Author's note: Some issues in this story may be offensive to some people, simply because of the society I have created. If you don't like it for it's content, please don't start flaming me with your angry feelings. Just don't read it. On the other hand, please feel free to give me constructive criticism on my writing. Just don't kick me too hard… soft shoving and careful prodding should suffice…

Also, the name 'Chara' should be read 'SHAH-rah' and 'Iason' as 'ee-ah-SONE'

Prologue:

It had been this way since anyone could remember. For all anyone knew it had been this way since time began. The chance union of a cat and a man in love and marriage brought the two races together as one. The God and the Goddess; the man and the cat. So it would always be. A man and a cat would be chosen at birth, each from a noble family. They were taken from their parents the hour they were born and given to another, raised as any other child. When they came of age, they were brought together at the temple and they were joined in an unbreakable union under the eyes of their deities never to be apart. Thus, their jointed rule was thought to be made incorruptible. The children brought up as peasants learned to understand the hardships of those of ennoble birth and to govern them justly and selflessly.

Our story begins as the largest sun rises high in the sky and the smaller appears over the horizon, a disc of earthy red. Two children of the mid-year are born the same day.

One is a girl, born of the Count Kyriakos and Countess Ioanna. They name her Chara. A fitting name, for precious she is, her mottled fur wet and her eyes still closed, a tiny helpless thing feeding from her mother's teat. She is the chosen child, and her mother knew it before she was born. She licks her child clean with her coarse tongue and holds her close to herself for just a few hours as she rests. The father watches them lying there and he lies down next to his wife, comforting her in the loss of her child, the only child she would be allowed to bear. By the time the Red Sun sets, the world is black, only the stars lighting the sky. The priestesses come to Ioanna and the child is taken from her, leaving the mother with her face pressed into the father's fur as she can't bear to look at them holding her little Chara in the doorway as they wait for their chariot to arrive.

The second child is a boy, given the name Iason. His mother holds him to her breast, knowing, just as the mother cat, that her son will be taken from her by nightfall. His mother is also of noble birth, the duchess Paraskeve, and his father, the duke Leonidas. His eyes are large and blue, and he too is helpless and unknowing. As evening falls, the Paraskeve turns to her husband's embrace for comfort when her child too, is taken from their home…