I watched from afar as the swan alighted upon the water, all elegance and beauty in the silvery light of the moon. She swam a slow circle around the pond and, for the briefest of moments, I could have sworn she looked directly at me but, veiled as I was in invisibility, I dismissed the concern. Eventually, she began to glide towards the edge and I watched, stunned to find not a bird stepping out onto the shore but a woman, tall and slender, her long hair the color of onyx and her skin like sweet cream. With the fingers of one hand she delicately adjusted the bauble of silver wire and one snow white feather where it nestled in the hollow of her throat, her dark eyes set squarely upon me as she announced, in a voice like honeyed wine, "I know you're there. Come out." Fool that I am, I obliged her without care for the dagger at her hip, nor the way her hand rested upon it. - Icabod Sterling, As I Walk Faerie by the Moonlight Shapeshifting birds and capricious faeries, the Éan (pronounced ay-uhn) resemble delicate trinkets and baubles, decorated with the feathers of birds. While they may appear as expensive curios worn to catch the eye of haughty nobles and hungry thieves the truth is something far more captivating in both beauty and potential.
From Two Lives, A NewOnce an Éan has been worn, it begins to form a connection with its wearer. The process is slow and tentative - reaching out into the wearer's dreams with promises of enchanted vales and the whisper of wind on moonlit wings. If the Éan disapproves of the wearer's reaction to those breathless enticements, she will often withdraw into herself, becoming little more than an inert piece of jewelry until a new bearer can be found. But, if she finds in the wearer a kindred spirit, she may offer herself, all her wisdom and all her power, to the wearer. If her offering is accepted, the two spirits fuse, birthing a new creature from the shared experiences, passions, and memories of both.
A Mortal SeemingWhile the Éan itself may appear as anything from a sparrow feather on a string to a literal cloak of swan feathers, based largely around its age, power, and temperament, the physical body through which it interacts with the world can be anything from a common human to a particularly well-dispositioned kobold depending entirely on the last creature it bonded with. These bodies are often mistaken for the actual Éan, whether she be a swanmay, a raven maid, or anything in between, and her feathers considered simply an accessory that grants her access to her fey powers. The truth could not be further removed from this perception. To steal an Éan's feathers is to separate the soul from the body, an attack against her very nature that causes her physical seeming very real suffering - both physically and mentally. Most Éan favor female bodies but, though it is extremely rare, it is not completely unheard of for them to bond with a male. Regardless of gender, the influence of the Éan's fey nature will slowly change her body over time, making it slightly taller and chiseling its features until the cheekbones are just a little too sharp, the ears just a little too pointed to be what it once was. Most will also preen compulsively, brushing hair and cleaning nails often absentmindedly while speaking, reading, walking, or conducting any other activity which does not require the whole of their attention.
Fey and FleetingWhile they may resemble a more common race, most Éan have lived dozens or even scores of lives. This grants them a perspective of time that may lead others to assume they are lazy or easily distracted when the truth of the matter is that they are simply savoring a moment - crafting every last detail into a memory that they will carry with them from this life to the next and to every other that follows. Often perceived as aloof and arrogant, most Éan are slow to trust but cherish those companions who have proven themselves worthy of it. Even so, they are fey and so can sometimes act in ways that seem capricious or even volatile to those around them, swinging wildly from placid and composed to profoundly elated and again to inconsolably distraught at the faintest of provocations. Most Éan have been betrayed at least once in their many lives, often by someone they cared for deeply. But, once it has been earned, an Éan is a fiercely loyal ally who will stop at nothing to protect her friends and compatriots.
Éan NamesThe very idea of names can be a difficult concept for most Éan to grasp. Most have been known by dozens and will react instinctively to any of them. However, the mortal need for a single, unifying name has necessitated that each Éan select a moniker by which they can be called regardless of what body they currently occupy. Éan names typically invoke some cherished memory from one of their earliest lives or refer to a place or people they once called home.
Éan Names: Aisling, Brigid, Chay, Darra, Emeria, Fiachna, Glencora, Kiara, Liadain, Mairghread, Niniane, Oona, Samaire
A Life of MisadventureFew Éan seek out a life of adventure. More often, that life is thrust upon an Éan by cunning thieves or daring wizards who seek to make their fortunes by selling her feathers or harvesting her body for its innate, magical properties. Either way, once an Éan has become an adventurer she is unlikely to be able to leave that life behind, even if she wishes to do so. The number of enemies who might seek her out once her nature is revealed are too great to ignore and so she will often seek out what defenses she can in companionship with other, like minded adventurers.
Éan TraitsYour character has certain characteristics in common with all other Éan. Ability Score Increase
An Éan retains the ability score increases of its current body. For example, if an Éan has bonded with a gnome, she gains +2 Intelligence. If she has bonded with an elf, she gains +2 Dexterity. Age
Although the Éan itself is ageless, the body to which it is bonded does still suffer the ravages of time, albeit at a subsantially reduced rate. The bodies of Éan have been known to survive twice or in some cases even three times as long as should be expected of their default race. Alignment
Due to their capricious, fey natures, most Éan tend towards chaotic alignments. Those who are good tend to be guardians and protectors, defending the people and places they cherish from any threat that might endanger them. Those who are evil are often greedy thieves who collect people and possessions, guarding them fiercely against any perceived threat, real or imagined. Size
Éan bodies tend to be just a little taller and lighter than expected for their species. Your size category is that of your body's species. Speed
Your base walking speed is that of your body's species. Magic Vision
As beings of pure magic, Éan perceive it without any special effort. You see as though you have had Detect Magic and Detect Invisibility cast on you at all times. An Éan who does not have her feathers loses this ability. Languages
An Éan can only read and write from the languages native to its current body. However, she may spend a bonus action to understand and be understood by the speaker of any language. When an Éan uses this ability, every creature she interacts with knows that she has used it. An Éan who does not have her feathers cannot use this ability and can communicate only in the languages native to her current body. Fey Type
Your creature type becomes fey and you gain Damage Vulnerability (Iron). Steel does not trigger this vulnerability. Divided Soul
An Éan who has been separated from her feathers takes 1d6 Psychic damage upon their loss and 1d6 Psychic damage every dawn thereafter until her feathers are returned. This damage cannot be healed by resting and cannot be recovered by healing spells unless accompanied by the Lesser Restoration spell. The effects of a Lesser Restoration used in this way lasts 1 hour. Subrace
Choose one of the below as your subrace.
SwanmayPerhaps the most common of the Éan, if something so rare can ever truly be called "common," Swanmays often appear docile and serene - a fact which often leads to the unwary assuming they are also passive or even submissive. That is very often a deadly mistake, as anyone who has ever interacted closely with a swan can surely attest to. While it is true that most Swanmays would prefer to take their time, enjoying life and all its simple pleasures, they are more than capable of swinging steel and slinging spells should the need arise. The feathers of a Swanmay are often ornate and elegant, an intricate knot of fine, silver wire or a carefully blown, delicate glass brooch adorned with a single, pristine white feather. Swan Shape
You may spend your action to take the shape of a swan, transforming yourself and any equipment you may be wearing or carrying. If you do so your Strength becomes 14, your Constitution becomes 12, and your Dexterity becomes 12. Your AC becomes 11. You gain a swim speed of 30ft and a fly speed of 50ft. You remain in this shape until you spend an action to transform back into your usual body. Beginning at 1st level, you may transition to a swan and back again once before needing a long rest. At 5th level and every five levels beyond you may do so an additional time before needing to rest. A Swanmay without her feathers may not transform. Magical Nature
Because their very bodies are suffused with ancient fey magics, Swanmays make excellent craftsmen. By imbuing some small part of their physical bodies into the creation of a magical item, such as an eyelash into the ink for a spell scroll, a lock of hair into a healing potion, or even a pinion feather into the hilt of a sword, a Swanmay may reduce the gold cost of creating that item by 10%.
Raven MaidClever and quick, Raven Maids are drawn to bright, shiny treasures and often develop sticky fingers that lead them to collect polished baubles and ancient relics with equal enthusiasm. Deadly with a short blade and quick of wing and foot alike, Raven Maids are drawn to the life of adventure more readily than their Éan sisters, seeking to gather a fortune with which to decorate their nests. The feathers of a Raven Maid are often decorated with gold or copper coins to give them a jingle and sparkle, accented with the customary sleek, black pinions of a raven. Raven Shape
You may spend your action to take the shape of a raven, transforming yourself and any equipment you may be wearing or carrying. If you do so your Strength becomes 2, your Constitution becomes 14, and your Dexterity becomes 8. Your AC becomes 12. You gain a fly speed of 50ft and the raven's Mimicry ability (see the Monster Manual for details). You remain in this shape until you spend an action to transform back into your usual body. Beginning at 1st level, you may transition to a raven and back again once before needing a long rest. At 5th level and every five levels beyond you may do so an additional time before needing to rest. A Raven Maid without her feathers may not transform. Sharp Tongue, Sharp Blade
Raven Maids are artists with short blades. You gain +1 to attack and +1 to damage when attacking with a dagger.
Sparrow SisterBy far the most gregarious of the Éan, Sparrow Sisters often comport themselves with a wide-eyed innocence and nonchalance that their sister Éan cannot begin to understand. They frequently fall in to adventuring simply by dint of seeking out the company of others and coteries of adventurers are the often the most boisterous, fun-loving flock a bird could ever ask for. Unlike most Éan, Sparrow Sisters tend to be a little shorter than average for their apparent race and built just a little bit rounder. The feathers of Sparrow Sisters tend to be simple things of brightly colored beads and their trademark colorful feathers. Sparrow Shape
You may spend your action to take the shape of a sparrow, transforming yourself and any equipment you may be wearing or carrying. If you do so your Strength becomes 1, your Constitution becomes 8, and your Dexterity becomes 16. Your AC becomes 18. You gain a fly speed of 50ft. You remain in this shape until you spend an action to transform back into your usual body. Beginning at 1st level, you may transition to a sparrow and back again once before needing a long rest. At 5th level and every five levels beyond you may do so an additional time before needing to rest. A Sparrow Sister without her feathers may not transform. Lightning Reflexes
Quick as an arrow in flight, Sparrow Sisters have advantage on all Dexterity Saves. Gregarious to a Fault
When in the presence of a friend or ally, Sparrow Sisters have advantage on Charisma rolls. When not in the company of a friend, she suffers disadvantage on all skill rolls and saving throws.