The universe is a vast expanse of air and sky, filled with trillions and trillions of flying islands. Islands range from under a kilometer to continent-sized, and spontaneously generate water and life. A person who falls from the edge is assumed dead, and defenestration is a common form of execution.
The islands are constantly at war with each other for space and resources. Usually islands battle each other with air forces of giant eagles bred in captivity and broken to bear a rider in battle, but sometimes large islands engage in civil wars. Only about one in a hundred islands aren’t engaged in fighting, usually because they have been so thoroughly subjugated by stronger neighbors.
About one in a million people, who are always women, are born with wings, allowing them to fly without a mount. These women are trained from birth in both aerial combat and military tactics; a good rule of thumb for airmen is to stay clear of a winged woman, who is powerful enough to fight off one hundred foes at once. Thus, winged women enter battle to counter each other, rather than cut down wary eagle-mounted warriors.
About one in a million winged women will, at puberty, suddenly slip into a coma without warning; their wings become a spherical shell around them, from which they eventually emerge as a powerful albino battle oracle. They now fly through levitation and their wings have turned into a pair of malleable white orbs that accompany them everywhere, changing into weapons and defenses of any shape and size. These oracles not only can predict an opponent’s moves perfectly, but their attacks are powerful enough to directly destroy islands; each oracle is a living legend until slain.
(I do not own the images in the above collage, and all copyrights belong to their respective owners.)
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