Garuda is the name given to the terrible goddess of the Ixal. Though supremely elegant in both form and movement, this bloodthirsty deity and her merciless whims inspire fear even amongst her most devoted worshipers. Capricious in the extreme, the gentle breeze that surrounds her can sweep forth in a tempestuous gale at the slightest provocation.
Legend has it that the birdmen of the Ixal once lived on a floating continent known as Ayatlan, where they protected the furthest reaches of the heavens as Garuda's divine soldiers. A time came, however, when the evil that saturated the land below began to reach upwards and infect the skies above. Thence did Garuda order her minions to descend and cleanse the ground of this vile influence, bidding them to remain there as guardians that the heavens may never again be threatened. To this day, the Ixal have dwelled upon the land, dreaming of an end to their sacred duty and a return to their lost paradise in the clouds.
It's said that the Lady of the Vortex did battle with the malevolent Lord of Snakes in the distant past to end his attempts to bind all creatures to the earth. Though she was victorious, and birds were allowed to roam free in the skies, Garuda was terribly wounded in the battle. She was forced to feast upon the carcass of her enemy to recover her energies, and has insatiably craved the flesh of land-bound mortals ever since.
Even as this myth is kept alive within the now-flightless tribe, entries have been discovered in the recording devices of ancient Allag that describe the "iksalion"—a chimeric race that was created on Azys Lla to serve in the intriguingly named Garuda Airborne Division. According to these records, the division was led by a female Allagan general, and it was by her order that the iksalion were deployed across the empire to crush a string of uprisings. The commonalities between historical fact and mythical imagery are difficult to ignore, and are a subject of great interest to scholars who study the beast tribes.