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Aarakocra

Aarakocra are native to the Tiranal Forest, having dwelt there since before the first gnomes appeared in North Guayal. Inheritors of a legalistic tradition, all aarakocra are subjects of the Achtaran Kingdom, named after the first unifier of the aarakocra, Achtara. Achtaran society is dominated by social organisations known as Houses, who each play significant roles in the day to day lives of aarakocra. Clutches of eggs are raised communally in large nesting sites until maturity, whereupon the fledgling aarakocra must choose a House to enter for the rest of their lives. They are: the House of War, House of Law, House of Sky, and House of Shade. Broad in their duties and all-encompassing in society, the Houses were established by Achtara as bureaucracies meant to manage the aspects of aarakocra life. The House of War manages the military, the House of Law manages civil society, and the House of Sky manages magic and religion. Though included in the four Houses, the House of Shade is never mentioned in polite society, for their role is that of extrajudicial law enforcement - in short, they serve as the secret police of the kings. The royal house of Achtara is preeminent in the kingdom, being the only clutch raised separately from wider society. Any hint of royal descent is clearly visible in the distinctive blue-red headfeathers characteristic of the royal family. As such, the blue-red pattern is reserved for royalty only - to wear it otherwise is punishable by death. Similarly, it is punishable by death to refer to the king by name.   Once a fledgling enters a House, they are schooled in the skills relevant to that particular House, whereupon they participate in the Crowning, a ceremony that signifies the start of adulthood in which they receive a permanent headfeather colouring representative of that house: black for War, green for Law, and white for Sky. Those in the House of Shade receive no colouring. After the Crowning, all aarakocra are expected to serve the kingdom in any way required until their last breath, for the wellbeing of the kingdom reflects the wellbeing of the individual. A career in any particular House does not limit what an individual might decide to do - a member of the House of War may choose to work as a dye maker, but when called upon is expected to serve as a soldier, logistician, or any other role when required. However, most aarakocra tend to keep their professions related to their House. Aarakocra hold no gods, instead observing the elemental spirits as forces worth respecting.   Occasionally, an aarakocra might tire of the rigidity of society, and yearn instead to do something else. Over time, these urges may build, until finally, the aarakocra plucks its headfeathers, an act which declares the individual outside of the Houses, and thus outside of society. These exiles are then free to leave the bounds of the kingdom and do as they please, owing no fealty to the king. Exiles play a special role in aarakocra society, often employed directly by royal house as explorers and scouts to do what other aarakocra are not allowed to do. Though haughty, the aarakocra have generally positive relations with their neighbours, though they view most races with disdain other than the elves of Baru Tjali and the dragonborn of the Angol Forest, whom they view with rivalry. The current king is known by the regnal epithet of Strongbeak, and is rumoured to have decided to extend his influence across the Mother Mountains for the first time.   Aarakocra from mainland Guayal speak Tiranal Achtaran, while aarakocra from the Komari Islands speak Komari Achtaran.

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