Falconers

Falconers are a mercenary race. They were apparently gated in some time back, but whether they gated themselves or were gated in or stumbled upon a Gate is unclear. It's possible Jonkara herself gated them into the Witch World since she refers to herself as "Opener of Gates".

Appearance: Falconers have dark, reddish hair and brown-yellow eyes1. Their skin color is not mentioned, though it probably is light.

Living Area(s): Eyrie. Originally they came from Salzarat, a land apparently to the south of Karsten somewhere.2 In Falcon Hope Tarlach is trying to establish a new Eyrie in High Hallack. In Falcon Law another Eyrie is established somewhere in the mountains between Karsten and Estcarp again by a group of tradition bound Falconers.

Lifespan: How long Falconers live is not mentioned directly, but presumably they live a good deal shorter lives than the Old Race.

Power: The only Power Falconers seem to have is a bond with their falcons. It could be Falconers had more Power in the past but it is no longer practiced. This is supported in part by Falcon Blood where Jonkara, one of the Dark Old Ones, was partly defeated by a ritual Langward learned.

Other: In Witch World it is mentioned that there is a complex communication device attached to the Falcons they use. Later stories mention they actually bond with the falcons and imply that such devices were used to disguise their true bond and the intelligence of the falcons from other races. Each Falconer appears to have a different level of bond with their falcon. Some Falconers may only have an empathic bond and they may not be able to speak telepathically with their falcons which may be another reason for the communication devices.

The Falconer leader was called the Lord of Wings (see:Witch World) but he may have decided to fall with the Eyrie because he is not mentioned in later books when the Falconer race is divided between those who accept women as equals and those who remained separate.

Falconer falcons are black birds with a white ‘v’ on their chests3, and Falconer males bond with the falcon for the life of the bird via some form of Power. After the death of the bird the Falconer can die from shock, though it may be less if the bird dies of natural causes like old age4 A Falconer may bond again with another bird. Male Falconers bond most strongly with male falcons, though they can bond with females as well.5 This is fairly rare and almost never happened before the Turning.6 The Falconers were one of the first peoples brought through the Gates (Seakeep). It is assumed the Gate they were brought through was shut.

Though they could bond as well, female Falconers, until recently, have not been allowed to bond since it helped keep them passive. This was due to the interference of the Dark One Jonkara, who enslaved Falconer men through the women they cared for (causing the women to become extensions of herself). It may be possible that Jonkara was not truly of the Dark but a Great One called upon for vengeance.7

The books make it unclear exactly how human-like the intelligence of the Falconer falcons are. They are certainly able spies and can report by mind-send to their partners. The falcons apparently die if their partners die, and vice versa (though it is easier for the Falconers to resist death). A notable exception is in Songsmith where the falcon accompanying Alon lives well over a year after his Falconer partner dies.

Discussion

Because the falconer Falcons may be at least as intelligent as their human partners they might rightfully be called another race.

Another unclear point is what, if any, relationship Volt may have had with the Falconer race. He seems to be of avian decent and could, possibly, have been the one to gate them in.

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