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On the threshold of the dawn of Time, a sea of darkness bright
Melded hues that flowed into a haze of dizzy light.
Ever-changing forms swayed to the Universe’s beat:
An aura always throbbing on a canvas incomplete.

Then it changed, for Time began and shapes solidified;
The first small puff upon the wind airily breathed and sighed.
The growing green sang, on the ground, their chorus unignored
In tribute to the Life that was the godly Gryphonlord.

All creatures were created–not one of them left out:
Two Bears, two Hawks and Eagles, and two gaily swimming Trout.
Wolves and Wombats roamed the land, chasing playful Hares
As Swans and Seagulls spread their wings, taking to the air.

There also was a Unicorn, with a shimmering alicorn
And her Phoenix friend, of gold and red, lovely as the summer morn.
Then there was the Dragon, a large but graceful beast,
Who, of all those that the Gryphon made, was certainly not the least.

Now the world was overflowing; Life thrived everywhere
In plantlife that would climb and soar, in creatures young and fair;
The new clean Earth bloomed brilliantly; all spirits rose and soared,
And the Gryphon could now focus on a problematic chore.

Everyday the Gryphon had to bring the Sunjewel out,
For the Life he made required light and warmth for it to sprout.
But the Sunjewel never stayed in place and continually descended;
The Gryphon had to find a way to keep the Jewel suspended.

He told his friend the Phoenix whom he trusted utmostly,
“I need to keep the Sunjewel in the sky.  Will you help me?
You’ll take the Jewel out every morn and bring it back each night.
You will be responsible for giving us our light.”

“O Gryphonlord,” the Phoenix said, “with gladness, I accept.
And a promise I have made will be a promise I have kept.”
“It shall be done,” the Gryphon said, “and strength to you I give
To keep the Sunjewel high above; to help the Life here live.”

And from that day, the Phoenix brought the Sunjewel out each morn
To mark the start of each new day when it has just been born.
She also made the moon and stars with glitter from the Sun,
And spread them out each evening when her daywork had been done.

Now the world was settled, and the Gryphon was free to do
The little things like making friends, trustworthy and true.
He met up with an Arctic Fox, a Hedgehog, and a Rat,
But the Raven was the best friend to the golden flying Cat.

He loved to tell them stories, and they often gathered ’round
To hear the Raven’s tales of high adventure off the ground.
And betimes the Gryphon took a turn, joining in the fun,
Until that fateful morning when he told them of the Sun.

“The Sun is just a Jewel of light, though heavy, big, and bright,
But it never stayed where it belonged, except when it was night.
So I asked my friend the Phoenix, an awe of gold and red,
If she could bear the Sunjewel every morn and eve instead.”

And when the Raven heard this, he was filled with jealousy,
For he believed the lone true friend the Gryphon had was he.
He did not know the Phoenix who was holding up the Sun,
But on that day he vowed that he would never be outdone.

One day the Gryphon occupied himself with a dispute
Between a green Iguana and a yellow-speckled Newt.
Now the time was perfect for the Raven’s foul plot,
For he had reasoned long and hard so as to not be caught.

So he flapped his wings and rose up high to where the Phoenix flew
Above the winds, above the clouds, where other birds were few.
He called out to the Phoenix bird, “Greetings, feathered friend,
I see your Jewel is heavy; why not rest ere flying again?”

The Phoenix looked with awe and wonder at this humble beast
To think that now a fellow bird had offered some release!
But she knew, deep down, that she could not betray the Gryphon’s trust
So she said, “My deepest thanks, my friend, but bear this Jewel I must.”

Off she soared on her tireless flight, onward across the sky,
The Raven strived to follow her and gave a desperate cry.
His envy that had tried to part the Phoenix from the Sun
Mounted to a violent rage that only had begun.

He shrieked across the sky and flapped his wings to gain some height,
Before nosing into a downward dive that startled the Phoenix’s flight.
Panicked, she tried her best to swerve away from the Raven’s path,
But the Raven was too fast and swift, fuelled by his sudden wrath.

The two collided fiercely in a burst of black and gold,
And tumbled quickly through the air, dry and stale and cold.
As the two fought viciously, trying to regain their flight,
The Sunjewel quickly dropped and fell, plunging the world into night.

The Gryphon was just about to leave the yellow-speckled Newt
When he saw the rapid change that swiftly struck him dumb and mute.
Then without a word to his speckled friend, he leapt right off the ground,
Trying to reach the falling Jewel to keep it safe and sound.

He reached out with his magic, bracing his power and his might
And gently caught his Sun before an everlasting night.
He wondered what had happened to the Phoenix bird, with fear
And, setting down the Sun, resolved to see if she was near.

He found her broken body nearly nine stone-throws away;
Hidden by the brush and grass and deathly still, she lay.
And with her was the Unicorn, the healer known worldwide,
But the Gryphon sadly doubted that she could turn the tide.

“Can you help her, friend?” the Gryphon whispered, fearing the reply.
“I do not worry for her, Lord, but this one’s end is nigh.”
And the Unicorn moved aside to let the Gryphon look and see
The crushed remains of the Raven’s wings that once had set him free.

The Gryphon then wept openly, his grief unstoppered now
As the Unicorn looked but grave with concentration in her brow.
At last she spoke: “There is a chance,” and nervously pawed the ground,
“To heal them both and bring them back, their bodies safe and sound.”

“How?” cried out the Gryphon, who was desperate to save his friends.
“There are no mortal means for this; with magic, they will mend.
I only need for you to give me strength and pow’r divine
For I can only heal them with the magic of your kind.”

“It shall be done,” the Gryphon said.  ”I grant you with this gift
To heal and cleanse the Earth and Sky and all its creatures swift.
And now I ask for you to use your newfound pow’r and might
To cure my friends both of their wounds and save them from their plight.”

The Unicorn then bowed her head and daintily closed her eyes;
And lowered her glowing alicorn that lit the faded skies.
One eternal moment later in a flash of pearly blue
Lay the Phoenix and the Raven, mended bodies good as new.

The Unicorn said, “They will rest, a deep long healing sleep,
And while they slumber I will house them in my Healer’s Keep.”
“You have my thanks,” he answered, “though ’tis not enough, I fear.”
But she said, “I now have magic; worry not, I’ll hold it dear.”

For seven days and seven nights, eternal twilight lay
While the Phoenix slept in the Healer’s Keep until the Summer’s day.
And all the world was glad to see the Sunjewel up above
Atop a proudly flying Phoenix who cherished it with love.

And the Raven, who, once woken from his slumber deep and long,
Convinced himself that what he did in every way was wrong.
He beseeched the Gryphon to hear all his apologetic pleas,
And the Gryphon, with his endless love, forgave his jealous deed.

The Unicorn’s Keep soon was full, for with her gift of magic
She could heal all sickly ailments, from the minor to the tragic.
Her patients came from far and wide to seek her magical aid
And each one left, fully healed and happy with the trade.

Thus the world for many years passed in gentle peace
With growing numbers of Water Striders, Whooping Cranes, and Geese.
But soon there were too many creatures roaming o’er the land;
The Earth could not support the Life–too strong was the demand.

One day a patch-eyed Hound who was the leader of his pack
Gruffly told the Gryphon how his territory lacked.
“We’ve had to set a midnight watch to keep our own homeland;
There’s simply too much Life out there–don’t you understand?”

The Gryphon paused in his response; “I know there’s little room;
But the only other land out there is near a place of doom.
Where Fire fountains from a mass of never-sleeping stone;
And in its harsh hot climate, new green Life has never grown.”

“But can’t you change the land for us?” the Hound whined pleadingly.
“I can,” replied the Gryphon, “but the Fire puzzles me.
If you can find a beast for me who understands this flame,
The land may bloom with Life for then the Fire will be tamed.”

Eager to help the Gryphon tame the land of fiery doom,
The Hound set out to find one who could make the dead land bloom.
He asked around, to no avail; none did understand;
The secrets to contain the vicious Fire of the land.

And right when he was just about to give in to despair
A Golden Eagle told him of a creature grand and rare.
“He is no bird but powerful wings enable him to fly;
Seldom seen yet widely known: an aven of the sky.”

“Who is he?” asked the eager Hound, awed by the Eagle’s words.
“They call him Dragon,” the Eagle replied, “Lord of all the birds.
He also knows this Fire you speak of, the one you need to tame;
And he says he will consent to meet a Hound of worthy claim.”

Two days later, the Hound and Dragon met in a nearby field
And the Hound explained the needed task before the land could heal.
“We need this room,” he said again; “we need more space to live.
And since you are our only hope, will you help and give?”

The Dragon paused and thought it through: “This Fire must be grand
To affect so many barren leagues of lifeless sandy land.
There may not be a lot that I can do to reach your goal
But I will try my best to keep it under my control.”

“Then I shall tell the Gryphon that a saviour has been found,”
Exclaimed the joyous, buoyant and triumphant-looking Hound.
“I am no saviour,” the Dragon said, “I’m ordinary, just like you.
And also trying to do my part, with that which is my due.”

And so the Hound informed the Gryphon of the Dragon’s desire
Wherefore the Gryphon granted him full power o’er the Fire.
And to the Hound the Gryphon chose to grant a special gift
To befriend all creatures, give them joy, and give their spirits lift.

Now there were four magic creatures in this new bright world:
The Gryphon and the Phoenix, who flew on the winds unfurled,
The pure white Unicorn who healed all ills both slight and dire,
And the noble kingly Dragon who was the Guardian of Fire.

Their magic kept their lives immortal, ageless and undying
As they travelled on throughout the world, walking and/or flying.
And when the Gryphon looked and witnessed harmony at its best,
He decided that the time had come for a long-deservèd rest.

But soon the days were shorter and the nights dragged on and on;
More creatures died from curable ills; their lives were not as long.
And in the land the Gryphon healed, where once a desert lay,
The wild was slowly growing again, the heat returned to stay.

But the Gryphon did not see all this; he slumbered deep and long
And when he woke, he saw the change his friends had brought along.
Then sadness overcame him and his heart was filled with guilt
For while he slept the world began to rot away and wilt.

He visited first the Phoenix bird, his flying feathered friend
And inquired why it took so long for the Sunjewel to ascend.
To which the Phoenix answered, “I cannot rise in the morn.”
But the Gryphon saw her feathered wings which heavy jewels adorned.

And when he asked the Unicorn, “Why have you closed your Keep?”
The Unicorn promptly answered, “No one comes for healing sleep.”
But then the Gryphon saw the many creatures crowded round
Who had come from far and wide in hopes of leaving safe and sound.

And to the Dragon, the Gryphon asked, “Why has the desert spread?”
“The Fire has grown beyond control,” the powerful Dragon said.
But the Gryphon saw black burns in stone, both far away and near,
And burned-out shells of villages that lived in total fear.

Now the Gryphon was at a loss; he knew not where to start
For it seemed that greed and pride and sloth had claimed their noble hearts.
“Perhaps I can convince them to use their magic for good deeds.
To fulfill the people’s wants and all their key essential needs.”

He went to them a second time, and asked they use their gifts
But they had gathered dust too long; responses were not swift.
For over the years, the power was lost, and each day it would fade
Passing from the sunlit day into the nighttime shade.

And then the Gryphon realized just what he had to do.
Before their power was completely gone, before their lives were through.
He summoned all the creatures, including his three friends
And told them what would happen ere the world came to an end.

“Listen, all ye Earthly creatures, listen to my voice,
For this world’s Life has wilted away and I have made my choice.
No magic creature shall walk this Earth, regardless of intent;
Our gifts are fading and can’t be used for what they have been meant.

“Life depends too much on us, for warmth and health and light,
Willingly we must depart, a final, saving flight.
And though I wish my friends would come, only I need go
To heal this land and make it well again for Life to grow.”

“Where will you go?” the Phoenix asked, her wings both glittering bright.
“To a magic path,” the Gryphon said, “a true test of our might.
For me, I will invest myself in the land that is the Earth
And give myself to heal it for a royal, new rebirth.”

A moment of silence followed his word, and then the Phoenix said,
“I will follow where you go, milord, and face the path ahead.
I will give myself to the skies above–the stars, moon and Sun.
For the task I failed to carry is still needed to be done.”

The Unicorn paused, then said aloud, “I also choose to go,
For though I can’t protect the land, there’s a gift I may bestow.
My Healer’s Keep will open again, to all and everyone
To cure deep wounds of flesh and soul, to let fears be undone.”

The Dragon gave a guilty glance, for all eyes were turned his way,
And gruffly said, “The Fire’s heat is spreading more each day.
Soon it may consume the land, if no one does a thing;
So I will give myself up to prevent its happening.”

The Gryphon looked at his three friends, and peace lay in his heart;
“I’m glad you chose to follow, friends,” he said, “to do your part.
Now we must unbind our souls and unite with the Sky and Earth,
And give this land what it deserves–a glorious rebirth.”

The crowd erupted piercingly, breaking into a cheer
But beneath the joyous overtones lay undertones of fear.
For once the path was taken there would be no turning back.
All wondered what the morrow would bring when godliness it lacked.

From that day on, each morning brought a glorious, brilliant Sun,
And each evening brought a throng of stars that never were outdone.
But as a reminder of her greed, the moonlight came and went
And in the Winter the Sun rose late and made an early descent.

The Dragon’s heat was tempered and his Fire was pent in,
Giving Life the warmth it needed and keeping it within.
Autumn brought a final burst of heat for Summer’s end,
And bitter cold and gusty winds were what the Winter sent.

The Healer’s Keep was newly restored; it never would decay,
Inside it was a spring where sparkling Water flowed each day.
Those who drank the Water were restored to their full health
And the Keep itself presented inner peace and rest as wealth.

And every Spring the Earth would bring a multitude of Life,
To celebrate and revel in the end to Winter’s strife.
But it also was a tribute to the Gryphon’s righteous deeds,
And all creatures tried to follow in his footsteps and decrees.

Thus the world is living now, the gifts of all the four,
Always toiling to aid the Life on this Earth evermore.
The world has Life and Fire, a sanctuary, Sun and moon,
Though no more they come, their gifts still stand, an echo of their boon.


Francesca Leung enjoys reading webcomics, is a fan of Queen, and finds knitting to be rather therapeutic.

© 2005, Francesca Leung

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