• Tal gingerly massaged her aching and weary back beneath the heat of the warm, summer sun. She scratched her sandy cat ear, relieving it of an itch.
    "Hey, Cat-Tail! Tired already?" yelled Rork loudly.
    Tal scowled and threw a rock at him. It hit it's target right in the back in the head. Tal purred contentedly, tail flicking amused. All the other men burst out in laughter. Despite being a woman, and her cat-like attributes, Tal fit in very well with most of the men. She could lift just as much as either of them could. And she never quit no matter how weary and tired she was. Besides, working out in the field was better than being teased about her appearence in the village in which she lived.
    The girl wiped the sweat off her forehead with the back of her rough hand, fixed her long, tangled, black hair into a horsetail, and continued her work. One of the older men gave her some water. She took it gratefully. Tal looked at her strange reflection with a twinge of shame. Her gold eyes, like two suns behind two moons during an eclipse, her sandy cat ears, able to hear even the faintest whisper, her bushy, sandy, cat tail, her claw-like nails, and her sharp, needle-point teeth. She had been born in this strange manner without any possible reason. Her parents were completely normal, yet she appeared to be a bizarre half-breed of cat and human. Tal clenched her teeth, trying not to bite her rough toungue.

    When the sun was low and red in the sky, Tal and the men returned to their villages. As Tal walked the ever familiar path to her home, Rork roughly pulled on her tail, causing her to fall, taking him with her, hissing and clawing at him furiously. Her ears flattened against her head.
    The older men broke them apart. One restrained Tal, the other the breathless Rork.
    "That is enough! You aren't children anymore! We shouldn't have to break up pointless fights!" berated the man that held Tal.
    "She started it! She clawed at me like a WILDCAT!" protested Rork loudly, clearly emphasising the word wildcat.
    Tal hissed threateningly. She started it? He was the one who pulled her tail.
    "You liar! You're the one who started it!" she hissed angrily.
    "I don't care who started it! I want you two to act like adults and not children! Understand?" the man yelled.
    Tal nodded, glowering at Rork, who merely sulked off.

    Tal stayed silent the rest of the way. The man who'd restrained her, Yolan, finally broke the silence by saying, "He deserved it. I must say you gave him a pretty good clawin' Lass. I think his arms are still bleeding."
    Her gold eyes widened. Was he praising her for brawling? Her tail flicked in bewilderment.
    "Aye, Lass. I'm not lying. No one, man or woman, deserves to be teased for what they cannot control. Most men prefer women innocent and frail. You, on the other hand, are strong, clever, and couragous, characteristics that men believe that women should not have. Don't let what any dirtbags say about you get to you. For you are the strongest maiden I've ever met. And the prettiest, if you ask me." Yolan explained with a smile.
    Tal was so overjoyed with his words that she did several graceful cat-like acrobatics, much to the amusement of the many men.