Age: 86 Days
Description: Many years ago, Gryffe's were considered to be mythical creatures, existing only in the tales of minstrels and story tellers and their listeners throughout the lands of Zantarni. It was only a short time ago, however, that this mythical creature was introduced to the hatcheries of Zantarni as being very real indeed. Although many different versions of the story are told, how these eggs came to appear in the hatcheries remains a mystery to many.
The most popular story is that of a Dragon Rider who's dragon was injured in battle while flying high above the eyrie of a Gryffe. Forced to land due to his injuries, the dragon and rider found themselves in the nest of a Gryffe, where a clutch of three eggs lay. The parent was no where to be seen, and the rider tended to his injured dragon. Once the dragon was ready to fly again, realizing that the parent Gryffe of these eggs had not returned, the rider carefully placed each egg into a pouch and carried them upon the back of his dragon, delivering them into the safe hands of the local hatchery, where the first Gryffe's were adopted out to a select few Zantarni citizens.
What has since been learned about these delightful creatures, is as follows:
Hatchlings: Hatchlings are born with patches of soft fur all around the head and neck area, and fine, downy feathers protrude from their clumsy wings. They have a long tail with a tuft at the end, much like that of a lion, and they have large rear paws very much like those of a lion. The front feet are more like an eagle's talons. Their head is wide, and seems quite large and bulky for the size of the Gryffe's body, making them appear to be very clumsy creatures. Instead of a lion's head, however, they have a beak that protrudes from their face, very much like that of an eagle. Pointed ears sprout up from the top of their head, much like that of a horse or a donkey. In all honesty, hatchling Gryffe's are really quite an ugly looking creature.
Youth: As the hatchling grows and begins to mature, their wings become more lithe and supple, with a sparse scattering of dull colored feathers filling out their wings somewhat. Their body grows larger but their head remains more or less the same, giving the Gryffe a more balanced appearance. Although the Gryffe is more pleasant to look at during this stage, it's appearance is still somewhat ugly. They begin their flight training, flapping their wings and leaping into the air, then learning to drift back down into the nest, riding upon the air currents.
Adult: In time, as the Gryffe matures, the soft fur around the neck and head becomes more coarse like, but takes on a colorful hue. The wings begin to molt, with new, much more colorful feathers sprouting, giving the wings a nice lustrous hue that ripples in the sunlight. The body now appears lithe and strong and quite lovely to look upon. The adult Gryffe will now leap from it's parent's nest, along with it's parent, making long flights into the valleys below the eyrie in search of food and water, learning to feed and provide for himself now.
Mature: The Gryffe will leave it's parent's nest in search of a mate, and then will locate it's own eyrie, building a nest for his own offspring. Gryffe's tend to mate for life, and are known to remain alone for the rest of their mature life, should the mate meet with an untimely demise. The mature Gryffe will make long flights, sometimes traveling from one mountain range to another while searching for it's mate. The mature Gryffe appears much the same as the adult Gryffe, with the only difference being that there is a darkening in the color of the fur around the neck, which grows darker with each year of it's life. This coloring can grow to be as dark as night if the Gryffe lives long enough to mature naturally into old age.
Gryffe's are well known for their loyalty to their mate, and their family unit. In order for a rider to be paired up with a Gryffe, they must be joined up while the Gryffe remains in it's egg or is newly hatched. When a Gryffe is joined with it's rider during the hatching process, the Gryffe view's the rider as a member of it's family unit and will remain loyal to that rider for life. Due to the nature and personality of the Gryffe, it is not possible to match up a rider to a Gryffe that has already matured beyond the early hatchling stage. Gryffe's are extremely protective of their family unit, and will attack anyone or anything that poses a threat. They can be quite vicious, and should be approached with great caution if one is not considered to be a part of the Gryffe's family unit.
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