Powers of the Windemere Sky: Radical Riders

Pegasus and Kratos

I figured I should discuss the Windemere ‘air forces’ since I touched on land and sea already.  Pretty sure I have a bunch of people wanting me to get this whole thing over with, but I push for equality.  That and these might not be very long.  After all, there isn’t much up in the skies when it comes to combat and protection.  The first category alone might not take much.

Now, the ‘Riders’ are warriors that use a flying mount.  Griffin riders are the most common and are considered the special forces of Gaia.  This puts them with the army since the soldiers have guard duties and patrols.  Just so happens that they do a lot of that from among the clouds.  Special gear is included with this career, which is better than the handful of other rider-types.  There are some wild tribes that use rocs, wyverns, giant bats, and perytons for combat and traveling.  Most of these animals are difficult because they lack the friendly nature of the griffins.

You might be wondering about Pegasus and Dragons too.  Well, the first is a very rare animal that will only let certain people ride them.  It seems each one has a different preference too.  One Pegasus might only allow virgin girls on its back while another goes for veteran male warriors.  This is determined by their nature since they are attracted by hearts and spirits that are similar to their own.  Now, they might approach someone that is different, but they won’t give a ride.  As for Dragons . . . anyone riding one of those has typically been chosen and is involved in a special circumstance.  A dragon has to REALLY like you or consider you an equal or superior.  This is in regards to constant riding because they will help with a ride if asked politely.  (Note:  I only mean Nature Dragons.  Weapon Dragons will eat you no matter how nicely you ask for a ride.)

There will be griffin riders getting involved in events, but only if Gaia is part of the story.  A downside to these types of characters is that they’re on territorial beasts.  Very few riding animals wander outside of their comfort zone, which can be a city or a specific mountain range.  You need to give them a reason and they don’t care about adventure like their two-legged counterparts.  Perhaps the easiest way to have a flying mount that will travel with you is to raise one from birth and not let it interact with others of its species.  This will make it think you’re it’s family and negate some of the learned instincts.  It’s also a horrible thing to do to an animal.  If the baby was orphaned and you can’t find others then okay, but never do this for your own purposes.

A final tidbit on the flying forces.  Many tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to navies.  They can handle armies, but once a battle goes out to sea, most winged animals tend to get nervous.  As mentioned in The Compass Key, griffins have learned that they can get tangled in the rigging of a ship.  The ropes can then break and they’ll fall into the water where they drown.  Wet wings also make it difficult to get back in the air, which leaves them vulnerable to sharks, the tide, and enemy fire.  This is why they try to stay away from even a docked ship, which means the rider has to be able to fight from afar if the battle goes away from the shore.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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19 Responses to Powers of the Windemere Sky: Radical Riders

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Charles Yallowitz with another post introducing us to the armed forces withing Windemere.. he now takes to the air. Meet the Riders and their mounts.. pretty scary seeing that come at you out of the blue…

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  2. L. Marie says:

    Glad to see how you covered this group. I can’t help thinking of the documentary WINGED MIGRATION, which covers bird fatigue. Makes sense that wet wings would be a flight hazard.

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    • I always assumed they can handle rain with some natural water protection, but getting dunked in the ocean would be difficult. At least for those that aren’t designed for diving into the water for food. I’m thinking of having griffins in Cerascent (large island chain continent) be smaller, leaner, and designed for diving. Then again, they’d probably be closer to ospreys than cormorants.

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  3. Never thought of all the dangers of sea warfare for a Griffin. Makes sense though. Thanks.

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  4. I like the bit with the rigging on ships. Their fear of this makes them more realistic. Think I’ll stick with a carpet for flying.

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  5. I would think that flying forces would be outstanding for aerial spying/reconaissance as much as actual combat.

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    • They are, but most of the flying creatures are too big to stay hidden. Most armies use spying spells to avoid putting animals and soldiers in danger too, but a griffin rider will be sent out as a scout in some situations. Usually to locate an enemy force and get a quick look from a safe height.

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      • Depending on whether any casters have the range, or other aerial forces are in the area, a recon team could be flying around, blatantly watching troop movements. If they’re above the casters’ range, there’s nothing to be done about it. This could also have the psychological effect of “we know you’re there, we’re ready for you” that could effect an invader’s morale.

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      • Possibly. The trade off is that the invaders no longer act as if they have the element of surprise. So caution gets thrown out and they may dig in among a bunch of traps. This is why scouts work better when they’re not seen, which is a problem for aerial creatures. The best way to solve this is train beasts to do it without a rider or utilize invisibility armor, which is not 100% effective in Windemere. A lot of this depends on the type of enemy. Trained armies will change tactics accordingly while bandits may get worried and reckless. In regards to the casters, they have some impressive range with attack spells since they’re typically the answer to aerial attacks. Another issue would be if they have an illusionist who is hiding enemy forces or making the army appear bigger. Griffins have been used in Windemere battles for a long time, so there are plenty of common tactics used to counter them.

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