Scaetthen Species in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong


Feathered pests and false omens

Bloody trash birds. I swear you could spend 17 days traveling to the most remote, inhospitable region of Artazia, and you'd still find one of these creepy buggers hopping about, staring at you.
— Disgruntled Citizen
  Scaetthens are winged creatures found commonly across all regions of Cathedris. They are small; no bigger than a loaf of bread, with a wingspan about double that. The defining feature of the birds is their flat, recessed face, hooded by a ring of feathers protruding from their head. Scaetthens are often viewed with disdain; seen as pests, vermin, and omens of bad luck.  

Physical Characteristics

Scaetthens come in a wide and varied amount of browns and dark grays. Their coloring is usually mottled, with darker feathers on their back, and lighter feathers found on their stomach. A Scaetthen's face is covered in pure black feathers, and wrinkly, dark gray skin. The skin on their legs is similarly dark, almost pure black.  

Beak and Claws

Male and Female Scaetthens are distinguished by a single feather. Like a small, pushed back helmet spike, male Scaetthens have a feather that sticks out backwards from their "hood". Female Scaetthens feature a similar feather, but located among their tail feathers, sticking straight up.   Both sexes have the same short, sharp talons -- 4 per foot. That combined with the short talon located on the tips of their wings are what Scaetthens use to hold onto things, or to kill whatever prey they manage to hunt.
The bastards are like gods damned feathered leeches -- they got them stupid little mouths with their damn flat faces. Means they gotta shove their face right up against whatever it is they want to bite with those tiny serrated beaks. Oh, and avoid the claws.
— Annoyed Sailor to a new Deckhand

A Scaetthens egg is small enough for a human to close their hand around it. It requires 21-24 nights devoid of sunlight to properly incubate; after which a chick will emerge from the egg. Newly hatched Scaetthens rapidly shed their down, growing their first feathers mere hours after hatching. Growth from this point is similarly rapid -- 2 weeks later, and the young Scaetthen will be fully grown.  

Habits and Habitats

Scaetthen are feathered bottom feeders, scroungers and scavengers. They will eat anything and everything, so long as they can reach it -- seeds, plants, and corpses all find their way into a Scaetthens diet. Pollution in recent years has increased the amount of garbage these birds consume, which has started to have an effect on their population numbers.

Thanks to our booming industry, the Scaetthen population is dying off at an increasing rate! Why, within a few years, we might not see a single Scaetthen in Varzen City!   This, of course, is wonderful news. Nothing bad can possibly come from the loss of Scaetthens.
— Ex-Mayor of Varzen City

Due to their simple, scavenging based diet, Scaetthens can be found in almost any part of the world. The only places they seem to avoid are the regions of extreme cold, like northern mountains of Degrunda, the southern Keyazcallen wastes, or the continent of Enqua.   When not feeding, Scaetthen mostly found to be standing nearly perfectly still, observing. This combined with their generally unsettling appearance is believed to be the reason these birds are so often mentioned in folk-lore regarding bad luck, or ill omens.

Myths and Superstitions

Despite their relative harmlessness to humans, a handful of superstitions exist regarding Scaetthens. Most in the form of avoiding bad luck, like the warning to "never eat raw meat within view of a Scaetthen", are seemingly good advice draped in superstition.   Some lullabies and children's songs have content relating to Scaetthens as well, though their origins are long lost in the chain of oral history.

Scaetthen, Scaetthen
Don't you come this way'hen   Scaetthen, Scaetthen
We have naught for you   Little bird, little bird
Look into it's eyes   Scaetthen, hungry bird
Falling from the skies

Artazian Lullaby

Emergency rations

Scaetthen meat is an oily, grainy, and unpleasant eating experience. Consuming these birds is also seen as bringing bad luck into one's self.   Despite this, during Varzen's long and drawn out war with neighbouring country Ezwya, Varzenian soldiers were forced to hunt and eat Scaetthens as their food stockpiles dwindled.


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Mar 5, 2020 01:37 by Arklaw

Very easy to read and enjoy. Also what do you call a group of these buggers? A flock? A murder? A drift?

Mar 5, 2020 01:55 by Arklaw

How about a Scatter of Scaetthens?

Mar 5, 2020 01:59 by Stormbril

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it haha.   A group of them... I like murder, or drift, but due to their appearance, a group of them together is called "A reap"

Mar 5, 2020 02:00 by Stormbril

Though I quite like scatter of scaetthens too! Haha

Jun 25, 2020 23:03 by Arklaw

Just so you know, you use the name Scaetthens 31 times. You might want to vary the descriptors. "these birds of omen/ these avians/ these black beasts..."...

Jun 25, 2020 23:17 by Stormbril

Five of those are from the poem, and 3 are from a quote, so that definitely inflates the amounts of time I use the word! I'll take a closer look to see if there's some I can take out though. :)

Jul 6, 2020 22:04 by R. Dylon Elder

Nicely written and I'm digging the depth you throw in. I do believe the artwork depicts a female right? The feather on the tail?   This attention to detail is awesome and the fact that they are sooooo hated on is funny but that second one really shows how brutal these guys are. I mean Ooof. The never eat raw meat comment is nice little touch. I get alot of vines with corvids from here which is also a plus as they are my favorite. Well done once again.

Jul 7, 2020 03:49 by Stormbril

Thanks Dylon! :D Yeah, the image is of a female Scaetthen, great catch!   I'm a really big fan of corvids too, they were definitely an inspiration for these things. Bit of pidgeons, seagulls, and crows all mashed together!   Thanks for the fantastic comment :)

Jul 7, 2020 13:32 by R. Dylon Elder

The ultimate vermin! LOL love Corvids as well. No problem at all. Till next time!

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