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 Cat through the ages.

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Cat Bizarre

Female Posts : 42
Join date : 2011-01-02
Age : 23
Location : Treee..
Humor : Disjecta membra

PostSubject: Cat through the ages.   Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:26 pm

Yes, my story. Anyone from HIVE don't bother, its there already.

Cat through the ages.
Part 1 – Medieval times.

Chapter one.
“This cannot go on”
“May the gods preserve us all”
The voices of angry villagers buzzed through the air like displeased hornets, rising and falling in the early morning sunrise. The people were clamouring around a single man.
He stood, calmly taking in what they were saying, his eyes scanning each of their angry faces. Finally he lifted a hand, and the Villagers fell silent.
“What has gone missing?” He asked, his voice was low and dangerous sounding, and yet it carried across the small square.
“Are thee completely deaf?” An old lady said angrily waving her wizened hands “Everything we rely on has gone a-missing i’ll wager that much”
The villagers nodded and murmured their assent.
“Chickens, food, thems the things that ‘ave gone a-missing” The old woman continued.
“Do you suspect an animal?” The man asked, his pale blue eyes flashing with menace.
“The few prints we managed to find were like no others we’d ever seen afore” A young man said. Although he could scarcely be called a man, he was in the awkward inbetween stage, half man half youngling. No-one would usually listen to him, but now they did. He was the village tracker in-making, and would one day help them to track down the pesky vermin who stole their livestock in the night, but for now they had other things to worry about.
“You, you and you, and any other man who is able, may accompany me to the white raven, we shall discuss the chase” The mans eyes sparkled as he spun round and walked to the village inn, a small dingy affair with a few casks of ale in it but not much else. It could scarcely be called an inn. But it was.

Hours later and the 9 men who had accompanied the man, the one they addressed as ‘hunter sir’ had led them far from the village. They were sore and tired and disappointed. They had wasted gold on this man, and what had he got them? Nothing more then sore feet and a long walk home.
They were walking through thick forest now. The hunter seemed to see something they couldn’t in the ground and the leaves, His eyes were darting about like a sparrows, taking in every bent leaf, and every misplaced twig.
Finally he stopped and raised a closed fist. They all stopped. Holding their breath as one.
“We have it” Hunter murmured eyes trained on one of the lengthening shadows. It looked different, more solid, more menacing.
Two of the men raised crude bows, and the others pulled out knives. Hunter ignored them, his hand twitched down to his belt, and, in a single move he had taken out his own knife, it flew through the air straight for the shadow that he had been looking at. The men all gasped and stepped back as the shadow detached itself from the tree and a hand snapped out and caught the knife by its hilt. There was a slight hissing noise from the figure.
Hunter stared at it, tall and lithe, covered by a thin black cloak that rippled with every move the figure made. Birches cut off at the knee, and strips of leather binding the feet, that was the reason for the strange tracks. The head was concealed by a deep hood, misshapen by two triangular objects at the top.
“A changeling” The men gasped as one.
The figure hissed again, and, in the depths of the hood, two green/grey eyes with slit pupils gazed out balefully.
“Changeling is not fit for such a creature” Hunter said, his blue eyes gazed at the creature. It gazed back, and from the bottom of the cloak emerged a tail. A black tail. Twitching back and forth like a cat on the hunt. The men crossed themselves and muttered prayers.
Without warning the figure leapt up into the tree, Grabbing a branch and then swinging round to crouch on it, during this manoeuvre the hood fell back reavealing the face, short brown hair fluffed up around two ears. The slit pupiled eyes were fully revealed now, full of rage at this indignation. The pointed features of the cat girl scared all of the men, all except for hunter. She had his knife in between her teeth now, her pointed teeth.
“peace changeling, peace” All he got in reply was a snarl, through the blade. He signalled one of the archers to shoot. But when the arrow flew, the cat girl was no longer there, she had jumped, up higher into the tree. Her hood restored, covering the hideous deformation which was her ears.
“leave me be” She hissed down at them “or there shall come to pass a plague on all of you”
Silence, they were all silent. Then Hunter chuckled.
“You have defiled the lord in your statement, do you control the health changeling?” His words, low as ever, were a threat, a challenge. The girl hissed again, a grating noise. Then she leapt from her branch. She landed in front of Hunter staring him square in the eyes.
“I defile whosoever I want” with that she twisted in a peculiar way. The men stared as, in the place of the girl, stood a cat, a black white and brown cat. That slipped away into the foliage around them.
“May the lord preserve us all” One of the men muttered.
“this is surely a result of some wench consorting with the devil” Hunter muttered.

Chapter two.
The cat streaked through the forest, trees and foliage blurred along the side of its vision as its slightly oversized paws pounded the wet earth. Finally it begun to slow down, coming to a halt in a tiny clearing that was surrounded by holly trees so thick with thorny leaves that it looked impossible to penetrate, but the cat did it.
Once in the clearing an amazing thing happened, the cat’s back arched and its pupils dilated and in a few seconds the cat was no more, and in its place crouched the girl, tail whipping back and forth in agitation. She lowered the hood and breathed in deeply.
“Changeling my arse” She muttered before walking over to a small shelter made of fallen branches and leaves, she crawled in. The shelter was a crude affair, and wouldn’t withstand a heavy rainfall, but she could sense that the next few days would be fine, so she left it be.
Crouching over a small bundle she sighed. Life was getting harder, constantly on the move and constantly being hunted, it wasn’t fun. She only stole the food she needed to survive, the bare minimum. Of course it was wrong to steal, she thought, but everything about her was wrong anyway, so, no matter.
From the bundle she pulled a small leather water flask and tipped it back to drink, but it was empty. She cursed, running pointed fingers through her short brown hair.
“damn and blast Cat can’t you even remember to fix yourself some water” She whispered to herself.
“Did ye know its a sign o’ madness to talk to yeself like that” A voice said.
Cat flew to her feet and hissed as her head whacked the top of her shelter, it wobbled precariously and she quickly steadied it with her hands. Her eyes were wide with surprise that anyone had managed to penetrate her clearing.
“Its Cat isn’t it?” The person said again. Cat marched out of the shelter with some dignity he hand on the knife at her belt.
She was facing a boy, no older then her, about 15 summers, he had obviously been hunting, a pair of rabbits hung from his belt and he had a bow slung across his back with a half empty quiver. She stared at him, willing him to drop down dead, which didn’t work, He stared back into her cat eyes unflinchingly. Her tail whipped around and he merely stared at that a moment before looking back at her eyes.
“My name’s Tambo, m’lady” He said, sweeping a bow “I come from yonder and I noticed a pretty cat coming in here, I thought it might be going to a burrow filled with rabbits so I followed it ‘ere”
Cat just stared some more, if he had followed her then he must have seen everything, he must have seen her change, and how come he wasn’t covered in scratches?
“You shouldn’t have followed me” She snarled finally, despite the roughness of her voice and the threats practically streaming from her body, Tambo thought she was beautiful. But he wasn’t about to tell her that.
“But I was a’hunting and I needed another coupla rabbits afore I could make me way ‘ome” He replied. Why wasn’t he running? Thought Cat.
“I have to kill you” She said, bluntly and without emotion. Tambo didn’t move.
“Why do ye have to do that Cat?” He asked, at the mention of her name the girl threw herself across the seven feet that separated them and drew her knife. She swung it in an arc for his throat, The sound of steel on steel echoed through the clearing as Tambo bought up his own knife and blocked the killing blow. Cat’s eyes widened.
“You’ll go an’ tell ‘Unter all about where I am, then ‘ell come with his blasted knives to kill me” She spat out, the words painful.
“I don’t know no unter” Tambo replied “my village is west, you was a’runnin’ from the south, see?” He was pushing upwards with his knife and she was pressing down, her pointed incisors bared in a grimace. The she stopped pushing and backed away. Her ears were twitching. She could hear noises, they had found her trail, dogs were baying.
“Dammit they got the bliddy dogs out” She muttered, “You, if you really are from that souf village then surely you got a ‘orse?”
Tambo nodded.
“I gots Neva she’s me mare, we can ride ‘er” He said “She’s up yonder by the river”
Cat nodded. She didn’t understand why she should trust this boy, but she felt she could, instinctively. In the way that cats can. She ran into her shelter and grabbed the small bundle, which she slung over her shoulder. The she kicked down the shelter.
“Thank ee kindly” She muttered to the trees before running full tilt for the brambles. Tambo yelped as she changed into a cat, he wondered where the bundle had gone, he could see no sign of it on the actual cat. He followed it out in the more laborious way, holding the thick thorny leaves and branches with one hand and hacking through with the other. As he emerged the cuts he had acquired simply healed, leaving no mark on his skin. Cat didn’t see, she was too busy running full tilt towards the river. He ran after her.
When they reached the river Tambo gave a piercing whistle and a white mare cantered from behind some trees, her glossy mane covered in burrs.
“Neva this is Cat, Cat this is Neva shes me mare” He swung up onto her back easily but Cat stayed on the ground, still in her cat form. She mewled.
“Aintcha goin’ ta change and get on?” Tambo asked, the cat shook its head, she took a few steps back before taking a running leap onto the horses hind quarters. Neva snorted.
“I see, you’ll be lighter like this” Tambo reached round and took a hold of the black cat around its midriff before unceremoniously planting it in front of him, the scratch he got swiftly disappeared. “I’m sorry Cat but it’s for the best” He said before urging the horse forward, they hit the river at a gallop and Cat hissed as water drops splattered upwards. Then they were gone, through the trees and out of sight.
When hunter and his men reached the river, about an hour later, they’re dogs had lost the scent.
“dammit!” Hunter shouted kicking out at one of the mutts. But there were only the trees and his men to hear him.

Chapter three.
Tambo slowed down Neva as the neared the vast valley in which his village was nestled, They had been riding hard for over an hour, and Neva was tiring, Cat was sitting, or rather clinging to the front of the saddle. She didn’t look very comfortable.
Finally he pulled back the reins and Neva stopped completely, flanks heaving and froth coming from her mouth.
“Sorry Neva” He murmured leaning forward to pat her on the neck, “ill give ye a rub down as soon as I kin ok?” He patted her some more before jumping down from the saddle. Cat was quick to follow, wobbling on her cat legs. ‘mrraaaaoooow’ She said in a questioning sort of way. Tambo looked at her.
“Ah kint understand ye when you talk like that” He said, he was pulling things from his saddle pack, a rug, kindling, and a pot. Cat changed, he still couldn’t understand how her pack had changed with her.
“I said why did we stop?” She asked, she was still on the ground, and didn’t seem to realise that she could stand up straight now.
“We stopped coz Neva can’t take much more and the stars are coming out” As if the atars coming out meant they must stop.
“Well, let them come out” Cat huffed, then she turned and began walking behind a bush.
“Where are ye going?” Tambo called after her, she turned and looked at him scornfully.
“I do have to relieve meself” She said, Tambo went red and quickly began gathering wood for a fire.

Cat walked behind a large oak, patting its trunk and murmuring words, the air on her right began shimmering, but she kept her eyes closed.
“Helice?” She whispered “You there?”The shimmering stopped and suddenly there was a figure standing there, a girl, slightly transparent. With a sarcastic twist to her mouth as if she knew a joke that no one else did.
“Of course I’m here Cat. Where else am I meant to go in this time?” Helice said, She went to rest a hand on the bark but it just went straight through, she huffed and crossed her arms instead.
“Hush yer moaning Helice, what am I supposed to do? Can I trust the lad?” Cat whispered, she had opened her eyes now and was looking at the apparition, gently shimmering in the breeze.
“I sense nothing from him, his just a boy looking for adventure like everyone else” She smiled widely at the Cat girl in front of her, she had been next to her since the day she was born, and wouldn’t leave her till she died, but she still found it amusing to watch her get frustrated at her less then satisfactory answers.
Cat winced as Tambo called her name. “He can go seek his adventure someplace else, I will give him some gold and take my leave at first light, I cannae be ‘aving him following me around like some lorn lost puppy” Helice shimmered again.
“I’m telling you Cat, and this time I’m telling you straight, stick by him a little longer, you need to get something from him, but it will be a long time before he can give it”
“Damn your cryptic ways Helice why in ‘eaven cant ye just tell me straight? The only thing I need from ‘im is his ‘orse” Cat said, the words were angry, but her eyes were smiling. Then Helice shimmered a final time, waved and disappeared.
“CAAT!” Tambo called again. Cat sighed, would he just shut up for once? She ambled over to where he sat, crouched over a fire and the two rabbits. “ah there ye are, I was a’wondering if ye want it raw or cooked?” He gestured at the rabbit. Cats face twitched, then she smiled revealing her pointed incisors. Tambo gulped.

Chapter four.
Morning dawned with the twittering of birds and cold dew. The twittering abruptly stopped when Cat went off into the bushes. She emerged half an hour later carrying a large wood pigeon, its neck cleanly snapped.
Tambo was only just stirring, rubbing his eyes and cracking his back. Neva trampled the wet ground and snorted.
“You didn’t ‘ave to do that” He said, when Cat dumped the bird in front of him.
“Just cook it would ya?” She snapped at him, she moved off into the trees again. This time Tambo didn’t ask her what she was going to do.
She crept behind the same oak as last time, knocking it and murmuring quietly, the air shimmered and Helice appeared, her arms crossed over her chest. She looked at Cat disapprovingly.
“You don’t have to do all that mumbo jumbo stuff every time you want me, sometimes im standing right beside you” She smiled widely.
“Yes, but I’d know if you were right beside me wouldn’t I?” Cat grinned back, the tips of her black ears were covered in small droplets of water, resting on top of the soft fur, she flicked them irritably.
“What did you want Cat?” Helice asked. She was watching Cat’s twitching tail with an air of resignation.
“When will I find her?” Cat asked, bluntly.
“I’m not a bliddy crystal ball Cat, you can’t just ask me whatever you want to know, find out for yourself” Helice replied, equally blunt.
Cat shrugged and ran a hand over her brow. “I just wanted to know is all” She said, her tone contrite. Helice wasn’t fooled.
“You’ll find out soon enough” Was all she said, then she looked over her shoulder, as if seeing into a different place, which, incidentally, she was. She frowned and turned back to Cat.
“I have to go, sorry, listen Cat, you will find out, and soon, ok?” Then she shimmered again, and was gone. Cat sighed and slumped against the tree trunk, she pulled her black cloak tight around her and huddled down, thinking back, her eyes grew misty and filled with tears at some unseen memory. Then she quickly straightened, sniffled and stood up. She scrubbed her eyes hard before entering the small clearing. Tambo had managed to persuade the damp wood to burn, and he had successfully plucked the wood pigeon, something Cat never did. He unceremoniously dumped its innards to one side before shoving a stick straight through it and balancing it over the fire.
“Bury ‘em” Cat said hunching over the fire.
“You what?” Tambo said, now sprinkling dried herbs over the skin.
“Ye have to bury the feathers an’ the innards else we’ll ‘ave a whole host of things come down on us” Cat frowned. “Don’t you know anything?” She added.
“I was going to do that if you’d just give me the time” Tambo said indignantly “ah just spent all this time plucking the damn thing an’ now you want me to go an’ bury its bits ‘n bobs, why don’t ye go and do it yerself?”
Cat straightened, her tail flicked back and forth and her ears twitched. Then she smiled. She reached up a hand and brushed away strands of brown hair to reveal a small gold circlet, interwoven around small black onyx gems .
“I usually just eat it as is” She said by way of explanation. Tambo was just staring at the small band of gold, it was made so delicately, and it should have looked out of place on the half savage girls forehead, but it didn’t. Cat stood up and went to the edge of the clearing, she bent down and used her hands to make a shallow hole, then she gathered the bloody innards and dumped them in the hole, before covering them up again and patting down the earth.
She returned and sat beside the roasting bird, sniffing appreciatively.
“you can close yer mouth now” She said after a few minutes later, “ye might swallow the midges otherwise”
Tambo spluttered and closed his mouth. He prodded the bird.

A little later the clearing was empty, there were no signs that any one had ever been in it, apart from a small smearing of ash in one corner. But that was all.

Chapter five.
They had stopped again, not for a rest, but because Tambo needed to relieve himself. He threw Neva’s reins over a branch and disappeared into the trees. Cat decided to go for a walk to stretch her cat legs. She was in Cat form still, and couldn’t be bothered to change back. She slinked through the trees, her black fur dappled with sunlight that was streaming through the trees.
She carried on walking till she reached a very small stream, only about two feet wide, She bent her neck to drink, then she sensed another presence, She fur rose along her back. She slowly raised her head, and gazed directly into the eyes of a fox. They were practically nose to nose Fox nose to Cat nose.
Cat hissed, the fox snarled. And in a flash the animals had disappeared and there were to girls standing over the stream, crouched over still. They were almost identical in looks. There were a few differences, Whereas Cats eyes were a greeny grey The fox girls were a deep amber, and she had a bushy foxs tail, and her hair was black, with two tufty fox ears.
She too wore a circlet around her head, but it had small red jewels in it, instead of black.
The two girls stared at each other for a moment. Then they both moved at the same time, theryre hands drew daggers from they’re belts and they straightened, there was a clang of steel on steel. A fierce fight ensued, neither gaining the upper hand as they twisted and turned, during the entire fight they kept they’re eyes locked the entire time, neither blinking.
Suddenly they both leapt, executing exactly the same move. They landed on the ground, each holding a dagger to the others throat. Then they smiled.
“Cat?” The fox girl asked.
“Kineta?” Cat replied. Then they lowered theyre blades.

Chapter six.
The air shimmered and Cat looked up.
“Come on Helice” She called at the spot. Helice’s familiar see through figure appeared and she looked at Kineta shrewdly.
“You sure its her?” She said to Cat.
“Naturally I am sure, she is my twin is she not? Only she would know that.....” The air was shimmering again. Next to Kineta. Cat took a step back and pulled out her knife again.
“Jabez!” Kineta said happily, as a figure emerged in the same way that Helice did. It was a boy figure, tall dark and brooding, covered in a long black cloak that seemed to have a life of its own.
“Kineta, Are you sure its her?” He said, in a gravelly voice.
Kineta rolled her eyes.
“Naturally” She touched the gold circlet around her head and gestured to Cats. “You see?” She said.
“CAAAAAAAAT!” Tambo shouted, from the trees. Everyones heads turned towards the noise and Cat sighed.
“The mortal cannae look after hisself even for a moment, I must get back. Follow behind Kineta” She said. Helice followed after her, that was after shed looked at Jabez with deep mistrust.

Chapter six. (continued)
“She be different” Cat hissed at Helice, “Something is wrong”
“Why didn’t you tell me then?” Helice demanded. Her feet where making the motions of walking, but they made no contact with the ground. She stared at the hunched back of Cat, whose ears were twitching.
“I wiil not stand for it Helice, who is she with, he were not there afore ill wager that much” She said. Then she transformed, And Helice sighed and disappeared from view. Cat stalked out of the trees.
“thank god Cat where were you, I was a worrying me head off ‘bout you” Tambo called to her.
The look she gave him clearly said, Well don’t. He swung unto the saddle and waited for Cat to jump up. But she didn’t.
“Cat?” He said “are ye not a’coming to me village? Is it not safe there?” He looked sad, “we cannae part here, i wanted to show you my home”
Cat looked up at him. Then she turned and walked away a few steps.
“Just talk to me Cat, tell me what to do” Tambo called to her, Neva pranced and he twisted the reins around. To keep her facing forward. Cat, in a very un-cat like manner, shook her head and turned away. “the parting of ways” Tambo said. But she wasn’t listening. Silly Mortal, thinking that she would stay with him for long, rely on him. She had needed to use his horse to escape, and she was glad of that. But Cat wasn’t the sort to rely on anyone, especially not someone like him, who’s very breath smelt of secrets and magic...oh no..she was going away. Going to seek the counsel of one so wise, that years had ceased to take they’re toll on her.
She turned, growled deep in her throat, and hurtled into the trees once more.

Chapter seven.
“Kineta?” Cat hissed into the darkness, her eyes reflecting what little light there was like twin mirrors. “Kineta”
There was a shimmering beside Cat and she turned to it.
“She is not here Helice” She said, in a complaining voice. But it was not Helice, it was the ghost who had been with Kineta, Cat snarled and leapt backwards.
“Kineta is by the river” He said, his eyes hidden beneath a hood.
“I did not ask you” Cat said angrily. She did’nt trust Jabez, even his name sounded wrong, who was named ‘bringer of sorrow’? It was just wrong. Helice appeared, Her arms crossed against her chest. Her eyes flashed a brief but definitive red when she saw him, and Cat looked shocked.
“You can see her at a later date, for now, the Raven has agreed to see us” She said. She held out a black feather to Cat, who gingerly took it between two fingers. Jabez watched impassively as they were surrounded by a black mist, Helice pulled a rude face at him, but it was lost in the smog.

They emerged in a large hall, lit by tall black candles, and glittering chandeliers. Cat looked around in awe, but Helice remained unimpressed, having seen it all a hundred times.
“Come on Cat” She said, and began walking, or rather floating, towards the most brightly lit place. Cat followed, her tail twitching nervously from side to side. She stared at the woman they were approaching, she was beautiful and young looking, with jet black hair that flowed around her shoulders and gleamed in the candlelight, she had a beatific smile, as if nothing could ever surprise her.
Helice bowed slightly, then glared at Cat to follow suit, Cat tossed her short hair and turned up her nose. Helice frowned and shook her head. The woman leant forward slightly, her black eyes gleaming.
“You won’t bow?” She said, her voice low and musical, but with a slight croak at the end. Cat shook her head, eyes wide. “I see, you come from a royal lineage is that it? Ancient pride?” The woman laughed. Throwing her head back so that her hair shimmered and wavered.
“Come, young Cat, show me your ability, Helice tells me it is unusual” She said, after laughing for some time.
Cat frowned at Helice, and then crouched down and transformed. She blinked up at the woman with her big greeny grey eyes.
“Tis indeed interesting, you say she only has three left?” They seemed to be continuing a conversation, Cat sat awkwardly between them, unconsciously licking one paw and running it over her ears.
“Yes Raven, we need to replenish them somehow, she isn’t done here” Helice replied. Cat looked up at that. Cleaning paused for the moment.
“She will not be much longer in this time, I’m afraid, they are not merciful to changelings here, young Tambo is alerting the officials as we speak” Raven said, Cat hissed and pulled out her claws angrily. “There is a way to renew her lives, but it has to be with her consent”
Helice looked confused, Cat drew her claws in and resumed her ear cleaning. Raven gestured for Helice to come closer, she floated across, and they whispered between them, they’re voices so low that even Cat couldn’t hear them.
Helice looked troubled as she returned to her place, she kept on looking at Cat, then looking at her hands. Then looking back at Cat.
Cat stood up and padded closer to her.
“young Cat, Helice will not tell you what she knows until she absolutely has to, so until then, do not in any way try to make her inform you of her secret, now leave. And beware of Jabez, he has changed Kineta, and only time will change her back”
Cat looked up, but they were surrounded by the black mist again, and she couldn’t talk in her cat form. She bowed her head slightly and saw Raven smile, and incline her head in return.

Chapter eight.
Cat was angry, they had set up camp three hours ago, and already they could hear the baying of hounds. She kept on shifting forms, hissing and spitting as a cat and swearing like a sailor as a girl. Finally she settled as a girl, holding the hilt of her knife in one hand, and a strange oblong instrument in the other.
“Its not ready to use” Helice warned as Cat shook it. Cat hissed.
“ ’Tis ready Helice, Ah kin tell, it’s a’ready” She shook it again, then twisted one end. Two long flat shapes shot out both ends and a strange blue light enveloped the thing before fading away. Now Cat was holding a pair of gloves. She frowned at them.
“Told you its not ready” Helice said smugly. Cat gave her a warning glare and slipped on the gloves. Then she flexed her hands sharply inwards, and from her knuckles emerged four gleaming claws, as black as night, and curved viciously.
Cat grinned cruelly, and Helice looked put out.
“Let them come” She said, swiping the air with the claws and crouching down. The baying grew louder.
“I still don’t know how they found us” Helice said, crossing her arms and trying to lean on a tree, she fell straight through it and floated vertical to the ground for a moment before righting herself.
“You heard the Raven, that conniving brat Tambo alerted them” She swore a few times, “And ‘e didn’t tell me nufink” She added.
Helice just smiled.
“They are here” She said. Looking straight ahead, Cat spun to face the group of dogs and men, with Hunter and Tambo ahead of the rest on horses. They looked strangely similar, despite the differences in hair colouring.
“Your surrounded Changeling, give up” Hunter called. Cat’s eyes narrowed and she raised her claws. Hunter shrugged and raised a hand, arrows streaked through the air towards Cat and she moved in a blur, cutting them down with her claws.
Tambo’s horse pranced nervously. And Tambo struggled to keep balanced.
“Cui bono? Dei gratia! De novo!” Cat shouted, throwing out her hands, the claws shimmered bright blue and eight large needles through across the clearing, embedding themselves into some of the men, they fell, clutching their throats and gurgling. Blood running over their hands.
Tambo reached over his shoulder and pulled out his bow, Cat hissed and turned slightly to stare at him.
“You traitorous fool” She snarled. She flexed her claws and they made a strange sound, like grating metal.
Tambo drew back his bow and at the same moment Cat leapt across the clearing, a growl ripping through her throat, she never reached Tambo, a throwing knife flew from Hunter’s hand, Cat twisted to avoid it, and in the same instant Tambo released the string. The knife grazed along Cat’s side, and the arrow buried itself deep in her side.
She fell, cursing and stumbling, as the men surrounded her. Helice was at her side, unable to do anything to the attackers, and wishing that she could.
Tambo and Hunter dismounted, and stood in front of the now kneeling Cat, she was panting, and holding the arrow’s shaft. But she still looked up defiantly, and cursed their parentage.
Chapter nine.
The men pulled out ropes and tied Cat’s feet and hands. She spat and swore, but the pain in her side was too much for her to resist.
Helice was muttering things under her breath, and making motions with her hands, but Cat didn’t notice, and the men, of course, saw nothing.
“You should have run when you could Changeling” Said Hunter. Cat closed her eyes.
They stood back, she was propped against a tree, her hands bound, the claw gloves had disappeared, to be replaced by nothing but ordinary black leather. The men had tried to remove these, but they seemed stuck to Cat’s skin. She glared up at them, trying not to whimper.
Finally one of the men stepped forward.
“I think we should remove the arrow sir” He said. Hunter waved a hand in consent. The man hurried forward and begun working. First he tore away the leather vest that she wore, then the cotton shirt beneath. He worked quickly and efficiently, with none of the roughness of the other men.
Finally he could see the wound clearly. The arrow had pierced beneath her rib, luckily for Cat it was at a downward angle, and had not pierced her lung.
The men all lowered they’re gaze, except for Hunter and Tambo, they looked on coldly.
The man working on Cat talked in a low voice to himself. “Take ot off closest to the skin, don’t twist, out. Blood moss might help-“ He carried on, Cat tensed ad he pushed around the arrow, in the place where it entered her side.
The man turned to Tambo and asked to see one of his arrows, Tambo pulled one out and handed it to him, he looked at it. It was not of the broad headed variety, but the type that some hunter’s used, the type that weren’t hunting to eat, but to use the animals for show, to stick on they’re walls.
The arrow head was flush with the shaft, which meant easy removal, with none of the usual tearing. The man nodded and handed it back, then he turned back to Cat. For the first time he allowed his eyes to meet her penetrating gaze. They were glazing over with the pain, but still sharp, and still not human. She nodded to him, the man looked down again. He drew from his belt pouch a small sharp knife, and a strange looking clamp.
With one hand he clamped the arrow, so that it wouldn’t move, and with the other he began to cut at the shaft. Finally, he had cut through. Cat had been silent throughout, but her chest was rising and falling rapidly, and she had pulled up clumps of earth and grass.
“We’re going to take it out now” He muttered to her, and Cat briefly wondered who ‘we’ was, before realising that that was just how the man spoke. Helice appeared beside her. Looking concerned.
“Ad finem” She said quietly to Cat.
“Volente deo” Cat replied. The man looked at her.
“You ready?” He said, quietly. She nodded and gritted her teeth. The man pressed two fingers on either side of the arrow and begun to slowly pull out the arrow, making sure not to graze any more of her insides. He thought how lucky she was, that the arrow hadn’t hit anything vital, that with time, she could heal and become back to normal. Or, as normal as she could be.
Cat snarled and her tied hand’s lashed out.
Then the arrow was out, the man tossed it aside and called for hot water. It was handed to him, by one of the more forward minded men. He bathed the wound and packed it with a mixture of bloodmoss and sage. Then he bandaged the wound. And stood back.
Cat pressed a hand gingerly to her side, and hissed, closing her eyes.
Hunter stepped forward, signalling to his men. Two stepped forward, and grabbed one of her arms each, then they hauled her up atop one of the horses, and lashed her legs to the saddle. She leand forward, and held the pommel, not quite conscious anymore.
The men begun to move forward, one leading the horse Cat was on, with two more in either side, should she make a bid to escape.
Helice stayed behind, staring at Cat’s hunched back, she looked down at the broken arrow, and kicked out wildly.
They had taken her and she had been unable to do anything.
There was a rustling, and from the trees emerged Kineta and Jabez. Helice lost it.
“Why in the whole of heaven didn’t you help her? Are you not her twin? Part of her? What is wrong with you that you cannot even save your own kin?” She shouted, waving her hands around angrily.
Kineta stayed impassive, her amber eyes unconcerned.
“Cat chose her path, and I have chosen mine, we no longer want the same things, she wants to live her life in constant danger with death forever dogging her footsteps. My path is different, I intend to claim the throne which is rightfully mine-“
“THE THRONE IS RIGHTFULLY CAT’S” Helice shouted. Stepping forward.
“No, it is rightfully ours” Jabez said, and wrapped his arms around Kineta’s shoulders. Helice stepped back. Staring.
“How?” She said. Jabez smiled.
“Not all who traverse the world of the dead are intangible, my dear” Then his legs dropped the three inches they had been hovering, and he looked solid.
Helice spun, and disappeared.

Chapter ten-The final part. (Part-1 of the final part)
Cat was in a cage, she had lost consciousness, and now she was in a cage.
She made a quiet vow to never ever let herself pass out again and then looked around her. She wasn’t in the forest anymore, they were in a large open space. There were three campfires, surrounded by men, and four large tents. She wondered where they had come from, the scent of roasting bird floated up to her, and her nose twitched. And she tried to sit up, then she realised that she was in her cat form. She mewled angrily. Now she would never get out of here. And how had she changed in her state? That had never happened before.
One of the men came over.
“It’s awake” He called, in the direction of one of the tents.
It? Thought Cat indignantly, it? She hissed and drew out her claws with a ‘shick’, the man just laughed and turned away.
She curled up again, noticing that the pain in her side had gone, she stood again, and flicked her tail.
The pain was definitely gone.
A man emerged from one of the tents, he wasn’t like the other men, who were dresses in poor clothing. He wore long robes covered in intricate detailing. Probably sewn by some poor lady who barely got a coin for the work.
Cat eyed him angrily. She knew who he was, he was the man who was in charge of all the land, for miles and miles around, he was the one who the people payed tax to, and who lived or died depending on his good humour.
He stood in front of the cage. Heavily ringed hands on hid hips.
“I hereby declare, that you, according to the law, shall be sentenced to death, at sunrise”
Cat hissed. And lunged at the bars. The man laughed and bent down, so that his face was level with hers. She could smell the expensive wine on his breath.
“You are a Changeling, part devil, and so do not deserve to live” He said. Then he stood and motioned to one of the men. “Give it some food” He said, and walked away.
The man put some meant through the bars. Cat turned her back on it. Flicking her tail back and fourth.
“Please yerself” The man muttered, and walked away.
The sun was rising, a thin red line had appeared around the horizon. Cat watched it. The only part of her that was moving was her fur, the wind ruffling through it.
She sighed and licked one of her paws, then she rubbed it against her head. Where was Helice?
The men had constructed a small floor, they had spent a large part of the night hammering away. Cat hadn’t looked at it once. She wouldn’t allow herself. She saw the men emerge from their tents, bleary eyed. Three of them came over to her holding a rope with a small collar on it.
Cat backed up against the bars as they unhinged them, they pulled the front away.
Cat pushed out her claws and bared her teeth. The men looked nervous. Then Hunter emerged, immaculately dressed, Tambo at his heels. Bow in hand.
They took up position in front of the cage. Tambo drew his bow and pointed it at Cat.
“Don’t bother trying to escape” Hunter said.
The men lunged forward, and one grabbed her by the scruff, hoisting her out. She twisted and spat and scratched. The man cursed, but they managed to get the collar around her neck, and hook the other two parts beneath her forelegs, so that she couldn’t slip out.
Then they put her on the ground and held onto the attached rope.
Cat lunged for their legs and scratched angrily. One of them kicked her roughly on her injured side, she snarled and limped away slightly, licking her side and making growling noises under her breath.
Helice appeared, Cat leapt sideways. Then returned to her former spot.
“Cat” Helice spoke in a low urgent tone, Cat twitched an ear to show she was listening, “You know you only have two lives left?” Cat nodded, twitching her tail, “There is a way to restore them, but it will cost you something”
Cat looked up at the shimmering figure.
“I trust you” She said.
“I don’t trust myself” Helice replied sadly.
Final, final part.
“Make way for King Jabez!” A voice cried out. Everyone looked up in surprise, then quickly moved aside as ten or more horses came galloping along, at their head was Jabez and Kineta, both dressed in fine robes and riding pure white horses.
Cat’s hair stood on end at the small crowns on their heads. Helice looked sad.
“And so it comes to pass” She murmured to herself.
They reined in their horses and sat, looking down on the scene from their lofty seats.
“We have come to take the condemned” Jabez said, in a loud, commanding voice that carried across the green, Hunter stepped forward.
“By what authority?” He asked, Jabez’ black eyes flashed dangerously as he looked at him.
“My own, fool” Was the reply. Jabez’ horse pranced and he leant forward, “My queen and I have taken up residence nearby, as the patriarch’s of this area we wished to serve justice ourselves”
“Queen?” Helice scoffed, but no-one heard.
Kineta was astride a beautiful white charger, wearing a flowing dress, beautifully embroidered and worked. The like of which Cat had never seen before. She was still in cat form, trying to get out of the collar. At a signal from Jabez one of the men dismounted, and pulled from within his cloak a strange instrument. It was a long silver stick, completely straight, with intricate carvings up and down its entire length, at the end was a strange symbol, the same symbol that both Cat and Kineta wore on their circlets.
Cat hissed and thrashed her tail from side to side, her eyes never leaving the instrument.
“Remove that thing” Jabez instructed, and the men obeyed without a murmur, pulling off the hateful collar, at once Cat tried to escape, but the man was beside her in an instant, and pressed the tip of the instrument into her side, she twisted roughly and then changed into her human form, panting and coughing.
“You should know better then to force the change Kineta” She said, crouched low to the ground, she straightened, clutching her side and wincing.
Another signal from Jabez and two more men dismounted they were each carrying a pair of shackles, the same silver, with similar carvings. Cat spat on the floor as they came up to her, but she held out her wrists, and the shackles were clamped around them. They mounted their horses, and Jabez instructed that they bring a horse for Cat. Which they did, Cat was lifted up, and then two men rode on either side of her, making sure she didn’t escape.
They rode away, Hunter was left standing amidst his camp, staring open mouthed after them, not quite sure what had happened.
“Close your trap love” Helice said, floating past demurely, but, as usual, no-one heard.
They rode hard for more than an hour, and when they reached the imposing building that they had called their castle, the sun had fully risen. Cat sighed as they dismounted. Then smiled as Helice came through one of the walls, laughing to herself.
“Bring her to the hall” Jabez called, leaving the stables with his arm around Kineta’s waist.
Cat was led through the gloomy corridors, finally reaching a small door, one of the men pushed it open and the other pushed Cat in the small of her back, she snarled but walked through. Green eyes reflecting in the poor light.
She was in a large hall, at the end sat Kineta and Jabez on chairs made to look like thrones. Cat smiled sarcastically.
“Only playing at kings and queens children?” She said in a sing song voice, as she was led towards them. Jabez looked at her coldly.
“No, we are the king and queen” He twisted his right hand, so that the large ruby on his finger would catch the light streaming through the small windows, “See?”
Cat was forced to her knees by the men, she struggled, but on the end the men won, they had to stand on either side, hands pressed on her shoulders to keep her there.
“Your cheats both of you” Cat said, after her fruitless fight, “Using silver like that”
“No one said we couldn’t” Kineta replied, she hadn’t made eye contact with Cat since the day of their reunion, and she looked slightly uncomfortable. Jabez stood up and marched up to Cat, then reaching down, he plucked the circlet from her head, and threw it on the ground.
Cat cried out as his boot came down on it, twisting the delicate metal. She twisted and snarled, managing to get one leg up.
“How dare you!” She cried, trying to shake off the men, Jabez smiled, his mouth twisting into the expression.
“It is my right to extinguish my opponents” He said, calmly dusting off his hands and returning to his ‘throne’.
Cat had tears in her eyes as she looked at the twisted circlet. Then she glared upwards.
“Right about now would be nice” She whispered, a twang sounded in the hall, echoing against the dark walls. An arrow protruded from Cats chest, and her eyes widened slightly. The she smiled. The men jumped away from her, running away.
Jabez stared towards the place where the shot had come from, but all he could see was young Tambo, his bow clasped to his chest. What Cat could see was Helice floating above him, in her hands were silvery threads, and Helice had been using them as a puppeteer does, controlling Tambo from above. She dropped the strings and disappeared. Tambo’s eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed.
“What?” Jabez said, getting to his feet as a loud cracking noise resonated through the hall, A crack appeared in midair, seemingly from nowhere, and slowly it begun to widen, until it was the shape and size of a large door, from the other side Cat could see Helice, smiling and waving, and a tall, black cloaked figure.
Jabez was crouched behind his throne now, gibbering.
The shackles fell from Cat’s wrists and she stood, as if there was no arrow in her heart.
The man reached out a hand and she took it. She looked at Jabez with disdain.
“’Tis only Hades ye great fool” She raised a lag, and seemed to stand on an invisible step, she curtsied and smiled at the man.
“G’day Hades dear, how is Persephone?”
“Oh you know. Her and her flowers” The figure replied, wrapping a black gloved hand around the arrow in Cat’s chest and pulling it out. She didn’t show any signs of having felt it.
“And Sisyphus?” She asked, still in that polite tone.
“Still rocking and rolling” The man said, with a deep throaty chuckle. The crack begun to close, and their voices seemed to drift away, then the crack opened a little, a long arm reached through and picked up the circlet. Then disappeared into the crack, it begun to close again, Kineta pulled off the crown and transformed into a fox, the she leapt through the crack, just as it snapped catching some of her white tail hairs, they drifted to the floor in the now silent hall.
And that, was that.

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