I had been working my way down one of the larger pathways in the M’an-nest, stopping by the large building where many of the Big Ones like to gather. There are always strange scents around it, but something in there must be like catnip to the Big Ones, as they sometimes stumble out of there caterwauling. I’d paused, and was looking around, trying to decide on a place to soak in some rare afternoon sunlight, when one of the Big Ones came outside. Before I could bolt away, I caught her scent.
She smells quite a bit like one of the Folk.
That was surprising enough. But then my astonishment was doubled when she began speaking to me in the Higher Singing, the language only a cat can know! I’d thought the M’an-folk had long ago forgotten the Higher Singing.
We fell into conversation, and I asked if she knew anything of the os-beast, and the M’an-smell in the Wall, as I didn’t know whether or not it was safe to return to my nest there. She didn’t know anything, but she offered to come and take a look.
I led her toward the Wall, even trusting her word that the other Big Ones around would not harm me. And indeed, they didn’t seem to take much notice of us. We went into the Wall passage, and I led her toward the Bigwater, and the niche I’d made my own. Together, we inspected the caustic-smelling spills, and she investigated the hidden room nearby. When she emerged from it, she looked quite serious, and suggested that I should stay away for a while longer, as some Big Ones do things to other M’an-folk that are not nice, and may do the same to cats.
Her words were disappointing, but not exactly unexpected. And so I’ve resolved to stay in my new nest for now. Though I need to travel to the docks soon–she said they have the fattest rats when the strange big-fish is brought in.
Mmmm. She was right.
~~ sounds of contented chewing and crunching ~~