The Phāéridū are large composite monsters common to the myths of Lyrast and Tassèrus. Although they are categorized as a race, only the Lesser Phāéridū appear similar to one another. Each of the Greater Phāéridū are believed to have a unique composition, personality, and temperance. Both Greater and Lesser Phāéridū are identified by a head that is mismatched to its winged, animal body. Phāéridū with Yrūn heads are generally received as more civilized than those with some other type. Accounts of the monsters have reported sizes ranging from lion to that of a mountain. Fortunately, appearances of the Greater Phāéridū have almost all been incorporeal.
The Phāéridū are believed to have originated from the Land of Emer at a very early time. Many Lyrasti religions claim that the race once acted as caretakers for the nascent Yrūn race. Lending credence to these tales, are the many stories of Phāéridū encounters where the monsters give secrets or advise to lost or misguided Yrūn.
As mentioned before, the Phāéridū are defined by their chimeric nature. Lesser Phāéridū have animal heads while Greater Phāéridū commonly have Yrūn heads. All Phāéridū have wings, manifesting in a wide variety of types (e.g., bat, Dragul, eagle). Most have the bodies of a quadrupedal beast, though their feet and legs may differ from the torso. There are no limits to the number of heads, tails, or limbs present in the Phāéridū form.
Lesser Phāéridū are thought to be Mortal. Clutches of their eggs have been found in remote locations. The fact that the world is not overrun with the monsters, supports the idea that they are Mortal or hunted. Greater Phāéridū are thought to be Immortal, having survived for many Ages, dwelling on edges of civilization.
The taxonomy of Phāéridū as Created is an old categorization. Lyrasti sages once claimed that the monsters were conjured by ancient Yrūn wizards as guardians, before their emergence from the Land of Emer. If this were true, it would imply a use of magic far in advance of what history recalls of the savage race that appeared on the southern shores of Lyrast at the end of the Second Age. It is also curious that neither the Dwürden nor the Eylfāe make mention of the monsters until a much later period. Whatever the truth, the categorization is widely accepted even if no-one is sure who made them.
Lesser Phāéridū are mostly bestial, savage creatures. Greater Phāéridū are endowed with a great intellect. While most have proven to be compassionate beings, though often aloof, exceptions have been noted. Some of these have reportedly used their race’s magnanimous reputation to lead Mortals toward disaster. The reason for their duplicity is uncertain. Greater Phāéridū of either alignment tend not to intervene directly in the affairs or Mortals, preferring to offer options and allow the Mortals to choose their own fate. The legends warn of a dark side however should the Phāéridū ever be crossed.
At least one legend of a Great Phāéridū from northwestern Tassèrus, involved an Æzàlari King (i.e., Vōzæn I) whose family benefited greatly from the counsel of the ancient monster Tazēmsis. In exchange, the Phāéridū demanded that the second born of each generation be given to him, so that he might employ them (i.e., Phæjin) for the remainder of their unnatural lives. Those sequestered within the ancient halls would manage the monster’s great libraries, ancient rituals, and tend to tasks of the place, while others would be sent on errands throughout the world. When the King’s first born died soon after childbirth, he shipped his second born from the kingdom so that it might be raised away from the “family curse”. When Tazēmsis appeared to claim the second born, the King explained what he had done and insulted the great beast, claiming that his family’s accomplishments were their’s alone and that the curse’s end was long overdue. Enraged, the monster razed the King’s castle and set his cities to flame. He then rampaged through the countrysides, bringing destruction to all the kingdom’s lands until only a desert remained. Returning to the King, the monster explained that their pact was undone and all that had been gifted was returned. As Tazēmsis flew away the kingdom’s people set upon the foolish king and tore his robes and body to shreds.
Because the Phāéridū are encountered so seldom, it is difficult to observe any cultures and traditions among them. What can be learned has been observed from those that surround them.
Though normally unconcerned with Mortal matters, the Greater Phāéridū are absolutely bestial in the presence of Lesser Phāéridū. It is unclear whether the former actively hunt the latter. When Lesser Phāéridū are encountered however, they are attacked and devoured with a mindless ferocity by their elders. Some have suggested that this uncharacteristic response gives valuable insight into the dim past of the monsters, perhaps to a time when the two types were more closely related.
Phāéjin give further insight into the lives of the Phāéridū. Phāéjin are believed to be Mortals that have been granted magic powers by the Greater Phāéridū. The transformation is thought to strip the Phaejin of many Yrūn qualities. Although most encounters with the Phāéjin are isolated, for the most part they serve as attendants to the Greater Phāéridū. This infers that the lives and duties of the Phāéridū may be more complicated than just appearing before starving wanderers in the desert, dispensing pearls of wisdom. Legends describe great mountain castles where Phāéridū are supported by dozens of Phaejin servants, each awesomely powerful in its own right. It is guessed that to this day, the Phāéridū are undertaking some great task to which Mortals are not privy.
It is uncertain whether the Phāéridū have a language of their own. The language common between them has been alleged to belong to an ancient race, possibly Yrūn. No script of the language is known. Complicating matters further, most Phāéridū are well-versed in many languages, tending toward older tongues.
Aesclaesis, Calapsirou, Mergarmirone, Nalfaebirnou, Tazēmsis
The Phāéridū are not known to follow Mortal Cults, though they are mentioned in the tales of more than one. Some tribes of the Great Esh worship the Greater Phāéridū as gods.
By all accounts, the magic of the Greater Phāéridū is nothing short of legendary. The fact that they able to imbue their servants with such “gifts” is a testament to their power. Lesser Phāéridū rarely exhibit magical abilities aside from the supernatural effects associated with their various parts (e.g., fire breathing, petrifying gaze). The bodies of Lesser Phāéridū are a virtual cornucopia of alchemical ingredients and magic components.
Nomenclature: Phaeridou Dekàlic: Phāéridū (race), Phāéridyn (individual), Phāéridyr (multiple)