These guys are intense!Wirey bird-folk of the Ranastra mountains. They fancy their small civilization an empire and value honor and pride above all else.
MorphologyRanastrani stand about 4 and a half feet tall, their wingspans about 6 feet. Their plumages vary in coloration but often is a mix of light browns and greys. Beaks range from 6 to 14 inches and are often fairly narrow. Ranastrani eggs are white with blue and brown freckles and come in clutches of 2 to 4. In the correct conditions, they hatch about 2 months after being laid.
SergiRanastrani are large creatures, and their 6-foot wings offer little aid in real flight. Their wings do reduce injury from falling and allow higher and longer jumps. When conditions are right ranastrani can glide to some extent, but they are generally earthbound creatures. Like their tengu relatives, a few ranastrani are gifted with the powers of flight, these special birds are called the sergie. Sergi tower over their kin at 7 to 9 feet, their wings stretching 20 or more. There is no clear science to predict whether an egg will hatch into a sergie, as it is not an inherited trait. Sergi are only sexually fertile for 1 year after reaching adulthood. A child of a sergie is slightly more likely to be born with the gift, but it is far from certain.
CultureRanastrani culture is one of perfect order and absolutism. All citizens have their place and their duty, and god bless those who step out of line. Militarism is the foremost value of their society, followed by loyalty, and then honor.
Social StructureRanastrani trive in an ordery envorment. Their society is built around perfectionism and a complex cast system. On the top of the great social pyramid are the sergie who rule through brute force above all else. Sergi nobility is horribly complex, but standing above the fray is The Kajkla, Emporer of Ranastra. Kajkla is not an inherited or elected position. Instead, the sitting Kajkla appoints an heir before the time of their death. If the heir is unavailable then the next Sergi to reach adulthood is considered to be the heir to the throne. Under the web of nobility sit the endless levels of casts and ranks the organize the common folk. The hundreds of levels are broken up into 5 major casts. The K'yon, commanders, and officers in the empire's army. The Frav, religious leaders. The Hokz, artisans, skilled laborers, and scholars. The Yonjul, foot soldiers, and military laborers. At the bottom of the totem pole are Ga, physical laborers, and untrained workers.
ReligionRanastrani worship a pantheon of heroes from the empire's past. They believe that the spirit of these champions and martyrs can be invoked in battle to bring strength and courage. Temples to these icons are constructed at the tops of Ranastra's highest mountains, and those who seek their air must ascend on foot.
Ground WorshipersTo the ranastrani, the ground beyond Ranastra's peaks is a mystical place. On one side of the mountains range, there is a featureless flat explore, while on the other in a burning wasteland. A small group of ranastrani revere the ground as a magical promised land. This religion is outlawed, but that doesn't stop people from throwing themselves from the mountains' peaks in hopes of salvation.
Built on and in the floating islands above Ranastra's peaks is the kingdom of the bird folk. It is a small nation of a few cities and some villages, but the proud ranastrani call it an empire. The "Empire" consists of three provinces and its capital. Each province has a central city built on a large island, with a few villages and barracks orbiting around it. Ranastrani barracks are by far the most iconic structures in the empire. They are octahedrons made of stone slabs extracted from the mountains below. They are set afloat by means of crystal constructions at their hearts. These gemstone hearts are mined from the deep within Ranastra. When carved into the correct shape they can alter gravity around them. At the empire's center is the Tur'Kapel, a great marble tower, and the seat of the empire's government. From its parapet, the Kajkla can see all that they rule, from the city streets below to the lights of the three distant provinces.