A regal species of leonine and avian hybrids, gryphons are one of the more populous species in the Realms. Organized into Flights, gryphons are creatures as varied and unique as dragons, and have many subspecies related to the traditional Vystrian and Evylonian types.
Average Lifespan:: 750 years
Average Height:: 4 feet at the shoulder
Average Weight:: N/A; depends on individual
Location Found:: Abroad. Many found in Heartwood and Alubria.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Species info credited to Blazeh/Verridith, Fyfergrund, and Kyariel.
Appearance The gryphon can be described as a mix between a feline and a bird, most commonly that of a lion crossed with an eagle. They retain the colors of their parentage, such as a snow leopard's white pelt and a dove's beak and feathers. However, if two gryphons breed with eachother to produce 'purebred' offspring, colors mutate in the coat, and plumage may carry colors that were never there before. As purebred lineage continues on, many color possibilities will be brought to light, as well as other mutations such as a serrated beak, long and decorative crest feathers, stripes and spots, etc. Horns, too, have been noted among gryphons with a purebred bloodline.
Size of these gryphons vary from the size of a dog to that as large as a horse, though the Felnovian breed tends to range bigger than their Evylon cousins.
Culture A group of gryphons is called a 'Flight', and is led by a mated pair. The Aran'raa and Tari'rae (male and female respectively) hold absolute authority over their Flight, and leadership of thus is passed by blood. If the pair have no offspring, it is passed through contest. Each Flight has their own rituals and traditions, and hunting parties - usually led by a second in command (the Arfae and Arfaern, male and female respectively), or appointed hunt-leaders called the Far'cora and Far'cai - are sent out once every few days, as per usual. Relations between various Flights are strained, and if alliances are made, they are prone to dissolve into war after a very short while.
Abilities The gryphon species are adept at magic, usually elemental abilities and healing being their specialty. Many are good with reiatsu, and some can craft metal weapons among other things. Some gryphons, however, are born without power - they must use claw and beak to fight and survive, and many of these 'powerless ones' are cast out of their Flights to wander as outcasts forevermore.
The gryphon's first origins came from an impossible love story; a strong stonelion, with a long silver mane and white as snow fur, and a female roc shifter with feathers painted like the night sky. They encountered one another in the tallest mountain peaks, as the male was prideless and alone, and the female was without a flock. He seemed infinitely sad, and so the roc shifted into a small cat to follow him without being seen, wishing only to find what had his heart so low.
He talked to himself much through his journeying, and she learned he had lost his betrothed to a freak accident in the Realm of his birth. The stonelion was a coward, and had run; his guilt was immense, and she felt sorry for him. Shifting into a female stonelion, the roc trotted up to him one morning and greeted him warmly, her pelt black and shimmering with a thousand white speckles, like glittering stars. She told him she was alone, and that he seemed sad; they agreed to travel together, for companionship and protection against the many dangers the mountains held.
It was not long before feelings for the male blossomed in the roc shifter; and through the long months they traveled, her feelings were returned. She became pregnant in due time, and carried within her a single child, carrying in stonelion's form for a long while. The couple were happy; and to anyone looking on, they looked only like a pair of stonelions beginning a new pride.
However, when the cub was born, the stonelion male recoiled. It was a mutant! A monster! Confused and horrified, he looked as his mate smiled sheepishly: for the cub had the naked face of a wide-eyed bird of prey, and scaled talons in place of leonine forepaws. It only had a lion's rump and tail, a sleek belly, with then-featherless wings sprouting from a cub's back. "What have you done?" the stonelion asked, "That cub is not mine!" The roc shifter looked surprised and fearful, before she beheld her cub for herself.
Then, she smiled, nuzzling her baby as laughter bubbled up inside of her. "Oh, my love, I am so sorry - I should have told you before," she said to her shocked mate. "I am a shapeshifter; I beheld you long ago, and shifted into this form. I have not shifted back since, as I fell in love with you, but it seems that my genes of a roc have carried to our child. Fear not, my love; for she is yours through and through."
It took some time for the stonelion male to be convinced; it was only when the roc had recovered enough to show him her true form that he forgave her for her secrecy, and they came to love their hybrid child as much as any purebred cub. As the cub grew, it caught the attention of more than a few - including, oddly enough, the eyes of a goddess mystified by such true and unbroken love.
When the cub grew into an adult, and long after the stonelion had died and left the roc alone, Zeldrima took the hybrid and sent her to sleep; the creature had grown into a beautiful thing, her fur and feathers all shades of silver and black, a perfect blend of her parents. She was a powerful combination of strength, agility, and grace. The goddess took bones of old stonelions and feathers roc'a had shed and crafted others in the hybrid's likeness, gifting her and her new fellows magic and great intelligence, long lives, and power. You are no longer a hybrid, young one, she intoned as the original woke.
You will go by a new name; you, and those who will follow you. Gryphons, will you all be called; you are the beautiful hunters and huntresses of the sky, and you will fly high and far and fast, even as the dragons who will rule you do. Go forth in your new Flight, and cry out to the skies of your kin and kind!
Thus were the race of gryphons born; and thus, their wings filled the skies forevermore.
This species did not have an Ancient First.
Born long ago from the union between dragons and gryphons, the drakyn gryphons boast a widely diverse range of colors to their hides, from natural ones typically found in felines, to more exotic hues more often found in dragons. Spots and stripes are very common, as are patterns typically found on common domesticated cats, from calico to tabby. Males often sport horns or antlers, while females, if they have them, sport short, more delicate-looking ones. Rarely, some are born with scales over parts of their bodies which follow the patterns of their hides. Size-wise, they lean towards the larger extremes for their species, with some rivaling draft horses in size.
Classification: horse-based gryphon. Location: Alubria, Felnova; Lizzarkyth.
A hippogryph is a type of gryphon commonly found in the desert and plains regions of both Lizzarkyth and Felnova; having both gryphonic bird qualities and the features of a proud horse or other hooved animal, they are race both proud and strong. They can have the hindquarters of a horse, deer, antelope or other such animal and the fore of a bird; others may be found with a horse's mane down their necks and hooves tipping each foot, still others with a horse's longer face and an eagle's sharp talons. Primarily omnivores or, in rare cases, herbivores, they are much less inclined to fight for something other than their own species than both the Alubrian gryphon and the sky-ree.
It is said that these creatures came from the mating between a gryphon sire and a mare, though the truth of this is unfounded. In truth, they are a breed of gryphons who had stepped away from a fully carnivorous life and evolved to live in the grasslands of Alubria and beautiful Lizzarkyth. Some say that their friendship with unicorns helped change their physical features; their magic has had some effect, and hybrids between the two are actually somewhat common, though their equine feature are greatly enhanced. The hippogryph is not, however, a pairing of unicorn and gryphon.
Classification: wingless gryphon. Location: mainly Alubria, though they can be found anywhere.
The ne'le gryphon is a subtype spawned originally from a mutation that forced baby gryphons to hatch without wings; over time, those who were alike congregated together, and roam in clans found across Alubria. Though the ne'le can be found anywhere, Flights located in Alubria will take their children to these clans once they reach the age where their winged cousins would fledge; parents of these children will do so to avoid the humiliation of their hatchlings when they learn they cannot fly as their nestmates can. Clans of ne'le will often congregate together to accept these fledglings at four times of the year, usually at the beginning of each season. Their social structure mirrors that of their winged cousins, with few exceptions - clans are led by a single leader, not a pair, and their beliefs are much less strict than both sky'ree and traditional variants.
Classification: canid-based gryphon. Location: Icemark, Vystriana.
The Sky'ree gryphon is best described as a bird and canine cross; usually that of a wolf and a hawk. Much smaller than their feline counterparts, the Sky'ree choose the icy wilderness to live in seclusion, their Flights small and ruled mercilessly. The Draug'aran and Tari'ronyo rule in turns, though the male - the Draug - has much more power than his mate, and there are no second in commands or hunt leaders. An authoritarian race known for their arrogance, the Sky'ree Flights rarely get along with others of their kind, nor others of a different species. They ally with the werewolves of icemark if only in their hatred of all who are not gryphons, with one goal: to eradicate the city of Icemark and all who trespass in their high, frozen realm.
Classification: aquatic and semi-aquatic gryphon. Location: abroad, located near bodies of water.
The Yorije gryphon is so named for the underwater land in which many call home; living alongside their dragon counterparts, these mergryphs come in a variety of different strains. Usually, a Yorije gryphon will grow to be as large as a horse, though many grow no larger than that of a dog. The degrees of their aquatic state vary gryphon to gryphon, and by the region in which they live. Deep-sea gryphons may be covered in sleek hide, with webbed wings and talons, and some may develop gills. Those that swim nearer the surface often retain their feathers, though - like a duck's - their feathers and fur become highly water resistant. Rarely, a Yorije gryphon will be born with fins and flippers instead of water-webbed feet.
Able to communicate both telepathically and by a complex system of body language and sounds, they are generally very social among their own kind. Some may be nomadic, traveling as a large family group. Others would settle into a particular area where hunting is plentiful and dangers limited. Still others may live alongside other creatures, both underwater and on land, though they may be suspicious of other beings at first, but likely willing to remain peaceful unless attacked. They are highly intelligent, and can learn how to speak above the water without telepathy quite easily. Magic use is not extremely common but not unheard of. Most magical abilities will be related to the water element, though others are always possible, if very rare.
Classification: Twisted, demonic gryphon. Location: Anquil, Evylon. A violent type of gryphon often possessing four to six eyes, long, overgrown talons, and oily, dark fur. All have beaks that are split into fourths, filled with sharp teeth. They are known to be highly territorial and very prone to violence, attacking anything and everything that comes close enough to be struck. The Anquil gryphons roam in prides led by a single alpha, selected by a trial by combat between the old alpha, and the challenger.