Xiuh couatls, pronounced "shoo", are couatls that are much rarer, fiercer, and more powerful than their more common quetz couatl cousins. Xiuh couatls seek out evil creatures and offer them a chance of redemption, ruthlessly executing its punishment on those who refuse this offer or those who cannot be redeemed.
Xiuh couatls look like winged serpents draped in electricity and glowing with flames. The colour of their feathers spans the entire rainbow's spectrum. Their tail ends in a small flame that moves and flickers according to their moods. A typical xiuh couatl is 20 feet long with a wingspan of 25 feet, and weighs 4,500 pounds. The flight of a xiuh couatl can be heard from a mile away, resembling a rain of fire and thunderstorm.
The breath of a xiuh couatl is a fearsome ray of fire and lightning that is used not only to attack foes but also to burn away corruption.
Xiuh couatls are powerful psychics, and use their power to locate evil creatures. Once it finds such a creature, the xiuh couatl will send it prophetic dreams to dissuade it from evil. If this is not successful, the xiuh couatl then visits the creature, offers to share its knowledge of virtue, and shows the creature the differences in its life if it chooses good or evil. Those that continue evildoing are ruthlessly destroyed by the xiuh couatl.
Xiuh couatls are long-lived, and some have been living since the Age of Legend. Xiuh couatls can only mate once in their life and females lay a single ash-black egg, which hatches into from one to ten offspring. Xiuh couatls usually feed on large wildlife like deer or wild horses, and sometimes they hunt large creatures dangerous to people or the environment, like rocs or dragons.
Xiuh couatls are solitary creatures and nest in remote places like volcanoes or storm-wracked summits where few would disturb them. Abandoned xiuh couatl nests have a tendency to attract fire and lightning elementals. Xiuh couatls are extremely rare on Avistan, but are more common in central and southern Garund as well as central Arcadia.
Xiuh couatls sometimes bond closely with another of their kind; the closest such relationships are between a parent and an only child. These relationships can last as long as millennia, but are universally temporary before the xiuh couatls return to solitude. Against powerful evil foes, xiuh couatls can acquire powerful allies, but they always move on once the evil has been vanquished.
Xiuh couatls are sometimes called on by the gods Sarenrae, Shelyn, Desna, and Kazutal to destroy evil creatures or aid individuals in need. These individuals are gifted weapons by their patrons, without being aware that these weapons are actually transformed xiuh couatls.