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Official Name Aphed
Common Nicknames Ghost-Bird, Death-Song, Fruit-Flies
Classification Bird
Habitat Westwynd
Domesticated No
Current Status Common

The ancient history of the Dewamenet Empire is hard to learn about in the modern day, even for the Asha who seek to reclaim their legacy. But some features and truths shine through clearer than others, and one of these is the Aphed as well as its role in ancient Asha society. Deeply tied into ancient Asha beliefs about the afterlife and the Ordial plane, the bird has retained these connotations in the modern day alongside other superstitions, from a herald or companion of death, to a messenger of the Baskarr gods. They are also fascinating for the unique illusion cast from their bodies as they fly at night, appearing almost as spirits rather than living birds.


The exact history of the Aphed is unclear, wrapped in Asha mythology and folktales, but enough can be sorted from these more fantastical elements to find truth. It is said that the bird emerged after the rising of the first sun, to herald the coming of the moon. For that reason, they have always been heavily associated with Yah, Lady of the Heavens. However, it is also said that the spectral Aphed, called the Sufiq, were the carriers of souls into the realm of the dead, and only through their wings or feathers could the unliving be made, or the dead be revived. The Ordial-worshipers of Asha society in particular showed reverence for this aspect of the bird, carving beautiful statuettes and figures of the animal out of Ankhesep-Ane, a special stone said to have a connection with Ordial powers, but also only able to be cut by Living Metal. It is even said some Asha deities wore outfits and imagery of the birds, but this remains unconfirmed. It is certain though that the leaders of the Dewamenet Empire did so, as surviving artwork shows great leaders dressed in plumage with the Aphed soaring above them.

But then the Allorn Empire came for the Asha. The Allorn opinion of the bird was not entirely negative, as the animal did clearly have some sort of latent arcane connection due to the effect that came over their body while in flight at night. It was deemed a “lost messenger” of the gods, and became one of the many more esoteric, theological reasons for the Teledden and other Estelley faithful to see war against the Asha as just. When the war finished, however, the Aphed were almost entirely extinct, as unbeknownst to the Allorn, the nesting grounds and lives of the Aphed were deeply tied to Living Metal machinery. What few members existed were “returned home” to Teledden territory, where they survived for a time, but less then a millennia passed before they were considered extinct. For many more millennia, that remained the case, until the fall of the Allorn Empire to the combined disaster that was the Cataclysm and Wildering. The Great Journey brought the Asha to the east of the continents they had been enslaved in, and to the Ashal Islands, where they reactivated long dormant Living Metal infrastructure. As time passed, among the creations restored were the Aphed Sanctuaries, and within a mere decade, flocks of these birds roamed the skies of the Asha’s new homeland. They have remained populous in the Ashal Islands to this day, and have regained their ties to the carrying of souls as well as Ordial power.

Physical Appearance

The Aphed are a large species of storks, standing at five feet tall, with a wingspan of up to twelve feet, and a weight of around twenty pounds. Their head is small and round, with a large beige beak speckled with white, two large eyes colored various shades of green, and a mostly bare head and neck clear of feathers, exposing pale red skin. There is a small crest along the top of their head, however, and a thin line down to their long neck to the rest of their body. Their neck also features a pale red gular sac, which while bulbous, is not excessively prominent. The point below the connection to the neck has the bird's two vast wings folded close to their sides leading back to a soft point of a tail, with the bird standing on two tall dark gray legs speckled with white spots like their beaks. The bird’s body is covered in feathers, save the majority of their heads. The feathers are a gleaming black-green, the same hue as the bird’s wings and back, while its underside and chest is a prominent white. Their torso and the tips of their wings also slightly sparkle in normal sunlight, seemingly flecked with silver spots. What makes them stand out from other stork species, is the strange illusion they cast while in flight at night. A pale, Ordial-green glow sweeps from the tips of their wings and along their chest, giving the appearance of a spectral, translucent form. Some have even noted the appearance of what seem to be internal organs in the chest area. The most easily seen effect though are the green trails the animal leaves in its wake as it flies.


The Aphed have only one trait of sexual dimorphism, but even then it is a small feature difficult to make out for those not familiar with the birds. The slight patch of feathers on top of their heads is different based on gender, with females having feathers which curl downward while males have feathers which curl upward. As a result, the small amount of feathers the species has is most prominent on males. Additionally, the Aphed gender population is equal, likely a result of the mechanisms of the Aphed Sanctuaries.

Lifespan and Development

The Aphed’s life cycle is difficult to determine, given the nature of their deep connection with Living Metal machinery. The Aphed themselves are also nearly sacred, and rather aggressively protective of the nesting area within the Sanctuary, so in-depth investigations as to their mating, and incubation practices, are limited. Despite this, it is known that the Aphed lay eggs, their size unclear but it is believed their shells are pale green. These eggs are incubated partly by the Aphed themselves, but when night comes, all members of the flock leave the Sanctuary building, allowing Living Metal devices to take over. It is thought these devices then sort through the eggs, ensure their health and keep them warm. Aphed chicks are taken care of in a similar way, who appear to be featherless for several weeks, and also blind. After this period passes, the chicks become juveniles, gaining their sight, and their first coat of feathers. While they are still so little, they only leave the Sanctuary with their mother, and return to it with her, keeping incredibly close like ducklings to a mother. There are never more than three juveniles attached to any female. They slowly mature over a period of years, a unique span of time for birds, until by the age of three, they break away from their mother to live on their own in the flock. They are considered full adults by the age of four, their period of young adulthood exceptionally short. They live for up to forty years, but some have noted the difficulty in keeping track of this because of the bird’s prolific numbers in their Sanctuaries, as well as them returning to, and standing in the Sanctuary buildings to die. It is believed the Living Metal machinery then disposes of their bodies, though more spiritual beliefs claim their forms become Sufiq, and they enter a new existence in the afterlife.

Mental Overview

The Aphed still hold many wild, untamed characteristics despite their close habitation with the Asha. They are ill-tempered animals, quick to take offense by beating their wings, and clattering their beaks at rivals, or those treading too close to their territory. They are also eager for food, and are known to swarm those offering treats, as well as even fight one another for a particularly prized fish or aquatic animal. They are also not the most social creatures, at least when outside of the Sanctuary structures, spreading out over a large territory during the night, and not taking kindly to any interruption of their activities. The only time they might be deemed graceful or beautiful is when they are in flight, as their beautiful illusions and wing trails make quite the marvelous sight. Despite all of these characteristics, they are also intensely domesticated, and know copious boundaries with the Asha. For instance, they will not attack any Asha, a retreat being their most common tactic to any sort of aggressive approaches. They will fight back if attacked themselves, be it by Asha or a predator, but in general they are all show, and little substance. Still, their beaks can certainly be nasty to face, as can their clawed feet. The Aphed also avoid landing in and around Asha residential structures. Juveniles sometimes accidentally set down in a pond or garden pool, but this is rare, as Aphed instead spend many hours in flight after a launch from their Sanctuaries, and then a landing time shortly before the sun begins to rise. Overall, they are highly complex creatures, with many mysteries still left to uncover.

Territory and Groupings

The Aphed flocks of the Ashal Islands are each centered around an Aphed Sanctuary. These ornate but remote structures sit by riversides, and in marshlands across the lands of the Asha, with a cordoned area often set around them creating a small wildlife sanctuary of sorts. It is from these places that the Aphed emerge each night to fly through the air, emerging from the buildings to eat and bask in the waters, before taking into the air, and often staying there for hours at a time. Juveniles will usually need to land every few hours, and so their mothers keep close to the Sanctuary, but on the whole these spectral birds can remain aloft from dusk until dawn. They abhor the ocean though, and Sanctuaries found near the coast have their populations turn inland. Aphed flocks have various populous numbers, but it is generally believed the average is somewhere around sixty individuals.


  • Some believe the Aphed are one of the most advanced forms of Genos manipulation in Aloria. Maquixtl observers ejected from the Asha’s Fair-Port in 310 AC apparently referenced something roughly called “perfect duplication” in their own tongue before returning to Mandu.
  • Aphed Sanctuary boundaries are commonly marked out with statues of the bird carved from Ankhesep-Ane.
  • When Living Metal repairs are required of an Aphed Sanctuary, this work is commonly done at night while the birds have left the site, but it can also be done during the daytime through maintenance shafts which run under the earth.

Writers MonMarty, HydraLana
Artists None
Processors WaterDruppel
Last Editor HydraLana on 09/27/2023.

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