• Published 18th Oct 2020
  • 289 Views, 23 Comments

The Lost Fledgling of Griffonstone - Nitro Indigo

A griffon raised by ponies goes on a journey to find where she belongs.

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Chapter 1: Gabby Flies East

It was a sunny morning in Ponyville — Gabby’s FAVOURITE weather to deliver mail in! She effortlessly flitted from door to door, delivering everything from regular letters to love letters to the latest issue of Adagio’s Sun (which Tavi wouldn’t let her read). Now that she’d finished this street, she clutched her mailbag and flew up until she had a bird’s-eye view of the entire tow—

What was that? She hadn’t smelled anything THIS delicious since Trixie’s explosive chili and cinnamon pastries! (Even if nopony else liked them…)

Gabby swooped towards the outskirts of town. As soon as she was right above the scent, she braced herself and dived towards it — but a gust of wind made her lose her balance.

She screamed as she barreled towards Clover Café—

Ponies gasped and ducked for cover—

She smacked into a table—

She winced—

Glasses shattered—

Sassaflash and Sea Swirl were now soaked with carrot juice.

“Oh my gosh ohmygosh ohmygosh! I’msosorry!” Gabby gasped. She grabbed the nearest pile of napkins and frantically wiped the two mares, who looked startled in response.

“Watch where you’re goin’, pipsqueak,” complained a voice Gabby didn’t recognise. A huge griffon stepped towards her — her wingspan alone was wider than a stallion was tall — and Gabby slunk under the table. “You just crashed into my CUSTOMERS!” roared the stranger.

Sassaflash and Sea Swirl fled as fast as their wings and hooves could carry them.

“Now you’ve scared them away!”

“It was an accident!” Gabby cried. Merely looking at the other griffon made her nervous; she was huge! Would she tower over Tavi and Auntie Vinyl and all their friends one day? Nopony knew how griffon aging worked; for all she knew, she could keep growing, and put more and more strain on Tavi’s food budget, until she eventually became the size of a fully-grown dragon, and then she’d be kicked out of Ponyville and have to live on a mountain—

“Yeah, yeah,” the other griffon scoffed. “Apologising isn’t gonna do anything.”

Gabby emerged from under the table, resettling her wings. “Anyway, I smelled something delicious around here! Please could you tell me where it is?”

“You mean my Griffonscones?” The other griffon gestured to a stand behind her. “How many bits you got?”

Gabby rummaged around in her mailbag for loose change; she found a few coins and handed them over. Gilda then grabbed the smallest scone. Gabby sat down, tossed it into her beak, and… YUCK! It tasted like shortbread that had been left on the side of a dusty road for a week. If disappointment had a flavour, this would be it.

“Please can I have a refund?”

“No.” The other griffon glared at Gabby, who stepped back in fear. “What’s a griffon like you doing here, anyway?”

“I live here!” chirped Gabby. “I used to live in Canterlot, but I moved here last summer with the COOLEST big sister ever! You’ve heard of Oct—”

Without any warning, Gilda pinched Gabby’s beak shut. “Whoa-whoa-wait. You’ve lived in Equestria your whole life? That explains so much…” She sniffed. “Gosh, she even smells like a pony…”

Gabby nodded so furiously that Gilda was forced to let go of her beak.

“Is th-there something wrong with all of that…?” Gabby asked.

“I came from Griffonstone,” replied Gilda. “Y’know, because I’m a griffon? Duh!

“...Where’s that?”

Gilda sighed, covering her face with a talon. “I can’t help you, kid.”

But Gabby knew who could.

“I’m sorry, my dear,” Tavi said, “but I’m afraid I know as much about griffons as you.”

Gabby’s heart sank out of her chest and onto the floor of the Golden Oaks Library.

“B-but you’ve got to know something!” she pleaded. “You must’ve read that ancient book about griffon runes at least a HUNDRED times! Are you sure it doesn’t mention anything about Griffonstone?”

“Spellbooks rarely contain detailed history, darling,” Tavi replied. “Although, it did have an exceptionally long foreword about the milk black market…”

Gabby almost sighed — but she couldn’t give up! “I know! Why don’t you ask the princesses?”

Tavi frowned. “We shouldn’t message the princesses for trivial matters such as this. They’re busy enough when there’s not a world-threatening crisis.”

The word “trivial” struck Gabby like a kick to the chest. “B-but it’s just a small favour! Surely they know where I came from!” Without even thinking, she flared her wings and widened her stance.

Tavi stepped back, her eyes wide with shock for a moment, before she quickly regained her composure. “They told me that they found you abandoned in the northeastern mountains, with no other griffons in sight, and you were close to freezing to death.”

Tears welled up in Gabby’s eyes. “S-so my own parents abandoned me…?” Her chest began to ache, and her legs trembled; she slumped into a heap onto the floor.

Tavi placed a hoof on Gabby’s shoulders. “Now, now, we can’t know for sure. Perhaps they died—”

“That’s not reassuring at all!” Gabby snapped, getting back into her defensive stance. She slashed a talon across the floor, leaving long scratches in the recently-polished wood.

“Allow me to finish my sentence. For all we know, you could’ve been lost, and they’re still looking for you." Tavi bent down to Gabby’s level, which wasn’t very far; they were almost the same height. She gently reached a hoof out and wiped away a tear that began to roll down Gabby’s cheek. “Gabriella, I understand how you feel. Back when I lived in Canterlot, I constantly dealt with ponies assuming I was a visitor, and my classmates at the School for Gifted Unicorns gossiped about how I ‘didn't deserve’ to be there when they thought I wasn't listening — and those weren't even the worst of it.” She shook her head.

“But that's different,” Gabby sighed, sitting down. “Everypony knows what an Earth pony is, but nopony knows much about griffons…”

An orange pegasus crashed through a window and slid across the floor, coming to a stop at the other side of the room. Ouch!

“Octavia… Glad you’re in… Vinyl wants a book about tailoring for donkeys…” Flash Sentry panted, picking himself up. “What’s Gabby doing here? Isn’t she supposed to be delivering mail?”

“I was, but…” Gabby sighed. “Hang on. I’ll get you the book first.” She flitted over to the shelves, landed, and looked through the D section… no, nothing there… nothing relevant in the E section either…

“Aha!” She pulled a copy of Farasian Fashions: A Pony’s Guide to Tailoring for Abada, Donkeys, and Zebras off a shelf that was just low enough for her to reach while standing on her back legs. She tried to fly back to Flashie, but the book was so heavy that she had to amble towards him on three legs instead and then dropped it at his hooves.

"Thanks, but…” — Flashie sighed before continuing — “is something the matter?"

Gabby looked down at the floor and nodded. Normally, she’d explain things that happened to her in exhaustive detail, but she wasn’t in the mood for it right now. “I want to go home, and learn how to be a real griffon, but nopony knows anything about Griffonstone…”

“I do,” Flashie said so suddenly that Gabby almost didn’t hear him.

There was a pregnant pause.

“REALLY?!” Gabby gasped. “Thank you! Thank you!” She bounced up-and-down on the spot, and almost took off — but Tavi stopped her with a gentle touch to her shoulders.

Flashie nodded. “Yeah. A while ago, I was researching the Wonderbolts, and it turns out they used to fly beyond Equestria. They haven’t visited Griffonstone for centuries, though… The last records say it was going through a dark age.”

Gabby’s legs felt like they were turning into jelly, and her heart felt like it was about to sink back into the floor — but she wouldn’t let herself lose to disappointment again! “Centuries” meant hundreds of years, right? Or was it thousands? Whatever the case, it was a long time ago. For all she knew, the dark age could be over by now! She took a deep breath, leaned towards Flashie, and asked, “Did those records say where Griffonstone is?”

“It’s somewhere in the northeast,” he replied. “But are you sure you want to go? It took even the strongest pegasi days to fly there.”

He had a point. A very good point. A point so good, she couldn’t believe it hadn't crossed her mind.

However… she'd already made her decision.

“Of course!” Gabby exclaimed, clenching a talon. “It's MY history. I've GOT to get to the bottom of this myself! Besides, they didn’t have trains back then. I'll be fine — I promise!”

“I don’t know, Gabby,” Flashie said. “It feels like you’re rushing into this...”

“Don’t worry! I’m not leaving right away! First, I’ll pack up — and please can you show me your old maps?” Just then, Gabby remembered that she was still wearing her half-full mailbag. “Once I’ve finished my deliveries, of course.”

“I’m just as concerned as you, Flash,” said Tavi in a hushed tone. “But at the same time… I suppose this is what’s best for Gabriella. We can’t keep her away from her own kind forever.”

“But what if we never see her again?” Flashie trailed off, glancing at the ceiling.

Tavi was about to reply, but Gabby interrupted her. “You won’t. Even if I decide to live in Griffonstone, I’ll still come back to visit! But for now, I’ve got some work to do!” She sprinted towards the door.

"One last thing, darling," Tavi said, and Gabby stopped to look back. “I was just as much a citizen of Canterlot as you are a citizen of Ponyville. You mustn't ever forget that.”

The Golden Oaks Library's door creaked as it swung open, and Gabby nearly jumped out of her skin. Nopony was awake before the sun rose; the only sounds were the chilly breeze, the chirping of crickets, and some of the neighbours snoring. It was relaxing… but she didn't have time to stop and smell the roses, both metaphorical and literal. As she walked towards the train station, one of the first buildings she passed was the flower shop. She saw Auntie Vinyl's boutique, the bakery where Trixie worked… She almost had second thoughts, but she had to keep going!

She was the only passenger in her carriage; she got a few odd looks from the crew, because very few ponies went on the night train. She laid down on a seat and pulled a map out of her knapsack. Her destination was Baltimare, where she would catch a boat that was heading east. Since the “trade routes” — whatever those were — between Equestria and Griffonstone had closed centuries ago, no boats sailed directly between them, so she’d have to fly the rest of the way.

The train took her across a winding river, through Canterlot Mountain, and past forests, until it finally stopped at a sprawling, coastal city. She stood on her hind legs and peered out of the window; the ocean sparkling beneath the late-morning sun was the most breathtaking thing she’d ever seen!

Unfortunately… the city itself was the opposite of breathtaking. It was just bricks, bricks, and more bricks, duller than one of Tavi’s lectures about runic magic — not that she’d ever say that out loud! The stone pavements made her paws feel itchy, so she decided to fly as fast as she could towards the docks instead. Unfortunately, she was flying too low, so she smacked into a pony…

...Who, she noticed, was wearing one of Auntie Vinyl’s dresses

“Watch where you’re go— What’s a griffon doing here?” the other pony spat, rolling her eyes.

Gabby took that as her cue to leave. By the time she reached the docks, it was the afternoon, and she was starting to feel hungry… and suddenly remembered that she’d eaten all her rations on the train. Oops.

Oh well. She could wait!

She listened as ponies announced where various passenger ships were headed — Manehattan, Trottingham, Casaboronco... A-ha! Trottingham was her best bet. She rushed towards the medium-sized ferry.

“Hello!” she exclaimed to the burly stallion standing in front of the wharf, pulling all the bits she had out of her knapsack. “Please can I buy a ticket?”

“Did you book?” he asked.


“Then I’m sorry, kid, but you can’t board.”

Gabby walked away, disheartened… but she had an idea! She waited until the ferry was about to sail away, looked around to make sure nopony would notice her, and leaped onto the back of the deck, behind the cabin. She found a shaded corner, and only then did she realise how much her legs ached.

Without even trying, she curled up and fell asleep against the cold, hard floor. She dreamt about a shining city with golden streets, where griffons welcomed her home and were all so upset that she went missing. Then Tavi and all her friends arrived too, and they had a party...

“NOW ARRIVING AT TROTTINGHAM!” a voice boomed, startling Gabby awake. While the ponies disembarked from the ferry, she glided towards the shore.

“Hey, where did you come from?” a pony asked.

“Thanks for the ride — gotta go!” exclaimed Gabby in a single breath, before rushing away.

Trottingham reminded her of Ponyville, with its open fields and ponies who waved at her, but she couldn’t stay. Across the sea, she could see a mountain range with peaks as sharp as fangs — that must be where Griffonstone is! However, the nearest shore on the mainland was in the opposite direction, about a mile away. That wasn’t too far… right?

As she faced the nearby shore, Gabby realised that the wind was ruffling her feathers from behind. She remembered Flashie telling her about tailwinds once — didn’t they help you fly faster? Only one way to find out…

Gabby did a running start and launched herself off a nearby cliff. As she fell, the wind caught her outspread wings, allowing her to effortlessly soar above the ocean’s surface. No longer did she have to worry about plummeting; it felt like magic! It probably wasn’t, but still!

Her flight lasted a few minutes, after which she landed near a railroad. All she had to do now was follow it across the bridge to the east, then head south through the mountain range… then she’d be home at last!