- "Since the Altmer first looked up at the sky and saw the majestic gryphon soaring on the breeze, there have been dreams to tame the creatures, to ride upon them in times of battle or joy, and feel the freedom of seeing the world far below. But these were the dreams of children, who quickly learned that the gryphon is proud and fierce, and will not serve as mount to any lesser creature. Generations tried, but the gryphon would never succumb." — "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 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 widely respected by the High Elves and known to be fiercely territorial. 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. Young gryphons are known as fledglings. They are generally found across the mountains of Summerset, primarily around Eton Nir, and specifically at the northeast point at Gryphon Aerie. Gryphon's feathers can be found in the Iliac Bay region and have alchemical properties.
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 affliciton 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 weapons and armors of the Welkynars.
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. Every Welkynar must undergo a bonding process with their gryphon. Eggs are collected from wild gryphon nests, which is 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
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.
- 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
- Various Inns in Arena
- Kinlady Helenaere's dialogue in ESO: Summerset
- The Flight of Gryphons
- The Welkynars of Eton Nir — Relequen, Leader of the Welkynars
- Fledgling Gryphon creature in ESO: Summerset
- Gryphon's feather ingredient in Daggerfall
- Report on Wing Rot Curative Trials
- Crafting Motif 67, Welkynar — Sir Relequen, Wing Captain of the Welkynars
- The Gryphons of the Welkynars — Welkynar Siroria
- The description of Azure Fledgling Gryphon in ESO: Summerset
- The description of Pale-Plume Fledgling Gryphon in ESO: Summerset
- The description of Snowcap Fledgling Gryphon in ESO: Summerset