Rookery

At the northern edge of the Varlem Desert, west of Pluthem, lies the Rookery. This small settlement houses a tower that serves as the abode for trained rooks that are sent into the desert to bring back anomalous artifacts and other relics which are then sent to Pluthem for research.
 

Population

Aside from the Rookery itself, there are only a few buildings surrounding the tower, which serve as the homes of the handlers and their families and a few guard posts that are manned by soldiers. In total, less than a hundred people call the Rookery home.
 

Trained Rooks

The main function of the Rookery is to retrieve anomalous objects from the Varlem Desert utilizing trained rooks. These birds are set free in the mornings and return in the evenings, bringing with them trinkets and artifacts that caught their eye during the day. The handlers then sort these items and determine if any are worth investigating further. Such items are sent to Pluthem via the supply caravans that bring supplies to the Rookery on a weekly basis.
  When the birds are out hunting for artifacts, the handlers are expected to devote a good chunk of their free time to the cleaning and maintenance of the rookery, ensuring the birds have everything they need to be well taken care of, and a veterinarian from Pluthem makes regular visits to the rookery to maintain the health of the rooks.
 

Raiders

As the Rookery houses valuable artifacts, however briefly, it attracts attention from those who want to get their hands on those artifacts in the hopes of selling them. To this end, raids from brigands and bandits are unfortunately not uncommon. To help deter such raids, the Rookery is well-guarded by Pluthemian soldiers who are more than a match for untrained and undisciplined raiders.
  Despite the guards' best efforts, however, the occasional bandit does manage to infiltrate the Rookery. Fortunately it is a rare occurrence and, when it does happen, the rooks themselves have been trained to harry and peck anyone entering the Rookery who is not a trainer they have been acquainted with. The birds can be quite ferocious and most would-be plunderers choose to vacate the premises instead of enduring the avian frenzy.
Fly, my pretties! Bring to us mysteries beyond count!
–A handler as he opens the hatches of the Rookery
by Midjourney
The Rookery


Cover image: by Midjourney

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