This is part two of a four-part series. The first episode is available here. *Spoiler alert* In episode one, Gondar and his squad of fae soldiers are nearly wiped out by marauding harpies. They are saved by unlikely allies–a human teen, Amy, and a hob named Morin. Amy also rescues a griffin egg from the harpies.
The egg pulsed lightly in Amy’s hands. It was huge, at least as big as an ostrich egg, and it shimmered with a faint gold light. The slight movement made it seem almost like it was breathing.
Amy cradled it close. “Can we take it back to its mother somehow?”
Morin shook his head. “Its mother is likely slain. She was probably trying to lead the harpies away from her nest, and it was just the fae’s ill chance that the creatures stumbled upon their group.”
Amy met his eyes, and he held her gaze without flinching. The brownie had never misled her—she should trust him.
“I’ll take that,” the tallest of the fae said, determination showing in his handsome face.
Amy didn’t trust him at all. “I don’t see why,” she said, thrusting her chin forward. “Morin and I pulled your bacon from the fire, and I’m sure you would never do the same for us.”
“Why would we?” the fae said. “All you have to do is sidestep into the mortal world.”
Nope, she didn’t trust him an inch, no matter how much he looked like Harrison Ford.
“And yet she chose to fight at your side,” Morin reminded them, for all the good it did. They didn’t seem to like brownies much better than humans. Stuck-up fae idiots.
“What would a mortal do with a griffin egg?” the leader demanded. “Will you take it back to your world? It will only die there.”
Amy let out a low whistle. “This is a baby griffin?” She caressed the egg, holding it close so the fae didn’t grab it. The poor thing didn’t have any parents either.
“And what will you three do with it?” Morin countered. “If I drop my glamour, you will not even escape the harpies.”
“We will deliver it to Lady Nerina, of course,” the young one said.
Amy gave him a hard stare. She could probably trust him, at least a little. He didn’t look like the sort who’d hunt humans for fun. His face, framed by red hair, was too open for cruelty.
“But again, how will you accomplish that?” Morin said. “You would still need my skills.”
“Would just a quick trip to my world kill it?” asked Amy. “I wouldn’t stay long, just enough to step further into Faerie. Someplace safe.”
Morin ran his hands over the egg. “A speedy trip should cause no harm, and nor would Lady Nerina’s court. She is a good-hearted fae who does not allow her subjects to hunt mortals and hobs.”
“A kind fae? I thought they were mythical,” she shot back.
The fae protested, and Morin’s lip twitched. “As mythical as griffins?”
“Point taken.” Amy backed up several steps as the tall fae reached for the egg. “I didn’t say you could take it there.”
“Why not? Lady Nerina would not wish to receive you.”
What a jerk. “Then she can get her own egg. I’ll take care of this one.”
He hooted with laughter. “And how will you do that? Do young mortals have such a great store of wisdom that they can teach a young griffin all it must know about Faerie?”
“I know how to love,” Amy said, wishing she dared stand toe to toe with him. But then he might take the egg. Right now, she was far enough away to sidestep home if he tried. “We can figure the rest out.”
The tall guy took a step toward her, and Morin said, “Come any closer, and Amy will be gone, and she will take the griffin egg with her. And then I would follow, leaving you uncloaked in any glamour.”
The red-headed fae swallowed and addressed his captain. “Sir, we already have a mission from Lady Nerina.”
The tall guy threw up his hands. “And you would trust this mortal to tamely deliver the egg, Tam?”
“Well, I didn’t see you questioning my character when I saved you,” Amy snapped. She was going to add what an ungrateful idiot he was, but then the egg lurched in her hands. She clutched it, and the shimmering grew more intense. The egg was turning iridescent.
“Amy, hold it tightly,” Morin cautioned, and Amy gave him a quick nod. Nothing good would come of dropping the poor thing. It couldn’t weigh more than a few pounds, but that wobble had caught her off-guard.
“Must the egg hatch while she stands?” Morin asked, addressing the fae. “Amy has been hunted by those such as you before—she will not let down her guard while you yet threaten to take the egg. And then the young griffin might come to harm. Is that what you want?”
“Of course not,” the tall fae said, and the younger one walked off five paces and turned outward, standing guard. The other one shook his head, holding his ground, but without the same certainty as before.
The egg cracked in Amy’s hands, and she gasped. “What do I do, Morin? Please tell me you know all about griffins.”
The tall fae made a disgusted sound, but he stalked off opposite his younger companion.
Amy plunked down with the griffin egg in her lap. And not a moment too soon, for the tip of a beak poked through the crack.
“Come on, little one,” Amy murmured. “I know you can do it.” She gripped the shell, as if to pull it apart, but Morin shook his head.
Another crack, much louder than she expected, and a piece of shell fell away. A beak poked out and took its first gasp of air.
It happened much faster than the chickens she’d once watched hatching in an incubator. Another crack, and the entire head emerged. It gave the beautiful shell a peck, and the rest of it fell away.
She was holding an actual griffin in her lap.