I said in hope of settling the cat down. He was currently nosing around every crook and cranny in the studio. "There are other characters in this story who might find it odd and possibly, right down insulting that you have a feather tucked into your hat band."
"Tis a long story, miss" replied a disembodied voice as he seemed to have reached the nether regions of the closet.
"Well, we're going to be here for a while as I seem to be having some difficulty with nailing down your likeness*. Of course, if I might would help if I could see you."
"Aye, is that necessary, then? Sorry, 'bout that. Just needed to be checkin' the place over. 'Tis a good/bad habit I'm havin' now, isn't it? Alright then you're wantin' to know where me feather come from . . . mind you, you were warned, 'tis a long tale. You see, I can't be tellin' you all the details as some of them be confidential, but I'll be telling you as I can.
We was in a fierce fight, it had started in the wee 'ours of the morn, and Frankie, it's him who give me the feather, he was flyin', doing a little recon for us. It had to be late on to evenin' when I happen to glance up to the sky only to see Frankie get hit! Aye, he dropped straight down, he did. I was sore afraid we had lost him for sure.
It was well past midnight before the battle slowed and we could make our way to him now. We finally found him. He was alive. Barely." With this the cat seemed to wonder off into his own mind, staring out the window but seeing nothing. Quietly, he shook himself and turned his green eyes back to me. "Twas bad. I could see his wing was in bad shape, and he weren't 'imself, at all. We, me buddies and me, we wrapped him up best we could, and we carried him out of there.
One of the guys knew of a falconer not too far away. That's where we took 'em. I was sore afraid this man would be takin' one look at Frankie and finishin' 'im off, but it was the best I could do for me man at the time. We got back to the fight late in the mornin' but it was nearly done for, but always there was another and then another and then another." Again, the huge feline that had curled up on the edge of my art table drifted off into his own thoughts.
This time he didn't come back and so I asked, "How then did you come to have his feather?"
"It twas nearly a year and probably more to a year and a half afore I could get back to the falconer's. Bein' who I am and all, I had to be real careful going back there, so I went at night so as not to be seen. I think . . . . I think it took me so long as I was sore afraid Frankie wouldn't be there. But he was. He was still in a bad way, you see, his flyin' days were over. But he was alive and he was happy to be so. He said life was good and the man twas as good as they come.
It was gettin' close to daylight and time for me to be goin'. Frankie, he pulled one of his feathers out from his hurt wing and he gave it to me. And he said, 'Liam, take this, keep it with you, don't know that it will keep you safe, but I can't be there to look out for you no more. T'were it not for you . . . . . . . and what you did . . . . . . . I wouldn't be here. Stay safe. Be safe. And come back if'n you can.' "
After a considerable amount of time slid by, I asked, "Judging by the markings, he was a hawk then? And a very good friend. Have you seen him since?"
"No. Tis, in part, why I'm 'ere."
*This is the latest likeness of Liam. He doesn't like it. Says cats don't have mustaches. I rather liked it, but I guess I'll be doing some more sketching!