Prologue: 20 years earlier
C’yra ran towards the baby’s room. Anna was already in there waiting for her, packing a bag. They both flinched as the walls shook, and bits of rock and plaster fell from the ceiling. The city was on fire, C’yra could smell the smoke from here.
“There’s no time!” C’yra said, running to the crib and picking up the tiny sleeping kitten. She ran her claws over the baby’s soft fur, committing the feel and sight of her to memory. “We have to go.”
“Just a moment, you know we won’t get far if we don’t have little C’yra’s blanket and diapers.” Anna said, throwing a few more items into the bag. Then she put it on her shoulder and turned towards her mate and their daughter. The walls shook once more and cracks began to form on the walls, and more plaster and rock fell, in bigger chucks. C’yra’s heart raced and she shielded the baby in her arms. Anna touched her shoulder and together they raced out of the room. Then managed to make it out of the room, and down the stairs. They were heading towards the door when suddenly it broke in and in the blink of an eye they were surrounded by Horde Soldiers and Bots.
“Don’t move!” The Force Captain said approaching them, stun baton at the ready.
Anna and C’yra shared a look. Then Anna suddenly pulled C’yra into her arms and kissed her one last time, giving her the bag. “Protect our daughter. I will always love you both. Run!” Anna whispered into her ear and then taking a deep breath she turned to face the Force Captain and looked them in the eyes. Her eyes glowed purple and in a flash of light, Anna was gone and in her place was a giant purple panther. The Horde Soldiers shifted nervously.
The Panther growled menacingly and C’yra took that as her cue. She turned in the other direction and pushed past the frightened soldiers and jumped through a broken window. As she landed on the grass outside she could hear desperate screams and the sound of angry growls as the panther attacked.
C’yra prayed that Anna would make it out alive, but she had a feeling that she would never see her mate again. Little C’yra shifted in her arms, somehow she managed to sleep even through the noise. C’yra kissed her head. Then she took a breath fighting back tears and did as her mate asked of her… she ran.
“What are you doing, Wildcat?” Scorpia asked Catra one day when Catra was visiting her and Perfuma in the Fright Zone.
“Checking over these records…” Catra replied, looking through a Horde computer.
“For what?” Scorpia sat down next to her. She could see that something was wrong.
Catra bit her lip. She really didn’t want to talk about it, but at the same time, Scorpia was kind of in the same boat with her. Truth was the Horde had lied, Shadow Weaver, Hordak, all of the instructors had lied to them about where they had come from. Maybe Adora wasn’t the only baby that was stolen, maybe she was too. Maybe she had real parents, someone out there who had no idea that she was alive.
“I’m looking for anything that might lead to who my parents were.” Catra said, honestly.
Scorpia was quiet for a long moment. “I thought that my moms were friends of the Horde and they gave up our Kingdom willingly. I mean the other Princesses had always looked down on my family for being who we are.” She looked at her claws. “But turns out, Shadow Weaver and Hordak had them banished to Beast Island too. But they didn’t make it.” Scorpia looked sad and Catra couldn’t resist putting her arm around her friend.
“She told me she found me in the garbage pile near the Forge. She said she almost left me there, but then decided that I would be useful.” Catra rolled her eyes. “But she told Adora the whole time we were growing up that she was found just like me, and it turns out that Light Hope stole her from another planet and Hordak found her, so who truly knows what the truth is.”
They were both silent for a long moment after that. Catra continued to look through the records until it was almost dark and Perfuma came looking for them. She was about to ask what was wrong but by the look on their faces she decided not too.
“It’s almost dinner time.” She said quietly, putting her hand on Scorpia’s shoulder and giving her a loving look.
Catra sighed and closed down the computer, and got up stretching. Her efforts proved to be fruitless so far, but she read about things that she didn’t know if she had any business reading. She had known that the Horde was evil, and that she had played a large part in perpetuating that evil but there were some lines that even she wouldn’t cross. Her skin crawled and despite her strong dislike of water she longed for a bath or a shower or something, anything that could make her feel clean again.
She turned to her friends. “I uh… I’m not very hungry. I think I’m going to go tell Adora good night and then turn in. I’m pretty tired.” Perfuma expected her girlfriend to protest, after all that was the reason that Catra had come to visit in the first place. But Scorpia just hugged her and let her go.
“What happened?” Perfuma asked when Catra as far out of hearing range.
“She’s looking for her parents…and I don’t think she’s going to find the answer she is hoping for.”
Perfuma’s heart fell, and she took a breath. She felt Scorpia’s arms come around her and she leaned back against Scorpia’s chest. “They are dead aren't they?”
“I think so. I don’t think Shadow Weaver was lying about that, but I do think there is more to the story then what Catra was told.” Scorpia replied.
“I hope that she can find the answers that she is seeking.” Perfuma made a mental reminder to meditate on that during her morning meditation session. Sending up good vibes could only help.
“Me too, babe. Me too.” Scorpia said, kissing the top of Perfuma’s head. “Love you.”
“I love you too.” Perfuma replied with a smile, turning to give her girlfriend a hug. “Come on let’s go eat.” She said quietly, and hand in hand they walked towards the mess hall, leaving the dark room behind them.
It was days later after an exhaustive search that had Catra wanting to give up many times, that she finally found something helpful. It wasn’t her parents identities, but it was the name of a city, forgotten to time and legend.
“Halfmoon.” She told Adora later, when her girlfriend came to check on her. ”The logs mention it as a city that was conquered by the Horde.” She paused, her tail flicking back and forth rapidly with excitement. “I don’t know how to explain it but there is something about it that seems significant.”
Adora gently pulled her in for a hug. “Then maybe we should go talk to Bow’s dads. If anyone would remember or have knowledge of the city it would be George and Lance.”
Catra paused and rubbed the back of her neck nervously. “Are you sure they would want to see me? I threw their son down a cliff and almost helped Hordak conquer Etheria.”
Adora pulled back to look at her. “And I broke a bunch of their priceless artifacts the first time I met them and they forgave me. And I know that isn’t the same, but we won't know until we go there. And if they won’t then we can leave, and I promise I’ll find another way to get you the answers you seek, okay?”
Catra leaned her head against Adora’s chest and sighed. “Okay.” She agreed softly. Slowly she was getting better at facing people, but sometimes just the idea made her shake.
She felt Adora run her hand down her back, soothing her gently and Catra sighed. Adora pressed a kiss to her lips. “It will be okay… one way or another, alright?”
“Stay with me, please?” Catra whispered.
“Always.” Adora replied.
They got to the Library early the next morning. Lance and George met them in the foyer. They greeted Adora, Glimmer and Bow with hugs and kisses. Catra hung back feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sight of all of this affection. For a second she let herself imagine what it would be like to grow up with parents like Lance and George. She almost couldn’t picture it. It seemed so strange. Catra looked up when Adora turned to her, reaching out her hand. Catra took it gratefully, needing her strength.
“George, Lance… this is my girlfriend, Catra.” Adora said. Catra took a breath and held out her hand for them to take, ready for them to pull away or call her names. She was surprised when George pulled her in for a hug.
“Welcome to the family.” He said. Lance wrapped his arm around them both and added.
“Bow told us what you did… how you sacrificed yourself to save Glimmer and Adora told us that she wouldn’t have been able to save Etheria without you. We know what you did in your past and if I thought that you were still that same person, we would have never let you into our home. But you have changed, and we can see that for ourselves. You are welcome here anytime.”
Catra swallowed back the lump in her throat and let the dads hug her. She realized she was crying, and after a few minutes pulled back to wipe the tears from her eyes. Catra turned and buried her face into Adora’s shoulder, and Adora wrapped her arms around her girlfriend and held her close. George and Lance quietly ushered the Bow and Glimmer out of the room, whispering something about breakfast and giving Adora and Catra a few minutes of privacy.
Adora held Catra for a long moment, letting her cry on her shoulder until her tears stopped. Then Catra pulled back a little to look unto Adora’s face.
“I don’t deserve…”
“Yes you do. You made mistakes… we all have, but you apologized for them and are now making an effort to change and be better. That is all we ask of you and ourselves. You forgave me for leaving you, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did.”
“You don’t hold it against me do you?” Catra shook her head. “Then why do you expect us to hold all of your mistakes against you. Why do you deserve less?”
Catra didn’t have the answer, and she knew that Adora wasn’t expecting one either. It was just something that she need to think about and work on. Maybe she would ask Perfuma about it at their next session. She took a deep breath and then let it out slowly.
“You okay?” Adora asked, kissing the top of her head, and running a hand down her back comfortingly.
“I am now.” Catra answered honestly.
“You ready to go meet up with the rest of the group and have breakfast and ask George and Lance about Halfmoon?”
Catra nodded, but before they even took a step or moved, Catra placed a kiss on Adora’s lips.
“Thank you.” She whispered softly.
“Anytime.” Adora said, with a grin. She took Catra’s hand in hers and together they walked towards the dining room.
“So Catra, Adora told us that you were looking for information about your family?” George asked pushing back his plate and leaning back in his chair.
“Yes. I was told that I was an orphan, but I’m just wondering if maybe that had been a lie. I looked through what records I could find, but the only mention of something familiar was a reference to Halfmoon. I’m not sure what it is, I’m guessing it’s a city, but it feels right, like I’m connected to it some how you know.”
Lance and George exchanged a quick look that Catra couldn’t read. Then Lance spoke. “You are correct that it’s a city. It was a sister city to Bright Moon actually. But it was lost to the Horde. We were told that nothing of it remained.” Adora reached over and took Catra’s hand, rubbing her thumb across her soft fur soothingly.
“Where was it located?” Catra asked after a few seconds of silence.
“On the edge of the Whispering Woods, not far from here actually. We can take you to where it was if you would like.”
Catra nodded. George and Lance stood up and after taking a few minutes to put the rest of the food away, they all left the library and moved through the woods.
Everything was different now that magic had been returned to Etheria. Gone were the dim sorrowful looking woods, and in its place were bright colors and wisps of magic that floated in the air, illuminating the trees. The air felt clean and peaceful and Catra felt at ease as they walked.
She felt Adora’s arm circle around her waist and she gave her girlfriend a smile as she snuggled closer. Catra was nervous about what they were going to see, but she knew that as long as Adora was with her, she could get through anything.
They walked for a few more minutes, and then George and Lance signaled them to stop. They pointed to the ruined remains of a wall that was mostly covered leaves and vines. “This was where the entrance to the city used to be. It was an old city, built upon the ruins of First Ones technology. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was the home of a large Feline population, so it would make sense that your family would be from here Catra.” Lance said. They moved a bit closer.
“Most of the inhabitants of this city were killed or enslaved during the Horde invasion, but the ones that escaped, moved towards Crimson Waste. There are a few remaining Felines left but most live outside of the populated areas” George added.
Catra didn’t respond but pushed back some vines. There were some kind of images painted onto the wall, they faded with age and she couldn’t make out what it was during all of the dirt and debris. She rubbed at the dirt, and then gasped at seeing a face staring back at her. It was a painting of a Feline with similar coloring to herself.
“What is that?” Everyone moved closer to take a look.
“That looks just like you Catra!” Bow commented. “An older version of you anyway.”
George rubbed away some dirt at a different spot. “There is more!” He sounded so excited. “Lance we need to go back and get some tools and equipment to take a look at this properly.”
“I’ll teleport you!” Glimmer offered. “It would be faster!” She touched his shoulder and Bow’s and they disappeared in a flash.
“What do you think this is?” Adora asked George softly.
“Not sure, but it looks like Halfmoon knew that it was going to fall. Someone took the time to inscribe the city’s history on the wall. I think we all know by now that the planet tried to fight back against the Horde in it’s own way. This part of the woods grew out of control and Hordak ordered his troops out of this area and he focused his attention on the Fright Zone and took over Scorpia’s family’s Kingdom instead. He had originally wanted Halfmoon to be his base of operation, but this kingdom wouldn’t give up.”
They both looked to see Catra staring at the face. “Catra.” Adora asked softly. “You okay?”
“I… I can’t explain it, and you both are going to think I’m crazy, but I think this is my mother.” Catra said softly. Tracing a claw, gently over the painting. She rubbed a bit of dirt away from the top and her eyes widened. “Um, Adora, is that?”
“A crown… yes. But if that is your mother… then that means that….”
“I’m a princess… holy crap.” Catra said, she looked back and forth between the painting and her girlfriend. Then the world went black and the last thing she remembered was Adora screaming her name as she fainted.