With their beautiful bright coloring, male cardinal gryphons are easy to spot against the snow. These gryphons don't mind the cold, even the harshest weather. Perhaps this is because they are half snow lion, and their spotted fur shields well against the cold. These gryphons keep to themselves, living in the forests around the castle, where they hunt. While cardinal gryphons primarily prey on small animals, they have been known to take on the fiercest of beasts. They are one of the few known species to successfully battle dragons, and are commonly referred to as the most dangerous of gryphons. Unlike others of their kind, who make their homes along the ground, cardinal gryphons live above the forest floor, in huge nests that can take years to complete. Do not make the mistake of thinking that such homes are easy to find – their nests are made out of branches and the bones of past meals, and blend in perfectly with their environment. If there are eggs or younglings present, they are guarded by one of the parents at all times, who will fight to the death with beak and claw.
This fragile egg is extremely light in your hands, and you carry it with care.
You look up at a sudden sound, meeting the gaze of a very hungry baby gryphon. Seeing that it has caught your attention, the little one gives another shrill shriek, demanding food. You give it a wry smile and rise to your feet to make it a meal. The little one follows you closely, nipping now and then at your feet to make you hurry. While it feeds, you run a hand gently through its feathers, marveling at the rich color. The male hatchlings boast the brighter feathers, but the tan of the females blends in well against snow. The feathers give way to spotted fur along its back, and a small tail lashes at the floor as the cardinal hatchling feeds. As you trail a hand along its back, a bright feather comes away in your hand. This red hatchling is beginning to molt, and before soon will begin to master flight.
You pull your cloak tighter around you, grumbling under your breath at the cold. A door to The Keep is just a few paces away, but you're hesitant to return to your studies. The thing that brought you outside was a group of cardinal gryphons, busy at play in the fresh snow. It is unusual for the adults to play, so you left your work and made your way outside to take a closer look. Their red feathers are ruffled, and they hold their fluffy spotted tails high as they run around, leaving paw prints in the snow. You lean back against the rough stone of the castle, moving slowly so as not to distract them from their joviality. You can't help but laugh, however, when a bright red hatchling makes his way into the fray, his clumsy movements startling the older gryphons. Your mirth makes white clouds appear in the cold air, and the gryphons notice you and busily rise to their feet. They stalk away with pride, and you make your way back inside, holding back a laugh at the little hatchling, who is now sneaking after the others.