Owlings are Wardens of the Earth, spirits of wind and trees and night, whose ancestors took the shapes of owls at the advent of man. After the Purge, the few that were left fled into deep woods and remained hidden, secretly breeding, for millennia before the founding of Eadsville. Around that time, the other Wardens congregated to take stock of how many were left and how their numbers had grown since the Purge. One Warden, a golem known as Rocky, created a garden protected by powerful barrier spells in which Wardens who so chose could live without fear of angelic persecution. The one remaining parliament of owlings took up residence there.
Owlings are born from eggs which are typically laid 2 to a clutch. Siblicide is rare and considered an ill portent, and chicks who commit it, though it is accepted that they are unaware of what they have done, are watched closely, often being placed into special communal nests to be reared by the high council members. The young are called chicks, and generally start flying unaided about about 2 weeks old. Males reach sexual maturity at 6, and this occasion is typically marked by a festival which, among chicks, is jokingly referred to as "the Hooting" or being "given a Hoot." Females mature more slowly and are sexually mature at 9. Family groups within parliaments usually consist of both parents, and the male and female cooperate to raise their chicks, though it is not uncommon for an elderly descendant to be part of a family unit. Owlings are highly resistant to disease as well as temperature extremes. The oldest owling died at the age of 612, while the mean age of mortality is 545.
Culture and LanguageEdit
The owlings are clannish, and they organize into groups called parliaments (or flocks, occasionally) based on parentage. Inter-parliamentary bonding is mandatory to prevent inbreeding, as owlings are particularly susceptible to congenital disorders. This also serves to keep relations between the different parliaments generally agreeable. Male chicks are said to belong to the parliaments of their mothers and female chicks to those of their fathers. Owlings are polygamous, and a male may have many chicks in many nests. It is considered an honor to bear the burden of raising multiple clutches, and monogamy is looked upon as unnatural. Parliaments constantly subdivide but rarely dissolve, each being governed by a matriarch and a patriarch. The leaders of each parliament work together on a high council with the goal of governing all of owlingdom fairly while respecting the tendency of their people to organize into clans and to give their loyalty to their particular matriarch and patriarch. Homes, called nests, are built in the trunks of trees as often as possible, though large populations of owlings will build elaborate houses to hang from tree branches or to sit on circular platforms built around a tree. Owlings have a symbiotic connection to their home tree, and this extends in some wise to all trees, because they rely on trees for protection.
The owling language is called owlish, and it is as old as humankind. It consists of clicks, hoots, and other avian sounds mixed in with trilling syllables the likes of which no normal bird could reproduce. They seldom learn English, their beaks being poorly adapted to speak that tongue and there being a general dislike of other languages among the owling population. When an owling does learn English, he or she will always speak it with a heavy owlish accent.
- Sula and Calon