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"Grandmother, help!" She reached for her glaive before she ran for the ramparts, cursing joints still stiff from sitting as she took the stairs. More pattern dances every morning, she promised herself, especially when I'm babysitting!

She nearly swung at the first thing that wasn't a child, but caught herself in time. Copper eyes laughed as she was mobbed by frightened younglings, but the griffin only settled to the stones to wait. When she ventured closer, offering a hand still lined with faint scars, it bowed.

By the time it left the children all had orange feathers in their hair.