General Info: Arathlial are air spirits taking the form of massive eagles that range from 8' to 16' in height, differing otherwise only in the great plumes of five long feathers that rise from their head. While the Arathlial's beaks bar them from speaking any language aloud, they can mindspeak fluent Common. Incredibly intelligent, they are able to communicate as well or better than most shinies, using moving images, full sentences, and even better grammar than some humans! Occasionally they can pick up a slightly (or not so slightly) archaic accent.
Each Arathli is born with two very special abilities. The first is called wind manipulation, an ability that all Arathlial possess and execute. This ability enables lighter Arathlial to carry the weight of their bond and other objects that they might not otherwise be able to lift. Most Arathlial are also capable of using a combination of mind and wing techniques to alter air currents, create drafts, reduce or increase drag, and move the air immediately surrounding their bodies. Many are even capable of creating small breezes and the occasional gale, a common hunting skill used to sweep prey off its feet. A particularly skilled user can generate whirlwinds or tiny, short-lived tornadoes that create chaos in small areas and homes. While they can create and manipulate, Arathlial cannot command the new wind beyond its initial direction. As a general rule, if you aren't close enough to feel the flap of their wings you are probably safe!
The degree to which an Arathlial masters wind manipulation varies, but the largest Arathlial are the strongest manipulators, as they have broader wingspans capable of stirring up more air. For example, a Tempest could be talented enough to make a tornado, but the resulting creation is far weaker than the tornado generated by an East.
The second ability that Arathlial possess is that of twistering, or moving to another place rapidly by manipulation of mind and body. The Arathli attempting to do this will meld its own particles and those of anything touching it with the particles of the very air, and rapidly move to wherever they wish. All Arathlial are born knowing how to Twister, but the ability is most often practiced within the higher, more skilled ranks. Common ranks are prone to mistakes and typically hold reservations about using such a dangerous ability. Twistering without proper knowledge and form could get one and one's bonded melded with the air forever, or at least until a competent Arathli corrects the mistake!
Mating Info: Females will lead their males in a chase through the skies, randomly turning around, changing air currents, whatever hits her fancy. Oftentimes she will determine a worthy mate amongst those who can find her. Sometimes they will also call for physical fights and may or may not choose the victor. Shiny gifts are always appreciated.
Bonding Info: Clutches will be laid on high cliffs, far, far above the ground, as high as the mother can manage. Both mother and father are at the hatching, and one is always watching the nest. Once the drums have been sounded, the father will fly down to the ground beneath the cliff to await candidates. Candidates who wish to bond with the parents' grace offer the father gifts, and if he finds them acceptable, he will take up to three at a time up to the cliff where the eggs are hatching. Upon landing, the father will return the gifts to whom he had received them from, to let the hatchlings decide upon them. You do not have to offer the father anything and can scale the cliff or ride some creature up, but without the parents' grace the trespasser is in danger.
Once upon the cliff, the candidates are to stand in a loose circle around the eggs and lay their gifts before them. However, the mule-sized hatchlings usually do not even take a look at the gifts when they first hatch. Their first instinct is to fly, and fly they will, right off of the cliff. Most will be able to fly, but others who may not be able to, well... The hatchlings will rise back up, usually to land upon the cliff to mingle with the candidates and seek a bond. Candidates who feel unnaturally bold and brazen, worried, or are sure that they have the parents' grace, may try to stop one of the Arathlial before it dives.
After all of the hatchlings have bonded, the mother will escort the unbonded candidates back to the ground. The hatchlings may fly to the ground as their father carries their bonded down, as their wing muscles are not developed enough to bear more than their own weight. It takes between six months to a year for hatchlings to reach full size.