The Rise of the Griffonlords

I am sorry I have not written in such a long while. It has been months since I last wrote to you. Much has happened. Eclipse has left our group for the time being. She is young and eager to see more of the world, and our stay in Everdusk has not aligned with her goals. I suspect we may see her again sometime, but for now we bade her farewell. Petra is back with us again, but she is often busy and preoccupied with other matters. When she meets with us, the reunion is charming and friendly. It reminds me of the Great Ones together in the Redstone Canyons when we first met. Nowadays, she travels through the city searching and studying.

I spent much of my time with my master. Zerrick has taught me much. Your Thunder Cannon has been dismantled now. We found a more efficient use for its parts and I think things will be better for it. Zerrick calls it an Eldritch Cannon due to the often unknown nature of its power source – that is, the power source in me. I know who built me but I don’t know how. Despite that, I can use what they gave me as a source for this new weapon. It has multiple functions now including concussive firepower, a literal blast of fire, or an energy barrier. What’s more is that I can attach it to a more mundane weapon like a crossbow.

I also created a new companion for the Great Ones. Using a gemstone I acquired at the market, I crafted a homunculus named Clockwise. It is shaped like a sphere with clawed feet and a small cannon mounted on its side. It will help us scout and provide backup weaponry should we get into a fight.

Zerrick took the time to help me deal with the materials we acquired from the carcass of the Foulspawn. I made a new javelin for Oromis, a musical instrument for Hebo, a weapon for Spoink, and armor for Ezio. I was able to use the last of the gutstrings to create a bow for him as well. A lot of magic has been infused into this equipment, and my allies were very grateful. I meant to make something for Petra as well, but she didn’t say what she wanted. I will craft something special for her later.

What have we been doing since the slaying of Karama? Many things, actually. We spend most of our days working in Everdusk. I spend as much time as I can working with Zerrick and improving my craft. Hebo is a nightly performer and has earned himself and us a place of permanent residence in the city, with Luna and Petra accompanying. Ezio is often with Spider, presumably. Eclipse, as I wrote, has left us for now. Oromis is more elusive than I would have suspected. I and my friends do not know where he goes during the day, but we can estimate based on the injuries he brings back with him each night. Yes, I believe he battles for money in the Blackout Den. That doesn’t surprise me, though. He’s talented in combat, much like I used to be.

When occasion permits, we hunt. The Menagerie has many jobs posted for work in and outside the city. Most of our work is simple enough that we barely scrape by on the coins, and my companions spend their earnings on daily requirements like food or clothing. We have not amassed much since we got here, but perhaps this is fine. Our needs are met. And yet, I cannot feel like we should be looking for more work or moving out of the city. There is much to explore in this part of the world, and Hebo’s itch for adventure is becoming more and more apparent each day.

We chose to look into another job recently. More than a day away from the city, people have reported sights and attacks from a new pack of griffons. Griffons, from what I learned, are not often in these parts. They prefer places further from the civilizations of people (we are noisy and bothersome). These griffons have regularly attacked passing caravans, and some people have been killed. The attacks are causing travelers and merchants to avoid Everdusk, and it is becoming a problem in the markets. The Menagerie offered to pay each of us 300 gold to either kill or chase off the beasts, and an additional 2000 gold if we could find a griffon egg. We collectively suspected something else was at play, though. Why would griffons come so close to the city in the first place?

To prepare for the job, I purchased some bait and a new horse. Ezio had purchased a horse named Mako not long after we settled in Everdusk, but it isn’t strong enough to pull a wagon. I should mention, I also purchased a wagon. Such would be necessary if we were to bring proof of our conquest. This ended up working well against us, though.

We had assumed that the griffons would be about two days away from Everdusk. On that first night when we made camp, we were accosted by six griffons who, I suspect, had been stalking us as we set up for the evening. Hebo’s protective dome spell kept each of us safe, but my horse and Ezio’s Mako were not so lucky. Luna and I traded off blasting griffons to keep them away as Oromis tackled a few of them and fought them directly. I cast an enlarging spell on him to make him tougher. Ezio disappeared into the bushes, firing arrows from cover to keep the griffons confused. Hebo steadied himself to keep the dome up, but he was caught in the middle of his rest and was a little confused. At one point, he transformed one of the griffons into a horse, believing that a horse had gone missing. The griffons attacked their own kind, a distraction that made it easier for Oromis to dispatch the beasts.

Without horses, we were at a loss as to how to continue. Hebo commanded Spoink to remain hidden with our wagon while the rest of us tracked the griffons. They had left behind feathers and bits of fur that we could follow. We moved through the next day carefully following these tracks until they led us to the coast up north. Surprisingly, we found a nest of griffons. The griffons, being nocturnal, were fast asleep around it.

Ezio and Hebo wanted to scout ahead and see if the nest contained any eggs or if we could figure out how to keep the threat of the griffons at bay long enough to make a plan of attack. Slaughtering the griffons seemed heartless, but many people on their way to Everdusk had perished because of them. Killing the griffons was not needless. I am certain of this. I cast a spell on Hebo to allow him to climb the walls of the cliffside while Ezio flew overhead using the new armor I had crafted for him. Clockwise accompanied them as backup.

They returned and informed us that they had counted a dozen griffons around the nest. Unfortunately, they had been unable to get close enough to the nest to find any eggs. The griffons had become somewhat restless while they were investigating, so they chose to return to us instead of pestering. Hebo found an oversized feather and brought that with him. I recalled a job from the Menagerie months ago that we had passed on: hunting a Roc. Rocs are fearsome and terribly large, and are apex predators. It seems likely now that the griffons had come into our area fleeing from a Roc.

The best course of action, we deemed, was to leave nature to do as it will. The Roc, if it comes here, will kill the griffons on its own. Once it has killed its food supply, it will move on. Even something as large as a Roc will know better than to come nearer to Everdusk. This will solve the griffon problem for us, though we will not earn the extra pay of acquiring an egg.

However, it seems that fate had different intentions for us. While we were yet discussing the plan of returning and reporting to the Menagerie, the griffons all suddenly woke up and began screeching. At first, we worried that we had bothered them. Instead, we saw them facing to the west across the sea. A dark shape was coming in fast. The Roc had come much sooner than we and the griffons had expected. The Roc knew the scent of the griffons, certainly, but it would pick up on us as well. If we flee for Everdusk, there is a high probability of the Roc chasing us there. Many lives may be spared if we take down the Roc ourselves.

Hebo quickly put up his protective dome and we gathered inside. Ezio and I began a volley of attacks against the Roc to keep it at bay, but it came faster than one can imagine. The griffons, not caring about us at all, swarmed the Roc, scratching and pecking at it. With huge swipes of its swordlike talons, the Roc tore through many of the griffons in just a few seconds. Once it was done with them, the Roc would turn its attention to us.

Oromis came up with a quick plan. He asked Hebo to draw the bird to us. With him and Flamebreaker on one side and the griffons on the other, we could surround and confuse the Roc. Hebo threw up a series of sparks into the air to draw it closer. When it came in range, Oromis began hacking at the bird. I enlarged him again to give him an advantage over it. The rest of the griffons circled it.

Ezio and Hebo drew their bows and fired volley after volley of arrows into the monstrosity. I aimed my eldritch cannon at it until I saw Oromis greatly injured, and quickly threw up a new turret onto him to give him a protective barrier of energy. Luna cast a series of fiery spells, all in a dazzling array of colors, that swept forward and finally blasted the Roc down and apart. The remaining griffons were still agitated and swarmed us now, but we quickly subdued and chased them away. The surviving griffons flew to their nest for a short while before retreating over the sea.

Except for Oromis, we were unscathed thanks to Hebo’s magic. He and Luna happily chattered to one another about their triumph, while I tried patching up Oromis. Ezio scouted the nest now that the griffons were gone, and returned with six griffon eggs. We debated for a short while on what to do with them. I learned in Everdusk while studying griffons that many people are able to train them as mounts. Griffons are dangerously territorial and are often very savage, but they are fiercely loyal if trained properly.

We sold one egg to the Menagerie and kept the other five for ourselves. Hebo called for a name change to the group. We will call ourselves the Griffonlords now, and will retire the Great Ones name. Training a griffon may prove terribly challenging, but it may provide for us a means of protecting ourselves and others from things that may yet come to pass.