Chapter 31 – Hendosphyre

Groyven smiled at Tiffaniel’s sudden excitement and nodded, ‘Yes. It can only be temporary, Mother showed me how to. All I need is one drop of your blood on our family crest that is etched on the amulet. If the blood wears or is washed off, we will need to do it again.’

 

Hendosphyre watched the children for a few moments before he tossed his head to the side, clicking his beak as he returned to preening himself. He watched lazily while Tiffaniel pricked her finger with the concealed needle from her belt, allowing a bead of her blood to form and then pressing it onto the black amulet that Groyven held out. For a moment, Hendosphyre watched attentively as both amethysts flared with inner light and then calmed. In the background he could feel Tiffaniel’s presence growing in his mind as the blood dried. He clicked his beak quietly and went back to preening his feathers, listening to his ward’s talk and idle chatter about the world they found themselves in.

 

Overall, he was not surprised in Groyven’s innocent questions. He could hear his master’s thoughts, though still quite muddled and vague, they reached him clear enough. Even he, with his limited understanding of dimensions knew that finding and meeting this world’s Groyven and Tiffaniel could potentially lead to disastrous consequences. He stopped preening for the moment and stared past the mountains, feeling a faint, almost subconscious pull. Another concern was an issue the gryphon was already acutely aware of, he could feel this world’s summoning amulet. The first time that Groyven summoned him, he was momentarily confused until he felt the familiar resonance of the amulet in Groyven’s possession. He could feel the other, in the distance.

 

Hendosphyre looked up at the red star and it’s unfamiliar glow. It had been thousands of years since he had seen the stars, or even the night sky. The twin’s mother and her predecessors had only summoned him during daylight and sporadically at best. When he was young, during the time of the dragon gods, there was a dominant star of pure white that occasionally shimmered blue. A number of years before the breaking of the world that star had stopped its shine and not long after, the dragon gods retreated. Many took it as a sign that the gods had abandoned them. While the eternal races of the elves and dwarves sought balance and in most cases formed strong alliances and partnerships. The short-lived mortal races fought for dominance and sought to replace the lost gods with false deities before the emergence of sci and tech. Within a few short centuries, they had obtained the destructive powers of the gods without the harnessing of magic, they rose to dominance, subjugating the weak under the rule of self-styled deities that paraded themselves before the masses.

 

His masters managed to survive those dark times, the breaking of the world. The violent storms that raged across the planet, scouring it of life. He had only sparse memories of those times, short and far between, of dark caves and subterranean underground sanctuaries. Where cities carved out of the very stone itself surrounded underground lakes and rivers that meandered under the mountains. In the current age, he remembered being summoned and seeing blue skies and green forests again. He was handed down through the family he served, their line once again growing stronger with each generation.

 

Hendosphyre idly watched the stars, his eyes unfocused as he considered the current turn of events. He and his master were severed from their world with the strong likelihood that they would never return or find their way back. Hearing light footsteps, he looked back at the children, they were preparing to sleep and his master approached.

 

‘Hendosphyre, we will get some sleep. If you feel it is safe, you can too.’ Groyven said as he reached him.

 

Hendosphyre nodded, feeling the general thoughts of his master. The boy’s concern and care was a welcome change, his forebears of this age only viewed him as a tool or mount. The twin’s mother was the first in a long time to treat him as more than that, but even she did not understand his potential. Suddenly Hendosphyre felt Groyven’s arms around his neck, he drew a wing behind the boy and nestled his large feathered head against Groyven’s.

 

‘Thank you, Hendosphyre.’

 

Hendosphyre gently squeezed Groyven with his wing and looked at him curiously as he walked back over to Tiffaniel and their campsite. In ages past he had been a feature and a treasure of their ancestors, a member of the family that would protect and escort the children when not needed in service to his master. The amulet was used as a tether, a guarantee that protected and safeguarded the gryphon’s soul, allowing him to be resurrected if he fell in combat. 

 

He continued to watch as the children laid down, looking at the heavens above, as thin clouds glided across the sky, providing a transparent, gauzy curtain to the light of the stars. Hendosphyre glanced up again, looking at that alien star, red and foreboding as it glowed hazily through the cloud cover. He waited until the siblings had drifted into a steady sleep before he rose, stepping quietly over the broken walkways, he made his way back to the ruined tower. He turned, taking another look at the sleeping children, suddenly freezing in place, his eyes wide in shock. A lone figure stood on the top of the ruined entrance to the mountain amidst the shattered and overgrown remains of dwarven stonework, watching him.

 

Before he even had time to blink, his sharp eyes picked up an almost nondescript flash of movement in his peripheral, the figure was now at the base of the ruined entrance. A woman, she stood beside the river that exited the mountain, nearby the children. Barely registering her actions, she was suddenly standing over the sleeping twins. Her speed was phenomenal.

 

She observed the twins carefully as they slept, suspended in time, her movements unnaturally silent as she walked up to them, her eyes tracking the signature of magic. She carefully crouched beside Tiffaniel, and slid her hand into Tiffaniel’s pocket and withdrew the device, the sun and moon with the black and white dragons encircling it. The ruby glinted warmly in the shine of the moon. She chuckled to herself as she turned it over in her hand, inspecting it as you would a new trinket. Narrowing her eyes, she slid it back into Tiffaniel’s pocket and looked at her face with a gentle glimmer in her strange eyes. She reached out and tucked some stray hairs back behind Tiffaniel’s ear while she slept. Nodding to herself, she moved around the fire and to Groyven.

 

Silvan looked at his face, gently caressing his cheek with her fingertips. Noticing the fine chain at his neck, she drew out the amulet. She smiled slightly as it sat in her hand, the two amethysts glinting in the moonlight. She tapped its black surface with a finger and glanced at Hendosphyre as he stood before the tower. She smiled, noticing the gryphon’s eyes slowly shifting, reacting to her movements. Without concern, she dropped the amulet back into place and slid it back into Groyven’s clothing. She addressed the faint blue glow at his waist, opening the pouch containing Sialin’s ampules, the blue glow spilling out. She took one and held it up, her incredible eyes looking at the contained liquid. She concentrated for a second and blue ethereal flame burst into life in her other hand, she played with the flame for a moment, letting it flare through her open fingers before snuffing it. She chuckled to herself as she returned the ampule, securing the pouch again. Silvan ran a fingertip up his neck, before she gently caressed his cheek with the back of her fingers and stood.

 

She walked casually over to Hendosphyre, his head starting to ever so slowly move as his eye fixed on her. Silvan stood, looking at him admiringly, a smile growing on her face as she touched his feathers, carefully running one through her fingers. She stroked his beak and rested her head against his, speaking softly near his ear.

 

‘Great one from here that is not here, your arrival has upset the balance and we are intrigued at what this may mean. We will have to take it into our own hands to balance fate.’ she said quietly as she looked out over the ruined battlements and then back to him, ‘Beware the wolves, they are hunting.’

 

She smiled at him again, stroking his beak as his head continued to turn, now both of his eyes meeting hers before she was suddenly gone. Hendosphyre blinked his eyes, quickly looking around, the woman he had seen was nowhere to be found. A strange sense of calm worked its way through him. He could still feel her hands on his neck, he could hear her words echo in his ears. Only being heard now after she was long gone. He could smell her lingering scent, the smooth scent of unyielding power, the scent of a goddess.

 

He blinked, returning to the children’s side as they slept. Checking on them. After a few short moments he returned to the tower, the goddess’s scent calming his mind and charming his thoughts. Hendosphyre gracefully leaped back up and onto it, his wings quickly extending to soften his landing. He barely reacted to a cry of a wolf rising in the distance, and another in return, much closer. He looked back over the ruined battlements, taking another brief glance at the children’s sleeping forms. He could see the goddess Silvan’s eyes, those dark pools of infinity and the universe above, he could hear her voice, calming and smooth. He turned and settled himself, before looking back out over the valley, at this world that they were destined to call home.

 

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