Welcome to the Empath Stories series. I hope you enjoy reading Cato: The Empath Stories. The idea of a young Pemba delighting in the Creator intrigued me.
In a land far away, on a distant planet, a young cub raced through the forest. He loved running, and he loved the Creator. He raced around the big lake and up the mountainside, laughing when he rolled over a rock. Cato enjoyed his Creator, who ran with him, laughing and teasing him.
Cato collapsed at the top of the tree line and looked over Windware, his home, and his country. He was proud to be a Pemba and hoped one day to be a guardian, maybe even a guardian to the Prophetess! It was the highest honor for any Pemba to serve for life.
The Creator touched Cato’s head, and he shivered. The power of the Creator is great. He made the whole world, even the outsiders. In kindness, the Creator allows the people of Windware to trade with the outsiders. They sell fruit and grain, which grows in abundance because of the fertile soil, warm sun, and regular rains.
Cato grows into his relationship with the Creator
Sometimes, an outsider will give his heart to the Creator, but most seem angry. Cato thought about the people he saw in the mountain pass. He stayed hidden in the trees and hurried back to his home. The Elders lectured long about the disobedient Pembas that went missing. Outsiders loved the skin of the Pembas and would hunt them.
Cato did his best to avoid the border after that. But he still loved to run with the Creator. As he grew older, his times with the Creator changed. Cato learned about gentleness, persistence, joy, and peace. Now, he raced to the tops of the mountains and stared at Windware, wondering why the Creator was so sad.
The Creator placed his presence around Cato, and Cato felt great love and sorrow. “You are nearly ready, Cato. You have grown into a mighty Pemba. And you know my ways. I love your heart and your willingness to serve. And I have granted your greatest wish.”
Cato sat up quickly. “I will serve a prophetess? Oh, wow. Thank You, Creator. But why are you sad?”
A myst surrounded Cato, and he felt his fur grow wet. “Why are You crying? What have I done?”
Cato becomes a guardian
The Creator cradled the Pemba close to His heart. “Because your journey will be fraught with sorrow and danger, even to the end. You will help save Windware from danger.” The sun came out and dried Cato’s fur.
In his mind, Cato heard the Elders calling. “Is it time?” Cato asked.
“Meet us in Arches Way village, Cato. And hurry.” Cato set off at a run for the village next to the border. He was on the opposite side of Windware, but he could be there in an hour. He felt the Creator with him and knew he was also with the Elders. The Creator could be everywhere at once.
Cato stepped into the village and saw the crowd of Pembas. Hundreds of Cato’s people were there, surrounding a humble home. Inside the house, a woman screamed. He heard another woman saying, “Push. Now is the time. Push.”
Thank you for reading Cato: The Empath Stories
An Elder stepped to Cato’s side. “Come with me, Cato. Meet your fellow guardian.” He stopped Cato beside a beautiful Pemba he remembered from Elder lectures. “You remember Myst?”
Cato nodded to Myst. She turned her head toward the house as a baby cried. The other Pembas melted away. The Elder nudged Cato. “You are now bonded with the child and Myst. You will always hear them in your mind as they will hear you.” The Elder bowed, and Cato bowed back. Myst giggled.
“You were late. Go, the baby’s parents await you. I will see you around. But I will be listening to you and the baby.” Myst trotted away, and Cato watched her leave.
Cato took a deep breath and entered the house. A man met him there. He looked frightened and bowed low to Cato. Cato followed his nose to the birthing room. A woman carrying a basin and dirty rags left the room before he entered.
On the bed lay the mother of the baby. She was nursing her and looking at her with love. The woman looked up as Cato approached the bed. “Hello. This is Anya. She will be a Sybilla, a prophetous. That is why you are here now. Are all the other Pembas gone?”
Cato nodded and rubbed his whiskers on the baby’s head. “Anya. My Prophetess. I am Cato, your guardian.”
The woman watched Cato lay down by the bed. “Oh dear, I didn’t think about having room for a Pemba.” She giggled softly. “Anya sleeps now.”
Cato felt the man at the door. “I am Mentelous, and my wife is Detame. I am a trader, and she hunts and weaves. We are honored to have you in our home.” Mentelous said.
Detame smiled at Mentelous. “He is wonderfully behaved. He said hello to Anya, and now he guards her.”
Mentelous smiled. “That is good. We will not have to worry about her then.” He looked back toward the kitchen, “Shall I bring you food?”
Detame shook her head. “I will nap.”
“I will hurry to market and finish my trade. Sleep, love.” Mentelous said.
Cato heard the front door open and close. He rested lightly on the floor. His job was to guard. He would eat and relieve himself after Mentelous returned.
Life changes in a moment
After months of playing with baby Anya, she learned to crawl. Now, she followed him throughout the house. It was tiring but thrilling to play with the baby. She had already communicated with him, and Cato knew she understood him.
Anya’s mother, Detame, was in the kitchen while Anya and Cato played in the bedroom. The Creator spoke to Cato. “Wrap Anya in a blanket and jump out the window with her. You must hide immediately.”
Cato had no idea why, but he rolled Anya onto a blanket and pulled the sides together. Biting the ends, Cato carefully raised Anya off the floor. She didn’t fall out, and Cato knew the Creator was helping him. Cato jumped on the bed and then out the window without making any noise. Anya giggled, and Cato shushed her. “We have to hide, Anya. Make no sounds.”
Cato pushed into the forest and found a break in the thicket the Creator had shown him yesterday. Inside the greenery, they would not be seen.
Cato heard a knock on the front door. His ears twitched. Detame screamed, “No! No! Anya!”
Mentelous raised past Cato and rushed to the front of the house. “Detame!” He screamed, but his voice was cut off.
Cato heard a sword clang on a wall. “Where is the baby? I don’t see her. We were told she would be here.”
Another man raged, “The Pemba took her somewhere. We will have to wait.”
The first man said quietly, “The warriors are coming. It looks like the whole town. Let’s get out of here.”
“I’ll be back for the baby prophetess. She was given to me!” The second man growled.
Pemba stayed very still as the men raced by him into the forest. Several warriors followed them. Some checked the house. The wailing began.
The Changing Times
It was nearly night when Myst arrived. She spoke into Cato’s mind. “I am here. I brought a couple who will take the baby.”
Cato sighed. He looked at the sleeping Anya and gathered up the blanket once more. “I’m coming, Myst. Is anyone around?”
“No. Just us.” Myst answered.
Cato moved through the thicket and set Anya before a man and woman. “I am Alani Sybylla, and this is my mate, Ephiar Dunril. You probably know my Pemba, Loki. I am the middle Prophetess.” Alani said as she crouched beside Anya. “And this is Anya Sybylla. The youngest prophetess. Cato, come with us to our home in the Northlands village.”
Cato nodded and watched Alani gather Anya in her arms. She looked at Ephiar, “She is beautiful, isn’t she?”
Ephiar nodded. “That makes her easy to love. I love her already.” He breathed fiercely.
Read more about Cato in the upcoming book, Anya, The Prophetess.
Catch up on Emily’s Cat Mysteries while you wait!