Q is for Quetzal
Quetzal and parrots - valuable speaking birdsCommerce with Araby and Lustria colonies bring new species of birds into the Old World. All these specimens are full of color and purchased by rich merchants or nobles. Some of those birds, like parrots and quetzal, have a special and amazing ability: imitating sound and voice. Speaking parrot on the shoulder of a Sartosan pirate is cliché. Let’s see how we can use these in the Old World. The Empire climate isn't hospitable for quetzal and parrots. Therefore they must be protected by staying in building or by magical means.
Member of the Grey College are keen to choose speaking birds as familiars. Their mimicking and imitating voice and sound is a great feature, especially for wizards that specialize in sound illusion. Having what we could define as a living remote voice repeater is a must have. Few grey wizards survive magical duels or encounters thanks to their familiar. For instance when afflicted by a mute spell, they let their opponent lower its guard and suddenly make their familiar speak the vocal part of an offensive and crippling spell.
A very clever and twisted grey master wizard pushed the trick even further. He wanted to spy on his fellow wizard but using spell was too obvious. Any wizards but apprentices would have detected his spell. So instead in turned his hobby for parrots into a new level of information gathering. He selected the most talented ones and taught them how to repeat everything they could listen to. This was pure animal training and no magic was involved in the process. He would then use the parrot, fruits, flower as a rich and colorful decoration in the meeting room he wanted to spy on. Nobody thought that non magical bird could be of any danger. They were wrong, very wrong. Plenty of secrets, plots were uncovered by using a living recording device. This tale ended with the death of the wizard. A more twisted fellow understood his trick. So he spoke words of power and magic to trigger a magical explosive device. Of course the device wasn't around the bird in the meeting room. But the device was in the listening wizard’s laboratory. Preying on wizard conversation is not to be taken lightly. Ever.