The Air Cats – Part 1


“What do you mean, they are coming?” Celayn washed her right forepaw, inspected it, gave it another couple of licks, and scrubbed at her ear with it. Her voice echoed faintly from the depths of the cave. She leaned back against the wall for support.

“Just what I said.” Timmoth was adamant, the echo of his voice rumbling slightly. He rested, forepaws tucked under his chest, watching Celayn bathe. “They will be here soon, although I cannot say the day of their coming.”

“A giant flying lizard?” Celayn’s voice dripped sarcasm. “And it is far bigger than us? Not only that, but one of the two-legs’ kittens will be riding it?”

“That is what I saw, Celayn.”

“Before or after you ate dream-leaf?” Satisfied with her right ear, Celayn shifted position, leaned back against the cave-wall again, and began washing her left forepaw.

“You know I see things, and I do not need dream-leaf to do it.” Timmoth rubbed the small moth-shape on the bridge of his nose in irritation. It was from this shape that he got the latter part of his name. All of his lineage who were future-dreamers had each had that same mark.

Timmoth was the only son of his father, Tawnmoth, to have the mark, and he was the only future-dreamer sired by his father before his untimely death the previous summer. None of his brothers or sisters had the gift.

Sadly, Tawnmoth had not foreseen the manner of his own death; but then, it was said that future-dreamers were never given that dream.

“You see tomorrow’s weather and who will be sick, and I’ve never been fully convinced it is not simply that you know the all the lore and the signs. Sometimes I guess the weather too; though, of course, not as often as you.” Celayn worked her forepaw across her left ear.

“I saw the fire in the northern land last fall.”

“It was dry. A kitten could have seen that. In fact, I think a kitten did.”

“You know very well I had that vision while it was still rainy season.”

“Oh very well, I will give you that one. If your father had lived to see it come to pass, he would have been proud of you.” Celayn gave her left ear a final swipe and shook her head.

“That was very nice of you. Thank you.”

“Do not get used to it, dreamer-of-dreams.” Celayn had a thought, and squinted at Timmoth. “Just what would any two-legs be doing riding a flying lizard? They ran scared from us before they decided to try to shoot us down like prey animals.”

“Those are only the two-legs tribe of the western lands.” Timmoth growled at the thought of the two-legs who slew his father. “They even seem to be menacing their own kind. The two-legs tribe of this area is still respectful of us.”

The depths of the cave returned his growl and he listened to it. Timmoth was proud that the deepness of his growl had finally matched that of his father.

“As you say, but I still cannot see any two-legs trusting a giant lizard of any sort, let alone one which flies.”

“There is something special about this two-legs kitten.” Timmoth twitched an ear reflectively. “I do not believe this one belongs to any of the tribes we know. I am familiar with the garb of each tribe of the two-legs within the areas we inhabit, and the clothing of this one was unlike any of them.”

“How so?” Celayn was intrigued in spite of her feigned disinterest. She yawned widely, so as not to give herself away.

“Each of the tribes has certain colors they wear, and certain patterns with which they decorate themselves, especially the clothing of their kittens.”

“I know that much.” Celayn yawned again, but her right ear twitched, betraying her interest to Timmoth. She realized he’d caught the motion and glared at him irritably. Timmoth was pleased, but untucked his right paw and licked it as though he didn’t care.

“This one did not look like any of them, most of all in the colors. I have never seen any two-legs wearing colors such as this.”

“Very well,” Celayn conceded, “this one is special. That does not answer why it would be riding a flying lizard, or why they would be coming here.”

“I cannot yet answer those questions.” Timmoth rubbed at his moth-mark again, this time thoughtfully. “All I can say is that in my dream I felt very glad to see them.”

“We shall see about that.” Celayn rolled to her feet in one fluid motion. “For now, I think I will be glad to see a fat tribuck laid out dead at my paws.” She stretched before heading for the cave mouth.

Timmoth heaved himself upward, somewhat less gracefully than Celayn, and followed her out. “For now, I agree with you.”

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