A little something different. Sad tidings this Saturday so an ode to Mara.
She stalked the pathways and alleys, her feet barely making a sound, apart from the occasional clack of her claws on the stone underfoot.
She carried herself as she always had, with grace and regal bearing. She stood tall despite her age as she checked in upon her surroundings.
As she padded through her domain, her sister joined her. Her sister had grown calmer now that she had reached a sensible age; she slinked alongside her.
“Doing your rounds sister?” The younger grey guardian practically purred out the words
“As I have done long before your time sister”, taking a moment to give her legs a rest, the much older guardian, now with more white than her original colour hair, replied.
“We still need to check in on the servants and ensure everything is alright,” she stated, forcing her legs up, again “for old times sake.”
Her sister rolled her almond eyes, “do as you wish, I’m going to be adored and worshiped. See you when you’re done with your futile rounds!” Her sister called as she strutted off down the pathway.
Smiling, the old guardian slowly glided towards the first of her servants.
Servants, huh. But to her they were not just servants, they may serve her, obey her wishes but they had grown to be more than that. Maybe it was just her old age causing sentiment but she felt an obligation to these beings.
She retraced the steps that she had walked for years. The soft stone feeling cool against the pads on her bare feet.
Walking past the gathering place she found herself on the precipice of the girls room.
The door lay slightly ajar, a warm glow coming from the lightsource that the girl kept on overnight, sending a shaft of light that caused her to blink slightly.
Her mind wandered back; a strange keening cry could be heard from the room across from her most trusted servants.
As she watched the humans move to and from the room she found that she was alone as she stepped through the doorway. Her sister wanted nothing to do with the newcomer, but for her the newcomer held promise. The old guardian always had a unquenchable curiosity, a need to know and explore the things in her world.
Approaching the source of the noise she could almost scent the unease in the room.
A baby, a small human child lay bundled in cloth in a tiny bed. It’s cries spoke of discomfort, hunger and desire. Desire for comfort, a relatable desire to her regardless. Edging as close to the cot as she could, the old guardian peered down at the figure.
A girl, tiny and sweet. Little hands reached out but before the guardian could react the parents of the child scooped it up and took it away.
This began her watch, she had found something, someone to watch out for.
Blinking once more and returning her mind to the present she walked through the doorway. The infant has gone, replaced by a much larger girl, full of wonder, zest for life and adoration. The guardian liked this servant the most.
Moving quietly up to the human she leant across and gave the forehead of the girl a kiss. After checking the room for any dangers she left after she was satisfied that the child was safe.
Moving down the same pathway her sister took, she entered the room of the next of her subjects.The youngest of her subjects – a human boy approaching his third winter – was rambunctious, curious and determined. She smiled, her greying whiskers curling as they mirrored the mirth underneath.
Had he not been born to Humans he would have made a fine one of her kind. He carried himself much like she did, proud and determined. Determined to achieve an outcome of great value or just to torment those around him. Either way a shallow rumbling laugh purred in her chest before it caught, causing a brief coughing fit.
Catching her breath she approached the cot he resided in, she stood tall, checking that he was safe and content. Pausing only for a moment as he snored. She was content all was well; she gave the boy’s forehead a short kiss as she had with his sister before him.
Leaving the room she slowly crept up to the room of her true servants. Calling out to them as she approached, she noted that they had a look of worry and sadness crossed their faces as they were discussing something. Pausing their discussion they lifted her up to her throne where she perched.
As they fussed over her she called out to her sister, a sound of content escaping her lips in the form of a great and long purr.
“You should walk with me sister,” the old guardian said, stepping down from her throne – it was better to keep the servants believing she was fickle, “we have something to discuss”
Her sister joining her, she walked the path she had just traveled.
Pausing outside where the boy lived. “This little one has so much promise to serve and give love. You must nurture this. Teach him to be kind and gentle much like his mother. Show him how to be calculating and surefooted like his father. I entrust you to do this” she said, leaning against her sister, a look of worry on the young guardian’s face.
As they approached the girl’s residence she paused to catch her breath.
“This one, she is special. I have not met a human so cautious, caring and special as she. Look out for her as she has such potential for seeing the good in everything, but this creates room for self directed darkness. Make sure you watch out for her and keep that inner dark away. This you must not fail me in.” She declared as her legs buckled, causing her to lay on the stone beneath.
She looked up at the younger guardian as her exhaustion took over.
She watched as the younger guardian sprang off down the path, calling for the servants with her concern evident.
A few moments later they appeared, the mother of the young humans, with whom the old guardian had formed a bond with finding comfort and safety next to or in the arms of the beautiful human. She would miss her and her endless capacity for compassion.
Soft and warm hands patted her, belonging to the woman’s husband as he crouched beside the old guardian. He was the one who has served her since she was an infant.
Though she had gotten old, white and had weakened, he had remained young, although flecks of grey studded his hair now, but his eyes still remained the same. His soft words and warm embrace reminded her of her youth, of their journey together and this caused a rumbling purr to spread through her frail form.
Sadly this was the deal for having lifelong servants, you watched them grow and have offspring, but, you could not stay with them forever. You must be the one to leave them first, your quest to watch over them ending as you take your place with the guardians of old.
As her concentration faded, his arms cradled her, when had she grown so weak?
As her purrs lessened, her eyes closing, his hands never stopped calming her in only the way that family could.
Looking down upon her family, her sister guardian nearby, the two humans she had known most of her life stood near her. Her frail body was cradled in the arms of the one who rescued her from the shelter a lifetime ago. Turning her head she drifted through the rooms in the house.
The youngest boy of the family was asleep, for now but not for long. Boundless energy and passion for life were his trademark in the short two winters they had spent together.
The daughter, caring and kind, willing to share her pillow and bed for the old cat these past few weeks as her body shut down.
She would not forget her humans, and the humans would not forget her.
Closing her eyes for the last time she let endless sleep embrace her, a purr in her chest and the guardians of old calling her home.
“Welcome home Mara”.