Through a Cat’s Eyes – 11.2

Autumn Harvest, Preserver’s Day 20, Year of the Lion number 427; November 18, 1738 Agathon; Linne 181

Two weeks of nothing. I haven’t written anything because there’s been nothing to write about. Sure, I’ve learned a bit about some of the sailors on the crew, and each has a story to tell. But there’s a sameness to it. Almost as if these men were cast from the same mold or forged in the same fire. The details are different, but the result is the same.

My duties keep me busy. We’re short a few men on the crew so I have to jumble double-shifts so that no one is overwhelmed or overworked. Halvern and Nevaru took sick. I’m not sure Halvern will make it, but Nevaru should recover in a few days. With all the magical powers in this world, it seems that the one time it is needed most is the one time no caster is available. I spoke to Mak about it, and he said that for the most part, casters don’t become sailors.

Winter Sleeping, Tracker’s Day 13, Year of the Lion number 427; December 1, 1738 Agathon; Linne 181

Today we arrived at Linne. It’s a beautiful walled city built in a delta where two great rivers come together and flow into the ocean. The Asten river is its northern border and the Torevil river is its southern border. Most of the large island the city is built on is flat, but the western part is on the side of a mountain. As we approached the docks, navigating upstream along the Asten, we could see the great causeway connecting the city to the country of Handocher to the north. This is an amazing feat of architecture and engineering, and quite beautiful in its splendor.

When we came into the marina, a dock master guided us to a berth deep enough to handle our keel. Our crew and the men on the dock worked together to tie the ship down. We were looking forward to a few days on shore before we’d head to our next port-of-call. However, I wasn’t sure I’d be staying with them. My plan was to travel to Norrod and meet the librarian, Propheta. However, things don’t always work out as planned. Oftentimes, things change for the worse. Occasionally, they change for the better.

Standing on the wharf, as we disembarked, were six people. Four of them were obviously guards wearing the livery of the city. The other two seemed quite out of place among the rabble of the working men. The man was portly, well dressed, and middle-aged. The woman appeared older, but not ancient or aged, had snow-white hair, and was as thin as a rail. She clutched a book in her arms that seemed as old as the land itself.

They saw me the same time I saw them, and the man signaled to me. “Are you, uhm, the ‘dancing tiger’?” He glanced at the woman momentarily. She nodded and whispered something that I couldn’t hear.

“I suppose you could call me that. My name is Kabize Vipertree,” I said as I approached.

“Welcome to Linne. We are honored by your visit. I am Mordecai Baird, Lord of this city. This is Propheta, member of the Witch Coven and of the Linne Council.”

“Propheta! I’ve heard so much about you. I’ve been wanting to meet you and was planning to go to Norrod. I have something to give you.” I reached into my pocket and handed her the letter Vina had given me.

She tucked it into her book and said, “A hare born today will be dead when a dwarf unlocks this secret. But two more hands must this go through first.”

“I must apologize for her. She only speaks in riddles and no one understands her. Sometimes we figure it out, more often after the fact,” Mordecai explained. “In the meantime, you are our honored guest. Propheta seems to believe you are someone important and has been expecting your arrival for several months. One of my men will collect your things and we will escort you to the keep.”

I was awestruck. I had no idea what he meant, and said as much. The Lord replied, “I tried to learn more about this as well. We know that Propheta can see into the future. She is the most gifted oracle of our time – perhaps of all time. I think she knows the day and manner of her own death. But for you, she only says that you will understand when you come before Maxmassan and Vythgaza. I do not know who these people are and Propheta won’t say.”

Propheta interjected, “The Lady of the Lake steps down and the Owlbear Slayer takes her place. The mystery of the cards is revealed. Things done wrong are set right, but great battles follow. The Butcher comes, heralding the return to the old ways. Grenadier harvests while the Queen of the Water is betrayed again.”

Mordecai shrugged.

I was led through the great, thriving city to the castle built on the face of the mountain. I am amazed by the majesty of it as it stands overlooking the entire city and the surrounding lands. We were met at the gate by a tall, good looking man, sharply dressed and faintly smelling of musk oil. He bowed as he was introduced: John of Scales, the Steward. He took my pack from the guard and led me into the castle, following winding corridors, through many doors and up several stairwells, and finally to a room that overlooked the city proper. “You may remain here as long as you wish, my lady. Should you require anything, pull this rope by the door and an attendant will be summoned. Dinner will be served in about two hours. I will have a maid meet you here to bring you to the hall.”

This room had everything I could ever ask for. A giant stone tub fed by fresh water. All I had to do was turn a knob and open a valve of some sort to fill it. There was a cooking stove vented to the outside, a vanity with a silver mirror stocked with a variety of soaps and brushes. A wardrobe contained several formal and informal outfits. All of them were designed for Tabaxi and quite fetching. And the bed! The firm mattress was filled with down, as were the pillows. The linens were exquisitely smooth and soft. Was this what it was like to be royalty?

The steward said I had two hours. I decided to sit down and write this journal entry before cleaning up and preparing for dinner. I wanted to get everything down before the memory was lost. Unfortunately, right now, I don’t have time to make sense of Propheta’s riddles. I don’t know if I ever will, but for now, I’ll just have to suffer along like everyone else.

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Next: Through a Cat’s Eyes – 11.3

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