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|“||Hello, little mouse.||”|
Every city has them: feral cats roam the streets and back alleys, their presence a ubiquitous part of the background tapestry of city life. In the United States alone, between 20 and 40 million “domestic” cats eke out what existence they can, distant memories of divinity lurking in their feline hearts. Few people even notice their presence, and fewer still remember them after their paths cross. But the cats are there, and they have their king.
He goes by many names as the fancy strikes him. The Lost of the Great Courts avoid him, even his so-called brethren in the Autumn Court. Whatever bargain he struck with the season was struck on his own terms, one the Leaden Mirror had no part in. He prowls the back alleys and slums of the city, sometimes in the form of a feral tabby the size of a large dog, other times in the form of a ragged, wild-eyed homeless man, but always with his train of faithful feline retainers.
Children in the neighborhood tell tales of the monster cat that will eat you up if he finds you; your only hope of survival to run to the nearest church and scratch your initials on the wall with an old nail. The wisest of the local kids carry a nail in their pockets as a good luck charm, but a few still go missing every month. Of course, children go missing in places like this for many different reasons — parental abductions, runaways and indiscriminate gang violence are rampant. The high incidence of missing children probably isn’t allthe work of the King of Cats. Probably.
The King of Cats most often appears in animal form through the use of the Fang and Talon level 5 Contract, Cloak of the Bear’s Massive Form. In this guise, the King is a huge feral cat, easily the size of a bobcat or similar wildcat. His tabby coat is ratty and mangy, showing signs of poor nutrition and disease, and he bears the scars of countless back-alley fights. One ear is tattered and half-torn, gaps in the fur on his flanks show shiny, puckered scars and at least one open wound bears testament to recent battle (this suppurating wound is actually a part of his mien, not an actual injury). His bright green eyes gleam with a cruel intelligence, and have a tendency to glow even in absolute darkness.
In his natural form, the King is a bedraggled, wildbearded man who dresses in the torn and filthy layers common among the homeless. His eyes, though, are the same bright and feral green as his feline form. To those with eyes to see, his mien is much the same, save for the vertically slitted pupils and constantly swiveling, triangular ears. His garments, in the eyes of the fae, resemble threadbare finery in a mockery of the garb of royalty: robes of stained satin and velvet, with a fur stole of dubious, probably feline, origin. The Mantle of Autumn hangs about him, creating an air of dread stillness that heralds his coming.
In either form, the good King is always accompanied by a group of stray cats, anywhere from a dozen to upwards of 30, depending on the occasion.
The King of Cats
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 1
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4
Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 1, Composure 2
Mental Skills: Investigation (Tracking) 5, Occult (Local Legends) 1
Physical Skills: Athletics (Climbing) 2, Brawl (Claws) 2, Larceny 1, Stealth 4, Survival (Urban) 3
Social Skills: Animal Ken (Cats) 4, Intimidation 1, Streetwise 4
Merits: Common Sense 4, Direction Sense 1, Danger Sense 2, Fast Reflexes 1, Iron Stamina 1
Contracts: Fang and Talon (Felines) 5, Hearth 3, Smoke 2
Glamour/per Turn: 15/6
Pledges - None
Frailties - Minor taboo: Cannot harm children who scratch their initials onto a wall or fence on sanctified ground.
- Autumn Nightmares, p. 18-19