You reach the bare path again without further incident. Then, Ramona once again beings climbing upward. You follow eagerly, wondering what you will see next. You hike for a long time, however, and see nothing. Your legs are beginning to ache from the steep climb, and your breathing becomes heavier. Ramona too, for the first time, is showing the stress of all the hiking, breaking a light sweat. You don't even want to think about how much you are sweating. Finally, when you are about to speak up and demand a rest, Ramona slows her pace. She moves slowly over to a nearby boulder and takes a seat. You follow and sit on one nearby.
"So, what else are we looking for?" you ask when you have regained some of your breath.
"Well, there are three more known residents up here. One is Ola, the owlgriff. There is a rat, but we will have to be very lucky to see her. She is very small and has some unusual qualities. The final creature is very large, and he doesn't like people. If we see him, it will have to be from a protected place."
You look around, scanning for any motion that might give away a creature, but you only spot a few moving leaves, blowing in the light breeze. After a few minutes, Ramona pushes herself up from the rock.
"Okay, let's move on. If we head up closer to the top of the ridge, we'll enter Ola's hunting territory, and we'll have a better chance of seeing her."
You follow as Ramona begins hiking up the path again. The trees are still dense here, even as you climb, so the ridge can't be a high as you feel it is. Suddenly, a odd call sounds around you. It is like a moan of a ghost. It seems to surround you; it is quiet and yet it reverberates in you. Ramona slows down.
"What is it?" you query, bringing your voice down to a whisper.
"Ola," Ramona says, looking up into the trees for the owlgriff.
"Owlgriffs make noises like that?" you ask. You expected them to hoot... or maybe growl and scream like a griffon would.
"Yes. They are actually known for their strange cries. They can be very creepy at night."
Creepy at night? It's creepy now... you think.
Ramona hasn't moved a step since the call. She seem to be listening. After a few moments of dead silence, she sighs.
"I don't know what I'm standing here listening for," she informs you. "Owlgriffs have excellent hearing, and they can move as silently as the wind. She already knows we're here, and unless she comes to investigate, we really don't stand a chance of finding her."
It seems that luck has smiled on you, because you spot a dark shape up in the sky. Ramona sees it to and smiles a bit.
"There she is," she says unnecessarily.
The shape comes closer as it circles down and you make out broad wings and a tail of feathers, an owl-like head, talons in the front, and paws in the back. The creature is big enough to make you wary. Perhaps even slightly bigger than the bobcat. She comes down into the trees nearby and roosts in plain site, fixing you both with cold blue eyes.
"We're in luck. She's interested in us," Ramona comments.
You aren't so sure. That look Ola is giving you both isn't exactly friendly.
"She shouldn't attack unless we threaten her," Ramona says calmly, reading your mind. "She can't have any eggs, as there isn't a male owlgriff here. And, since she isn't male, she won't be very territorial."
"Are the males very dangerous?" you ask.
"Well, any owlgriff is dangerous if you approach its roost or its young, but Ola's roost is further up the ridge, and I never take anyone near it. Remember that if you ever come up here, because if you invade her roosting space, you'll find out in a hurry. Males are the more territorial of the bunch, especially during breeding season. They aren't apt to do you much damage, but they can give you quite a fright with their displays."
You examine Ola more closely, a little less nervous now. You notice something very odd about her wings.
"Are those... flowers?" you ask uncertainly.
"Yes," Ramona admits, smiling a bit. "She has some rather odd markings... we aren't sure why. Skyhaven called them 'seasonal'. I find them quite odd."
"She certainly is pretty," you contradict, examining the brilliant gold of Ola's body feathers.
The owlgriff continues to watch you; obviously, she wants to make sure you aren't going any deeper into her territory. When you have had your fill, you turn to Ramona.
"Shall we go?" you ask.
"Certainly. Why don't we head down now, to the Valley of Night?"
"Sounds like a plan," you respond, glad to hear that you will be moving downward rather than having to do more uphill hiking. The two of you turn and begin walking down, ignoring the path and instead heading and an angle away from it.
Owlgriff from Skyhaven
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Page Created: June 22, 2004
Last Updated: June 22, 2004