Aracoix Ways

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Two factors dominate the Aracoix mindset and stand as the pillars of their culture, and are the keys to understanding the ways of the Birdmen. First, Aracoix fear and mistrust any and all enlightened beings different from themselves. Hints dropped by wandering outcasts seem to indicate that the Aracoix were the only civilized race to inhabit their homeworld, and that they therefore regard all "heavy ones" (any beings who cannot fly under their own power) as dangerous pests to be subjugated or destroyed. Secondly, Aracoix possess profoundly ordered minds, and tend to be highly meticulous, fastidious, and stubborn. The few Aracoix who have left their people behind tell tales of the Law, a compilation of laws, rules, and customs that dictates every aspect of an Aracoix's life. Most Aracoix are absolutely devoted to the tenets of the Law, which fosters a sense of duty, honor, and absolute loyalty to family, empire, and species. While some younger Aracoix have rebelled against the Law's restrictions and turned their backs on their people, most Birdmen are bound to it with a fanaticism that rivals that of the Irekei.

Aracoix fear of outsiders and their absolute devotion to the Law have combined to create an incredibly warlike, regimented society. Birdmen live in small communities called Aeries, each inhabited by a Kh'ree (the closest translation into any of our World's languages would be 'squadron'), an allied group of families related by marriage. Every Kh'ree is ruled by a commander with absolute authority, and the roles and duties of every member of the Kh'ree are rigidly defined by the Law. Flight is one of the central aspects of Aracoix architecture: their Aeries consist of tall towers with elaborate landing platforms and walled compounds without gates. In recent years, the Aracoix have constructed even larger Aeries as their influence has spread. Aracoix unable to fly due to injury or disease are immediately abandoned by the Kh'ree and given a ritualized funeral. Defense is paramount in Aracoix communities, for every Kh'ree must function not only as a social entity but as a military unit as well. The commanders of every Kh'ree defer to a supreme commander, a Grand Marshal of sorts, to which of all the Aracoix in our World are held accountable. This Marshal, it is rumored, is subordinate to some kind of supreme council or emperor on the Aracoix homeworld, the closest thing the Birdmen have to a god.

It may be that the first Aracoix that entered the World came as conquerors, not explorers. Their lack of magical ability led to the initial defeat of the Birdmen, but in years since the Aracoix have withdrawn to their unapproachable Aeries, gathered their strength, and recently renewed hostilities, showing a tactical and strategic acumen worthy of the Centaurs. Slowly and methodically, the Birdmen are extending their territories through conquest. Aracoix are highly disciplined in battle, and perfectly willing to go to their deaths for the success of their squadron. They employ some means of communication that is not yet understood but seem, in all accounts, to be fast, easy, and silent. Aracoix show an almost uncanny organization in battle, and are able to easily coordinate even the most complex battle Laws and assaults. Masters of hit and run tactics, the Birdmen disdain large engagements, preferring to wear their opponents down through lightning raids. Most Aracoix become Warriors, and even those Birdmen who serve their Kh'ree as providers or craftsmen must spend a portion of their time in military service. Aracoix seem to despise organized religion and the study of magic above all else, and single out both temples and arcane libraries in lands that they conquer for particularly brutal treatment.

Recently, a new phenomenon has swept through Aracoix society, a trend that has indirectly provided the peoples of the World with all that we know about the ferocious Aracoix. Hundreds of young Aracoix have renounced the Law, decrying its restrictions and endless regulations. Apparently, this is the first wave of dissent the Aracoix have encountered since the Law was formulated untold millennia ago. Exiled from their people, these young outcasts have wandered far, mixing with the other peoples of the World and charting their own destinies. They have revealed much about the culture of the Aracoix, but have also kept quite a bit hidden.

Even these rebellious Aracoix refuse to reveal any of the secrets of their people, or talk of their homeworld. Hints and inferences seem to indicate that their entire world is ruled by one vast Aracoix Empire, but no more details have been forthcoming. Even when enchanted or tortured, Aracoix reveal nothing of their original homes. These outcasts have also proven unable to shed any light on the Aracoix disdain for gods and religion. They are certainly familiar with the concept of deities, but will not comment about religion, other than dismissing all gods as dangerous. Some comments seem to indicate that the Aracoix may practice their own forms of the magical arts, but so far no hard evidence has been reported. Finally, the Aracoix are absolutely silent when asked why they have come to our World. Given the attitudes and activities of most of the Aracoix who have come across so far, their plans for the World are likely far from pleasant.

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