Mede 24 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

I’m sad to say that I’ve developed a pretty keen ear for nefariousness lately.  Sad because I don’t want to live a life where that sense is necessary.  But I am (for now) so it does come in handy.  I was fast asleep when I was awoken by the unmistakable sound of someone falling to the floor – the kind of falling where you’re maybe not going to be getting up again.  I cautiously got out of bed and listened carefully for the sounds of footsteps coming up the stairs – why do you cock your head when you’re trying to listen?  Does that help anything?  How could it?  Stealthy footsteps mean that someone took out the guards and is coming up.  Non-stealthy footsteps mean the guards took someone out and are heading up themselves.  Or you know, whatever, I’m not a footstep expert. 

The only lighting was a few embers from the fire but I used my tattoo for Lion night vision and took what shelter I could behind the bedframe while I watched and listened.  I heard nothing until the slight catch of the key in the door lock which means whoever is out there steps quiet as a cat.  The door opened softly and with my dark vision I saw a small woman in a chair shirt wearing a leather cap out from under which spilled a mass of bright red curls.  She had the key in one hand and one of those tiny hand crossbows in the other.  I don’t care what anyone says those things are ridiculous. 

The Lion tattoo having done its part I turned to the Storm tattoo.  Now I know what you’re thinking “Ela, shouldn’t you find out who this person is before you attempt to fry them with a thunderbolt like the mighty god of thunder herself?  Maybe that’s person is coming to help you.”  For most people that would be a fair point.  Here’s the deal though.  I’m not one of those people who believe that the gods watch us all the time and they control everything and they’re pulling the strings of our lives.  I don’t believe in fate or destiny or karma or luck or whatever you want to call it.  But I can tell you this for a certainty, if someone is creeping into my prison cell it’s because they’re going to kill me.  Not because I have ill luck, but because that’s just how it is. 

The flare of light off the stream of electricity coming out of my fingers was dazzling.  I should have thought about that and closed my eyes but I didn’t and I was dazzled for a moment.  Thankfully it didn’t matter, when my eyes did adjust again enough for me to see Red was down for the count.  She looked even smaller lying on the ground flattened by a lightning bolt.  That tends to happen.  I heard a shout and boots pounding up the stairs so I dashed forward and grabbed the miniature crossbow and fired blindly down the stairwell – hopefully the bolt was poisoned and hopefully it hit someone.  The only other weapon on the body was a dagger which I didn’t bother with.  Before I had a chance to hide or get a better position a fellow in a dark cloak and leather (why do assassins love leather?) barged up the stairs.

He fired his identical tiny crossbow but I slammed the door shut and blocked his shot – I clear the tiny bolt clattered off like a dropped goblet.  He kicked the door in with me holding it, knocking me on my ass and in return I slashed at him with my Lion claws as he tried to charge in.  He tried to get my by the hair only to find that I didn’t have any and in response I slashed him across the groin and belly with Lion claws.  This didn’t seem to bother him too much, which was disappointing – when you claw someone in that area you’d like for that to at least give them pause.  He clubbed me in the shoulder with what felt like a sack full of steel balls and I grabbed at him, forgetting that without my magic belt I wouldn’t have much chance of overpowering anyone in a clinch.

We fell to the ground, his knee driving the air out of me for a moment, and we struggled for position.  I remember years ago talking a tavern brawler type guy and he was expounding on his “expertise”. He said that the only time he really got into trouble in a fight was when a guy had him grappled and was about to do some “serious damage”.  And how he got out of that jam is by biting the guy’s nose off.  Biting is considered a serious bitch move by some, but there are times when it’s unquestionably necessary.  This seems like one of those times.  I managed to grab him by the ear and pull him close enough to bite him in the eye – which based on the screaming wasn’t a great for him but I was the one with a mouthful of eye-juice, I wasn’t have a ball either. 

His allowed me to get the upper hand and I was slashing at the back of his head with my claws when a THIRD person came up the steps, which hardly seems fair.  She was a sturdy gal in a brown peasant dress that did not match her elaborate braided hairstyle at all.  Her eyes widened when she saw the scene before her but she rallied quickly and said some magic words.  I could feel an oppressive fog of sleep trying to drag me down, but I was able to shrug it off by sheer force of will – I’m good like that.  I leapt at her with claws out, but some manner of magic field was protecting her and my attack bounced off like she was dressed in battleplate. 

She stepped back and said some more magic words and instantly I was seeing everything from a new perspective – one a few inches off the ground.  She had turned me into a fluffy black cat.  Here’s the thing though, have you ever tried to catch a cat that didn’t want to be caught?  I don’t know how magic works but if she could have turned me into a turtle and chose cat instead she’s a fool and a half.  I cat scrambled away, easily dodging her attempt to grab me and cat ran down the stairs past the two dead guards lying awkwardly in pools of their own blood.  Thankfully this trio of nightstalkers had left the door open because as nimble as a cat may be they aren’t very good at opening doors.  I saw the woman and the heavily bleeding man come out to the street and look around as I scampered into the night.

Being turned into a cat would probably stymie most people but a quick test showed that I was still able to use my Mockingbird ability – it was weird, I couldn’t speak but I could still throw “my” voice even as a cat.  Again I tell you I don’t know how magic works.  It took me until morning to find my way to Lord Oeracea’s partially because I don’t know my way around anyway and partially because seeing everything from a cat perspective makes everything much harder when you’re not used to it.  Which I am not.  On account of I am not normally a cat.  I’m sure you get used to it after a while but I had a Hells of a time navigating my way around town.  Eventually though I did make my way to the Oeracea household and approached a maid who was out sweeping off the entryway. 

“Shoo, get away!  There’s no mice here for you!”

“Please don’t hit me with that broom, I’m the lady who was here a couple days ago – I got turned into a cat.”

She didn’t hit me with her broom but what she did do was faint straight away and take a pretty nasty tumble off the stairs – she hit the street head-first.  Thankfully, for me at least, a moment later someone else opened the door to see what the sound of her slamming into the ground was and I was able to dart in.  I wandered around the building for a while, they say that cats don’t have a great sense of smell but there were a lot more interesting scents going on than I ever noticed as a human when I was here.  Eventually I found Lord Oeracea sitting at a desk frowning at some papers – typical lord stuff.  I jumped up on said desk and rubbed my catness against him cat style.

“What the?!”

I cat sat on the middle of his papers “It’s me, Ela, I saved your life the other day and then was arrested for murder?  Well as luck would have it when I was imprisoned in that tower some people killed the guards and came to kill me.  I managed to kill one of them instead and I was doing pretty well with another but then a lady showed up and turned me into a cat.  So you should probably contact the mayor or the captain of the guard or someone.”

He stared at me, mouth open, as I decided that was a good time to clean myself – my paws got pretty dirty running around the city all night.  Lord Oeracea eventually regained his composure and I spent a few hours sleeping in a beam of sunlight coming in through a window while he gathered together the various constituent parties – some guardsmen, the bluecoats, city officials and the like.  That must have been quite a scene for any outsiders looking in – all these bigwigs gathered around with a fluffy black cat as the center of attention.  I told them what had happened, even as simple as the story was I had to go over it several times. 

Turns out part of their consternation stemmed from the fact that the high priest – remember the one I was SO rude to – had been assassinated that very morning.  And since he was the only one in town they knew of that could undo the transformation that was effecting me some people thought they had to be connected.

“That seems a little implausible to me, killing a man just to keep me as a cat seems a bridge too far.  Also, I’d just like to point out that had no weapons or any of my stuff and I managed to survive these fuckers – meanwhile the head priest of a whole church, a man with bodyguards and divine favor and all that was taken out by them?  I find that very interesting.”

No one else seemed to think that was interesting at all.  I told them a dozen times I had no idea who the people were, once again I get attacked and somehow everyone is suspicious of me.  There’s no justice I tell you. 

“So what are we going to do here people?  How are we going to get me back to my normal form?  And do we still care about these phony murder charges against me?  What’s the plan?”

No one seemed to know.  Assassinations, gorgeous and charismatic women falsely accused of murder being turned into cats?  These weren’t the kinds of things they we used to dealing with around here apparently.  I stretched luxuriously and fell asleep on an overstuffed chair while they talked in circles.  One of the servants reached like they were going to move me off but a sleepy growl backed them away. 

_______________________________________________________________

Hair regrowth progress :  NA 

Funds: None

XP: 348,051

Inventory:  Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Enchanted Tattoo (Storm)

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán