The Dark Age Chronicles: The Fall of Night.

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The Griffin

Ihloden groaned as he woke up to the sun dashing its rays onto his face. Then he smiled at the trees outside his windows who wished him good morning.

“Morning,” he mumbled at them and got out of bed, pulling on a shirt and went to breakfast. More than a week had passed and he was fully recovered from his ordeal at Overed. He spoke to Nurilah telling her about the Sertesdroy and the effect that the man had on his because of the Griffin feather. Nurilah had shook her head.

“I don’t know anything about these people,” she had said, “Keep low for a while then Ihloden. If they have the feather then Lyficen is onto the fact that there is a Griffin alive. He will be out for blood now.” Ihloden greeted his mother and sister with a kiss on the cheek for each and shoved down his food. With a quick shower and another parting cheek kiss he went to work. Everyone had heard of his Overed adventure and was treating him like some kind of local hero. He had told his story leaving out certain pieces and the word spread like wildfire and changed so many times that by the time he heard it again he could hardly recognize the tale. He entered the tavern back door and Grims shoved a tray into his face.

“Time to get to work hero,” he grinned, “Bring me some great sale today.”

Ihloden grinned back, “It will be the talk of the town.”

Grims pushed him out into the deafening noise of the tavern. Everyone seemed to want him to serve them. He was worked like a dog by the customers and by Grims but the tips given were handsome and even Grims had to admit that sales had been up since he came back. Ihloden took his lunch out into the forest. The trees were whispering gently to him as he ate under their shade.

“Hey a song will be nice, he said lying on the grass, “You guys got any new ones.”

We will sing of the Legend Griffin,” the trees said.

“Really? That Griffin is alive right now?” Ihloden asked.

It is alive now. You will soon meet it Ihloden,” the trees said, “It is near us now.

Ihloden sat up. “The griffin? Here? In Behrud at Molvn?” he exclaimed, “Are you sure?”

Yes we are sure,” the tress answered, “We will sing of it in Cirvan’s language.

The words felt old and powerful. Ihloden felt as if he sang them something great and terrible might happen. He clenched his jaw till the song was done.

“Did Cirvan use that language when he created you all?” Ihloden asked.

Yes. It was the language that he spoke to his people at the beginning. But it is all but lost now.” the trees said.

Ihloden asked who still spoke the language . The trees were about to tell him but Grims called him back. “I gotta go,” he said getting up and dusting off his pants, “Thanks for the song. I will see you later okay?” The tress rustled their goodbyes as he went back to work. The latter half of the day was the hard part since that was the time people came in for relaxation. Ihloden was longing for his daily shift to be over long before it was time. His legs wanted to give out under him. Finally Grims took the tray from him and sent him off. As he passed through the tavern a group of men called to him, “Ihloden come have a drink with us. Tell us your tale huh?” Ihloden sighed looked at the door then back at them. “Come on,” they prodded. He sighed again.

“Just one drink okay?” he said going over. ‘Shila is going to kill me,’ he thought as he sat down at the table.

It was dark when Ihloden left the tavern. He set out toward his house trying to walk in straight line. But that was not working out to well. The road seemed to wriggle like a snake before his eyes and he was trying to follow the motion in order to stay on the road. He did not know how far he had to go to reach his house so he decided that a song will be best to past the time. He broke out into a love tune and made up words for the lines he forgot. He was halfway through a newly made verse when the trees called to him. “Ihloden come to us,” they whispered.

“Whay?” he slurred.

The griffin is on its way,” they urgently spoke, “It needs your help.” Ihloden turned back toward the woods or where he hoped was the woods. And he began to move as fast as he could to get to the griffin. He could not quite put his finger on why the griffin was so important but it was important and he knew that he had to help. He was well down the forest path when a rather large something was seen running toward him. He squinted his eyes to see it better but that didn’t help. So he opened his eyes as large as he could, but it made no difference. The place was too dark to see anything clearly.

The whatever was coming quite rapidly and with a rather lopsided run as though it was injured. Behind it there was a white figure also moving rapidly. Soon the whatever was close enough for Ihloden to hear the eagle-like sirens erupting from it. The creature seemed to be warning him. As it brushed past him he realized that the head of it was above his. He stopped and considered this as the trees rustled around him.

Ihloden! That is the Griffin! Go after it now,” they prompted him.

“But it is bigger than me,” he whined, “It’s on four legs and taller than me. How am I going get that?” He turned back to face the white creature. It had stopped not too far from him. It was a woman; her skin was white and cold. He could feel the cold from that distance. Her hair was rippling upward, long and shiny white almost translucent. It was as thought her hair was being swept up by some unfelt wind. She raised her hands outward to him and opened her mouth. Ihloden waited to hear what she was going to say but nothing came out. He then noticed that the place was getting silent; the trees were moving but he could not hear their sound or voices. In fact it was getting hard to breathe as well. Small waves of blue flickering lights were moving from his side toward the woman. He stood wondering what was going to happen and what to do when a loud woody scream came to his ears.

RUN!” the trees shouted. He took to his heels. The griffin was far ahead of him but the strength of a drunken man should never be underestimated. He was actually catching up to it. He saw from behind that much of the griffin’s feathers and skin was been sliced off. It was then that he heard it. A long harsh wail, it was loud enough for him to firmly believe that if he survived he would never hear again. He looked behind and saw a wall of blue fire like sound coming after him. He glanced around in desperation and saw in the trees a pond. It was quite deep. Deep enough for him and the griffin.

“This way!” he screamed to it, “Here Griffin!” The griffin turned sharply. It wasn’t coming fast enough. Ihloden stopped and tried to pick it up and drag it into the pond. The claws of the creature scratched his back and chest as it flayed about in his arms. As they both jumped into the pond the blue waves washed over them.

Ihloden saw black water reflecting stars then the blue wave and then wet mud. The water had been cleanly driven out from under them. That meant the wave had hit them. The wail engulfed him and blinding pain and deafening sound merged into one and he fell with his own scream stuck in his throat. Then there was silence. He felt something nudge him. But the touch was so light he wondered if he really felt anything at all. He couldn’t hear, feel or smell anything beyond the pain and silence. Something brushed over his back and rolled him over onto it. The griffin, half of its face feather less and the skin raw under it, looked down at him. It screeched at him as if it was saying something then it glanced back and ran off. He wanted to call to it, tell it to stay to not leave him. But he was too tired and the pain finally caught up with him and he blacked out.

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