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Dragon Age AU in which griffons never went extinct!
(I realize that according to lore they were your standard black-to-white griffons but this is my AU and I do what I want. Aslo using the spelling 'griffon' as that's the way the word's spelled in canon.)
So what if the Grey Wardens’ partnership with the mighty griffons was still alive and well? The idea came to me yesterday while listening to the How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack.
This is fantasyland so each griffon can be a combination between any bird of prey and any big cat, not just eagles and lions. Likewise, griffons have evolved to be immune to the Taint of the Darkspawn, making them the perfect complements to the Wardens.
After their Joining, each new Warden is introduced to the local herd of griffons to meet their partner. Unpartnered griffons are young, usually between the ages of hatchling and three (the ages above are their ages at the beginning of their partner’s respective games). When the Warden approaches the herd, they don’t actually choose which beast they want. The griffons have personalities as colorful and varied as humans do, and this leads to an attraction to humans with similar qualities.
The Warden waits, and soon a griffon will approach him or her with cautious curiosity. Over the following weeks, they are trained in the art of partnership and battle by their elder warriors, and grow to be as close as family.
A griffon’s lifespan is between 30 and 35 years, so when their partner heads to their Calling, it won’t be alone. Both rider and beast enter the Deep Roads together.
And should a griffon fall in battle, their partner will never seek out another. Similarly, a griffon who outlives their rider will leave the Wardens and live alone with their memory.
In the case of Zechariah and Duncan, both lost their lives to Loghain’s betrayal at Ostagar (as did most of the other Wardens and their griffons).