Bonus Story: Fanged Griffin

Author Jenna Eatough's Flash Fiction Story from Fyrecon's Fyretober Writing Prompt Bonus

During October I am bringing you extra flash fiction or poetry in celebration of the season and inspired by Fyrecon’s Fyretober! You didn’t think I had forgotten about the bonus prompt, did you?

Enjoy my bonus entry into Fyrecon’s Fyretober!

Fyrecon's Fyretober Daily Prompt List

1. New neighbors
2. It’s Alive
3. No Exit
4. Walk in the cemetery
5. Door in the wall
6. Mirror
7. Space visitors
8. The Monster Is
9. Anti-magic costumes
10. Skeleton’s battle cry
11. Djinn party
12. Space dwarves
13. Zombie fireball
14. Possessed guild house
15. Lorekeeper’s mask
16. Dragon sight
17. Alien scryers
18. Trick-or-Treating Shapeshifters
19. Disguised spellbook
20. Screaming trapdoor
21. Ghost weaponsmith
22. Jack-O’-Lantern avatars
23. Phoenix light sail
24. Sparkle castle
25. Graveyard pocket universe
26. Sentient wand
27. Haunted Skyhook
28. Pirate space elevator
29. Disguised terraforming
30. The Witches’ Laws
31. Precognizant cats

Bonus Fanged griffin

Demane rode Before the fall if the Traviane Empire. He knew he should stop. He knew he should rest his horse. Allow his men reprieve. They had travelled hard through the night fleeing from the city toward the King’s Sepulcher. He knew he should offer them a reprieve, but he knew he could not either. For the fall of the Traviane Empire was manifest within the armies of Kaleen hard on his heels. Glancing back, he could see the roiling line of once men close behind.

Kaleen changed those whom they absorbed, turning them from men to beasts. His father had fought hard trying to hold them back. His father had died.

Demane had barely escaped with his life and the few loyal guards he’d taken with him. And his brother, half-brother, Ian.

Glancing sideways, he saw the boy still clinging to Reagan’s back as they rode furiously forward. Somehow, he had managed not to slow them. Demane could at least give Ian that much. And the Sepulcher was minutes away, not even countable in a half hour anymore.

The stone building rose before them, gray brick towering out of the green forest. A spire soared from each corner. The Sepulcher. The last resting place of the kingdom’s greatest treasure and last hope.

Their horses’ hooves rang when they hit the stone surrounding the Sepulcher. This close the place looked even more crypt-like than from afar. A crypt whose only entrance was two stories up steep stairs. His horse skid to a halt and Demane threw himself from its back. Hitting the stairs, he surged up two steps before a hand grabbed him.

Reagan looked at Demane and then back at the armies of Kaleen, still pursuing them. “They’ll be here before you can find the sword.”

Demane glanced back and nodded. “Yes, we must hurry. Come.”

Reagan shook his head. “Hurrying is what you should do. We, however, will hold the stairs. We shall buy you the time you need.” Demane bowed his head in acknowledgement of Reagan’s sacrifice.

They would hold. They would keep the stairs as long as they could, but Demane knew that against the armies of Kaleen that would bear a heavy price. “I shall not forget.”

“No, you shall not.” Reagan grabbed Ian’s arm and thrust the boy toward Demane. “And you’ll take him with you. He will do us no good here.” Reagan raised a warning eyebrow before Demane could protest.

Ian was the last thing Demane needed with him. The boy would slow him. Wheezing and slow, but favored of their father and mother, which is why he’d come in the first place. Demane’s stepmother had not let him leave without the boy. Grunting, he decided not to waste time arguing about the boy’s presence. Instead, Demane grabbed Ian’s arm and raced up the stairs.

Already. He could feel the boy slow him. Drag at his arm as he stumbled up the steep steps. “Come Ian, we must hurry.”

“I-I am hurrying. close quote,” His half-brother wheezed in response. Ian’s arm tugged free of Demane’s hand. “Keep going. I’ll follow.”

Those were the most words Demane Ian had spoken since they had left the city. He didn’t pause to glance back or argue. He raced forward, free of the burden of carrying him as he heard the armies of Kaleen engage his men below. Demane rushed into the Sepulcher.

His eyes refused to adjust to the light swiftly. Refused to adjust at all. The shadows writhed unwilling to be pierced or understood. He knew the family’s treasure, the wealth lay here, but Demane also knew the sword laid here as well. A fabled blade blessed by the witch Asmalin. A blade they needed now. For as Kaleen used magic against them, they needed magic to thwart her powers.

Demane started as some as something scraped over stone to his right. Grabbing his blade, he drew it. Thieves here in the Sepulcher? There could not be thieves here.

“Show yourself,” His voice rang in the silence of the Sepulcher, and he heard a small chuff answer him, quiet and amused. Something brushed against his back. Not thick enough to be an arm, hand, or shoulder, but something which pushed him with a surety of strength.

“He thinks to challenge us here?” The words filled the chamber more fully than Demane’s voice had. He shuddered beneath the force as it struck him, rattling his bones. “Does the boy not know that this is our home?”

Demane clenched his jaw tightly. This intruder claimed his family’s Sepulcher as their home? How dare they! “I do not know who you think you are, but this is the Sepulcher of the Traviane Empire. I am Prince M–”

Demane broke off, squeezing his eyes closed for a moment. The palace flashed back into his mind. His father facing the armies of Kaleen. His father and his guard faltering and falling beneath the armies. Armies which pushed through the lines and toward the palace.

Opening his eyes, he squared his shoulders. “I am the king of the Traviane Empire. This place is mine.”

There was nothing slight about the laughter that followed this pronouncement. “He thinks himself a worthy heir of Calendin?” One sharp laugh followed his father’s name. “He is not the judge of that.”

“Who are you to say such disparagement?” Demane roared. Swinging his sword toward where he had heard the voice and encountered nothing but air.

Light flared within the chamber driving back the shadows, and Demane saw his accuser. The creature stood on four legs as its lion head regarding him. Behind its golden mane rose tufted wings. The creature’s eyes pierced him, seen with wisdom greater than his father’s.

“I am the guardian of the king’s honor.” The creature ran forward toward Demane. It batted his sword away with one claw, breaking the metal in two and shoving him to the ground. Demane gulped as the paw settled on his chest, claws extended and pressed against his breastplate. “And we do not judge you worthy.”

Demane glanced from the creature’s eyes down to its claws on his breastplate. Claws which rested against the emblem of a Griffin beaten into the metal. The griffin was the family’s crest. Demane had thought the beast a legend, but here it stood above him. Once more, he heard his father’s voice

“The honor of kings is guarded by the Griffin. For they see all and have been bestowed upon our family to guard over us and our Kingdom by the great wizard Alamain himself. Give heed, Demane. For the day will come when you will stand before the griffin and be judged worthy or not to hold this throne.”

Demaine had thought the words hyperbole. He’d thought his father had spoken of the griffin as the counsel. For the Council was often referred to as the griffin. A many headed beast with different points of view, different purposes, different means. But one which when focused, could cut through anything.

Anything but the armies of Kaleen, his mind amended before he could stop the thought.

“I need the sword,” he said, trying to cover the thought in his mind.

The griffin laughed and pranced backwards. “You think yourself worthy of the sword? You do not even think you could win with it.” the beast said. It turned its head sideways, gazing at him through one eye fully open quote. “No, we shall not allow you to take the blade.”

“Then the Traviane Empire will fall,” Demane said, casting his arm to the side. His hand closed over empty air, and he felt the absence of his sword deeply. It was gone. He did not have anything, and his men died below even then.

“Will it?” the griffin asked. Demane could have sworn a smile covered the beast’s face. “You think yourself the only hope?”

Demane stepped forward. Of course, he was the only hope. He was the king’s heir. He was here. He had come and sacrificed everything to retrieve the sword and stop the armies of Kaleen. If not him, then who?

The Griffin growled as Demane moved, and, prancing forwarded, it raised a claw as if to strike, sweeping its wings backwards. Demane faltered.

“Brother!” a small voice wheezed.

Demane groaned and waved his hand to Ian. “Not now, Ian.” He didn’t need this now. Not his half-brother’s interruption. Now he had to convince the griffin not to be obstinate.

But the Griffin had stopped. It turned from Demane and stared at his half-brother pacing toward him. His half-brother balled his fists and ducked his head as if terrified but unwilling to run. Running would have helped Demane just then.

“Leave my brother alone,” the boy said. Had the Griffin neared him? Demane watched the beast’s breath puff out. “You would stand against me?”

“I would. For my brother.” The last came out in a squeak as the creature circled him.

“Then you shall wield the sword.”

“What” both Demane and Ian said at once.

The griffin finished circling around Ian and settled on his hunches. “You are the prince I was waiting for.”

“But I am my father’s first born, and I am the warrior of Traviane needs.”

The griffin looked at him sharply and shook his head. “No, Traviane needs your brother who would give everything for love. You never learned that lesson and seek still glory. Love must be recalled if the armies of Kaleen are to be defeated.”

The griffin paused and turned back toward Ian. “Will you take up this burden?”

His half-brother nodded. “For the sake of Traviane, I will.”

“Then I shall retrieve the sword.” The Griffin rose and spread its wings taking into this air and a ledge above. Upon the ledge he saw the treasures of his family. The sword would be there. The sword of the king. The sword the beast meant to give to his brother. Did Ian even realize that with the sword came the empire and Demane’s birthright?

Demane doubted it. He glanced back up at the griffin. But what could he do with the armies of Kaleen and Griffin united against him?

Be sure to check out all the #fyretober creations.

#fyretober2023 #fyretoberflashfiction2023 #fyretoberprompts2023 #fyretober2023bonus

“Fyretober is for everyone who loves to create, and this month we’re looking to see your flash fiction, poetry, and illustrations every day. We’ll be providing daily prompts for the month and want to see what new concepts and wonders you can make with them.”

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