Character Introduction- Gwen Plus 10 Facts About Aviandrian Rocs

Meet Gwen, one of Ashlynn’s best friends in Aviandria. She may not be what you think of as a standard character, but the story would never be the same without her. Because there is no good way to interview a roc, unless you know how to interpret “Squawk, squawk, chirp, chortle. <head bob> <ruffling of tail feathers>,” I can’t do this the same way I have done the other interviews. I can, however, introduce Gwen and give a few interesting facts about the rocs of Aviandria.

Gwendlynn, or Gwen, as she is normally called, is a roc. While Ashlynn is not her first rider, they share an intensely close connection, and Gwen is incredibly loyal to and protective of Ashlynn. She only really trusts a few people and doesn’t warm up to strangers very quickly. However, once she knows a person as a friend, she is a trusty ally. She is a very well trained roc, and will usually listen to orders, but sometimes it is with a fair bit of reluctance. It is no secret, Gwen has a mind of her own. She knows what she wants, and she is rather aggressive about getting it. If she were a human, she would probably be fairly sassy. Gwen also has a special knack for finding people, even if she doesn’t know exactly where they went. This can be both a blessing and a curse, but the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

Know Your Rocs- 10 Facts about the giant birds of Aviandria

1- Aviandrian Rocs are not exactly the terrifying giants in Tales of the Arabian Nights. Yes, they are big, and yes, they can be terrifying if they perceive a threat, they aren’t quite like the rocs Sinbad ran into. They aren’t big enough for several grown men to hitch a ride on their foot without being noticed, and they certainly couldn’t carry off an elephant even if they did get a very unusual craving. They are rather shy birds. For some reason, they have never sought to hurt humans or use them as a food source. With the exception of those rocs in the Sky Corps of Aviandria, most rocs avoid humans and populated areas altogether.

2- Rocs are very similar to Eagles in build and flight patterns. If you want to know what a roc looks like, picture a balled eagle, only much larger, and change the coloring and markings. Rocs usually range in color from a light cinnamon to a deep chocolate color. However, once in a while, you will get a genetic variation causing their feathers to be a gray or in very rare cases, black. Their underside is more of a cream color. There is a streak of white feathers on each side going from the top of their beak and continuing up to surround their eye. Also around their eye, there is a red patch surrounding the white streak. (You can see what I’m talking about in the picture of Gwen above.)

3- Rocs prefer to live in the mountainous regions along the southern coast. Rather than the typical twig eyries associated with eagles, rocs build scrapes more like the peregrine falcon. They seek out nesting places on the high cliffs overlooking the ocean, though they are perfectly capable of taking off from the ground. Usually, the rocs will line the scrapes with feathers or sometimes other soft foliage. Because it seldom gets cold enough to snow in the southern part of Aviandria where most rocs make their homes, they do not find it necessary to migrate in the winter. They stay close to Accipitridaelynn all year round.

4- A roc’s favorite food comes from the ocean. If they are hungry and some sort of fish isn’t available, a roc will eat things like deer or other forest animals, but they prefer to find their food in the ocean. They will look for large fish swimming near the surface. Sharks are among their favorite.

5- Rocs are very intelligent for a bird. Although rocs don’t possess human level intelligence like the dragons of Draconland, they are still pretty smart. They have problem-solving skills much like ravens, crows, and magpies. They easily learn to recognize and obey commands. Since riders don’t use any sort of bridal or reigns, rocs are directed using touch and sound signals. In order to do this, they have to know enough to know to trust their riders.

6- Rocs have a very special bond with their riders. They are raised from the time they hatch from their eggs by the person who will become their rider. They trust each other completely and usually consider each other as family. In most cases, a roc would do anything to protect their rider, and the rider would do the same for their roc. Sometimes a roc will bond with another person if something happens to their rider, but it is more the exception than the rule. Usually, a roc will only bond with one rider their entire life. This loyalty is one of the things that sets them apart from other similar birds of prey.

7- Unlike many of the other raptors, Rocs will stay with one mate for life, though much like with a roc and their rider, there are some instances where a roc will mate a second time if his or her mate dies prematurely. They are also good parents when they hatch their eggs. A roc will not sit on every egg she ever lays. She will only sit on an egg when she feels she is ready to devote her attention to raising a chick. If she is not ready, the egg will remain un-incubated. Once a roc begins sitting on an egg, however, they are committed. That egg becomes their life.

8- Rocs don’t like to fly in the dark. Although they are capable of flying at night, a roc’s vision isn’t nearly as strong in the dark, and it makes them feel very insecure. Rocs will very seldom fly at night unless given a very, very compelling reason.

9- Rocs can’t carry any extra weight if they get very wet. Rocs are powerful enough to fly themselves when their feathers are weighed down with water, but they can’t carry a rider or anything else very heavy if they manage to get themselves very wet. That is why riders can’t fly during a rainstorm, and why the winter months of frequent rain in Accipitridaelynn often feel so very long for them.

10- Rocs are held in great esteem in Aviandria. Even those who do not belong to the ranks of the riders consider rocs to be very special and respect them deeply. It would be a tremendous crime to purposefully kill a roc. The rocs in the Sky Corps are treated very well. If a person cannot treat a roc with kindness and respect, he or she has no place in the Sky Corps.


Now you know a bit about the giant birds that are so much a part of Aviandria. Hopefully, you found something of interest.


What other questions do you have about the rocs of Aviandria? 

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