The Cat’s Meow

“Now you will praise me and pet me and you will feel better,” said the irrepressible cat with a purr.

As Breyd-the-character also belongs to Tyrdan-the-player, Breyd-the-character has been changed into Breith-the-NPC for all future storytelling purposes.

This short is adapted from a roleplay and has always been one of my favorites. Wish the cat has been able to talk ever since spending a little too much time in Dalaran, but he is still a cat under all that. He even seems to be rubbing off on invalid Evelos.

Author’s Note

It was a small, modest cottage out in the mountainous hills of Elwynn that they shared; not far from Stormwind by any means, but outside of it all the same. Breith pushed past the herd of sheep milling about outside, not pausing to regard the roar of the nearby waterfalls. She simply went inside the cottage, closing the door firmly behind her, and hung up her cloak on the hook next to her medical satchel.

Mechanically, she built the fire from the banked embers and started to make herself a cup of tea. Her hands shook slightly as she measured the leaves into the pot whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. She automatically made herself a sandwich as well, but when she sat down, she touched neither the tea nor the food. She stared into the fire as if trying to make sense of the flickering shapes the flames threw up on the wall. Then she crawled into her bed, the tea gone long cold. Crawled into bed and stared at the wall.

“He’s safe,” she tried to whisper to herself, but somehow it didn’t break through the fog she seemed to be wrapped up in. Evelos had survived his brush with Void corruption, but he was still weak, and there was a question if he’d ever fully recover at all.

“I’m hungry,” came a sudden voice from near the floor. “Hungry, hungry, hungry,” said the voice when no one replied, and something small and furry jumped up and rubbed itself up and down Breith’s legs. A black feline head then came into her field of view, snuffing at her abandoned teacup. “What’s this? Is it food? Is it my food? No, that isn’t food; it has plants in it. Terrible.” The cat jumped off the table onto the bed and put his face in hers. “Where’s my food? You will feel better when you feed me, you know.”

Breith rubbed the cat’s head absentmindedly. “Eat the meat and leave the rest, Wish,” she said wearily, waving vaguely at the sandwich. She didn’t really want to get up. She just wanted to lie there.

“What meat? The ceiling meat? It is no fun to catch.” The cat rubbed the sides of his face against her fingers, then looked up at some sides of salted ham that hung from the rafters, the best method of storing in the tiny cottage. “Catching something for me will make you feel better, too,” he added.

“Aren’t there any mice in the sheep fold?” Breith remarked with a frown. “There’s milk in the tea.”

“No,” said the cat. “There is sometimes mice in the grain stores, though.” Wish sniffed the tea again. “But it has plants in it. Plants are not food. Hmm. Maybe you should add more milk to this.”

“Drink it or don’t drink it. There’s a whole stream outside, cat,” Breith said and shoved the cat away.

“You are rude,” complained the cat. “You haven’t petted me enough today. Maybe you would like a mouse? I will catch one for you.” So saying, the cat trotted off, tail held high in indignation.

Breith just sighed and got back to the business of just lying there, counting the measure of her breaths.

True to his word, a mouse was dropped on her face an hour or two later. “Now you will praise me and pet me and you will feel better,” said the irrepressible cat with a purr.

Except Breith didn’t. She lay there with a dead mouse on the bed next to her head. It was lying in her hair and she still didn’t shift to get rid of it.

After a moment, the completely freaked-out mouse leapt off and skittered for a corner. “You let it get away,” said the cat with hurt dignity. Then he pushed his nose at Breith’s. “I am still hungry, you know.” When Breith didn’t reply, he settled himself in the crook of her arm. “Holding me will make you feel better too,” he finally rationalized and, so purring, closed his eyes.

Eventually Breith did get up and poured the cat some of the sweetened milk in a dish and set down a bit of fish for him. She threw out the untouched, stale sandwich and cold tea, washed up and banked the fire.

“I’ll be back,” she told Wish and headed out of the cottage.

“This is acceptable,” said Wish as he lapped up the milk. “Bring back food,” he reminded as she shut the door.

“I am bringing back something better than food. Goodbye.”

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