Gryphon’s Disciple

“That’s not my name.”

Those were the first words you said to me.

To me.

The Mighty Gryphon. A beast like no other. Lord of Magic, Watcher of the Mountains. Harbinger of Fall and Beast of the Rising Tide. Timeless Warrior. Champion of Valken. Raiser of Scourge.

I gave you a name.

And you—a tiny, puny human without a single light in your sky— you tell me:

“That’s not my name.”

Forgive me for laughing, but, I know.

This is going to be one long, hard task.

You crumple like paper when I kick you. When my wings brush against your small frame, you fly like a paper kite. Backhanding you will send you right off the edge of the cliff, I know. When I punch you, you fly backward, tumbling on your side as you try to halt your momentum.

You look up at me, anger scorching your irises.

I hold nothing back from you.

That is not what a good teacher would do.

“You’re weak,” I tell you.

You glare.

Because:

You already knew that.

But, then again:

You seem to think you know everything.

Except the answer to my favorite question:

“Why are you here Ilya?” I ask again, stomping to stand over you. Remind you that I tower, that I am champion of all. That I am the thing that stands between magic and might. That I, alone, am what keeps corruption at bay.

I stand over you.

You spit blood out of your mouth, and it splats against the ground with a loud smack. Face distorted, your glare lengthens, going from cutting like a dagger to cutting like a proper sword.

“I don’t know,” you tell me again, and then—as if you don’t say it every time I call out to you—“And that isn’t my name.”

I’m at the end of my rope with you.

Usually, I am much more patient. But, that was before so much time had passed. Before you came to my mountain, wasted my days. Before the gods threw you at the foot of my temple and placed the mark on your back. Before you were chosen, I was much more patient.

Much.

If I had known that obeying the Fates would be so difficult, I would’ve never signed up for this. Would’ve been a rebel rouser, or a deadbeat, instead.

…or so I like to pretend.

In the end, I know:

This is how it must be.

As frustrating as you are—and as irritated as I am—I know:

If it were any other way, I would not be satisfied.

I would not be proud of these wings, or my beak, or my claws. Would not stand, as I do, atop mountains. If I had ignored Fate’s calling, I would be…

Hopeless.

Just as you were.

There are many roads that Fate lays out for us. Some more glorious than others. Some more painful. Other roads seem more mundane, while some roads are rocky, tough. There are wrong roads, yes, but the road that you want? The one that feels good?

That road is much harder to come by.

Much.

As you struggle to stand—blood still oozing from your mouth in a thick dribble—I sigh. My impatience eaten by this knowledge.

Devoured by this:

Understanding.

You, small human, are still young. Not a youth, but not an elder, either. You still have a path to follow. A place to belong.

A road to explore.

You just don’t know it yet.

And you don’t know:

The last road you were on?

Well…

Let’s just say you chose wrong.

And that?

That’s okay.

“You are no longer Harry the Red human,” I tell you. “I’ve gifted you with the name of a gryphon. A name like a star—it will burn inside you, even in the darkest night. Mistakes are a part of life—just as stumbling is part of walking. You will learn. That’s why you are here. Who you were will be a stepping stone to who you will become. Rocks that must be remolded to make a better foundation for a better world. Do you understand? You do not live your life for you alone—for you are not the only person in this world Ilya. A man named by a gryphon—as if he were a gryphon—is a man that can see beyond himself. That looks at the world, not with the eyes of a man, but with the eyes of a gryphon. That looks from the height of mountains, the height of heaven itself. Who you were was not a mistake, but, rather, a lesson,” I explain as you struggle. As you strain to stand.

I cannot simply stand by and watch.

That is not what a good teacher would do.

Not what a Great One would do.

I offer you a hand.

A hand that is tipped with talons, lined with feathers. A hand that belongs to a gryphon. A champion.

A teacher.

I offer you my hand because I do not want to sit here and berate you.

I want you to learn, Ilya.

I want you to become.

I offer my hand, and I tell you straightly.

“Your Fate is better than what you have chosen for yourself Ilya. Harry the Red was less than a man—but, as Ilya, you may become even more than man. Understand? See things as I do. Sit amongst the stars. Bring light, bring hope. Become what you seek. Give to others that fire. Do not let your life be lived in vain Harry the Red. Become Ilya—choose the path Fate has set for you, instead. Allow me to show you,” I plead, sincerity bleeding through my words, my gesture.

Your glare lessons as you look at my hand. As I speak, and as I offer, you look less angry. More thoughtful.

My hand is still outstretched.

I don’t know what you will pick.

I don’t know if you will take my hand.

I don’t know.

No path is easy or light. Even if it seems that way.

But not every path is right.

There is a path for you, my friend.

If only…

If only you would take my hand.

 

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