On an alternate Earth, a griffin officer searches for his missing daughter, and uncovers a secret so terrible it could end his world.
Four legged and winged, with talons, a sharply hooked beak and fierce intelligence, griffins are the dominant sentient on another Earth. In the western hemisphere, called the Twin Continents, the griffins have co-evolved with small sociable mammals that call themselves “Hands.” The peaceful and industrious Hands tempered the griffin’s ferocious solitary nature, while the griffins protected their Hands allies from wolfen raiders and other predators. Over hundreds of years the two species have built a thriving civilization on the Twin Continents.
A century ago the Greenies came. Highly intelligent, mechanically inclined, and expansionist, the Greenies spread from their isolated island home into the surrounding continents, killing or subjugating any native griffins who opposed them. Their expansion was stopped dead when they tried to invade the western hemisphere. The griffins and Hands were an unbeatable force, the Hands able to duplicate and overcome any technology the Greenies used, and the organized griffin rangers terrifyingly effective in battle.
After nearly 50 years of skirmishes and outright war, the Greenies ceased trying to take the Twin Continents by force, and instead negotiated with the griffin leaders to lease agricultural and mining lands, all under very strict terms. At the opening of the story there have not been any active hostilities between the Greenies and the griffins for decades, but neither species trust each other, the griffins only grudgingly tolerating the Greenie presence in exchange for goods and technological services. They know the Greenies have never ceased coveting their lands, and one of the most important jobs of the griffin rangers is to make sure the Greenie communities abide by the terms of their leases.
By a friend of mine!