Notes: Well, this is a spin-off of In the Beginning, inspired by Tad Williams' Tailchaser's Song and the poem is adapted off the form portrayed in a poem by Christopher Smart.


For now let us consider this one
For who turning in the light of Earth's glories, revels in the depths of darkness
For having no master he considers himself
For this he performs in ten degrees

He did not remember nor recall when he first began. Could not bring to remembrance his first breath or his first hunt, only that there must have been one. Unless he had never sprung from the darkness of those years and had simply been since the beginning. Yes, that must be correct. He had been since the beginning, simply was. Because he did remember before the Beginning.

For firstly, he turns twice, for tooth and claw

He remembered the shadows and darkness of his first Opening, remembered the blood that fell as he clawed into the dull ruddy light in the eternal night. The blood had coated the ground from his paws to the endless expanse of the then and up grew the first of the shadow brood, the red dragon of fire, the icy touch of glittering claws, the breath of death, and lapping of dark waves on midnight shores. Up sprung the looming shadows and not-there crevices in unseen stone, the land that molded to will and power. He remembered the blink of ruby eyes in the darkness as he leapt to the hunt. The first hunt he remembered.

For secondly, he lifts his paws to claim his space

Yes ... the memory of that faint Opening from the crevices of his mind brought forth the clearer memories. Silently, he flexed his claws in the bark of the tree in which he sprawled, sliding the thick blades deep into the living wood and clenching ...

For thirdly, he considers the darkness, his hunting lands

He remembered the sun, not golden bright like now, but a dull and furious red, like hot coals. There was not day, only night, for the sun was not light but a glimmer of fiery depths, like eyes, in the endless darkness. Red and glimmering, like the hunt blood that splashed to the ground. Blood he heard outside his laughter. Surely he had not been happy, for he knew no such emotion, but he had felt a fierce throbbing joy. It was silent then, he recalled, ever silent save for his giggles under the stunted, warped things that he would now call trees. But they were not trees. No, they were inky shadows that broke beneath his claws, shredding like old cloth and bad dreams. He had chased splatterings of deeper dark in that endless night, his prey, which ran from his razor edged paws and trembled in deeper shadows as he passed, intent on the one. They did not exist in this place after the Beginning, those shadow prey without form, for when they fell from the Before they had withered and died under the golden sun.

For fourthly, he let's his curiosity lead him hither

Yes, his memories brought forth the Beginning now, the ripping of darkness into the swirling blue, the pull that jerked him away from his hunt joy and into the fall he could not stop. Torn from a womb as a baby prey from it's dead mother's stomach. Forced into the light, away from the comforting heat and darkness.

For fifthly, he claims that he desires and marks those he hates

He had met something then, something fierce and quick, something challenging to be conquered, something that he had never seen before. Scaled and winged, clawed and fanged, golden eyed like the sun and scaled like the darkness, lithe of form and brilliant in splendor. It captivated him like a bauble. He caught it in his claws and examined it. It snapped and clawed at him in defiance and he felt rage and want, the urge to possess and dominate. He fought with it only to end in draw and to fall again.

For sixthly, he lays paw and tongue to grooming

He remembered the fall into the comforting shadows beneath the green, the sliding into a crevice to lick the wounds inflicted by the bauble, only to find them heal beneath his tongue. He remembered the fierce joy of this new talent as he had groomed from paw to tail, considering what was must be done till the hunt drew him out into the green.

For seventhly, he breaks to former lands and continues on

He forgot the bauble as he encountered this new thing. This green thing with many arms and bits, like the shadow trees, but bigger. They crushed and bled green under his paws, but did not scream or give him their pain. He ignored them and explored this new place, this new hunt land that was now his.

For eighthly, he scorns god and master to roam alone

This first time fled away quickly, replaced by more memories. Memories of the first "humans" who tried to mimic his form, of the "dragons" who despised him, and his own kind who he hunted. He remembered the joy in learning a new hunt: manipulation. The joy of raising up empires only to crush them once more, of the freedom to hunt in the streets of "human" cities and walk as one considered "man".

He had hunted till this other approached him, this she-wolf who beckoned him with power and promises. To trade one hunt for another, to run in a "pack" with the lapping of dark waves on midnight shores. He had laughed, turned tail and vanished into his hunt lands. He remembered lapping of dark waves on midnight shores from the Before. He did not this she-wolf. He would not bind himself to a master or run with others, he was himself and this was his hunt.

For ninthly, he flaunts his tail and skills at fate

Now, his memories turned to the return of this she-wolf, when she had walked as one considered "woman" instead of in true form, a signal of her Opening. He remembered when she beckoned to him again. Only, then, he considered her offer. He ran alone, but the others of the Before were in gathering for what "man" called war, a Hunt. He remembered speaking "words" to her, remembered the joy of things in readiness and plots that would soon be fulfilled. Plans he had laid now ripening as he laughed at her.

He remembered the scent of her surprise as he had leapt from the oak to her feet, still laughing, remembered the taste of her fear ... and her sudden realization. Not five Openings in the now, but six. But mostly, he remembered her joy at possession of him as he bent his laughing form in submission to her, readying for this next Hunt he was laying. This greater manipulation.

For tenthly, he opens violet eyes and joins in hunt

The wind shifted, bringing a new smell to his nose as all thoughts of the past fled away. Prey, "human" prey. He smiled and lifted a covered paw, considering, as he ran a tongue over an exposed claw. Tail sliding from it's hiding place, he leapt from the tree and into the shadows beneath the green, silently laughing. Without the need to pretend, the staff vanished, revealing the formerly hidden tail, ruby end flashing darkly as he slunk silently through the brush and watching the unwary prey through bright slitted eyes. Familiar scents assailed him. Ruby spell weaver who hunts shadows, bright like sun, shrieking jay, stone like sky and iron dark walker ... He ran a pointed tongue over his fangs. These had fulfilled their purpose in his planning, let them now join in his hunt.

For in these degrees he considers all that has passed, in memory and thought
For he is the tail tip of the dark one's creations, the prodigy of shadow
For he among all creation, retains the touch of the former lands
For he, no matter his form, is the cat


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