Through a Cat’s Eyes – 14.1

Winter Sleeping, Father’s Day 13, Year of the Lion number 427; January 30, 1739 Agathon; Linne 182

 Today was certainly eventful. It started out straightforward enough. It was easy to find the house where Syreni lives and I gave her the package. She invited me in and we talked for a long time. She seemed very interested in my adventures. I showed her this journal and as she flipped through it, asked me many questions.

It was all a blur and I can’t seem to remember the details.

It was midday when we finally parted ways. She suggested the market down by the river. There’s a small café that serves a variety of local delicacies. As I made my way there, I was nearly knocked over by some children running past. They were young teenaged boys and girls, and the one who bumped into me was a rather large dragonborn boy. “Whoa! Be careful!”

“Sorry, ma’am!” he yelled as he kept running with his friends. While he was clearly the same age as the others, this kid looked unusually strong. At the same time, though, he didn’t seem to use his strength as an advantage as he played. He made sure that even the weakest of the group could participate. And as he laughed along with the others, it seemed they were unaware that he was the slightest bit different from the human-like children.

I found the café and ordered a modest meal consisting of river bass brushed with locally grown spices. The chef brought the meal out and commented that it had been a long time since he’d last seen a Tabaxi come through town.

I asked about the dragonborn boy. “Oh, yeah. Gilfoyle. Good kid. His family came a couple generations ago. We used to get a lot of travelers from the dragonborn realm out west, but lately, we haven’t seen traders in a while.”

I said, “I heard something about them fighting in a war.”

The chef said, “I heard the same thing. Terrible shame, it is. You know, there was once a time where there were no wars. Too bad we can’t go back to those days.”

I laughed agreeing. I took a bite of the fish and it was delicious. I told him so. Happily, he returned to the kitchen. As I sat enjoying the meal, I watched the children play. They were playing a game where one would throw a ball and another would try to hit it with a stick. If he succeeded, he’d run a route as fast as he could, and if he made it before the others could tag him, while holding the ball, he’d score a point. Each player took a turn with the stick. Finally, it was the dragonborn boy’s turn. When the other boy tossed the ball, instead of swinging hard like the other kids, Gilfoyle just tapped the ball, causing it to fall near his feet. As he scrambled around the route, the others had to work together to catch him. Finally, the littlest among them, a dwarven girl, caught the ball and tagged him.

One of the boys said, “Ah, come on Gilfoyle! You made it too easy. Go again, and this time, hit it as hard as you can.”

“Are you sure?” He was handing the stick to the girl, but she refused.

“Yeah, Gilfoyle. Give us a real challenge.”

“What if I hit the ball over the dyke?” He was referring to the brick wall that held back the river, as this area was built below the level of the water.

“We’ll take that chance,” said one of the others.

“Okay,” he laughed. He took his position and held the stick ready. The first toss went just out of his reach and I heard the stick whistle as it swung, missing the ball. They threw the ball back and tossed it again. This time, Gilfoyle hit it perfectly! I heard the pop as the ball went straight toward the wall, just above the heads of the other children. It hit the brick wall hard and fell to the ground nearby. Two kids ran to retrieve it as Gilfoyle started running the route.

Suddenly, he stopped halfway to the first marker. “Get out of there!” he yelled. He turned toward the people in the market, “Hurry! Get up the hill!” I stood up and realized the cause of his alarm. Where the ball struck, a stream of water was shooting forth. The two boys ran, leaving the ball behind. Gilfoyle was quick to yell to everyone. I abandoned my own unfinished meal and called out to the other patrons in the café. As I watched, the thin stream grew. Bricks and mortar broke apart and the fissure expanded, allowing more and more ice-cold water flow into the area. People were screaming and running. Some of the shopkeepers were trying to gather up their wares, but it was obvious they wouldn’t have time.

Gilfoyle ran to them and shouted, “Your things can be replaced, you can’t. Go! Run! Get uphill quickly!” He looked around and saw the little dwarf girl had tripped and the water was beginning to pool around her. He ran to her, scooped her up and tossed her over his shoulder. “Run! Run!” he continued to call. I found the chef still in his kitchen as water began to rise. “You too, sir. We have to get out of here.” He looked dismayed, but relented. Together we ran up the hill with everyone else as the basin filled with river water.

Again, the dragonborn boy called out. “Is anyone missing? Is everyone okay?” He was still holding the girl, but more comfortably cradled in his arms. It seemed everyone was accounted for.

Syreni arrived on the scene and Gilfoyle told her what happened, though he left out the part where he hit the dyke with the ball. She dove into the deepening water and swam around for a bit. Considering she was part mermaid, she had no problem. She came back after a few minutes and said, “I don’t see anyone in any of the buildings or tents. Good work, Gilfoyle. If it weren’t for you, I think people might have died.”

I was reluctant to say anything. I think only Gilfoyle, the other children, and me, know the cause of the breach. It didn’t seem right for me to say anything about it.


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 Next: Through a Cat’s Eyes – 14.2

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