The storm had paused for a moment, so Father Obell opened the door. In the ominous clouds that covered the sky, the children could make out tiny patterns of light, flickering and swirling, seemingly playing tag with the lightning that flickered high above them. Father Obell's voice fell to a cautious whisper. "Those are the Tempest Blades, children. Despite their beauty, if you ever see one fallen to earth, stay far from it, for they are creatures of air and fury, and bring a dire fate to anything they touch."
Beasts of the Skies
Few are those who have beheld the gliding creatures that dwell in the depths of the clouds, and even fewer have learned their true nature, for the conjurations used to draw the sky-dwellers from their haunts are cruel things, and the faintest touch of earth is agony to them.
In their preferred dwelling place, the turbulent winds of the storm's heart, tempest blades dance and glide with effortless ease. Random patterns of glowing color flicker on the broad, thin membranes that make up most of their body. Ranging up to three yards long, most surface-dwellers would say they look like a pale, twin-tailed serpent with broad, ribbed wings running along the entire length of their bodies. Narrow stripes of silvery color wind over their seemingly fragile wings and along their narrow bodies.
Drawn to the most severe of electrical storms, their gossamer wings fluoresce in the darkness between the lightning's furious strikes. For many on the ground, that is all they ever see of these high-flying sky-dwellers.
Life in the Clouds
Not creatures of the earth, tempest blades do not eat as terrestrial creatures do, nor do they drink. These aerial beasts seem to absorb all that they need from the water in their clouds and the vapours of the sky.
No one has ever seen a tempest blade reproduce, but some conjecture that they mate in the upper air and bear their young live, able to fly and glide from the moment of birth. Others theorize that the strange aerial serpents burst into groups of smaller serpents when they are struck by lightning. They certainly show no fear of the celestial fire, seeking out the most turbulent of winds and most violent electrical storms.
The Pain of Earth's Touch
Tempest blades are creatures of the upper air, windriders that cannot bear to approach the earth's surface. When too close to the surface, they writhe and contort in pain, desperately struggling to return to their preferred domains, high above the ground.
Once in a great while, the storm's fury drives some of these creatures down to the surface, where the reason for their name becomes apparent. Filled with agony by the mere proximity of the ground, the frantic serpents are capable of inflicting terrible wounds on anything that they touch. Their membranous wings are edged with hundreds of tiny, razor-sharp claws: Tiny blades, made of a crystalline material as sharp as glass. Made frantic by the agony they feel when near the ground, these creatures often lash out at those who attempt to disentangle them from trees or other ground-based objects.
Due to their abilities as nimble aerial scouts or messenger beasts, a variety of spells and rituals have been devised to capture and enthrall the blades. Surprisingly, they require binding magic far more complex than is common for most elemental beasts. Some believe that this dificulty is due to the discomfort caused when they approach the ground, which makes them resist such spells more strongly that other creatures do. It is certain that only a magus strongly attuned to the element of air has any hope of controlling them: Other summoners have often been badly mauled attempting to bind the creatures.
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? Responses (6)
Beautiful things, but not much good as pets though.
0_o Ouch. I would hate to run into one of these thats stuck near the ground.
A cool creature!
Ring of the Tempest Blades
A band of pure platinum completely inscribed with stylized lightning. This ring enables its possessor to summon one or more Tempest Blades and provides some control over the beasts. The level of control is improved by altitude and the presence of inclement weather, and decreased by the number summoned and any ties the user has towards Earth magics.
A Tempest Blade will obey a single command once summoned, immediately taking wing upon completion.
Alternately, the wearer can choose to meld with the summoned 'Blade and request transport to some location. Once so melded and the location stated, the trip cannot be changed, nor cancelled, and the wearer is powerless to act unless they are in possession of mental abilites not requiring physical form. If the Tempest Blade is slain, the merged entity is also slain, their body dropping away from that of the slain blade, injured in the same places.
Thanks for adding the ring!
Tempest blades had their origins in a discussion with Shadoweagle, when he was contemplating the storm photographs that inspired his grim adventure, The Town Eater. I approached the picture in a different way, thinking of a creature that might dwell and prosper in a ferocious storm, riding the storm winds and dancing amid the lightning.
Mmm, me likes, and especially since it made me dig out the whole Elementals as Life Forms idea.
Great work, Wulf!