One of the lesser-seen celestial beings, the garuda (also known as the suparnas or karuras) are a bird-like species native to Mount Celestia, but rarely encountered outside Vishnu's realm, the Divine Lotus. Content to serve devoutly in his name, seeing to his needs much as their patron, most remain nearby, though a select few venture beyond and into the general plane to speak with the people of Celestia and beyond and see to the needs of Vishnu abroad.
Descendants of the power of the same name, the garuda were born to his son, Subala the Prince of Birds, formed specifically to do the bidding of their masters much as the linqua or marut, though with significantly more will of their own. In the millennia hence, while many still follow his will, many others have taken up the Noble Eightfold Path, a way of thought of similar descent as Vishnu, while still others have struck out on their own to find their own meaning in life.
In the Divine Lotus, the garuda make their homes in the depths of simbala groves, collected in small communities led by garuda-kings positioned just below the six children of Garuda. They keep to a pacifistic, thoughtful lifestyle filled with love for one another and the various mortals and petitioners of the realm; a love that often brings them to romantic entanglements with the locals. It extends even to the beasts of the realm, but for specific exceptions: garuda hold great hatred towards draconic or serpentine peoples and beasts, due to grudges dating back to their creation. Dragons, kobolds, snakes, and naga all suffer the full potential of their wrath, struck at without question when encountered unless obviously overpowering (such as those occasions when a representative from Bahamut makes a visit to the realm).
As pure outsiders, garuda do not age, nor do they reproduce. When more garuda are needed, they are simply brought forth by either Subala or Garuda himself to replenish their numbers. They can, however, have children with mortals, and many do; more than a few aasimar have garuda in their ancestry. Similarly, as outsiders they have no need for food or drink, but they do still feed on any of the serpents or draconic beasts they happen to kill on pure principle, taking after the eagles whose forms they inspired. While the naga of Divine Lotus have learned some tricks to avoid the garuda, the garuda always find a way to overcome their new tactics, leading to a back-and-forth battle between the two peoples that has lasted for dozens of centuries.
In their humanoid form, garuda appear as dark-skinned humans with thickly-feathered wings spreading from their back in any conceivable color scheme or pattern, an aquiline head, and sharp claws on their hands and feet. They can cloak their wings, appearing as normal humans, or they can take on the form of a massive eagle-like bird with a wingspan of anywhere from 20 to 30 feet and a coat of feathers inches thick, their plumage matching the appearance of their humanoid form.
- Dictionary Of Pali Proper Names
- The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa