|Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.
Ak-Baba is in need of more information! Ak-Baba is lacking A detailed history of every appearance on an Ak-Baba.
|There is no denying that Deltora can be dangerous for the unwary or ill-informed!
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Ak-Baba is a species of enormous, monstrous vulture-like birds. They are known to be ferocious and violent creatures, eating dead flesh and living for a thousand years. They were created by the Shadow Lord with his magic from the flesh of an identically named bird, which is smaller yet still huge and native to distant lands lying overseas from Deltora with a lifespan of a thousand years, an aspect the Shadow Lord's version retained. The name "Ak-Baba" was given to the monsters by Deltoran sailors as they had seen the original AK-Baba birds in their native lands, although without knowing the monsters were literally created from this species.
The Shadow Lord made seven of the "Ak-Baba" birds in total, all of which were under his command and shared a magical mental link with him, allowing him to see what they see and give them orders from afar. Through 
Throughout their existence, the Ak-Baba has been among the Shadow Lord's most loyal and most powerful servants.
Over one thousand years ago, when Deltora was called the Land of Dragons and before the land of Pirra to the north of Deltora was turned into the Shadowlands, a single egg of a huge, vulture-like species of birds called an "Ak-Baba", native to lands that lies overseas from Deltora, came to rest on the peaks of the Barrier Mountains that separated the Land of Dragons from Pirra at the north of the Land of Dragons.
The Shadow Lord, while he was still a human sorcerer, discovered an egg high on the mountain border. Mistaking it for a dragon's egg, he cared for it until it hatched, revealing it to be, to his great disappointment, a strange bird. Though initially intending to kill the creature, he decided to make use of the bird for now if he could not have a dragon. The way the creature tore the raw meat he fed it, he knew it could be trained to kill, and he knew it would grow to be very large. The Shadow Lord knew that the bird was not native to the Land of Dragons, for his servants had told him of every bird and beast they knew, and this bird resembled none of the birds they had described. The Shadow Lord theorised that the egg had likely wound up in the mountains as its mother had been brought to the Land of Dragons in a boat and escaped to lay the egg there.
From the flesh of this bird the Shadow Lord magically produced his seven Ak-Baba, which he further altered and "perfected" into completely loyal killing machines, giving them teeth and spines and causing them to grow even larger than their predecessors. The seven Ak-Baba, like the bird species they had been created from, live for a thousand years.
Battle for Deltora
The seven Ak-Baba first appeared in the skies of the Land of Dragons during the Shadow Lord's first attempt to conquer the land, in the last years before the rise of Adin. They were initially named "dragon birds", but were later named "Ak-Baba" due to their resemblance to similar birds of that name sailors had seen overseas.
They killed dragons where they could and acted as spies for the Shadow Lord, searching the Land of Dragons from the skies and relaying the information to his forces. Their presence was also occasionally used against the Shadow Lord, as they acted as his heralds. The Ralad built a decoy version of their city after seeing an Ak-Baba in the skies, saving them from conquest. One Ak-Baba nearly found Adin, as well as the Torans Kayan, Shim and Zara outside the walls of Tora, but was tricked by Toran magic. The seven Ak-Baba later joined the rest of the Shadow Army in the Battle for Deltora, alerting the commanders Trell and Sheela of a rampart built by the Deltoran forces. The Ak-Baba were forced to focus their attention on an Opal dragon early in the conflict. They later retreated to the Shadowlands at the end of the battle.
Hiding the gems
On the day of the Shadow Lord's second invasion, the Ak-Baba attacked the palace of Del. They destroyed the tower where the Belt of Deltora was kept and made off with the seven gems. Since it was death to bring the gems beyond Deltora's borders, the Shadow Lord had the Ak-Baba hide them each in fearsome locations that nobody would think of entering. According to Zeean, the gems may have influenced the Ak-Baba to hide them in their respective territories.
Quest for the gems
Lief, Barda and Jasmine first encountered an Ak-Baba after obtaining the Opal — observed the ruins of the City of the Rats (location). It nearly spotted them when they hid in the River Broad, but a school of Wise Fish were able to disguise them until it passed. Later, all seven were present in Del when the Shadow Lord prepared to kill the Resistance members. They retreated to the Shadowlands when Lief wore the restored Belt of Deltora for the first time.
Final battle with Deltora's dragons
The Ak-Baba's final battle with Deltora's dragons, which took place at night, would also be the death of most of their kind. This night became known as Dragon Night prospectively, being celebrated by a festival of the same name.
The Shadow Lord used powerful magic to allow his Ak-Baba to defy the Belt of Deltora and enter the land to battle the Hopian the Opal dragon and Fidelis the Topaz dragon, who were trying to destroy the grey tide flowing out from the City of the Rats at Deltora's centre. However, the dragons were aided by King Lief, Captain Barda and Jasmine riding on Fidelis' neck, using their swords and the power of the Belt. Hopian tore the throat of one Ak-Baba, but the other six swarmed him. Jasmine was able to find a weak spot at the base of their necks and killed the one gripping the Opal dragon's neck. This freed Hopian, but he and Fidelis were tiring from blood loss and death was certain, until the arrival of the Lapis Lazuli dragon Fortuna scattered the Ak-Baba. In their confusion, Joyeu Ruby dragon snapped the neck of one and Honora the Emerald dragon blasted another with her fire. When Veritas the Amethyst dragon and Forta the Diamond dragon arrived, the remaining three fled back to the Shadowlands.
The Silver Door
Two of the Shadow Lord's Ak-Baba appeared in the Harbour in Dorne in the alternative future timeline where the Shadow Lord succeeded in invading the island. Like in Deltora, they were used as spies and scouts, as well as to enforce the Shadow Lord's presence. When not scouting, they were kept inside a massive cage. Rye freed them during the demonstration of the new daytime skimmers in order to create a commotion to allow him and several prisoners to escape.
The book describes the Ak-Baba as massive, monstrous, reptilian birds
that resemble vultures. They have long necks covered in spines, with hairless heads, along with sharp beaks filled with teeth. They also have large talons, feathery wings and feathery tails. Their skin was thick enough to repel sword and arrows. In the anime, the Ak-Baba are far more reptilian, completely lacking in feathers and having long tails. Their wings are flaps of skin connecting their arms and legs, much like the wings of a pterosaur, but shorter. In fact, their design should not permit flight or movement on the ground at all. They also have blue and orange scales with light reflecting off of them, that appear black and red without light. They also do not have beaks, instead possessing reptilian heads.
The Ak-Baba are able to hear and follow the Shadow Lord's orders no matter where they are. They hunt like packs of wolves; they often isolate a target, some act as distractions by charging the target and the remaining Ak-Baba finish the target off from behind. They were so fierce that they were capable of killing dragons, though they never faced more than two at a time because the dragons were much stronger. Battles with dragons often consisted of four or five Ak-Baba against one or two dragons. The Ak-Baba were quick to flee back to the Shadowlands when outmatched, provided their master allowed them to. Though their level of intelligence is never revealed, they seem to understand strategy and plans. They are capable of making observations and reports.
Though Ak-Baba will not hesitate to attack and kill any moving creature, they do not eat the flesh of living creatures. Instead they feed on dead flesh, just as real world vultures do. It is unknown whether they will eat anything they have killed themselves, but it is very likely.
Not much is known about how Ak-Baba reproduce, except that they lay eggs, however, going by the fact that the original bird found by the Shadow Lord gave birth to seven new, it can be assumed that they are able to reproduce without a mate.
Deltora Quest 1
- The Forests of Silence
- City of the Rats (mentioned)
- The Shifting Sands
- The Maze of the Beast
- Return to Del
Deltora Quest 2
Deltora Quest 3
The Three Doors
- The name Ak-Baba is a reference to the Turkish word Akbaba meaning vulture.
- Ak-Baba are surrounded by a foul smell, lingering for hours after they have departed. The stench was described as being like ash and rotting meat in The Silver Door.
- Though Ak-Baba are birds and have many similarities with real world birds, such as feathers and a beak, they also possess sharp teeth, an attribute that no real world birds have as they lack any bone structures that can support them.
- The Ak-Baba are somewhat similar in role to the Nazgûl from The Lord of the Rings, as the servants of a dark lord who travel far and wide on various errands. However, obvious differences exist in that: the Ringwraiths ride winged creatures starting late in The Fellowship of the Ring whereas the Ak-Baba are winged creatures, with no humanoid characteristics; the Ak-Baba were created by the Shadow Lord from a normal Ak-Baba, whereas the Nazgûl were corrupted by Sauron's Nine Rings; the Ak-Baba were apparently incapable of speech or using magic of their own.
- As for now 4 are dead and 3 presumably remain in the Shadowlands.
- Ak-Baba may be genderless, as the bird found by the Shadow Lord was able to give birth to seven new birds on its own.
- Rodda, Emily. The Deltora Book of Monsters. Scholastic Australia. 2001.
- Rodda, Emily. Tales of Deltora. Scholastic Australia. 2005.
- Rodda, Emily. Secrets of Deltora. Scholastic Australia. 2008.
- Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. 2004.
- Rodda, Emily. Tales of Deltora. Scholastic Australia. 2005.
- Rodda, Emily. City of the Rats. Scholastic Australia. 2001.
- Rodda, Emily. The Silver Door. Scholastic Australia. 2012.