The Word Was the City, and the City Was God
The Rover Origin Myth
"The City that was The Beginning contained many things. Fine things, sensuous to the taste and touch of the People. All of these things could be had at no cost, and the People were content with what The City contained. Yet those who came before The City wove many other utterances into the world, and of those The People knew little to nothing.
Only when the Gherdizzin first discovered that other songs could be woven did true dichotomy emerge. One of the Gherdizzin was not content with what the wider world offered, and he pined for the sweet meats and roasted nuts of The City. So he returned to its well-manicured streets, straight as greeting-tails, to have both. But no longer were the Gherdizzin welcome in The City; they were anathema, outside of The Cities blessings. Now it happened that this Gherdizzin was quite crafty, as his name, Alzan'ta, tells us. He lived in the city before his people experienced the world, and he knew where the most succulent morsels were kept. Alzan'ta took to creeping about the city, snatching the finest of morsels the song-stones produced, sharing them with all who desired to taste the nectars of stone and freedom.
Altan'za's soul began to sing a new song, as he spread what both worlds had to offer between the two. For twenty cycles of the moons and thirteen days thereafter The People of The City pursued him, ever seeking his capture for corrupting The City with the influences of the Gherdizzin. But Altan'za's soulsong was no longer like that of the Gherdizzin, and so he escaped their notice. His song was of hair's breadth escapes, for he flirted often with danger, the richest spice of all. His song was of the whispers of paws on the sand, for his whisking steps left as little trace as tracks on a dune. His song was laughter itself, for no victory is a victory without celebration.
It is said that Altan'za's exploits became so renowned that he acquired many disciples. Feliz'ghajjo, the she-cat who was first to experience a hangover. S'vahjj, who found smokes both delightful to the nose and the escape route. The twins Fezix and Buhrajj, who embodied the hot and cold of passion. From all of these The Truest People of The City learned the ways of right action. Their noses could sniff out the finest of delicacies. Their paws could tread softly upon the hardest of stones. Their claws could pick the dullest of locks. For his teaching, the first Cats called Altan'za "-kneesh" which is Purveyor of Fun, or Uncle.
At this rebellion The Unright Peoples grew angry, and made terrible efforts to stamp out Altan'za-kneesh's teachings. He and his followers were forced to flee into the deserts, amidst the Lizards and Thorny Plants. But not all was lost. Altan'za-kneesh had taken a single stone from the greatest library of The City. It was not much to look upon, a grey, worn, flat thing from the side facing the markets, and so not many noticed when it went missing. In time The Truest People found a new home in the desert, when Altan'za-kneesh planted his stone. And from it sprang the greatest city of them all; not a stout city of stone and spire, for Altan'za and his people knew such things could easily be penetrated. Not a city of circles and numbers, as the Gherdizzin built, for they were much to predictable and none too comfortable.
Altan'za's city contained all that satisfied curiosity. His stone was buried in the sands, and from those sands the soul of his city emerged. It shifted and swayed. It shadowed and glared. It contained and released. All of the things his people desired and no others dared to possess. In so doing he bound our people's souls to themselves, ensuring they would not wander astray back into The City That No Longer Contained Us. Our souls wander free, the children of Themselves.
This is why we rove the desert, bargaining our ware. Now get out of my tent, and do not return until you fetch me a pot of khalish for my supper."-Mother Ghojja, Clancat and Mother of Story Strings, Caravan of Ferdidj the Bellicose