Adar Llwch Gwin -- The Gryphon Aerie

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20 of The Bestiary A story gryphons tell to their young ones.


The Bestiary

Adar Llwch Gwin -- The Gryphon Aerie By: Tyvara

The entire aerie filled with Adar Llwch Gwin, the ancient race of gryphon hybrids, all settling down for the evening. Families returned from their hunting flights to roost as a clan, as they'd always done. The caves echoed with the screeches of children, still full of energy, as they rushed to reunite with their parents. Happy sounds of a clan at peace hummed through the rock walls.

Teagan watched the little ones out of the corner of her eye, while she preened the red, hawklike feathers of her primaries. She flicked her long, tiger-stripped tail around her feline haunches. They'll call on me soon; my clan will always need my skills. Until then, she waited, her anticipation growing. The smell of feather dander, mixed with feline musk, permeated the aerie while it filled with pressed bodies.

"Storyteller," A small Adar Llwch Gwin female, composed of gyrfalcon and snow leopard, padded forward to play with Teagan's raptorial forefeet -- a sign of reverence. "I want to hear how the Adar Llwch Gwin got free and returned to the faery realms."

Leaving her preening, Teagan looked first to the young one at her feet, then the gathering clan, some nodding their agreement. Pulling the corners of her beak upward, she smiled. "That is a good one." She rose and began pacing while the words percolated in her mind. When everyone had arraigned around her nesting area and waited with rapped attention, Teagan began. "Since ages ago the fae gifted the Adar Llwch Gwin with the ability to comprehend human speech. This saved our kind from extinction, and allowed us to reason with those that hunted us:

As payment we were bound to the fae folk. However, in their trickery, we were cursed to follow any task set forth by our master, turning our short servitude into generations of slavery.

The immortal lives of the fae went on eternal, and there seemed no hope of our freedom. That is until the Adar Llwch Gwin befriended the fairy queen's daughter, Shaylee. Her kindhearted nature allowed her to see our race as the majestic beauties we are. Princess Shaylee saw we were meant as slaves to no master.

Hoping she would gain the power to free us as future queen, we were horrified to learn that her parents married the princess to a mortal man -- a lowly warrior -- for trading rights. Wanting to bring something with her from the fae realms, Shaylee requested her own bride gift. She gave the Adar Llwch Gwin to her husband, Drudwas ap Tryffin, as our new master.

It saddened us to leave the fairy realms, but Princess Shaylee did us a service. By giving us to her husband, she broke our enslavement to the immortal fae.

Now, the Adar Llwch Gwin were bound to a mortal. Despite his short life expectancy, Drudwas did not know the value of our kind.

For many arduous years, the Adar Llwch Gwin spent tethered to the warrior Drudwas. Languishing in the wealth gained from Princess Shaylee, and the trade with her people, Drudwas put off his warrior's ways for a life of gluttony. Instead of Drudwas utilizing our skills to conquer whatever he pleased, he sent us on errands. Rather than fight armies, we were messengers, or guardians or ornaments. Drudwas often held grand banquets where he had us parade around his halls performing entertainments for his guests.

We bore it all in stride, knowing that eventually, Drudwas would die. In time, we would regain our freedom.

A warrior at heart, Drudwas could only live so long at an idle life under his fairy wife's wealth. Soon he and his men itched for battle.

On one fateful season, at the prodding of his men, Drudwas challenged King Arthur and his knights to a competition. He sent his wife, Shaylee, to rally the king. Secretly, he wanted the king's thrown, and told the Adar Llwch Gwin that they were to wait at the field and kill the first army to enter the arena. He and his men would return to claim the crown, and storm Camelot with their prize.

Counting on the protection of his fae princess, he believed himself unstoppable. Yet Princess Shaylee bore no love for her mortal husband. She longed to return to the realms of her own kind, and in her heart, she still wished to free the Adar Llwch Gwin.

When she reached King Arthur's court, she sent her husband a false message from the king, agreeing to their competition. She marked the sealing wax with the image of the king's own seal, using her magic to trick her foolish husband. Instead, she spent the time among Arthur's court, telling the king nothing of her husband's requests. In secret, Shaylee sent a message to the Adar Llwch Gwin asking that we retrieve her after the battle.

On the day before the competition, Drudwas sent the Adar Llwch Gwin to the fields to wait for King Arthur.

We lounged in the fields for hours, but no one arrived.

When the first hues of dusk began to gather in the clouds, Drudwas and his army appeared, rushing into the field to lay claim to Arthur's thrown. Rather than a field of slain knights, Drudwas met the army of Adar Llwch Gwin.

According to his request, we descended upon him and his warriors, the first to enter the battle. We unleashed our anger, built up over our generations of slavery, on Drudwas and his army.

We lifted his men from their horses, tearing them limb from limb before discarding their bodies like shredded meat. Turning then to the next man for mutilation, the battle raged on.

Screams and blood rained from the skies. Horses scattered in wild fear.

Each Adar Llwch Gwin exacted their own version of revenge. We repaid all the years of Drudwas' mockery to our kind, by the butchery of him and his foolish men.

When the last mortal groaned his dying breath, the Adar Llwch Gwin realized they were free at last. In haste, we flew to retrieve Princess Shaylee, and return with her to the realm of the fae. Wishing not to waste time in Arthur's court, the Adar Llwch Gwin quickly informed the king of Drudwas ap Tryffin's treachery.

With Shaylee, our kind crossed the veil into fairy territory. The former princess wished to explore her newfound freedom, and we parted ways. We returned to the aerie of our ancestors, right here in the caverns of the jagged mountains. Every generation or so, Shaylee returns to visit our clan. She always shares stories with us about her life since our last meeting, and we tell tales of our life among the mountains.

The Adar Llwch Gwin have been free ever since. Flying the skies as our own masters, as we'd always been designed." With Teagan's story done, families gathered up their hatchlings and returned to their nests. Teagan settled into her own as the crowd dissipated. Tomorrow would be another day, another story.

The End

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Author's Notes:

According to the book Adar Llwch Gwin were giant griffin-like bird creatures from Celtic myth. They were given to a warrior named Drudwas ap Tryffin by his fairy wife. The creatures were gifted with human speech and obeyed whatever command was issued by their master. When Drudwas was to do battle with Arthur, he commanded the Adar Llwch Gwin to kill the first man to enter the field. Arther was delayed and the gryphons turned on Drudwas, tearing him to pieces. In Welsh Poetry the phrase 'Adar Llwch Gwin' describes hawks, falcons or brave men.

I decided to write the story from the Adar Llwch Gwin's perspective and how it is woven into their oral histories.

Thanks for reading. ^^