by Leo Rivers

One night the fog rolled in and drew a curtain across the Stars. And as I continued my meditation at the Attic Window the cyclops Moon, as if covered by a cataract, looked balefully back through the fog at me, sitting at my chair at my desk with my pen laid down beside the pad. My cat touched my leg with its paw and, looking down at my friend, my heart was warmed and I was prevented from being drawn in my spirit up into space and the Stars unseen beyond the fog spread out upon the crumpled silhouette of the ancient port and antiquty of the verdant hills and dark valleys of Pilgrim Bay.

Pilgrim Bay

Like Empires to the desert sands of the Nile came to Pilgrim Bay by land and by sea Humanity’s Wild Variety. Witches and Pirates and Tyrants and Priests, (of both of Heaven and Hell), they came to the spires and came to the cobbles and came to gamble with their souls and then in time with Generations the generations that once were giants diminished into dwarves and then the Seasons of Pilgrim Bay came more seldom. Until came at last that last season as all the last years of an old man come to be seen – one long season of dwindling and darkness, so too, one long last season of fog and darkness came to Pilgrim Bay.

The life force of Pilgrim Bay grew poor in spirit like the grapes of a field whose substance has gone. Life in Pilgrim Bay became a bellows whose breath was gone. And all of these once noble but now weedy old houses, but the old bookstore at the top of the hill and the grand old Inn down at the Docks, were now a closed hand to all but the residents recluse within. And all of the World Outside who passed through this town on the way North or South would spend their night and go on without knowing what became of the town or where if they were there they were hidden.

Or what secrets were hidden with them.

One out of 100 or maybe one out of a dozen I have no way to know which way to choose. But once in a moon perhaps a blue moon a man who comes to rent a room at the Grand Old Inn overlooking the docks and the ships that to have been parked for centuries at them. One out of 100 or one out of a dozen I don’t know out of which of these I was chosen. But I know I had no beard when I first roomed here. AND I know I had not grown long-haired and gray when I first came to this grand old Inn overlooking the bay. But there came the day in my continued stay I had opened the window looking out on the sea and invited the cat – and now I am not without a companion, (perhaps an angel), to speak his howl and call beside me.

But He who was still a kitten when first I came to Pilgrim Bay and then came to rent this room was now old and gray-tipped black fur covered the bulk of him. My bones my bones groan with his and we both mew as we move about the room. I take the tray with my evening supper and wine to the door and groaning set it down. And I turn around and the cat has lept upon the desk and stationed at the pad and pressed the pen upon the paper with an arthretic paw and looked at me as if I finally after all these years spent with him knew what to do when sitting at the table at the window like a prisoner with a view.

“Aye, old friend”, I said “old friend I think it’s now the time to bend to fate and finally bring this business to an end.”

And so I went and sat again, and at the window beheld the fog thin at the zenith a portal to enter in. One star shown there, a purple star hard to see within. The star I knew to be the star of the Dark Man, and the sigil and portal at my wanderings end.

Kneeding my fingers in the old cats fur, his purr soothing the anger in my joints, I bend my knees to stand. Then trembling and frieghtened I stand.

“Will you go with me old friend? I asked of Him.

Said he, said he “Am I not your Companion?”

And as the seas groaned out on Witch’s Reef and the race that was a scaly Beast made their Mardi Gras of celebration dancing and drinking to the Dragon, my cat lept over the Moon and this old man flew too to follow him!

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