Korvi feathersPosted: October 15, 2012
In the development of the Aligare world, I decided that korvi folk would have feathered wings instead of the traditional webbed dragon wings. Peregrine had webbed wings in his earliest form. Then I reworked his world, and he got feathers covering his wings and back.
Why? Well, feather wings make physical sense. Feathers form an airfoil and generate lift, so that the winged creature doesn’t have to rely solely on labour-intensive flapping. This — along with Earth bird ideas like hollow bones — make it more plausible that something the size of a dragon would be capable of flying at all. Keep in mind that on Earth, 30 pounds/13.6 kilograms is exceptionally heavy for a flighted bird!
It’s not that korvi are big compared to typically gigantic dragons. I imagine korvi standing as tall as a particularly large human. But they’re still more of a mechanical challenge than a dainty songbird, and I didn’t want to rely too much on the “dragons can fly because they’re dragons” school of thought. Korvi do use magic to fly, but in the form of firecasting, which gives their reptilian bodies the heat and energy necessary to leap upward and beat wings. It’s another way my fantasy whimsy is backed up with actual science.
The other reason korvi have feathers? Because feathers are pretty!
Yep. Pretty. Even in their earliest design stages, korvi had decorative feathers on their heads and necks. Imagine a horse’s mane, except instead of hair, it’s made of the wispy feather strands that make up a peacock feather. Korvi manes are like that. The sleek flight feathers were a later development, and spread wing feathers have a definite prettiness of their own.
To match their fire element, korvi have feathers in a range of fiery colours. Most korvi are orange, red or somewhere in between. Yellow colouring is less common, and the rarest colouration is deep, purpley red.
Tijo smirked humourless. He reached to his wing, grabbed flight quills and tugged – and the entire handful came loose, splayed wine-dark in his fist.
“You are moulting!”
“I couldn’t have picked a worse time.”
“Say that twice because it’s true!” Syril reached for the loose quills. “May I, friend? The dancers love your colouring, they say it really adds panache to a feather fan and–”
“Take them. […]”
Remedy, a story of Aligare, Chapter 13
Like birds, korvi occasionally shed and regrow their feathers. It’s an inconvenience but a necessary one. The shed feathers are treated like clothing: something that used to be the korvi’s possession, but it doesn’t fit anymore so that’s the end of that. The feathers might as well be given or traded away if anyone wants them. Wing quills are of particular interest, since they can be used in decorations such as dancer’s fans, as well as more useful items like brooms.
Korvi feathers are one of those concepts I kept finding good reasons for. Stock dragon wings really wouldn’t be the same at all.
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