Not actually a true bird, the Moadi is actually more closely related to draconiforms, being both warm-blooded and scaled, with neither feather nor fur. It is the size of a raven, and is covered in scales much like those of plate armour, the edges of which are slightly raised, and highly distinctive. It has a beak which is divided into four segments, the insides of which are lined with an array of fine, rear-facing spikes that catch and hold food as it is being consumed. The edges of the beak have a strong and muscular lining that is highly dexterous, and serves the Moadi in place of a tongue. The tongue itself has been adapted into the walls of the throat, much like that of a snake. Like the beak, it bears rear-facing serrations, to prevent prey from sliding out.
The Moadi's wings, first appearing to be like those of a bird, are covered instead in razor sharp, highly specialized scales that are designed for cutting through the wind, and dealing sharp lacerations to prey items. The scales are attached, and cannot be thrown as projectiles. Instead, a Moadi will buffet its supper in order to separate the flesh into easily swallowed segments. In order to withstand this action, a Moadi has solid bones, like a terrestrial creature, to maximize its power. The weight of the scales and solid bones is offset by the lower gravity of its home, as well as by a specialized series of chambers filled with a lighter-than-air gas and reinforced by bone to prevent ruptures.
In the rest of its biology, it is highly similar to the raven, excepting the tail, which more closely resembles that of the extinct saurian anchiornis or microraptor.
It is, however, not the biology of the Moadi that makes it so fearsome, but its hunting and dining habits. Moadi are primarily ambush predators, lying in wait for their chosen prey. Moadi do not use their wings or talons for hunting, but rather, their minds. All Moadi are psychic predators, often linking together into a single hive mind to capture and immobilize prey. Moadi never hunt alone, linking instead into groups of between three and thirty individuals. Once they have selected their prey, Moadi ruthlessly and painfully seize control of their target's mind, feeding on the fear and agony that their grip induces. Instead of killing their prey right away, they take their unlucky victim to their nest, where they proceed to eat their victim alive, preserving the mind and life until the last possible moment, stemming or redirecting bloodflow and cutting with nearly surgical precision. Often, a victim has been stripped nearly to the bones before being given the mercy of oblivion. Particularly sadistic hives will often allow the victim to heal completely before renewing the process, thus maximizing the overall feed that they receive. This process can take between months and years, resulting in indescribable agony for their victims.
It has been speculated that Moadi display some degree of sentience beyond simply catching and devouring prey. If this is true, then it is fortunate that the Moadi seem to seek nothing beyond prey.
In culture, Moadi are occasionally used as a death penalty, exiling the victims to the Moadi's territory, and waiting for them to prey on the hapless criminal. Due to the violent nature of the death, however, this penalty is reserved solely for the worst and most irredeemable criminals. Most times, however, Moadi are ruthlessly hunted, their numbers culled to minimize chances of a large hive rising. Moadi scales are seen as ill luck, and are believed to hold the spirits of the deceased animal within them. Hunters wear these cursed scales in the hopes that they will deter the Moadi from hunting him, thinking him to be a deceased member of the hive.
Seek not the Moadi-Bird!
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? Responses (12)
Wow. That is some truly wicked predator, and well descriped too. I just miss the connection to the rest of the ecology: what do the Moadi birds hunt to need such a com plicated manner of hunting, are there any species that can resist this psychic attack or even hunt the hunter?
the world that the Moadi come from is one that I am constantly working on, so even I haven't sorted out all of the details. Most of the species on the planet are just as dangerous, and the ones in the area are generally at least partially immune, but the Moadi is primarily an apex predator. Almost nothing hunts it, and it eats everything, though primarily sentient beings. It is cruel and enjoys seeing other things suffer. As a result, it is adapted to cause the most suffering that it can.
Fortunately, a single Moadi is not too dangerous, and can't paralyze a human. but their powers grow exponentially as they group together...
Would human, or whatever sentient race you use, psychics be able to detect, resist or decieve these psionic hunters? That would make such powers very necessary for any convoy or settlement near Moadi territories. If there is a way to 'break' a hive to its singular bird, that would nullify the threat greatly. Whatever species is regularly the prey, would seek any possible advantage.
Not humans, no. But psychics evolved to combat them, yes. Humans are relative newcomers to the planet, and are thus highly susceptible to the Moadi. The natives can fight off Moadi influence, and are often hired to exterminate hives. Moadi wings are good at cutting flesh, but no so much wood, steel, or stone. Most settlements in the area are actually built inside hollow trees, so very few people are actually exposed. For convoys, the wagons are simply covered and reinforced, and natives hired to guard the convoy.
As well, Moadi dislike taking on large groups, even if they could paralyze all of them. They are opportunists, and avoid settlements and large hunting parties.
a fearsome dragon-beast-lizard-psychic-bird indeed. Violent in the most feral of ways too. I like it. Solid 4.
I like this animal, in small numbers a threat to pest animals and the like, but in larger numbers much more dangerous to man. Then it's easy to make variations off of the basic creature, Great Moadis that are two or three times larger, or delving into the metallic and chromatic dragons to create desert moadis known for their blue scales and affinity for electricity over psychic ability. This submission has a lot of versimilitude. I like it quite a lot sir.
I enjoyed this very much. A fantastic creature. Cruel beyond the pale, frightful as hell, and progressivley more dangerous in numbers. Seek NOT the Moadi. Hell yeah! I am going to steal these.
Holy crum. That is pretty awesome. What a need idea!
Scary animal! I can easily see a group of them overwhelming a party; at first, just one or two Moadi Birds swoop down to attack with it's razor-wings, but are beaten away with maces and projectiles. But soon, another two, then four then six appear, their serrated edges flickering too and fro, and the party soon becomes a shambles, not knowing where to strike in the flurry of wings.
Wow. I'm loving these. They remind me of one of my favorite creatures in sci-fi: The Mindworm. Psychic predators that feed on the agony and fear of their prey as they rip them to shreds. Very nicely done.
A nasty creature recently highlighted in the forum game The road to Canagadi:
Seek not the Moadi indeed.