From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim
With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library
Skyday, 14th Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn
Fourth Day In the Trees
It's been only a few days since I found the strange rocky outcrop among the Fardowns. Already, I've seen such strange sights as I never thought possible. I have never seen so much greenery in all my life. Not even near the River Crescent of the Trescu were there so many plants. And such plants! Trees so high I can hardly see their tops. Flowers that bloom in every color imaginable. I have even with my own eyes seen a plant that moved of its own accord, trapping flies1. Truly, this is a wondrous place.
But it is not a place without hazards, I found out this morning. I was walking down the path (and who makes these paths, I wonder? Something to find out later2 when I saw a strange beast peering at me through the bushes. In aspect, it was similar to the great cats that roam the moorlands, though with a coat of dappled orange and black, rather than mottled brown. However, it was smaller, and I made the mistake of thinking it was thus less dangerous. I decided to approach it, thinking that if I could tame it, I might have a companion for my journey. No sooner did I reach toward it than it flung itself at me, nearly knocking me over as it scraped at me with its terrible claws. It went through the thick robes I wore as though they were lightest silk. Only through providence and my thick hide was I saved from terrible damage. As it was, I have many deep scratches and cuts that I must tend to, lest they sour. I was finally able to grasp the cat by its neck and kill it3.
After it was dead, I heard a soft mewling. I moved the bushes near where the cat had hidden itself, and discovered the reason for her ferocity. Yes, her, for I found two kittens there, obviously of the same kind. I felt shame at that moment, for who could fault a mother for protecting her young? If I had left well enough alone, we should both be alive, and these kittens would have their mother. Now I was left with a problem.
What was to happen to these two little creatures? If I left them, they would surely starve, or be eaten by some other predator. But what do I know of caring for these creatures? Still, what is done is done. I knew there was only one decision I could live with. I took the two of them and placed them inside of my haversack, and carried them with me. As I sit by the fire, they watch me with shining eyes. They do not understand what has happened, nor can they know my intentions toward them. But they do not shy away when I touch them, and nor do they bite or claw me when I pick them up. I have named one of them Souja4, and the other Martap5. They will need both to survive. I hope I have done the right thing.