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The gryphons were not always monsters. That came later.

In the earliest days, they were our friends. They flew alongside pegasi. They shared the land with earth ponies. They studied beside unicorns. There was no fear between us. That came later too.

Time drew our people apart, but it was not time that made them monsters. They made that choice themselves; they chose their fate. And it was the greatest gryphon who sealed it.

He was born, many years ago, on a mountain far to the north...

First Published
18th Jul 2012
Last Modified
18th Jul 2012
#1 · 127w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

I do kind of wonder what seal tastes like now.

#2 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>893316  It's probably the oiliest, fattiest meat on the planet.

#3 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Finally!

#4 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Hmm... I am intrigued.  Putting this on the "Read Later" list (maybe I'll get to it this afternoon).  

#5 · 126w, 3d ago · 2 · ·

accidentally hit the dislike button. nearly had a damn heart attack.

#6 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

I think you succeeded with this piece. Or at least in the sense that you made the reader feel emotion.

I doubt I will be able to name or understand the ingredients of the emotional cocktail that this blissfully served me.

Beyond confusion, I can tell I enjoyed it. Keep writing, this was quite good.

#7 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

The title and final message leave something to be desired in clarity and relevance.

Other than that, excellently crafted. Your prose is powerful and flows effortlessly. Your descriptions are spot-on for the most part, your imagery is vivid, and the emotions you convey are strong and convincing.

I enjoyed reading this.

A respectful tip to the hat for you and your editors.

#8 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Well you know what they say:

"Its a mad world."

#9 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Huh. Well this is rare. I'm completely stumped on what to say.

I guess... hmm, I enjoyed it, no doubt about that, but I have this creeping feeling that there was just something missing from it. Maybe it's just a lack of ability to empathise with the main character, or maybe it's more of a pacing thing. I also wonder if it maybe leans a little heavily on implied conflict, both with his conscience and with his kin, which feels a little too thin to support the premise.

I think I needed the end to justify the time spent getting there, and it felt a little hollow to me. On the flip side, I'm open to the idea that the feeling of haunting failure was the point. Thus, it's hard to tell whether it's just not my kind of story (I'm relentlessly fluffy inside!), or actually missing something. Definitely thought provoking though, which is never a small thing.

-Scott

#10 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Hey,

It's good. But it's a weird one. Somehow I get the sense it is supposed to be meaningful, but I don't see anything much of myself in the gryphon - any one of them - such that it speaks to the human condition, as meaningful stories usually do. Maybe I'm not the right audience? Anyway, I still enjoyed it, although it was sad.

JMH

#11 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Very orginal from a very different point of view.:pinkiehappy:

#12 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Wonderful

#13 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

You are on another planet compared to most writers on this website. There's so much beauty in your prose and you craft characters who feel deep, complicated and exquisitely detailed. My one issue was that the ending was a tad predictable, but maybe that's something only I found. Either way, bravo.

#14 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Engaging, gripping read. Nice visceral description. Very straightforward compared to "Glass Blower," but it's a completely different kind of story. Griffons also seem to enjoy apples, candy, pastries, and chocolate mousse. It's a wonderful thing to read your work here. :twilightsmile:

#15 · 126w, 3d ago · 3 · ·

Hilarious. I could almost hear the Wah-wah-waaaah sound play as Aquilinas catches his sister with the skin. I laughed so hard I almost cried. Easily your best comedy yet, CiG.

#16 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

I enjoy a good griffin story, but I'm not sure how to feel about this one.

To me, It didn't really seem to end. You had a lot of build up to murder and that's about it. Nothing really feels like it got resolved. It's not really a bad thing that it ended on a very down and bleak note. But when I first started reading the story I was expecting something different. To me, you set it up like this would be a story about change or something like that. To me I just ended poorly. I might be biased, but this certainly wasn't a story for me.

That said, I won't thumbs down this story. It's original, It's well written, and It's about griffins. All very awesome things. So I guess this story is in a limbo for me.

#17 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Oh, man, that was too good to be a one hit wonder... I need more! :pinkiecrazy:

#18 · 126w, 3d ago · 4 · ·

>>932602

I know, right?  I'm still rolling from when the halls were vast and cold and empty.

#19 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

>>930687

Imagine fat that tastes like fish and hazelnut mixed together.

#20 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Also, being part lion creatures, don't you think griffins would be social carnivores? Even eagles will be sociable when there is sufficient carrion or other food. Otherwise, great story.

#21 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

I'm glad you posted that blog after this story, really helped shed some light on how emphasizing hunting over artistic expression destroyed the griffon race.

All good narratives revolve around characterization, setting, and theme. While I often find the first two discussed in comments, I can never get enough discussion about theme. A work without a theme is criticized, but it takes a lot of author intervention for readers to discuss what a story means, or what it says about people.

When I think about what griffons valued (hunting prowess) and its effect, I think about what people value (stories about ponies are stories about people). Money pops to mind first. Objectively, money has no value. But because of its use as a medium of exchange, it can be used to put value on anything. If you have time and resources that can be spent on something other than survival (if you're still reading this, you probably do), than it is absolutely necessary to have something like money to value things. Why? Because it allows people to put value on things like art and intangibles. It encourages diversity by allowing consumers to pursue other interests while rewarding producers for coming up with progressive ideas/tools/services. :twistnerd:

In story, not even the meat that came from hunting was valued, just the technique in obtaining it. Hunting skill cannot be bartered (though training for it can, if pride is no issue), and without any means to encourage value in anything else, the griffons were doomed. :raritycry:

On the other hand, they became really, really good hunters. Cost them too much though. :pinkiecrazy:

#22 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

I absolutely adored this piece. It was simply fabulous. :raritystarry:

#23 · 126w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Speechless.

#24 · 126w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Beautiful. Truly, more beautiful than anything I ever put to paper or typed. I am no poet but, to my mind, this is like a fine work of art. Dark and smooth, flowing from point to point to the inevitable climax as a winding river to a lake. I might write more if it did not sound terrible. It really made me think too, not much can really do that.

#25 · 126w, 2d ago · · ·

Masterful. Well done.

#26 · 126w, 2d ago · · ·

This story was truly amazing.

#27 · 126w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Well written, poetic, reflective - almost a meditation - and stone cold. Masterful. Difficult, yes, but laden with power.

Terribly, terribly sad. Not because of dead ponies. Not because of dead gryphons. Because it is actually about Man.

Always good writing, Cold In Gardez.

#28 · 126w, 2d ago · · ·

>>933709

Honestly? I'm still chuckling from them going, "Walrus... PUNCH!"

Here, an illustrative video, if you'd like.

#29 · 126w, 2d ago · · ·

haven't read yet, but the intro looks promising

#30 · 126w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

If this does not get featured, there's no hope left for FiMFiction.

#31 · 126w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

What a gripping story. You just have to go to the end. The description of the combat and aftermaths was absolutely spectacular, and the ending delivered a heavy impact. It doesn't seem to, though, unless you put some thought into it, which can be a problem.

I think the best part was how the brutal slaughter Aquilas delivered was completely in-character, no objections. You executed that final action flawlessly.

I'll agree with an above comment; although it's not the best thing I've ever read (and, oddly, I may not favorite it), this better reach the featured box.

#32 · 126w, 2d ago · · ·

I came for the incredible art header.

I stayed for the epic story.

#33 · 126w, 1d ago · · 2 ·

Yep, you can't remain a sapient being if all you do is give into the urges of a mindless beast.

Of course, a samurai would kick the shit out of the griffons, because they pursued art and music AS WELL AS honing their fighting skills!  

THEY were the apex!

Aquilas just completed the mental degeneration of his species.  

Plus, they killed all those poor innocent ponies.  I don't feel sorry for them at all.  Heck, I would have taken my own samurai sword (it's an old one, more than 250 years old. Slices through bone like a knife through butter.) and slaughter the lot of them myself in vengeance.

Of course, I think Gilda (she's a bully, not a psycho killer) and Gustave Le Grande would be rather horrified by this tale.  Gustave, in particular, as a gentle-hearted patissiere, would probably become physically ill upon reading it.  *chuckles*  I suspect there would be an out-cry and charge of 'anti-griffon propaganda' levied against Cold.  With a formal complaint to Celestia, protesting their noble race's portrayal as savage, brutal, uneducated predators of ponies.  :raritywink:

#34 · 126w, 1d ago · · 2 ·

I should also point out how short-sighted the griffons' attitude toward herbivores was.  

Elephants are herbivores... and they kill lions with ease.  

Hippos are herbivores... which have been known to bite crocodiles in half.

Bison are herbivores... yet they ruled the Plains in the millions before 'the white man' arrived with guns.

And then there is man, an omnivorous creature that works with its hands, creating all manner of crafts.  And it has dominated an entire planet.

Yes, the griffons were not only monsters; they were also fools.  Natural selection will not suffer foolish creatures to exist for long.

#35 · 126w, 1d ago · · ·

>>939728

Good stories featured on FIMFiction? Now that's a laugh.

>>939419

>>933709

Stop stealing my fucking jokes.

#36 · 126w, 1d ago · · ·

>>941895

Try using them first.

#37 · 126w, 1d ago · · ·

To quote Futurama: "turns out it's man!" :pinkiecrazy:

Your stories always have this weird, primally surreal feeling to them, from goofy Michael Bay dicking around, to something like this that's going to leave me feeling ill for quite a while -- especially in the context of what you just blogged.  Suffice to say, this one's going to eat at me for a long time, and I'm not even sure what else I'm supposed to say here.

So yeah, you've left me speechless and queasy.  Thank you.

#38 · 126w, 1d ago · · ·

I Cried :fluttercry:

Really good story

#39 · 126w, 22h ago · · ·

DAMN!

#40 · 126w, 8h ago · · ·

This was an amazing piece of work! Simply fantastic. I loved it very much. Excellent work. :twilightsmile:

#41 · 126w, 4h ago · · ·

Yes.

I can't say much else.

Yes.

#42 · 125w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it seems to me this is a story about a character with a lot of potential who is unable to transcend the limitations imposed by his culture and family. The tension within Aquilas between his knowledge that a different kind of life is possible and his inability to leave behind the familiar is what drives the story forward. Since Aquilas can't break that tension himself, it ends up breaking him. The story also speaks to how a culture that values physical strength, domination, and predation above all other qualities is eventually doomed to self-destruct. All in all, a good story expertly told.

I'm curious: is this an alternate universe fic, or perhaps set in some distant future? We've only seen two griffons in the show so far -- a bully and a somewhat bombastic baker. While our two canon examples have no shortage of ego, as a species they seem to be a far cry from what's presented here. If Cold in Gardez meant this story to show a tragic possible future of the griffons, it makes me wonder what caused them to fall so far. Perhaps there's a story there as well?

#43 · 125w, 6d ago · · ·

Very good story. Absolutely loved it throughout.

Kudos goes to you on the amount of societal construction displayed here. You clearly define the feel of a society deprived of finer arts, having been lost to primal desire. This, I feel, is one of the major points that made me connect with the main character. He is clearly defined as being a gryphon different among all gryphons, in that he is curious about what his people have lost. His empathetic nature to the weaker society of ponies makes him much more relatable in comparison to the other characters, who exist solely as hunters.

The imagery in this story was also very well done. One can almost look around the stone halls of the aerie reading this story. In the same, emotion was also very well portrayed. I particularly loved his moments in which he is watching the village go about its existence. The moment in which he discovers the gryphons among the slaughtered ponies was also very well done. I particularl loved the wording on an angry buzzing sound.

Overall, an extremely well done story. Well done.

#44 · 125w, 5d ago · · ·

I freaking loved this fic, probably in my top 10

#45 · 125w, 4d ago · · ·

simply amazing! :pinkiegasp:

#46 · 125w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Simply fantastic. Proud to say that this is the first griffin-oriented fic I've ever read. Kudos to you and your aides.

#47 · 125w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Thank you.

Thank you for writing this.

#48 · 125w, 3d ago · · ·

The contrast between this and your comedic Twilight stories couldn't be greater.

It's a bleak story, a cold story. The griffons' decline has taken them so far they no longer can even see the heights they've fallen from, save for Aquilas. And not even he can break free from the predatory obsession that has consumed his aerie and, in the end, consumes him.

If one's looking for a moral in this story, here's what I took from it: Those who pursue strength for its own sake, and disdain art, beauty and love as weakness, are fatally weakening themselves, just as those who cut away every connection so as to be free are shackled to their own loneliness.

#49 · 125w, 3d ago · · ·

Wow. This... Wow.

An incredible piece. A fantastic analysis of the consequences of sapience on multiple levels of the food chain. One can't help but wonder what Aquilas could have become earlier in the collapse of griffin society.

#50 · 125w, 3d ago · · ·

I'm really at a loss for words to describe this properly. Excellently written and thought out, a very meaningful story, but the ending took a while before it started to fit for me. It still feels a little odd... I don't know. It makes sense, but I'm still somewhat torn on this.

Much thought will be spawned of this.

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