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RACES: Grif

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After his arrival atop Morven, Tupper befriends statues throughout the stone galleries, but one of his first and best is a fire-bearer named Brand.

Tupper liked the way his master’s eyes were sparkling. Something good was going to happen. Quick to do as he was told, the boy approached the statue of a man dressed in strange armor; there was a sword at his side, and a helm upon his head. The soldier wasn’t like any person he’d ever seen before, for he had a large, hooked nose, and there were feathers where his hair should be.

“He’s my favorite,” Freydolf announced from his seat. “According to the notation on his heel, his name’s Brand.”

“Redstone needs fire.” Tupper looked hopefully at his master for further instruction.

“Aye, so turn up your lantern flame.”

Tupper did so, and the circle of its glow widened to include the red statue.

“Hang it from Brand’s hand so he can carry it for you.” Once Tupper had accomplished this step, Freydolf prompted, “Now, pull the pin at the top.”

Tupper located the slender rod, which was attached to the lantern’s handle by a fine chain. It came away smoothly, and the top part of the lantern opened like the petals of a flower. The exposed flame licked at the fire-bearer’s hand, and his long fingers immediately folded around the lantern’s handle as he lifted it higher.

The statue glanced first at Freydolf before peering down his impressive nose at Tupper. Then, Brand smiled and lifted his brows in silent inquiry, as if awaiting instructions. The expression was so real, Tupper reached out, wanting to see if he was truly made of stone. When he hesitated, the statue reached back, offering the palm of his free hand. To the boy’s surprise, Brand had curving talons on each finger, but the predatory feature worried him less and less. Placing his hand upon the cool red stone of the man’s palm, he said, “I’m Tupper.”

—excerpt from Meadowsweet, Chapter 13

Heart of a lion. The Grif people are the so-called dominant race on the Far Continent. Their territory encompasses the magical mountain that yields redstone, which calls for flame. Continue reading RACES: Grif