Saturday, 25 November 2017

Chapter 9. Into the Night

It's Sunday Selfie Time...........



I'm joining the Sunday Selfies, hosted by the fantastic Kitties Blue: XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, and Cooper Murphy, from The Cat on My Head blog 


The Sunday Selfies is a wonderful weekly celebration of blogs and bloggers from across the world, and shares stories and pictures for others to enjoy. 


Why not join the fun by adding the code from our hosts, (a link is on their page) and posting your own selfie. It really is that easy...


 




This weeks selfie is........ a Backsie!


Well it does account for 50% of me so I thought it better get a look in. MOL


To see what all our other pals have been up to this week, please click the links below....



                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now, our weekly adventure of love and romance on and off the high seas, continues with:


CHAPTER 9


Into the Night!

The speed and erratic path taken by the orb was clearly devised to shake off all but the chosen user of the pearl, for no creature could have followed the course without some sort of telepathic link or bond to guide their path without falter, injury, or even death at some sharp turn or obstacle.

And so it was that as the night passed, the mighty steed was guided on the unseen path to who knows where. And whilst they were ever alert and ears twitched at forest clearings and the crossing of a track, a calmness enveloped them both as if the world was theirs and theirs alone.



The rain eased and passed behind them and with it, like a bad dream, went the memory of what had transpired at the carriage.

The first light of day found them both warm and dry from the warm air as they went along. Erin had, once the road had become straighter, managed to climb up the traces and had found she could nestle securely on some webbing behind the saddle of the driving harness.

Such sweat that had been on the stallion during and after the initial flight from the carriage, had long since been washed away by rain, and in its place stood the sleek black shiny coat and flowing mane not of a carthorse but a true king of horses. For all it's exertion it was not hot nor did it show signs of faltering in its task. In fact at times it gave a wicker as if to comfort Erin, or show pleasure at jumping some small obstacle in their path. An act that Erin wished she had had some warning of in case she had loosened her grip and took flight herself!

Some short time later the orb started to slow, and with it the steed too. Erin raised herself up, balancing like a circus performer on her hind legs and thanked herself for years of practicing balancing on the rickety old fences back home, and later the yard arm on her own ship whilst chasing mice as a spot of nipped up Saturday night entertainment.

Ahead she could make out a thinning of trees and the resultant change in the colour of the foliage and undergrowth as more light of the early day filtered in.

The orb, still glowing started to veer away from the clearing, as though hesitant of what may lay inside. Instead it started to circle at a distance such that the darkness of the canopy meant they were unseen and unheard by anyone within.

Peering inwards, Erin saw there was only grass, tuffets, and at the centre an old tree stump. There were no birds to hear, nor livestock just the odd butterfly and a white rabbit.

A white rabbit! Erin remembered what the message had said and strained to look at the little creature as it was obscured as they passed behind the trees. There it was, standing tall and proud in simple tailored waistcoat and a sparkling gold watch in its paw.

Though Erin knew they had not made a sound, in recognition of being spotted, the rabbit beckoned to them to come forth. The orb once more grew bright, but as it grew near to the centre, it's brightness diminished, along with its size, until arriving at the rabbits feet it had returned to being the black pearl.

The stallion walked calmly to a stop beside one of the larger tuffets and bending one knee allowed Erin to dismount with some ease and grace to save her stiffened limbs.

Hopping closer to Erin, paw extended in greeting the rabbit struck Erin as the best dressed rabbit she had ever seen. His waistcoat tailoring was clearly from the exclusive Saville Burrow in London, and the pocket watch was from Cattier, no less!

"Erin" he said softly, "it is I, Speedy Rabbit, come from the Southern shores of England. Valentino sent message, via Captain Basil Blackheart, to come and gain you safe passage and assistance from my American cousins along this the last part of your journey to Louisiana. We shall need to go now, for, as I am sure you may have noticed, all is quiet here too quiet. I hear tell of a strange sea mist rolling far inshore along the Mississippi and I fear for what it contains. But first I must thank your mighty fine steed, and you should too, for I think you may have forgotten to pay for your ticket!

With that Speedy withdrew two special golden sugar cubes, that sparkled in the morning light, and put one in my hand. Then he went up to the stallion and bowed. The stallion bowed in return and daintily took the cube from the rabbits paw and crunched it loudly between his teeth, rolling his eyes what looked like ecstasy.

"Ambrosia," Speedy said, "tonic of the gods, and what this guy needs right now after his last little trip. Now you give yours and mind you say his name right. A-R-I-O-N. He is the son of Demeter and Poseidon and does not give such gifts of passage lightly."

Erin, stunned by her steeds nobility and the gift he had endowed, knelt before him and, head bowed, offered up the cube before the immortal king of horses.



Arion nuzzled Erin's ear, the warm breath coursing through her very body and soul, easing the fatigue in her bones and revitalising her mind. Then, taking the cube he crunched and released a long low wicker. "Thank you Erin" he said, "that was a mighty fine cube and payment, if such were called for which it is not, for the service of one in need. Be away with you, Speedy will take you to where you need to be."

With that, Arion turned and drawing himself onto his hind legs left forwards. the harness saddle and traces that had been Erin's saviour and seat for the journey dissolved into dust that feed away in his wake.

Erin turned to see Speedy smiling and putting the watch back into his waistcoat. "we're late, Erin and you've a very Important date! Quick follow me and don't look back else you'll get lost, and I'll not be answering for that to Val." Without any more todo, Speedy disappeared down the hole and off into a new world of darkness.

The tunnel network that Speedy navigated had for the greater part been freshly dug, and Erin sensed that a lot of effort and paws would be aching on her account. She made a mental note to send some boxes of salve to Speedy's cousins and a supply of special rabbit grass as a thank you.

For any ordinary cat, the next few hours the relentless pace and increasing temperature would have been too much, but with Arion's imbued strength, Erin was able to forge on.

Occasionally they would stop and talk to a local rabbit, a custodian who held the glow worms that illuminated the tunnel and who would after they passed, collapse the tunnel behind them in case of attack from behind. There had been tell, one had told them, of the local branch of the notorious Canadian Weasel Syndicate in these parts after a bounty that had allegedly been put on Erin's ears dead over alive, by the Queen of Spains representative, namely the Cardinal Camembert.

With Speedy's help, and a sprinkling of magic, they steered a course that plunged deeper and deeper into the soil where the temperature would have been unbearable had it not been for rabbits posted along its length to fan the air through. And then, just as Erin thought it would never end, the heat dropped away and a coolness came over the tunnel.


"We're under the Mississippi" Speedy shouted back, "won't be long now before your home and dry in the sun and with Val by your side." They picked up the pace and not long after, as they started to ascend, there came a change to the air, a sweetness that meant the sea.

Speedy stopped short of what seemed to be the exit to talk to a rabbit that had come to meet them. After giving the customary head bump greeting, and exchanging pleasantries about the weather and the price of feed, they separated, the other rabbit going off down a side tunnel.

"Well Erin" Speedy said "looks like this is it. The end of the road as it were. The way is clear, according to the chap I just spoke to, and the tunnel comes out just beside the gang way, on the dock. As it's high noon there's not a soul or sailor to be seen nor any scents in the air to indicate trouble. Good luck my friend, and remember Val will arrive soon at the dock. He'll be on the Black Floof so likely as not the place will have his lookouts ready to help you aboard. Look for the black sails and all will be well.

With that and a paw shake, Speedy departed down the side tunnel and vanished into the dark. Soon after the sound of the tunnel collapsing in on itself reached Erin's ears and she knew that there was no going back. Of course it didn't matter now anyway, and all she now wanted was a bath and a warm mouse to play with and to be by Val's side.

Moving quietly upwards, Erin could smell nothing unusual in the air. There was the smell of the sea, salt and fish, and the smell of nip rum, canvas, and tar. The sounds of gently creaking ships and gulls out at sea drifted to her ears. Peering out, she saw the harbour dock and a few small shops that lined the way. With the exception of some movement in F. Franks Fresh Fast Cheese Outlet all the shops seemed to have either shut completely or were out to lunch.

There where no black sails to be seen at all in the ships that had moored, nor out at sea. There were plenty that were old and brown and tatty, and others that were newer and beige. There was even a bright white set, sparkling glistening in the midday sun, on a ship still some leagues out to sea. But no black anywhere.

Between her and the gangway were some old sea dogs laying this way and that, legs akimbo amidst their own sea of empty grog bottles. Drunk as skunks, she thought, though in all her life she had never met a more sober sailor than a skunk. In fact most were tea total on account of not having any pals. These guys were so drunk their tongues were hanging out and she swore one fly flew right through and out the other side!

This lot she could cope with and they posed little trouble to an agile cat with extra zing in her step and a lover to await.

Erin left the tunnel and strolled casually along the gangway past the dogs, picking her route to the Black Floof to go from such little patches of cooler shade as the noon sun had not managed to consume. Stopping by some barrels labelled 'Manchego La Mancha', she looked down on the mill pond still waters to check if she looked presentable.

Too late did she smell the fetid cheese in the barrels. Too late did she see the reflection of the dog that crept but behind and too late did she see the net that ensnared her. But she did see the tall cat clad in red, that came upon her struggling body. The old sea dogs tightened the net so tight and close to her body she yowled with the pain as the nets cut into her skin.




"Well Erin" the cat said, "seems like we meet at last. The queen of Spain will be pleased with this catch. Let me introduce myself, my name is Cardinal Camembert. I bet you didn't see that coming my sweet. But then, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"




DON'T miss the next thrilling chapter by Valentine, next Wednesday on the Noir Kitty Mews Blog..............











48 comments:

  1. Dear Princess Erin, Speedy is such a wonderful an dashing bunny! He was my Queen Penelope's bestest furrend. And he has been so kind since I came. I am so glad the Black Stallion Arion got you to him safe and sound, but now I worry..how will you escape the clues of Cardinal Camembert, and I sure hope the Spanish Inquisition did not bring the comfy chair....
    Purring with anticipation
    Marv

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    Replies
    1. Dear Prince Marvelous, you are right, Speedy is a great and true friend, and a fast runner MOL Who could have thought such a might steed as Arion would have come to help, I am truly in his debt though he said otherwise. That fiend Camembert has me in a pinch, for sure. I can but hope my dear Val will save the day!
      Toodle pip and purrs
      Erin

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  2. Oh y CAT this is so thrilling and what a story! So well told and SO exciting!!!

    Thank you Speedy the magnifibun and Arion the Amazing!

    The Dash Kitten Crew

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    1. Hi guys! Thanks, I am really pleased everyone is enjoying the story. Speedy and Arion are totally awesome buds to have in a crisis. Even I cant wait till the next exciting episode....
      Toodle pip and purrs
      ERin

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  3. Replies
    1. Oooh I say. Well I must have made the big time if I can match them MOL
      Toodle pip
      ERin

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  4. MOL...your backsie is so gorgeous, Erin...that makes it so YOU...MOL :D We haven't read the story yet, but will be back soon...purromise! Pawkisses for a wonderful Sunday :) <3

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Binky, good to know the back half of me still has it. MOL See you later
      Purrs and head bumps
      ERin

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  5. Gosh your backsie shows of your furs well Erin...As for that Cardinal if I had know he was their I would have kept you in the tunnels....piffle!xx Speedy

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    1. Thank you, I have been working on my back hair a lot, never good to present a half groomed selfie MOL
      Don't worry about not seeing the Cardinal, it was the smell of the cheese that fooled us all!
      Toodle pip
      ERin

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  6. Such an adventure, way to go Speedy! Hey Princess, we love that Backsie!

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    1. YAY for Speedy! Arion was a real godsend too MOL Thank you, my back is often seen around the palace, but is quite shy in public so this is quite an event!
      Toodle pip and purrs
      Erin

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  7. What a story! We have to Cat-ch up on the other chapters here and at our pal Valentine's bloggie!
    It is Sooooo Exciting a cat can barely handle it (dogs and peeps could not of course)
    Purrs
    Timmy and Family

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    1. Oooh yes, please do as the back story is every bit as good as that which will come.... Of course dogs and peeps may need help MOL
      Toodle pip and purrs and prayers
      Erin

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  8. That horsey & Speedy are sure loyal furr-iends to assist you on the journey. But Oh Princess! Oh dear me! How could they ensnare Valentino's beautiful love in that night! How could they do such a thing?! Stay brave & do not despair! That evil Camembert will be sorry he messed with you! Kisses! -Valentine (& Mom) of Noir Kitty Mews

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    Replies
    1. Alas, my Valentino, I am trapped and need thy help! How they could is sheer despicability and no mistake. Free me, my prince of righteous fluffiness and I shall forever be yours!
      Purrs and heart kisses
      Erin

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  9. Erin such a regal backside we can see your royalness in totality!
    Wow what a imaginative story! WE were all on the edge of our seats as MOm was reading it to us!

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    1. Thank you, my back side has been working out MOL I hope you enjoy the concluding episodes as much as this...
      Toodle pip
      ERin

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  10. We love your story and you have such a lovely shiny backsie!

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I do try to keep it polished at all times for just this sort of occasion. MOL
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  11. MOL ! Great backsie ! And pawsome story ! Purrs

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    Replies
    1. Thank you..... a change is as good as a break MOL
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  12. Oh my mouses! I NEVER saw that comin'. Never smelled the stinky cheese or anythin'. MOUSES!

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    Replies
    1. Yup it sure was a surprise! Just hope someone will come to save me!
      Toodle pip and purrs
      ERin

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  13. I think kitties are just adorbs from the back...and from the front! Heck, you're all just purrfect!

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    1. Aww thank you! My back will be pleased too MOL
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  14. A backsie! How unique, Erin! You're definitely a trendsetter.

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    1. LOL not often I'm the cutting edge of fashion..... unless it's my ears MOL
      Toodle pip and purrs
      Erin

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  15. How kind of Speedy to help you. Nice selfie too :) XO

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    1. Hi Aunty Ellen. Yes he and Arion were brilliant. Speedy sure can fly too!
      Toodle pip and purrs
      ERin

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  16. What a lovely Backsie you have Erin!!
    xoxo,
    Jakey, Arty & Rosy

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. All my hours of grooming and training payed off MOL
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  17. Thank Cod that Speedy and Arion were there to help you out, Princess Erin! And your backside is looking purrfect!

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    1. Oh in deed. Valentino has had things all set up, clearly, and I would have been lost without him.
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  18. Oh deerz when we saw dem doggies we waz worried dehr might be a trap coming up. Oh I do hope that Count Valentino is just around the corner wif hims ship and can save dear Princess Erin!

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    1. Alas I wish I had seen them, but I think my heart did not want to see anything other than Valentine.... Oh how blind we can be...
      Tune in next week to Valentines blog the next gripping instalment!
      Toodle pip and purrs
      ERin

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  19. ERin; we all wayz new yur ponee waz spesh ull.....N how total lee awesum oh speedy ta help get ya frum point C ta point Y ~~~~ 984 paws up two ewe dood !! N we hope valentinez a wear oh whatz goin on coz knot onlee iz ya surrounded by dawgz but therz a bass terd gull in veew ~~~~~ ☺☺♥♥

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    1. Fear not, fine Tabbies, that gull died a death of fetid cheese inhalation! MOL Super speedy Speedy and Arion saved the day, but seems like I need more saving yet before this adventure final can cast off for calmer waters and golden beaches.... I wonder what will happen next?
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  20. Erin, your backside really showcases your little nicked ear nicely :) Our Mama wants to get caught up on the other chapters before reading this one. . . she claims she is so far behind on everything since Avalon came into the fold, she is now almost ahead! ;p

    the critters in the cottage xo

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    1. Hehehe I do know what you mean. Around here it is the reverse way around for the staff, who think they're so far ahead of me, but actually they're behind. I hope you'll enjoy Valentine's and my little story, which I think will run till Christmas eve.
      Toodle pip and purrs
      ERin

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  21. Tough to say what's your best side, Erin ... 100%, full stereo, stunning! We're jealous - meeting so many of our blogging friends in your adventures ... stinky cheese ... perhaps you will eventually meet the beauteous and most fair Dulcinea del Toboso. I bet she couldn't hold a candle to you, even fairer, and even more beauteous, ERin.

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    1. Thank you, but you, we all are beauteous too, from every angle. Ah but who knows where the tides will take an adventurer? Maybe we shall meet again, once you restock the Great Bear Tasty Chicken ranch MOL Aww thank you but best not say that else that Don Quixote will be set to joust with Valentine, and I'll have no more blood spilled on my account. Poor man has been knocked from his steed more times that I can count MOL
      Toodle pip
      Erin

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  22. Oh Sweet bootyful Erin...so close and yet...We just know you'll figger your way outta this. And Val won't be fur behind. We also luv your back selfie. From any side you're absolutely gawjus. Big hugs

    Luv ya'


    Dezi and Raena

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    1. Thank you all, that is very sweet and do try to look my best at all times as you never know when the press hounds will be around! I do hope someone comes to help me as that is rather a stick mess I have there.....
      Toodle pip hugs and head bumps
      Erin

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  23. Erin, your tail is indeed fast and furious so much so that we could barely catch our breath! Hurry up with the next episode as we can't bear to think what the eveeeeeeel Camembert has in store, and where the heck is Valentine right now... oh we must go to his blog and catch up!!! MOL MOL

    We're counting down to the next installment... don't be long! MOL

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    1. Keep on reading and all shall be revealed. I just hope Val hasn't caught a cold and been bed ridden ML
      Toodle pips
      ERin

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  24. What a beauteous backside, Princess Erin. Ad a lovely story with fur-iend, Speedy.

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    1. Thank you, on both counts MOL
      Toodle pip
      ERin

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