How to Tame a Gryphon

To be a gryphon rider, you must know the Aerie.

The Gryphon’s Aerie

parchment map of Tarith
  • The Aerie is in King Gaerog and Queen Caitlin’s kingdom and is also governed by the Tarithian High Court.
  • The Aerie is located in the southwest corner of the Tarithian Mountains. The region has mild winters and cool summers; the terrain is a mix of steep, rocky mountains and forested cliffs.
  • The Aerie has never been fully mapped out; there are still many unknown and unidentified wildlife and plants, so be mindful of that.
  • You will be trained in the Aerie, but the military base is located in Griffinrock.
  • The Aerie is where the gryphons’ nesting grounds are located.
  • You have support from the surrounding villages who have settled there to provide food and lodging for novice gryphon riders.
  • It is important to familiarize yourself with all kinds of weather due to the rapidly changing nature of the mountain. You will be up in the skies a lot and will have to deal with the elements not only on the ground but in the skies too. Familiarize yourself with the cold, the rain, the snow, ice, mud, and drought: familiarize yourself with all of it. and take note of the weather always.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different shrubs, animals, insects and trees, as it can be a treacherous journey. It will take a couple of days to reach the nesting grounds.
  • Your teacher will guide you to the Aerie, but after training, it is up to you to remember and navigate your own way through the Aerie.
Aerie wildlife:
  • Deer, elk, foxes, eagles, and wild goats are among some of the wildlife you will face in the Aerie.
  • Species to avoid: bears, wolves, panthers, wild boar, and adult gryphons.
  • When faced with bears or wolves, climb a tree to escape. When facing mountain panthers, yell, throw things, and make yourself tall. Around gryphons, it is crucial to stay low and out of sight; they are the most dangerous predator on the mountain. Avoid wild boars and their young.
  • Foxes may try to steal your food, so tie it up out of reach.
  • All of the species above are also great food sources in case of an emergency, excepting gryphons, wolves, and wild cats. Due to the diverse fruit and nuts available on the mountain, the bears in particular are said to be some of the tastiest in Tarith, though they are difficult to hunt.
  • Small creatures to avoid: venomous serpents are an obvious one from my story, as well as spiders and insects, though they are harder to evade. Pests such as ants and mosquitoes are always a hassle. Laurel can be used for insect repellent, gum cistus is useful for insect bites, and turmeric can soothe snake bites.
  • Don’t walk in tall grass or on shifting rocks as snakes can hide there.
  • Wear a hat or handkerchief to keep ticks from falling in your hair, and pick them off as soon as you can to avoid disease. Mosquitos are common around standing water, so don’t set camp too close.
  • If attacked by a gryphon or other wildlife, hide away out of danger in a tree and call for backup by whistling. The gryphon-rider distress call is three short whistles. This is only to be used in case of emergencies, although there is no guarantee there will be someone to help you. Your teacher cannot help you during your training, only your fellow wing mates.
Aerie flora and other resources:

Many fruits and vegetables are found on the mountain; plants are diverse due to the nearby sea. The sea’s warm rains and breezes create a flourishing habitat for flora. As the mountain hasn’t been fully mapped out, locating plants can be difficult, but here are a few tips for finding them:

Edibles: fruits, vegetables, greens, mushrooms and other herbs
  • Pomegranate can be found in small, shrub-like trees during the hotter seasons.
  • Loquat is found in trees with big oval leaves, dark green in color, during the hotter seasons. These trees grow most often on the southern slopes.
  • Wild greens are found almost anywhere in open space, and can be told apart by the shape of their leaf and their scent.
  • Wild carrots are found in well-drained, sunlit spots almost anywhere on the mountain and can be identified by their white frothy flowers and spiny leaves.
  • Wild Garlic is found in sunny, well-drained soil, usually near trees. It has long, oval-shaped leaves and white flowers.
  • Mushrooms are found in sheltered dark areas of the mountain in disturbed soil. Avoid these if you do not have prior knowledge on how to identify them.
  • Thyme thrives in full sun, heat and well-drained soil. It has dark purple flowers and small dark green leaves and can be found in rocky open spaces.
Medicinal plants:
  • Gum cistus can be used for insect bites, wounds, colds, coughs, and tick fever. It is found in large groups on the mountain’s slopes.
  • Chirimoya, also known as sweetsop or custard apple. Bears a green fruit with a skin resembling scales. Aids with general well-being and can reduce swelling. These trees are found at high altitudes near the top of the mountains. Do not eat the seeds.
  • Quince is used for digestive health and to prevent many illnesses. It is found in sunny spots on the mountain in early spring and has thorns on the branches of flowering quince and serrated edges on the leaves.
  • Jujube are good for the circulation of the humors, strong bones and teeth, and can sooth anxiety. It is found in hot parts of the forest that has a lot of rain: look for elongated trees with glossy oval leaves.
  • Basil can be used both as a spice and to ease general aches and pains, including in the stomach. It can be found almost anywhere and grows throughout the year.
  • Rosemary is boosts alertness, intelligence, focus, and the circulation of the humors. It is found in sunny, wind-sheltered spots at high points of the mountain. It can handle frost in well-drained soil.
  • Laurel can be used as insect repellant, as well as for pain relief and to promote healing. It grows in most soils and prefers heavy shade.

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