Pets Theme Unit
Golden Nemesis, Part 1

Golden Nemesis, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.53

     challenging words:    colonnade, gryphlet, presentation, customary, historical, innocence, dishonor, darken, lies, ordinary, tunic, possibly, announcement, kingdom, daily, present
     content words:    King Kyros

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Golden Nemesis, Part 1
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Arion stood by the colonnade of pillars on the east side of his family's home. It was a morning just like this five years ago when his parents had escorted him to the temple mount.
2     He remembered the details like it was yesterday. The king's gryphons had produced an egg, and it was finally ready to hatch. It was customary for the son of a noble house to raise the creature.
3     Creature, thought Arion, the word doesn't come close to describing what it is. Most people would never truly appreciate a gryphon's nature, and under ordinary circumstances he wouldn't have either.
4     After the announcement that the egg had been laid, dishonor had threatened to darken the name of Arion's family. Jahi, his father, once a favored advisor to King Kyros, lived under a shadow. Rumors abounded that he had entertained spies to the kingdom. There were no witnesses or proof, but everywhere, whispers were muttered about smoke and fire.
5     No formal charges were made, but Jahi's reputation suffered. Daily he went to the palace gates, always ready to serve, but Kyros never called for him now.
6     As the time for the hatching came closer, everyone assumed that Jahi would remove Arion's name from the list of those hoping for the opportunity of raising the young gryphon. He couldn't possibly present his son at the temple mount. Jahi made it clear that he intended to proceed with the presentation. His enemies at court tried to make King Kyros ban him from going, but the king replied,
7     "As the sun drives away darkness, so do the gryphons use justice against lies. Jahi has proclaimed his innocence; let us see if the gryphons agree."
8     That bright morning when the egg was hatched, Arion was waiting in the courtyard of the temple mount. He was dressed in a white tunic and simple leather sandals. His dark short cropped hair was still damp from the wet cloth his mother had run over his head to rid him of dust.
9     Just after dawn, he and his parents formed a line with all the other parents of eligible sons. Everyone jostled for a place until they finally stood still, small groups of two or three, shoulder to shoulder across the courtyard. Each one was hopeful of being chosen to care for the young gryphon.

Paragraphs 10 to 16:
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