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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Awakening The Triad

a group of warrior cats standing at the ready.

Dominic shrugged his shoulders as he walked past his twin, “who are we to disobey a prince? Let’s do this!”

Everyone fell in behind the twins. The room beyond the great hall turned out to be a sitting room, but the cries led them towards one door after another. It was at, one point, Azereus stopped to take into account where they were in the fortress.  He realized that they should now be in the rear of the fortress and below the level they had come in on. The hallways had become narrower and the steps steeper. The plaintive cries were now heartbreaking to hear. Somewhere there was someone in pain.

Neko stopped suddenly and was successfully rear-ended by the line of people following him. They all began grumbling about sudden stops and such when he raised his hand for silence. “Wait! Shush… Listen to me. Why are we looking for someone crying? We are looking for the Triad. It is something that destroys the world. Why would something that can destroy us be crying in pain? Wouldn’t it just destroy what caused its pain?”

He watched as the others contemplated his words, “maybe this is a trap. Maybe it is meant to draw us away from the Triad. Did you consider that?” The others were shaking their heads in agreement. “We are going down into the dungeon levels of the fortress. Shouldn’t a prize like the Triad be somewhere locked in a tower or something?”

CeCe turned to scan where they were now. It was a small antechamber that at one time might have been used to mix herbal remedies. She walked towards a table on which stood a cabinet with rows of tiny drawers. She reached up to rub away the dust of centuries only to have the label crumble under her fingers. Opening the drawer, she swept her finger inside and then brought it to her nose. Whatever had once filled it had long since lost its smell.

She walked towards a small window in the back of the room and pushed aside the burlap scrap that covered it. Outside she could hear the screech of seagulls and the crashing of waves on the shore. She remembered that the back side of Black Barrow faced the sea. It was a defensive decision so that anyone attacking would have to battle the sharp rocks and rugged cliffs to reach the castle walls. She knew by how close the sea was that they were not far from sea level. It made her wonder if there were any chambers further below the tide line. “What if whoever cries is protecting the Triad? Maybe they have been injured in the duty. What say you Master ShĂ©nmei?” She swept her gaze around those gathered and only then did she notice that the mystic and his companion had disappeared. “Where did they go?” she questioned the group.

Bo went to the door of the room and leaned out to check out in the hall. “They’re not out here. Damn the old one. Why is it when you need him he is never around?” Bo straightened his scabbard and walked out into the hall. “If it is a trap, we’ll deal with it. But my gut is telling me to keep going so let’s find out who is doing this damnable crying.” He started off and the rest hurried to keep up with him.

The gang had found the dungeon and as their feet had touched upon the slightly muddy floor, the cries had become screams. Everyone began searching inside the cells that littered this level of the fortress. There seemed to be a routine to the screams as if the person was in pain but the pain ebbed and flowed. As each member came across another, they began to form into a loose pack. There was a moment of silence which was un-nerving after the wailing that they had been listening to for so long.

Soon they had all grouped up again and were heading down a slender hallway, the sound of the waves crashing grew louder. Neko stopped and tilted his head. “Guys, listen, do you hear something weird? I mean it is hard to hear because it comes and goes but I can’t figure out what the sound is.” He looked around at each person waiting for them to give him an answer to his question.

No one could answer his question, so they kept walking towards the sound of the sea. The screams broke off and then the cries changed at first it was one single voice, then a second, following soon after by a third. The main voice had yet to scream again.

They soon approached an arched entryway that led into a cave. At one end the seafoam adorned the rocks littering the entrance from the beach. There were sconces scattered around the area, the lit candles flickering in the breeze coming in from the outside. On an inner wall was a fireplace in which a fire burned low. It did nothing to warm the cool air brought in by the gaping mouth of the cave.

Not far from the fire lay a bed of huge pillows covered with woolen blankets. In the center of the bed was the body of a young Felis female. CeCe rushed over to the bed but it was apparent that she had already passed to the next incarnation, sadly it appeared to be her final one. The males drifted around the room wondering where the other voices crying had come from. There was no one in the chamber that they could see.

A digital drawing of a cave in the cliffs by the sea.
Bo had walked to the mouth of the cave and saw that there was a blanket that was used to block the wind. He lifted it to where a hook had been driven into the stone wall. He could not shake the sense of sorrow weighing down on him when he thought of the female. They hadn’t been in time to save her and they hadn’t found the Triad either. Where had the ancient mystic disappeared to? He jerked around when he heard CeCe’s sound of exclamation. “What is it, my love?” He shouted.

CeCe had been pulling a cover up to cover the face of the dead female and studying what could have killed her. It was all too apparent that she had been pregnant, but where were her kits? She stood up and circled to the other side of the bed and her foot encountered something. A cacophony of sound rose throughout the room, as she looked down into a large basket of hairless kits. “Oh! Sweet Goddess! What is wrong with them?” she spoke out in a slightly hysterical voice.

She bent down and picked up the basket. She put it on the bed and then sat down beside it. The mother was forgotten in her concern for the kits. She reached out and touched the hand of the closest one, he clutched a hold of her fingers with a surprisingly strong grip. His cries stopped as he watched her. The female stopped her cries to study CeCe also. The third still whimpered but was slowly quieting.

“What breed are they, I wonder?” CeCe mused more to herself than to anyone else in the room. They have no fur, but there is the desert tribe that is hairless. No these are different. Look at their ears. They are blunt and shaped all wrong.” She looked up at Bo when he came to stand beside her.

A photo of newborn babies wrapped in pink, blue and gold blankets.
Bo looked down into the basket and then took one of the hands of the closest kit. He examined the lack of claws that every kit was born with. He had never met a new mother who didn’t complain of the needle-sharp newborn claws of her kits. These were not claws gracing the kits hands but a soft flimsy tissue of some sort. “How are they supposed to survive without claws or fur?” The female had turned her head toward him when he had spoken. He was shocked at her strange eyes.

Neko and the twins had joined them by the bed and were, in turn, checking out the newborn kits. None of them had seen a freshly born kit, but it was Neko who shivered and thought to cover the poor furless creatures. CeCe smiled up at her brother for his kindness.

“Hey guys, Maybe, we should bring the little ones and find the Triad. It is after all why we are here.” He rubbed his hand up and down his arms trying to ward off the chill he felt still even with the blanket blocking the wind.

“You need search no longer for what you seek. The Triad is within your grasp if you need further proof remove the Heart and all will see.” The voice of the Ancient Mystic echoed off the chamber walls. CeCe reached into her herbal pouch and pulled forth the velvet bag where she hid the Eye. She pulled the drawstrings to open the bag but could already see what the old one was talking about. The jewel was glowing, it cast her face in shadow as she reached in to remove it from the bag.

She stood and held the stone up, waiting for something to happen. The stone just continued to glow a happy bright blue. “What if you walk around. Maybe it will change color, or the Triad will respond to it.” Donny said from where he stood against the far wall next to the head of the bed.

As soon as she started to walk away from the basket where the triplets lay, the stone turned an angry red and the kits began to fuss. CeCe turned back towards the makeshift cradle and the stone resumed its happy blue glow. “I think it like the newlings, watch.” She took a step away from the basket and the stone once more changed to a fiery red. When she returned it near the small creatures in their swaddle of colorful blankets. The stone resumed its happy glow. She didn’t notice that her hand had dropped close to the three until as one they reached their hands towards the stone.

The moment three hands touched the stone, it lit up engulfing the room in a light even brighter than the one that had gifted them with their powers. Sparks bounced around where the kits hands touched the Heart of Cameria and they began to glow softly as their power was awakened. The Cat’s Eye Gang now understood why they were called the Guardians. The Triad was the odd triplets with stars in their eyes.

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