Preparing for the Mountain:
What you need to know:
- No one is allowed to help you capture a gryphon once your initiation starts; your instructor can’t help you on the mountain once you are there, and only fellow initiates can help you if you get in trouble. The only exception is if you have failed your initiation, as I did. You have to be prepared and use what you have learned and what you know to complete your task of capturing a gryphon.
- You have to be prepared: teach yourself and be taught everything there is to know; have everything you could need on you, and prepare ahead of time.
- Learn everything there is to know about the living rough, the Aerie, and its diverse wildlife and plants.
- Have a plan and strategy before heading to the nesting grounds: know what sex of gender you want, know what tactics you’re going to use and when.
- Tight-fitting leather jerkin or gambeson, with sturdy hobnail boots or moccasins for colder weather. When you need to be stealthy or climb, it is advised to go barefoot.
- Hair shaven or tightly tied up: sensible hairstyles that won’t get in the way.
- Your teacher should have told you where to get your equipment or provide it for you; most equipment will be made at Griffinrock and given to you after you have successfully lured a gryphon. Sometimes nearby villages will donate gear. Or, you can purchase the materials and make them yourself.
- Small pouches and commando pockets are essential for the equipment you’ll need on the mountain and when flying, along with oil or wax to waterproof your armor, furs for warmth, visors and goggles.
Weapons: only small daggers are permitted when in the nesting grounds. When you’ve successfully tamed and ridden your gryphon, you may slowly introduce them to swords, spears, axes and bows. It is important to get them used to weapons and stressful situations so you do not have trouble later, as gryphons are particularly funny about weapons.
Vials: you will need certain smells and potions to ensure a safe attempt at capturing a gryphon. Vials include gryphon pheromones, insect repellent, tranquilizers, snake venom antidote, dressings for wounds for yourself and your gryphon, quick-energy vials, and anything that may also be useful on the mountain or for your gryphon.
First aid: always pack bandages, sewing needles and thread, pain relief for you and your gryphon, and wound dressing.
Repairing material: though there are villages near the Aerie to help you with repairs, it can take days or maybe weeks to lure your gryphon successfully. Bring fabric needles and patches for your armor and clothing in case you need them. You can also use your bandages to patch gear if needed.
Camping gear: small bag or pack, thin roll-up tent, small pot, water canteen, flint and tinder, compass, hat, goggles, shovel, small axe or machete, knife. A spyglass is useful if you can afford it.
Fitness and diet: you should be provided by your teacher, government, King, Queen, villagers or wilderness with plenty of food and resources; the land is plentiful with fresh vegetables and livestock, but most Aerie training grounds will have their own farmland or trade routes with nearby villages. Plan for two or three meals a day, in order to recover and carry out your tasks effectively. Do not slack on looking after yourself: your health is essential for successful completion of tasks. Ensure your schedule includes running and exercises for building muscle; there’s no point taming a gryphon and training to become a gryphon-rider if you’re not strong enough to ride a gryphon.
Courses that have to be completed before initiation:
- Reading, writing, arithmetic.
- Religious or magical study. Accepted patron deities: Carro, Shen-Bahan, Jarilon.
- Course on law and politics.
- Training in warfare: tactics, strategies, weapons, war crimes, standards and policies, chain of command.
- Fitness tests: running a mile in under 10 minutes, at least 20 push-ups in 1 minute, at least 30 sit-ups in 1 minute, and passing an obstacle course that includes hurdles, climbing, crawling, and walking a balance beam. You are allowed 5 minute breaks between each test.
- Gryphon basics: care of, gear, training theory, luring, proper nutrition and exercise, physical anatomy and limitations, basic first aid and medicines.
All courses, tests, and exams will take place in the Aerie.