Ellon-Wings are unique creatures of the air which have mysterious origins. Some claim them to be creatures similar to the Aethershark or Aetherwhale, sea creatures somehow elevated into the air. However, unlike those creatures, the Ellon-Wing appears charged with Magic, and has been regarded as a marvel by many Mages for its seeming natural use of such skills. Their numbers are thin following the Cataclysm, but have started to emerge more and more as many magical events across Aloria awaken lost secrets and mysteries of the past.
Ellon-Wings are believed to have emerged somewhat later than others suggest, not existing from the dawn of the Allorn Empire, but rather near the end of the Consolidation. Texts of the Allorn Empire refer to the Ellon-Wing as a deity’s herald, and it is widely believed this being created the creature, perhaps through manipulation of the existing Mulaan Manta. Others suggest that through communion with this god, the residents of the Allorn Empire were shown or told how to tame and use the animal, specifically Mages, given the animal’s magical appearance and great use in resting above the masses of slaves, gaining new avenues of travel or attack. Where the creature came from if this second theory is true is not known. By the end of the Consolidation however, the Ellon-Wing were spread across Daen, and some were even found in Solleria and other Altalar colonies, where they served as the method of transport for many a Teledden Sorcerer or Mage. Archmages, for a time anyway, favored other methods of transport though this ended following the Floundering. Ellon-Wings continued to multiply across the decay of the Allorn Empire, a great irony in the minds of many for such a majestic, beautiful creature to be so populous as the Allorn grew ever more petty and ugly in personality. When the Mage Wars broke out, hundreds of combatants charged with Magic flew against each other on the backs of these creatures.
But like so much in Aloria, the Cataclysm brought the Ellon-Wings’ many flights to a spiraling crash. Not only did thousands of them die in both that major world event and the Wildering that ravaged the greatest lands of the Allorn Empire, it is recorded that the Ellon-Wings lost their abilities of flight and gorgeous aesthetics. This resulted in many simply plummeting to their deaths, even if they were in areas free of any dangers. The sole places which kept Ellon-Wings alive were the Sundial Isles, Solleria, and Ithania, each isolated, or resilient in the face of the disasters which struck other areas. Magic soon returned to the Ellon after the strange disruption which according to many records, lasted as long as a month, allowing them to float, but this was timid and slow at first. Ultimately, they rose into the air again, but it would take decades for the various groups of Nelfin who made use of them to achieve the acrobatic maneuvers of old. In the remains of the Allorn Empire, Ithanian trade returned the Ellon-Wing to Daen’s south, combining with the emergence of formerly hiding wild populations of the species who interacted with their domesticated fellows and were soon wholly removed from the jungles they inhabited. The Ellon-Wing remains rare to this day, often seen as the pinnacle of achievement or an expression of one’s great skill with animals to achieve one. Many now transport the elite of the reborn Allorn Empire across their vast domain, though others fly in opposition of such a power, among those of the Sundial Isles or Ithania. It is likely that unless another calamity strikes, the Ellon-Wing will one day return to its ubiquity as a Mount of those who seek to command the world.
The Ellon-Wing is an immense ray, its form capable of reaching eighteen feet in length with each wing-like fin reaching seven to eight feet in length. Its body’s weight is not insubstantial, the largest of the species modern subject reaching as much as five hundred pounds, but this is not readily apparent by their other features. Their head has a slight triangular shape to it, a pointed overhang resting above their wide mouth while two sets of similarly slightly pointed cephalic fins rest at the sides of this broad feature. Their eyes are small, but exist in two pairs, the larger pair (by only fractions of an inch) a deep blue, while the second, smaller set sits back at a diagonal angle, and is entirely black. Their underside has three sets of slits, their gills used to breathe, getting larger the further back along the stomach they go. The animal’s body is circular from above, an equal distribution of the animal’s two slightly upcurved fins expanding out, with a long trailing tail following suit. The animal’s lower back possesses three triangular bumps, similar to dorsal fins, while the animal’s tail is flat, with a pair of triangular “fins” resting close to the body before it narrows into a long point.
Ellon-Wing skin is capable of appearing in a wide range of shades, but are most commonly known to feature pastels of purple, blue, and green, alongside a bleached tone of white. Dark colors are a great rarity on their form, and often appear in a mottled pattern with a paler hue, following a mirror structure along the animal’s backs. The most noticeable trait of the Ellon-Wing, however, is its constant projection of starry trails which emerge from the tips of its “wings” and appear to form beneath the animal’s gills. This effect occurs even when the Ellon-Wing floats in place, the creature forming a “pool” of starlight beneath them. However, this is no liquid or gas, merely a magical illusion that will fade when an Ellon sets into motion again. The trail they leave behind is not long, measuring between two to three feet, but it is constant, starting from a young age and only ceasing when the animal dies, or is wounded enough to be grounded.
Ellon-Wings have a great diversity in color, though not physical appearance, males and females hard to tell apart from external observation, with only age being a factor shown in an Ellon’s size. It is said that each Ellon will choose and mimic a specific patch of the evening sky, and these are identifiable as they fly, but as this trail does not last long, and the shimmering production of the illusion is constant, the truth of this is not known.
Life Span and Development
Ellon-Wings have been observed for over two millennia, and much is known about their life cycle. Female Ellon-Wings produce between three to six purses (leather sacks for an offspring) once every six years following a “Mating Swirl” with other members of their species. These purses would then typically be laid in a high, dark place, typically the branches of a tree where the purses’ hooks will latch on and help the youth survive, but caves and ruins are also known to be used. However, since Ellon-Wings are 95% domesticated, most purses are instead laid in specialized areas built for the purpose near those areas which foster and hold the creatures. These “sky purses” are highly durable, and it is common for most offspring to survive until their emergence. When they do so, they are small pale pups, almost translucent in some areas of their fins, and vulnerable. Predation is most common at this stage due to this vulnerability, and a savage sickness is also known to ravage some young to the point of death. However, they rapidly grow in size. By the age of three months, they have reached their adolescence and are about three feet in diameter across their body. Over the coming decade, they grow slowly but in apparent stages. From adolescents, they become “acolescents”, their tail growing out to its adult length, followed by their maturation into a youth adult, when their fins grow out, followed by the young adult stage, when their fins begin to curl, and finally, adults, when their growing fully ceases. Throughout this time, they begin their training and conditioning for accepting riders, and by the time they are adults, are ready to be ridden. Ellon-Wings are said to live a lifetime, but if this was ever true, those days are long gone. They can still reach the high age of a century, but most die around the age of seventy to eighty.
Ellon-Wings are complex creatures which are often lauded as enigmatic and mystical, though such tags are not befitting the species given how long they have been intensely observed. Their personalities are commonly viewed as lacking on the baseless assessment that they are fish, but in the air. This is untrue, as instead, Ellon-Wings are capable of a wide range of emotional states, and reflect this through their bodies. Their mouths, while rarely closed due to a rigid makeup, can shift up and down, though this often happens in younger Ellon-Wings. Their cephalic fins can also shiver, curl, or go rigid, while their tails can lash, forms curl forward, and some have even been able to discern the tilts of their body as expressing a certain feeling. On the topic of their tilting bodies, like other forms of manta ray, Ellon-Wings are known for their squadron swirls, when gatherings of Ellon will circle a central open point as a social group. This is done for the sake of mating, socialization, educating younger Ellon on the activity, and to apparently “bath.” It is not clear what this act exactly entained, but afterward, Ellon-Wings are noted to have a cleaner skin.
Ellon-Wings when engaged with Aloria’s Races are often social, able to handle the attention of up to a dozen individuals. However, those Ellon-Wings who might see combat or greater crowds must be trained for it, as otherwise the majestic beasts get spooked by the numbers of others. Another solution is to fly high enough up that the creature is not able to perceive those below, but their eyesight is excellent, and this only works in the busiest of metropolises. The Ellon-Wing generally allows both the various Nelfin, and the Yanar to ride it, but rejects other Races, Asha with a particular passion. This rejection often takes the form of aggressive bumping, but some tricky Ellon have been known to take such riders, only to suddenly ascend up several feet and tipping, to dump their unwanted new owner. The bond Ellon-Wings have with their legitimate riders is strong, and are known to return to a master if scared off or released mid-battle. It is commonly said that the Ellon-Wing is one of the few Alorian creatures to not feel the lash of words, magic or leather from the Altalar, largely because of their magical qualities and long standing in Allorn society. Abuse of Ellon-Wings, while not illegal in areas like the Allorn Empire due to the generally hazy viewpoint the various Nelfin have on animal rights, is sure to politically and socially isolate the individual, if not guarantee an assassination effort or two. Bizarrely, this is true even in the Dread Empire, with Ellon-Wing sacrifice extremely rare because of their great value, and unique status.
Territory and Groupings
Ellon-Wings are raised in domesticated surroundings, with what few wild populations left existing in the deep interior of Daen, and rumored to be in Fendarfelle. These wild groups have much smaller populations than those tamed by civilization, their squadrons numbering as few as forty individuals. Those kept by Aloria’s Races can have squadron groups numbering as many as 200 on the ornate, and uniquely designed Ellon Roosts they commonly call home. Ellon-Wings are not territorial, and do not mind their master riding another of their kind or a more conventional mount, such as those with the Nelfin Races and Yanar. However, if they feel they are being replaced by another Ellon-Wing, a rare occurrence in and of itself, they will become madly jealous and aggressive, offended and not getting along with other Ellon-Wings.
- There is an extremely popular tune played during Ellon-Wing races across Aloria, though one that is also said to be life haunting, constantly remembered long after an individual has left the races behind.
- Ellon-Wings take their name from an old Allorn-era term for starlight or the night sky, Ellon, which was also once applied to those capable of using Cosmic Magic.
- The sky purses of the Ellon-Wing are considered a delicacy to some.