(£eŋωi spelling: singular cwnωéƴi, plural cwnωéƴis)
A small bird, about 50cm from head to tail and about 25cm from foot to shoulder. Its beak is small and pointy, and its plumage is flame-like and multi-coloured. The exact patter of colours in the plumage is unique to each individual. Its feet are well-suited both to grasping branches and to walking on the ground. A conway has noticeable eyelids.
Conway eggs come in two varieties: the common orange variety, and the slightly smaller and less common yellow variety. The eggs are ready to hatch about two years before they are laid, but they only hatch when subjected to extreme heat such as that released by a dying conway.
A conway is considered to be a child for the first thirty years of its life. This is the length of time it takes for their first egg to be developed. This egg is usually laid about two years later, and it is always an orange egg. The orange colour signifies that the conway’s memories will be passed onto it. It also means that it is a clone of the parent. A conway has a special bond with its orange egg, and will always be able to identify which one is its own.
This is the second stage of a conway’s life. A second egg begins to develop at about the age of forty, and it reaches maturity around age 110. The egg will then be laid about twenty years later, around the age of 130. It is always a yellow egg, which signifies that the memories will not be passed on. It also means that the egg was created through meiosis and self-fertilization. A conway cannot usually identify which yellow egg it laid.
This is the final stage of life. Most conways do not live past the age of 150, but for those few who do, a second egg will begin to develop around that time, reaching maturity seventy years later (if it lives that long). No conway has ever naturally lived longer than the age of maturity of the third egg, but if one did, the egg would be laid twenty years after it matures. It is essentially the same cycle that occurs in the adult stage, producing a yellow egg. Theoretically, it could repeat ad infinitum, but in practice it is extremely rare for a conway to live that long.
A conway always knows when death is imminent, for their feathers begin to fall out. At this time, they usually use their own feathers to build a nest, in which they place their orange egg and (if available) a yellow egg. Then they sit on the nest until the moment of death, at which point they burst into flame. This creates the heat necessary to hatch the egg(s).
If a conway is killed rather than dying naturally, it will also burst into flame. This ensures that any mature unlaid egg within them hatches.
At the moment of death, the conway’s memories are telepathically transmitted to its orange egg, whether or not it actually hatches.
The conway’s primary food is the leaves of the vuli tree. It also eats insects that live in and around the tree, and it is partly responsible for the pollenation of the tree’s flowers. It does not often eat the fruit of the tree – this is considered taboo among its kind.
The tears of a conway have incredibly potent healing powers; a single tear can heal a small wound. The feathers glow softly at all times; the glow increases in intensity at nighttime or in darkness. The feathers do not cease glowing if removed, and a single feather can light a whole room. The feather is uncomfortable warm in the hand, though, and if many feathers are stored together they become even hotter, such that when released they can start fires simply by touching things. Also, conways have a strange weight-nullifying ability that allows them to lift objects many, many times larger than themselves.
Society and Culture
Although the hatchlings of orange eggs are technically a separate individual from their parent, they identify as their parent. Hatchlings of yellow eggs consider themselves to be a daughter of their parent; it’s possible for them to not know who their parent is, though. They name themselves sometime in the first thirty years of life.
Although conways often live in groups, they are actually not particularly social creatures. Usually they keep to themselves, eating in their own area of the tree. However, they come together for the purpose of teaching, usually a teacher with one to three students. They also meet up occasionally for other reasons.
The fruit of the vuli tree is considered a forbidden fruit, and most conways will never touch it even when it finally ripens.
The conway species originally lived on the isle of Aidan, in the world of Ralinī. They are in fact one of the oldest races of the world, but they never interacted much with the other races due to their isolation. It is rumoured that they even interacted occasionally with the ancient mysterious race which is believed to have “uncovered all the secrets of science and set most of the foundations of magic”.
Much later, towards the end of an era known as the Fading Age (name subject to change), the isle of Aidan sank beneath the waves, and the sole conway survivor migrated with a basket of eggs to the site upon which the city of Hēvān would later be built, in the world of Electroya.
Although the majority of the race continued to live in the vuli groves of Hēvān, a few were more adventurous. At least two individuals are known to have visited Earth; their names are Fīnicsī (ie, the phoenix) and Xórpītitūzá (the Russian firebird, жар-пти́ца, zhar-ptitsa). There may be one or two others, as well.