Deep within the Unclean Mountains lurks a cave that smolders, adding smog to the mists of the countryside. Around it in all directions is a valley of desolation, where nothing will grow, for dragon ash has suffused the land, choking life from the very air. Oh, yes – there dwells a dragon. And it has a kitten.
Two moons hence, a roc transported a mother cat and her newly born kittens that it had snatched from their woodland nursery. Silently gliding over the Firemire Valley, the great bird chose to ignore the kitten that slipped through its talons, favoring stealth over an extra snack. The tiny missile plummeted one hundred feet or more, but in that way that only newborns can, it righted itself upon impact, merely mewling its confusion.
Staggering its winding way toward the nearest source of refuge away from the cold outdoors, the kitten wandered into the dragon’s cave. Instantly upon the entry of a foreign creature into his lair, Naoumtorrax was on alert. Flicking his river-wide tail, the dragon narrowed golden eyes and widened smoking nostrils to locate it. Knowing little enough of movement, the kitten had learned nothing of stealth, so it took the dragon very little time to find it.
Circling the furry newborn no larger than a single scale of his knuckle, Naoumtorrax crackled, “What can this be?” in the tongue of dragonkind.
It replied simply: “Mew.”
Though he would justify his actions through all manner of excuses – that eating it would only awaken, not quell, his appetite; that it clearly intended no harm to himself or his hoard; that it served as an amusing oddity to have come this far by itself at all – the truth was that a portion of Naoumtorrax, long hardened by war and survival, softened as he watched the cat lap up milk he poured from the waterskin of a failed adventurer, and he allowed the kitten to massage its face on his claw.
Fear you the mewling of a kitten at your back – it may come with the stench of sulfur. For on the head of the deadliest beast ever to prowl the kingdom rides a kitten, a princess on her steed.