The Dark Age Chronicles: The Fall of Night.

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The Waste Plains of Writhia

Ihloden sat staring at the Griffin a long time after the trees had fallen silent. He had gotten up off the ground and was sitting cross-legged in front of it. The Griffin stared back at him. The previous deep calm had left him and was now replaced by his own calm and slight apprehensiveness. He knew now after much thought that the barrage of feeling that he experience before must have come from the griffin. There was no other explanation. And once he had figured that out he sat there very still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that his brain was being shared by another creature. It was harder than he thought. He felt that he should be able to easily accept it since he had the tress and the land already sharing his brain. But the fact of it was they were not alive, well flesh and blood. But this creature was. He took a deep breath.

“So you can’t speak?” he asked. The griffin nodded and deep assurance filled him. It was profound enough to make him gasp from the sheer magnitude of the emotion. He swallowed hard and shook his head to regain control of himself.

“And you communicate by these emotions?” he asked again. The assurance stayed. He nodded back to the Griffin. There was an awkward silence. Then the emotion changed and there was a sense of urgency that gripped him. “What is it?” he asked.

The urgency got greater and the griffin got up and walked over to him. It settled down next to him. His head barely reached the top of its back. It looked at him and then gestured to its back. Ihloden frowned.

“You want me to get on?” he asked. The same assurance replaced the urgency then just as quickly the full urgency came back. Ihloden shook his head. “I can’t. Nurilah, she… she’s expecting me back. My mother and sister. How long will we be gone? And where are we going?” There was annoyed feeling that trickled over to him from the Griffin. He laughed a little. “Is it really that important?” he asked. The urgency hit him like a wall. He stepped back a little and blew out loudly to try and stop his heart from pounding. “Alright,” he said, “I’ll go with you.”

It was like nothing he had ever done before. It was hard climbing on the griffin’s back. There were no stirrups like a horse would have so he kept sliding off the slick fur of the Griffin. But the sixth try he had a frown on his face and his anger was about to explode, but he got on. Then once he had gotten on, he realized that there were no reigns.

“How do I hold on?” he asked frustrated, throwing his hands up. The Griffin gave a low hissing sound and its feathers fluffed up rippling like a wave up from its back, up its neck and over its face. There was a pair of longish feathers that now stood a little raised up from the others. “I hold to these?” he asked incredulously. The profound assurance washed over him. He gripped the feathers tightly and the Griffin gave a small squawk and stood up slowly. Ihloden let out a yelp as he slid forward on the Griffin’s back when the Griffin got up onto its hinds legs. Then a bigger yelp as he slid backwards as the Griffin rose to its forelegs. The Griffin projected its amusement to him and he felt his face heat up.

“I thought I was going to fall off again,” he whined to the Griffin. The griffin nodded and gave a piercing scream. Iholden jumped then realized that it was laughing at him. He gave a short laugh. The griffin tossed its head and looked back at him. There was what seemed to be, a mischievous glint it in eyes. Then it reared up and flapped its wings strongly. Ihloden screamed and held to the feathers for his dear life. The griffin jerked itself forward and rose into the air with thunderous beatings of its wings.

The griffin jerked about through the trees then out into the bright sun. His stomach jerked about as well and his breakfast bubbled up to his throat and went back down. He groaned a soft groan and ducked his head against the griffin’s back and instinctively gripped onto its body with his knees. The beating of the wings was all he could hear. Then a piercing eagle cry jerked him up and he gasped. The forest of Behrud was far below them. It looked like two small green slashes against the lighter green of the plains. “Ohhhhhhhh,” he gave another low groan. He felt his head begin to swim and he ducked his head back down. The Griffin swung left and right and spun tightly around in a circle. Ihloden whimpered as he gripped on the griffin tighter.

“Stop,” he whined, “Please Griffin. Stop. I can’t take this. Let’s just walk to where you want to go.” A wave to heavy amusement rolled though him as the Griffin flapped harder and the wind blew harder against his face. He bent his head back onto the Griffin.

“I can’t believe you are going faster!” he moaned onto the thick feathers, “Please forgive me if I vomit on your back. Alright?” He peered down to the land below and saw a bright strand of silver, “Is that the Riglen River?” he asked. The griffin squawked and he took that for a yes. Then suddenly it dawned upon him. A cold fear swirled into his stomach. “Where are we going Griffin?” he said his voice low. The griffin tossed its head and said “Writhia”

The deep voice of the Griffin shocked him. “You speak!” he yelled.

“Raitten,” the griffin said, “Rodilar.”

Ihloden groaned. “I don’t know what you’re saying!” he whined, “Just tell me when we get there alright?” He bent his head back onto the Griffin’s back. Then Griffin projected its amusement to him and then with a loud screech it jerked its body forward and the air cut by him faster. He looked up after a while and saw that the sun was already low in the sky.

“We have been flying that long?” he muttered to himself. He swallowed hard and then glanced down. The earth was strangely gray.

“Griffin?” he asked softly.

The griffin made no sound. It arched its body up then glided forward gently moving into a nose dive. Then they began to drop fast. Ihloden held on, his heart thumping as the wind whistled past his ears. He could hear his heart pounding harder and harder as the ground got closer and closer. He closed his eyes. “Stop!!!” he yelled. He bit his lips hard, they were going to hit for sure! Then the Griffin pulled up and dropped down onto the gray earth. Ihloden shakily climbed down from its back and took deep breaths of relief. But that relief was short-lived as he looked down at his feet. They had sunk into the earth up to his ankles. The sun streaked the gray earth with sickly yellow shards of light from the dull black clouds overhead. They had arrived at the Waste Plains of Writhia.

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