Air kiarrcats are instantly recognisable. They are one of only two winged kiarrcat species, and of those two, the only one that many others get to see. An Air's body is lean and streamlined to cut down on wind resistance. A deep chest houses a large heart and lungs, and anchors the flight muscles that power the wings. An Air's wings are feathered, long, and narrow, rather like an albatross or other migratory bird. Airs are long distance flyers, capable of transcontinental journeys. The tail, too, is feathered, long, and bears no resemblance to any other species' tail, instead resembling that of a bird. It acts as a rudder in flight. Airs have large eyes and ears, and because they do not use their paws for walking so much, their forepaws have long, dexterous digits. An Air's cheek ruffs are unusually long and flowing, though nobody is sure why.
Airs prefer to live in rocky, hilly terrain where they can launch themselves into the sky with ease, so are most commonly found around coasts and mountains, but any open areas that aren't too cold will do. It's not always easy to spot an Air settlement, not because they are careful builders, but because there is no kiarrcat that likes to be out in the open more than an Air. Unlike other outdoor inclined species such as Grasslands, this is more than a simple preference. Airs are notoriously claustrophobic, and any space in which they cant spread their wings is liable to send them into a panic. Air constructions are usually nothing more than hide or cloth canopies to keep off the rain. To keep warm and dry, Airs often use their abilities to create bubbles of still air that act as invisible shelters.
Because of their ability to travel long distances, Airs are commonly seen as messengers. Relay teams are set up to convey written or memorised messages across the face of Ryll. Airs have also contributed to kiarrcatkind's understanding of their world, mapping out the landmasses and islands of Ryll with more detail than would ordinarily be possible for such a low tech world.
- Average height at shoulder: 75cm
- Comfortable temperature range: 5 to 20C
Traits and Abilities
- Flight: Of the two winged species, Airs are the most powerful fliers. They are capable of long distance journeys, and athletic Airs can even manage trans-continental journeys.
- Senses: Airs have very sharp eyesight, equatable to that of a bird of prey. In contrast, their sense of smell and taste are dulled.
- Speed: Airs are lightly built, and quick to match.
- Dextrous: Because Airs don't walk around as much as other species, their forepaws are especially nimble.
- Weakness: Being built for flight means that Airs have to be lightweight, and this leaves them quite fragile.
- Claustrophobia: Airs really don't like confined spaces. If they can't stretch their wings out to their full extent (which is a lot!) they start to panic.
- Efficient Lungs: An Air's respiritory system is like a bird's, maintaining a constant flow of air across the bloodstream. Whilst they don't suffer from oxygen toxicity in low altituides like a Mountain, they are very sensitive to any noxious gases that might be floating about - almost literal canaries, you might say.