This is a detailed explanation of WCMI's Cheshire Cat. The character will appear in the comic fairly soon, and Briann and I feel it's best you all know about the Cat beforehand. A lot of thought went into the character's design and it's just too much to explain within the confines of the comic itself. It's better to fill you all in here so you understand why the Cat is doing what it's doing in the comic, and why the characters react to it the way they do. So read this if you will, and then keep an eye out for a certain famous smile in WCMI...
This is not the funny purple kitty from the animated film, my dears.
*The Cheshire Cat in WCMI isn't actually a cat. It looks like a cat, but only because it chooses to do so. It can appear in any manner of catlike shape, but it does not have a true corporeal body. It might be a suspiciously shaped wisp of fog or a fleeting shadow at times, or materialize fully as a properly whiskered cat at other times. The size can vary too. The only thing that doesn't change is the presence of that famous eternal grin.
*You could say it is the 'hive mind' of WL materialized into sentient form - in a sense, anyway. All the thoughts and emotions of everyone who lives and *has* lived (past and present) in the realm flow through the Cat like electricity through a cable. It the heartbeat of the entire ream, and the sole source of the magic that infuses their world (the same magic keeps immortals like Reginald from suddenly speed aging...)
*It's the only feline in the realm. There are no housecats, no wild big cats, no anthropomorphorized clothes-wearing cats like Ears. So if someone says 'the cat' they mean THE Cat, no ifs ands or buts.
*It can be kind and benign one moment - and devilish the next
*It amuses itself by observing and occasionally interfering with peoples' personal lives (sometimes benevolently.....sometimes not.)
*It has a soft spot for children because they have no fear of it. The only see a cute, plump kitty, just as Alice did when she was little. They'll play with the Cat in their innocence; no doubt a game of catch-me is epic when the target can vanish!
*It's not evil nor good. It's neutral, and can go in either direction at any given time. It can and does act with benevolence, sometimes to a wonderfully life-changing degree for some people - but then an hour later it reappears elsewhere and mocks someone with their dead mother's voice until that someone snaps and runs into traffic. It's like the ocean, if you will. Calm and lovely with warm waters one moment, and the next a rogue wave comes out of nowhere and capsizes your boat. Chaotic neutral at its finest.
*As stated the thoughts and feelings of all Wonderlanders (living and otherwise) buzz through the Cat continuously, hence the hive-mind comparison. It hears everything, feels everything. That's one of the top reasons everyone is unnerved by it - the Cat looks at an individual and it *knows.* To have a creature sit there and stare at you (grinning blankly no less) while you know that it is aware of everything you've ever done (heck, everything you've even considered doing!) and can feel every fluctuation of your emotions, read every thought....well, that would stress the bejesus out of anyone, wouldn't it?
*It has a sense of humor (one of those faelike traits.) It likes to appear at inopportune moments and places just to cause a reaction, for example. A common curse in the realm is 'for the love of the Cat' 'I don't give a Cat's arse.' etc....and on very, very rare occasion the Cat itself will pop up and be like "you rang?" just to watch everyone hit the roof. :) A whole crowd looks down to find their shoelaces tied together? The Cat was just amusing itself. Did everyone at the Pub suddenly find their drinks frozen solid? The Cat is laughing in the rafters.
*Wonderlanders have two long-held superstitions regarding the Cat. Firstly, it is considered a very, very bad thing to make eye contact with it. To look into the eyes of the Cat is a dangerous business..possibly because you'll see yourself reflected in those eyes. Kinda like that 'Magic Mirror gate' in Neverending Story, remember that? If someone in WL goes irrepairably insane it will often be said that he/he looked the Cat in the eye. The second superstition: if the Cat appears and disappears in a place (or in the presence of someone) without saying anything it means that something significant will soon happen there, or to that person. What happens could be good or bad, but it'll be something.
* *It is drawn to people and places where emotions of any sort are running high. Some people who are in strong emotional states seem to intrigue the Cat, and such a person may lure it like a moth to flame.
* The Wonderlanders regard it with fascination, reverance, awe, superstition and fear. Some are quite terrified of it, and there are probably a few who see it as godlike.
*The Cat has a knack for mischief. It has been occasionally been known to act like something out of a Stephen King novel, like singling someone out for unspecific reasons and haunting them into total insanity. I'm not talking about the cute, fun sort of insanity that leads to purple squirrels...we're talking the kind of insanity that makes people walk off cliffs.
*If someone has committed some awful act in their life this would make the Cat terrifying to them, given that it knows what their wicked deed was. To face the Cat is to have their own guilt stare at them with an eternal smile....of course, this sort of person is probably who the Cat would deliberately torment into walking off a cliff. Perhaps these acts of supposed terrorism are actually acts of justice? Could be.
*What is it, then? Nobody in WL knows. It may be a demon, a fae or an unusually powerful grimalkin. It might have been trapped in the realm eons ago, or it may simply like it there and opt to stay. It could have started out as one thing and evolved into something else over time. Heck, maybe it created Wonderland. It IS the source of WL's magic, so maybe it's the source of life too. Anything is possible.
**It is eternal, ageless and incomprehensibly wise.
* The Cat views Wonderland as it's own personal fish aquarium. It likes to tap the glass a lot.
Remember how the dormouse completely freaked out in the animated film when Alice mentioned a cat? Even the Queen looked a bit alarmed when Alice was like "oh look, a cat." Hmm...