You are more likely to see a harpy eagle hippogryph before you hear one; their voices are wispy and sound like hoarse screeches, on the rare occasions when they do make sound. Although quiet, these birdlike beasts are intimidating to behold, much larger than any other hippogyrph species, save the Tetzcotal eagle variety, which is slightly taller. All eagle hippogryphs are known for their great size and magical strength, often using both to haul away creatures as large as elk, or even bears. While many hippogryphs are content to hunt on the ground as well as the air, harpy eagle hippogryphs usually hunt in a style known as still-hunting, where they wait on a tall tree for prey to pass within their sharp sight. They are known to be very patient animals, often waiting for hours at a time for something suitable to pass by, then diving quickly for it and grabbing it with their powerful talons. While most gryphons and hippogryphs display intricate courtship rituals, harpy and Tetzcotal eagle hippogryphs have no such behavior, and no one is sure exactly how they choose a mate. Harpy eagle hippogryphs live along the northern part of the Alasre Mountain chain, crossing over the range of the Tetzcotal eagle hippogryph within Silva Forest. Villagers from near their range often describe harpy eagle hippogryphs as being able to carry the spirits of the dead on their backs, giving them a revered, if perhaps not entirely beloved reputation.
No one knows when the first eagle hippogryph came to be, as rocs and minicorns almost never mate in the wild, but the charismatic traits of their offspring have given the eagle hippogryphs their fair share of village tales. The most common one tells of a dark wizard who magically crossed one of the gentlest creatures known, a minicorn, with one of the fiercest, a massive roc, and the resulting offspring was so conflicted about how it should act that it escaped its wizard master and hid deep within Silva forest. According to the legend, it met the spirit of a forest dweller that needed to cross a vast river in order to reach the land of the dead. The newly-made eagle hippogryph helped the spirit on its journey, both carrying it across the river and protecting it within the land of the dead. As a reward for its efforts, the spirit endowed the eagle hippogryph with the power to protect others in the future. This story crosses through many different cultures in one form or another, and as a result, many tombstones are decorated with motifs of eagle hippogryphs as a token of good luck in the next life. Most magi dismiss superstitions about harpy eagle hippogryphs being able to ward off death or Tetzcotal eagle hippogryphs carrying people into the spirit world, but they are well-aware of the healing properties of their feathers and the magical strength that both of these eagles possess.
Sprite art: Tekla | Description: PKGriffin