— The Flight of Gryphons
Gryphons (also spelled Griffin) are large winged creatures that live primarily on the Summerset Isle, within the province of the Summerset Isles, though they can also be found in the province of Elsweyr and possibly the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell. They are generally found across the mountains of Summerset, primarily around Eton Nir, and specifically at the northeast point at Gryphon Aerie. They can be described as a combination of a lion and an eagle, though they bear more of a resemblance to an eagle on four legs. Gryphons are fiercely territorial. They will attack anyone who intrudes upon their nests or hunting grounds. Gryphons are predators and eat live prey. They typically do not seek out mer flesh. Gryphons aren't picky eaters, and will capture anyone foolish enough to traverse their hunting grounds, but they don't seek out mer when hunting. Young gryphons are known as fledglings. Salamanders, deer and cows are among the animals that may find themselves hunted by a hungry gryphon. Gryphons often make their nests on the sides of mountains or upon cliffs. They occasionally drag their prey back to their nests.
Gryphons are revered by the High Elves. The Altmer fear the gryphon's ferocity, but respect their strength and freedom. In some parts of Summerset, such as Sunhold and Cloudrest, the gryphon is sacred. In ancient times, many High Elves considered gryphons unsuitable to be mounted, but now the city-states of Cloudrest and Sunhold are known for their tamed gryphons, which are a part of their iconography.
Gryphon's feathers can be found in the Iliac Bay region and have alchemical properties. The feathers can also be used to make tools such as brooms, and down feathers are used to make pillows. Gryphon feathers have an iridescent vane, and are prized by the Bosmer. Unfertilized yolks from gryphon eggs, as well as secretions including saliva, can be used to make skincare products. Gryphon vellum is a popular material among Altmer monks for making illuminated texts, and it has a unique texture due to the feather-dimpling. In Summerset, is illegal to collect gryphon eggs for the purpose of selling them somewhere off the island.
As many creatures are, the Gryphon is susceptible to a slew of diseases. One well known example is a condition known as Wing Rot, which affects the wings of the afflicted. Wing Rot is known to be a chronic infection that likely affects a gryphons' ability to fly, and as such, young gryphons with the affliction are often kicked out of the nest and eaten by welwas. The conservatory at Sil-Var-Woad began working on a cure for the disease during the Interregnum, allowing young gryphons with the disease to live comfortable lives in captivity.
In early Altmeri history, the Altmer sought to tame gryphons but were unable to because of their ferocity. Early Altmer tribes lived in the mountains and crags of Summerset Isle where they would harvest gryphon eggs, hoping for them to hatch and thus later be tamed. However, these eggs would never hatch. All was not entirely lost, as these eggs would be used in large feasts, since they were considered delicacies for kings. This lasted for an uncertain time, until one day when the Altmer tribesman Ulorome found an abandoned egg in the aftermath of a gryphon nest hunt. He took the egg home, and knowing that it would most likely not hatch, prepared a feast for his people and placed the egg in a healthy fire. The tribe would sing and dance to bless their meal, but these factors would inadvertently lead to the hatching of the egg. The light from the fire made the young fledgling look like a phoenix with red feathers. This gryphon would be named Cel-hinwe.
This ancient tribe is the predecessor of Sunhold, and Ulorome's lineage would become the modern-day Kinlords of Sunhold. The gryphons descended from Cel-hinwe would become the city's protectors. In Maormeri legend, Cel-hinwe and his lineage are known as "the Red Wind." Many believe that the Kinlord and Gryphon cannot live without the other. Since that time, taming gryphons is known as a possible feat.
The Welkynars of Cloudrest are known for riding their gryphons as part of their duties of protecting the Eternal Isle. Because they respond to urgent calls across the sub-continent, they utilize gryphons for fast transport from their aerie in Eton Nir to as far as the southern coast. The Welkynar Gryphon Riders have long been a part of Summerset's history. Gryphon plumage is used in crafting the Welkynars' weapons and armor.
The Welkynars are the only organization known to regularly tame gryphons. Training a gryphon is considered a dangerous task, because of how violent and deadly they can be. A fledgling could nip off a couple of fingers if one is not careful. Due to their snapping beaks, gloves are an essential part of training a young gryphon. Every Welkynar must undergo a bonding process with their gryphon. Eggs are collected from wild gryphon nests, which itself is a dangerous task. An egg must be collected - an orphaned fledgling cannot be trained. Once the egg is hatched, the bonding process begins, which initially starts with a magical ritual to first create the bond. From then on, the process continues through familiarity, where the aspiring Welkynar must care for the fledgling, and expect many tiring days and nights. Once the process is complete, the gryphon becomes a loyal soldier to the Welkynar, and the experience is considered unimaginable. It essentially becomes an extension of the rider. Once the process is successfully completed, the aspirant becomes a true Welkynar.
Azure Gryphons are found in the highest peaks of Eton Nir, and are distinguishable by the bluish tint on their plumage. Some of the Sapiarchs believe that this is sky-blue camouflage, but priests of Auri-El believe this is a touch from the Divines.
- Found in: ESO
The Pale-Plume Gryphon is an uncommon variant of gryphon that can be found near the city-state of Dusk, on the southeast coast of Summerset Isle. Their fledgling young can be rather engaging. If they are trained enough, they will follow their masters into danger.
- Found in: ESO
Skald-Muse Fledgling Gryphon
The Skald-Muse Gryphon is a vibrantly colored gryphon, with green, yellow and blue plumage. It is said that Dibella sent a fledgling to the Bards College during the bards' opening performance, marking it as being the first creature inside the building.
- Found in: ESO
Snowcap Gryphons are found at the utmost highest peaks of Eton Nir, where the snow never melts. They are largely pale, and because of this, they are perfectly camouflaged among the clouds. For most of the First Era, Snowcap Gryphons were considered a myth.
- Found in: ESO
Unlike other gryphons, Vulture Gryphons eat carrion rather than live prey. They have distinctive orange and black feathers and red eyes.
- Found in: ESO
- Cel-hinwe — The first tamed Gryphon and the progenitor of Sunhold's famed guardians
- Sunnawel — The guardian of Sunhold in the mid-Second Era
- Belanaril — The mount of Welkynar Relequen
- Darremalatu — The mount of Welkynar Olorime
- Falarielle — The mount of Welkynar Galenwe
- Silaeda — The mount of Welkynar Siroria
- Haeliata and Nagravia — A notoriously dangerous pair of Gryphons found roosting in northern Summerset Isle during the mid-Second Era
- Avuuma the Whirlwind — A powerful Gryphon found roosting in King's Haven Pass during the mid-Second Era
- Quillmane — A powerful Gryphon found roosting in northern Elsweyr during the mid-Second Era
For game-specific information, see the ESO article.
- The Flight of Gryphons — An essay on the relationship between Sunhold and its gryphons
- The Gryphons of the Welkynars by Welkynar Siroria — Advice for prospective Welkynar knights on capturing and training a gryphon mount
- The Welkynars of Eton Nir by Relequen, Leader of the Welkynars — A treatise on the famed gryphon knights of Cloudrest
- Yokudan statues that appear in Al-Danobia Tomb are similar in appearance to gryphons, but with the head of the ibis.
- There is a similar creature known as the Hippogriff, which was known to live in Valenwood before the Aldmer had ever arrived.
- The names of various Inns in Arena
- Appearance of gryphons on Summerset in ESO: Summerset
- Appearance of gryphons in Northern Elsweyr in ESO: Elsweyr
- Large gatherings of gryphons at Gryphon Aerie in ESO: Summerset
- Kinlady Helenaere's dialogue in ESO: Summerset
- Justiciar Farowel's dialogue during Birds of a Feather in ESO: Summerset
- Fledgling Gryphon creature in ESO: Summerset
- Appearance of gryphons in the wild near the corpses of Salamanders, Cows, and other animals in ESO: Summerset
- Gryphon nest appearance and locations in ESO: Summerset
- The Flight of Gryphons
- The Welkynars of Eton Nir — Relequen, Leader of the Welkynars
- Gryphon's feather ingredient in Daggerfall
- Gryphon-Feather Broom contraband item in ESO
- Gryphon Down Pillow contraband item in ESO
- Large Gryphon Feather item description in ESO
- Gryphon Egg Lotion contraband item in ESO
- Gryphon Nest Extract Moisturizer contraband item in ESO
- Gryphon Vellum contraband item in ESO
- Miranrel's dialogue during Gryphon Grievance in ESO
- Report on Wing Rot Curative Trials
- Crafting Motif 67, Welkynar — Sir Relequen, Wing Captain of the Welkynars
- The Gryphons of the Welkynars — Welkynar Siroria
- Azure Fledgling Gryphon pet description in ESO
- Pale-Plume Fledgling Gryphon pet description in ESO
- Skald-Muse Fledgling Gryphon pet decription in ESO
- Snowcap Fledgling Gryphon pet description in ESO
- Fledgling Vulture Gryphon pet description in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432