Housepets: Attonement

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Wrenisprobablyb0red
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Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

I haven't been here on the forums for very long, but I felt like posting a fanfic I've been working on for a while now, set 2 or 3 years after the current point in time in the comic. It starts off mostly about Keene, but I have written some future chapters which will focus some on Fox, Tarot, Jata, and posssssibly Kitsune, though I'm not certain about that one.

Story summary: Keene's living a lovely yet lonely life with his boyfriend, but still he seeks to make things right for the animals of the world and make some friends along the way. Fox, having now spent at least a sixth of his life in heaven, seeks to make the real world better for himself and his friends by being the best K9 (and friend) he can be. But this requires forgiving many and coming to terms with the mistakes of others. After Tarot's recent failure in Egypt, only barely escaping with the world intact, Tarot's been seeking to destress. However, a new emerging conflict may be the perfect opportunity to prove herself to the world. With trouble brewing in his homeland of Feraga, Jata comes to Babylon Gardens seeking help, and, possibly, forgiveness. What starts as a confused attempt to solve a few interpersonal struggles becomes a great pursuit for the animals of Babylon Gardens to fix their mistakes of the past, and hopefully crack a lot of slightly (but not particularly) funny jokes all the while.

This first chapter's short, but I want to update pretty frequently, so they're all going to be at least somewhat short.

---
Chapter One
(The First Chapter)
---


Breel cocked his eyebrow at the ferret next to him. “You’re doing what?” he asked, sounding halfway curious and halfway exhausted.

“I’m making a documentary about how pets are the backbone of human society.”

“You think pets are the backbone of human society?” asked Breel, smiling faintly.

“Yes! Of course. But I can’t exactly convince anyone else without making this documentary.”

Breel put on his oven mitts, and opened up the cookie-cooking contraption. “You’ll have to remind me, what is a documentary again, dear?”

Keene sighed. “Sometimes I forget you’re from the 1800s. It’s… oh, it’s like a tv program, but everyone believes it.”

Breel smiled wider, knowing Keene was probably oversimplifying. Still, he entertained the bored ferret. “That sounds pretty dangerous,” he remarked, setting the cookie-laden baking tray atop the oven to cool. Keene reached for a cookie, but Breel grabbed his hand. “Wait for them to cool, dear.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Keene complied, albeit with a huff. “Anyways, documentaries are how the upper classes tell the average Joe what to think.”

Breel merely nodded. “Oh, are they now?” He was starting to remember what documentaries actually were, and he was pretty sure Keene was misunderstanding the point, like he often did when blinded by passion. But that’s one of the things that made his boyfriend so endearing.

The marten padded over to a chair while Keene continued to talk. “Yeah, they are! But they’re all made by humans. There’s so many nature documentaries that treat us animals like oddities, but I want to prove we’re part of the normal world! That we’re equal to humans!”

Breel draped himself across the seat of the chair, humming as he thought for a moment. “Do you… know how to film? Or write a script? Or… Whatever else may be involved in the filming of a ‘documentary?”

Keene grinned. “Oh, you see, my brother’s a videographer/director! I’ll get his help. It’s not like he’s particularly busy…”

Breel paused. “Your brother’s a director? Which one?”

“...Breel, I introduced you to all my siblings many times. Don’t you remember all the family reunions?”

Breel chuckled, sounding a little guilty. “The only ones of your siblings I can tell apart are Lana and Duke.”

Keene groaned. “Well, that’s something we’re going to need to fix! Anyway, Rock’s the director.”

Breel looked up at Keene, not even a hint of recognition flashing across his eyes.

“The gray one…?” Keene supplied.

“Oh! That one!” said Breel, getting up to prepare a plate of cookies. “Want any milk with your cookies?”

“I don’t want soggy cookies, Breel. How many times must I tell you? I prefer orange soda.”

“Water it is, dear,” Breel said with an exasperated sigh.

“I love you so much,” Keene said, although slightly disappointed he wouldn’t be getting any orange soda.

“Where would you be without me?” the marten joked, leaning on the smaller ferret a little.

“Heck?” Keene said.

“Oh… Huh, I guess that’s quite literally true.”

There was a moment of quiet bliss as the two eagerly snarfed down their cookies, barely even leaving any crumbs. Breel was a seriously talented baker, despite coming from a time where, according to Breel himself, food was “almost never good.”

This moment abruptly ended when a very loud knocking assaulted their ears, Breel and Keene both jumped in surprise. Usually when they had visitors, there would be a call ahead of time- Keene had made sure there were security details on duty at all times after the ‘NegaBreel’ incident, when both Keene and Breel had narrowly avoided kicking the bucket due to an evil mirror version of Keene.

Whoever was knocking on the door right now had made their way past the security detail and was, from the sound of it, not particularly happy.

“Should you get the door, or should I?” asked Breel.

Keene decided to enact his flawless plan for dealing with unhappy visitors. “Breel, go get the peace offerings- er, baked goods. I’ll deal with the front door.”

“On it,” said Breel with a jolly chuckle. The marten leaned down to give Keene a quick peck on the cheek, before walking into the kitchen and grabbing more cookies. Keene, meanwhile, steeled himself and headed to the front door.

When the door swung open, Keene was not expecting to be greeted by an absolutely furious black cat, a tired looking dog with bags under his eyes which were seemingly accentuated by the spot covering one of them, a very amused looking mouse atop the dog’s shoulder, and the other members of the K9 unit standing a bit behind them.

“Fido? Sabrina? …Spo, was it? To what do I owe the pleasure?” asked Keene. Despite the whole… thing… with Jata happening almost ten years ago, Sabrina really didn’t like Keene, and the ferret couldn’t imagine Fido found him particularly tolerable.

Though on the upside, the mouse probably didn’t have much reason to hate him.

“Why. On Earth. Is JATA EN ROUTE TO BABYLON GARDENS RIGHT NOW!?” Sabrina shouted, spitting in Keene’s face.

Keene froze. “What?”

“Didn’t you see the news? It was like, on the news. All of the channels,” Spo lazily murmured.

Keene sighed. “Why on earth would I be watching TV?”

He then shook his head and looked quickly between the livid cat, tired dog, and… mouse. “He’s coming HERE!?”

Sabrina hissed. “You didn’t know?”

Now would be a good time for Breel to diffuse the situation, thought Keene. “Why would I know? He cut contact with me after the incident.”

Sabrina rolled her eyes. “Of course he did. Well, on live TV he claimed that he would be staying at the Milton mansion, so…”

Fido piped up. “Mister Milton, sir, could you maybe pay for us to have an all-expenses paid vacation, to say, anywhere but here? I’m not really in the business of confronting my old enemies.”

Sabrina turned to her boyfriend. “Don’t you dare try to suck up to him while I’m trying to make him suffer.”

“Ah, yeah, well, you see, I was just thinking that maybe if we weren’t here when-”

Keene rolled his eyes. “Don’t worry about this. It’s annoying, but I just need to tell my sister to stop. My sister, who, by the way, is the one that manages this kind of thing now, so complain to her if there are any issues in the future.”

“I don’t have any way of contacting Lana and I doubt she would listen to me,” Sabrina pointed out.

It was at this point that Breel emerged from the house with a platter of cookies. “Come in, come in, everyone!” Breel insisted, beckoning folks in. “We’ve got enough cookies for everyone.”

“Breel always cooks like he’s expecting guests to come,” Keene joked. “Perhaps because our house keeps getting barged into.”

Sabrina scowled, but headed in following the lead of the marten. Fido and the rest of the K9 Unit came inside as well, Fox and Ralph each giving Keene a suspicious glare. Only one remained outside, that being a massive black dog. Mungo, if Keene remembered from the temple, though he hadn’t ever really introduced himself.

Keene looked over at the other K9s, who shrugged for a second before Fox doubled back around to talk to Mungo. About thirty seconds later, Fox came back with a slight smile.

“Mungo says he’s not going to try entering a house intended for animals a fifth of his size.”

The other K9s looked around at each other, generally nodding.

Finally, they made their way to the now-cramped kitchen of the house, Breel setting the cookies on the table and pouring drinks for people. The way the marten helped make everyone feel at home was really admirable to Keene, who often felt like it was far easier to make everyone hate you.
Like, other than Breel, did he even have any real friends? The closest things would probably be his siblings, his butler Jeeves, and his not-quite-a-rivalry with Tarot. And his interactions with Kitsune were never exactly negative, he supposed.

Meanwhile, Breel and Kevin had known each other for about two minutes now and were already apparently best friends.

Keene sat down, stoically grabbing a cookie while keeping a rigid posture. “Okay, let’s get up to business now.”

Sabrina nodded. “Let’s.”

There was an uncomfortable silence.

“I’m… not entirely sure how to approach this, to be honest.”

Sabrina thought for a moment. “How about we call Lana?”

“I suppose we could do that, but if Jata is already on the way here, we’re still going to need to deal with him.”

Sabrina groaned. “What I don’t understand is why he’s coming back!? The wolf pack messed him up last time.”

Fido nodded. “Plus, I saved him, so what reason does he have to try again?”

Keene was about to shout for Steward or some other servant to help him do research, before quickly realizing that he lived with just Breel and his security detail. He instead stood up and grabbed a laptop from off the counter, before setting it on the table and sitting back down.

“Luckily, we have a pretty good way to find out,” Keene stated.

“-And then I was like, dogs don’t have wings!” Kevin said to Breel, his volume seeming to increase while the laptop loaded.

“Not on earth they don’t,” Breel agreed with a hearty chuckle.

“What’s Earth?” asked Kevin.

Luckily, at this point, the laptop finished loading, so Keene tuned out and began to search stuff up.

“Let’s see here…” he said. “Okay, so, here’s a news article… The small African island microstate of Feraga, some three hundred miles northeast of the Seychelles, is in a state of turmoil. Ten years after the death of their longest reigning king, the crown prince has yet to marry and become the new king. In turn, this has created conflict within the royal house of the nation, in addition to the calls from everyday citizens for democracy. The Feragan economy has completely collapsed in on itself, and now even the prince himself seems to be fleeing. It appears this - OH REALLY!?”

“What?” asked Spo, who had been falling asleep before Keene’s sudden outburst.

Keene seethed for a second. “Look at what it says next!” he exclaimed. “‘It appears this goes to show how animals are incapable of running a country for themselves!’ That’s what it says!”

“Neither are humans,” Sabrina said with a brief eyeroll. “But that’s not important right now. If this article is to be believed, then Jata appears to be coming to Babylon Gardens looking for either refuge or help. From you,” the cat added, poking Keene in the stomach.

Keene folded his arms, idly rubbing them with his paws. “This could be useful for the ECP,” he thought aloud.

“Keene, you better not be about to prop up a dictatorship entirely because it’s led by animals…”

“Not quite,” Keene murmured. He looked around his crowded dining room.

At this point, Fido and Spo had both fallen asleep on the table, Fido still holding half his cookie. It was clearly evident they were both tired and bored.

Breel, Kevin, and Fox were engaged in a lively conversation about Heaven and Earth and possibly even Heck, the large doberman clearly not understanding a word.

Ralph and one of the other K9s were sitting at the table, anxiously eating cookies.

And of course, Sabrina was looking over his shoulder at the laptop.

“But I think maybe there’s a more… moralistic way to prove to the world what we really are. No more magical hijinks. No political hijinks. No, like, hijinks at all. I’m forming a plan…”

Sabrina snorted. “Welp, you can count me out. Make sure Jata doesn’t come after me or Fido, and we’ll be good, alright?”

Keene nodded.

“And if you try to marry me off again, so help me I will tear all of your bones out of your body through your stomach one by one.”

Keene gulped. “I’ll refrain from marrying you off again in the future.”

“Good,” said Sabrina. She then shook Fido awake, telling him it was time to go.

Keene shrugged, deciding he should probably be at his mansion whenever Jata arrived. As Sabrina and Fido left, he went over to Breel to tell him his new plans.

After he did so, he heard a cough from the table. Ralph, the head of the K9 unit, was looking at Keene with suspicion.

“Yes?” asked Keene, trying his best to look innocent.

“That confirms it. I’m sending some of the K9s along to make sure you don’t cause an international incident again.” Ralph said, eyes narrowed.

“Oh, that should be alright, as long as they stay somewhat out of the way,” Keene said, hoping if he went along willingly, Ralph’s suspicion would go down.

“Fox and Mungo will do. If need be, Mungo can probably take on Jata,” said Ralph, more to himself than to anyone else. “Officer Fox! Please inform Officer Mungo of your duties and then carry them out!”

“Yes, sir!” Fox said with a salute, before his tail began to wag quickly and he bounded outside.

“The rest of the K9s! Back to the station.”

Kevin, the one Keene didn’t know the name of, and Ralph himself then headed outside as well, leaving just Keene, Breele, and…

“Tarot?” asked Keene, doing a double take. “Why are you- of course you’re here.”

Tarot was standing beside the door, looking slightly annoyed.

“For what it’s worth, it wasn’t anything mystical this time. I was just staying over at Sabrina’s,” the pomeranian explained.

“Ah, I see,” Keene said with a nod.

Breel offered Tarot a cookie. Tarot accepted the cookie.

“I don’t suppose you’re coming along for the ride?” asked Breel.

“I guess I am,” Tarot said. “I actually didn’t predict this would happen, but then again, Jata was halfway across the world when he decided to travel.”

Keene huffed a little bit upon hearing Tarot would be along for the ride. He didn’t mind the pomeranian anywhere near as much as he did Sabrina, but that time in the temple had been pretty annoying, and none of their other encounters had been lovely.

“I guess we should get a move on, then. I’ll call Lana while we’re in the car,” Keene said.

Breel nodded, grabbing his boyfriend by the hand and briskly walking out, a pep in his step.

Tarot shrugged and followed behind.

---

Thank you for reading!
I came here looking for (noun), but this is so much better!
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Harry Johnathan
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Interesting idea.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
Hebrews 6:6-7 (Paraphrase)
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really like the way the story came out! I just have to ask though is this gonna be a series story or will there be some slapstick moments? ;)
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Wrenisprobablyb0red
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Probably a mix, like the comic itself.
I came here looking for (noun), but this is so much better!
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CunningFox
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by CunningFox »

Great start, Wrenisprobablyb0red.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I only ask because I am a REALLY big fan of that sort of stuff. As I am sure you will find out soon. :D
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Krytus The Dreamer
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

I like the start of the story and am curious about what you're going to do with these characters. Mostly I'm intrigued if and how Tarot's experience has changed her since there's been a considerable amount of time since the incident. Another thing I'm wondering with the placing of this fanfiction is if Marion, Lois, and all the humans changed back, stayed as animals, or if they were given a choice at all. Either way, I'm eagerly waiting for the update.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I just sort of assumed that they weren't in the story. But if they are I guess we will find out what their status is soon.
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Wrenisprobablyb0red
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Krytus The Dreamer wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 8:24 am I like the start of the story and am curious about what you're going to do with these characters. Mostly I'm intrigued if and how Tarot's experience has changed her since there's been a considerable amount of time since the incident. Another thing I'm wondering with the placing of this fanfiction is if Marion, Lois, and all the humans changed back, stayed as animals, or if they were given a choice at all. Either way, I'm eagerly waiting for the update.
;)
I came here looking for (noun), but this is so much better!
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by trekkie »

Great start. Looking forward to more.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I'm wondering if Jata is redeemed or if he is still horrible. I'm hoping for redeemed but part of me wants his redemption to come in the form of a humiliation conga. :D
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Wrenisprobablyb0red
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

This chapter took a bit longer than I expected, mostly because I kept on writing stuff that happens in Chapter 4 and on. I don't know if a week-long waiting period will be sort of normal or not. Next chapter will actually get the ball rolling on the plot and stuff though.
Admittedly, this chapter isn't great. It's mostly just a transition from chapter 1 to chapter 3, and because I really haven't laid out motivations for Mungo, Fox, or Tarot, they mostly just sit around. I was considering skipping most of this, but I still felt like maybe some value could be derived from it. I can't wait to get into more of the fun stuff once the setup is complete, and in future chapters I'm planning on shifting the POV and such around a bit more.
-
Chapter Two
Airpipe (To A New Transition)
-
Keene hadn’t been to his mansion in quite awhile. Truthfully, he’d sort of grown sick of it after some time. In the mansion, he’d always been surrounded by others, be that personal assistants, siblings, or Karishad.

After years of that, he’d definitely needed his alone time.

The call with Lana had gone… not as well as expected. Lana basically told him that no, she did not know why Jata was coming along, but it was probably his fault, so Keene was entirely in charge of dealing with this on his own.

Now, knowing Lana’s prowess when it came to getting things done, this had almost instantly put a damper on Keene’s half-formed plans involving the leopard. So naturally, he’d asked his sister if she could prevent him from coming. Lana said something about how she couldn’t magic(k)ally make the plane Jata was presumably on turn around, though that sounded perfectly reasonable to Keene.

After this, Lana had asked if Keene was on the orange soda again, which, no, Keene was far worse whenever he was on the orange soda, obviously.
Anyways, this had resulted in one of the parties involved (definitely not Keene himself, no siree,) hanging up without saying goodbye.

So now, Keene was lazily reclining against Breel’s shoulder, thinking up a more concrete plan. This was proving difficult, as he didn’t know exactly what Jata was going to be like.

It had, after all, been ten years, and Jata wasn’t exactly going to be in high spirits from everything the ferret could tell.

As if sensing the fact that Keene was working on a plan, Breel swiveled his head around to look at the ferret leaning against him. “So, what are you thinking?” the marten asked.

Keene didn’t look up at him, too deep at thought, though he gladly took the opportunity to start thinking aloud.

“I’m not sure. It really depends on what Jata is intending. I don’t know much about the political situation in Feraga, and if it’s bad enough that he’s fleeing here, that tells me that he’s probably not going to be very happy.”

“Well, what do you think he’s coming here for? Like, in specific?”

“I’ve got a couple ideas,” Keene admitted. “He might be here to attempt to get with Sabrina again, and in that case, I’m going to have to stop him in his tracks. But according to the law of his own nation, he doesn’t have the right to. He might be here to gain some kind of favor. He probably thinks I let him down, and therefore owe him something. He also knows I’m seeking equality among animals and humans, something his country kind of has. If that’s the case, I can try to work with him to some extent. But he definitely wants something out of it, and I’m worried it’ll be something I either can’t give him or won’t be willing to.”

Breel nodded. “Okay,” he said.

“You didn’t get a word of that,” Keene observed with a short chuckle.

“Nope, but you looked like you needed to talk a bit.”

“Thanks.”

The car the two were in, which was being driven by one of the wolves who worked in the security detail, came to a halt outside the mansion. They signed in at the front gates, their car and the one following it coming through the gates without much hassle.

After they parked in the giant luxury garage, closing the door behind them, Keene and Breel hopped out (though not before Breel fumbled with his seatbelt trying to get it unstuck.)

Tarot, Fox, and Mungo hopped out of another car (well, Tarot and Fox did. Mungo had been riding on top of the car, his weight having caused the roof to sag a bit) and walked over to the two mustelids.

“So do we just head inside?” asked Fox, gesturing towards a door inside the garage, which led to the mansion’s kitchen.

“Actually, let’s go in through the front-” Keene began, before being unceremoniously cut off by the garage door opening. Now that they were outside of the cars, they could hear the horrendous squeaking noise the door made as it opened.

“That desperately needs an oiling,” said Breel. “Can you oil garage doors?”

Nobody really knew, so that question remained unanswered. The door finished opening, letting the noise stop. Standing on the other side was the figure of a ferret almost the exact size as Keene.

“Keene,” said Lana, staring curtly at her brother. “This whole shabang had better not interrupt my business dealings.”

“Lana. Did something happen since, uh, the call?” Keene hadn’t expected Lana to look happy per se, but the cold distrust she seemed to be showing was rather surprising.

“I didn’t expect you to bring a whole troupe of allies with you. Especially not ones who I associate so strongly with magic(k)al mishaps. This doesn’t bode well for the continued structural stability of the mansion, all things considered.”

Keene sighed. “It’s not about the money. We have a chance to do something right!”

“It’s always a CHANCE to do something right. We can’t afford to clean up after your mess in this economy! I’m sure you remember what happened in Egypt.”

Tarot, Keene, and Breel shuddered, though Fox and Mungo mostly just looked confused.

Breel spoke up. “Don’t worry, Lana, I’ll try to stop this from escalating if it looks like things are getting dangerous. And the police dogs are here to do that as well.”

Keene looked somewhat annoyed at Breel, but Lana nodded. “Thank you, Breel.”

Keene loudly cleared his throat. “ANYHOW, I’m going to lead my ‘troupe’ as you put it to my office to start preparing for Jata’s arrival. I humbly request that you don’t get involved in my stuff either.”

“I wasn’t planning on it anyways,” Lana said, arms crossed.

“Siblings. Reminds me of me and Bailey when we were pups…” Fox quietly whispered to Mungo, causing the big dog to stifle a small laugh.

Keene gestured for the rest to follow him through the front yard and into the mansion. Once inside, they walked through several empty halls and up a couple flights of stairs before arriving in Keene’s office, which was decidedly not empty. The room was painted red, with bookshelves all around, a few potted plants and red sofas, and a desk far too large for one ferret at the back, facing towards the entrance.

It looked as though Keene had never even left the office, though there were some signs that Lana occasionally used it, most notable being a water bottle on the desk with the name “Lana” printed on it in bold black letters.

“Surprised you never moved this stuff to the house,” Breel commented.

“Eh, I could afford to buy a new office at our house, and I didn’t want all the business stuff there anyways.” Breel decided this was a reasonable enough explanation.

“So what’s our game plan?” asked Tarot.

“We don’t know when Jata’s arriving, so we basically gotta treat it like a surprise party. We need to get some sort of venue set up, preferably outside, with food and such.”

“That feels reminiscent of the wedding,” Fox pointed out. “You’d better not make our guest uncomfortable…”

Keene sighed. “I’ve set up events before. I know what I’m doing. And I’ve got a secret weapon.”

“Oh?” asked Tarot. “Is it Karishad?”

“That was supposed to be a dramatic reveal-”

“I’ve spent enough time around Karishad to know that he’s probably already set up a party, coincidentally right where we need it to be,” pointed out Tarot. “I mean, remember when he came back from Egypt before even Kitsune somehow?”

“Isn’t Kitsune like a god?” asked Fox.

“Yeah,” said Keene. “He’s also a total weirdo. Anyways, I’m going to call Karishad and see what he’s up to.”

Keene reached for the old fashioned dial phone on the desk, before letting his paw linger above it for a second.

“I was kind of expecting Karishad to magically call me right before I pick up the phone,” the ferret admitted after about twenty seconds. “I don’t know his phone number.”

“Why do we need Karishad again?” asked Mungo, who for some reason was picking splinters of wood out of his police vest. Keene would have to make sure that no antique doors had been smashed through on the way to his office.

“I mean, I guess we don’t. Maybe I’ll just call an actual event planning organiz-”

The phone began to ring aggressively, almost as if personally slighted. Keene glared at it for a split second, and then picked it up.

“Should we have cornhole boards at the party?” asked the unmistakable voice of Karishad.

“No, Karishad. And it’s not a party, it’s an event.”

“Oh, naturally,” Karishad agreed from across the phone line. “But if there were cornhole boards, you wouldn’t be angry, would you?”

Keene sighed. “As long as it doesn’t cost me anything,” he said, and put the phone back on the phone-holder thing. What do you call those?

“How does he do that?” Fox asked. “The only time I really talked to him much was that one Halloween. Is he really a psychic?”

Tarot groaned. “Somehow, it seems that way. That, or the universe just likes to bestow upon him happy coincidences.”

Mungo pointed his pointer finger upward, as if to make a point. Naturally, his change in posture attracted the attention of the entire room. He froze for a second, and then spoke up. “Perhaps, uh, well if I remember correctly from the temple, you got powers from the Spirit Dragon? But you lost them when Dragon vanished or whatever. Maybe, like, Kitsune bestowed powers upon Karishad?”

Tarot thought for a second. “I don’t really want to consider that.”

Keene waved his little arms around. “That’s not the point! We’ve gotta get to the field I’ve mentally decided on for the event, where Karishad is coincidentally setting up a party!”

-

One short timeskip later, the group found themselves stumbling upon the field where Karishad had coincidentally been setting up a party.

“Hello, Karishad!” shouted Keene as the ensemble marched forth.

Karishad turned towards them and lit up. “Hey everyone! You’re in luck, I just finished setting up the cornhole.”

Mungo raised his hand. “Can I opt out of cornhole? I worry I might break the board.”

Karishad thought for a moment, humming to himself as he put a pensive paw on his chin.

Keene decided to interrupt this, making an announcement to those around him. “Listen up, everyone! Jata could arrive at any time. As in, we literally have no idea when he’s going to arrive. So, it’s important that we are fully prepared in every way for his arrival. Police dogs, I want you to stand by and make sure no ‘funny business’ happens. Breel, provide baked goods. Tarot, uh, I’m still not sure why you’re here, but whenever the universe decides that you’re needed, go, uh, do something.”

Everyone nodded, and set out on their tasks. Breel conjured some baked goods out of nowhere, mostly muffins and cookies, Tarot helped Karishad set up chairs around the table, and Mungo and Fox stood there, just sort of hanging out.

Keene proudly stared across at everyone. He got out his notes and laptop, as well as maps of Feraga, the world, and Babylon Gardens for good measure. He set them down on the table which had been set up in the center of the partying environs. Suddenly, he felt something get placed on his head.

He turned around to see Karishad whistling and looking innocent, and Tarot looking very amused. Keene reached up to pull the thing off his head, revealing that it was a party hat, like the cone shaped ones you get for birthdays.

“Why do you have these?” Keene asked, holding the hat and continuing to stare at it.

“A good fox is always prepared,” explained Karishad. “Also, the fourteenth anniversary was three days ago.”

“Fourteenth anniversary of what?” asked Keene, looking very confused.

“Oh, I needn’t worry you with details.”

Tarot just shrugged at Keene.

“I… appreciate the gesture, but I don’t think we should have party hats at a diplomatic event,” Keene reasoned.

“I beg your pardon? These hats are very diplomatic!”

Keene nodded. “Well, naturally, but maybe not diplomatic enough. Jata might be very angry when he arrives.”

“When who arrives?” asked a voice from behind the ferret. Keene yelped, before turning around to see a leopard, dressed merely in a T-shirt and pants rather than his usually kingly attire.

“You, of course!” Karishad gleefully answered.

-

The idea of Karishad being something akin to Kitsune's avatar obviously doesn't make a whole lot of sense, seeing as Karishad is mostly just based on a real person and therefore his character is something of an exception to the rules. However, it's something that makes sense in my fanfiction which will help explain things later.
I don't think anyone's characterization is particularly strong here, and I'm definitely going to have to do some rereading of the comic to better hone in on the characters. I think if Keene were a bit snarkier, I'd pretty much have him right, and Breel's admittedly still a bit of an open book, but I would perhaps appreciate some tips for writing the dogs.
I came here looking for (noun), but this is so much better!
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

I'd say the wait time between this one and the last wasn't too bad, besides I know that it takes some time to write and proofread this stuff so I really don't mind waiting. As for this chapter only existing as a transition point between 1 & 3, I don't think it's as bad as you think cause to mitigate that feeling you have to put noteworthy events in each chapter so that a reader can't get the feeling like they can skip this one. Keene setting up the venue and Jatta's arrival falls in line with that. The characters also speculate on what he wants and what he could achieve by going to Babylon, which also makes me wonder that too. Oh and advice for writing Fox and Mungo is a bit hard because I'm not sure what you plan on doing with them. For now, they don't feel too out of character going off of Rick's characterization.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I really thought that this chapter was very awesome! Great job on putting it together! :mrgreen:
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Sorry that I kinda dropped off the face of the earth. A good friend of mine passed away and I haven't had the ability to work on more.
I came here looking for (noun), but this is so much better!
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

Dude I'm sorry to hear that. It's cool and there's no need to rush. Take your time.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Sorry for your loss.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
Hebrews 6:6-7 (Paraphrase)
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

We all understand why you had to take a break from writing this after your loss. I hope that time will lessen the pain for you! My aunt's mother-in-law just died and the funeral is tomorrow.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by trekkie »

Sorry for your loss, Wren,
“Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.” - Thomas Sowell

“The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was the day I accidentally got gin in the steam iron.” Phyllis Diller
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

But thank you for letting us know that this is still gonna be a thing. I didn't think you were gonna resume writing this, let alone come back to the forum. :?
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

New chapter today or tomorrow I think?
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I know that I look really forward to what you have planned! I am sure it will be really awesome!
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by NHWestoN »

Sorry for your loss, Wren. We lost a classmate of mine last week but, hey, we're all in our mid-70s ... for us, it's expected. But not to folks at your stage of life. Again, my condolences.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I assume that you still weren't able to continue because of circumstances that happened? Because i don't mean to be pedantic but you said the next chapter would be up tomorrow yesterday. :)
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by CunningFox »

So sorry for your loss, Wren. Nice chapter.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:26 am I assume that you still weren't able to continue because of circumstances that happened? Because i don't mean to be pedantic but you said the next chapter would be up tomorrow yesterday. :)
No, it's still 'tomorrow' right now. I'm currently doing some editing and will be posting the chapter in a couple hours.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

It's back! Thank you everyone for the kind words. Especially shout-out to Krytus the Dreamer for being incredibly kind and helpful.
I like this chapter a lot more than the previous two. Chapter 4 is maybe a week away? And this chapter doesn't have any italics or fancy formatting because I forgot I had to put the little asterisks in while on my normal word processer, and I don't have enough time to manually insert them. Same with paragraph breaks, I dont have the time to do it manually right now. I'll edit it later.
Happy reading! Thanks once again!
-
Chapter Three
Regaling In A Tense Time
-
“I’d say it was a strange coincidence that you just happened to arrive at this very moment, but of course, there’s nothing particularly strange about coincidences these days…” Keene observed.
“Oh?” asked Jata.
“Indeed. Greetings once more, prince Jata. What brings you to these parts?” asked Keene, doing his best to act very calm and collected.
“You ruined my country.” The jaguar had a sour expression on his face, He crossed his arms, drawing attention to the ripped up sleeves on his military uniform. He looked… rather worse for wear.
Keene wasn’t entirely sure how to respond to that. Bristling up and acting standoffish would be counterintuitive, but as far as he was concerned, he didn’t really have anything to apologize about. He stood there for a second thinking.
“Sorry you feel that way,” Keene said with a little shrug.
“That didn’t sound like a very genuine apology. Am I using that word right?”
“You’ll have to explain to me how I ruined your country first,” suggested Keene. “Also, Karishad, whatever you’re doing, don’t.”
Karishad, who had been sneaking up behind Jata wielding a party hat, looked hurt and scampered off. Jata turned around to see the fox running away, then turned back with a confused expression.
“Was that some kind of assassination attempt?” asked the jaguar.
“I doubt it,” said Keene. “You should be perfectly safe here.”
Jata scrutinized the ferret. “You say that, but I don’t feel particularly safe.” For the first time, Keene noticed that all of Jata’s fur was standing on edge, and his eyes had deep purple bags under them.
Keene shrugged, and deciding to be more patient, he decided to ask his question again. “How come you decided to come over?”
“As I have already said, you ruined my country. Do you need me to run through it step by step?”
“Yes, actually.”
“Alright, so first-”
Jata was suddenly cut off by a yelp from Keene. Breel had snuck up behind the ferret and ambushed him with a hug. Keene blushed and looked at the grass next to him as his boyfriend chuckled.
“Hello, Prince Jata. My name is Breel, Keene’s boyfriend. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Breel introduced himself.
Jata nodded. “Greetings, Breel. For what reason do you interrupt our discussion?”
“Just wanted to let you two know that the preparations for the celebration are done!”
“Celebration?” asked Jata.
“Why yes! Keene here wanted to celebrate your arrival with a bit of a party. He might not show it on the outside, but he’s quite happy to see you again,” Breel explained.
“Ah yes, naturally,” said Keene. “Sorry if it comes off otherwise.” Keene hoped his tone didn’t betray his utter lack of excitement.
Jata smiled. “Thanks for the warm welcome in that case,” he said, visibly relaxing a little bit.
Keene turned to Breel and marveled at the marten’s conflict resolution skills for a second, before turning back to Jata.
“Come, we’ll have plenty of time to discuss politics later. For now, let’s just unwind!” Keene felt as though his suggestion sounded good, and so he beckoned for Jata and Breel to follow him to the table that the dogs had set up.
Despite being an average picnic table, it was draped with a fancy table cloth and on top of it was an assortment of pastries and dog treats. Mungo and Fox were indulging in the treats, Tarot was reading something on her crystaltab9000, and Karishad was sulking over something, presumably the party hats.
Keene sat down, and Breel sat down beside him and Jata sat down across from him.
Jata grabbed a cinnamon roll from a pile on the table and quickly bit into it, letting out an appreciative rumble. “Been awhile since I’ve had anything this good,” the leopard admitted.
“I made them myself,” Breel proclaimed. “Glad to hear you enjoy them!” The marten wasn’t actively eating anything himself, but had a beignet lying on his plate for future consumption.
Keene was looking at the food suspiciously. “When did you find the time to make all this? And how did you transport it here so fast?” The ferret asked, poking at a muffin with a silver fork.
“I dunno,” Breel answered. “Just did.”
An uncomfortable silence traipsed its way into the conversation, causing several at the table to look down at their plates to avoid eye contact, before finally Jata cleared his throat and asked, “So, Keene, shall you do me the favor of introducing me to the others at this table?”
Keene felt shook by the question. It had been a while since he’d hosted any sort of meal, especially with anyone of any social standing. It simply hadn’t occurred to him.
“Ah yes, they’re…” he began speaking, but quickly stopped to find the proper wording. Friends? No, he didn’t really know Officers Fox and Mungo, he didn’t much like Tarot, and Karishad would probably torment him forever if he said they were friends. But acquaintances might hurt their feelings… “They’re guests. Officers Fox and Mungo are from the local K9 unit to supervise and make sure things don’t go awry, though I assure you they shall not go awry. Tarot is a local psychic who I believe has some interest in meeting you for some reason. Also Sabrina’s mentor in the arcane, for what it’s worth. And I’m not sure why Karishad’s here today, but I guess his company is welcome.”
As Keene said this, he gestured to all of the other animals at the table.
Fox waved at the leopard, though he looked to be having some sort of doubt. Mungo offered his hand to shake, and despite the dog’s extreme strength, they managed to shake their hands without causing any property damage or needing to call in the hospital. Strangely, Tarot didn’t look up from her crystaltab. Karishad held up a party hat, which Jata politely declined.
“This is certainly an odd bunch,” Jata decided. “Though in the past had many a strange company whilst dining.”
Ignoring the slightly muddled grammar of the leopard’s thickly accented and overly posh English, Keene smiled. “Yes, I suppose so.”
“I reckon you do not want to discuss politics at the table, correct? If such is the case, I’d love to hear about program. I don’t know how you say it in English. The, how do you call it, PEC?”
“That’s the acronym in French, haha. We usually refer to it as the ECP over here. Equal Chance Program.”
“Oh, understandable. How is it going?”
“Well, we got into some pretty hot water after… well, do you know about the human city that got turned into animals?”
“Ah yes, naturally. Just 50 or so kilometers from here, correct?”
Keene frowned, trying to remember what how long kilometers were, before nodding. “Sounds about right. Yeah, well it started with just a couple of humans, and we here at the ECP tried to basically use them to push the idea that humans and animals are really equals, y’know? Became their legal owners so that they could continue to pursue their regular human lives. Laws regarding animals over here are pretty complicated…”
“Ah, yes. Your country still refuses to give animals citizenship, does it not?”
“Yep. After most of the humans in the city turned back, instead of people getting more open to the idea of animal rights, they blamed us, especially the ECP. Well, I guess they weren’t fully wrong to do so. But they were missing the point!”
“They weren’t fully wrong? What did you do?”
“I didn’t exactly do anything. I guess. It’s hard to explain. And it also involves heaven and heck and gods and stuff, so unless you want this conversation to take a really long time, just know that folks were mad at us.”
“This… doesn’t sound like good lunchtime conversation either.”
“Perhaps not,” Keene said, slumping forward onto the table.
“Though you did say most humans turned back. Was it not all?”
“All but four, as far as I’m aware. The reverting spell we cast only covered the city itself, and could only be done once. Seeing as we cast the spell from Egypt, those who had gone there alongside me had no way to revert back. It was a sacrifice they willingly made. Or at least most of them. There was an aardvark who kinda missed the whole thing? I guess?”
“Huh. And you’re sure everyone stayed within the boundaries of the city long enough for you to cast the spell?”
Keene sighed. “I hope so. There’s been reports of animals who got changed and didn’t turn back, but there was a heavenly force field around the city, so it can’t be many. Who knows…”
Keene, in his slumped position, was now looking fairly sad. Jata raised an eyebrow in curiosity, having never seen the ferret looking defeated. He got a sense that he wasn’t fully aware of the circumstances of the ‘reverting spell’ or whatever, but he’d just have to ask more about it later.
Breel butted into the conversation. “I know you two have important stuff to talk about or whatever, buuuuut Karishad did set up the cornhole boards for us, and it would be a shame to disappoint him again today.”
Keene snapped up. “Huh?” he asked.
“I feel like there’s more important conversation to be had…” the leopard said, appearing somewhat suspicious of the marten.
“Oh, yes, of course, but there will be time for that later! It sorta looks like you haven’t gotten a good chance to unwind in… I’d guess years!” Breel smiled widely. “There’s a time for tense conversation, but not when you’re all worked up!”
The leopard sighed. “I suppose. I’ve definitely heard that before, anyways.”
“I really don’t want to play cornhole,” said Keene.
“Ohhh, but I was starting to get excited!” joked the leopard. “Come, it’ll be enjoyable!”
-
It was sometime in the early afternoon, maybe 20 minutes into Grape’s nap, that her hunk senses suddenly went haywire. Sitting bolt upright, Grape turned to stare into a pair of scared eyes. “He’s back…” Grape said, ominous tone slowly giving way to a hearty yawn.
“Eh?” asked Max, who had been sleepily watching some sort of cooking show on the television before his girlfriend had suddenly burst into motion.
“I… Who was I thinking of?” Grape seemingly asked herself, looking about ready to fall back asleep. “I… need to splash my face, hold on…”
The purple cat stood up and walked to the nearby restroom. Max heard the sound of the sink turning on, and then a light thud. He jumped up, fur on end, and followed suit, checking to see if Grape was okay.
“You good?” He asked, rubbing the sleep from his own eyes, hoping he looked adequately concerned.
“I knocked over the toothbrush holder,” Grape explained. “Usually I wake up faster than this…”
“Usually Peanut wakes you up,” Max pointed out.
“Yeah…” Grape murmured. “I think I had some kind of premonition or something. I was dreaming about pridelands, and then I saw that hunky… cheetah? Jaguar? The prince who visited. Almost married Sabrina. And I think it was like… some sort of dream of him and the cheif of the Lusokans combined? And it was a saucy dream too, heheh. Well, you know how I am. But then it sort of morphed into Jata. His name was Jata! Now I remember. And then for some reason he said, ‘Keep Peanut safe?’”
Max frowned. “I think that’s just a really weird dream, Grape. Well, not the saucy part, that seems standard for you. But Peanut and Jata never met, and besides, you haven’t even seen Jata in years, and I don’t think he even knows your real name.”
Grape sighed. “Ah, right. I always forget that I was there as Sabrina’s ‘boyfriend.’ My brain always remembers it as more of a 1-on-1 thing.”
Max rolled his eyes. “Somehow, I don’t find that very surprising…”
“So you don’t think it meant anything?”
“I doubt it. I mean, prince Jata has his own country to run. Doubt he’d be spending much time in Babylon Gardens now that he’s stopped trying to marry Sabrina.”
Grape shrugged. “I guess so.”
“C’mon, let’s resume our siesta. I can’t wait to dream about food while the TV beams words about food directly into our brains. We can see if my hypothesis works!”
“That’s not gonna happen. We’ll just dream about whatever. I once spoke into Peanut’s ear as he dreamt all night, and he didn’t dream about anything I said.”
“Grape, I am going to dream about food, and it’s going to be thanks to the TV.” Max crossed his arms, before uncrossing them as he sprawled out on the couch.
“You would probably dream about food anyways…” Grape joined him on the couch, almost immediately shutting her eyes. Her face was still wet from the splashing, but Max attempted to ignore it as Grape rested her face on his shoulder.
“Well, the TV will make it more real. That’s my hypothesis anyways,” Max insisted.
“Really… now?” Grape asked, taking a break to yawn widely.
“Oh, without a doubt,” Max promised.
“Mm, ngh,” mumbled Grape, no longer awake enough to form coherent words.
Max closed his eyes, and soon drifted off into his own dreamland, which, as predicted, was absolutely full of food.
-
Author's note: Introduced a second POV. I plan on at least doing something with almost every character in the canon over the course of the story, tho for right now it's still primarily focused on Keene... Anyways, I felt like it would be fun to incorporate Grape's "hunk senses" or whatever they refer to it as in the comic as an actual story element.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I love the way that this chapter has come out Wren! It is really great! Wonderful work!

Also Jata. Yes you will be safe. But not safe from flying pies hopefully. :mrgreen:
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

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Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:07 pm But not safe from flying pies hopefully.
For goodness sake, Dayzee.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

Good to see you feeling better Wren!

I'm excited to see why Jata actually came back. When he left it looked like it'd take a lot for him to come back.

Not sure if this is reading too much into things but I'm guessing the dream thing is also a call back to Grape almost becoming a Dream Sunderer for Pete and if I'm right either she got the powers because of exposure to the mana in Pete's temple (which is what I did in my story for Mungo) or something else is at play.

Or again I could be reading too much into things who knows? Either way, I'm excited.
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Harry Johnathan wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 4:05 pm
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:07 pm But not safe from flying pies hopefully.
For goodness sake, Dayzee.
You know if what I am saying bothers you and gets on your nerves, you can always like not respond to me. It takes more energy writing something up than just ignoring it. Try it SOON please. :roll: :roll:
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Scroll down some for chapter 4! I'm gonna reply to some posts here.
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:21 am
Harry Johnathan wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 4:05 pm
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:07 pm But not safe from flying pies hopefully.
For goodness sake, Dayzee.
You know if what I am saying bothers you and gets on your nerves, you can always like not respond to me. It takes more energy writing something up than just ignoring it. Try it SOON please. :roll: :roll:
I'm fine with the flying pies joke. That being said, I'm pretty sure Harry Johnathan is also joking, because from the comments I've seen on other fanfics, the flying pies thing does appear to be a bit of a running gag round these parts.
Krytus The Dreamer wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 5:18 pm Good to see you feeling better Wren!

I'm excited to see why Jata actually came back. When he left it looked like it'd take a lot for him to come back.

Not sure if this is reading too much into things but I'm guessing the dream thing is also a call back to Grape almost becoming a Dream Sunderer for Pete and if I'm right either she got the powers because of exposure to the mana in Pete's temple (which is what I did in my story for Mungo) or something else is at play.

Or again I could be reading too much into things who knows? Either way, I'm excited.
Thanks! I don't think you're reading too much into things. I've always been curious about things with Grape going down a more supernatural route, so even though I'm not *certain* I'll fully incorporate that, it's totally crossed my mind. As it stands, the whole dream thing is just stemming from a reference to Grape's 'hunk sense' power from when Jata first appeared. I think it would be amusing if being in the proximity of total hunks gives Grape some kind of clairvoyance or weak future vision. Who knows if there's a more complicated reason beyond that.
Amazee Dayzee wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:07 pm I love the way that this chapter has come out Wren! It is really great! Wonderful work!

Also Jata. Yes you will be safe. But not safe from flying pies hopefully. :mrgreen:
Haha, if I ever find the characters in a kitchen or something, I'll try to incorporate flying pies or something of that nature somewhere. Thanks for reading!

---

Anyway this chapter contains a lot of exposition. It was originally the longest chapter by far, being longer than the other 3 combined, but I cut out most of the exposition (yes, this IS the light version.) Probably my least favorite chapter, though from what I've written, Chapter 5 is looking pretty cool. As always, thanks for reading! Here we go!
-
Chapter Four
Welcome to the Exposition Dump club, how Exposition Dump are you?
-
Unsurprisingly, Cornhole was a complete and utter waste of time. Keene was not of course just thinking this because he’d come in last place, somehow, he was thinking this because it was OBJECTIVELY true.

He’d know. He was very objective.

Mungo had chosen to sit out, but was happy to just watch and cheer Fox on, despite the latter insisting that he shouldn’t ‘partake in recreational activities during work hours.’ The bigger dog had simply placed him on the ground in front of the cornhole board, and left no room for arguments.

Unsurprisingly, Karishad won the whole thing, because after all it was basically his game. Even with Tarot using so-called “precognitive tossing,” and Jata being plain-old good at the game, neither could compete with the rapscallion fox.

There had also been a fun exchange where Jata hadn’t known the english word for “beanbag,” instead referring to it as a floppy, lifeless ball.

Anyhow, after an ungodly number of tosses, Keene had finally decided to put the brakes on the operation. And NOT because he was losing.

“Alright, alright, there are more important matters to attend to!” the ferret insisted, grabbing the beanbags from a disinterested Tarot’s paws.

“Ah, yes, I suppose,” Jata said. “I did come here to talk politic(k)s of course.”

“Boring!” Proclaimed Karishad. “I’m out!” The fox then darted behind a bush, vanishing from sight.

“We’ll stay here and keep an eye on things. Make sure you don’t start another international incident,” Fox said, looking back and forth intently from Jata to Keene.

“Was it really that big of a deal over here?” asked Jata, looking genuinely perplexed. “Wouldn’t international incident imply that our relations, became, well, messed up foreign relations between our countries? Diplomatic ties between USA and Feraga are barely existent. Your country doesn’t recognize ours because it’s run by animals…”

Fox shrugged. “I don’t know, I’m just a civilian officer, sir.”

“Naturally, my apologies,” the leopard conceded.

Mungo walked over to behind Fox and saluted the leopard before waving at him. Meanwhile, Breel and Tarot headed back to the table with the pastries.

“Where shall we hold our discussion?” Jata remarked.

“Oh, yes, right,” Keene said, appearing to snap out of some train of thought. “My office is nicely furnished and has a good desk to lay out any papers that may be of use.”

“Ah yes, and I assume some kind of bulletproof sheild between the front and back of the desk, just in case?”

“Haha, no… Come, follow me.”

Keene led the leopard and the two police dogs through the mansion, until eventually they made it back to Keene’s office.

Jata raised an eyebrow at the desk. “This whole place seems a little.. Large for you?”

“IT’S NOT-” Keene bit his tongue. “It’s… originally designed for humans. They used to own this property before us.”

Jata chuckled at the slight insecurity of the animal in front of him, who could in fact easily be described by the word ‘slight.’

They each took their proper seats, Keene on his own side of the desk of course, with Fox and Mungo sitting on a big chair at the side of the room perhaps designed as a sort of “waiting area” in case Keene had multiple clients in the room at once.

“Alright. What brings you to Babylon Gardens, Prince Jata?” Keene asked, raising both of his brow muscles in an attempt to look quizzical as he set his arms on the desk in front of them. Wait, oh no, what position do people keep their arms in when they’re trying to be formal?

“I assume you do not know much the history of my country. Would I be correct?” Jata asked, his posture rigid, head tilted slightly to the right. Despite his rather battered appearance, he still gave the impression that he had complete control over the situation.

Meanwhile, I’m getting rusty. Haven’t had any sort of formal talk like this with someone extremely important since I was still in charge of the Milton estate. This is Lana’s strong suit. Keene shrugged off this trail of thought, preferring instead to raise a claw to his chin inquisitively. He nodded. “Yes, I’ll admit that history has never been my strong suit, unless we’re talking thousands of years back.”

“Well, it’s important to understand Feraga’s historical position to understand where we are today, but I’ll try to sum it up in as small as I can,” Jata said, gesturing a bit with his right arm.

-

The islands are very small, just the tops of a long dormant volcanic system. But our islands are located far out in the Indian Ocean, almost equidistant from India, Arabia, and Africa. Until a couple hundred years ago, the islands were never inhabited by humans, you see, unlike almost everywhere else on Earth. And like many creatures across the world, over time, our ancestors who had drifted to the islands by chance gave up their lifestyles as hunters and gatherers. The various animals of the islands, who had once relied on eating each other, began to farm and fish peacefully. They built towns, sailing routes between the islands, governments, even. My own direct ancestors probably became royals in this era…

But, unfortunately, this is about the extent of what we know regarding the pre-Human history of Feraga. We didn’t have writing, and archaeologists aren’t interested in animal civilizations. The first mention of Feraga in any sort of document is in the seventh century, by Islamic traders going from East Africa to Arabia. However, it was left alone for quite some time, at least another three centuries, before being rediscovered by East African traders. They brought their languages, Arabic and many of the dialects that would eventually become Swahili. They tried to set up a trade outpost, as Feraga is in a strategically beneficial position, despite its small size. However, the local animals fought back. Eventually, an agreement was struck where traders could use the islands as an outpost and refeuling point, and set up a small settlement there, as long as goods were given to the local animals, and the animals were given their own sovereignty.

Of course, as always with subordinate kingdoms, Feraga was not treated well. There were constant skirmishes, and animals were forced to work for the settlement for little or no pay. This was to be the status quo for hundreds of years- things did not change even when the Portuguese took over the settlement, or the French, or the British after that. At some point, though it’s unknown when because the original documents have been lost, Feraga completely lost its own sovereignty, and the animals were without any kind of citizenship or identification. They were not allowed to travel between the various islands, and were often walled off from human settlements.

However, with the help of some allied humans, our country eventually freed itself in a revolt in 1917, while the United Kingdom was distracted by ongoing fighting in- well, you know, the whole world really. The royal lineage was reinstated, and animals were once more allowed to move between the islands and live freely. Of course, scars had been left on all of our people. What’s more, we were never recognized as a real country by the human governments of the world!

Without trade passing through Feraga, our nation fell upon hard times almost immediately, and reopened the outposts to humans, though under far stricter control. The United Kingdom eventually gave Feraga status as a ‘nature protectorate,” which I guess is some kind of fusion of, well, a nature reserve and a protectorate. Things were relatively good for a few years in the late twenties, but, as I’m sure you’re well aware, the global economy did what is is known for and stopped being good. Trade through Feraga ground to a halt. A few of our islands were used as military bases in the Second World War, but after many unfortunate events, my great grandfather, King Ambateh, officially signed into law that no humans were allowed in Feraga in the mid fifties. Ever since, it’s been officially unpopulated according to the world at large… Not in any real sense, of course. There’s about 1,800,000 citizens by our population counter’s estimates, and we’re still involved in international trade. Plus, humans regularly set foot in free trade zones in Feraga. But of course there’s a difference between de jure and de facto policies. Officially, when Tanzania gained independence, it was given to them as an overseas territory, despite being very far away, and that’s how the world sees it.

Now, the situation we’re in today is an interesting one. My father, the previous king, died over ten years ago now. Feragan law states that in order to become a king, one must be married and have established personal diplomatic relationships abroad. In order to I guess fulfill both requirements, a marriage must be between the prince and a resident of a different country. I’m not sure why the first part of that law exists, but I can’t change it as I’m not king.

I met Sabrina when her dad was visiting Feraga as an archaeologist. As a human who had a deep respect for animal cultures, he figured that Feraga was perhaps the best place in the world to learn more about their history. To this day, he is the only archaeologist to have conducted any extensive study in Feraga! But, alas, the information he found was not appreciated by my father. Nobody knows exactly what he dug up, but all we know is that the friendship between them became strained, and eventually Sabrina and her father were forced to move back to Malta, and later America, It would seem. I became betrothed to Sabrina whilst she was there, as I’m sure you’re aware, but then neither of us saw each other for many years, and completely drifted apart.

Fast forward to when my father died. I desperately wanted to become king- the death of a king always causes turmoil, and regaining control as soon as possible is necessary. Remembering my technical betrothal to Sabrina, I arrived here- after all, I’d gained contact with you, and you’d assured me she was okay with it.

Well, you know what happened next. After the fight with the wolf pack, I came home looking like a laughingstock. Add in the cost of travel, the press, and paying for the wedding, and I’d also spent tens of millions of dollars without ever recieving any compensation from you. I also could not become king, and didn’t have any real alleys towards kingship anymore. As Feraga is an absolute monarchy, this left the power in the hands of my father’s appointed cabinet, who have been working to usurp power from me ever since. As well, I lost any public approval I could have had in my country, which was already very low, with many of the animals in the area decrying our government and demanding a democratic system- which I understand, but have no power to bring.

Things turned really bad recently, and you should not be surprised to hear this, because of your ECP. You began to offer free emigration and housing in the USA if the animals would get vaccinated, do work for the company, and help recruit other animals. Of course, this wasn’t targeted specifically to Feraga, but instead to animals across the Indian Ocean region, but tens of thousands of animals began leaving our islands. With our economy already in shambles due to most countries not recognizing us and limiting trade, this was very bad, as I’m sure you can imagine. With many of our young, capable animals leaving, a food shortage quickly set into place.

Of course, ever since my failure early on, most of Feraga’s political failings have been pinned on me and my inability to do anything. I’m perceived as some rich failure who eats luxuriously while the country exists in turmoil. It’s not true, of course- even the royal family has very little, with most funds being directed to my father’s cabinet.

And then, your stupid city gets turned into animals, causing a global crisis! Once they’re mostly turned back, they start blaming animals for turning them, and now humans worldwide seem to believe that the rights of animals encroach upon those of humanity! Most countries that had trade with Feraga to begin with have cut it off, and many of the animals trying to join the ECP are now getting stuck in international waters, and that’s all being blamed on me because of course it is.

Well, there it is. That’s essentially the story leading up to it. Simplified a lot. I had to flee my country as the capital broke out into riots and my home was stormed. My family is with me, too, though I’ve got them staying in a hotel a couple of hours away in the mean time, in case anyone else comes after me.

I apologize for blaming you immediately for all of this, though I do think that much of the issue is your fault.

-

Jata finally wrapped up his exposition d- er, speech, before sighing and leaning his head into the desk in front of him.

“Oh, wow,” said Keene, still having trouble processing the information he was given.

There was an awkward moment of silence as Jata just breathed heavily for a second. Keene looked over towards the two dogs at the side of the room, who were both staring at the wall, having decided it was clearly the most interesting thing in the room.

Keene sighed. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t realise the fragile state your country was in at the time I arranged the wedding. I’ve already realised how messed up it was for me to do that to Sasha, but I never considered just how complicated the situation could be not just for you, but for the civilians of Feraga. I would have never agreed to do anything like what I did if I knew how many animal lives it could jeopardize in the future…”

He cleared his throat, and then continued. “As for the no compensation thing, I had… Kind of assumed that we had paid for it. However, at the time, the human managing my finances was actively working against me and may have sabotaged things. I’m also not gonna rule out me forgetting to do it, as I was very irresponsible with money at the time, and I’m pretty sure I was on orange soda throughout your entire visit.”

“On… orange soda?” asked the leopard. “What’s in orange soda that makes you irresponsible?”

“Scientists remain unsure, but it’s like the drinks the humans make, but for pets. Anyhow, the last thing- I was completely unaware of the ECP having any sort of activities outside of the US and EU. That’s pretty much my sister Lena’s domain now. I handle the crazy magic(k)al stuff. That being said, I’m definitely going to have a talk with her about the emigrations thing. I researched that, and I’m pretty sure it’s not legal…”

“Well, it’s probably not illegal, per se. Not like animals are citizens in our country, or have passports to check. Wild animals especially have very little relation to the government after all,” Mungo said very matter of factly out of nowhere. Keene had forgotten he was even in the room, and jumped a bit upon hearing the dog’s booming voice.

He turned toward the humongous hound. “Yes, it’s not illegal for those reasons, though. Animals are considered cargo, and shipping unregistered or illegal cargo to the country is shady…”

“Ah, I see. I didn’t read up on laws involving cargo during K-9 training,” Mungo said with a short nod.

Keene raised an eyebrow. “How many laws did you read up on?”

“Any that deal with the way authorities should treat animals, especially pets, in the USA.”

“Ah, I guess that makes sense,” Keene said with a shrug.

“You didn’t have to go all out like that, though, Mungo,” Fox pointed out. Keene turned away from the dogs back towards Jata, who was still bent over the table. Keene’s eyes widened.

“I just like to be as helpful as possible and ready for any situation!”

Jata wasn’t just hunched over in some sadness or dissapointment.

“You can’t be ready for any solution,” Fox proclaimed. “It’s impossible to do that without getting paranoid.”

No, the leopard appeared to be sleeping.

“Well, I can just prepare to be unprepared. That way I can always be there for anyone who needs it.”

How long has it been since he’s had any proper rest? thought Keene.

“Someday, that mentality’s going to bite you in the-” Just in time, Fox was interrupted by Keene.

“Jata appears to have fallen asleep or possibly fainted. Is it possible that you two could carry him to one of the guest beds whilst I call up a veteran… vet- veterinarian?” Keene asked with an affirmative tone, stoically tripping over the last word.

“On it, Mister Milton,” said Fox, him and Mungo turning towards Jata. Fox sought to grab his upper body so they could hold it together, but Mungo quickly picked the leopard up and draped him over his shoulder, leading the smaller husky to scowl, both heading out of the office towards one of the guest rooms, which they conveniently knew the location of due to the many times they’d been called to search the Milton estate.

-

Breel fired off a text to his boyfriend. “Things over here with Tarot are getting pretty boring. In other news, finally got Karishad to tell us where he hid our ice cream maker.”

Tarot looked up from her crystal-tab towards Breel. “Do you know why I’m actually here, Breel? Because I feel like you probably should.”

Breel took a sip of some lemonade he had on hand, before setting it down curiously.

“I’d love to hear, actually! Feels like we haven’t talked since Egypt.”

“Ah, well, unfortunately, I’m not here to exchange pleasantries. I’ve been looking into the future some using the crystal-tab, and it kind of appears that Keene is en route to destroying the world again.”

Breel sighed and took another sip. “It does seem that way. Any other earth-shattering revelations?”

Tarot shrugged.

-

Author's note: Wow, that sure was exposition! Ah, I hope it's not too bad. Anyhow, looking to start getting more into each of the characters next chapter. Expect it to probably be even longer (4,000 to 5,000 words maybe?) and less driven.
Please comment on the hilarious nature of "politic(k)s." Coming up with this pun has made me extremely happy. It's clearly the funniest thing I've ever written and has never ever been done before anywhere on this forum. Please. I have low self esteem. I beg of ye!
Chapter title is a deliberate reference to something, I wonder if anyone will get it. Of course, the reference I'm referencing might also be a reference to something, which would make my original reference look like it's referencing that other thing. But that probably isn't the case. Hopefully.
Last edited by Wrenisprobablyb0red on Sun Aug 21, 2022 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Krytus The Dreamer
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Krytus The Dreamer »

I don't mind learning a bit of lore as a bit of table dressing. It gives a bit of insight into Jata's situation and doesn't take up too much of the chapter. Although that whole bit about being an archipelago followed up by being occupied by nation after nation after nation because they were strategically located does sound eerily familiar. I understand Jata, it sucks, but hey think about the cultural hodgepodge your country's become because of those nations staying in your country for so long.
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Wrenisprobablyb0red
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Wrenisprobablyb0red »

Edited that chapter because I didn't proofread enough. There were 3 or 4 spelling mistakes and I wrote Sasha instead of Sabrina a lot of times. Thanks Krytus for pointing that out to me!
A bit of Feragan cultural lore that I cut out:
-Feraga has 6 official languages. Due to the varying levels of human occupation, across the islands, Arabic, Swahili, French, English, and two languages native to the islands, East and West Feragan. Sizeable groups of Portuguese and Malagasy (the Austronesian language of madagascar, related distantly to Indonesian and Filipino) speakers can also be found. This was gonna be a detail adding to the conflict of the island, but it ended up coming across as me just geeking out about linguistics, so ultimately, it's not in the chapter.
-Feragan food is quite unique, though probably most similar to the Seychelles. Each island has its own dishes, which I might have characters cook later on because I love inventing dishes.
-Unsuprisingly, the Feragan narrative is pretty much a parallel for any country that's been colonized by many different powers, and what comes from that. This is probably the most political the story will get in regards to real world issues, though so far the whole story has taken a less comedic tone than I expected, so who knows where it'll go. I've got like, plans for the world and a timeline of events, but I'm letting the characters write themselves haha.
Chapter 5 in like a week?
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: Housepets: Attonement

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This was a really great chapter that you wrote and it came out incredibly good! I'm hoping that its Jata that gets hit with a pie since he needs to be knocked down a peg.

Or two. Or three. Or four. Or 600. :mrgreen:
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