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.
XIII. The Battle
For hours they waited on the ice and watched the Kraken’s hole
As Galen hungered to avenge the beauty that it stole.
His older friend, beholding the frustration on his face,
Took hold of him. “Stay true,” he said. “This is the proper place.”
Their griffins also rested there. No fear did they display.
In time of greatest danger, they would simply fly away
And hover well above the fray, then, faithful to their call,
Return to take the heroes home, unbothered by it all.
It seemed that nothing happened, then it seemed that nothing would
While Galen tried to reckon what his teacher understood.
He found that he was standing where impatience fears to tread,
Where times of great excitement first by boredom must be fed.
As patience is rewarded in some unexpected way,
The ice began to vibrate. Then the ice began to sway
As from the edge, and looking down to see where he should go,
The hunter saw his target’s head appear from down below.
The eyes he sought were rising only feet from where he stood.
He felt the handle in his hands and tightly gripped the wood.
In one quick thrust, the implement was driven through the foam.
With discipline, he found his mark and drove the spearhead home.
The ice exploded with such force that Galen flew aloft
And landed certain yards from there on something somewhat soft.
The old man underneath him laughed, delighted by it all.
“You did it, boy! Despite my pain, I’m glad to break your fall!”
The two men, still disguised in white and trapped upon the flows,
Observed the Kraken thrash and bleed, imperiled by its throes.
The suctioned arms still rose and fell to crash upon the ice.
The section where they bowed and kneeled was nearly capsized twice.
One slimy arm caught Galen’s calf, and then he felt it slip,
When upward came more tentacles with something in their grip.
The Kraken died as Galen gasped. He recognized the face,
Lost love, once seen from pirate’s mast, still locked in dead embrace.
The two men worked with labored breath, made steamier by toil,
And used their spears with urgency to free her from the coil.
Then reaching into frigid sea, they pulled on her with care
To drag her from her ocean grave and out into the air.
And as the heat of battle through our heroes’ veins still burned,
They heard the sound of screech and wing. The griffins had returned.
Though vengeance had been satisfied, the deed was incomplete.
The men beheld the sorry sight now laid before their feet.
To be continued next Thursday…dot…dot…dot!!
By Robert L. Jones, III, at Pneumythology