The Dark Age Chronicles: The Fall of Night.

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Proposals and Declinations.

Ihloden stumbled back his head reeling. “Steady now,” another voice said and hands reached and held him firmly.

“It’s…It’s…” Ihloden stuttered.

“A Griffin yes,” the Griffin replied, “I know what I am. Who are you?” Ihloden looked past it to see his Griffin getting to its feet.

“How about you tend to the men, and I talk to the boy,” the voice behind him said sounding amused, “I don’t think he has much practice in talking to Griffins in his own tongue.”

“Oh right,” the Griffin said, “Fair enough.”

Ihloden watched as the Griffin went over to the men he and his Griffin had attacked and swept its huge wings over them.

“It’s really really big,” he murmured somewhat dreamily. The Griffin head was reaching half way up the tree trunks. The voice beside him laughed.

“Let’s go check and see how your Griffin is doing shall we?”

Ihloden allowed the unseen person to lead him away from the Griffin. He then turned and saw the man in the colored clothing.

“It’s you!” he exclaimed, “They were trying to kill you! Why is the Griffin helping them?”

“The Griffin’s name is Serenus,” the Griffin called. Ihloden jumped when its voice boomed out at him.

“Serenus please,” the man said laughing, “You are scaring the boy.” He then turned back to Ihloden, “My apologies for the deception that we had to make you go through. This was really all a test you see.”

“A test?” Ihloden said pulling away from the man, “What test?” By this time they had arrived at his Griffin and Ihloden stood between the man and the Griffin. “You will go no further,” he said, “I mean it.”

The man stopped walking and held up his hands, “I know you must be feeling a bit confused but you must let me explain.”

“Then explain!” Ihloden stated.

“But first I must make introductions,” the man continued in a very neutral tone of voice. He then bowed and said, “Eml irbgn egret ratap heca eru-or rodilar udo-oberth ieterh udo-lrgi. Lawesl ratap eru-or udo-rstru, heca Ecvenegen.”

“What?” Ihloden replied.

He felt the Griffin move behind him and he turned to see it bow to the man. Then to his surprise, it replied.

Eml noctesn eru-or egert, eto-wgsl ratap Ecvegen. Aiatln ery slf usavil?

“Griffin?” Ihloden asked.

The man seemed to stagger a bit then he held his hand to his head. “My apologies.Eml slf liespoga. I heard the rumors but I was not sure if they were true till now. It is really here. You, Griffin, you are really here.”

“What?” Ihloden said again, “Will someone just explain?”

Then man gave a heady kind of laugh. “I will speak the language of Cysia, if that is alright with you Griffin?”

Eml-ah slf balel Arvad,” The Griffin replied. Ihloden threw his hands up in the air and made an exasperated sound. The Griffin sent a wave of amusement to him.

“I am glad to see you find our predicament funny,” he said a bit sourly, “If you are done, can you please let him explain why he made us almost kill three men for nothing.”

“I am Euan, a member of the Ecvengen. We heard of rumors of the Griffin from the Mountain City, Overed. And we came to investigate if it was true,” he paused then went on, “We got some information that the Griffin was somewhere near Molvn. So we did some scouting around and we found you. We needed to know if you were up to the task, so we created a bit of a scenario to see how you would react. I am pleased to say you passed.”

Ihloden shook his head and held up his hands, “So you are from that fabled resistance group and you came to find the Griffin.”

“His name is Arvad,” Euan said.

“So that is what his name is,” Ihloden said musingly, then he spoke exasperatedly again, “Who told you that the Griffin was here? You men have Lyficen’s mark on them! You could be Lyficen’s men for all I care!”

“His mark is easy to copy,” Euan said placating, “And if I was Lyficen’s man, I would never have had Serenus with me. Look boy…”

“My name is Ihloden!” Ihloden said, gritting his teeth.

“Like Griffin, like rider,” Euan muttered.

“What did you say?” Ihloden said, feeling his temper beginning to rise “Furthermore, what task are you talking about?”

Euan grew stone faced and grim. In that moment Ihloden saw the real man behind the clothing and the smile; a man of authority and strength, a true leader. “You and your Griffin are the key to stopping Lyficen’s rule in Cysia. We need you to step up to your destiny and be part of the Army that will rise against Lyficen in a final battle that will break his hold on this country. With you and Arvad we are sure we can save Cysia. We are asking you to come and join the Ecvengen.”

Ihloden felt himself grow cold inside. His mind went back to his mother, seeing her face change when she found out that his father was killed. He remembered hearing her cry at night, remember realizing that Shila had to grow up faster than she should have. He also remember seeing what hardships the war had on his village. Seeing the people struggle and him along with them to get back a life for themselves. He knew another war would devastate them. Another war would destroy all that the people had built these long ten years.

“I can’t” he said.

Euan frowned and said, “I will not make this offer again Ihloden.”

“I agree with you that Lyficen must be destroyed. But another war Euan? Another war would destroy us all. We can’t possibly win against him. He is powerful! His army is huge.”

“We are more than you think,” Euan said in a low voice.

“Suppose we win,” Ihloden said, “Then what? After the land is torn apart and lives are lost again and families torn apart again, what then?”

“We will rebuild,” Euan said simply, “It hurts me to lose people too Ihloden. I have lost loved ones in the last war. But they did not die so that we could live like this. Under this oppression all the time. They died for us to be free.”

Ihloden shook his head, “And what about those people that doesn’t fight. You know fully well that Lyficen will use anything and everything to win. Can you protect everyone from Lyficen’s hand when he goes to war? He does not care! He will wipe out everyone that he even thinks stands against him. There has to be another way.” Ihloden paused then said softly, “I can’t bring another war Euan. I can’t”

Euan sighed and spoke again, “ Noktow isade eru, Arvad. Eru tednin tpso lawesl eya.

The Griffin gave a short screech, “Ecpal eml-ah ierdr tpso, tolcae tednin eml tpso.

Euan sighed and turned to Ihloden, “I am sorry that you feel that way. I hope that in time you will not regret your decision. Peace be with you Ihloden. Eresne Arvad.”

With that he turned and he walked away towards the Griffin that was sitting along with the three fully healed men. Serenus got to its feet as Euan approached near. Ihloden saw a look pass between them and knew then the Euan was Serunus’ rider. Euan shook his head slightly and Serenus gave a short screech then it settled back down and all four men climbed up onto its back. Serenus looked at Ihloden, and the disappointment was so apparent in its eyes, that Ihloden looked away.

Eresne Arvad,” Serenus spoke, “Ieterh terlus eml-ah eirdr.” Then it gave a louder screech and with two great beats of its wings it was above the tree line and disappeared into the skies.

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