of the Last God
(Book III of the Oerth Cycle)
(C) 2000 BY
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Xaa rode up to Kargh, and bowed from the saddle. "What was the final casualty total, my friend?"
Kargh bowed as he replied. "My lord, we had two hundred and eight severely wounded warriors, of which four died. The remainder will recover in a few months, the worst of whom should be able to ride in a few weeks. There were also one thousand nine hundred and three lesser injuries, though all these patients should be able to ride again in a week."
"Can you handle the care of the severely wounded ones?"
"Yes, my lord. The mare, Amani, is quite helpful in this regard, and I believe I could easily care for all of them."
Xaa nodded. "Good. I'll pass the word to the lords of the wounded that they may leave the severely wounded in your care, and take the rest of their warriors home in a week. The severely wounded will remain with us here while we watch over Castle V'Nass until we know what happened with their civil war, one way or another. For now, we're gathering the supplies the cats had. If there's anything you need, tell Y'dahk - he'll be organizing and distributing most of it. If he has it, he'll see you get it."
"Yes, my lord, and thank you."
Xaa turned at the sound of a swiftly-approaching rider, and saw Jamat trotting up to him on his bird. "My lord!" Jamat called.
"What is it, Jamat?" Xaa asked as Jamat reined to a stop beside him.
"The cats in the castle have sent out an emissary - it's the same cat that spoke with us last year, my lord. D'Viall, I believe his name is. He says that the cats in the castle are low on water and food, have several wounded, and their healer was killed by a catapult-stone the other day. More, there is a she-cat in the castle, my lord, the mate of General R'Narr, and she apparently is in need of a midwife - she is in labor."
Xaa looked to Kargh. "Can you midwife for a she-cat?"
Kargh shook his head. "My lord, I have never done such a thing. I can midwife for one of our people, and I've learned enough from the Little Ones and the musties to be able to deliver for one of them, but I know little or nothing of the cat's physiology. If there is no other choice, I can try, however I cannot guarantee success."
Xaa grinned. "Bah! A healer's modesty, I say. You're as skilled as Master Healer Ead'xas of Clan W'Mefa, Kargh. If anyone can do it, you can."
Kargh bowed very deeply, the tips of his ears turning pink with a blush. "You honor me, my lord."
"No, you honor me by your service, Kargh," Xaa replied, bowing from the saddle.
"Thank you, my lord. I will go at once, and see what I can do."
"If she is the mate of R'Narr, Kargh, have a care to do everything in your power to keep her alive. That will indebit R'Narr to me, and help smooth the way for a lasting peace."
"Yes, my lord."
"Good - let me know what happens," Xaa said, and as Kargh went to fetch his kit, Xaa turned to Jamat. "Jamat, follow me. If they're low on food and drink, we'll have to collect a bit from everyone. Y'dahk hasn't had a chance to finish sorting the supplies we captured from the cats, so we'll have to collect a bit from all the clans here and have it taken to the castle."
"Yes, my lord," Jamat replied, and followed as Xaa rode off towards the main camp of his army.
Ayori flipped aside the tent flap with the barrel of his rifle, carrying the small, corked glass vial before him in his other paw. "Here you are, Amani," he called, holding it out to her. In the bottom of the vial, six large white crystals rested. "Healer Kargh said you just uncork it and hold it beneath their nose for a moment - but not too long, he says. If we need anything else, we'll have to ask one of the other healers. Kargh is going to the castle, now - there's a she-cat there in labor."
Amani looked up briefly from the black stallion, touching the vial with the frog of her fore-hoof, where it clung, her will made manifest. Taking the vial from his paw, she placed it beside her knee, then held out her fore-hoof to Ayori again. Ayori sat beside her and took her fore-hoof in his free paw, and Amani spoke. *It is not quite time to use the smelling salts, though I am glad the mus know of them. I feared it was something only the cats knew.*
"Well, Merle says that the mus know pretty much everything the cats do when it comes to healing, and far more. Now, they know what the mice know, too, so they're very good," Ayori said, pulling off his helmet and sitting on it.
Ayori looked over to the stallion in curiosity. The she cat still clung to him, stroking him gently, nuzzling him, and quietly whispering to him in her strange language. Amani, however, simply kept her fore-hoof atop his head. "How is he? Will he be alright?" Ayori asked.
*His mind recoils from the knowledge of what he has done, and the pain he has felt. He has killed someone, apparently a cat, and apparently by a blow with his fore-hoof. The shock of this nearly caused him to die, my little love. We feel any pain we inflict on another, and if we kill, we sometimes die, ourselves. As to whether he will be alright... That, I cannot say, my little love. I can only say it is possible. His heart beats stronger, and his breath comes stronger, as well. His mind appears to have drawn back from death, and even now approaches the brink of consciousness. Yet, for the rest of his days, he will have this as a memory, and it will haunt him - this is a terrible thing for a horse, my little love. Aijou may be able to put it behind him, and he may not. Much of that depends on Naien - and, I think, the she-cat, L'Valin.*
Ayori blinked. "Her? What's she got to do with it?"
*She is, as far as I can sense from his mind, the reason he has killed. He killed a cat to keep that cat from killing L'Valin.*
"Oh, okay," Ayori replied, and fell silent for a moment, gazing at the she-cat. "You know, it would be nice if she could talk to us. Then I could tell her any ideas you had for trying to help him.*
*She is already doing the best that can be done for him, my little love - though she did not know it, and is merely acting out of love, what she is doing for him is exactly what needs to be done. By touching him, caressing him, she forces his mind to accept the true sensations of his body, and to accept that despite feeling the shock of death, he is not dead. Besides, if there were anything I needed her to do, I would simply have you tell her. She understands you, my little love, and she understands the speech of the mus. She simply chooses not to speak.*
Ayori blinked again, then looked to L'Valin. "What?! She understands me?!"
L'Valin looked up briefly, then nodded. "Mrr... In sooth, I do speaketh thine tongue, mustelid. Thou doth speaketh the tongue of the Little Ones, albeit crudely, and belike as a curt, inelegant patois that be yet seasoned liberally with a pepper of nigh-incomprehensibles. Indeed, thine speech be yet removed quite far from that which the Great Library at T'Masa doth limn of the ancient tongue of the Little Ones, howe'er, for the greater part, it be yet within mine comprehension."
Ayoiri blinked at the she-cat in surprise. She did speak the language of the Little People of the Wild Wood - which itself was derived both from the ancient language his ancestors spoke centuries ago, and the ancient language of the mice. It was difficult to understand her, but she could be understood. After a moment, Ayori frowned. "Hey... What does 'curt, inelegant patois' mean? That doesn't sound very nice!"
L'Valin bowed her head. "Mrr... Forgive me. Verily, mine concern for mine beloved be yet beyond measure, and in sooth doth sharpen my tongue needlessly."
*Tell her to release him, my little love. It is time for me to awaken him, and he may flail about with his hooves and injure her. His mind hovers on the brink of consciousness, and needs a slight push.*
"Amani says she wants you to let go of him, now. She has to wake him up now, and you have to let go of him," Ayori said, and stood, glaring at the scarred she-cat and gripping his rifle with both paws. It had occurred to him that what L'Valin had said was she thought his speech was crude, and that annoyed him. "And back away from him, too. Amani says he may flail about with his hooves and brain you - though that wouldn't be much of a loss, in my opinion."
L'Valin reluctantly withdrew her paws from Aijou, shuffled backwards a bit, then sat back meekly. Amani nodded, then lifted the little vial from beside her knee. She held it beside Aijou's nose, the vial clinging to the frog of her fore-hoof, and pulled the cork out. It was interesting to watch, to Ayori - the little cork simply wiggled out, tugged by the invisible force of her will, and clung to the frog of her fore-hoof. A few seconds later, Ayori grimaced, and held his nose. The she-cat, L'Valin, did the same. The stench of the contents in the vial was powerful, and truly foul. Amani simply flicked her nostrils shut, and breathed through her mouth. Ayori envied her.
After a moment, Aijou jerked, then whinnied, twisting his head away from the stench, his eyes blinking. Amani lifted the vial away, corking it again, and set it beside her. Aijou slowly sat up, snorting to clear his nose of the stench, his eyes watering.
*Welcome back to life, Aijou of the Dark Flame clan,* Amani thought to him, and smiled. *I am Amani, a seer of the Blue Wind clan,* she said, lifting the locks of her mane that fell across her forehead to reveal the stylized eye painted there.
Aijou looked to Amani, his face a mixture of surprise, then anguish.
Amani held out a fore-hoof to Ayori, and he touched her wrist with his fingertips. *Take the she-cat outside, my little love. Aijou and I need to speak with each other now, and she will only confuse the issue. You said there was another she-cat in the castle in labor. Perhaps L'Valin T'Masa can be of some use there - I sense from her mind she is not entirely ignorant when it comes to the healing arts.*
Ayori nodded, picking up helmet, then clapping it to his head. "Okay, cat. Amani says you have to leave, now. She needs to talk to Aijou, and she doesn't want you here, for now. There's a she-cat in the castle in labor, and Amani says maybe you can help Healer Kargh deal with that."
L'Valin opened her muzzle to yowl a protest, but as she saw the glare on Ayori's face, she knew it would be pointless. The little creature before her may be small, but she could tell through her Mentalt training just by his expression, stance and posture that he was quite fierce, almost totally fearless, did not like her one bit, and would not be moved by her protests. L'Valin bowed her head. "Mew... It shall be as thou doth command, my lord," she replied meekly, and rose to her feet. Quietly, she followed Ayori out of the tent.
The silence in the pavilion was total as Amani and Aijou spoke to each other, for their speech was of the mind, not the voice. Yet, for a long moment, Aijou could say nothing. The horror of what he had done lashed at him like a whip, and each time he considered it, he wanted to weep. He had taken a life - and more, he had felt the dying of T'Zama T'Mrr. The pain of the blow, the shock, then the finality of death... He had felt it all, and in feeling it, had nearly died, himself. Now, he deeply wished he had died. The horror of that memory was simply too much - and worse, the knowledge of it's consequences weighed on him heavily. He called to Naien with his mind, yet she did not answer - the final toll of his deed. *You... You should not have brought me back. You should have let me die. Now, I am alone,* Aijou said, looking to Amani sadly.
Amani shook her head. *Hardly, Aijou. Aside from the she-cat, L'Valin, your mate, Naien, awaits you in the Laughing Wood, only half a moon's run from here. Well, perhaps longer for your muscle-bound legs, but still not too far.*
*That cannot be! She has heard my scream, felt it as a death-scream, and killed herself in grief!* Aijou replied miserably.
*Don't be ridiculous, Aijou. She has done no such thing. She has been expecting that scream for weeks.*
Aijou paused, surprised. *She... She has?!*
*Yes. I saw your killing of the she-cat, T'Zama T'Mrr, weeks ago, and told Naien of my vision.*
*But... Then why does she not speak to me when I call to her?!*
*Because I told her not to, Aijou. You and I need to talk, and we don't need Naien's fumbling confusing matters.*
*Fumbling?!* Aijou replied with a snort of anger, starting to rise.
*Yes, fumbling, Aijou!* Amani replied with a whinny of irritation, placing her fore-hoof upon Aijou's broad chest and shoving him back to sit again. Aijou landed on his rump, startled, and simply stared at Amani as she continued. *Aijou, your clan is cursed with incomplete clan-memories. As a result, Naien is poorly skilled and poorly trained. She had never been taught to use her inner eye to peruse alternate nexi of possibility, as I can. She only knows to see the one nexus of possibility her initial vision brings, and follow it directly as far as she can. As such, she allowed you, her mate, to fall into danger. Later, when we return to the Laughing Wood, I will teach her the lessons she never learned due to the incomplete clan-memories she was given. But for now, I must handle the problems that her own fumbling has caused, for it is something no one else can do, not even she.*
*I... She...* Aijou sputtered, his mind a whirl of confusing thoughts. *What must I do?*
*You must listen, Aijou. That is all. I am a seer of my clan, and not the poorly-trained seer your mate is. You must listen to me, and understand,* Amani replied, and gave Aijou a firm gaze.
Aijou nodded. *Alright... I am listening.*
*Good - I am glad. You of the Dark Flame clan seem quite thick-headed, at times, and it's quite important you listen, now. You must not grieve over the death you have caused, for truly, you did not cause it. My own vision revealed that this death was an inevitable result of the decisions of L'Valin T'Masa, not you.*
*What?! How?!* Aijou asked, surprised.
*In my vision, I saw that the she-cat, L'Valin T'Masa, would conclude that a message for help had been sent weeks ago, and she would keep this information to herself. More, the message did get through, and when you would later tell her of the arrival of the mus, she would again keep this information to herself. As such, she had initiated a chain of events from those two nexi that would eventually lead to her destruction when it was discovered she had withheld knowledge from T'Zama T'Mrr. I knew that you would not permit this to happen, and would kill T'Zama instead to protect L'Valin, because you love her.*
*I do not!* Aijou replied, and snorted.
Amani merely gazed at Aijou. *Aijou, stop trying to deny it. I can see it in your mind clearly. You fight it, you deny it, you suppress it, you do your best to crush it, but you cannot. You love her, Aijou.*
Aijou shook his head. *No, I do not. I care for her, yes... But it is Naien I love. The feelings I have for L'Valin are not the same.*
Amani nickered in amusement. *Of course they're not the same, Aijou. She's a different being. You will never love any two beings exactly the same way.*
Aijou simply stared at Amani.
Amani smiled. *Aijou, you are living under a misconception that your heart only has room for one love. When we were slaves of the cats, we could not love in the traditional ways, and such a misconception was good for a stallion to have, as it saved you much pain. A stallion could share a tender moment with a strange mare when forced to breed with her, opening his heart and mind to her in a gentle moment of tenderness, and still feel that his heart was true to his mate. Yet, the song of our ancestors lies in our blood, Aijou, and now, we are on the brink of freedom!* Amani said, lifting her head. Her eyes gleamed as her heart filled with hope for her people, and her gaze looked beyond Aijou, her inner eye relishing the visions of the future briefly before she turned her attention back to Aijou.
*Aijou, the Last God which made us all gave the hearts of stallions room to love many. It is only we mares who can love but one - a stallion's heart is larger, and you may love many. By the old ways, a stallion often had several mares in his harem. By the old ways, each stallion gathered a harem of mares to himself, competing with the other stallions to prove his strength, his wisdom, and his ability to love and care for us all, and all our foals. In turn, we made the family decisions - where to travel, who shall lead, and so on,* Amani said, and smiled at Aijou as she continued. *You, Aijou, are certainly the strongest stallion I have ever met, though perhaps not the wisest, and your ability to love as a stallion should is handicapped by your fear that Naien will leave you. She will not, Aijou. She understands that you follow the old ways in your heart, though your mind denies it. I have explained this to her. Do not fear she will leave you, Aijou. Once you two are finally brought together again in the Laughing Wood, she will never leave your side again, until the day you die. Open your heart, Aijou, and allow your love to flow as only a stallion's love can,* Amani said, and held her head high. *I, Amani, seer of the Blue Wind Clan, have spoken.*
Aijou looked down to the floor of the tent, lost in thought. There was so much Amani had said, to him - and yet, it all rang true. She was right - though he had denied it, he did love L'Valin. That, in the end, was why he had struck down T'Zama T'Mrr - to save the life of someone he loved, even though it might have cost him his own.
*Exactly,* Amani replied, hearing his thoughts.
*But... But I have killed, Amani... I have taken a life. Even now, the memory of feeling the she-cat's death-scream as my own...* Aijou said, and shuddered. *The memory is fresh in my mind, and chills my soul, Amani... How can I live with that?*
*Would you prefer that the she-cat, L'Valin, was merely another of the thousands of corpses the mus are even now digging graves for?*
*No,* Aijou replied, his head low.
Amani smiled. *That is how you live with it, Aijou. By knowing that you did the only thing you could at the time, and knowing that your actions were to save one that you loved,* Amani replied, and reached out with a fore-hoof to lift Aijou's chin, and gaze into his eyes. *Aijou, let it go. Your actions were determined by your love, and that nexus of possibility which resulted in your killing the she-cat was determined long before, by the decisions of L'Valin T'Masa. As the mus say... It was fate.*
Aijou sighed, and nodded. *You are right, Amani of the Blue Wind Clan,* he replied, then sighed again. *And more, I have been a fool. I told L'Valin I did not love her, when the truth of my heart is that I do. I must find her... I must tell her that I do love her. Then, she can join my harem, and we can live in the traditional way of the horse clans.*
Amani shook her head. *She will not join you, Aijou. Yes, you should tell her that you love her. Though in her heart she knows this already, she still should hear it from you, that her soul may be at peace. Still, she will not join you, Aijou. Her destiny lies elsewhere, as does yours.*
Aijou blinked. *Truly?*
Amani nodded. *Truly. I have turned my inner eye towards you and she many times these last few weeks, Aijou, and my vision reveals that you and she will speak once more, then never see each other again. Yet, each of you shall be happy, Aijou, for you will be going to the one you truly love, and she will be going to the one she should have loved from the beginning,* Amani explained, then sent Aijou a warm, mental hug.
Aijou slowly smiled, and sent a mental 'horse-hug' back.
*Now, Aijou - there is something I would like to ask of you. It is a favor... And you do not have to do it if you do not wish.*
Aijou raised an eyebrow curiously. *What?*
*Sing for me... Please. Naien says of all the stallions she ever met in her life, your song was the sweetest. Please, Aijou... Just once... Sing for me. I have not heard a stallion's song in so long... Since my brother died, in fact.*
Aijou smiled. *I would be glad to,* he replied, then closed his eyes. After a long moment, Aijou smiled, opened up his heart, and sang.
There was no sound in the pavilion, save for the quiet sounds of conversation between the mus nearby outside, and the stirring of a soft breeze. Aijou sat quietly, his eyes closed, and Amani sat before him, her eyes closed, as well. After a long moment, Amani sighed, a tear slipping from her eye to roll across her cheek at the beauty of Aijou's silent song.
"There," Kargh rumbled, smiling as he gently finished wrapping the bandage about the belly of L'Sala's second kit, covering the tied and snipped umbilical cord. "You should be alright, I think. You cry lustily enough for three cats, I imagine. Let's give you to your mother's care, and see if a bit of food might silence you," he rumbled to the bawling kitten, and chuckled as he handed the kit to L'Valin.
L'Sala smiled weakly from her bed as L'Valin helped the jellicle kit to her mother's breast. L'Sala cradled the jellicle kit beside her harlequin brother, stroking the headfur of her kits lovingly. "Thank you, Master Healer Kargh," she said in the language of the mus.
"It was nothing, Lady L'Sala. Now, if you will forgive me, I must take my leave of you. I still have many other patients to attend to in our camp, outside your walls," Kargh replied, packing his kit and standing. He bowed briefly, then turned and left.
"Mrr... And thank you, my sister," L'Sala said, looking to L'Valin and smiling.
L'Valin smiled in return. They were not sisters of the blood, of course - rather, they were sisters of the heart, born, raised and trained in T'Masa keep. Yet, in many ways, they were as close as any two sisters could be. "Mrr... As the mus said, sister - it was nothing. In fact, it was my pleasure. Your kits are beautiful, and I am proud to have been there to welcome them into the world."
A gentle tapping came at the chamber door. "Mrowr? My lady? May I come in?"
"Mrr... Enter, Lord D'Viall." L'Sala called.
The door opened and D'Viall stepped in. As soon as he saw the two kits, he grinned broadly. "Mrowr! Thank you, my lady. I wanted to ask the mus-healer if you were alright, but I do not speak that gibberish that they think is language, nor does he understand a word from me, apparently. It is only fortunate that a few of them in their camp understand our language - I was afraid the only one available to help you would be my mate. Though she's birthed two children for me, she is not trained as a healer or midwife, and she was hesitant to try for fear there might be complications."
"Mrr... There were none, Lord Seneschal, though you were wise to ask the mus for help, as there might have been. Our lord now has a son and another daughter to carry on his legacy. These two were my first, however - and if I had known it would be this difficult before now, I doubt I would have let our lord come within ten paces of me," she said, and grinned weakly.
D'Viall snorted, then guffawed. "Mrowr! Well, my lady, with your permission, I'll pass the good news that you are well, and our lord has a new son. Good evening, my lady."
"Mrr... Good evening, Lord D'Viall."
L'Valin sighed as D'Viall left, and gently stroked the two kits. L'Sala eyed L'Valin quietly, and after L'Valin had tucked the blankets about L'Sala, she spoke. "Mrr... Something is troubling you, sister. What is it?"
L'Valin sighed. "Mew... I don't know if I can tell you."
"Mrr... Try anyway."
L'Valin gazed at L'Sala, stroking her kits as they suckled at their mother's breasts. For a long moment, she remained silent, just looking at the two tiny kits, and thinking. Slowly, haltingly, she began to speak.
L'Sala listened in silence as L'Valin slowly related the story of the last year of her life. The agony of the Shazad's torture, the weeks of nightmares and pain that followed, and finally her desperate use of catnip in the hopes of ending the pain... Her ejection from T'Masa keep, stripped of honor, family and friends forever... Her slow descent in abuse of the drug towards death through starvation... And then, at her lowest point, the moment that changed her life - her meeting with Aijou.
The drug had sparked her love, she was sure of that, now. And yet, even when the last vestiges of the drug were gone, her love remained. He was gentle, kind, and caring... And he had saved her life. L'Valin lowered her head, unable to meet L'Sala's gaze. "Mew... I know you think me a fool, sister, but... I loved him. I love him still."
"Mrr... I do not think you a fool, sister. Not at all."
L'Sala shook her head. "Mrr... No, L'Valin. You loved him despite his being a horse. You loved him for the gentle soul he showed you - the same gentle soul all his people have, in truth. That is not foolish. It is beautiful. Though many may think we Mentalts have no emotion, we have hearts and can love, as any other she-cat," she said, glancing down to her two kits which quietly suckled at her breasts, then smiling at L'Valin. "Mrr... Now, do go on with your story, sister."
L'Valin smiled back, and after a moment, resumed her tale. She told how they traveled overland for weeks, then finally were captured by the forces of T'Zama T'Mrr. So told how she had worked with Aijou, and slowly regained her true powers though his calming touch, and her love for him. Finally, she spoke of the day he told her he did not love her - though her heart was breaking, she found she loved him still. And then, when he killed T'Zama T'Mrr to protect her, nearly dying himself, she realized that he loved her back. Either he could not admit to himself that he loved her in return, or he simply had lied to her, again to protect her.
"Mrr? To protect you? How?"
"Mew... He already has a mate, L'Sala. Though his people allow polygamy, I believe it is possible he may know that I could never live with such an arrangement. To know that I share his heart with another, and that his love will never truly be mine and mine alone... I think he knew that was something simply not possible for me, and wanted to spare me the heartache."
"Mrr... Perhaps..." L'Sala replied, reaching out a paw to take L'Valin's paw in hers, and squeeze gently. "Mrr... So now what, sister? Where will you go?"
L'Valin sighed. "Mew... I do not know. I cannot return to T'Masa... I have been cast out, like you. I shall never see my mother, my grandmother, or any of my friends ever again. I have no place to go, L'Sala, and none to go to... Well... Perhaps one..." L'Valin replied, her voice drifting off into silence. L'Valin shook her head. "Mew... If he would have me. I walked away from him. He may not be willing to forgive that."
"Mrow? Who would not forgive this, L'Valin?"
L'valin shook her head. "Mew... Just a tom I know, L'Sala. We shared a moment... But I doubt he will wish to see if that moment might be stretched into a lifetime."
L'Sala gazed at L'Valin silently for a long moment. Finally, she squeezed her paw again. "Mrr... Then stay with me, my sister. Perhaps you will meet a tom from among R'Narr's vassals... Captain D'Kith, R'Narr's aide-de-camp, has no mate. He is also a wonderful tom... Perhaps-"
L'Valin shook her head. "Mew... No, L'Sala. I must go back... I must go back and ask if a tender moment might be stretched into a lifetime. I must ask him... And if he will not forgive my walking away from him, then I will join you here."
"Mrr? Who is he, L'Valin?"
"Mew... No one you would know, sister," L'Valin replied quietly.
"Mrr... Tell me, please."
L'Valin looked up into L'Sala's eyes, and was silent for a long moment. Finally, she nodded, and told her.
L'Valin expected L'Sala to object, to try to change her mind - something. Yet, she did not. L'Sala simply gazed back for a long moment in silence, then slowly smiled. "Mrr... Well, before you return, then, let us at least see if we can't get you something better to wear. You certainly won't turn his eye dressed like a horse-slave."
L'Valin blinked. "Mrow? You... You do not object? You have no plea to get me to change my mind?"
L'Sala smiled. "Mrr... Well, perhaps if you were anyone other than my sister-Mentalt, I might. Yet, you are who you are - and we are who we are, whether we are accepted by those in T'Masa Keep or not. You are a Mentalt, L'Valin, and your judgement is likely as reliable as my own," L'Sala replied, and paused. "Mrr... Would you keep in touch with me? By letter, at least?"
L'valin smiled. "Mrow! Of course, L'Sala."
L'Sala smiled. "Mrr... Good - then a contact such as him would be useful to my mate - and a contact such as my mate would be useful to him, as well. His network of rumormongers is likely to be very well-informed... And information is worth more than gold, as you well know. And with a Mentalt such as you at his side, helping him, advising him, and guiding him... Well, he is likely to find himself on the brink of more power and wealth than he ever could have dreamed," L'Sala said, and grinned.
L'Valin grinned back. "Mrr... I thought so, too."
L'Sala simply squeezed L'Valin's
paw in silence afterwards, and the two she-cats shared a quiet
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