The rotund winged reptiles were first been discovered on the Ardchreag-Greenhithe border by Lord Ulvar van der Nederlanden. This was at a muster of Ealdormere’s military might in prior to AS 35. Now the turtles’ habitat has spread all over Ardchreag, though they are most populous about the cliffs as they build nests right in the cliff faces. They have also been known to nest in church spires and on roof-tops. This is an annoyance to those who dwell in the buildings, as flying turtle guano is very smelly.
Flying Turtles range is size from 1’ (6 lbs) as an infant, up to 8’ (500 labs) as an adult. Their wingspan is up to 15’, and they can live as long as 80 years.
Some experiments have been made by Chreaggers to use the turtles as war mounts. The turtles can fly very swiftly over short distances, or slowly over great. However, once the turtles tire they land and move at a pace slower than their land born relatives. This can be problematic when being chased by knights on horseback.
Feed for the beasts is also a bit problematic, as their number one choice is fresh goblin meat. Goblins are not as numerous in the Cliffs as Trolls or Ogres, and can be hard to find. If on turtleback when they see one however, the turtle becomes unresponsive and will not stop until it has chased down and devoured the beastly thing. Flying turtles will also eat aquatic vegetation, but it must be moist. Turtle Riders must carry a separate bladder of water for the sole purpose of wetting greens before feeding.
In mock battles the turtles handled themselves very well. They have proven quite capable of flying down and grabbing fighters right out of their saddle, as long as their descent is not too steep. Regrettably, Aesop Brown of the Scarlet Bluffs is no longer with us. Even more regrettable is the death of his turtle, who smashed its head into a boulder while swooping after a goblin. The goblin was drawn and quartered for this offense.
Caring for the young flying turtles has been proceeding almost without a problem, under the guidance of the Reptilian Aeronautic Team (or RAT). The young turtles are housed in a domed hut, full of moist sand, with a pool of water in its centre. Perches and treat poles hang from the ceiling. Here the turtles remain until they are three months old, at which time they are the size of large dogs. They are then moved to specially built barns where they will stay unto maturity, at which point they are bigger than horses.
During its youth, the turtle goes through vigorious training where its inborn hostility is curbed (or at least, trained to be unleashed only on certain targets). They get used to being handled and small conscripts (some of Dwarf or Gnome descent) are lucky enough to get to break them in.
(Source: “Adventures in Ardchreag,” Laird Colyne Stewart, 2003; “Flying Turtles Flock in Record Numbers—Goblins Fear for Lives,” The Tankard #52, Laird Colyne Stewart, April AS 37, 2003; “Training the Flying Turtles,” Laird Colyne Stewart, April AS 36, 2002; “Flying Turtles of Ardchreag,” Lady Thorfinna gra’feldr, May 2002.)