Vulture is an elderly male SandWing who was introduced in Darkness of Dragons. Vulture was a powerful crime lord and the king of the underworld within the Scorpion Den before his disappearance. He is the founder of the Talons of Power, and his current location is unknown.
Vulture has pale yellow scales covered in hundreds of black dragon skull tattoos,appearing similar to a leopard from a distance. He wears a black cape lined with gold, and gold chains are draped along his wings. His claws and tail barb are dipped in gold leaf, and enormous black-and-gold earrings shaped like spiders gleam in his ears. His obsidian, glittering, hypnotic, dark, haunting eyes are similar to the Eye of Onyx: not solid black, but black in loops all the way down, like looking into the longest, deepest hole in the world. He is quite tall, with a hooked snout and a long neck. He has a slithering, nightmarish shape, a hypnotic voice, and wears a heavy perfumed oil that permeates the air.
Vulture is sinister, determined, clever, horrifying, calm, observant, deceptive, confident, smooth, condescending, commanding, smug, malevolent, cold, and calculating. His presence is large and terrifying, and he is menacing, with punishment for stealing from him being certain death. He was once deeply entwined with the SandWing monarchy and has a fierce hostility towards other tribes. He does not like to be ordered around and has very high standards. His eyes avidly scan his surroundings, cataloging the surrounding wealth in his head. Darkstalker described him as a dragon with thin scales who loves treasure, lies about everything, and has never been happy. Darkstalker's soul reader depicted him as almost entirely evil.
The Jade Mountain Prophecy
|Moonwatcher had a vision of Qibli backed against a wall glaring up at three larger dragons, who were later confirmed to be Vulture, Sirocco, and Rattlesnake. Into their sneering faces, Qibli curled up his tail and shouted, "Where is she?", referring to Cobra. After Moon's vision, ironically, Qibli said, "… The best news of my life is that I'll never have to see any of my family ever again."'|
|Qibli says that his family would never do anything good to him when discussing families with Winter.|
|Darkness of Dragons|
|When Onyx kidnapped Ostrich and took her back to the Scorpion Den, Qibli, along with Winter, came to rescue her. They were taken back to Vulture's compound by Sirocco and Rattlesnake, where Vulture took Qibli to see his mother's prison. He explained that if Cobra was to be free, then Qibli was to write down all of Thorn's secrets on a blank scroll and give it to Vulture. After Qibli, along with Winter, Ostrich, and Cobra, escaped Vulture's compound, Qibli had his mother arrested for treason — the plan all along had been to bring Cobra into Thorn's stronghold only to kill her via poison.
Later, Vulture bombed Thorn's stronghold, holding the "Eye of Onyx" in his talons — however, Thorn appeared and explained that Vulture was holding a fake version, created both to trick thieves and spare their lives. After Onyx attempted to kill her, Thorn suggested a royal challenge instead, since all the past challengers have come this way. Onyx accepted, and both she and Vulture believed she was worthy due to her royal blood. Afraid Onyx would be chosen, Qibli summoned a sandstorm with Anemone's weather bracelets, and in the chaos of the storm, Vulture disappeared from the stronghold completely with no warning or sign.
Throughout the book, Qibli always had a suspicion that Vulture would end up working for Darkstalker and become a juggernaut, taking over the world. That suspicion proved to be true later when Vulture is seen in the lost city of night, bargaining with Darkstalker about their alliance.Near the end of the book, when Darkstalker tried to convince Qibli to become an animus and work with him, he used his power to teleport Vulture in front of him. Darkstalker then enchanted Vulture many times, including to make him act like a hatchling, make him feel guilty for everything bad he had done, and make him be the best grandfather for Qibli. Darkstalker then made Vulture disappear. It is unknown what happened to him after that.
Despite being Qibli's grandfather, Vulture hates and haunts him. Vulture's punishment for stealing from him would be certain death, and Qibli felt enraged when Vulture spoke badly of Thorn. Vulture considers Qibli to be the smartest of Cobra's dragonets, and while they are both equally observant, Vulture was deceptive towards him. He hurt Qibli and made him doubt that everything was real.
- "It's perfectly normal to feel like your pet must think the way you do. It's happened to many dragons. The Camels' Rights Movement. Iguanas Are Dragons, Too. Save the Scavengers. World Walrus Fund. All very sweet, and very misguided. Save your energy for dragons, who can appreciate it."
- ― to Winter, about scavengers (Darkness of Dragons, page 81)
- "Her erstwhile popularity, such as it was, is plummeting. Everyone agrees that she's been quite useless so far. Has the kingdom improved in any way? No one's life is any better, except of course for her own Outclaws, who are now rolling in treasure up there in the palace. She pours wealth into the talons of those who bow and scrape to her, and she doesn't care a fig for anyone else."
- ― to Qibli, about Thorn (Darkness of Dragons, page 82-83)
- "And these tragic bombings, tsk. Dragons are dying and she hasn't done one thing about it. She has no idea who's responsible. If she even cares. But I do. I have found the culprits! I am the only one who can protect our tribe."
- ― to Qibli, about Thorn (Darkness of Dragons, page 83)
- "You think you are. Because she stole you away and brainwashed you. You haven't thought for yourself in years. You do exactly what she tells you to and think whatever she tells you to think. You're not your own dragon, Grandson. Everyone knows her group is basically a cult. It's true; ask anyone. The whole kingdom has figured out that her Outclaws are blind followers. You don't want to be a blind follower, do you, Qibli? Don't you want to think for yourself?"
- ― to Qibli, about Thorn (Darkness of Dragons, page 90)
- "Friends! SandWings! Talons of Power! Listen to me! Have we really come to this? SandWings fighting SandWings? So soon after the war that tore our tribe apart? Look how divided we are! Do you know why we fight each other? Because we are ruled by a false queen. One who does not deserve this palace! She doesn't care about anyone but herself! She stole this throne to make herself rich! She's been letting SandWings die all over her kingdom without lifting a talon to save them. A good ruler would find the dragons responsible and protect you all! We need someone who will see the danger clearly! Our tribe is under attack, fellow SandWings!"
- ― to several SandWing citizens (Darkness of Dragons, page 158)
- "You really think he would give up that easily? You think he'll go back to his gilded compound and lie around eating scavengers peacefully for the rest of his life? Ha. Ha. Ha. Vulture will burn the kingdom to the ground before he gives up."
- ― Cobra to Qibli, about Vulture (Darkness of Dragons, page 186)
- "I can't believe you're so terrified of this salamander. He's so easy to manipulate, even without magic. Thin scales, loves treasure, lies about everything until he doesn't even know what's real anymore, not that he cares. He's a dragon made of paper who has never been happy one day in his life."
- ― Darkstalker to Qibli, about Vulture (Darkness of Dragons, page 329)
- Each of Vulture's skull tattoos represents a dragon he has killed. This gruesome display was also taken up by two of his grandchildren, Rattlesnake and Sirocco. It is rumored they have the tattoos for the same purpose.
- According to Cobra, Vulture has always been interested in a business alliance with the IceWings.
Present: Addax • Agave • Armadillo • Camel • Capybara • Cereus • Cobra • Dune • Horizon • Jerboa III • Kindle • Meerkat • Needle • Ocotillo • Ostrich • Palm • Parch • Prickle • Quicksand • Rattlesnake • Saguaro • Sandstorm • Sirocco • Six-Claws • Tawny • Torch • Viper • Vulture