I created this mythical monster from various photos I took on a holiday in Bali, partially inspired by a Garuda, a Mythical monster from Hindu religion. The Garuda is part bird part human and carries Vishnu. Garuda represents heaven and rebirth and is the enemy of all snakes….so that is kind of cool (not a huge fan of snakes). This guy is part owl, part Garuda and part lion and I saw him as a protector of the forests. There was something about Legend of the Guardians about him, I was prompted by a fellow artist to write something to go with this image.
It was born out of the depths of time and memory, stone carvings of a mythical creature that once soared the heavens and brought its wrath down on those who deserved it. The Gorawl was made of the gods doing, brought to life with a mere wish, a flight of fancy, gods could be awesome like that. Sadly there was only one and he wandered the earth alone. Part owl, part eagle, and part lion, he had the heart of a poet and the strength of a gladiator, his home was the skies and the forests.
“What is my purpose?” Gorawl asked the gods one day, “Your purpose?” they replied, “Your Purpose is to do our bidding” they spoke in unison. There was more than one god, there was one each for the elements; wind, water, earth, fire, there was one each for the skies and the oceans and the forests and the mountains. A god for the animals and a god for mankind. But there seemed no one god for mythical beings. Gorawl patiently waited for his purpose, for a god’s bidding, any god, any purpose, but there was none.
Gorawl went to the Dragon and asked his purpose, “Purpose?” asked the dragon, “I am a dragon, I do as I please. I chase down cattle and burn crops, those who do not pay homage to me, suffer my wrath.” This did not feel right to Gorawl, he meant and wished no harm to farmers. He at length spoke to various elemental and mythical beings, all it seemed had been given a purpose or at least created one for themselves. He spoke to the Centaurs, and Griffins, and Basilik and Chimera, all of which were too wild and unruly, and quite frankly deadly to the humans, he had no qualms with the humans and meant them no harm.
He even spoke to the fairy folk; fairies, and unicorns, pixie and Pegasus, sprites, and even the Phoenix. “Why do you need a purpose?” they asked, “The gods made us so we could play and have fun, what other purpose do we need?” Gorawl felt he needed a purpose, he didn’t like to lounge around and do nothing. He spent his nights flying over the forests and the hills and mountains, keeping an eye on all the creatures, even Man.
One night a fierce wind picked up and blew him so far off course he ended in desert country, barely a tree in sight, no ocean, no forest and the only mountains were made of even more sand. He was tired and hungry and thirsty and almost wept with relief when he found a small oasis. This oasis was the home of the Sphinx, a curious but deadly creature, one surely to be wary of. Gorawl flew in and sounding far more confident than he actually was, called down to the Sphinx “I have come to ask you a riddle,” “You wish to ask me a riddle?” laughed the Sphinx, “I am the one who asks the riddles, what do I win if I can answer your riddle?” asked the Sphinx, now quite curious, “And how long do I have to answer it?” Gorawl thought on this and figured he could spend a day and a night, resting, eating and drinking, before he would need to move on, but what could he give as a prize. “You have a day and a night and you can have three guesses. If you guess correctly, I will stay here and do as you bid me.” The Sphinx laughed, “and if I am wrong?” Gorawl looked up at the Sphinx, shrugged his wings and said “Then I will take me leave and never darken your oasis again. “That sounds fair,” said the Sphinx skeptically, “So what is your riddle?” Gorawl sighed and in earnest asked, “What is my purpose?” Confused the Sphinx asked to clarify the question, “what is my purpose on this planet, why am I here?” Sensing no trickery the Sphinx asked Gorawl to leave him to his thoughts and to come back in One Day and One night.
The next evening Gorawl made his way back to the shadow of the Sphinx, after resting and eating and drinking his fill. “Have you reached an answer?” he asked the Sphinx, worried he may be stuck here for an eternity, but equally concerned he may never be allowed back, for truth was, he enjoyed his time here. “Your purpose is to do god’s bidding,” said the Sphinx, “No,” said Gorawl, “that is a question to a question and even the god’s have no answer to that.” “Alright then, your purpose is to do whatever you wish” the Sphinx tried again. “No,” said Gorawl “that is pure laziness and not a real answer to a real and profound question.” The Sphinx was startled by this response and became at first mad, and then he smiled, he decided that he liked this strange little creature, and it dawned on him, “Your purpose is Justice; you serve the animals in the sky and forest and the fields, you seek justice and tolerance, you ignore the folly of gods and Fairies, you Protect against Dragons and Ghouls. You do not need their leave or approval or guidance, you know what is right and just and fair.” stunned Gorawl looked at the Sphinx, “Truly,” he said to the Sphinx “you are all powerful and all knowing, I feel what you say is true.” Then Gorawl realized the folly of his ways “now that I know my try purpose I am stuck here doing your bidding”. The Spinx laughed, but not cruelly, “Yes my young friend that is true, but my bidding is that you go out into the world and serve your purpose, but on each harvest full moon, fly back to me here and report on what has happened in the world.” Gorawl looked at the Sphinx to see if he could sense any trickery or devilish intent and found none, “Truly? I can seek Justice and fight intolerance and greed, I can protect the innocent and keep the peace as best I can and then once a year I get to come back to your beautiful oasis and tell you what I have learned and seen?” The Spinx simply grossed his front paws and nodded down to little Gorawl, “Yes, my young friend, it is so, now begone with you while the night air is still cool.”
Gorawl left the oasis that night with a heart filled with joy and a soul filled with promise and purpose. He traveled the earth for many years and always returned as promised to the Spinx’s oasis every harvest full moon, to tell of his adventures and what was happening in the world of man, for truly mankind had taken over most of the earth and knew nothing of the faerie creatures and many of the gods and mystical beasts, in truth they faded out of memory and were only kept alive in stories.