Scales of the Zodiac
Iusta Gryphons (イアスタ グリフォン Iusuta Gurifon) are Mammal/Bird Beasts that are known as the Scales of the Zodiac. They have a long standing feud with the Archer of the Zodiac.
Iusta Gryphons are large beasts that soar the skies of Human World. They look similar to eagles that have the body of a lion, which are very muscular. Their heads have white feathers, like bald eagles, while their bodies are covered in red feathers. Their tails are similar to a bird tail, and they have a fake arm hanging off both shoulder that are meant to deceive others that even have three claws each. They have four real legs that look like a cross between lion legs and eagle talons. Each leg is covered in yellow scales instead of feathers with large sharp claws. They have a sharp yellow beak for a mouth, and bright blue eyes. Covering their heads they have a natural helmet that is light weight, yet stronger than steel. The helmet reaches back well past their neck, has eye holes, and two ridges on the top beside each other. Extending from both sides of the helmet are razor sharp wings made from the same thing as the helmet.
The males and females look the same as each other, being nearly impossible to tell them apart. However, during the Libra season, from 24 September until 23 October, the females gain blue markings on their helmets. On both sides, near the eyes, is a small squiggle, while in the middle is a heart shaped marking.
Iusta Gryphons remain dormant for most of the year. Females and newborns become active in early September, hunting for food after their long slumber. The young are born near the beginning of the hibernation, and are already old enough to hunt on their own at this point, looking like smaller versions of the adults. In mid to late September, adult males will awaken to hunt for some quick meals to gain energy. By 24 September, adult females will go into heat, gaining blue markings on their helmets. This mating season will last until 23 October, and is the only time that males are distinguishable from females. During this time, these females also become more powerful and ferocious than the males, as they possess similar strength the rest of the time. Females will mate with males they deem worthy, mating with many throughout the season, and each hunting as many Arckuma Wyverns as they can while they are stronger. Males will compete against the wyverns as well, though are evenly matched and are just as likely to be killed by one as they are to make a kill of their own. The wyverns that females kill get stored in their nesting site until the end of their mating season, when the pregnant females begin their hibernation period. Before they begin their slumber, they will stuff themselves on the wyverns they have killed so as to gain plenty of fat for their hibernation. During their sleep, they will give birth to their young who will breastfeed on the fatty milk of their mothers. They will do so for several months, until they are old enough to feed on the remaining wyverns that their mothers didn't eat. Meanwhile, the males continue to remain active and hunt until early December. This puts them well into the most active season of the Arckuma Wyverns, who are now stronger than the male gryphons, who will eagerly hunt them. The juvenile gryphons stay out of the mating ritual for three years, during which time they remain active year round, hunting to grow larger. Near the end of their third year, they will enter their own hibernation, finding a lifelong nesting site.
Iusta Gryphons are powerful predatory beasts that feed use their strength to kill their prey. They are known for their tremendous strength that can overpower Dragon Beasts such as Arckuma Wyverns. They also have huge talons and a razor sharp beak that help it break through most defences with little resistance. Their bodies act as powerful neutralizers, allowing them to eat most Human World poisons with little problem, though they seem to be best at neutralizing the poisons in Arckuma Wyverns. Due to the fact that they are aerial creatures, they have a huge advantage over most beasts, being able to swoop overtop of their prey and snatch them away. However, they don't fly like most creatures do. Their "wings" are rigid, and can't flap. Instead, their wings act more similarly to airplane wings, while also working as a weapon that can slice opponents with. These wings hold the gryphons steady and create lift through their shape, but the real "engine" that powers their flight is something else entirely. Iusta Gryphons have a special ability to run through the air. Their feet actually grip the air, allowing it to take off that way. If they want to simply glide after reaching the skies, they will leave that to their wings, but if they want to speed up or fly higher, they will break out into a sprint.
Iusta Gryphons are considered to be inedible most of the time, with males always being considered to be inedible. Only mature females will enter a season where they can be eaten, and this happens to be during their mating season. If one tries to eat a gryphon that is out of season, the meat will ruin the balance of whatever meal it is in and taste worse than rotten eggs on its own. Arckuma Wyverns will eat them anyways though.
When a gryphon that was in season is properly prepared, the meat becomes capable of balancing the flavours of any ingredients that are brought together in a meal, even if the ingredients' flavours normally clash with each other. Properly prepared, it has a flavour that is similar to chicken and veal. The flavour itself isn't very pronounced, with it rather being an ingredient that brings meals together. The flavour works especially well with the meat of Arckuma Wyverns. There is also a seasoning that can be created from the scales of their legs, which is said to be able to help balance the nutrients in your body. They have a slight umami taste to them.
Special Preparation IngredientEdit
To prepare an in-season Iusta Gryphon, there are several steps that must be carried out, in precise order. The first step is to pluck the feathers from its body, ignoring those on the head. To do this, one must first locate the central feather, which is often found on the back of the neck. This central feather is the first feather that needs to be plucked, and will guide talented chefs towards the order that the rest must be plucked in. This order is different with every gryphon. For instance, it may start in a clockwise pattern, then switch to counterclockwise, and do so any number of times. The one thing that is certain though is that the following feather is always next to the previous one. This process generally culminates at the tail, but one should not begin a plucking expecting it to start at the neck and end at the tail because that will cloud the judgement of the chef.
Behind The ScenesEdit
- It's appearance is based off of Halsemon from Digimon.
- It's name comes from the Roman Goddess of Justice, Iustitia.
- It is a gryphon because that is the creature that symbolizes the Libra sign.