Like the smallest stitches that fashion a fine gown, I like to think it’s the little details that best bring a setting together. And there are few smaller details in the Speaking Lands than the humble but remarkable quickfinch. It’s a cute little bird!
Thanks to the Gazetteer format, though, this little bird is stitched into Ipieros in a bunch of fun ways. Quickfinches are connected to so many things—and get into so many others—that they’re primed for your rogue grumbling about “stupid little birds” only to be corrected by the barbarian explaining how the noble quickfinch is the key to… whatever it is that the adventurers are up to this week.
I’m so eager to share the entry with you all!
This small bird is found throughout Ipeiros, summering in the northern reaches and wintering in the south. In the Norsteppes, the appearance of quickfinch flocks heralds the arrival of spring; in Verdas, they signal the oncoming dry season. The most notable oddity of the quickfinch is that its migration route and even its daily flight paths—mostly on the hunt for insects—follow ley lines.
The bird does not only sense ley lines to use them as navigation references. Quickfinches tap into the arcane power of a ley line in order to accelerate their flight. This effect is magnified in flocks, and a large flock can rocket across the landscape at a truly impressive pace. Wizards often identify ley lines and track their shifts by watching the paths of quickfinches.
While the arrival of quickfinches is often seen an omen of good luck, children are cautioned to never follow the birds’ paths. The birds follow the ley lines, which can be chaotic and dangerous places, especially at their intersections. “Following the quickfinch” is a common colloquialism meaning looking for trouble. Ngubu masuwa pilots also avoid their paths, since the ley lines they follow often trace the deepest basins of rivers, where the hippos cannot tread.
The bird is a common symbol of precision and dedication. The sides of the Gracia Span are decorated with flocks of the bird, presumably as a symbol of the builders’ virtues. The bridge site is also on a prominent ley line, and quickfinches cross the span with such regularity that local vine witches use these crossings to calibrate their calendars.
When the quickfinch migration crossed the path of the Rampgage during the Ogrewar, it was inevitable that some of the birds were transformed. These monstrous quickfinches quickly converted their siblings, turning their flocks into flesh-eating swarms of wings and miniature talons. Sightings of the ogrified quickfinch swarms were a cause for panic, not only because of the destruction they’d cause themselves, but as a harbinger that larger ogres were not far behind.
After the rampage was broken, Morgan Ramshorn led the effort to exterminate the transformed quickfinches. They correctly reasoned that, even transformed, the birds would return to their traditional nesting sites. Ramshorn’s forces found the monstrous birds there and spent months scouring infested nests with gouts of sorcerous flame. Each spring, Ramshorn and a few dedicated compatriots patrol through the nesting sites, ensuring that no transformed birds have slipped their notice.
There’s only two entries that the Quickfinch entry references that we haven’t already uncovered. That’s kind of a milestone in our exploration of the Gazetteer! (We’ve gone through 44 of the 100 entries, for those of you keeping score at home.)
Which entry shall we check out next?