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The Cat Captain's Coffers

By Devin Reid

 “Is it true, Quartermaster?”

“A wealth beyond our wildest fantasies, mate.  A fortune from the exotic corners of this lush world, and a share for each of us, soon...” The quartermaster leaned in, whispering.


And those words pricked a pair of cunning ears on the far side of the room.  A figure moved gracefully across a crowded room towards the sailor’s table.  An image of delicate tattered cloth and rusted trinkets attached to straps of leather, intertwined into a skirt that seemed to flow like the calm, clear waters in the bay.  A simple violet top strapped around delicate shoulders, matched a head of lavender, wild, loose curls flowing almost halfway to the floor.  A faded palette of colors mirrored the spectrum of the seas, clashing with a bright gold chain draped around a dirty neck.  The chain carried a pristine charm of a portal, gold-shining, swaying softly as the figure slithered.


Her name was Fiona Faund, owner of The Urchins Kiss, Kazan’s premier harborside tavern.  The tavern was busy tonight, as it was every night a sailing vessel docked at the small trading outpost.  These nights were her favorite, for the men and women coming from the sea would be setting sail soon, and if the travelers would wake with empty pockets, they would never suspect anything more than a sloppy night of drinking.  Those who rarely return, rarely ask questions after all. 

 She approached the men, placing two glistening drinks on the table. Before they could even speak, an effervescent cloud of jade mist burst from the pair of gem studded goblets, wandering quickly into their lungs.  The two sailors, rowdy and excited to be on land after weeks at sea, looked curiously at their steaming drinks. Any tension the men felt was gone now, and the sailors looked at Fiona with glazed eyes, relaxed, and smiled.


“How about another round, boys?” The barmaid smirked as the sailors nodded in agreement.  She snickered as the Quartermaster emptied his coin purse onto the table. “Why, how generous of you, but I’ll be taking that glistening key from your belt instead.”

The men looked at each other, silently nodding again in agreement.  Without hesitation or question, the Quartermaster slid his key ring across the table.  Fiona smiled again as she sauntered back behind the bar, opening a wooden drawer containing many keys and placed this one on top of the others. 

This wasn't the first time something like this happened at The Urchin's Kiss. In fact, this was quite a regular occurrence, for Fiona Faund was an enchantress.  

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A full moon rose over the small, hidden bay of Kazan.  The moon lit her face as Fiona peaked out of a dark alley.  Lanterns danced like fireflies up and down the gangplank of a mighty caravel ported at the very end of the harbor.  With a deep breath, she pulled a hood over her head, and stepped out onto the docks.  With a flick of her wrist, a sudden breeze extinguished every lantern in the harbor.  And from her other hand, as if she had done this many nights before, erupted a massive cloud of grey fizzling mist from her fingertips. The waves crashing against the dock calmed to a still. Towering far into the sky, the mist formed a smothering wall around Fiona. The cloud floated ominously towards the end of the dock as her tattered boots glided silently within it.

One by one, the sailors working the dock fell into a deep slumber as they inhaled the salted-rose scented mist, crashing lifelessly onto wooden planks. Fiona looked up in awe as the ship’s strange and intricately carved railing disappeared into the enveloping mist.    With a brisk dash up the gangplank, she began her assault.  

The deck steamed with eerie silence. Fiona, seeing the ship's crew resting peacefully in precarious positions around the deck, smiled wide.  As she stepped towards the Captain’s door, she even spotted the Quartermaster from earlier that evening, slumped lazily over a barrel of brandy.  The girl peered shyly into the dark room as she opened the door.

 Fiona was startled by a massive creature, passed out on a desk of scattered maps.   Her eyes widened and her stomach dropped in horror, for she, nor anyone on this continent had ever encountered a man who was also a tiger.  A loud yet delicate purr resonated from the ornately-garbed catlike figure she assumed was their Captain. Woven like a tapestry in a castle, he wore a rich coat of red and gold.  A pair of matching trousers fit delicately around his powerful feline legs, tucked into his gold-buckled red boots.  The intricate patterns of his garb cast a spell over Fiona.  

A movement broke her gaze. 

The Cat Captain’s tail swiped heavily across the wooden floor behind the desk.  Her attention fell to a small locked hatch in the corner of the room, now uncovered. The enchantress held her breath, crouching low as she snuck past the sleeping cat. Fiona removed the Quartermaster’s glistening key from her pouch, and inserted it into the hatch’s lock.  Pausing again, she looked back to the sleeping Captain as the small wooden door creaked open. 

The enchantress glided without a sound down the rungs of a sturdy ladder, into an unexplainably large room. Piles of gold and gems as tall as she, towered into an endless ceiling flowing like waves throughout the chamber.  She lifted a handful of strangely marked coins from the ground, carefully appraising them. Fiona stuffed her pockets as she traversed the winding labyrinth that was the Cat Captain’s Coffers. She turned a bend and her eyes froze on a pile of the most exquisite fabrics she had ever seen. 

 

Her mother was a poor seamstress, who only ever had access to raw linens, basic dyes, and sailcloth.  To Fiona, these fabrics were worth much more than all the gold she could stuff into her pockets.  With a heave, she slung a bolt of shimmering gold chenille bursting with blooming tulips and swirled with swaying leaves, over her shoulder. 


The door to the Captain’s quarters shut quietly behind Fiona as she escaped.  On her way back to the gangplank, Fiona stopped as she passed the Quartermaster, draped like a rug over the barrel. Grabbing a tuft of this hair, she lifted his head towards the sky. With a quick kiss of his forehead, she whispered,

“You guys need better security around here, but at least you're kind of cute. Thanks for the help Barrel Boy.”

 

The Quartermasters head fell as she reached into the pouch on her belt. Fiona produced the glistening hatch key and tucked it gently into the hair behind his ear. With a smile of satisfaction, she carried the bolt of fabric down to the mist filled docks. 

Back in the Captain’s quarters, a sinister smile crept up the face of the ‘sleeping’ cat Captain as his piercing blue eyes slid open in the dark.

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The morning sun pierced into the Urchin’s Kiss’ through stained windows as Fiona cleaned up the mess from the night before.  While scrubbing a table, the front door of the tavern creaked open gracefully. Seven foot tall, the Cat Captain filled the doorframe, ducking his feathered red hat as he entered the tavern. Her eyes met his, boring into her like gemstones of unimaginable power. 

With a furtive flick of her wrist, she cast a most alluring charm on the massive cat pirate standing at the entrance to the bar.  Her fingers twitched behind her back, spilling a purple mist that quickly shrouded the cat’s head. A glow emerged from beneath his rich red and gold coat, as a faint trail of the mist slipped furtively towards the light. The calm tiger glanced at his chest, adjusted his coat and smirked back at her.

“I believe you have something that I seem to be missing,” the Cat Captain said softly.

Confusion washed over her as the beast spoke her language nearly perfectly. It was also usually not the kind of question a charmed target would offer. The girl's magic hadn’t failed her in years.  She knew well if anything, her spells were a bit too potent at times.  She brushed off the strange question, and slipped into a slithering tone.

“Captain, I presume.  I would have thought you and your crew would have embarked already. “ She said, looking nervously out the window towards the harbor.  “I’m not quite sure what you are looking for. Why don't you have a seat? Perhaps I can pour you a drink and you can tell me all about whatever it is you are missing.”

She gestured to a stool at the end of the bar, nearest the door.  The Cat Captain glanced around the room for a bit, seeming to think to himself, and with a nod, he smiled and moved to the bar.  The stool creaked under the weight of the cat, as he shifted to remove his red feathered hat.  The cat remained silent as Fiona poured a drink in front of him.  With a whisper, a charmed green mist fizzled from the goblet as the Captain sipped it.  Again, the subtle glow from beneath his jacket pulsed and then faded. She held her breathing for a moment, but then the tiger looked softly at her and smiled. Fiona relaxed, and asked,

“So tell me exactly what you are missing?” 

“A key.”  He said, staring intensely at the portal necklace around her neck. 

“Ah, of course, let me see if I found anything last night.” She said, smiling. Opening the drawer full of keys behind the bar, she pretended to rummage for a moment, and then produced a dull iron key. This might be easier than she thought.

The Cat Captain stared blankly at the bar as she slid the key in front of him.  

“This is what you are looking for, isn’t it?” Fiona said firmly, almost commanding.  

His eyes looked to hers, quickly down the portal necklace she wore, and back to her eyes. 

“I suppose it is what I am looking for.” He said plainly, nodding repeatedly as he took the key from the bartop. 

“The drinks are on the house.  Don’t you think you should be leaving now, my friend?” she said motioning to the door. 

 Gently taking him by the arm of his thick red coat, she took his hat from the bar with her other hand.  The Cat Captain smiled softly as he stood up from the bar, and Fiona guided him towards the exit.  Stopping just before the doorway, he turned to her, saying,

 “Thank you for all of your help and hospitality.”

The enchantress nodded, trying to hold back her grin.  She was not short for a human, but this cat was at least seven foot tall.  An empty crate next to the doorway served as the perfect stool, as Fiona jumped gracefully onto it with the cat’s hat in hand.  Delicately, she placed the red tricorn onto the Cat Captain’s furry head.

“The weather should be clear tonight I think,” she smiled as she peered out of the window above the door at the Captain’s ship, “You know, it seems like a great time to embark on your next…” 

With a blindingly quick strike, The Cat Captain dropped his charade in an instant. Interrupting her sly words, the clawed creature snatched Fiona firmly by the strong chain of her golden necklace.  She wobbled on the crate beneath her as he pulled her close, and snarled,

“Where did you get this?”

Unable to move or escape, she struggled lightly as her face washed with panic.  Stuttering she cried, 

“My magic… but, how.. those charms are fl..flawless.  Wh..who are you and what do you want with me?”

His tone slipped halfway back to the calm flowing voice he held just minutes before.

“How about I pour you a drink, and we can try this again?”

Releasing the grip from her necklace, Fiona fumbled off of the crate, catching herself clumsily.   Reorienting herself, the girl watched as the Cat Captain walked casually past her, behind the bar, as if nothing had happened.  He looked around the bar for a moment, finding a bottle, and two glasses. 

Fiona looked to the door, and then back to the bar where the cat-man stood waiting.  She knew she could escape easily, but the enchantress was a curious one.  Why does this strange creature come seeking something so specific? And so dear to her?  Sheepishly, she moved to the bar, slipping into the chair warmed recently by the cat himself.  Eyes locked, the Cat Captain filled the cup before her, and then his own. 

“So, Where did you get that necklace?” He asked casually.

“Family heirloom,”  She snapped quickly. Then changing the subject, asked, “How did you resist my magic?”

He seemed to think for a moment, lingering over a long sip from his glass.  With a nod to himself, he removed his gold embroidered red coat, hanging it on a wooden brace on the wall behind the bar.  Beneath his coat, a large brown leather bandolier crossed his body.  The sling held nine spherical pouches, each as large as a fist.  In each pouch, a perfect circular hole was cut out on the outward facing side, displaying nine shimmering stones of different patterns and colors, each filling the pouches perfectly.  He unbuckled the bandolier, removing it from his chest, and laid it out on the bar in front of Fiona.  This was his life’s work,  and she could see in his eyes that this belt of stones was more valuable than anything in the world to the cat-man.   She considered snatching it and trying to run, but it was clearly too heavy for her small frame to make away with easily.  

“Perhaps I can demonstrate.” he said, placing his open paws out to his side. “Why don’t you try again, eh?” 

“You fool!” She laughed, smiling crazily as she stood up quickly from the chair, sliding it backwards. “You underestimate my power.”

Fiona clasped both of her hands together, and with a murmuring chant, slowly pulled her hands apart.  As she did this, a pearlescent bubble grew between her fingers as she spread her arms wider and wider.    Within the watery sphere, a spectral mist formed into a sparking figure of an  electric eel.  One of her most potent spells, the power of lighting flowing through the eel could melt clear through armor, flesh, and bone.  The bar began to quiver as she completed her spell, finally launching the bubble directly towards the Cat Captain’s head.  The bubble burst as it collided with the massive cat-man, shrouding his entire body in a thick fog.  Fiona smiled as the mist eel went to work, weaving in and out of the fog. Bottles shattered as sparks and bolts of plasma shot wildly from the cloud across the Urchin’s Kiss.  Her smile turned again into curious concern, as she noticed something strange happening on the bar.  One of the stones tucked into the Cat Captain’s bandolier, began to glow a fierce and brilliant red.  Even stranger, the cloud behind the bar seemed to be funneling quickly into the stone.  With the eel’s sparking tail leading, the stone began to quickly slurp up the shimmering creature, until a final burst of sparks extinguished the spell. The mist formed creature disappeared into the red light.   

As the fog cleared, the cat’s silhouette began to materialize.  His eyes came first, so calmly gazing into hers still, he looked almost proud.  The cat Captain sipped casually on his drink, never breaking contact with the Enchantress.  He smirked, a smile of arrogance and cunning. 

“If only your whiskey was as strong as your magic.” The Cat said, finally breaking eye contact and shaking his head as he inspected the glass he held.

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Her eyes were wide. Shock and disbelief could not even describe how she felt in that moment.   Humbled by the wild display from the Cat and his belt of stones, she quietly pulled her stool back to the bar, and sat down. With a sigh, Fiona raised her glass with a nod to the Captain, knocking half the whiskey back.

                                                                                                                                    

“When I was young, I met a daring girl back on Tigros, my home land.  She had in her possession a fabled Tigran artifact, one of nine stones created by our ancestors to protect our land from an ancient evil. We became.. close and together we embarked on a quest to obtain each of the Nine Lives of Tigros.  These stones before you, took many years to collect and many more to understand. Each of my little friends here possesses quite a unique power. Let me introduce you.“

The Cat Captain gestured to a crackled pale orange stone, explaining 

“This is The Citrine Cypher, also known as the Ambassador.   It lets me speak and understand any language, with a remarkable degree of accuracy.   I recently had a lovely chat with a dragon, and this stone is how we are communicating at this very moment.”

As he spoke, the Citrine Cypher pulsed with a faint but warm glow.  He gestured to the stone to the Citrine Cypher’s right, the one that just ate her conjured eel.   Brilliant and almost perfectly polished, the stone was a deep pinkish red, and as the light caught it, a star formed from whatever angle you looked upon the stone’s surface.  

“This one has been quite helpful today, The Star of the Sandspring.  Tigran legend blames this stone for destroying an entire race of my people, absorbing the life energy from them, and everything around them for hundreds of miles, leaving only a barren desert behind.  I have found no such wild magic from it yet, but who knows what the Sandspring clerics were trying to do with it.  As far as I have found, The Star absorbs any and all magic cast within a small radius.  It’s power seems to feed the other stones, bolstering the magnitude of their effects, so I suppose I should thank you for the contribution.  You know, on behalf of the stones.”

Fiona’s face turned sour, feeling more tricked than outmatched.  

“You must not be much of a wizard yourself, then.” Fiona remarked, then asked curiously, “Did you feel anything at all? Were you even asleep on the boat?”

The Cat Captain shook his head and shrugged playfully.

 “Do not worry my friend, your magic is still quite sharp.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rather silly ways my crew members had fallen over themselves, a magnificent display of power, surely.   But, no, I have felt no effects of magic in years. Ah! I almost forgot your key.”

The Cat Captain produced the dull iron key Fiona had given him from his coat’s pocket behind him.  He gestured to a third stone. Brilliant green, swirled with a rich display of pinks and purples,  this fluorite sphere resembled some wondrous galaxy, tucked far away into the deep mysteries of the night sky.

“This one is dear to me.  The Abolitionist is its proper name, a symbol of freedom to the Boulderpaw Tigrans to whom it used to belong.  I have named it, Pi’pa, after an old friend of mine.  It can open any lock, no matter the strength or complexity. It can disarm any trap, at least anything physical.  I have even seen Pi’pa destroy barricades before."

He smiled as he lightly tossed the dull iron key to Fiona, saying.  

 

“So I most certainly will not be needing this, but I greatly appreciate such a sly gesture.”

“You said you were looking for a key, it seems like your little ‘Pee’po’ should take care of that for you.” She said, mockingly.

“Our journey has been long, but is not quite over yet.  I am on the last leg of my quest. You see, I have mastered all but one of them. Look closely, perhaps you might have some unique insight.”  He purred, gesturing to the last stone on the bandolier.

 The stone was a sleek, black obsidian, inlaid with an unnaturally perfect solid gold portal.  Fiona’s heart stopped for a moment, then burst into a panic.  Questions began to flood her brain like a typhoon. Her hands quivered as she reached to touch it, gently running her fingers along the golden portal, the same golden portal that hung from the chain around her neck. 

“The Wayfarer is said to be the link to other worlds beyond our own. I have struggled to figure out how to use it. I am seeking answers and my travels have led me here, to your charming little bar.”

“I see.” Fiona muttered calmly, thinking for a moment. “What happened to the girl?”

The smug smile left the cat’s face, looking to the ground as he replied, “She disappeared about halfway through our adventure.  Taken or deserted, I do not know.  This was her quest, not mine.  I cannot believe she would just leave without taking the stones. She was obsessed.  I returned from the forest one evening, and she was just gone.”

“And what do I have to do with this?”

“All that remained in the room when I returned from the forest was the stones, and small fortune of gold dust, blasted against the wall in the shape of a portal.  This shape, this portal, has haunted me for more than a decade.  First I find the Wayfarer, and now you. I seem to be onto something.  I could kill you now, and take the necklace off your neck, but you have proven to be impressively resourceful.   I would like to enlist your services aboard my crew, and in exchange, I will spare your life.” 

“I am perhaps as curious as you are about this, but why would I put my life in the… paws of a pirate?”  She said, looking down at his razor clawed fingers.

“Pirate? I’m offended.” The Cat Captain said, grasping his chest dramatically, “We both know your time in this town is running out.”

The Cat Captain pointed across the bar to a closet on the far wall.  The door half open, a disheveled man had fallen from the hutch during the commotion of Fiona’s massive spell onto the tavern’s floor.  The charmed man mumbled to himself, as his eyes faded in and out of consciousness.  Her sturdy policy of only charming travelers, seemed to be becoming more of a guideline than a rule. The enchantress’s powers were slowly scuttling her own operation. 

“You are getting sloppy, my friend.  That man is no sailor, and by the way he’s dressed, definitely not one of mine.  It would be quite a shame if the people of Kazan were to discover your secret.”

Fiona refused to look at the man stuffed in the closet behind her, taking a final sip of her whiskey.  She knew he was right, The Urchin’s Kiss never seemed to stay open longer than a few seasons in any one place before she was run out of town.  This did not scare her though, not much seemed to.   Hard and dangerous, Fiona felt comfortable in this lifestyle, and the chaotic cycle of reinvention.  She knew she could leave everything and rebuild the bar, and herself, anywhere she went. She could rebuild it again and again and again.  Nothing could stop her, not even this towering feline beast before her. But the question still lingered, could there be another way?

The enchantress stood up from her chair and backed away from the bar, as the cat Captain stepped out from behind it. 
Fiona lifted her nose and snarled, “Your threats mean nothing to me, kitten. I’ve made my own luck and I don’t need you or anyone.”


“So be it.” The Captain growled, unsheathing his rapier from his belt.


With a snap of her fingers, Fiona was engulfed in a burst of mist. As the fog cleared, the enchantress had vanished.  All that remained was a tiny white crab with purple spikes, skittering quickly towards a crack in the floorboards. His eyes followed the scampering crustacean across the room.  Sheathing his weapon, he chuckled lightly to himself.  

 After a quick and masterful rumage of the tavern, the cat Captain reclaimed the bolt of  golden tulip fabric from atop of one of the rafters that was his. Well, questionably so.  The door to the bar creaked open and the Quartermaster and a few other crewmen walked into the bar laughing and chattering.  They fell silent when they found their Captain inside the tavern.

“Captain, you said you were off to town for a bit, didn’t expect to find you in here though.” the Quartermaster said, surprised.

“Ahh I just stopped in for a drink, it seems the place is a bit empty though.” The Cat Captain said, turning to face them.  

“Did you find what you were lookin’ for cap’n?” one of the sailors asked.

With a nod, the cat said,  “I found much more today than I ever expected.”  

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It took the purple horned crab only a few minutes to reach the edge of Kazan, zip down to the beach, and then to the bluffs north of town.  After a masterful sideways scramble about ten feet above the cliff face, the crab came to a ledge with a small hole, a tiny perfectly arched doorway bore into the stone.   The archway led into a long carved tunnel, just big enough for the little crab.   The dark corridor opened into a candle lit cavern. With a squeak and a puff of steam, the crab morphed quickly back into the Enchantress. 

This was her hideout, her secret place to lay low when things got dicey. Her grotto was the size of a small room, but with no human sized doors or exits. This sanctuary could only be reached by magic and the tiny crab’s tunnel on the base of the cavern wall.   

She spent two full days in the cave, repeating the words of the cat in her head.  Pacing back and forth, Fiona spent hours trying to rationalize the pirate’s offer.  She was over this small town anyways. What did she really have to lose?  Besides, The Cat Captain’s Coffers had more treasures then she had ever seen in one place.  Perhaps she might find greater fortunes in the worlds beyond this small fishing village.  She had never been a sailor, but she did learn her magic from the sea itself.   

She stood with the portal necklace in her hands, staring at it somberly.  

 

In her heart, there was no decision to be made. She had to go.  This necklace, this portal, was all that remained of her family, of her past. Fiona assumed the portal was some kind of family crest. Throughout her entire life, she had never seen this symbol that, anywhere else, until, the swaggering Cat Captain laid the sleek black obsidian stone before her, two days before.   A link to her past, perhaps she too could find answers within The Wayfarer.

Out of the tiny crack in the cliff face, the small crab emerged, skittering down the rocks to the smooth beach below.   As the morning sun warmed the sand, the crab transformed once more into the enchantress.  Smoke billowed from Kazan in the distance, and concern turned her morning stroll back to town into a jog, and then into a sprint.  Her boots skidded in the dirt to a halt stopping on the corner, about a block from The Urchins Kiss.  Townsfolk, angry and chanting, gathered around her bar, throwing torches and breaking windows.  She clenched her fists and growled as she saw the word “Witch” painted crudely over the delicately carved sign hanging outside of The Urchin’s Kiss.  She watched helplessly as the angry mob lit the building ablaze.

The enchantress ducked behind the building on the corner, peering out to the scene.   On the building's corner, a town board collaged with scraps of paper and parchments caught her eye.  A large sign, freshly posted on the board over all of the other papers, displayed a picture of a girl.  Fiona assumed it was her, judging by some similar features between her and the illustration.  She pulled the poster from the wall, inspecting it closer.  

 A colossal bounty printed neatly on parchment demanded the head of the Enchantress Fiona Faund, owner of The Urchin’s Kiss.  At the end of the decree, a wax stamp bearing the royal seal of some foreign king from across the sea seemed as odd to her as the fresh ink staining her fingers.  As she stood reading the document in puzzled disbelief, the mob spotted her, and the crowd began to move towards her.

She turned to run back to the beach, but her path was cut off by the angry, screaming villagers.  A chase began. She ran down alleys and darted across streets, doging groups of the surrounding villagers.  The crowd funneled her towards the harbor.  The dirt road beneath her feet ran out, stopping abruptly before the weathered boardwalk. Fiona looked on to the end of the dock, The Cat Captain’s shining caravel floating calmly at the very end of the pier.  She was cornered now, with nowhere left to run but to the end of the dock.

“Well look who it is, my favorite little crustacean.” The Cat Captain mocked, standing on the gangplank of the ship.  Fiona gasped for breath as she approached the end of the pier.  He glanced up to the approaching mob, filling onto the docks, looked back to her and asked, “Have you changed your mind?” 

Fiona stopped and looked back at the horde of grimey villagers rushing towards her.  Dirt, ragged plain clothes, and missing teeth; the world she knew seemed so bleak all of a sudden. She looked back to the cavalier Captain, outreaching his paw-like hand. Fiona was just now beginning to truly see the magnificence of the tall feline creature. The short soft fur on  his angular face, bristled gently in the harbor breeze as he stood so effortlessly.  The cuffs of his deep red jacket were bright and pristine.  Every inch of the creature shimmered with gold, from the buckles of his red boots to the cheeky fanged smile she wanted to knock off his face.   The decrepit town was no match for the hope glistening in the Cat Captain’s deep blue eyes.


“Come now, we haven't all day, darling” The Cat Captain demanded, waving her up the gangplank.


With a sigh, she ran up the gangplank and grasped the Captain’s soft paw.   He pulled her with an uncanny strength onto the ship and kicked the wooden board into the water, as the ship’s crew launched gracefully from the harbor into the bay.

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Fiona leaned over the ship’s rail, watching smoke rise from The Urchan’s Kiss in the distance as Kazan moved further and further into the horizon.  

“You can leave us whenever you please, but you know, we can never quite go back to who we used to be.” A soft voice purred behind her. “Here is a gift to celebrate your new life. It should fit you perfectly.”

The cat Captain extended to her a kilt, neatly pleated all around, with a golden chain draped across the waistline and a bustier, low cut with bold shining buckles holding thick shoulder straps, was slit down the center, tied together by golden chain woven through matching golden grommets. Tailored with precision, the glowing ivory and gold fabric had been simply cloth just a day before.  
Her eyes gleamed with excitement, holding the stack of garments. 

“Who are you?” the enchantress asked.
“Captain Felix Fenclaw, at your service.” The cat-man bowed, removing his gilded tricorn.

She smiled, placed the garments on a barrel next to her, and pulled from her belt the rolled poster she took from the town board.  She slammed it on an adjacent barrel, unraveling the wax stamped scroll. 

After a pause, Fiona looked towards Kazan and spoke, “Magic destroyed everything here many years ago. There are no kings of these lands anymore, Captain.  Only entropy.”

“No,” He said, reaching into his coat pocket. He produced a forged wax stamp bearing the seal of some foreign king, and tossed it to her, “Only fools.”

She laughed as she inspected the wax stamp, “A pretty impressive forgery, mister Felix, You even spelled my name right.  But we have to talk about this picture.  It looks nothing like me!”

“I would have nailed it, but ‘Barrel Boy’ over here insisted he give it a go. We are not sure if your spell has worn off of him yet.” He said, gesturing to The Quartermaster, sheepishly waving at her from behind the Cat Captain. 
She noticed the crew, all equally as well dressed and pristine as the cat himself, began to appear scattered all around the deck.  With a smile and a wink, the Captain declared,

 “Fiona Faund, welcome aboard our vessel, The Swordfish.”

The crew began to roar with cheers and applause for their new crewmate.  Captain Fenclaw leaped swiftly onto a crate addressing the entire crew, howling loudly over the boisterous crowd,

“Come on you devils, let’s show her what real whiskey tastes like!”

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