(Saw this in the R76 discord this morning and wanted to write a drabble for it so here goes…)
The prince was gone. The Queen’s servant banged on his door before dawn, frantic and shouting about the missing heir. Reports of a young, upstart male griffin in search of his own harem increased over the last few weeks and as a precaution those mounts given free reign of the kingdom were locked down, sequestered to the castle’s stables until the threat could be ascertained. Unfortunately Gabriel’s mount’s nest hatched already. The fledgling was too small to fly or move from the nest. Anytime he had tried to get close the mother griffin snapped, aggressive in the defense on her young. Gabriel left her be but maintained a guard over the nest. The report of the rogue griffin grew in that time but he never saw the creature appear. That day the Queen called him back to the castle. When the meeting was concluded it was too dark and dangerous to return to the nest. He had stayed in his chambers.
Now the prince was gone and, if what the servant said was true, the man was last seen leaving through the kitchens towards the aerie. Gabriel barked as to why no one stopped the Royal when they saw him. The answer was a cowering excuse: they thought the prince was merely going for a stroll around the castle ground. That alone was a common enough occurrence but with the added threat of an aggressive griffin roaming the lands, Gabriel assumed the servants would contain the common sense to not let their Crown Prince wander around at night.
His mottled white, brown and black mount, saddled up and prancing, waited outside the stable. She was almost frantic, tossing her head while the stable hands tried to keep her from flying off. Her wings - massive soft white decorated in overlapping black lines - flared out, attempting to take off. Securing his gauntlets, Gabriel grabbed the reins from the nearest stable hand, dismissing the anxious boys and swinging himself into the saddle. One of the young men offered a tunic that belonged to the prince. His mount sniffed the cloth, jerking her head and hesitantly backpedaled. She had the scent.
Without hesitation she took off and the duo were in the air in seconds. He felt her wings pushing against the air underneath of his thighs, adjusting the stirrups while he wrapped his fingers into the heavy feathers along her neck. Gabriel let her lead. They flew straight to her nest. Inwardly he was calling the prince every name under the sun for this foolish course of action. There was no sign of the beast ravaging the outskirts of the kingdom. Small blessings. The sigh of relief he had been about to breath was cut short.
Shadowed by the overlaying boughs of thick foliage, the prince was hunched over the squealing, squirming fledgling. Gabriel’s mount strained against his hold. The imposing, massive figure of the male griffin circled around the heir. The man was hurt. From his point of view, Gabriel could make out a deep slice across Jack’s thigh. The blood colored the underside of the fledgling’s white feathers were it wriggled against the prince’s hold. Jack’s sword was nowhere to be seen.
Gabriel growled a curse, urging his mount down and landing harshly. The rogue griffin reared at the intruders, shrieking at the knight and the female griffin. Cursing again, Gabriel dismounted, released his mount and watched her charge forward, flair up, screaming at the male to back off. His mount and the wild intruder fell into a ball of fury, feathers and fur. She could take care of herself. Gabriel drew his own sword, nonetheless he kept a watchful eye in case he needed to intervene. He took up a stance between the prince and the battling griffins. It didn’t take long, his mount taking a chunk out of the male’s hide that sent the wild creature limping, trilling and running away.
“Give him here,” Gabriel took the squealing fledgling from the prince. He set the baby down. The youngster bounded across the space to stand underneath of his mother. “The Queen is going to kill me.” Gabriel shook his head, dropped his cloak and tore off a handful of stripes of cloth.
“That was a beautiful cloak.”
Jack fell back onto his rear, extending his leg for Gabriel to view the damage.
“It can be replaced. You,” Gabriel reached up, swatting the prince’s nose with a bloodied finger. “Can’t be replaced. What are you doing out here in the first place?”
“The reports about a male griffin had me curious. I knew your mount had a nest out here.” Jack looked away, wincing as the bandages tightened around the injury to his thigh. “I wanted to make sure the baby was alive.”
Gabriel shook his head, wiping his hands on the grass before offering a hand up. Jack took it. Swinging the prince’s arm around his shoulders, the knight adjusted the way he bore Jack’s weight. They could not both fit on his mount. She could only carry one person and her offspring. Calling her over, Gabriel hoisted Jack into the saddle and handed the fledgling up to the blond.
“I can walk.” Jack protested from the saddle, brows drawing down in annoyance. Gabriel patted the calf closest to him and chuckled.
“I’m not carrying your heavy ass anywhere. You’ll ride. It is bad enough the Queen is going to chew me out for returning her precious son in less than perfect shape.” Gabriel grabbed the reins, turning his mount’s head away from where she was trying to preen at the baby in Jack’s hands.
“I’m sorry.” Jack shifted to adjust better in the saddle, his feet hanging limp over each side of the saddle. The wriggling, trilling chick in his arms did not help when the occasional claw caught and dug into the fresh thigh wound. Jack jerked his leg, wincing each time those sharp talons touched the bandages.
“Don’t be. Not every day I get to rescue a damsel in distress,” Gabriel laughed, full and throaty. His metal boot found the stirrup, hoisted himself up and place a chaste kiss to the prince’s cheek. He followed the gesture with a pat from his gauntlet to the exact spot his lips had been. “Now stop apologizing. I need to get you home before they send the troops after both our asses.” Gabriel led the way, laughing again when Jack’s face blossomed a beautiful tinge of red.
Cartoonz and Vanoss in a dead battle for Delirious.
“ Once Upon a Time, there are Two Knights are in a Death Battle, they are called the Knight Owl and the Knight Demon, whoever won this battle, He who will marry Prince Delirious, and then there’s King Nogla voting for the Knight Owl”