by Sandra Cox
Genre Young Adult Fantasy
Tags Fantasy, middle-grade, YA, cats, dystopian, apocalyptic, ferals, royalty, friendship, loyalty, unity, tolerance, humanity, Odin cats, talking animals,
Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
There is a legend among the Odin Cats: An Odin will come, with the pure blood of royalty flowing through his veins. And he shall raise the ferals out of their oppression, and he shall unite the kingdoms of Odin and man.
Man has destroyed the earth with his constant desire to enslave and assert his will. In the aftermath of this destruction, two factions vie for power. Man, who did not learn from his mistakes, and Odin Cats.
Odin Cats are fighting cats, known for their cunning and wisdom. Felines that have evolved intellectually into man’s equal, speaking both English and Catonese.
Man and Odins are at war.
And in the midst of this conflict, a hero shall rise...
“What did you see in your globe, Furrlin?”
“Your future, young master.”
Seth raised his head and looked into the old cat’s eyes that were as green as his own. “My immediate future?” He tensed, his stomach muscles in knots.
Their eyes locked.
“And you won’t try to stop me?” He twitched his ears.
“Your destiny is written in the stars.”
“And you won’t try to come with me?” he asked, still not quite believing it would be this easy.
“If I did?” Amusement laced the old cat’s voice.
“I’m sorry, Furrlin, but you would slow me down.” He winced just a bit at the arrogance in his voice. But it’s the cat’s truth.
Furrlin’s eyes grew dreamy and undulated like green waves. “Your journey will be both less and more than you have ever imagined.”
“Sometimes, old friend, your messages are a bit hard to follow.” Seth plopped his hind quarters down, wrapped his plumy tail around his body, and cocked his head.
“I am only a vessel. I deliver the messages from the great cat goddess Bast, herself.” He shrugged.
“Can you tell me what route my father plans to take?” He leaned forward, eager.
“North into the high country. A band of ferals have been captured by humans to use for experimentation. Your father plans to attack before they reach the safety of the humans’ city walls.”
“Then I will go north too.” He stood up. Eager to be off, he couldn’t sit still.
He rubbed noses with Furrlin. “Will you be here when I get back?”
“I will always be with you, young prince.”
“Always is a long time, Furrlin.”
The old cat shrugged. “You are my charge. Given to me by the goddess Bast herself.”
“You make me sound like a present. A fat, juicy mouse wrapped up in ribbons.” Seth snickered.
The old cat chuckled. “Something like that. But no mere mouse could so try my patience.”
Seth sobered. “Will you escape unscathed for this day’s work?”
“Would it make a difference?”
“I will go regardless, but I would rest easier knowing that you didn’t suffer any consequences for it.”
The old cat sighed. “You still think first of yourself.” He batted his paw as Seth opened his mouth to protest. “I am the servant of Bast. Not even your father and mother, the king and queen, argues with Bast’s messenger.”
“My father will see reason, mothers are emotional creatures,” he responded, dubious.
“Aw, you have learned at least one valuable lesson,” Furrlin answered, pleased.
Arching his back, Seth dismissed learning valuable lessons as of little consequence. “I will be back soon. I will fight many humans and rescue many ferals,” he bragged.
“You are so very young.” Furrlin sighed.
Seth bristled. “I’m six months, an Odin Cat, no longer a kit.”
“Go with Bast. Listen to what Nature has to tell you. Not all men are bad. Remember what I taught you about their auras. Watch them and know whether you can trust them.”
“Yes, yes.” Seth’s tail lashed and his ears twitched; he was eager to be off.
“I can do no more.” The old cat turned and headed for the door, his steps slow, as if he were in pain.
For one moment, Seth forgot his overriding sense of self and leaped after his teacher. He rubbed against him. “Thank you for everything you have done. I’ll be back soon.”
The old cat raised his paw and rested it on Seth’s head for a moment then withdrew. “Bast speed.” He padded through the door and didn’t look back.
Seth raised his paw. “Bast speed, old Furrlin,” he whispered then leapt to the window to watch the comings and goings below.
Forty or fifty paw-soldier cats were gathering below. Their sharp-edged claws clicked on the smooth stones.
A cool wind blew through the window. He bobbed his head up and down, sniffing. The air smelled of snow. The clouds were heavy and gray. The army would have to move fast. And it would. His chest swelled with pride. Odin Cat’s were both swift and fierce.
The cats began to line up in formation. Odins came in all breeds and colors: Himalayans, Siamese, Maine Coons, Tabbies, and many more.
The colorful sight mesmerized, taking his breath away.
Head high, graceful as a puma, his father stalked to the front of the soldier Odins, his russet fur gleaming.
Seth’s breath caught in his throat as he watched his father. He was so proud of his sire and desperately wanted to make his father proud of him.
Thut raised a paw. For just a moment, the sun came out and glowed on Thut’s gold crown and leg band that proclaimed him King of Odin, throwing blinding flashes of brilliant light around the sky.
Though he seldom wore his crown, a similar royal band encircled Seth’s right front leg.
The sun disappeared as swiftly as it came.
“Odins move out.” Thut dropped his paw and began to head down the rocky slope. They marched out of the stronghold, two abreast.