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Authors: Susan A. Bliler

Prince of Cats

BOOK: Prince of Cats
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Prince of Cats

 

 

B
y

Susan
A.
Bliler

Copyright © 201
2
by Susan Bliler

www.susanbliler.com

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

Cover Artwork
done by:

Kevin Paige

www.kwpphoto.com

 

Spine
and back cover done by: 

Cindy Hubbard

This story is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidences are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Al
l rights reserved.

No part of this publication can be repr
oduced or transmitted in any for
m or by an
y
means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Susan
A.
Bliler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

For Angie

Come home
sister
.

We miss you…we
need
you.

 

 

Chapter
1

Eighty-three days,
Neomee
reflected ruefully as she
carried a large platter of fruit
into
the great dining hall
of the main temple
.  Her thick ebony braid fell
over
one
shoulder
across the front of her tunic
and
dangle
d
down to
her
sandaled
feet as she bent to p
ick up the plump
mango that had rolled off her platter and onto the
dusty
ground.  Standing, she eyed the
busy dining
hall and her eyes locked with those of the
Slave Master

Damn!
  She’d hoped he hadn’t witnessed her folly, but wasn’t surprised that he had.
  To make matters worse she’d raised her eyes from the floor to seek out his location. 
Double damn
!
She’
d pay for her
two
infractions
later, now it was time for the Cats of Thebes to be served their
evening
meal. 

The Cat’s of Thebes were the guardians of the
Egyptian
Temples.  It was rumored that th
e Gods, in appreciation of the guard
ian

s
devout service, had granted the
m
the ability to shift into the form of the sacred cat

The
guard
ian
s
were
supposedly
imbued
with the spirit
of the cheeta
h and could shift to the animal
s form at
will.
While Neomee had never witnessed any act
ivity that would support such
an
impossibility
, she also chose not to challenge the
validity of the
t
ale
either.  She was after all trying to go unnoticed,
regardless of how difficult
her rebellious
nature
made the task
.
 

Neomee had been a slave
to
the House of Cats for eighty-three days.  Prior to
arriving at the
temple
she’d been owned as a slave by a wealthy family who
,
with a little
help from Neomee, had decided to sell her into a more torturous existence
.
 

Since her arrival at the temple
she’d
gone to great lengths to keep from drawing attention
, but p
eriodically she was chastised, slapped, or kicked by the
Slave
Master.  He’d catch her raising her eyes from the floor, leaning against a wall, sitting when she should have been
standing, drinking water
from the Cat’s
faience
pitchers, or
violating one of the too numerous rules that governed her
slave
’s life
.  But for the most part, Neomee played the part of obedient slave.  It was all part of her plan. 

She was bidding her time, knowing the Master would eventually
stop paying such close attention
.  Once she’d
familiarized herself well enough with the House of Cats, and when the timing and planning w
ere just right, she’d make a
break for it. 

The thought of running from the House of Cats was terrifying. 
She still wasn’t sure if
promoted slaves
would be sent after her once she made her escape or if
the Cats themselves
would be commanded
to
hunt her down
.
  The latter would surely cost her life
, which meant her plan had to be flawless
.  She didn’t know much about the Cats of Thebes, but the one thing she knew without question was that the Cats were infamous throughout the land for their ability to hunt.  Like true Cats, they thrive
d
on
stalking
their prey

An
y
prey. 

With the Honor
ing
of Osiris festival fast approaching, Neomee prayed that her plans would align and she’d make her escape the night of the great festival
when slaves and Cats
alike
would both be too preoccupied
to immediately notice
her absence.  U
ntil
then
she
simply needed to play the part of the submissive slave.  She’d need to keep her head down and her mouth shut, but with her free spirit both
seemed an impossible task.

Amon, I can’t wait to escape
!
 
Neomee
shook her head, disgusted with her
situation as she followed the parade of slaves deeper into the dining hall. 
It was truly a struggle everyday to keep small pieces of herself from dying.  Unlike the other House of Cats slaves, Neomee had no
t lost her fight, her spark, that
part of herself that constantly told her that one day she would be a slave no longer, that
one day she’d
be free. 

The slaves were divided into two categories.  There were slaves, like Neomee, who were usually bought, traded, or sold to the House of Cats, and there were promoted slaves.  Promoted slaves were born into slavery
at the House of Cats.  The
children of slaves
, they
carried obedience in their blood
.  Promoted slaves had put in enough time and had been
dutiful
long enough that they’d proved themselves worthy of a few privileges the
other
slaves
had yet to earn
.  Promoted slaves were constantly looking for wa
y
s to impress the
Slave
Master and gain his favor.  The slaves looked at promoted slaves the way a patriot would look at a traitor.  Promoted slaves were known for their
cutthroat
tactics
and willingness to throw a
fellow
slave to the lions to promote themselves, always seeking advancement in
an
impossible
existence. 

Walking
through the doorway to the dining hall, Neomee passed under the inscription that had been carved into the stone above the door.

Great
Cat
thou art
the avenger of the
G
ods

the judge of
the
word

the keeper of the people

the guardian of the temples

and
the
protector
of the holy Circle

thou art indeed the Great Cat

 

Neomee entered the hall and walked
up to place her platter in the center of a long
wooden
table
.  She
kept her chin down as her eyes
cautiously
lifted to
scan the Cats sitting
at
one of several
oblong tables
that occupied the dining hall. 
Each of t
he men was impossibly larger the
n the next.  Each with their chiseled torso and dark eyes
facing stoically forward
,
sit
t
ing
erect as statutes waiting for the food to be placed be
fore they’d relax their posture
and eat.

Not bad scenery
.  Neomee bit her lower lip to hide a smile as she placed her platter
of fruit on the table

Her eyes were focused on the black speckles that most Cats had painted on their broad shoulders. 
Cheetahs.

Backing
away
from her placed platter, her elbow hit a carafe of wine that sat on the t
able. 
She could only watch
in horror
as
the carafe tipped, spilling its entire contents on the
Cat closest to her. 

Without thinking, Neomee pulled up the hem of her gown and began brushing the wine from the
Cat as best she could, “Amon, I a
m sorry.”  Neomee’s flimsy white
tunic
did little to absorb the red wine that covered the chest, lap, and legs of the Cat. 
She
didn’
t stop wiping as the Cat stood,
the
wine
that had puddle in his lap, now poured
from his
leather
kilt
.

“Please forgive me
.  I-
I

,” raising her eyes to the Cat, Neomee froze in place when her eyes met his. 

Dark brows furrowed over eyes the color of onyx.  Neomee stood only to his
thickly
muscled chest
,
which
she noticed was marred with several
white
scars that resembled claw marks. 
A square
jaw line and
pronounced
cheek bones
were set in the most
handsome
face
she’d ever seen. 
Jet-black
hair was
pulled back
in a braid that hung to a tapered waist. 
He was a bronze God and
she couldn’t stop staring
.

While Neomee struggled to formulate a coherent sentence, the Cat’s star
e
bore into her, his full lips
,
set in a grim line
,
gave
no hint of emotion.  Was that
lightening
she
felt coursing
through her veins? 

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