Chapter Three

Of Griffins and Unicorns

Kiarus Swifteye was worried. It was nearing midnight and her friend, Norion, had still not appeared.

Kiarus was a young leopard-owl Griffin. She was young by Griffin standards only; being just 157 years old while most Griffins lived to be at least 600. She was also impatient and worrisome by nature.

Kia lounged on her branch and sighed.

"Where are you, Norion?" She whispered. She rotated her Great Horned Owl head and flicked her spotted tail impatiently.

Something must have happened to him. Kia thought, still searching the woods. He should have been here hours ago!

All other thoughts were interrupted by a sound from the forest floor. It was really not a sound at all, just a special Griffin signal that only Griffins could hear. Without thinking, Kia launched herself from her tree branch and glided gracefully to the ground. As she landed, only one sound reached her ears, and it was not a sound that she wanted to hear.

Something heavy was being dragged through the underbrush and whoever was doing the dragging was breathing very hard.

"Norion?" Kia called out scarcely above a whisper. "Is that you?"

"Kia." That was definitely Norion's voice, only it sounded strained, as if he were in pain.

"Kia!" The lion-eagle Griffin repeated her name, in earnest. "Find Vinor and Denoraz. Tell them I need them, NOW!!"

Kiarus bounded up to her friend's outstretched body. He was panting heavily and even in the dark, especially in the dark, Kia could see that he had been badly injured. Gently, she cradled his great Golden Eagle head in her soft paws.

"What happened, Nor?" She asked, "How did you get hurt like this?"

"I don't...have much...time left, Kia." Norion managed to gasp out. "I need to tell... Vinor...Denoraz...hurry, Kia!"

Lifting her owl face to the nighttime sky, Kia let out an ear-piercing screech. Within seconds, the sound of something small was heard racing through the forest.

"Kia! What is it?"

Kia looked over at the small arrival.

"Quero! You need to get Vinor and Denoraz," She explained to the ocelot-kestrel Griffin. "Norion is badly injured and he has something vitally important to tell them. Go, bring them NOW!!"

Quero nodded once and took off into the sky.

Kiarus turned her attention back Norion.

"Come on, old friend." She pleaded, "You can't die on me!"
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"Hurry!"

"Careful now! We don't want to injure him any further."

"What, in the name of all that's holy, could have done that?"

"Do you think he'll live?"

"SILENCE!!!"

Immediately, all the voices went quiet and all the heads turned toward the direction of the shout. A magnificent, stately tiger-eagle Griffin stood in the doorway of the infirmary. All the other Griffins bowed their feathery heads in respect, all the while wondering what their Chief was doing there.

"Do you not realize how incredibly foolish this is?" The Chief went on, his voice quiet yet commanding, "Only those who are healers may stay; the rest of you OUT!!"

Everyone left obediently, muttering apologies as they walked by the Chief.

Sighing in exasperation, the Chief turned to the scribe who stood next to him.

"How were all these bunglers let in here, anyway?" The Chief asked, "I thought the area had been restricted."

The scribe, a nervous leopard-owl Griffin, hurriedly searched through his stack of papers.

"I, um, I am not entirely sure how all those commoners were allowed in, seeing as all the doorways in and out of the infirmary were guarded by some of the best guard Griffins in the city. Yet maybe the guards were curious as well, that would explain-"

"Shut up."

"Yes, Sir."

"I don't need a formal explanation for everything, Panar." The Chief told his scribe. "Why don't you go look up some important documents in the Royal Library and leave me alone here."

Panar bowed his head, "Yes, Sir, right away, Sir."

The Chief watched his scribe scuttle out of the room, and shook his head. He needed a new scribe, badly. One who would actually make sense and who would truly take the job seriously. Turning towards the bed in the center of the room, the Chief nearly tripped over a young leopard-owl Griffin.

"Excuse me, Chief Kearon?" The Griffin looked up at him; her pleading eyes bright with unshed tears. "May I stay here, please?"

Kearon looked down at her, surprise written all over his serious face. "Who are you, miss?"

"Kiarus Swifteye, Sir." The Griffin replied automatically.

"Kiarus Swifteye. I recognize the name. Tell me something, Kiarus, why should I let you stay when I just told everyone else to leave?"

"Forgive my bluntness, Chief, but those other griffins had no legitimate reason for being here any more than you do."

Kia's comment brought a low chuckle from Kearon. "And what makes you say that?"

"Norion practically raised me himself, sir. I guess you could say that we're related. No one else that was here, even you, sir, can say that."


Author's Note: I'm sorry this chapter was so short, but that's all I wanted to write on the Griffins for now.

Thanx to:

soccerbabe13 for the review

and to all the other people who read this and don't take the time to leave a review for me.

That's all I'm going to put up here for this story, since I'm going to get it published eventually. I'm sorry to all of you who want to know what's going to happen, but that's just how it is. Thanks again for reading this.

Ciao!

-Anna