Game of Cat Thrones

What follows is one side of correspondence from an inhabitant of the Throne, a Mister Henry Fortwright III.

17th day of May

Darling Clara

I write to you now from the great chamber of the Castle von Bergen.  The two months since I have last seen you seem like an age, and longer still when the deep nights of winter drag my mind through every dark thought a body could have.  At times I think on every sharp word I uttered in your presence, at others, I berate myself for those moments when I feel sort of expressing my awe at your magnificence.  Darling, I miss you greatly.

My time upon the Throne has been, while uneventful in the grander sense, most informative and educational.  When I am not consumed by thoughts of you (a rare state, but one in which I endeavour to make more frequent) I allow my mind to drift to the great questions which have plagued man for centuries.  Furthermore, my knowledge of the history and function of the Throne deepens on a weekly basis.  Upon first taken seat upon the Throne I wondered, how is it that the cats which form the base and main structure of the Throne have not decomposed over time.  Soon I was answered.  The feline carcasses are in various stages of decay, and some are riddled with maggots.  These maggots attract mice, and the mice attract cats.  When the cats enter the throne room a most unusual thing occurs: they are drawn to the throne in a most unexpected way.  They immediately cease hunting, loose all of their cat-like qualities, becoming unsteady on their feet and unaware of their surroundings.  As they approach the Throne their whiskers and tails droop, at which point it falls to me, the Lord of the Throne, to grip them.  I must then affix them to the throne in their dazed but living state where they will remain noiselessly and without struggle until their tiny bodies give up on life, or are infected while still alive with the maggots which infest their deceased brethren.

I dawns on me now that such a description of the mechanics of my daily life may sound grotesque to you, but I want to remind you of why this endeavour is necessary, and how grateful I am of your support, both in achieving the honour of becoming Lord of Thrones and your faithful promise of continued correspondence throughout my tenancy, however long that may be.

The servants have indicated to me that soon I will be allowed to stand from the Throne for hours at a time, to wander the grand hall in which I find myself, and that perhaps if my strength continues (apparently I am proving more resistant to the powers of the chair that my predecessors) then I might be allowed to take a visitor.  I hope it might be you, my love, I long to see your face, to hear your voice, and to feel the soothing touch of your skin on mine.

Always and forever yours,

Henry

4th of Jun

My Clara

How sweetly you write, it is as though I can hear your voice in every word you send me.  I cannot tell you how greatly it cheered me to receive your last letter so promptly.  I am sure you do not have to worry about Jameson, he is the good sort and will finding his own way through this difficult moment, and in fact will benefit from the struggle, I honestly believe.  As for the problems with the house, contact Marsham and Greaves, they will aid you and I have made provision with my servants here that they will be reimbursed for their work.  Also, I must ask you, how is Marjorie’s daughter?  I have thought of the poor tot’s illness frequently throughout my time here, and I hope her condition is improving.  If not, tell Marjorie that she can take paid leave until the child is back to full health.

I am glad that my descriptions did not disgust you my love, as here have been unseemly developments on this end which might disturb those of a weaker constitution.  Even as I begin to gather the words to describe what has happened my hand shakes and my brow grows wet.  You will recall from my last letter that the Throne exists in various stages of decomposition, and that the fetid corpses are infested with maggots and the like?  These maggots prove braver than I could have thought.  For the most part the maggots exist in the lower reaches of the throne, being as how I have arranged the newer cats near the top, as a sort of barrier between I and the more decayed felines.  Well, this barrier is not achieving its goal.  The maggots have begun to chew at my ankles and the soft flesh of my calves.  I awoke the other night with a start and found a cluster of them had burrowed a hole in my left calf and were busy suckling on the blood which leaked from it.  Do not be alarmed, the servants tell me that this is a normal part of the process, and in fact that it has begun later than on me than it has on many of my predecessors.

Away now from such matters and onto grander things.  My time on the Throne has lightened my spirit and emboldened the depths of my mind.  I think daily on the wanderings of the flies.  To what purpose do they wander?  I watch them feed, I watch them dance together, perhaps to nuanced air currents that I cannot perceive, perhaps to music I cannot hear.  I feel like the flies know that I am observing them.  Perhaps they dance for me.  Their dancing reminds me of the first time we danced together, the room was nearly as dark as the Throne room here.  I remember the feeling of your cold hand in mine, the unrefined grace of your tiny movements as we led each other about the room.  Do you remember this?

With love,

Henry

7 July

Clara,

I am glad to hear the child is well.  Money is on the way.  I am sorry, but this is to be a short letter.  I just want to let you know that I am well, and that you are in my thoughts always.

Love,

H.

That letter is the last of their correspondence which survives, and though it is not know whether they continued to write into the end of Henry’s tenancy on the Throne, or how much longer he lasted on the Throne, but it is known that Henry wrote one more piece of text which survives to this day.  Clearly the writings of a man under duress and so far removed from the world that he has little concept of self, it is difficult to understand his motivation for writing it.  Make of it what you will.

The throne is self sustaining.  The feline carcasses in various cases of decomposition at times attract flies, which in turn beget maggots, mice and small birds are drawn to this crawling feast, and eventually the cats, starved by the scarcity of the surrounding lands, come the throne room.

For as long as memory has existed the throne has been occupied.  Now, still, a man takes his seat, settling slowly into the seat as the bodies of dead cats shift beneath him, the maggots wakening to the scent of his warm flowing blood, the flies startled to the air by his seating, crows and ravens circling over head, swooping to collect stray flies.

As day dims to night and the cold air leaks into the stone clad chamber, servants move silently through the room refilling and lighting oil lamps while ignoring their lord in his stinking throne.  The lamps both mask the scent of rotting cat flesh and light the room.  The warm, low light they shed shows the worn face of the lord in greater relief, the bags of skin under his eyes, the deep crevasses of his face.  He shifts in his chair and one of the many buboes that grow on his hindquarters burst as seep pus through his garments and into the rotted mass that he sits on top of.

The life expectancy of a Lord of the Throne is not much more than two years and the tenancy upon the chair usually follows the same cycle.  First, the new Lord is eager to take his throne, and after tossing aside the dead body of the previous occupant, the new Lord sits with pride.  After time the new Lord will become accustomed to the smell of the throne and the silence of the servants.  Then he will fall into deep contemplation, which is the great purpose of the Throne.

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