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Griffin

A large flying beast that looks like a cross between a lion and an eagle.

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[top]Abstract

Griffins have been around the world of Telath for a long time. They were created by Diana as once sacred guardians of her temples and shrines, not long after the Cyraxian invasion. Once the cyraxians were defeated, the griffins pretty much faded away into history, myth, and legend. Not to be rediscovered to be a reality until of recent times, where the first one was sighted in Narim. And since then, a few were captured, brought back to Narim and trained as mounts for elves and humans. There have also been recent discoveries of other subspecies of griffins.

[top]Physical Appearance

When thinking of the creature called the griffin, most images that would come to mind would be something that was half eagle and half lion, just thrown together. Well, that's not true. The thrown together part. Griffins look like any other creature of natural means. Feathers and fur are blended seamlessly together with muscle and sinew. Male griffins stand at about three and a half feet at the shoulder and are about 12 feet in total length, from beak to tail, and weigh about 450 pounds. Female griffins, are closer to four feet at the shoulder, weigh in about 500 or so pounds and are about 12 and half feet, slightly larger than the males. (Females double this weight when carrying a litter and cannot fly during this time.)

The forequarters of the griffin resemble that of a large bird of prey, most like an eagle, hawk, or even falcon, and are covered in a thick layer of insulating feathers which can come in a variety of colors and are generally marked with identifying patterns for different species. The legs are most often bright yellow and seemingly with scaley type plating along their fronts. They have a quadri-dactyl toe formation, meaning four toes. Each toe is tipped with a talon that is about three to six inches in length, slightly hooked, and razor sharp. In the wild, they keep their claws sharp by raking them along trees and certain grey rocks called 'lodestone', almost like sharpening knives. Griffin talons are made of a hard, horn like substance and are always kept razor sharp.

There are beak variations within the known species of griffins, that have just been recently discovered. Most griffin beaks tend to be like that of an eagle or hawk: large, heavy, made for tearing and ripping flesh, and often colored yellow or grey with black tips.

Griffins can fly and spend most of their active periods in the air. The average griffin's wingspan is about 24 feet across for males, and about 26 feet across for females.

The rear and hindquarters of a griffin look similar to that of one of the larger felines found in nature, most specifically, the lion. The spine of a griffin tends to be very flexible and the hips are positioned at an unusual angle to allow for flight, but it makes it very awkward when walking or running on land. The back legs of a griffin are very powerful indeed, terminating in wide, spatulate feline paws with retractable ebony claws. The thigh muscles are the largest and heaviest muscle found in griffin physiology.

The griffin can stand up on its hindlegs, rearing almost like a horse and does so when threatened, or displaying during the mating season. The tail of a griffin is flexible but stiffer than that of a lion. It has some feathers near the rump where it begins and these tend to fan out when in flight, but otherwise remain closed. The end of the tail is coverered in long, silky hairs much like a horse's hair, usually dark brown to black, serving no real purpose except perhaps decoration, or communication, it's not sure which, though. The hind-quarters are covered in a short furred, coarse coat ranging in color from light brown to buff, to creamy white to deep tawny gold. The furry hide of a griffin is alot tougher than a normal feline's as well, for it has to endure the constant feel of wind, weather, and the talons of other griffins.

[top]Climate and Terrain

Most griffins in the wild are found in mountainous regions, usually upon the highest peaks, and that is where their eyries can be found, usually surrounded by dense forests. Griffins can also be found on the sheer rocky cliffs of Emperor Island (a small island located off the coast of Insulae Coronae). Griffins can basically survive anywhere there is a steady food supply, and fresh water. Griffins can even survive in cities around humans and elves, as long as they are treated with the proper respect and care. Each species varies in climate and terrain accordingly. Griffins, though, being hardy, stout creatures can weather out even severe winter storms, if necessary. But they are not fond of extremes in temperatures, such as great heat or freezing cold.

[top]Diet

Griffins are omnivorous creatures, able to eat just about anything, but they prefer a staple diet of meat. Griffins favored prey in the wild are the large deer-like creatures. However, for city-raised griffins, horse meat is their primary choice. Griffins have a distinct taste for horseflesh and will refuse most or all other choices if horse meat is readily available. Griffins abhor cattle meat, and refuse to eat it, unless no other choice is available. Sheep, pigs, and domesticated fowl are often used as food too. In the wild, it's usually creatures like large deer, wolves, and yes, even bears find themselves as griffin prey. Griffins are not above eating berries, nuts, and fruit when there is no meat choice available. Certain subspecies of griffins subsist of diets of fish and sea creatures, like crab, lobster, and other shell fish.

[top]Organization

Griffins are a highly sociable, but savage group of creatures, at least so in the wild. They tend to form large groups or 'prides', like lions do, not flocks. Prides are made up mostly of mated pairs, single mature males, juveniles, and older females. Griffins interact with one another and there is definitely a ranking system. Usually the pride is lead not by the strongest male, but by the strongest, largest, and oldest of the females. Each member of the pride has a definite role to maintain the harmony and health of their group. Male griffins that are mature, and unattached to a mate, do most of the hunting for the pride. The mated females and immature females tend to the young. Older males serve as guards and sentries. There will be no immature males found within the pride. Once a male fledges, at 3 years, he tends to leave the pride and goes off on a 'bachelor' term for the period of 2 years, until he is fully mature and able to compete in the mating ruts. Immature males tend to be very aggressive and very combative, and if not careful, will kill young kitlings or injure another member in the pride, hence why they leave. Sick and weak individuals are often abandoned, or driven off from the pride to die out on their own of exposure, and again, some may think this cruel, but within a cohesive griffin pride, it's 'survival of the strongest and fittest'.

[top]Combat

In the wild, many things can motivate a griffin to combat. One of the primary things, is the mating season. Competition for a mate, means competition for food and future territory as well. Male griffins most often engage in this, using great displays of aerial agility and maneuvers that one wouldn't think capable. However, this lasts only for a few short weeks. Another reason for combat is when they are threatened. If its a mated pair, the male will often engage the offender in combat first, seeking to scare and drive them off, if that doesn't work, the female will hide her kitlings, then join the fray, adding her strength. A pair of enraged griffins is something that few are willing to face. If it's a threat to the entire pride, a cry will go up and everyone within the pride, save for the young, and a few of the older females to guard them. The entire pride will work together to rid themselves of the threat by any means necessary. It has been reported that a pride of griffins once attacked a mercenary team bent on capturing their young, by dropping rocks and dead logs on them from above.

Griffins most often give a shrill warning call first, before attacking. If that doesn't work, they will attack from above, most often using their talons to rake at their enemies, or their heavy, sharp beaks to strike a blow. There are several ways they can do this. But most common, is to fly high, then 'stoop' or dive upon the enemy, flying so fast as not to be harmed, but striking the blow.

[top]Special Abilities

Griffins are very intelligent, but not in the way some would fancy them to be. They have an almost doglike intelligence. They are able to understand commands, both verbally and emotionally. Their behaviour is said to be more like a wolf, than a lion though, despite their feline appearance. Griffins can be trained to respond to commands, if captured or raised from a kitling. Griffins, if trained right, can be invaluable and faithful companions and mounts.

The eyes of a griffin are amazing things. Griffins have incredibly keen vision, especially during the day. They can see movement up to several miles away and spot prey from very high heights while flying. Griffins don't see in black and white but rather in color pattern variations. Their vision is sharp, clear, and tends to be much better in daylight than at night. Griffins are primarily diurnal creatures, but they can see at night, just not as good as in the day, as all things then appear in 'black and white' spectrum of vision. Griffins also have great depth perception, giving them the ability to see their target's movements.

Griffins have excellent hearing and use it to their advantage when hunting their prey or when calling to one another.

[top]Resistances/Weaknesses

Griffins, for some reason, have an inherent resistance to certain spells in the magic school of Mysticism and Druidism. No one is really sure why this is. It could be something that Diana gave to them when she created them, or just evolution.

[top]Other Notable Information

Griffins are often given to sunbathing high on the rocks, especially in their older years. As for dust baths, most griffins enjoy that activity as it keeps the natural oils of their feathers intact and helps imp out the old feathers.

[top]Credit

Credit goes to Morrigan


Created by Nimh, October 20, 2014 at 08:44 AM
Last edited by Nimh, November 2, 2014 at 08:12 AM
0 Comments, 1,157 Views
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