The morning was warm and sunny. Butterflies danced over the fields and birds sang. Bengt had just gotten up and looked out the window at the fresh new day. The young jaguaress's real name was Chatarina Bengta Dolph, but everyone called her Bengt and she preferred it that way. She could see out-of-towners on the road going past her house to the market.
One group of the passer-bys struck her interest. The group contained a rabbit-like being with a long tail like that of a gerbil, Bengt guessed that she was a hybrid of some sort like a rabbit and a kangaroo but looked natural. Next to the rabbitty-gerbil walked a griffin, Bengt found him very interesting since no griffins lived in her town or even visited. He had long gold colored wings that reached from his broad shoulders and nearly touched the ground. Close behind the griffin was a gray furred mouse but Bengt saw mice everyday and paid little attention to him.
After the group passed by Bengt decided that she should get ready for breakfast.
Bengt is a young female jaguar, she has brown eyes and hair. She is of average height and weight of female jaguars her size. Bengt still lives with her family which is just her mother and father, she has no siblings and her parents' parents, brothers and sisters live in other towns far away.

"Sheesh, it has even got a pink spoon on the sign!" The gray mouse laughed in front of the Pink Spoon Tavern. "I can not believe he has got us meeting here."
"Calm down Slean, the natives are giving you funny looks." The springhare spoke through the corner of her mouth.
The griffin pushed the door open and the three entered. The griffin looked back in forth, the tavern only had a few patrons in it and a bartender.
"Must not be here yet." The griffin said, perching on a bar stool and ordered some food and drinks for himself and the other two. The springhare took a seat at one of the vacant tables and Slean settled in a comfortable chair near the fireplace.

After breakfast and her third cup of tea Bengt said bye to her folks and stepped out the door. It was Market Day, Bengt always went shopping on Market Day. As she walked along the dusty road she counted her money and double checked her pouch to make sure she did not forget anything, she had a few trinkets that she hoped to barter off.

Nearly two hours had passed. Slean dozed off in front of the fireplace while the griffin and springhare waited at the table where the springhare was still sitting.
"I wonder what came up to make him so late." The griffin wondered out loud.
"Can not be good if he could not at least send us a message." The springhare sighed and rested her chin on her paws.
"I am going to get some fresh air." The griffin stood up, "If he comes while I am gone I will not be far, send Slean after me."
The springhare nodded and laid her head on the table.
The griffin paid the bartender and exited the tavern.

"Come now, you are asking for three times more than that tea is worth and you know it." Bengt argued with the tea vendor, a slim mongoose.
"I am sorry, I can not ask for anything less. The trade routes may be closed soon and where would I be? No merchandise and not much more money."
Bengt squinted at the mongoose, "I know the trade routes will not be closing, there will still be enough tea today, next week and months later."
"You do not understand. Things are not as peaceful as they were, there may be war soon."
Bengt scoffed, "What you rich merchants would say for a few extra coins. You can keep your tea, no one is going to buy it for such high prices." Bengt twitched her tail irritably and stalked away, that was the third merchant who had raised his price on tea.

Bengt was so irritated about the tea that she had stormed right past the griffin and it took her a few minutes to realize it. Not wanting to miss an opportunity Bengt turned right around and walked up to him, it is not everyday that she gets a chance to meet a griffin.
"Good morning, I am Bengt."
The griffin tipped his hat politely. "Good morning Miss Bengt. I am Oates."
"Pleasure to meet you." Bengt paused, wondering what she could possibly talk about, "What brings you here?"
"Just some business related with what's going on out east, I doubt that it will concern-er-interest you."
Bengt wondered if he was being sarcastic and wondered why if he was. "What does that mean?" Bengt raised her eye whiskers.
The griffin shrugged his wings. "Some furs just do not care if there are disasters in other parts of the world as long as their little things stay the same."
Bengt felt as if he was insulting her, "Why-"
Oates smiled slightly, "If it is not here the war means nothing to you. But somehow paying extra for tea does."
"So that merchant was telling the truth? There will be war out there?"
"I never claim to tell the future, but I can tell that there will not be any peace out there for quite some time."
"It is not that I don't care about other lives, I do, I just did not know. What a shame."
Oates folded his paws, "You got all worked up over the tea and now all you say is 'What a shame.'."
Bengt flattened her ears, "I would do something if I could."
"Oh really?"
"Sure!" Bengt was frustrated with this griffin, "I have helped people before."
"And you would help those out East if anything ever came up?"
Bengt hesitated. "I would, but I could not. I am here and the war would be way over there."
"But if you were there you would do something?"
"Of course I would."
"That is very refreshing. But I must be on my way now. Good-bye, Bengt you said your name was?"
"Yes. Good-bye." Bengt was not sorry to see his back.

Oates grinned to himself. He knew he probably should not have egged the jaguaress on but he could never resist and argument, especially if he is feeling stressed.
"I suppose she has learned not to be so quick to judge and to lose her tongue."
Oates strolled out of the market, receiving stares, after all griffins are not common around here. Oates ignored the stares and looked at the buildings, he wondered if they would still be there in a couple of months. Bengt was wrong, the trouble was much closer than anyone around here expected.
With a sigh Oates ruffled his feathers and went back into the Pink Spoon.

Bengt skipped her normal evening cup of tea that night. She was thinking about what that griffin had said about helping those in the war out East.
"Like I would ever be there." Bengt scoffed, blew out her candle and crawled into bed.

It was late and the Pink Spoon was closing. The three out-of-towners bought rooms and left to bar.
"He never came." Slean whispered as they climbed up the stairs.
"He will come tomorrow." Oates answered patiently.
"Then you can wait in the Tavern this time. I hate spending hours alone in taverns, Slean is no good company either." The springhare complained.
Oates nodded, "Okay Zinnia."
Zinnia went into her room and closed the door.
Slean looked up at Oates, "What if he does not come tomorrow?"
"Then he will come later." Oates stated and continued to his room.