March 26, 2011

Creatures of Syrene: Shrakkai

The shrakkai are a savage race of bird-men haunting a few of the Perfumed Isles.  Once a prince of the Barracoan tribe dared to ravish Shiraki,  daughter of the wind god, and for vengeance she formed her offspring into the shrakkai.  Now the bird-men plague the Islanders, raiding their livestock and fish-drying racks, carrying off children to devour, attacking and sinking boats.  They have a magical link to the Barracanuns, such that whenever a sea gypsy walks on any of the southern isles the shrakkai will sense him or her and be drawn to that isle.

The shrakkai look like humanoid crows or frigate birds, with black plumage and tall red crests on their heads, but their wings have three clawed digits at the joint that serve as fingers and as weapons.  Their most powerful weapon however are the bony spurs on their feet. 
They do not use tools or manufactured weapons.  A favorite tactic is to pick up an opponent, lift him several feet into the air, and drop him into the sea or onto a hard surface.  (Shrakkai can’t carry an adult human very far, so the maximum height they take up a victim is usually less than 6 feet).

The oldest shrakkai also gain the power to organize a shrakkai flock to do a Stormdance; these are called Storm Chiefs.  The flock must number at least twelve, including the Storm Chief, and when they do the wheeling aerial dance, storm spirits are awakened and gathered, thus birthing a typhoon.  The Stormdancers continue wheeling in the eye of the typhoon until the storm naturally peters out, and they can direct where the storm should go and maintain its strength as long as the storm is over the sea.   To stop a shrakkai-raised storm, the Storm Chief must be slain.

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