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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Beginning Of The End

Before you begin the next installment of The Tales of The Cat's Eye Gang, I just wanted to let you know that I have completed the book and instead of stretching the suspense out over three weeks I am going to post a new installment for the next couple days until we have reached the final moment. I hope you enjoy the revelations to be found in the coming days. Enjoy.

A cat warrior in the middle of a battle.


The remainder of Amerak’s men watched their master leave them behind. They had no idea what he was babbling about or who he was speaking to. Slowly they realized they were now left at the mercy of the ones that Amerak had told them were weak and that they would easily beat. As each guard came to this realization they made quick on their retreat. The gang watched them go.

Dominic ran over to where Donny stood. “Dude, you did it. Did you see the old guy run away with his tail between his legs? I wonder what spirit visited him? Or with all his evil deeds, Wow! It could’ve been a bunch of them. You okay, twin?” Dominic knew he was rambling, but he had to expend some of the adrenaline racing through his blood. He hadn’t noticed he was circling around Donny until Donny reached out and stopped him.

“Will you chill? I don’t know what was sent to him. All I know is that whatever or whoever it was must have scared him. And that old mages voice is gone from inside my head.” Donny rubbed his head to emphasize the area of pain. “It has been non-stop badgering me since I walked near the fortress.” Donny scanned the area checking on the others. “Was anyone hurt?”

Dominic joined his brother in studying the weary Felis’. “Nah, I don’t think so. Maybe a bump or bruise here and there, but other than that nothing that a touch of CeCe’s hand won’t cure.”

“Hey, why don’t we save my sister’s strength for when it’s really needed. A bump or bruise won’t kill ya.” Neko said as he came up behind Dom and clamped his hands on his shoulders. Occasionally, a blue spark would spring to life and blaze for a second before extinguishing as if it had never been there. A sign of Neko’s still agitated state. “I hate that the old bastard got away. He was lucky this time, but we will meet again.”

Neko began to walk towards the rickety old cage. He wondered at who he would find inside. He came up beside the rusted metal and peered inside. He drew back in confusion to find it empty. “Why would he bring an empty cage through a portal, that must have used a lot of magic? Wonder what he used it for?” He asked no one. He circled it until he reached the door and found it unlocked. His foot kicked something underneath the wagon and he bent to see what it was. “Well, whatever was locked inside isn’t anymore, if you go by the lock I just found.” He began to study the dry packed earth searching for footprints.

female warrior cat with swords in battle stance.
He had started to follow the prints when Rauwyn came running up to the once gilded cage. “Nilla! Are you here? Where is my sister?” she cried. She tore open the door and scrambled inside looking for any trace of her diminutive sister. Zirede had followed at a more sedate pace having already seen the cage was empty. Rauwyn looked up at her mate, “Where is my sister?”

Rauwyn knelt in the doorway of the cage and her mate drew her into his arms. “I don’t know, love. We will find her, and we will never let that beast touch either of you again. Come now. Out of this filthy thing.” He lifted his mate free from the dirty blood encrusted straw that littered the bottom of the cage.

The others had found their way over to the wagon when Rauwyn was spun out of Zirede’s arms and embraced. “Sister, I am here. I am okay. Are you okay? How are you feeling?” Nilla realized she was babbling and took a moment to catch her breath. Rauwyn pulled her back in for another hug before pushing her away to look at her. She looked down at herself and understood the deep frown that now graced her sister’s beautiful face.

“What happened to you? Where are you hurt?” Rauwyn exclaimed. She began examining Nilla and Nilla batted at her hands as she tried to explain the blood stains on her smock.

“I’m okay, sis. Stop! That crazy wizard sliced me to make me bleed on a stone. It appears worse than it is.” She held up the hand in question and began to unwrap the makeshift bandage. “See.” She held it close under Rauwyn’s nose. Rauwyn wrinkled her nose and drew back away from the injury. “I’m okay.” Nilla said before grabbing her sister in a big bear hug.

“Ew, you smell terrible. Maybe we can continue this once you wash the stink of prison off you.” Rauwyn joked, but by the way, she stepped back away from her embrace Nilla could tell there was much truth in her comment. “I am a tad confused though? How did Amerak locate the main group, I was nowhere near where the portal opened? It opened almost on top of the Queen.”

“I think I may know the answer to your query, young one.” Rauwyn glanced over to see the ancient mystic walking towards them. He had a handsome young male assisting him in walking. She couldn’t shake the feeling she knew him from somewhere but couldn’t quite place where. The old male continued. “A bloodstone’s power is to sniff out, if you will, the freshest blood tie to that which triggered it; if not the actual owner of the triggering blood.” Here he stopped as he took notice of the rest of the guardians and thieves gathering around.

“I would make a guess that the blood that coats the young queen’s boots is not hers?” When he saw her shake her head in assent, he continued with his explanation. “The blood used to power the stone was attracted to the freshest bled. As you my dear appear in good health, I would assume you no longer have the wounds that caused the blood to my queen’s footwear.” He paused to let what he was saying to sink in. And was not surprised when the boisterous twin jumped into the conversation.

“Oh! I get it. Miss Rauwyn don’t have any open wounds, so she doesn’t have any fresh blood for the stone to go to. Cool…well not so cool for you, CeCe, but still cool.” Dominic bent to take a closer look at the blood stains on CeCe’s boots. “You do realize that those boots are totally ruined, right?” he said before standing up and studying the male who was standing at the ancient one’s elbow. “Do I know you? I feel like I know you.”

An archer who has jumped while aiming his bow.
Dominic’s question was interrupted by the mystic. “You must make haste inside. The time of the Triad is nigh,” he waited for those assembled to say something, but all were quiet. “Go, now!” He admonished, pushing Neko towards the castle entrance. “Your destiny begins, go and accept it.” Neko looked down at the gnarled appendage that was pushing him with surprising strength. He opened his mouth to speak but ShĂ©nmei would not listen.

The guardians entered single file into the shadowed great hall. As they entered they fanned out on guard for what they couldn’t say. The air seemed to breathe in unison with them. Small slivers of sunlight filtered through the arrow slits, that posed as windows in the outer halls above. The hall itself was round with the place where the Lord's table had stood only holding broken rotted timber. Scattered around the room was evidence of the once flourishing castle now in ruin.

As Bo walked closer to the grand fireplace, his boots kicked up tattered and mildewed scraps of what had once been vibrant floor rugs. Now as he moved he left a cloud of dust and rotted string in his path. He held his hand up to cover his sensitive nose, but it was too late, and he began to sneeze violently. When he finally was able to catch his breath, he noticed that accusatory eyes were cast in his direction. “What?” he whispered.

It was as if the very castle held its breath waiting for something to happen. Bo saw Neko jump and then he caught the sound. It was faint, but it sounded like a low wail. He turned trying to figure out in what direction it came from. The others had noticed it now and were doing the same. He was a bit surprised when he saw that the thieves were not with them. He moved to where he stood by Amerak. “Where are the others?” he asked.

Amerak took a moment from trying to locate the sound of crying he was listening to. “What? Oh. They decided to stay outside and stand guard in case you know who comes back. If you ask me. I think they are too scared to come inside. Hell, I’m questioning my own sanity for coming in here.” He turned in the direction he thought the sound was coming from only to hear it in the other direction once he had turned. “Where the hell is that blasted crying coming from? It is driving me crazy.”

Bo shook his head because he could figure it out either. “Maybe that is what happened to the lost travelers. They come in and become bewitched searching for the one crying and die never having found the source.” He gave Az a look of chagrin. They both chuckled and went back to searching for the direction to take to find the answer to their mystery.

Neko had followed the plaintive sound towards the grand stairs that led to the upper floors, he had one foot on the first step getting ready to go up when he spotted the ancient mystic and his companion heading towards a door hidden off in a corner. When the mystic opened the door, he heard the cries crescendo. He ran towards where the two stood in the doorway.

“Hey, it’s this way. C’mon lets ’s find out what this Triad thing is. Follow me.” He didn’t wait to see anyone followed, all that was left was some tufts of black fur intermixed with the stirred-up decay of the castle.

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