A raptor refers generally to any member of the genus avis peregrinus, of which there are three living species; rokhs (avis peregrinus quadralarius), moa (avis peregrinus terranus) and hamsa (avis peregrinus nauticum). They are one of three primary sentisapient genuses, often simply called the "three primes", though they have the smallest combined population and habitated range.
Originally from a hospitable Venusian-esque garden world, they suffered their Great Calamity some 13,000 years ago (-13,000 R.C.) and were led through the void on "vessels of magic and splendor" by "shapeless beings of another existence" to Refuge. They initially extensively settled the Flying Continents before colonizing groundward in around 9400 R.C. They came into conflict with the kong, who had also fled their Great Calamity and settled the terrestrial world, but nonetheless successfully colonized almost every continent. Their sophistication in organization, creative thinking and technological innovation ensured that they remained the dominant partner in the relationship; a fact preserved until the coming of the zmaiy. Between -5,200 R.C. and -3,600 R.C., huge numbers of zmaiy refugees from their Great Calamity fled into terrestrial Refuge. Their massive numbers, brutal effiency and belligerent nature resulted in the near total destruction of terrestrial raptor culture. Massive racial cleansing killed huge portions of the raptor population, displaced millions and compelled many skyward to the Flying Continents. Only a few remained earthbound; mostly rokh but moa- though rare, are not unheard of. They generally exist however in a subserviant (often enslaved) relationship with drakes; hated by kongs for perceived past injustices against their people, and shunned from raptor societies in the sky who have largely closed off their civilizations to terrestrial contact. This has forced an uncomforable transformation in raptor culture and civilization over the past 4,000 years, creating an embittered yet highly diverse and nuanced race.
Most of what is known about the homeworld of all avis peregrinus comes through tale and myth; as very few knownwritten records exist from the time period before their Great Calamity. It is believed the atmosphere was Venusian, though Earth-like in content; a hot, lush jungle-world with high air density and slow axial rotation with little to no tilt. Cultural memory of preparing for "the long night", preserved through religions and oral tales, as well corroborating evidence from rokh scholars and travellers further legitimizes this claim, because a low axial tilt combined with minimal rotation means that the raptorian "day" and "night" would often be months-long- equivalent to Terran seasons in significance and the appropriate correlate of weather.
- The raptorian homeworld, with its long days and short nights, superficially resembles the fictitious universe of Song of Ice and Fire; where a reoccuring theme throughout the text is the longevity of summer and coming of a years-long winter.
- In addition, the experience of seasonal "day" and "night" is in fact a reality on Earth; polar regions, areas above the 60° line of latitude (Canadian/Russian/Greenlandic/Scandinavian Arctic, most of Antarctica), experience "midnight sun" and "polar night" yearly, where the sun is permenantely in or not in the sky.