Daily Writing Exercise: High Fantasy! Cats! Magical Companion Animals who are doing just fine without humans, thankyouverymuch. This is actually the bit that triggered my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel idea! 🙂 405 words.
“It’s never been done before,” the Queen pointed out, her tail tucked neatly around the thronebed in annoyance. “And when something has never been done before, there’s usually a good reason.”
“You’ve seen the same omens I have,” said the aged knight, his own tail held at a jaunty angle just shy of inappropriate. “The changes that are coming will destroy our world. Our ‘nevers’ will not stay whole for long.”
“Besides,” he smiled, “who better to risk on such a quest? I’m too old to fight, but not too old to ride a bond.”
“They aren’t like humans,” the Queen said reluctantly and he knew the decision had been made. “What sort of bargain can you possibly make to form the pair-bond? As far as we know they need nothing from us, they’re quite adept at working magic on their own.”
“Dog magic,” said the knight with a sniff. “What they do with brute force I do with finesse.”
“And you think they’ll care?” She wasn’t quite laughing at him now, but her tail had relaxed and he could see the barest hint of a smile in her whiskers. “What if all they want you for is to chase up trees? Or use you as a pillow?”
“That was one time,” he grumbled, “and I was a kitten, how was I to know I’d end up trapped for half-an-hour beneath the oaf? He was warm and it was snowing!” He twitched his tail. “Besides, I’ve done my homework. There’s an old warhound that lost his most recent human bond-pair in the spring campaigns. He’s spry enough, but he’s got an old dog’s cunning and I can use that.”
“We can use that,” said the Queen, suddenly thoughtful. She seemed to have remembered they were no longer kits, running roughshod together over the courtiers. “I don’t have anyone I can spare to help–“
“I know,” he interrupted, not wanting her to spiral back into the bleak pensive fog of the morning. “But they’d only slow me down. Kits these days, all full of their new-fangled steam-power gadgets and scientific nonsense. What use does a cat have for automatons? That’s why we domesticated humans!”
That got him a laugh, but he could see her thoughts had turned back to the bitter omens of the coming autumn. His plan might fail, but all their plans might fail, and what was one more cat upon the piles?
So he took his leave and set off to find the hound.