They say, well over two decades ago, that a middle-aged man realized that his life was half over, without ever having had a child. He couldn't have children with his mate, due to species differences. The man did what he felt like every person in his position would do for their mate; and began working on a side project in the laboratory, using his own cells. Years went by, and nothing came of it. Continuous failures, short-lived, heart-breaking the first few times for the man. A year later and another, longer-lived but still failed attempt, and the man's mate left, leaving a small note in his favorite book, hand-written. They couldn't take any more... Failures. The man pressed on, half in denial and half trying to be productive. More failures, but they were longer lived. That was even more heartbreaking. Finally; finally, after many failures, there was a success. They were not a perfect success, small and sickly. But they were perfect to him. The middle-aged man was no longer alone. He'd be the best father he could.
Morgan had never heard this story, and never would. The secret had died with their father, and they never had a mother. They'd been told their mother died when they were too young to remember, and that was that. Morgan missed their father.
A young child, no older than six by the looks of it, though they were actually nine, came down the large hallway that morning after being awakened by the alarm. Their space pajama pants and shirt with a picture of a dragon on it were sorely mismatched, shirt black with a red dragon, and pants blue with little planets on it. The blonde and green-eyed youngster knew that pretty soon, their father would be home. Young Morgan liked to wake up early so that they could 'cook breakfast'. These attempts were generally met with mixed results, but their father appeared to find it endearing. Morgan walked down the stairs, perhaps even more delicately than they did as an adult, since they were bare-foot and not wearing the boots they would wear later on in life.
After reaching the ground floor, Morgan looked out into the vivariums to see if any of their father's plants had bloomed yet, as it was coming to that time of year. After a moment, the disappointed youngster wandered into the kitchen and began searching for bacon and eggs. They stopped and noticed that the drawing they had made for their father, that had been so proudly put up on the fridge with magnets, was gone. The green eyed youngster looked over the entire fridge for it, disappointed to find that it was certainly not there.
Morgan got down on their hands and knees, looking for the art piece that certainly fell off onto the floor, right? Morgan thought it looked really nice (it looked about average for a child's drawing actually) and doubted that their father would get rid of it without telling them... Morgan could not find it on the floor, nor beneath the fridge, so they stood up, moving their glasses up their nose. Their body was so small built that they were hardly able to keep the smallest of glasses up on their nose. "I w-w-wonder 'ere that w-went..." The disappointment and stuttering was perhaps a bit cute. Morgan pouted.
After a failed experiment with cooking eggs in the microwave (why had I thought that would work?) the kid pulled the too-crispy bacon off of the heat and then plated them... Messily. After setting up the table decently enough, the young Morgan opened a book that they had hidden in one of the cabinets for waiting on their father for breakfast and began to read it. Their father worked nights almost exclusively, and was often late in the morning, but the food hardly ever got cold before he was there.
Morgan heard the front door open, and couldn't help the excitement! The blond child leaps up and leaves the dining room, running towards the front door on bare feet. "Daddy!" The shaky voice called out in joyous expression. The tall, blond middle-aged man stepped through the door, crows-feet showing at the edges of his eyes behind his glasses. His green eyes were already sparkling, glad to be home undoubtedly. His well-fitting lab-coat still pristine as per usual, though his five-o'clock shadow was more like a two-day growth instead. Morgan patiently waited for their father to remove the labcoat- that was the rules, it could have germs! Before they would run up to hug him. However, today, something was different. Dad didn't put his lab-coat onto the coat rack.
Instead, the man reached into his pocket, and pulled out what had to be the most adorable izer that Morgan had ever seen. Morgan had never had a pet before! It was possible that dad was just bringing his work home, but Morgan figured that of course, logically, it HAD to be a pet, for them, right? It looked just like their drawing too! Morgan stood stock-still, and gasped, hands over their mouth. "Daddy! Is he for me?"
The young person wakes up in the morning, stretching, and turns off the alarm clock. After putting on their glasses, they turned over and pulled upon a drawer, taking the mixed feed out from it and then fed the creature that was inside the aviary. Of course the creature still got plenty of fresh fruit and other such things though the day, but in the morning it was always the dried protein and fruit mix. The blond then adjusted their shirt and shorts (they had managed to put on their shorts backwards the day before it seemed) the pre-teen moved down the hallway, ready to cook breakfast again. They were much better at doing that now, and had actually hit a growth spurt. Things were going well. Breakfast was started, as per usual, and Morgan sat down at the dining table afterwards, and waited, reading a well-worn book. The blonde waited. And waited. And waited. After a while, the pre-teen stood up, concerned, and walked into the living room. Perhaps their father had gotten here and went straight to the shower? That had never happened before, but Morgan told themself that. Morgan ran up to their father's room, and couldn't find him anywhere. Well then, he was just late. Far later than he had ever been before... By a whole hour.
Dad didn't come home. Morgan felt the panic rise throughout the day. They took the izer out to play with them in the yard, and then came back inside and put the izer up. Then, they waited. Dad still didn't come home. Morgan did the math, trying to figure out how long their dad must have been up for. Maybe he was just going to sleep at the lab? Morgan had never been there before so maybe he had a couch or day-bed there? Night fell, and Morgan tried to get some sleep. After several fruitless hours of the attempt, the singing of the izer made them fall into a fitful rest.
The next morning, Morgan woke up, fed the izer, and then wandered downstairs again. Food was cooked, a book was read. Dad didn't come home. Dad was just late again, right? That had to be it. Half of the day went by, and Morgan was now thoroughly worried. Morgan got dressed, and went out, to ask for help, bringing a lab-coat with them that had not quite been cleaned yet because Morgan had been a bit too lazy to do the wash at that time. Scent-animals were sent out after it was discovered that their father was not in the Labs.
Morgan was in denial for weeks. People came and went; the neighbors tried to visit the house in some instances, with food for them. Morgan wasn't sure what they were going to do. They weren't old enough to work yet, and it was becoming a very real possibility that Morgan would not be able to keep the lights on, or the food on the table. The neighbors asked to take Morgan in, undoubtedly with some dubious plans for the Wiltholm estate. The land and house left to Morgan and their father by Morgan's mother. It was common for young people to live on the streets or in their kennels in the Labs; and adults hardly paid these 'emancipated children' any mind.
Morgan didn't know what to do. Two weeks in, Morgan was ushered into a stark white room in the breeding area of the Labs and given a box. All of the things their father had in his desk. Morgan wasn't sure what it was in this area of the Labs, this wasn't where their dad worked? However, Morgan was grateful for it. Inside were five or six pure white lab-coats with huge deep pockets. Morgan took them home and cried a bit, wondering where dad was. Morgan fell asleep leaned over the box, clutching one of the lab coats so hard that it was wrinkling the pristine material. The blond was exhausted.
The next day, Morgan found the books. The box had been so large that Morgan had to have someone help them bring it home (Morgan was never very strong) and now the pre-teen knew why. It was filled with research books, information about the Labs species, about the way the Labs worked, seen from the eyes of an underling. Some of the books were actually text-books, and some of them were hollowed out and contained Journals. Their father's journals; full of words that not even the incredibly well-read pre-teen had heard of before. Morgan poured over these books, forgetting to eat some days, but always feeding the izer.
The pre-teen spent the better half of a year being fed by the neighbors, but due to their prickly nature that didn't seem to be 'fixing' after time went by, the neighbors stopped doing so (poor child, will it never get over his death?) and Morgan refused to believe that their father was dead. He just went into hiding. That had to be it. Never-mind the fact that Morgan was -sure- that their dad would have taken them too. He would not have abandoned them.
By that point, however, Morgan had learned so much about how the creatures of the Labs worked. They started a business of teaching peoples' pets house manners. Then, they started learning how to actually work with some of the science that their father had worked with, at home, in their father's small basement Lab.
After a while, keeping the earnings from the few odd jobs Morgan had picked up in a box was growing difficult, so Morgan made their way to the bank in an attempt to make an account for the credits. But it turned out that the young (newly teenaged) Morgan could not; not because they were too young, but because there was already an account in their name. Morgan could not believe this; but went ahead and deposited the meager earnings anyway (they had not been able to save much due to the cost of living). Then, Morgan checked the receipt they were given, and could almost feel the tears welling up in their eyes.
After a couple of years of hard living and turning off most of the lights in the mansion all the time, and letting their father's vivariums go to dust, Morgan found out that there had been a monthly deposit of credits since their father's death. There wasn't much that it could mean, right? Did this mean that their father was still alive, somewhere, and had left without a word in warning, still sending credits that they had no idea if Morgan had even known how to find and use?
Or did this mean that something bigger than Morgan could even dream of had happened, and this was... Hush money.
The vague notion that this could possibly be hush money only grew as Morgan began utilizing the credits that had been left to them. More books, more food, more studying. Morgan was learning at an advanced rate; and had already picked up small-time work with chemicals, as well as continuing to study the behaviors of Lab creatures. Their father had been studying that before he... Disappeared. Yes, Disappeared. By the time Morgan was sixteen, they were quite used to the lump sum being paid each month, but was never arrogant about it. Many people in the Labs did not live like this.
No one in the labs lived like that, not really.
Morgan was convinced that the people in the Labs City were crazy. They would sit on the settee in front of the window in their living room while reading a book, and then glance out of it at the people outside. People were walking their vulticus, that was normal. Even the weird cave ones. However, people were also walking their wiurns, sometimes. That was pretty crazy. Those animals were poisonous, 'knuckle-walked' on their wing joints, and were super strong and usually aggressive. Just walking them down the street. Morgan wondered as a mid-teenager how people could just... Do that. Without anything bad happening at all.
Morgan spent the majority of their time after this studying under a tutor, and studying in their spare time about creature sentience. The Labs considered any animal that they produced as being subservient to humans by nature, which was interesting. What really separated humans from these sentient animals? Not much, if they had the same base witt from birth, was what Morgan thought. As such, Morgan became more and more enthralled with the science that had quite possibly ruined their father's life, and maybe their own. The blond human spent day after day bringing the izer everywhere, the last thing linking them to their father. The last living thing... Morgan began thinking about their mother, some days. What did she look like? Did she look anything like herself? Was she nice, what did she enjoy doing for fun? She must have been smart, if dad loved her, right? Morgan thought about this often, and it was probably unhealthy.
Nothing like losing your last parent to make you wonder about the first you never asked your father about, right?
One day, the tutor tells Morgan that they need to study different things, to become more well-rounded. Morgan vehemently disagreed, but finally caved on the knowledge that their father would have preferred that Morgan finish their education, even if they didn't really need it... Plus, Morgan still didn't know what they were going to do when it came to a job, because they certainly couldn't go work for the Labs... Wouldn't work for the labs. Not after their father's disappearance. Morgan was convinced that their father's work had something to do with that. So Morgan needed someone to go for them to go to the library. Morgan didn't have -time- to go to the library to go get the books they were recommended by the tutor. So the blond human was able to ask around quickly and find out that some of the neighbors used a specific individual for shop runs, some kind of great creature-tamer and... Jewelry-maker? That didn't sound like a very likely combination. This individual apparently also fought sarane as well; and that knowledge made Morgan's nose scrunch.
However, there wasn't really anyone else that could be trusted to leave with the money and come back with the required goods, and Morgan knew very few individuals. Apparently this 'Jackalope' was also quite moneyed. That was a relief. Being moneyed in this society was quite tough.
After that, Morgan had asked the neighbors to send the person on by whenever they came by next; and it didn't take long before the individual stopped momentarily at the human's closed gate, and instead of ringing the button and going on in, simply tested the gate and then jumped over it in one fell swoop. He was also... Not wearing much of anything. What was that; a loin cloth?
He called Morgan a 'kid'.
Morgan called him a 'jackalope'.
The mammalian that Morgan was pretty sure was male... Maybe? Finally entered a bit of a staring contest with Morgan, but finally left with a delicately written shopping list for about three different shops. Bookstore, Toystore, and even to go pick up Morgan's new glasses prescription that Morgan had been too busy to go get theirself. Finally, the brown-furred and half-naked mammalian stepped off of the property, taking their inscrutable mask along with them.
How are you supposed to trust someone with a mask that hardly wears anything else?
Morgan had went to go work with the Malii after that; a creature that had been difficult to procure, but was supposed to be intelligent. Sentient. Yes, she could even talk. Morgan had decided to name the malii Cyrus, but didn't get a whole lot done before it was time to go back home. Not long after Morgan returned to the home; the jackalope returned with several bags, and groceries as well; good cuts of meat and nice veggies. Morgan offered to pay for them, but the jackalope just shook his head and said that Morgan was scrawny and needed the food.
Yeah, sure, scrawny huh.
Then came an admonishment for Morgan to eat more, and before Morgan could retort back about how it was rude for good-looking mammalians to go around shirtless, the jackalope was gone, promising to check back again another time to do more errands. Morgan took the books over to the kitchen table, and then stared at the groceries for a moment. Not long afterwards, Morgan put the groceries in the fridge, and then opened the book about 'Magic' after choosing one of the books at random, and popped a strange fruit into their mouth. It was kind of nice.
Morgan decided that the jackalope was annoying- but figured that he was also useful for errands. That could be used.
Magic. It couldn't really be real, right? The book was teaching it like a subject; that it was a real thing, that it could be tapped into, just a bunch of noise really. Morgan had always figured that the world had some kind of scientific meaning to it, some kind of reasoning that made sense. Magic just... Sounded fake. There was no way a bunch of fairy-tale stories could 'explain' anything about the Labs Creatures that science hadn't already! Morgan slammed the book shut, and began pacing around the kitchen. At first, it was aggravation. Then, Morgan sat down, and furiously opened the book. This repeated a few times until the blond human began getting curious about it.
Magic. Morgan decided that they would try it. It couldn't be that hard, right? Morgan had quite a bit of money saved up and more coming in all the time, and this was the best way to make a kind of experiment to see if it worked. If it didn't work, then it wasn't real. If it did... Then Morgan had a lot of re-thinking to do. Morgan was just brave enough to begin to put the plan into motion, despite having learned the rather... Gorey, process from the book.
Twilight-Claw: Hey Ridelys, I still got a Sarane Fidelity Egg if your interested in trading your Green Drake for it, you'd have another shot in trying for it then.
May 31, 2020 1:11:44 GMT -6
Ridelys: If you can barter someone else's champion voucher off them for a gold hen, I'm happy with that too. XD \ Otherwise, I'm open to hearing offers.
May 30, 2020 21:19:39 GMT -6
Aster: Hey, if you don't want that green drake, I'd be happy to offer on him :U Alas, I don't have a gold hen either
May 30, 2020 21:18:03 GMT -6
Ridelys: Well, like I said, I'd have to get lucky.
May 30, 2020 21:13:55 GMT -6
Ridelys: I have a feeling its going to be a long one unless I get lucky.
May 30, 2020 18:19:31 GMT -6
Riku: Good luck with your golden egg hunt, BD! <3
May 30, 2020 15:40:20 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for the notice!
May 28, 2020 10:05:26 GMT -6
Darky: Heads up: there's a chance you might notice Trepuldra images having loading issues on June 3rd, for about 3h. No need to panic, Veebimajutus just notified there's going to be some scheduled maintenance, is all x3
May 28, 2020 10:05:06 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: right??? i was really hoping i could find one of those pachee before the season was out.
May 26, 2020 18:51:32 GMT -6
Fanged: Oh wow that's an awesome garden find FF
May 26, 2020 18:13:26 GMT -6
Riku: Oh how perfect! I woke up wanting to post (unexpected, but yay) and saw I had a reply. <3 Meant to be.
May 26, 2020 6:40:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6