From ‘Thoughts on the Primals – Malignant Divinity’ by Archon Niniri Niri
Garuda, goddess of the Ixal, is in equal parts terrible and beautiful, graceful and cruel. Her speed is the stuff of legend, as is her unpredictability, making her a figure of fear even amongst those Ixal that worship her. This same mischievous violence extends to the winds she is master of, which whip back and forth in deadly gales at even the slightest provocation. Garuda is generally summoned as part of the Ixal’s plans to reclaim their place in the Black Shroud, as a weapon for use against the Gridanians. Garuda is traditionally summoned in the Howling Eye, a shrine of the Ixal found in Coerthas so saturated with wind aether that Garuda is able to whip it into a colossal, perpetual storm with the ability to knock airships out of the sky with little effort.
The long-held belief of the Ixal is that served as the divine soldiery of Garuda, their goddess, on the floating realm of Ayatlan. There they lived in prosperity until the evil of the world below Ayatlan reached up and began to corrupt their homeland, leading Garuda to send them down to the surface to guard against the evil forever more. This myth evolved with the discovery of the Iksalion in Azys Lla by the adventurers that explored that lost land. These creatures, according to records found in the complexes of the floating landmass, served as the core of the Garuda Airborne Division, an elite corps of aerial warriors. Their ranks were led by an Allagan general, a woman who led the Division in battle to crush rebellions across the Empire. The evidence is clear, then, that the Ixal are evolutions of their chimerical ancestors in Azys Lla, which became Ayatlan through time, and the commander of their ranks became Garuda, through the melding of her personage and the title of their regiment.
The Lady of the Vortex’s Abilities – Garuda is able to unleash calamitous ‘slipstreams’ by accelerating the air around her wings and unleashing it as a shockwave of wind. She is also able to mimic ‘downbursts’, wind flowing downwards from the sky, in a localized yet intensified area as well as ‘shrieking’ deafeningly loudly, mixing her vocalization with the flow of wind aether to cause physical harm to more than just the ears. By spinning her body, the Lady of the Vortex is able to create a ‘wicked wheel’ of air pressure, but perhaps most famous in her repertoire is her use of the plumes and feathers that decorate her body.
Garuda is a primal and thus fundamentally a huge mass of wind-aspected aether, and thus when she detaches her feathers from her they are more or less bombs or explosive devices of wind aether. The feathers themselves are also razor sharp, as exemplified by her ‘feather rain’ technique in which she tosses them like daggers. Just as with the winds of the Howling Eye, Garuda is able to form ‘eyes within the storm’ in which her harmful effects are not felt. Garuda is also able to manifest lesser forms of herself by splitting off sections of her aether, and these figures are named ‘suparna’ and ‘chirada’ in Ixali myth. Garuda, wrothful as she is, is ever eager to bring a ‘reckoning’ upon her foes with a wide ‘aerial blast’.
Real World Basis – The Garuda are legendary bird-like figures of myth found across the Dharmic religious, most famously Hinduism. Although Garuda can be represented as a bird, he can also be represented, much like the Garuda of XIV, as a humanoid being with the wings of a bird. Garuda is rarely represented as evil or cruel in myth as the XIV equivalent is, so the resemblance mostly extends as far as their physical appearance does. Suparna and Chirada are simply other names for Garuda.