Cats in the Dark Lands
Cats, called kwyg, kog or kę in the local dialects, are an essential component in any Rojgraszian village. They keep mice and other small monstrosities away from food supplies and soothe the common mental wounds the abyssal corruption inflicts on the people. Cats are so important to the Dark Lands people that, in the Rojgraszian astrology, there is a constellation dedicated to them. Many villages held a major festival when the Sun enters it (during the seventh month), the Ńidunkę Szkiep.
Caring for the Cats
Most villages are small communities of around a hundred people, where everyone has a role, and often more than one. Some people guard the village, some go hunting or gathering, or tend to the crops or the cattle. There's so much work to do and so few people that many often have more than one role in the community. In this situation, everything not requiring strict surveillance is usually not taken care of actively. It notably applies to children (free to roam within the village, unless they can help with some job) and cats. Cats are luckily as independent as they are helpful and enjoy being left alone. They hunt their food and tend to the kitties on their own. When a cat gets sick or is wounded, the others seek the village attention so that someone can heal them. Alchemists and herborists are often able to help. An alńy is involved only when strictly necessary, since cats don't seem to like them. Cats usually find themselves a place to nap somewhere near the village food supplies and build their colony there.
Rojgraszian cats fulfil several roles throughout their life. When they are younger, more playful and full of energy, they spend more time with people than with other cats. Purring and playing, they help villagers relax and distract after a long workday of grim survival in the Dark Lands. Many believe their presence can heal mental wounds and soothe the mind, purifying it from the corrupting influence of the Abyss. Adult cats start hunting down rodents, thus keeping food supplies safe. They spend considerably less time with people and only occasionally play with them. Elder cats are often too tired to hunt mice and other small animals, so they like to stay in a place all day, usually the door of a house. They are said to be able to ward off ghosts from the houses they visit. People believe they learn how to actively track down and hunt incorporeal entities as they do with rats.
Relations with Magical Creatures
Cats are a gift from the spirits, maybe spirits themselves. Treat them well, and they will return the favour
Many believe cats are benevolent spirits disguised as animals. Several witnesses swear they saw cats transfigurating into spirits, but most people only point to less arguable evidence. First, cats don't like alńe. Some say it is because the mages handle several substances toxic for animals, like the red lilies. Others claim cats stay away from them since they harness a dangerous power that corrupts them. Staying near them would weaken the spirits' ability to heal the mind. Second, cats seem to disappear when the village is under attack, especially when dark spirits are around. A possible explanation would be they turn back in their incorporeal form to fight off the enemy. Third, Rojgraszian cats seem to live longer than other Nysian breeds. Finally, elder cats have the habit of staying with dying people and newborns. People claim this behaviour is due to their ability to link the physical and spiritual worlds. They would guide a person's soul out of their body into the unknown and vice-versa, help the baby get a pure one. Some go as far as saying they are what remains of the western kingdom's people. According to the legend, after the Dark Swan cursed the lands, an illness overrun the western kingdom, wiping out the population and making them ghosts and spirits. Rojgraszian cats would descend from these people. The most significant evidence supporting this claim is cats seem to be slightly more present in the western regions.