Gryphs are massively large avian creatures and undoubtedly one of the largest birds hunting the skies. Generally friendly on contact these can be trained to be fierce, fighting fowl. A loyal beast, these birds and especially Eyelian men share deep bonds that cannot be broken. Gryphs are spectacular birds and suspected to bring good luck if seen.
|Image description. A tamed gryph bearing the sign of the Order of the Wings. Picture by Eshˇh K'ryvvlen.|
Supposed to be survivors of primeval times of
Caelereth, when many other titanic are said to have roamed the skies, the Gryph
is huge by nature, and the wings of a full-grown Gryph can stretch from 3 to 5
peds from tip to tip. There are several different species of the Gyphs, some
resemble their cousins, the great eagle, in almost every aspect. This includes
their razor sharp talons, to their hooked beaks. Other Gryphs have been seen
with hind legs or dragon-like wings. A very special variety of the Gryph is the
so-called Gryphon or Griffon,
which represent beasts with the head, forelegs and wings of a majestic
eagle and the strong body of a lion. However, it is supposed
that these beasts in fact are not directly related to the Gryph.
But back to the Gryph: The Gryph's feathers, which cover the entire body, tend to be brown of some shade although the especially rare gold one is born. Their heads are usually colored differently than the rest of their body, a lighter shade of brown than the body, usually a Gold Gryph will have a white, almost luminous head.
The Gryph is an extremely strong beast. Its strength is comparable to a
Cartashian Bear. Its giant wings enable the Gryph to fly
at speeds cloked at up to 40 strals per hour out of a dive. Its eye sight is
nothing short of phenomenal, being able to see a rat from
over a stral in the air. While diving at prey it can hit speeds of up to 75
strals per hour, as research has revealed. It has thick, flat feathers which
conserve heat when the beast is lying in its den.
Territory. The Gryph's territory is in the high peaks of most mountain ranges across Caelereth, such as the High and Lower Fores in the Kingdom of Santharia. Gryphs can also be found at the Rimmerins Ring, near which the Order of the Wing is located, specialized on Gryph riders.
Habitat/Behaviour. This bird lives with one other for almost as long as it lives. Gryphs will pick a companion early in life and never leave it. These companions don't neccessarily have to be other Gryphs and many of these giant birds have chosen to stay the rest of their lives with human people from the so-called Order of the Wing. This Order of the Wing is an exclusive group of female fighters, which was founded at the time of the first Sarvonian War by the Eyelians. All female fighters of this order ride on Gryphs and are trained especially for aerial combat. Although Gryphs normally are harmless creatures when encountered, the beasts at the order are trained to be effective fighters and are able to use their wicked sharp talons and tearing beaks to good advantage, even while carrying a rider.
The exact reasons for the process of the bondage taking place between Gryphs and single human persons is still unexplained. However, Gryphs are very companionable and special species of Gryphs seek the explicit friendship between man and bird. Once joined, man/woman and bird never part. Often bird and rider shelter together in a mutually agreed upon home, hunting together to supply their meals, and flying together to furnish their pleasure.
Gryph's lifetimes are surprisingly long and have been recorded as living a good two centuries. Although generally solitary if another creature enters their territory the Gryph will usually let it through unmolested, unless the Gryph is hungry of course.
Diet. Despite the Gryph's immense size and imposing look its meals are very small. It will eat small rodents, rabbits, maybe a small pidgeon by flying out of sight above the prey, then it streamlines its body vertically and attacks the prey in an extremely fast stoop, where it claws the prey and kills it as soon as possible. In order to counter balance the small meals of the Gryph it usually eats many times a day, ending with a good twenty successful hunts.
Mating. If the Gryph chooses a Gryph of the opposite sex to be its partner, as opposed to a human, it will mate once every two years, this will produce only one egg at a time, which the parents stay with until the young Gryph is old enough to set out on its own and choose a life partner for itself. Gryphs are born about the size of a large mouse, from there they grow to their full size in approximately one year. During which time both parents will teach it how to survive.
Usages. Obviously the
Gryph is used as means of transport by races like
elves and humans - at least by those who
can optain a bondage with one of the beasts with it (see above).
But there is also a small market due to the Gryph. Certain people have been known to go into the mountains and steal unborn eggs from families. These are bought and sold at extremely high prices for honored knights or evil warlords and other such people who wish to raise these animals. The reason the business is so lucrative is due to the superior ability of the animal, or - more -precise - mostly the superior abilities of the enraged parents tracking the thieves. Half the known attempts fail, many more are suspected.
Myth/Lore. The Gryph is also the symbolic animal of the elven Goddess of Death and Coldness, Queprur. In elven mythology it is saitd that the so-called Gryph of Souls (sometimes also called Kiivosh) is said to bring the souls of the dead to the Mountain of Destiny when its time has come. There it will meet Queprur and Seyella, the Goddess of Destiny, to judge upon the life of the deceased.
Researchers. Sirod Blacktooth, noted researcher, spent three years of his life in the High Fore Mountains. There he personally studied the ways of the Gryphs and was even chosen as a partner by one of these magnificent birds. Sirod proved and disproved almost every rumor about the birds and returned on top of a Gryph as a praised and honored man.