The Pulaski Birdmen are a group of savage tribals who ride large, trained avians. Living in The Eyrie, a 1,000-foot steel truss bridge 135 feet high, the birdmen developed in isolation and have a deep-rooted sense of xenophobia and suspicion towards outsiders that manifested, until recently, as violence.
|Type of Government:||Commune|
|Leader Title:||First Wing|
|Motto:||Death From Above|
Construction on the Pulaski Skyway began in 1925, to provide a direct route to the newly opened Holland Tunnel, the first direct roadway crossing between New York and New Jersey. The Pulaski Skyway officially opened in October 1933, rising an imposing 135 feet in the air. Much of the roadway was destroyed in the nuclear destruction of the Great War. Like other roadways, portions of the skyway survived, among them a bridge that ran over the Passaic River. As society slowly began recovering from the nuclear annihilation, the bridge was mostly ignored, due to its imposing height and difficulty reaching. Wastelanders periodically made their way onto it, but outside of offering a very fortifiable location, it offered nothing more that would make survival in the wastes easier. The presence of raptors and vultures- including A'quila, large raptors descended from eagles- living on the bridge did not help much, either.
Sometime shortly after the turn of the 22nd century, a roaming band of wastelanders climbed the abandoned bridge, looking for a safe place to stay before moving on. One of the men of the group, a mysterious figure known only as Bedoe, had some kind of innate connection with the hawks and vultures that made their home on the desolate roadway trestle. For whatever reason, they did not attack him like they did most others, and with minimal training, he was able to command the birds to perform various tasks. When other members of the group moved on, Bedoe and a handful of others stayed on the Pulaski Skyway ruins to live with the birds that Bedoe tamed. Those men and women would go on to become the Pulaski Birdmen, and the stretch of bridge The Eyrie.
The birdmen would go on to develop a unique culture. Mostly hostile towards others, they became xenophobic isolationists. They developed a pidgin tongue, based on English, Spanish, and bird noises. Men adorned themselves with feathers and bones, despite the cool weather in the winter and fall, while women covered themselves from head to toe.
In 2283, the leader of the birdmen, Skarae’ee, had his position challenged by a fellow birdman, a man called Balbory. Skarae'ee was a particularly violent and agressive warrior, who increased the area in which the birdmen raided from and became bolder in who they targeted, so Balbory's challenge came as a surprise to many. His victory in ritual combat against Skarae'ee came as an even bigger surprise. Among the sweeping changes that he introduced to his people was to join the "New Ark Covenant" of Brick City, and to open The Eyrie, which had previously been closed to outsiders.
MembershipThe Birdmen are a xenophobic and isolated group, and rarely tolerate outsiders, let alone accept or befriend them. Generally speaking, the only way to become a Birdman is through genetics, being born a Birdman. Periodically, when Birdmen raid wastelanders, they abduct infants. These children are raised as if they were part of the group, and face no discrimination because of their origins. Over the decades, individuals have attempted to infiltrate the Pulaski Birdmen, but most attempts met in failure. There is only a single case of an individual infiltrating the group, a wasteland explorer and adventurer known as McTaggart- and as ‘Braggart’ McTaggart by his detractors. Disguising himself as a woman and covering himself in the all-encompassing dress that Birdmen women wear, he lived among the Birdmen on the Aerie for almost two weeks, before being discovered, fleeing, and somehow living to tell the tale- though many details of his adventure are certainly exaggerated, if not completely made up.
The Pulaski Birdmen are known for the somewhat outlandish costumes they wear. In the spring and summer, when the weather is warm, they generally wear as little clothing as possible, adorning themselves with feathers on wristbands, anklebands, and headbands. In the fall and winter, when the weather is cold, they are known for breaking out feather capes and coats. No matter what weather, they always wear ritual bird masks when leaving the Eyrie and interacting with outsiders.
Activities & Interests
The Birdmen were almost fully dependent on raiding to fulfill their general needs for most of their existence- it is hard producing everything a society needs on a narrow tress 135 feet in the air roughly the size of three football fields. Since Balbory became First Wing, and forced the birdmen to become more peaceful and tolerant towards outsiders, they have traded more with outsiders and experimented with shipping goods on the backs of a'quilla, but change takes time.
The 100 or so Birdmen live communally, with every member chipping into the survival of the group with whatever skills they have to offer.
Raiders first and foremost for most of their existence, wastelanders have no love for the Birdmen and the feeling is still mutual on their part. The Pulaski Birdmen are extremely xenophobic, having developed their distinct culture in semi-isolation and interact as little as possible with outsiders. For most of their existence, raiding was the only real time they came into contact with outsiders, with Junkport and Garden State Shipping being hit the hardest. Since joining the "New Ark Covenant", the raids have stopped, but suspicions and prejudice still color the interactions of both sides.