Sunday, 11 November 2012

three : Out of the Tapestry

(from the chaotic thoughts of the Cat)

The ship was on fire.

If I had to make a list of sentences I want to say while aboard a ship, they would include ‘I’m going to take a long nap’, ‘Yes, madam, you’re right, I am handsome’ and my all-time favourite, ‘I see that everything on the menu is made of fish.’

‘The ship’s on fire’ would not even make the top one hundred. When I got aboard this morning, the Captain had assured me his vessel was sturdy and strong and reliable and absolutely not going to be on fire by late afternoon. Still, I suppose it wasn’t entirely his fault.

I mean, we were under attack from the Queen’s forces.

Now, as bad as things were – and, make no mistake, being under attack from the Queen’s Royal Vanguard is very bad indeed – things could actually have been worse.

‘You were on board a ship that was on fire!’ I hear you cry. ‘How could things have been worse?!’
Well, mainly because nobody knew I was here. I mean, yes the Captain and his crew. But they just thought I was a normal talking cat. They thought the same thing everyone thinks when they see me. What a nice cat. What a small cat. What a harmless cat.

In reality, I’m none of those things.

So, since the Captain and the crew thought I was just a regular (if dashingly handsome) cat and since the Queen’s soldiers – like the Queen herself – thought I was already dead (more on that later) then that meant they hadn’t attacked the ship because they were looking for me.

Like I said – that was a good thing. It meant my mission could go ahead. Y’know… once I’d dealt with the whole ‘burning ship’ thing.

‘And how did you do that?’ I hear you cry.

Well, have no fear. I may be a small, black cat (or I may not) but I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Little cat. Flaming ship careening toward the docks at full speed. No worries.

I’ve been in plenty of scrapes in my time – most of them courtesy of the Queen. I’ve spent more years than I care to remember fighting her. Yes, many years and seven lives. Fighting either her or one of her Noir Ladies.

In fact, when it comes to the Noir Ladies, I’ve got a one hundred percent record. I’ve seen off each and every one of them. Lady Aerie. Lady Kray. Lady Taranteen. Several others. All defeated. And each time, the Queen doesn’t get the hint – she just goes ahead and brings out a new model. The latest one, though – ooh, she’s a toughie.

Lady Eris.

By far, the meanest, coldest and hardest of all the Queen’s Noir Ladies. We’ve been battling for some months now. Even in that short space of time, though, we’ve gotten to know each other quite well, I’d say. Best of friends. Do anything for each other.

By ‘best of friends’, of course, I mean, ‘worst of enemies’. And by ‘do anything for each other’ I mean ‘kill each other on sight’.

In fact, the last time we met (a couple of weeks ago, on a mountain-top which was very cold despite all the explosions) she dealt me what baddies like to call a ‘killer blow’. She thought she’d finally defeated me. Thought I was on my last life.

She’d miscounted.

However, even though I escaped (fantastic stunt, it was, remind me to tell you how I did it), I had to admit that none of the Queen’s other Noir Ladies had ever managed to come as close to defeating me as Lady Eris. And under her guidance, things have actually started to get quite… well…

Up until now, my battles with the Queen were lots of fun. She’d come up with some villainous scheme and I’d stop her. She’d rant and rave for a bit. Then she’d come up with another villainous scheme and the whole thing would start all over again.

Except now, with Lady Eris at the helm, the Queen’s villainous schemes are actually starting to work. I can’t defeat her quite so easily.

Occasionally, I can’t defeat her at all.

More and more of my allies are getting captured, killed or Bound. More and more of hers are running wild. She’s always had her agents – you know, the soldiers, the Yarnbulls, the Shards (oh, and the Rainhand – if you can count that terrible, terrible creature as truly hers…). But now, everything feels like it’s almost in the palm of her hand – the sun, the islands and all the NothingSpace in between. (By the way, I’m glad you’re from Arilon – if you were some random human, you wouldn’t have a clue what I’m going on about).

Anyway, I keep getting sidetracked.

Me. Flaming ship. Speeding towards the docks on Noir Island. Home of Noir Castle. Home of Lady Eris of the Noir Ladies (okay, I’m sure you’d figured that all out).

Now, let me assure you, once again, that I’m really very amazing and extremely talented when it comes to getting out of tight scrapes.

‘But how?!’ I hear you cry. (You really ought to stop with all the crying – it’s bound to get us discovered).

I already told you – don’t worry about me. I had a plan. Well, it wasn’t really a plan – I just ran as fast as I could and hoped no-one saw me. I hate plans. Plans are boring. It’s much more exciting to just do stuff and see what happens.

So, anyway, I had the utmost confidence in my abilities and I did manage to get off the blazing ship before it crashed into the island. And I did manage to do it without being seen. And I did manage to evade all the soldiers and Yarnbulls roaming the castle as I made my way to the Main Hall.

And I did manage to get into the tapestry and make my way over to the Human World. All the way to Waterwhistle.

And guess what I saw as I arrived in the drawing room in the house in the village in the Human World? Guess what I saw standing there, shivering and dripping wet?

I saw a young, frightened human boy.

And I thought ‘brilliant’.

Because I knew I’d just found the best weapon against the Queen I could ever have hoped to find.

<<< two : lady eris to be continued - read the whole book! >>> 

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