The Autumn Keep - Chain Link 5

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This is a Chain story passed between @zakludick and @fromage. Each writer authors a post based on the events of previous episodes and carries on the story.

There is very little collusion between the writers as it is challenging to discover and develop a story by attuning the writing to the partner's plot, style and presentation.

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Last time on The Autumn Keep



Chainlink 4 of Tarot Tales by @fromage.

In the aftermath of the battle with the Greyl, Griffin helps the Beast to get freed from thrown debris. The bridge across the canyon is gone, destroyed by the lantern that Griffin had been carrying.

Now they will have to find another way to get to the other side. The Beast mentions something about a Keep.

It is now @zakludick's turn to add a link to the story in Chainlink 5 of The Autumn Keep.

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Chainlink 5



Griffin trailed after the Beast.

He tried to make sense of everything that had happened to him. It could not have been more than two hours but it felt as though he had been traveling with the Beast for days.

He had been on his way to see his uncle. Instead, he had managed to get lost in the forest, attacked and nearly killed by creatures nobody would believe existed and lost his mother's sword. His sword. He was practically defenseless now.

Griffin followed after the Beast. He noticed that there was blood leaking from the open wounds on its sides. Soon, however, the wounds seemed to close all by themselves.

"Come man-thing. Move faster." The Beast glanced at him over its shoulder. "We do not want to get caught in the Keep at nightfall."

"I have a name you know."

"A what?"

"A Name."

The Beast stopped and turned around on the narrow trail. It stood with its shoulders piling into the brush on either side of the path. It wore an odd expression on its muzzled face. Griffin could not decide if it was quizzical or humorous.

"Whatever it is that you are trying to say, I only hear a man-thing sound. It might not have a word in our tongue." The Beast's head tilted sideways. "What is a... I cannot make the sound... what is it used for?"

"A name is something you call someone."

"Like you, the man-thing."

Griffin sighed. "No. I am one man-thing. There are many of us, right? You have seen or heard of us before right?"

"That's right. I have met many man-things... They are not very tasty."

Griffin felt the blood drain from his face at the Beast's words. Together with the words, there were fragments of images bombarding Griffin's mind. The visions were not very clear, but there was a lot of blood. Red Blood.

"Anyway... when there are many man-things then they call me Griffin."

"Another man-thing sound... but I sense it means something... a vision. What does it mean?"

"Griffin... I am named after a mythical animal. Half lion, half eagle." He did his best to make a proper image in his mind of what the creature looked like.

"Ah! A Lionbird! You are called Lionbird?"

"I suppose so." Griffin raised his shoulders in an expression that he realized the Beast would not be able to understand.

"It is a good thing to be called. Lionbirds are courageous and strong. Deadly even. They are not story creatures as you said earlier."

"Really? Have you seen one?" Griffin could not believe it and yet here he was speaking with a giant wolf or bear creature that had metallic skin and scales on its body. So there may be a chance.

"Of course. They are very dangerous, one alone might be able to kill me if I do not have help... but they are very tasty..."

Griffin would have laughed at the thought, it was preposterous really. This Beast before him had eaten a Griffin, a creature of story and legend. Right now, however, he felt cold and his face had grown slightly numb.

"Lionbird, are you alright? You look..."

The world slewed sideways as Griffin fell.

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Griffin could something wet and warm tickling his face.

It was light and gentle, though a little roughly textured.

There was another feeling on his arm and his hands. More still were tickling his legs and feet.

Suddenly there was a sharp pain on his right foot's toe. "Aaah!" Griffin bolted upright, pushing several small bodies away from him. There was a multitude of black, grey, white and brown fur all around him.

"Its still alive!" Some creature spoke, its voice tiny. Another dozen or more all chimed in. "Alive!" "Alive!" "How come?" "Alive!" "Should we kill it?" "Alive!" "Alive!"

"That one is not for eating!" A familiar voice thundered loud enough that the rest of the chattering voices were drowned out. "Besides, man-things are not very tasty."

The Beast came into view then, its head very close.

They were both surrounded with miniature versions of the Beast.

"This..." The Beast said. "...is a man-thing that is called: Lionbird."

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Chainlink 5 completed!

Now the torch is passed on to @fromage to add in Chainlink 4 of the story!

Previous Chainlinks:

Chainlink 1 by @zakludick
Chainlink 2 by @fromage
Chainlink 3 by @zakludick
Chainlink 4 by @fromage

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