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Library: A Tale of Extraordinary Friendship

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Author: val
Date:Apr 30 2009

Gather round and listen closely all, for I am about to tell the story of Val
the Catfolk and his Loyal Griffon, Brady.  Never were there better friends in
the history of Batworld than these two companions.  You might ask how it is
that these two got to be good friends, and that is where this story of
extraordinary friendship begins.

The year was 718 and all was well in Batcity.  Val's parents, Vorlorn the
Swift and his wife Sermillian were visiting the city for its exceptional
healthcare facilities as Sermillian was expecting her first kitten.  While in
the city word came from Shadowkeep about Noitulove's arrival and some unkown
impending disaster.

Verlorn and Sermillian had heard tell of Noitulove's potential return to the
world and were fearful that the tales of the end of Batworld may not have just
been fairy tales after all.  Not wanting to witness the end in an unfamiliar
place, they left the city and returned to their home in the catfolk tree to be
among family in this dark time.

No sooner had they reached the tree when the floods began, massive droves of
water, completely covered them.  Fortunately, Verlorn had studied among the
mages as a young catfolk; just as the first waves crashed over them, he
chanted the ancient incantation 'englobo globo mc'pop' and somehow both he and
Sermillian were able to survive until the waters had passed over.

Once the waters cleared and the land dried up they found themselves in a very
different world.  Unbeknownst to them they had washed up on the continent now
known as Lucentium.  They were high up in the mountains on the island of
Tricet.  Completely exhausted from their experiences, they camped out for
several days before trying to find their way back to the world they had once
known.

Having studied astronomy in school, Sermillian was able to determine their
position within the batworld, and from her recollection of the old world she
knew that the world had been drastically changed by the floods that carried
them away.  After much searching with her telescope she finally noticed their
old home, the Catfolk Tree, far off in the distance to the southeast.  They
decided they would set out immediately.

She stood up from where she had knelt, packed up her telescope and took her
first step before doubling over in pain.  She collapsed back to the ground and
her dress became soaked as her water had broken.  There on top of the mountain
on the newly formed island of Tricet she gave birth to a strong male Catfolk. 
Both were surprised that this young Cat appeared as healthy as he did, they
had been concerned that he might have been injured during the events of the
last few days.

Vorlorn remade camp while Sermillian nursed the child and before they knew it
night was upon them.  In the middle of the night Vorlorn heard a noise that
awakened him from his sleep.  He listened carefully and he heard the
unmistakable sound of a rattlesnake, it seemed to be coming from inside the
tent.  He rubbed his eyes and looked around and sure enough he saw the rattle
sticking up right next to where he and Sermillian had laid their newborn down
to sleep.  He leapt to his feet and pounced on the rattle, his newborn child
began to cry.  Oh no, he thought, I am too late, we do not have the proper
supplies here to remove this serpent's poison, if he has been bitten it will
be the end of him.

He turned back around where his child lay crying, and much to his delight he
saw that not only had the snake not bitten his child, but in fact the rattling
that had awoken him was his child playing with the tail of a full grown
rattlesnake which he had killed with a single bite right behind the snake's
head.  Vorlorn beamed with pride at what his newborn had done, what a brave
young cat he thought.  At once he woke Sermillian and told her the story. 
"Valorous" was her only response.  Vorlorn said "yes, he is a valorous young
cat".  "No," Sermillian responded, "that is his name.  We shall call him
Valorous."  They kissed and curled up, all 3 of them and went back to sleep as
a family.

In the morning they again packed up the camp and started to head to the
southeast towards the old tree that Sermillian had spotted in the distance. 
Immediately they realized that Val (as they had begun calling him for short)
was going to be quite the handful on this journey.  He would not sit still and
every snake or mouse or baby goat that they came across was just something for
young Val to chase.  He was a natural born hunter and every chance he got he
would take off after anything he saw.  They trekked on through the day and
stopped around noon to take a break from the hot sun and make a small lunch
from what little supplies they still had left.

While they sat and nibbled on their lunch, Val slept beside them.  Despite the
horrors of the past few days both of them were very content, they were proud
parents and no hardship that faced them could dampen their spirits.  That was
until the moment that would haunt their lives unlike any other...

As they sat enjoying their lunch a harmless butterfly fluttering around found
a resting spot upon Val's nose.  In his slumber, Val batted at it without
opening his eyes.  It fluttered away briefly and then returned to Val's nose. 
Once again Val swung his paw, this time shaking his head a little bit as well.
 Once again the butterfly only left momentarily and returned to Val's nose. 
Finally, Val opened his eyes and saw the butterfly sitting right there on his
nose.  He leapt to his feet and the butterfly took off, Val gave chase,
running and leaping, trying to get the butterfly.

By the time Sermillian and Vorlorn noticed what was going on the danger was
very obvious, the butterfly was flying straight towards a cliff to the
northwest side of the mountains and Val was following at full speed.  They
both leapt to their feet and screeched as they darted after him.  He was too
focused on the butterfly, however and didn't seem to hear their cries at all. 
They hopelessly chased after him, and reached the edge of the cliff just soon
enough to see Val tumbling to his death hundreds of feet below.

They both broke down and cried... they didn't do anything else for several
hours.  Finally as night was setting in, their wails had slowed enough to
discuss what had happened.  They thought about trying to climb down after him,
but decided that while it would provide closure to find his body, their
supplies were very limited and if they diverted their journey to retrieve
Val's body, they might not have enough food and water to make it back to the
tree alive.  Sadly, they slept at the top of the cliff with no tent that
night, exposed to the stars, they cried for several more hours before finally
drifting off to sleep.  It was not necessary for either to express that this
had been the worst day of their lives.

--------------------------------------------------

The next day Val was woken by some movement around him.  He wasn't quite sure
what was going on, his head hurt and he was very confused.  He looked out and
saw something big and scary looking, it looked vaguely familiar and at the
same time it was horrifically scary.  The smell was different too... it no
longer smelled like it did while he was with his parents, it was very
different, for a 2 day old cat it was terrifying and he began to cry.  No
sooner had he begun to cry than something was shoved into his mouth.  And no
sooner had that happened then he could feel whatever it was being ripped back
away from several directions.

He was still lost, still confused, had no idea what was going on, but he
realized that whatever it was in his mouth it was meant for him to eat, and
something was trying to stop that from happening.  Immediately his survival
instincts kicked in and he shook violently and tore at this thing in his
mouth, tearing flesh away from a bone.  It wasn't snake, he knew that much, it
also wasn't mouse... it was much bigger than what he was used to as well, but
he liked the taste, it was very good.  As he finally pulled it away from
whatever it was trying to yank it from his mouth, he dropped it beneath him. 
As he looked down it started to take shape.  It looked like an arm, not unlike
his mother or father's arm, except without all the fur.  As he stared at it,
trying to make sense of what was going on, he then noticed that the "ground"
below him was not actually ground at all, but it seemed to be a giant pile of
sticks and rocks interwoven and supporting him somehow.

As he sat there staring down, he started to notice that he wasn't the only one
crying, in fact there were at least 3 other cries he could clearly identify,
no 4, 4 other babies he thought?  Where could he be?  He looked back up and
his vision was starting to clear up.  The creature which had given him the arm
was enormous, many times the size of his parents, but what was it, he couldn't
make sense of it.  Its body was similar in many ways to his parents' just
bigger, but it had wings, and a strange head and claws that he didn't
understand.

As he glanced around he realized now what was trying to steal his meal.  There
were 4 other creatures that looked very much like the large one above him,
except they were about the same size as Val.  He was very confused, but as he
tried to puzzle all of this out his stomach began to grumble and he noticed
one of the creatures eyeing the arm he had dropped below, so he decided to
stop trying to understand what was going on and finish eating his meal.

As time passed, Val slowly tried to understand what was going on. 
Occasionally, the large creature would fly off, often returning with more
food.  Way more than Val could eat, but the other creatures seemed to be able
to handle it all.  One of the creatures had begun cuddling up closer to Val
and so he would share his excess with this one.

Days passed and soon the creatures around him were getting noticeably bigger
than Val, who was growing some as well, but not at nearly the pace of the
others.  One day while the large creature, who the others had started to call
"Momma" was away, Val had decided to head to the edge of what he now knew as a
nest to see what was outside.  As he peered over the edge he was shocked as he
noticed that this nest he was in was hundreds of feet up in the air.  Down
below all he could make out were rocks and sand, miles and miles of sand,
although he didn't know it, he was staring at the vast northwester desert of
Tricet.

Val realized that he really had no choice but to stay put and hope that he
could someday find his way out of this nest safely.  He kept quiet, taking his
meals as they were doled out and living happily in the nest for several
months.  Over this time he had grown quite large, but compared to the others
he was a dwarf.  Surely the mother could tell that he was not one of hers now,
if she wasn't sure before, yet she still fed him and cared for him as if he
was her own.  Also over this time he had begun to build quite a bond with one
of the creatures, he had a name now, Val knew, for the mother had begun
talking to them and his friend's name was Brady.  By now Brady was about 30%
larger than the rest of his siblings because Val had been sharing his meals
with him.

One morning Val woke up to his adopted mother nudging him with her head.  He
looked around and realized that it was only he and Brady left in the nest. 
Where were the others he thought?  He didn't have much time to think about it
though as suddenly his adopted mother shoved him harder and pushed him right
out of the nest.  He began to plummet and screamed out as he clawed at the
air.  "NOOOoooOOOoooooOOoooo".  As he fell backwards he stared back up at the
nest, and suddenly Brady came over the side fumbling and flailing just as Val
had.

Val watched him intently and noticed, however that Brady was able to gain his
orientation and he began flapping his wings and lo and behold he could fly. 
No sooner had Brady gained his orientation then he turned and spotted Val.  He
dove through the air, tucking his wings behind him and diving at an
extraordinary rate of speed.  He swooped below Val and came up slightly so Val
landed ever so softly on his back and then he took off, heading out over the
vast desert to the northwest.

It was several minutes before Val had caught his breath and been able to ask
what was going on.  "Why would she do that to us?  Where are we headed now? 
Why don't we go back to the nest?" He questioned, barely stopping to breath in
between, let alone give Brady a chance to answer any of them.  Somehow Brady
seemed to completely understand the situation, he told Val that there was no
turning back, that this was it, Brady was on his own now, he could fly and he
couldn't be a burden on his mother anymore, it was time he fend for himself.

"What about me?  What am I supposed to do now?" Val asked.  "We're a team Val,
since day one you've been there for me, and I won't ever leave your side no
matter what."

They flew and talked and Brady realized that he had no idea how Val had ended
up in the nest so Val told the story of what had happened, of the mountain,
the tree his parents talked about, the butterfly and his great fall.  Although
it hadn't occurred to Val, Brady suggested that they could go search for the
tree where Val's parents lived.  Val loved the idea and so they set out.

Brady flew high over the mountains, it was cold and harsh, the mountain peaks
were covered in snow despite the fact that it was summer, and neither one was
accustomed to the cold.  It was quite a treacherous journey and many times
they thought of turning back, but neither one said it and they continued on
despite the hardship.  After several days of flying they finally reached the
far side of the mountain range and the land opened up into a beautiful forest.

They stared down at the land in aww, it was much more beautiful than the
desert and much more inviting than the harsh mountains.  As they stared at it,
almost simultaneously they noticed the giant tree in the middle of the forest.
 This MUST be the tree Val's parents had spoken of.  No words were exchanged,
Brady knew it too, he swooped down towards the tree and circled.  Brady
swooped down and as he got close, archers perched in the upper branches of the
tree began to fire on them.  Scared they headed back for the safety of the
air.  They decided they would be better off to approach from the ground, so
Brady flew a safe distance away and they landed on a road that passed by the
tree.

They began to walk along the road, but Val was not accustomed to long walks
and his feet soon became tired.  Brady instructed him to hop on again, so he
did and Val rode atop Brady to the foot of the catfolk tree.  There was a
ladder that led to a platform in the tree, they both decided it was best for
Val to venture here on his own, so Brady stayed at the foot of the tree and
waited while Val climbed up.  He walked in and no one really noticed him.  He
walked over to a cat dressed in what appeared to be a military uniform and
explained that he had lost his parents 2 days after he had been born and he
was looking for them.

The cat leaned down and gave Val a hug and said, "come with me son, I will
share with you their story."  He put his arm around Val and led him into a
house in the tree.  "Sit down son, we can talk here" said the soldier.  "Son,
I know who you are, for your story has been told here for many weeks now. 
Your father was Vorlorn the Swift, a very respected member of this community
and your mother was the most beautiful cat I have ever met, Sermillian, even
her name was beautiful."  He paused, thought for a second and then continued.

"When you were born, a great disaster had just befallen the entire world, your
parents had been washed into the mountains, most of the inhabitants of this
colony had befallen similar fates, some had even fallen into the clutches of
the evil drow!"  He swallowed heavily, "You were born in the mountains, that
was no place for a young cat to be, it was dangerous and though they tried
hard, your parents were overmatched up there and they had turned their back
for mere seconds when you took off following a butterfly and fell over a
cliff.  They were certain you had tumbled to your death, it was over 1000 feet
straight down, the fact that you're here today in front of me is a miracle. 
But, I digress, your parents had limited supplies with them and while they
wanted to go search for your body at the bottom of the cliff, they decided
that they would need to find their way back to the tree first, but they hadn't
given up on you, honest they hadn't, they just knew it was a suicide mission
if they didn't come get more supplies first."

He swallowed again, harder this time, as if he had a hairball stuck in his
throat.  "We... well, the reason... son I don't know how to say this.  This
story I'm telling you, the only reason I know it... the reason I can tell it
to you, well, it's your mother, she... she kept a very detailed journal.  She
wrote this all down, every word of it, in her diary, she kept that it... the
pages they had tears on them when we... well when they were found, when we...
found... your parents.  They never made it back to the tree.  Two months ago a
search party searching the northwest part of the forest discovered their
bodies, they had made it out of the mountains... it's so sad, they could see
the tree from where we found them, in the distance, but it was visible, they
were so close Val, so close... and they loved you, they were destroyed, they
had enough food and water, that wasn't the issue, I think it was the grief
that killed them.  They had lost the one thing they cared about.  Here, you
should have this."  He reached into his desk and pulled out the diary, by now
this hardened military man was in tears, he handed Val the diary.

Val took the diary and walked out, he nodded in recognition of the soldier's
words, but didn't speak, he simply walked out, he walked around the tree until
he came to the library.  He entered and sat in the library and started to
read.  He read his mother's own words and he could feel her love.  He knew how
much she loved him and he felt sad for the grief he had caused her.  He
couldn't help but think it was his own fault, he caused it by running after
that butterfly, if it wasn't for his foolishness his parents would still be
alive.  He began to cry and didn't stop for hours.  Finally it was late night
and he decided it was time to leave.  He didn't want to be in the tree
anymore, he didn't deserve to be there, he had ruined his parents' lives and
being here where they once lived reminded him too much of that, he decided he
would leave and never return.  So he left the library and made his way back to
the ladder and climbed down to the base of the tree.

Tears still clouded his eyes and as he turned to walk away he tripped over
something he hadn't noticed on the ground, as he regained his balance and
turned to look he realized that it was Brady's tail he had tripped on.  He
asked Brady, "What are you still doing here?"  To which Brady responded, "I
told you, you were there for me from day one and never asked for anything in
return.  I will never leave your side and I will be there as long as you need
me."  Brady could see that Val was troubled by what he had learned, and he
correctly guessed that he knew Val's parents' fate, however, he didn't ask, he
didn't need to.  He motioned for Val to hop on, and he did.  They flew off
together, it was days before they said another word to one another, they just
flew.  They flew all around the island of Tricet and eventually they landed on
the northeast coast of the island where they camped out for a few days.

After a few weeks they began adventuring but continued returning to the same
camp.  Eventually they decided to make this place home... it was just far
enough away from both the tree and the mountains where they were raised to not
be a constant reminder, and yet close enough that there was still some comfort
left in this location.  Eventually they built a city there and named it
Clockwork, which symbolized their lives, for no matter what goes on around a
clock, the clock will continue ticking, it just keeps going, keeps on moving. 
So too, would this duo continue moving forward... no matter what hardships
they would face in life they would continue moving forward together.

Since that day when he left the tree for good, no one has ever seen Val
without his best friend Brady and so too no one has seen Brady without Val. 
They truly are the best friends there could ever be in this world.


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