When the two young Griffian’s entered the main cavern, the King and Queen were seated at the high table. They smiled and beckoned them to join them.
“Where have you two been hiding?”
“We have spent a long time with the elders, Mother. Once Alice began asking questions it was hard to stop here!”
Alice nudged Totoran’s arm in mock annoyance.
“I have learnt a great deal today about the home planet, how we adapted to life here and a lot of Griffian history. It was fascinating.”
“Well, you seem to be happy about it all, at least.”
“She avoided most of the gruesome parts, which I don’t fault her for, Father.”
“Probably those episodes are not required in the teachings, if we really think about it. I remember having nightmares for months after I learnt about the sagas.”
“May I ask? Do all the young Griffians learn the history?”
“It has been our way of remembering our ancestors and acknowledging their sacrifices and fight for our freedom.”
“Why do you ask, Alice?”
“Well, I don’t want to seem ungrateful as I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the memoirs relayed by the elders but…”
“Please go now, Alice.”
“Would it be possible that the history could be written down or images created to depict pivotal periods and times? Alternatively, maybe a mixture of both…like a book. I read history books of the human’s life at school.”
The three Griffians looked at Alice. She became unsettled. Maybe I should not have said anything. The King rubbed at his muscular chin and stared at Alice, unnerving her even further. She fidgeted and looked down at her clawed feet.
“I think it is an excellent idea, Alice. How do you propose we do it?”
Stunned by the King’s remark, Alice was unable to formulate a clear thought for several moments.
“Well, the tapestry is a kind of pictorial history, if only one battle but it gives everyone a sense of what happened without the true horror of implanted images from graphic descriptions. Maybe a series of smaller tapestries would work. Like a child’s cloth book.”
“A cloth book, I have not heard of this? What is it?”
“When human children are small they tend to grab and tear paper books so fabric is printed and sewn together to imitate a book. It is stronger than paper.”
“I like this idea a great deal, Alice. I think you should be in charge of the project. It is in your blood, the teaching.”
“Now, my dear, Alice is young and only just used to her new form. It is rather a lot to put on her shoulders. Even if…”
“But my love, she is perfect, don’t you see? She has not yet forgotten her human experience, it is best she starts now.”
The queen nodded realizing her husband was right in his thinking. She smiled at Alice and took one of her clawed hand in hers.
“I will help in any way I can, Alice. Our Griffian minds cloud our human memories and gradually it is lost altogether. We must gather fabric, seamstresses and any other items you require as soon as possible.”
Alice turned to the King and bowed her head.
“I will be honored to help my new family in this task. If my memories are to diminish it would be wrong of me to refuse such an important undertaking.”
“You are true to your blood line, Alice.”
Alice frowned as the three Griffian’s exchanged knowing looks.
“Am I missing something here?”
“Father, maybe this is the time to tell Alice.”
Alice watched the king and queen slowly smile at each other and then the queen turned to Alice.
“Alice, your mother was my sister…”
Before she could continue, Alice sprung up and staggered backwards from the table.
“What are you saying? My mother was a human and so was my father. They died in a car crash. It is my Aunt and Uncle who are the Griffians not my parents.”
“Alice, please come and sit down I will tell you the whole story.”
Totoran stood and guided Alice back to her seat and held her claw in his. His presence calmed her. With a deep breath, she looked at the queen and listened intently as her life story was told. It was not the same one her guardians had relayed but similar.
“My sister, your mother met your father on the journey to this planet. She was in hiding and he had no idea who she actually was until a long time after they fell in love. My sister feared that he would leave her if he found out. She thought he might think our father; the King at that time would banish him or even kill him. However, when she approached her parents, it was our mother who persuaded my father that they were perfect for each other. They married and your father was crowned prince of the land. It was many years before my sister became pregnant with you.”
“Am I their only child?”
“Yes, you are Alice. You were their treasure, their joy and they protected you with all their strength and love. It was your father’s idea to hide, so to speak, within the human’s world, not transforming unless they were far away from human eyes. In addition, they hid it from you too. It was to save you from the constant hiding and fear, which we live under in these mountain ranges.”
“I understand that they wanted to save me from it all but my transformation could not be stopped. What did they plan to do when my time came?”
“Unfortunately, we shall never know, Alice. The car crash took them from us but we are so fortunate to have not lost you too on that dreadful day.”
Totoran squeezed Alice’s claw and she squeezed back. Then she turned to him, suddenly aware that if she was the queen’s niece, he was her cousin. She pulled her claw away, feeling uncomfortable. The queen noticed her reaction and spoke.
“You are wrong, Alice, Totoran is not your cousin.”
“But he must be if your sister was my mother.”
“Totoran is not my son but my husband’s from another pairing. He sadly lost his first queen soon after we arrived on this planet.”
Alice felt relief and joy at the same time. She clasped Totoran’s claw once again.
“So what else is in my blood?”
“Well, your great grandmother was an elder and she was known as the exceptional elder. She remembered everything and relayed it meticulous detail unlike any other elder. She was the one who created the tapestry. So you see you are carrying on from her legacy.”
“It was meant to be, Alice.”
“It seems so, Totoran. So if I am to begin I need to eat, get some sleep and be ready for the morning.”