The Cat Woman continued. “You wish to find out how to save Harry, right?”
Estella was overwhelmed by so much information. It was all too fast. “Yes, but first, I want to know how you did that. How did you change yourself?”
“Oh, the secret. You want to know the secret of changing.”
“Yes, I want to know how you did that. And who are you?”
“My name is Ascentia." The cat sat down and continued. "My mother said that it means one who climbs high places to reach the stars. More specifically my name refers to reaching those group of stars just above the tree you rested under tonight. The City People call them the Pleiades. My mother’s people call them, home. Why I have that name is a long story. One I will save for another time."
Ascentia looked back at the silver star hanging on Stella’s neck. “It is your name that you should be curious about. Stella, Starlight. Do you know why Harry gave you this name?”
Estella was puzzled. She hadn’t told Ascentia her name.
“Well not really,” Estella said. “It just kind of happened. Harry told me it had something to do with living so high up in his branches. So close to the stars. The stars had something to do with finding a safe place to keep my dreams.”
Ascentia’s eyes looked at her with a curious expression. Waiting for some sort of recognition to appear on Estella’s face.
None appeared, so she continued. “Estella, your name means the one who can navigate through difficulty by using the stars as a compass. When everyone seems lost and confused the star navigator will find the solution to the problem. It means that you are the one who holds the vision for the tribe. Do you know what vision brought you here?”
“Yes,” Estella responded. The answer rose from her center. “I have traveled through five forests for an entire day without rest to find you. I did this because Harry told me that you could help me. I do not want to see my friend Harry cutdown by a woodman ax. It would break my heart if I lost him. I am here because I love Harry. That is my vision.”
Ascentia breathed a sigh. So the young one does understand, she thought to herself. She is ready for more.
“The bright star you wear on your chest was crafted by the father of my son. A good man who came from the far shores in the Wooden Birds. It is a gift that I gave to your mother, my sister, many years ago. The star is more than a pretty trinket. It is the magical talisman that provides humans with the ability to change into any creature they can imagine, so long as they are connected with love."
"And here is where the secret gets even more interesting. When a person wears that star, it means that one is connected to the stars above. The stars then become friends, in the way the sun and moon are our friends and give us light and nourishment. The one wearing that star," Ascentia pointed toward Stella with her nose, "is on a journey. A journey of hope. The star will keep your vision safe. Your vision is your love for Harry. Your father gave it to you because he felt that you are the one to save your friends, the trees, from destruction.”
"The first secret to changing into anything is to do it for love." Ascentia finished.
Estella found it hard to exhale. She had to release her astonishment for a moment and press in her lungs with her stomach muscles to keep breathing as she attempted to take in what her mind was denying. She sat down.
She attempted to sum up what she just heard. “Let me get this straight. Your sister is my mom, who, by the way, I never did meet. And you were a human just a few minutes ago, which means…my mom…your sister is a woman too! Help me out here cat lady.”
“Yes,” chuckled the beautiful cat, “I remember that feeling well when my father told me something similar. Hard to breathe, images of cats and humans all rolled up into one little ball of a brain…doesn't seem right, does it?" She laughed.
Then she relaxed into a calm smile and continued, “But little one, here is the second part of the secret. The secret of shape changing. You were never just a cat. Nor was I ever just a human. We are, you, me, that tree over there, all of us, we are all bits and pieces of each other. We are not just a part of the web of life, we are all parts of that web, and whatever type of being each of us focuses our attention on is the part that we become. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, it will make sense in the next coming days.”
“For now, what is of utmost importance is for you to understand how I was able to change into a cat. When you understand this, you will also be able to step into a plan that will save Harry.”
Estella opened her eyes wider.