Chapter two in which Maggie reunites with Jasper
and much history is revealed
Maggie walked all morning and afternoon, keeping beneath the shrubs and off the road. At one point, a Trinity soldier patrol came by and Maggie huddled quietly in the shadows, her brown and gray tabby coloring blending in well. Although she didn't know why, she had a hunch she didn't want to be seen.
As the afternoon neared dusk, Maggie came to the glade on her map, and saw the cottage tucked near the woods. There was dim light coming from the windows. Maggie slowly approached the cottage, staying low to the ground, keeping to the shadows when possible. Once she was at the cottage, she peeked into the window and saw a large orange cat, regal and strong. He stretched like a lion, and his shadow arched and covered the opposite wall. Then, slowly, he turned his head to the window and said, in a deep voice, but not quite a growl, “Little Maggie, I’ve been expecting you.”
The inside of the cottage was modest. Mostly there were books and tuffets and blankets for resting and relaxing and reading. “I am Jasper,” the large orange cat explained to Maggie as she found a spot to sit. “I knew your family, and spent a lot of time with you as a kitten, although you probably don’t recall me.”
Maggie shook her head, acknowledging that she doesn’t remember this big orange cat, and felt that she surely would. Jasper dropped some dried salmon for Maggie to snack on then said, “There’s a lot you need to know.
“You’ve grown up in that small village, probably feeling mostly along, but that was for your protection. You see, you come from royal bloodlines, but your family was overthrown years ago.”
“Royalty? Me?” Maggie asked, amazed. “You mean my family was overthrown by the evil Meezer Trinity?”
Jasper nodded. “But don’t judge all Meezers by the action of those three. You see, when your family was in charge the Meezers were the lawmakers, justly applying rules throughout the land. But then three of these judges got power hungry and plotted to overthrow your family.
“At this time, I was a junior member of your family’s court, not much older than you are now. We got wind of the coup just before it happened, and managed to get you in hiding where you would be safe. We tried to resist the coup, but failed and you parents were forced from these lands.”
Jasper looked and saw Maggie wipe a paw slowly across her left eye, sweeping a tear away. “I never knew,” Maggie cried. But it wasn’t a sad cry. It was a strong, determined cry. “Then Princess Josie?”
“Your older sister,” Jasper nodded. “She refused to hide. Braver than I am, I would say. While I retreated to this old cottage for a safe life of study Josie has been out there gathering supporters to return the family to their rightful thrones.
“But yesterday a mole revealed where Josie was, and, instead of letting her supporters fight a futile fight, she surrendered.”
“That’s awful,” Maggie said. There was a twinge of pride in her voice, though, for her sister’s valor. “We have to free her.”
Jasper lit another lamp to ward off the oncoming night. “Of course,” Jasper agreed, “But after the uprising I was very distraught, and removed my claws when I decided to give up the fight and turn to a life of philosophy. But there is another who I know will join us.”
At that very moment, a shadow darker than the night emerged from the darkness. A warrior cat, large, full-chested and powerful emerged from the night. This dark knight’s demeanor commanded respect, an air that dared any other to challenge him in combat, and few did. Most trembled in his presence. But not Maggie. Instead, a joyful laugh erupted from the tiny cat, because, while she didn’t recognize Jasper, there was no denying the eyes of this black cat. “Brother!”