Friday Lore Post: The Dread Birds of Nova

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the world’s very best conservationists, Nova is still inhabited by several species of bird. This is problematic for multiple reasons, the most minor of which is that birds are the literal instruments of the literal devil, but the more important of which is that they are incredibly, universally dangersous. Though all thinking people would prefer to pretend their ubiquity were not the case, unfortunately it is and we must face reality, not deny it. Thus, for the next seventy-six pages is a list of all of Nova’s birds, ranked by the danger they pose to humans and other life forms.

Tied for first place is the Squalk, a razor-beaked menace that inhabits the northern climates of Yavhore and feeds on rodents, reptiles and small children’s dreams. An adult Squalk can have a wingspan of up to a metre wide and is known for its distinctive cry, which can be heard from great distances off. Squalk are birds of prey and are known to have large territories that they defend fiercely. Every major northern Yavhorel city is in the territory of a Squalk, which is derived from a Razth term and means ‘devastation.’ They are often domesticated by harpies to serve as warbirds, though they frequently rebel and kill their masters, because they refuse to be controlled. Many have claimed that Squalk only attack humans when provoked but this is untrue, as they have been known to harass young boys doing nothing but walking down the road with a candy in their hands. They are adept at tearing apart their prey with their long beaks and longer talons, effortlessly eviscerating anything that dares show hubris whilst crossing their deadly paths.

Tied for first place is the lesser spotted fenhopper, a small finch that inhabits the forests of Enjon, particularly the Nezzea Woods, where they are extremely plentiful. The fenhopper can easily fit in the palm of an average human’s hand and is not particularly violent, and therefore one might be tempted to assume they are harmless to anything that isn’t a plant or small insect. This is, of course, incredibly, lethally untrue, as the fenhopper is one of the most poisonous animals on Nova. It eats a diet comprised entirely of toxic insects and is immune to all known forms of poison and venom, and because of how much poison it consumes regularly, the lesser spotted fenhopper is exceptionally poisonous and must never be eaten, as no known species on in the world has the ability to resist its poison. This would not be problematic (because nobody wants to eat a small bird) were it not for the fact that the fenhopper has a tendency to seek out trees and disguise itself as a small plant or fruit, in an apparent suicidal insistence on killing herbivorous mammals and growing human boys who are trying to eat a balanced diet. The level of spite found in the lesser spotted fenhopper is unsurprising in a bird, but still disconcerting. Its eggs are also highly toxic, and closely resemble those of the lesser striped fenhopper, which is not at all poisonous (but highly venomous), and therefore are frequently eaten by mistake, despite this being an evolutionary adaptation on behalf of the lesser striped fenhopper to avoid having its eggs eaten. The only way to tell the difference between the two sets of eggs is that lesser spotted fenhopper eggs are slightly smaller and tend not to have as many spots on them.   

Tied for first place is the Selqan Noyya, a running bird that inhabits continental Aergyre. They grow up to two and a half metres tall and can weigh as much as a hundred and twenty kilograms. They do not fly, but can use their short wings to glide distanced of approximately ten metres at a time, and can run nearly as fast as the average horse and much faster than an above average seven-year-old boy. Their beaks are very hard and they peck with force sufficient to break human bones, an ability they are not afraid to employ on anyone who enters their territory without sufficient tribute. They are fond of succulent flowering shrubs and can often be distracted by these for upwards of eight minutes. Selqan Noyyat tend to appear in large flocks, however, and are therefore difficult to distract because of those numbers. They are considered an enemy of the Empire, but their numbers and the level of violence they are willing to employ against any threat has stymied even the most determined attempts to win wars against them, marking one of Aergyre’s only meaningful military losses, which in this case also represents a loss for all humanity.

Tied for first place is the Joyk, a colourful Kadja bird that mostly inhabits the northern regions of Tundj, but can be found all over the continent of Djyekkan. There are several different subtypes of Joyk, but the main thing that differentiates it from other colourful birds across Djyekkan is the Joyk’s ability to mimic human speech to a sufficient degree that they can, when they so desire, lure unsuspecting boys into the jungle and cause them to become lost, presumably for the purpose of feeding on their corpses. Joyk supposedly only eat nuts and insects, but they have extremely sharp beaks and though most of them can perch comfortably in a human hand, they are more than capable of pecking out eyes. They also have razor sharp talons that can rush the life out of anything they grip. They occasionally live among humans, whom they have tricked into feeding them by being brightly coloured and knowing how to curse. Many humans even keep them as pets, to their detriment. The most dangerous Joyk is the Ki’i Joyk, which is able to change the colour of its feathers to enough of a degree that it can hide in most foliage, in order to best fly out at humans and attack them from a position of stealth.

Tied for first place is the marquis penguin, a species of semiaquatic bird inhabiting western Bevia (‘marquis’ is Dekna for ‘penguin’). The contradiction inherent in all penguins is of course that they swim more efficiently than they fly, and indeed claim not to fly at all, which they’ve convinced most humans is the truth because no human has ever seen a penguin fly. A marquis is double contradictory because instead of being a cold weather penguin like most penguins, it inhabits four tropical islands whose average yearly temperature can fry eggs on exposed rock. They stand at approximately three quarters of a metre tall and eat primarily fish, with only a few presumed cases of anthropophagy associated with them, far lower than most species of bird. They are also fond of pushing children into water, and shepherding ships to run them aground. The most dangerous thing about the marquis penguin is its paradoxical existence, which allows them to tap into the true power of penguins, that of universal creation. A little-known fact about the nature of the universe is that it was created by a vindictive and unpleasant penguin, and his agents are all to be feared and avoided at all costs, none more so than those that thrive in hot temperatures.

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 5: Histories and Mysteries,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.

28 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Dread Birds of Nova

  1. Vindictive and unpleasant? I’d say you should sue for such baseless slander, but that would be feeding into his narrative.


  2. This seems rather discriminatory. Pax has had misadventures with all manner of beings, but he bears a grudge for it only against the feathery ones.


    1. …I like how “the feathery ones” could be read as specifying the feathered beings of his misadventures, but could ALSO be read as a euphemistic title for something you don’t want to name directly. Like “the kindly ones”. Or how “bear” isn’t actually the true name of the bear (which was lost) but actually means “the brown one”.


      1. (Alt text: Thank you to Gretchen McCulloch for fielding this question, and sorry that as a result the world’s foremost internet linguist has been devoured by the brown one. She will be missed.)


    1. Birds with mythical status and/or magic powers? They’re just as terrible but in different ways, and there’s an entire section dedicated to the reasons for this. The Phoenix especially, refusing to stay dead. What is that nonsense?



        1. Yes, and in the event of a tie, they are sorted in order of how much they have personally victimized the author. 😀

          He is considering putting the common pelican in second place in light of recent experiences, however.


          1. Now, if I were a horrible goose (and thanks to the magic of video games, I have been on occasion), I would take the fact that I wasn’t at the top of Pax’s list as a /challenge/.


            1. Yes, I do think Pax considered the danger this list would pose, but chose to take that risk anyway for the good of humanity.

              But that goose is gonna fight for number one in the second edition. 😀



  3. Pax and GlaDOS have a lot in common, come to think of it. Well, okay, not really that much. Just this:


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