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Print at Nov 30, 2020 6:10:49 AM

Posted by Bunnylaroo at Oct 19, 2011 9:56:01 PM
Re: Tales of Cat Sparrow [Entry Thread]
Pirate Name: Bunnylaroo
Ocean: Sage
Story Title: The Hunted - A Tale of Cat Sparrow
Entry Category and Prize Preference: Both categories, Parrot first - Name: Atticus :)
Audio Link: The Hunted - A Tale of Cat Sparrow Audio
(EDIT: Audio link added, Parrot named, and typos fixed :))
**Note: Apparently, a group of leopards is called a "leap"...just wanted to clear that up, to make my story more understandable...**

The skiff cut silently through the shallow waters of the cove until it ran aground on the shore of the deserted beach. Cat Sparrow alighted, and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, he felt the sand beneath his paws, warm and rough. Inadvertently, a sigh escaped him, and for a moment he was content - but it was a fleeting moment. His sense of ease ebbed away with the tide, and was replaced by a grim determination, solid as the rocky shore. Like all leopards, Sparrow was a hunter, and at this moment, he was patiently stalking his prey. He had followed the stars, traversed violent seas, and had arrived at the fateful place. All that was left for him to do was wait. And remember...

Perhaps it was the touch of the warm sand that recalled home to Sparrow's weary mind. That lovely island that he left so long ago would be, by mankind's standards, "uninhabitable". Yet, for Sparrow and his fellow leopards, it was ideal: a lush jungle, well-stocked with food and spacious enough to allow the naturally solitary leopards a measure of privacy. Sparrow's leap had always inhabited this feline paradise; it was the only home any of them had ever known, and most of them loved it dearly. However, since the days of his cubhood, Cat Sparrow had been possessed by a wanderlust that had robbed his idyllic home of much of its charm. It was not that he disliked the island; it was familiar, comfortable. But Sparrow was restless. He used to lie outstretched on the island's most secluded beach, gazing at the rolling sea. He fancied that the great, grey expanse of water beckoned to him, that the horizon called him onward to unknown adventures. Indeed, Sparrow was doomed to find (as most of us do) that we never truly appreciate the things that we have until they are gone. He could never return to that island; for him, it was forever changed the day THEY arrived. His elusive prey.

That day had been oppressively hot, and most of Sparrow's leap had taken refuge in the treetops, where they were peacefully napping. Sparrow himself had been on the beach, restless as ever, watching the ceaseless tide. He could still recall the thrill that had crept over him, setting his fur on end, when the two black ships appeared on the horizon, looming larger and larger as they approached the island. His first instinct had been to run and warn the elder leopards, but this impulse was checked by a feeling of scorn. Sparrow had doubted the others would even believe him; how often had they mocked him for sitting, so watchful, on the beach! They were certain that there was nothing beyond their lovely island home, and Sparrow's refusal to be content made him an outcast among them. But the elder leopards, in spite of all their wisdom, were wrong! Though he now looked back on that day with bitterness, Sparrow could still remember how triumph had swelled in his breast at the sight of the black ships. He was vindicated! It was time to fulfill his destiny.

Curiosity did not make Sparrow foolhardy, and so as the crews of the black ships boarded skiffs and rowed toward the shore, he cautiously stole toward the cover of the dark jungle canopy, where he could watch without being seen. What an odd sight had greeted him! The creatures he had seen disembarking on the shore were ugly, pink, and hairless, their bare skin covered with rags instead of fur! Instinctively, Sparrow evaluated the situation; these things would make easy prey, although he wasn't convinced that they would taste good. But Sparrow wasn't interested in hunting the creatures. He wanted to learn from them, perhaps even join them as they mounted the waves in their great black ships. Hidden in the shadows, he had watched the activity on the beach. Boat after boat had carried the landing parties to shore, and the sheer number of men had begun to worry Sparrow. As some of them disappeared into the jungle, Sparrow felt a pang of fear and remorse - perhaps he SHOULD have warned the others. Yet, watching how the creatures moved, walking on their hind legs slowly and clumsily, Sparrow had inwardly laughed. He hadn't considered the unknown visitors a threat, and he had thought with some amusement that anyone who couldn't outrun those furless beasts deserved to be caught. It was a thought that Sparrow would live to regret, and the remembrance of it filled him with shame and anger. His pride, his stupid, pointless arrogance had left his leap defenseless; the tragic outcome was inevitable.

For, you see, the black ships carried poachers, and they had come to the island for pelts. By the time Sparrow heard the first anguished yowl, it was already too late. Striking, as they did, in the hottest part of the afternoon, the poachers found their targets sleeping - easy prey. Slow from the lethargy of sleep, and hampered further by confusion, the leopards barely even put up a fight. By the time Sparrow reached the heart of the island, where his leap dwelt, the massacre was nearly complete, and the poachers had driven the few remaining leopards into a clearing to be slaughtered. The scene of carnage was devastating, but Sparrow had no time to mourn. He was nearly blinded by the white hot rage which had spread through his body like wildfire, and he knew that it was time to strike. Although he was hopelessly outnumbered by the poachers, his wrath seemed to heighten his strength and agility. Striking from behind, he took the poachers by surprise; his brother leopards, the survivors, took advantage of the distraction, and within minutes the leopards had effected a slaughter of their own. The poachers beat a hasty retreat toward the shore, shouting a warning to the crew members who had stayed behind, while the leopards followed in hot pursuit. As they frantically piled back into the skiffs, the poachers watched in horror while Sparrow and the other leopards picked off members of their crew. Two ships had come to the island, but there were only enough survivors left to man one. Rowing frantically, the men pulled away from the shore, and, once they felt they were at a safe distance,they stared at the leopards pacing the beach and congratulated themselves on their narrow escape.

How could they know about the change that had taken place? Indeed, Cat Sparrow himself could not explain it, yet from that moment he was changed. It wasn't that he became a man - nothing so drastic or hateful. But Sparrow was no longer just a leopard: whether it was from sheer will power, or the force of his thirst for vengeance, Sparrow was now able to think like a human. His path lay clear before him. He would become the enemy to catch the enemy. The abandoned black ship lay moored offshore. Sparrow would become it's captain. He would walk on his hind legs, he would cover himself with their rags, and he would pursue the poachers until he had eradicated them completely. And so Cat Sparrow and his crew of brother leopards boarded the black ship, learned the ways of man, and sailed for the horizon.

Another sigh escaped Sparrow as he walked down the deserted beach. Hunting is a waiting game, and he was a very patient cat. He raised the glass to his eyes, and then that thrill swept over him once again, setting his fur on end. There was a black dot on the horizon, looming larger. The wait was over.
Bunnylaroo of Sage Emerald

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