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Supremacy On High (Bellosh & Gerrard)

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Prof. Morianna Razorclaw took a leisurely sip from her teacup as she surveyed the scene before her. In the griffon’s line of sight stood Griffonstone; once the capital city of a mighty Griffon Empire, now little more than a dungheap. Twas’ a shame really; if only those miserable citizens would let go their pride and acquiesce to the rule of the Aquellian Republic, they’ would have the assistance they’d need to restore Griffonstone to a reflection of its former glory. At least then, Aquellians could visit a historical site without having to know shame.

But that was neither here or now. Like an elite griffoness forced to visit a diseased area against her will, Morianna sat outdoors at a small table adjacent to a tent, outside Griffonstone. Standing on each side of her, guards held up banners showing the Roc; House Razorclaw’s sigil. They were there not to meet with anyone from the city in particular, but rather with a most important individual from beyond civilization.

News had reached Prof. Razorclaw’s ears of a new Lord of the Dragons: Ember, daughter of Torch. An unlikely successor to be sure, as it was widely believed in Morianna’s circles that a more brutish dragon would have passed the Flamecano Trial and earned the Bloodstone Scepter. But Ember now was the Dragon Lord; not only that, but unlike her father, she was already sending feelers to other nations with offers of friendship. Quite remarkable for a species known for isolationism at their best... and mass destruction at their very worst. 

Morianna Razorclaw, matriarch of her House and special advisor to the Aquellian Prime Minister, couldn’t afford to pass this opportunity up, since an alliance between Aquellia and the Dragon Lands could last as long as Ember lived... and dragons lived for a very long time. The Professor at first thought it strange that in letters from Ember, the Dragon Lord seemed to assume that Griffonstone would be the place to meet the griffon leaders. Rather than correct Ember in a following letter however, Morianna consented to a meeting here in the wretched wreck of Griffonstone. Not the best place to showcase griffon might, but Mori was a professor, and exceptional professors always found unique ways to teach their lessons.....

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A strange unicorn mare of blackest night had delivered Ember a letter from a Morianna Razorclaw a few days earlier. The pony brought a letter accepting her request to speak 'friendship' in Griffonstone. While the dragon wasn't sure who this griffon was, her mind speculated on all the possibilities behind the unusual titles she spoke of in the letter. Rulers never called themselves professor in her experience, the only person known specifically for their intellect was the master wizard Starswirl. Her mind thought over the possibilities between their relationship, but noted that they were of different species. Maybe this griffon was his protege, or a culture exchange recipient of some kind! The Dragon Lord was starting to make her head hurt with all this baseless speculation until she decided to avoid overthinking the connections between the odd fearless courier and all of the other figures that were racing through her head.

She did remember reading how griffons respected strength, and had planned accordingly! Princess Ember had brought her battle armor, a suit of form fitted glistening golden armor that she acquired earlier to maintain anonymity from her father. The dragon wore it as she flew across the badlands, her body glistening brilliantly in the sun as spotted what her maps defined as Griffonstone. Her wings burned with fatigue as she approached, realizing why most dragons didn't wear this heavy armor outside their own lands. She resolved to hide how tired she was and reached into her bag and fastened an even more uncomfortable helmet over her head as she finished the look, hiding a sweating face beneath a golden mask.

A few weary griffons that were flying around the area parted ways when the ominous figure entered the limits of the city. She raised her brow in disbelief, amazed with the extreme hyperbole that these strange creatures these used. They declared it was an impressive empire without equal, something that other creatures were envious of. "Maybe a hurricane hit it or something," she reasoned to herself, trying to avoid the negativity that was growing in her stomach. Regardless, she had a meeting, and being rude to her host was something that she read would disrupt friendships! She scanned the city and noticed a griffoness who matched the description in her letter, noting her black talons, wings and beak contrasted against a gray body. With her friendship quarry found, Dragon Lord Ember soared over to the older crone and landed a safe distance away with a heavy clank as the ground protested the arrival of the heavily armed dragon. "Morianna Razorclaw I presume? Honored to meet you dear professor," she replied politely while doing a respectful bow to declare to the hybrid that she meant no threat to her.

 

 

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The Professor chuckled to herself when she spotted an armored, bipedal figure striding towards the encampment. Surely this was the new Dragon Lord that Morianna Razorclaw had heard so much rumors about. Princess Ember was far shorter that the aged matriarch expected of a dragon of Ember’s age; only a mildly bit taller than the average griffon. From her initial observations, Prof. Razorclaw surmised that Ember’s stunted growth resulted from a lack of instinctive greed normally present in those winged reptiles. The daughter of Lord Torch would therefore not be as easily bought off by gold and jewels as the rest of her kind. Of course, lacking the means to accelerate her growth into an imposing beast, Ember likely sought ways to compensate... hence the full set of armor, something quite rare for a species with famously impenetrable scales.

Morianna rose up from her chair to greet Dragon Lord Ember, supporting her elderly frame with a cane while placing her free claw over her heart. “Welcome Ember, Lord of the Dragons, to the Land of the Griffons,” the Professor proclaimed her usual greeting to a head of state; “As the Prime Minister’s right hand and Steward of the Lion’s Lair, I invoke the sacred laws of my people by extending to you my hospitality. May no harm come to you under my protection, or you will be avenged with all the wrath of the Republic of Aquellia and the House of Razorclaw.”

Prof. Razorclaw assumed that Ember felt absolutely dreadful after flying all the way to Griffonstone in her armor, one didn’t need to serve in the Marines to understand how uncomfortable wearing it could be. “You must be weary after your long journey, Your Grace. Let my servants attend to your needs.” Morianna loudly snapped her free talons, summoning two griffon pages barely into their adolescence. Wordlessly, they hustled over to Ember, intending to first remove her suit of armor.....

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The dragoness looked across to Morianna, her orange eyes squinting as she tried to determine the motives of her feathered host. She had read that other species were grand schemers, quite to the contrary of her more brutish and straightforward brethren. Well, if it was a trap, she could always use her fire breath to deal with with idle claws! Regardless, she was here in good faith and hopefully her host was as well! Still though, something seemed off to her 'well informed' eyes. This town was not nearly as majestic as her books had said. Some might say that people exaggerate when speaking about their societies, but this seemed a lot closer to outright blatant lies.

 

After the griffon had spoken her formalities, the dragon found herself nodding in understanding, hoping her words carried the weight they were presented as. This Morianna could apparently see right through the young lord's facade and cut right to the point. Ember was just as tired as the griffoness had guessed, but she knew never to admit it! Part of her wanted to outright reject the offer and play it off as an easy task to carry. Then she thought that the griffoness might see it as a compensation for her own lack of strength. The dragon lord was torn, wanting to keep and remove the armor before finally deciding to puff her chest out and proudly stand before this professor. It was probably more respectful to present yourself unarmed to your host. She spread her arms out, showing the buckles for her armor and allowed them to remove her armor at their leisure.

 

She could at least talk while the pair worked on her finely crafted armor. It could often take an individual an excessive amount of time to don or doff armor. With the help of pages, it usually only took a few minutes at most. Where a dragon could find such armor was maybe as big a mystery as how she won her actual title though! "Oh, It isn't too far of a flight Lady Razorclaw. You might say that our people are practically neighbors, yet we never really were on speaking terms. I am a bit confused though. I was under the impression that Grover lead a fine empire. I don't mean to be rude, but was your empire recently at war? Your capital seems nearly demolished. My tomes said that this city was the envy of all of Equestria. I feel like I am missing something. I don't think Grover ever called himself prime minister. Is that a griffon term for king or something. I'm sorry if I come off as ungracious, or uncultured. Maybe my tomes were forgeries," she guessed aloud, attempting to place an inquisitive claw on her chin only to realize that there were two nervous looking griffons removing her armor. A sheepish grin spread across Ember's face as she lowered her arms, and the griffons that were dangling on them back to the ground! "Sorry about that fellas," she apologized with a giggle while looking across to her host.

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The sound of a “tsk tsk tsk” could be heard from Prof. Razorclaw’s as she scratched her chin. So THAT explained Dragon Lord Ember’s request for a meeting in worn-out Griffonstone, a place with no significance to the modern world. Evidently, the only books on griffon history to be had in the Dragon Lands were centuries out-of-date. That fact in of itself was strangely fascinating to Morianna, who didn’t believe dragons would preserve old tomes in their treasure hoards. Evidently, the dragon princess knew one of her kind who did.

Nonetheless, Ember was in dire need of correction. “Your sources are ancient, Your Grace, and no longer reflect the reality of the modern world. Grover’s kingdom fell many generations ago; what you see here today are its meager, pathetic remains. The rest of griffonkind came to its senses however, and moved on from that historical calamity. Griffons today mostly live in the Republic of Aquellia, to the south of where we are now. Aquellia’s head of state is a democratically elected Prime Minister, who governs from the prosperous city of Talonopolis.” Well, there was more to it than that, but Morianna figured Ember didn’t need to understand the behind-the-scenes details of what Aquellian democracy actually entailed.

“I will personally see to it that you are endowed with more... up-to-date books about the world outside the Dragon Lands. Without accurate knowledge, a ruler like yourself will be hard pressed to properly understand the mindsets and motivations of neighboring lands. If a ruler lacks this vital insight, they will find themselves blindsided... by enemies from beyond. And I can assure you, Dragon Lord Ember; not all beings are content to leave dragons to their own devices.....”

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