A Touch of the Paw

(Part 1 of 4)

Note: On a planet called Morphia, anthropromorphs thrive. It all began with a supernova explosion and the stellar system of Umi was created. Umi is still unknown by outsiders but their story comes to us by way of legend passed through the galaxy. Of course, the version might have changed but the theme among differing species exists.

"Sow an action and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character, sow a character and reap a destiny."—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Characters:

Phileas the Fox (male)

Calliope the Koala (female)

Ambrose the Siberian Tiger (male)

Feninir the Timber Wolf (male)

Leda the Lynx (female)

Isis the Peacock (female)

Rah the Jackal (male)

Janus the Black Bear (male)

Gaia the Gazelle (female)

Mia the Clouded Leopard (female)

Cody the Golden Eagle (male)

Tian the Panda (male)

Nene the Black Panther (female)

Dorian the Bald Eagle (male)

Coco the Gorilla (female)

Sydney the Echidna (female)

Kevin the Kangaroo (male)

Georgia the Scarlet Mac Caw (female)

Songa the Bengal Tiger (male)

Athena the Snowy Owl (female)

Zack the Zebra (male)

Chapter 1—Everyday Existence

Morphia, unlike some planets, happens to be older than most. Yet its existence hasn't been known for years. This story is the only account of this wondrous world and the anthropomorphic beings that inhabit it. The species that exists here are numerous and unique as the system of Umi itself. Umi doesn't have very many planets that are habitable, but Morphia stands alone as being one of the few planets that has such an advanced society and way of life.

These creatures, despite their role in the food chain, are all vegetarians and live together in harmony. With these tales that come through the many galactic systems by storytelling travelers, this is the one that was told to me, Crystiana Papillion. My own inevitable discovery of Morphia will be revealed much later in my retelling, but I shall start at the beginning…

Chapter 2—Each Being Has a Purpose

When Morphia was formed by a cosmic shift, all the elements for life were being put together and the microorganisms of the infant planet began to breathe for the first time. It took many eons before Morphia became what it is now, but even in its early years, life was sophisticated. As society developed, each creature could speak to a councilman about their dreams and were given a job based on them. Some beings were born to do certain things, like guard, interpret the future, or navigate the cosmos and the planet itself for food and other goods. Despite the fact that in Morphia, many of the creatures are predator and prey, they live and work as brethren. Species stick to their own kind, but have friendships with all different types of Morphians. This peaceful way of life has been going on since the dawn of the planet's birth. None of them have ever had a war, although there have been disagreements. Although they are pacifists, they know how to protect themselves should the need arise. They lead lives very much like our own through education, church, work and extracurricular activities. Morphians are quite advanced albeit they don't have entertainment, as we would know it. Their enjoyment consists of such activities as sports, movies, shopping, opera, or engaging body and mind in the virtual realm. They do not have such things as television since they wouldn't have any use for such an invention anyway. These beings are far too busy exercising their entire frames and expanding their horizons.

Chapter 3—The Red String of Fate

I, Crystiana Papillion was born on a tropical planet known as Amazonia. Alas, Amazonia doesn't exist any longer because our race was attacked and the opposition's forceful battalion outmatched our technology 100 fold. In other words, we were simply outdated and that was what brought our demise. I don't recall the battle, but I do remember my beloved parents telling me to use my butterfly wings to fly away as quickly as I could if I was ever in danger. I do remember flying away and using an escape pod to exit our dying planet. After that, everything becomes blurry.

For a long time I had been drifting in space and when I awoke, I found myself surrounded by anthropomorphic beings. Although I was only about seven or eight, I didn't find myself afraid of these creatures. I knew they were friendly and they were curious about my arrival. They spoke every language, including my own. Although I was still adjusting to my surroundings and I was a little leery of being treated differently, there was no need for me to worry. The citizens of Morphia instantly took me in and began asking me questions about where I had come from and what had happened. They were there to comfort me through my trials and tribulations and welcomed me into their family. In fact, before long, I was being taken to the local Head of Council, Athena the Snowy Owl. She was one of the eldest and wisest members of the entire planet. She had been divining futures since she was an owlet and before the Council chose her itself. She had given me a myriad of purposes to fulfill in my lifetime, but I was more than happy to partake of the challenge. I have been an adult for four years running now. I am still learning about the magnificent world around me and the world beyond it. I travel frequently, telling many of Morphia, but many dismiss it as my "imagination" gone awry. There have been some that have come to visit Morphia and many of them don't want to leave because of its weather, atmosphere and incredible hospitality. That's precisely the way I feel before I go out on a journey. But, I realize that I will always be accepted in Morphia as a citizen when I return and tell as many as I can about the amazing world that I call home.

I knew my life would be forever changed when I had begun to adapt to life on Morphia at a young age, but I really didn't know how much my existence would change until I met Feninir. On my home world, Amazonians were always paired with mates when they reached the ripe age of 16. I hadn't had the chance to meet my life mate, but having the freedom to choose whomever I wished to fall in love with was what everyone deserves. I found this out when Feninir approached me. Feninir was a gruff looking Timberwolf who was a little rough around the edges, but he let me know through playful name-calling day after day how he felt about me.

I teased him in response because I was interested in learning more about him. From a distance, he was always mysterious and his yellow-orange eyes shook my heart.

In a matter of days, I had begun seeing Feninir and it didn't take us long to know that we were meant to be together. I felt very special and blessed because Feninir had so many friends (many of them female, but none of them were romantically involved), and he chose me as his girlfriend and soon as his wife. I never expected that I would be so fortunate to have met someone so gentle and kind and who has treated me like nothing less than a Princess.

Chapter 4—Your Family is My Family

I look back at our wedding, and I remember how joyful that occasion was. All of Feninir's friends were there and I got to know them all by name. There was Phileas, Calliope, Nene, Leda, Isis, Janus, Gaia, Mia, Georgia, Kevin, Dorian, Tian, Cody, Rah, Ambrose, Sydney, and Coco. This tightly knit circle of friends was dwarfed by the size of their families and of course, their children. But, I didn't expect that I would be hobnobbing with them again. I learned quickly that weddings and births are family occasions. Certainly there is also mourning, but even in funerals, the individuals rejoice in the fact that the soul goes to the Mother Creator.

Yet, I digress. I never would've suspected that I would be seeing all of Feninir's friends during the birth of our fraternal twins, Mariah (after my mother) and Franklin (after Feninir's grandfather). There was rejoicing, and plenty of celebration. The birth was far less painful than I would've ever imagined because nurses and doctors providing me with every possible comfort and I thanked them for their assistance. Feninir's friends and family vowed to help us with Mariah and Franklin should we need any assistance. And just when I thought I had learned all I could learn, I was about to learn the joys and challenges of married life and motherhood.

From the Diaries of Christiana Papillion-Wolf.

To be continued… In the second chapter of "A Touch of the Paw", more will be uncovered about the Morphian's existence and how they fight back against their first true enemy. Mariah and Franklin learn about the horrors of war and how to defend themselves from evil and the way to true peace.

By: Elizabeth Berndt

September 2, 2004