[quote]"A short study of Cliffracers during my stay in Vvardenfall"
"Cliffracers: Ponderings of Aemos"
By D'kota Aemos
"During my extended stay in Vvadenfall district, most notable as being the homeland of the Dunmer, I came across a peculiar flying creature which seemingly dominates the skies of Morrowind. The creature varies in size from two to five feet in length, although larger specimens are not completely uncommon, and has a wingspan of about the same. It has no noticable legs, although I admit freely now that I was much too frightened by it's fiersome appearance and never approach them from more than a tree's legth. They have cold, steely eyes, and a long whip-like tail. The locals call them cliffracers, and for good reason. These amazing creatures possess incedibly manueverable bodies.
I have even been witness to several cliffracers seeming to simply hover in the air with only a few beats of the wings. Truly these are magnificent beasts. Several locals, however, despise the poor creatures. They say that they are only a nuisance, and that they serve only to pester travelers, many of whom they say have more important things to do than to bring down these seemingly endless cliffracers. A few travelers I spoke with in the city of Balmora (Balmora is a small city northwest of Vivec, and is also the hub of the "Hlaalu" House, on of the three great houses of Morrowind) had collected several slighty leathery wisps of material from these cliffracers. Called racer plumes, they seem to increase adrenaline ouutput of the body, giving a renewed sense of vigor and speed to their user, although they later feel drained.
On the subject of plumes, the Cliffracer is odd in this respect as it resembles both a reptile and a bird. Several small tufts of down comer it's forwings and neck, while the rest of the creature has a leathery, highly durable skin that feels much like that of a Man. I found this peculiar, and so I set out to discover a nest in accordance with the laws of developmental stabilization [For an account of my studies into developmental stabilization, see my work: "Fish to Frog: The stabilization over time of species in multiple enviroments"].
In luck, I discovered a breeding pair of Cliffracers. The female seems to be the dominant one, constantly letting out a scream or hoot at the subordinate male. After mating, the male looks for a hollow in a tree, in which the female Cliffracer lays the eggs. Not wishing to risk life and limb charting the development of these creatures, I returned to my shack to more fully examine the egg which I had plundered while the female cliffracer went out. To my surprise, however, the egg developed surprisingly quick. Within two revolutions it had hatched into a small chick. It drug itsel around by its tail, and was covered in down. This was strange, and I could believe that the racer stars out wingless, and fluffy.
Of course, soon enough I discovered the oddities of the cliffracer diet. Or rather, the lack of cliffracer diet. For the three weeks until the cliffracer was able to become airborne [during which time I hired the Balmora fighters guild to put it down] I did not see it ingest a single particle of food. Yet the speed of which they developed lead me to question this. How could a fast-breeding, fast-growing animal survive without food? The answered shocked me, it was the reason why the Cliffracer could only survive on Vvardenfall and not anywhere else. The cliffracer absorbed the latent Blight in the air. This also explained why the congregated around red mountain and the ashlands so thouroughly. Normally the latent blight in tha air is not enough to affect your average Imperial, but it is still there, and these cliffracers feed upon it!
Several days after I made this discovery, the blight coming from Red Mountain ceased. A man known as "Nerevar" had gone up and defeated "Dagoth Ur", resident of the Red Mountain. This is of course complete sload soap, as any logically thinking man would tell you that the mountain had simply passed over its hotpoint and was simply going dormant. It's humerous what these locals will tell themselves in the name of tradition. But alas, my time in Vvardenfall was up, the Imperial Library has recalled me for other works. I hope to one day return to study more these incredible creatures that rule the skies of Morrowind.