Today’s prose is a scene featuring the white griffon of Moon 514:
The beast tentatively pawed the ground somewhat like a bull taunted by a puny matador that wasn’t really worth the effort. Soon, the taps became tears in the earth as massive paws extended their claws and tilled the sandy soil in frustration. Not designed to dig, the beast’s paws soon protested against the exertion and the frustrated feline required another method to vent his dissatisfaction.
Leaping into the air, it swatted several branches, cracking, breaking, or bending each of them into unnatural, contorted shapes. Sporadically, it would grab a branch with its vice-like jaws and tear it loose from its parent tree before tossing it to the ground. It jumped from tree to tree, smashing everything it could reach and break until its muscles grew weary and until its mind felt worn. Unintelligent beasts were tamable. They were subservient. They were docile. They could handle this. But he couldn’t take much more of this slavery.
Naturally of even temperament, the creature was unaccustomed to feelings of anger and frustration. But then, he wasn’t used to taking orders either.
Neither was he used to failure.
The magic woman’s orders had been very simple and very clear: make sure the young warrior survived the battle at the village and then, accompany him home. The first part of the instruction seemed like a pathetic joke in retrospect. The boy certainly needed no one to protect him in hand to hand combat and with his high-tech staff, there hadn’t been much need to protect him from any genre of a shooting mêlée either. Accompanying him home shouldn’t have been much of a challenge but for one clumsy movement and that blazing staff.
Crash! Another branch snapped between the slashing jaws of the griffon and fell helplessly to the ground as the beast growled in anger another time.
This is useless, he castigated itself. Recent tantrums against the powers of the magic woman were becoming commonplace – although the beast had never so much as felt frustration before it met her that cursed drizzling morning … Before that fateful day, its life had been relatively uneventful – bliss itself. Since then, he had been at her beck and call, performing all sorts of meaningless tasks purely designed for her own self gratification. It hunted for her, it flew reconnaissance missions for her, it taught her about the wetlands, the jungles, and the ocean shores. Probably most of all, it kept her company.
But most everything he did was under her coercion.
Now, she would undoubtedly be upset over his failure with the young warrior and he would have to listen to her patronizing castigations – like a simple slave, a subservient dog.
Had he been acting under his own volition, he probably could have accomplished the task without any trouble. However, acting under the magic woman’s mind control left the beast too internally conflicted to think clearly – his movements became less uniform, his strength unpredictable, his energy levels random, and his thought process erratic. Perhaps psychological manipulation worked well with beings of lesser intelligence but griffons were highly intelligent. At least, legendary griffons were reported to boast superior intelligence. That was what the magic woman had taught him. And she learned it from that database of human history. But then, maybe none of that applied to him: gene spliced, saber-toothed, modified griffons were arguably an exception – perhaps he was no griffon at all.
By his own estimation, he was as intelligent as any human in this area. He simply couldn’t prove it because he couldn’t speak. And even if he could speak, he couldn’t use his appendages to perform some of the tricky tasks performed by those handy opposing digits – but that didn’t make him any less intelligent.
Notwithstanding his weakness in speech, he could communicate with the magic woman just fine – she could hear and speak to him telepathically – though she often spoke out loud anyway. It had proven refreshing to find someone with whom he could exchange ideas – until that ultimately proved an end to his freedom. Originally, they exchanged thoughts through pictures and feelings. Later, pictures turned into sounds and sounds turned into words. Eventually, words turned into abstract ideas and concepts. Those portions of his visits with the magic woman had been enjoyable. Sometimes, what he had learned from her even seemed worth the expense of doing all of her menial chores.
But that time was past. One can only endure slavery for so long.
In his mind, the griffon heard sounds that it could not hear with its ears, sounds of harmonious voices, sounds of peace, sounds of soothing assurances, sounds of bondage. She calls, he groaned. An outward growl followed; a deafening roar echoed the growl – a roar so load, it could be heard for miles around. There were many beasts in this land – none dared defy his will, none dared challenge his claims, none dared so much as meet his frightful gaze – none except this petite alien who didn’t belong here. With strong thrusts of his wings, the white griffon pounded the air until it gained enough ground to glide much of the distance back to the magic woman’s pond.