Let all the nations be aware,
And let the cities tremble there,
Let them know the time is near
For the world to be reordered.
Babel rose and touched the skies,
Rose with whips and piteous cries.
But every nation falls and dies,
For the world will be reordered.
Let the gods cast down their spears,
Tremble with unmeasured fears.
Let the rulers bow, and seers—
For the world has been reordered.
an old catti song
The image I have given you, though not made by me, is an accurate representation of the Catti species: indomitable, savage, grim, war-like, staunch, a force to be reckoned with and not one that appears susceptible to reason. Taken as a whole, this assessment is very true. The tribes of this cat-like people living outside the Faerie Empire, and among the ebbing surf of the Empire's fortress-studded shore, if they ever knew a time of peace, have long since lost it to memory as they battle the constant threat of subjugation by the fairies and the steady inroads their oppressors have made into their lands. Given another iron-fisted Emperor with a keen military sense and (very important) funding, another generation might see the total crushing of the Catti people.
Well, perhaps not total. The Catti clans are, a little like the Highlanders and Lowlanders of Scotland (to claw through our history for some semblance of analogy), divided into two groups, the Dunr and the Black. While both proudly war-like and devoted to their clans, the Dunr might eventually learn to bear the burden of fairy rule, to learn the sense in law and order and straight roads; the Black Catti, I think, never could. Blockheaded and insensible to fairy logic the Catti have always been, but given enough time and gentle wear, the Dunr folk could twist the fairy psyche a little to a shape they liked, and perhaps even become used to being ruled by their orderly overlords. They might one day become a powerful political bloc in the Empire. But the Black Catti, seeped in their black forest mindset, even further removed from the creeping influence of Faerie rule, react only two ways: kill all fairies and live, or, short of that, die before being conquered. There is no middle ground, no light to be found in law or civilization. It would take so many generations to bring them around to that kind of thinking that it is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Any fairy general worth his salt will turn his mind toward the barbaric north and know that the far black woods must be razed and the Black Catti blood drained before Faerie will ever plant her raven banners there with any stability.
“You’re asking me to lay out hundreds of years of animosity and bloodshed and say, ‘Even though that lies between us, I shall not lift my paw against thee’? That is a hard thing to do, my lady; very, very hard to do.”
Inhospitable, perhaps? Yes, as a general rule Catti are tough nuts to crack - tough horse chestnuts with angry sea-urchin spikes all over them... But once you do crack them, they have remarkably tender insides and even a set of morals that they hold to admirably (if not always by the spirit yet definitely by the letter). The side of themselves which they rarely show the stockade walls of the border forts is a tender side, full of love and warmth and the magic of living a simple life. And if you can win their hearts (though it may cost you your own) they will go with you to hell and back and you will have never known a better friend.