In many of my stories, I have delved into the past happenings of the gryphonic society, before the reign of Queen Sunsky ushered in the new dawn of freedom for wingless and other previously oppressed life forms. It is time now that I weave a few tales from this time of awakening:
The Attack of the Gorwalian Empire Part One
Groundsky, the new keythong king-in-training, dashed madly out of the healer’s den behind his official mate, the kryphon Fluff Feather. The couple had just discovered the most triumphant news possible from the physician, Light Healer.
“Rug-a-bug!” Groundsky cried. He ran into his mate, apprehending her from the side. “I can’t believe the news, can you, Fluff?”
“Our first live birth gryphlet,” Fluff Feather replied dreamily. “We will be the first wingless ones to birth a gryphon, Little King. Imagine—I, the wingless one, will give birth to a winged creature!”
“We will be the first wingless ones from our own mountain territory,” Groundsky corrected her. “The keythongs and kryphons of Forest Lake have been doing it for several sun revolutions.”
“Oh, humph-a-dumph-dumph, Groundsky!” Fluff Feather trilled. “Don’t take away from our victory over those silly gryphonic traditions. We are not from Forest Lake and therefore, we are the first ones.”
“It doesn’t matter to me, my love,” Groundsky countered, “whether we’re first or not. I just want our little gryphlet—or opiniclet, for that matter—to be a happy l’il winged thing.”
“I suppose we shouldn’t be more excited about the birth of our winged offspring than we would be about the hatching of a wingless chick.”
“No,” Groundsky agreed, “but it just so happens that our very first chick or cub will have wings, that’s all. She will be a gryphon, in all probability, but it is possible that an opinicus may spring forth from your precious womb.”
“I would be just as thrilled to birth a winged male as a winged female,” Fluff Feather stated. “The idea that only the birth of a gryphon blesses the family...well, that notion is antiquated and obsolete, now that your mother is the ruler.”
As Fluff Feather announced the passing on of old traditions, a cub with some unusual physical traits interrupted them. It was Groundsky’s hippopinicus son, Kingdreamer. “Rug-a-bug-bug!” Kingdreamer cawed, pouncing on his father. “Will I have a brother, Papa Groundsky?”
Groundsky regarded the unique being with great pride. Kingdreamer was the son of his former lover, the hippogryph Grass Hopper. There were very few hippopinici in existence, for most of the hippogryphs (or gryphon-horse hybrids), were born female. Kingdreamer possessed both the head and wings of a gryphonic being and the rear body of a horse; but his front legs were elongated leonine paws instead of a hippogryph’s avian talons.
Kingdreamer was but five sun revolutions old. He was full of vigor and fun, and he adored making up little dramas for his parents and grandparents. Groundsky guessed that his son would probably become a tale weaver or an actor of some kind, for he had more interest in being a drama king than a ruling monarch. It was not quite what Groundsky had in mind when he named the cub “Kingdreamer”, but the New Path had opened up far more choices for youth than ever before.
“You will have either a gryphon chick or an opiniclet cub as a sibling, Kingdreamer,” Groundsky replied to his son. “We know only that the infant will have wings.”
“I hope it’s an opinicus, like Grandfather Dreamspinner,” Kingdreamer stated his wish succinctly. Groundsky’s father, the spirit king Dreamspinner, shared a close bond with his grandson, Kingdreamer. Perhaps, Groundsky thought wryly, that is how Kingdreamer inherited his drama-loving ways. Father Dreamspinner was the official mate of the reigning monarch, the oracle-queen Sunsky, but everyone knew him as the drama king when he was courting Sunsky. Even now, Dreamspinner often insisted upon dramatic entrances and exits.
As if he had been listening from a distance, Dreamspinner tumbled into their midst from the sky. “O Blessed Son and Daughter of My Heart! Do I sense happy news?” he asked eagerly.
“It will be either a gryphon or an opinicus, Papa,” Groundsky told him. “What do you think of that?”
Dreamspinner threw back his head and uttered a cheering screech as an answer, and young Kingdreamer joined him in the vocalization. “Rug-a-bub-bub, three cheers for the cub!” Kingdreamer cried joyously. Dreamspinner tapped beaks with his beloved grandson. Groundsky delighted in Kingdreamer’s variation of the nonsense phrase that he used frequently, ‘rug-a-bug-bug’.
Before there was time for any more hilarity, however, Groundsky’s winged brother Sun Wing landed in their midst. Sun Wing was Groundsky’s counterpart as the junior-king-in-training for the opinici. Each of the four groups of gryphonic beings, both male and female, both winged and wingless, had their own three-part leadership structure that worked in concert with the other three trinity structures. Sun Wing, however, was in no mood to speak of dry governmental matters. Clearly, something was disturbing him.
“Groundsky, Father Dreamspinner!” Sun Wing exclaimed. “We may have a problem. Our people have encountered a strange new species of gryphon!” Groundsky was not sure why his winged brother considered a new group of gryphons as problematic. He felt a surge of excitement at the possibility of interacting with a new tribe.
“Well, let’s go meet them, brother!” Groundsky cried. “What’s the problem? Now that our mother is in charge, new beings are welcome in our society.”
“Our mother is negotiating with one of their envoys as we speak,” Sun Wing informed him. “But I think the envoy was sent as a distraction. I have seen great flocks of two-footed gryphons circling our community. They hold pointed sticks—they remind me of the hophas and their ingenious inventions—except for the fact that these two-foots are clearly gryphons and not hophas. They have feathers, beaks, and talons just like us, but they are bipedal, unlike us. We need to warn the oracle queen right now.”
“Very well, Sun Wing. We will go together,” Groundsky agreed. He turned to his mate. “I’m sorry, Fluff. As the junior king of the keythongs, I need to check this out. You must go back to the den and keep our little one safe.”
“Nonsense, Groundsky!” Fluff Feather scoffed. “Why do we need to fear gryphons with sticks, even if they are funny looking? I am going off to hunt rodents, as Kingdreamer and I are quite hungry.”
Groundsky was about to protest, but his father Dreamspinner butted his head with his beak. “I will look after Kingdreamer, Groundsky. Let Fluff Feather bring him some food, while you and Sun Wing investigate the situation. I am sure it will be fine, because Sunsky has not called me in as yet; but if there is a problem, send a messenger to me and I will come immediately.”
“Yes, Papa,” Groundsky replied. He took off at a run, as his brother Sun Wing flew overhead. It was not long before the pair ran into the strange beings, both in the air and on the ground. Groundsky did not see the four winged creatures apprehending Sun Wing in the sky, as the sight in front of him fully captured his attention. A troop of bipedal, wingless creatures carried pointed sticks, and they were aiming the weapons directly at Groundsky. The odd appearance of the beings startled him: their hind legs were leonine but were capable of bending at the knee, rather than forming a hock, as was normal for gryphonic quadrupeds. Groundsky assumed the beings were kryphons because their forearms were avian, with five fierce talons on each hand.
“Halt!” a masculine voice commanded him, ending his assumption that these were feminine creatures. “You and all others in this society are hereby ordered to surrender immediately to the authority of the Gorwalian Empire. We are the foot soldiers of Gorwal the Great, Supreme King of the Krestins!”
Groundsky was speechless. Who were these...krestins? He had never heard of them before. He was surprised that they spoke the gryphonic language so well, in spite of a heavy accent. The lead soldier rustled his feathers, displaying a large crest on his head.
“Are you deaf, Gryphon?” the soldier barked at him. “Stop gaping at my crest and move! You are under home den arrest, and we will escort you to your den now.”
Groundsky thought it was best that he not try to explain to the soldier that he was a keythong, rather than a gryphon. Somehow, he felt that such a lecture would not go over well. Nonetheless, he did not want to lead the soldiers straight to Fluff Feather, Kingdreamer, and his father. “I am Groundsky, the son of our queen,” he said. “She is negotiating with an envoy of yours, I believe? Perhaps you could escort me there.”
“We will escort you to the queen’s den,” the soldier promised. “That will be your prison cell for a very long time.”
Groundsky did not argue with the krestin. At the moment, he wanted to distract the soldiers from his pregnant mate, his father, and his son. If they led him away from the trio, that would at least offer some protection for them. He could only hope that Dreamspinner and Fluff Feather would realize the gravity of the new situation and bring Kingdreamer inside the couple’s home den.
He marched alongside the army of ground soldiers, peering at them surreptitiously, to see if he could glean any information about them. The leader of the troop was quick to notice his glances. “Stop staring at us!” he barked angrily. “You will learn all you need to know about us from King Gorwal, I’m sure...if you are who you say you are. If you are not, you will most likely die.”
“I am Groundsky, the junior-king-in-training of the keythongs,” he stated boldly, attempting to ignore the soldier’s unsettling threat to his life.
“You are the king of nothing, now, Groundsky,” the leader said, in a tone that was a little less brusque than the one he had used earlier. “In our society, there is only ever one king, and that one is Gorwal.”
“We already have a government, led by my mother, Queen Sunsky,” Groundsky replied.
“Not anymore,” the leader said, a tinge of sorrow creeping into his voice. “We will bring you to your mother’s den, and you can warn her about the imminent attack. So far, we have encountered little resistance, and we expect to conquer this area fairly quickly.”
Groundsky was too shocked to answer. He trotted along beside the creatures until they arrived at the royal den, where the queen lived with her mate and parents. The keythong ground forces had gathered in defense of the queen, but they were obviously awaiting an order before they engaged the krestin ground soldiers. To his horror, he saw that the assault from the sky had already begun: leagues of winged krestins were battling the gryphonic air forces, known as the Flock of the Sacred Feather. Groundsky scrambled up onto the terrace and ran inside the den, frantic to find his mother and warn her. He knew, however, that his warning would be too late.
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.