2018-03-07, 12:12 AM (ISO 8601)
Re: Cultures -- Multiple Pan-Asian sources in a WELL DONE "mashup"
Then let me ask a few questions.
What is the place of demihuman and humanoid races in your setting? Do they participate in trade?
Do at least some of them sail? (The minotaur galleys of Krynn come to mind.)
Do aquatic elves live in that massive inland sea?
What other sapient races live in the sea? Are dolphins shape-changed aquatic elves, (Krynn again,) or are they sapient animals?
What part do whales play? Do they coexist with megadont sharks and mesosaurs?
Are squids intelligent? Are they baby krakens? How abouf octopi?
Seabirds played a part in many cultural mythologies, as in my albatross example. Do they play a lart in Storm People culture? Ard they exploited, such as the Northern European tradition of hunting out eggs in spring fertility rites, (Easter Egg hunts,) or are they forbidden or unlucky? (Again, albatross, this time from Rime of the Ancient Mariner.)
The Storm Eagle flew ahead of the clouds, its broad wings moving only at their tips. From below it was white, and its prey would never see its black back. The sun cast the eagle's shadow on the waves, but millions of reflections of the sun glared back up. It squeezed its inner eyelid shut and the glare was gone. The water's surface became transparent and tbe eagle could see beneath the waves.
Fish flew beneath the waves. A long, narrow fish with a pointed face chased a school of silver bait as they swirled in a cloud around its futile charges through them. The eagle ignored them. It saw its prey headed toward the bait ball, followed by a flock of diving birds.
The prey moved in a group, taking turns at the surface for a quick breath as they sped through the deep blue. The feeding frenzy that would occur when birds and air breather arrived woulx be chaotic, and the prey would become unpredictable, but now they moved in straight lines, and their arrival at the surface coukd be timed.
The eagle crossed the wind and aimed itself. The prey breathed, again, again, again. Certain of the pattern now the eagle dove. Its wings were pulled up tight to its shoulders; only its wingtips exposed to correct its course. The prey came on, its pattern uninterrupted... Now!
The eagle's wings flared, every feather stretched to its greatest extent. Talons reached, grabbed, struck! Now its speed was almost gone, and its great wings pumped, its tail brushed the waves as the great bird struggled to fly with its prize. The air breather was almost to heavy. Almost...too...heavy...
The prey squealed as the eagle lifted it from the waves, pumping its wings in great reaching grabs, drawn in for the upbeat and flared for the downbeat, again, and again, and again. The eagle blew hot breath with every downbeat, sucked in greedily with each upbeat. It got easier when the waves stopped slapping the prey, and the eagle gained altitude. The prey struggled, but the eagle's talons were locked. The eagle could feel the prey's heartbeat in its talons, and its squeals too.
Wing muscles strained as it reached the height of favorable winds, but even with the wind aiding it the eagle had to pump its wings to stay aloft. Ten miles later its wing muscles burned, its breath was short, and its prey, still feebly struggling from time to time, became heavier with every wing-beat. Ahead its destination grew larger: a bald rock in the open sea. Its descent allowed it moments of rest as it glided in.
There she was, waiting for him. She screamed. He answered. As she reached up to him with her talons he released the prey, and she caught it, screaming again. She was larger than he was, fiercer. And beautiful. The three chicks she brooded were puffy white balls with orange beaks wide open, screaming their hunger as their mother asserted her claim to his prey.
He perched on a nearby rock, resting. This was the first time she had allowed him to see the chicks, though he had brooded their eggs from time to time in their rock nest while she hunted. Satisfied that he was properly submissive, she tore into the prey. She ignored the screams of her offspring as she gulped down hunks of fatty, bloody meat.
Three chicks had hatched. Usually only two did. The third was smaller, and its siblings would probably kill it soon to gain its share of meat. In hard times the two would fight and one survivor would get all the meat. But the eagle was a mighty hunter, and the sea around his rock was rich with prey. Perhaps enough to allow three chicks to survive.
He screamed and took wing again, ignored by his mate who was ripping a small piece from the air breather. So long as there was sunlight he would hunt.