"I is neednessness my adventuring tunnel," Tyrin blurted out in his best Sul'eldrine.
Stargazer purred a laugh. "Adventuring tunnels, brave one, appear when a cat is ready to adventure."
"I is being readiness!" Tyrin scampered around her, kinking his neck to look up into her silver-furred face. "Tormy is leaving through his tunnel. And we is being twins. If Tormy is being an adventuring cat, I is being an adventuring cat. And I is needing my adventuring tunnel. Now." He pushed his ears as far forward as he could in an attempt to soften the commanding tone of his final word. One did not command Lady Stargazer.
Want to know how Tyrin managed to make his way to Kyr's dark world? How did he even know where to look? And what sort of mischief did he get up to prior to the journey. All Great Hero Adventuring Cats have to start somewhere.
This story takes place during the beginning of of the year 14,022, and is approximately 7,000 words long. It happens concurrently with the events of RADIATION. It follows Tyrin on his travels to a fateful meeting. It should be read after RADIATION.
Tyrin woke with a start. The tiny orange kitten blinked and wiped his bleary eyes with the squishy, bean-shaped pads of his fluffy white paws.
Still coiled in his favorite twisted sleeping pose, the little cat drowsily marveled at a most unusual sight.
Across from him, in the far corner of his tree-knot den, hunkered his twin brother Tormy, half-sitting, half-reclining.
Tyrin knew right away that this was a fancy because his much larger twin couldn't possibly fit into the oak's snug hideaway. But more importantly, the feline mirage didn't smell at all like his brother.
It didn't smell like anything whatsoever.
Yet, there sat a superbly detailed vision of Tormy, golden orange legs awkwardly arranged as if he were trying to keep all weight off his paws, coat dirty and matted, whiskers drooping.
Tormy had followed his adventuring tunnel out of the Cat Lands many moonrises ago. And while Tyrin missed his twin, the two younglings played chase in the dreamings every night after they'd both fallen asleep. And after the game, Tormy would tell Tyrin stories about his latest exploits, his hero adventuring person Omy, and his new home in Melia.
But this night, the dreamings had been different, and that weighed on Tyrin.
The little cat uncurled his spine and reached out his front paws as if trying to grab the tendrils of ephemeral images starting to escape his consciousness.
One didn't typically remember much about the dreamings during daytime hours, but even as the echo playing out in front of Tyrin's eyes dissipated, the memory of the encounter in the dreamings grew stronger.
Tormy had looked uneasy, his appearance grubby and his nose wrinkled at the bad air surrounding him.
While in the dreamings, Tyrin had scented char and burning in his brother's immediate environment, and Tormy's achooing and hurfing had pointed to a problem that went beyond the smoky stench.
Tyrin's gaze had traveled to Tormy's toes, which had wiggled in a way that described prickling pain and crawly nerve shivers.
Through the caustic smell, Tyrin had also detected the aroma of sweetroot. The salve had glistened on Tormy's paws, which had assured Tyrin that Tormy's person had treated his brother's injuries. But large white blisters had pulsed on the callouses of Tormy's paws, leaving Tyrin feeling troubled.
He filed the thought away under Hazards of Adventuring.
Before his mind could pivot, Tyrin tried to recall his brother's words exactly as he had spoken them, using proper Sul'eldrine, in the dreamings:
"Omy is saying the rain is burning because of terrible poison war weapons burnings everything. And it is bwooming poison-dust into the sky and the rainwater is grabbing the poison into its drops and the poison drops is falling on my head and the acid is biting my paws.
"The land is not being poisonededness anymore, but there is being nothing in the land.
"Where is Omy's losted brother? And how is the losted brother living when there is nothing to eat, nothing to drink, not even any mouses? Poor losted brother with the burning rain.
"Omy and I is savings the poor losted brother."
Tormy had sighed heavily then and rested his chin on his folded paws. "The wind is being howly."
Tyrin did not know precisely where his brother was, how he had gotten there, or how far he had traveled, but the kitten quickly made up his mind that he would help his twin find the losted boy.
Rocking to his feet, Tyrin stretched out his front legs, then arched his back and curled his tail. A mighty yawn escaped from between his teeth as he trotted to the edge of his squirrel den.