A collection of tootfic which was originally published on Mastodon. Volume III is set in the same locale as Volume II, but focuses on CJ and her cats.
The cat circled around CJ as she was painting runes on the sidewalk.
The cat was big, black… sparkling? Glittering as if it had been dusted in iridescence. It looked up at CJ, looked at her runes, and deliberately placed a paw on the Ur she’d just painted.
CJ repaired the rune and, as she painted it, began the chant that would seal the spell here.
The cat looked at her again, meowed, and placed a paint-smeared paw firmly on the ground just after her Ur.
CJ stuttered in her chant; the cat meowed again. Power surged from its sparkles and from the pawprint to join CJ’s magic in the shield.
She finished the chant to meowing accompaniment, dug in her pocket, and found a jerky stick to share with the cat.
The shield protecting their air was stronger than she’d ever cast before, and its black-blue sheen glittered. “Keep that up, kitty, and there’s some tuna in it for you.”
The cat meowed. CJ took that as agreement and moved on to her next spell-site.
“Magic doesn’t raise the dead.”
CJ was forever surprised how many people Knew What Magic Did (and Didn’t) when, a year ago (7 months and 12 days ago), most people hadn’t known magic was real.
In this case, Paz DID know at least something about the subject and was not entirely wrong. Still.
CJ kept painting her a line of runes – two classical sets, her personal runes, and her cats’ runes – around their makeshift morgue.
“No,” she agreed. “Human spellcasting or potions have never definitively raised the dead.” She rattled a box of kibble. The calico appeared a moment later, tail in the air. “This-” CJ poured out a measure of kibble “-is Necrokitcy.” She added two more piles of kibble and, like magic, a large black cat and a fluffy grey one appeared. “Sorcatty. Encatment.”
She finished another line of runes before she gave Paz her attention again. “Human magic doesn’t raise the dead.” Necrokitcy delicately dipped a paw in grey paint. “These guys, however…”
In truth, it only worked if the targets were MOSTLY dead. But the theory, at least, was sound. As was the catosophy.
En (cat) ted
When communicating with cats, it was easy to get oneself heard, harder to get oneself listened to.
Cats who could enchant things were proving to have exactly the same challenges.
CJ laid out the four squirrel-meat piles at the corners of the building she wanted protected. It was in good shape, tall; the riots had bypassed it
“Okay, Encatment.” Tin of blue paint on the ground. Paintbrush, the first runes lined. “Ready?”
The grey-and-white ball of fluff sniffed the meat, looked at CJ, and deliberately looked away.
“Not hungry?” She sighed. “Or does it need sprinkles?”
An ear twitched in CJ’s direction.
“All right, all right.” CJ sprinkled some home-baked cat treats over the carcass. “There you go.”
A few messy minutes later, Encatment started the first yowl of the spell chant and plunked down a cat-paw rune in exactly the right place. CJ breathed a sigh of relief.
Still easier than working with some human enchanters, she had to concede.
The cats – the magical ones, at least – had leared how to fish in the river.
Before the catastrophe, that had been, at best, a (ha) fishy proposition, the river tainted with run-off of too many sorts. After the catastrophe, after the dam had broken, it was another sort of questionable, the run-off in the water magical or… whatever the dust had been… and the things in the river were now, well, different.
The cats brought back things to share, fish long enough that they dangled on the ground on both sides while the cat lifted its head to carry it, fish whose scales were mosaics telling stories, fish who tasted and smelled like beef when cooked. The humans told them they were good cats and shared in other things they’d cooked, too, and brushed their fur until it gleamed. It was a good arrangement, part of the broader agreement they had with the cats who could sing spells and sniff out strange dangers.
When the cats brought in a mermaid- two of them working together as the being was still alive, fighting, and longer than most humans were tall – then they had to do some negotiating with the cats. They had brought food, the cats seemed to say. Why were the humans… talking to it?
It took a great deal of work before CJ could convince the cats to talk to the mermaid, and even longer before the mermaid would talk to the cats. But then, eventually, they had an ally in the river, and the cats learned that the fish with arms – MOST of the fish with arms – were not for eating.
It helped that the mermaids could find tasty little morsels deep in the river that the cats could not.
It helped that the humans – at least some of them – and the cats could cast charms to clean the runoff before it hit the river, to even start to clean the river itself of some of the weirder contaminants.
CJ was finding herself spending a lot of time by the edge of the river.
“-when I’m done with that, we’re going to go check out the river and see what we can do there. I know there’s been side effects from that round of ashfall we got last week, and I want to be sure the stuff we’re pulling out of there is still edible. Maybe another filter-net if you can get Bek on it tonight?”
CJ paused halfway up the ladder to the roof. She felt like she had been going non-stop for weeks. Years? “And um, someone has to check out that, uh, Glinda over in the South Wedge?”
“CJ.” Sen patted her calf. “We’ve got it. Check the roof, then – then take a break.”
“After I check the river,” CJ offered. “I promise.” She headed upwards before Sen could argue, the cats swarming up before and after her.
The roof of their rehabbed factory was covered in protection runes. They had to check it every week, every rainfall, any time the ash fell again.
CJ stood in a clear space and looked around. The sun was shining brightly.
There was a blanket up here, where Paz liked to watch the stars.
Sorcatty, the biggest of her three cats, put his paws on her chest and pushed. Encatment twisted between her legs.
She sat down with an awkward thump and laughed as Necrokitcy climbed onto her lap.
“A cat-nap it is, then,” she agreed ruefully. “Since it seems I have no choice.”
As she lay down, Encatment curled up next to her head and purred.