Afternoon Tea with the Faun

5 September, 2011 at 12:12 (Castle Moon) (, , , , , )

The little Faun kept referring to Ninja as The Daughter of Bast and presently she let him alone with it. He took her back to his dear little house in the dark and snowy woods and made her a delicious Assam blend which she drank down gratefully. Presently, as any clear thinking reader will have expected she became very sleepy.

She awoke to the sound of the Faun sobbing. Now, Ninja was a kind hearted sort of moggy who couldn’t bear for anyone to be sad around her so she went to him. This is why she wasn’t seen in The House of Ulster for quite so long.
“Oh dear Faun, whatever is wrong?”
“Oh I’ve been such a very bad Faun, such a dreadfully bad Faun.”
“I’m sure you can’t have been as bad as all that. I’m sure you’re a perfectly nice Faun.”
“I’m not! I’m not!” wailed the Faun.
“Look, whatever’s the matter?” asked Ninja.

Then the Faun explained to her that she was in the realm of the Snow Queen, a beautiful siamese cat who ruled over the world with a rod of iron and ice. He also explained that it was the Snow Queen’s orders that any other Daughter’s of Bast (which Ninja eventually worked out meant cats) were to be brought before her and that he had given her drugged turkish delights in order to do this.

“Have you done this to any other cats?” asked Ninja, horrified.
“…” stammered the Faun. “Just a cabbit.”

“What the hell’s a cabbit?” demanded Ninja.

“Uh…a kind of creature who can’t decide if it’s a cat or a rabbit.”

“What happened to the ‘cabbit’?” asked Ninja, dropping audible apostrophes around the word.

“He’s a prisoner of the Snow Queen.” said the Faun.

“Then we must rescue him,” Determined Ninja.

It was then that they both heard the tinkling of sleigh bells outside the dear little house in the dark woods.

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The Faun

22 August, 2011 at 13:25 (Castle Moon, Long) (, , , , , , , , , )

There’s a monster in Castle Moon and it is a very dangerous sort of monster for it wears pretty rose-tinted spectacles and carries itself as if it were a real person. But it took the little scruffy cat, Ninja, a very long time to find it for Castle Moon is full of winding levels and far too many staircases for one city.

In fact, it took Ninja quite a long time at first to come out of her bedroom. She had rented one with the new friends that she had made, the vixen Bysshe, the lion Spod and the wolf Bem. Their house in the part of the city known as The Bower (for it sort of overhung much of the main shopping area, being a good two or three storeys higher than much of the town) was decorated with small cuckoo clocks and daffodils and was very, very pretty.
The reason that it took Ninja a long time to come out of her bedroom was not, as might first be supposed, to do with her innate shyness. For, although she was a scruffy little black and white cat she was not over-imbued with shyness, actually because she was a hereditary Moggy, she was possibly over-imbued with boldness. In fact it was because of that boldness that she did not emerge from her room for some days.

Ninja’s room in the house (she later was to discover from Bysshe that is was The House of Ulster) had for some time been the spare room. Thus it had a bunk bed, the bottom of which was only slats and no mattress, a desk, a window, and covering the window, and overly large wardrobe. Now she had soon discovered that she could use the wardrobe to climb out of the window and sit upon the tiled, sloping roof of the kitchen and look out across the city. But the morning of her first night there she also decided to open the wardrobe.

It may not come as any surprise to my readers to hear that when she opened the wardrobe and pushed past the mothball smelling old fur coats that Bysshe had warned her she had left in there, she discovered it to be snowing.

Of course the wardrobe door shut behind her, and of course she paid it no never mind, for she was utterly enthralled by the notion that it might snow in a wardrobe. After she had gone a few more steps inside she not only smiled with delight to see the snow covered branches of small green fir trees but had actually laughed out loud when she saw the lamp-post looking for all the world as if some witch had ripped it clean from a London street. It glowed merrily as the snow swirled around it. She stood beneath it for quite some time, awed by the sight. Then she head the crunching of footsteps in the snow and looked around to see a faun, with a woolen scarf wrapped around his neck and a warm winter coat, carrying many little parcels. The faun looked up and saw her, “Oh Light preserve us!” he cried and dropped all of his parcels.

Ninja ran to help him gather them all up.
“Daughter of Bast! Daughter of Bast!” the little faun kept saying.

“No…my Mum’s name was Lotte, Lotte Valerius…”

But the little faun kept saying it so Ninja helped him with his parcels quietly.

“Princess, I insist upon your accompanying me back to my home for tea and biscuits. Good tea mind, none of this generic brand stuff.”

Ninja agreed since she was still so very curious about the world. And that was the beginning of why she didn’t come out of her room in the House of Ulster for quite some time.

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Castle Moon

15 August, 2011 at 14:00 (Castle Moon, Long) (, , , , , , , , )

A greater man than I once wrote that he hated to read explanations in stories but that when he came to write them he immeadiately found that they were necessary. I suppose that I fall into the same trap when it comes to descriptions. I have written of the fact that the small, scruffy cat called Ninja came to the town of Castle Moon and that she found a room to rent there, but I have written nothing of what she looked like or indeed what Castle Moon looked like or given you any context within which to digest such information.

Ninja was a cat smaller than average with back and white fur which stuck up in a fluffy patch around both of her ears. She had a broad face which suggested that there may have been Persian in her anscestry (though a long way back) and whiskers that were very neat. She was a hardy sort, the walk from the Green County to Castle Moon is a long one and crosses the Nine Hills. But that walk is another story altogether and I must tell you of the town of Castle Moon itself.

Castle Moon is situated on the west coast a little way from the sea, the Moon river which flows through Castle Moon heads all the way to Moreinn on the coast. The salt planes that land there can be seen flying over Castle Moon almost everyday of the week. It is a walled town built across many levels and it is a magical one so there are no complete guarantees that the way I describe it to you is the way that it is when you read these words. In fact there are few guarantees that the town will look the same when you wake up in the morning as it did when you went to sleep.

There are five main gates into the wall, the one to the south is made of oak as it is the largest and it is decorated by oak galls rubbed all over with gold leaf. It is the one through which Ninja entered Castle Moon and saw to her right the great bulk of the university towering over her. To the south of the town is the Castle and to the north is the seat of much of the magic therein, the Park (the same one which is reserved for wizards only) with it’s palm trees and the fronds of giant ferns. Through the town also makes it’s way the Moon River, it cuts through the north and east and runs by the Castle like half of a moat. It does not change position though the buildings and bridges rearrange themselves over it. The canal is not so accomodating and likes to move through the mist at night. The aqueduct which I mentioned before is slightly outside of the town walls and it is here that sometimes the salt planes land to refill their water tanks before heading off to David’s Town or Lud’s Hill or wherever their load is wanted.

Ninja’s room is rented in a house on the third level – for the winding alleys and roads which double back on themselves go up and down which nearly no regard for gravity – the level is part way up one of the hills and is known as The Bower, probably because the inhabitants have the custom of bestrooning their houses and flats with the flowers from the outskirts of the park. It makes for a very cheerful part of town, full of gaiety and without so much of a need for heroes, which I suppose is a bit of a shame for Ninja.

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The Monster

8 August, 2011 at 13:55 (Castle Moon, Long) (, , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there was a monster, it wasn’t the sort of monster that lived in the dark and it wasn’t the sort of monster that hid in caverns. It was the sort of monster that like to hide in plain sight, in view of everyone. It lived in a small town on a river called Castle Moon and one day a small black and white ninja cat came to Castle Moon to destroy the monster.

It should be pointed out that the small cat did not know she’d come to Castle Moon to destroy the monster, in fact, she did not even know that the monster existed, she came to Castle Moon because she wanted to be a hero. The small cat came from the town of Fish in the Green County, a place far away from Castle Moon. She was called Cat because in the town of Fish there are not very many people so you don’t need particularly complex names. Because she wanted to be a hero, she called herself Ninja and on the way to Castle Moon she had trained for a while at the feet of a Grand Master known as Blue Eyes.

The monster didn’t know that Ninja had come to Castle Moon, the monster went about it’s day pretending to be a normal person and causing trouble for the inhabitants of Castle Moon. Ninja didn’t know about the monster, all she knew was that she had walked a very long way across fields and hills and bridges, she was very tired and wanted nothing more than to find a place to sleep. As she walked through the gates she decided that this was the first thing she would look for. Now, Castle Moon is a very confusing place for a small cat from the Green County with it’s winding alleys and high walls, it’s aqueduct, river and a canal that moves during the night. It’s not very surprising then that Ninja soon became lost and found herself on one of the upper levels of the Castle near to the Magical Park which is reserved for wizards and magicians only.

Being a very small cat, and not really being a hero yet, Ninja wanted nothing more than to sit down and cry. Being brave though, even if she wasn’t a hero quite yet, she didn’t. But she did look very upset, which is why a vixen with kind eyes got up from the cafe table she was sat at to ask if she was alright. When Ninja replied that she was lost the vixen invited her over to her table to meet her friends and have a cup of tea. The vixen turned out to be named Bysshe and her friends were a distracted looking lion by the name of Spod and a wolf called Bem. Over a cup of tea, which turned into several cups, Ninja discovered that she had made friends and also that they had a spare room in the house which they shared.

Bysshe said that if she wanted she could take a look at the room and think about moving in. Ninja decided that she wanted to very much and very happily walked with them to their neat little house tucked into one of the walls of the Castle. Inside she discovered that every inch of the house was painted yellow and decorated with daffodils.
“It’s beautiful,” she declared and agreed to move into the smallest room at the back which had a large wardrobe partially blocking the window.
“The daffodils are something to do with the curse.” said Bem.
“What curse?” asked Ninja.
“There’s a legend about Castle Moon being cursed.” he explained, “But I don’t know what with.”

When he had left her small room she clambered onto the wardrobe and out of the window to sit on the small sloped roof above the kitchen. She decided that if she was going to be a hero then she would have to find out about the curse and try to end it. The little cat nodded to herself very definitely.

Across the city the monster paused it what it was doing. It had no idea about the little cat or the neat little house decorated with daffodils but something in the air, perhaps caused by the firmness of her nod, made it shiver.

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