I feel like the griffin does not get enough love ) : Most of this griffin lore is made up.

His mother thought he was too young to wander off for so long without supervision, but it was one of many things that Shikhaalothedorlean ignored. What did they expect him to do when they stretched out in the sun like lazy birds? He was fully-fledged with wings that burned to taste the wind, not a cub to be kept tucked safely in the confines of the lair. But when he tried to tell her that, she cuffed him and told him to shut his beak and learn some manners. They often grumbled when he protested.

Perched on the edge of the ledge, Shikh cocked a wary copper eye over his shoulder. His mother and father dozed languidly on top of the broad, flat roof of the lair. They had scraped the snow off the rock so that their feathers would not get wet and chill their flesh. Their wings were spread out on either side to soak up as much sun as possible. The mountains were harsh, bitter, and had only weak sunlight at the best of times. But their lair had been carved into the highest peak, and the griffins had prime access to whatever sun was available.

Satisfied that his parents would not notice his absence—at least not any time soon—Shikh extended his wings to their full width. His claws scraped the rock as he crouched, waiting for that perfect moment. The hard wind whistled past his face. His feathers were golden and gleaming in the cold light. He clicked his beak in anticipation and felt the slight, briefest tug of the draft that he sought.

Shikh leapt.

He tucked his legs tight against his chest for better control. His hollow bones possessed criss-crossing struts and trusses for the structural strength and weight needed to withstand flight. He allowed the heavy wind to carry his body several miles before he lost his momentum and began to dip sharply. With great, powerful beats of his wings, he began to fly.

Some griffins found flight tedious. His father was one of those; he had mastered the art of glide-jumping, which meant he remained on the ground and took soaring leaps instead of walking. If Shikh had been more worldly and been able to venture behind the limited scope of the environment as he knew it, he would compare it to the antelope.

But his knowledge enclosed only these isolated snow-capped mountains.

(And that strange lair that smelled of his tiny, edible cousins and the four-legged thing with teeth, that echoed with the voice that haunted his dreams.)

Shikh missed a beat and wobbled dangerously in midair. He caught himself, steadied, and went on. Thinking of The Voice made him nervous.

And curious.

His mother and father did not like his questions. They said they were unImmortal. They said he needed to act like a normal griffin.

But how did one act...and why did he not act like one?

His copper eye was capable of spotting the cautious sniff of a mouse's nose from miles away. Raptors had eyesight so acute it was eight times more potent than a human's, and a griffin's eyes were roughly six times more accurate than that. And yet, as his feet skimmed the surface of a slushy pond, his keen eyes did not see the immediate scenery. No, he saw only colors of blue and silver and eyes like rainy meadows.

Shikh missed a beat and somersaulted into the snow. It was lucky for him that he hadn't yet pulled out of his dive or he may well have broken limbs.

(No Immortal-speaker called Daine to fix him up here, no Voice to soothe his hurts.)

His tail lashed irritably as he shook off snow. Daine he remembered easily; she spoke his language, though it was in the ugly accent of humans. He was too young to be able to speak himself or understand what she said, as was the way of large Immortals such as griffins and especially dragons, but he was soothed by the familiar tongue of his species.

It was The Voice he did not understand at all. Daine could liken their speech into something she understood, but really they spoke in chimes, whistles, tinkling bells, sometimes audibly and sometimes through the mind. The Voice, though—it talked with the harsh jumbled things called words and could not hear his demanding mind-whistles.

Shikh took flight again. This time he did not fight the memories. Instead, he tried to remember.

But his memory was fleeting pictures of past events that surged and retreated. Cubs do not retain memories well; it is a gift into which one grows. It was only recently—at least in Immortal years—that Shikh could think more abstractly. He now knew more than Eat and Play and Sleep. Now he could wonder, Perhaps Father could take me to the stream; the fish should have come by now. And he knew this because Father took him to the stream at every thaw, as the salmon passed through this area during their migration from Tyran waters to Sarain rivers. He remembered this.

He remembered The Voice but not the shadowed face, the taste of gorgeous copper blood but not the scars he made. Most importantly, he remembered a name. Too difficult to pronounce in its stilted human dialect, he had, over the years, forgotten its roots, and so it had gradually been rolled and stretched and transformed into a griffin name: Kayadreeamindhelaan.

It had an actual meaning, in griffin-speak, though it was centuries old and archaic; like humans, there were sounds that would slowly fade through time until they were known but unused.

In griffin, Kayadreeamindhelaan meant "battlesong."

One of his earliest memories was of asking his mother where Kayadreeamindhelaan was. And she had looked at him with cool copper eyes and said, Forget that name. She is nothing to you.

He could not forget that name.

It was important.

But why?

Shikh knew why. Because his parents did not understand the things he did. Like when he tried to speak with human words, or when he found solutions to problems that were far more abstract than a cub should understand. The product of colliding worlds, Shikh was far cleverer than the average griffin; but he was young yet and did not understand this. His parents either knew and denied it or genuinely thought their spawn was peculiar.

They said he was unImmortal.

Perhaps he was.

But all he learned, he learned from The Voice.

One day, he would find The Voice called Kayadreeamindhelaan. He would solve this puzzle that was his life. He would search for every two-legged female who fought in shining armor and smelled like spicy leather. He would look into her eyes like rainy meadows. He would know the touch of human hands that soothed and scolded. He would discover that small part of him that was not quite griffin, that asked unImmortal questions and did unImmortal things.

Even if Shikh had to travel the entire world, he would, if only to find that creature who, one hundred ninety years ago, he once called mother.

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