They headed southwest, roughly following the uncertain boundary between the human kingdom they were in—Teket, wasn’t it?—and the Orc Hills. Almonihah guided his friend away from other settlements, instead staying mostly to the wilderness, only crossing cleared areas when they had to. Though he was headed for a larger town, Almonihah didn’t particularly feel like dealing with more people than he had to before then. Zakhin’Dakh thought this was kind of strange, but he was usually too caught up in the newness of everything to think about it much.
After a few days of easy travel, they reached the town Almonihah was heading for. It was a larger town, positioned at the southern pass through the Orc Hills. Zrathanzon had mentioned, once, when they had passed through, that there was a particularly good saddle-maker here. He should have enough dragon hide for the job…
They stopped outside town, at the edge of a patch of woods, and Almonihah explained what he was thinking of to Zakhin’Dakh. At first the big griffon was a bit confused by the concept, but then some riders galloped out of the gate and down the road, and Almonihah could point out the saddles they were using. (Fortunately, the riders had neither dragon nor eagle eyes, and so could not see their observers) Once he saw them, and thought about how uncomfortable it had gotten the few times Almonihah had been on his back, he agreed it was a good idea.
Almonihah left his friend in the woods and went into town. The guards, who had at least heard of half-dragons, simply gave him a dark look and a stern warning about not causing trouble. It took him a while to find the saddle-maker, and even longer to convince him to come outside town to see what kind of job he was facing, but the sight of some dragon gold finally convinced him to come take a look.
After a moment of carefully controlled shock at the sight of the giant griffon, he got to work taking measurements of both Zakhin’Dakh and the pieces of dragon hide. A few moment’s deliberation later, he said there was enough, and promised to help get the griffon inside town
The guards were understandably… reluctant to let a giant griffon through the gate, but eventually, the arguments of a well-known townsman convinced them to let him through. That done, the saddle-maker got to work.
It took several days to complete, but eventually, Zakhin’Dakh’s saddle was ready. Almonihah inspected it carefully, but finally admitted that it was a good piece of work, and well worth the gold he was paying. It sat right behind the base of the griffon’s neck, letting his rider straddle his neck—which was a bit thinner than the rest of him. A complex system of straps and structural pieces kept it in place without obstructing the motion of Zakhin’Dakh’s wings.
Once out of town a little ways, Almonihah looked up at his big friend with a bit of a grin. Time for a test flight?
Yes! Zakhin’Dakh screeched in happy reply.
Almonihah backed up, then leaped, using a couple flaps of his own wings to get him up to the right height. He got rather clumsily into the saddle, then spent a few moments settling himself in. Once he was fairly certain of his seat, he said, Let’s go!
Zakhin’Dakh happily jumped into the air, his powerful leap and wingbeats rattling his rider until he figured out how to compensate properly. After a few minutes, Almonihah started to relax. No voices in the wind troubled him, no thoughts of darkness to the south came.
How far do you think we can go in one flight?
Really far! Zakhin’Dakh replied excitedly, flapping harder as he sped west.
Zakhin’Dakh is glad to not have to wait for slow Almonihah to walk any more. 😀 And he likes to show off his flying, too.
Sorry for not updating last night, the internets were being weird.