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Oosha

Appearance

The oosha are a race of long-limbed, flightless owl people, native to the marsh and jungle of Satalilim. They’re tall and slender, averaging at least 6 feet in height with their legs and arms significantly longer than their bodies. They have 3 digits each on their hands and feet: two fingers and a thumb, and two front toes and one back toe. Although flightless, they can jump to incredible heights.

Oosha are covered in brown feathers of all shades, with black and white markings on their chests and faces. Their facial feathers are unique among other bird species, with both males and females having "whisker" feathers that extend from the sides of their faces, and males grow additional "moustache" feathers on either side of their beaks. Young oosha, known as ooshlets, don't have these whisker feathers until they're much older, but are instead covered in mottled, fluffy down.

As oosha grow older, they don't have many outward changes to their appearance, save for the tendency to hunch over and the dulling of their eyes. It's important to note, however, that oosha have very long life spans, with most healthy individuals living upwards of 100 years.

History

The oosha rely on an oral tradition to record their history, and have only recently adopted the goblin style of writing for ease of communication. The earliest tales of the oosha describe their birth as a byproduct of the Bloody Contest, when all of Magulansi's creations fought each other to earn the dark god's favor.

Ever since then, they kept to themselves in Maalig Marsh and along the rivers of Satalilim, having little contact with the neighboring goblins due to the unfortunate assumption by goblin scholars that the oosha were little more than intelligent beasts. They were even hunted for their long feathers and for sport by both the goblins and the elves once the empire landed on Suran. Although the oosha adapted to the tactics of their hunters, often striking back in retribution on unsuspecting camps, their numbers dwindled during this time.

As the empire's attentions were diverted to fighting the rebellion, the oosha population began to recover. Their long lives meant long memories, and they were content to avoid the goblins or defend themselves as necessary. Unfortunately, the eruption of Mt. Smoky and the formation of the Deathwood meant even less space for the goblins and oosha to live comfortably together, causing most oosha villages to relocate to Maalig Marsh. According to oosha lore, they were the ones to first identify the Deathwood as the growing menace it is, even tracking its growth and the shrinking "safe zones" within it.

Peace and understanding was finally reached in 470 AF, when the goblin guides known as Crackshots captured a particularly intelligent oosha named Sharee. In the short time of her captivity, Sharee was able to convince the Crackshots of her wit and intelligence, all without a shared word between her and her captors. With the Crackshots’ support and help from some of her villagers, Sharee led the way towards the oosha being recognized as an intelligent race of Itaire.

Culture

Many oosha mark themselves with pale clay to either blend in with their surroundings or intimidate foes. Their feathers are enough to keep them warm and dry, so most of them don't wear clothing, and the most that they will wear is a belt or pocketed vest to carry small items. They live in small villages near the water, constructed around the trunks of trees or among its branches. In Maalig Marsh, their homes are built above the roots of the mangrove trees to be safe from the high tides, which is a design feature they pointed out to the goblins during the construction of Baraw City.

Today, only some of the oosha are willing to forgive the goblins’ cruelty. They fiercely defend their homes from all invaders. Those few who are friendly with the goblins are still somewhat wary of the other races of Itaire, but are nonetheless curious of these travelers.

The most difficult issue with the friendly oosha continues to be the language barrier between them and the other races since they are the only ones with beaks. Some sounds are just impossible for the oosha to duplicate, and vice versa with travelers unfamiliar with the clicks and whistles common to the oosha. Interestingly, some oosha see it as a game to see how long they can speak without using "lip words".