So, you want to reach the City Across the Sea…
Understandable. Sure. I get it. There is rumored to be much opportunity there, at least there must be because nobody that has attempted the journey has ever returned. Surely there, in the City Across the Sea, is a new life to be carved from soft, rich earth.
Surely that is the reason that none have ever returned and we, unlike or forefathers, have fallen back upon the myth of hope rather than fear.
How else would you explain a place we know only from tattered, discarded documents, messages spray-painted on walls and carved into sheets of glass that have fallen from the deserted towers and now lay, unshattered, in the dust.
If you want to make the crossing you need to fly. You need to purchase a griffin. A boat is out, in sweet water they’re fine but the Red Algae of the sea will chew through the wood to get to your flesh, and if by some miracle you reach the deep water where the Iron Whales spawn their young, you’d be pegged for a threat and sunk amidst the remnants of your sinking craft.
They’ve only adopted one human. And he’s dead. Or so the legend goes.
To purchase a griffin is not easy. You first need to travel to the mountains where a reticent tribe lives amongst them, past the Hard Desert and miles of singing cacti.
Climb into the thin air, above the grey clouds where the sun hits the mountain tops in a continuous, punishing soul-kiss. Here, you’ll fine their aerie and the men who train and live with them, who love them as pack and are loved in return.
Griffins have made the crossing to the City Across the Sea, their tribesmen will tell you this. If you ask how, because griffins cannot talk, the tribesmen will just shrug and tell you it doesn’t translate.
Buying a griffin is not like buying a horse or a car, though they weigh as much as one riding in the other. Money might change hands, but you must humble yourself before the creature. How else can you expect to forge a bond that will survive a flight as long as a thousand miles?
Griffins like treats. Salted dead things are usually good. Fresh dead things are better. As these beasts must be in the air for the ground blunts their talons and they dislike grit in their paws, beg a test flight to make sure you don’t get ill.
An act of trust is to lay your palm upon their parrot’s tongues past their razor-sharp beaks without fear. Don’t make the crossing in spring, in spring the beast must return to the aerie to choose a mate. The urge comes upon them without warning, and it would be unfortunate to be high above the ocean when it does.
But if you can remember all of that, you can make it to the City Across the Sea and when your griffin returns in the spring without you, you too will be part of a legend that does not translate.