Season 1 Episode 2 Ghost Cat Number Five
In segment one of this episode, I meet the first of Stein Cat’s ghosts, who explains to me how she died, how the ordinary things in Dunari can kill me, and trains me how to use room zero’s power source.
Segment two is a deep dive into what I learned about this power source and how it may help you with your world building.
In the ‘Strange but True’ segment, I explain the unusual relationship Ganhook has with a family of Green Legs Cranes.
I describe how I was introduced to some of the everyday things in Dunari. While these things were everyday things to the Dunari folk, they were lethal to me.
How to think about unique power sources in your world building.
Each show will be summarized in letter form. These are the letters I would have written from Dunari to my parents if I’d been able to do so at the time.
Seven minutes reading time.
Dear Mum and Dad
Just to update you about the past day.
I barely slept last night. My head was so full of thoughts and terrors, I could barely keep my eyes closed half the time. But things are ok. I’m ok. And I hope you’re ok, too.
At 6:45, I remembered the warning about the bed, and got up.
And waited. And waited. And waited.
I’m doing a lot of waiting here. Ganhook had said a ghost cat would turn up. Sure enough, shortly after nine, a ghost cat arrived. Thankfully, she had the decency to knock instead of passing through the door. I’ve had enough scares here already.
Nevertheless, thought she had a kittenish look, it was the size of a sheepdog. And the way it walked on two hind legs, and carried a tray of black bread in its forepaws, rattled me anyway.
A cat bringing me food!
Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around?
Even if it appeared solid, I saw through her, too, which was bizarre.
The beast was pale grey and covered in stripes. Not patterned stripes. Randon, chaotic stripes, like she had fallen into a stripe painting machine.
I wondered if that was how she’d died.
When it asked me how I was, and I told it the toilet had tried to kill me, the cat laughed and said in the most dramatic way, ‘I’ve died many, many times. But I’ve never died by toilet.’
And even though this was a ghost, when it stepped close to me, I’d swear I smelled fish off its breath.
After questioning my ‘near death by toilet’ experience, she told me that she had died three times in Ganhook’s fortress, and this particular ghost was formed after the first death.
‘Don’t ever wander alone in this fortress,’ Ghost Cat Number Five told me. ‘That’s how I died.’
She told me that shortly after Ganhook had taken her into the fortress, and warned her not to wander, she’d wandered anyway, wandered straight into an intruder detection spell trap.
‘Shredded me in seconds,’ she said. ‘Lucky for me, I never get reborn in the exact same spot I die. Otherwise, that spell would have shredded me again and again and again. Imagine that.’
At that moment, I’d swear the cat shivered, which really bothered me, because if a ghost was afraid of something, I needed to be really, really afraid of that something.
Mum and Dad, I know my school results could sometimes be better, but I promise you I will heed every lesson I learn in this place.
Honestly, I will.
After a while bragging about how great she was, Ghost Cat Number Five lectured me about ‘common dangers’. These were things like power sources, spells, and all the stuff the Dunari people took for granted, but were lethal to visitors.
She said, I was like a young child in this world, and needed to be protected from things until I learned how to safely use them.
She told me that while, Lavun (magic, I presumed), was the main power source in Dunari, the fortress was powered by the last breath of a fire breathing demon.
The demon’s last breath, along with its spirit and bones, was held in a chamber beneath the fortress. The energy of its last breath passed up along a network of pipes to provide heat, light and fire to every room in the compound.
The ceiling fireball was part of the breath.
After telling me that the fireball only reacted to magic words, and would harm me if I tried to control it without those magic words, Number five taught me how to manipulate it.
Within half an hour I was making the fireball bigger and smaller, which was actually fun. And learning magic words wasn’t just cool. It was useful. The more of them I knew, the better chance I had to use them to flee home.
Or so I hoped.
To round off my lessons in common dangers, Number Five activated an intruder detection spell trap, and I spent a few hours learning how to detect and react to it.
Luckily, it was a training spell, so all it did was tickle and poke me whenever it caught me.
When the lessons ended, I was sad to see Number Five go. At least she behaved like a proper ghost and walked straight out through the door.
So, dear parents, how can I use Dead Cat Number Five’s world building lessons to help you better understand this world.
If you want to better understand my position, maybe you could consider it like this:
What would happen if a peasant from the middle ages was dropped into a modern-day household, and told to look after himself?
If he didn’t electrocute himself, blow up a gas oven, or have a heart attack when a car passed by outside, he’d surely die from any one of a thousand other causes.
To survive modern-day life, he needs to learn about the common dangers.
That’s what I need to learn about, too.
And by doing this, I can help you to develop your imaginations, too.
Staying with last week’s room zero concept, here’s another ‘develop your imagination’ exercise.
Enter your zero and examine a power socket. If you didn’t know what it was, it is a dangerous thing indeed. But instead of viewing it as an electrical power socket, view it as some type of alternate power source specific to your world.
Imagine if you followed that back to its source, where would it lead you to?
Other worldbuilding opportunities. That’s where.
It will encourage you to think about how the power source is created? Who creates and controls it? What are the consequences of using it? Is it dangerous to use?
Without leaving your room zero, you’ll have learned more about the world outside.
If I’d followed where the last breath of the fire breathing demon led to, I’d have discovered pipes, tunnels, chambers, and finally the spirit of the dead fire breathing demon.
Yes, it all sounds crazy. But I hope it helps you develop your imagination, and better understand the World of Dunari.
I hope I’m not scaring you too much. Don’t worry about me. It’s not too bad here, and if you’d like to listen to some light-hearted Dunari stuff, I’ve included a short ‘strange but true’ story at the end of this week’s podcast. You can find it at 20:45 minutes.
I will write again soon. Until then, goodbye.
Or as we say in Dunari, Dreavik.