Name: Anka
Category: Monsters, Mounts
Type: Avians
Size: Huge
Region: Arctic, Mountains, Grassland
Rarity: Uncommon
Lifespan ~50 years

Anka are massive white birds that look a lot like eagles, just a lot bigger.

They have a wingspan of seventy feet and crystal blue eyes, wicked talons and a sharp, hooked beak for ripping into meat. While mostly seen as being white, the feathers have a soft sheen of yellow or pale blue around the neck and under the wings.

Males are slightly larger than females, and the yellow of their beaks and talons is more pronounced. Newly hatched anka have no feathers, growing in their down at six weeks. They start to lose this fluff at six months and normally have their adult feathers at the age of one, although most have learned to fly at around eight months.

Behaviour

Anka can be aggressive when pushed by starvation or self-preservation instinct, but otherwise are fairly passive even in the wild. Though they may look intimidating due to their sheer size and their wicked talons, they are easily domesticated and seem quite happy to live in captivity as long as they're treated and fed well.

Diet: Fish
Habitat: Cold climates

Breeding

Anka pairs mate for life but only come together during mating season.

The females lay clutches of up to six eggs yearly but rarely more than one survives to adulthood due to their clumsiness and vulnerability on the ground, as well as the fact that they take so long to mature. While no predator dares attack a fully grown anka, and breeding pairs normally nest in remote places, the parents spend most of their time out of the nest hunting for food and thus leave the chicks vulnerable.

This has worked in their favour to a degree, however. The species would have died out by now if not for the efforts to domesticate them, but adults are too dangerous to be captured. As a result, chicks are stolen from their nests while their parents are away, and then hand-reared and trained from an early age.

Special Information

Strengths/Abilities:

  • With a wingspan of seventy feet, the bird's massive size easily allows it to lift a full-grown elephant or carry up to four people on its back. As a result, they've become a moderately-priced method of travelling across Elysia?, although they're too expensive (in labour as well as cost) to be a private mount and have instead formed a (relatively, having started to appear about four years ago in the major cities) new taxi service.
  • Anka can reach speeds of up to two hundred miles per hour, although it is considerably slower with cargo.

Weaknesses:

  • Their large size takes a lot of energy to lift from the ground as well as to maneuver in the air, so they can be cumbersome on the ground and have voracious appetites. Consequently, they're one of the more expensive mounts to keep (hence them being a public taxi service rather than private mounts), though many travelling merchants find the expense worthwhile.

Uses

  • Anka are popping up more and more along the trade routes where merchants put their lifting capabilities to good use. Less a personal transportation system and more a cargo carrier, these magnificent birds are usually second- or third-generation farm-reared domesticated chicks raised as workhorses. Nevertheless, the drive to farm the anka seems to have actually saved the creature from near extinction and their appearance in local stables is certainly bringing in the tourists!

    Anka taxis are usually driven by a trainer on a timetable and are more like bus routes than door-to-door services. However, for an extra fee, anka can be hired out for a longer period with or without a driver as long as the manager is satisfied you can keep the massive bird under control.
  • Anka talons can be fashioned into basic weapons or used in much the same way as an elephant's ivory, so there is a black market demand for them.
  • Anka feathers have some industrial uses.
  • Anka are used as taxis to ferry people across Elysia?, in particular to and from the isolated towns.

Origin

Anka could only be found in the arctic regions of Elysia? originally but it has been domesticated and can be found in warmer climates now, especially around the anka farms of Daire?.

Created by Dora? and Emma?