There is one young rebel whose story I love to tell, even if she was one of the minor players in the larger story of Queen Sunsky. The escape of the young kryphon Fluff Feather from our rule-bound society reminds me so much of my own younger days that I cannot resist sharing it. Her tale is not only mine, but it also tells the story of millions of other wingless chicks and cubs:
Fluff Feather cried her raucous protest to the skies above. They had found out about her secret. Today was the dreaded day that the young, wingless kryphon was to enter into service to the gryphons. Twig Beak, the mother, preened her head-feathers lovingly, attempting in vain to calm her rebellious chick. “I’m sorry, wingless daughter,” the gryphon matriarch apologized to her, fluttering her own wings in consternation. “The injustices heaped upon you and other wingless ones by our higher-class sisters can only be described as unconscionable.” “Mama, you know that we must flee,” Fluff Feather told her. “If they find out that I am unsterilized...” “That was my doing,” Twig Beak interrupted her. “I chose to raise you away from our people so that you might one day claim the right to mate. I will take responsibility for my decision. You are right, though...you must flee, before that interfering cackle-monger, Councilor Stone Talon, sends the Royal Keythonic Brigade after you.” Fluff Feather was about to protest her mother’s plan with another loud vocalization, but the soft sound of paws against ground stopped her. A group of wingless males, known in gryphonic society as keythongs, was evidently on its way to arrest both of them. Fluff Feather urged her mother to escape with her by pushing her feathered head against Twig Beak’s leonine haunches. “No!” her mother insisted, with iron determination. She scratched her daughter with razor-sharp talons, as if to settle the matter. “Fluff Feather, do you want to be free or not?” “Yes, but...” “Go!” Twig Beak screeched, as a troop of six keythongs jumped out of the bushes, surrounding the pair. “Fluff Feather of the kryphons,” the head law enforcement officer, or LEO, cawed in warning. “Come with us or...” The chief LEO did not have time to finish his duty-bound sentence of arrest. Twig Beak rushed at him, thrashing her wings in rage and tearing at the furred skins of two subordinate officers. Fluff Feather joined her mother in the attack, tearing the feathers off a hapless officer’s head with her claws. “Halt your attack upon the loyal officers of the great gryphon queen, Heartsong!” the chief cried, to no avail. Three of the six keythongs were backing off, fearful of the furious matriarch before them. They had been trained all their lives to defer to gryphons, and they obviously did not know how to assert authority over such a fearsome winged creature as Twig Beak. Finally, the chief ordered his officers to stand down. “Let’s go and bring reinforcements! These two are far more savage than we ever could have imagined. You see the result, my brothers, when we neglect to sterilize wingless servants? They grow insane with a raw power that they were never meant to have.” “Humph-a-dumph-dumph, you silly keythongs!” Fluff Feather taunted them. “I claim my right to mate, and I shall do so with an opinicus!” The chief screeched in horror at the very idea of a lowly kryphon mating with an opinicus, or winged male gryphon. Twig Beak nipped her daughter’s tail to chastise her for her impudence. “Chief Soundrung,” Twig Beak addressed him, changing her tone to indicate respect for the officer’s position. “I promise that I will return to answer for my crime. I am the one who raised Fluff Feather away from the society of servants, and I shall reap the consequences. But I tell you, she will not bow down to the tyranny of her gryphon sisters!” “Sacrilege!” Soundrung screamed, as Twig Beak chased her daughter away from them, toward the forested area of the lower mountains. After they had put some distance between themselves and the brigade, Twig Beak stopped. “My daughter,” she said, “at the age of seventeen sun revolutions, the time has come for you to move into adulthood. I will go back and answer for my so-called “crime”. My trial will waste the gryphons’ time, while you escape. I will hear no argument against this! If you are caught, it will mean that all my work to keep you safe will have been for naught.” “But why can’t you come with me, Mother Twig Beak?” Fluff Feather implored her. “Why sacrifice yourself to the gryphons’ wrath?” “I will appeal to Queen Heartsong’s sense of compassion and fairness,” Twig Beak reassured her. “Although she must adhere to gryphonic law, she herself is a benevolent ruler. I will be fine, my daughter. But you must get out of gryphonic territory altogether. Go now, to the territory of the equines and the hippogryph outcasts. They will not harm you or interfere with your plans. Perhaps you might even mate with a winged stallion and produce hippogryph chicks with him.” “Mating with a winged horse, Mama?” Fluff Feather cried in mock horror. “You are quite the rebel, aren’t you?” Twig Beak bit her daughter in reprisal. “Go, Fluff Feather. May the blessings of the otherworld be yours.” Fluff Feather tapped beaks with her mother to signal her reluctant acquiescence, and they preened each other lovingly one last time. The lone, unsterilized kryphon swiftly ran off into the forest, leaving her winged mother behind.
I am the author of a new fantasy novel, "The Gryphon". I have been writing fantasy stories since I was seven years old. More recently, I have published free stories on fiction sites; but this is my first published book of prose.