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The Pythagean hawks are in migration. Overlapping red and green feathers ripple in the wind that tumbles across the Nardic Ocean. A scrambled, screeching caw rings out as the lead bird spies land. The circle formation used to protect from the ocean wind breaks as the birds fold out into their signature upside-down Y formation.
The water becomes a clear blue as they near the coral fringed beaches of Arsun. The creatures of the ocean triple in concentration as they near the shore. Behemoths lunge from the water, to be strangled by water snakes, and long, needle toothed scavengers feast from the remains.
The birds shoot over the beaches and begin to fly over the seemingly tranquil Capis forest. Great expanses of pine trees are laid out beneath them. Suddenly, a kolan beast breaks through the trees in an awe-some leap. The spines ridging its back flex as its muscular front legs grab one of the massive Pythagean hawks and brings it back into the forest. The birds circle overhead to see if their compatriot will emerge. Their magnified hearing senses the kolan’s beast beaked head plunging into the bird, and they know their friend is lost.
To their left, in the east they can see the black cloud rising from the Smoke marsh, and the green toxic fumes wafting up from the Mordtla River. The mordtla plunges in a titanic waterfall into the Tox bay, named after the Arsunians word for poison.
It is surprising to see the end of the Capis forest every time the semi-sentient birds migrate, and this time is no exception. The talix range stops the forest short. In the middle of the jagged mountains, tinted green from the plentiful jade deposits in their barren slopes is a gargantuan floating mountain. On its top, accessible only by a bridge that links it to mount Afra, is the Arsunian capital city of Tethra.
The birds flutter around the houses made of chiseled amethyst before resting in the glass aviary built specifically for their purposes. A bird keeper with a green face and red markings keeps watch over them, and feeds and watered them.
The birds awake and eat dried strips of meat. Then, they quickly take to the air. The Talix range is thin, only two or three mountains wide, and the birds pass over it quickly. The Isil Floodplains stretch out before them. Isil, the Arsunian word for moon, is a small creek flowing from the great lake. When the snow in the talix range melts into the great lake, it sends thousands of sik’s (Arsunian equivalent of a ton) through the Isil, which floods ferociously into the surrounding plain. The moon goddess Isil, for which the river was named after, always holds back the flood until the first new moon of spring.
Farmers have a hay day with the rich mud that follows the flooding, and their farms produce the majority of vegetable and fruit growth in Arsun. Surrounding the luscious plains are perilous marshlands that the birds steer clear of.
The Isil floodplains peter out and become the black strip of water that is the strait of the adder. The west dam of the Icithra, a great chasm between Arsun and the neighboring island of Mothra, where the Straight of the adder breaks off and becomes green valley with waterfalls cascading down into it, is just barely visible to the birds.
In the center of the Icithra is a gargantuan whirlpool that ferries the water back into the Silver sea and the Straight, called the Viper’s mouth by the Arsunians, and Othra’s eye by the Arsunians enemies, the Sordinians. The Icithra is the only place where the two armies can meet safely in truce.
The Isil sends so much water into the Strait that it floods the nearby coast of Mothra, resulting in the Vorak flood plains. These smaller plains fad away beneath the birds and become the Scarlot forest, named after the Sordinian word for red because the trees are perpetually tinted red-orange. The Arsunian army currently occupied the area, but the name stuck.
The trees suddenly triple in size, and the city of Triolot becomes visible. Triolot is a series of platforms wrapped around hollowed out trees and connected by rope bridges, but even though the birds are tired, they know a better spot to rest then there.
Not far to the east, surrounded by four mountains, each one red with the iron found in them, is the empty city of Rusk. Rusk was abandoned when the side of the Northerly Mountain collapsed and buried the plain around the city in iron. With their source of agriculture destroyed, Rusk ceased to be filled with life and became another feature in a red desert.
The birds know to stop at Rusk, because the aviary there is still in good shape. There is no keeper this night, but bear sized birds can more than cope. At least now no one can bother them. They wake up to the angry calls of their brethren.
Scores upon scores of Pythagean hawks fill the sky, each with and Arsunian warrior on its back. This is the aerial division of the Arsunian army, on their way to assist the ground troops in some engagement. The birds care little for the never ceasing fighting between the Arsunians and the Sordinians, so long as they have a place to stay.
The migration continues as the birds head farther south. At one point, in a great field of wheat, the birds spy an Arsunian army mounted on giant bears advancing on a ragged Sordinian regiment of foot soldiers. The field was burning with the sulfurous fire that hidden archers kept raining on the Sordinian’s.
The fighting gets worse the closer the birds get to the Great Wall, a giant wall of chiseled iron ore that spans ¾ of the island Mothra. The entire forest is burning with colorful smoke from the fighting, and Pythagean hawks bearing riders are constantly flying past.
As the hawks fly over the blood-red wall, they see an Arsunian army trying to fly over the wall on Pythagean hawks. Hidden ballistae empty their loads on the hawks in a perilous storm of arrows. No hawk gets over.
Immediately after the wall is the city of Ingor, which is really just an oversized outback mining town. The buildings are all ramshackle and made of rotting plywood, and crime is so commonplace that it’s actually encouraged.
Then, far in the distance, the horizon turns blue, and the land curves around the great bay of Sinthra. Lying in the center of the crystal blue waters is the floating city of Alta. It’s ringed by a great dock, where the massive Sordinian fleet is at bay; the great wood triremes bob up and down in unison.
They hawks land on an Island a few miles past of Alta, in massive trees with branches the perfect size for the titanic birds. There they rest, and there they will stay for the whole of the winter, before returning to their native land of Arsun.
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