Friday, February 23, 2007
New Beginning 225
Dahanagh had just finished rounds when the gryphon appeared overhead, its wings beating in doubletime as it selected its landing place. Every torch flame flattened under the wafts of its downstrokes.
Lowd Company R had no air sentry, so Dahanagh fell out ten men to confront the rider once the gryphon landed. In loose order, they surrounded the gryphon as it stretched its talons towards the ground. Torchlight licked along crossbow shafts and picked out sword hilts.
Praed nudged Dahanagh with one bony elbow. "Meat we'd be if it chose."
"It's Vessy," Dahanagh said. "Live cargo, too."
"That's not being Vessy."
"It's his gryph."
The gryphon landed, and its eagle head turned quickly this way and that, assessing the threat. Arched over its back, its wings stayed ready for an emergency take-off.
Dahanagh peered at the rider, who had his head bent down, unbuckling the strap that secured him to the gryphon's back.
Hard to tell in flickering torchlight, and with the leather cap the rider wore, but maybe Praed had the right of it. That didn't look like Vessy.
Dahanagh broke from the group and warily approached. The gryphon shifted its feet and belched, a deep gutterance that echoed from the battlements. The stench settled around them and filled their lungs.
From the number tattooed on the creature’s rump, Dahanagh confirmed it was Vessy’s Gryph; but Vessy was a big, ugly lump of a man, and the one who stepped down from the Gryphon now was younger, slimmer and had better of the looks about him.
“This be Vessy’s gryph,” Dahanagh said, taking the charge. “Where’s Vessy being?”
“I really have no idea,” the pilot replied, by his words an obvious outlander. “I found this chap wandering alone at the edgelands.”
“What be you carrying?”
“Got me there again, I’m afraid. Vicious little buggers though.”
Dahanagh grunted as he continued his inspection. The gryphon lifted its tail. Dahanagh recognized the sign and stepped back just before the gryph let loose a steaming, stinking mound.
“Praed,” Dahanagh shouted, examining the excrement. “I . . . I think I’ve found Vessy!”
Praed rushed over and took a look. “That’s not being Vessy,” he said. “That’s being a steaming pile of gryphon shit.”
Dahanagh scratched his head. “So you’re right,” he said, and paused for the thinking. “Send a man for the barrow and carry this to town -- his wife won’t be knowing the difference of it.”
Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: ril