“I heard this mountain was guarded by a tiger,” the man rejoined, sounding wholly unconcerned. “They said nothing of a tigress.”
Ulrica snarled something in Terse, and he answered in kind. Switching back to Verit, she ordered, “Lift your lantern! Let me see how many lies are reflected in your eyes!”
He immediately obliged, and Tupper had his first good look at the traveler. Ragged clothes that must have been fine once. Dusty boots that had traveled far. Blue eyes with an audacious glint. A broad-brimmed hat adorned with a fluttering cascade of black feathers, gleaming green, purple, and gold in the lamplight. Curving talons at each fingertip. A prominent, beaky nose. The clues and cues took several moments to add up, but when they did, Tupper reached a dazzling epiphany. Real Grif weren’t red.
—excerpted from Galleries of Stone, Book 2: Harrow
The Stone Merchant. In the back half of Galleries of Stone, Book 2: Harrow, readers meet a Grif merchant by the name of Torio Kite. Normally, magical mountains see a lot of traffic—buyers and sellers, journeyman sculptors and itinerant stone-cutters, children with affinity hoping for apprenticeship. Torio is the first tradesman to visit the gray mountain in many years, due largely to erroneous rumors about Morven’s Pred Keeper.
I can’t give you too much about Torio’s history without tossing around terrible spoilers, but here are some innocuous facts:
- He’s originally from Far Continent, and his native language is Terse. He speaks Verit (the native language of both Flox and Pred) with a heavy accent.
- His straight, sandy blond hair is completely typical for his race. Grif are generally tall and lean, with a warm skin tone that falls somewhere between the fairness of Flox and the deep bronze of Pred.
- Torio has been a wanderer for most of his life because his father was a traveling entertainer. He’s seen the world several times over, but that’s not cured him of his wanderlust.
- Although he’s poor, he has a taste for life’s finer things. Especially the good wine in Aurelius’s stores.
- Torio excels at strategy games.
- Although he comes off as a lazy, this Grif has hidden talents. He’s a former acrobat and magician specializing in slight-of-hand. Torio is also a capable tracker, hunter, and fighter.
- Torio’s affinity for stone is exceptionally strong. He’s able to see magic.
Torio by eyeballing
Last time: Haimish
Next time: The Harrows