|Common Name: Ahool / Rocky Mountains Gale Twisters|
|Scientific Name: Pteropus Turbineus|
The common name 'ahool' is taken from the sound a demon of the species reportedly makes.
'Rocky mountains gale twister', the longer common name, is a fairly self-explanatory reference to their location and abilities.
The species' scientific name, Pteropus Turbineus, is Latin, meaning 'spinning bat' in reference to the demons' abilities and appearance.
There are currently no classified subspecies.
The adult's head-and-body length is between 3 and 5 ft. The height at shoulder is 2 to 3 ft, minus wings, and the tail is 2 to 4 ft. Average wingspan is between 7 and 11 feet and adults weigh between 35 to 50 lb. Females tend to be smaller than males.
Ahool are covered in thick, close-cut fur ranging between red, brown, grey and black in colour. The coat is longer and shaggier around the crown, neck and chest, while it is shortest at the ears and wings. There is no fur on the tail, which ends in a sharp, calcaneus barbed spur that injects a paralytic venom. A pair of keratin horns tops an ahool’s head. They may vary in size and shape from individual to individual.
They have hollow skeletons and their bones are springy and flexible rather than brittle, the finger bones of their wings especially so. Ahool possess little excess fat and are lean and sinewy. They have a very large set of lungs and a similarly large heart, which beats at around 700 bmp. Ahool have powerful jaws filled with sharp teeth; they can crack the bones of their prey from a young age. They possess superhumanly sharp eyesight and their slit-pupil eyes are brightly coloured.
Despite their visual similarities to canines, upon closer inspection they are more akin to hyenas and felines, though their back feet are plantigrade and similar to those of bears. While they are primarily quadruped when not flying they can also operate as bipedal creatures, though their gait appears lumbering and they not are as quick-footed as otherwise.
WingsTheir wings are narrow, allowing for speed rather than manoeuvrability. The wing membrane has quite a bit of elasticity and can stretch far more than other animals’. It is very delicate and susceptible to tears and injury, but is able to regrow and heal quickly. The wings are, obviously, used for flight and are also essential in the use of an ahool's elemental abilities. Ahool are extraordinarily dexterous with their wings and can use them as a second pair of arms when clinging to cliff faces and trees.
All ahool produce a venom that induces anaesthesia and paralysis at the centre of injection. The venom is produced in glands in the tail and head and is injected via a bite from the teeth or a sting from the tail, the venom in the tail being the more potent of the two. It targets nerve and muscle function and pools rapidly around the site of injection before spreading to the affected limb. If enough is injected it may cause muscle function to slow or cease in the whole body. The venom appears to be used for hunting and offensive purposes rather than defensive ones.
Ahool use echolocation, further enhanced by their control of air flow, to navigate, hunt and forage. They are capable of producing a range of ultrasonic sounds and sorting through the retuning echoes to create a detailed "image" of their environment and let them detect and classify surrounding animals.
Ahool live in colonies of roughly 150 members, typically led by the females of the species. Once the group gets too large, it branches off into two new ones. They are a nomadic species and constantly migrate from one area to another in their home mountain range from birth to death. Full maturity is reached after a little under a century and mating and production of offspring generally starts shortly thereafter. Ahool typically find a single mate and remain together for as little time as a few decades to as long as centuries, after which time they may find another. It is unknown how old an ahool can grow to be before dying of old age, as they typically are killed of unnatural causes before they can hit 600.
Members of a given colony can easily recognize one another, and oftentimes can differentiate and classify members of both their and other colonies on sight. They are conscious of and sort others based on their strengths, weaknesses and rank relationships among fellow demons, adaptively using their knowledge in social decision-making. Hierarchy within a given colony is less about size or aggression and more about ally networks and useful skills and abilities. Furthermore, an ahool will rarely stand by one of their fellows who have nothing to contribute to the colony in terms of skills or networks, even if they are of familial relation. As such, it is second nature to most ahool to cultivate both, as they find strength in numbers and cannot generally last long alone unless they are of unusual size or skill.
Lone demons will generally flee human contact. Groups of humans may cause an entire colony to flee, while a single human or a small group encountering a full colony will be killed and eaten. Ahool have in recent centuries become prey to extermination and poaching at the hands of humans, as they are viewed as pests or are captured or killed for profit on the black market.
Ahool are omnivores and prefer meat, though they can and will eat whatever and whenever possible. They can go weeks without food, but this is really not advisable.
As their longer common name suggests, ahool produce and manipulate strong winds to their advantage. They amplify and manipulate wind currents already present in the atmosphere to aid in flight, riding on and manoeuvring wind currents using their wings. In addition to manipulating and generating winds, they are best known for their ability to produce and manipulate tornadoes. Though they tend to avoid human settlements, they have been known to demolish property and kill humans doing this, thus gaining themselves a reputation as pests.
Their abilities are used firstly in flight and secondly to defend themselves against an aggressor and escape, unless they are in a large groups. However, they also use their wind powers to further enhance their echolocation and hearing abilities and they unconsciously use them to reduce wind resistance around their bodies constantly in flight, to increase their speed.
- Some researchers claim that ahool once flew as far south as Central America and were referred to as ‘Camaztotz’ (lit. “death bats”) by the Mayan. It has been further theorized that if the above is true, they left the area and migrated north during the 8th and 9th centuries, around the end of the Mayan Classic period.
- They can easily withstand heights of over 15, 000 feet. It is unknown how high they can fly.
- They are closely related to a species of lesser wind demon, the Rocky Mountains Wind Turners (otherwise referred to as 'windy puffs').