Age of Worms
This stout flightless bird stands upon two long, taloned legs, but it is its axe-shaped beak that looks the most ferocious.
Keen-witted and powerful avian predators, axe beaks compete with wolves and hunting cats for prey upon vast, open steppes and prairies. Although feared for their boldness and territorial natures, these giant birds prove eminently tamable, making useful guardians, hunters, and even steeds when kept well fed. Axe beaks are relatively social creatures, forming small groups in which both males and females hunt together. They nest in immense mounds made of sticks, branches, leaves, and whatever else they can scavenge (including the bones and equipment of previous meals), with each nest used by a large group of axe beaks. Females typically lay clutches of 1d4+1 eggs once per year, which the parents take turns keeping warm for 2 months before they hatch. Mature axe beaks stand 9 feet tall and weigh as much as 500 pounds. Their plumage varies widely, from gray to brown to black in temperate climes, but taking on exotic shades of gold, red, blue, and other vibrant hues in more tropical environs. Axe beaks have lifespans of up to 50 years.