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After the festivities...
#1
The last moments of a ferocious din echo off the scattered peaks as the few remaining Tribe members head towards the west gate of the Crossroads. The thunder of a hundred hooves fades into the distance as they ride off to celebration. Dust slowly settles back to the ground.

One tiny lone figure makes it's way up the mountainside. The cat is covered in cuts and bruises, inexplicably lugging a short hunk of sun-dried wood in it's maw. Even as it approaches, a particularly ornery plainstrider charges after it, tearing a new cut into it's hide with a razor sharp beak. But the cat trudges onward and eventually even the strider loses interest. It will not be a bearer of death today.

As it crests the ridge the ragged figure pauses, nostrils twitching as it views an olfactory map of the recent past. It makes a note of several familiar scents... And the even greater number of unfamiliar ones. Having caught it's breath, it turns and drags the hunk of wood to a large stone cairn atop the mountain. It pauses once more to regard the cairn itself, eventually giving it a respectful nod. That business complete, it sets to digging a small, shallow hole near the monument proper.

Carefully it sets one end of the piece of wood into the hole, packing dirt around the base until it is firmly stuck in the ground. It flexes it's forpaws, extending visciously hooked claws. Then it slowly, carefully begins to scratch figures into the wood. The bleached exterior falls away in tiny chips as it ever so gently carves and it ignores the splinters that dig into the sensitive cuticles around it's claws. For a very long time it makes no motions other than to continue gouging the wood.

As the sun begins to dip below the mountains the cat slowly rises to it's feet. In silence it observes what it has done. Then, still silent, it turns and begins to climb back down the mountain. The only evidence that it had ever been there is an oddly shaped hunk of wood, jammed in the ground, with a crude carving on it, a series of letters and two images. One, a small girl child. The other, a cat. And a single word underneath: Zarraema.


(This is for everyone who is no longer with us, for whatever reason. It is the only story I've ever finished of Amato, short as it is. Be proud.)
Righteous are those who look up and sway with the wind,
Who look down and dance with the shifting of the soil,
Who swim with the movement of the tides!
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