The Land of Corra
Legendary beast that fights in the name of Heironeous
Rossiq stands chest high to a man, and his presence commands attention. His leonine body is sleek, but built, and the curvature of his every muscle can be seen under his skin. His mane is proud and wild, and colored a smokey charcoal which matches the tuft on his tail, and his massive feathered wings. When fully spread they span 18 feet, and can be used as a weapon as well as a mode of travel. Rossiq tends to be stoic and gruff with those he doesn’t know, but those who know him well call him gentle, sensitive, and wise. At home in the Ket paladin’s guild, his features usually reflect that of a noble statue, not intimidating so much as quietly majestic. However, when his duties lead him outside of the guild and into battle, he portrays a force so violent and destructive that whole platoons have been known to flee from him alone.
Birth and Early years
Rossiq believes (and who can doubt him) that he was born to a mother who mated with Heironeous in lion form. This, he explains, is why he has the gift of speech and logic. (And of course the tremendous wings.) He feels in his heart that this was a deliberate act by Heironeous, creating Rossiq so that he might fulfill his destiny as protector and trainer of the [[Paladins of Ket]].
Rossiq’s earliest memory is of prowling the savannas of [[Old Kingdom]], hunting zebra. He was young, maybe 3, and he had his own pride. He was ruler of the savanna, and none challenged him. He circled the skies above the endless plain, while his pride looked on from below. He found an acceptable herd and make wide circles above it, signaling his hunters to quietly move in. When all the pieces were finally in play, Rossiq plummeted toward the ground, driving his full force of weight, teeth, and claws into the alpha male of the herd, killing it withing seconds of impact. The herd panics. There is just a brief moment of stillness before utter pandemonium breaks out. Beasts of all sizes scatter like a bowl of water being cast onto a stone. But water must flow. And these animals did flow. They poured across the savanna, being routed by the rock formations and thick vegetation until they flowed into the waiting mouths of Rossiq’s pride. Precisely as planned. Rossiq’s pride always ate well, and tonight was no exception. With each member chewing on their own kill, the pride were happy.
Bloated on meat, and careless with arrogance, Rossiq allowed himself to pass out early in the evening, away from his pack and much too close to a road. A traveling circus came upon the epic Rossiq, in all his gluttonous, winged majesty. It was no hard task to bind the beast, nor to prod his sluggish bulk into one of the many cages that housed the other extraordinary animals. And that was how the mighty Rossiq, winged ruler of the savannah, came to be a slave to man.
Life among men
Rossiq grew to accept his life as a circus attraction, though he was never happy. They stopped letting him out of his pen since he attempted escape every time they did. Usually injuring or killing a wrangler in the process. He was content with this however. At least it meant he didn’t have to pretend to be afraid of a man with a chair and a whip like some of the other lions did. No, the circus’ tamers never wandered within 50 feet of Rossiq’s cage. They knew what would happen if they strayed too close. So Rossiq waited. He bode his time, and planned for the day he knew would come. The ringmaster saw a unique, majestic beast that he sought to have for his own. That is all he ever thought of Rossiq. Never could he have anticipated that Rossiq had a keen mind, quite capable of logic, and with a certain penchant for tactics. Although he did wonder sometimes why Rossiq only attacked his captors, and not the gawking, goading spectators that provoked him daily.
Rossiq’s favorite hobby while at the circus (aside from eating the staff) was listening. He listened to everything around him at all times. He identified the calls of the different animals, he listened to the voices of his captors, and the voices of his spectators. He took it all in for several years, until one day, he understood a word. Not in the way most animals understand commands or keywords, rather he understood its meaning. He used that word to gain context of the next. And the next. Soon his hobby was no longer listening. It was learning. He was learning common from the keepers of the pens, the human children trying to poke him with a stick, the performers who took their break near the cages, even the ringmaster himself.
Rossiq had been a prisoner of this gypsy troupe of performers for 4 years. His patience was worn to the wire. His tolerance frayed. He knew he could not endure much more of this life. He went from king to prisoner, spending 4 years in a pen that he got to see the outside of 3 times. This was not his fate. He was pondering this when the feeder approached his cage throwing in meat and startling him. Rossiq’s gaze darted up, alarmed, and he glared at the feeder. The feeder returned his gaze for a moment, safely away from the bars of the cage. “well?”, he asked. “What in the Nine Hells do you want, you stinking alleycat?” Rossiq thought for a moment, then parted his lips. “Freedom.” He said, softly and perfectly. The feeder thought he was going mad for a moment… had the cat really spoken? Now after 4 years? But he was not the only one that had heard it. Murmurs began floating around, and the murmers turned to chatter, and chatter turned to excitement, and soon there was a crowd of performers and spectators alike all shouting words at him, trying to make him speak again for their confirmation. The ringmaster caught wind of the commotion and pushed through the crowd. He too tried to get Rossiq to speak. “Hey! Filthy cat! Say something!” The fat man cracked a long whip into the cage. Rossiq backed away and showed his teeth. “See, just a beast. You’re a fool if you can think he can talk. And probably mad too. You’re fired!” “NO!” cried the feeder. “He spoke, I swear! I asked him what he wanted and he-” “SILENCE!” cried the ringmaster, and he focused his attention on Rossiq once more. “Well?” he taunted, “What do you want, you mangy flea bitten beast?” The crowd went silent with anticipation. Rossiq stared into the ringmasters cruel eyes. His lips parted, he took a long, deep breath. “I… want… my… FREEDOM!” Rossic cried this last word as loud as he could. The cry turned into a roar. The roar turned into a deafening shockwave which splintered the frame of his pen. Metal bars flew end over end into the crowd and over their heads, and the crowd itself was scattered about the ground like a house of cards in a stiff wind. Rossiq took in another breath and stepped outside of what was once his cage, and let out another massive roar. Not moments ago, the crowd thought they were watching an entertaining show. Now, those that could find their feet were scooping up their family and running for safety. The air was shrill with screams. The loudest of these emanated from the ringmaster himself, and were only silenced when Rossiq bore down on him and gleefully tore his throat out.
When the madness and carnage were over, bloody rossiq cleavedopen the doors to the rest of the pens, releasing the wild creatures into the world. Many fought among themselves, and many ran. Many more still stayed cowering in fear in the back corners of their cages. But Rossiq had done all he could. Their fate was their own now, like he and his. He spread his wings for the first time since that last most epic hunt, and launched into the sky.