Position within Keep: Aerial scout; mascot and companion to Daria hin'Leon
Starling is a dragonette, a species of "dwarf dragon" native to the Dragonette Isles. She came to Metamor along with her family at the request of her cousin Gornul, only to be caught up in the defense of Metamor during the Winter Assault. She formed a close bond with Daria during the battle, which grew even stronger when she helped watch over Daria during her convalescence in the ensuing weeks. When the winter weather broke and it was safe for her family to make the long journey back to the Dragonette Isles, Starling remained behind, excited by the opportunities for adventure and eager to continue helping her newfound friends.
Like all dragonettes, Starling speaks exclusively in a telepathic language of word-pictures. While this means that it is sometimes difficult for her to convey abstract concepts like love or truth, she can at least potentially speak to any creature that is intelligent enough to understand symbolic imagery. While she cannot speak the languages herself, she understands spoken Common and Draconic perfectly, and may know other languages as well.1
Starling can fly at around 20 miles per hour (mph) — faster, if she has a strong tailwind. Her maneuverability is only average, but she is an accomplished glider and can travel for many miles without rest if the winds are favorable. One reason she enjoys living in Metamor Valley is that the mountains create many updrafts that she can use to stay airborne longer without tiring.
Starling has sharp teeth and blunt, heavy claws, but her primary weapon is her flame breath. She can produce anything from a candle-sized puff to a ten-foot long stream of fire. At its highest intensity, Starling can only maintain this flame for perhaps twenty or thirty seconds, but the flame is hot enough to char flesh down to the bone in that span of time.
Starling also has a defensive talent, an eldritch shield that she can summon at will. This force field allows her to block or deflect blows that would otherwise crush her small, fragile body. It is physically tiring for her to use the shield too much, though, and she can only block a blow if she sees it coming, so she does her best to stay out of melee range of her opponents.
Family, Friends & Allies
Most of Starling's family returned to the Dragonette Isles in the spring of 707 CR, though her cousin Gornul continues to accompany Oren on his adventures. Of her humanoid friends, she is closest to Daria; she also respects Misha a great deal, partly because he was the first to recognize her potential as a combatant during the Winter Assault. She also has bonded to some of the other members of Daria's otrinca squad in various ways, though none of them seem to have the deep connection with her that Daria has.
Starling's body is roughly the size of a housecat's, though her tail is about half again as long as a domestic shorthair's. She has a wingspan of about 8 feet when fully extended. Her skin is a deep purple hue, with some iridescent markings on her throat and the undersides of her wings (hence the name). Her claws have thick, heavy nails that are serviceable for burrowing but not much use in a fight.
Starling's vocalizations are limited; she can make small birdlike cries (to express anything from joy to puzzlement), purr like a cat (to show pleasure), or hiss (to show anger or disgust).