Gryphons are famed for their patience.
In the auction house store-room Greyclaw and Rainfeathers had been placed close together, but back to back when they needed to be face to face and eye to eye to break the curse. This would have been an unbearably frustrating situation for others but Greyclaw and Rainfeathers, stone siblings, had waited. They had waited, in isolation from one another, as wars raged about them, as buildings rose and fell, as the skies, at first empty, filled with metal birds and skyrockets. They had waited as clouds scurried above them, as rain blew against them, as snow fell made high, white hats on their heads. They had waited, Greyclaw and Rainfeathers, banished, he to the North Country and she to the South, as summer after summer passed them by, as children were born and old men crumbled into dust in churchyards. They had lived through silence and noise. They had existed so long as stone statues that they had forgotten how long they had lived.
They had waited in dusty sheds and in damp corners of stately homes. Weeds sometimes obscured them but always, eventually, gardeners would arrive with hook and sickle to hack the weeds away.
Moss grew on their beaks and blanketed their leonine flanks, but that too died, in its season. Snow formed high white hats on their proud heads, then melted.
Lovers walked by on cobbled pathways, hand in hand, scarcely noticing that one or other of the small, stone beast was watching them. Stone eyes were sightless, but a gryphon had other, more powerful senses. Greyclaw and Rainfeathers sensed each other’s presence. The moment that second brown-coated attendant walked through the door carrying an age-worn, moss-covered Rainfeathers, waves of joy and silent greetings passed between them.
“It is I, Greyclaw.”
“And I, Rainfeathers. I have missed you so, my brother.”
“Three Hundred Years.”
Back to back they could effect nothing to break the spell. It was all in the eyes. Greyclaw and Rainfeathers had waited three hundred years to be together, and eye to gryphon eye. Now they were indeed together, but…
“Our time draws closer. Patience, sister.”
“Patience indeed, my brother. And rejoicing.”
“Patience and Rejoicing.”
Three hundred years had passed. Grimalkin’s curse had expired, and might be broken.
‘Her familiars were two little griphons that nested in her skirts’