Thrak Yak (along with his sack) harnessed the griffon the way that Q had shown him several times. It didn’t look like this creature liked him very much. It squawked and clacked it’s beak at him. Thrak didn’t care much for it either. It made too much noise, and it was altogether too hairy, and feathery. And although it too was half of this, and half of that, it was altogether neither of the right halves for the smooth skinned lizard man.
The creature made several more cries but then as it was groomed to do, lowered itself and allowed the harness to be placed over it and strapped down tightly. It didn’t seem happy to do it one bit, but as before, it never seemed seriously upset enough to bite or claw at him either. Thrak had seen a griffon get pissed off, as Areia would say. He figured maybe for once, being a half himself might help him make a friend with a creature that was half too.
Whether friend or not, it took him several times to tighten down the harness properly. That was what Thrak would call his practice, “several times.” Even though Q might have used a different quantifying statement for the amount of effort needed to teach the giant lizard how to harness the giant bird creature. It had to be done right, and although Thrak had proven himself as an accomplished warrior, the task he was about to undertake was too important to leave anything to chance. He had been made to practice until he got it right, which was about the time Thrak was squawking himself. He watched the other members of his unit do it too, but for some reason he had been asked to do and redo it again and again. It had been far more times than they had. That much he had noticed. He knew he would have done it far more quickly, if he had had help from the scale-less adventurers he had spent the last years of his life with.
It had been a long time since Thrak had been without the company of what he now referred to as his scale-less friends. He had hoped they would join him in the effort to rescue the Sasser slaves. It seemed like something they would do. Nevertheless, something about a citadel and heroes had pulled them elsewhere. Thrak knew nothing of citadels, knew better than to call himself a hero, and figured a city full of the enemy would give him all the fight he could want.
The hard part was waiting.
“Remember Thrak!” Said Genoran just before he left him that early morning at the dock. “You are not going to fight. You are going to free the others, free your people as well, and THEN you can fight my scaled friend.”
Friend he had been called. By the crown prince of Cellinor himself! Who had he become to call himself friend to a prince? To his companions?
“Are they friendssss?” he wondered. Thrak had felt the mission before them was so clear. The others though had seemed to think differently, and he was never sure what they meant. One thing he did know was that he was a talon footed, scaled back, tail swinging lizard man. He might have become a chief and a pirate and sure he killed some bad guys and saved the King of Cellinor once, but he was as much lizard as he was man.
He wasn’t a hero, and he wasn’t meant for some citadel of legend. He sure as the Ketian Night wasn’t someone who had a destiny in some ancient fortress! Humans, and elves and their delusions of grandeur. Thrak was a warrior, and warriors went to war. And they rescued people. His people. Thrak knew what he had to do, and so he had gone to do what he was meant to do. He was going to fight and fight for what he understood.
And to do it, he’d have a few new companions.
“Thrak, listen to me carefully,” he recalled Genoran telling him. There had been a large spider on the wall of the briefing area in Areia’s Landing and Thrak had wanted so badly to eat it. He knew he shouldn’t.
“Yes, my Lord, continue pleasssssse…,” he answered too quickly, eyes still drawn to the arachnid. The creature crept in between two boards and was gone. Thrak made a guttural sound.
“Thrak, blast it! Here!” spat the prince using one hand to snap his fingers in front of the lizardman’s snout and the other to pound a location on the map next to a long, slender island. “Here Thrak! I am sending you in with two specialist teams, here. Both are well proven and although unconventional, like you, I vouch for their services completely.”
“What doessssss unconventional mean m’Lord?” asked Thrak. He remembered the prince staring at him, and he seemed not to know the answer. At least to Thrak it looked that way. Celns often wished to use words they didn’t understand he sometimes thought.
There was a long pause. Finally, the prince answered, “It means different, Thrak. These four are different.”
“Like me, then.”
“Yes, Thrak. Like you.”