lost and found
dolphin

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First in this chapter, I'm going to tell you all about Sineult's kind. They actually have no fixed name, because nobody but them knows that they exist, but they call themselves Kindred. There are no real females among them. They all look like boys, are built like boys with spigots and all well attached. But they're divided into two kinds: those who bear the offspring, in lieu of real females, and those who father the offspring. I'm not joking, there really is a difference. They may all look like boys, but some are regarded as the 'females' of their species. I'm not sure why the 'females' need certain-uhm-male parts attached, but Sineult says they have them, so they do, and the 'males' tell which ones are 'females' by their scent. They're very much like overly blood-sucking wolves, they do everything by scent, and sniffing each other is considered a romantic and loving thing to do. Don't blame me if you find this weird. I'm only telling you what Sineult told me.
All Kindred have two forms. Their primary form is that of a human male, complete with human thought processes and human emotions. However, this is not their 'original' form. Their original form, the one that their ancient ancestors inhabited constantly, is that of a vampire, with the slightly humanized thought processes and emotions of a wolf. None of them know when it happened that they acquired the ability to transform themselves from their normal form to that of a human, although their more scholarly types claim that it was initiated as a defense mechanism against the fear and the prejudices of their human persecutors, and that at one point they could shift from one form to the other at will. But however it came about, they cannot now choose which form to be in when. There are only certain things that will trigger a Change, as they call it, from the almost constant human form they now possess to that of their native wolf-vampire, one of which is hunger, and the other of which is mating season. I'll try to tackle the hunger one first.
When a Kindred's body begins, for any reason, to feel that it is being starved, it will Change into the original form to make food easier to acquire, because vampires, as we all know, drink blood. They can survive on it with no supplement at all. That's how it is with a Changed Kindred. A Change actually consists mostly of an internal overhaul of the digestive, neural, and reproductive systems, and food becomes, essentially, irresistable. So if the Kindred in question is starving themselves, they won't be able to hold out anymore, and if they are being, say, held captive and forcibly starved by someone else, they will Change, go nearly insane and get this surge of like, supernatural strength from the need, and break out. A Kindred just doesn't starve.
The only other reason that a Kindred would Change is if it is their mating season. But they don't do it all at once, like deer; it is more like a girl's menstrual cycle, each individual having their own time, although several may coincide with each other. A Kindred's mating season lasts for about four to six days out of every year, and has no age limit, unlike men and women. Even old Kindred still have their mating seasons. As for Changing, each Kindred, while season lasts, will Change every night and change back to human form upon the sun's rising. Just as a vampire can't stand the sun, so a Kindred can't, and their ancestors retreated to their caves at sunrise to solve this problem. But, instead of burning up or some such drastic thing, the modern ones just return automatically to their human shapes at the touch of the sun.
This Changing is needed to initiate the desire for a mate. On the first night of their season, a Kindred, whether male or 'female', will set out after their Change to look first for food, and then will begin to feel a desire for company. They will go out and search, until eventually they will find one of the opposite sex who is also in season, and, if a male, they will begin to court the 'female' they've found. If the 'female' likes them, the two then conduct a complex mating ritual-they curl up to sleep in the same place, and in the morning, after their change back, the male will leave his new beau to sleep late, and get up and leave. The next night of season, the female will seek the male out, and the next morning, the female will leave. This will go on in turns until season is over, and by then, the pair will know if they like each other enough to stay together. But they must know for sure, because however animalistic they may seem, Kindred aren't polygamous creatures. This mating ritual will only go on for as many seasons as a Kindred goes without reaping a permanent mate from their rituals and attempts. But, as soon as the search proves successful and a pairing is made, they will never leave each other. Even after a mated Kindred dies, their mate, unless very young and still fully capable of many more children, will rarely even consider a new partner, no matter how bad the season cravings may get. By the time most Kindred die, their mates will have gotten too used to spending mating seasons in their partner's company, and will be uncomfortable with someone else.
*A Kindred, female(cub-bearer)or male, comes of age after about fifteen years of life. Often, an adult male Kindred will take a mere adolescent of a cub-bearing Kindred as a mate, and in this case, they don't have sex together until the cub-bearer is full-grown, but the situation is quite normal. However, in these cases the cub-bearer is not likely to get pregnant until their fourth or fifth time together, whereas two adult Kindred mating would produce offspring much more quickly. Either way, once the mates have their cubs, they begin the process of raising them. Most births among those of Kindred blood are multiple births; the first result of two full-blooded Kindred mating is likely to be twins, and the number often moves up in the next litters. Quadruplets are considered normal, although not as common as triplets. Twins are everywhere. It is also highly likely that the cubs will not be identical; most often, cubs are born in cub-bearer/male pairs, or in groups of two cub-bearers with a male, or two cub-bearers with two males. This is said to be a natural defense against what Kindred call the Lonely Sickness. The Lonely Sickness is found only in cub-bearing Kindred, and is a result of leavig them without a 'protector figure' for great lengths of time. In most cub-bearers it only takes a week to manifest, but it is always in cases where they are certain of facing a much longer period of time-months, years, perhaps forever-without any anchor to stick to. During cub-hood, it doesn't manifest because the parents are the anchor. During adolescence, it is staved off by the cubs leaving their home by litter, the cub-bearers kept safe and anchored by their male litter-mates. And they will not leave their litter-mates until they find a mate, so they are usually safe for life, always anchored to someone. But in cases where a mate or all litter-mates die or leave them for some reason, and the cub-bearer cannot see an end to their loneliness, they will fall into deep depression, and, after a week or so, become disoriented, dizzy, unable to stand and overwhelmingly unhappy and will slowly deteriorate into unconsciousness and then coma, followed by death. Only if someone saves them before the stage of coma can they survive it.
Okay, I think that's all. If there's something I've left out, email me or review with your question. Thanks, and enjoy the story!
dolphin