Another mouth to feed
(( My Belf is going to have an alliance pet cat thing, so I wrote a quick mini story for how that worked out ))
It had been a trying day, thus far, and was barely midafternoon. Rakael was sat at the desk in his spartan officer quarters. Putting the parchment down in front of him, he leant on the desk and pinched the bridge of his nose with thumb and forefinger, closing his eyes. Neither envoy had signed the agreement, and both parties were still disputing terms. Trying, indeed.
He sat back in his chair for a moment, staring at the parchment but focused on a point some distance behind, slowly tapping his fingers on the desk. Clasping the arms of his chair quite abruptly, he forced it backward and stood up. The duties can wait for now, he mused, perhaps a bite to eat would reinvigorate his thought process. Glancing around the room momentarily, Rakael replaced the chair under the desk and exited his quarters, locking the door behind him.
Outside his quarters, the corridor was empty. Lazy afternoon light shone through the small windows, leaving an interlaced pattern of shadow on the floor. He slowly made his way towards the commons room, nodding curtly at two Guards en route to their quarters, apparently returning from duties in the city. The commons room was empty, the remnants of the lunchtime meal still present on the table and counter. Rakael made his way towards the chilled larder and studied its contents, noting little remained of the dinner that was prepared here earlier. Mind clearly elsewhere, he resigned himself to the various leftovers and placed a piece of fish and some vegetables onto a plate. Finally picking up a glass of cold milk, he closed the pantry and made his way back to his quarters.
Setting the food down on his desk, being careful as not to soil the various parchments which presently adorned it, he sat down in his chair and let out a long, deep breath; insofar as his demeanour allowed him, this was a sigh by any other name.
The door creaked. Sitting absolutely motionless, Rakael’s mind abandoned cogitation of the days events and instead focused on sounds. Moments passed, silence. He closed his eyes to deprive the senses of distraction. The door creaked once again. Confident that any would-be intruder had not yet entered the room, he opened his eyes and quietly rose to his feet, motioning towards the door. Reaching up into his sleeve, he produced a plain, nondescript dagger from the sheath strapped to his forearm and slowly opened the door.
Nothing. Using the blade’s reflective surface, he surveyed the corridor without leaving his quarters. Again, he detected no one. As Rakael took a step backward to retreat into his room, he felt something brush against his lower leg. With a start, he turned his head downwards and found a cat looking back up at him. The silver creature brushed against his leg briefly, before sidling into the room and leaping up onto his chair.
“Ah,” began Rakael, somewhat perplexed. “Who do you belong to?” he continued, and it was a number of seconds before he released he was addressing a domestic animal, and expecting some sort of intelligible response. The cat tilted its head to one side, eyeing the tall, dark robed creature before it with mild interest. Rakael closed his eyes and sheathed the dagger. When he opened them, some moments later, the cat sat resolutely on the chair, still observing the standing figure. “I see,” said Rakael, closing the door and ensuring the latch engaged this time. He walked slowly over to his seat and peered down at the creature, who was still observing him, curiously. He was unaccustomed to domesticated animals, although was aware of the physiology of those in the wild, for survival purposes.
“Right, well,” he began, and trailed off when the creature tilted its head the other way. There was something mildly disconcerting about the manner in which he was being observed so intently. “Er,” he managed, rather weakly, glad that the door was closed and that he was out of earshot from anyone else. Leaning down, he supported the silver cat around its abdomen and moved it to his desk, placing it down gently. The cat took a moment to get used to its new, higher vantage point and sat on its rear legs, supported by its front.
“So,” Rakael ventured, frightfully aware of how ludicrous the situation was, “are you hungry?” The cat stretched its front legs out and raised its back, yawning widely, before returning to its observant posture. “Right. Yes. Good.” Rakael cut at a bit of fish with a fork and then picked it up between thumb and forefinger, offering it to the perched feline. The silver cat leant forward to inspect the offering, it’s small nose wrinkling as it examined the aquatic scents. Apparently satisfied, it began to nibble on the meat until it had finished it all, licking the last morsels from Rakael’s finger. He shuddered slightly, the coarse texture of the feline’s tongue was most unexpected.
Without prompting, the cat stretched once more before standing up on all fours and wandered over to the plate. There, he tilted his down to the level of the plate and began to tuck into the remainder of Rakael’s meal. “Help yourself,” he gestured, somewhat bemused. As the cat ate, he took the opportunity to study it a little closer. Its fur was silvery grey and quite long, although well kept. Enveloping its paws was a brilliant white fur, matching the small tuft underneath its neck. Hesitantly, Rakael ran a finger down the feline’s back, stopping at its bushy tail. The soft touch of its fur reminded him of a glancing touch of skin, within these very walls. He shook himself mentally, this wasn’t a time to dwell. Besides, there were other fish to fry now, or at the very least obtain in large quantities he mused, as the cat finished off the last portion of fish.
Sitting back in his chair, he considered the cat carefully, who was now sat on his haunches, running a tongue over its teeth and cleaning itself after the fishy feast. “You will require a name if you are to stay. Cat is a little too formal for my tastes.” The cat continued to observe Rakael with mild curiosity, tilting its head to one side. “Flint, I believe,” he continued, after careful deliberation. As if giving its consent, Flint jumped down onto Rakael’s lap suddenly, before leaping down onto the floor and onto the bed. Rakael peered down at his down soiled robes, the black material highlighting every last silver hair that had moulted.
From behind him, he was aware of a faint purring noise. He glanced around to see Flint curled up in a ball on the bed covers, apparently settling in for a late afternoon nap. Rakael exhaled a long, deep breath.
“Another mouth to feed.”
(( Cat! ))
EDIT: That means that I liked it btw.