I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
Griff is a tall, well-built man in his mid-forties, which would normally be close to middle-aged. However, since arriving on Aereth and flightbonding with a dragon, it makes him a mere youth. He has also made other changes during the last ten years. He is no longer perfectly clean-shaven, and his thick reddish-brown hair is usually worn shoulder length. There are new crinkles at the corners of his deep forest-green eyes, gotten from squinting into the distance and from laughing and smiling often. Griffin has also added muscle over the years thanks to hard training, hard, work, and learning to swing a sword.
Before finding himself on Aereth, Griffin's personal identity was wrapped up in what he was rather than who he was. On Earth, he was a pre-eminent paleontologist with a specialty in prehistoric megafauna. Since the field was awash with experts in every kind of dinosaur that ever existed, getting recognized for research into the giant creatures that lived before the dinos had been a hard sell. Still, fewer academics were interested in the eras after their demise. Perhaps having an interest in cryptozoology had not helped his credibility any? When not out digging for fossils or giving lectures, Griffin was practicing his other passion, historical reenactments, specifically the era of Robert the Bruce and 1700's Scotland.
Before Aereth, Griffin did not give it much thought. If asked, he would have said he thought he was a good man, dedicated to his career, decently well-off, modest in his outlook, and content with his life. After arriving on Aereth, Griffin had to look deeper within himself. As time passed, he discovered he was far more courageous than he would have ever believed possible, had a tremendous amount of integrity as measured by others, discovered an unmatched strength of will, and, most of all, was worthy of a dragon's respect and friendship.
As a lad, Griffin got into his fair share of scrapes. He was sent home from school more than once for fisticuffs. Griff was not inherently violent, but he could go from laughing to fighting in the blink of an eye if someone hit him first. The only thing that has changed is his expertise. In college, Griffin was an all-around athlete and competed in track, swimming, and boxing. Since landing on Aereth, he has trained with some of the best fighters in the world.
Due to his love of and work as a historical re-enactor, Griffin had a good grounding of medieval weapons' theory. However, a weekend spent at a Renaissance Festival or playing out the Battle of Culloden could never have prepared him for the real thing. But, when faced with training to become one of the Morrighan, Aereth's premier dragonriders, Griffin found that theory was a good place to start. Over the last ten years, Griffin has learned to acquit himself admirably with the Morrighan's standard-issue sword, his own hand-and-a-half sword used along with a short-sword, and various other bladed weapons. Griffin is less adept with spears but can acquit himself decently in a hunt when he uses a spear-throwing device such as an atlatl.
Bows & Crossbows
When it comes to weapons, Griffin is most comfortable with the Morrighan's Stinger, a powered repeating crossbow. He is fast rising through the ranks as their best shot. Griffin is also an excellent marksman with other types of crossbows, recurve and longbows.
Dragonspeech / Mindspeech
Not many months after arriving on Aereth, while he was still acclimating to this fascinating new world, Griffin began hearing voices. At first, he feared for his sanity. However, he was soon assured that what he was hearing was the direct mind-to-mind speech of the dragons. That set him on a new career path when he was recruited by the Morrighan.
Griffin inherited an extra-long lifespan when he bonded with the dragon, Iryss.
Technically, neither the dragonspeech or extra-long lifespan are considered forms of magic. However, they are extraordinary abilities that he would not have had on Earth.
None as of yet. Griffin has been too busy learning to survive on Aereth to think about romance.
When Griffin first arrived on Aereth, he was saved from being a sabercat's breakfast by a massive dark bronze dragon. In return, he saved hers as well by pulling a broken off spear from her chest so that she could heal. After finishing his training for the Morrighan service, Griffin took his place on the flight dais and sang the Song of Airlith, not realizing he was vocalizing it as well as sending it via dragonspeech.
To his surprise, it was a great bronze-colored queen that answered his summons. Within seconds, he had impressed the dragon who set aside the name she had been given by her previous Morrighan who had been slain in battle and accepted the name Griffin offered her...Iryss (p. Iris).
March 13, 1975
- Griffin Xavier St. James was born to Rachel and Ian St. James
- Birthplace: Borreraig (crofting settlement), Loch Dunvegan, Duirinish, Isle of Skye, Scotland
1975 to 1991 (a. 0-16)
- Griffin enjoys his childhood as the cherished only son of Ian and Rachel. When not playing or in school, Griffin spent his time working his father's small fishing fleet.
- 1985: Griff found his first fossil while playing on the shores of Loch Dunvegan at the age of 10. It was on the fragment of a mammoth's tooth but it set him on his career path. Also, coincidentally, it inspired his love of Scottish history.
1991 to 1995 (a. 16-20)
- Griffin passed his senior year with flying colors and was accepted to the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews Fife, Scotland where he spent the next four years studying paleontology and history.
- 1993: Rachel St. James, Griffin's mother, passes away from cancer. Griffin informs his father that he will leave school and come home to work the fleet. Ian St. James flatly refused his son's offer. In fact, having received a very lucrative offer by one of the big fishing fleets for his boats, Ian planned to spend some time cruising the world.
1995 to 1999 (a. 20-24)
- Griffin is accepted into the doctoral program at Montana State University at Bozeman, Montana, USA.
- 1999: Graduates with his Ph.D. and accepts a position working at the university.
2000 to 2009 (a. 25-34)
- For the next nine years, Griffin divided his time between field work and the lecture circuit. Along the way, he picked up an interest in cryptozoology when he came face-to-face with the allegedly extinct Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) in Tasmania.
2010 (a. 35)
- Ian St. James passes away peacefully at his seaside cottage just after Griffin's 35th birthday. Fortunately, Griffin was able to be at home with his father having taken a sabbatical from his work.
- October 31, 2010: Griffin remained in Duirinish. After taking his father's ashes and pouring them in Loch Dunvegan, he decided to hike up Healabhal Bheag, the highest peak on the Isle of Skye. He was wandering down the far side of the peak when he spotted a circle of standing stones that he had never noticed before. Immediately curious, he walked over and was drawn toward the massive stone in the center of the circle. When he laid his hand on it, the world seemed to tilt and gyrate all at once.
31st Day of the 10th Moon, 2010
Griffin awakened to a gray, foggy morning. Thinking that he had passed out from not having eaten, he climbed to his feet and reached out for the menhir that should have been within reach of his left hand. Instead, he felt something that was smooth and almost silken, not stone-like at all. Still groggy, he barely registered the fact that the rock was moving. Shocked, Griffin staggered backward and into more trouble. From the top of a massive boulder, an animal whose skeletal remains he had studied for years, roared and gave him a too-close look at its massive canines.
Having barely registered that he was about to be attacked by a saber-toothed cat of some kind, only to realize that the ground was shaking as a massive form moved past him, drowning the cat's roar with its own. A head belonging to a creature that lived only in myth and legend dropped open its massive jaws and snapped them closed on the big cat. It died instantly.
2010 to 2019 (a. 35-44)
- That was Griffin's introduction to Aereth and his first meeting with the dragon that he would someday impress. The dragon had been seriously injured. After it saved his life, he removed the broken spear from its chest. After a few hours of rest, the dragon kneeled and indicated he should climb onto its back. Deciding that that was as good a plan as any, he mounted her and was brought to the island of Bassilith. The dragon handed him over to one of the Gwerin and the rest, as they say, is history.
- 2012: Griffin completes his Morrighan training and impresses Iryss, the great bronze queen dragon that had saved his life two years before.
2020 (a. 45)
- Griffin serves as a Morrighan at Siege Perilous on Bassilith Island.
- Length: 32 ft.
- Wingspan: 53.12 ft.
- Height: 13.3 ft. at the shoulder
Iryss is well over 3,000 years old so her true age is unknown. Her primary scales are a dark bronze with a gold-toned iridescence. The scales on her throat, chest, and underside are a paler shade of bronze.