If the Spires have ever granted somebody a gift, a true gift with no hidden thorns or poisons, they have only ever done so unintentionally. To date, the only known instance of this is among the W’adrhŭn and the rise of the Speakers.
All W’adrhŭn, in part thanks to the acute sense of hearing they possess, have a natural facility with the beasts that roam their lands. The Speakers, while less obvious that the Warbred, represent another unique variant of the W’adrhŭn race with much deeper social and developmental consequences. Somehow drawing on the primordial link between all the strains that were woven into their own being and that of native beasts on Eä, the Speakers do not rely on empathy and a deeper understanding of the mind of their companions but are capable of communicating with them directly.
The origins of this power are shrouded in speculation, but it is quite clear that, like the gift of sorcery, it was one unintended by their creators. While little is known about this gift, two things are clear: The first is that there is a strong bias among the males and females of the W’adrhŭn as to what species they have an affinity towards: female almost always find it easier to bond with carnivores, while males most often bond with herbivores. The second is that those possessing it can train it further, allowing them to slowly learn how to communicate with beasts they have no kinship to, but those who were born without it may never develop it.
The first recorded instances of this gift rose a few decades after the Fall of the Spires. While fighting for their very survival amongst the ruins of the Spires and the lush oases that had sprung there, a few W’adrhŭn found that they could not only understand the beasts and thus calm them, but literally speak to them. The distinction is more subtle than one would imagine, as without sufficient intelligence most beasts are only capable of only the most rudimentary of communication: the real difference comes when the beasts possess enough intelligence to be able to converse back.
To date, the species that have been capable of doing so have been limited. First amongst those that could are the Raptors, an ancient strain of bipedal carnivorous beasts that ruled the wildlife in the time of dragons. Common ground and understanding was quickly found amid the dangers of the primeval oases, leading to what is more akin to an alliance than the domestication of the species. Even today the skill of the W’adrhŭn beastmasters is such that beasts roam freely among the W’adrhŭn freeholds, needing neither lash no leash to know their place and purpose. Since then, selective breeding has started paying off and recently ever growing numbers of placid herbivores are awakening to sentience, capable of communicating back, even if in very rudimentary fashion.
Speakers today are invaluable to a growing W’adrhŭn society and population, their companions serving as beasts of burden, aiding in construction and defense of growing W’adrhŭn habitats and their burgeoning populations. Their value has been quickly recognized in many growing tribes, the eldest Speakers of whom have been given a seat at the tribal councils, which before were dominated by the Chieftains and Mistresses.