The Griffon Kingdom was commonly referred as the Original Kingdom, since more than a millennium ago had been the first great country to emerge from the warring states period in the Garlen continent.
It wasn\'t the biggest, the primacy belonged to the Blood Sands tribes, but because of the much harsher life conditions of the desert coupled with its lack of fertile lands, it was without a doubt the richest.
To the north and west it bordered the Gorgon empire, and to the south and east with the Blood Sands desert.
The central government was located in the capitol, Valeron, named after the Original King, Valeron Griffon.
The ruler of the Kingdom was also the commander in chief of the royal army.
It was prohibited to private citizens or even nobles to have an army.
Those who could afford it, where only allowed to have a personal guard, up to one hundred soldiers.
The simple attempt to recruit or form one was high treason against the Crown, and the perpetrator\'s bloodline would be executed up to the third generation.
Nobles were only considered as administrators of their land on behalf of the King/Queen.
They weren\'t allowed to make laws, only to apply them as they were enacted by the Court.
In case of doubt about their interpretation, a simple call via the communication amulet to a royal scribe would clear it.
To waive the laws were needed special circumstances and the King\'s direct approval, otherwise it would be considered an act of rebellion.
One of the reasons the Griffon Kingdom had flourished during the centuries compared to is neighbours, was the ruler\'s selection process.
The title wasn\'t hereditary, just like the competence, skill and talent the role required.
After the death of the current ruler, the spouse would hold the reins of the whole Kingdom until the next one was found.
To access to the selection, there were three essential requirements.
The candidate had to share, no matter how dilute, the blood of the Original King, also had to possess outstanding magical talent and proved administrative skill.
The reason for the first requirement was still a mystery to everyone except the ruler.
The second and third, instead, were quite obvious.
Without magic, the ruler would be a prisoner of his own guards, since even a magico level servant could kill him without leaving any trace in barely a second.
Lastly, a good ruler was first and foremost a good administrator.
Without a proper sense of justice and balance, he would be either a tyrant, or even worse a profligate strawman in the hands of whoever was able to enable his vices.
Those who satisfied these requirements would be brought in the deepest part of the royal castle, in front of a mystical gate made out of gold and silver, that would open only for those who carried royal blood.
The ones that were found worthy, would emerge from it shocked but unharmed, while the others would never return.
It was the main reason why the title of King/Queen was not coveted except from those who sincerely believed to deserve it.
At any time, someone that met the requirements could challenge the current ruler and undertake the trial, but again very few came back.
In it\'s thousand-year history, the Court had never elected a ruler without carrying the tradition, and even that was a mystery.
Many thought that behind the gate there was a series of magical artifacts, that would put the candidate to the test and kill those who weren\'t fit to lead the Country.
Others that the ghost of the Original King still dwelled in the castle, passing his wisdom through the generations thanks to the bond of blood they shared.
All of them were wrong.
Behind the gold and silver gate, after a short tunnel, there was the lair of the Divine Griffon Tyris, one of the only three Divine beasts that lived on the continent, that history knew only as the Original Queen, from the time she helped Valeron build his Kingdom, which he named in her honour.
(AN: I will use the she instead of it because since it can shapeshift in human form the boundary between beast and human is quite thin and confusing.)
Every time it was necessary, she would examine the candidates, making sure that the legacy of her only one and true love would not be lost, using her powers to probe their minds and spirits.
If any of them pleased her, the Kingdom would have a new ruler.
Otherwise she would have no need to fix something for dinner.
Tyris didn\'t believe in direct intervention, nor did she care that much for human affairs anymore.
She just kept fulfilling King Valeron\'s dying wish, choosing his successors and scaring the sh*t out the Court from time to time, when someone thought that the tradition was outdated.
It was from her lair that Arjîn Rênas departed for his new mission.
He was the youngest recruit in the Queen\'s Corpse, and had just finished learning the basics of royal magic from Tyris.
(AN: is just true magic but with another name, all the other canons will be kept to avoid confusion.)
The existence of the Queen\'s corps was a known fact, something that every law-abiding citizen would remember and respect.
To the contrary, the Queen\'s Corpse was supposed to be just a rumour, the bogeyman of the underworld.
It was a secret unit, comprised only by the most loyal member of the corps, that once had mastered royal magic, would single-handedly remove any threat to the Kingdom.
If an entire noble household died in an accident, if a criminal cartel disappeared overnight, it was the Corpse\'s doing.
No one had actually ever seen a member of the Corpse in action and lived to tell the tale, it was one of those My cousin\'s friend knows a guy that… kind of rumors.
Yet they were very real.
When they had met, Tyris had welcomed Arjîn in her human form, making him fall head over heels for her, and wasting the following week rejecting his marriage proposals and trying to reason with him.
She had kept her Griffon form for too long, forgetting that calming down a scared guest was much easier than facing his unreasonable feelings.
Tyris\' human appearance had a delicate oval face, with perfect features that countless artists had spent their whole lives in vain, trying to reproduce them.
She had shining gold hair, long enough to almost touch the floor, and silver eyes that sparkled as stars at the faintest light.
Her pearly-pink skin was flawless, showing no sign of being affected by living in the cold underground lair for so long.
Tyris usually wore a simple blue satin day dress, used centuries ago by grieving widows, that despite its ancient and baggy cut could not hide her soft and ravishing curves more than a flying bird could eclipse the sun.
The first time Arjîn had seen her smile, he believed to have been long dead, because that simple expression brought back to life all the feelings that long years in the Queen\'s black ops squad had made him forget.
Remember to not abuse your new powers. Were her parting words.
The impurities in your body are not your enemy, on the contrary are the only reason why you and all the talented mages are still alive, despite your bodies are unsuitable to wield the power of your cores.
It takes time for a body to adapt, and there is no way to rush the process.
Any misstep, and you will turn into an Abomination, and someone else from the Corpse will have to get rid of you.
We shall not meet again.
With a heavy heart, he departed without looking back.
According to the Queen\'s orders, something was wrong with the Kingdom, even worse than usual, requiring all hands-on deck and forcing Arjîn to abandon his training early.
There seemed to be something odd about many Alchemic labs near the White Griffon academy and the materials they were buying in stock, along with too many dimensional boxes for their purpose to be anything good.