Another Day in Paradise

Started by Griffin St. James at 01 Feb, 2020 5:16 PM
3rd Moon 21, 2020
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17 Posts

Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


Bassilith Island was an imposing land of towering mountains, smoking volcanoes, and crystal blue seas. A vast, protected inland sea dominated the central area of the island. In its center was a smaller island formed by yet more volcanoes. It was home to various sea birds and a rookery for Bassilith's primary occupants, the dragons. The Burning Sea, as this vast body of water was called, formed when the island's main volcano underwent a super-sized eruption during the cataclysms that destroyed Uthuria. In the aftermath, the crater collapsed, and the ocean rushed in to fill the crater. The volcano, deep under the sea, was still active, and it was that which kept the water temperature warmer than usual for this region of the world. The underwater caverns also made a perfect nursery for another denizen of the deep. The giant kraken laid their eggs in the hot caverns and crevasses. From spring to summer, the Burning Sea was a juvenile Kraken haven, providing the dragons with a source of one of their favorite delicacies.

Griffin St. James barely registered his surroundings as he focused on his sketch pad.  After a few more strokes of his pencil, he looked up, his green eyes gazing out at the water before he slowly rotated his head to look around. Aereth was a world, a habitable moon if one wanted to get specific, like nothing Griffin could have ever imagined. On top of that, he only had the vaguest idea of how he had wound up here, even after ten years. One moment he had been drawn toward a massive menhir in an ancient Scottish stone circle on Earth, in the next instant he was dropped at the feet of a massive mythical beast on Aereth. The rest, as they say, was history.

For the last ten years, Griffin had lived on Bassilith Island, the ancient homeland of Aereth's oldest intelligent species, the dragons, also known as Ddraig, which actually meant dragon. He served as one of the Knights Morrighan, an elite unit of dragonriders that helped literally defend Aereth from evil. On Earth, Griffin had been a paleontologist and cryptozoologist. His professional expertise was in Earth's prehistoric megafauna. Now, he found himself in a cryptozoologist's dream or nightmare, depending on how one looked at things.

On Aereth, kraken roamed the seas, sabertoothed cats lurked in the forests and valleys, giant bison and elk roamed the plains, and carnivorous terror birds waited in the shadows to have the unwary human for lunch. Dragons worked with people to defend the world, dwarves worked at smithing, and keeping the peace, elves ignored everyone, and a native species of humans filled the remaining niches. Oh, and to add yet another level of fun to the mix, there were others like him. Known as Travelers, these people were humans from various time-periods on Earth that had been trapped on Aereth. Griffin believed that this was the explanation for many of his homeworld's legendary and mysterious disappearances. He would never be proved right because there was no going back. Griffin guessed that it was good that there would be few people that would mourn his loss for long. He had been singularly driven by his work, leaving little time or room for close friends or family.

Finding thoughts of Earth and especially Scotland to be moderately depressing, Griffin let himself be distracted by the screams of a fairly young dragon that was being taught to hunt juvenile kraken. He watched the youngster make a few dives toward the water from atop a towering karst formation. At the last moment, it would pull up and fly back to safety. Finally, frustrated, the older dragon roared and dived into the water, surfacing moments later with a mouthful of massive, writhing tentacles. Landing on top of the karst, the dragon dropped the kraken and immediately belched a brief spray of flame, immediately killing it. Then, in a sudden show of patience, the dragon pushed the roasted kraken toward the younger dragon.

Griffin chuckled. Just another day in paradise!

To be continued....


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


Iryss had enjoyed a leisurely morning. After taking a sand bath and then rinsing herself under a fast falling waterfall, she had gone hunting. Although she had caught and consumed two sizable juvenile kraken, she had gone back and managed to catch a large sea-bass. After cleaning herself up again, she carried the fish to a flat rock and exhaled a short burst of fire, roasting it to perfection. Slightly more problematic, without switching to a human form, was finding a large enough leaf and using her fearsome talons to manipulate it to wrap up the fish. Finally, Iryss succeeded and padded around the headland toward the biped seated on the rocks with a bound notebook in his lap.

Biped was a term used by dragons for all of the various two-footed species of higher intelligence on Aereth. It was not an epithet or insult. Dragons did not understand the use of social epithets. However, calling them all "human" also made no sense. Although most of them shared a similar physiological form, they were not all human. Dragons had a long history of working with various biped species to protect Aereth. Their relationship to the other sentient races was generally amicable. However, the advent of two true human species had shifted that balance to an extent.

Griffin looked up as a substantial shadow fell over him. The dragon carefully deposited a large leaf-wrapped parcel on the rock next to him. The leaf unfurled to reveal the darkened form of a large fish. The smell wafting up from it was enticing. He lay his sketchpad down and pulled his dagger from the sheath inside his boot, "Thank you, lass," he said, using verbal communication to the dragon, although he knew she would disdain to reply in kind. Dragons could use their bird-like voice box to form human speech. However, they hated doing it.

"You are welcome, Griffinstjames," Iryss responded in dragonspeech, a form of direct mind-to-mind communication. Most dragons could form actual words via dragonspeech, although many preferred to use their native language, which included mental images and emotions in conveying the same message. It also helped that Griffin and Iryss were wingbonded, making communication clearer and easier.

Using the edge of his dagger, Griffin peeled back the scales. He took a small packet of herbs and spices out of a pouch that was slung over his shoulder and sprinkled them onto the fish. Spearing a piece of the meat, he took a bite and smile. "This is delicious, Iryss! Who said dragons canna cook?"

"I do not know, Griffinstjames," Iryss answered. Whether she was teasing or not could not be discerned from her mental tone.

"Good huntin' then today, lass?" He asked as he speared another piece of fish, carefully checking it for bones before eating it.

Iryss settled herself in the sand nearby. Her tail, nearly half again her body-length, curled around and over her front paws. "Hunting was good," she affirmed.

Griffin stared at Iryss. Even after ten years on Aereth, six of those spent wingbonded to her, he was still amazed at these magnificent creatures. They were nothing like he would have imagined had he been prone to imagining dragons at all. For one thing, they had more in common with birds than reptiles or even Earth's dinosaurs as far as their physiology was concerned. It was exceedingly rare to find a dead dragon's body to study since they usually did what they called Crossing Beyond the Veil, which seemed to be a form of ascending to another plane of existence. The one or two he had been able to study - with permission - had died of an overdose of merasha, a toxic drug often used to render dragons incapable of using their magical abilities.

What was inside had been amazing! Griffin had made detailed studies and drawings before a group of dragons had gathered to mourn and burn the corpses. Their entire internal systems were designed for extracting and processing the gases needed for flight and making fire. How they managed to shapeshift to smaller sizes or mimic a biped form were still things that Griffin did not understand. It was Aereth magic. He glanced up at the massive, omnipresent form of the planet Gwydion with its fluctuating, stunningly beautiful gold and silver rings. Dragons should not exist, but that could be said for many things on Aereth.

Griffin looked Iryss over again. Her scales gleamed a deep bronze in color, occasionally flashing an iridescent gleam of red and gold. It was her color that had given her the name of Iryss. It was the tradition for a newly minted Morrighan to give their wingmate a biped name. Her color had reminded him of the heirloom irises in his mother's flower garden. She had picked up on iris and the emotion attached to it. Before Griffin could think of a real name, she had accepted Iryss.

Original author: Stormwolfe


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


Gazing out at the water, Iryss watched as the young dragon that Griffin had been watching went in for another try at the kraken, her features relaxed and a bit bemused, if such could be said for a dragon.  But then, the Wingbond she had with Griffin gave him, at least, the ability to know her moods and know when she was 'laughing'.

[i]"The first time I hit the water, I wasn't ready...I sank and my trainer had to pull me out."[/i]  As odd as it might seem, she hadn't been aware that she could 'fly' under the water, even though she'd watched time and again as her fellow dragons did just that, and kraken were one of her favorite foods. 

Then she turned her large, topaz eyes to her Wingbond.  [i]"You waste...bones are good and add crunch."[/i]  She was teasing, of course, she'd learned from her first Wingbond that bipeds really didn't care for the tiny fish bones, although she never understood why.  But there was much about the bipeds that she just accepted without trying to understand.


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


Griffin focused on the young dragon that was being coaxed into another try at scoring a kraken. At long last, the juvenile dragon was successful and rose in the air, beating its wings frantically, while a large baby kraken writhed and struggled for its freedom. Griffin held his breath and waited to see if the dragon was equally successful at landing on one of the karst formations that dotted the Burning Sea. It was and immediately dropped the kraken, tilted its head, and stared at it with what Griff considered to be a 'well, what now?' expression.

The adult dragon planted a front foot firmly on the main body of the wriggling creature. He was sure that the older one was teaching the other one what to do. Although Griffin could hear other dragons, their dragonspeech had to be purposely aimed at him for that work. For now, he interpreted the interplay between the two dragons based on their actions. It was much like watching an old silent film on Earth.

The young dragon drew its head back and fire shot from its mouth, engulfing the kraken. The mentor deftly leaped out of the way of the short burst of flame. The youngster waited politely as the older dragon tore a mouthful of tentacles off the thoroughly roasted kraken before it did the same. Even from that distance, Griffin could see the shudder of pleasure that ran through the dragons as they feasted.

Griffin turned his eyes to Iryss and studied her for a moment, "I have to say that none o'ye look like you should be swimmin'." His Scottish Highland burr gave his deep voice a pleasant lilt. He then grinned at Iryss' obvious teasing, "Many a good Highlander has gone to his grave saying, but the bones added crunch, as he choked to death."

He pointed his pencil at the pair of feeding dragons, "I canna see what you lovely creatures find so delicious about the baby kraken? On my world, I ate squid once and octopus, but I'd prefer not to do so again."


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


<i>"We learn to chew our food when we are young."</i>  Was that a smirk, a shrug or a chuckle?  It was hard to tell with a dragon!  And in the short time she'd been with this Rider, she had learned some of what it took to tease him, and took full advantage of that, not that he didn't get his licks in on occasion.

As the youngster finally broke the surface of the water, she snorted out a puff of smoke in approval, a sort of Iryss-cheer.  [i]"He'll do better now.  It is like...flying through thick and wet."[/i]  Without breathing, of course! 

[i]"Do you need more?  I'll find one without bones for you."[/i]  Maybe she was itching to show the youngster 'how it was done', maybe she was just enjoying the barbs with the biped...certainly, she was wanting to fly, and to that end, she 'accidentally' nudged Griffin lightly with her tail.


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


"Aye, lass," Griffin teased back, "we bipeds are taught to chew our food too, but we don't have cast-iron mouths like ye do." He feigned, not noticing the gentle nudge from Iryss' tail. Griffin packed his pencils and sketchbook back into his leather pouch and slipped the wide strap over his shoulder, so it lay diagonally across his chest. 

"And no, thank ye, I've had my fill of food for now," He rose to his feet and looked around innocently, "We're not assigned to patrol today. What are we going to do now?"


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


"Hmmm..."  Iryss had picked that up from Griffin, and she rather liked the wordless expression and all the moods it encompassed.  This time, she was implying boredom, so, to punctuate it, she settled on her belly with her neck stretched out on the warm rocks.

"Perhaps...what is it?  Bask?"    Well, she couldn't deny that it really was a nice day, and there was no particular reason not to just sit and soak in the sun, except that she had had enough of that for one day!

"I am content to lay here and get fat and lazy, so I can be more like you." Large topaz eyes blinked slowly then closed as she let a tiny whiff of smoke tendril waft from her nostrils.  "Unless you had another idea?"


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


"Fat and lazy, is it now?" Griffin pretended to be offended and huffed the comment out accordingly.

Like Iryss, he was getting restless. The morning had been quiet and pleasant. Griffin had gotten quite a bit of work done on cataloging Aereth's amazing wildlife. Spending an entire day doing nothing else was not his idea of fun. It was time to get moving, and he had just the plan.

"Perhaps we should see if we can provide meat for the citadel's table tonight? I think one of those Highland Elk critters would feed everyone for a day or two." Griffin felt sure Iryss would agree. Most dragons could be easily enticed, especially if flying and hunting were both involved.

And the Highland Elk he was talking about was not Earth's large but rather non-confrontational animals although there were several species of those too. No, the elk that Griffin was suggesting they hunt was a massive animal known for putting up a fight rather than fleeing. There were even tales of them charging dragons during the rutting season.


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


Highland Elk?  Now, that piqued her interest, although she tired not to show it, and blinked lazily.  Still, the thought of hunting one of the beasts, separating it from its herd and bringing it down was enticing, and would certainly be a cure for ennui.

More than once, she'd been out-witted by the animals, and on one occasion had nearly been gored by massive antlers.  And there had been many times she had had to abandon the hunt.

"Providing for the Citadel is a noble thing," Iryss observed, rising to her feet with far more grace than one would suspect of so large a creature.  "They will be singing the praises of Iryss the Queen...oh, and Griffinstjames, too, provided you do not fall off and get trampled!"

Was that a wink? It was hard to tell with a dragon, especially when she quickly looked out toward the sea as the young trainee emerged from the water with a wriggling kracken in its talons.

"Bravo!  Come, Griffinstjames, let us be useful!"

Griffin took a long stride or two and stepped onto Iryss's upraised leg. Snagging the mounting strap from her riding harness, he vaulted onto her back settling in quickly. "Let us go, lass."

As she launched into the sky Iryss didn't need to 'say' anything, the pure exhilaration she felt when flying permeated her whole being, something her rider would be well familiar with, and something she knew he shared.  Even so, she held back from some of her usual antics so as not to disturb the young dragon in training...no reason to show off and be a distraction.

With her impressive wing-span, Iryss could cover distances far more quickly than any creature on the ground, although her path wasn't as direct as it could have been...she loved to soar low over the rolling hills that were covered in trees and broken with winding, sliver paths of streams. 

Even so, it wasn't long before they were over the lands where the elk could be found, so now it was just a matter of finding them!

"Tell me when you spy something, Griffinstjames, and we will fetch it home!"  Just that easily!

 

 

 


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


If Griffin had to describe Bassilith, he would say it reminded him of a cross between Hawaii and the Pacific northwest on Earth. Coincidentally, Bassilith lay off the west coast of the continent of Vendia. If he had translated the longitude and latitude correctly, Vendia roughly corresponded to the location of Earth's North American continent. Most of Bassilith's coastline was rugged and rocky with cliffs running all the way down to the sea. Jagged karst formations surrounded the island, adding a further impediment to ships that might try to sneak in and anchor in one of the fjords.  Slightly inland from the sea were the soaring snow-capped volcanic mountain ranges, which reminded Griffin of the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas on the American west coast. Sprinkled amongst the mountain ranges were verdant, green valleys. It was an amazing landscape, and he loved simply soaring above it and taking in the beauty.

Griffin smiled as Iryss's sheer love of flying, and her joy at being airborne was transmitted to him via the link he shared with her. With an effort, he pulled his mind and gaze from the landscape and began looking for the herds of elk that he knew to routinely range in the mountain valleys. Surprisingly, he spotted them in a long, narrow river valley that lay lower down than he expected. 

"Down below, lass," Griffin said to Iryss, using dragonspeech as flying at that altitude precluded being easily heard if he spoke it aloud. He also reached down and unfastened the hooks that held the stinger, a Morrighan's specialized crossbow, to the riding harness. He would let Iryss take the kill, but it paid to be prepared in case things went awry. It was spring, and the males would be quite aggressive in protecting their herds.

Stinger


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