Bestiary: Aerial Servant

This will continue our examination of the more interesting creatures of the world, Hearth. Our emphasis will be on the region of Marsilon, but we shall pepper in those creatures of particular interest from the world at large. This evening’s lecture will focus on the invisible world of the sky and the thraefaestir in particular. You may be more familiar with its name in the common parlance, the aerial servant. Much of this information comes from the writings of the MageKing, Cyrill Kikendall, who was the last spellcaster powerful enough to summon such a creature. Also, sadly, or not so sadly, depending on your politics, he was the last to be slain by one as well. The rest of our information comes from deciphered fragments found by scavengers, extractors, and researchers. Enough preamble, let us proceed.

AERIAL SERVANT (thraefaestir)

The aerial servant is a semi-intelligent form of gaseous creature that can be found high in the sky; living, hunting, and procrating amongst and above the clouds. Often considered a form of air elemental or greater invisible stalker. I will tell you it is neither, the first being a crass generalization of spirits by those who should know better and the second being a wholly different species of gaseous creature. One must realize that the ecosystem of the sky is as diverse as that of the ocean, perhaps more so, most definitely more so if one considers the entirety of the space between Hearth and the stellar bodies. The sky does not end but goes on forever upward and outward far beyond our simple existence and terrestrial concerns. Do not the angels descend from the heavens above? The sky reaches out to the heavens as surely as the hells lie beneath our feet. But, I digress.

The aerial servant is a very rare creature. Even in its natural habitat it is seldom encountered. It is a solitary hunter which ranges and maintains a large territory, like the tiger of Afrasia or the grizzled bear of our own Marsilon. But even so, this is a creature of air and as such it is naturally invisible to us. Under some circumstances, within a cloud bank or higher into the astral space, it can be dimly perceived as a translucent shimmer and vague outline. An outline of a large, vaguely humanoid form 8-foot in height.

Being a gaseous creature made entirely of air and spirit, it is incredibly fast, naturally invisible, and immune to mundane weaponry. You’re not going to shoot or stab this thing without the aid of sorcery. Its reactions and movements are twice that of a person, or even an elf. Terrestrial creatures hold no interest for these creatures under most circumstances. Being as they are so far beneath them. Literally. But, if one were to find themselves, somehow, high in the sky amongst the clouds, one would most definitely become a curiosity. And there is some danger in that.

It is more likely you would encounter this creature under circumstances far more dire. Most likely due to a conjuration by some spellcaster who has bound the creature to a task. Taken advantage of it’s semi intelligence to impress a geas upon it or enslave it to their will. This can be quite dangerous as if the task proves to be overly difficult or impossible to complete the aerial servant will become enraged, break the spellcasters hold, and return to reap its vengeance upon that spellcaster. This usually entails a rather horrific death for said spellcaster.

Tasks assigned to these bound creatures needs be rather simple, as their understanding is limited and our world foreign to them. The aerial servant is told to find or recover some object or creature described by the summoner and to return with it to the caster or an assign. Rarely do these agreements benefit the aerial servant in any way. You may be winding how that is possible given the gaseous form of these creatures. Well, despite being seemingly insubstantial, they can manifest enough substance to carry weights in excess of 1,000 pounds and can lift significantly more.

Let me sidetrack a bit and explain the summoning so that you can fully grasp the danger involved with these creatures. The spellcaster casts a spell which summons an aerial servant to do their bidding. To do this safely, the spellcaster must have either a powerful protection spell, or be within a magic circle when summoning an aerial servant. Additionally, the spellcaster has need of a potent symbol, artifact, or relic to use to control the creature and issue the geas. Otherwise, the aerial servant will slay its summoner and return from whence it came. If done properly and the caster has taken the right precautions and arranged for the proper controls the creature does not fight, but it obeys the command of the spellcaster with respect to finding and returning with whatever object or creature that is described to it. Of course, the object or creature must be such as to allow the aerial servant to physically bring it to the spellcasters assignee. The spellcaster needs keep in mind the consequences of having an aerial servant prevented, for any reason, from completion of the assigned duty. The aerial servant will return and kill the spellcaster who gave it a task it could not complete. The binding of this spell lasts from 11 to 20 days, depending on the strength of the summoning fabricated by the spellcaster. Successful or not, the aerial servant rushes to escape back into the sky whenever the spell lapses, its duty is fulfilled, it is dispelled, the spellcaster releases it, or the spellcaster is slain.

The aerial servant will always attack with complete surprise when sent on a mission or seeking vengeance, they do not rush in with curtains blowing and shutters crashing as would an air elemental. They are intelligent, cunning, and patient hunters. Aerial servants do not fight per se, but they are exceedingly strong, naturally invisible, and very fast. It would be a rare individual indeed who would not be surprised by an assault from one of these creatures. Their strength is such that a person caught in the grasp of this creature has no chance of breaking free, less they be truly the mightiest of mortals. And that is almost never the case among those who practice the magical arts. Once grasped, if the creature seeks to do harm, the carnage can be rather grisly. As the target of the aerial servants wrath is usually torn asunder into something quite reminiscent of pulled pork. I apologize for that visual.

Insanity is often given as the reason these creatures break their bonds and become violent. I rather think resentment, hatred and frustration are more likely compulsions for these attacks. You will often hear the following passage quoted by master’s during lecture and see it regurgitated in purportedly respected arcane journals; “if the aerial servant is frustrated from completion of its assigned mission it becomes insane, returns to the spellcaster which sent it forth, and attacks that spellcaster. This should cause one to consider carefully before enslaving a creature easily twice as powerful as an invisible stalker.” Consider carefully, ha. No one has had the strength to cast high magic since the end of the fourth age. It is more likely that the magic would kill a caster doing this than that a servant would even appear.

So then the danger is to those who venture into its natural habitat and encounter one without ever even noting its presence. For any who become a curiosity to this creature should expect a similar treatment to the summoning caster. While terrestrial creatures are not completely foreign to aerial servants, their exposure to our kind is an experience far from that of the winged creatures one would expect to encounter in the sky. Unless perhaps, the aerial servant in question has had an experience similar to that described previously, which would be bad. Otherwise a curious aerial servant will simply be defending its territory or attempting to rid the sky of foreign material that it deems does not belong. In either case, the results will be quite deadly.

Thank you for your attention. I will be available for a short time at that table near the fireplace to answer questions and accept free drinks. Good night.

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