“Come on, Mer! You can do it… catch!”
Once again the necromancer’s arm arched over his head, and once again, the grotesque flesh abomination –stitched together from two fruit bat carcasses, the skull of a dead cat he found, and the tendons of a fleshreaver he killed in the Shiverpeaks– followed the gesture, leaping from one golden pillar to another, while the not-so-little-anymore griffon observed attentively.
Mer was perched on a pillar perpendicular to the ones the undead bait was fluttering to and from. He was gripping at the edge, haunch wiggling with intent, wings shuddering open and close hesitantly, golden eyes trained on the golem like a bird of prey on a fleeting rabbit –as intended.
Five times already, he nearly jumped after. And five times over, he caught himself at the last second, beating his wings madly to not slip off his gilded roost. For the fifth time, the undead bat landed over onto the next pillar, untouched.
Mer had already shed most of his baby feathers, and was now displaying a distinctively bluer coat. The bird was growing up, and he was big enough to start flying now. Or, at the very least, glide from place to place. Yet, he was not. The griffon was born a flying creature, and flying creatures all had the instinct of trying to fly, right? Just like norn and human babes all had the instinct of trying to hoist themselves on their own two legs past a certain age…. Right?
And Fiel did notice that impulse in the cat-bird, the one that pushed him to climb high spots of the Gilded Hollow, to stretch his wings wide as if he was trying to catch the wind. But in the end, it always ended up with him crouching down on his perch and screeching for the norn to come fetch him.
It was a little frustrating.
Fiel was very tempted to just… wait. To be patient, just a little while longer, hoping that something would finally trigger in the griffon. But if research and observation served, Mer had to be taught how to fly, now, before he started turning into a big, awkward, and more importantly, perpetually grounded house cat.
Leaving him at a nest of owl griffons in the Shiverpeaks was out of the question. Fiel had tried that already, and it didn’t go well. Now Mer was too accustomed to domesticated life, and not enough to the wilderness. That was the norn’s fault, really… from the moment he rescued him from his branded nest to the moment he decided to keep him always. And now, it was his duty to raise him as he ought to be.
“Okay…..” he sighed, rubbing the corner of his eyes. “Let’s change tactics.”
A new command, and the bat came hovering right above the griffon, just out of reach. Mer perked up excitedly, now that his target was finally more accessible. He jumped, and the bat fluttered higher. Mer wiggled in place, recoiling upon himself for another higher leap.
He tried a few times, wings beating instinctively, while the undead puppet flapped higher and lower to coax him into trying again, all while inching further and further away from the edge.
Tricking the bird like that might have been a little cruel, but Mer had to find his wings somehow. Besides, Fiel was right below him, ready to catch him.
One more fateful leap, and the griffon launched clean off the pillar, and towards the ground below.
Already the norn was outstretching his arm, ready to receive the little panicking fluff ball, whom fell, and fell… then zipped high over his head.
Mer, wings spread wide, was gliding.
Fiel immediately started running after him, whooping and cheering. The little griffon landed somewhat clumsily over the metallic floor some distance away, fumbling over himself before skidding to a stop, tiny claws digging into the gold, startled eyes looking all over.
“There you go…” the necromancer cooed in a tone he wanted soothing. Mer instantly sank into his neck scratches. “You did it, you stupid cat-bird… I am so proud of you…”
It was very fortunate that no one was there to witness the grown norn rolling all over the mossy floor, cuddling his pet. It would have shattered what little credibility he still had as a necromancer.