Fernando, the cat with a paint brush for a tail, detested water, particularly the sea. Therefore he was not enamoured when he found himself in service on a mercantile Dutch East India ship. He passed the time, when not tormenting the bursar, by carrying out small acts of necromancy on rats he had recently killed.
It was while serving on the ship that he discovered somewhere in his ancestry a dalliance with the Cheshire Cat had occurred. The skills came into particular use during a short spell in the prison of Devil's Island, but that is a different story. On ship his forebears gifts enabled him to pass unnoticed through the stores of dried fish and salted beef, indulging some of his more everyday appetites.
Fernando had been pressed into service after a hedonistic night around the docks of Amsterdam. The ship's master, Van der Decken, was an arrogant and vain man, insisting Fernando produce portraits of him once a week, each one in the style of a different great master. This did not please Fernando.
While the ship doubled the Cape of Good Hope Fernando untied several storm knots in the fur of his belly, bringing a tempest unequaled on any of the known trade routes.
As Van Decken condemned himself to an eternity navigating the seas, Fernando stood by the rail, evaporating till all he left was a grin of razor sharp feline teeth.
Freelance writer and archaeologist