The Cat was the most attractive man in the world. For most, merely the fact that it was his maniac and cryptic antics that had driven back the unspeakable Officials would bend any knee or open any pair of legs. For the rest, a significant minority, his dashing-dishevelled good looks, impeccable hair and tousled clothing would tip the balance in his favour.
He was stunning; the archetypal gentleman adventurer: the stuff heroes are made of. He never seemed to age, and returned from each new soirée with death renewed. Even the men whose natures prevented them from participating in the hero's wild frolics, and whose wives looked longingly after him, forbore from thoughts of vengeance.
So it was all the more surprising when the Black Smith Cantram delivered an unexpected and lethal hammer-blow to the back of the Cat's unprotected neck, and boiled his body for five days and seven nights in the great natural cauldron of the rocky innter sides of the rotund and portentous Darkling Hills. The sky went black for a month, and the groves of baobab grew indigo from thenceforth.
The uniformly bearded and pugnacious tribes of the Shoreline took this as a portent of forthcoming peace, and threw themselves into a series of sanguine slaughters in order to cheat fate, resulting in the loss of a third of their number in five years. Amongst these warriors was Smorigan the Grin. Originally, his name had signified his manic warjoy, but of late, unending murder had grated on his mind, and spots of rust had gathered quietly on his great breastplate. One night of revels, his brothers took the sleeping man in his armour and painted a grin upon his body in the blue that does not wash away. Smorigan awoke to find his namesake restored to bitter irony. The shame biting at his ears he fled sunwards, along the shore.
It had been that a tribe of Hierophantii passed from the lands of the Centre and their twisted canals, and built a temple-tent upon the Shoreline out of driftwood and wave-smoothed glass. For a long while, it squatted beneath the burnished sky, while inside the people slowly turned inwards so that death would touch and caress them, but never embrace fully. There, by the sea. they cooked foul things stirred up by the storms, washed ashore bloated and white at night.
To this place Smorigan came, wounded and winded and looking for peace. There was smoke on the tent, rising upward silently smooth, and inside, silence. He sat upon a chair and they did not whisper to him before he saw them, which was somehow the worst part. He ate of their corruption, and sat, while his belly inflated like carrion and his hair fell from his head with a susurrus.
The days drifted overhead unnoticed until five years and seven days had passed. Then the cave of brown darkness was split by gold, and the shadows curled back to the edges of the room for a while. The Black Smith Cantram stood amongst the pots of foulness and reached out for the besmirched and dead-fish-eyed Smorigan.
His standing up alone was an heroic feat, for his legs were weak and his armour heavy. Only then did he take the hand of that bright killer and black creator. In his right hand, the Smith helf the Cat. He had boiled the man down to his essence all those years before, and of gold and steel he had made a forging. From this forging came the sword; a long-hilted wonder, whose huge and heavy pommel was inscribed with the words "The Cat Reborn" in all languages, and whose blade was an illuminated cloud at sunset.
The essence of the hero gone bore them aloft above the places of twisted tunnels and into the sky. The wind rushed. This is not the end
[This is an open-source fragment. It is designed for people to write around and continue, as long as they credit me and include the original piece. If anyone does this, I'd love to see it - contact me at (my name)@gmail.com. I will make more of these]