Furlitian Tales & Other Stories

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 THE FURLITES OF ARORIEL: CURSE OF KORIS  has been released and is available on Amazon.com for Kindle and in paperback! Hardcover is available on Lulu.com and Amazon. 
This is Kutius' story, a tale of  infamy and rags to riches, Furlitian Style.

Book Excellence Award Finalist!

 A brief summary;
In this complimentary novel to THE FURLITES OF ARORIEL series, after his mother and grandmother have a nasty argument, young Kutius and his parents move to the small town of Gabbruss in the State of Burtsal, a place very different from the open farmlands he grew up on. Upset and angry, the youngster hates his new hometown, longing for the happy home of his grandmother, filled with loving clan and domestic animals. Upon meeting new classmate in Fundamental school, Murkuria of Clan Darius, a feud explodes between them. It escalates over the years, until a fight between them causes Kutius’ expulsion from school. His mother blurts out the family secret, and Kutius blames Murkuria for his predicament. She becomes the bane of his existence, until she stows aboard her Clan’s starship, disappearing from his life.  He feels relieved, and life settles down until Kutius and his mother suffer the dire consequences of admitting the Clan secret. All descended from Koris the Tyrant must be sterilized, and Officers come to enforce that law at the worst time. His family loses their cozy home and end up living in a dirty old bunker converted to a house. Kutius puts full blame on Murkuria and hopes her clan’s ship wrecks out there and never comes home.

After graduating Preparatory school, Kutius, despite the bias against who he is, improves his life, leaving the musty home he abhorred. He finds peace in the city of Astrolis, until the Starship, thought lost, returns, carrying back into his life the girl he despises. His hatred rules him, and he connives to hurt her, her Clan, and the Felakoon abominations she created out between the stars and brought home.

At a large Hearing, where he accompanies the Governor of Burstal for whom he works, he tries to stop a Felakoon kit from bonding to the Governor, and Hellara reacts with fury, reminding the world who Kutius is, in front of the entire populace on worldwide video. Tossed of the grounds, he leaves the city, angry and hurt, but as he travels to escape his old life, a new one opens to him, and, despite the trials, proves to be full of extraordinary surprises. His only thought, when will that Darius girl drop in and ruin his life again?

     He arrived home from school one stormy winter afternoon, happy with his day. Classes went well and nobody bothered him with taunts or laughter. Kutius entered the foyer, and wiped the snow off of his feet. He placed his school sack in the sack bin, then trotted into the Common Room. He found his mother sobbing. His father sat silent, a rare hard copy letter in his hand.

“What is going on?” Kuitus asked. His mother said nothing, but wept harder. His father slowly lifted his head.

     “We cannot afford to pay what we owe on the house. The Clan we purchased it from is asking we sell to pay off the debt.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.

     “We did not buy it outright?” Kutius asked.

     “No, we had enough for half, and the Clan agreed to payments every cinth to pay off the rest as fast as we could. I cannot pay them what I promised. They do not trust us to come up with payments.”

     “Surely they can understand?”

     “They do, but are very distrustful after what has occurred. I cannot even meet a quarter of what is left,. They have every right to their credits.”

     “But they let us pay over the last two years! What changed?”

     “I paid them on time. Now I cannot, and because of what happened they want to cut all ties to us. If we owned outright, there would, be no issue, but we do not.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.   “ It will not leave us much, but we have no choice.”

      “What choice?”

     “To sell.” Wnferis answered. “And as quickly as possible.”

     Kutius stood, in horror, as his father listed the house with the landbroker in Astrolis. To his utter dismay, the home sold for half its worth in less than a quat of the listing. Kutius’ stomach knotted.  He wished to eat nothing, and, by the lack of any evening meal preparations, neither did his parents. He sat in the Common Room, watching his father sift through listings. He glanced around at the familiar walls, and heaved a sigh.

     “Father, why look? Why do we not ask Grandmother if we can return home?”

     “Never!” Kutora suddenly snarled through her tears. “My mother hates me. I will never go back! Never.”

     Kutius heard his father sigh again.

     “Mother, you are not thinking clearly. Why can you and Grandmother not make amends so we can go home?”

     “She is unreasonable! She does not understand me,” Kutora snapped back, then broke down into weeping.

     Winferis slowly typed our short messages to Clan, asking for help. Nobody responded with a vidcall, but a few short clipped replies came back. Credits for the house sale entered the family vault.

     “Well, the credits are in, for the house and from Clan who decided to help us,” Winferis said softly. “We have to find somewhere to go. My family will not help us get a place, but they did send us some credits. Yours did as well, Kutora. We have to be out by next cinthend.”

     Kutius looked over his father’s shoulder at the screen, staring at the message history over the last few years as his father sifted through them. His father’s family, living in northern Cyal on the coast, shifted credits to his parents’ bankrupt account, but did not make any further contact. Clan from Port Gol, including Zalius, Zoptius and his other relatives sent very little.  Kutius knew they abhorred what his mother had done. Unlike most clan relationships, the bond between his parents did not bring the two clans as close as most. Once the truth filtered back to them, the Port Gol Clan Wylarius virtually disowned his parents, helping occasionally only out of Clan duty. His mother's Clan, despite their outrage, sent food and paid miscellaneous debts, but did no more than that. Nobody called on vid, nor sent messages, and nobody offered to take them in.

     Kutius thought back to the wonderful holidays at Zoptius’ home, and back at his grandmother’s farm, and felt tears sting his eyes. How his fastidious, level-headed Grandmother birthed his lazy scatter-brained mother baffled him. Though of Koris’ line, Karetura never displayed his mother's pomposity and obnoxious conceit. It pained him to think this hurt his grandmother in any way, and he vowed, somehow, to make it all up to her someday.

     “I found something,” Winferis announced, and Kutius scowled.

     “Father, what is that? “ Kutius squinted at the photo of a small ramshackle building. The stonework looked terrible, with crumbling grout, mold and moss growing on the stone surface. Brush crowded the walls, and trees covered the roof with extensive boughs.
     “Clan Karklinos is selling this place. It has been in their family for octuaries.”

     “It is nothing but an ancient storage shed!” Kutius exclaimed.

     “Yes, it dates back to the Great War. Karklinos’ Clan used it to store their weaponry that won that war there.” Winferis twitched his tail. “It has historic value. Maybe we can fix it up and sell it.”

     “Maybe,” Kutius muttered, hatred knotting his stomach. Clan Darius ancestors also participated in the construction and use of that building. He shuddered. “I really wish we did not have to live there.”

     “It is all we can afford now,” his father whispered. “I am sorry, Son.”

     Moving day arrived all too swiftly. Kutius packed his travel sack with all his belongings, and silently left the little house. He glanced back once, gazing at the home through the gentle snowfall, then faced forward, recalling the storm-tossed day he left his grandmother’s farm. His throat constricted and tears filmed his eyes as he climbed into the old bronze shuttle. Silently his father drove to the center of town, and up the broad street past the Town Hall. He turned the shuttle into the long narrow shuttlepath to a overgrown parking area in front of their new residence. The grass stood an octafet tall, poking through the deep snow.

     The cottage sat a octyle behind the Town Hall, merely a remodeled storage bunker. Kutius grumbled, climbing out of the shuttle, and shivered when he entered the building.  Stuffy and damp, the place screamed impoverishment. The Common Room and Dining area merged, creating one room. The kitchen, with its tiny window, looked and smelled like a swamp. Kutius walked up the hallway, his talons clicking on bare plain stone floor. He halted at the end of the hall and peered into the two sleeping rooms. He stepped inside the end room with its two windows, gaping at the old bed and lumpy worn out cushions, then faced backwards to gaze into the tiny room that served as a lavatory.

     “Ughh!” he howled. “There is no bathing pool!”

     “The lake is nearby,” his father mumbled. “We can make do.”

      Winferis shuffled into the other sleeping room. Kutius stared aghast. Since the day he bathed to impress that female, Kutius abhorred getting dirty.  He stared, unable to believe this bad turn of life. The musty cottage revolted him, but he had not choice but to stay. The computer terminal in his room looked ancient, and he hoped it worked.  He counted quickly in his head, and decided to put every bit of energy into his studies for the next five years. He slowly put his sack down.

     “Five years,” he muttered. “How will I stand it?”

For fun we have an interview with the main character of The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris, to introduce you to him and his world, instead of your humble author!

An Interview with  the main character of  CURSE OF KORIS  As I sit and wait for our guest, he walks in, striding on strong muscular legs, his tail stiff behind him, and his talons click on the smooth tile floor. He looks like a hairy flat-faced dinosaur, with large cat eyes the color of a glacier. He sits in the chair, slipping his tail through the gap in the back, and nods. I blink, trying not to stare at this alien man, who looks so very different from us, different than any alien I’ve ever seen in movies or television. His thick, long, predominantly-white coat gleams with meticulous grooming. I resist the urge to reach out and touch one of his muscular arms. I compose myself, and begin the interview.

Me:   Greetings, and welcome to our world!  I’d like for our readers to get to know you a bit.  Go ahead and introduce yourself, Kutius. May I call you that?

Kutius:   My name is Tius of Clan Zuliarus, though many still call me by my given name, Kutius. As you see, I look very different from humans. I am a Furlite,  a furry-coated, bipedal race of what you might call dinosaurian mammalians. We certainly do not stand and walk the same way you do, and we have tails. Nothing like your animal family exists on our planet. 

Me:  We are descended from a species from a primate species that is now extinct. We had a group of creatures on this planet called dinosaurs, that went extinct some 60 million years ago. It’s fascinating primates never evolved on your world. 

Kutius:  No, they did not. We have winged mammalians that take up that niche. Many species of matissias and gerials live in the trees. They resemble what your people’s mythical dragons look like, but with fur, and much smaller.
Me: I find that so wonderful. A place so different, yet giving rise to a dominant species. Tell the audience about your planet.

Kutius:  We live on Aroriel, a cold planet that is slightly larger than this one, with slightly less land mass, and more ocean area. We evolved our furry coats, as has most life on our world, to protect us from the harsh climate. 

Me:    I imagine your society is similar to ours?  What do you do in life?  Tell us more about yourself.

Kutius:  I’m a successful business owner, running a big farm that supplies the world with fickle Swikin (type of domestic fowl) meat.  I was not always so successful, but worked hard with my spouse to grow our business. I like getting into every aspect of our business from the breeding, caring for, and processing of the swikins. I enjoy working the land, to sow the seeds of various plants to feed not only us but our award winning product. I work alongside every employee on the farm.

Me:  How many employees do you have?

Kutius:  Most are Clan members, and they range from my father, who records breading and also  plows and sows the land, to my cousins who work with the genetics of the swikins. My spouse keeps our books. My mother runs the kitchen. We occasionally hire local primary School age children, (Kutius pauses with raised furry brows, and I realize I am staring in surprise.) What?

Me:  Do you endorse Child labor?

Kutius:  No, not young children, though all must eventually learn they must earn what they have, and to contribute to their household. Primary school is equivalent to your High school. (Kutius laughs)

Me:  Contribute?

Kutius:  Yes. When they turn Primary school age of eighteen, uh, thirty of your years, they should either get an after school job, or earn good enough grades that they earn credits into their new vaults. They begin saving for things like a shuttle to drive, or University schooling.

Me:  I think I understand. You’re a long-lived people indeed.  I’m jealous. Do children receive allowances from parents?

Kutius: No. They earn credits by getting good grades. Our Clan pays the schools and some of that is earned back by the children. For University studies, our Clan may pay for us or we pay for it ourselves, or a mix of both.

Me:   Interesting system.  Do you earn scholarships? Does Government help out at all?

Kutius:  (gazes at me quizzically) Scholarships? I’m not sure I understand the concept. Our Clans take care of the cost. Nobody else. Government does not pay for anyone’s schooling or anything else in life.

Me:  Oh I see. What then is your Government's role?

Kutius:   Our government is quite small, a council of our state Governors that propose laws, and discuss complaints from the populace that meets once a cinth. Proposed laws are put to the populace in referendum. Once the Council affairs are done, they return to their normal jobs. (Kutius scowls)  I  assume your Government is different, according to what little I read about your society?
Me: Very different, and I rather like the concept of yours. (My turn to scowl) I don’t want to bore you with our convoluted system, so I’ll turn to a more pleasant topic. What is your home life like?

Kutius:   We live in multi-generational homes, sometimes with our Clan living in many homes on the same street. In our case, we all live in my home, which has twenty-five sleeping rooms with two stories. We have a large dining area and Common room, but we also have our own rooms with amenities in case we wish privacy. What my parents did by living alone with just me, when I was growing up is extremely rare. I see it is common for you humans.

Me:  Intriguing, and yes, it is. Many of us live completely alone. Do your people ever do that?

Kutius: It is extremely rare, but I did so for years, while going to University, and when I worked my first job.  It was fine, but I did miss the house full of loved ones, something I thought I’d never see again in life at that time.

Me: (feeling a tad uneasy as he stares at me with those cat-like, ice blue eyes) Apologies for making you uncomfortable.  Is it difficult raising these Swikin?

Kutius: I am fine. It is difficult, but I figured out how to  raise them successfully and guard that information with my life. (He grins and I notice his eight eyeteeth, one set larger than the other. They gleam in the lighting.) Our farm is located in a tropical zone, and it is warm all year, but, we do see occasional snow on the equator. The farm is surrounded by jungle forests. The swikins are protected but can endure a light snow and cold, as long as it is not much below the freezing mark. Go a distance away to the subtropic zones and snow will fall in winter. Further than that, we have snow at very least half of our year, which is 1.7 times as long as yours.

Me:  My kind of planet! I love snow. Tell us where and when on Aroriel were you born?

Kutius:   I was born on my grandmother’s prosperous farm, thirty nine of our years ago, half a world away from my present home, in the State of Auriga.  I believe, if I calculate correctly, I’d be sixty-six years old by your planet’s orbit. By our standards, I am still a very young man.  (Kutius utters a growling sigh) I loved that place, and I still do, with the cold blustery snowy winters that I miss. I learned a lot during my time there, which helps me in my current business.

Me:  Oh, impressive! Your  people are quite long-lived. Tell us about your Grandmother’s farm? Is it much like yours?

Kutius: It is, and yet is not.  For my first nine years (our years-fifteen by your world’s measure), I grew up on my grandmother’s farm, surrounded by loving clan and animals. I loved the open prairie lands where the farm was located. Then, family conflict, which I prefer not to speak of at this point, reared up, and my parents took off to live by themselves across the continent into the northern forest land, with me tagging along. The first couple of years were good, with my father’s clan around but, after another conflict, we ended up destitute. (Kutius scowls, ice-blue eyes narrowing) It all stemmed from the actions of a long dead ancestor of whom I’d rather not discuss right now. I studied hard, and eventually got myself out of that life.    

Me: All right, I won’t pry. How would you describe yourself?

Kutius:  Successful, stern, and I have a ruthless streak. My family helps balance me, and keep me from saying and doing things I might regret. Physically I am about average size for my people, three hundred of your pounds, and thanks to the work, lost my excess weight and built firm strong muscles in its place.

Me:  Are you dating anyone?

Kutius:   I am not certain I understand the question. (Kutius flicks his thick dinosaur-like furry tail, and frowns.)

Me:   Ah. let me rephrase. Romantically that is. Are you in a relationship?

Kutius:  Of course. I bonded to my wonderful spouse several years ago. (He smiles broadly, showing the impressive cutlery of a carnivore.)

Me:  Bonded? Were you married before?

Kutius:  Yes, bonded. If by married, you mean bonded, no. When we bond, it is generally for life. It is a physiological and emotional tie driven by our bonding pheromones. It is only broken by death, and it is not uncommon for the grieving spouse to die soon after. 

Me:  You have no choice in who you bond to?  

Kutius:   No. (Kutius frowns, his facial fur bristling) But it is rare for our bondings to be wrong. Yes, weird things can happen like one person bonding and the other does not, but when we bond, we are united, mind, body and soul. The love is deeper than anything else in life. We cannot have intercourse with anyone else but our spouses, and have no desire to ever do so. We also cannot procreate until we do bond. Before bonding, well, anyone is fair game, and multiple partners is the norm unless you bond in childhood.

Me:  You have sex as children? (I can’t help but gape at him)

Kutius:  No. (Kutius laughs). The sexual pheromones develop at puberty, around fourteen of our years old, twenty-four by your planet’s biological clock. If you are bonded already, you only copulate with each other. If you are not, you seek out new partners until, eventually, you do bond.

Me:  Do you have a marriage ceremony?

Kutius:  If you mean a Bonding Ceremony, of course! Both Clans, as well as friends of the couple gather, and a simple ceremony is performed, where the couple chooses what Clan to join and what name their children will bear.  All is recorded with the town and state records.

Me: Very intriguing. Tell everyone what it is you do when you’re not farming.

Kutius:  Relaxing with my spouse, our Felakoon, and Clan, playing in our enormous swimming pool, or visiting Clan on another continent, and holding huge Clan gatherings on our estate, but we really enjoy our work, which is almost non-stop. (Kutius grins, baring the tips of his upper fangs, revealing all eight eye teeth again).

Me:  What is a Felakoon? (I want to know more about them!)

Kutius: (regards me with a smirk)Nonnative beings brought here by our people during the first interstellar voyage. A member of Clan Darius genetically altered the zygotes of an alien creature she called Felicakoon, but we have since learned it was a Maine Coon feline. It’s a long story, but we also bond to our Felakoons, without the mating urge. Its very much like the parent-child bond, but stronger. I know you know what a Maine Coon is.

Me:  Oh yes! (I laugh) I’ve had several in my lifetime and one of my present ones is a blue smoke male named Darwin. Did you bring your Felakoon  with you?

Kutius:   Of course. They accompany us since they are family. (Kutius turns his head, and calls, waving a hand adorned with sharp finger-talons.) "Korion!"  (I watch, slack-jawed as an incredibility large, easily over fifty pounds, black, long-furred feline, looking like a gigantic Maine Coon cat,  strolls out to join Kutius. His light sea-green eyes regard me with great intelligence, far more than even the most intelligent cat (Phantom) I ever owned!)

Me: (I regain my composure and resume my interview, utterly fascinated by Korion).  He seems quite intelligent. How smart are they?

Kutius:   As intelligent as a young school age Furlitian child. They are also telepathic, and mindspeak their bondmates, and some can bespeak anyone. As I said, they are members of the family, not only by virtue of their bonding to us, but by law as well. 

Me:  Fascinating.  I hope we will learn more about them soon. Since I love Maine Coons, I can’t wait to meet more Felakoons, and certainly wish I could have one of my own. 

Kutius:  I don’t think they can bond to humankind. They are genetically now Aroriellian lifeforms, and linked to us. But, Korion wants me to tell you he likes you. (The giant Felakoon walks over to me,  eyes bright, and I think I hear a purr that says “you may pet me!” I reach out and tentatively touch his head and he purrs like a freight train! I am enthralled and want one!)

Me: Tell him I think he is fantastic. (I glance at the clock and realize time runs low. Disappointment floods me.) I must wrap this up with this question. Tell us about your worst fear.

Kutius:   My early life was filled with so much strife, and conflict with family. I had few friends. When life turned and things worked out for me, I still worried that it would all fall apart. I still fear, after all the good that has happened, thanks to good fortune and hard work, that something or someone will snatch it all away from me, including my home, spouse and Korion. (Kutius looks down at the floor, and a shiver goes over his body as he digs his impressive toe talons into the floor.)

Me: I am sorry to dredge up such anxieties.  I hope you never lose what you worked so hard for. Very pleased to meet you, and I look forward to people learning more about you as they read your tale. (I take his hand in mine noting how large it is, with the thick black skin on his palm, and the short white fur on the back. He is careful not to nick me with his finger claws.)

Kutius   Thank you. I must meet Commander Geupetus and get my ride home. I never thought I’d be on good terms with the Ship Commander and his Clan. I once hated them all so much. Thank you for speaking with me, and I, too, hope all people will enjoy my tale.

Me:  As do I. Safe flight home. 

Kutius:  We shall meet again I am sure. (He smiles and winks one eye, before trotting out of the room with his beautiful Felakoon. I watch, seething with more questions than answers, and know they wait between the pages of this book!)   

Hardcover version available at Lulu.com


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As always, if you're intrigued by my work, visit my author page at amazon.com/author/mariejsphillips and my website for chapter samples and excerpts!          Furlitian Tales and Other Stories