XIV. A Faithful Flight
Observing her in silence but for sound of griffin breath,
They recognized her dignity, still beautiful in death.
Then Galen looked up pleadingly, cheeks marked by frozen tears.
His mentor looked much younger now, despite his many years.
He spoke with sensitivity. “Somehow, your faith is weak.
In giving you some time to grieve, I’ve taken time to speak.
Compared to what should really be, our efforts are but jest.
Now you must meet the One who can perform beyond your best,
“One who appears in many forms, a king without a crown.”
As he expounded on the ice, more griffins circled down.
With that, the prophet used his robe to wrap the corpse in white.
“This struggle is not over yet. If you have will to fight,
“You’ll take this precious bundle to complete what you’ve begun.
Now get you to the South and East to meet the rising sun.
Take no time to deliberate or question what I say.
So off with you. Be on your flight. Your griffin knows the way.”
Through twilight’s gloam, in haste they flew, but Galen was confused.
He held the dead weight to his chest as silently he mused.
He felt no hope or sorrow then or anything between.
This errand seemed to be in vain. What could the prophet mean?
Obedience was dearly learned. He would not stray again.
Had he not conquered in a fight no mortal man should win?
The glory of the day before had faded into night.
The goal of present faithfulness was hidden from his sight.
They came to rest upon a ridge beneath a graying sky,
And, standing by his escort, he heard flutterings nearby.
Like blades of grass that stand in such profusion on a lawn,
Were countless griffins seen to swarm the hill by light of dawn.
As if on cue or high command, by instinct or by choice,
They raised their eagle heads and screamed together with one voice,
And to this cry responding, as if not to be outdone,
A griffin larger than them all flew outward from the sun,
Its brightly colored plumage set on wings of awesome span.
As fine a sight as ever was beheld by eyes of man,
The Griffin King flew closer. Galen nearly lost control
But held his ground before the eyes that stared into his soul.
Then silently it landed with its wings completely spread
But never moved its gaze from Galen’s face, it must be said.
The monarch screeched with lifted head, its brow in regal frown,
And Galen trembled as he kneeled and laid his burden down.