(Book I of the Oerth Cycle)
(C) 1999 BY
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Tinker stepped past the guard, and down into the dungeon of the castle. He'd been this way many times in the last month - as T'Vril became more and more proficient in speaking his language instead of the snarling, mrowling language of her own or the growling, rumbling language of the mus, she had become much more interesting to talk to. Of course, in the last week, she had become pretty much the only person he could talk to. Merle would never forgive him for breaking her toy, and it was obvious she didn't understand how important it was to keep the secrets of the mice as secrets. After tonight's fiasco, it was also obvious Merle never wanted to have a conversation with him again.
Tinker looked over at the cat, through the bars of the cell she was in. She was sleeping quietly, curled into a tight ball of fur. Tinker wondered briefly if he should wake her up, but then decided that if he didn't, he wouldn't have anyone to talk to tonight, and he needed to talk to someone, after all. "Hey. T'Vril. Wake up. I want to talk to you."
"Mrr?" T'Vril replied, sleepily.
"Wake up! I want to talk to you!" Tinker tried, a little louder.
T'Vril blinked, uncurling from her ball-shape, and stretched sinuously. Tinker smiled - this was the one reason he enjoyed waking her up. She always slept nude, her single garment the mus had given her to wear folded up carefully and set aside. Tinker found her very interesting to look at.
T'Vril yawned widely, flexing her fingers and toes, and Tinker blanched slightly at the sight of all her teeth and claws. T'Vril had no nice, rounded molars for grinding and chewing proper foods like grain or roots - her teeth were all designed for ripping, tearing and slicing flesh. Her fingers weren't tipped with sturdy little utilitarian claws like his, meant for helping him to manipulate things and scratch himself once in awhile. No, her fingers and toes were tipped with retractable, wickedly sharp, curved claws meant for ripping and tearing. T'Vril had let Tinker examine her fingers one day, and the claw was actually part of the last digit on her fingers and toes, sliding our from it's sheath when she tensed her fingers the right way. Tinker found he could also make them come out by pressing on the back, making the little bone in the end of her finger rotate. T'Vril had explained that when they were talking about de-clawing her months ago, they had meant literally snipping off the last joint her fingers and toes. This would have made it very difficult for her to walk, much less to use her paws. Tinker had thought that was immensely cruel, and T'Vril explained that it was only one of a host of indignities the mus did to the poor cats.
Finally, T'Vril blinked again and stretched from the cot, sliding smoothly to the floor and moving up to the bars. She pressed her muzzle gently between the bars, parting her lips, and lapped once at Tinker's toes, purring loudly. She did this quickly so the guard wouldn't notice the contact, and smiled slyly when she saw be wasn't even looking. "Purrr.... Good morning, Oh, Great Lord Tinker. Or is it morning? It seems still quite dark through the window of my little cell."
"It's a little after midnight. I came because I needed to talk to you," Tinker said, and pulled up a stool to sit outside her cell.
"Mrr? To me, Great Lord? You flatter me," T'Vril said, smiling and lying down alongside the bars on her side. She propped her head up on a paw, and rested the other paw on her shapely hip.
"Yes, to you. I don't think Merle is ever going to talk to me again. You're the only person left who I can talk to anymore other than Xaa - and he hates me."
T'Vril lifted herself up, looking around nervously. Her ears were flat to her head, her eyes were wide and her tail lashed in fear. "Mrowl! Xaa?! Is he here?"
"No, no. The big lummox is probably asleep, for all I know, but he's not here," Tinker replied, making a face.
T'Vril relaxed, and smoothly resumed her reclining position, laying on her side. "Purrrrr... Thank you, Great Lord. I was frightened, but you reassured me, as you always do. So what is it you wanted to talk to me about, Great Lord Tinker?"
"I had a bad encounter with Merle earlier this week. I think I told you about that."
"Purr... Yes, Great Lord. You tried to prevent her from giving away the secrets she had wrongfully stolen from your people. You smashed the evil toy with your hammer! Then you spat at her that she could either wake up to reality and go home with you as your proper mate, or stay here with the evil mus, for you intended to finish your airship and leave these accursed lands! So brave, so strong, my Great Lord! It sent a thrill down my spine to hear you tell the tale," T'Vril said, running her fingers idly over her hip.
"Well, she didn't understand. Those are our secrets, not hers. They're not to be given away."
"Purr... Of course not, Great Lord. You were correct, as always."
"Thank you," Tinker replied, grinning. "Well, anyway... Tonight, I tried to apologize to her."
"Mrr? Why would you do that, Great Lord?" T'Vril asked, blinking.
"Well, she is... Was, rather, my friend. I didn't want her to be mad at me, I wanted her to understand I had to do it. She's also the only other person I can really talk to, and she's my only contact with home," Tinker explained sadly.
"Purr... I see, Great Lord. You sought to explain to her that you had to act as you did. She was, after all, wrong where you were right. But I take it from your expression this did not go well? Perhaps her mind was too narrow to accept that you were right where she was wrong?"
"Well, yes, kinda. She yelled at me, and told me to just go home without her. She also said she knew that her people were our slaves - at least the one thing to be thankful for is that she doesn't want to go home and tell all her people what she knows. How a little dope like her figured it out, I don't know, but she did. They're all very dumb, really. Did you know her people use a binary number system instead of decimal? Ones and naughts - that's all. Four symbols to write out '10'. Six symbols to write out '20'. And the symbols they use are our symbols - they didn't have a written language before we found them. They can hardly understand proper numbers at all, despite us trying to teach them for ages. Very dumb. Why, she even told me this insane story about how the mus were really my people, just... Changed, somehow."
T'Vril blinked again. "Mrr? Changed, Great Lord? Changed how?"
"I don't know. She said something about them having come from a branch of our people that split off when you cats came and conquered us and made us into slaves and food. They lived on an island in the Great Eastern Sea, and one day they went to some place called the Forbidden Cave, and they all got big, like magic... It's stupid - it can't possibly be true."
T'Vril purred for a moment in her own language.
"What did you say?" Tinker asked.
"Mrowr! Forgive me, Great Lord Tinker, I merely said 'How Interesting' to myself. I meant no offense. I just thought that there might be a grain of truth to it - and if there were, that which made them large might one day make them small, in the paws of one as wise as you. Also, That which made them large might make you large, or me even larger. It was merely a thought."
"Oh. Hmm... You're right. That is an interesting thought."
"Miaow... Please, Great Lord, there is something else equally important that I need to tell you. While it is true my long distant ancestors did terrible, cruel things to your people long ago, we have changed since then. We would never do that to you now. It was not us who started this war, it was the mus. Their constant incursions into our territory became a full-scale assault, led by that evil Xaa. Oh, we drove them back, for a time, and even repaid him his evil ways by taking all his lands, but now it appears we are losing. It is sad, really, but we are at heart a peaceful people - and a sensual people. But we truly have changed, Great Lord Tinker. We recognize and accept those who are our betters when we see them, and you are the superior being. I am in awe of your wisdom, your courage, your bravery, and your great beauty," T'Vril purred.
Tinker blinked. "Me?" he asked, surprised.
"Purr... Oh, yes, Great Lord. To my eyes, you are a handsome being, proud and strong and brave. I am deeply grateful that you allow me the pleasure of licking your feet when we meet. It is my fondest wish that someday, I might stroke your magnificent tail just once, even if it meant I would die. And the thought of lying with you, of feeling you mate with me like the stud that you are... Mrowrrrrr..." T'Vril said, running her paw over her nude body as she lay there before him.
Tinker's whiskers twitched, and his tail flicked back and forth quietly. "You really find me exciting?" he asked.
"Purr... Oh, yes, Great Lord. And, unlike the silly musties or the stupid mus or even your noble people the mice, all of which only come into heat twice a year, we cats come into heat as many as five times a year. And we adore sexual congress, even when we're not in heat. Purrrr... Yes, Great Lord. I dream of lying with you, I long for your strength and power, I shudder at the thought feeling you avail yourself of me as you will... I told you, Great Lord, our people have changed. I find you powerfully attractive, and I wish to be yours," T'Vril said, still running her paw across her body.
"You want to be my mate?!" Tinker asked, surprised.
"Mrowr... No, Great Lord Tinker, for I know that I am not worthy of being your mate. I am merely a cat, a lesser being compared to your majesty, your beauty, your courage, your wisdom... No, Great Lord, I would be happy simply being your property. Your humble slave, ready, willing and eager for you to use any time you wish, living only for the pleasure of servicing your needs... Purrrrr..." T'Vril replied, her paw covering her sex and her face taking on a dreamy look, her eyes half-lidded.
Tinker licked his lips as he looked at T'Vril, and she smiled quietly in return. "You are rather... Interesting. I find the way you look to be different, but yet... Exciting. You are different from how female mice look, so much larger, of course, and different on other ways, but yet similar, and very shapely... Yes, I think that would be very nice, to lie with you. Very nice, indeed. Would you really lie with me any time I wished?"
"Purr... Of course, Great Lord. I worship you. You are so wise, so strong, so noble. I am not like that silly mustie-girl you spoke of, Merle, making you wait until her next heat, and then turning on you as she now has done. No, Great Lord, I am a cat, and I enjoy coupling frequently. It is my dream to be your humble slave, ready, willing and eager for you to use any time you wish, Great Lord," T'Vril purred, squeezing her sex gently, her eyes closed.
"Ooooo..." Tinker replied unable to say anything more. For several minutes, all he could do was watch T'Vril pleasure herself, his eyes glancing over at the guard nervously. From where the guard was seated, though, he couldn't see T'vril in her cell.
Far in the distance, Tinker could hear a faint ringing. He ignored it, his eyes locked on T'Vril's nude form. Even the faint pop which ended the ringing he never heard.
Finally, T'Vril shuddered quietly, and her eyes flew open. She looked at Tinker, and smiled. Tinker smiled back, his eyes full of lust, but then sighed. "It's too bad it's not possible. You're watched every moment. They'd never let you and I be alone, not even once," he grumbled.
"Purr... I beg to differ, Great Lord Tinker. I have a plan," T'Vril replied, and quietly explained her thoughts for several minutes.
"You would really do all that?"
"Mrr... To be with you, to be your property, to be used by you any time you wished... Oh, yes, Great Lord. Gladly."
"But-but a collar like that would never come off - neither would the mark. It would be for life."
"Purr... That is what I want, Great Lord. To be yours for as long as you shall live," T'Vril replied quietly.
"Well, okay. I'll get to work on it - but I am still working on the airship, so it may be a few days. Is that alright?" Tinker asked.
"Purrrrr... Yes, Great Lord," T'Vril replied, smoothly drawing herself to a kneeling position and bowing her head.
Tinker hopped off the stool, then walked out of the dungeon, whistling a happy little tune. T'Vril knelt there quietly, in case he should return, but he did not. Eventually, his whistling faded into silence.
T'Vril smiled wickedly, and struggled to
suppress a chortle as she slid back onto her cot. Finally, she
couldn't contain it any longer. She threw back her head in the
darkness of her cell, and laughed long, loud and hard.
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