It was a terrible idea.
There he was, scribbling at his desk, locked inside his cabin in the middle of the Godslost swamp instead of being out there, pulling treasures out of the possessive grasps of some ancient demon, or discovering the ruins of some lost city in the desert. But no, there he was, taking the ink bottle and putting it away from the griffon hatchling’s reach for the fifth time already.
Mercer chirped and mewed dejectedly, before bravely hobbling towards his quarry’s new location.
It’s been a few months since the little griffon hatched during Fiel’s trip back from his first adventures in Elona. Disheveled and stunted at first, he was now fluffier and plump, and temerariously taking his first awkward steps across the jungle that was the norn’s cluttered desk. Bravely he went, up piles of books and down bridges of rolled-up papers, all while tripping over pens and rulers and bits of dolyak jerky. He was about as big as a common house cat now, but still about as strong and nimble as a newborn kitten.
Fiel knew, deep down, that keeping the griffon here was a bad idea. He would eventually grow up, and grow up big, and his tiny wood shack in the swamp would not be the proper place to rear him.
Not that he didn’t try to find a better place for him.
Fiel tried. He didn’t have the heart to sell the baby to some traveling carnival, so as soon as the hatchling was strong enough, he took him to the Shiverpeaks. Mercer had an owl’s face, so the norn tried to leave him near a few owlgriffons’ nests. It didn’t go well.
At best, the broodmothers ignored him, at worse, they tried to kill the intruder and Fiel had to scare them away.
So he kept him. And now the little critter was trying to push his ink bottle off the table.
“You little nuisance…” he sighed, diverting the grifflet’s attention by scratching him behind the ear. Mercer instantly flopped on his back and frantically slapped at the terrifying Tickle Monster and its Dreadful Digits. He chewed on the tip of Fiel’s index finger with a weak rolling chirp of victory.
The norn looked back at his work while his hand was being besieged by tiny sharp talons and a ravenous beak: anatomical drawings of wings –birds’ wings, bats’ wings– attached to… something that looked organic.
Fiel decided he would keep the griffon until he was able to fend for himself in the wild, and that meant he would have to teach him how to fly, eventually.
But the norn was not a griffon. He could not sprout a pair of wings and show him how it’s done. He was, however, a necromancer, and he knew how to create life from things that were no longer living.
He rubbed the corner of his eye. That’s what his new pet reduced him to: instead of exploring and finding clues on how to liberate bound souls from centuries of torment, the griffon had him peruse libraries and book stores for material about flying beasts and their anatomy, all so he could attempt to create a flying minion to serve as lil’ Mercer tutor when the time come. But the baby cat-bird was a special breed, it seemed. An undocumented oddity with wings that were both feathered and membraned.
Fiel dropped his pen over the desk. Ink splattered over his design, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t satisfied by what he just drew anyway.
All of it, a waste of time. An unwelcome distraction and a load of responsibility he did not want.
He glanced back at the grifflet, who was presently silently drooping in his grasp, all the energy spent during his “fight” making him suddenly sleepy.
“You’re a pain in my neck, Mer…. you know that?” he quietly groaned. Still, he did not dare remove his hand.
He sighed. “What am I going to do with you?”
Fiel had a job to do. Several, even. He could not afford to set them aside forever, and he definitely couldn’t bring a baby griffon with him wherever he went.
He thought about the Priory, and he thought about Magister Turlough.
The man loved cats. Maybe he would agree to keep an eye on Mer while he was away.