee I give a task of great importance. Go forth into the Realms, and gather unto you all knowledge that it may be safeguarded in your nest. I give thee authority over the night, and the stars in the skies, among which thou shalt dwell.
With these words, Gaz'in departed, leaving the new strigine to tend to his nest as he saw fit, making it into a home as well as a repository for gathered knowledge. He was pleased to see his new creation at work, but foresaw his appointed task becoming too big for any one creature to accomplish. To that end, he created more strigine, though lesser in power then the first, and set them to the same task.
Now, many strigine nests drift among the stars of each Realm, connected to one another via a web of portals called the Starway, each one a sizable library. The strigine themselves are rare sights, and rarer still are those who have been allowed to visit the strigine library-nests. None now living can honestly claim to see the star-crowned First, though a memorial stands where his nest had been, hiding a vast and beautiful library.
Classification: misinformation-spreading bats. Location: abroad.
Once, the chiroptera subspecies were proud strigine; captured and tortured by the Dark Five, the great birds were stripped of their feathers and beaks, rendered naked in the darkness. Molded by Gurthril and Noamuth, they were reshaped and clothed in shadow, becoming massive bats that trailed darkness from their wings. Found in any dark hue, with bright eyes, chiroptera may have any body type of natural bats, and can be found sporting extra wings, eyes, claws, spikes, etc.
Unlike strigine, chiroptera do not have good eyesight; therefore, the utilize echolocation much like their much smaller counterparts. This also gives them sonic abilities, and the power to use focused blasts of sound as weapons alongside the natural gifts of tooth and claw. Many chiroptera hunt smaller creatures by knocking them out of the sky with a well-aimed sonic screech.
Most unnerving - at least to their strigine cousins - is the fact that little a chiroptera says is true; they take facts and twist them to their own purposes, after an end or simply to spread chaos. They willingly spread misinformation, but their lies cannot be detected - even the truthseeking gaze of a circadian cannot pierce their untruths, and in their presence, nearly every lie is believed. Only the strongest of individuals may unravel their words, and see the truth beneath.