"I also wish to mate with a human." the Gryphon said nonchalantly while walking ahead of the two flabbergasted humans and transforming with another burst of feathers to her original form.
Ylaris looked stunned, and Enox looked eager. Or at least, a part of him did.
"Think with your brains!" Ylaris hissed at him, pinching his upper arm. The Gryphon turned to observe them.
"Can humans think with other parts of their anatomy? How interesting. I have not heard such things before. What is he thinking with?" the creature cocked her head, clearly curious.
"It's a human expression, my lady. Please think nothing of it. We use our only our brains, just as you do."
"How strange." the Gryphon clicked her beak together. "Mage, it is not your nestling I wish to have sex with. He is a fine specimen, and I have no doubt that my flight feathers would be plucked if I would deny the firstborns a chance at him. He has a strong current of destiny around him."
"Don't I know it." Ylaris muttered. "May we mount?" she said, gesturing at the wide expanse of the Gryphon's back. She had ridden on them a few times in the past, but it was a rare pleasure she was eager to experience once more.
A low bow met her words and the older woman strutted with confidence up to the feathered haunches. She climbed on with dignity, using a bit of magic to boost her agility. "Come now, my lord!" she called, gesturing for Enox to join her. He was hanging back warily, glancing at the jagged edge of the mountain with trepidation.
"I think I'll just walk." he said nervously, edging away.
"He's afraid!" Ylaris hooted, gently slapping the Gryphon on the back of her neck. A squawking laugh joined her.
"Oh for-come on, anyone would have a little fear!" Enox marched determinedly up to them, awkwardly swinging up in front of Ylaris and sitting with his knees just behind the Gryphon's great wings.
'Nothing like a little dogging to make a young man fearless.' Ylaris thought with amusement. "Tally ho then my Lady!" she put her hands together and murmured a quick sticking spell, ensuring that neither of them would fall off.
Enox squirmed as the spell set over him, feeling like he was just dipped in tree sap. Still, it was better than the alternative. He gasped as the enormous wings beat, rocking him back and forth. He immediately felt immensely grateful to the mage. The beats became faster, sweeping up debris and detritus in a veritable maelstrom of sheer physical power.
"Here we go!" Ylaris yelled, hunching down. Enox was quick to mimic her, feeling vaguely queasy at the rocking. He started screaming (although he would never admit it) as the creature abruptly reared onto her haunches, launching herself in the air with a powerful push from her back legs and a magnificent shriek.
A sudden drop rolled both of the human's stomachs as the Gryphon plummeted over the edge of the mountain. She lazily allowed them to drop for a terrifying moment before fully flaring her wings open and catching them. Enox was trembling all over, eyes squeezed shut.
"Open your eyes! Your eyes, dear!" Ylaris yelled, words muffled by the great gusts of wind that tore at them. He took a deep, shuddering breath before slowly opening them, tremors of terror still wracking his body.
The view was like nothing he had ever seen. They were soaring over a green valley, humans looking like tiny ants. To their right was the giant mountain, dwarfing them with its snow-covered peaks. Clouds drifted idly and the sun glittered in the west, beginning its nightly descent. The fear quickly left as it was overtaken by awe and amazement. Without him realizing, his body had already adjusted to the strange rocking motion and already his balance was better than the far more experienced mage's.
"This is incredible!" he yelled, whooping his joy. Lady Windwalker heard him and gave a piercing cry in return, conveying her pleasure to him. She tucked in her wings and dove, spiraling. Enox laughed, all fear left far behind him.
Ylaris crouched down closer, eyes streaming in the wind. She was getting too old for this sort of play!
The Gryphon worked her way through a series of aerial stunts, each delighting the young man on her back more than the last and leaving him breathless with exhilaration. 'This one would be a prize mate for any of the firstborns,' she thought. It was rare to find a human who enjoyed flight, especially one who adjusted to it so quickly. Not that any Gryphon worth their wings allowed humans to ride them often. She gradually smoothed out her flight, drifting on air streams as effortlessly as a fish navigating the eddies of a gentle river.
"Look below!" the mage shouted into Enox's ear, jabbing her fingers at a building that was built into the side of the mountain. "That's where we are going!"
"I will land down the trail; you may transform me then, mage." the Gryphon spoke, beginning her descent. "We will enter your destination together and I will find a worthy male to mate with."
Enox laughed, feeling carefree. This was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of his life. He felt a little disappointed that it was coming to an end so quickly, but was also eager to get to the spa.
All too soon, the ground was nearing. The young man felt a little zing of trepidation, remembering her awkward landing from before. Lady Windwalker beat her wings wildly, slowing them down to a hover before dropping suddenly onto the path in a rearing, jarring movement that would have no doubt sent them tumbling if it hadn't been for Ylaris's clever sticking spell. As it was, they jumbled together and Enox's head knocked into the mage's chest, causing her to wheeze and cough dramatically.
"Finite!" Ylaris gasped out irritably, cancelling the spell holding them on. Enox's legs felt curiously wobbly after dismounting. It hadn't been that long of a ride but he felt as though he had been riding atop a horse for a whole day.
"Oooh, my thighs!" Ylaris moaned, rubbing them. "Those hot springs can't come soon enough! Now, Lady Windwalker, time to make your charm!"
The Gryphon and young man both watched curiously as Ylaris took out of one her freshly harvested feathers, muttering over it before spitting on it and slicking the entire length with her phlegm. She then conjured a length of black twine, holding it out to the Gryphon to snip with her sharp beak into three equal parts. After that, she deftly braided the feather and twine together, muttering all the while before finally attaching a clear glass bead to the end.
"If you will transform again, my Lady. This must go around either your wrist or ankle." Another shower of feathers, again gathered by Ylaris with a quick spell and pleased expression, and Lady Windwalker's demi form was present once more, covered this time by a dress (thanks to a certain meddling mage), much to Enox's dissapointment.
"My wrist, I think." the Gryphon said, considering her choices carefully. "It will be easier to take on and off."
"As you wish; a good choice." The older woman nodded approvingly, tying it swiftly. As soon as she clasped the ends together, the Gryphon transformed instantly into a striking woman with shapely legs that seemed to go on for miles. Her features were similar to her demi form, but their sharpness and birdlike qualities were muted.
"We should give you a human name," the mage mused. "Windwalker is not a human name."
The Gryphon's brow furrowed in anger, her honey-brown eyes-no longer that sharp golden hue-darkening.
"You dare to hide my lineage? I will not be called by anything else. To do so would be an insult of the greatest height."
"No, no." Ylaris soothed hurriedly, hands up in a placating manner. "I meant no offense. If subterfuge is your goal, then perhaps a different name would be beneficial….of course Windwalker is a proud name. And none so deserving of it as you, my Lady."
The Gryphon crossed her arms, glaring. "On this, I will not be moved."
"Of course. My mistake." the mage bowed deeply, hiding an eye roll.
"Yes. It was." The woman stated haughtily. "Your apology will be accepted without a blood demand. This time."
Enox gulped. Ylaris wasn't kidding when she said they were quick to offend. His awe of the Gryphon lessened quite a bit with her pretentious nature and pettiness.
"Shall we continue onwards, your Ladyship?" He interrupted, offering the woman his arm. She stared at it, nonplussed. "Er, human tradition." He said, dropping the offered appendage.
"Very well." she said, grasping his arm and looping hers through. "We will present as you humans do."
He felt apprehensive with her nearness, being overly careful not to trip. She'd probably peck his eyes out if he tripped and took her down with him.
Ylaris followed them, chattering on excitedly about what the spa had to offer.
"Oh, you simply have to try the algae swamps, they are simply marvelous. Your skin will be glowing-literally. Bioluminescence and all that. Take a few hundred years off if you need it!"
"What would you suggest for me, lady mage?" Lady Windwalker asked curiously, practically pulling Enox along with her long stride. He wasn't considered short by any means, but she had such long legs and a few inches on him. Plus, he thought, his legs were still wobbly from the ride.
"Hmmm…" Ylaris looked thoughtful." If you were in a private room you could transform back to your glorious self and perhaps get your beak and nails shined and polished. They have experts in catering to the Exalted."
The Gryphon hummed, "an excellent suggestion." She turned to Enox. "Does my skin please you? Does it too need this algae treatment?"
"It's...it's as soft as a newborn babe's, Lady." he reassured. "But perhaps you would partake simply to enjoy the experience?" As they crested a hill, they stopped, marvelling as the spectacular lodge came into view at the bottom.
"Ho!" a new voice called, greeting the three visitors. "Do you have a reservation?...Ylaris, is that you?!"
"Sylvie, my dear!" the old mage rushed down the path, enveloping the person in a hug. "Oh, it's been what, 75 years, give or take a century?"
"Ylaris! You don't look a day older. But who is this?" she looked curiously at the other two, frowning at a list that suddenly appeared in her hand. "I have you booked for two…."
"Ah, yes. This is the Lady Windwalker, from the White Mountain clan. Perhaps you can make an exception?"
"A Gryphon's name? She looks...ah!" she squinted mightily, staring hard. "You always were so good with glamours. Almost couldn't see through this one! What marvelous wings!"
Windwalker stood taller, a pleased smile gracing her lips. "They are indeed."
"Of course, of course. Come right this way!" she ushered them along while continuing merrily, "The western suites are always kept open in case of Exalted visitors."
"She wishes her lineage to be kept discreet during this visit." Ylaris hushed her friend as they entered enormous carved wooden doors.
Sylvie nodded, swiftly dotting a note down on her list. "This'll be the young noble that you've been working with hmm? Word does get around, you know."
Ylaris laughed, hooking an arm around her old friend. "Old gossip that you are!" she said fondly. "Let's go get settled, these old bones of mine are aching! Come along!"
Enox eagerly followed the two older ladies, gapping around him in awe. The inn was beautiful in a simplistic, natural way. Everywhere he looked, nature was incorporated. Gone was the foreboding, windy mountainside. Instead, it looked as though he had entered a lush forest. Gentle streams laughed as they wound underneath see-through glass panes in the floor. He marvelled. Glass! In the floor! Warily, he avoided stepping on it.
Ylaris chuckled. "It won't break, my dear. Spelled stronger than steel!" Enox nodded, gasping when a fish waved a colorful fin at him.
"Oh, ignore them. Show-offs!" Sylvie scolded, shooing the fish away. It blew bubbles at her angrily before swimming away.
"Are they real fish?" Enox asked, entranced.
"Of course! These streams flow off their natural rivers in the Catar Jungle-magically diverted of course. They go right back where they came from, no harm to the ecosystem. They are lovely to look at though aren't they? Every color imaginable!" Sylvie, seeing that Enox was clearly new to this sort of environment, decided to play the role of tour guide. Even the Gryphon looked impressed.
"Have you been here before, Lady Windwalker?"
"Not inside, no. Though we are aware of its existence. A few of my nestmates have stayed here." She glanced around, much more subtle in her admiration than Enox, who was openly exclaiming in wonder.
"There is something in the trees!" he all but yelled, pointing excitedly to the dense foliage on the side of the glass path.
Ylaris rolled her eyes, suppressing a good-natured grin."I hope you don't intend to go around hollering when you see the capital for the first time, sir Enlan."
Enox snapped his jaw closed and gave the old mage a rude look.
"Ah, yes!" Sylvie grabbed his arm and pulled him closer to the lush greenery. "They are pixies; relatives of the Fae but much lower on the totem pole. They maintain the plants and natural aspects of the inn. They do like playing tricks on our guests, however. Harmless of course. The ones outside of here not so much. In order to live here they are bound to do no harm to our guests."
Ylaris nodded her agreement. "Never trust a pixie, Enox. They enjoy mischief far too much."
One of the creatures in question fluttered towards them gracefully, twirling herself on the currents of air. Her skin was a pale lavender, with wings of a deep purple laced with glittering gold. She landed on a twig near them, her cotton-wisp hair floating gently around her as her wings slowly fanned.
"Do they talk?" Enox leaned forward, laughing as she blew him a kiss.
"Some of them. She doesn't." She giggled and flew around him. He held his hand up and she landed in his palm. He marvelled at how light she was. She weighed no more than a regular butterfly would. He leaned forward, stunned to see that she was naked. Two naked girls in one trip! How about that?
He watched as she danced her way over to his thumb before straddling the meaty base, legs spread on either side. She leaned back and pulled his thumb to her, laying it over her minute body. He blushed as his thumb came into contact with her tiny, pert breasts and-oh god! She began twisting her hips rhythmically, making erotic cooing noises as she rolled her hips into his thumb, fluttering her wings against his palm.
"eager little things, aren't they?" Ylaris laughed at his shell-shocked expression.
"That's enough, Flora. Don't get him too riled up now, poor thing." Sylvie gently plucked the writhing pixie from his palm. The tiny creature pouted, stamping her little feet in the air.
Enox rubbed his hands on his trousers, choosing NOT to examine the wetness that he felt there.
"I like this Flora." Windwalker interrupted, smiling. "She has good taste."
The pixie paused her tantrum and fluttered towards the Gryphon, preening and giggling in delight.
Sylvie tossed a candy of some sort in the air and the pixie flew towards it in a mad rush, catching it and grasping it possessively to her chest.
"A little condensed ball of nectar; they can't get enough of the stuff."
They all watched as the pixie flew back into the foliage, clutching her prize and glancing warily around for would-be snatchers.
"Lady Windwalker; perhaps we can meet up later? I'm sure you'd like to get settled in?" Ylaris suggested as they continued down the path, leaving the small creature to its meal.
"A fine suggestion." the Gryphon turned to their guide, head tilted in a bird-like manner. "Elder mage, do you have someone who can teach me to court a human male? I wish to experience mating."
Sylvie, to her credit, held her expression remarkably well with only a slight raise of her eyebrows to indicate her surprise at the request. "Of course. I believe that one of the masseuses is part incubus. I'm sure that she would be more than happy to find you a willing partner."
"She will have to teach me how humans have sex. Gryphons must fight for their right to mate. It is a bloody and fierce battle. Will I have to fight any human women for the right to mate with the partner of my choosing? Can I choose a male and fight him for the right to pleasure myself with his cock?"
"My goodness!" Ylaris and Sylvie both exclaimed, hushing the statuesque woman.
"My Lady. Humans are much more reserved...it's not proper to discuss these things in public in polite society." Sylvie gently lectured, a pink hue creeping along her cheeks.
The Gryphon scoffed, shaking her head sadly. "I will not pretend to understand you humans and your shame regarding sex. It saddens me."
"I'm sorry you feel that way." Sylvie said gently before steering the conversation into safer waters. "Ylaris, do you still remember the way? I have you in the Ocean suite-I know it's your favorite dear. You and Enox get settled and I will take care of the Lady. Tonight will be a full moon, perfect for the cleansing ritual." Sylvie wrinkled her nose at the young man. "Your aura stinks, my dear. Like a rotting corpse."
Enox sniffed himself, smelling a slight pungence of sweat but nothing particularly foul. He didn't know whether or not to take offense.
"Sylvie can smell auras. Not all mages are gifted with the ability to detect them. It's fairly uncommon, actually. The two of us are only part of a small handful that can!" Ylaris boasted, nudging her friend. "Sylvie here is also a Seer; exceptionally rare."
"A seer!?" Enox exclaimed, impressed. "I thought they all worked for the palace?"
"Oh, I do, I do. But they rotate us through. Can't have visions if I'm under stress! That's why this is the perfect job for me."
"Can you tell my future?" Enox leaned forward eagerly, as if invading the elder mage's personal space would force a vision.
"My Lord!" Ylaris yanked him back and cuffed him upside his head. "What a rude thing to ask. It's not some parlor trick she can turn on and off. It's also quite tiring on her! Some Seers are known to sleep for days after a vision!"
Enox pouted a bit and rubbed his head. "Well how am I to know that? I haven't been exposed to much magic.'
"Yes, I see that now. Yet another thing to incorporate into your education. How remiss of me. Now come. The Lady has been waiting patiently long enough." she gestured a knobby hand towards the Gryphon, who was busy examining her clothing with lips twisted in distaste. "Sylvie; we are going to head up to our suite and then we will meet you near the springs later so you can help me with cleansing his aura. Sundown perhaps?"
"Of course, of course." The older mage called over her shoulder, already leading their new acquaintance away.
Ylaris watched them with a fond expression before starting off in the direction of their suite. She turned towards Enox, who was still glancing around in wonder. With a flourish of her wrist, she produced a brochure and handed it to him to peruse. "Well, young fella-me-lad? What would you like to do first?