The Golden One

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Once upon a time, there was a tribe of felines. They were of many shapes and sizes: the diminutive ocelots, the grandiose lions, the majestic jaguars, and countless others. They lived in mild harmony throughout the generations, their culture expanding and enriching with every passing year.

They had only one leader, a queen named ‘The Golden One’. Songs were composed of her peerless beauty, sculptures of her sylphlike figure, books of her history.

One of the most known of histories was that she was a reincarnated spirit, coasting through the lives like a leaf on the wind. Whenever she passed on and the body burnt as an appeasement to the gods above, the Families would search everywhere, looking for the signs that favored the child to royalty and divinity. When the child found, the parents and other family would be honored beyond honor, their names written in the histories as continuous heirs.

Thus sprang the noble houses, each with their ways and own customs. Better known as the Families, they knew of their humble beginnings, for prophesies said that ‘The poorest of the poor would be gifted with gold.’ The houses, treated with love and respect by many of the tribe, used their influence to help and support each other.

How she came to being was another history, this time more wrapped in legend. Tales say Creation herself took an interest in mortality and thus took the cloth of flesh. Others state a more mundane, but no less fantastic, tale, saying she became enlightened by the Monks of D’Hal, charging her with the task of peace and of harmony of the lands she would soon unify and rule. Of course, the tales end the same way: Before dying, she asked to the gods that her spirit would be forever reborn until the kingdom was completely at peace.

I look at her from the corner of the room. She is dressed in jewel-studded silk, gold-thread embroidery swirling around the hems and bodice. Her shoulders and head are covered in a sheer veil studded in silver flakes; a thin, emerald-covered tiara keeps it in place. Gloves of cunning design cover her hands and arms. Her fur is a pale orange with somewhat darker stripes, a tigeress. She is well-groomed and meticulous in her movements. A chain of eyelash silver is around her neck.

She sits on a throne of malachite upon a dais of white marble, the stones complimenting her fur and enhancing her beauty. She waves a languid hand, and her court kneels in homage. A male leopard, dressed in plate armor,walks to her, kneeling only a foot away from her, holding out a single rose of deep purple. She smiles, taking the flower and pressing it to her nose, inhaling the aroma. The leopard bows his head and rises to leave.

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