Rat-Catcher is a short story written by Seanan McGuire, originally published in the anthology A Fantasy Medley 2, released in December of 2012. In March, 2016, it was published online by Lightspeed Magazine. In the online version, Jill's name is Lenet.[1]

Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?

—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Author's Summary Edit

In the year 1666, a young Prince of Cats named Rand dwelt peacefully in Londontown with his beloved sisters, Jill and Colleen. He spent his nights at the theater, drinking in the works of Shakespeare, and had no interest in the day when he would be expected to rise up, challenge his father, and take his place as a King of Cats. For Rand, kittenhood was a wonderful dream, and one that he hoped would last forever.

Dreams end.

All stories have to begin somewhere, and this is where the story of Tybalt, King of Dreaming Cats, began: with a boy, and his sisters, and the city that he loved and never planned to leave. When duty calls, can he make the choice that will keep them all safe, without giving up everything that he has ever wanted from his life?

Suggested Reading Order Edit

"Rat-Catcher" can be read at any point, as it is background for the series. It is best read after at least two volumes of the main series, to give a firm grounding in the character.

Plot Edit

At Ainmire's insistence, Jill comes to fetch Rand from his favorite theater, where he is watching Romeo and Juliet. After a light argument about whether he will come quietly or not, they head back to the Court of Fogbound Cats. Once there, they meet with Colleen, who hurries Rand off to meet their father. Ainmire sends him to the seat of the Divided Courts in Londinium, where King Heydon and Queen Lettice have gathered representatives from every holding in their territory to hear a message from Undersea. A Roane prophetess warns of future fires and sickness in London, disasters that will claim human and Fae lives alike, and tells them all to flee.

Rand returns to the Court of Cats to deliver the news to his father, but discovers that he has left. While Ainmire is gone, Rand returns to the Duke's Theater to farewell the humans there, who have known him for years as Tom, the resident cat. Colleen and Jill come to fetch him when their father returns. Ainmire refuses to abandon the Court in London. To save his sisters, Rand challenges his father for his throne. Ainmire throws Rand into the Shadow Roads, and kills Jill while Rand is gone. Once returned, Rand defeats his father and claims his new name and title: Tybalt, King of the Court of Fogbound Cats. He sends all the Cait Sidhe of London away to protect them from the upcoming plague. The story ends with Tybalt, alone on the London Tower Bridge.

Throughout the story, Rand reminisces about his father's cruelty towards him and his brothers and sisters. He thinks of the first time he walked the Shadow Roads to become a Prince of Cats. He reflects on the first time he met September Torquill, and how he has loved her since then.

Date (see Timeline)Edit

July-September, 1666

Characters Edit

  • Tybalt
  • Jill/Lenet
  • Ainmire
  • Colleen
  • unnamed Cait Sidhe woman, a calico with Colleen's coloration
  • unnamed Cait Sidhe woman, a Siamese with dark hands, pale complexion, and bright blue eyes
  • September Torquill
  • the Merrow ambassador for Undersea, unnamed
  • Naia, the Roane messenger
  • Humans at the Duke's Theater
    • Dick Allington, director
    • Peter Skellington, actor
    • young Tom, actor
  • unnamed Cait Sidhe of the London Court

Mentioned only Edit

Locations (see List of Faerie Kingdoms, Duchies, Realms)Edit

Mentioned onlyEdit

See alsoEdit

References Edit

  1. [1]

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