In the western reaches of Erendorn, there is a race that swoops through the azure skies and dives between the rocky mountains. In this graceful flurry, their tremendous wings slice through the air and their feathers become gilded in flecks of sunlight.
Indeed, Parakaws aren’t the only feathered species in this region; Daggerclaw Harpies have called these mountain ranges home for many centuries. But with these brutal lands becoming more vicious day by day, and with the monarchical conflict rising in tension, it has been wondered whether this unique species will be here to witness the coming centuries unfold.
Residing along the peaks of one of Erendorn’s precipitous mountain ranges, Daggerclaw Harpies cast their vigilant eyes across the rugged ground below. In these unforgiving lands, meals come as scarce moments; and the Daggerclaw Harpy perched atop its jagged peak is not going to let one pass by unscathed. Indeed, this is a race of savage hunters and fierce survivors. With their lightning speed and razor-sharp talons, from which they get their name, Daggerclaw Harpies hunt like ravening wolves, preying on the small birds and animals that appear in the shallow crags.
However, this race need not rely on the clash of their claws or the speed of their flight. Daggerclaw Harpies have a strong connection to wind and air. While they are not a spellcasting race, Daggerclaw Harpies can manipulate the air around them, often harnessing this innate airbending ability during combat. From creating a current of wind to aid in the transport of resources, to stirring up devastating whirlwinds, their power to control the air can inflict significant amounts of damage should they wish it to.
As powerful as this race is, the Daggerclaw Harpies are nowhere close to the top of Erendorn’s food chain; and while they have a stable population, they are still a moderately numbered species. This is why their ancestors led the ancient race to the great mountain range, a strong and defensible position that gives the Harpies protection as well as a vantage point over enemies.
While this region of Erendorn is characterised by blustering winds and a chilling cold, it is also incredibly remarkable. The mountains are so enormous that they seem as though they are tipping over; and when the sunlight gilds the pale rock, it shines so brightly that it stings. The legendary floating city of the Parakaws is also found in this region, just south of the Daggerclaw Harpies. Sometimes, when the night air is clear, the Daggerclaw Harpies can see the floating piece of rock emerge from the clouds, bound by magic and lit by stupendous colour as the Parakaw Astromancers practice their astonishing magic.
These mountain ranges are also vital to the protection of the Harpies’ young. Daggerclaw Harpies lay eggs to reproduce and the brittle shells of these smooth ovals can be seen tucked away in the mountain’s many alcoves, hidden from predators and protected from the harsh weather. But despite the protection that their summit lends them, Daggerclaw Harpies still find themselves in a perilous position when it comes to hunting for food and resources.
Erendorn’s mountain ranges are surrounded by fearsome creatures that would love to take down a lone Daggerclaw Harpy. With the Land of the Dead to the north, White Draconians to the south and a whole host of powerful races in between, Daggerclaw Harpies can seldom leave their settlement without getting attacked. For this reason, the majority of the race remains in the mountains, living off of whatever animals they can hunt and whatever resources they can loot from abandoned caravans.
The Royal Offensive, as well as completing tasks given by their monarchs, guard the main settlement in case of any targeted attacks. This race’s innate proficiency in combat also means that there are many skilled fighters ready to protect the mountain settlement: a Daggerclaw Harpy Striker is very skilled in melee combat while a Ravager or Slaughterer are some of the most deadly members of this species.
While the mountain settlement is protected, it isolates the Daggerclaw Harpies and means that they have become stuck in old, traditional ways. This has caused a conflict to rise between King Reksish and Queen Iksa, the leaders of the Daggerclaw Harpies whose tension with each other has created a rift in the population.
Conflict Between King and Queen
While the Mountain King and Queen are both devoted rulers, they each have very different ideas about how to lead the Daggerclaw Harpies. The kind, passive nature of King Reksish is counterbalanced by the furious ambition possessed by Queen Iksa, who does not think that Reksish is doing all he can do for what she considers to be a dwindling and unfulfilled race.
The isolation of the Daggerclaw Harpies’ settlement is worsened by the fact that they do not engage in trade with other races. Since the Old Times, Daggerclaw Harpies have been a proud yet humble race, determined to survive by their own means and to stay in the safety of their mountain settlement instead of venturing out to secure more land. But their lack of engagement with trade has severely impacted the Daggerclaw Harpies, especially during severe winters when provisions are low.
With a passionate desire to lead the Daggerclaw Harpies into a new era, one that positions them as a formidable race with access to land and trade, Queen Iksa often implores the King to be more ambitious in his ruling. But Reksish knows all too well how vicious the lands of Erendorn can be, and his fear keeps the Daggerclaw Harpies firmly rooted in their old ways. For the most part, King Reksish is simply happy that his race is alive and stable.
A Divide in the Daggerclaw Harpies
While Mountain King Reksish does what he can despite the difficulties he faces, the Queen does not abide by his unenterprising approach. In fact, she is often seen publicly arguing with Reksish over how to lead the Daggerclaw Harpies into the future and what is best for the survival of the race. This clash of interest has led to a divide in the Daggerclaw Harpies, between those who share the ruthless ambition of Queen Iksa and those who share the traditional ideals upheld by King Reksish.
Older generations of Daggerclaw Harpies tend to side with the King while the younger generations side with the Queen, their desire to explore the lands of Erendorn far outweighing their wish to remain safe within the mountains. But as the years wear on with no sign of change or resolution being enacted, many Daggerclaw Harpies decide to take their fate into their own hands, leaving the settlement to pursue their own adventure away from the mountains.
Daggerclaw Harpy Wanderers
Daggerclaw Harpy Wanderers are those who decide to leave the protection of their main settlement, instead choosing to explore the far reaches of Erendorn. Many alluring tales are told in the mountain settlement about enchanted forests, magical troves, powerful abilities waiting to be learned and extraordinary sights waiting to be seen. These tales are too wondrous to ignore, and the more a Daggerclaw Harpy obsesses over them, the more they are fated to become a Wanderer.
However, Wanderers very rarely return to the mountain settlement again. Whether they were brutalised by terrifying monsters or too enamoured of the outside world to return, no one really knows. Those who do return are often inundated with requests to tell their fascinating stories as soon as they re-enter the settlement.
Having braved Erendorn’s notorious dungeon depths, surviving Wanderers are looked at with great admiration by the younger generations of Daggerclaw Harpies - even the Queen is fascinated by their stories. Upon their return, Wanderers are summoned to the Royal Chambers where they speak of their findings with Queen Iksa, who extracts every morsel of information from them as she continues to feed her passion of one day leading the Daggerclaw Harpies into a new era marked by esteemed power.