Adrick [main character] climbed the spiral stairway inside the Griffin Tower, holding his blunted spear in his left hand, where it wouldn't foul against the wall. A few steps short of the top, he wedged his shoulders against the trapdoor, and pushed it open with his last few steps. He stepped up onto the roof, turned to re-lower the trapdoor, and looked around. The roof was perfectly flat, with no wall or guardrail around the edges. The trapdoor was flush with the roof, and had no handle; it could not be opened from the outside. There were two ways down from the top of the Griffin Tower: fall 250 feet, or...
"Now I wait," he thought. He pivoted slowly -- the griffin would most probably dive on him from sunward, but in reality the attack could come from any direction. He strove for calmness and patience -- the griffin might decide to make him wait, wait until he dropped his guard, or worked himself into a state of limb-locked hysteria.
Every few minutes, as he scanned the sky, he stretched his shoulders, took a deep, slow breath, and tried to remember everything he had ever learned.
Finally, a cry in the distance announced the arrival of the griffin. He turned his head rapidly, looking for it. When two or three seconds of scanning failed to produce a shape, he decided that the griffin [main character] was indeed stooping from out of the sun. Squinting in that direction, he spied a dark blot very close to the sun, growing in size with startling rapidity. Suddenly, it was no longer a formless dark spot, but had wings, talons, and an open beak. Adrick took stance, and braced the spear against his firmly planted back foot. Would the griffin impale itself against the spear?
Amazingly, despite the speed of the griffin's dive, it seemed that he had all the time in the world to memorize a picture of what was hurtling toward him: wings flaring for a quick stop, the tips already beyond the periphery of his tightly focused vision; talons of legendary strength and sharpness spread to clutch him in a bone-breaking grip; mad eyes glaring on either side of the wide-open beak screaming the creature's battle-cry -- he could see its tongue! Adrick couldn't help tensing every muscle of his body as he braced to receive the impact. At the last instant, the griffin fisted a talon and batted the spear out of his hands.
RIP John Watkiss
10 months ago