He remembered that day like it was yesterday.
By the cheers and whistles from the audience, Donavan knew that the deal must have been struck. It had been so long since he heard that many people enjoy a performance. He anticipated his act, and what the deal would do with it, what it would change.
As he prepared for his act, Donavan, whip in hand, approached the cages. The animals didn’t seem to be any different. The elephants, zebras, and giraffes all seemed perfectly normal...a bit too normal. In fact, they were perfectly healthy. Donavan swore that there was one zebra on the verge of starvation, as it refused to eat the food he would offer it.
Donavan examined each of the cages for oddities, strange protrusions, firebreathing, anything really. He approached the lion’s cage, and Donavan couldn’t believe his eyes. His lions were no longer lions. The beasts donned fresh pairs of wings, and their sharp teeth and claws were replaced with beaks and talons. Griffins, he thought to himself, and let out a sinister chuckle.
The benefactor sends his regards, Donavan heard a voice in his head, but it wasn’t his own.
“What? Who’s there?” he asked while turning around, but there was no one in sight.
Donavan frantically turned towards the cage again, and the voice spoke once again, I am standing in front of you.
Donavan noticed a certain griffin staring at him, as if it was sentian. He took a few steps towards the cage to examine it. He finally realized who was talking to him, and grinned with fascination.
Now, I will collect his side of the bargain. The griffin slashed at Donovan’s forehead.
“Ah!” Donavan howled in agony, covering the wound with hands.
We are yours to command now, the griffin said as Donavan ran to tend to the gash in his head.
As he ran down the hallway, Donavan passed through the cages of the normal animals. However, they too had been transformed. All sorts of mythical creatures lined the iron bars, and even through the pain, Donavan could still laugh with excitement, like a lion that just took down a wildebeest.
“AND NOW, OUR ANIMAL TAMER, DONAVAN BENTLEY!” He heard Sinestro’s call from the main tent. He wheeled his griffins out to the ring.
I assume you all can hear me, as always? Donavan spoke to the griffins, as he had for nine years.
We are yours to command, as always. One of the griffins responded as Donavan opened the cage, releasing the creatures.
Whatever command Donavan gave, the griffins would carry out. He had them fly out of the cage, circling the top of the tent. They descended slowly onto the crowd, spreading their wings out majestically.
While the crowd was awed, Donavan rolled out a series of flaming hoops. The griffins returned to him, and lined up at the front ring. Each one soared through the hoops with ease, finishing in the short end of a second. The crowd could barely realize where the griffins were, and that they had already passed through the hoops.
Shouts filled the tent with excitement as Donavan gave a bow to end his act. He kept it short today because the deal was nearing the ten year mark, and he would rather keep the griffins in the cage for when that happens.