A Cavernwing

Cavern wings
or Bloodwings (Q."Felyaramar" S."Felarawath" ) were large, intelligent bats found predominantly in Moria, although they had been reported in other caverns in the Misty Mountains. They seemed to have had a very sophisticated "biting order," culminating in a leader, a phenomenon not observed in any other bat species. This leader directed the other bats in their group hunts, indicating which potential victims to ignore, which to attack. The cavern wings' weapon weres their razor sharp claws, with which they ripped their victims into bite-sized shreds. Their voices were low-pitched for bats, allowing most of their victims to have some warning of their approach — although this rarely helped, as the cavern wings were very quick and extremely maneuverable. These bats had dark gray to black fur, often speckled in younger cavern wings.

The best defense was the ability to pick out the leader, for if that bat was slain, the rest would retreat until the flock had sorted itself out and choose a new leader.

Detailed Description

Bats composed a huge portion of Moria's inhabitants. Generally, they were small, harmless herbivores; but a few, notably the fierce cavern wings, posed an active threat. Masters of the open darkness, they lived in black spaces where light rarely intruded. There, they slept in peaceful isolation, hanging from rooftop clefts on hooked claws until the daily call for the hunt was passed along the line.

Cavern wings gathered in groups of two to a hundred and were organized under a single dominant leader. When he awoke, the other bats stirred to follow him; when he signaled an attack, they pounced with fury. Then they descended in a swirling pattern and captured or tore at their victim with razor-sharp talons. Large prey was downed in a series of attack waves that recurred so quickly as to seem continuous. A Dwarf-lord once described their assault as a "twisted cloud of knives."

Individually, the cavern wing was not so formidable, although they were considerably larger than other bats. Their one to two foot wingspans restricted movements, but they were nimble, given their size. They were fearless and trusted in the art of ambush to offset their lack of bulk.

Young cavern wings were grey, with darker speckling on their undersides, while mature adults were often black. Each set of their four elongated fingers supported their dull black wings, flight membranes which stretched back and attached to the ankle just above a wicked five toed claw. Large floppy ears gave them a dismaying appearance, although they were virtually invisible when shadowed. Since they frequently glid and flapped their wings efficiently, they were usually betrayed by the piercing cries they used to locate objects. Naturally, any warning was important, for these ferocious carnivores fed on any meat they could find; rodents, insects, fish, or even man-sized morsels. The best defense against the cavern wings required a good ear, a strong position, and a careful target selection: one lucky strike which claimed their leader would send the others home.

Nam, I once wrote:
"We whirled at the sound,
And Grorin grabbed his Horn.
With Shields held high above,
My Guard circled round Me.
Like Mist, the Bats came, but Dot let an arrow fly,
And felled their black Lead.
So off the Dark Wings flew, to choose another Master,
And strike some later Day."


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