One day, the cat with many names arrived at the cottage of Sitome, the Immortal Man of the North.
Sitome was a medicine man who brewed potions and tinctures for the villagers. Stories of his immortality were known far and wide; some said he was over six hundred years old and had become immortal after drinking a potion, others said his eternal life was a gift from a sorcerer who had been a lover in his youth. Dissenters would click their tongue and say, “Nonsense, he is ninety at most, and a great weaver of tales.” But Sitome made no effort to confirm or deny, he would merely mumble and grumble in response, shuffling round his garden, fetching the herbs needed for their ailments. In return for his healing potions, the villagers supplied him with all necessities, and in spite of his gruffness he got on well with them, and attended their festivals and parties.
Sitome spent most of his days harvesting ingredients, making tinctures, and listening to litanies of illness and injury. In the evenings he would sit on his porch, enjoying the hum of the crickets. He’d always look to the south, staring down into the valley as the breeze brought the smell of mint and jasmine.
When the cat with many names arrived at Sitome’s cottage she found him in the garden, watching as she crept along the path. She stopped and stared at him with her wide emerald eyes.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” said Sitome, winking at the cat with many names. She blinked at Sitome, drawn to him, but hesitant after so many years of rejection.
Sitome called to her. She approached and rubbed herself against his leg. He lifted her and held her gently against his chest.
“A scrawny creature,” he said. “All skin and bone.”
She nuzzled his chin.
“We will dine together,” he said, and took her into his home.