The Human's Guide to Cats
By Desert Mouse
I wrote this book because there is a great amount of distrust and hatred between our two peoples. On the one hand are the Humans who dislike us because we are so un-natural. On the other hand we are generally distrustful of humans because at one point we were human and betrayed by them. Its been my hope that by writing this guide, some of the distrust can be allowed to dissipate, and humans will gain a better understanding about what we have become.
I would like to start with a summery of the Jiyu'rei people, though I trust you would have no problems identifying one of us if you saw us. Lets start with the visual differences between a Human and a Jiyu'rei.
Jiyu'rei look a lot like a human, we stand on two legs, we share almost every aspect of a Human. What we have different, that makes us easily identifiable is our long furry tails. A Jiyu'rei's tail is a few centimeters longer then our legs, we usually hold them high but sometimes among humans we will wrap them around our waist. It's been found that Humans are more comfortable that way. Our eyes have the diamond shape of a domesticated feline, since we share their ability to see in low light levels. Finally we have the ears, our ears are not located at the side like a human, and instead they are located at the top of our heads. Covered in the same colour fur as our tails, a Jiyu'rei's ears closely resemble a domesticated feline. Now there is one more thing different visually between a Human and a Jiyu'rei. However it's not something that is usually seen by a Human unless we are in danger. I am of course talking about our claws. Like a domesticated feline, Jiyu'rei have extractible claws. Ours are hidden under our human fingernails and can extend up to three centimeters. Because Jiyu'rei dislike violence, we usually don't take our claws out in the presence of humans. We will still flex, and sharpen them amongst ourselves, but in the presence of a Human it's only for self-defense.
It started shy of a thousand years ago. At the time there were no Jiyu'rei, only humans. The King Sutherland of the time was Zanff Sutherland, with growing tensions between the King and the Dukes of Windley and Roddenberry. Zanff became desperate to increase his military force. His attempts to recruit among the common people seemed fruitless, so he began thinking of alternatives. No one remembers who made the suggestion to begin with, and the facts were never properly written down. However at some point it was suggested that Zanff increase his strength not with numbers, but instead create a an army of super humans. A people loyal to him and unbeatable on the battlefield without needing vast numbers. Originally it proved more difficult then they first imagined. They tried to train people, they tried to increase a human's ability with magic enforcement but very soon they realized to fulfill this dream a new race was going to be needed. Simply beefing solders when they entered the military was too energy consuming to be a reality so they worked on a hybrid race.
The cat was chosen for its speed, and its hunting prowess. They needed more then just a bunch of solders to create a new race, they needed females and children, all bred to fight. Zanff recruited volunteers from various towns, and in his own military. This wasn't enough though, he needed more people and more bloodlines to make his race of solders work. Desperation set in so he sunk to drafting families and even kidnapping people from neighboring provinces. This is where the problems truly begun, though Zanff would not know about it until much later.
With his subjects, Zanff was ready to create his super solders. He gathered a team of wizards, calling them the cat's eye order to slowly mutate the people in the target radius. Exactly where the targets were kept has been confused over the years, some claim it was a fortress at the kings graveyard. Some people claim it was a secret layer of dungeons beneath Sutherland castle itself, and others are positive that the subjects were herded into the endless forest where town was hastily constructed not to be escapable.
After his army of warriors was complete, Zanff expected to use them to beat Duke Jamis Roddenberry into submission. But it would never come to pass. Zanff made a grave mistake in the plans for his super race. In his excitement Zanff had the cat's eye order give his race telepathic abilities so they could extract information from the enemy. But it turns out that this was one skill too far, he failed to realize until it was too late that despite our excelled fighting abilities no Jiyu'rei wanted to fight. The first Jiyu'rei soon discovered that they could feel everything around them, it progressed slowly enough during the mutations that they had a chance to get used to each others voices. However when they met Sutherland's real army for their first test, the voices of all those solders frightened them. To say nothing about the drawback of feeling their enemies pain as they died.
Zanff was angry at how his glorious army had that horrible flaw, he tried to get the order to further mutate the Jiyu'rei and remove their conscience. That's when the five generals decided enough was enough. They talked the rest of the early Jiyu'rei into fighting, and they managed to escape from the humans. But they didn't get away without paying a terrible price. Zanff's solder's killed two of the five generals. The remaining three Fireclaw, Darksoul, and Whisperwind led the Jiyu'rei to the northern islands after many months of travel.
As our people settled into their new home the wives, children, and the craftsmen all started to ask how they should live. Because most Jiyu'rei had not volunteered to be changed they were bitter about what the humans did and wanted to leave all that was human behind. So the three generals discussed it with themselves, and with the Jiyu'rei people. They all had their own ideas how to develop a strong and independent society.
Fireclaw had the idea that Jiyu'rei should throw away their leftover weapons. After a few years we would extend our hands in friendship and make peace with the humans, including Sutherland. Our society would abandon all types of combat and become pacifists.
Whisperwind wanted our new society to learn to fight, she wanted us to become great warriors and quickly return to the human lands as peacekeepers and force the humans into peace with themselves.
Darksoul however had to most dangerous ideas, like Whisperwind he wanted us to learn to fight. But he wanted to conquer the humans and repay them in kind for how we had been treated. His ideas drew a lot of support from the angry population.
Two months into the war of three, Fireclaw and Whisperwind realized that Darksoul had become too angry and too popular. They both realized that his ideas could bring an end to the Jiyu'rei so they banded together. It started out professional but after some time passed the two of them fell in love and combined their ideas to create what modern Neko society would become.
The war of three ended six months after it began. The combined forces of Fireclaw and Whisperwind held Darksoul's people back until he agreed at last to meet with them. They chose a Cliffside overlooking the northern part of the larger island. It offered a stunning view and put the concerns of an ambush at ease. The three of them talked for hours and it's said that Darksoul was coming around. But he turned away from the other two, angry at himself, angry at the humans and angry at the war. His last words were never spoken by the other two generals. He fell from that cliff and died, finally at peace since the order had changed them.
To this day only the royal family knows what Darksoul said before he died. But it didn't matter because everyone felt how peaceful he was at the end. And our society grew from a combination of the remaining two generals ideas. I'll get into more detail about that later on.
Avalon (our Primary Island and our only formal city) is ruled by the Fraser Family. The ruler's at the time I am writing this book are Crown Prince Tony "Thunderwhiskers" Fraser and his lovely wife Lita "Rainstorm" Fraser. They have only one child, a daughter Serenity "Brightmoon" Fraser. They are the direct descendents of Generals Fireclaw and Whisperwind but no member of the Fraser family has ever taken the formal title of King. It has never been necessary for the Jiyu'rei people to recognize their leaders.
I said that I would get back to how Fireclaw and Whisperwind combined their ideals o create modern Jiyu'rei society. First I need to tell you one very important thing about us. The most important thing for every Jiyu'rei is to do what makes you happy. That doesn't mean we don't work, our people live almost two hundred years it would get really boring if we did nothing but sleep all day. But some kitty's find enjoyment in guarding the palace or keeping people safe. And some of us like to build things or grow food. In the end it always balances out without anyone having to become miserable.
Today we are not pacifist, or forceful peacekeepers. Enough of us can fight when we need to protect our home but we don't like to fight. Even in the war of three there was only four fatalities, including Darksoul. We welcome human visitors but we don't get involved with human wars unless we are asked to act as negotiators. Most humans don't know this, but there was a condition in the Sutherland alliance treaty requiring the king and both Dukes to maintain stores of catnip and free milk for visitors.
It might be interesting to note that because Jiyu'rei live under the rule of be happy or get hugged. When humans visit our islands its very easy for them to get confused. We don't design our streets or our city like humans do. It's a mix match of different styles, placements and even a large number of us prefer to simply sleep in the trees.
That brings me to one of the biggest sources of discomfort that humans have when they visit us. Because of our telepathy Jiyu'rei are a very open people. We share each other's thoughts, so our minds and our bodies are open books. Because modesty is such a silly concept for a people that can see each other's thoughts a lot of Jiyu'rei prefer not to bother with clothing. We are not trying to make you uncomfortable so please try to be understanding.
You may have noticed by now that Jiyu'rei have three names. We have our family name. for example mine is Christy Munro. That's the name I was born with, leftover from when we were human. But we also have a third name that we don't receive until our thirteenth birthday (more on that in the next section). This is our spirit name. when addressing a Jiyu'rei adult it is best to learn what name they prefer to be called, most of us are not picky but the spirit name is versatile. It is often used to replace our last name such as Christy Softwhisper. Sometimes Jiyu'rei prefer to only be called by their spirit name. and other times it's used like a human middle name, Christy "Softwhisper" Munro, when written quotation marks are used to signify its flexibility.
Colours are very important to the Jiyu'rei people. We use them every day when we dress, or when we have special events to express our feelings and our wish's. Every colour has it's own meaning and though I don't have time to list them all in this guide. I can give you a small example such as pink is grace or modesty where black means a new beginning. There are no bad colours.
The concept of colour is most apparent in our wedding ceremonies. When two Jiyu'rei love each other and decide that it's time to bind themselves together a symbol is made from their combined spirit names. The most famous example is the Fraser family crest was the union symbol of Fireclaw and Whisperwind. (Two pillars intertwine together. One made of fire and the other wind) it's still used like a human's royal crest. Jiyu'rei also use personal symbols made from their spirit names sometimes. During the wedding the guests wear something in a colour that best reflects what they feel is the couples greatest strength. A girl might wear a yellow dress if she feels that communication is the newlywed couples strength. Or a green dress for pure luck.
The couple however wear nothing at all, this signifies that they hold no secrets from each other. In some cases a guest might feel a lack of secrets is the couple's strength and choose to attend the same way as the new couple.
I spoke about spirit names in the last section, we have a lovely little ceremony for receiving those too. Relax, it doesn't involve nudity. When a kitten reaches the age of thirteen they are taken to an elder. A type of Jiyu'rei administrator if you will, they help the crown prince run things. Of course the crown prince himself is an elder too, and has the privilege of doing many of these naming ceremony's. Anyway a kitten is taken to an elder and the elder pokes into the kitten's mind. They look carefully, and choose a name that best describes that kitten. When I was given the name Softwhisper I was told that the words that call out the loudest for me are ones of stealth. He said that the jokes I love to play require a soft step. But behind the mischievous humour I am as gentle as a whisper.
It is time for me to start closing, I hope that you found this guide helpful in trying to understand my people a little better. We hold no grudge against humans for transforming us, in fact it is because of Zanff's actions that we have our greatest gift. I mean our telepathy, and the wonderful voices that we get to hear because of it. Try to imagine if you can the sound of everyone's voices singing into your mind. It's the most beautiful thing. Of course you can't imagine, silly me. It really is a shame though that you humans will never get to hear the song and know how it is to never feel alone.
The next time that you're in Sutherland, or near Port Aylesbury consider taking a boat to Avalon to visit us. Our own minds may be open to each other, but we respect human privacy and won't peer into yours without permission.
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